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Thread: Paws for Alarm (Rated PG-15)

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    Default Paws for Alarm (Rated PG-15)

    Paws for Alarm: A 'Satochu' Fic

    -CONTENTS-
    Chapter 1: Transmutation
    Chapter 2: Civilization
    Chapter 3: Filiation
    Chapter 4: Rustication
    Chapter 5: Way Station
    Chapter 6: Cognation (Coming Soon!)

    Author's Notes (behind a cut for your convenience - but I suggest you read them! :P)
        Spoiler:- Notes!:


    The most rare and dangerous of all the Evolution Stones would be, if it were conclusively proven to exist, the Transmutation Stone. Said in the old myths to be the size and weight of a pidgey’s egg; it is also rumoured to be a stark white with swirls of colour reminiscent of mother-of-pearl. Touching the artefact is said to transmute pokémon, and possibly people, in strange and wondrous ways, though the transmutation is also said to not always be beneficial, and can be sobering or even dangerous. Time will tell its true affect – if the mineral ever leaves the realm of myth and enters into the tangible reality. - Richard Locke, Scholar at Oxford, 1827

    -Chapter One: Transmutation-

    The wildness of squirrels is an awesome wildness. – Douglas Fairbairn

    The pikachu cowered back in her drey, teeth bared, with the long fur upon her tail fluffed like a dusting brush. The heavy smell of a predator surrounded her, penetrating the mass of leaves and twigs that was her drey, cloaking her in instinctive terror. Her pichu kittens lay curled up before her in a mess of eggshells and dried leaf dust, their large silky ears folded tightly against their skulls. Unaware of the danger, they continued to mewl, pulling themselves towards their mother with tiny claws.

    A paw worked its way through the mass of the drey wall and tore down, widening the gap; a small muzzle working its way into the pikachu's home. She snarled, the fur along her spine rising, and hunkered her body further over her pichu. Innately, she knew the slightest electric spark could have set her entire drey ablaze, yet her body still pulsed with power, her cheeks glowing an eerie blue in the darkness. The sneasel gave a heave and tore the entire wall of the drey asunder, the full smell of the rodents within hitting him. He had not been able to find food for himself since he had been abandoned by his Trainer several days ago, and his chance discovery of the pikachu nest was certainly a stroke of good fortune. Slavering in anticipation, he tensed his paws, preparing for a Metal Claw attack.

    The female pikachu glared at her attacker and growled louder, before sitting up on her haunches and hitting at him with her forepaws. The sneasel, his attack readied, slammed her muzzle with his bladelike claws, knocking her face to the right and exposing a stretch of nape. The pikachu screamed as he snatched her nape in his jaws and pinned her down, gouging into her sides.

    The pikachu knew from instinct what she could expect next. After incapacitating her, the predator would kill and eat the drey's pichu at his leisure before returning to finish her off. Twisting her neck as far as she could, trying to ignore her terrible pain, she picked up the nearest of the pichu and propelled herself forcefully away from the sneasel with a Quick Attack. She knew that no matter how strong the instinct burned within her to protect the rest of her clutch, the choice was saving one for sure, or losing every last kitten. As the sneasel began his slaughter of the pichu behind her, she flicked her tail parallel to the ground and leapt for a branch beneath her, her plumy tail acting as a parachute to slow her fall. From this lower branch she soon reached the tree trunk and made her way swiftly to the ground, traveling deeper into the forest with long, bounding strides.

    She ran right into a snare trap.

    The wire loop cut deep into the female's throat, crushing her windpipe. Her jaws went slack and she released the pichu; the kitten tumbling slightly before coming to rest not far from its dying mother. Her paws scratched desperately at the wire, trying to release the pressure, her mind and her instinct all too soon clouding and dissipating into inky black nothingness as she passed out.

    The scent of terror surrounded the pichu kitten, and it huddled deeper into the dried grasses surrounding it, wanting to vanish.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    “We don’t want Trainers here.”

    The old man regarded the youngster with a weary eye, carefully folding his gnarled hands on the desk before him. His snow white hair hung in limp, thin wisps upon his spotted scalp and along his temples, framing his weary, furrowed visage. “This area of Mt. Silver is a game preserve. A protected area. This isn’t some sort of Safari Zone where you can catch things willy-nilly!”

    “I’m not here to capture anything.” The young teen sat down, studying the old man with a studious air; the pikachu on his shoulder chittering. “Well, not anything that lives naturally in the preserve, at least.” The warden sighed, his heavy wrinkles becoming more prominent as he slouched forward. “What is it you want, then?”

    “All I want is to find the sneasel.” Ash stood up again, clenching his hands together and glaring down at the warden, who blinked his rheumy eyes in ignorance. “Some jerk of a Trainer abandoned a sneasel in the preserve. A tame sneasel, who likely knows little about how to survive in the wild.”

    “Nature is cruel.” The warden coughed, a raspy, phlegmy sound that made the pikachu flinch in surprise. “What does another man’s sneasel mean to you?”

    Calming the pikachu with a gentle scratch behind the ears, Ash looked the warden straight in the eye, his gaze dedicated and intense. “No pokémon deserves to be abandoned to a slow death like that, no matter who the original Trainer was.”

    The warden held the stare for as long as he could, before finally lowering his head with a meek acceptance. “Fine then, foolish child. Go and get the sneasel. But I'd be quick about it if I were you, young sir. And...”

    “And what?”

    Taking off his bifocals, the warden carefully wiped the lens with a tissue. “There are plenty of things in this wide world of ours, beyond what most of us can know and perceive. There are reasons, and very good reasons, that this area was shut off from people - especially Trainers - like yourself. If you must be noble for this sneasel, just remember...be careful.” Resting his head on the desk, he watched, through half-lidded eyes, as the young Trainer left through the back-door – and into the preserve.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    “Poachers!”

    The pikachu lay where she had been snared – partially on her side with belly aimed to the sky; back paws spread and limp forepaws uselessly dangling. Foamy spittle, stained with a crimson tint, glistened along her slack-jawed muzzle, occasionally bubbling as she took what few remaining breaths she had left. Her neck, brutally torn by the sneasel and further maimed by the thin wire of the trap, gleamed with blood; which had also pooled and collected amid the leaves and pine needles on which she lay. Although not quite dead, there was little she herself, or Ash, or even a Pokémon Center could do about her situation; with injuries as terrible as those she possessed, there would be no hope for her survival.

    “Looks like maybe the sneasel got to her first, though. Do you think he had a little wildness in him after all, Pikachu?” Ash bent down to examine the sad little creature, which made a weak attempt to bear her teeth, fresh blood pooling about her jaws. “Maybe he'll do okay. But this pikachu...” He pulled the snare up out of the ground, making the wire go slack. “At least if the sneasel had gotten her, her death would have had a real purpose. But the poachers…who can guess at their motives.” Taking his jacket off, Ash carefully wrapped it around the tiny animal, lifting her from the hard packed soil and holding her close to his chest. In too much pain to try and defend herself, the pikachu made no protest as Ash began walking again, afternoon sun flickering through the maples.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    He could not postpone the deed any longer.

    A large birch grew on the right side of the weathered old trail upon which Ash had soon found himself; a massive, sloping pile of stones arranged, cairn like, around and against its trunk. Although fenced off by ancient, rusted strands of barbed wire, it had been a simple matter for the teen to step over them and carefully perch on the rock pile, his back against the side of the tree facing away from the road. Carefully unfolding his jacket, Ash picked the limp pikachu up from her cocoon and set her down on the rock on which his feet were resting. The small creature looked at him with a milky gaze; large black pupils, rimmed with a pale amber iris, pained and yet emotionless. Swallowing hard, Ash picked up the stone nearest to him, hefting its weight unto his knees. It was a small rock – only about the size of a pidgey's egg - and wasn’t a terrifically heavy object, but he hoped it would be enough to bring a quick end to the pikachu's suffering.

    “Sort of an odd stone, though, don't you think?” Ash said softly, holding it up for his pikachu to see. It was mostly a creamy-white color, with a hint of rainbow luminescence to its surface. As he turned it over in his palm, the colors flashed and twirled like beautiful, formless dancers, casting refractions upon the pale bark of the birch tree. The pikachu watched the swirling rainbow dash across the tree's surface, his ears pricked attentively and his eyes focused.

    “Still, I...what needs to be done, needs to be done, Pikachu. I...I wish I didn't have to do it. But it's better than letting her continue to suffer like this...you probably don't want to watch me, Pikachu.”

    The pikachu sniffed Ash's cheek, sensing the intensity of his feelings. Obediently, the little rodent hopped off his Trainer's shoulder and leaped across to the side of the cairn facing the road, resting his muzzle on his forepaws.

    Steeling his nerves, Ash stood up, lifting the rock as high as he could, the muscles in his arms quavering slightly from anxiety. The quicker he did the deed, the better.

    After taking one last look at the limp pokémon at his feet to insure his aim, Ash closed his eyes and drove the rock forward with as much force as he could.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    Scarcely had the stone touched the pikachu when a fierce, suffocating pressure seized Ash's chest, slamming him against the tree with enough force to splinter the side. Pieces of birch flew past his body as he gripped the torn side of the tree, gasping in pain and digging his nails in as tightly as he could. While tornadoes or earthquakes were rare occurrences in Johto, he knew from reading travel guides that both had happened before. Struggling to think, Ash tried to figure out which had led to his situation. It must be one or the other...mustn’t it?

    A bright, blinding glare suddenly filled the clearing; a white so pure it made Ash dizzy. “Pikachu!”

    His pikachu made no reply, and, struggling to find his pokémon, the teen groped about his feet blindly with one hand, wanting to see something, anything, familiar. The vague outline of what had to be the pikachu he had struck with the rock shimmered before his vision, and, steadying his body, he grabbed at it.

    One hand holding the pikachu's ear, the other still holding the tree, Ash held on to both as tightly as he could. He couldn’t let go of these last strands of reality...

    The white light retracted, fully enveloping the two figures in its center and squeezing them with a suffocating force. Digging his fingers in further, Ash hung on for all he was worth, even as the crushing light tore at their very existence. The pikachu, with nary a whimper, faded into mist and slipped through his fingers; a clammy fog that invaded his pores and nose.

    The pokémon...it's...

    It's...inside me!

    Fighting to stay conscious, Ash gasped as the pressure upon his body increased even further, as if a giant was trying to compress him into a small, manageable form. I must...

    stay...

    awake...

    Unable to think further from the crippling pain, Ash passed out; the light fading into nothingness.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    It was night when Ash awoke.

    The moon hung low in the sky, its pale light filtering through the spread branches of the evergreens, occasionally interspersed by especially ambitious deciduous trees struggling for an equal place in the forest. Small creatures rustled nearby; the sound of paws pattering against dried leaf matter ringing amazingly loud in Ash's ears. Startled out of his dream like state, he opened his eyes, struggling to adjust to his surroundings. A choking, overbearing darkness surrounded him; which was surprisingly tangible – reaching forward, Ash could feel thick, heavy strands of fabric surrounding his entire body. A scent, musty and strong, emanated from the material.

    Where on earth am I? Through the weave of the strange covering, Ash could feel a cool breeze flow past, and the rustling that had finally awakened him from his stupor continued, intermingled with a noctowl’s hooting not far off. At that sound, something within himself that he had never experienced awakened, and, succumbing to the intense internal desire, he crouched low to the ground and ceased all moment. But I have no need to be afraid of a noctowl...especially since I train one!

    But...but why do I feel so scared of it?

    Carefully forcing himself to move forward, Ash pulled his body along the strange fabric, hooking his hands around the thick strands and inching forward. Suddenly, the darkness shifted; and before him, a sliver of grey through which a blast of crisp air whipped through appeared. The end of the tunnel of fabric was near!

    Still crawling, Ash rushed forward, wondering what would await him.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    Something sparkling rested between Ash's hands.

    Sitting up the best he could, Ash examined the object, studying it as well as he was able in the faint moonlight. It was silver colored, and made of thin medal, which was shaped into a rough rectangle. Another piece of silvery metal, slightly thinner, rested against the larger piece, but was also threaded through a strange material. The other material had a rich, smoky scent and felt smooth to the touch, with large holes, though which he could fit an entire finger, evenly spaced along part of its length. Around it, strips of fabric, different than the sort he had been trapped in before, held the entire arrangement in place.

    I...I think I’m sitting on...a giant...pair of pants!

    It felt foolish even to think it. But what else could the metal be but a belt buckle, the smoky material a leather belt, and the strips holding it in place part of an oversized pair of Levis? Mind reeling, Ash carefully turned around and crawled unto the thick threaded fabric he had been trapped in; even in the faint light, he could identify it as a massive sweater, glowing a sickly green in the moonlight.

    It’s...it’s my sweater...

    Backing up in horror, Ash tried to convince himself that what was going on was a dream, just a terrible hallucination of the night. He couldn’t have shrunk! Not for real! Crawling – why did he feel the need to crawl everywhere in this nightmare? – backwards at a fast clip, he didn’t even notice the heavy, choking smell of death until he felt something sticky under his feet.

    The blood, thick and congealed, was a black smear across the stones, its deep red-purple color obscured by the heaviness of night. A rock, which looked to Ash to be as large as his head, rested before him, massive and cold. What had once been a pure white stone with faint swirls of color was now the hue of poor-quality quartz; whatever inherent magic it had held was now gone.

    That must be where the pikachu had been...and if the pikachu's body has vanished, and the stone has burned out, that means...

    I really have shrunk...whatever happened was real, very real...

    A dark shape swooped down suddenly, and Ash, aware of his current small size, swiftly ducked behind the birch, heart pounding. A murkrow, eyes glittering with an almost mischievous glee, had alighted on the rock that had struck the pikachu, cocking its head in seeming curiosity. A few moments later, it gave a little hop and landed on a stone level with the smears of blood, looking for the carcass it had expected to uncover. Finding only a left behind scrap of offal, it took it up in one claw and tugged at the flesh with its beak, attempting to rip off a bite-sized bit. Once it had freed a strip, it flicked its head upwards, sending several feasting maggots flying in Ash's direction.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    Ash had never been especially bothered by insects. Small, squirming segmented bodies, scuttling legs or dragging bellies, compound eyes and papery wings folded under shining cases – none of it had ever really frightened him. But to see a maggot soaring directly towards his face was a totally new means of interacting with insects for him – and certainly one that would have made even the hardest of men yell in surprise.

    “Chuuuuu!”

    Born of a moment of irrational phobia, his shout echoed about the previously silent clearing, shocking not only Ash himself but the murkrow; which abandoned its food and flew off, cawing petulantly. Yet as noisy as the bird was, its voice could not drown the memory of that yell...

    The noise replayed in Ash's mind, over and over, like an unwanted earworm; a disturbing revelation that a smaller size was the least of his problems. There had been nothing human about the high-pitched, chittering noise that had burst from his throat – rather, it had been all pikachu.

    All pikachu…

    Shaking his head in frightened bewilderment, Ash held his hands up to his face for examination, hoping to find them unchanged. The general shape still seemed to be vaguely human, although the fingers were somewhat stubbier than they had been, and the new size and positioning of the thumb digits made it clear they were now lacking in opposability. Reaching up with his strange new paw, he traced the outline of his face; feeling the strange sensation of his now small, moist nose pressing into his newly thick and fleshy palm, running his digits along his slender, blunt muzzle, and reaching up as best he could to feel his tall, tapered ears. Turning his head, Ash scrutinized his body, his mind still not quite accepting what had happened. His body was small, stocky and exceedingly hirsute; covered all over with thick, short fur, which grew much longer and fuller upon his new tail. The digits on both fore and hind paws were tipped with short, thick black claws, which curved over slightly at the tip.

    I can’t be a pikachu. I can’t…

    Pikachu! Ash screamed verbally, his mind reeling with confusion. Where was his pokémon? Had the bright light that turned the dying pikachu to mist destroyed his best friend as well? Heart beating furiously, he screamed out loud, not caring that simply more pikachu vocalizations emerged from his throat. He was alone. Transformed into a pikachu, and without even his own pikachu for companionship…

    “Pika?” Something damp brushed against the back of his neck, and Ash jumped back instinctively, feeling the fur along his spine rise and a strange, tingling pulse in his cheeks. Another pikachu stood before him, ears pricked attentively, a confused but responsive gleam in his eyes.

    Pikachu…my Pikachu?

    An image of himself as a human sitting on the rock cairn suddenly filled Ash’s head, as if he were reliving the events of earlier in the day from outside of himself. Lingering feelings that were not his own hovered around the periphery of the vision; an intense puzzlement, tinged with slight fear and hints of loneliness. The form of the vision-Ash suddenly shifted to that of a pikachu and back again, a pattern it repeated several more times before it faded, with the implication of a question attached.

    Where did that come from? Ash wondered, peering curiously at his pokémon. The pikachu stared back at him, and again the vague idea of a question entered his mind; a question that could not be asked, nor its answer understood, in human words. Pikachu is sending me messages?

    He lay down, resting his muzzle on his forepaws, and tried to send a message of his own to the pokémon. Pikachu?

    The pikachu sat up, staring straight at Ash. This is Ash, Pikachu. I…somehow…somehow I’m a pikachu now, too…

    The pikachu looked blank, and cocked his head, chittering anxiously. An image of himself had appeared when he thought “Ash,” and an image of his pikachu when he addressed the pokémon, but the other words seemed lost on the little animal. How can I let him know? If words don’t work…

    Pictures!

    Closing his eyes, he concentrated, thinking back over his ordeal. The pikachu pricked his ears and carefully approached his transfigured master, sniffing him along his cheeks and muzzle and giving an occasional nibble at his fur. Yes, Pikachu, Ash thought, it’s me. It’s Ash. You’ll stay with me, won’t you, Pikachu? He added an image of traveling through a forest, his loyal partner still by his side despite his transfigured state. The impression he received in return was heavily infused with confusion, but even stronger were the feelings of assertion and love, mixed with a single word – his own name.

