This fanfic is rated PG-13 for language and violence.
I noticed a sad lack of things pertaining to Pokémon Ranger, so I decided to write this. It's been in the works for a long while, actually.
Spoiler:- A brief description/summary from the fic ideas thread:
Well, it's me again, the person who starts projects but never finishes them. And yes, I'm thinking of starting another project.
I've decided to call it Fiore 2.0, and it's set a few years after the events of Pokemon Ranger. The idyllic Poke-paradise has fallen apart, and Pokemon have started attacking and killing humans, since most of Fiore is untouched nature, the Pokemon are more "wild". Many people have fled, even most of the rangers. The only ones still there are the rangers in Fall City, Fiore's largest and only city.
To make matters worse, the Go-Rock Quads decided their superstar status was getting boring and decide that while Fiore's weak, they'll take over.
And so it falls to the completely mismatched group of Fall City Rangers to save the region.
Then, just because everything wasn't confusing enough, the alternate universe versions of the rangers who are part of Team Dim Sun appear in their universe. (I can't tell if Palkia or Giratina would have the powers to send them there).
This will be a comedy, as it really won't take itself seriously. For one thing, one of the characters was raised by mudkips, her AU version was raised by tepigs, and three of the AU characters are a background character from Wreck-It Ralph and two Vocaloids.
With how much Fiore has changed, I think this would be more of a black comedy... what do you guys think?
I will say I'm one of those people who treats the names of pokémon as common names, partially to differentiate between a species name and the name of one of the characters. I actually started doing that halfway through the chapter and had to go back and edit, so if you catch an errantly-capitalized pokémon name, go right ahead and point it out.
Well that's enough of that, time to get on with it.
Fiore was a wild and beautiful place where humans and nature coexisted, something travel brochures loved to point out. That was certainly true. Fiore was extremely different from many of the other regions. For one thing, there weren’t any trainers around. If people were keeping pokémon, they were keeping them as pets. The closest thing they had to trainers besides tourists were rangers, and even then, the pokémon they captured weren’t used for battling and were expected to be released to their natural habitats as soon as possible.
The arrangement worked out perfectly for everyone, but things were starting to slip. Pokémon were powerful creatures who could easily be equally or even more intelligent than humans. As a result of Fiore’s system of protecting wildlife, the pokémon there were wilder than ones in regions like Hoenn. As smart as they were, pokémon were controlled by animalistic instincts. One day, everything just went to hell. Pokémon began to rampage, attacking and killing humans. Most people fled from the region after that, even rangers. The only Ranger Base still in operation was in Fall City, Fiore’s only industrialized city.
Fiore was finally a region that was a paradise for pokémon life, but at the cost of human life.
Chapter 1: The Eastern Rangers
Krokka Tunnel was extremely damp, and that water had to escape the tunnels somewhere. It did in a swamp between the tunnel entrance and Lyra Forest. Back when things were more or less peaceful, the swamp was fairly small. However, now that the pokémon were getting more violent, the swamperts and the rest of their evolutionary family had extended the swamp through a large part of Lyra Forest as a territory claim. They didn’t dare cross the river, though. The victreebel had taken over that part of the forest, and as type matchups go, the swamperts would lose if they challenged them. The expanded swamp was more than large enough to hold their entire group, so they weren’t thinking of going up against any victreebel any time soon.
Speaking of the swampert group, they were a pretty standard set. There were a mated pair of swamperts, a dozen or so marshtomps, and so many mudkips moving around that nobody bothered to count them.
There was also Mudkip. Despite the name, she wasn’t a mudkip, she was a human. She had been fourteen when pokemon were starting to become more violent. Warnings had gone up advising people to stay away from Lyra Forest — The victreebel and swamperts were fighting over land. Mudkip and her parents ignored this and went in the forest anyway. It wasn’t long before they ran into some pokémon trying to kill them, in their case, victreebel. The vicious plants had just eaten Mudkip’s parents, and were about to eat her if not for their aquatic enemies arriving on the spot. Four marshtomps and six mudkips ran in and immediately engaged in battle with the four victreebel. In the heat of the battle, Mudkip was forgotten. It wasn’t like she was doing anything except sitting there in shock.
