On a chilly winter night, Cassie looked out the window and watched the snow gently fall. Thanks to rigorous acclimation and survival training, Cassie had gotten used to the extreme cold, but she had yet to get used to the sight of snow. She grew up in Kanto where the climate was moderate, the winters too wet and mild for snow. She'd lived in Sinnoh for three years, but the snowfall never failed to take her breath away. She was always amazed by the way it covered every surface, reflecting moonlight upward and lightening the night sky. Solid in appearance but airy and brittle at first touch. Each flake unique as it fell, before coming together into a blanket of glittering beauty.
As Cassie watched fresh snow float down, anxiety overshadowed her usual sense of wonder. Being a Pokémon Ranger was usually a solitary job, at least when it came to dealing with other people. That's what Cassie loved about it. Just her and her team of Pokemon, out in the wilderness, practicing conservation and protecting nature. Sure, there was the occasional rescue mission when someone got injured or lost in her assigned territory, and once she'd had to deal with a team of poachers, but most of the time, it was just her and her team of Pokémon.
Cassie had never been good with people, finding it easier to bond with Pokémon than with humans. Cassie dreaded the sun coming up because the next morning because she'd be forced to deal with people again, at least for the next five days.
A few days before, Cassie was given the assignment of leading a team of filmmakers up the Eterna range of the Coronet mountains. As if one of them was a Psychic type, no sooner did Cassie think about the filmmakers, then their raucous laughter echoed up the stairs. Tomorrow's climb would be tough, and she'd already urged them once to get some rest. She ventured downstairs and found them hunched over a map, debating the most likely places to set up cameras. When she reminded them that they should get some sleep, they just nodded. Then they began arguing about how to arrange their cameras to ensure the best shot.
Cassie knew the hike up the mountain would be difficult even if the filmmakers weren't amateur climbers and the fresh snowfall will make the trek even trickier. She knew that if they weren’t all sharp and focused, they would have worse things to worry about then not capturing their target on video. Bracing herself for confrontation, Cassie headed downstairs to urge the filmmakers to get some sleep.
The journey up the mountain went smoother than Cassie thought. The filmmakers' studio hired a Hiker named Jessica. As they set out to begin their hike, Jessica met them at the foot of the mountain, having spent the previous day scouting the easiest path and securing hooks, ropes, and pulleys. If Cassie was bolder, she might have reprimanded Jessica. The Hiker had not gotten permission from the Ranger Authority before she defaced the mountain. In the end though, Cassie knew she had to spend the next five days with Jessica, so she held her tongue.
This turned out to be a good decision. Jessica and her Pokémon ended up making Cassie's job much easier, and in turn, the journey up the mountain much safer. Cassie led the way up the mountain and Jessica brought up the rear, keeping the three filmmakers between them. Jessica's Pokémon, an Infernape and a Machoke, climbed on either side of the filmmakers, pointing out sturdy handholds and lifting them over protruding ledges.
By midday, the group reached their destination, a cabin just below the mountain's snow line. The cabin was located on a wide ridge three-fourths of the way up the mountain. From the ridge, the mountain side sloped upward gradually until it ended at a rock wall that rose straight up to the peak. The slope was a heavily forested area. Even though it was often covered in snow, this upper slope was home to many species of wild Pokémon. The cabin itself belonged to the Ranger Authority. Normally, the cabin sat vacant, maintained until it was needed. It had been used as a research station and as a base camp during mountain rescues. For the next five days, it would be home to Jessica, Cassie, and the filmmakers.
Cameraman Stewart handed a boom microphone to his Heracross, then hefted his camera onto his shoulders. As Heracross moved a few feet away and raised the boom, Stewart adjusted the camera's focus and said, "Okay, Lynnie. Whenever you're ready."
"Hey there viewers! Welcome to the first episode of Looking for Legends. I'm your host, Lynnie LeBay. Today we've journeyed to the Eterna range of the Coronet mountains. Mt. Coronet is home to the Spear Pillar. An ancient ruin at the peak of the mountain, that according to legend, is the place from which Sinnoh originated. The entire mountain range is imbued with a special magnetic field that some say is a result of the energy left behind when Arceus created the region. We plan to visit the Spear Pillar next episode, but tonight we have something even more special planned."
"For years, people hiking or camping on Mt. Coronet during the winter have reported sightings of a different mysterious Pokémon. Tonight, Looking for Legends is in search of Articuno, the legendary Freeze Pokémon!"
"Now, you may be thinking, doesn't Articuno live in the Kanto region? Based on evidence and eyewitness statements we've collected through our initial investigation; my team and I believe Articuno flies all around the world over the course of the year. We're here to prove that Mt. Coronet is one of the stops Articuno takes during this migration."
Lynnie ran through the same spiel a once more for the camera. Then she looked around and asked, "Where's Eugene?"
