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Cyn
18th February 2012, 2:23 AM
Bridging Dimensions
By: Cyn

Summary:
Mark is just an ordinary guy, living on Earth. You know, the one where Pokémon is just a video game, nothing more. Or is it?

One day an unexpected Eevee appears out of nowhere, throwing them both into a strange, new adventure together. What will become of them? Only time will tell...

Rating: PG-13
Chapters: 6
Word Count: ~24k
Last updated: 10/22/2012

IMPORTANT NOTE: This thread is now obsolete, the story will be updated in this thread from now on.

Notes:
-Comments, feedback and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated; can't improve if I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
-Like, please review. I really want to become a better writer. Give me your worst (in a helpful way).
-Just as an FYI, this is a long-term project of mine. Updates might be a bit sporadic, but they will come; I started this in August 2011, it's almost a year later and I have no intention to stop writing this story.


Table of Contents
Ch 01 - When One Door Closes, Another Opens
Ch 02 - A New Friend
Ch 03 - A Fiery Surprise
Ch 04 - Out Of The Blue
Ch 05 - The Art Of Battle
Ch 06 - Lost And Found


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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.


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Chapter 1 - When One Door Closes, Another Opens

Thin beams of sunlight filtered through the window blinds, illuminating my entire bedroom in a soft golden glow. I grunted semiconciously, slowly pulling the covers over my head in a halfhearted attempt to delay the inevitable. A sudden, always-too-cheerful melody blared in my ear, jarring me awake. Groaning, I groped around on my nightstand for the culprit and brought the tiny cell phone to my ear.

"S' who's there?" I mumbled.

"MARK! Why're you still asleep? Dude, It's already past eleven, wake up!"

I slowly sat up, rubbing my eyes with my spare hand. Why did he always have so much energy? It was finally the summer and for me, by default that meant sleeping in.

"Ok, Kevin, I'm up, I'm up. Why're you calling me so early in the morning?" I grumbled.

"You're wasting away your summer! We should get out and DO something, now that school's finally finished," he explained, "We won't have many more chances like this after I leave for work."

I grunted my acknowledgement. Although Kevin was my best friend, he still drove me crazy sometimes with his incessant need for activity. However, this time, he made a good point. He had scored a job at a construction company a few hours drive away and had to start in a few days. Our time together was limited, and it might be the last for a long time.

"Fine, meet you in the park later. We can, uh, skateboard or somethin'. How's two o'clock sound?"

"Great, see you then, don't be late!" With a click the line fell silent. Yawning, I lazily stood up, stretched my arms and started heading towards the bathroom to get ready for the day.

By the way, my name's Mark Wayson, 18 years old and a fresh high school graduate. Currently a very groggy graduate, with messier than usual dark brown hair. I managed to tidy up and shower and - now refreshed - cheerfully made my way downstairs for what was now lunch.

As usual, the house was empty; my dad still off traveling for work. He was almost never home, usually away for months at a time. My only contact with him was the weekly check in the mail so I could buy food and pay bills. I never knew either of my parents well, since their unfortunate divorce when I was a little kid. Although by now I've pretty much gotten used to it; I was always the independent type.

Shaking these thoughts out of my head, I managed to whip together a quick lunch. Ok, I admit it was a microwavable frozen dinner, but I didn't care. I had never had a keen sense of taste.

Satisfied and no longer starving, I threw on some sneakers and set out to find my car keys. My hometown was relatively small, with suburban streets everywhere. Although most places were within walking distance, about a mile or two, having a car made life immensely more convenient.


- - -

It was a beautiful afternoon, crystal clear skies and a slight breeze. The willows around the pond swayed in unison, the dangling branches creating ripples that travelled across the central pond. A concrete path lined with benches encircled the banks, commonly pedestrian traffic. All around, I could hear the sound of chirping birds, the rummaging of squirrels searching the grass and trees for food in this time of plenty.

A perfect harmony to be broken by the terrible skateboarding duo.

"Take off the elbow pads, you'll get a ton more flexibility," Kevin suggested, frustrated at how long it was taking me to don my gear. He was already up and idling in a circle, his blond hair streaming in the breeze.

From my seat, I sighed. "Unlike you, I value my safety and health. You should at least wear a helmet, if not the pads."

He rolled his eyes, ignoring me, obviously not thinking about the consequences and living only in the moment. Kevin always had a sort of recklessness about him. You think he would have learned his lesson when he broke his collarbone last summer attempting a kickflip down a set of stairs, but I knew he never would.

A few rounds of the pond later, we retired to the shade of an oak tree for a break. Off in the nearby open grass, we watched a golden retriever play fetch with its owner, not a care in the world. After a several minutes, Kevin spoke up again.

"How come we never thought of adopting a dog? It'd be fun, and we could train it to grab sodas and stuff from the fridge."

Once again, I wondered how his mind kept coming up with these crazy ideas; does he think his thoughts through, or just vomit them out off the top of his head? We both knew he was habitually irresponsible with pets, and his parents were neat-freaks, having a dog enter his house was totally out of the question.

"You mean a dog that I would end up taking care of all the time? And I have no interest in that kind of responsibility by myself," I responded.

He paused, mulling over my predicament, before caving in. "I guess so, but it'd totally be worth it... Interesting idea, anyways."

I laughed, "Most of your ideas are interesting, but just as unrealistic. You should at least anchor yourself to reality."



We hung out for the rest of the afternoon, at least five more crazy thoughts spewing from Kevin's mind, before we were hungry and had to return home for dinner. Since I had a car, I ended up giving him a ride home. The short drive was silent, trees and houses whipping past the windows as I sped along the road. Clearing his throat, Kevin broke the lull.

"I'm going to leave tomorrow afternoon."

I pulled to an abrupt stop outside his driveway. "What? I thought you weren't leaving until next week!"

He stepped out of the car, closed the door and leaned back through the open window.

"That's when I have to start; my parent's don't have any other free time to drive me there, so I have to leave tomorrow. But I'll see you tomorrow right before I head off, I promise." With a slight wave, he turned and trudged up to his front porch.


- - -

Dusk crept up into the sky, fading to navy blue as the sun descended behind the trees. I didn't expect to have this little time, I lamented, quietly heading home in solitude. Sighing, I pulled up into the driveway, once again to an empty home. Only now, I felt more alone now than ever.

Another microwave dinner later, I trooped upstairs to my room. A click, and the bright flicker of my desk lamp illuminated my desk in a soft yellow glow, but left the far corners of the room in deep shadow. I wouldn't say my room was particularly messy, but I admit you could clearly tell a teenage guy lived here. Various objects I'd meant to put away were strewn haphazardly across the carpet: books that were no longer needed were stacked in a few piles, a heap of clothes lay in corner of the room.

Sitting down and waking up my computer, I started browsing the web idly. Kevin was right about one thing, I thought, I'm definitely wasting away my summer. I needed something worthwhile to occupy my time.

Suddenly, my screen blinked for a second. Hm. That's unusual. Sputtering, it then blacked out completely.

Frustrated, I slapped the side of the monitor, hoping it would help. Nada. A couple seconds later the lamp next to me also started flickering on and off. I warily stood up only to be plunged into pitch black darkness. The hair on the back of my neck was standing on end, as if static was building in the air. What's going on? I wondered. The night was silent; there certainly wasn't a thunderstorm outside, but what else could explain the power failure?

As my eyes adjusted, I realized that the room was not completely dark; I could see my dim fuzzy shadow on the wall and desk in front of me, gradually solidifying against a faint glowing light. A low hum rung in my ear, getting louder until it became a crackling buzz emanating from behind me. I slowly turned around, and immediately fell back into my chair.

There, building and expanding in the center of my bedroom floor, a spherical shell of translucent blue-violet plasma glistened in the darkness.

About a foot in diameter and growing rapidly, its hazy surface danced with small arcs of electricity. A strong glow radiated from its center, eerily casting uneven shadows on the walls and floor as the light rippled and swirled around inside. Pulsating rhythmically, this... thing... steadily grew to about a meter and a half, before suddenly flaring with a blinding white light. Stumbling back, I shielded my eyes and braced for what, I didn't know.

As suddenly as it had developed, the sphere of energy dissipated, imploding and leaving behind only a few bright wisps of fading energy. The room was cast back into darkness, the only illumination the faint moonlight struggling to pass through the window blinds. Temporarily blinded, my vision slowly adjusted to the dimly lit room, and I noticed something small in the middle of the floor among the rest of my familiar junk. Was that there before?

The desk lamp hummed before flickering back on, and I could finally see clearly the small eevee slowly stirring on the floor.

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Cyn
18th February 2012, 2:27 AM
Top

Chapter 2 - A New Friend

The eevee raised its head and, spotting me, quickly stumbled to its feet and, with a startled "Vee!", darted beneath my bed.

I was completely shocked; of course I knew what it was, everyone my age had grown up with the pokémon games, but no one in their right mind thought that they actually existed.

I must be seeing things. There's no way an eevee is in my room. I bent down on my knees just to be certain. Peering under the bed, I spotted the shadowy figure huddled in the corner. Slowly reaching my hand out I beckoned, and was met with a fierce growl and bared teeth.

Nope, not imagining that. What to do, what to do... The poor thing was scared out of its mind; there had to be some way to calm it down. What does everyone always do to calm down a small, scared wild animal?

Food. Always food.

I hurried downstairs to the kitchen, fumbling around in the dark for the light switch, before throwing it on. Opening the fridge, I wondered what kind of food might pacify it. Berries, of course! Quickly nabbing some ripe strawberries and a small plate, I closed everything and headed back up the stairs.

"Come on out now, I'm not going to hurt you," I cooed, placing a berry on the saucer and sliding it towards the crevice. I sat down cross-legged on the floor a good couple feet away and waited.

Movement; a small dark nose peeked out of the shadow, sniffing the sweet fragrance. With baited breath, I watched as the creature cautiously poked its head out of its sanctuary, revealing coffee-tinted fur, followed by a bushy beige collar.

"Veee..."

Pointy ears laid back, its narrowed brown eyes focused on me, sizing up the potential risk.

"I won't hurt you, go ahead and have some food." I tried my best to sit still, avoiding any sudden movements and smiled as warmly as possible. Seconds passed without either of us moving a muscle, just staring at each other.

Apparently satisfied, its eyes now darted to the ripe strawberry. Scampering out, it began gobbling up the small fruit, large bushy tail wagging energetically. A beady eye was still trained on me, no longer frightened but still a little bit wary. However, it seemed curiosity was starting to overcome its unease. I shifted my legs to a more comfy position, and its diamond ears perked up at the noise.

I wonder how an eevee even exists, let alone how it got into my house. I looked at the bare patch of carpet where eevee originally appeared and noticed for the first time a small electronic device that lay there. Reaching over, I cautiously picked it up.

It looked sort of like a stopwatch, with what could be a small display screen in the center. No visible buttons adorned the front or sides; the only break in the black casing were small silver letters etched below the screen, ODT. No clue what this thing is, although it probably had to do with little eevee over there, I pondered.

Within a minute the last remnants of the berry vanished, and eevee, licking its lips, was busy sniffing the air again.

"All right, you can have another one." I offered the second strawberry in the palm of my hand. Eevee glanced at my welcoming face before accepting it, lying down in front of me to devour it.

Already so friendly, and we just met. I reached out slowly to pet it, and paused, waiting for a sign of approval, lest I quickly lose a finger. Eevee noticed my movement, and with a quick flick of its head, continued eating the fruit. Relieved, I slowly started petting it on the back, brushing my hands through the silky smooth fur.

"Now let's see, are you a boy or girl?" I moved lower, and started tickling it on the stomach. Rolling over involuntarily, Eevee giggled a muffled "Vee-hee-hee!" and continued to squirm helplessly on the ground. I could see clearly now, as she lay on her back, bouncing the half-berry on her little pink forepaws, still nibbling.

A girl then. "What are you doing here, little one?" I muttered to myself, slowly scratching behind her ear as she crammed the last bit of food into her tiny jaws.

Now calm and fully inquisitive, she flipped over and started exploring the room, starting with the messy half. Heh, there were probably a lot of interesting scents around for her acute sense of smell.

"Well, I think you need a name. It doesn't seem right to call you 'Eevee' all the time."

She stopped and turned to look at me, clearly interested in my proposition. "Vee," she agreed, before continuing to wander.

I sat there, pondering various names for a minute or two, as eevee cavorted her way around the bedroom, snaking around all the junk on the floor. As she attempted to reach the second shelf of the bookcase, I cleared my throat.

"Okay, how do you like the name 'Mira'?" I posed. She paused, reflecting briefly on my suggestion, before nodding with a quick "Eevee!" and bounded into my lap.

I smiled, patting her on the head. "Mira it is, then."

I quickly got ready for bed, as it was already pretty late. Something like this, I should definitely tell Kevin about, I thought. I picked up my cell phone for a second, before placing it back down on the desk. He's probably asleep by now, and besides, I can tell him all about this tomorrow.

Carefully laying out some extra towels and blankets, I molded a small makeshift bed for Mira, who immediately dove right in to find the coziest spot. Yawning, she curled up into a small ball, melding with the blankets, looking absolutely adorable. Smiling, I tidied up, putting the strange ODT device on the desk next to the phone.

Reclining in bed, I whispered, "Good night, Mira," before switching off the light.


- - -

I was jolted awake by a large crash echoing through the house. Sunlight streamed through the window, illuminating the pile of linens I had prepared for Mira, but as my eyes scanned the room, she was nowhere to be found.

Jumping out of bed, I glided downstairs to the source of the cacophony. Stumbling into the kitchen, it at first appeared that a small tornado had torn through the room; pots and pans that had been lined up neatly to dry were scattered across the countertops, while boxes of cereal lay on the floor, contents spilling out. The fridge door was slightly ajar, light casting faint shadows in the broad daylight.

A blur of brown fluff attacked me from the side, and I was knocked back onto the stairs, only to find myself face to face with a grinning smile. Licking her blue-stained lips, Eevee jumped off me.

