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Nuzfic: After Armageddon

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Mangaluva, Sep 10, 2014.

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  1. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    This is my first Nuzlocke fanfiction, based on my playthrough of Pokémon FireRed. In the ravaged wasteland that is Kanto, Saylee is determined to find her missing brother Red and protect her town. Chaz the Charmander is also looking for his friend Ben, who went with Red, and for answers--what happened to Kanto since he was last out of his Pokéball?

    My ruleset is as follows:

    1) Catch only the first Pokémon encountered on each route. If you make it faint, you get nothing.
    1.1) No dupes. You get three chances to find something new and if you don't, you get nothing.
    1.2) Members of the same evolutionary line count as dupes. If your Pidgey faints, you cannot later catch a Pidgeotto.
    1.3) Shinies may be caught regardless of rules, but if they're outside of the catching rules they may not be used.
    1.4) Event Pokémon count as a capture for an area.

    2) Nickname all Pokémon. (I do this alliteratively because, in case you hadn't noticed from the fic's title, alliteration amuses me.)

    3) If a Pokémon faints, it is dead. Box it permanently.

    Chapter One
    Pokémon: 0 Deaths: 0

    Dear Mum and Saylee,
    How is everyone doing? Are the houses finished? I'll have to come back and visit soon–imagine, having a roof over our heads every night! I'm near the settlement anyway, I'm just going to check out the Indigo area first. There's supposed to be something pretty valuable hidden up there, some kind of treasure. I've gotta find that, right? That could set us all up for life!
    My Pokémon are doing really well. Eric's just evolved, I don't know what into–he doesn't look like Flareon, Vaporeon or Jolteon. I'll ask the old Professor when I'm next home. Paul still doesn't want to evolve, though!
    I love you guys, and I'll be home soon, so look after yourselves.
    Red xxx

    Saylee read over the letter for what must have been the millionth time in the year since it had arrived. Then she carefully folded it up and, after only a moment's hesitation, placed it carefully in the inside pocket of her bag, along with an old photo of her brother. Her mother could keep the photo he'd sent with the letter. It would comfort her more than the letter did.

    Saylee carefully moved the old computer she'd scavenged out of the way–it might be useful someday, if they ever got an electric-type to provide power for the town–and started packing the cache of supplies that she'd been scavenging for some weeks now. There were some survival supplies, a potion for healing Pokémon, and a filter bottle for water. If she got a water-type, she could be assured of clean water, but until then she would often be stuck with possibly toxic rivers. You couldn't ever be sure that something was safe. It had been that way since before she was born.

    Pushing her glasses up her nose, Saylee took one last look at her room–their room, a room they'd built with space for both her and her brother, a room he'd never set foot in–trying not to think of when she might next be here. Then she carefully walked down the shaky stairs.

    Downstairs, her mother was sitting at the table, crying over a picture of Red and Saylee together as children. Saylee hugged her mother warmly from behind, looking down at the photograph. The two of them had different colourings, Red with black hair and dark red eyes, Saylee with light brown hair and light blue eyes, but they were both pale and looked somewhat alike despite the colours. Saylee wondered what he'd look like now, three years since she'd last seen him in the flesh. He had been fifteen, the same age she was now, and slightly shorter than her. He should be eighteen now, and he'd probably hit a growth spurt like Blue had. Saylee wouldn't care if he'd shrunk as long as he was still alive.

    "...The Indigo area's so big and remote," her mother whispered, clutching her daughter's arms. "It's so dangerous out there... Do you have to go, honey?"

    "I do, Mum," Saylee sighed. "Somebody has to go find Red. And we finally managed to build a village of our own–somebody has to make sure we get supplies, money to tide us over until we can fix up the wastelands enough to start farming. Besides, you can stretch our food twice as long with me gone!" Saylee tried to say it jokingly, to raise her mother's spirits, but it only made her choke out a sob, before turning to hug her daughter tightly.

    "Please be careful, Saylee," she sobbed. "Please. I don't want to lose you too. I can't. It won't be worth struggling through all this without..."

    "Don't talk like that, Mum," Saylee said firmly, stepping back. "I'll always come back. And I'll bring back Red, too. I promise."

    "I know, honey," her mother sniffed, wiping her eyes and tucking her greying hair back. The stresses of the life of a nomad in a ruined land had aged her far beyond her years; she'd had grey hairs as far back as Saylee could remember, as if the colour had been drained from her hair into her baby boy's. "Just... no. Just go. I love you, honey."

    "I love you too, Mum," Saylee said, turning and walking out over the sleeping blankets spread across the floor, not letting herself look back.

    It was just late enough in the morning that the sunrise had stopped painting the clouds brilliant colours, and they too had faded back to grey. A few people were working on the fourth hut in their "town", built from scratch on the wastelands that nobody else wanted. They didn't even have the advantage of being able to scavenge the remains of former cities as others did. Instead, they were clearing trees and building with the wood, and were beginning to till the land that the trees had been on for farming, reasoning that if it could still sustain forests, the land should be able to grow edible crops. It was slow going, with the entire project being dependant on the few Pokémon that Professor Oak had left for protection, and Saylee felt guilty that she was about to take another. Well, if I can catch more while travelling, I can send them back with the money and letters.

    She stopped to fill her filter bottle from the pond at the edge of town, ready to roll away from the pond if the ripples attracted anything hungry. Taking a moment to tighten the laces on her trainers and straighten her red shorts, she set off for the laboratory.

    It was probably too grand a name for the ruined building, broken stone walls patchworked with wood panelling and roofing, inside of which they'd found some vestiges of the old technology and information. It had been enough to convince them that this was a slightly better patch of desolate wasteland than any other on which to settle. What towns there were now were so undersupplied that none had been willing to take in any wandering families. Saylee could vaguely remember the endless rejection of those early years; they'd found this place when she was eleven. Four years of work and they had three and a half solid buildings and an almost safe path to Viridian City.

    Someone needed to support this town if it was to survive. Someone needed to convince the towns to support each other if anyone was to survive. And someone had to find her brother.

    She entered the laboratory and headed past the villagers who were feeding some of the Professor's Pokémon their breakfast, chatting to them about the plans for the day, and started looking for Professor Oak, the oldest member of the community and default headman. He was nowhere to be seen; however, his grandson Blue–a boy a year older than Saylee who had grown up with her and Red–was standing at the back of the room, staring impatiently at two pokéballs on the table.

    "Blue?" Saylee said tentatively. Once they'd been close friends, but he'd been getting colder and angrier ever since she'd declared her intent to go find Red on her fifteenth birthday, six months ago. He didn't agree with her plan, considering it suicide, and hadn't reacted well to her refusal to change her mind. He didn't like Pokémon much anyway, and didn't agree with Saylee's idea to set off into the world with one. She never knew these days if he'd be mean and bullying, or if he'd forget his funk for a while and be friendly again. She prayed for the latter, and feared the former.

    "Gramps isn't here," he said, crossing his arms, jaw ticking. "Where could that old man go?"

    "Did you come to say goodbye?" Saylee asked, half-hopefully. "You didn't have to. I was going to come say goodbye to you and Daisy before I left, of course..."

    "No," Blue bit out. "I came to say that I'm leaving too. If I can't convince you to give up your suicide attempt, you might as well not be completely alone out there. That way, if you get yourself in over your head, I can haul your stupid ass back home."

    Saylee stared. She had not been expecting this. "Seriously...?" She searched his deep green eyes for some indication that he was bluffing or pranking her. He looked away, his eyes avoiding hers, and laughed.

    "Besides, somebody's gotta support this place with Red gone," Blue continued snidely. "Someone with, you know, talent."

    "Why, you–!" Saylee bit her tongue and turned to leave, fuming. She could still hear Blue laughing at her.

    Blue's older sister Daisy looked a lot like him, though her long brown hair was much softer and fell in a long bunch rather than sticking up above her head. She was also much, much, MUCH nicer.

    "I'm sorry, Saylee," the young woman said kindly, stirring whatever was in the big pot over the fire in front of her. Saylee wouldn't say it in front of her mother, but the nineteen-year-old was definitely the best cook in the village, and it was currently the practice for the whole town to pool supplies and for her to cook for everyone. She could stretch supplies, too, which was another bonus to her cooking. "Blue left a little while ago, but I don't know where Grandad is. I thought he'd be there, to be honest."

    "Maybe he met a new Pokémon," Saylee suggested. "I'll go look around."

    "Good luck," Daisy said, giving Saylee a one-armed hug while stirring. "And I know that Blue's hard work these days, but still, you two... a lot of the time, you'll only have each other out there, so look out for each other, alright?"

    "I'll see what I can do," Saylee said, rolling her eyes. A year ago, the thought of travelling with Blue might have been cool, but these days... well, a year ago, they still had Red.

    The others in the village wished her luck, but none had seen Professor Oak. Saylee was standing at the edge of the half-safe route to Viridian City, wondering if she'd be safe if she kept to the very edge of the tall grass thickets, when a familiar voice yelled at her.

    "Saylee! What are you doing? Get away from there!"

    Saylee gratefully stepped away from the slightly rustling grass, grinning when she saw the Professor. "Where were you hiding? I've been looking for you, Professor!"

    "And I for you, now what were you thinking?" Professor Oak fumed. "There are wild Pokémon living in that grass!"

    "No! Really? Whod've thought!" Saylee said sarcastically, not particularly wanting to be made to feel like a moron on the day that she left home. The Professor ignored her and started heading towards the lab. Saylee followed and felt her irritation dissipate behind the excitement of finally getting a Pokémon to call her own.

    "'Bout time," Blue said irritably when he saw Saylee and the Professor enter the lab. Oak ignored him and picked up the pokéballs.

    "I kept these from the old days," he said fondly, looking over the two capsules. "Don't know if there's any left in the wild... my notes say that there used to be a colony of this little guy on top of Mt Moon, but these days the Golem herds live up the mountains, and, well... never mind, I'm rambling. These are for you two," he said, holding them out. "You can pick first, Saylee."

    "Gramps! What about me?" Blue complained. Oak glanced at his grandson, and then back to Saylee.

    "Be patient, Blue, you'll get the other," he said. "Saylee's been planning this for months, and you just up and announced that you're leaving last night. You need a little practice at patience, I think."

    Blue looked furious, but fumed silently while Saylee looked over the two pokéballs. One had a fire emblem, the other water.

    Fire... Red fire... she thought with a smile, deciding that a fire-type would be good luck and picking up the pokéball. Oak nodded and handed the water pokéball to Blue. "I'll take this little guy. Let's see what he is!"

    Opening the pokéball unleashed a small orange creature, a little over Saylee's knee, with a big round head and a little flame at the end of his tail. He looked up at Saylee and smiled.

    "Hey," he said. "You're Saylee, right? The Professor told us about you. My name's Chaz, and I'm a Charmander. Nice to meet you!"

    Name: Chaz. Species: Charmander. Nature: Serious. Ability: Blaze. Location: Pallet Town. Level: 5.
  2. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    By the way, I'm going to try and post this a chapter a day until it's up in full here, but it's also already up in full on FFnet and AO3. There's also a Tumblr where I post updates and occasional bits of artwork from my muse, the fabulous Key-chan, most of which is also on Deviantart.
    Chapter Two


    Pokémon: 1
    Deaths: 0

    "The Professor told you about me?" Saylee asked curiously, crouching down to Chaz's eye level. The little fire-type nodded.

    "He told us what you're looking for," he said, placing a little paw on Saylee's arm. "Figured we'd make a good team, because we're looking for something too, Sam and I." He waved at the small blue turtle that Blue had released and was peering curiously at. "Three years ago, your brother started travelling with a friend of ours, a Bulbasaur named Ben. Grass-type. Mellow guy. But of course, he's gone missing too, so we're worried about him." He grinned at Saylee. "So, looking forward to teaming up and finding them together?"

    "Sounds good to me," Saylee said with a smile, taking the paw and shaking it. She stood up, pocketing Chaz's pokéball for now, and nodded at Blue. "Ready to go?"

    "I've got an idea," Blue said with a grin, setting Sam on the floor. "Before we go, let's see how well our new teamups work. One on one battle. If I win, you give up this kamikaze quest. Sound good?"

    "You're evil, you know that, don't you?" Chaz said to Sam. "Seriously, are you half dark-type or something? That's not a fair fight and you know it."

    "Too scared to take me on, Chaz?" Sam said with what Saylee had to agree was an evil grin. Sam sounded female.

    "Oh, don't even try and pull that–" Chaz complained, but Saylee patted him on the head and stood up.

    "You're on, Blue," she said. "But if we win, you have got to get off my case and stop bugging me to go home. Deal?"

    "This is a bad idea, Saylee," Chaz murmured. Saylee smiled.

    "Don't worry, Chaz," she replied. "I know what I'm doing."