"He and Jessica went to scout the area and survey the spots we marked on the map. I'm sure he's also looking for signs of Articuno or places it would be likely to roost,” Stewart replied.
"Well, he's supposed to be our expert. We need to get his expertise on camera before we move on."
Cassie, who had been sitting nearby, watching Lynnie record the show's intro, said, "I'll send my Jolteon to look for him.”
Cassie pulled a Poké Ball from her belt and called out her Jolteon, who was an expert tracker. Cassie started into the cabin to grab an item of Eugene's so Jolteon could get his scent. Then she noticed that Jolteon was not following her. Jolteon's ears stuck straight up, and her spiky yellow fur stood on end, crackling with static. Jolteon's gaze was fixed on the trees growing on the upper tier of the mountain. Jolteon looked at Cassie and gave a short bark. Cassie nodded back and said, "Lead the way, girl."
Jolteon took off up the slope, zigzagging through the trees with Cassie following close behind. Jolteon stopped at the edge of a clearing and as Cassie came up behind her, she was shocked by what she saw. The bodies of Snover, Abomasnow, Chingling, Medichan, and Starly were scattered all around the clearing. Upon inspection, Cassie saw that all the wild Pokémon were unconscious. All showed signs of paralysis from Electric type attacks and many also bore deep burns.
Suddenly, Cassie heard someone approaching from higher up the slope. Jolteon leapt in front of Cassie, ready to defend her, as Jessica and her Pokémon stepped into the clearing. Jessica and her Infernape and Machoke each carried injured Pokémon in their arms. Cassie recovered from her shock and shifted straight to anger. "How could you do this?" she yelled at Cassie.
"I didn't. We found the wild Pokémon like this," Jessica said. "Think about it. These Pokémon have been hit with Electric type attacks. None of my Pokémon are even capable of using attacks like that."
Realizing that Jessica was speaking the truth, Cassie asked, "Have you seen Eugene?"
"I haven't seen him for over an hour. He went to scout more locations while my Pokémon and I were surveying a cave Northwest of here," Jessica said. She showed Cassie her Pokégear. On the device was a digital map of a section of cave. Cassie could tell from the time stamp that Jessica was telling the truth.
"Do you think Eugene could have done this?" Cassie asked.
"As far as I know, he only has a Stunky," Jessica answered.
"And Stunky can't learn Electric type moves either," Cassie concluded. "Well then, we might be looking at poachers. It would be rare to see poachers this high up the mountain, but whoever attacked these Pokémon obviously had malicious intent. Come on, we have to get back to the cabin."
Eugene, Stewart, and his Pokémon were out setting up stationary cameras in the areas Eugene had scouted the day before. Stewart's partner Heracross and his Aipom climbed into the trees and set up the cameras. Then Stewart's Ampharos used Thundershock to charge the cameras as Stewart synched them to his Pokégear. As Stewart and his Pokémon worked, Eugene continued to search for signs of Articuno.
Stewart was trying to focus on the work at hand in order to block out his feelings of guilt. The day before, Jessica and Cassie had returned to the cabin after discovering the injured wild Pokémon. Eugene had returned to the cabin, from a different direction than Jessica and Cassie, a few minutes before the ladies made it back. When Cassie told them what she'd found on the mountain, Eugene denied having any knowledge about it. Not only was he not responsible, but he had not seen or heard anything as he'd been exploring the slope.
Cassie had wanted to put in an emergency call to the Ranger Service and urge them to come and give aid to the injured Pokémon. Lynnie had tried to talk to her out of it, not wanting anything to jeopardize their filming. They had no idea if they'd get another chance to capture footage of Articuno. Ultimately, Stewart had backed Lynnie up, and Cassie had relented. Now, Stewart was feeling guilty. Cassie and Jessica had used all their health potions to do what they could for the wild Pokémon, but they hadn't been able to treat them all. They'd had no choice but leave the others and hope they recovered on their own.
Stewart was concerned about the injured Pokémon and nervous that whoever attacked them was still around, but he wanted the show to succeed. He was tired of being a low tier Cameraman, filming puff pieces for the Jubilife TV news service. Lynnie LeBay was a rising star in the entertainment industry and the show had a lot of potential. If it succeeded, it was Stewart's ticket to greater opportunities. So even though there might be risks, he was determined to finish filming the first episode of Looking for Legends.
After they finished setting up the stationary cameras, Stewart and Eugene returned to camp and found Lynnie waiting for them. A blizzard was predicted for that night. The storm, which was expected to last for the next two days, would present the perfect conditions to lure Articuno out of wherever it was roosting, assuming it was indeed on the mountain.
Lynnie wanted to get as much footage as possible before the snowstorm hit, so Stewart set up his main camera on a tripod and took footage of Eugene's expert testimony.