"I see you found breakfast." I sighed. She trotted back to her small box of blueberries, wearing smug expression on her face. Closing the fridge door, I began clearing the excessive mess and preparing breakfast for myself.



Now satiated, I retrieved the mysterious device from my desk to examine it more carefully in the sunlight. I noticed now that a small green LED blinked periodically near the upper corner. Feeling around for any hidden buttons, my fingers brushed against a small indent on the front.

Suddenly, the device started glowing, before shooting out a bunch of glowing green holographic planes. Floating in midair above the device, they formed a sort of menu interface.

Woah, awesome! Holographic interface. The geeky part inside me was giddy with fascination, as I sat down on the floor and started poking at the floating buttons. I started navigating my way through the icons and menus, looking for some sort of help manual.

A sharp creak behind me; I turned around to see Mira leaping towards me from the top of the bookcase, crying a triumphant, "Eevee!". As she sailed through the hologram, I caught her safely in my arms. Giggling, she gave my cheek a playful lick. I patted her softly on the head then turned my attention back to the device.

The floating interface had suddenly disappeared, to be replaced by a flashing red light on the front. The flashing began speeding up and a rumbling whine resonated from it, growing in intensity like a car engine reving up to speed.

Uh oh.

Suddenly, glimmering strands of blue light materialized around us, dancing in an intricate pattern. Before I could react, it rapidly solidified into a dense impenetrable web surrounding the two of us.

"Eee Vee!" Mira ducked her head into my arms, quivering in alarm. Hugging her close, I closed my eyes before being engulfed by a brilliant flash.



Author’s Notes:
Mira is pronounced ‘Meera’, not ‘Myra’ (although I can’t stop you from choosing the other if you want to).

Top

Cyn
18th February 2012, 2:31 AM
Top

Chapter 3 - A Fiery Surprise

I awoke to a forceful nudge to my head. As I stirred, I was suddenly greeted by a sloppy wet lick on my face. My eyes slowly opened, and I found myself face to face with a grinning Mira. Grunting, I sat up off the ground.

"Eevee!" Mira jumped off me, wagged her tail, glad that I was awake.

"Ugh, what happened?" It felt like my body was slightly sore all over.

Looking around at my surroundings, I was shocked to find myself in a dense forest. The canopy towered overhead, shafts of light glistened down and illuminated disjoint patches of dirt and grass. It looked as if this forest was well aged, with tendrils of ivy climbing up the many tree trunks, vying for the faintest beams of sunlight. The refreshing smell of moss and trees permeated the crisp air, not a trace of pollution. I found myself sitting in some kind of small clearing, surrounded by thick foliage. I'm definitely not in Kansas anymore.

I struggled to my feet. It had to be that strange device! I noticed that I was still holding the ODT device; however, it appeared to be inactive. No matter how much I prodded or fumbled around with it, the high-tech display remained inert.

Oh well, I guess I might as well try to find my way out of this mess. There were no visible paths out of the clearing, just uninhabited wilderness. I bent down to Mira, who was busy chasing her tail around in a circle.

"Do you know where we are?" I asked. Her ears perked up, and she looked around briefly, before slowly nodding at me. Mira bounded off into the shrubbery, before calling back, "Eevee!", expecting me to follow. She apparently knew where to go, and I had no better idea than to follow.

Trampling through bushes and clambering over rocks, we slowly trudged through the overgrown forest. It seemed to me like we were wandering around in circles, although Mira led forward with a bold confidence, bounding in and out of tree roots and through bushes as easily as a fish in water. I tried my best to keep up, but she still had to wait periodically for me to navigate the thick terrain.



Soon we reached another small clearing, a little larger than the first. "Eeveeeee!" Calling out her name, Mira ventured forward. Glad to be out of those damned woods, I followed her out, hoping for a small break to catch my breath.

"Quil!"

The bushes on the far side rustled slightly then exploded in a cloud of thick, black smoke, enveloping the two of us. Coughing, I fell to my knees, trying to find clearer air.

"Quil! Cynda!"

I could hear a fierce cry from what I assumed to be our unknown assailant. The smoke slowly cleared, revealing a small creature in the clearing. Its dark blue fur covered most of its short stubby body, changing to tan on its belly. A few large red spots glowed dimly on its back. Wisps of smoke dribbled from its mouth as it menacingly stared at me.

I can't believe it, a Cyndaquil! Which means... It suddenly dawned on me: this must be the Pokémon world! The ODT device must have somehow transported both of us to Mira's native realm.

"Cynda-quil!" It reared on its hind legs, before charging towards me. Surprised, I didn't have enough time to react before it tackled me square in the stomach, bouncing back acrobatically and landing on its feet. Gasping for breath, I fell backwards into the dirt.

"Vee!"

I lifted my head to see Mira jump into the fray, knocking the cyndaquil lightly to the floor. "Ee Eevee!" she yelled angrily.

"Quil?" The cyndaquil stopped struggling for a second, as if recognizing something. Glancing around, its eyes fell on Mira, and a look of shock spread across its face. It excitedly tackled Mira, both of them rolling on the ground. "Da-quil!"

"Eevee vee!"

The two wrestled around playfully; clearly, they must have known each other. Somewhat relieved and a little bruised, I carefully stood up and brushed myself off. "Mira, is this cyndaquil your friend?" I inquired. The two stopped playing, and the cyndaquil reverted to a cautious stance one it remembered I was still there.

"Eevee!" Mira nodded and bounded back over to me. Cyndaquil tensed noticeably at this and reverted back to his battle stance, warily keeping its eyes on mine.

"Don't worry, I won't hurt you. I'm a friend of Mira over here" I bent down and gestured to Mira, who gave a reassuring smile before jumping into my arms and giving my face a lick.

"Cyn!" Cyndaquil crept towards us slowly, stopping a couple of feet away. It looked torn deciding whether to trust me or not. I carefully placed Mira down, and turned to Cyndaquil, who immediately relaxed. After a moment of thought, it looked up at me smiling, and gleefully blew a noxious puff of smoke into my face. "Cyndaquil!"

"Arg, Ack!" I descended into another fit of coughing, falling on my back a second time. I could hear Cyndaquil laughing hysterically as I cleared my lungs. It bounded up to my fallen form and sat directly on top of my chest, grinning triumphantly.

"Feisty little guy, huh." I indignantly sat up, making Cyndaquil lose his balance, and he fell down on his back. I glanced over at Mira who was sitting quietly on the sidelines, obviously amused at our antics.

Turning to them both, I said, "I never introduced myself properly; my name's Mark." They smiled at me curiously before bounding off around the clearing, chasing each other playfully. I could hear them bantering back and forth, but naturally, I had no clue what they were saying. Sitting down against a tree, I decided to take a closer look at the ODT device; perhaps I could figure out how to get back home.

Fishing it out of my pocket, I saw the normal green LED blinking in the corner. It's active again! At a single touch, the main display popped back in the air. I carefully browsed around and finally discovered a sort of help manual.

- - - - - - -
Omni-Dimensional Transporter

(Summary)
The Omni-Dimensional Transporter (ODT) is a teleportation device that enables macroscopic objects to quantum-tunnel from one dimensional point to another.

(Usage)
To initiate travel, select the desired location then press 'Activate'. The ODT must recharge after each use, usually taking anywhere up to several hours, but can vary depending on the distance travelled. Each departure and destination point is recorded in memory, for quick access.

Technology by Origin Labs?. All Rights Reserved.
- - - - - - -

So it IS a teleporter, I mused. Looking through the history log, I found the last departure location, supposedly my bedroom on Earth. Excited, I immediately tried activating it, only to find the message [Recharging]. I guess I just have to wait a while longer. Relaxing, I leaned back in the shade, watching the two pokémon dance around the beams of sunlight illuminating the clearing.



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I left the human, Mark, behind in the shade, and chased Cyndaquil around. I was so happy to be back home; finding myself suddenly in a strange place was pretty scary, but thank goodness everything turned out okay. I made a brand new friend, not to mention eating those sweet berries.

"It's so great to see you again! I thought you were gone forever after you disappeared yesterday!" Cyndaquil exclaimed, darting back and forth as I gave pursuit. Cyndaquil was my best friend; we had known each other our entire lives, growing up together in this forest. We would often leave our home area and explore the surrounding valley region, mostly due to my unending curiosity. He always claimed to enjoy seeing the new sights, but I think he went along just to make sure I was safe, and to get some new battle experience whenever we encountered trouble. I think it was sweet, him being protective over me, but I thought it a bit rash even for him to attack Mark unprovoked. I mean, how do you make new friends if you always attack first?

"So how come he calls you 'Mira'?" Cyndaquil posed to me, dancing just out of reach. Although he was a bit faster than me, I happened to be more agile, nearly pouncing on him whenever he slowed down to turn. Frustrated, I slowed to a stop, catching my breath.

"It's a name Mark came up with when I first met him yesterday," I explained. *"I like the name, so I think I'll keep it." Cyndaquil circled back, playfully nipping at my tail as I dodged out of his grasp. "If he's going to refer to us by names, I hope it fits me properly," he commented, "No way I'm going by any dumb name."

We rolled around in the grass for a few minutes, before Cyndaquil finally emerged from our scuffle, victorious. Exhausted, we adjourned to the quiet shade. I noticed Mark still sitting against a tree, staring intently at that glowing black stone he had.

Cyndaquil stared at Mark for a while, then spoke, *"I'm surprised you're so friendly towards him. Weren't we always told to never blindly trust humans?"

"I tell you, he's not like all the other humans we've seen or heard about; he's actually really nice and caring," I defended. Staring off into the sky, I continued, "You know I've always dreamed of exploring the world with a good trainer, and this might be the only chance I get."



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I watched the two play for a bit, gamboling around before taking a rest in the shade nearby. They appeared to be close friends, with all their childish antics. Although I wondered, if this was Mira's home, why lead me to it? It couldn't be that Pokémon were innately friendly; Cyndaquil's impulsive ambush precluded that. Regardless, I need to find my way out of this forest, find some people, figure out how I got in this mess. Rising, I walked over to the two. Mira happily bounded over to greet me, but Cyndaquil still seemed guarded, not budging from his spot. I guess he needed more time than Mira to warm up to me.

"Okay, you two, here's the deal. I need to find my way back to civilization, and I was wondering if you wanted to tag along with me?" At these words, Mira's face visibly lit up. Crying out, "Eevee!!" she leaped onto me, crawling up my arm and settling on my shoulder.

I reached my hand out to Cyndaquil, in an inviting gesture. "How about you?" I offered, hoping he was feeling friendly. Cyndaquil looked from me, to Mira, to my extended hand. "Cyndaquil?" he inquired, to which Mira replied in a firm tone, "Vee." Sighing, Cyndaquil reluctantly stood up and nodded.

"Great! Now, do either of you know which direction to go?" I asked embarrassingly. Cyndaquil chuckled to himself, before taking the lead and showing all three of us out into the forest.


- - -

The canopy gradually opened up, sunlight peeking through the cracks as we walked, the trees and bushes thinning to smaller clumps, replaced by grass. I could see for dozens of meters through the undergrowth, as opposed to in the heart of the valley, where my vision was clipped at a dozen feet. As we walked onward, the silence gave way to the calls of other pokémon: pidgey screeching from the branches, or the scampering of rattata hiding in the bushes. With the more manageable terrain, the forest started coming to life.

A few creeks crossed our path, the rocky landscape cutting a scar across the woodlands. Gathered at the water were some of the larger forest inhabitants, like furret and stantler, having a refreshing drink. We, too, stopped for a snack and a drink, finding plenty of ripe berries growing on the trees; it appeared that the sweet fruit grew in great abundance in the forest. The water surged in energetic rapids, carving out the valley we now travelled through, and so we followed it onward, hugging the banks and being careful not to fall in.

As the sun settled into mid-afternoon, we finally stumbled upon a well-worn dirt trail. Grassy banks lined the sides, obviously cut through on purpose by human activity.

"All right, I think we made it out of there! Not long now before we find a town or city."

With renewed vigor, I set out at a brisk pace, itching to find some answers as to where I was exactly. Mira rode atop my head, sprawled lazily over my hair, admiring the change of scenery. Cyndaquil on the other hand, ambled back and forth across the path, examining the scents wafting in the air. Enjoying the fresh air, I struck up some conversation as we walked.

"So, Cynadquil, do you want a name as well?" He glanced in my direction, before shrugging his shoulders and continuing to explore the grass on the side of the route. Thinking back, I remembered how confident Cyndaquil had been to attack me, even without the use of fire; he'd be quite a proficient fighter once he evolved. Determined and powerful, he seemed to have followed me just to be with Mira, an admirable friendship.

"Hmm... What about the name 'Pyro'?" Cyndaquil considered it for a moment, trying to decide if he liked it enough. "I think it fits your skill and abilities quite nicely," I added.

"Quil!" Agreeing, his back burners ignited as he puffed out a slender flame, causing a small clump of grass to shrivel up in charred embers.

"Welcome to the team, Pyro." Grinning widely, Pyro marched down the path, Mira and I at his heels.


- - -

Shadows lengthened and late afternoon approached as the sun slowly traced its arc across the sky. The trees around the path thinned as we rounded the top of a hill, affording us our first glimpse of a large, sprawling town below. "C'mon, race you both down the hill!" I urged, dashing forward with renewed vigor, Pyro and Mira hot on my heels.

As we passed into the outskirts of town, the dirt route gave way to larger paved streets. I noticed there were quite a few trainers among the pedestrians, some of which were accompanied by their pokémon. Smaller types like pikachu and skitty were common, playing with their trainers and each other in yards and around storefronts. The few large species we saw were exceptionally fearsome; one glare from a tyranitar we passed, and Mira shrieked, scampering to hide behind me and Pyro.

As we approached the center of town, we discovered a medium-sized park filled with thickets of small trees and open grass. The trainers were more numerous here, with both people and pokémon enjoying the sunshine. We entered the gate and I immediately noticed the large building in the center, with its distinctive red roof and pokéball logo.

"Aha! A pokémon center. Just what I was looking for," I exclaimed, making a beeline for the front doors.