    "Sure you do," Blue said with a smirk. "I'll level the playing field. You get the first move." He yawned. "We're waiting!"

    "Fine," Saylee said. "Scratch her, Chaz!"

    "On it," Chaz said with a grin, cracking his claws as he shot forward, knocking Sam over. She yelled and withdrew into her shell at Blue's command. Saylee directed him to scratch again, Sam's shell starting to scar and dent. Sam got in a tackle, bowling Chaz over, but he still had strength enough to get up and scratch again, and she didn't have the strength to take it.

    "What... no way!" Blue complained, stooping to pick Sam up, putting the tired Pokémon into her ball. "How'd she lose? I had the advantage!"

    "Yeah, but that's the bonus of planning ahead, Blue," Saylee said, unable to resist a little shot at him. "Chaz and Sam look pretty young, and most Pokémon don't learn elemental skills that young. I figured that even though Sam had the elemental advantage, she'd be too young to take advantage of it. Also..." she patted Chaz's head again. "Fire-types tend to be pretty pumped up on attack, I read–at least, more so than water-types. I figured if it came down to a brawl, Chaz would be able to strike harder than Sam. That's all." She straightened up. "For months, I've been setting time aside to study Pokémon. If you just decided to go yesterday, I'm betting you haven't. Sam has a natural advantage over Chaz, but I think I have the advantage over you."

    "Geez, what a little know-it-all!" Blue complained loudly, pushing past Saylee. "We'll see what good it does you in a real battle. Smell ya later!" With those charming parting words, he was gone.


    "Hey... Saylee..."


    "I thought he said he'd tell his sister not to give you a map."

    "Pfffft. He said that, but in the real world, where she owns him..."

    Chaz was perched on the opposite shoulder from Saylee's bag, reading the map she had held up. The map was a little dated; there were hand-drawn crosses over towns and routes that didn't exist anymore, as well as new routes and settlements. Chaz frowned slightly as he looked over the layout of the map, but Saylee didn't seem to see anything too amiss. She traced the route to Viridian with her finger, and the folded up and pocketed the map. "How much older than him is she?"

    "Three and a half years," Saylee said, starting to push carefully through the grass. "And she's pretty much raised him since their parents got eaten by wild Nidorino, oh, must have been ten years ago now? Before we got settled here. Though shouldn't you know all this? The Professor's had you guys for a long time, right? Oh crap!" she yelped as a Rattata leapt out at her. Chaz jumped down from her shoulder, swiping his claws at it and knocking it aside.

    "Don't worry, it's what I'm here for," he said, pushing the unconscious little Pokémon aside. "Just a baby anyway. And yeah, I remember... geez, is this really Route 1? I remember when this place was... lush, colourful, fruit trees all over the shop." He looked around sadly at the dry earth and thick, rough grass that was the only thing that seemed to grow in abundance in most places. "Don't know exactly what happened, though. I was probably in my pokéball at the time, those things give you the best siesta. Anyway, last time I was out of the ball was when Ben left, with your brother. The Professor told us about how the world was kinda dangerous, but I hadn't seen..." he paused to scratch out another Rattata. "He was acting a bit funny, too... Anyway, the problem is, me, Ben and Sam? He got given us as babies. He'd only raised us a little when whatever happened, happened. And he explained that these days, we were too weak to fight off most threats–anything stronger than these," he said, knocking down a Pidgey chick, "and most of these I bet you could take out yourself with a good kick. And he didn't have time to train us to be stronger, there were always more pressing problems..." he looked up at Saylee. "That's why we were excited as anything when he let us out of the balls last night and told us that you and Blue were about to take off, and you'd be able to train us. For you humans, growing up's just a matter of time. For us? Hell, without experience and strength, no matter how much our minds grow up, we could be stuck as toddlers forever! When I was born, who knows how long ago, kids just play-fought together, older Pokémon got into casual scraps if they wanted to get stronger, nobody ever had to get really hurt..." he looked down sadly at another Rattata that he'd just taken out.

    "I don't know what happened, it was before I was born and nobody wants to talk about it," Saylee said with a shrug. "All I've ever known is that wild Pokémon are nuts and dangerous. Don't know what it is about owned Pokémon that makes them more relaxed. Oak swears they didn't have the technology for mind-control or anything like that to put in pokéballs. Maybe you're just more certain of where your next meal is coming from..."

    "Well, I'm here to find my friend, and because I'm grateful to get a chance to travel and grow," Chaz said with a grin, smacking down another Pidgey. "Thanks, Saylee. Don't know how long I'd have been in that pokéball without you!"

    "Hey, we made it!" Saylee said, stepping out of the grass and scooping Chaz up in a hug. "I'm glad you're with me too, Chaz. Let's go find Ben and Red together!"

    "Sounds like a plan!" Chaz agreed, laughing and spitting embers in the process. "Oh, hey! Never been able to do that before! Sweet!" He started deliberately spitting embers onto the barren earth. Saylee stood on them.

    "Better not do that in town, most houses get repaired with wood and they won't be happy if you set the town alight," she cautioned, popping him back up onto her shoulder and stepping into Viridian City.


    "There aren't very many people living here, are there?" Chaz said, looking around at the cluster of houses. "Is this really a city?"

    "What do you mean?" Saylee asked, looking incredulously at her partner. "There's a whole thirty people here! That's more than twice the number of people at home! And the families all have whole houses to themselves, too! Stone houses! Anyway, they ought to have a healing machine like the Professor's, we can use that to perk you up..."

    Chaz looked around at the rickety facsimile of a town, stamping down a sudden feeling of hopelessness.

    There was a town cafeteria, similar to the role Daisy played in their village, where a lady in the corner was willing to boot up the healer for Saylee after she asked for directions to the market; the town just couldn't afford to sustain outsiders unless they could make a profit from it. Chaz was conspicuously quiet as the pair of them made their way to the market.

    "You're all the way from Pallet, huh?" said one stall trader. "You here for supplies?"

    "Pretty much," Saylee said, reaching for her money bag, when another guy called over.

    "Pallet town?" he asked. "So you know Professor Oak, right?"

    "Of course I do!" Saylee said, turning to face the guy. He was holding up a large brown package. "What is that?"

    "Hell if I know," the guy said with a shrug. "A while ago, a kid came through town, paid good money for it and said he'd take it back for Professor Oak to check out, and then never came back. It's been paid for and it's no use to me, so you couldn't take it back to him, could you?"

    "I suppose," Saylee said with a frown. She wanted to be on good terms with these traders, in case it helped her bargain for a good deal on food supplies, but she didn't really want to head back to Pallet Town on the same day as her grand exit. It was a bit fast... "I'll take it back just now, maybe make it back by the end of the day. But before I go, can I buy these..."

    "What is all this?" Chaz asked, wrapping his stubby arms around a sack and tottering after Saylee, who also had armfuls of packages.

    "Food from other places," Saylee said, peering at some well-wrapped vegetables. "All of the gangs trade with each other, but nobody trades regularly with Pallet, so we have to go buy stuff from Viridian..."

    "Gangs?" Chaz asked, sniffing the air and swishing his tail to throw embers at a Rattata that had been sneaking up on them.

    "You know, the big gangs," Saylee muttered, ducking a Pidgey and shifting some of her packages in her arms. "All the large settlements tend to be run by some kind of gang. Not many people train Pokémon, you know. The people who do tend to be in charge. Anyway, they trade food with each other all the time, and get into fights all the time too. The Rockets, the gang that run Viridian? They get into scraps with everyone. I'd rather steer clear of them for now."

    "Rocket, huh?" Chaz muttered, burning another hungry Pidgey. "Can we move quicker? They can all smell the food..."

    "Oh, of course," Saylee agreed with a grin. "I'm sorry, can your little legs keep up?"

    "Watch me," Chaz growled, causing the wild Pokémon to shrink back as the little orange lizard charged forwards.


    "Ah, so one of these still exists?" Professor Oak said excitedly, opening up the odd-looking pokéball and pressing some buttons inside. There were three more in the bag. "Here, I'll give you one, and if I see Blue–"

    "I'm here, Gramps," Blue fumed, storming into the lab, Sam toddling after him and waving at Chaz. "Daisy hauled me back, said you were looking for me. What's up?"

    "Here, hold onto this," Professor Oak said, passing another one of the odd pokéballs to Blue. "These come in pairs, they're small teleporters. Put something inside, close the lid..." he demonstrated, putting an empty pokéball in one of the other teleporters and closing it. Saylee felt a sudden weight in the one in her hand, and opened it to see the empty pokéball sitting inside. "It'll be helpful for sending money or Pokémon back here, won't it?"

    "That's so cool!" Saylee said happily, clipping it to her belt. Blue did the same.

    "I thought everyone used to have them," Sam muttered. "Only not so... rubbish."

    "Things've changed a lot, it looks like," Chaz replied despondently.

    "Is this all, Gramps?" Blue said impatiently. Professor Oak hurried back to his desk.

    "No, no, no!" he laughed. "You'll need these, too..." He picked up two small red tiles. To Saylee's surprise, when Professor Oak handed her one, it beeped.

    "What is this?" Blue said, bemused, flipping open a flap on the front. It came up with a picture of Sam.

    "It's a Pokédex!" Professor Oak said brightly. "I've been working on them for a while now, salvage pieces... they're high-tech encyclopaedias!"

    "Whats?" Saylee asked, opening hers. As soon as she pointed the little camera on the top at Chaz, it came up with information about him–his height, his weight, his power levels, what kinds of attacks he could perform and more. Saylee stared.

    "To make an encyclopaedia of all the Pokémon in the world..." Professor Oak sighed. "That was my dream! But..." he laughed in embarrassment. "I'm too old. So, I'd like you two, on your travels, to record as much as you can about Pokémon. For the betterment of relationships between humans and Pokémon, we must learn all that we can about them! This is very important!"

    "You got that right," Blue sneered, snapping his shut and pocketing it. "That's why you'd better leave it to me, Gramps! I'll fill this thing!" He smirked at Saylee. "Sorry, but I don't need you! Later!"
    With that, he strutted out of the lab, Sam at least giving a polite little wave before following. Saylee stuck her tongue out at his retreating back.

    "Ugh, why is he such a jerk?" she fumed. "Thank you, Professor. I'll do my best."

    "Go on then, Saylee," Professor Oak said, watching Blue go with a worried smile. "And good luck... to both of you."


    "Well, at least we got pokéballs," Chaz pointed out as they trudged back through Route 1. "And that Pokédex thing could come in handy. I never saw anything like it before."

    "People weren't studying Pokémon before?" Saylee asked, opening the Pokédex again and watching it load up Chaz's vital stats. Chaz scratched his head.

    "Well, of course the Professor was, but... I don't know." He shrugged. "I was just a baby. Anyway, check it out. Over there." Saylee looked where he was pointing and saw a tiny Pidgey, barely old enough to fly, nibbling gamely at some of the tall, rough grass.

    "He's pretty young," Saylee said doubtfully, reading the information on the Pokédex, "and not very strong..."

    "Well, that's what you're for, am I right?" Chaz pointed out. "We can help him get stronger. Once he is, he can fight with us. What do you think?"

    "Might as well," Saylee said with a shrug, picking out a pokéball. The Pidgey spotted her as she got closer, cheeping angrily and fluffing up his feathers to look intimidating before suddenly flying at her. He was aiming for her bag strap; Saylee stepped aside, placing her hand protectively over the bag. Chaz swiped him aside with a well-placed Scratch, and the Pidgey collapsed, whimpering. "Perfect, he'll be too weak to fight it now!"

    The Pidgey looked surprised as she knelt down and gently pressed the pokéball to his forehead. "The hell are you doin'?"

    "I'll take you somewhere to fix you up and feed you, does that sound good?" Saylee asked, smiling as the red light enveloped the little bird. "What's your name?"

    "Pedro..." he croaked weakly, before vanishing into the light.

    Name: Pedro. Species: Pidgey. Nature: Mild. Ability: Keen Eye. Location: Route 1. Level: 2
  3. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    Chapter Three

    Pokémon: 2
    Deaths: 0

    A bit of food and a short rest later, and Pedro was sitting contentedly on Saylee's shoulder. Chaz was happy to walk next to Saylee and give Pedro a run-down of what they were up to.

    "You want me to fight for you?" Pedro said, looking a bit surprised. Saylee nodded.

    "When you're stronger," she explained. "Of course, I wouldn't want to force you."

    "Don't worry, doll, it sounds like a plan to me," Pedro said, preening. "I help you find your brother, you feed me. I like it."

    "Nice to meet you, then, Pedro," Chaz said warmly. "I'm Chaz. I'll be looking after you while we train."

    "Cool," Pedro said, looking around, and suddenly freezing, staring at something. Saylee followed his gaze, and after a moment, spotted the Rattata sneaking through the grass.

