[Author’s note: This story was written as a prompt where the writer had to introduce Pokemon in any historic fight in the world. I changed the prompt a little bit.]
“Break the bow, Alakazam!” Karna grunted from under his breath, and it was enough for Alakazam to understand what his master wanted from him. His short fingers bent under his own pressure, and the spoons in his hand began to tremble slightly, but steadily. With one swift movement, Alakazam brought his hands together in a victorious gesture, and there emanated from him a power that was never understood by the folklore tellers years after the war. The string of Gandiva undid itself with fervor, and the bow was struck out of his hands. Arjuna stared dumbfounded, and hardly had any time to react to what had happened to his bow. He had been relentlessly pursuing his archery since the last sixteen days of the battle, even a day before, when he and Karna had both realized their need, and such a passionate need, to duel. Without his bow, his hands felt empty and useless, his body meek and subdued. As a trainer, his dragon had helped him face legendary trainers, but as a warrior, the Gandiva was a part of his body that he could not separate from. He was pushed into sudden action by his own mind reminding him how precious time now was. He re-stringed his bow quickly and masterfully, as the hands of an expert would. But his weapon for this duel was not the Gandiva, powerful and masterful as he was with it, it was someone else.
“Charizard, wing them!” He screamed with furious passion, his voice echoing into itself. Charizard’s white-blue flame rose rapidly as gusts of wind began to originate from her flapping dragon wings. No one that large could be expected to move so smoothly, elegantly, and yet so powerfully, that for a few moments Karna and Alakazam both stared in horror. Alakazam began to lose his footing, and his tiny body was carried almost all the way to Karna’s chariot before he realized he could stop himself. His arms were spread and it seemed like he was tired from holding his own body. Karna knew that Arjuna knew his weaknesses. Alakazam was no epitome of strength and standing. He was puny, and it was only his mind that held all the power he was capable. He was more powerful, and much different, than he seemed. Much like myself, Karna thought to himself.
“Coward! Making your monster fly around like that! If you have the valor to fight me, fight me from the ground!” Karna bellowed as the flying dragon stopped controlling and the wind and landed her huge paws on the wet mud below, growling with hunger. “Psychic attack, Alakazam!” Alakazam’s eyes turned blue, propagating light and warmth, but Arjuna knew that this was going to cause his dragon more pain than he himself was willing to withstand. It was worse than a bow this time, his own loved one was in danger of feeling more pain than this war had been allowed. Alakazam’s spoons bent again under his own power, and when he brought his hands together this time, the entirety of Charizard’s body came to a complete pause. Within a few moments, she had fallen onto the ground, twisting and turning in bitter pain. Arjuna blinked for longer than he did, and said a silent prayer for the sins that he had committed against his own kind, and breathed in deeply. The attack lasted for seemed like minutes, at the end of which, Charizard’s body was released in the same twisted position, with her mouth gaping wide open. Her eyes were closed, and wings to powerless to drive her into the sky. Arjuna felt fury leaking into his muscles as he saw her attempt to bring her feet to listen to her.
“Arjuna, you need to be calm. I can see you feel for your monster – “, Krishna attempted to intercede into the storm in Arjuna’s heart.
“She is not a monster!”
Krishna ignored him, “- but this battle can only be won with a peaceful mind.”
“If he wants peace, he has come to the wrong war.” Arjuna’s anger seethed and fed the flame that engulfed his dragon’s tail. It burned whiter and stronger, until everyone, including Krishna, could feel the heat of her glory. “You know what you need to do. Flare Blitz!”