Mira and Pyro hung close behind me as we stepped into the spacious lobby. Sunlight streamed from a skylight, illuminating the many plants that lined the waiting benches. Being what I assumed to be a medium-sized town, I was surprised at how many trainers there were, milling around, many with their smaller pokémon out of their balls, interacting and playing with each other while their trainers waited.

"Stay close, you two. The last thing we need is for some random trainer to try and catch you," I warned, walking up to the front counter. Surprisingly, the nurse at the counter wasn't Nurse Joy; her long blond hair was tied back in a knot as she casually typed away at a computer.

"Welcome, how can I assist you?" the young woman asked, looking up at me with a wide smile.

"This might sound like a strange question, but I was wondering if you could tell me where I am, and if there's a pokémon laboratory near here." I was still a little cautious about just flaunting the ODT device around, since I didn't even know fully what I was dealing with. I figured the local professor, if he existed, would be able to answer my questions and help me out.

"Not at all, we get travellers passing through here all the time." Reaching down, she pulled out a guidebook from under the counter and opened it up to reveal a map of the region.

"We're here, at the base of these mountains." She pointed to a small dot, next to some squiggly contours. "The nearest laboratory is a few dozen miles along the range." She traced out the route on the map with her finger, before noticing Mira and Pyro as they struggled to climb up onto the counter. Mira finally managed to clamber up, turning around a few times and jumping unexpectedly onto my shoulder. I patted her softly on the head, and she purred softly in response.

The nurse smiled. "Although, if you just want to register for a trainer's license without a starter pokémon, you can do that here," she added.

I was intrigued at this possibility; I had intended to get answers as fast as possible, but becoming a trainer in the process hadn't crossed my mind. It probably would be safer for Mira and Pyro if we were travelling through populated areas for a while. I would still need to visit the laboratory anyways, but I might as well be prepared for anything.

"That would be awesome, I'll register now then."

Grinning, she pulled out a huge stack of paperwork. "Begin here."



It took about an hour to finish the registration, and I was presented with a shiny red pokédex, six pokéballs, and a nice starter stipend. Apparently the League, wanting to draw as many new trainers as possible, decided to promote the sport with an incentive; all the better for me, as I didn't have any money from this world. We booked a free room at the center for the evening, and Mira immediately jumped around playfully in the fluffy bed. Pyro on the other hand quickly settled down for the night, finding a cozy warm spot near the radiator.

After we all settled down and relaxed for awhile, I called the two of them over and explained that I wanted to tag them with a pokéball so they wouldn't be captured by other trainers, that I'd keep them out whenever they wanted. Both hesitantly agreed and timidly nudged the activators on two of my pokéballs, disappearing in a shimmer of red light. Releasing them again, I stowed the balls away on my belt before sitting down on the bed to take another look at the ODT device.

The display illuminated as expected, only this time a blinking green indicator in the corner of the interface indicated a full recharge.

This was it, I could finally go back home! Standing up excitedly, I was about to speak out before I noticed Pyro peacefully resting at the foot of the bed, and Mira just starting to settle down on one of the pillows. I guess one night wouldn't do any harm. I'd hate to leave now after settling in and everything. Sighing, I quietly clambered onto the other side of the bed. Patting Mira softly between her ears, I turned out the lights.

"Goodnight, you two."

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Cyn
18th February 2012, 2:34 AM
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Chapter 4 - Out of the Blue

A hint of golden sunlight peeked through a crack in the window shades, lighting the entire room in a deep shade of orange. I awoke just after dawn, sitting up and looking around in a moment of confusion before remembering where I was. Beside me, Mira lay curled up in a ball of fur, breathing in a peaceful rhythm. Sleeping next to her was Pyro, apparently having moved up onto the bed during the night, warmth radiating out from the glowing splotches on his back.

I quietly climbed out of bed, trying not to disturb their peaceful slumber, albeit unsuccessfully. Pyro stirred slightly, opening one eye and noticing my departure, raised his head. I motioned to my lips for silence.

"Shhh, I'm gonna get cleaned up, then we can all have breakfast." Nodding, he slowly stretched out his legs, being careful not to wake Mira as I entered the adjoining bathroom.

By the time I was ready, Mira and Pyro were fully awake, sitting on the windowsill and gazing out at the surrounding park. From the second floor, I could just make out a few buildings at the border to downtown, peeking through the dense canopy; you could probably consider the park more of a well-tended woodland than an urban green. Now well into morning, the sun shone brightly, just a few fluffy clouds visible in the azure sky.

"You two ready for breakfast?"

Crying out in enthusiasm, they jumped down from the sill and followed me out of the room.



Interestingly, the pokémon center was not only a hospital, but also contained everything a trainer would conceivably need: a convenience store for supplies, a small café, even free rooms and food for any registered trainer. Starving, we passed through the sparsely populated lobby and headed straight for the café; I'd buy supplies after we ate. It wasn't a hugely impressive establishment, only a dozen small tables and booths with minimal decoration, but it served its purpose keeping trainers and their pokémon fed. The breakfast rush almost filled the place, with most of the tables bustling with other trainers and their partners.

After looking over the menu, I ordered some pancakes, and some pokémon food specialized for normal and fire-types. It appeared that regular pokémon food consisted of the generic granular 'kibble', although the higher-quality entrées looked almost tasty enough for a human to eat. Both Mira and Pyro seemed excited, bounding around the small booth, gazing at the other people and pokémon, mouths watering at the heaping bowls of food.

I tried to catch their attention. "After breakfast, I want to try to travel back to my home. Do you both want to go with me?" Mira immediately nodded her head vigorously, while Pyro wore an indifferent expression; he probably agreed reluctantly, if only to accompany Mira.

"Aw, don't be shy, it'll be an adventure!" I patted Pyro on the head and he glumly smiled. While we waited for our food, I quietly browsed the pokédex, watching them caper around in their seat out of the corner of my eye. I thought it would be a good idea to learn as much as I could about this world, starting with the pokémon.

Eevee, the Evolution Pokémon
Height: 0'11.8"
Weight: 14.3 lb

Eevee is able to adapt to a variety of environments, due to its unique ability to evolve to one of seven forms. Because of its rarity, Eevee living in populated areas are quickly captured; consequently, wild Eevee are only found in remote places uninhabited by humans.

Like other pokémon that use elemental stones to evolve, some of Eevee's evolution paths can only be triggered by exposure to the corresponding elemental stone. However, like any normal evolution, the process is still completely voluntary and can be resisted if the change is undesirable.


Cyndaquil, the Fire Mouse Pokémon
Height: 1'7.7"
Weight: 17.4 lb

Native to forests and grasslands, Cyndaquil is a good choice for starting trainers. Cyndaquil's mood and strength can be judged by the amount of heat, or size of flames, on its back.

Usually very shy, Cyndaquil usually become much more active and adventurous once they evolve. Until becoming proficient with fire, a Cyndaquil can rely on the flames on its back for protection.

Our food finally arrived, a heaping plate of pancakes for me, and two medium-sized bowls of pokémon food. Mira and Pyro immediately began devouring their meal, almost finishing the breakfast within a few minutes. I smiled, watching them put it all away with gusto.

"Kip!"

A voice rang out, and all three of us looked down at the source next to our table. Reared up on the seat was a small adorable blue fish-like pokémon, its head fin and tail wagging as it smiled at us. "Mudkip!"

Mira and Pyro looked expectantly back at me, lagging behind with breakfast only half-finished. "Go on and play, just don't wander too far," I responded, mouth half full. Grinning, the three bounded out of the café and off into the lobby. I wasn't worried; the mudkip probably had a trainer nearby, being in a pokécenter and all. They'd all be under watchful eyes the whole time.

I leisurely took my time eating, playing with the ODT's settings under the table. As high tech as everything in this world was, I didn't want to draw attention to myself with this unknown device. Eventually, I finished my meal and stepped out into the lobby. To satiate my curiosity and desire to prepare for anything, I decided to stop by the mart for a quick peek. I wonder what kind of pokémon supplies they have?

Rows of shelves were packed full of merchandise: a broad selection of healing supplies, dozens of brands of pokémon food, even camping and trainer necessities, I didn't know where to start. Not knowing what I'd be in for, I used up a good portion of my starting cash for some healing medicines, a few bags of pokémon food, and a nice-looking dark green backpack to carry everything.

I ignored for now the assortment of training and battle gear; there was no need for that sort of stuff at the moment, not before I figured out what I was going to do. Curiosity now satisfied, I stepped back into the lobby and looked around for Mira and Pyro.

Strange, I didn't see them anywhere in the lobby. Glancing around, nothing seemed out of place, just a few random trainers milling about. Circling the lobby a couple times to make sure, I apprehensively approached the nurse at the counter.

"Excuse me, have you seen an Eevee and a Cyndaquil around here?"

She thought for a second, before a gleam of recollection sparked in her eyes. "Oh, those two and a mudkip. I saw them venture outside not too long ago," gesturing to the front entrance's sliding glass doors, "Quite a rambunctious trio, they couldn't have gotten too far." Thanking her, I meandered outside, calling out for Mira and Pyro.

After a few minutes of searching, still no answer. Where could they have gone? Now concerned, I turned to head back inside, and was interrupted by a distant outcry.

"Veee!"

I turned in the direction of the sound, the woods bordering the main path. Soon after, a dark plume of smoke began rising from behind the trees. That has to be them! I raced into the woods, brushing aside branches and foliage, travelling maybe a hundred feet before stumbling upon a small grassy clearing.

Before me stood Pyro, dark wisps of smoke dribbling from his mouth, facing off in battle against the previously-friendly mudkip. Behind them stood a hooded individual, clad in navy-blue, directing the skirmish. Panting heavily, it was clear that Pyro was losing this battle, being at a type disadvantage. But why didn't he just run back to the center?

I peered around the clearing and noticed a small metal cage beside the mysterious trainer, which contained... Mira!

The hooded trainer pointed at Pyro. "Douse it again! Water Gun!"

The blue mud fish smirked as it darted forward, closing in on Pyro before blasting him with a powerful jet of water at point-blank range. Pyro sailed through the air and painfully slammed against a tree. He needed my help, badly.

Quickly, I called out, "Pyro, tackle the trainer and break open the cage!"

Pyro struggled back to his feet, looking around in surprise for my voice. Recognizing me at the treeline, he nodded, exclaiming, "Cynda!" before barreling towards the cage, mudkip in hot pursuit. Just as he had done to me, Pyro slammed into the trainer's chest, knocking him to the ground. Leaping up in the air to dodge another spout of water, he slammed back down onto the cage, denting the roof and dislodging several metal bars from the frame. He stood up on his hind legs and gave a triumphant victory pose. It didn't last long though, as the mudkip took the opportunity to tackle Pyro to the ground.

"Eevee!" Mira scampered out and ran to my open arms, narrowly escaping hands of the recovering trainer. The man scowled at me, clearly vexed. "Meddlesome little... Mudkip! Use Mud Bomb!"

Grinning mischievously, the tiny mudkip summoned a large, dense sphere of mud, and hurled it straight at Pyro. With a loud crack, it collided with Pyro in the chest before exploding in a huge cascade of soggy earth. Crying out in pain, Pyro flew back and landed head-first in the dirt, knocked unconscious.

"No! Pyro!" I tried to rush over to him, but was immediately obstructed by a torrent of water.

The cloaked trainer laughed. "That'll teach you not to mess with Team Origin's plans. Now hand over that Eevee, or the Cyndaquil is finished!" The mudkip smirked at us and readied its stance, waiting for the command. Mira buried her head into my arms, tears welling up in her eyes, refusing to witness whatever would happen next.

Thinking fast, I sized up my options. This guy meant business; I knew he wasn't going to hold back, not after we attacked him directly like that. We were standing in the middle of the clearing, so I couldn't return Pyro and make it to the treeline before getting nailed by an attack, and I certainly couldn't give up on Mira or Pyro. That left... my only other means of escape. The ODT. Might as well be now or never.

I swiftly pulled out the ODT and Pyro's pokéball, activating both. Pyro glowed and dematerialized in a beam of red light, withdrawing to the ball just as the familiar cage of vivid blue light developed.

"What the... Mudkip, attack!" The blue pokémon planted its feet firmly, and fired another mud bomb towards me; however, I was expecting the retaliation, and dropped to the ground. The attacked sailed harmlessly over my head and through the solidifying light I could see the mudkip charge directly at us. I held Mira close and the woods faded from sight as the flaring white light enveloped us both.



This time I managed to stay conscious, my eyes adjusting to the dimmer environment. As I expected, I found myself on my bedroom floor and I immediately scrambled to my feet.

Okay, alive, check, location, check. Mira? I looked down to see the eevee shuddering in my arms, clearly shaken by her experience. Safe, check. There was one more.... Pyro! I quickly pulled some of the medicine from my bag, and kneeling down on the floor and released Pyro from his ball. Reappearing, he groaned softly in pain, barely regaining consciousness.

I carefully applied the medicinal spray before retrieving a first aid kit from a cabinet and gently wrapping his side and legs with clean bandages. Mira hovered around us as I worked, nervously pacing back and forth. Although I only saw a bunch of bruises, I couldn't tell if there were any serious internal injuries; the potions would probably only heal superficial wounds and extremely minor fractures. I did the best I could, finally placing Pyro on some soft linens so he could rest up. A pulse of warmth radiated weakly from his back; at least that was a reassuring sign.

"There, that's all I can do for now." I turned to Mira, who jumped up into my arms, still trembling. "He'll be all right. Are you hurt at all?"

She managed to shake her head, before burying it in my shirt, tears starting to stream forth. I tried to calm her down, softly stroking through the silky brown fur on her back. "Everything's gonna be fine, I won't let anyone lock you up ever again."

After a few minutes, Mira finally calmed down enough that I could put her down; she immediately settled down beside the resting Pyro, waiting like a sentinel for him to awaken.



I left the two in my room, stepping out for a moment to compose my thoughts. An entire parallel world, where pokémon were real! It seemed right out of a dream, let alone reality. I have to tell someone about this... Kevin! I had completely forgot about my long-time friend, being caught up with Mira's appearance, and now Pyro's condition. I pulled out my cell phone, only to notice a long queue of texts and missed calls, all from his number.