    "Oooh, a Rattata!" Saylee murmured excitedly, stalking towards it. "Okay, Pedro, hit it light and we'll–"

    "Sorry, no," Pedro said, shooting over and slamming into the purple rat.

    "What the f– oh, hey, Pedro," the Rattata sneered. "Must be really desperate, I ain't got any food on me for you to steal!"

    "I'm sorted for food now, jackass," Pedro said smugly, rising up and nodding at Saylee. "I got a trainer now, and I am outta here!"

    "Why, you lucky son of a–" Pedro hit the Rattata again, knocking him out, before fluttering back to Saylee's shoulder.

    "Pedro!" Chaz gasped. "Why–?!"

    "Look, it'd just be awkward for you to catch anyone else from this territory, okay?" Pedro said, rubbing his beak affectionately against Saylee's cheek. "I know them all, and we've all been fightin' each other forever. That's the way it is. There just ain't enough food and nests. You humans ain't the only ones living in the shit, y'know. We all want out. Most of the Pokémon you're gonna come across will attack you because it's a win-win situation. If they lose, they might get captured, and I'll tell you this, having a trainer feed you all the time ain't bad, not to mention the good life you're living if your trainer makes it as a Gang Leader or anything. And if they win... food for a week." He chuckled nastily, nipping at Saylee's cheek. "Well, maybe three days from you, doll."

    "Pedro!" Chaz admonished him angrily. "How can you–?!"

    "Don't get all self-righteous on me, lizard," Pedro growled, suddenly aggressive. "You were born in a lab. You don't know what it's like out here. Hell, I bet you don't even know that your species don't live outside of labs anymore, do you?" Chaz gaped at him. "Thought not. Used to be a helluva colony on top of Mt Moon or something, I heard, then things went south and the territory battles started and all the Onix and Golem and the like got forced out of the deep underground. I heard Charizard are tough as nails, but it don't do them any good against rocks." Chaz flinched. Saylee felt guilty. Determined to be a cautious trainer, she'd spent some time looking up the stats of Chaz and his evolutions, and one resolution was to watch out for rock-types; they could do an awful amount of damage to Charmander and Charmeleon, and when he evolved into Charizard he'd be a flying-type as well, which doubled the damage. "If scientists hadn't kept breeding you in labs, you'd be extinct, pal."

    "That's enough," Saylee said sharply. "Both of you. You want to make it out, Pedro? You and Chaz are going to have to work together. We need to be a team. That means we hurt the enemy, not each other. Got it?" To his credit, Pedro looked downcast. Saylee stooped and scooped Chaz up in her arms, settling him against the opposite shoulder to the one that Pedro perched on. "Okay, Pedro, if it'll make you feel better, we'll have a new rule. Only one new teammate from each territory, okay? If I need a Rattata, I can catch one somewhere else, they live all over the place."

    "...Thanks, doll," Pedro said, nuzzling her cheek again. Then he nodded at Chaz. "Pal, for what it's worth... didn't mean to be a jackass, that was just a reality check. If it means anything, I'm glad you ain't extinct, and I'd like to keep it that way."

    "...Sure," Chaz said with a little nod.


    "Don't you want to say goodbye to your family at all, Pedro?" Saylee asked, stacking a couple more twists of dry grass onto the small fire, trying to get it big enough to cook something. Pedro, who had been looking with interest at the Pokédex page showing his evolutions, shook his head.

    "Dunno where they are," he said offhandedly. "Had some brothers and sisters hatched the same time as me, but y'know how it is, we all left soon as we could fly. Saw one of my sisters a little while ago, got into a fight with one of my brothers once over some grass... think one of the others got eaten last month."

    "...What about your parents?" Saylee asked, trying not to sound too horrified. Pedro looked blankly at her.

    "Migrated?" he suggested, with the little ruffle of his wings that seemed to be the bird equivalent of a shrug. "Mighta had some more hatches by now... Why're you so interested?"

    "I don't know... I just wondered if there wasn't anyone you wanted to say goodbye too," Saylee said, a little sadly. Pedro fluttered over and nipped her on the cheek.

    "Sorry, doll, but we really ain't that communal," he said, "not like you humans are. It's every 'mon for himself. I guess some kinds hang out in groups, but not Pidgey. We hang out in a group, we'll have to feed everyone, and there ain't no way there's enough food to feed everyone. Too damn many of us."

    "That's too bad," Saylee said, stroking his beak and smiling when he closed his eyes and cooed slightly. "It just seems kind of... lonely."

    "Well, if you evolve you're strong enough to fly further, I hear you can hook up with a flock," Pedro said offhandedly. "Seen a few guys evolve and take off. As I am, I can't really go nowhere without a shoulder to sit on for a bit." Saylee laughed.

    "You know," she teased, "one day you'll be a Pidgeot, and they're big. You'll be big enough to carry me!"

    "This squirt?" Chaz teased. "I bet I'll be bigger than he will be, and cooler too! I'll carry you around!"

    "Leave the flying to the flying-types, pal," Pedro snarked back, and the two began to squabble. Saylee smiled, noting that there was none of the sharp tones or venom present in their first altercation. It looked like her little team was off to a good start.

    With that happy thought in mind, she started on dinner.


    "Go, go, go!" Saylee encouraged. Pedro flapped his wings harder, gasping a little with the effort, but it paid off; the attacking Rattata was flung backwards by the force of the rush of air, and collapsed, swearing at Pedro. Saylee grinned and stroked Pedro's beak, making him fluff his feathers proudly. "Yep, it looks like you've got the hang of Gust!"

    "You've come a long way today," Chaz said approvingly, and meant it. Early that morning, Chaz had had to step in to defend Pedro against a stronger Pidgey almost immediately; the past five fights, however, he hadn't had to get involved at all. "Saylee, different Pokémon live to the west of Viridian, right? Maybe we should check that route out!"

    "Sounds good," Saylee said, skirting along the edge of Viridian City. A few people waved at her; for whatever reason, the Rocket gang weren't in their own town, and people seemed quite happy to be friendly without the threat of getting kneecapped by a Raticate. Route 22, according to Saylee's map, led up to a dead end, but there was a patch of rough grass rustling with Pokémon and a pond full of relatively clean-looking water. Saylee refilled her water bottle while Pedro and Chaz sniffed around the grass. Suddenly, a blur of purple slammed into Saylee; she screamed, dropping her water bottle as a wild Rattata clamped down her tough little teeth onto Saylee's wrist.

    "Saylee!" Chaz yelled, swiping at the Rattata with his claws. The little rat snarled at him before being blindsided by Pedro.
    "Hey, Pedro," Saylee called, examining her wrist before grabbing a pokéball, "You know this Rattata?"

    "Never seen her before," Pedro called back, pecking at the Rattata again before she could attack.

    "Good," Saylee said, throwing the pokéball from a safe distance. The injured rat was captured almost instantly.

    "You really want her with us?" Chaz asked, sniffing the pokéball. "I mean, she bit you."

    "Really hard, too," Saylee said approvingly, digging in her bag for a rag to wrap up the wound with. "I'll bet she could get really strong. I'm willing to give her a chance." Saylee let the Rattata back out and applied a potion to her wounds. The little rat sniffed suspiciously at her.

    "What're you doing?" she asked nervously, before staring in surprise as Saylee offered her a piece of fruit.

    "You've got guts," Saylee said, "and I'm looking for Pokémon to help me out. I'm looking for my brother, but I can't go anywhere without Pokémon to fight with me. Want to come with us?"

    "...can I eat the fruit?" the Rattata asked. Saylee nodded, and she attacked the fruit, gulping it down.

    "Eat slowly, it'll fill you up more," Saylee chastised her. "I'm Saylee. What's your name?"

    "Ra-chel," Rachel muttered, in between bites. "Uh... nice to meet you, I guess. Thanks for the food!"

    "No problem," Saylee said with a smile, patting her on the head. "This is Pedro and Chaz. Welcome to the team!"

    "Picking up little weaklings now, are you?" an unpleasantly familiar voice sneered.

    Saylee rolled her eyes, sighed heavily, and stood up, standing protectively in front of Rachel as she faced Blue. "What do you want, Blue?"

    "I was just wandering around, looking for Pokémon, and decided to see if you were still alive," Blue teased. The mocking grin faded off his face, however, to be replaced by a scowl, and Saylee giggled when she realized why; she had Pedro sitting on her left shoulder, and Chaz standing by her right ankle. With Sam at his left ankle, and a much smaller Pidgey on his right shoulder, Blue and Saylee were like mirror images.

    "Anyway," she giggled, "do you want something, or are you off to capture a billion new Pokémon?"

    "How about a match?" Blue suggested, still scowling. "Prove they're not as weak as they look."

    "Who is this tailfeather?" Pedro muttered. "Let me peck his eyes out. Please."

    "You'll get your turn," Saylee muttered. "Bring it on, Blue."

    Blue patted the head of his Pidgey, who took it as his cue to fly off his trainer's shoulder. "I'll show you who's the tailfeather!"

    "Oh, it is on now!" Pedro snarled, stretching his wings, but Saylee put a hand on his back.

    "Let Chaz take the first one," she said, looking at Sam. If she was growing at a similar rate to Chaz, she probably knew some low-level water moves already, which meant that Pedro would have to be the one to fight her. "Ember, Chaz!"

    "Quick attack!" Blue ordered. His Pidgey got in the first strike, but that also meant that Chaz was able to blast him with a wash of hot embers from close range. The Pidgey screeched in pain and flopped to the ground, flapping one wing awkwardly; the air stank of burning feathers, smoke still emanating from a nasty burn across the wing.

    "Finish it with scratch!" Saylee ordered. Chaz did so, mercifully attacking the opposite wing, and the little bird keeled over.

    Blue returned him to his pokéball, grinding his teeth."Sam, you're up," he said tersely. Sam nodded, waddling forwards and winking at Chaz.

    "Think you'll beat me again?" she asked. Chaz shook his head, backing off.

    "Nah, you can have Pedro," he said, looking at Saylee for confirmation.

    Saylee nodded, taking her hand off of Pedro. "Go get her."

    Pedro was much faster than Sam, giving him the edge in what became simply an endurance battle of Gust versus Bubble; in the end, the fabricated gale was causing far more damage than the acidic bubbles, and it was Sam who withdrew and keeled over. Pedro made it back to Saylee's shoulder, before whimpering and stretching his wings. "Damn, that was tiring!"

    "You did great, though," Saylee said with a smile, petting him. Chaz gave his teammate a thumbs-up.

    "That was so cool!" Rachel squeaked, peering around Saylee's ankles to grin at Blue as he returned the unconscious Pokémon. He just scowled at her, causing her to retreat again, before shoving his hands into his pockets and stalking off.

    "Nice to see you too," Saylee called sarcastically after him, before crouching down and digging in her bag for Potions. "Come on. Let's get you guys healed up, and then pray that he isn't headed for Viridian Forest too."

    Name: Rachel. Species: Rattata. Nature: Docile. Ability: Guts. Location: Route 22. Level: 3.
  4. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    Chapter Three

    Pokémon: 4
    Deaths: 0

    "Um... I'm really sorry about that," Wilma said, nibbling on a green leaf that Saylee had found for her. "Really, I'm sorry."

    "Don't worry about it," Pedro muttered, drinking from the bowl of water that Saylee had set out. "I deserved it. I was tryin' to eat you."

    "I bit Saylee when I met her yesterday," Rachel commiserated. "I'm sorry again, really!"

    "Don't worry about it," Saylee said, petting the little rat affectionately. "Right, Wilma: I've been looking you up in the Pokédex. We shouldn't need to train you much to get you to the larval stage, and then when you hatch you'll be a Beedrill!"

    "Will I be able to fly?" Wilma said excitedly, crawling up onto her new trainer's shoulder to peer at the Pokédex, frowning at the words on the screen. "What're all the little shapes under my picture?"

    "They're letters," Saylee explained. Wilma just looked confused.

    "It's a human thing," Chaz explained. "The shapes are supposed to make noises in your brain. It's like drawing words. I don't get it either."

    "Oh, okay." Wilma dropped off of Saylee's shoulder and went to curl up and sleep next to Rachel. She seemed to be avoiding Pedro. Whether she was scared that he'd try to eat her again or feeling guilty about poisoning him so badly, Saylee wasn't sure.

    She'd decided to keep Pedro away from Weedle in the future. They'd met Wilma right outside of Viridian Forest, and before being caught she'd nicked Pedro with her horn, poisoning him and making Saylee panic as she sprinted back to the community centre to get an antidote for him. She very nearly hadn't made it, and had spent a bit of her food money buying more antidotes to carry on her. She'd already had to use a couple more on Pedro; he seemed to get poisoned very easily.