    Pikachu! Grabbing the pokémon in as human a hug as he could manage, his own feelings of love needed no translation.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    Pikachu waited obediently, curled up in a ball at the foot of the cairn, his muzzle resting on the tip of his tail as he watched his master at work. Ash stood upon his jacket, his face stuffed into one of the inside pockets. His much more sensitive nose rankled at the scent of old sweat, decaying crumbs of food, and general human odor that clung tenaciously to the fabric, and he scrunched his muzzle distastefully. At least I don’t have to stay in here long, he thought wryly, taking a small object into his jaws. Just long enough to find my other pokéballs. If Pikachu would listen to him, he thought, than it stood to reason that his other pokémon would as well, providing him with additional companionship and protection. And I need as much of that as I can get…if I got in a battle…I only know how to fight with pokemon, not as one…

    He felt his ears droop at the prospect. I could never battle as a pokémon. My only hopes lie with you guys…my team…

    Feeling deeper into the pocket, his paws brushed against the rest of his pokéballs, which rattled against each other with a sharp clicking sound. Scooping them up in his jaws, Ash retreated, spitting them unto his sweater and taking huge gasps of air. The pokéballs, in their miniature state, lay where they landed in a small depression in the sweater, their gleaming surface faintly illuminated by the thin moonlight. I hope you’re not too disturbed by my appearance, guys, Ash thought as he walked carefully around the small objects, wondering which pokémon he should release first. Maybe Bayleef, he decided, nudging her pokéball with his nose. That silly pokémon would know me anywhere.

    Turning the ball over, Ash depressed the button with his paw, enlarging the ball to its normal size. He sent Pikachu an image of Bayleef, and the small pokemon stood up, eyeing the pokéball. Well, Pikachu, here goes…

    He pressed the button once more, and the ball opened with a blinding flare, the form of his bayleef materializing and forming before his scarred vision. She looked around, seeing no sign of her beloved Trainer, and wondering who could have summoned her instead. Bayleef, Ash projected to her, waiting to see the recognition arise in her gaze. Bayleef! Ash is here. Ash!

    Bayleef paid no attention and sniffed at his clothes instead, her face registering sadness. She pawed at his jacket, shoving it aside and sticking her head under his sweater and hat. Sitting up, Ash’s hat perched awkwardly upon her cranium and his sweater dangling from about her neck, she looked around, a hint of panic beginning to show in her demeanor.

    Bayleef! He thought her name as intensely as he could, along with an image of himself turning into a pikachu. Bayleef!

    “Baaaaay!” The pokémon bellowed, stamping her feet and swinging her head about threateningly. A pungent, spicy scent filled the air as the bayleef grew more agitated, desperately searching for the Trainer whose presence she was not aware of, whose messages she could not hear. Giving a final heave of her head, sending the hat and sweater flying, the pokémon began furiously attacking the birch tree, sending wood chips and flakes of bark flying with each Razor Leaf attack she launched.

    Oh, Bayleef…you can’t hear me like Pikachu can, can you?

    Ash picked up Bayleef’s pokéball in his paws, hanging his head dejectedly. Without the power of speech, he had no way to return her to her pokéball, where she’d be safe until someone else found his cast-off possessions. And without a way to convince her of who he really was…

    Feeling an overwhelming melancholy, Ash ran from the clearing, leaping over the barbed wire with a powerful spring, hitting the ground forepaws first. Not only had he killed a pokémon and lost his own humanity in one fell swoop, but now he was leaving another to suffer and starve in the wilderness, abandoned and heartbroken in the wilds of Mt. Silver. Bayleef, he thought, his mind choking with sorrow, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I had to do that to you…

    A furry cheek rubbed against his own, and Ash turned to see his pikachu beside him, making a sad, anxious sound. He hugged his pokémon again, resting his muzzle against Pikachu’s shoulder. I’m a terrible person…a terrible Trainer…no different than that sneasel’s Trainer…

    Pikachu, sensing the intensity of Ash’s emotion, churred sympathetically and groomed his friend’s ears in response. Without thinking, Ash returned the gesture, feeling an endorphin-induced calming effect wash over him as he ran his tongue along his partner’s fur. I feel so much better…

    With a start, his human mind realized what exactly what he was doing, causing Ash to leap back, mentally castigating himself. You’re not a pikachu! You’re a human! A Trainer! Even if you can’t help Bayleef, you can at least help yourself from turning even more into an animal!

    But is there really anything I can do about that?

    Come, Pikachu. With that command, he started retracing his steps along the dirt path, resisting the urge to look back as Bayleef’s inconsolable cries reverberated about him.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    Everything in the forest was a new experience for Ash. Every twig that snapped, every pokémon that cried, the rustling of the plethora of foliage all above and around him was picked up by his sharply acute hearing, while the stink of pitch and loam, birth and courtship and decay, the grasses of the sweet summer and the dried husks of last year’s leaves blended together into an overwhelming cornucopia of scents. His rough pads were not as perceptive to textures and sensations as his human fingertips had been, but this was more of a boon rather than a loss, as stepping repeatedly upon twigs, thorns and thistles soon proved. His new tail dragged along in the dirt behind him – he had tried holding it upright as instinct advised him, but the alien feeling was too enormously foreign for him to keep it up.

    He wondered what he could possibly do next. If there was a way to turn him into a pikachu, he reasoned, there had to be a way to turn him back into a human. But if I can’t talk, how can I let anyone know what happened to me? And…what if there isn’t a way?

    What if I’m a pikachu forever?

    Swallowing, Ash shook his head and tried to set his sights on the path ahead of him. The dirt road had faded into an almost completely overgrown trail, filled with towering weeds and burdocks and tinged with stale human scent. This must be near the area where the poachers had their snares, Ash thought, suddenly tensing fearfully. Sending a frantic mental image of a deadly, gleaming snare to Pikachu, he carefully made his way to the pokémon. Flicking his tail anxiously, he seemed to have made the connection between the image and the memories of the dying female from earlier in the day, and gave Ash a fretful look.

    We just have to be careful, Pikachu, Ash thought, shuffling forward at a magcargo’s pace, sniffing and examining the air in between each step. A few hundred feet down the trail, however, and the suddenly overpowering smell of blood and fear hit him like a semi truck.

    The snare lay where he had tossed it, the lethal strip of metal stained and spattered with blood. A tiny pichu, eyes still a milky blue and ears still folded, licked at the salty congealed mess anxiously; upon seeing Ash and Pikachu, it arched its back and fluffed its fur defensively, bearing its tiny dagger-like teeth in what it thought was a threatening manner.

    Poor orphan, Ash thought, guessing from its neonatal features that it couldn’t be any more than a few weeks old, and much too young to be away from its mother. I hope you’ll survive…

    He had barely taken a few steps away from the kitten, wondering if there was anything within his power he could do to help it, before a new scent hit his nose, one of savage ferocity, ravenous hunger, and tortured rage born of loneliness. With a vicious snarl, the sneasel sprang onto the path, his eyes on the helpless baby pichu. Although he was not especially hungry after dispatching and gorging on its siblings, the anger at being abandoned by his Trainer burned brightly enough to make him want to take his frustrations on anything smaller and weaker than he was – and yet another pichu was a perfect opportunity.

    No! Ash thought forcefully, leaping towards the sneasel and mimicking the pichu’s defensive posturing. The sleek black pokémon sat back on his haunches and swung his massive, blade like claws before Ash’s face, making the boy-pikachu back off anxiously. What on earth did I think I was getting into? I can’t battle! I’m just a Trainer…

    A Trainer…

    Trainer…

    Pikachu! His pikachu lifted his head up, eager and attentive. Pikachu, Thunderbolt! Upon receiving the command, Pikachu tensed his body into a crouching position, cheeks glowing blue, sparks of electricity dancing along them. The sneasel turned from Ash towards this new attacker, swinging his paws threateningly. It looks like he’s preparing Slash…Pikachu! Duck, and then release your attack!

    As the sneasel swung with his devastating blow, Pikachu ducked down underneath his paw and dove between his hindlegs, leaping unto the other pokémon's back to deliver the Thunderbolt. Stunned, the Dark-type fell to the loam, his muzzle agape and forepaws twitching spasmodically.

    He should be down for a while, Ash thought, sniffing the fallen sneasel carefully. His muzzle jerked at the touch of the boy-pikachu’s nose, and his eyes rolled back into his head, bloodshot and frazzled. Long enough to put the pichu somewhere safe, at least. Returning to the tiny creature, he carefully picked it up by the nape, like he had seen females do with their offspring. The little creature instantly went limp; tucking its paws close to its body and curling its little black tail in between its legs, which stood out sharply against its creamy white belly. Ash looked back at the sneasel; the pathetic, abandoned creature. He had gone too feral to adapt well to captivity again, and his wild future still seemed uncertain. I came here to help you. And I can’t even do that. And I’ve left Bayleef to suffer like you have…

    At least I can help Pichu.

    :=:=:=:=:=

    After a few minutes of carrying, the overgrowth faded as the old trail was left behind. The roof of the old warden’s station was visible over the crest of the hill, and, with a fierce burst of energy, Ash propelled himself forward, up to the top and down the other side, the little pichu swinging back and forth in his jaws. How natural his leaping, four legged stride felt! It was strangely smooth, and running, testing the bounds of his own strength – it was absolutely invigorating, exhilarating, a rush not unlike that of winning a tough battle. It…it feels great!

    I just hope it doesn’t start to feel too natural…

    Forcing his speed back down to a walking pace, Ash allowed his body to relax the last few hunderd feet to the station. Upon reaching the back porch, he set the pichu carefully down, giving its head-fur a little ruffle with his paw. You’ll be okay.

    He jumped down to the bottom step, sitting up on his haunches next to Pikachu. If I head south of here, I’ll hit New Bark Town, and from there to Tojho Falls and Kanto. If anyone would know anything about all this, it would be Professor Oak, wouldn’t it, Pikachu?

    He sent an image of the Professor to the pikachu, who chittered knowingly.

    Yeah, Pikachu…everything will be okay for me as well as for Pichu. At least I hope so…

    :=:=:=:=:=

    Interesting tidbits: The rock cairn and the birch tree are real (as is the pathetic barbed wire around it). They're about a half mile from my home back in Bradford, Vermont - it was a place I liked to climb up on and around as a child. I included it here in this story as a sort of "in joke" for myself. XD Though as far as I know, no transfiguring rocks lurk within it!
    A second tidbit - I'm sorry to report the scene with the pikachu and the rock (at least the killing part) is based on a real event that happened when my sister was young (She was the executioner). The victim was a chipmunk (who, we found out ironically later, had been run over by my parents) with a broken back - there was no way for it to survive. So my sister and a friend of hers went out to the woods (not the rock cairn though!), put it down on the ground, and slammed a rock on it to put the poor thing out of its suffering. This "cruel to be kind" act was incorporated into the story to add a dramatic tension to the scene that was lacking from the earlier draft. :P That and that sort of headlong impulsiveness seemed like a very "Ash-y" thing. XD
    Last edited by Pink Parka Girl; 11th April 2008 at 7:16 PM. Reason: adding the contents ^^
    ~Fanfics~
    Please don't friend me if I have no idea who you are.
    Since we can't claim Pokémon in the Bishie thread anymore....I claimed the lovely Ranger Solana instead. All mine!
    My Pokémon claim is Minun...Plusle's better, but Minun is still cute! XD

  2. #2
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        Spoiler:- Author's Notes! ^_^ GLEE!:


    -Chapter Two: Civilization-
    I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope. - Aeschylus, Agamemnon

    The violet expanse of the morning sky, tinged with flares of vermillion and hints of pink, shimmered with the glow of dawn’s early light. Strong, blustering winds, blown in from the northern expanses of the Sinnoh island, swept over the hills and vales and down the east face of Mt. Silver. Saplings and berry shrubs bent and buckled, their leaves, just beginning to show the faintest tinge of yellow, rustling in wild protest before they were torn away and sent swirling to the earth to join their compatriots of autumns before.

    Under a spruce tree, two pikachu huddled, curled in tight balls for warmth as the gale tore through their fur and howled about their ears. The smaller of the two stirred and sat up, pulling his forepaws up towards his chest and giving his head a shake, scattering flecks of dirt and pine needles into the wind. What a crazy dream I’ve had, Ash reflected, rubbing his eyes wearily. Something about a sneasel…and Bayleef…and…turning into a pikachu?

    Blinking his eyes sleepily, the teen stared blurrily out at the landscape before him. A large fence, many times his own height and topped with gleaming curls of barbed wire, criss-crossed the land a few hundred feet away, like a lazy metal arbok winding across the curves of the terrain. A few small shrubs to his left - he found he could look at them easily without having to turn his head – struggled to hold their own against the wind; the gleaming berries, looking to be the same color as the plant’s fleshy leaves, bobbing on their stems. As the wind subsided a few moments later, tall grass plants all about him rebounded; their pale tawny seed bunches tickling against his sides. Everywhere was the aroma of a new day, earthy and intense; with the rattle and chirrup of bird pokémon beginning to fill the air to welcome its arrival.

    Hearing the birdsong, Ash flicked his ears, a movement that shocked him back into reality. I… He looked at his forepaws, as furry and stubby as they had been the night before, and collapsed unto the ground, tucking his paws miserably against his sides. I’m still a pikachu…and that means what I’d done to Bayleef was real…

    It’s not a dream…

    Laying there, with the grasses surrounding and cocooning him, the whistle of the wind’s resurgence rattling their stems and seedpods, Ash felt amazingly small, not only in stature but also in his soul. How can a pikachu make it over Tojho Falls and into Kanto? How can I do anything, when I can’t even help my pokémon, or myself? Even if I do make it to Professor Oak, what if he doesn’t know anything to help me? Will Brock and Misty still care about me like this? Will…will Mom still care?

    Of course they would, he told himself, curling his lips back and snarling instinctively for even thinking such a thing. They had to. Didn’t they…?

    Twitching his hind paws, Ash shifted unto his back, staring up into the wide expanse of the early dawn sky. Exhausted after their long trek back to the warden’s station, he and Pikachu had taken shelter under a spruce, waiting for morning to arrive before finalizing their plan of action. Pikachu, Ash thought idly, wondering if his partner was awake. The crunching of paws soon rang in his ears, and a small muzzle, sleepy eyes blinking in the sunlight, peered down at him with an affectionate gleam. An image of his human self entered his mind, infused with a bright light; a physical manifestation of bravery and strength.

    Feeling a little better, Ash sat up, giving his friend a nuzzle against the cheek. That’s your way of saying you believe in me, isn’t it, Pikachu? The pokémon chattered softly and flicked his ears back in a friendly manner, further hoping to make his transfigured Trainer feel better. No matter what else happens…I still have you, don’t I? And even if things, in the end, don’t turn out the way I wish they could have, I’ll at least have tried, right?

    He envisioned himself getting attacked by a pokémon or hit by a car, caught in a pokéball or snared in a net by Team Rocket agents, or being swept over Tojho Falls, his small pikachu body unable to fight the current, splashing and spinning and being sucked under the water, his lungs bursting for air as he struggled to find the surface to which he would never return…or worse of all, chased out of his own house by his mother, being swatted at with a broom, as he tried desperately to tell her he was not just a wild pikachu, he was her son…

    No! He leapt back in panic at his wild visualizations, his fur fluffed, ears and tail pricked straight up. I can’t let myself be frightened by these things! Just because those things could happen doesn’t mean they will!

    Letting his fur relax, Ash turned back to Pikachu, who sat on his haunches, trying to look the picture of confidence for his Trainer. We should start out for Pallet Town soon, shouldn’t we? Give it our best, good old-fashioned try? Sitting up to comb a few tenaciously clinging pine needles from his unruly head-fur, he gave the berry trees another look, feeling his stomach twist with hunger. But how about we eat something first? He transmitted an image of the berry trees to Pikachu, who gave an enthusiastic chitter and ran for them.

    ::::::::

    “Chuuuuuuuuuu!”

    Spicy! Spicy, spicy, spicy, spicy!

    Ash spat the berry pulp out, rubbing his tingling tongue with his paws, his eyes watering in misery. How was he supposed to know those were Tamato Berries? They had looked so nice and green when they were on the bush – and yet the masticated remains lying on the tan grasses looked very obviously red, as did the whole fruit Pikachu had just plucked and was holding against his yellow chest. Is…is there something wrong with my eyes?

    He approached the berries again, examining them. Yes, there they were, as green as ever; looking almost perfectly camouflaged against the foliage. Taking one in his paws, he tugged at it, gnawing at the stem to further help separate berry from branch. Once the berry was free, he held it up against the tree, where it still looked green, and then placed it against his chest, where he was able to easily discern its crimson color.

    He rubbed his muzzle in contemplation. As a human, he’d always been able to easily separate reds from greens, but to his pikachu eyes, it seemed an impossible task. That’s just great, isn’t it, Pikachu? One more thing I can’t do anymore…

    An image appeared in his mind, of his pikachu self climbing a tree in the blink of an eye, leaping several feet in the air, and unleashing a devastating Thunderbolt attack. Are you trying to show me the things I can do now that I couldn’t before, Pikachu? The tree-climbing and leaping, perhaps. But Thunderbolt? I…I won’t ever be able to learn an attack, and you know it!

    Frustrated, Ash started to eat the berry to take the edge off his hunger, struggling the whole time to keep from retching.

    ::::::::

    I’m ready to go if you are.

    The pikachu and transfigured boy stood before the fence, resting their forepaws along the loops of cold, unforgiving cable. The mesh was twisted into untold hundreds of diamond shapes, which to them seemed to stretch upwards into infinity, almost touching the sky; at the top curlicues of wire, studded with thick twists that ended in sharply pointed barbs, circled in seemingly endless loops.

    Ash swallowed. The barbs had to be at least half the size of one of his forepaws, and their points, rigid and gleaming, looked sharp and deadly as razor blades. At least they’re serious about wanting to keep people out of here, he thought lamely, his ears pulled back and his lips curled in anxiety. Pikachu, despite not recognizing the inherent danger of barbed wire, also looked apprehensive; Ash’s own fear scent exacerbating his mood.

    Pushing all thoughts of himself ending up sliced open, skewered, gutted or otherwise maimed aside, Ash hooked his forepaws around the highest diamond-loop he could reach, shifting his weight off his hindpaws and scrabbling frantically with them, struggling to get a second paw-hold. Finally catching hold, he repeated the process, inching forward carefully.

    The fence seemed to stretch on forever, and, halfway up, he paused, panting furiously. The pads of his paws had started to sweat from the exertion, and his ears drooped with fatigue. How will I ever get to the top? He looked across at Pikachu, who seemed to be performing only slightly better than he was. Gasping, the little pokémon struggled to find his next pawhold, his eyes blazing with determination even as his chest heaved.

    If he can, I can too, Ash thought, and grabbed another diamond-loop, his own chest almost bursting. His slick hindpaws, however, failed to find purchase, and his forelegs buckled from the sudden increase in weight placed upon them. Seizing at an intersection of loops with his teeth, he clamped down as hard as he could as he struggled to get control of his limbs. God, if I fall from this height, I could break a leg…

    A pair of jaws suddenly seized his nape, and Ash felt his body collapse into the fetal position, like a baby pichu dangling from its mother’s mouth. Pikachu, clinging upside-down to the fence, held unto his friend’s neck as tightly as he could, his breath streaming raggedly from his nose. Poor Pikachu…and he can’t hold me forever…we’re both going to end up having a nasty fall, unless…

    Pikachu! Quick Attack!