15:45 - "Hey, where are you? I'm at your place, but you're not there. Gotta leave soon, msg me back"
16:07 - "Can't wait around for you any longer, call you when I arrive"
22:36 - "What happened to you? You haven't picked up for hours"
07:43 - "You always answer my texts, starting to get worried. Call me back already"

Aw man. I'd missed Kevin's departure, and wouldn't see him in person for quite a while. I immediately dialed my buddy's number, the phone ringing barely once before picking up.

"FINALLY! Now tell me, what happened to you? There's no way in hell you'd normally skip out on me like that."

"You wouldn't believe me, even if I told you."

"Nothing you say is ever unbelievable. Try me."

I sighed to myself. How to explain this properly? I cleared my throat, "I just discovered that Pokémon are real, they actually exist."

A pause on the other end. "Very funny. No, seriously, tell me what happened."

"I'm telling the truth! I said you wouldn't believe me."

I heard Kevin sigh in frustration on the other end. "Look, if you don't want to talk about it, I understand, just say so, but don't make stuff up like that." A short pause, then, "At least keep me in the loop next time, I was really worried when you disappeared off the face of the earth."

"Because I was inadvertently teleported to the pokémon world. Right, I'll remember that next time." I replied sarcastically.

"You do realize you sound completely crazy, right?" A few voices called out in the background of the call. "I gotta go, call me back when you can spout common sense again."

"But I am-.... Fine, you just wait, I'll prove it next time I see you."

"Of course you will. Okay, bye."

I hung up, and slumped against the wall. Figures he didn't believe me, I wouldn't believe myself either. I quietly sat down; Pyro probably wouldn't wake for a bit, so I had time to think about what I was going to do next.

Life, we're told repeatedly, always seems to throw you curveballs. A little bit of an understatement in my situation, but true nonetheless. These turn of events would certainly change my summer, and I might actually do something worthwhile instead of idling away my life. I entertained the thought of being a pokémon trainer... it's every kid's dream, albeit in a fantastical sort of way. But now, at this very moment, it was a distinct possibility.

Now that Kevin's off being busy, there's no reason to hold back.

I got up and reentered my room, sitting myself down next to Mira, who was curled up and watching Pyro intently. "He'll be fine by the time he wakes up." She looked up at me, still wearing a worried expression, and jumped into my lap.

I stroked her fur soothingly, "In the meantime, I'd like to ask a few questions, you know, get to know each other better."

Mira nodded, and our long session of twenty-questions began.


- - -

After an hour or two, I had learned quite a bit about the pair. Mira and Pyro had grown up together in the forest valley, where I had appeared the day before. They were both about six or seven months old which, consulting the pokédex, meant they were about the human age equivalent of twelve to fourteen. The dexter also stated that both species usually were dependant on their parents for only two months, so Mira and Pyro had been on their own for a considerable portion of their lives.

As we conversed, I asked Mira how she originally arrived in my room. At the mention, her eyes opened wide, before snapping shut and she trembled with fear, ears laid back. Taken aback, I tried to calm her down again, but she refused to speak or move until I changed the subject. Apparently, I wouldn't be getting answers out of her in the near future.

The topic eventually drifted to battling, I noticed that Mira's demeanor drastically shifted; she halted her pacing, merely resting in one spot as I stroked her fur, gingerly nodding yes or no. It seemed to me like she had little interest battling, and even less firsthand experience. Ah well, something I could help her work on; in light of her recent encounter, it would definitely be a good idea.

I took some time to talk about myself, and Earth in general: how there were no pokémon, why they had to stay out of sight from other people. I had no doubt that nothing good would come of exposing them. If anyone else discovered how to travel between the two worlds, knowing how violent human nature was, I could see no other outcome besides war.

Mira seemed curious, especially at my mention of the many variety of animals. Although the basic forms of many would be somewhat familiar to a pokémon, I cautioned against playful interaction; most wild animals wouldn't hesitate to attack a persistent, unfamiliar foe. They just didn't have that same level of intelligence.

With regards to myself, I shared about my life in general. All about my high school and classmates, my best friend Kevin, even my lack of close family. At least I shared that in common with Mira.


- - -

It wasn't until mid-afternoon that Pyro finally stirred. I was just about to prepare some food for myself and Mira, but I cracked a smile as we both rushed to his side. I let Mira in front, knowing that she could calm him down if he panicked about the drastic change in his surroundings. He wasn't as familiar with my room as Mira was and I didn't want him to inadvertently start a fire.

Opening his eyes, Pyro first spotted Mira, then myself behind her, and he smiled weakly. Practically jumping for joy, Mira immediately nuzzled him on the cheek, relieved that her friend was finally all right. When he noticed the unexpected change of scenery, the spots on Pyro's back glowed a dim red but he managed to hold his composure, focusing instead on Mira's energetic greeting. I watched passively from the background, not wanting to interfere. It looked like the medicine had worked; the bruises had faded and he appeared to no longer be in pain. I figured he'd be a bit tired for a while, but that would only be a minor issue.

"Nice to have you back," I commented. Standing up and stretching, I gestured them both downstairs, finally ready to procure some lunch.



Of course, my cooking skills were nothing to be desired, but it didn't take an expert to serve up boxes of pokéchow, or to put together a somewhat edible sandwich. Even after his rest, Pyro was still taking it easy; an unexpectedly rough morning would do that to you. He casually meandered his way around the kitchen, much less energetic than usual. Mira kept circling around, keen on enticing Pyro to be more animated.

After lunch, we all ventured out into the backyard for some light exercise. Encompassing about an acre, there was plenty of open grass, lined by some thick woods in the back and sides, giving us plenty of privacy. Although it wasn't exactly a rural area, the houses were still spaced far enough away that I didn't have to worry about nosy or disruptive neighbors.

I called Mira and Pyro over. "Alright, I know that we all had a hectic morning, but I thought it might be fun to do a little bit of battle training. We'll take it easy, for now."

Pyro nodded, listening intently to my discussion. Mira, on the other hand, lay reclining in the lush grass, batting at her tail lazily. I cleared my throat, "This means you too, Mira!"

She jumped at her name, before rolling over and giving me an exasperated glare. "Eevee?"

"You need to be able to battle too. C'mon, give Pyro a rest, you're first."

Reluctantly, she followed me to the middle of the yard while I pulled out the pokédex and examined her moveset. Mira knew... only tackle and growl. Could use some work. I positioned myself a few yards in front of her.

"Okay, use Tackle on me!"

She coiled her legs slightly before pelting full speed at me. I held out my hands and braced for the impact. 15 feet, 10, 5...

THUMP.

Mira struck my outstretched hands and bounced off lightly, landing on her back in the grass. Pyro chuckled quietly in the background; my arms had barely moved an inch from the impact. I sighed, "Good, but try to put more power behind the impact." Righting herself, Mira slowly returned to her previous position.

"Quil, Cynda-quiiiil" Pyro called out what I assumed to be some advice from a more-experienced battler. Mira turned to me, concentrating clearly on the target and ran forward again. To my great surprise, she rocketed off much faster than last time and I had barely enough time to throw up my arms in defense. I slid back a foot, pinwheeling my arms to regain balance, as I watched Mira flip backwards and land on her feet, ready for more.

"Much better, now let's keep working on your speed and power."


- - -

After a good while, Mira switched out with Pyro to take a break. She had improved a lot, not only becoming proficient with tackle, but I could swear it was taking on some of the traits of quick attack, with her focus on speed. Mira lay floundering in the grass, breathing heavily; I guess this kind of workout wasn't in her daily routine.

Consulting the pokédex again, I saw that Pyro knew... Tackle, Smokescreen, Ember. His tackle was already good and powerful, and smokescreen would be hard to get wrong. I guess we'd work on Ember, as to not put more physical strain on his healing injuries.

Pointing to an open stretch of grass, I called out, "Okay, Pyro, show me your ember!"

"Cynda..." Flames erupted from his hindquarters, as he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. "Quil!" A large flurry of glowing cinders erupted from his maw, the thick stream fluttering around in the breeze heading... towards me!

"Oh, shi-!"

I dove to the side, barely avoiding the misguided coals. The heat was incredible, almost singing me as the attack glided a few inches above my legs. They sailed past, finally cooling and settling down on the grass. Fortunately, the bulk of the summer heat hadn't hit yet so the vegetation still held considerable moisture and wasn't going to catch fire. For now.

Okay, ember not such a good idea.

Sighing to myself, I stood back up. "We'll work on that aim when we find a better location." I went inside briefly to fetch some equipment, returning with some tennis balls. "Might as well give you a workout, make sure you're healed."

Second on my list for Pyro, behind working on moves, was agility and evasion. He'd gotten pretty banged up by that mudkip, and needed to learn to dodge more attacks. I had Pyro try to dodge the balls as I tossed them in his direction, Mira helping out with retrieval. For the most part, Pyro seemed to be able to evade a head-on attack, but almost always failed when I hit from his peripheral vision. Oh well, something to practice.



We continued until the sun began setting behind the trees before I put away our equipment and we returned indoors, all thoroughly exhausted. Thankfully, I never had to put in much effort for dinner, and we ate in silence. I was pretty busy wrapped up in my own thoughts. What am I going to do now? I had this amazing opportunity, to explore a brand new world, and be able to return home instantly whenever I wanted. It's not like I would miss anything by leaving.

My mind made up, I announced, "There's not much reason to stay here for very long. I think we should go back to your world first thing tomorrow morning."

Mira's ears perked at this, stopping to smile at me before resuming her dinner. I couldn't see a noticeable reaction from Pyro; for a 'mon with no visible ears, I was impressed he could hear me at all. I guess he was pretty indifferent as to where we ventured, as long as we were all together.

As it got darker outside, I sat around and talked with Mira and Pyro, now that they were both awake. As I had done before, I began asking Pyro questions, trying to figure out more about him. As I suspected, his reaction to battles was very different than Mira, proudly puffing out his chest boastfully when I mentioned his battling strength. That is, until I commented on how powerful his first attack on me was, to which he winced apologetically.

I studied the ODT for a while before bed. Digging through the almost-nonexistent documentation, I finally figured out how to set up a favorites menu, for quick labelled access to our previously travelled locations. I got the feeling that saving all of our travel locations would come in handy, just in case.

We finally settled in to sleep, Mira and Pyro sharing the pile of blankets I laid out at the foot of my bed. I could barely contain my anticipation; tomorrow was bound to be a very exciting day.

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Cyn
18th February 2012, 2:36 AM
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Chapter 5 - The Art of Battle

The next morning arrived, sunlight peeking through the gaps in the closed window blinds. I awoke to the playful cries of Mira and Pyro, as they wrestled around on the floor. Apparently, I wouldn't be sleeping in very much this summer. Yawning and stretching, I made my way sleepily to the bathroom to clean up. Mira and Pyro paused at my movement, before shrugging it off an resuming their lively play.

Breakfast was a short affair, preparing a nice bowl of cereal for myself, and the rest of the box of strawberries for Mira and Pyro. At the mere sight of berries, Mira's mouth watered as she yipped excitedly. I guess she really enjoyed them last time, compared to whatever her normal diet was. She happily accepted the fruit, offering the first to Pyro before promptly gobbling down her portion. Pyro nervously accepted the berry, nibbling it gingerly. His expression immediately brightened, as he joined Mira in the scrumptious berry genocide.

I began packing all the gear we'd need on the road. Even though we could just return home whenever we needed to, it just didn't feel in the spirit of adventure. What was the point of exploring a brand new world if you just returned home every evening?

Camping equipment was no problem; Kevin and I had gone camping quite a few times and, with more storage space, I ended up with both of our gear. One-person tent, sleeping bag, even lightweight cooking supplies, all packed and ready to go. I was sure he wouldn't mind me borrowing them in the least.

Gathering and packing everything I could think of, I beckoned to Mira and Pyro. "Come on, let get going." Pulling out their pokéballs, I recalled them, before activating the ODT. The shining sphere filled my vision as I stood there, stoked for our new adventures.



My view cleared, green vegetation greeting me as expected. We were in the small clearing in the park; thankfully, there was no sign of my previous encounter with the Origin grunt. I hurried back through the trees to the pokémon center. Although it looked as if Pyro was recovering well, I still wanted to give him a checkup, to make sure everything was alright.

I approached the front counter, "Excuse me, I'd like to give my Cyndaquil a checkup to make sure he's healthy". I released Mira and sat Pyro's ball on the counter. She sniffed curiously at the ball for a second, before jumping to a comfortable vantage point on my shoulder.

The nurse looked over, and her eyes lit up with a wave of recognition. "You're that trainer who registered the other day! I thought you left town already, since you didn't check back in yesterday evening". She accepted Pyro's ball, placing it in the scanner, then examined the console for the results.

I fidgeted nervously in place, waiting for the results. "No, I didn't leave, but something kinda came up." A pause, while the pokéball in the scanner glowed brightly. "I do have a couple of questions though. Do you know anything about an organization called 'Origin'?"

She thought for a moment, while Pyro's results began scrolling down the monitor. "I'm sorry, but I haven't heard of them." The scanner beeped, and she handed me back Pyro's ball. "Your Cyndaquil's appears to be recovering nicely. A few lingering bruises, but he should be completely healed by the end of the day - just make sure not to engage in any rough battles in the meantime."

I accepted the ball, thinking in place for a moment. I still wanted to go visit the regional pokémon professor; there, I'd have the best chance of answering my questions about the ODT and the mysterious team Origin. "Could you also give me directions to the pokémon lab?"

She happily pulled out a local map, indicating to me the location and route to the place. "It should be about a week or two travel away, but there are a few towns along the way you can rest at." Thanking her, I folded up the map and walked back out into the park.

I looked over at Mira, still perched my shoulder. "Might as well get going,"

She yipped in approval, and we set out along the road.