    After the scare, they'd started heading into Viridian Forest, but it was getting late and the forest was almost pitch-dark. Just inside the entrance, they'd pitched camp for the night and scrounged up some dinner. Saylee was reading through the information in her Pokédex attentively. It seemed to be connected to an existing information bank, visibly updating with the data the little device was drawing from her Pokémon; it was enough to tell her what they'd evolve into, and when. Chaz, Pedro and Rachel were all some way from evolving, but Wilma was close; bug-types evolved young and fast, Saylee remembered reading. A Beedrill would be good to have. Their attack was quite high compared to most Pokémon in the Viridian area, but they were very rare because first they had to be a Kakuna, and the motionless larvae were frequently eaten.

    I wonder what else lives in this forest... she thought, scanning the area. A patch of rustling grass drew her eye, just as Pedro looked up. He saw what it was before Saylee did.

    "A Caterpie!" he said excitedly, flapping his wings and assuming a predatory stance. "Mmmm..."

    "Hey! Wilma!"

    All head swung around to Wilma as a Caterpie burst out of the grass and went tearing towards them. "You know him?" Chaz asked.

    "He's..." Wilma looked up, and smiled. "Hey, it's Cal! What's up, Cal?"

    "He's gonna eat me!" Cal whimpered as the grass shook again. Skirting Pedro nervously, he wiggled up to Wilma quickly. "Who're all these guys?"

    "Cal, I have a trainer now!" Wilma said happily. "And these are my teammates–"

    "Awesome! That means you can help me, right?" Cal whimpered, hiding behind Wilma as his predator burst out of the grass.
    "Sweet, double serving!" the yellow menace said, grinning wickedly.

    Saylee gaped. "A Pikachu?!" she gasped. "Good Arceus, they're meant to be nearly extinct! If we can..." she began to reach for a pokéball, but Chaz reached up and touched her hand. She looked over and saw Wilma and Cal cowering behind Pedro, who didn't look a great deal more confident against the electric-type.

    "We can't abandon them, Saylee," he said softly. "Wilma's ours now... and that seems to make Cal too, by extension."

    "...You're right," Saylee sighed. "Chaz... make with the ember."

    Right as the Pikachu crouched to spring on Pedro, Chaz leapt on him, tail swinging and exhaling hot ashes all over the electric rat. Pikachu screeched in pain, and was soon a tail vanishing into the grass.

    "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Cal gasped effusively. Saylee sighed in disappointment as she watched the Pikachu go, and then smiled as she sat back down and picked up Cal.

    "Nice to meet you, Cal," she said. "I'm Saylee, Wilma's new trainer. That's Pedro, Rachel and Chaz. Are you alright?"

    "Yeah, I'm fine... thank you!" Cal was blushing as he thanked her repeatedly. "You're so nice... Wilma, your new trainer is so nice!" He fell silent for a moment, blushing even stronger. "U-um... I know it's probably presumptuous of me to ask..."

    "He's gettin' on my nerves, can I eat him?" Pedro muttered. Chaz smacked him on the head.

    "What do you want to ask, Cal?" Saylee said, shooting a glare at her unruly Pokémon before giving Cal a sweet smile. "Do you want to come with us?"

    "Y-yeah!" Cal squeaked. "I mean, if it's not too... I mean, a trainer.... Could you help me become a Butterfree?"

    "Of course!" Saylee said, setting him down next to Wilma and patting him on the head. "I'll do all I can to help both of you reach your final forms, how's that sound?"

    "That would be so brilliant!" Cal cheered, jumping down to squeal with Wilma. "I can't wait to fly, can you?" Pedro smirked at them.

    "So, training marathon in the morning?" Chaz asked, settling down next to Saylee. Saylee nodded, petting him and then reaching over to stroke Rachel's whiskers as she settled down into the first watch.

    "Pedro, go to sleep," she called. "It's your watch at 1am."

    "Do we have to go on watch?" Wilma asked nervously.

    "Can you see in the dark, nibbles?" Pedro grumbled, leaving off bullying the bugs to flutter over to Saylee's lap and snuggle down.

    "Um... no," Wilma said, squinting around.

    "Then no. Get some sleep. You're gonna train your ass off tomorrow."


    The forest was full of bug catchers, trained bugs on their belt and baskets full of Metapod and Kakuna. Saylee recalled that they were considered quite a delicacy in this area. Quite a few challenged her, some for "no reason", one admitting that "Your Caterpie looks quite savoury". Due to the fact that all of them used bugs, Chaz and Pedro made quick work of them. Observing the battles and taking on a few of the weaker ones themselves, Cal and Wilma grew quickly, and by mid-afternoon of their third day in the forest, Cal's crest and Wilma's horn were both beginning to secrete the soft white thread that they would soon form cocoons out of.

    "We just need a little more battle experience," Saylee said, striding along a new path, peering around for anything that looked like it wanted a fight. She found it in an unusually arrogant bug catcher.

    "Did you know," he asked, letting out a couple of Metapod and a Caterpie, "that Pokémon evolve?"

    Saylee looked at Pedro and Chaz, who grinned. Cal and Wilma watched attentively, guarded from wild attacks by Rachel, crest and horn leaking thread. A wash of wind and embers later and the string was flowing thick and fast, wrapping around their bodies as they yawned slightly, preparing to hibernate. The bug catcher gaped from his fried Pokémon to the two new cocoons that Saylee was scooping into her arms.

    "Yeah, actually," she said smugly, "I do."

    "Neat stuff," Pedro said, tapping Cal lightly with his beak. Two large black eyes opened out of the hard green shell, looking around shyly. He hummed slightly, but lacking a mouth, couldn't say anything. Wilma also had a pair of beady black eyes, but she managed to extend two barbs from her shell as well. Saylee could see beads of violet poison glimmering along their edges.

    "Careful with those," she admonished. "Good to know you can protect yourself before evolving, though..."

    "Yeah, looks like she's safer than Cal," Rachel said, peering at them as Saylee cradled the two, letting Chaz lead the way through the forest. "Which of them'll evolve first?"

    "We'll get you both hatched soon," Saylee promised, holding the two close. "And then you can both fly."

    Cal and Wilma's eyes swivelled to look at Saylee, and then at each other. They crinkled into a mouthless smile of excitement.


    It was the next night. So much had changed.

    She'd bounced out with her poison barbs extended, and defeated a few hungry wild Pokémon that way. She'd been so proud of being able to hold her own better than Cal could.

    Chaz reached his little arms around Saylee, cuddling her, trying to support her. Pedro nipped at her cheek, keen eyes watching out for anything approaching.

    It had been a Rattata, a little larger than normal, but not the toughest Saylee'd seen in the wild, and Wilma had taken down tougher. She'd already poisoned it. And she was so close to evolving, so when Wilma had wanted to fight, Saylee had let her.

    Cal fluttered around, looking lost and ill at ease in his new form. Rachel batted at his dangling blue feet, nodding at Saylee's bowed head. After a nervous moment, Cal fluttered over, figuring out how to curl his feet over Saylee's other shoulder to perch himself. Rachel hopped into her lap, snuggling up against her cradling arms.

    The Rattata had been smart, but too hunger-crazed and poison-fogged to think better than to try to eat the poisonous bug, and it had bitten at just the right angle, sliding sharp teeth underneath a chink in the shell, plunging into the soft, gooey flesh underneath. Wilma's barbs had jerked in a soundless scream. Saylee wasn't so quiet, screaming first in horror, then in shock as Cal launched himself from her arms, smashing into the Rattata's skull. His head cracked, but it was alright; the experience was just enough, just enough, and the crack revealed a purple head, bulbous eyes, and unfurling wings.

    It hadn't been enough for Wilma. Not enough.

    The yellow... fluid... leaking from the cracks in Wilma's shell was staining Saylee's hands. Inside, Chaz could make out dull red eyes, the white skeletons of incomplete wings, a half-formed yellow abdomen. He wondered what Saylee was seeing. She had researched them all so thoroughly on her Pokédex; she knew what they would all evolve into. Was she seeing another future, where Wilma lived? Was she seeing what would now never be?

    "Saylee... Saylee, I'm sorry," Chaz said, hugging her. "None of us expected... one of us ought to have stepped in..."

    "I shouldn't've let her fight," Saylee murmured. "She's a cocoon... thought she could fight... should've been more careful..."

    "She wanted to fight, Saylee," Cal said softly, flapping his soft wings across her cheek. "This was her choice as much as yours... her accident. She wouldn't blame you. She just... she wanted to fly so much."

    "I... wanted to help her fly," Saylee said softly, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I wanted to see her fly... I wanted to see both of you fly..."

    "Then watch me," Cal said, flapping into the air, powder showering from his wings to shimmer over Wilma's body. "I'll fly for both of us. Watch me." Saylee was still looking down. "Watch me!" Saylee looked up sharply, shocked at the harshness in the previously shy bug's tone. She almost seemed to see Cal, his evolution into Butterfree, for the first time. The tears didn't stop flowing, but slowly, a smile managed to twitch its way onto her face.

    "You're so beautiful," she said softly. "She would've been, too."

    "Give her here, doll," Pedro said softly, nipping at Saylee's cheek again. Cal floated unsteadily from her shoulder, wrapping his long blue feet around Wilma's body. "We ain't gonna let her get eaten. You ready to whip up a li'l funeral pyre, pal?" Chaz nodded, slipping out of Saylee's arms and nodding at Rachel, who looked over at the pile of dry wood she'd quietly gathered. "If you don't wanna watch, doll, town's not far off."

    "No," Saylee whispered, letting her fingertips brush over the soft yellow head as Cal lifted Wilma out of her arms. "I need to say goodbye to her." She sniffed, wiping her hand across her eyes. "We only said hello three days ago... seems too soon."

    "It happens, doll," Pedro said, not unkindly, as he nipped her cheek again, watching Cal reverently lay his friend down on the wood and Chaz slip his tail under the stack to the dry starter grass beneath. "I ain't saying to expect it, or get used to it. Just be ready. It happens."

    "I'll never get used to it," Saylee said, wrapping her empty arms around Chaz and Rachel as they hopped into her lap, and leaning her cheek to nuzzle Pedro. "I don't want to. I don't ever want death to be easy." She watched Cal floating over his friend's pyre, getting buffeted around slightly by the hot air currents. "I don't want to lose any of you."

    "Thanks, Saylee," Rachel said, snuggling up to her. "You know, my brother had a trainer. When he died, his trainer just dumped his body. I saw it a couple of days after, half-eaten by some Spearow. Most trainers don't cry. Most trainers don't care. So... thanks."

    "...My brother cared," Saylee said softly. "Red. Whenever he wrote, he talked about his Pokémon so happily. And when he had a Pidgeot that died... he was so heartbroken. He always cared..."

    "You have a brother?" Rachel asked curiously. "Can you tell us about him?"

    Saylee hesitated, and then, cuddling close to her Pokémon, started to talk, watching the flames. "He's three years older than me. His name's Red..."

    My first death was actually painful. I really didn't think I'd get as upset as I did. It really came out of nowhere; a Rattata got a critical hit that seemed to do far more damage than it should, and Wilma was gone. She was only a few xp points off of evolving, too. This being FireRed, the gym battle was going to depend on Cal's confusion and Chaz's Metal Claw anyway, but... ouch. Just ouch.

    Oh, and the thing with the Pikachu? Really happened, and I'm still smarting over it. It had to be the SECOND damn thing I met in that forest?!

    Name: Wilma. Species: Weedle. Nature: Careful. Ability: Shield Dust. Location: Route 2. Level: 4

    Name: Cal. Species: Caterpie. Nature: Bashful. Ability: Shield Dust. Location: Viridian Forest. Level: 5

    RIP Wilma the Kakuna, level 4-9
  5. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    Chapter Four

    Pokémon: 4
    Deaths: 1

    "What," Chaz choked out, "is that nasty smell?"

    "For the love of–" Pedro started coughing too. "The hell is that?!"

    "I think it's him," Saylee said, indicating a man who was walking around the edge of a pen, spraying a familiar-smelling mixture over the fence. It didn't smell bad to her, but she knew that the scent would almost physically repel her Pokémon. "Sorry, guys, he's spraying Repel over the fence. What's in there?" she called to the guy. He eyed her up suspiciously, before seeing her return her coughing Pokémon to their pokéballs, evidently deciding no threat and preferring to smile to the cute girl talking to him.

    "Some Paras we picked up," he explained, nodding towards the pen. "This stuff keeps predators away. They're fine so long as I don't get any on the inside of the fence."

    "Paras? I heard their mushrooms are really good," Saylee said curiously.

    "Yeah, delicious!" the man sighed happily. "Bit of a local delicacy. Only the caps, though, if you take the stems it hurts 'em. So long as we all stay friendly, they're good at mixing up medicine and stuff too."

    "You have medicine?" Saylee said excitedly. "Human medicine?" Pokémon had something of a natural healing factor, and Pokémon medicine was really little more than an accelerant; human healing was vastly slower and effective medicine was more difficult to produce. Saylee hadn't even seen any for years; illness in Pallet and Viridian was endured or succumbed to. She reached into her bag for what money and tradeables she had, but the man shook his head.