The marshtomps and mudkips had successfully driven the victreebel away and were now wondering what to do with the girl. With things going south, she wouldn’t be able to survive long, and neither would most of the other people living in Ringtown. Eventually, they decided to bring her to the swamp with them and see what the swamperts thought. If they wanted her to live with them, that was fine. But if they wanted to kill and eat her, that was okay, too.
The swamperts decided they would keep her around. They needed extra hands (even if swamperts, marshtomps, and mudkips didn’t exactly have hands) in their feud with the victreebel. Since her parents had been killed by them, Mudkip had a reason to hate the pokémon.
And so Mudkip learned to live with the swamperts in the Lyra Forest swamp, even learning some of their language. She didn’t really remember her name, even though she had been in the swamp for only four years. Since it seemed like she would be in the swamp for the rest of her life, Mudkip had become used to swamp culture. Names were nothing, the pokémon recognized each other using other means. So the girl forgot hers, because it just wasn’t important. They were running out of food.
It was getting harder and harder find prey in the swamp. Even when twelve hunting teams were sent out — each team consisted of one marshtomp and a handful of mudkips — they often came back with only enough food to feed their team for a day.
“All of our splashing around has scared the prey away from the swamp. We’ll have to hunt near the river,” the swampert patriarch finally said. “I will go, and I’ll be taking...” He looked around at the collected pokémon (and the one human) before him. “You. Human,” he said, staring directly at Mudkip. “Bring your hunting group with you and come with me.”
“That’s us,” Mudkip said, turning to her group. “Let’s go.”
A couple of years back, the two swamperts had carved out a canal that connected Lyra Forest’s river and the swamp. It was an attempt to get more fish to swim into the swamp, but the currents were weak, and fish avoided the canal like the plague, deterred by the little mudkips’ splashing around. The hunting party was now using the canal to swim to the river. It wasn’t very far, and the seven pokémon (and one human) were soon at the river.
There was a good amount of fish around, and the hunting party took a few minutes to catch and eat their fill before they caught fish to bring to the swamp. The water was pure and fresh, at least compared to the muddy swamp water. It felt good to wash away the mud that the hunting party had been positively caked with for years, even Mudkip. She was still wearing the clothes she had when she had first went to the swamp, but they were plastered to her skin with mud. Only a bit of the hard-caked mud would wash off the group, though. The only way to get it off was through hard scrubbing, but they weren’t about to scrub each other down. That was wasting hunting time, and besides, they would get muddy when they returned to the swamp.
The hunting party was collecting fish to bring back when one of the mudkips dropped his fish in the water and gave an alarm cry. “Look!” he shouted. A shadow fell over the water, and the pokémon (and human) looked up.
“Well, look what we have here,” snarled a victreebel flanked by weepinbell companions. “What’s this filth doing in our drinking water?”
“Your drinking water?” the swampert objected. “This is a river!”
The victreebel’s only response was to extend the vine above her head and slap the swampert patriarch with it. He flew back into the riverbank with a gigantic splash, stunned and in pain. “Get them!” the marshtomp yelled. She opened her mouth and sprayed a wide stream of mud at the victreebel, knocking away. “Let’s see how you like getting covered with ‘filth’!” the marshtomp crowed.
Meanwhile, two of the mudkips had managed to tackle one of the weepinbells into the water. The pokémon didn’t know how to swim and would eventually drown. That left the other weepinbell to the remaining three mud fish pokémon and Mudkip. As a human, Mudkip had no special powers at all, and the other three mudkips, considered the children of their community, managed to knock the weepinbell into the river without her help.
“Sorry,” she said, digging around in the riverbank for a stone she could use on any other attackers. “I’ll help next time.”
The mudkips, who were paddling against the current, suddenly fell silent. “Don’t look now, but...” one of them began.
Mudkip turned towards the western forest to see a furious victreebel rising. “All right, you miserable bastards,” she growled. Vines shot out of her again, but this time they were covered in thorns. “I’ll tear you apart!”
Instinctively, Mudkip hurled the rock she was holding into the victreebel’s mouth. It hit its mark and tumbled into her throat, and she let out a choked growl. Even that didn’t dislodge the rock. She tried to spit poison at Mudkip, but all she succeeded in doing was growling. Purple toxins spilled out of her mouth. Some of it dripped in her eye, but she didn’t react. What poison-type wouldn’t be immune to poison? A dead one, that’s what.
“That’s it,” she rasped, hopping to the riverbank. Before Mudkip could even react, a vine was wrapped around her. “I’ll just eat you,” the victreebel said.