Karna flinched. This was what he had been dreading since the beginning of their dule. Very few men and women on earth could sustain the pain to their own bodies to assure destruction of their antagonist, and Charizard was the only monster who could do this. Her mind and body was a projection of the turmoil in Arjuna’s – the mutually assured destruction that could only be predicted by a man of such high birth, and such as the thunderstorm’s son who wielded in himself the power to electrify and burn, and to be consumed by the watered clouds. The fire in Charizard’s body grew to now engulf her entire body. Her ember eyes were all that was visible, immersed now in rage and agony. Her large claws found the strength, no one knows where from, to charge towards the Alakazam standing weak and open to submission. When they struck, fire flew into the eyes of the audiences, and the intensity of the explosion was so bright that for a while, no one could see who had struck who. The brightness cleared within a matter of seconds, as Alakazam’s body was finally visible. He was lying still on the wet earth, with burns consuming the whole of his body. One could only wonder what the wet mud was doing to his body; whether Mother Earth had finally gotten her bitter revenge against Karna and burnt his lead Pokémon, or whether the Mother judged not the monsters that lived under the folly of their masters and was cooling Alakazam with her healing powers of water and rock. He stirred on the ground, living proof that even when Charizard was the strongest, she was not strong enough. Arjuna was flabbergasted; even the strongest of Pokémon could not have taken the blow so easily. He was hurt, yes, but he still had the will to fight.
Krishna, in the entirety of future sight and wisdom, knew the answer. “He is no ordinary Alakazam, Arjuna. No monster has ever entirely belonged to his master, you should know what.” Arjuna heard what Krishna had to say, but he did not listen. He could only feel the fire that burned in him when he recalled the insult that Karna had been to his family – his wife and his brothers. He was not going to let a strong Pokémon stop him from destroying Karna. His eyes, though, fell on his own dragon.
Charizard lay on the ground, breathing heavily, her body covered in the burns of her own fire. They said the mighty dragon could not be burnt, and the scales on her back would protect her from any fire that was strong enough to melt even the largest and harshest of the rocks. They had forgotten what Charizard herself was capable of. But she was still manic and ready to feast of the cooked flesh of her enemy.
“Alakazam!” The anguish in Karna’s voice was apparent to none but his Pokémon. Alakazam steadied himself on his hands, now rid of the spoons they had always held – they had evaporated in the fire that Charizard had flung on him. His own muscles were too weak to move, but Arjuna, and Charizard, did not know that there was one aspect of his body that no one could challenge and tame, except Karna. His mind. Karna saw him use his own telekinetic powers to get up at least five feet above the ground. An unrecognizable smile played on his lips, a smile that only Karna could perceive.
“Oh Lord! He is much stronger than we think!” Krishna exclaimed, much to Arjuna’s surprise. Krishna closed his eyes and watched images float in his mind’s eye. He knew what Alakazam should and will do now, and he was certain that it would only lead to Karna’s downfall. He was going to make the wrong decision, and lose. Lose everything that he built throughout his life, things that had not been served to him even though he was as able-blooded as Arjuna himself. Arjuna had sailed through a life of hasty, kingly penance, but Karna had seen it all. He had been born with the blood that could chill the blood of his own adopted kind, and yet he had no freedoms that came along with being a high born. He was son of God, and the God of heaven himself had taken away that privilege from him. “Call Psycho cut,” said Krishna in the inside of his mind, “and prepare for your doom.” The Gods in the heavens heard his roar and felt the tremor that was going to shake the earth. They murmured and chanted, not understanding the power that the earth still had on the kin of the Gods.
Karna closed his eyes. He prayed to all that was divine to him, all the Gods that had written in his fate the death that was not his choosing, to give him one chance to be the son that he could never be. He knew what he had to do, yet his knowledge was elusive to him. He searched the caverns of his mind for some inkling of the power that he held, a power that he could bestow upon Alakazam and be victorious. But much like his own betraying blood, his mind betrayed him in the way that Parshuram had promised him it would. There was, now, only one way out of this.
Even before he gave out the command, he knew it was going to lead to his death. But he wasn’t doing this so that he could emerge victorious with fratricide, but so that Arjuna would know that his lineage would finally be ashamed of him.
“Future sight, Alakazam.” The power had left his voice, and through the strength of Alakazam’s own mind, he could hear his Pokémon rebel against this decision, but once it was clear to Alakazam why his master was choosing thus, they were both surrounded not by the gore and unsettlement of war and death, but by the peace of afterlife and love. Alakazam had closed his eyes momentarily, and opened them after a pause. Nothing happened.
Krishna smiled. Even the gods did not predict the details of how the history of wars will be mapped, but they knew what was written in the fate of a select few. Karna was slowly walking towards his death, and Krishna knew that this was how the war had to end.