    "Sorry, miss, but, well... the boss doesn't let us trade it," he said apologetically. "I mean, if you want to come live with us, the boss might let you..."

    "I need medicine for my town," Saylee insisted. "I'll give you a good price for it..." the man shook his head. "...but I'm also happy to beat it out of the boss, if I have to. Who is he? Who runs this town?"

    "Miners," the man said with a shrug. "We're right next to Mt Moon, got pretty much exclusive access to the resources, but you've gotta be pretty hardass to wander around in there. They all use rock-types. The boss is a guy called Brock, hangs out in there." He indicated an imposing structure, the only fully stone building in the city. "I wouldn't try to beat anything out of him, though. He's tough–hell, that's why he's in charge!"

    "Rock types won't be a problem," Saylee said, smiling sweetly. "Put aside some medicine for me, will you?"



    Cal, Pedro and Chaz all looked frightened, and Rachel was distinctly unsettled. Saylee tried to smile calmingly, stroking Cal's wings.

    "They won't get a chance to land a hit on you, Cal," Saylee said soothingly. "Rock-types are extremely slow, and your confusion will damage them badly. They won't even see you coming."

    "Yeah, but Cal ain't got no backup," Pedro growled. "Rachie there, she's got a wicked bite but it ain't gonna do shit to a rock. And what'm I gonna do? I'll probably snuff it if they look at me too hard!"

    "I'm not counting on you or Rachel for this one," Saylee said. "We have to do this. I need that medicine, and we need safe passage through Mt Moon, and we can get both if we just kick this guy's ass. It'll take no time. Get in, strike hard and fast, get out winners. Don't worry, Chaz and I have a secret weapon." Chaz grinned a little nervously back, but he cracked his claws to show that he was ready. "We've trained hard, you guys are tough. I've heard of these guys, and while they're the toughest in this area, that doesn't make them strong. They're just stronger that the bug catchers back in the forest there, and how weak were they?"

    "What, they were trainers?" Pedro said with a smirk, preening.

    "We swept through them in five minutes," Saylee encouraged them. "So this Brock bloke will take... ten, maybe. Twelve on the outside."

    "Well, I'll be cheerin' you on, bud," Pedro said, pecking affectionately at Cal. "Ready to go do Wilma proud?" Cal had been looking unconvinced, but the mention of Wilma seemed to stiffen his resolve. He flapped his broad wings, and his eyes began to glow as he charged his psychic power. Chaz's tail flared up in preparation for battle.

    "So, where did this guy say Brock was?" Cal said determinedly.


    The town was in reasonably good condition, with all buildings having at least three stone walls. There was even a museum, a building full of curios found in the mountain: odd rocks imprinted with the shapes of long-dead people and Pokémon; strange devices, some recognizable as old forms of existing technology, some completely unidentifiable; unusual ores and geodes.

    After looking around the museum for a little while, they headed on to the imposing stone edifice where the miners and Brock were supposed to hang out. Probably due to it being the middle of the day, there was almost nobody there, just a couple of trainee kids that got taken out in a stream of one-hit knockouts. Cal's confidence was sky-high by the time Brock came out to see what all the fuss was about.

    Saylee had heard from her brother that the first step to dealing with these gang bosses was to stare them down, to not flinch or let them intimidate her. Saylee kept her gaze firm, but she honestly had no idea if Brock was meeting her gaze at all, his eyes were squinted so closely. Probably a side-effect of spending a lot of time in the darkness underground. Still, he was definitely going for some kind of intimidation, since Saylee knew that cloth was plentiful enough to make a shirt for even this guy's build and there was no need for him to keep crossing and uncrossing his arms with such pointed muscle flexing. He also had a Geodude hovering over his shoulder, imitating its master's crossed arms and squinted glare.

    "Hey there," Saylee said, crossing her arms back and keeping her gaze levelly on Brock's eyes. Cal's eyes began glowing again as he prepared for battle, and Saylee could hear Chaz, the only other out of his pokéball, sharpening his claws quietly behind her. "My name's Saylee, from the Pallet settlement. Your pal with the Paras told me that you're not willing to trade us some medicine; what's the deal? I'll give you a good price."

    "Good price or no, no medicine is leaving this town," Brock said sternly. "Some of you are welcome to come live here if you want, we've got room for a little expansion..."

    "Can you take all of us?" Saylee asked with a friendly grin. "There's only twelve of us."

    "Nah," Brock said with a shrug. "We could take five, probably. How's that sound?"

    "We're an all or none deal, I'm afraid," Saylee said firmly. "Here's a new deal; you give me some medicine to send home, or I kick your ass." Cal flapped his wings and flew forward.

    "Just try it," Brock said calmly, stepping back to let his Geodude float forward. "Galt, use Rock Th–"

    "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!" Galt howled in agony as the built-up psychic power in Cal's eyes discharged, blasting him backwards in a pink flash. Galt smashed hard enough into the wall to leave a crater, and when he fell to the ground he did not get up. Brock frowned, and Saylee grinned as she watched the blow to his composure take effect.

    "Got anything better?" She asked. Brock scowled, and threw out a second pokéball. What materialized was far vaster than Geodude; a gigantic serpent of rock reared out of the materialization light, towering over Saylee and her Pokémon.

    "You can do this, Cal," Chaz said, and Cal hesitated. "Physical size means nothing to psychic power! Right, Saylee?"

    "Exactly," Saylee said, snapping open her Pokédex. "It's an Onix. Pretty tough, but it's slow and its defence against special moves is atrocious. Just hit it hard and fast, same as always!"

    "Got it," Cal said with a nod, as the Onix raised its tail laboriously. "Time to fly–!"

    He whipped around its huge body, easily dodging its clumsy strikes, and his eyes flashed as his psychic power knocked the behemoth to the ground. Saylee cheered as Cal flew over his fallen foe.

    "That was amazing, Cal!" Saylee cheered, pausing when her Pokédex beeped. She clicked it open, eyes widening at the display. "No! Cal, get out of–!"

    "Wha– AAAAAAGH!" Cal howled. Behind him, the still-conscious Onix's tail had risen and smashed down heavily on the fragile insect. Saylee screamed as Onix unsteadily raised itself up over its fallen enemy, the weight of its body grinding Cal into the ground.

    "CAL!" She screamed, feeling her knees shake. Through her blurring eyes, she caught Brock smirking as he saw himself gaining the upper hand, and something in her turned to steel, firm and strong and unwilling to lose. Something on Chaz turned to steel too. "Chaz, take him down! Metal Claw!"

    "Way ahead of you," Chaz snarled, leaping forward with his claws shining silver. Even the hard rock of Onix's body crumbled under his claws, and the gigantic rock-type gave an earth-shaking howl as it fell back to the ground. This time, it did not rise. Brock's eyes widened in horror as his strongest Pokémon fell. Chaz hurried over to smash Onix's tail off of his friend. "Cal, hang on! Cal! Cal? Cal... No..." He knelt down at Cal's side, and then looked up at Saylee sadly.

    Saylee felt herself shaking, but clenched her fists, refusing to let her foe see her weakness. Biting down her grief, she raised her head and looked coldly at Brock. "Right. Medicine, now, or you're next." Brock scowled, but it was obvious that he stood no chance against Chaz's claws, not when even his rock-types had been rent apart by them. He nodded, uncrossing his arms and beckoning to one of his lackeys, a trainee boy who was cradling his unconscious Sandshrew.

    "Get a full range of the medicines," he grunted. "Enough for twelve people."

    "I appreciate it," Saylee said coldly, "and I will still pay you for them." She walked forward, stepping gingerly over Onix's body, to kneel next to Chaz, putting her hand gently on his head and wincing at the smush with wings that was all that remained of Cal. "...I'm sorry, Cal. You got to fly so little... I'm sorry... and thank you." She nodded to Chaz, who swept his tail over Cal, setting his remains alight.


    "Head east and you'll hit Mt Moon, and past there's Cerulean," Brock said, reaching into his pocket. "Last place I saw Red headed. Here. My emblem. Take it and you should get through with no trouble. There're plenty of trainers and nomads out there that aren't from Pewter, though."

    "We can handle it," Saylee said, taking the silver-grey emblem and clipping it to her bag. "I might call by again."

    "Next time, you'll have a real fight on your hands," Brock promised. "Clearly, I've been slacking. I'll be training more from now on."

    "You're welcome to try," Saylee said stoically, touching Chaz's head with her hand and heading out along the route.

    There were thick bushes and small trees all over the place. Saylee calmly veered off behind one, glancing back over her shoulder to see that Brock had gone and nobody was in sight. A sob tore out of her throat as she crouched behind the tree, burying her head in her hands.

    "Oh, Saylee..." Chaz said sadly, walking over and hugging her gently. He was getting taller, tall enough for his head to be level with Saylee's when she was sitting. He leaned his head gently against hers, sitting quietly with her while she sobbed silently. "I'm sorry. I should've jumped in sooner. I really thought he'd done it..."

    "This is not your fault, Chaz," Saylee said vehemently. "It's mine. I didn't train him enough... wasn't quite strong enough..." Chaz reached a paw down and tapped the other two pokéballs left. Pedro and Rachel materialized instantly, looking from their crying trainer to Chaz, and then to the distinct lack of Cal.

    "...Shit," Pedro huffed, fluttering over to sit on Saylee's knee. "Damn, doll. I'm sorry. I wish... I wish I could've helped."

    "Me too," Rachel whimpered, curling up on Saylee's other side. "What... what happened? To Cal?"

    "He died proudly," Chaz promised them. "At the moment when he thought he'd won... he almost did, you know. That bastard Onix just hung on that little bit too long..."

    "He was a good guy," Pedro grunted, nipping at Saylee. "Hell, bugs don't live long anyway. And he got to fly, doll. You helped him fly, and for however long it was, that's what he wanted, y'know? I bet he loved every minute of it, doll. So try not to feel too bad, y'know?"

    "Yeah, all that boohoohoo bullshit's getting on my nerves," a voice said sharply above them. Saylee jerked her head up, as did the others, as something streaked past them, smashing into Pedro. He squawked angrily, lashing out with wings and claws at the aggressor. Chaz waded in too, slashing his claws to defend his friend. When the other bird was knocked aside, Rachel jumped on him, pinning him to the ground with her teeth over his throat.

    Wiping the tears from her eyes, Saylee clicked open her Pokédex, examining the new Pokémon. It was a Spearow, a notoriously vicious species, but according to the Pokédex, they had eyes as keen as Pidgey's and higher attack.

    "Doll," Pedro said, landing on her shoulder, "tell me you ain't thinking of picking up this jackass."

    "He could be useful," Saylee murmured back, gently stroking a bruised wing. "Of course, as a more senior member of the team, you're more important than him..." Pedro's eyes crinkled into a bird's evil grin.

    "I like the way you think, doll..."

    Name: Sparta. Species: Spearow. Nature: Hasty. Ability: Keen Eye. Location: Route 3. Level: 8.

    RIP Cal the Butterfree, level 5-13
  6. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    Chapter Six

    Pokémon: 4
    Deaths: 2

    "You are so stupid," Sparta complained. "Utterly idiotic. I have never met anybody so stupid. I mean, seriously, how retarded are–"

    "You can shut up now, tailfeather," Pedro snapped. Chaz smacked Sparta over the head. Saylee ignored their bickering, watching the salesman hurry away and carefully cradling her new acquisition. She flopped helplessly in Saylee's arms, nervous under the dubious looks of the rest of the team.

    "But... why did you buy her, Saylee?" Rachel asked, watching the pathetic fish curiously. Saylee flipped open her Pokédex, showing Rachel an image of the new Pokémon.

    "This is Miranda now," she explained, "and yes, I know she's not very tough now while she's a Magikarp, but once she evolves...." Saylee clicked a couple of buttons to bring up a new page on the Pokédex. It was less detailed, but since Rachel couldn't read anyway, all that was important was the image... and what an image.

    "What is that?" Chaz gasped, as the others crowded around.

    "Wow," Pedro said, looking slightly more appreciatively at Miranda. "What the hell is that thing, doll?"

    "That's a Gyarados," Saylee said smugly. "One of the strongest water-types on the planet. Trust me, the price I paid for Miranda is cheap compared to how powerful she's going to be if we can get her to evolve..."

    "Can I see?" Miranda asked curiously. Saylee angled the Pokédex to allow the rather immobile Magikarp to see. "Is that... is that me?!"

    "Yep," Saylee promised. "Just be patient. We'll get you there."

    "We gotta bust our butts to protect this useless runt?" Sparta complained. Chaz smacked him again, rather more forcefully than he ever smacked Pedro.