Mudkip went rigid with shock. She remembered her parents being eaten by victreebel, and she didn’t want to follow their example. However, she had no way of fighting back. Her nails were sharpened into jagged claws, but her limbs couldn’t move. It seemed that she was doomed to become lunch for the overgrown pitcher plant.
She could hear the patriarch screaming for the rest of the party to run, and then their splashing as they frantically ran away.
“Look at how stupid you humans are. Really, throwing a rock at me?” The victreebel chuckled. “Don’t worry. You humans are still good for one thing. You’re good for being eaten!”
There was suddenly a burst of noise as somebody arrived. Mudkip was too drawn to the victreebel’s dark gullet to see who was arriving. The victreebel’s vine was suddenly wrenched straight, and she let out an indignant cry, roaring and trying to spit poison again. Mudkip landed in the river. Standing behind the victreebel was a dark-haired teenager wearing a purple uniform. An alakazam stood next to him, its psychic powers holding the victreebel in place.
Another man in a purple uniform came up riding a dodrio, a strange device in hand. A top-like object came out of the device and began tracing circles around the victreebel, a trail of light in its wake. Gradually, the angry pokémon stopped rampaging until she finally stood still and looked obediently at the light-haired man on his dodrio mount.
“I think you’ve caused enough trouble here,” the man said. “Why don’t you go back home?”
The victreebel suddenly turned and hopped towards the thick trees of the western forest as fast as she could.
For a while, everything was silent. Finally, the teenager next to the alakazam said, “She’s been lying in the river for three minutes now. Is she dead?”
Mudkip sat up quickly, blowing water out of her nose and mouth. The dodrio leaped back, not wanting to be hit by the spray of water and mud. Since the people knew she was there, she might as well reveal herself. They didn’t seem like they would hurt her, they had dealt with the victreebel.
“What happened?” the teenager asked, crouching down near Mudkip. He used the quiet voice people used when talking to wounded or frightened pokémon. For all he knew, the girl had been raised by pokémon. She was covered in mud, and her light blue hair was long and unruly.
Mudkip blinked up at him, not getting it at first. It seemed like such a long time since she had used human language. Mudkips could speak more eloquently than she in their language, and she wasn’t sure she could use hers. She was stuck in the ditch of incompetence. “I...the victreebel...almost ate me.”
“Yeah, that’s why we came here to help,” the teenager said. “Do you really live here in Lyra Forest?”
Mudkip nodded. “Yes, here. With mudkips.”
Suddenly, two more people wearing purple uniforms appeared riding flying pokémon. The first was a young woman with midnight-blue hair who was riding a charizard. The second person was a young girl sitting on a floatzel’s back. The floatzel was using its two tails as propellers to keep it up in the air.
“Hey Thomas!” the little girl shouted. “Who’s are you talking to?”
Thomas looked up. “Mina! Don’t fly that high on Floatzel, you might fall off! If you really wanted to fly that far up, you should have gone on Charizard with Sora!”
“Sorry,” Mina said quietly. “Floatzel, I know you wanted to, but we have to go down now. My brother’s really mad about it.” The orange weasel descended to the ground and the girl hopped off, arranging her short brown hair — the same shade as Thomas’ hair — so it covered the unsightly patch over her right eye. That being done, she ran to the riverbank. “Who are you? I’m Mina!” She smiled at Mudkip, who just blinked up at her. When anything in the forest showed its teeth, what came next was usually bad. However, she remembered that humans weren’t pokémon. They didn’t seem to care about survival at all.
“I’m...” Mudkip hesitated. She couldn’t remember her name. At the swamp, she either went by “human” or if the pokémon with that name weren’t around, “Mudkip”. “I’m Mudkip,” she finally answered.
“Mudkip!” Thomas exclaimed. “Oh well. It does look like you were raised by them or something.”
“Who are you?”
“We’re the Eastern Rangers,” the man on the dodrio told her. “I’m Joel, the base leader. These are the rangers I work with: Thomas, Mina...and Sora.” He looked up at the person on the charizard with a tired expression. From on the ground, he could just make out Sora saluting. “It’s not much, not like before, but they’re courageous to have stuck with the protection of Fiore and its inhabitants for so long.”
“That would include you,” Thomas added, “so you should come with us to the base, where we can set you on the right track for living in Fall City. I know you’ve been living with the mudkips for...I don’t know, but being in the city’s safer. By the way, how long have you been in the swamp?”