    Receiving his Trainer’s command, the pokémon tensed his body, putting as much force against the fence with his paws as he could manage before propelling himself forward at many miles an hour, Ash still dangling from his mouth. Quick! Use it again towards the fence! Aim upwards!

    The pikachu, even as he began to plummet towards the earth, unleashed a surge of electricity towards the ground, using its energy to push himself back up towards the fence in an arc, only barely managing to clear the barbed wire. Ash, however, was no so lucky; his hindpaw catching painfully on a spike and sending Pikachu spinning back forcefully into the fence. His snared paw, however, was not strong enough to support both Ash’s own weight and that of the pikachu hanging from his neck, and they plummeted together, hitting the ground in a mess of fur and flesh.

    ::::::::

    Ash opened his eyes and stood up awkwardly on his paws, his small body trembling. His left hind foot burned with an excruciating pain, but the rest of his body seemed to be intact; a flexing of his paws and neck, and a flick of his tail, seemed to confirm this. Pikachu lay belly-up not far off, his muzzle slack and tongue dangling. All concern for himself vanishing, Ash limped toward the little pokémon, pressing an ear against the prone animal’s chest. Phew…his heart’s still beating, and I can hear him breathe…but will he be okay?

    Don’t worry, Pikachu, he thought, sniffing his friend apprehensively. I’ll get help. I don’t think I can risk showing you…or myself…to a Trainer, but if I can find one, I might be able to steal a Potion for you…

    He hobbled into the woods, trying to figure out what direction he was traveling in. I know from my PokéGear that New Bark Town is to the south of Mt. Silver…but what direction is south? I can’t give up without finding it, though…I have to find it. Professor Elm’s Lab is there, and where there’s a Professor, there’s bound to be lots of Trainers nearby…

    The scent of human suddenly hit Ash’s nose, and his pikachu instincts tensed; causing his ears to flick back and his fur to rise, and a fiercely burning intensity to dance along his cheeks. Danger! Danger! Bite, fight, attack! He swallowed, trying to push the animal intuition to the side and take control of his situation rationally, like a human would. Stay clear, he told himself, pulling his body into a tussock of grasses. You’re not a pikachu, at least not for real. You’re human! Human!

    Unaware of the fact that his tail was prominently sticking up out of the grass, Ash crouched low to the ground, waiting for the human to come into view. Please be a Trainer, he prayed, digging his claws into the dirt. Please be a Trainer with items…for Pikachu’s sake…

    “Finally! Lookit that, Camerupt! There’s a pikachu in that patch o’ grass. And it ain’t got a notched-up tail, either. Just what we were lookin’ for!”

    Ash gasped and lowered his tail, cursing to himself. I’ve been seen? What am I going to do now? Should I run? Should I fight him? Can I fight him? Does he have Potions for Pikachu? Should I even stay to find out? Millions of questions firing through his brain, he froze and did nothing; eyes wide and panicked with a dumbstruck expression on his face, ears pressed flat against his skull.

    I feel like a pikachu in headlights…I…I am a pikachu in headlights! I’m frozen with fear! Come on, body, move! Whether you run to the Trainer or away, just MOVE!

    “Ha, little pikachu, I see you there! Poor little ‘fraidy skitty, stiff as a board! Here’s your chance, Camerupt! Earthquake!”

    A sudden vibrating crash sent tremors through the earth, knocking Ash off his feet and sending him flying into the side of a larch tree. His tiny form quivering with shock, he lay resupine where he had landed, the wind knocked from his chest. I…I…I have to get up…have to…have to help Pikachu…

    “Pokéball, go!”

    Pulling himself painfully unto his paws, Ash shoved aside his disorientation and limped toward the sound of the voice; not caring about the Trainer’s declaration of his intentions. The possibility of being captured in a pokéball, the terrible sphere that would take away his freedom, was a contingency he felt he had to risk, if he was to have any hope at all of finding healing items. Pikachu, he thought, Pikachu…I’ll save you…I’ll do whatever I can to save you…

    The boy-pikachu froze as a small ball – black on the top and white on the bottom, with a gold bracket pattern along the top hemisphere – landed in front of him, popping open like a lecherous maw to reveal its irresistible gleaming mirrors and small orange nodules, which pulsed with a strange, hypnotic power. Terrified, Ash tried to fight it, to resist the force it was exerting - but it was a hopeless struggle, one which he, in his weak and depleted state, had no chance of winning. Finally, with a resigned sorrow, he gave himself up to the ball, and, with a brilliant flash, was drawn into it.

    The ball closed with a click – and finished with a small ping.

    ::::::::

    Oooohhh…

    Where am I?

    Pikachu…I feel you against me. I remember being caught in an Ultra Ball, but I’m definitely not in one now…think of that, Pikachu! He must have let me go! And I’m so glad you seem like you’re okay, too…

    Oh! You don’t smell like Pikachu! Who are you? Where am I?

    Ash opened his eyes, staring in surprise at his new surroundings. A pikachu, orangey-dun in color, snoozed in a tight ball against his side, her tail bearing the cloven tip that identified her gender as female. Steel bars, thin but strong, surrounded him on all sides, and the surface upon which he lay was a thick coating of cedar shavings, which infected the area with a heady odor that made him sneeze. From between the bars he could see a videophone system, which stood next to a shelf arranged with numerous knick-knackish figurines of fire-type pokémon, arranged from Arcanine to Vulpix. On the other side of the shelf sat a computer desk, which hosted, besides merely a computer, a veritable herd of anime figurines and a framed portrait of a portly man in a clown suit, a small magby looking lovingly up at him.

    Is that my new Trainer? Ash wondered, tilting his head in curiosity as he peered out at the photograph. His costume looks like that of a Firebreather…and he certainly seems to have the whole fire-type theme going on…so what would he want an electric-type like me, or my new cage-mate, for?

    He rested back on his haunches, stroking his muzzle in thought. The fact he was confined to a cage seemed to indicate his status in life had dropped to that of mere pet, a novelty for a Trainer whose interest lay mainly in other areas. A pet! Is this what I’ve come to? Doomed to be trapped in a cage for the rest of my life, never seeing my pokémon, my friends, my family, to never find a way to be human…ever again? Angrily, he flopped down unto his back, a cloud of cedar dust billowing out around him. I’ve got to find a way out of here. Pikachu needs me, Bayleef needs me…

    His left hind paw felt pruritic and stiff, and, looking down at it, he found it had been cleaned and bandaged. Nice of him…but when did he get the chance to do that? I wonder how long I’ve…drat, it feels so itchy…drat, drat, drat, drat, damn! I know it’s for my own good, but if I could just chew that bandage off…

    He turned his muzzle towards his bandaged paw, only to find a sheet of plastic interfering with his ability to reach the offending appendage. Don’t tell me he…

    Reaching up with his forepaws, Ash felt along his neck, tracing the form of a large plastic funnel shape enveloping his head. He put me in an Elizabethan collar?!

    Ears flushed with shame, he curled up into a miserable ball, tail twitching furiously.

    ::::::::

    “Hello?” A rapid tapping along the cage bars stirred Ash from his sulk, and he sat up unenthusiastically, his fur mussy and his attitude sour. “G’morning, starshine!”

    The boy-pikachu peered up at the man through half-lidded eyes. His black hair hung languidly along his temples and neck, framing his chubby, corpulent face. A pair of red-tinted glasses, which stood out sharply against his pasty skin, rested upon his broad nose, while his many chins wobbled languorously as he spoke. Although he was not in his clown outfit, he was easily recognizable as the Trainer in the photo, and it was all Ash could do to keep from snarling at him.

    “Aww, whatcha in a big snitty-snit for? One would think you’d be a lot more excited, bein’ with my Aria and all.”

    Aria? His indignities and frustrations over his neckwear and being caged momentarily forgotten, Ash turned his attention back to his cage-mate. The female continued to sleep, her unusually-colored fur gleaming as her sides rose and fell with her breaths. Her small, delicate muzzle was tucked in between her fore paws, while her hind paws were drawn close together beneath her. Her long, fluffy tail, with its forked tip, stuck out stiffly behind her, and gave an occasional twitch as she dreamed. Why should she excite me? Because she’s Shining? He gave the human a bored look, hoping his lack of interest in the little female might convince the Firebreather to let him go. You’ve separated me from my best friend, stuck me in a cage, and put this humiliating lampshade around my neck. I’ve got better things to do than act impressed because you have a Shining Pokémon!

    “Damn it all, but you sure is dense! Of all the pikachu in the woods I coulda caught…” Turning to his videophone, the Firebreather switched it on, dialing a number. “What do I gotta do for ya, play mood music? Sprinkle Spanish fly in your pokéchow?” Grumbling, he turned his attention to the video screen, upon which a face soon materialized.

    “Milton!”

    “Yes, yes, Mr. Pratski, SIR!” Milton drew himself up to his full height, giving a respectful nod to the monitor. “Please, Mr. Pratski, SIR! How is my Maggie?”

    “I think you’ll find that Maggie is doing quite well. She isn’t worth anything to you dead, after all.” The voice, despite its heavy Russian accent, managed to sound cool and threatening; the voice of a man who was very serious about his intentions and knew exactly what he wanted – and usually received it.

    “’Course she ain’t, you blusterin’ Russian idiot!” His jowls wobbling with frustration, Milton pounded his fist against the case of the videophone, causing Aria to lift her head with a start. “Maggie, she’s my best friend! My partner! And I want her back!”

    Mr. Pratski laughed and made a quick reply. “I know quite well what your magby means to you, Milton. That’s why it makes such good blackmail fodder.”

    “I know it,” Milton sighed. “Why else do you think I’m doin’ your bidding? I -”

    “Why are you calling, Milton? Surely it wasn’t just to call me a blustering Russian idiot?” Mr. Pratski leaned in close to the screen, giving the Firebreather a withering glare. “This had better be worth my time, you know?”

    “It is, it is!” Milton stammered, wringing his sausage-like fingers. “I found a male pikachu down in the Mt. Silver area early this morning. And with Aria in heat, they’re bound to breed…and if I get another Shinin’ one, I’m to hand it over to you in return for my Maggie’s safe return. That was the agreement, wasn’t it?”

    “Indeed,” Mr. Pratski replied, his voice tinged with a slight air of impatience. “You give me a Shining pichu all for free, and I give you back your pokémon. And you don’t breathe a word about being blackmailed, either.”

    “Of course not, Mr. Pratski, SIR!” Switching the videophone off, the man turned back to the cage, resuming his analysis of his new charge. “You get that, you dopey-headed rodent? My neighbor is totally blackmailin’ me. And my only chance of gettin’ my partner back is if you, sir, make some eggs with my lovely pet, Aria. Don’t you hear that? I don’t want you sitting there like a ninny, I want you breedin’!”

    Aria? Eggs? Breeding? BREEDING? That’s what I was supposed to be excited for? But she’s a pikachu! And I’m just a thirteen year old kid who isn't even sure how he feels about human girls yet! That's something you can't make me do, even for your partner's sake! Ash leapt to the opposite side of the cage, running his forepaws along the unyielding wire that blocked his path to freedom. The bar farthest to the left side, slightly thicker than the others, had a thick plastic mechanism halfway down its length, which had an extending plastic flange on either end. Pressing down on that must be how you open the door...

    Sitting up on his hindlegs, Ash tried to reach for the top flange with a paw, cursing as the Elizabethan collar kept getting in his way. Drat this lampshade! I can't get my paws out far enough as long as this awful thing's on me! He rubbed his head viciously along the bars of the door, trying to dislodge the terrible plastic cone, not caring as it cut painfully into the flesh of his neck due to his efforts. I have to get this thing off. I have to. I must!

    “No way, buster – that collar's on for yer own good! Now, you go and do yer thing...as excitin' as watching you mate might be, my DVDs won't watch themselves, ya know! But when I'm done...you'd better be too!”

    Snatching a movie case from a shelf out of Ash's line of vision, Milton shuffled into another room, leaving the pikachu and boy alone.

    ::::::::

    Ash approached Aria nervously. The female pikachu lay partially on her belly, forepaws resting neatly amid the cedar chips and with hind legs extended to their full length, her tail raised straight in the air. She stared at the transfigured teen with an excited, tantalizing gleam in her eye, making a high, keening chatter in her throat as she flicked her ears, trying to look inviting. No! I'm not going to do that with you! I want you to help me. Aria! The boy-pikachu twitched his tail anxiously as he concentrated, trying to establish empathic contact with the female, focusing with all his might on reaching Aria's consciousness. Since his own pikachu was able to send and receive messages to and from him, it was certainly worth a try to see if other pikachu could as well. Aria! He transmitted an image of her gnawing and clawing the Elizabethan collar from off around his neck, and pressing her paws along with his down on to the flange to provide the necessary force needed to open the cage door.

    The Shining pikachu didn't show any indication that she had received his message at all, and simply started to chatter louder, waving her tail as a sudden overbearing scent, more intense even than that of the cedar shavings, filled the air about her. Breathing it in, Ash was hit with a mind-shattering explosion of strange emotions and feelings, and he felt a low buzzing escape from his throat, which made the female quiver even more. What on earth am I doing? Why do I feel this way? Hold your nose, ignore her, get yourself to the other side of the cage! You have to escape to help Bayleef, help Pikachu, help yourself! He tried to force his paws to move in any direction other than towards where Aria beckoned, but his pikachu body, overcome by instinct, couldn't be budged away from the object of its desire. No, no no! That smell – it's clouding my mind! I feel so strange, but I can't give in! I won't let myself! I won't...

    Let...

    ::::::::

    She was beautiful. The young male couldn't stop staring at her; admiring the curve of her body, the slight turn of her snout, her gleaming orange fur; so exotic and brilliant! The female rather liked him as well, admiring his slightly klutzy, clueless look; his long and exceptionally fluffy head fur, framed by the plastic rim of the cone about his neck, his unusual eyes, wider, brighter and more intelligent than those of any other pikachu she had ever seen. He was the mate for her, the only one she needed. Her delightful new cage-mate, he of the puzzled mind and gentle soul, was her passion!

    She approached the male, chattering, and nuzzled his side of his cheek, nibbling and licking playfully at his fur. Slightly apprehensive, the male laid his ears flat against his head and crouched low to the ground, a strange emotion tainting the edge of his passion. Puzzled, the female turned so her backside would be directly before the male's nose, pricking her tail invitingly, before scurrying to the other side of the cage, giving a playful, rattling tchrr to entice the male to come catch her. The male straightened up, muzzle and ears higher in the air, tail raised up like a jagged flag. His strange new passion winning out over all, the yearling male scampered towards the female, giving a final bound to land at her side. She was busy grooming herself, licking her paw and swiping it down across her head and ears, and pretended not to notice her visitor. Buzzing his keening mating cry, the male tapped the top of her skull to get her attention. The female's eyes met his, and they stared at each other for a moment, each one taking in the other. The female's wide, dark pupils, framed with a thin amber iris, glimmered with concupiscence as she gave the yearling male a swift lick on the snout and then darted off to the other side of the cage, waiting for him to follow. He darted after her, leap after joyful leap, and she finally let him catch her, chittering her joy. They rolled among the cedar chips, enjoying each other's company, making small chirrups of pleasure, until the male grabbed the Shining female's ear in his mouth. She flipped over on her back, and he rubbed his cheek across her underbelly; signaling the time had come, the awakening of the carnal desire...

    :::::::::

    Hehe. Oh my, oh my oh my. Now that's a "shocking" turn of events...Shocking. *giggle* God, I kill myself. XD

    I don't think this chapter is as good as the first. I try to get things back on track in Chapter Three, though...

    No Notes of Interest this time. I can just year your disappointed wails, I know...
    ~Fanfics~
    Please don't friend me if I have no idea who you are.
    Since we can't claim Pokémon in the Bishie thread anymore....I claimed the lovely Ranger Solana instead. All mine!
    My Pokémon claim is Minun...Plusle's better, but Minun is still cute! XD

  3. #3
    Join Date
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        Spoiler:- C'mon, you should know what's behind this lovely little spoiler tag by now...:


    -Chapter 3: Filiation-
    The only way to escape the abyss is to look at it, gauge it, sound it out and descend into it. -Cesare Pavese

    The tail end of summer slid smoothly into autumn, and all around the little house in New Bark Town, nature exploded with brilliant flares of color. The maples had been the first to turn; their greens fading into radiant blazes of scarlet and vermillion, imbued with the faintest hints of yellow and brown along their veins and lobes. Apricorn shrubs swelled with their seasonal bounty, while the berry bushes, the end of their season drawing near, had started to wilt, their papery-thin leaves shriveling into brown husks of their former selves. A horse chestnut tree, its leaves in the middle of their transformation from a forest green to a dingy yellow-brown, rustled in seeming protest as a small form climbed up its trunk and scurried out along a branch, leaping to a windowsill below.

    Ash, the pikachu thought, sitting up and pressing his forepaws against the glass and bumping the unyielding surface with his nose. Ash, Ash, Ash, Ash, Ash. Pikachu! Closing his eyes and curling his tail along his back, the little animal projected an image of himself as he thought his name, wondering, in his simple way, why his beloved Trainer made no response. A rush of further images flowed from his mind, chronicling his adventures since their separation – regaining consciousness all alone on the cold ground next to the fence, his small body wracked with pain; of following his friend’s scent into the forest, where it suddenly stopped, mingled with that of camerupt and human; of lying in the grass tussock, body curled in a ball and muzzle pointed to the south, where a sudden flash of empathic vision, depicting an orange-colored pikachu in a mating stance, had overcome him. Following the strength of the empathic link, he had made his way down from Mt. Silver and through the forests to arrive at New Bark Town – exhausted and wounded, but filled with a burning exhilaration. He could feel him - his beloved Ash, his Pikapi, was waiting just beyond the window…

    ::::::::

    The yearling male lay stretched out amid the cedar shavings that covered the base of his cage, his muzzle resting idly upon his slightly upturned forepaws. Shortly after his mating with the Shining female, he had been moved to a separate cage in the kitchen; placed against a sunny window, he had the best of both worlds – the constant noise and movement of the outside sphere coupled with the security and enticing food scents of the indoor one. The pudgy man, the Provider, had gone out for some reason or another, leaving the male with plenty of time to entertain himself in whatever manner he pleased.