    Saylee carried Miranda carefully, grateful to have a project again. It took her mind off things. She'd begun to make a project out of making Sparta the Spearow into a fairly amiable Pokémon and a reasonable member of the team, but that quickly transpired to be a lost cause. The bird was almost deliberately rude and spiteful to everyone and everything, and privately, Saylee had to hope that she found another couple of teammates soon so she could replace him. Six, according to her brother, was the largest number of Pokémon you could have on you without neglecting any of them, and she had decided to take his advice to heart and only raise six at a time. She wasn't sure she could afford to raise more, anyway.

    Mt Moon was huge, but one of the miners tooling around, after seeing Brock's emblem, told her that the tunnel through the mountain was fairly straight–there were a few deadended off-paths, but he assured her that the other miners would be happy to direct her. Chaz took the lead, his tail lighting their way, Pedro and a reluctant Sparta keeping their keen eyes on the shadows. Even with their watch, Saylee somehow managed to trip over something round and hard in the dark.

    "Gyaaagh–!" she shrieked, rolling as she fell to avoid squashing Miranda. Rachel and Chaz immediately hurried over to help her up, while Pedro pecked Sparta in the head for sniggering. Something else grumbled.

    "Whaddya think yer doin', gal?"

    "Hey, this rock talks!" Sparta yelped, jumping backwards as the "rock" rolled over and extended two rocky arms to rub sleep from irritated eyes.

    "It's a Geodude!" Saylee gasped. "Geez, I'm sorry. I didn't see you..."

    "You humans don't see nothin'," the Geodude grumbled. "Just watch it, right?"

    "Clumsy bitch," Sparta complained. Pedro and Chaz both whacked him for it.

    "I'm sorry," Saylee repeated. "Hey... do you know which way to the Cerulean exit? We're trying to get to Cerulean City..."
    "Yer all travellin' together?" the Geodude asked curiously. "Yer a trainer, gal?"

    "I am," Saylee said, shifting her grip on Miranda to cradle her in one arm while reaching the other out to the Geodude. "My name's Saylee, and yeah, I'm a trainer. This is Miranda, and that's Chaz, and Rachel, and Pedro, and Sparta. What's your name?"

    The Geodude looked curiously at her hand, before, to her surprise, taking it gently and shaking her hand. "I'm Geoff. Nice t'meetcha. I know all the caves 'round these parts; I could take ya all th' way ta Cerulean, if ya want."

    "Really?" Saylee said excitedly. "Thank you so much, Geoff! That would be brilliant!"

    "Don't worry 'bout it," Geoff said, preening. He indicated to Chaz to hop on his head so they could float ahead as a leading light, and the rest picked themselves up to follow them. "So, why're ya all headed t'wards Cerulean?"

    "I'm looking for my older brother," Saylee explained. "Brock said he last saw him headed east towards Cerulean City." She gently stroked Miranda's head. "We're working on training Miranda up enough to evolve."

    "She's just gotta watch and learn, then, don't she?" Geoff said, cracking his knuckles as a few Zubat flew out of the shadows, shrieking for blood.


    Most of the miners in the mountain backed off from Saylee as soon as they saw Brock's emblem, but as she'd been warned, the mountain was crawling with nomads and hunters who were happy to beat up each other and anybody else coming through the scavenge supplies. Generally, though, they were not particularly strong, and what Geoff and Chaz couldn't take down with a first strike, Pedro, Rachel and Sparta easily finished off. Miranda, while clearly not the brightest of the bunch, watched them all enthusiastically and seemed to grow almost visibly in Saylee's arms.

    They had to camp overnight in the mountain a couple of times, though "overnight" was a difficult concept to define deep in the caves. Saylee grew very dependent on the clock in her Pokédex. Geoff also had a highly accurate internal clock, probably because he was used to living underground without daylight to judge time by. Rachel was happy enough in the darkness, being a naturally nocturnal Pokémon who had gotten used to having to scavenge in the daytime, but Pedro and Sparta were less than happy with the constant darkness. They were used to flying in the daylight, and their keen eyesight was largely dulled by the dark.

    "We should be out of the mountain by the end of the day," Saylee promised them the fourth morning, stroking Pedro's beak soothingly, and Sparta's too even though the more belligerent bird pulled away quickly. "We're in the lower caves now, so it's not far to the Cerulean exit. Not long now!"

    "I wonder why everyone's in uniform on this level?" Chaz wondered. "That was the fourth guy dressed in black that we just took down."

    "Well, black's a damn good disguise in th' dark, don'tcha think?" Geoff suggested. "Maybe they all had th' same idea..."

    "What, and they all thought that snazzy red R on their jumpers was a good idea at the same time?" Sparta snarked. "How stupid are you all? There's a gang down here."

    "But they're not from Pewter," Saylee said, pausing to examine her Boulder Badge, which was in a prominent spot on her bag strap. "I don't think they're from Cerulean... my brother said that the cliffs on the Cerulean side are so steep that they're impossible to climb up. You can't get to Mt Moon from Cerulean."

    "Nomads, maybe–?" Rachel began, cutting off with a sharp squeak of pain as something yanked her into the darkness with a feral snarl.

    "Rachel? Rachel?!" Saylee yelled, whipping around. She only heard a pitiful whimper from the darkness. "Chaz, Geoff, help me find Rachel!"

    "Rachel!" Chaz yelled, spraying out a wave of embers that briefly illuminated the cave. What they saw made Saylee's heart shudder.

    Another man in black was standing not far away, with a Zubat sitting on his arm. He had probably been using its supersonic to see them in the dark, and launch a surprise attack; his Rattata was crouching over Rachel's unmoving form with blood on its fangs.

    "RACHEL!" Saylee screamed. Pedro and Sparta started up a chorus of angry shrieks from her shoulders. Chaz's tail flared angrily as he leapt from Geoff's head, slashing his claws at the enemy Rattata, knocking it away from Rachel. His skin flushed blood-red as he snarled angrily at the flinching man and his Zubat.

    "You shouldn't be here, kid," the man growled. "You're getting in the way of our operation!"

    "Good," Saylee yelled back furiously. "I don't give a damn what your operation is, but you and it can rot here in this cave! Chaz! Finish them!"

    "With pleasure," Chaz snarled, his growls deeper, baring suddenly longer claws against the man in black. "With pleasure."

    Over the man's terrified screams, Saylee knelt by Rachel's side, shifting her grip on Miranda to reach out to the little rat. "Rachel? Ra- Rachel..." She jerked her hand back from the still form in shock, and then reached out more gently to stroke the soft purple head. "Rachel..."


    "You're a Charmeleon now," Saylee said, her bright tone slightly forced. "It's the intermediary stage of your growth... you've got hotter flames, higher strength..."

    "And what the hell's that thing?" Sparta asked, landing on Chaz's head and pecking at the horn that had extended from it.

    "Beginnings of a flight stabilizer," Saylee said, clicking through a few pages of the Pokédex. "When he reaches his final stage, there'll be two. Head's not all that streamlined otherwise."

    "...flight stabilizer?!" Miranda gasped. "He's gonna be able to fly?"

    "Charizard certainly can," Saylee said, showing Chaz the picture. Sparta, Pedro and Geoff all crowded in to look.

    "Dude, that's kinda cool," Geoff opined.

    "Still not exactly streamlined..." Sparta muttered.

    "Shut it, tailfeather," Pedro shot back. "Better-lookin' than a scrawny great Fearow, anyways."

    Saylee smiled a little, watching her Pokémon return to bickering like normal. She gently stroked the headstone that Geoff had placed over Rachel's ashes, before putting away her Pokédex and scooping up Miranda. The water-type was already much larger and heavier than when they'd entered the cave, but she still looked downcast.

    "I'm sorry you had to see that, Miranda," she said softly. "I wish that hadn't happened... wish I'd been more careful..."

    "It happens," Miranda said sadly. "Happens a lot to my kind. At least she didn't get eaten." Her eyes swivelled to look at her trainer. "I can't wait to evolve... Gyarados are pretty powerful, right?" She frowned. "I'll be able to protect the others then... I'm so useless right now."

    "You're not useless, Miranda," Saylee promised. "You're just lying in wait."

    "Thanks, Saylee..." Miranda said, smiling a little, and then sighed. "...Now I'm the only one who'll never fly."

    "Not quite," Saylee said with a grin. "When Geoff evolves, he'll be far too heavy for his magnetic core to keep him levitating."

    "I'm gonna be too damn heavy if ya don't move yer own ass!" Geoff yelled at Chaz, floating past. "Gonna hafta walk on yer own now, pal." Chaz followed, frowning. He was now only about half a metre shorter than Saylee standing, and too large to perch on Geoff's head anymore. By contrast, Pedro was perched on his horn, and Saylee noticed that he was larger than before too. Sparta landed on her head, pecking her on the forehead, before taking off to take place on Geoff's head.

    "C'mon, moron," he yelled back. "Let's get moving! I want to see some damn daylight already!"


    "Calm down, pal," Saylee said, raising one hand soothingly while clutching Miranda protectively with the other. "We don't care about your stuff."

    "Sure you do, thief!" the crazy guy snarled. Saylee was starting to get annoyed. He wouldn't stop ranting and was blocking the way to the exit, clutching a couple of grubby rocks like gold. "You knocked out all my guards! You're here to steal the fossils, aren't you?!"

    "I didn't fight any–those thugs were with you?" Saylee asked, anger spiking. "Those sneaky, thieving killers are with you?"

    "Look who's calling who a thief!" the freak ranted, throwing out a pokéball and releasing a foul-smelling pile of purple sludge. Saylee and Chaz both choked; Pedro and Sparta, with less sensitive senses of smell, just recoiled slightly; Geoff, with no sense of smell at all for anything non-mineral, cracked his knuckles. Saylee clicked open her Pokédex, scanning it over the creature.

    "Grimer," she muttered with a frown.

    "Lemme try something," Sparta said, slapping his wings and shooting towards Grimer in the blink of an eye. He struck at Grimer five times in quick succession, making it collapse in a puddle. "Check me out!"

    "How long have you known Fury Attack?" Saylee asked in surprise. Sparta preened.

    "There's a lot about me you don't know," he boasted. Something behind him slithered. "I'll show you–"

    "Try watching behind you!" Chaz yelled. Sparta jerked aside as Grimer reared up, but not fast enough to avoid being engulfed in a wet purple fist.

    "You idiot!" Pedro yelled, diving into the attack. Grimer collapsed again, this time not rising. The freak yelled angrily and returned it, replacing it with a Voltorb.

    "Pedro, get Sparta the hell out of there!" Saylee ordered. "Geoff, bury that thing!"

    "Gotcha," Geoff said, sending forward a spray of mud at the volatile electric-type. Saylee crouched down as Pedro flew over, clutching Sparta in his claws. The smaller bird was choking and coughing violently.

    "You freakin' moron!" Pedro yelled. "The hell were you thinking? Pay attention, dammit!"

    "Sh-shut up," Sparta coughed. "You-you're one to talk... getting poisoned all the damn time..."

    "Hang in there," Saylee said, digging frantically in her bag for antidotes. A cold fear was dripping down her spine, as part of her brain tallied the supplies she remembered having. Oh please... let me have another antidote... Please...

    "Damn you!" the freak howled as his Voltorb finally gave up under the earthy onslaught. "I won't lose to you! Koffing, get them!"

    "Chaz," Saylee yelled, pointing to the floating purple rock that was spewing noxious gas everywhere. "Finish it, won't you?"

    "Can do," Chaz promised, flaring up. The freak's eyes suddenly bugged out as he calculated what would happen when white-hot embers met a Pokémon made primarily of unstable gases. Koffing was blasted across the room.

    "Hang on, Sparta," Saylee said, grabbing a potion out of desperation. "We'll- we'll find you an antidote soon... it'll be okay..."

    "Don't give me that shit," Sparta muttered. "Don't need y-your damn p-p-pity..."

    "Shut up and hang in," Pedro yelled. "YOU MORON!"

    Saylee winced as the freak's calculations played out. When she opened her eyes again, only Sparta hadn't moved.

    "He's down too," Chaz said, hurrying back over. "Was too close to his Koffing and got caught in the blast..." he froze, looking down at Sparta. "...Dammit."

    Name: Geoff. Species: Geodude. Nature: Sassy. Ability: Rock Head. Location: Mt Moon. Level: 8

    Name: Miranda. Species: Magikarp. Nature: Hardy. Ability: Swift Swim. Location: Route 3 Pokémon Centre. Level: 5

    RIP Rachel the Rattata, lvl 3-15

    RIP Sparta the Spearow, lvl 8-13
  7. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    Chapter Seven


    Pokémon: 4
    Deaths: 4

    "Right, this is the last one," Saylee said, lowering herself over the ledge carefully. "No going back after this. Ready, guys?"

    "'Course," Geoff grunted, floating over the ledge and letting his own weight drop him down. "C'mon, gal, we ain't got all day!"