“I don’t know. I was walking. Victreebel jumped out and ate my...mudkips said to live with them. They’re enemies of victreebel, too.” Mudkip’s answer was missing several large pieces in it, but the rangers had heard enough stories from other ferals that they could piece it together. “I don’t remember exactly.”
Thomas smiled. “It’s okay, just give it some time and see if you can remember. Traumatic experiences can scar you for life, but sometimes you forget them.” His gaze quickly darted down to his sister, then returned to Mudkip. “Okay, let’s get you out of this river. I’m surprised you aren’t sick now,” the ranger said, extending a hand to her.
“I get used to it.” With that, Mudkip grabbed for Thomas’ hand and stood up.
The charizard in the sky tipped down into a dive and landed next to the group. Sora, the ranger riding the pokémon, looked over at Mudkip. “So,” she said, fixing her wavy medium-length hair. “It’s time to go back to Fall City. Here, Charizard can fly you there. It’s not that far, but travelling anywhere in Fiore besides through Fall City on foot just isn’t safe anymore. Not that bad things don’t happen in Fall City, but there’s less wild pokémon there.” She scooted back a little on the charizard’s back to give Mudkip a place to sit.
However, the girl didn’t want to fly on the charizard, as she stepped away from the orange dragon. Mudkip had seen pokémon dropped from great heights, and the splattered remains they left behind. What was stopping Sora from pushing her off the charizard as soon as they took to the skies? While Thomas was all smiles and kindness, there was something about Sora that Mudkip didn’t want to trust. She seemed extremely unenthusiastic about her job, for one thing. And at the moment, her job was to help Mudkip.
“No,” she said. “I’ll fall.”
Sora shrugged. “If that’s how you want to be, fine.” She turned away, muttering about ungrateful ferals and how murderous wild pokémon were more cooperative. “Joel, you have no right to say I don’t do anything when we’re on missions,” she groused. “Yes, I know I’m the second-in-command, but that doesn’t mean I have to do more work. I already do all our desk work, and Charizard and I are always the scouts and lookouts. But you always put me on blast for not doing any ‘normal’ missions, but whenever I try to, like now, the client never wants me to help them.”
Joel mulled over this, adjusting and readjusting his glasses even though it was pointless. Finally, he said, “Well, if that’s the case, she can either come with me, or teleport to the base with Thomas.” Addressing Mudkip now, the base leader asked her, “So, who do you want to go with?”
Though Thomas was certainly a nice person, Joel had saved her from the victreebel, and that raised her opinion of him. The last time someone had saved Mudkip from the plant pokémon, she had ended up living with them.
“I’ll go with you,” Mudkip decided. Nodding, Joel held his arm out to help Mudkip climb onto Dodrio. He grimaced slightly when the girl’s hand — muddy with what could only be described as claws — touched his. However, he had made direct contact with people covered in other, more disgusting substances before, and he had fallen in the mud more times than he would have liked to while on missions. A little mud wouldn’t hurt him.
“Just hold on to one of Dodrio’s necks and you’ll be fine,” he instructed. “Don’t hold on too tight, or you’ll strangle him.”
“Wait, I thought you can’t strangle a dodrio like that,” Thomas said, jumping into the conversation. “I mean, they have three heads, two of them can still breathe.”
Joel shot Thomas a cold look before continuing. “True, but as rangers, we’re dedicated to pokémon welfare, and squeezing one of Dodrio’s necks would still hurt it, even if his air supply wasn’t cut off.”
“Yeah...I’ll be going to the base now. Come on, Alakazam,” the ranger said, refusing to look at his leader in embarrassment. Thomas and his partner pokémon stretched upwards, then disappeared.
Above, Charizard turned around and flew off. Mina climbed onto Floatzel’s back, and it got on all fours, its tails whirling and propelling it into the sky. This was Dodrio’s cue to start moving. He ran after the flying pokémon, easily keeping pace with Floatzel and Charizard.
Mudkip watched in awe as the forest moved rapidly by, Dodrio following the curve of the river through the forest. Instead of heading towards Krokka Tunnel, though, he crossed the water in one bound and headed for Fall City through the eastern forest, instead. Mudkip craned her neck to catch a glimpse of the swamp further down the river. She could see another hunting group being sent out towards the western forest again. This time, the group consisted of both swamperts and four marshtomps. If the victreebel returned, they would be met with a more powerful opposition. None of them noticed Mudkip.
