The Tree of Life
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[ Sinnoh Region - HIRD ]

HIRD or The Hisuian Institute of Research and Development was one of the most prestigious institutions in the entire world.

After defeating the Elite four and Ace trainers, Cynthia had gotten enough free time to go back to her studies so she could get her Ph.D. Ever since she was little her obsession with research was unprecedented so her grandma took it into her hands to begin her homeschooling.

On the Battlefield she was Champion Cynthia so with the help of her precious cloaking stone she was able to continue her studies while not being bothered at all.

"I'd like to draw your attention to this cave painting."

Cynthia looked up from her notebook and was startled in surprise. She recognized the image on the projector screen – it was from the ruins behind her house, the painting her grandmother had shown her when she was a girl. Three lights, each slightly elongated to suggest the shape of a creature, are arranged in a triangle around a larger light.

"You may have seen this before – the original is in Celestic Town, but it's a fairly popular piece to reproduce for museums," the professor went on. His mouth quirked a very slight smirk before he asked, "Can anyone tell me what it represents?"

Cynthia's hand shot up immediately. She faithfully recounted her grandmother's explanation: "The three lights represent the Trinity."

The professor's smirk grew to a full grin. "Yes, that's the popular interpretation. The three lights represent Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, the lake spirits commonly worshipped today." He waved an arm languidly. "If you look this picture up on the internet or visit Celestic Town yourself, that's what it'll say: 'Early depiction of the Trinity. So!" The class jumped at the professor's sudden rise in volume. He leaned back against the wall and looked up at the projector screen with exaggerated curiosity. "Can someone tell me…" He gestured to the points of the triangle and looked back at the class with a wry smirk. "…where's Azelf in this picture?"

The room went silent for a full second. One student half-raised her hand, hesitantly, but the professor ignored her to bellow, "You can't tell! They're all just blobs, right? So, how do we know this is depicting the Trinity? Well actually… we don't!" His expression suddenly turned serious, and he stamped his hands on his desk for emphasis. "This is the most important thing you're going to learn in this class," the professor intoned. "If you take away nothing else, remember this: interpretation is shaped by pre-existing beliefs. The lake trinity is what we're familiar with, so we interpret everything through that lens. We see three blobby things in a painting from a thousand years ago and assume that of course, they must be the three things we care about now. But we have nothing to back that up!"

The professor clicked ahead a slide. "The number three comes up a lot in mythology. Nearly every region has a 'mythic trinity' of some kind. A Kantonian would look at this and say, clearly this is our trinity, Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos! A Johtonan would say, are you crazy? That's Entei, Suicune, and Raikou – different!" A few students laughed, and the professor joined them. "Yes, you see now how silly it is to make assumptions? Kanto and Johto are still arguing to this day over their respective trinities that are different forms of the same creatures, no better demonstrated than with Suicune and Articuno – clearly summer and winter forms of the same pokemon. But –" The professor raised a finger and smiled condescendingly. "Do you think that might have something to do with the fact Kanto and Johto have almost no pokemon that take multiple forms?" After a moment, he continued, "Something blindingly obvious can be misinterpreted or missed entirely because a particular culture insists on viewing it through an inaccurate lens. No one in Kanto and Johto today disputes the fact that pokemon are capable of different forms, but they don't reconsider assumptions inherited from a time when no one knew that."

He clicked to the next slide, which contained a smaller crop of the painting and a large number of 3. "Why don't we put the question to you, now? Can you think of other 'threes'?"

' I wonder what Austin is doing right now. Last time he told me he was going to Rota to meet a friend. ' 

Cynthia thought before smiling as her attention was brought back to the professor.

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It was a sunny afternoon in the kingdom of Rota as the plane landed at the airport.

Austin walked down through the airport while adjusting his yellow overcoat which caused Pikachu to grab onto his black turtle neck.

Pikachu suddenly jumped onto the suitcase to use it as a ride while looking at his trainer in concern.

Looking back, Pikachu gazed at Yellow who was intensely staring at the back of Austin's head.

People stared at Austin weirdly as he brushed his hair aside which seemed to have grown longer. Then again you don't normally see a ten-year-old smoking.

" Sir, you shouldn't smoke."

One of the airport staff said.

" Oh, is this a non-smoking area ?"

" ... No."

" Then there is no problem."

Austin replied as he left the dumbfounded airport staff member.

" Ash, that's rude and Uncle Wilton says smoking is bad for you," Yellow said while Austin choose to ignore her.

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The Tree of Beginning was Rota's important artifact in the whole kingdom. Some people think that it's a very tall typical tree. Others believe that it's not an ordinary tree. Well, they're right. It's made out of crystals. Yes, crystals. All of the crystals feed upon sunlight. No one knows why.

