Lucario and the 10 OrdealsPrologue Hey there, my name is Zeke Derrett. I come from a unique place, out in the middle of a forest. I live in a small town, amongst perhaps a few dozen in a land that is mostly untouched by human development. And in this land, you will see many, many interesting things happen. Where I come from, people and Pokémon tend to live closer together than say, your average city. Our town is surrounded by trees on three sides, the fourth being the only entrance to our town that is accessible by traffic. People who come here are usually quite brave because of the relatively sparse human population and the fact that the number of humans in this particular town are declining, and you'll understand why in a moment. My humanity is gone. I am now a Lucario. Many years ago, back when I was little, I was very curious about the surrounding forest, especially at night. I always wanted to explore new places. The problem was that I was too young to evaluate the risks I was about to run. So one night, I walked out of my house while my parents were asleep. I went into the forest and the first thing I saw was this "Ditto," only it wasn't a Ditto. It was something else, disguised as a ditto. But I didn't know back then so I walked up behind it and tried to interact with it. When it saw me, it turned around and put me to sleep, using this energy wave it emits from its body. I was out for many hours. By the time I woke up, my head felt a bit heavier than usual. Last night was bit chilly, and waking up to a fairly dense fog in the morning, on the grass, would make most people shiver. But oddly enough, I didn't feel cold. That was because I had fur all over my body, weird-looking legs, a set of ears that weren't in their accustomed places, and these black, dangly things that hung from both sides of my head. I had turned into a Riolu. How do you think my parents would react when I got back home? Well, they were shocked to say the least. I remember when I first got home, my parents were out, looking for me quite frantically. Then this guy with a Pokéball approached me and looked as if he was about to capture me. It was then that I spoke up and everyone stopped what they were doing. The guy who held the Pokéball even stopped holding it after I told everyone who I was. My parents looked at me with a fair amount of horror, mostly shock. Mom ran to pick me up, held me in her arms and I remember the confused, shaken look in her eyes, as she looked at her son and almost cried. I told her that I was okay through a hug and she immediately began to feel better. Her son might not be human anymore, but I was still Zeke. And by the way, I have a brother named David who is a mystery all on his own. He has my eyes and he has my teeth, just like those of a Lucario, but apart from those, he looks human. No one knows how he got those. The first day after losing my humanness was quite an interesting experience. Not only did I have to adjust to having the body of a Pokémon, but my parents also were wondering how they were going to raise me. Then my dad said that we should try to continue as normal and make accommodations for the difficulties that my anatomy would give me, and I did have some. Dinner was pretty awkward for the first week, as I couldn't eat with a fork anymore and my paws would not let me hold a knife properly. Humans have pretty good instruments to hold things with, and having these paws, as cute-looking as they are, are still awkward to use sometimes. By the time I went to school, word had spread like fire about the idea of a Pokémon going to school with all the other little kids. It was very interesting to see how people would interact with me. Then as I got older, I began to exhibit some strange behaviors, not bad, but eccentric. For example, I always carried a plastic folder full of random pictures that I was always fascinated by. I used to keep to myself a lot, playing with my toys and doing my own studies in school. Whenever I tried to talk to someone, I couldn't really "connect" with them. I'd share my knowledge on architecture but very few kids my age even knew how to spell the word, much less knew what it meant. My mom took me to see a doctor one day, just for a checkup. During the conversation, we had to explain just what had happened to me and how it affected my family, and my social life at school. The doctor saw something in me and decided to run some tests. Then he sat down with my mom and told her that I was going to be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. He said I had gifted mind, but that I would need to discover them myself, and I would need some classes where this teacher would help me grasp all the things I need to learn about social interaction and communication. I remember when I was seven, I entered this sort of contest held at my school where all the bright kids get together and perform various skills, talents, and abilities to show how smart they are. Well, I was doing great until I was handed my first poem. I had to sit there in front of 200 people and give a speech on this poem. I remember trying to read it and I could not understand the wording the author used. I remember questioning why this word and that word of use. As a rule in poetry, you're generally not supposed to read it literally. I remember people laughing in the audience but because this was a supportive community, I did not feel embarrassed. I knew they were decent people, and I was actually congratulated on my unique interpretation of the poem. As the years went by, my social skills improved, and when I was 15 years old, I evolved into a Lucario. Everybody's reaction to this was different; it was more celebration than shock, especially since several of my friends had also had their visits from the Ditto, so they were all Pokémon as well. Today, I am 16 years old and studying architecture. Now for a completely different view of my life, When I was little, a few years after I was turned into a Pokémon, portals began to appear somewhere outside of town, and I remember taking my friends there during the night and sneaking into the portal, or sometimes being chased into the portal by the Ditto. Inside is a world unlike our own. There's grass, there's trees, and there's people, but there are no Pokémon. It was a medieval world full of magic, castles, and just about anything you can fit into a fantasy novel. My parents did not know I was gone my first time entering this world, so I had to explain all this when I got back, which wasn't easy. Despite being a Pokémon, I do not have the special powers a Pokémon has; I don't even know how Aura works, never did figure out how to activate it. So instead, I learned how to use magic instead, and boy did I get an education. The many years of practice and experimentation have pretty much compensated me for my lack of abilities specific to Pokémon. I have seen many interesting things during the 10+ years I've been traveling back and forth between these two worlds, including haunted castles, old ruins, abandoned mine shafts, and many other fascinating environment. Now, in spite of being a fighting type, I do not usually use brute force to overcome my challenges. Actually, I'm quite stealthy. I sneak around, avoid being detected, and I see no need to change that. If I *have* to fight, I will, but only to avoid being killed or to protect a friend. Now that you know a little bit about my background, I'm going to show you my most recent adventure through what I refer to as the 10 Ordeals. Everything that I had experienced in the past seems to have been designed to prepare me for what I was about to do, but I had to piece the clues together first to figure out why. Get ready, because this is a long story.