    "Of course we do, fatass," Pedro teased. "It's a great day, perfect time to hang around and train a bit! Whaddya say, doll?"

    "Sounds like a plan," Saylee said, dropping down the ledge and then releasing Miranda back from her pokéball, where she'd temporarily been placed for ease of movement. Saylee knew that most people kept their Pokémon in their pokéballs all the time, as a matter of convenience, but she knew she'd feel lonely without them, and anyway she wanted her team to have a rapport. She watched Chaz drop easily down the ledge, and then looked over Geoff and Pedro. Pedro was extremely close to evolution–he was just a plume short of being a Pidgeotto already. "Alright. What do you say we find something to fight?"

    The area was mostly barren, aside from a fairly stagnant stretch of river from which Saylee refilled her filter bottle (Miranda apologized profusely and promised to evolve soon), but soon Pedro spotted some thickets of grass and trees in which wild Pokémon had probably nested. Not far in, they found a tangle of Rattata scrapping with each other.

    "Are they fighting over food scraps?" Chaz asked, looking almost pityingly on the writhing mass of purple.

    "Hold it, there ain't just Rattata there," Pedro said, peering at the fight. "Give it a scan, doll." Saylee clicked open her Pokédex, watching it scan over six Rattata and...

    "You're right!" she gasped, examining the readout and watching a status bar drop. "That's an Ekans! They're quite rare!"

    "So, spare that one?" Pedro asked, stretching his wings. Saylee nodded. "Sweet." His growing wingspan blew up dust as he shot over to the tangle, his sharp talons and beak flinging small purple rats out of the fight and smashing them to the ground. It took him all of five minutes to leave them in an unconscious heap, separate from the feebly stirring Ekans.

    "Here we go," Saylee said soothingly, spreading some potion on Ekans' wounds. Pedro flapped over to her side, preening his new pink crest. "Wow, Pedro! Look at you!"

    "Badass, bro," Geoff agreed, grinning at Pedro. "Just you an' me now, Miranda!"

    "Congratulations," Chaz said, patting his friend on the head. "So, are we keeping her?"

    "Let's see," Saylee said, smiling at the long purple serpent that was staring at them all in awe, particularly Pedro. "So, what's your name, sweetie?"

    "Eliza," she said softly. "Thank you for saving me, ma'am... sir. I'm very grateful." She waved her tail in a funny little twist around her head, which Saylee's Pokédex informed her was a sort of salute.

    "I'm Saylee," Saylee said. "That's Pedro. I'm his trainer. I'm... looking for new teammates right now. Would you like to travel with us?"

    "Travel? With you?" Eliza looked them over, staring longer at Pedro, before blushing and nodding. "I'd love to! I-if that's all right."

    "Nice t'meetcha, Eliza," Pedro said, nodding at her, before going back to showing off his new wingspan and feather colours to Chaz and Geoff. Eliza only looked away from him when Saylee spoke to her again.

    "This is Miranda," she said, indicating the large orange fish in her arms. "That's Geoff, and Chaz. And, like I said, Pedro." She winked at Eliza. "Cool, isn't he?"

    "Oh! Ummm... yes," Eliza said, slithering around to hide her head under the coils of her body.


    "Holy... is this what I think it is?!"

    Miranda dipped her head into the pool. She was only a Magikarp, but she was still a water-type. "It's clean, Saylee. Completely clean. Ooooh, it tastes nice!"

    "No shit," Pedro gasped, dipping his beak in the water. "How the hell'd they manage this?"

    "Good question," Saylee said, emptying her bottle into the ground and refilling it from the clean spring. "There's got to be a market somewhere in Cerulean, I can ask somebody there."

    "There's more plants around here, too," Chaz noted. "They look healthier. Cerulean could be a source of clean water for the whole country!"

    "So why aren't they?" Saylee sighed. "Gahhh, everyone has such a... closed-in mentality! I wish people would trade more..."

    "Ya gotta protect yer own, gal," Geoff pointed out. "Ain't nobody got time ta care 'bout anybody else."

    "It's nice when they do, though," Eliza mumbled, licking a toothmark on her tail.

    "Just a little trade in necessities could benefit everybody," Saylee fumed. "It's so simple!"

    "Well then, doll, you gotta bring it up with whoever runs this joint, don't you?" Pedro pointed out, flapping his wings slightly to stay airborne. He could hover now, and was about ten feet above their heads, guiding them towards the Cerulean settlement. "Ah, this world's a craphole."

    "Didn't useta be like that," Geoff mused. "Sure it didn't when we first went round the caves... everythin' was fresh caved in. Can't remember why, though..."

    "You remember... Geoff, how old are you?" Saylee asked curiously. Geoff shrugged.

    "Sixty... eight?" He hazarded. "Countin' by sediment layers. Just a rough guess."

    "You're nearly seventy?" Chaz gasped. Geoff rolled his eyes.

    "Ya organics, don't last no time at all," he huffed. "Coupla centuries ain't nothin' when yer a rock... course, ain't th' most interestin' life either." He laughed. "Had more fun the past coupla days than I ever had!"

    "Do you remember exactly what happened?" Saylee asked curiously. "When... well, what happened?"

    "Who does, gal?" Geoff reminded her. "Hell knows what it was. I only know it caved in th' caves, whatever it was... 'bout sixteen years ago."

    Sixteen years... that's as far back as anyone can remember, Saylee thought, remembering the confused, whispered conversations of older members of the Pallet settlement. Some kind of earthquake...? But how would that make people lose their memories? What were we before? Did we even exist...?

    "I'd never heard any of this before," Eliza said. "Mother never said anything like it, though she was only six years old..."

    "I only have faint memories, since I was a baby," Chaz said, "but I know things were... different. Before."

    "Me, I don't know shit," Pedro said. "Hell, I only hatched eleven months ago! Anyways.... watch them bushes, and we're there!"


    "So there's two gangs around here," Saylee said, as she released her team again. She'd returned them to their pokéballs while she was in the marketplace; from the looks of her bag, she'd gotten a good deal on supplies. "The Nugget Bridge gang, and Misty's gang. They're really butting heads at the moment, I hear."

    "So, whose ass are we kicking first?" Pedro asked. Eliza nodded enthusiastically.

    "Apparently, Misty's responsible for the clean-water supplies," Saylee said thoughtfully. "More importantly, she has the upper hand right now. So we should probably take out the Nugget gang first. Besides, it seems they're hoarding gold nuggets."

    "Real gold?" Chaz asked with interest. "You can trade that for a high price!"

    "Don't see why, tastes shit," Geoff muttered. "Too damn soft an' chewy."

    "Not all of us eat rocks, scree-brain," Pedro snarked, making Eliza giggle. Saylee grinned to watch Eliza slithering around after Pedro. She seemed completely smitten with her saviour. It was really very cute.

    "We have to head north to get to the bridge where the Nugget gang hang out," Saylee explained, slinging her bag up onto her shoulder and scooping up Miranda. "C'mon, we spent all afternoon yesterday training, so how about we go kick some ass?"

    "Am I hearing you right? You're looking for trouble? Yeah, that's gonna set your mum's mind at ease."

    "Blue," Saylee said, spinning on her heel and glaring at her occasional best friend and general worst enemy. "It's been a while. How are you and Sam?"

    "Nearly ready to evolve," Blue boasted. "We blazed through all the trainers in this area."

    "Did you see anyone dressed in black with a big red R on their jumper?" Saylee asked quickly. Blue shrugged.

    "Wasn't paying attention to losers," Blue said. "Sorry, who are you again?"

    "The girl who's gonna kick your ass if you don't get out of my way and stop bothering me," Saylee grumbled. "Are you going to?"

    "Yeah, right," Blue laughed. "I think beating you ought to get us the experience we need!" He raised a pokéball, giving her a challenging grin. "Well? Or are you going to run away?"

    "Oh-ho, hell no," Saylee growled. Damn him for getting under her skin again, but she wasn't backing out now. "You're the one who should get out of the way right now, if you know what's good for you..."

    "Yeah, right," Blue said, chucking out the pokéball and revealing a Pidgeotto. "Check us out!"

    "Oooh, I've got one too!" Saylee said, petting Pedro proudly. "Hey, Blue... I think mine's bigger than yours."Blue's grin vanished as he scowled at her. "Sorry, I just had to say it. Geoff, you're a couple levels down, but with your new trick you can handle this, right?"

    "On it, gal," Geoff promised, hauling up some large rocks from the ground. Pidgeotto's quick attack struck the slower Pokémon a couple of times, but did barely anything against his rocky hide. Geoff started throwing rocks, slamming into the Pidgeotto and knocking it to the ground. "One down!"

    "I'm not done," Blue snarled, returning the Pidgeotto and releasing a Rattata. They all flinched at the sight of the purple rat, except for Eliza, the new acquisition, who looked worried at the expression on Pedro's face.

    "Chaz, you can handle this, right?" Saylee asked. Chaz nodded, sharpening his claws and darting forwards. Razor-sharp fangs met steel claws, and while Chaz wasn't undamaged, he was larger and stronger and gave far better than he got. Rattata hit the deck first, but gently, merely unconscious.

    "Dammit, how do you always do that?!" Blue fumed, grabbing a third pokéball. "Sam, you're up!"

    "Hey Chaz," the little turtle greeted them. She was larger than before, and her skin was darker, but she clearly hadn't evolved yet. "Check you out!"

    "Check me out first, babe," Pedro said, shooting forward to the defence of his disadvantaged friend. His quick attacks were powerful, knocking Sam off her feet.

    "Oh, cool your head!" she snarked, blasting a powerful jet of water at Pedro, knocking him to the ground. Before he could struggle to his feet, flapping damp wings to dry his feathers, she slammed into him in a powerful tackle. Pedro yelled in pain.

    "Pedro!" Saylee yelled, clutching Miranda. Chaz was injured and at a major disadvantage, and Geoff was disadvantaged too, so Pedro had the best chance of beating Sam, but he couldn't fly with his wings soaked–

    "Pedro!" Eliza yelled, wrapping herself tightly around Sam. "Leave him alone!"

    "Hang in there, Eliza!" Saylee yelled, digging for potions. "I'll heal them up..."

    "I won't let her go," Eliza said fiercely, looking more dangerous that Saylee had ever seen the gentle snake. She tightened around Sam's shell, but winced as it gleamed, Sam hardening her shell in defence. Sam's shell stopped creaking, and instead Eliza began to bruise. Saylee sprayed potion frantically over Chaz, grabbing another for Pedro. "Hang in..."

    "Sam, get that snake!" Blue ordered. Sam nodded, swelling up.

    "Eliza, look out!" Saylee screamed, frantically yanking the cap off a potion and leaning over Pedro. His wings were almost dry...

    "Water gun!" Blue ordered. Sam blasted Eliza's head at point-blank range, the water gun hitting with the force of a truck. Eliza immediately went limp, uncoiling from around Sam's shell.

    "ELIZA! DAMMIT!" Pedro screeched, almost bowling Saylee over as he spread his wings again and shot forward to attack Sam. Her rock-hard shell was no good when Pedro pecked precisely at her soft head.

    "Sam!" Blue yelled as his primary Pokémon collapsed. "Dammit..." his hand hovered over a fourth pokéball, but to Saylee's surprise, he dropped it again, returning Sam. "You got lucky."

    "Hey, don't you dare hold back on me," Saylee complained. "You have something else, why won't you use it?"

    "Because it's an Abra, okay?" Blue complained, shoving his hands in his pockets and stalking off. "You're not the only one hauling around a useless load."

    "Hmph." Saylee tightened her arms around Miranda, but she couldn't help smiling a touch. If it's so useless, why do you have it? At least you're learning some patience... She turned back to her Pokémon, feeling her stomach drop in an upsettingly familiar way. Pedro was crouched over Eliza, one wing spread on the ground for her head to rest on. Purple blood was dripping from her mouth, sizzling slightly on his feathers, which he ignored.

    "Hang in there," Pedro was muttering. "You did great against that drip..."

    "I... did?" Eliza murmured weakly. Saylee tried spray potion across her bruises, but it did nothing. Eliza's healing factor had already shut down.

    "Fantastic!" Pedro said desperately. "Amazing! Coolest thing I've ever seen! So you just hang in there so you can show us all again, alright?"

    "...Glad I did well..." Eliza said softly, closing her eyes. "Glad you're... okay..."

    After a few moments, blood stopped dripping.

    Name: Eliza. Species: Ekans. Nature: Modest. Ability: Intimidate. Location: Route 4. Level: 12

    RIP Eliza the Ekans, level 12-15
  8. Mangaluva

    Mangaluva Swimmer

    Sep 9, 2014
    Chapter Eight

    Pokémon: 3
    Deaths: 6

    The rumours were right; the Nugget Bridge gang was weak. In the mood that Saylee and her team were in after the battle with Blue, they would have blown the posturing gangsters apart anyway, but things just got worse after they lost Geoff.