- - -

Nothing much happened that day; we made some good progress down the route, stopping a few times to rest and view the scenery. Unlike the suburban area I came from, we could travel through stretches of road that were completely devoid of any sign of human habitation, aside from the narrow dirt path, trees on one side and open grassland on the other. A few mountains dotted the azure skyline in the distance, giving the view a beautiful backdrop. We set up camp for the night under a thicket of trees, Pyro lighting our campfire for dinner. I had kept him in his ball for most of the day, so that he could rest and heal instead of wearing himself out by walking around with us. It looked like it was working, as he was back to his playful self by the end of the evening.

We got up early the next morning and packed up, setting out with a breakfast of berries on the road. I wanted travel at a leisurely pace and enjoy ourselves, and so that we could make it to the next town by nightfall; although I enjoyed camping, nothing beat a soft bed to sleep in.

Around noon, we stopped on the bank of a quiet little stream crossing the road. The place seemed perfect for lunch - tall shady trees covering a nice grassy spot on the banks, plenty of fresh water, some berry bushes peeking out of the trees a bit downriver. I released Pyro, letting him stretch his legs and get some fresh air while I gathered and prepared our lunch. I had already let him out a few times along the way, but he had opted to just rest in his ball for most of the morning.

After a quick sandwich and some harvested berries, I decided that we had some time to spare, so I directed them to another round of battle training. With the wide open space by the river, it seemed we had enough room for me to observe the technique on his ember attack.

Standing a safe distance behind Pyro, I pointed at some medium-sized rocks jutting out of the middle of the water. "Pyro, I want you to try hitting those rocks with ember."

"Cyn..." I watched as he focused on the target, breathing deeply.

"-da!" Flames sprung from his back, and a thick stream erupted from his maw, the glowing embers shooting forward distorting the air with heat. However, they drifted off-target, hissing as they missed and landed harmlessly into the water. Frustrated, he dug his feet into the ground, getting ready to try again.

"Try to focus on your aim, and not so much on power. Hitting the target is much more important."

He nodded in response, and continued on with the exercise as I turned to look at Mira. She was staring intently at Pyro, watching him practice. When she realized that I was watching, she averted her gaze, trying to look uninterested.

I smiled, patting her on the head. "As for you, let's see if you can learn quick attack." She rolled her eyes, nonchalantly standing up and taking the time to casually stretch her legs before walking into position. I picked up a small stick, waving to get her attention. "Use tackle with as much speed as you can, and try to catch the branch before it hits the ground."

I tossed it a few dozen yards, Mira streaking after it. As she neared the target, I could see the beginnings of a white vapor trail behind her as she caught the branch. "Great catch, Mira!" She walked back, grinning through the stick in her mouth.

"You almost had it there." I praised, "Let's try it again."

After a few dozen tries, Mira seemed to be able to use quick attack, at least when she was concentrating hard enough. We stopped to take a break and to check on Pyro's progress at the river. However, we were surprised to find the target boulders completely charred black and smoking. Instead, Pyro was busy peering at a group of dark shadows underneath the flowing surface, firing shot after shot, each hissing as they struck the flowing river. Seems like he had some success, and decided to move onto moving target practice with the river's aquatic residents.



I started packing up; that was enough for one day, we'd best get back on the road. I motioned for them to follow, but paused at a soft rustle in the bushes. I glanced over at Mira and Pyro, who shrugged. We began walking across the nearby bridge and down the path, sun still high in the cloudless sky.

Movement, behind us.

A shadowy figure streaked across the water, leaping from stone to stone and landing on the other side, before stopping to catch its breath. It had rosy pink skin, with a white cottony collar gleaming in the bright sunlight.

Shoot, don't remember which one that is... been too many years since I played these games. I fumbled in my bag for the pokédex, which automatically responded.

"Flaaffy, the Electric Wool pokémon. Its fluffy cotton stores vast amounts of electricity which it uses to paralyze foes."

I peered at the flaaffy, who was now cautiously taking a drink from the stream. Another rustle from the bushes, and the electric type jumped at the sound, looking around fearfully. A few bright green blurs sailed from the trees on the opposite shore, crossing the river in a single leap.

"Treecko and Grovyle, the Wood Gecko pokémon. No foe is able to outmatch their agility in the forest canopy."

The three newcomers surrounded Flaaffy, menacingly baring sharp fangs and claws. The single Grovyle, which I assumed to be the leader, stepped forward, growling a few words, probably some sort of threat or warning.

"What's going on here..." I wondered aloud. This gang didn't seem to be the most friendly pokémon around. We crept closer to get a better view. Hopefully there wouldn't be any serious action; the flaaffy would be at a serious disadvantage in a 3-on-1 battle with no type advantage.

The flaaffy fearfully backed up against the treeline, no means of escape from the native treedwellers.

"Gro-vyle!" The grovyle leapt forward, slashing fiercely at Flaaffy with razor sharp claws. Flaaffy barely managed to dodge, but I knew it wouldn't last long in melee combat while boxed in like that. After a few swipes, Flaaffy stumbled back, sporting a fresh bleeding gash on its leg. Grovyle smirked, knowing victory was inevitable. Although I desperately wanted to help, there was nothing I could do; with Mira lacking battle experience, we were outnumbered and didn't really have any options.

Grovyle nodded at his pals and raised his claw, intending to finish the fight quickly.

Suddenly, a barrage of flaming embers struck one of the flanking treecko, knocking it down and leaving some mild burns. Everyone turned to see the newcomer, and our eyes all fell on... Pyro. What in the world is he doing? There's no way he can handle this fight! Evidently, Pyro wasn't content sitting on the sidelines, instead rashly deciding to jump into the fray.

The two treecko quickly recovered, and with a signal from Grovyle, ran over to engage the new threat, giving some breathing room to Grovyle and Flaaffy. Seeing as remaining hidden was pointless now, I abandoned my cover to give Pyro some direction; with two-on-one odds, we'd be lucky just to hold our ground. Mira rode on my shoulder with a deathly grip, gritting her teeth out of nervousness. The three of us faced off with our adversaries.

The treecko split, one running around to flank us, the other rushing forward, its heavy tail glowing as it swung with a hefty pound attack. Pyro carefully dodged to the side, turning to retaliate with another searing fire attack only to get blindsided by a tackle from the rear. He clambered back to his feet and growled fiercely, ready to continue the fight. The treecko skirted in tandem around opposite sides of the battlefield to regroup. After a moment's nod they darted in again, leaping into the air and twirling their tails with a double pound.

"Quick! Defense Curl and flare your back!"

Pyro braced himself into a small ball, large bright orange flames erupting from the glowing vents on his back. Unable to change trajectory, both landed their attack straight into the flames, sending Pyro sliding along the ground. Seeing them preoccupied with their newly burned tails, I called out, "Use ember again!"

The treecko regained their composure just as Pyro fired a flurry of embers. One was able to dodge the stream, but the other got nailed by the attack, knocking it unconscious with some severe burns. Seeing his comrade down for the count, the remaining foe retaliated with a blindingly fast quick attack. Pyro struggled with difficulty to get back up, the wind knocked out of him and barely able to keep going.

Treecko regrouped with Grovyle, who was still combating the stubbornly defensive Flaaffy. No longer pinned, Flaaffy had managed to get off a few hits on Grovyle, as he was now limping with each swipe, one leg partially paralyzed. Seeing as they were making little headway, Grovyle paused, reassessing the shifting advantage, before sounding the retreat. Collecting their fallen teammate, the two hastily jumped back across the river and disappeared like shadows into the woods.

"All right, good job Pyro!" He was pretty bruised up, but at least still able to grin at the victory. Mira jumped down to congratulate Pyro, nuzzling him on the cheek. I looked back at the Flaaffy, who was kneeling on the ground, covered in lightly bleeding lacerations. I approached cautiously, "Come on, let's get you healed up."

Alarmed, it growled a warning, small bolts of electricity arcing from its fleece collar into the surrounding ground.

I jumped back immediately. "Okay, okay, I'll leave you alone." Poor thing, must be scared out of its mind. Flaaffy seemed surprised at my acquiescence, but still eyed us warily. It slowly dragged itself to its feet and staggered into the forest, glancing back at us every few seconds to make it wasn't followed. I continued to gaze as the figure slowly faded into the underbrush. I wonder what that was all about?

I felt Pyro paw at my leg and, remembering the battle, I pulled out some healing potions and gently sprayed Pyro's bruises. He winced at the touch, but in a matter of minutes his injuries looked visibly better, so we started back down the path, hoping to reach the next city before nightfall.


- - -

It wasn't until early in the evening that we crested yet another hill, finally spotting the next town, it's glowing lights beckoning in the dim twilight. I was thoroughly exhausted, after walking straight for two days; if foot travel was going to be my primary means of transportation, I really needed to get back in shape! We didn't encounter anything notable along the way, only a few practice battles for Pyro against some of the meeker pokémon, like rattata. Each was a piece of cake for him, even with being a little sore from those troublesome trio.

Mira had fallen asleep sprawled atop my head, snoozing gently as I entered the village, making my way to the pokécenter. This town didn't seem to be much bigger than the last, with the exception of a large battle hall next to the center, probably for tournaments and contests. In fact, as I handed over Pyro to the nurse, I spotted a poster for an upcoming pokémon tournament. Mira sat underneath, gazing in wonder at the fierce battlers depicted: a ferocious Charizard facing off against a quick-footed Jolteon, fire and sparks flying.

"Interested in battles, huh?"

She looked back at me and nodded timidly. It seemed like she was still unsure if it was a good idea, but I could tell she really admired Pyro's prowess. I figured she could use some encouragement.

I picked her up in my arms. "How about this: let's us three enter in this tournament, and see how it goes from there?" She gave me a warm smile in agreement, confidence boosted. I didn't know how well we would do, but I guess there really wasn't any harm in trying. Besides, I knew Pyro would totally be up for the challenge.

As I received Pyro's ball and released him, I inquired about the tournament poster. Evidently, the tournament was split into two days, with the qualification matches the next afternoon and the rest of the tournament the rest of the day after. Also, I found out that the each of the winners would receive a full set of elemental evolution stones! I didn't how Mira felt about evolution, but the prizes would definitely come in handy should she want to.

Sign-up was at the center, since all the trainers came through anyways. I ended up entering in the 2-on-2 singles bracket, as well as reserving a room for the duration of the tournament. Exhausted, we all retired to our room for the night.



As evening crept in, I decided that we should all get a good night's rest. However, before bed I ushered them into the bathroom.

"Alright, you two. After a couple days' travel, you two desperately need a thorough bath." I thought that Mira might enjoy a nice soak, but I knew getting Pyro to get in would be difficult.

Pyro's eyes widened, finally noticing steam rising from the adjacent tub. He squirmed through my grip as I tried to coax the stubborn fire-type, he finally giving up as I caught and picked him up.

"You don't want to stay all dusty and filthy, right? I know you don't like water, but think of it as training for any water-types we'll face."

He ceased his struggling, but remained tense as I lowered him gently into the water, where Mira was already happily soaking her smooth fur. Once he appeared satisfied with the warmth of the water, I began scrubbing both of them down, soap lathering up in frothy bubbles. Mira softly purred contently as I rubbed behind her ears and her thick collar, the dirt slowly seeping out. The steam gave the tiny room a sense of calm, even Pyro began to relax as he got acclimated to his surroundings.

I managed to rinse out most of the grime in their fur, taking Mira out and drying her before she promptly shook water all over the bathroom. She squirmed in my arms, trying to rest comfortably while I ruffled dry her damp brown fur. I was about to do the same to Pyro, but he gave me and the damp towel a sharp glare, and dried himself off with a quick burst of fire. I guess it helped to be a living hairdryer like that.

I flopped down on the bed, ready for a good night's rest. Mira crawled over to curl up next to me, and I reached out to hug her close, keeping both of us nice and warm. A indignant poke on my arm told me Pyro didn't want to be left out, as he snuggled up next to Mira, the four spots on his back glowing a dim warm red.

I looked down at the two, smiling contently and closed my eyes. How did I get so lucky to have you two?


- - -

We woke up early, wanting to make sure we were as prepared as possible for what was probably going to be the toughest series of battles we'd faced so far. After a quick bite of breakfast at the center, we meandered out back to the training fields.

Considering that the tournament started later that day, I was surprised to find the field not crowded with trainers. A small group of people and their pokémon were spectating a practice battle between a sandslash and a totodile on one of the fields. After watching the battle wrap up, we settled down on a small patch of grass away from the other trainers to practice alone.

I had Pyro fire rounds of slow, cool embers at Mira to give her some practice with dodging and speed, and him aim. Not powerful enough to actually hurt her, but at least a realistic target to dodge. She looked like the exercise was intimidating enough, but with mine and Pyro's shouts of encouragement, it appeared that she was making steady progress. I could tell that Pyro really enjoyed helping Mira train, sharing such an integral part of his personality.

We stopped to take a break and eat around noon, but I also wanted to check out who our opponent was for this afternoon. The first qualification match was a 1-on-1, so I knew I was going to use Pyro to make sure we at least passed on to the next round, but some extra information on what we'd be facing would help both of us prepare better.

It turned out our first opponent was a slightly younger trainer with his vulpix, so we were in for a tough type matchup. I asked Mira to wander around and try and learn from observing the other trainers that were starting to fill up the area, while I discussed strategy with Pyro. I was sure that she wouldn't mind straying far from us, as there was plenty of exciting action to keep her occupied.


- - -

Late in the afternoon, the fields were cleared so that the qualification matches could begin; the city didn't have a huge league-scale stadium, so to get all of the matches out of the way, they needed to use several battlefields. Our match was scheduled just before sunset, so we had some time to spectate the other trainers that, should we win, we might face tomorrow. Most of the trainers we saw seemed to have more battle experience than I, and possibly also Pyro, did. However, our bracket consisted of a lot of younger teens, so maybe we would have a fighting chance against the more naďve trainers. Not that I was any better, but Pyro would probably have a fighting chance.

Finally, we were called up to the field. Like we had been, there were a few trainers standing around and spectating the various matches, so we had some audience, albeit not a huge crowd. Pyro stepped out onto the battlefield and Mira climbed up on top of my shoulder to get a better view of the battle. We all waited as our opponent stepped up and released his pokémon.