"Hey there viewers," Lynnie began. "As you probably remember from school, The Coronet mountain range is huge, but thanks to research from our resident Super Nerd Eugene, we've narrowed our search for Articuno to the Eterna range. Eugene, tell our viewers why you chose this part of Mt. Coronet to begin our search?"
"Well Lynnie," Eugene said, lighting up with enthusiasm. "There are a lot of reasons why Articuno would favor this part of the mountain range. The temperatures are lower on the North side of the mountain range and that also means more snow. Ideal conditions for an Ice type Pokémon. I believe that the Coronet mountains are along the path of Articuno's migration route. These mountains have a special magnetism not found anywhere else in the world. Flying type Pokémon navigate through magnetism, so if Sinnoh is on Articuno's migration route, there's a good chance it will be naturally drawn here."
Halfway through the group's second night at the cabin, the blizzard struck the mountain. Stewart, Lynnie, and Eugene spent the next two days taking turns watching a bank of monitors hoping to catch site of Articuno. Everyone in the group stayed alert during those two days, ready to move out at the first sign of Articuno. Unfortunately, the stationary cameras had yet to pick up any sign of the legendary Pokémon. With only one day full day left before they had to journey back down the mountain, everyone was anxious. That night, Eugene volunteered to take first watch on the monitors, and the rest of the group fell into a fitful sleep.
Cassie was awakened by an explosion outside the cabin. She ran to the window just as a loud cry tore through the night. As Jessica, Stewart, and Lynnie joined Cassie at the window, they caught their first sight of Articuno. The large bird flew through the air, its bright blue plumage painting a sharp contrast against the sheer white snow, dark brown trees, and the deep gray sky. The group’s awe at seeing the legendary Pokémon soon gave way to shock as they realized Eugene was out in the snowstorm, battling against Articuno.
Eugene no longer wore his regular clothes. He was dressed in a thermal body suit that gave him extra protection against the elements. As they watched him battle Articuno, several things quickly became apparent. For one, the yellow 'G' embossed on Eugene's thermal suit revealed that he was not a Super Nerd. He was a member of the criminal organization Team Galactic. It also became clear that he had lied about only having a Skunky. Eugene was using a Magnezone and a Probopass to battle Articuno.
Outside the cabin, Eugene commanded his Magnezone and Probopass to use Electric type attacks against Articuno. Magnezone dodged an Ice Beam and moved around behind Articuno. Then Magnezone used Flamethrower, engulfing Articuno in a stream of fire. Cassie realized that Eugene had been the one who had attacked the wild Pokémon a few days earlier. The strange magnetic fields emanating from the Coronet mountains made it the only place in the world where Magneton could evolve into Magnezone and Nosepass could evolve into Probopass. Eugene had obviously attacked the wild Pokémon to make his own Pokémon evolve to their highest level, making them that much stronger and able to stand up against the raw power of Articuno.
Magnezone scored a direct hit with a Thunder attack and Articuno dipped toward the ground. As Articuno recovered and began to ascend once again, Eugene threw an Ultra Ball at it. Articuno was still too strong to be captured. It knocked the Ultra Ball away with its powerful wings and soared back into the sky. Probopass stopped Articuno's ascent with a Rock Tomb attack. Articuno used Whirlwind to counter Probopass' attack and then fired an Ice Beam. The Ice Beam struck Probopass and froze it solid, encasing the Pokémon in a block of ice.
As Magnezone tried to resume its assault, Articuno used Blizzard. Its attack generated strong winds and blinding snow. The force of the attack knocked Magnezone backward through the air and it slammed into Eugene. Magnezone and Eugene flew backward and crashed into the ground. Before either could recover, Articuno hit them both with an Ice Beam, sealing Magnezone in a block of ice and knocking Eugene unconscious.
With its opponent defeated, Cassie, Jessica, Lynnie, and Stewart all secretly hoped that Articuno would return to its roost. Instead it flew around over the cabin, enraged and blindly firing attacks. Articuno's Blizzard and Whirlwind attacks uprooted trees from the ground and shook the walls of the cabin. Articuno next fired an Ice Beam. The attack traveled along the ground before striking the wall of the cabin, covering everything it touched in a thick layer of ice.
As Articuno continued to rage outside, the cabin's walls began to shake and bow. Cassie knew that if the cabin was destroyed, they would freeze to death before they could make it back down the mountain. Especially with Articuno still on the war path. Cassie had been around wild Pokémon long enough to recognize the look in Articuno's eye. The legendary Pokémon was filled with battle lust and would not stop rampaging until met by a worthy challenger.
Cassie called Charmeleon out of his Poké Ball, and the two walked to the door of the cabin. Cassie took a tentative step onto the sheet of ice, and then another, making sure she had steady footing. Then she turned and smiled at Charmeleon, who walked out to meet her. Then they both walked across the ridge, ready to challenge Articuno to a battle.