    "I'm on a roll, gal! I'll handle anythin' they send at me!"

    "Not an Oddish," Saylee murmured, watching Chaz burn through a team of bugs. "You bloody fool."

    Chaz and Pedro were now in towering tempers, to the detriment of any pathetic trainer to get in their way. Two deaths in a day had pushed them through the grief barrier to a directionless rage, and the Nugget Bridge gang was kind enough to provide them with a direction.

    The leader of the gang was dressed like the thugs in Mt Moon. This definitely did not help his case.

    "With your skills, you could be an executive!" the man yelled, backing down from a blazing Chaz. "You could go so far! We could–GAH!"

    They watched him run off with his pants on fire. "I don't need your help," Saylee muttered, sitting down heavily and hugging Miranda. Pedro landed next to her, nipping her on the cheek.

    "We'll go far as we like, doll," he promised her. "We can do it on our own."

    "I might have to do it on my own," Saylee sighed, the rage beginning to ebb after a very cathartic afternoon. "What the hell kind of trainer am I? I can barely keep my Pokémon alive for three days..."

    "Hey, we're still here," Chaz said, hugging her arm. Saylee could feel gentle warmth spreading through her. "Pedro and I've been with you from the start, and we're still here!"

    "For how much longer?" Saylee whimpered, biting back sobs. "And what about you, Miranda? Can I really keep you alive for long enough for you to evolve? Maybe Blue's right–he's a way better trainer than me, none of his Pokémon are dead..."

    "Hey, don't get ahead of yourself, doll," Pedro said. "All we know's he ain't lost that tailfeather and the turtle. How do we know he ain't lost a ton?"

    "He does seem to complain about his Pokémon a lot," Chaz said with a shrug. "He doesn't particularly seem like the type to care if he lost his Pokémon..."

    "That's not true!" Saylee said sharply, biting her lip to stop the outburst. Pedro, Chaz and Miranda all stared at her. "Look, I know it's hard to believe, but Blue wasn't always a jerk..."

    "You do have very nice memories of him."

    Saylee shrieked and leapt to her feet, almost dropping Miranda in surprise. Pedro and Chaz both immediately leapt on the source of the voice, but they only collided with each other. Saylee stared as they swore at each other and struggled back to their feet, and then turned back around, shrieking again when she found herself face-to-face with...

    ...What? It was yellow, roughly the size and shape of a child, but with oddly-shaped limbs and head, yellow and brown with a long yellow tail. It was floating in the air in front of her.

    "An Abra?" she gasped, clicking open her Pokédex. "Wow! You're a psychic!"

    "Indeed," the Abra said. "My name is Alan." Saylee stared curiously at him; he had no discernible mouth, but speech was arriving in her brain nevertheless. Her memory heard the words, even if her ears didn't. "You are Saylee, and she is Miranda, and they are Chaz and Pedro."

    "Nice to meet you," Saylee said. "I, uh... wow. This is amazing! You're so rare, most people never see your kind..."

    "Naturally," Alan said smoothly. "We come out when we wish to, that's all. I wanted to come meet you. I could see you holding some very shining memories in your head. I was curious about them."

    "Shining, huh?" Chaz asked. "We were just asking about Blue. You mean you have good memories about him?"

    "Of course I do!" Saylee grumbled. "He's my best friend, after all. It's just recently..."

    "He became a tailfeather?" Pedro asked. Saylee laughed.

    "Well, yeah," she said with a shrug, and then sighed. "...I guess I was too, though. When we realized it had been too long since Red's last letter, I got really tense and worried... I lashed out at everybody, about everything. And, y'know, Blue being my best friend and all, he was on the receiving end a lot. At first he put up with it, tried to make it a joke, but I know I tested his patience, and goodness knows he never had a lot. Soon we were fighting, all the time. Then I said I was going to become a trainer, and he got pissed off at me. He kept telling me that I had no idea what I was doing, that I was just going to fail..." she sat down again, stroking Miranda's fin. "Maybe he was right. I'm awful at this..."

    Alan looked curiously from her Pokémon to her. "What do you mean?"

    "Look at Geoff," she sighed sadly. "Decades, he lived safely underground. And then he's out of the caves with me for a few days..." she slammed a hand over her mouth to choke back a sob. "It's always like that..."

    "Hey, don't put it like that, doll," Pedro said bracingly. "I mean, he didn't like talkin' about the caves much. Said only jack and shit happened down there, and he was havin' the time of his life out with us, remember?"

    "All of your Pokémon are like that," Alan said. "More and brighter memories in their weeks with you than in the months and years beforehand."

    "So what?" Saylee sniffed. "You mean a short, interesting life is better than a dull but long and safe one?"

    "There's no such thing as a safe life these days," Miranda chipped in. "I mean, I've had a longer life with you than I probably would have otherwise."

    "And that short, interesting life leaves behind more than the long, dull one," Chaz added. "Come on, cheer up. We just need to play things carefully, and we won't have to worry about losing anybody else. Learn from our mistakes, right?"

    "And what we oughta learn from Geoff," Pedro suggested, "is to play careful with types. Listen, doll, they said that other gang plays with water-types, am I right? So at the moment, I'm the only fighter who's not gonna get snuffed in there, and I'd kinda like some real backup." He flapped his wings at Chaz's tail pointedly.

    "I would like to offer that backup," Alan said, floating over to hover over Saylee's lap. "That is why I am here."

    "Really? You would?" Saylee asked in surprise, rubbing her eyes. His face didn't change, but something about Alan suggested a smile.

    "Of course," he said. "I think it will be... interesting."


    "I do not know anyone down here particularly well," Alan said as Saylee pushed into the long, dry grass. "Our community is a little... out of the way. We only come out for a mind that we truly favour."

    "Hey, did that patch of grass just move?" Pedro asked, flapping over to a small sprout. Chaz followed more cautiously.

    "Probably," Alan said. "It is not grass. It is an Oddish."

    "An Oddish?" Chaz asked. Saylee flipped open her Pokédex, showing him the display image. "Oh, right. A grass-type?"

    "Perfect," Pedro said, biting down on the leaves and yanking them out of the ground. The little blue Pokémon came out of the ground with a yell of pain.

    "There!" Saylee yelled, throwing a pokéball. Taken by surprise, the Oddish vanished instantly, in a flash of red light. "Good. She'll be very handy, I think, when fighting the Cerulean gang."

    "Her name is Olivia," Alan commented. "She dreams of blooming."

    "Blooming, huh?" Saylee reopened the pokéball, allowing the little grass-type to reappear at her feet. Olivia shook herself, before staring up at Saylee steadily.

    "Who're you?" she asked, looking around. "And who're these guys? Why'd you yank me out the ground? I'm trying to grow!"

    "Sorry about that, Olivia," Saylee said. Olivia stepped back, unnerved.

    "How'd you know my name?" she asked suspiciously. Saylee nodded at Alan, who bowed his head slightly. "Okay. You know my name. Who are you?"

    "I'm sorry, that is rude of me," Saylee said, crouching down to be closer to Olivia's level. "My name is Saylee, and this is Miranda and Alan, and this is Pedro and Chaz. I'm sorry for waking you up, but I'd like to make you an offer."

    "An offer?" Olivia asked curiously. "What kind of offer?"

    "She's a trainer," Chaz said, stepping up to Saylee's side. "She helps Pokémon grow. She helped me grow up from a little Charmander, and she helped Pedro grow up from a scrawny little Pidgey." Pedro made a jerky little flapping movement with his tail feathers that Saylee had come to recognize as the avian version of the middle finger.

    "So... you could help me grow into a Gloom?" Olivia asked, sounding interested. "What's in it for you?"

    "Well, first off..." Saylee stood up, looking at the shifting, watchful figures on the path ahead. "You help me take out these Hikers. Then... well, we'll see what we can do to get you, Alan and Miranda stronger."

    "Sounds good to me," Olivia said with a bright grin, rustling her leaves. "This sounds like fun!"

    "Fun's guaranteed, sprout," Pedro said, spreading his wings and taking off towards the Hikers, Olivia following at a surprisingly fast tilt for her tiny legs. Saylee and Chaz ran after, with Alan appearing and reappearing every few feet to keep up with them.

    "Focus on that, Saylee," Chaz said, grinning at his trainer. "Let's have what fun we can, for however long we can."

    Saylee nodded, managing to bring up a smile. "For starters, it looks like Olivia is having a lot of fun with that Onix..."


    Olivia winced, wiping sweat from her brow with her stubby new arms. Taking out that kid's Sandshrew had been a piece of cake, but a hard couple of days of training and her evolution a couple of fights ago was taking its toll on her. She was exhausted. And she didn't like the look of that Ekans at all.

    There was a rising glow behind her, and then a tall golden creature strode past her, raising a spoon like a weapon against Ekans.

    "Thank you, Olivia," Alan said, his voice somewhat deeper and thicker now. "That gave me the energy I needed. I will handle this for you."

    "Be my guest," Olivia said, stepping back to watch Alan wreak psychic havoc on the poisonous snake. Saylee stroked her flower bud proudly, balancing the now extremely large Miranda awkwardly on one arm.

    "This is fantastic, Olivia," Saylee said, sitting down next to her to watch Alan test out some interesting new powers. "Both of you evolved today! How do you feel?"

    "Amazing," Olivia said, stretching her arms and waving them experimentally. "I've never had these before! I have to say, I doubt I'd be evolved right now if I'd stayed in the ground." She hugged Saylee's leg. "Thanks, Saylee. I owe you."

    "You look amazing, Olivia," Miranda said enthusiastically. "I'm so jealous!"

    Saylee smiled down at her, but her eyes were shining with sadness. She was kind of an odd human, Olivia thought. She seemed very scared a lot, very worried. Olivia could hear nervous tension in the pulse of her sap. What could she be scared of? Pedro and Chaz were both so strong, and so very protective of her. Maybe she was worried about having weak Pokémon that couldn't fight, like Alan and her and Miranda, but now she and Alan had evolved and it was probably only a matter of time for Miranda. Most of her Pokémon were powerful enough to protect her now; what could she be scared of?

    "Whoooo, check you out!" Pedro said, flapping down to perch on a scraggy bush next to Saylee. He rubbed his beak against his wing to wipe off whatever he'd caught while out hunting, and then looked from Olivia to Alan. "You evolved too! Sweet! So, you capable of anythin' interestin' now?"

    The mate (or potential mate? Humans had so many different stages of this kind of thing, it was very complicated) of the boy they'd been fighting screamed angrily and released two Oddish. Alan levitated them, slammed them into each other, and dropped them unconscious to the ground, all without turning around or moving much at all aside from waving his spoon slightly.

    "You could say that," Alan said pleasantly.

    Pedro laughed, and looked down at Olivia. "You learn any new tricks, sprout?"

    "Sure," Olivia said, grinning back and fluffing her bud. "Want me to stun you, or knock you right out?"

    "That's a hell of a pickup line, sprout," he laughed, before Chaz smacked him absentmindedly on the head. Chaz then tapped Saylee on the arm, pointing at the sun.

    "We should probably start making camp, Saylee," he said. "It's getting late."

    "Hey, I saw a house up the hill, for what it's worth," Pedro volunteered. "Pretty old and it looked kinda empty, but hey, shelter, right?"

    "Perfect! Lead on," Saylee agreed. To her surprise, Olivia found herself suddenly light on her feet, and then not on her feet at all. Miranda floated past her, laughing as she "swam" through the air. Olivia looked at Alan and saw him wink at Saylee.

    They made their way up to the large, dark building. Olivia frowned at it. She was pretty sure there was a human living there; light came out of the building at night, which only happened to buildings with humans in. But now it was dark and silent.

    "There's something inside," Alan said, stopping abruptly. "It's... something strange."

    "A human?" Saylee asked, grabbing Miranda out of the air as Chaz stepped protectively in front of her. "Or a Pokémon?"

    "...I don't know," Alan said, clearly at a loss. "I am sorry. Perhaps my powers are not fully developed yet..."

    "Or maybe," Pedro said, fluttering over to the door and peering through the keyhole, "there's somethin' in there that ain't either." He frowned. "There's somethin' movin' around in there..."

    "Okay, then... Alan, get ready to open the door," Saylee ordered. "Olivia, stay close to me. Pedro, Chaz..."

    Chaz nodded. "When he opens the door, we'll charge. Got it."

    "Ready?" Alan asked, raising his spoon and twisting it slightly. The door swung open. "Go!"

    Something loomed out of the darkness.

    Name: Alan. Species: Abra. Nature: Quirky. Ability: Synchronize. Location: Route 25. Level: 11.

    Name: Olivia. Species: Oddish. Nature: Bold. Ability: Chlorophyll. Location: Route 24. Level: 12.

    RIP Geoff the Geodude, level 8-16
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