    He stretched out his left hindpaw, which by now had almost completely healed, and gave it a tentative flex, feeling his toes splay out and the tendons that held his claws in place extend. Rolling unto his back, he then began to groom a forepaw with his small pink tongue, relieved that the strange, bulky cone had finally been removed from about his neck earlier in the day. It was in this unsophisticated manner – sleeping, grooming, exercising and waiting for the Provider to bring him his daily ration of pokéchow – that the small male had spent his days as far back as he could remember, other than the brief time he had been with the Shining female for mating. Running his moist forepaw along one of his thin, tapering ears, ruffling the fur along its surface, he reflected back on the event; the earliest memory of which he had any recollection.

    The lustrous, orange-hued minx, after the consummation of their collective passion, had turned on him with teeth bared and claws at the ready, screaming with a series of indignant staccato chirps, vocalizations that had made it all too clear that she wanted nothing more to do with her mate. Ducking her furious cuffs, the dark-eyed male had retreated to the opposite side of the cage, cowering and curled into as diminutive a ball as he could scrunch his body into, until his owner had transferred him to his current location in the kitchen. The female’s sudden change in personality had caused no hurt or offense to the male – it was an instinct he, and generations of pikachu before him, had accepted without question. Males never took a role in the care of eggs or pichu, instead choosing to go their own way and leave their newly irritable mates behind to deal with all manner of kitten-raising themselves. It was the ultimate goal of nature to pass on one’s genes, and yet the idea of knowing he was to be father to a clutch of eggs had always caused a bizarre, choking feeling in the male’s chest whenever the thought had arisen. But why? He would likely never see these pichu and would never have to worry about them; but simply knowing that they would soon come into existence, if they hadn’t already, made him feel decidedly un-pikachu-like emotions.

    A strangely familiar syllable suddenly began to reverberate along the farthest corner of the yearling male’s mind, and he was on his haunches in an instant, ears flat along his skull and jaws clenched in irritation. It was a simple, sharp sort of sound that was not a thought of his own, and didn’t seem as if it were any different from any other bit of babble he’d heard issue from human throats. Why did it make him feel so strange? Squeaking and chirping with bewilderment, he tried to ignore the oddly echoing sound, rubbing the side of his head against the bars of the cage. He had to drown it out…that strange, incomprehensible feeling…

    Ash, Ash, Ash, Ash, Ash!

    With the fur along his spine bristled and his tail fluffed like a Fuller brush, the little pikachu spun about wildly, his heart pounding in his chest. That sound – that sound! What did it mean, where did it come from? Why did it make him feel so confused and conflicted? Cheeks glowing blue, he leapt to the opposite side of the cage and back again, his jaws rattling from anxiety and fear.

    “Pikapi! Pikapiiiiiii!”

    Hearing the scrabble of small claws against glass, the yearling froze, arching his back. Another male, larger than himself, chattered and drilled only a meter or so away from him, his rough black pads leaving clammy prints upon the windowpane. The foreigner’s eyes radiated with an odd emotion, and within his mind, the yearling again heard the strange, heart-twisting sound.

    Intruder! The little male’s instincts blazed with a furious intensity. He’s frightening you because he wants your territory! Drive him away! Drive him away! With a tensing of his lower body, he rushed at the window, growling and screeching; his lips drawn back in a snarl and with electricity tingling up and down his body. The foreign male backed off, exposing his throat and dragging his tail in a submissive posture, confusion showing in his rich brown eyes.

    Ash…Ash…

    “Pikapi!”

    ::::::::

    I…I…

    Ash…

    Oh, God…I’m Ash!

    Staring out at the dejected animal lying supine upon the windowsill, the yearling male felt a long hidden consciousness rise to the surface of his mind; a repressed aspect of his personality that the madness of captivity had made him forget he ever possessed. How could I have forgotten who I was? He flicked his ears back moodily, chattering deep in his throat. I’ve hurt Pikachu because I didn’t recognize him…Pikachu! Ash is here – your Trainer, your friend! Please don’t be frightened of me!

    Pikachu lifted his head and pulled himself painfully up to his paws, making an excited chirping in his throat as the familiar voice echoed about his brain. With the edges of his lips lifted into as much of a smile as he could manage, Ash poked his muzzle out between the cage bars, bumping his small black nose against the glass. Pikachu…thank you for forgiving me…

    The little pokémon rubbed his cheek on the glass opposite to where Ash had pressed his nose, trilling. Glad that there are no hard feelings…but Pikachu, how am I going to get out of here? I don’t think I’m strong enough to push down on the latch and open the cage all by myself – you’d be able to help me with that, but how are you going to get into the house? Flopping back on his haunches, Ash closed his eyes, trying to plot out an escape from his predicament. Maybe…

    Visualizing the window in his head, he focused on the middle of the pane, sending the image to Pikachu. Right there, Pikachu. Thundershock right there!

    Stretching up on the tips of his hind paws, Pikachu nudged the spot Ash had indicated, cheeks flickering with a cerulean glow as he charged his attack. Jaws clenched, he tensed his body and unleashed the Thundershock, instinctively leaping for the horse chestnut as the crackling spark of electricity hit the glass pane, shattering it and sending a rain of debris plummeting unto the windowpane and surrounding areas. At the sound of the crash, Ash dove under the cedar shavings on the bottom of his cage, cowering, covering his eyes with his forepaws as a few wild shards ricocheted from off the steel-barred roof and into the kitchen sink.

    After a few moments, the boy-pikachu looked up cautiously, bits of ceder shavings clinging to his long, fluffy head-fur. Pikachu, by now also recovered from his shock, carefully ventured forwards from the cluster of leaves and smooth-shelled conkers he had been hiding in, sniffing at a stray fragment that had become embedded in the tree branch. Pikachu, Quick Attack should get you over all of that broken glass. Aim for the top of my cage! The little pokémon flicked his tail in recognition and pressed his hind paws against the trunk of the tree, bracing himself. Then, with a powerful surge forward, he leapt speedily through the shattered remains of the window and unto the cage, his small paws scrabbling awkwardly for purchase along the thin bars.

    Now, here's exactly what I want you to do, Ash thought, peering up at his best friend's inquisitive face. He transmitted an image of the small plastic apparatus on the door of the cage, making sure to highlight the two flanges. Lay down on your back and kick up into the bottom tab with your hind paws, and press your forepaws along the top tab – I'll reach through the bars and push down with you. Acknowledging the mental images that accompanied his Trainer's words, Pikachu scrambled down unto the ground beside the cage door, flopping unto his back and kicking up with his hind paws as directed. Pulling himself into a awkward half-sitting position, he then placed his small forepaws on the upper flange, waiting for his friend's signal.

    Poking his own forepaws out through the bars of the cage door, Ash placed them on top of Pikachu's, making a soft rattle in his throat. Now, Pikachu! Push!

    Pokémon and transfigured boy shoved with every fiber of their being, ears pulled back and jaws clenched, the muscles in their forearms quivering with exertion. The tension in the spring mechanism slackened slightly, and, with a final shove, Ash threw his last remaining strength into the depression of that terrible flange, chittering and growling in frustration. I have to get out of here. We have to be strong enough! I don't want to lose my mind like that again, and I...

    I...the pichu, the pichu, the pichu...

    My pichu...

    A small, metallic click sounded from within the plastic casing, and the door swung open, causing Ash to lose his balance; falling unto the kitchen counter foolishly, paws askew and with one ear bent over his nose. I...I...I'm free...

    I'm finally free...finally out of that awful cage...

    Pikachu licked his transfigured Trainer's cheek anxiously, giving a questioning chirp. It's all okay, Pikachu...we're back together again, and we'll find a way to Pallet Town – we have to believe that we will! But beneath the confidence he tried to project to his pokémon, he was terribly conflicted; unsure of what he should do about the troubling knowledge that he was soon going to be a father – if he wasn't already.

    You're not really their father, he told himself, flexing one forepaw nervously; staring at his small black claws idly. You didn't mate with Aria – that Other, that side of yourself that is completely pikachu, did. You can't be responsible for what the Other does – the Other is separate; a totally different creature! Besides, it’s not like you know anything at all about caring for pichu kittens…it’s best that I just leave them alone with their mother, who does have that knowledge. Thirteen year old kids shouldn’t be worrying about this kind of stuff!

    But…even if it was the Other who did the deed, they’re still, in a way, my pichu…they should at least know that their father acknowledged them. Even if it means that afterwards, I leave them behind forever…

    Would that cause them more pain in the long run?

    Pikachu chattered apprehensively, his ears pricked rigidly upright and the fur along his spine and tail fluffed. Not now, Pikachu…I can’t leave quite yet. There’s something I have to do first…even if it might be selfish, I have to do it…

    Ignoring his best friend’s nervous vocalizations, Ash pulled himself to his feet and leapt off the counter, striking the linoleum forepaws first. He fell back unto his haunches and inhaled, trying to draw in Aria’s scent. Picking up a wisp of her aroma, he followed it into the computer room, where the Shining female lay in her cage atop a table; eyes closed with exhaustion, with paws and tail curled protectively around a pile of small, furry bodies.

    Standing up on the tips of his hindpaws, Ash hooked his forepaws around the rim of the cage’s base tray, trying to examine the clutch of pichu. There were five kittens in all, three males and two females. Four were of average dimensions for newly hatched pichu – roughly the size of a human’s fist – and were fully furred and formed, although their eyes would not open, nor their ears unfold, for about a week’s time. They nuzzled their mother’s side as they licked the milk she, like all monotremic pokémon, secreted from ducts along her belly, squeaking and chirping softly as they filled their tiny stomachs. The remaining kitten, who was the runt of the litter and only half the size of his siblings, lay in between his mother’s folded forepaws and mewled from hunger, his fur gleaming in the glow of the room’s flickering incandescent lighting.

    Milton got his Shining pichu after all, Ash thought, his ears drooping. Drat…I should have just left like Pikachu wanted me to. How can I leave my kittens behind? I’ve already abandoned one pokémon too many, and these pichu…even if they are mostly the Other’s, they’re also mine. And even if they are just pichu, they’re my sons and daughters...

    “How in the bloody hell did you get outta yer cage?”

    Shocked, Ash dropped back down to the ground, arching his back as a furious snarl escaped from his throat. Milton! So that’s why Pikachu wanted to leave! And I was so involved with other things I ignored what my senses were telling me!

    “I’ll deal with you later.” Stepping over the furious boy-pikachu, the Firebreather peered down into Aria’s cage, examining her new brood. “Oh, so they've hatched! One, two, three, four…there we go. Five.” Sliding his hands into a pair of thick rubber gloves, Milton opened the door of the cage, gathering up the kittens one by one, ignoring Aria’s furious bursts of violence and electricity. “Four worthless, everyday pichu. But you, number five…even if you are runty, yer Shining. And that means I can finally get my Maggie back…” Slipping the tiny pichu into his jacket pocket, he closed the cage door and opened a nearby closet, rooting about purposefully. “Now, where’d I put that bag…”

    Bag? Bag? Why does he want a bag? What does he want to do with my kittens? How can I save them? And even if I do, what would I do with them afterwards? I’m just a kid myself! Heart racing, Ash rubbed his muzzle anxiously with his forepaws, lashing his tail in confliction. I can’t abandon them, I know that. I have to at least try to save them, try to take care of them. I won’t let myself be like that sneasel’s Trainer…

    Or like myself in the past…

    With a pleased snort, Milton pulled a small duffel bag out of the closet and dropped it to the ground, sending a cloud of dust billowing up from its vinyl surface. Eyes glinting, he then snatched up the boy-pikachu by the scruff of the neck, holding him up level to his piggish eyes, which glinted wickedly from under his puffy brows. “I know you jealous males. Wanna kill your own kittens, don’t you? Why else would you be here? Go ahead and kill ‘em, then. It’s not like I need the other four. And even if you don’t kill ‘em, I’ll be getting you and them out of my hair. ‘Cause it’s not like I need you anymore either, little daddy-o.”

    Before he could react, Ash found himself stuffed in the choking darkness of the undersized bag, where he was swiftly joined by the four normal pichu kittens, which mewled and whimpered; confused by the strange, new smells and vibrations that surrounded them. It’s okay, little pichu…I might not be your mother, but I’ll try my best to help you and care for you…never, ever again am I leaving another pokémon in need behind if I can help it…

    An expression of frantic worry suddenly entered his brain, tinged with the sound of his name; a fretfulness that could not be expressed in any other human terms. Pikachu! Ash swiftly sent a message in reply, hoping for assistance from his loyal partner. Milton’s taking me somewhere inside a bag. Follow him! Don’t let him out of your sight! Receiving an image of affirmation, the transfigured Trainer sniffed the side of the bag, testing its strength with his claws. When I’ve got a hole big enough to get myself and the pichu out, I’ll signal Pikachu to start a distraction, and then…

    With a sudden jerk, Ash was thrown off his paws as Milton started to walk forwards, swinging the bag. The pichu kittens, squeaking with fear, landed on top of him, and he nuzzled them fretfully, wondering how he was ever going to escape. I have to keep myself stationary…God, little pichu, little sons and daughters…I wish I were more than just a hopeless thirteen year old kid at heart…

    Sliding forwards once more, Ash dug his hindpaws deep into the fibers along the bottom of the bag, hooking the claws upon his forepaws into its surprisingly tough vinyl side, tugging at it to no avail. If I work at it long enough…

    Seizing it with jaws and claws, Ash worked at obliterating the fibers, thoughts of the kittens that depended upon him for their safety – and indeed, their very lives – filling his small form with strength and vigor.

    ::::::::

    The sound of a wild roaring had tickled at the edges of Ash’s consciousness for the past hour.

    It had been easy enough to ignore it while it was only a faint, minor wisp on the periphery of his hearing, but beginning twenty minutes ago, it had gradually increased in volume, before finally reaching its current deafening crescendo all about him. He poked his muzzle out through the small hole he’d managed to chew in the fabric so far; the thick clamminess of water vapor hung heavily in the area, several drops condensing upon his small black nose. Is this…Tojho Falls? But what would a man like Milton want in a place like this? He doesn’t even have any water type pokémon to help him traverse the falls with!

    Pulling his muzzle out of the hole, Ash tried to get a look around, but the constant spray of water and the damp vapor made seeing anything difficult. I’ve got to be careful, he thought, resuming his work upon the escape route for himself and the pichu. Since I won’t be able to see where I’m going, one bad leap could send me straight to my death…

    Ash, Pikachu projected suddenly, along with an image of a strange man standing atop the Johto side of the falls, out of range of the fog and spray. The face of the figure was familiar to boy-pikachu – lean and intense, with dark eyes and hair that hung, limp and unstyled, along his strong cheekbones. That’s Mr. Pratski from the videophone, Pikachu…the guy who was blackmailing Milton. I wonder what he’s doing up here?

    But for whatever reason he chose to wait up there, I know that as soon as Milton reaches him, one of my kittens will be handed over to him…and the kind of guy who would steal someone else’s partner and blackmail others can’t be a good Trainer for him! I don’t know how much time I have left to save him…I’ve got to hurry! I have to get myself out of this bag…not just for the four in here with me, but for all five kittens!

    With a furious chatter, Ash once more resumed work upon the hole, eyes and cheeks blazing with a furious intensity.

    ::::::::

    “God, Pratski…the shit you make me go through for ya…”

    Gasping, Milton pulled his bulk over the top of the Johto side of the falls and sat down roughly along the rocky shore, his body slick with water and sweat. Pikachu watched him warily from behind a boulder, his sure-footedness and agility allowing him to reach the top long before the wheezing Trainer, who mopped futilely at his brow with a sopping handkerchief that was just as wet as the rest of him. “Why did it have to be at the top of the Falls, Mr. Pratski, SIR?”

    The lean Russian nonchalantly tossed a pokéball from hand to hand, letting it almost touch the water before he caught it again, enjoying the look of fear and shock that rushed along Milton’s features at every close call. “You know why, Firebreather. It’s nice and secluded – we can talk ‘business’ without fear of any sort of interruption.”

    “And because you like to see me suffer.” The chubby Trainer continued to gasp from exhaustion, feeling as though his heart rate would never return to normal.

    “That too,” his antagonist admitted, giving the pokéball another little toss. “But it’s your fault for restricting yourself so tenaciously to only a handful of pokémon types.” A lovely, blue-striped fish lifted her head gracefully from the water, her spreading, beautifly-wing like fins fanning out slowly behind her. “You don’t see me gasping, because I had Lumineon here to help me. Don’t you wish you were so fortunate?”

    “I…yes, Mr. Pratski.” Trying to keep his temper under control, Milton reached into his pocket, taking the tiny pichu into his palm. “I have your Shining pichu for you, neighbor. If you want him, you have to give back Maggie!”

    “My silly man,” Mr. Pratski replied, running a hand along his pokémon’s sleek scales, “I get the pichu first. Or it’s no deal.”

    Milton huffed in agitation. “Fine.” The lumineon swam forward, keeping her head out of the water, and paused before the Firebreather, just as her Trainer had commanded her to. With a grumble, he placed the tiny pichu upon the fish’s skull, hoping the furtive Russian would keep his end of the deal.

    Ash, watching from the duffel bag as he gnawed, felt his heart leap into his throat at the sight of his tiny kitten. No! If Mr. Pratski gets a hold of him…no, I can’t allow that to happen! I won’t abandon you, little pichu! I…I won’t leave anyone behind! Never again!

    With a final, infuriated tear at the vinyl, widening the hole just enough to squeeze his body through, the boy-pikachu leapt along the rocks and unto the water pokémon’s head, snatching up the pichu kitten securely in his jaws. Pikachu, use Thunderbolt on Lumineon! I’ll try to find a safe spot to hide the kittens! Cheeks crackling with static, Pikachu leapt out from behind the boulder and along the shore, facing off against the pale fish. Mr. Pratski, too livid to give his pokémon an attack command, screamed at Milton, dangling Maggie’s pokéball dangerously close to the turgid rapids.

    “Don’t let that damned pikachu get away with my pichu! Seize it – or your Maggie goes swimming!” With that terrible threat ringing in his ears, the Firebreather snatched up the duffel bag, wondering at the male’s strangely altruistic behavior towards his kittens. If he’d go after one…surely he’d go after the other four with quadruple the vigor…

    With a heave, he tossed the duffel bag into the raging waters, where it sped away towards the Kanto side of the falls, roiling and spinning along the rapids. Seeing the small object bob along the water, Ash leapt in after it with impulsive heroicness, furiously trying to keep his own head, and that of the little pichu in his mouth, above the surface. Small waves splashing and lapping along his muzzle, the boy-pikachu struggled to breathe as he paddled with all the strength he had, desperately trying to catch up to the rest of his kittens. Follow me, Pikachu! If we survive, we’ll at least be in Kanto!

    Leaving the fainted lumineon belly up behind him, Pikachu followed his master into the churning river as Milton and Mr. Pratski stared, dumbfounded, after them.