“They probably think I’m eaten,” she mused.
“Who?” Joel asked. Then, catching the loud splashing the swimming hunting party was making, he glanced at them. “Oh, them. I suppose they’re the ones you’ve been living with. I don’t know if you’ll ever see them again. You’d have to return to Lyra Forest, and I’m sure that once we’re out of it for good, you’ll never want to return. It would explain why there aren’t many people in Fiore.”
Mudkip frowned. “Don’t talk like that. Of course I’ll go see them. They were nice, they didn’t eat me.”
“Yes, it’s kind of sad that pokémon have become so violent. People in other regions are probably shocked and horrified that our pokémon are like this. That, or they have a disturbing fascination with our pokémon.”
Mudkip nodded and didn’t talk for the rest of the ride. Dodrio broke through the thick eastern forest and ended up on East Road, with Fall City dead ahead. In the city ahead, dirt and grass gave way to concrete sidewalks and asphalt roads. Fall City was the only city in Fiore with roads for cars, and even then, only a few people used them. It was common to see people walking in the middle of the road.
The ranger base was a large green and white building right at the city’s entrance. Thomas and Alakazam were leaning by the sliding glass doors, waiting for the rest of the rangers. Mina and her low-flying Floatzel arrived first, followed by Sora and Charizard. Joel pulled up last like a true leader — one that made their followers wait for them. Once he arrived, the rangers entered the base. Thomas, Mina, and Sora ignored the fancy computer system in the middle of the room and headed for the kitchen set up on the right.
“Hey Joel, do you want some coffee?” Thomas asked. He was at the coffee machine, pouring coffee into four cups.
“Coffee would be fine,” Joel replied, getting off Dodrio and helping Mudkip down. He looked at the dried mud on his clothes and cringed.
Noticing him, Sora said dryly, “Let me guess. You’re going to make me take your uniform to the dry cleaners.”
“No, I can do that myself,” he said. “Besides, I have to write a mission report. Can you take care of this feral for me while I’m busy?” With that, he led his dodrio away.
Thomas held out the coffee cup that had been meant for Joel, an incredulous expression on his face. “But sir, I made you this coffee — sir? Joel! You...” He sighed and put the coffee cup back down on the counter. “You must like lukewarm coffee, because you never come get coffee when it’s still hot.”
Sora saluted. “I’m on it. It’s not like anyone else helps rehabilitate the ferals, anyway.” She scowled at the direction Joel had disappeared to, but forced a more pleasant expression on her face as she strode towards Mudkip. “What’s your name?” she asked, trying to keep her annoyance out of her voice.
“Mudkip,” the girl said uncertainly. She suspected Sora wouldn’t believe her or would make fun of her name.
“Mudkip,” Sora repeated flatly. “Well, whatever. If you want to be called Mudkip, I’ll call you Mudkip. If you want to ‘evolve’, I’ll even call you Marshtomp or Swampert.”
Mudkip frowned at her. “That’s not how it works. They let me be a mudkip because they’re nice like that.”
Sora shrugged. “So you’re an honorary mudkip. I guess that’s nice.” She walked back to the kitchen, took a cup of coffee, and downed it in five seconds. “Thomas made some coffee for you if you want,” she observed, looking at the extra cup. “Unless he’s decided that it’s time for Mina to grow up and experience the wonderful world of caffeine.”
“No!” Thomas exclaimed quickly. “I can’t do that to Mina. Besides, our parents would be pissed if they were here!”
“But they’re not here,” Sora stated. “If Mina wants to be a ranger, she needs to adapt. It’s bad enough that she doesn’t participate in late-night missions because of her bedtime. Your parents’ authorities don’t override the Ranger Union’s or even Joel’s authority.”
Thomas seemed to explode at this, yelling, “Stop acting like my parents are dead! I told you, they still live in Summerland!” Sora took this outburst as impassively as she could, which was past the realm of stoicism and more akin to robotic.
“I never implied that your parents are dead,” she said. “I’m just saying that you don’t need to take what they think into consideration.”
“Wow, cold,” Thomas said. He did not comment further on the situation.