"Come on out, Amber!" The trainer yelled, throwing out his pokéball.

The customary red light flashed out and solidified, revealing his vulpix. The rust-colored fox let out a high-pitched battle cry, either in anticipation or just trying to intimidate Pyro. Even if it worked, Pyro didn't show it. Instead, the vents on his back began glowing red with heat, and he concentrated on staring down our opponents as we waited for the start signal.

Making sure we were both ready, the referee called, "And, begin!"

"Pyro, use tackle head on!" He charged forward with a speed I hadn't seen in him before, but only managed to land a glancing blow to Vulpix's flank as she nimbly dodged to the side. Pyro skidded to a stop and turned to face Vulpix, but was met with a quick counter attack as she let out a barrage of embers.

Off balance, he was unable to do anything to dodge the move and got knocked back with a few stinging burns. With Pyro being a fire-type, I knew that it wouldn't do much damage physically, but I was worried about multiple hits wearing down his concentration and morale. To make matters worse, Vulpix followed up with another move, leaving a blazing white trail as she bolted towards Pyro with quick attack.

"C'mon, Pyro, dodge it!" He got up to his feet, thoroughly annoyed with his singed fur, and jumped deftly above the oncoming fox. "Good, now try a smokescreen!"

Black smoke poured out of his maw, obscuring the two combatants from view. I could hear Vulpix cry out in alarm, not a clue in which direction Pyro had landed. Mira, too, gave a cry of dismay, unable to pick out her friend in the growing cloud. Suddenly, I heard a startled "Pix!" as a second burst of embers emerged from the smoke.

"Good job, keep up the ember!" We had planned this beforehand, knowing that Ember would be the attack that would make it the most difficult to pin down Pyro's position, while still dealing some damage and wearing down Vulpix. It seemed to be working for a while, as staggered outbursts of cinders kept flying out from the smoke.

I heard a shouted command from the other side of the field. The heart of the black cloud glowed, before a huge spinning ring of fire expanded outwards, blowing back most of the obscuring fog and leaving Pyro and Vulpix panting on our respective halves of the field. It looked like the two were pretty evenly matched, as both were sporting some burns and a couple of small bruises.

Not waiting a moment, the other trainer called out for Vulpix to use Dig. Vulpix smiled, burrowing into the ground in a puff of dust, faster than I thought was even physically possible.

"Careful, Pyro, try to figure out where she'll come up."

He stood still, trying to feel the vibrations in the earth below. After a few seconds of nothing, his eyes widened and he twisted to face the emerging Vulpix as she surfaced under his right side. She still flung Pyro up into the air with the powerful blow, but he was able to reorient himself, landing relatively safely on his feet. He stared down Vulpix as she emerged from the second hole and casually shook off the dust that was coating her fur. It seemed like we were at an even standoff.

Suddenly, Pyro began glowing with a brilliant white light. I can't believe it! Pyro was evolving, during a battle of all times. Luckily, our opponent was just as stunned and didn't try counter attack while he was helpless to dodge. Pyro's outline shifted and reformed, the light fading to reveal a larger but similarly-colored quadraped. Pyro opened his eyes, making a quick inspection of his new body, then concentrating on the continuing battle.

"Quilavaaa!" Pyro roared triumphantly and gave an intimidating leer at Vulpix, vigorous orange tongues of flame rippling out of his head and rear. Vulpix looked somewhat worried at this new development, backing up and shifting to a more defensive stance. Pyro's pointed ears twitched at the slight sound, and he prepared for the inevitable attack order.

"Now, let's finish this with a fast tackle!" He dug into the ground, and immediately sped off towards Vulpix. To my surprise, he was accompanied by a glowing vapor trail, mutating the tackle into a quick attack. He struck a surprise blow to Vulpix, who could only brace herself against the speedy impact. "And once more!" I called. Pyro dashed towards her again. Instead of trying to dodge, though, she opened her jaw to try and soften the blow with her ember attack.

"Spin and dodge it!"

Not quite as I intended, he spun head-over-heels directly towards the oncoming attack, maybe to try and jump over or slide under the stream. However, he made no attempt to dodge the embers, plowing directly into the heart of the attack. The flames on Pyro's head brightened and ballooned upon contact with the hot coals, his entire body suddenly bursting into a spinning inferno. The embers dissipated, and he continued on towards Vulpix with his newfound Flame Wheel attack; I guess all quilava learned the move instinctively when they evolved. With such a surprising tactic, I could see why Vulpix was unable to do anything except take the powerful blow head on. She collapsed to the ground, sliding to a stop at the feet of her trainer, knocked out.

"Vulpix is unable to battle, so progressing to the tournament is Mark and his Quilava!"

Mira and I both cheered for Pyro as he bounded over, knocking me over with his new size and gave me a spirited lick on the face. I congratulated him on evolving, as did Mira. She was busy sizing up his new physique, now considerably larger than her, much to his amusement.

Meanwhile, looked over to gaze at the other trainer. He bent down to pick up Vulpix. Smiling, I saw him give her a hug, before recalling her back to her ball. He noticed us watching and gave a congratulatory salute before walking off. Although happy that we had won, I was relieved to see him take the defeat with good sportsmanship, considering that I had practically just began as a trainer a few days ago.



We returned to the pokémon center for the rest of the evening. Although we all were in a celebratory mood, the tournament had just started, so we were nowhere close to winning just yet. Still, I couldn't bring myself to ignore Mira and Pyro's excitement, eventually breaking down and buying them some sweet poffin treats from the center's mart. We hung out in the main lobby for a while, me watching the other tournament-goers and Mira busy trying to balance on Pyro's back as he ran around in a circle playfully, enjoying his new agility.

"Hey, you! Mark!"

I looked up to find my last opponent walking over, his Vulpix following by his side. She wore some light bandages around her front flank and neck due to our match, but it didn't look too serious. The nurses at the center probably took care of these kinds of injuries all the time.

"Oh, hi." I didn't know what else to say, since I didn't even know his name. I hadn't introduced myself before our battle, but I guess he had looked me up in more detail after our battle.

"I just wanted to say congrats, I thought we had a great battle. My name's Tyler, by the way."

We talked for a while, although I was careful not to gloat about us qualifying for the next round. He didn't seem to mind a whole lot, as he explained that they entered into the tournament just for fun, to see how well they might stack up against other trainers before deciding if they wanted to take on the Gym Challenge. He asked how I came to own Mira and Pyro, and I explained that I had befriended Mira first, and eventually also Pyro before catching them in pokéballs. Of course, I neglected to elaborate exactly where this happened or where I was from.

I heard a yelp off to the side and looked over; apparently Mira had playfully tried to pounce onto the unsuspecting Vulpix from above, and had received a light smack to the head in response.

"Come on you two, play nice." Mira quietly muttered a small "Eevee" in apology, and resumed playing with Pyro, with Vulpix just watching contently on the sidelines. Tyler merely smiled at the commotion, "Amber's just a little bit wary of surprises, no harm done."

Tyler explained that he obtained Amber as a starter pokémon about three months ago. Up until now, they had been travelling around a lot, just journeying to see the world without much of a goal in mind.

Amber casually began grooming her bronze fur, and I noticed an odd-sized chunk of her ear was missing. When I asked about it, Tyler explained, "About a week in, Amber got a little too curious and accidentally provoked a group of wild rattata. We managed to get away, but not without injury." He motioned to her ear, and a few thin scars on his own forearm. "That's why she doesn't like being caught off-guard." Amber lifted her head at this comment and nodded, apparently listening to our conversation as well.

We talked for quite a while, even Pyro and Mira tired out and eventually settled down to relax and enjoy the company. As the lobby emptied of trainers, I bid farewell to Tyler and Amber before heading back to our room. They had decided to leave immediately and keep training on the road, since there was no point in staying longer. However, we exchanged contact info so we could meet up sometime for a rematch. I didn't know exactly how large the pokémon world was, or if we would ever see each other again, but I was glad to have at least one friend out here besides my companions.

I made sure that Mira and Pyro got to bed early, since our next match was first thing in the morning. I figured that, at this point, rest was more important than worrying about who our opponents would be; regardless, we would all just try our best to win.


- - -

We woke bright and early, grabbing some breakfast amid the bustling lobby. I made sure Pyro didn't eat too much; the last thing we wanted was to lose because of a full stomach. Mira, however, didn't have much of an appetite, which I could only attribute to her being nervous. She'd only had a few sparring matches with Pyro as a Cyndaquil, so she had to be at least a little concerned about facing another opponent that was focused solely on knocking her unconscious.

A sizable crowd was already congregating outside the nearby battle hall, jostling for a place in line to buy tickets; I guess tournaments like these were the closest equivalent of professional sports in this world, which made up for the lack of entry fee for trainers. We bypassed the line, entering the lobby where the rest of the other trainers were already waiting.

A few signs were posted on a bulletin board, showing the layout of each single-elimination bracket, each of about 8 - 16 trainers. I would be facing another trainer named Ashley, after which only two more victories away from winning our bracket.

Next to the board stood a glass display, containing the tournament prizes. About a dozen cases lined the shelves, each filled with four small sparkling stones. An inlaid elemental symbol shone on each oval gem, color radiating out from the center almost like energy flowing to give the stones their distinctive hues. They seemed small for what I was expecting for elemental stones, each only about a third the size of my palm.

I sat down with Mira and Pyro in a quieter corner of the lobby to give a little pep-talk before our match, mostly for Mira's benefit. She kept pacing back and forth, peering at the other combatants as they loomed over her diminutive figure.

"Okay, this is it. The big day, and an especially exciting one for you, Mira."

She hopped up onto my lap as I continued. "But I know that we've had quite a lot of practice, and I'm confident you can hold your own in battle." A thin smile curled up at the corner of her mouth, and she gave me a cheerful lick on the cheek.

"Quilava-la" Pyro chimed in, patting her on the shoulder with encouragement.



We didn't have long to wait, as ours was the fourth match to begin. I stepped out of the entrance tunnel into the brightly lit field. A loud roar erupted from the stadium crowd and I turned to wave at them. Mira anxiously ducked behind my legs for a moment, shielding herself from the cacophony and blinding lights as she gradually acclimated.

Our opponent walked out of her tunnel opposite us. She looked to be maybe 16 or 17 and stood pretty tall, a white cap covering her dark brown hair that ended around her shoulders. A determined look shone in her eyes as she sized up Mira and myself. I attempted to look as confident as possible, nudging Mira slightly with my foot to get her out from behind me.

Pictures of both of us with our names lit up the scoreboard above the field: Mark versus Ashley, 2 on 2. The official motioned to start the match. Mira strode out onto the field, widening her stance, her picture lighting up on the board. Ashley didn't look surprised at my choice, considering we had just entered onto the field together. However, I noticed a somewhat intrigued smile, as she twirled a miniaturized pokéball with a flourish before expanding it and tossing it out.

"Come on out, Chikorita!"

The bright light flashed and reformed into the small green quadruped, the vibrant green leaf on its head swishing with anticipation. Its bright red eyes gleamed brightly as it gave a loud, intimidating "Chika!" Mira stood her ground, trying to show absolutely no fear.

"Participants ready? And, begin!"

"Quick Attack, Mira!" I directed, trying to get the initial upper hand. Mira zigzagged across the field displaying some amazing agility. Chikorita tried to deflect the blow with a retaliatory smack using the leaf on her head, but lost her balance upon impact and tumbled back, skidding to a quick stop. Mira staggered at the blow, unprepared for the stinging distraction.

I heard Ashley call out to use Razor Leaf, but there was nothing I could do besides call for Mira to dodge. With Mira's trying to regain her footing, Chikorita fired a volley of leaves that sliced through the air as they spun. She weaved back and forth amid the raining projectiles, avoiding the brunt of the attack. The few leaves that did impact didn't look like they did a lot of damage, but some of them did leave some stinging cuts along the fur on her back.

"Retaliate with a Tackle!"

With an angry growl, she blew past the drifting remains of the attack and plowed into Chikorita, both of them sprawling clumsily to the floor. They rolled around for a moment, wrestling for the upper hand, with Mira finally ending up pinning Chikorita underneath her, her tiny fangs bared fiercely.

"Close range Tackle, now!" I called, hoping to press our advantage. Mira reared back to land another blow, but suddenly she relaxed and her eyes grew dull and disoriented. Chikorita scrambled away from her, and I began to smell an intoxicating aroma wafting in the air. Sweet Scent! Mira couldn't overcome the fascinating incense, so it wasn't much of a contest when Chikorita rammed her to the ground with a tackle of her own.

"No!"

Mira slowly scrambled to her feet and shook her head, still a little muddled. "Come on, you can do it! Quick Attack!" She tried to ready the attack, but wasn't able to concentrate for more than a few feet. An order rang out, and with it some vines extended out from Chikorita's collar, snaking their way along the ground over to Mira.

"Watch out!" The vines struck a few stinging blows to Mira's head, making her even more dazed. Then they coiled around Mira, picking her up and launching her up into the air about 40 feet. "Veee!" I could tell this wouldn't end well, already she could barely concentrate, let alone land without some seriously painful injuries. At this point, there wasn't much hope of winning the round, and I didn't want her to get any more hurt for no reason. With no other option, I pulled out her ball and clicked the activator to recall her before she hit the ground.

Nothing. Out of range.

I desperately mashed the button as she descended, picking up some dangerous speed with each passing moment.

30 feet.

20 feet.

Finally, the activator beam darted out to Mira's falling form just before impact, absorbing it back into the massless red light. I breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that she hadn't been seriously hurt.

"Eevee has been recalled! Therefore, the winner for this round is Chikorita!"

Only now did I realize the crowd had been cheering louder with every attack, up to a roaring crescendo. Mira's picture on the scoreboard went dark, leaving me at the unfortunate 2-on-1 disadvantage. Come on, Pyro, you can do this.

I confidently tossed out Pyro's ball for the next round; with a type advantage, and Pyro's relative experience, how could we lose to a leafy plant? As he materialized, Pyro roared to intimidate his opponent, his head bathed in a halo of flames. Chikorita back up slightly, but refused to show us any indication of apprehension.