    “I thought he would at least drop the kitten before he dove in,” the Firebreather finally said lamely, hanging his head in defeat. “That means I don’t get Maggie back, do I?”

    “No, Milton. You don’t.”

    ::::::::

    Limbs and neck growing stiff, Ash struggled to reach the bag before it reached the falls, his lungs almost bursting in his chest. I’ll never reach it, I’ll never do it…no, can’t think that way…won’t abandon my kittens, not like poor Bayleef…I WILL save you…

    He felt his legs give out as a particularly vicious rapid sent him spinning under the surface, and it was all he could manage to keep the little kitten securely within his jaws against the force. The surface shimmered, pale and hazy, somewhere far above him, and Ash stared at it, letting his body fall farther and farther towards the bottom of the river. The light sparkles along the ripples…see that, little kitten? It’s a nice view, isn’t it? Oh! Look at this big, bright light…mmm, it’s so warm…let’s run to it, Pichu! The surface is so far away, and this light is so close…

    The light, a pure white that shimmered with faint swirls of mother-of-pearl, enfolded and enveloped him, and he felt weightless and floaty, as if there were nothing around him anymore but the intense, pulsing glow of the churning illumination. A slow, languid voice tickled at the edge of his subconscious; droning and ancient, it intoned a deep, malevolent monologue.

    In the beginning, there was only a churning turmoil of chaos. At the heart of chaos, where all things became one, appeared an Egg. Having tumbled from the vortex, the Egg gave rise to the Original One…

    The vague outline of a great equine being appeared before Ash’s vision – tall and imposing, it stood upon pointed, radiant gold hooves, its indistinct, inscrutable face staring down at him with an unreadable emotion. Upon the hatching of the Original One, its Egg split into seven fragments, which fell to the newly formed world. The creatures of the world changed and grew from exposure to his Egg, and when all seven pieces had been activated, the world was destroyed, and the Original One died, only to be reborn anew…

    Earth and life go through cycles. The age of the Animal had come and gone, as has the age of the great Dinosaur pokémon. Now, it is the age of the mammals, and the age of the human…and now, it too must end. For with your blood, activator of the third generation, the cycle can once more begin…

    The world…the world would end with my death? No, no! I have to get out of here! Frantically, Ash clawed at the luminosity about him, trying to find some way – any way – to escape. I can’t let that happen! I can’t! With a final wrench away from the strange being, the boy-pikachu found himself back in the water, paws spinning wildly…

    :::::::

    Ah-hah, so there IS something in this plot about saving the world. Would my sloppily made ghetto banner lie to you? Come now! XD Ghetto banners are incapable of lies!
    And once again, no interesting notes. However, I'll give you a preview instead for Chapter Four!
    It's a race against time - and hypothermia - to find food for some small little mouths - and some bigger ones, as well. An abandoned barn seems an ideal place...but is it really abandoned? And a certain Pichu-Runt holds a troubling secret that might be a bit too much for our poor hero...And not just that, but there's the question of a certain near death experience...SPOOKY! ^_^
    ~Fanfics~
    Please don't friend me if I have no idea who you are.
    Since we can't claim Pokémon in the Bishie thread anymore....I claimed the lovely Ranger Solana instead. All mine!
    My Pokémon claim is Minun...Plusle's better, but Minun is still cute! XD

  4. #4
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    I never see the reason for the unpopularity of review-deficient fictions. (No, wait a second... was this all posted in one day? Good speed...) I like the title by the way; the pun is somewhat endearing in this case.

    There is that trademark detailed realism of yours again, and it helped to effectively pull me into the story, something which hasn't happened for a while. I can't say I've played GSC, or watched Hocus Pokčmon (as far as I can remember), but this is entertaining enough to overcome that. You really like to torture your characters thoroughly, don't you? This is one of the few stories I know which have logical amounts of ill fortune and failure along with the triumphs, which keeps the plot rolling at a fairly quick pace. I also noticed a tendency of yours to go along the more dangerous genres: Anywhere But Here fictions, and those featuring Ash and Pikachu - themes in which it's very easy for seasoned writers to sink into a writing fault. It seems the trouble following them unceasingly has overcome Ash's inherent character flaws.

    In terms of grammar, I noticed only one repeated error: a misuse of semicolons.

    Running his moist forepaw along one of his thin, tapering ears, ruffling the fur along its surface, he reflected back on the event; the earliest memory of which he had any recollection.
    With a tensing of his lower body, he rushed at the window, growling and screeching; his lips drawn back in a snarl and with electricity tingling up and down his body.
    Staring out at the dejected animal lying supine upon the windowsill, the yearling male felt a long hidden consciousness rise to the surface of his mind; a repressed aspect of his personality that the madness of captivity had made him forget he ever possessed.
    And amny other instances that I'd rather not quote, for the sake of the youth of this post. In these half-sentences which describe some word more fully (eg. a long hidden consciousness rising to the surface of his mind, described as a repressed aspect of his personality...), a comma is the proper mark, as a semicolon joins only two full, standard sentences.

    The plot-to-save-the-world was unexpected, but I can't see how they'll save this era from ending. I doubt pokčmon in this universe are immortal, and Ash will eventually die, if only from old age... and then, seeemingly, saving the world is 'just the beginning'. Unpredictable is this plot, one of the reasons why it entertained me.

  5. #5
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    *hugs* Thank you, Pyroken! Your review just made my day, you know that? ^^

    A fic just wouldn't have that Pink Parka Girl touch if it weren't full of my cold, clinically realistic look at things (though especially Nature). :P And me? Torture innocent little characters? Perish the thought! XD Though I wouldn't be so quick to say Ash has completely overcome his flaws yet...just wait for Chapter Four. It's a doozy (And not just because a man who knew a certain Lester is introduced...).

    Yeah, the comma and semicolon usage was rubbing me the wrong way as I was writing this. Chapter Three took twice as long to write as the first two chapters because I got stuck at that part when I was describing the "yearling male" laying around in his kitchen-cage - the sentences didn't read right to me. Thanks for pointing out exactly what my flaws were! ^^

    And saving the world...I really think you may be on to something there with what you were saying. On the other side, you could be totally wrong. But which is right? I'm not telling...anyway, Chapter Four should be out by the 29th, if not earlier.
    ~Fanfics~
    Please don't friend me if I have no idea who you are.
    Since we can't claim Pokémon in the Bishie thread anymore....I claimed the lovely Ranger Solana instead. All mine!
    My Pokémon claim is Minun...Plusle's better, but Minun is still cute! XD

  6. #6
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    Ah, no, I wasn't clear enough:

    Though I wouldn't be so quick to say Ash has completely overcome his flaws yet...just wait for Chapter Four. It's a doozy (And not just because a man who knew a certain Lester is introduced...).
    By 'inherent character flaws', I meant his flaws in terms of writing: his righteousness, his overused personality, and his way of having things his way eternally. And a crossover between fictions, is it? I find them most entertaining to read and do. Aah... this has become spam, hasn't it?

    I'm given to wonder whether Ashachu correctly interpreted this prophecy in the first place; whether it is with the shedding of his blood that the era ends or merely by his metaphoric blood, his genes or someting along those lines. Wait a second... I must be chasing wild geese, but isn't there a certain litter of Pichu with his blood runniing through their veins?

    Entirely fanciful, but it is a thought.

  7. #7
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    In exchange for your great reviews, I'm here! Yeah, I don't have a lot of time right now (so far behind...) but I'll review the first chapter. I'll do the others later.

    The pikachu knew from instinct what she could expect next. After incapacitating her, the predator would kill and eat the drey's pichu at his leisure before returning to finish her off. Twisting her neck as far as she could, trying to ignore her terrible pain, she picked up the nearest of the pichu and propelled herself forcefully away from the sneasel with a Quick Attack. She knew that no matter how strong the instinct burned within her to protect the rest of her clutch, the choice was saving one for sure, or losing every last kitten. As the sneasel began his slaughter of the pichu behind her, she flicked her tail parallel to the ground and leapt for a branch beneath her, her plumy tail acting as a parachute to slow her fall. From this lower branch she soon reached the tree trunk and made her way swiftly to the ground, traveling deeper into the forest with long, bounding strides.
    Wow, scary. You really are talented with writing emotions. It really made me sad for that Pikachu... XD

    “Sort of an odd stone, though, don't you think?” Ash said softly, holding it up for his pikachu to see. It was mostly a creamy-white color, with a hint of rainbow luminescence to its surface. As he turned it over in his palm, the colors flashed and twirled like beautiful, formless dancers, casting refractions upon the pale bark of the birch tree. The pikachu watched the swirling rainbow dash across the tree's surface, his ears pricked attentively and his eyes focused.

    “Still, I...what needs to be done, needs to be done, Pikachu. I...I wish I didn't have to do it. But it's better than letting her continue to suffer like this...you probably don't want to watch me, Pikachu.”

    The pikachu sniffed Ash's cheek, sensing the intensity of his feelings. Obediently, the little rodent hopped off his Trainer's shoulder and leaped across to the side of the cairn facing the road, resting his muzzle on his forepaws.

    Steeling his nerves, Ash stood up, lifting the rock as high as he could, the muscles in his arms quavering slightly from anxiety. The quicker he did the deed, the better.

    After taking one last look at the limp pokémon at his feet to insure his aim, Ash closed his eyes and drove the rock forward with as much force as he could.
    Heh. Very good description here. I've got to say, you've done well with Ash here. Not at all like he usually is in fics. Thank you. Meh, some of the fics with Ash in them I've read...

    The white light retracted, fully enveloping the two figures in its center and squeezing them with a suffocating force. Digging his fingers in further, Ash hung on for all he was worth, even as the crushing light tore at their very existence. The pikachu, with nary a whimper, faded into mist and slipped through his fingers; a clammy fog that invaded his pores and nose.
    Again, great description here. The thing that really strikes me about this fic is the description and the emotions. It really carries this to something much better than its plot (which is quite inventive, by the way) says it should be. Kudos to you for that.

    Everything in the forest was a new experience for Ash. Every twig that snapped, every pokémon that cried, the rustling of the plethora of foliage all above and around him was picked up by his sharply acute hearing, while the stink of pitch and loam, birth and courtship and decay, the grasses of the sweet summer and the dried husks of last year’s leaves blended together into an overwhelming cornucopia of scents. His rough pads were not as perceptive to textures and sensations as his human fingertips had been, but this was more of a boon rather than a loss, as stepping repeatedly upon twigs, thorns and thistles soon proved. His new tail dragged along in the dirt behind him – he had tried holding it upright as instinct advised him, but the alien feeling was too enormously foreign for him to keep it up.
    I'm sounding like a broken record right now, but your description here really works. I can almost feel what is happening. Great job.

    Sorry for the short review, but one thing I would advise you to do is slow down the rate of your chapters. Try to space out chapters by at least two or three days, but it gets difficult to catch up. Heh, done now.

  8. #8
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    Aww, thanks for the review, duncan! ^__^ (And I'll get to reviewing your fic soon, don't worry!) And apologies for misunderstanding you, Pyroken. *blush*

    Anyway, here we are with Chapter Four. Along with a new chapter, I also did an unusual piece of fanart to go along with this fic - an Ashachu plushie mod! Check it out at http://pinkparkagirl.deviantart.com/...h-Mod-71264034 .

        Spoiler:- so i herd you liek author's notes:


    -Chapter 4: Rustication-
    Each man is haunted until his humanity awakens. - William Blake

    The coldness was the first sensation Ash sensed.

    His entire body felt frigid and numb, and he shivered violently, trying to restore some warmth to his small form. His damp fur hung heavily upon his frame, and his tail, saturated with water, felt as difficult to lift as a snorlax. Blinking his eyes languidly, Ash pulled himself slowly to his paws, a veritable font of water streaming down from his belly and limbs and splashing into the shallow pool in which he had regained consciousness. After a few pitiful false starts, he started to wade weakly towards the shore, the tips of his ears dragging in the river.

    I…I'm alive…

    Paws buckling out from under him, Ash collapsed near the rocky bank of the pool, sprawled pathetically upon his side. Pikachu, looking somewhat the worse for wear, lay not far off, hunched over two limp forms. The duffel bag, half-submerged and reeking of death, wobbled slightly in the shallows as tiny wavelets lapped against the object's side, water sloshing and spilling in and out of the hole chewed along its surface.

    The pichu!

    Ignoring his own exhaustion, Ash pulled himself back into the water, flicking his ears and chittering softly as its glacial embrace once again enveloped him. Paddling wearily, he made his way towards the location where the vinyl coffin grimly floated, breathing in as little as possible as he slid the waterlogged shoulder strap about his neck. I hope I have enough strength left in me…

    Splaying out his toes, Ash threw every last bit of energy he had into bringing the object up to the bank, kicking emphatically with his hind legs and churning with his fore, despite the vigorous protests of his fatigued body. The duffel bag lurched slowly forwards in the boy-pikachu's wake, its weight putting enormous pressure along his throat and chest. With a choking gasp, Ash trashed even harder, struggling to keep his muzzle above water as he felt the shoulder strap jab deeply into his windpipe. No! You can't let yourself get pulled under again! Keep your head up – the shore's not far now! Can't…

    Can't…give…up...

    The unmistakable texture of small pebbles and sediment crunched under Ash's pads, and he dug in with his claws, pulling himself and the bag into the shallows with one final heave. He hesitated in the chest-high water, tongue lolling as he panted with deep, gasping gulps. Poor little pichu...if any are still alive, I'm not helping them by standing here and getting colder. But how much of what I'm feeling is true exhaustion? The bag...the way it smells...

    I'm afraid of what I might see...God, God, I'm afraid! But I must do it.

    I have to face this...

    Forcing his body into motion, Ash carefully approached the soaked duffel bag, the stench of decay growing more and more repugnant with each step. He pricked his ears, listening for any squeaks and rustles from beyond its vinyl walls, but was met only with the sound of the falls' distant roar and the plip of water trickling down from the stalactites above. A harsh wind, tinged with the scent of first frost and distant snows, sent small waves skittering across the surface of the pool, lapping at the boy's body and causing him to clench his teeth. Overhanging timothy stalks about the cavern's opening rustled, projecting flickering shadows across the cave's moonlit walls.

    I...little pichu, here goes nothing...

    Ash sat back on his haunches, chirping anxiously in his throat as he grabbed at the frayed edges of the hole and pulled the fabric back as far as he could, letting the faint light illuminate the small forms within. Stiff and unmoving, the three pichu floated; their delicate forepaws drawn towards their chests and their hindpaws stretched out rigidly beneath them, their tiny toes bumping against the bottom of the bag. Their fur gently oscillated in the water as it moved and sloshed about their bodies, loose sediment and bits of milfoil slowly twisting about their cold forms. Choking back the urge to vomit, Ash held his breath and stuck his head in the bag, nudging the nearest of the pichu with his muzzle. The diminutive being, which just that afternoon had been filled with life and promise, felt as frigid as the river against his nose, its chest making no movement.

    Little pichu...

    I promised you I wouldn't leave you behind...but I...I couldn't reach you...oh God, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry that I failed you...

    I couldn't protect you, little pichu...


    Grabbing the pichu's nape in his teeth, Ash pulled the little creature out into the open, enveloping it in his forearms and pressing it close to his chest. I failed you! I failed! Closing his eyes and tilting his muzzle towards the roof of the cavern, he screamed out his rage at his inability, letting his vicious, feral vocalizations drown out the thoughts choking his brain. You failed Sneasel. You failed Bayleef. And now, these pichu...my pichu, who counted on me most of all...

    I'm sorry...

    ::::::::::::

    Something brushed against his neck.

    Ash turned about in surprise, feeling his frustration and anger fade slightly at the sight of his devoted partner. Pikachu stood a few inches away, shivering uncontrollably, but with ears and tail pricked proudly and clutching the minute, glimmering form of the pichu runt tightly within his jaws. The kitten I was holding when I went under...is he still alive, Pikachu? Is there any hope left? Flicking his ears down along his back, Ash bent slightly to sniff the little creature, feeling its body heat radiate along his own hyperboreal nose. He...he is still alive...

    Oh, Pikachu! You must have pulled him out of the water, didn't you? And one of the other pichu, too! Remembering the small forms he had seen on the bank, Ash turned to look behind him, observing the final kitten curled in a tight ball, its delicate paws tucked over its muzzle. Pikachu...Pikachu...even if you weren't able to save them all, you did what I couldn't. And you went against your own instincts to do it, too...

    Clambering pathetically back to the shore, Ash shook his heavy pelt, sending a spray of water droplets all about the cavern and spattering the walls and floor with tiny damp flecks. Pikachu must have been able to pick up over the empathic link how much I cared about these kittens, he thought, taking the female pichu's nape gently in his teeth and lifting her up off the ground, causing her to squeak weakly in protest. And his devotion for me must have overridden his natural instincts to either kill or ignore them. I...

    Pikachu...I don't know if this failure deserves the love you give to him so freely, but I...I thank you, my partner and friend...

    Thank you for not leaving these two pichu behind.


    The pikachu trilled softly in reply, pressing closer to his transfigured Trainer as another sharp blast of wind blustered through the cavern's opening, slicing ferociously through their ragged fur and reminding Ash once more of how cold he really was. Pikachu looks pretty bad, and I'm sure I don't look much better...who knows how long I've been unconscious in the water? The kittens feel warm, but they won't stay that way for long if something happens to us. We have to find somewhere sheltered, or else the rest of us will die...

    At the thought of the word die, an odd feeling - a wisp of hazy memory - awakened in the back of Ash's mind, and he tried to chase it down, only to grow frustrated again as it kept just one step ahead of him. There's something important...when I was drowning, I...I think I had a vision. A creature with a hidden face, who spoke about death...but why can't I recall any other details? Why can't I remember if it had any real significance? With an agitated flick of his tail, Ash stepped out of the cavern and into the night, the pichu in his mouth gently bumping against his chest. Whatever it was, it probably wasn't important after all, he told himself, trying to convince his gut of such an idea. What matters at the moment is finding somewhere warm for us all, and to make sure these pokémon who depend on me will be all right. If my vision really had any substance to it, then memory of it will come back to me eventually.

    I just have to trust that...


    Holding the thought in his mind, the boy-pikachu turned back towards the entrance to the falls, dipping his head and flicking his ears back mournfully. And for those who are already dead…rest in peace, my little pichu.

    :::::::::::::

    Smokey grey clouds curled and slid across the penetrating indigo-black of the vast night firmament, a few small stars twinkling weakly from behind their cloaking presence. A sliver of moon hung just above a far off treeline, its pale glow faintly illuminating the delicate lines of frost that criss-crossed the wan blades of the grasses underfoot. A few tenacious leaves overhead, brown and shriveled upon their branches, rustled slightly in the breeze as a line of oddish, glimmering with spores, darted swiftly across the overgrown tract and into the surrounding forest.