Mudkip realized that she didn’t like Sora very much. From what she had observed of the second-in-command ranger, she thought of Sora as a cold and uncaring person who still used her authority to intimidate others. Mudkip also drank the coffee Thomas had offered her and decided she liked it. The bitter, earthy liquid tasted like a mouthful of swamp water, but better.
To give her credit, Sora sat by without any more comments as Mudkip finished the coffee. “Hot,” the girl said, putting the cup on the counter.
“That it is,” Sora said, taking the cup and putting it in the sink. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” She headed towards a door next to the computer setup — the same place Joel had disappeared off to. Mudkip ran after her, managing to slip through the doorway before the door slammed shut. They were in an extremely bland hallway, with the standard white walls, linoleum tiles, and rectangular fluorescent lights. Doors with signs like “Enclosure 12” lined the hallway.
Sora opened a door at the end of the hall, and when Mudkip entered, she closed the door and pushed a towel over the bottom of the door with the tip of her shoe. “You’d think our facilities would be better, seeing as this is mostly paid for by the Ranger Union,” she explained, “but they’re not. Doesn’t help that the Ranger Union’s decided to cut our funding.”
Her explanation was lost on Mudkip, who was preoccupied with the room. It was coated completely with ceramic tiles, all of which were damp. A faucet jutted out of the middle of every fourth tile on the walls, forming a ring. It was a room for washing pokémon, but it got more action as a way for a feral to comfortably transition to using showers and bathtubs. The concept didn’t catch on for some, but others took to it with ease, like Mudkip. She was already rolling around in the thin layer of water on the ground, completely forgetting about the fact that Sora was in the room.
Said ranger turned on one of the faucets, and Mudkip immediately leaped up and ran into the spray.
“Thank Arceus you were raised by water-types,” Sora said in relief. “There was one guy who was raised by charmanders. We went to give him a bath and when the water touched him, he screamed like he was being murdered. It got better when he realized that he wasn’t dying.”
Mudkip nodded without really understanding, instead focusing on the water coming down on her. Water soothed her, as it would soothe anyone who lived with the swampert clan for long enough. Of all the weird things that were happening that day, the faucet was the most normal thing she had experienced.
Sora went over to the corner, got soap and a loofah, and rolled up her sleeves. That would only succeed in making her arms unnecessarily wet, as her uniform was made of waterproof material. Ignoring that, she passed the loofah under the water, rubbed some soap on it, and set about trying to scrub Mudkip’s arm. Instantly, the girl threw her arm up, diverting a spray of water into Sora’s face.
“W-what are you —” she spluttered. “What was that for?”
“I’m a mudkip, or they let me be one, so I have to be muddy!”
The ranger frowned at the insane logic. “Well, you can be a clean mudkip. If this mud hasn’t fused to your skin on a molecular level yet...”
Through the power of sheer force and industrial-strength soap, Sora managed to scrub the layers of mud off of Mudkip (at the cost of leaving her skin raw), revealing her fittingly mudkip-blue hair, blotchy suntanned skin, and clothes that were plastered to her body. “You know what would be ridiculous?” Sora asked, pulling on the hem of Mudkip’s shirt, which was frayed and coming apart. “If you were extremely pale under your clothes.”
“I think I am,” Mudkip said, pulling up her sleeve and revealing a patch of skin that was startlingly white by contrast. “Unless this is really normal.”
“Huh,” said Sora, completely unimpressed despite her previous insistence that it would have been ridiculous. “Well, if you live outside, wearing only the same clothes for a few years, I guess that’s bound to happen. Here, follow me.”
She led a dripping-wet Mudkip to the nearest empty room and instructed her to wait while she got a few things. Mudkip took the opportunity to look around the room. There wasn’t much to see. Apparently, it was supposed to be an enclosure for pokémon the rangers took in and treated before releasing them back to their natural habitats. However, the “enclosures” were really just plain rooms in the exact same style as the hall. In fact, there were telltale marks of wounded pokémon being in the room — burn marks and scratches littered the floor and walls, giving the room an unsettling air. Once she realized that, Mudkip was convinced there was an invisible pokémon lurking in the room, one that hated the swampert clan.
Five minutes passed, and no murderous pokémon appeared. Instead, Sora came back with a towel and some civilian clothes of hers. “Do you know how to dry yourself?”
“I didn’t really need to be dry,” Mudkip said. “But if I do, I guess I can lie in the sun, or...” She looked at the towel. “Or use that thing, I know that thing! I’m not stupid!”