The bout started, and Chikorita made the first move. She ran along the edge of the field, firing off leaves towards Pyro. Almost lazily, he eyed each projectile, blowing out a few embers to burn each leaf to a crisp, well before they reached their target. Seeing as razor leaf wasn't working, Ashley directed Chikorita to close the distance and use tackle.

"Pyro, try a Flame Wheel," I called. With a single sweeping motion, Pyro's head flames broadened, engulfing his entire body in a crimson conflagration, as he rolled forward to meet Chikorita head on. They impacted in the middle of the field and Chikorita, unable to maintain her momentum, sailed out from the flames, her leaf singed and smoking. Pyro returned in front of me, waiting for the next command. However, to my surprise, the judge ruled Chikorita unable to continue, and her picture blacked out. I knew beforehand that it wouldn't be a difficult round, but even I was surprised with Pyro's new power.

My joy was rather short lived; a moment later, Ashley released our second foe, and the bright white light faded into a long distinctive blue shape. White and cobalt fins adorned its length, as it stretched its legs and prepared for battle.

Oh no... a Vaporeon.

It let out a taunting cry, making Pyro tense up noticeably, his head and rear flames growing significantly in preparation; even he knew this was going to be a very tough fight. After making sure we were both ready, the official waved for us to start.

I directed Pyro to try an ember, just to test the waters a little. He dug his feet into the ground and let loose a powerful volley. Unfortunately, Vaporeon shrugged off the attack like it was a light rain, completely unfazed. It was time to change our tactics a little bit.

"Circle around with Quick Attack and Smokescreen!"

Nodding, Pyro sprinted off, dodging a couple of water blasts. Thick smoke poured out from his mouth, forming a dense wall trailing behind him as he edged around the field, moving fast enough that Vaporeon was having a tough time aiming any ranged attacks. I lost sight of Vaporeon as the fog spread across the battlefield, but it didn't look worried at all. In fact, its body was glowing an unsettling shiny violet-blue color, sparkling in the spotlights that dotted the ceiling.

Undeterred, I ordered, "Now attack with a Flame Wheel!" If ranged attacks weren't strong enough, then we might as well try some direct physical force. With the smokescreen up, Pyro would have no trouble surprising Vaporeon from any angle.

A bright orange light shone in the heart of the cloud, zigzagging left and right before I heard a loud crash, and a startled yelp, "Vap!" I started to cheer and call for Pyro to do it again. Suddenly, a second cry emerged from the field; for me, it was unmistakable.

"Laaaava!"

Pyro flew out of the haze, tumbling to the floor with a semicircle of bruises across one of his legs. Vaporeon must've had quite a strong jaw to hurl such a large foe across the field. Pyro wasn't nearly out of the fight just yet, and quickly scrambled to his feet. All of a sudden, a large plume of water rose up from the center of the field, and like a long appendage it sliced down through the air, aimed right at Pyro. He scampered out from under the crosshairs, but was still drenched with some of the ice-cold water as it hit the ground and splattered everywhere, splitting the fog in two and quickly dissipating it.

Vaporeon stood on its end of the field, skin still glistening with a purple hue, the blade of water receding back to its tail and evaporating. Intending to try to finish off Pyro, it rushed forward while opening its maw to fire a water gun at the tired and panting Quilava.

"Counter with Ember!" I yelled in desperation, knowing that even though fire attacks were weak to water, we need to make a stand; he couldn't keep dodging like this forever. Planting his feet once more, Pyro reignited his flames with renewed vigor, smoke trickling out the corner of his maw as he let it loose. The two attacks collided, steam hissing out for a couple of seconds.

Through the mist I saw the fiery orange glow dim and flicker, then vanish with an accompanying yelp. As the moisture settled, their two forms gradually emerged. Pyro lay on his side breathing heavily, his vents extinguished. Vaporeon stood over him with one paw on his neck, ready to blast him again if he tried to resist. Clearly, the fight was over, and even Pyro knew when he was outmatched.

The official called the round, and Vaporeon let up on Pyro and walked over to Ashley. Amid the rousing cheers from the crowd, I ran out onto the field and picked up Pyro. Thoroughly drenched, he was still conscious but vigorously shivering from the icy water. He looked a little bummed by the loss, avoiding my gaze.

"Don't worry about it, it's the experience that counts, not who wins." I gave him a warm hug, his body awkwardly a little too large to be carrying, and recalled him to his ball. I looked up, and found myself face to face with Ashley. She held out her hand, which I shook.

"Good match. I hope your pokémon didn't get hurt too badly."

I nodded back, "Some rest and they'll be fine." We both walked out of the stadium and headed back to the center to get our team healed and rested, Vaporeon tagging along at our heels.



We handed over our pokéballs to the nurse at the counter, and sat down to wait. Vaporeon curled up beside Ashley; it hadn't been noticeable hurt during our battle, Pyro having barely landed a scratch. She struck up some conversation to pass the time.

"I don't think I've introduced us, my name's Ashley, and this is Kai." She motioned to Vaporeon, who lay motionless, probably just resting in preparation for their next few matches.

"Mark, and you've already seen Mira and Pyro."

She nodded, and began stroking Kai along the back. "So you became a trainer not too long ago?" I told her just a few days ago, and asked how she knew. "Your Eevee, Mira, was it? She doesn't seem to have been in many battles."

"Yea, the point of entering this tournament wasn't really for the prize, but mostly to get her some experience."

She waved her hand dismissively, "Many aren't either. Evolution stones aren't that valuable." She motioned to Kai, pulling into view a necklace around his neck that I hadn't noticed earlier. A blue gem hung from it, sparkling in the light. "When he evolved, I had the water stone made into a necklace, as a keepsake. It's still just as potent, though, since stones don't lose their energy for hundreds of years. It's never hard to find a trainer with the stone they'd let you borrow."

We continued chatting, and a few minutes later, the nurse came back out and returned our pokémon, tired but healed. Ashley turned to leave, "I have to go back for the next round, but I hope you stay for the rest of the tournament."

"Yep, not going anywhere today, we'll be sure to cheer you three on, good luck!"



I let Mira and Pyro out of their balls. They seemed to be fine, just tired, although both were somewhat sluggish, probably just down from losing earlier.

"Cheer up, you both were amazing out there." I ruffled Mira's fur and picked her up into my arms. Pyro would be fine, he'd seen plenty of victories and losses, but something like this could deter Mira from ever battling competitively again.

I filled both of them in on what had transpired during the other's match, making sure to emphasize Mira's contribution to beating Chikorita. I think it lightened her mood somewhat, as she began attentively listening to my description of Pyro's bout. When I got around to mentioning Kai, I saw her ears pique with interest.

"I was wondering, what do you think about evolving, Mira?"

Of course, I couldn't tell exactly what her reply "Eevee, vee" meant, but I think she didn't want to rush that kind of important decision; if the inclination came in the future, I'm sure she would let me know.

We rested in the center and watched the bustling activity of trainers, eventually grabbing a bite to eat before heading back out to the stadium around midafternoon, this time as spectators. By now it was the third round with only about 20 trainers remaining, a few per bracket. I looked up the standings in the lobby, and was surprised to see Ashley at the finals for our group, to battle again in several minutes. Well, more impressed than surprised, as she had beaten me quite handily.

We filed into some reserved seats for participating trainers near the sidelines of battlefield. The current match ended with a charmeleon toasting a scyther for the win, and Ashley and her opponent entered. A quick handshake, and they retreated to their respective halves, and released Chikorita and a Raticate. By this point in the tournament, the crowd's cheering had risen to a cacophonous roar, and the battle began.

Mira and Pyro eyed the two combatants, cheering vocally whenever Chikorita landed a hit; if we had to lose, we might as well lose to the eventual champion. Although wielding quite a bit of power with its fangs, Raticate was too slow to dodge Chikorita's many ranged attacks, quickly ending in defeat for the large rat. She switched out for Kai when their opponent sent out a nasty-looking Fearow, and the experienced Vaporeon put the beat down on the bird with his icy water attacks, grabbing Ashley the win.

The three of us probably cheered the loudest at this, as we watched the winners from all the brackets line up for their prizes. Mira appeared to enjoy watching the battles tremendously, having a great time relaxing and not brooding over our own battle.

By this time it was already evening, so we ended up staying another night at the center, planning to continue our travel towards the lab the next day. Thankfully, the sport of battling was profitable enough that all participants that passed the qualification round got a consolation cash prize, enough to resupply us for the next few days.

We hung out in the pokémon center lobby for the rest of the evening, letting the two socialize with the other trainer's pokémon, while I kept a watchful eye; I was determined to not let this become a repeat of last time they roamed off by themselves.

Eventually, we headed to our room for a good night's sleep. Mira snuggled under the covers next to me, while Pyro sprawled out on top. The red spots on his body radiated dimly in the darkness, glowing with warmth in tune with his breathing. I stoked them both on the head gently, before dozing off.

"Good night, my two champs."

Top

3D992
18th February 2012, 6:46 PM
I wonder why no one has commented on this. I really like this fic! Such a good story! I cant wait till chapter 6 comes out!

Kurloz Makara
19th February 2012, 3:54 PM
I wonder why no one has commented on this. I really like this fic! Such a good story! I cant wait till chapter 6 comes out!

I second this!!

Your description's very good, and the plot's very well written so far. :3

Mark's a good trainer, and Mira and Pyro are so cute! The fact that they've been good friends before Mark got them warmed my heart. >w<

Team Origin? Uh-oh. I wonder what these guys want...?

10/10 rating from me. :3

Keep it up!! ;133; ;156;

TheShinyWriter
20th February 2012, 6:06 PM
Cyn keep it up!
Its Great The way you describe things like the first start of the Story

Bright sunlight streamed through the bedroom window, bathing everything in a soft golden glow. I grunted semiconciously, slowly pulling the covers over my head in a halfhearted attempt to delay the inevitable.
You used alot of great words in there instead of boring ones!
Next.

Before me stood Pyro, dark wisps of smoke dribbling from his mouth, facing off in battle against the previously-friendly mudkip. Behind them stood a hooded individual, clad in navy-blue, directing the skirmish. Panting heavily, it was clear that Pyro was losing this battle, being at a type disadvantage.

Great Plot and the Whole Bit tells you the atmosphere and gets you up in your seat! And adding that hes at an disadvantage and how he is suffering is great too!
I think The whole plot is such a great idea! and I think should be continued (when you have time, Nobodys Rushing you) I cant wait for the next chapter!
I think Cyndaquil and Eevee are a great pair also considering they are great friends.
Also I'm wondering what Eevee was doing at a lab...
Good Luck with the Rest of your Fic!

Cyn
15th March 2012, 8:25 AM
Top

Chapter 6 - Lost and Found

Surprisingly, I was able to sleep in that morning without being awoken abruptly by Mira or Pyro. I figured we could use the extra rest before hitting the road again. We were still several days travel from the lab and there wouldn’t be another town along the way, so I definitely was going to get as much as I could out of our stay here at the center.

After a leisurely breakfast, we finally made it out onto the open road by late morning. Once again, the weather was perfect, not too hot or cool. And even though this region didn’t have a hot tropical climate, I had yet to see something other than cloudless sunshine. Pyro decided to walk outside of his ball with us, now that his larger build made it easier to run around. Mira rode with me, flopped out lazily atop my head admiring the scenery as we walked. Trees sprung up around us as the path veered off from the adjacent grasslands into the woods.

Every now and then, we would run across some wild pokémon: a furret scurrying across the path or maybe a pidgey chirping in the nearby trees. Mostly, they just minded their own business; unlike the games I used to play, we weren’t in any danger whatsoever as long as we stuck to the dirt route. The few bold pokémon that did end up challenging us to a battle were quickly defeated by Pyro, most with only one or two volleys of ember. Needless to say, there wasn’t much in the woods here that could put up a good fight. Despite this, Pyro had managed to produce a vivid flamethrower a few times, but try as he might, he couldn’t repeat his feat intentionally. I guess we would have to keep working on that, or wait until he naturally developed the skill with age.


- - -

In the early afternoon, we reached a point where the path narrowed sharply, and the trees increased dramatically in size and density. The canopy overhead closed up what patches of sky tried to peek through, letting only a few tiny beams of dusty sunlight drift down through the leaves and light up the darker undergrowth. The path twisted deeper into the forest, the dense growth obstructing our view to a mere dozen or so yards. In the middle of the path stood a signpost, a clear warning to travelers.

Plumera Forest Limit

Distance to Exit: 15 km

Warning: Be wary of any poison-types ahead, Antidotes or Pecha berries required. Not for inexperienced travelers, at least 1 Gym Badge recommended.

Proceed at your own risk.

Below was a large map, depicting a maze-like web of paths that wandered the area seemingly without direction. There weren’t any landmarks I could tell on the map, but if the forest stayed this dense, I wouldn’t be able to see them anyways. Not one of those goddamn unnavigable forests. It seemed like they always sprung up in the games when you were least prepared. I paused, evaluating our next move. Good thing I had thought to buy status healers at the pokémart, including an antidote, so that wouldn’t be a problem. My only concern was the warning about having gym badges. But how dangerous could it be? We hadn’t seen any highly aggressive pokémon so far today, and Pyro would have an edge against any bug and poison types we might encounter. Plus, we would hopefully be out the other side before we set up camp for the night. I looked to Mira and Pyro for their opinions.

“The sign says the forest is more dangerous than the main road. You two think we can make it through?” Of course, Pyro stood on his hind legs, head ablaze and posed his usual ‘I can take on anything’. As for Mira, I could feel her holding onto me more tightly, wary of the path forward. “Eevee...” she murmured, burying her head in my hair.

I patted her reassuringly, and began walking. “Don’t worry, we’ll be just fine.”


- - -

And, we were lost. Apparently, looking at a map isn’t the most helpful if you’re going by memory alone. This place had more twists and turns, forks and dead ends than Viridian forest. Particularly dead ends. I looked up at the only bit of sky I could see above us. We still had maybe an hour of daylight left, I was beginning to worry if we could find our way out before complete darkness fell. Traveling by night was out of the question; with the forest so thick, it’d be practically pitch-black, even with Pyro providing a source of light. Even now it was already getting quite dim, not a single ray of sunshine able to make it through the treetops.