    Seems like this might have been a grain field at one time, Ash thought curiously, sniffing at a stalk's seed-studded tip and wrinkling his muzzle as its slender tufts tickled his nose. Pikachu stood not far off, head low to the ground and tail drooping; the hind paws of the Shining pichu in his mouth dragging along the frost-hardened soil. Poor Pikachu...you must be twice as exhausted as I am. But if this area was once part of a farm, that could mean that there's a barn nearby. A barn would be a perfect place to recuperate, wouldn't it? He leapt over to his pokémon's side and licked his cheek gently, shoving aside his human mind's weak protest at such actions. A barn, Pikachu! Picturing an image of such a structure, Ash looked worriedly into his pokémon's eyes, waiting for some - any - type of reaction. If we keep walking, we'll find it! C'mon, Pikachu!

    Pikachu!


    The little animal's legs suddenly gave out from underneath him, and he collapsed amid the towering barley plants, spittle foaming and bubbling about his muzzle as he fought for breath. Rolling his eyes frantically and kicking with his paws, he struggled to pull himself upright, his exhausted body unable to take the stress of the cold for much longer. Pikachu...

    No...no...my best friend...I won't let you die...as long as I have the power within me, I...will...not...


    Laying the female pichu carefully at Pikachu's side, Ash clenched his teeth and darted off towards the forest, pushing up with his powerful hind paws to lengthen his stride. The muscles of his body burned with excruciating protest at each step, and his chest heaved, a film of froth liming his own muzzle - yet he refused to give up, attempting to push himself even closer to the limit. I'm almost at that stand of pines...there's got to be some fallen branches under there. Not much farther now...

    Too late he noticed the choking snarl of Razz Berry bushes that grew at the edge of the woods, and he closed his eyes and dropped to his side, hoping his momentum would send him safely tumbling underneath their fearsome thorns. Even that, however, was not low enough to avoid them, and Ash felt the vicious barbs tear through his coat and hold him fast, warm blood trickling unto his fur. At least these cuts aren’t anywhere near being serious wounds…but how am I going to escape from them? I could probably get myself free without much further harm given a lot of time, but time is the one thing I don’t have! Opening his eyes cautiously, the boy-pikachu let them adjust to the faint slivers of illumination that managed to penetrate the thicket, looking for a solution to his problem. Just before his muzzle was the jagged edge of an alder woodstock – where a small tree had once attempted to grow before being ensnared and choked by the clinging berry plant – and surrounding him on all other sides were more terrible gleaming thorns, seemingly lying in wait for the perfect chance to lacerate him. That bit of sapling, there…maybe I could…

    Impulsively, Ash grabbed for the woodstock, clutching the dying plant material tightly with the digits upon his forepaws. So what if I get cut up a little bit more pulling myself out in this manner...all that matters is how quickly I can get Pikachu and the pichu somewhere safe! Digging the claws on his hind paws forcefully into the loam, Ash leapt upwards, pushing against the woodstock for added lift. Chattering instinctively as the thorns tore cruelly through his flesh, taking several tufts of fur with them, he watched warily as his trajectory sent him soaring over the rest of the berry hedge and unto the slight incline that led towards the pine stand, his paws flailing along the loose shale in a desperate attempt to find purchase.

    Pikachu, I...

    I...I...

    I hope I don't fail you...


    The last of the shale gave way under his feet, and Ash fell painfully into the little grove of trees, his head striking a rock.

    :::::::::

    The young male walked softly across the wide expanse of white, his ears pricked back curiously and his tail curled gracefully over his back. A swirling wind, infused with streaks of gold and silver, spun and eddied about his body, carrying with it the faint sound of a far away music. He paused to listen; sitting back on his haunches and flicking his tail, letting the strange noise overwhelm his being. Bells chimed faintly, mixed with the sound of an ancient chant; a low, droning hum of incomprehensible words and primal sounds. He lifted his muzzle, breathing it all in, feeling the tingle of the sound and the velvet smoothness of the colors vibrate and slide along his throat. This world...this strangeness...what was it?

    The wind dissipated into the nothingness, and the little male snarled, dropping back to his paws in frustration. The ivory emptiness before his feet churned and shifted, taking the form of a puddle of water; rainbow colors darting and flashing brilliantly across its placid surface. Tensing his muscles, he leapt forward, toes splayed and claws extended, chattering playfully as he ran through the little pool, sending drops of rainbow flying from under the pattering of his small paws. The bells chimed louder, and the pikachu fell unto his back, tucking his forepaws close to his chest as the chanting began anew, its primeval sound not unlike that of his own feral nature...


    Little soul...would you stay with me?

    The yearling scrabbled back unto his feet, the fur along his spine lifting at the strange thought, not of his own making, that echoed along his mind. A pair of pointed, golden hooves stood just in front of him, the rainbow colors of the little puddle radiating even brighter in their vicinity. Looking up, the pikachu caught sight of a shadowed face, framed by fur of a blinding, brilliant white. Little soul...

    The music grew louder, and the animal trembled, unsure what to do in the presence of the great, inscrutable being. In the heart of chaos, little soul...the Egg waits for you. For your touch, and yours alone...your touch, your blood, your life.

    Would you stay with me?

    The pikachu carefully approached the immense creature, his tail lifted in fascination. All around him, the rainbow flares of the puddle spread out and over, wrapping and enfolding the once white landscape with blazing new color. Chittering, he sang the feral song, his ears twitching at each chime of the bells, his body vibrating to its rhythm.

    Stay...stay...

    The pikachu closed his eyes, letting the power of his surroundings engulf him. He would become one...

    For the Original One...


    “Furrrrrrr!”

    At the sound of the strange new voice, the yearling male felt the world explode around him, the great white beast fading into nothingness. He scratched fearfully at the empty air, a frightened cry in his throat, as he started to plummet into the black void left behind...

    :::::::::::::

    “Chuuuuuu!”

    Ash’s eyes snapped open in a panic, his heart racing and the pads of his paws slick with sweat. ...I...what happened? The Other...a dream...but I can’t remember anything else about it…

    Where am I? Far above him, spreading pine boughs bled like ink stains across the dim night sky, backlit faintly by the moon’s unimposing crescent. From somewhere far deeper in the depths of the forest a noctowl hooted; a melancholy query that made the boy-pikachu shiver and cower without thinking. Drat, does my head hurt…what am I doing all the way out here? The woods were a sinister and frightening place at night - full of glittering eyes and strange noises, unfriendliness and heavy darkness. I’ve got to get back out into the open, Pikachu. There are too many predators here…

    Pikachu?

    Pikachu!
    With all thoughts of his recent vision dissipating from his mind as the memory of his best friend’s suffering took its place, Ash sprang to his feet and began sniffing about the pine stand with increasing panic, tearing apart tufts of dead hakonechloa and wildflowers. A branch, a branch, I need to find a branch! I've got to bring one back to Pikachu! Chittering with worry, he sprang forward, only to be rudely halted by a Fury Swipe along the muzzle that sent him sprawling.

    “Furrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

    A...a pokémon? Now? Ash flicked his tail, trying to get a sense of where the vocalization had originated. His left ear twitched and, looking in the direction of the sound, he found himself staring into a lean mustelid face, the tiny form of his pichu runt dangling from its hunter’s jaws.

    Ash felt his heart leap into his throat as he observed the furret’s prize, and he gasped, blinking back tears that could not come. No! No! NO! Not another one of the kittens! I refuse to accept any more death, any more failure! Not…on…my…watch! Giving into his raging anger and frustration, the boy-pikachu scrambled up to his paws, lowering his head and growling furiously. He felt the tingle along his cheeks blaze with a fiery new intensity; far beyond any of the electrical sensations he had experienced before. No! They're not food! Not my pichu!

    Readying his muscles, the furious boy-pikachu propelled himself towards the furret, letting electricity build and flow around his body. Forepaws tensed, he hit the ground and sprang forward again, heading straight for his foe. Not anticipating such a strong adversary, the furret tried to retreat but was not fast enough, falling unto her side as the ball of fur and electrical energy slammed into her ribs. Gasping, she struggled to get back up on her paws as Ash came at her again, claws drawn and crackling with static.

    Drop my pichu! Put him down!

    Ramming into the furret a second time, the transfigured Trainer fell along with the other pokémon, rolling and tumbling among the pine needles and leaves. The furret, unwilling to take any further attacks, released the pichu warily and backed off, ducking her head close to the ground and showing her throat in a submissive posture. Standing over the tiny kitten protectively, Ash bared his teeth and snarled, trying to convince the furret to leave without needing to resort to a KO. Poor furret…I know you need to eat too, but these pichu; they’re something I just can’t allow you to have. Catching the serious glint in the boy-pikachu’s eye, the slender mustelid made her full retreat, flicking her tail timidly in her wake.

    Sniffing the little pichu, Ash nuzzled him up and down his tiny spine, relieved to see that the creature was still breathing. We’ll go back to Pikachu now, he thought wearily, scratching aside one final tussock of hakonechloa to reveal a broken pine branch, the end covered in a vast, broom-like array of twigs and needles. This is the best stretcher I can get in the circumstances, little guy. And you get to be the first to try it out…

    Dropping the pichu gently upon the twigs, Ash took the other end of the branch in his teeth, pulling it smoothly over the forest floor. We’ll circle around this incline, and then, will be back in the field. And if I’m right…and I hope I am…than a barn will be waiting for us…

    The pichu chirped gently and rested his head upon his paws, letting his father’s internal monologues lull him into sleep.

    ::::::::::

    I can’t believe I actually attacked a pokémon, Ash thought as he struggled to heft the branch over the lowest slope on the incline that he could find, his jaws aching from exertion. I didn’t want to hurt Furret…but she would have killed my kitten if I hadn’t done anything to stop her. But it’s scary to know that I…not the Other, but I, myself…have that kind of power within me – and the willingness to use it.

    But I felt such a rush when I attacked…is that why pokémon like to battle? The question hung uncomfortably on his brain, and he clenched his teeth tighter, feeling the faint taste of pitch along his tongue. Part of you really enjoyed it when you felt the pulse, the rush, the surge of your own ability. Like how you enjoyed running, and getting licked on the cheek, and…

    And Aria…

    No!
    With a furious heave and scrabble, Ash pulled his body back unto level ground, carefully repositioning the branch and its snoring passenger behind him. That was disgusting! She was a pikachu!

    But…but…so am I, now…


    He flicked his ears back and lowered his muzzle to the ground, sniffing for a hint of Pikachu’s scent. I don’t even know what kind of an attack that was, he pondered, trying to keep his mind away from more troubling questions. Sort of like Quick Attack, but electrified and much more powerful. A tackle, charged with thousands of volts…

    A Volt Tackle…

    His Trainer’s mind wondered fleetingly if Pikachu could be trained to perform such a technique. Maybe I’ll try and teach it to him if I ever get out of this mess.

    If he’s even still alive…why did I let my thoughts get so selfish? I can’t worry about my own pleasures, or even my own problems. Not when I’m responsible for three other lives. I need to keep focused on what’s really important to me.

    My pokémon, my family and my fri –


    A burlap sack suddenly enveloped Ash’s body, choking his senses and drowning his thoughts in a sea of instinctive terror.

    :::::::::::

    “Look at this, Pikachu. Home, sweet home.”

    The top of the bag was loosened just enough to allow Ash to poke his muzzle out, and he looked around, wondering about his current location. A filthy blue-white farmhouse, which might have been homey once upon a far distant time, stood about twenty five feet away, its paint peeling off in long rolls that exposed the wood beneath. Halfway between the house and a dilapidated barn stood a well, its stone foundation thick with lichens, its little wooden roof long caved in. Knotwood and apricorn shrubs grew out of control all about the property, and wilted berry bushes of infinite varieties sprouted like weeds wherever they had been able to get a foothold.

    It’s an old farm…just like I thought there would be. But who is this person who trapped me? Where are Pikachu and the kittens? I have to find them – I must! Digging his claws into the side of the bag, he pushed and squirmed through the narrow entrance, freeing his head and forepaws. You can’t stop me…

    “Don't even think about it, little guy,” said the voice as a hand snatched his scruff, pulling him out of the burlap sack and letting him dangle like a kitten. “You’re all worn out and beat up, and I can’t let you go anywhere in that condition.”

    My condition is only a secondary concern. Ash stared miserably up at his jailer, paws tucked close to his body and tail curled in between his legs. The old man grinned amicably when he met the boy-pikachu's gaze, revealing blackened, oozing gums, with one solitary tooth tenaciously hanging on. “Saw you all bloodied up and draggin’ a tree branch with a pichu on it. You and that other pikachu get in a fight or something that made you go batty?” He chuckled as he made his way towards the barn, stepping over the weathered remains of what had once been the door. “You don't gotta worry your head about him, though. I warmed him right up and gave him a Super Potion. He’s restin' now, in a stall with another pichu. Never seen a male who was so friendly to little kittens like that.”

    Pikachu's okay? Feeling his body swell with joy, Ash squirmed out of his elderly benefactor's grip and scrambled up over the nearest stall door, chittering with unadulterated delight. I'm back, Pikachu! Ash is here!

    Pika!” The pokémon leapt out from amid the rude nest of musty straw in which he had been sleeping and ran straight for his transfigured Trainer, nuzzling and grooming up and down his face. You're okay...I can't believe we're all okay...

    “Curiouser and curiouser,” the old man muttered softly as he sat down in the stall, running a shriveled hand across his scalp. “Three little creatures of mystery. Been a long time since I've seen anything like that.” He shook his head as he lifted the tiny form of the pichu runt out of a pocket on his ragged overcoat, supporting the kitten with his palm and gently running a finger down his muzzle and onwards along his gleaming pelt. “And number four’s something altogether special.” The animal flexed his minute claws and latched its little mouth gently around the nearest finger, trying in vain to suckle. “And hungry, too. I bet you’re all hungry. It’s a good thing those overblown Indigo League Trainers keep a lot of Moo Moo Milk on hand, isn’t it? It’s also nice that they don’t keep a sharp eye on it.”

    Too tired to question what involvement the Indigo League could possibly have, Ash lay down wearily in the straw, curling up in a tight ball at Pikachu’s side. He was warm; with those he cared about, and soon to be fed. “Chuuu,” he trilled softly, happily giving in to the urge to groom his best friend’s ears and face. We’ll recover…mmm, Pikachu, for once, something turned out right...

    ::::::::::::

    The weeks of recuperation slid by with deceptive idyllicity; Ash and Pikachu rebuilding their strength as the two pichu flourished and grew, their eyes opening and their ears unfolding to welcome the world. A short time afterward they were weaned from their previous steady diet of pilfered milk, and soon grew adventurous and curious about anything they could get their paws on, testing their strength and practicing their instinctive wild skills.

    Watching them develop, the boy-pikachu had been unsure of what he was supposed to feel. It was certainly true that he cared about them and felt responsible for their well being; pulling them out of empty grain bins and disentangling their energetic bodies from amid the moldering remains of rusted farm equipment, or nipping them when they got too close to the door and the snowy outside world beyond it. But at the same time, he could feel Pikachu’s and his own growing irritation with the vast patience and care the tiny creatures required, and he often find himself cowering disconcertedly in the straw, covering his face with his paws. But as much as his mind, barely taking its own first steps out of childhood itself, hated and rebelled against the weight of the responsibility, his heart blazed with the same pride he felt when he was able to finally teach a pokémon a particularly difficult move. Look what I’ve helped them grow up to be…

    Ash flopped over unto his side, resting his muzzle lazily on a forepaw as he watched the two pichu eat slices of fruit delicately from their benefactor’s ancient fingers, chirping and nibbling at his loose-hanging skin. Pichu grow up…already, the female doesn’t like me to watch out for her. But can I let them go? I know the mothers kick their kittens out of the nest and into the world alone…but can I? I hate how ragged they run me…but they’re mine, and my responsibility.

    Would giving them their independence be cruel?


    Would keeping them with me be more so?

    Ash sighed wearily and sat up, combing bits of straw from his body with his claws and examining the two litterlings. The female’s eyes, in the process of changing from their natal azure to a more mature amber, blazed with a slight antagonism at catching her guardian’s gaze, and she clambered up the man’s overcoat and chattered furiously from his shoulder, flicking her tail in agitation. Her face was delicate and slight-featured; closer to Aria’s than his own, with a slender body and clumsy paws she had yet to grow into. Body twitching with each sharp chirp, she fluffed the fur along her spine and let her frame crackle with a light static.

    Yes, Ash thought with confliction, pichu grow up…

    He turned away from the group, curling his tail up over his back and folding his forelegs along his chest. What is good? What is right? Should I set them free? Twitching his ears, he tested his body; rolling his head along his shoulders and flexing his toes and claws. We can’t milk this milk this man’s hospitality forever, and we still have a ways to go to get back to Pallet Town. If we resume our journey tonight, maybe…

    What is right? To let the pichu choose their own destiny...


    :::::::::::::::

    The old man lay quietly against the corner of the stall, running a leathery palm over Ash’s head and back as spoke. “I saw how antsy you were earlier.” He selected his words gradually, seeming as if he wanted to draw the moment out as long as possible. “That little lass wants to move on…and so do the rest of you, don’t you? I know it happens to everybody, but…” Sighing, he shook his head weakly, the few wisps of hair he had left wafting gently back and forth upon his scalp. “That damned Indigo League! I haven’t owned a pokémon in nigh fifty years because of what they did to me during the War. But I’d forgotten…I’d forgotten what wonderful creatures you really are.” Ash bumped his nose sympathetically against the ancient patriarch’s cheek, trying not to let his Trainer’s curiosity get in the way of leaving in a timely manner. The gesture was rewarded with yet more strokes, and the man continued, his fetid breath hanging limply in the chill night air. “A lonely, homeless fellow with naught but an overcoat and some memories. Must you leave me? You, the perceptive and thoughtful…your gentle and playful little buddy…that scampish little lady and that Shining runt. I’ve grown to love you all…”

    I can’t stay with you. The boy-pikachu give the elderly fellow a final nuzzle, apologetic his simple chulike gestures couldn’t convey the true depth of his thanks. You saved our lives…but I can’t stay. Pallet Town waits for me…and above it all, the mystery of memories I can only half recall…

    “That Shining runt. I remember a boy I met during the War who had a Shining pokémon, a sweet little plusle with a mangled leg. ‘Course, she would be long dead by now. That boy most likely, too. I feel like the only one left…”

    Ash shook his head, leaping down from the old man’s lap and giving him one last glance, a strange feeling in his throat. Poor lonely fellow, I’m sorry…

    But I must…


    Flicking his tail forward as the man made one last desperate grab for him, Ash leapt the remains of the door and darted out across the snow, where Pikachu and the pichu waited.