“Good, you can remember things besides your pokémon family.” Sora hung the towels and clothes on the doorknob. “Take your old clothes off, dry off, then put on the clothes I gave you. You’re kind of petite, so they might be a little big. We’ll have to get you clothes that fit later. I’m going to be out here to give you some privacy. Just come out when you’re done.”
With that, she disappeared behind the door, leaving Mudkip to her own devices. She had a slightly difficult time peeling the soaked clothes off of herself, but eventually, the old thread gave way and the seams popped. She quickly dried off and put on the clothes, her shirt immediately trying to suck all the moisture from her wet hair. In fact, when Mudkip had fumbled with the doorknob and thrown the door open, this was the first thing Sora noticed.
“You know, I thought the back of that shirt was gray,” she commented, draping the towel across Mudkip’s back. True to her words, the water had soaked into the back of Mudkip’s shirt, turning it black. “Whatever, I...” Sora stepped back, looking at Mudkip. The shirt and jeans were very baggy on her. “Wow, you’re tiny. This won’t work, I’ll have to buy you clothes that fit as soon as possible.”
Suddenly, Mudkip’s pants fell down, and Sora grinned. It was the most expression Mudkip had seen from the ranger; and though it relieved her to know that her companion had emotions, Mudkip did not appreciate the looks she got as she pulled her pants up and held them to her waist.
“You look like a scraggy!” Sora explained, laughing.
“A scraggy?” Mudkip asked.
“Unovan pokémon,” Sora said, quickly returning to business mode. “They have this skin that looks like pants, and they always pull it up. It’s pretty funny.”
“Oh...I don’t get it,” Mudkip decided.
“Come on, I’m going to try and sort out your hair and nails.” Sora led Mudkip back to the main room and to the left, where a tubular elevator was waiting. There was only one other floor, all someone had to do to use the elevator was go inside and press the solitary button on the panel to start it moving.
The elevator opened on the second floor lobby, which was a comfortable sitting room complete with a large TV. All in all, the second floor looked like someone had tacked a house on top of the utilitarian base downstairs. In addition to the sitting room, there was a kitchen bigger than the one downstairs, two studies that served as offices for the base leader and their second-in-command, four bathrooms, and ten bedrooms.
“Not too shabby, huh?” Sora asked, bringing Mudkip to the closest bathroom. Mudkip, whose idea of nice living quarters was a pool with plenty of concealing reeds and thick mud, didn’t say anything. “The Fall City Ranger Base is the biggest one in Fiore — and the only one that’s still operational — so of course we’ll have all the amenities, even if our treatment facilities leave something to be desired.” She opened one of the drawers and dug out a pair of nail cutters. “It’s not so bad being a ranger, you come back from a dangerous mission and have a nice base waiting for you. Unless of course you died during the mission. Please sit down next to me,” she instructed, sitting on the edge of the bathtub.
“Wait, what?” Mudkip asked, bewildered at how Sora had changed the subject to death casually, only to change it back just as fast.
“That’s how it is,” Sora replied. She took Mudkip’s hand and began to cut her nails.
Like when Sora had tried to scrub her down, Mudkip didn’t react well to her nails being cut. She tried to jerk her hand away, but the ranger had a firm grip on it. “Stop!” Mudkip shouted, trying to wiggle her hand out of Sora’s grasp. “If you do that, then I won’t have any weapons!”
Sora just continued to cut Mudkip’s nails nonchalantly. “With our rehabilitation program, you won’t need weapons. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get a comfortable job here in Fall City. The only protection you’ll need is us, the rangers.”
“Just you,” Mudkip said incredulously. “There’s only four of you. At the swamp, we need three marshtomps and ten mudkips protecting our territory, and the swamp is smaller.”
“We’re very good at what we do,” Sora replied. “Before everything went to hell, some rangers stopped an eccentric group who wanted to control the legendary pokémon. And the star of that operation was a kid.”
“A kid. That’s like if a mudkip managed to kill every victreebel and burn down their clan’s home so there would be no more of them,” Mudkip said.
Sora slipped back and fell into the bathtub, throwing her clippers in the air. “What the hell? You can’t just talk about things like that so calmly!” she exclaimed. Her body helpfully decided to register the pain of falling onto a hard acrylic surface, and she gritted her teeth. “Ow...no problem,” she said, getting up and picking her nail clippers up off the floor. “Once, Charizard decided it would be fun to do a loop in the air while I was still on her back. It was then that we figured out that teleporting preserves momentum.”