Austin entered the inn room which didn't have as much surveillance as a pokemon center.

It wasn't anything special but the inner decor reminded him of the medieval European rooms shown in the movies.

" Pika, pi."

" Yeah, yeah I remember. Let's go get your disgusting dish."

" Pika !"

Outside of Austin's room, a small yellow Pichu stared at Austin with confusion visible on her face.

Pichu jumped down in mid-air she transformed into a Pidgey before flying away while thinking.

' What is Arceus's chosen doing here ?'

Mew thought while glancing back.

' Hmm, looks like he's not awakened yet but who dared to destroy the aura paths of the chosen one ?'

.....

Pikachu glanced out the window as he felt that someone was just watching them.

" Come on, buddy. Let's try out the local cuisines."

" Pika, pi."

( ~ Knock ~ )

( ~ Knock ~ )

Austin went to check who was at the door before stopping.

" Ash, can I stay with you ?" Yellow asked as she fidget while holding onto her staff hat.

" ..... "

" So I spend all my money to get that ticket and I left my wallet in vermilion. I don't want to call Misty and Brock."

" ( ~ Sigh ~ ) "

( ~ Creak ~ ) 

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[ Kingdom of Rota - Le Polidor ]

Le Polidor, a famous restaurant in the Kingdom of Rota, was built about 200 years ago by the famous Chief Gordon of Galar.

Austin read through the pamphlet while a few people stared at them.

Pikachu and everyone were enjoying their meals while Austin placed the pamphlet down before continuing where he left off. Yellow was constantly glancing at Austin with a blush on her face since this was like a date that she had watched in the movies. Coupled with the fact that Austin's had gotten even cooler in Yellow's eyes.

One of the waiters asked her colleague.

" Shouldn't that young trainer have a limit of 6 pokemon with him ?"

" Yeah, but I heard from Stephen that they had someone high-ranking from the pokemon league."

" Oh, that explains why Stephen was so frightened but how can someone so young be a high-ranking member ?"

" Maybe he's just naturally dwarf"

" Yeah, that explains it. For I second I thought that a ten-year-old was smoking in front of me. Then is the girl with him, his daughter or something?"

" Maybe but shouldn't we say something to him ?"

" Nah, didn't you hear what Stephen said that we shouldn't bother him?"

" Must be some high-class trainer if Stephen is so willing to kiss his ass."

Austin meanwhile was so focused on the book on the Tree of Life that he didn't realize that people were looking at him and his pokemon who while weirded out by the stare chose to follow their trainer's example in not caring. Yellow meanwhile was lost in her daydreaming to care.

' The Tree of Life is the most sacred place to the people of Rota. Normal people aren't allowed to get close to this holy site unless the Queen herself allows it. Legend says the chosen Ashura of the Sacred Flames of God will come to unite the Tree of Life and unite the world. ' 

As Austin read this, his mind flashed to the legend spoken about in the second pokemon movie.

Suddenly a waiter came with a plate consisting of two small steak medallions with a scallion sauce and a few roasted vegetables.

Austin's and Yellow's mouths watered at the dish in front of anything else.

" Anything else, Sir."

" No, thank you." Austin and Yellow replied at the same time.

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[ Omake Paragraph ]

Fuchsia City has never followed a foreign policy of true neutrality; such a thing would interfere with the profits of the dominant Koga clan of ninjas. Despite this, its rulers have sought to stay out of direct conflicts, preferring assassination to war and abandoning alliances when they placed their home city in danger. Even where its foreign policy is more activist, however, few would attack such a city. Fuchsia is a compound of armed ninjas disguised as a small provincial town, with connections to the powerful pokemon of the Safari Zone.

And yet when war did come to Fuchsia – a horrific war that took the lives of 30% of the last generation across the pokemon world – it was not the powerful pokemon that saved them, but the Venonat, a pokemon regarded at the time as a household pest.

When the invisible airship fleet approached – as every child of Fuchsia knows, but as precious few do elsewhere – the Venonat's powerful compound eyes made the fleet no less visible to them than a flock of Charizard. They scattered around the city, alerted trainers through elaborate gestures, and pointed with their antennae to the invisible enemy. One volley of attacks – ninja and pokemon alike – and the stealth fighters which were not downed instantly scattered in panic.

Never again would Fuchsia City be attacked in the war; both sides realized that it could not be taken, even by surprise. The Venonat, for their part, became the city's symbol, so beloved that none would ever lack food within its wooden walls. The gym leader at the time demoted a Muk from his lineup in favor of a Venonat and gained in popularity what he lost in strength; as for strength, it soon evolved anyway.

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