    ::::::::::::::::

    The female was happy enough to leave her father behind - rushing off into the forest with wild abandon, happily answering the feral call that echoed about every fiber of her being. The runt made no move to follow in her tracks; staring at Ash with a puzzled, bewildered gleam in his partially brown eyes. The transfigured Trainer turned away slightly, trying to ignore just how much like his own those eyes were turning out to be – not just in color, but also in their brightness; a strange glow he had never before seen in a pokémon’s expression. He’s just a pichu, and nothing more than that, his Trainer’s mind tried to argue, hoping to crush the strange feelings in his chest that had begun at seeing the female so swiftly take of her leave, and only intensified under his son’s strangely accusing gaze. To choose his own destiny...he’ll choose to follow his sister – he can’t possibly want to stay with me. His instincts will send him off soon enough, and then I’ll be free of this all…

    Go on, Ash projected, nudging the tiny runt with his muzzle. Go on, follow your sister…

    Turning about, the pichu chattered anxiously, his eyes gleaming with the terrible fear of abandonment. No! Clenching his paws tightly before his fragile chest, ears drooping and body shaking, he blasted the word towards the boy-pikachu along the empathic link. No! No!

    Faint images and questions from the two pichu had, in the past, reached Ash – but this was a stunning, unexpected shock. Words…words…oh God, God, he’s thinking words…

    Words…I…this pichu…this pichu, he’s not like his sister…he’s not just a pichu, he’s a…

    He’s like a son…a
    real son…

    I’m just a kid! I can’t deal with this! Letting his tortured mind take over his heart, he turned towards the tiny animal, feeling his own confliction and the Other’s natural dislike of kittens reach an explosive head. I took care of you; was responsible for you. But you can live on your own now. So go! I…just can’t be responsible for you anymore! Not knowing what you are…

    Knowing you’re my son…


    With a wild snarl, the male advanced on the terrified kitten, knocking it to the snow with a shove of his head and tearing at its throat with his claws, feeling the blood spill through his digits and unto the white of the snow below. The pichu screamed, paws flailing and scrabbling; his eyes rolling frantically in their sockets in his agonized terror. Chuffing with fury, the yearling raised his paw once more, staring into the terrified gaze of his victim. It would be so quick, so easy, to finish him off…

    No…I…my impulsiveness…what have I let happen?

    What did the Other do?

    No…what have I
    allowed the Other to do? I…I…

    My foolish self…what have I done…


    Ash threw himself down next to the pichu, licking desperately at his bloodied throat and chirping softly into his ear. Your blood stains my paws…oh, oh…

    What have I done…


    ::::::::

    Ah-hah. So there we go, Pyroken. Turns out Arceus was being mostly literal with all its blood ramblings...but it's still not as simple as it looks! Chapter Five will go into this stuff in a lot more detail, for the record.

    Interesting Notes: For those who don't follow my other fanworks, the "kid" with the "plusle with a mangled leg" is, of course, none other than our pal Lester, star of Where Even Kilroy Hasn't Been. Who's this old man? Why, you have to wait to find out more about him.
    ~Fanfics~
    Please don't friend me if I have no idea who you are.
    Since we can't claim Pokémon in the Bishie thread anymore....I claimed the lovely Ranger Solana instead. All mine!
    My Pokémon claim is Minun...Plusle's better, but Minun is still cute! XD

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Amano-Iwato.
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    Nice plusie, I say. I never got the hang of those three-dimensional (or, indeed, two-dimensional) crafts.

    This new chapter reminded me of the annual litters of stray dogs which invariably take position outside my house. How very merciless and clinical that only two out of the usual five-litters survive! Someway or the other, nature singles out the fittest out of all and allows only that one to survive.

    I haven't noticed before, but... your description! It's a very obscure style, filled with elaborate similes and figures of speech; I'm sure I've seen something to its like before... There is a particular fondness for foliage, at least in this chapter, which seems almost English in its obscure terms. This is probably another of my inaccurate whims, but which classic English piece of literature have you been reading lately? If I'm wrong in this, remind me to shoot myself if I ever try to guess something this vague again.

    The Other is becoming dangerously prevalent; I don't think it has done anything this drastic before. I commend you on Satochu's position of awkwardness, which is likely the strangest setting for character development yet: the maturing habits of Pikachu are far different than those of humans (if I recall correctly, humans remain the most helpless when young), and I'm not sure whether this new Pikachu side to Ash is entirely healthy for his sanity. I am certain that the process of parenting is nothing good for a thirteen-year-old. And, to top that off, the English-speaking Pichu. I wonder what rudiments of intelligence it inherited from Ash...

  10. #10
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    Morgan hill
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    3 Words:Best Story Ever

    My Team:
    UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!!!
    FC:





    Credits to Spritante for awesome fusion and Chao
    random quote of the week:
    "sprites,sprites everywhere!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Yay. Chapter 5 is finally here. ^^ Personally, I think it kinda stinks, since it was written in sections over the course of four months (you can likely tell this when you read), and then the gaps between sections were bridged with puffy filler. The quality in the main sections isn't terrible, but the puffy filler - ugh. I'll probably end up rewriting sections of this chapter later, but given that the end of the school year is approaching and I have a hell of a lot of other things I need to get done first, I figured I'd post the chapter as it is for now and worry about improving the puffy filler sections later. Enjoy - if you can! ^^'

        Spoiler:- Notes, notes, notes!:



    -Chapter Five: Way Station-

    Is it a kind of a shadow
    Reaching into the night
    Wandering over the hills unseen
    Or is it a dream...
    – Mike Batt, “Bright Eyes”

    A nimbus of snowflakes, twisting and swirling amongst the nocturne stillness, fell rapidly to the earth, enfolding all it touched underneath a frigid white blanket. Roosting pidgey huddled closer together in their sheltered enclaves amongst the foliage above, fluffing their feathers vigorously as they tucked their heads under their dun-colored wings. Trying to ease their own discomfort, the little birds paid no attention to the figures struggling amongst the drifts below; walking with their ears flicked down along their backs and with their tails, the long hairs matted with clumps of snow, dragging along behind them.

    A stray flake, glinting wanly, alighted upon the tip of Ash's nose, and he snorted, his warm breath misting about his muzzle. How long have we been walking? His paws, raw and ensanguined from the sharp, rigid crust that had formed over earlier snowfalls, left a pink-tinted trail that stretched back as far as he could observe, winding through a seemingly endless sea of trees and shrubs. Walking...walking...will there ever be any end to this? The Indigo League and Viridian City can't be that far off now...can they?

    Clenching his teeth, Ash pushed himself through the withered remains of a Japanese knotweed stand, the fragile bamboo-like stalks crumpling like wet paper under the weight of his body. How much more can we take of this? Sitting up on his haunches, he pushed the last few remaining plants aside and poked his muzzle hesitantly through the gap, glancing down the sharp incline that began where the knotweed ended. Littered with loose shale and slick from snow runoff, it ended in a valley about fifty meters down, hedged in by larch and red pine. We’ve already come so far…are we lost? Will I never see Pallet Town again? Will I die out here, after all?

    Food. The sudden thought, unsophisticated and untainted with any deeper level of meaning, tickled at the back of Ash’s consciousness, and he turned his attention to the small pichu sitting behind him on the path cleared by his body; the tips of his silky black ears just barely visible over the sides of the snow-encrusted grass tussocks that grew amid the towering knotweed. The fur of his throat, ruff, chest and forepaws had dried into stiff, tangled spikes of dirty snow and coagulated blood, obscuring the scab that had grown over the superficial wound of a few days earlier. His eyes, once so bright and inquiring, looked dull and clouded, betraying his terrible hunger and fatigue. And you’re even less cut out for this than Pikachu and I are. Pichu…

    Cold
    . The pichu curled up in a ball against his father’s side, tucking his tiny muzzle underneath his folded forepaws. Balking at his touch, Ash nudged the little creature aside slightly; trying to keep a good quarter inch of snow in between himself and the kitten. Intimate physical contact – gestures and affections that spoke of mutual love and trust - had no place in a relationship that was built only on emotions of guilt and overbearing responsibility; responsibility he never would have taken on if he had had any choice in the matter. Just imagine, he thought, looking up into the swirling sea of snowflakes spiraling down from far above him, the faint moonlight refracting off their thousands of crystals. I could have been well on my way to taking on the Hoenn League by now. Travelling with Pikachu on my shoulder, making friends with new pokémon, building up my badge collection…it could have been mine! All I’d wanted to do was to help Sneasel and the pikachu…was showing kindness so wrong?

    But now…now…I could die. And if I die, those who depend on me for their own survival will die as well…


    Ash rested his head in the snow, a sudden sharp wind tousling the long fur about his face. Pichu…the Other may despise you, and I myself may not have wanted to have you or care for you. But as hopeless as everything may seem, and as much as I wish I could simply have gone on with my Trainer’s Journey without ever having to deal with you or any of this, I cannot allow myself to give up on trying to find my way home. There will be a safe, warm place for you and Pikachu there, and, hopefully, some answers for me.

    Besides, Pichu, I cannot break my promise. Never again. You're my responsibility, and I will do my best to protect you like a good Trainer should. I...I can't be your father, though. I'm not ready for that...and I don't know if I ever will be.


    The pichu sat up and peered deeply into Ash's face, a light dusting of snowflakes upon his fragile frame making his coat seem even more lustrous than usual. Food. Snow. Sleep. Food?

    Ash himself couldn’t remember how long ago it had been since they had eaten; tearing at the frozen remains of a dead spearow, already sampled by other hungry pokémon, in a desperate attempt to quell the terrible pits in their stomachs. There’s no food, Pichu, he thought back, wondering how many of his words the little creature could comprehend. And there probably won’t be any, unless we get lucky…

    He peered down the slope, trying to examine the valley below for a sign of anything edible. The shriveled heads of carpet bugle and chickweed protruded stiffly and awkwardly from enveloping snowdrifts, casting pale shadows across the expanse of white; broken up with half-filled footprints left by passing stantler. At the far edge of the dale a tangle of cockleburs, rigid leaves pointing skywards, partially obscured a vast sheet of ice, glistening pallidly in parts where moonlight managed to pass through the branches of overhanging trees. A few roving murkrow, keen eyes seeking the carcasses of those claimed by winter, turned in swift, short circles overhead, before finally darting off towards the horizon, beating their wings heavily through the chill night air. It looks just as hopeless as everywhere else we’ve been, Ash speculated, pulling himself back unto his feet. But at least those trees might provide better shelter than these old dead plants will. And if that ice is a frozen river, than we could get some fresh water as well, and…

    A river…a river’s full of fish, isn’t it? And water conducts electricity…

    Pikachu, Pichu…I think our food problem could be solved.


    Signalling for Pikachu to follow, Ash gently took hold of the pichu’s scruff in his teeth and scrutinized the slick incline once more, flicking his ears back along his skull as he puzzled over what would be the safest way to proceed. Maybe, if I jump towards the slope claws-first, I can dig in with them to slow myself down. Or maybe -

    An ear-shattering crack interrupted his contemplations in mid-thought; echoing about the perviously silent woodlands like a gunshot. What was that? Struggling to keep his rational mind from being buried under the Other's instinctive terror, Ash turned towards the direction from which the sound had come, pricking his ears and tensing his muscles. A half-dead pine overlooking the cliff's edge, coated in ice and weakened further by the winter winds, had shattered halfway along its trunk and plummeted towards the valley below, its uppermost branches pulverized into smears of decayed wood pulp from the force of the impact. A rain of pale umber needles, forced upwards as the tree hit the ground, danced admid the snowflakes as they drifted on the breeze back to the forest floor, landing gently upon the drifts and tussocks as if nothing more substancial than a spring breeze had knocked them loose. The echo soon faded; swallowed by the vast sylvan expanse, and with its departure Ash felt his body relax. A tree...a tree...it was just a tree...

    No, it's not just a tree. It's our way down!


    Shaking the snow from his fur, Ash carefully approached the fallen treetop, testing its craggy bark with his claws. It's certainly safer than the cliff, but it's still not all that sturdy, he thought, feeling the trunk rock and creak slightly under his touch. We'll have to be careful. Pikachu! Recieving the thought of his name, the little animal cocked his head quizzically; lifting one paw hesitantly as the scent of his Trainer's caution hit his nostrils. Pikachu, I want you to grab my tail, and not let go until I tell you to. That way, if I lose my balance, you can pull me back up. And if you lose yours, I can do the same for you. The idea of teeth digging into his tail, an appendage he still had not gotten completly used to possessing, was not especially appealing, but it was something he would gladly put up with when the alternative was possibly breaking his neck on the slope. And I can't die. Not when I have family and friends still to meet up with, not when I have pokémon who’ve placed all their love and trust in me, and not when...

    A half-recalled memory drifted across the teen's psyche; a clouded equine form of silvery-white, standing upon pointed hooves gleaming a brilliant gold. I can't remember exactly what you look like...and of your words, I remember even less. But when I think of you, I fear death more than ev-

    "Chuuuu!" A sudden sharp pain raced down Ash's spine, and he instinctively turned towards his attacker, fur fluffed and ears laid flat along his skull. Chittering meekly, his mouth full of Ash's tail, Pikachu lowered his muzzle to the snow in a submissive gesture, exposing a stretch of throat. Looking at his prostrate friend, the boy-pikachu felt exceedingly embarassed, and he ran a forepaw sheepishly through the long fur on the left side of his face. I didn't mean to react like that, Pikachu, he thought, taking hold of the pichu's nape once more. I got...lost...for a minute there, and I'd forgotten I'd told you to bite me. Who knew tails could be so sensitive? With a strained sigh, Ash climbed unto the fallen tree; trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his tail as he led his friend towards the valley below.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Careful...


    Careful...

    I don't like the sound of this...


    The pine trunk groaned, its half-dead wood crying out in protest at the additional weight upon its surface. Flakes of bark, shaken loose from the tree's underside by the patter of paws above, dropped to the incline and slid like toboggans across the ice and snowcrust; gaining in velocity until they collided with the drifts at the cliff's base. Watching their rapid descent, Ash swallowed hard and dug his claws tighter into the spongy wood, flicking his ears rapidly as he struggled to maintain his equlibrium. He had not realized how much pikachu depended upon their tails to maintain balance while traversing narrow terrain such as trees, and that by allowing Pikachu to use said appandage as a teather, he had hampered his already tenous ability to make the descent in one piece. I've just got to take it slow and easy. Pikachu will pull me back up if I slip; it's one of the reasons I let him grab my tail in the first place. I'll be okay. Trust Pikachu, trust the Other's instincts. Inch forward...easy now...

    With a snap like a bone breaking, the tree trunk shattered along a fracture line, its weak pulp no longer able to support the pokémon upon it. Caught in the grip of instinctive terror, Pikachu bolted blindly forwards at the sound, his paws skidding along a patch of ice and sending him flying unto the incline, still holding unto Ash's tail. Clenching his jaws so tightly he feared his teeth might break to keep from crying out in agony and dropping the pichu, Ash hung unto the remains of the tree for all he was worth, digging his claws into the wood up to the quick as Pikachu's weight almost pulled him over the edge. Don't let go, Pikachu! I'll save you!

    I swear to God, I'll save you...


    He closed his eyes, breathing raggedly through his nose and the corners of his mouth, as the pressure upon his tail became almost unbearable. That's it, pull yourself forwards. Get Pikachu close enough to the trunk so he can grab it himself. Just a little more...he can almost reach now, I hope...

    I...

    hope...


    Unable to hold on any longer, Ash fell from the tree unto the slope; spinning and tumbling with Pikachu into the soft drifts below.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Warm. Sleep. Happy Ash. Warm Ash. Food? Warm. Ash. Happy. Happy Ash. Happy pichu...

    C'mon, Pichu...not now...I'm dreaming...what are your thoughts doing in my dream? I'm your caretaker. Not your father, not your real father. But why am I thinking of you?

    No. Not quite dreaming. Remembering. What is this? Presents. Wrapping paper. A cake...a birthday party? Why am I remembering this? What does this have to do with anything at all? Is this another of...
    its...games?

    No...no...this isn't its doing. This party...I think I know now...

    I don't want to remember! Wake up, Ash! Wake up! Wake...


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “I saved your best surprise for last.”

    Ash peered up at his mother, dropping his fork excitedly as he contemplated what this sudden announcement could mean. “What is it, Momma?” Could it possibly be a pokémon of his very own? He knew that he was still a good five years from being able to apply as an official Trainer, but he hoped that didn’t mean he couldn’t get an early start. And even if it wasn’t a pokémon, perhaps it was something equally enthralling to his youthful ambitions –maybe he would finally get that Super Nintendo he’d always wanted, or the Pog set he had been eyeing ever since Gary had brought one in to nursery school. “What is it? Can I see it? It’s better than anything Gary’s got, right?”

    Picking him up from the chair, Delia hugged the little boy close to her chest, brushing his messy black hair from his forehead affectionately. “Asheron…you know as well as I do that we can’t afford the same kinds of things the Oaks have.” He pouted; feeling the expression spread across his features unconsciously as his mother’s words hung in the air.
    But that isn’t any fair!Why can’t we? Swallowing and clenching his fists, Ash forced the query to the back of his mind, remembering what had happened the last time he had expressed his curiosity on the issue. Momma didn’t need to cry; not on his birthday.

    “You shouldn’t be frowning, dear. Even though we don’t have a lot of money, I still bought you the nicest one that I could…because I love you.” Delia gave the boy a kiss on the brow and set him down, flipping her limp ponytail over her shoulder wearily. “Why don’t we go to the living room to check it out, honey? Afterwards, we can pop in a video and then finish off this cake. Does that sound like a happy plan to you?”

    Ash nodded acquiescently, wanting to keep his mother in good humor. “It might still be just as cool as anything Gary has, even if it didn’t cost as much. Right?” Without even waiting for an answer, the little boy scurried towards the room in question, skidding to a sudden stop when he finally beheld the object in question.

    The computer sat upon a weathered Formica card table; its lambent screen, encased in a pale grey plastic frame, casting a gentle light upon the surrounding area. Sitting down at a nearby chair, Ash ran his digits lightly over the keyboard, marveling in the feel of the rough buttons bumping against his fingertips. “A computer! For me? Really? What’s it do, Mom?” Momentarily forgetting all about his classroom rival, he picked up the mouse in his right hand, its boxy form only slightly conforming to the curve of his palm. “Can I play games on it?”