Mudkip blinked. “Huh?”
“Sorry. I shouldn’t spring physics on a feral. Next thing we know, I’ll be expecting the next feral we find to be a calculus whiz.” Sora went on to cut Mudkip’s toenails, doing so without comment. It was altogether extremely awkward for everyone involved.
Eventually, Sora was able to turn Mudkip’s claws into nails with the help of a titanium nail file. Mudkip’s hair was another issue — it was so long and scraggly that if she dyed it black, she would look right at home in some kind of horror movie. It was naturally ridiculously tangled, and Sora had to cut it off around Mudkip’s shoulders, above which the tangles actually approached a manageable state. Sora also gave the girl some bangs, as Mudkip’s hair hung down right in her face.
When the extreme makeover was done and over with, Sora sat back on her heels and admired her handiwork. “There,” she said, “you actually look pretty good. Nobody would ever think that you were a feral if they looked at you now, I’m sure. You actually speak just fine, I noticed you improved your speech very quickly from the time that we found you in Lyra Forest.”
“Yes, I just needed to...practice,” Mudkip agreed. “I wasn’t that young when I went to live with the mudkips.”
Sora frowned at the euphemism but didn’t say anything. She doubted that Mudkip would have gone to live in the swamp of her own volition if her parents hadn’t been attacked and eaten. Then again, some ferals had become that way due to a “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality. Perhaps Mudkip was one of those, one could never really tell with ferals.
“I suppose you weren’t,” the ranger finally said. “I’d ask how long you’ve been there and how old you are, but I’m not sure if you mudkips in the swampert clan tell time the same way.” She wanted to add that the mudkips probably didn’t tell time at more than a daily basis, but bit back that possibly insulting comment.
“Yes,” Mudkip replied. “What now?”
“Rehabilitation,” Sora informed her. “So, I’m supposed to teach you what living like a normal person is like...like I do with every other feral.”
“The others don’t help?” Mudkip asked. “If they don’t, what do they do?”
“Oh, well...they’re off doing ranger stuff. Rescuing pokémon and helping people, and all that. Since I’m second-in-command, Joel gets to pawn all the stuff he doesn’t want to do off to me. I can’t believe he didn’t make me write the mission report, really,” Sora said. “But anyway, I better show you around some. Here, I’ll find a room for you.”
They walked down the hall to one of the studies, which happened to belong to Sora. “This is my office,” she explained. “My room’s connected to it. Anyway, you can have the room right across from mine so you can go to me if you need help with anything. It’s the room we give all the ferals. If we’re all out on a mission, just stay in there, all right? We’ll come back shortly.”
“All right,” Mudkip said, entering the room. Since it had apparently belonged to others like her, she expected there to be less...human things, for lack of a better term. She was wrong. The room was completely orderly, with clean sheets on the bed and wingull-patterned wallpaper that bore no traces of claw marks at all. By human standards, it was a nice room, but as someone who had been used to living in a swamp, Mudkip only wondered where all the water was.
“Sometimes we have to completely replace the wallpaper and carpeting,” Sora said. It was like she had known what Mudkip had been thinking about. “Hopefully you’ll behave, right? We’re running low on money to make replacements, so please don’t completely wreck the room.”
“I won’t,” Mudkip said, nodding. “The room will be fine.”
“Good, I’m counting on you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get you some clothes.” With that, Sora left, imparting one final piece of advice to Mudkip. “If I’m not back to call you for dinner, Thomas will do it. Besides that, do whatever you want here.”
When Sora left, Mudkip went to the window and looked outside. The base was right on the edge of the forest, and from Mudkip’s room on the second floor Lyra Forest could be seen. She squinted and leaned forward to try to see if she could spot the swamp, but the thick trees hid it from view. Mudkip sighed and continued to stare out of the window, as if she could part the trees to reveal the swamp by vision alone. She was homesick.
Because I needed to remove formatting, I'm sure some italics and things I missed have been removed. Next time, I just won't use them, or I'll type the italic tag right into the document.
I'm already working on the second chapter, but it still might take a while. Be warned, I am a ridiculously slow writer sometimes.
Last edited by Kiyuni; 20th November 2013 at 3:26 AM.