Charizard roared, despising the sudden lack of challenge, while waiting on her hind claws for a command to destroy the now mindless monster in front of her. Arjuna called Hyperbeam and it was clear to everyone that this could not be survived by a Pokémon such as Alakazam. Charizard’s eyes burnt white hot again, and she split her jaws as the beginning of the most powerful beam took form on her dragon tongue. The white ball of shimmering light grew larger and more terrifying, and the warriors around had to stop and stare at the source of light in the dragon’s mouth. Her wings were now outstretched and it almost seemed as if she was drawing power from the earth and the sky, her red body earthen and ethereal at the same time. With only a fraction of a second, the ball of light erupted into a white beam of electricity and fire, and was headed right towards Alakazam. Years later, Arjuna would remember this moment to be the precise moment when he first felt a pang of compunction in his heart.
Before anyone even registered what had happened, the beam had hit Alakazam, and under the light of the collision, his body was invisible. He had been flung towards Karna’s chariot and when the smoke and light cleared, they made out that he was lying helpless on the ground. Karna felt the fire in his heart go out, and he knew that this was the end. The mysteries of the world worked faintly, and the bond that he shared with Alakazam was not one of master and slave. Their life-forces were so intricately woven together that there was no way that he could survive the death of his Pokémon. That was why it wasn’t about rearing a team to destroy all the bearers of the world; for warriors, war came at a huge price. Especially war against someone who was going to avenge the insult against a complete ancestry.
Karna felt his voice choking on his vocal chords, and he could not find the strength in him to scream out Alakazam’s name. He found some life left in his legs, stepping down towards the ground from his high chariot and onto Alakazam’s side. His eyes were closed, and it seemed like even his mind had given up on him. Karna knelt beside his friend gently, afraid to disturb him. His hand stroked Alakazam’s paw, lifeless and cold. The will in him to survive and bid farewell to the only master he had loved had preceded the body that had deceived him when he had needed it the most. Karna felt the cool mud against his legs and up his torso, and knew that this was how he was to meet his doom; not a princely goodbye, but the denial to say goodbye to his most loved friend. His eyelids dropped with their own weight as Karna fell softly on the ground alongside Alakazam.
The hundreds surrounding this duel roared with joy such that the prince-like, but never a prince, and the best of warriors, had been slain along with his monster. Arjun felt the rumbling in his own heart, and felt a quiet suppression of his smile. He looked towards Krishna, who now had a god-like smile on his face, demonstrating to the gods of how a demi-god had destroyed another. Arjuna looked at his dragon waiting for him in the dirt, and how gloriously she stood even with mud drying in cakes around her claws. This had been a conquest for no one but her. Only this sight could make him smile; he had avenged the insult to his wife, to his mother, to his entire brotherhood, and Karna had finally paid his dues, he thought to himself. Before he could get down the chariot to stroke his dragons nuzzle, he felt a bizarre wave overcome his senses. He had not shaken off the battleground from his eyes, but he saw his mother Kunti right in front of him. She was disheveled and unkempt, her hair untamed and livid.
“He was my son!” Her words were not screamed but, they evoked in him a passion that only a mother’s words could produce. “Arjuna, he was your brother. The son of Surya, he was your brother from the beginning of your life. He made me promise not to disclose this to you until after his death…” With the last move that he had made, Alakazam, and Karna, had made sure Future sight worked.
Arjuna’s eyes whitened with horror as his mother’s imagined words echoed in his mind. “He was my brother,” he murmured under his breath, “I killed my own blood.” His trembling fingers could not hold the Gandiva, and it slipped, farther than it physically fell. The cry in his throat lay embedded in the guilt that still held his head up, the sinews on his back protruding like snakes against his skin. He looked at the lifeless bodies of his brother and his monster, and then at his own dragon caught in the quandary of her own master. Only she showed in her eyes the woe that even she had felt at knowing what Arjuna knew, for they were one in mind and soul. Arjuna felt hot tears burn the eyes that had seen his own hands kill many more than he even cared to remember, but this murder was a murder that he would never be able to shake off.
And no folklore teller ever knew, and thus they eventually forgot, why Arjuna, after slaying Karna, kneeled on his chariot, and wept, alongside his fallen Gandiva.