Not to mention the numerous attacks by angry bug-types, with frequent appearances of Weedle and Spinarak. Luckily, Pyro was usually quick to scare them off with a bit of fire, so no one was hurt... yet. But they were much more aggressive than I anticipated. Who knew what would become of us after nightfall? The forest was beginning to awaken, replacing the previous silence with sporadic jarring calls echoing through the trees, or creepy scuttling in the undergrowth. In general, we were all a bit on edge, with good reason.



For the umpteenth time, we stumbled onto another wide path, I could have sworn we’d passed before. As I had grown to suspect, we were definitely walking in circles. Ahead of us, the trail branched in several directions, each looking identical to all the other forks we’d encountered. Sighing, I threw up my hands in resignation.

“Alright, I’m out of ideas. You two got any?”

Pyro shrugged unhelpfully, while Mira gave me an I told you so look, retaining her nervous grip on me as she peered worrisomely at the deep shadows of the surrounding trees. “Ah well, let’s try...” I twirled my finger around blindly, “that way.” Just as we started walking, I heard a nearby cry off in the trees. Usually, this meant that some aggressive pokémon was about to jump out of the bushes, and so Pyro took a fighting stance in the direction of the sound.

The bushes bordering the path started rustling, something quickly approaching us on foot.

A white blur streaked out of the thicket, stumbled forward and immediately plowed straight into Pyro, knocking them both to the ground with a confused crash.

“Quill!” Pyro angrily untangled himself and shoved the newcomer to the side as he scrambled back up. At this point I realized that the pokémon in question was a tired and beat up Flaaffy. It’s tail was glowing a faint blue, casting an eerie light on our surroundings as it got back up. After quick glance at us three, Flaaffy dashed around to hide behind me, quivering and shying away from the opposite side of the path. A wavering “Flaaa” accompanied, its gaze, clearly afraid of something.

Hmm, this feels familiar...

Another dissonant commotion, then a few dark silhouettes emerged from the branches the trees above us, landing with a soft thump in the shadows. A pair of dim yellow eyes appeared, followed by a low growl. Step by step, the figure emerged, sporting bright green flowing leaves and a deep red underbelly. Standing upright, the Grovyle barked out a single order and motioned at us with a claw, presumably for us to step out of the way. Behind him, I could barely make out several inky forms lurking in the shadows, too hidden to accurately discern.

Smoke began trickling out of Pyro’s growling mouth as he faced off against our foe, ready to defend. Even Mira gave a soft growl from on top of my head.

I looked down at Flaaffy, who was still shaking in fear. It appeared much more seriously hurt than last time, with several deep cuts and numerous bruises. To my concern, it also look dangerously fatigued, as if it has been hunted restlessly for the past few days. As much as I wanted to stand and fight, with each passing second more shadows in the forest materialized into foes: a few nidoran stepped out of the bushes, a treecko jumped over onto a tree branch, a sizable black snake pokémon that I didn’t recognize coiled up at the base of the tree, with more undoubtedly on the way. Unlike last time, we were not only outnumbered but also undeniably outmatched.

I whispered at Flaaffy out of the corner of my mouth, “Whatever you do, don’t shock me.”

And to Pyro, “I know you want to fight, but I need you to use Smokescreen and run for it.” I received a reluctant nod as he too came to grips with the situation. “Right... NOW!”

With a swift scoop I picked up Flaaffy, hoisting it into my arms and made a beeline down the first path I could see. Grovyle and company let out some muffled and confused shrieks as they were enveloped in a dense black cloud, courtesy of Pyro. Pyro then followed my lead and together we raced down the trail, trying to put as much distance as possible between us and them. As I expected, it only bought us a few seconds as I heard the bawls of our pursuers as they tried to reorganize. Hopefully it would at least take them a few minutes to figure out in which direction we had fled.

We probably ran at least half a mile through half a dozen forks. I figured that now was as good a time as any to jump off the path and find a good spot to hide; if they were still chasing maybe they’d miss us. After searching the nearby undergrowth, we finally decided on a concealed hollow in a rather large tree. Quickly, we hid inside and waited silently, hoping to god that we had lost them. Pyro had extinguished his flames so the glow wouldn’t give us away in the growing darkness of the forest. With baited breath, I heard the chorus of pursuing calls grow, steadily getting closer along the path, then to my relief passing us without notice.

We waited quietly for a few more minutes until I was sure that we were totally alone. At this point, the Flaaffy in my arms began fidgeting uncomfortably, so I lay it down on the ground gently. It merely sat there, resting with its eyes closed, several bloody cuts and bruises dotting its rosy-pink skin.

“You’re badly hurt, will you let me help?” I figured it’d be better to ask first, considering its reaction last time.

Flaaffy opened an eye and stared at me and Pyro, considered my plea through a pained grimace. Slowly, it nodded once, then closed its eyes once more. Now that we were in no immediate danger, Pyro provided some light and I examined Flaaffy and its wounds. This Flaaffy was female, and from what I could tell from the pokédex, overexhausted and faint from loss of blood. Not to mention the rather severe battle wounds she had acquired. Most was taken care of by a few bottles of potion, but I only had enough to go over the most serious injuries. Finishing with a few wrapped bandages, she appeared to be in pretty good shape, merely in need of a lot of rest. I sat back, admiring my work.

Suddenly Pyro let out a shrill, “Lava, quilava!” The flame on his head brightened considerably as he looked around the hollow frantically, poking his nose everywhere searching for something.

I waved my hands, “No no no, dim that down, we don’t want to risk being seen.”

He glanced back at me, a look of dread in his eyes, and he nudged a pokéball out my pack. It wasn’t one of the spare ones, this was Mira’s... MIRA! Amid all the chaos of our escape, it wasn’t until now that I noticed that she was nowhere to be found. And if she wasn’t here, that meant she was alone... out there in the dangerous forest.

Making sure that Flaaffy was safely hidden in our little nook, Pyro and I raced back to the path and retraced our steps carefully, looking for any signs of Mira. From the looks of our surroundings we had only about half an hour until complete darkness, but the dense forest had already grown incredibly dark, Pyro’s light piercing the darkness for only a few feet.



Desperately, we searched everywhere we could, both up and down the path as well as down several of the forks we had passed on our way. Unfortunately, to both our dismay, our efforts turned out fruitless. By now evening had passed, and the nocturnal forest was beginning to absorb all ambient light. We just barely managed to find our way back to the hollow tree.

Pyro whined as we returned, wanting to keep up the search. However, even with his help lighting the way, I couldn’t see a thing in the lightless underbrush. Wearily, I began setting up camp.

“There’s nothing more we can do tonight, I can barely see a thing.” Pyro’s whines sharply increased, alarmed that I could leave Mira out there, alone and vulnerable. I sighed, giving him a comforting pat on the head.

“I know you’re worried to death, so am I, but I need you here at camp, for both of our protection.” I gestured to myself and Flaaffy, who was still sleeping peacefully in the corner. “We’ll start again first thing in the morning, and I promise you, we’ll find her.”



- - - - -


We had been wandering around in these woods for hours now, and I was beginning to think we were lost. I mean, why would you even want to enter such a creepy place? I could see right from the start that it would be a bad idea, with the darkness and gloomy feeling that I felt everywhere. At least I had Pyro and Mark to keep me company; with them, I tried to assure myself nothing bad was going to happen. We slowly came to a stop, as Mark looked around at the surrounding trees. Even though I grew up in a forest, all the trees in this gloomy place looked identical.

“Alright, I’m out of ideas. You two got any?”

I looked down at his face from my perch. Didn’t I tell you this was a bad idea? It didn’t matter now, the forest was growing darker and we definitely weren’t leaving any time soon.

A rustle in the brush nearby, and out of nowhere a whitish-pink blur flew out of the bushes and tumbled right into Pyro. To my surprise, I saw the Flaaffy from a few days ago untangle herself from Pyro, then stumble over behind Mark to hide. From what, I wonder? I didn’t have to wait long before a dark shape landed from the trees and pair of scary yellow eyes appeared. Slowly, the menacing Grovyle emerged from the shadows.

“Out of my way,” he growled, gesturing with his razor sharp claws.

More shadows lurked behind him, but I hoped that Pyro would be able to scare them all off with some of his amazing fire. I really wished that I could be as good at battling as he was, but after what happened last time I didn’t know if I could ever be that great.

I must’ve not been paying attention to what Mark was whispering, because all of a sudden he picked up Flaaffy and started running down the path, leaving a black cloud of smoke in our wake. I didn’t expect such sudden action, and had trouble clinging to Mark’s head as he sprinted down the trail, jumping over roots and rocks and hills. With each passing moment, my paws slipped further and further. I called out for him to slow down, but to no avail.

I just couldn’t hold on.

With a small cry, I was flung off into the abyss of darkness, tumbling and rolling down a steep hill before gradually coming to a stop. The sounds of Mark running faded as I, dazed, slowly got up to my feet and started climbing back up the hill.

“No, don’t leave me behind!” I cried out, hoping that Pyro or Mark could still hear me.

Just as I cleared the top of the hill and scrambled back onto the path, I heard some voices approaching, and they certainly weren’t friendly. Cautiously, I hid in the roots of a large tree as a large group of shadowy pokémon ran past on the trail.

“Come on, they went this way!”

“Are you sure? Grovyle will have our head if we lose them!”

“You dimwit, they must have stuck to the path, the forest is too thick for a large human to get very far.”

The voices passed without noticing me, fading into the distance further down the trail. I waited a minute or two to make sure they were gone before I left my hiding spot and ran down the trail. I needed to catch up to Pyro and Mark before nightfall, so that... I didn’t even want to think about what might happen if I didn’t find them.

I passed by a few forks in the road, picking whichever I thought Mark was most likely to pick. However, after about ten minutes of running the path practically faded into the surrounding brush. Exhausted, I persistently continued weaving in and out of the rocks and roots. The woods were really dark now, and every now and then I would hear a pokémon call in the distance, making me jump and hide in the nearby brush, in case any powerful angry pokémon happened to walk by. Even with my good night vision, I could barely see in the moonless shade. My hopes of finding them were starting to dissolve.

My frantic pace slowed to a crawl and tears began welling in my eyes. What am I going to do? There’s no way I’m going to find Pyro in this forest.

I rounded a boulder and noticed a tiny orange glow in the distant trees. My heart leapt at this and I rushed towards it. It has to be Pyro! The light grew brighter as I approached, streaming from a small cleared area in the woods. Tears of joy streaming down my face, I rushed straight into the heart of the clearing.

And ran smack into a bright green body.

Tripping, we both tumbled towards the source of the light, myself ending up resting head-first in the dirt. A loud cry, “Fire, fire!!!” and a moment later I felt a series of twisting vines wrap themselves around my legs and tail, lifting me upside down in the air. I found myself face-to-face with a rather angry Chikorita, the dark green leaf on her head singed and smoking. A growl emanated from her; apparently I had knocked her into what I now realized was a campfire glowing in the center of the glade. I began struggling to free myself of the firm vines holding me in place.

“Hey, lay it off, Chikorita” A large shadow walked up behind me, and Chikorita reluctantly released the vines and plopped me back on the ground. I turned and bared my fangs, trying to look as ferocious as possible. Whatever I stumbled into, I wasn’t going down without a fight.

A pair of hands picked me up, and I instinctively lashed out with my claws, resisting any attempts to contain me again.

“Woah, just calm down!”

I flashed a look at my captor, and realized that it was another human, not some hostile pokémon that roamed this nightmarish forest. I reluctantly quelled my fighting, but still fidgeted anxiously as the female trainer placed me gently in her lap.

“Let’s see, what’s a little Eevee doing all alone in the middle of Plumera forest?” She inquired.

I knew she couldn’t understand me, but I answered anyways, “I got separated from my friend and trainer.” No response, as I expected. She continued to brush my fur, which felt pretty nice and calming. Anything to get my mind off being lost in that godforsaken forest.

“Help in translation, guys?” She asked.

I turned and noticed for the first time a Vaporeon staring at me from the corner of the camp. He slowly got up and lazily walked over to us, then fished out a small pokéball from the trainer’s bag. He plopped it down next to me on her lap, then laid back down to rest.

The trainer looked at the ball, then at me, “So I guess you’re not a wild Eevee, then?” I shook my head, my ears laid back thinking of Pyro and Mark. They were probably out there looking for me, too.

“Got separated from your trainer?” A silent nod.

She smiled reassuringly, “Well, you can stay with us for the night, then we’ll see about finding that trainer of yours in the morning.” A pause, as she thought for a moment. “You know, Eevee aren’t too common a pokémon in general, I wonder...” Her words drifted off, but I didn’t care as long as she kept scratching my back so nicely.

“Oh, I almost forgot to introduce us.” She gestured to Vaporeon, “This is Kai, and I suspect that you’ve already met Chikorita before.” I took a closer look at the green plant-like pokémon. Could it be...? She was starting to look a lot like the Chikorita I had faced in battle previously. The more I examined her, the more sure of it I was.

Seeing my reaction, the trainer laughed, “I’m Ashley, and I guess that settles it, tomorrow we’re looking for a feisty Quilava and a rather naďve trainer.”

NOTE:
I've been updating some of the chapters with edited versions, but Chapter 5 won't fit into it's post (too big). Therefore, I'm going to make a new thread when I post the next chapter (which is almost done). Link will be posted in the table of contents when it's posted.

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3D992
15th March 2012, 8:28 AM
A bit late at night, eh? I'll have to read it in the morning...

EDIT: I stayed up! Poor little Mira, all alone in the woods... Then comes Ashley! I hope they reunite soon!

Superpower Emboar
31st March 2012, 3:05 AM
I love this story so much, poor Mira. Good thing Ashley was there, Pyro is probably going crazy right about now. . . If you feel like making a PM or any notification list, be sure to add me. If not, ill just bookmark and check every once in a while