    “You’ve got to turn off the screensaver first.” Chuckling at her son’s delight, Delia took the mouse from him and clicked twice on the button to the left, causing the black screen to shift to the desktop visage. “And before we start looking at games, there’s…something else I would like to show you, son.” Selecting an icon that looked like two computers connected by a odd black cord, a sound that Ash had never heard before started to emanate from within the bowels of the machine; strange beeps and clicks, cumulating in a bizarre screech that made the little boy jump. “What’s that, Momma?”

    Taking a deep breath, Delia clicked another icon, setting the mouse down as a web browser window opened; text and images slowly spreading across its surface as the page loaded. “My Ash…you’re five years old now. You know how I’ve told you about how your father and my father were great Trainers?” Taking the child into her lap, she rested her chin upon his head, a loving gesture that caused Ash to smile in spite of himself. “What’s Papa like? And Grandpa?” He remembered well having asked similar questions before, questions that had caused his mother to stammer and gasp like a magikarp out of water before she had answered. And the answer had been the same every time – that the both of them were supermen among Trainers; brave and strong fellows preparing somewhere far away for the opportunity to take on Champion Lance and his Elite Four. It was a story he had never had any reason to disbelieve – after all, he’d never seen either of them, and they wouldn’t simply abandon him and Momma without a very good reason.
    Would they?

    “Ash, well, I…I…I lied about that.” Gasping in shock at that announcement, the boy clenched his fists, trying to hold back the tears he could already feel beginning to form. Momma…lied? But lying is bad! Why would she lie to me? Momma! His voice breaking, Ash struggled to put his thoughts into words, shifting position slightly to look his mother in the eyes. “You…lied?”

    Delia nodded, scooping the boy into a hug; an expression of shame and discomfiture crossing her features. “Supermen among Trainers. ‘Supermen’ implies they were more than the average person, standing above and apart from everybody else – it was nonsense, Ash. All of it was nonsense.” Turning once more to the computer, she clicked upon a white bar along the top of the browser, typing in an odd jumble of text that made little sense to Ash. “When one goes on a computer like this, Ash, it’s called the World Wide Web. Once you get to know the system better, you could very well try looking up your father and grandfather on pokémon-related networks, and…and you’d soon realize that I hadn’t been honest with you.”

    “But…but why
    did you lie to me, Momma?” He sulked within her embrace; picking at a loose thread on the sleeve of his shirt anxiously. “And if Grandpa – and Papa – aren’t Trainers, what are they?”

    “It’s…it’s difficult, Ash. My father left to try his hand at Training – something he had not been able to pursue as a young man due to the Vietnam draft – and never contacted my mother or I ever again. That much about him, I know for sure. But if you were to look him up online, you wouldn’t find any record of him as a member of the World Pokémon Trainers’ Association.” She showed the newly-loaded web page to her son, scrolling deftly through the list of names as she spoke. “And you wouldn’t find any record of your own father, either. Neither of them ever became official Trainers. I…I doubt they got very far.”

    “But why didn’t they come back if they didn’t get far? If Papa couldn’t make it as a Trainer, he’d come back home to us, wouldn’t he?”

    “Your father.” Delia shook her head, the melancholy of her gaze tinted with a slight hint of affection. “Like me, Sampson was young when his mother died. As for his own father, it was a subject he would never talk about, and would darn near explode if I ever dared bring the topic up.”

    “Why?”

    “That, my son…is something I can’t answer. It was a topic I soon learned to avoid.” She ran her hand lightly through Ash’s hair, a wistful gleam shining in her eyes. “You have his hair, you know that? You look a lot like him.”

    Ash wasn’t sure how to reply. “I…um…do you know what Papa and Grandpa are doing now?”

    Delia shook her head. “I can’t help but miss, and still love, the silly man that was your father. Sampson was much closer to your grandfather’s age than he was to mine, but…I couldn’t help but fall for him and his quiet personality. Always so wrapped up in his hobbies and in his work, though…and soon after he learned I was pregnant with you, Ash, he simply left. If he was following the path of my father in trying to be a Trainer, I am not sure. But either way, I’ve never heard from him again, and where the two of them are now…I couldn’t answer. I just hope they didn’t meet with foul play.”

    Ash looked down at the rug, following its intricate woven pattern - flowers and leaves twisting and floating through an inky blackness; bordered on the edges by rows of interlocking chevrons. “But you still haven’t answered my question about
    why you lied, Momma. It doesn’t really matter than Papa and Grandpa aren’t real Trainers, does it? Why did you want me to think so?”

    Leaning back in the chair, Delia switched the monitor off, letting the room fade into quiet darkness. “I lied to you because I wanted you to think highly of your ancestors, to think of them as something more than deadbeats. And because someday…you, too, could be a father. If you knew of your father and grandfather’s life choices, I…I worried that maybe you would further perpetuate that cycle, rather than break it. I want you to grow up to be a good man, my Asheron – brave, noble, loving, and always willing to stand up for what’s right, and who faces inconvenience head-on, rather than running away from it. You’ll probably understand all this better when you’re a little older – but I just couldn’t lie to you any longer, son.”

    Ash closed his eyes, reflecting pensively on his mother’s words. “Momma…if I’m a Papa someday, I won’t run away. I pinkie-swear it. No one will have to do any bad lying about me.”

    “I hope so, son.” He felt the kiss on his forehead, gentle and light; and he snuggled closer to his mother’s chest, reveling in her soothing warmth...


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ash opened his eyes wearily, yawning and stretching as he let his vision adjust to the surroundings. Pikachu, looking none the worse for his tumble, lay curled in a tight ball against the far side of the drift, his ribs rising and falling in slow rhythm as he breathed. Next to where he himself had been unconscious, the pichu slept; his paws twitching gently and his dark yellow fur gleaming as brilliantly as the snowflakes in the early morning sunlight. If I’m a Papa someday, I won’t run away...


    The teen turned his back on the pichu, sighing. Was he no better than his own father; a man he had never known, a man who had never done anything for him besides sire him? At least I'm taking care of Pichu. That's more than Dad ever did...

    But you don't give him any love
    , his conscience argued back. You're protecting him and caring for him, but it's all out of guilt and obligation – not any deeper affection. An ordinary pichu might be able to get by on that, but this is a pichu that needs a father's love. And deep down inside yourself, you know it. His close contact with you while you were unconscious must have allowed some of his dream-thoughts to come through to you – and the guilt brought your memories to the forefront. Answer your guilt, Asheron. The chance to break the chain of fathers in your family has come – seize it! Can you not see the love in Pichu's eyes?

    Ash hung his head, his heart's intense feeling overwhelming his being. Do you want to be yet another bad father in a family of bad fathers? Whether you wanted to have him or not, he's here, and he needs you.

    But what about finding a way to be human again? How can I be a father to this pichu in my real form? I could be his Trainer, sure. But his father? I couldn't do that...could I?

    Why does this have to be so hard?


    Ash returned to the depression he had left in the snow, resting his wet black nose against the pichu's. The little animal sneezed gently, lifting his head and blinking sleepily at his father; long, bang-like head fur, much like Ash's own, hanging over his eyes and curling slightly over his muzzle. Ash. Happy!

    Pichu.
    A few brave pidgey in the groves beyond chirruped their morning songs; their melodic notes blending and swirling into a graceful harmony of dinurnal welcome that lifted Ash's spirits in spite of himself. Pichu. My father...I...I can't be like him. Whether I can fill the role of a good father for you or not, I don't know...but I do know that I can try my very best to break my family's terrible cycle.

    I will do my best to love you...Alexander.
    He did not know why he had decided to nickname the pichu in that impulsive moment - all that he knew was that it had felt right; so right that it made his conscience sing in joy...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An engine backfired, its discordant, abrasive sound shattering the the still of the morning. Skittish pidgey flew in a dissonant flock towards the distant Mt. Moon peak, and a few spearow, less fearful but still disturbed by the sudden automobile traffic, flew in short, anxious circles over the cocklebur thickets, clacking their beaks in agitation. The smell of gasoline hung thick and heavy in the air, tickling Ash's nose, and he lifted his head, seeking the source of the auditory and olfactory disturbance. There's a car around here somewhere! Pikachu! Pikachu, wake up! Civliization isn't as far away as I'd thought!


    Roused from his nap, Pikachu pulled himself to his paws, shaking a shower of snowflakes from his coat. Ash, taking hold of Alex's scruff, rushed quickly to his best friend's side, nuzzling his cheek in joy. C'mon, Pikachu, let's see if we can find that car! Even if it's not heading towards Pallet Town, once we're back in civilization it'll be easy enough to find a car that is. And there will be lots of easy food, too, that'll save us from having to fish in the river...hurry up, Pikachu! Not caring about the cockleburs in his excitement, Ash pushed his way through the thickets, tucking Alex's body under his chin. Shaking off a few especially tenacious briars, the teen leapt into the clearing; suprised to see that what he had mistaken for an ice coated river from atop the cliff in the nighttime was in actuality a gleaming black expanse of tarmac – not a well-kept or heavily trafficked road by any means, but a road none the less, and one of the most miraculous scenes Ash had ever witnessed.

    Home...home...soon, I'll be home...

    A van idled along the shoulder, smoke rising in swirling plumes from under its propped hood. A man, his head bent towards the protesting engine, wiped his hands frustratedly along his pantlegs as he tried to soothe his malfunctioning car, paying no attention to the little animals cowering behind one of its tires. He left the trunk open, Ash thought, flicking his ears nervously. We have to be careful. If we make too much noise, or make one wrong move, we could catch that man's attention. And without knowing how he'd react to us, that's a chance we can't take. Follow my lead, Pikachu. We'll jump up in the trunk on one...two...

    Now! With a powerful spring of his hindlegs, Ash shot out from behind the van's tire like a cannonball, digging into the craggy tarmac with his claws and pushing upwards once more, landing with a thump in the van's soft grey carpet. A few moments later and Pikachu joined him inside; his paws skidding on the slick artifical fibers and sending him spriling into a box of goods. Knocked loose by the impact, a book fell from its cardboard abode and landed squarely at Pikachu's feet, causing the animal to jump back in suprise.

    We'd better put that book back in the box, Ash thought, setting Alex down and tapping its spine lightly with his muzzle. It could rattle around back here while the man is driving, and we don't want to give him any reason to investigate. Not when we're this close to Pallet Town...

    Right as he was about to take the object in his jaws, a glimmer of gilt along the book's spine caught the boy-pikachu's eye, and without thinking he carefully nudged the cover open, turning the delicate flyleaves until he reached the slick paper of the frontispiece. Nudging the piece of tissue paper out of the way, Ash examined the portrait – a young man with enquiring eyes, clad in a well cut coat and wearing a felt hat rakishly upon his crown. Under the portrait, in a smudged, old-fashioned font, a title for the image had been printed - one that made Ash forget all about putting the book back where it had been found.

    Mr. LOCKE, Historian of Those Grand Transmutation Stones! If Any MAN Deserved to Find Out Their Secrets, It is HIM.

    Transmutation...Stones? Stones...that transform? Does this book hold my answer? Could this book...

    He nudged the tissue paper back over the portrait, reading the title page in growing excitement.

    THE TRANSMUTATION STONES

    Being an Account of the AUTHOR, the Learned Mr. Richard LOCKE, and His Notes and Inquiries Into a Mysterious Legend Much Taboo in the Empire, With Which He Hopes to Educate His Fellow Scholars and Tantalize the Populace

    --

    L O N D O N

    Printed & sold by Byfield and Sons, Charing-cross.

    (Price Six Pence in Gilt Paper.)

    1827

    My...I...

    Unable to think clearly, Ash clawed the book open to a random page and let himself become engrossed in the narrative; oblivious to the dangers of the world around him.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It came to pass, a full ten years ago, that I had the opportunity for an audience with a man the name of Comworth; who had lived in the shadows of London's lower districts for uncounted years, begging alms for his sustenance. He was a curious fellow of a strange bearing, with eyes half-glazed from some terrible affliction, and fingers that leapt and trembled like leaves in a high wind as I approached him. “Greetings,” I had said, hoping the crisp finery my occupation could afford me, in such contrast to the dross that was this Comworth's typical environment, would not serve to either intimidate my audience, or cause him to, perhaps, turn from mere beggar to a thief. “I have heard that you have an interesting story to relate - the old folk-tale you say your mother told you when a child.”

    Comworth, seeming to develop further trembling upon hearing a request that contained no immediate suggestion of alms, sank himself wearily along a far wall, his prominent ribs standing out even more clearly in this seated position. “The story,” he wheezed, speaking in a dreadful Cockney manner sensibilities keep me from recording exactly as he uttered it. “Yes. I will tell it to the children sometimes, for half-pennies.”

    “Pray, tell it for me, as well,” I exclaimed, “and I shall give you a half-crown – nay, a full crown – for your troubles.” It was a shame he was not given to airing his vocabulary like many of these most dreadful of Cockneys were – only for the jingle of a pocket of change was I able to coerce anything out of him!

    Comworth was clearly not one to pass along the chance of an easily earned crown, no matter the intimidation he had to face for it. “Why to hear it would interest you so, I cannot guess,” he began, “but if you are willing to give me that kind of alms for it!” The conversation thus begun, I carefully removed my journal from my coat-pocket, eager to record the full tale, of which scraps had for so long intrigued my intelligence.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My relatives (in the phrasing of Mr. Comworth) had, in times long past, been affiliated with the great Orient travels of Mr. Marco Polo, and this story was first told to them by a Chinese vendor, who in turn said he heard it from the far reaches of Japan's Sinnoh region (this meshes with my independent research and discoveries before and since, which indicate stories about the Transmutation Stones originated in this region of the world). They have kept the story in the family, passing it along as a wondrous folk-tale for each generation's children.

    (This is, of course, retold mostly in my own phrasings; though I have retained some of the simplicity of Comworth's relation for ease of dictation. My foot-notes, also, will be inserted as parentheticals within the main text, meant to explain references and elaborate upon the story with my own further research).

    Long ago, before the time of Chaos, there was only a vast expanse of Nothing. Everything that is known – from the Earth on which we live, to the Moon, to the Sun, and all the other celestials that inhabit the vast firmament - was contained within a throbbing pinprick in the middle of a vast Unknowable, Unguessable, and Inconceivable. Time did not pass, and nor did Space spin.

    Finally it came to pass that this small speck exploded, turning what had once been a great Nothing into a churning turmoil of Chaos. And at the heart of all this Chaos, where all things became one, appeared an Egg. Having tumbled from the vortex, the Egg hatched and gave rise to the Original One (known as Arceus, considered a great deity by these northern Japanese)...

    From the essence of itself, the Original One created two beings (Dialga and Palkia, two demi-deities), whom caused time to start spinning and space to start expanding. From itself again, the Original one created three living things (Azelf, Uxie, and Mesprit, fairies or pixies of some sort; held in high regard). The two beings wished, and from them, Matter came to be. The three living things wished, and from them, Spirit came to be. With the world created, the Original One took to a deep sleep that would last for eons.

    Upon the hatching of the Original One, its Egg had split into seven fragments (these fragments! - the object of my quest they are – the Transmutation Stones!), each said to be about the size of a pidgey's egg, and infused with brilliant colour. After Matter had come to be, these fell to the newly formed Earth, landing into the deep, mysterious ocean that covered the planet. And from the Spirit wished for by the three living things, something special eventually started to stir upon this world. Guided and watched over by the dreams of the Original One, this new form of Spirit was mortal life.

    The creatures that were the earliest to traverse the planet were unusual and strange indeed (ah! Alas, the reason this folk-tale was so hard for me to track down amongst my countrymen – the revolutionary idea that the rapid growth of pokémon is not the only type there is! A sacrilegious notion that rebels against what the Word tells all good Englishmen – but is it true? If only I could know for sure...ah, the possibility of the Transmutation Stones!). They were not pokémon, but rather the first beings born into the elusive kingdom of Animalia, in which humanity is the last surviving of the higher members. And among these animals were seven special creatures...


    A dun-brown fish, with strong lobed fins...
    A tendriled mollusc with heavy shell...
    A shellčd beast of glowing eyes...
    A huge crustacean from the depths of hell...
    A water lily – a plant that wasn't...
    A fearsome fish of razor teeth...
    And a funny fish come from the deep...

    Over many years, each of the seven happened to find a piece of eggshell, which caused a very extraordinary turn of events to take place. These creatures, so blessed in their luck, changed and grew from exposure to the Original One's Egg, and slowly turned into new beings. The first six became the earliest members of that most remarkable of taxonomies, the kingdom of Cavustrum, the pokémon! Not only were they now the most intelligent creatures on the planet, they had also developed incredibly complex ways of defending themselves (the Trainers of today term these “attacks”) as a response to the eggshell-induced mutation. They also developed a common characteristic of most pokémon species alive today - a means of very rapid growth to a mature state when presented with certain stimulus (sometime during the last century, the term “evolution” was adopted by the Trainers to describe this odd adaptation). And indeed, it was because they had touched the great pieces of egg that they became so successful and powerful...

    But when all seven of the pieces of eggshell had been activated, the three living things felt a faltering of Spirit, and rushed to wake the Original One from his lengthy somnolence. Without rebirth, they told the great ruling beast, Spirit would lay stagnant forever more, and no new ruling species would grow – only minor creatures who could never hope to inherit anything. But the Original One knew it needed the power of strong Spirit in order to make a rebirth possible – for the benefit of all. “That fish from the deep...it is a recently changed creature, powerful in will. Deliver to me its soul, and its passion and main will be enough to rejuvenate me.” The pokémon who had grown from the razor-toothed fish soon slaughtered the fish from the deep whom had had barely a chance to live its new life, spilling its heart's blood into the ocean waves. With the power of its murdered soul, the Original One died, a new egg emerging from the bloodied chasm of its chest. And from the force of its death, the world was destroyed, killing almost all the creatures that dwelled upon it – indeed, of the seven, only the ancestors of the dun-brown fish and razor toothed fish survived.

    And as the three living things knew, the Original One was soon reborn, scattering many more pieces of eggshell upon the precious Earth. A descendant of the dun-brown fish branched off from its kin upon exposure, and, along with dozens of other species, left the ocean to explore the land. New pokémon, and further members of the kingdom of animals, developed and grew over a long period of time, until; finally, the pieces of eggshell were once again used up. And once again, the earth was destroyed, and once again, only a few species remained behind. But the cycle began again...and one of the first of the new creatures, developed from the last of the higher animals left behind, would eventually become us, the humans, the most intelligent being on the planet and the prime ruler of it all...

    And that, as they tell back in Sinnoh, is how humans and pokémon came to be. And sometime in the future, as more of the pieces are found, the Original One will once more destroy and recreate...


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Original One. Arceus. Why does that feel so familiar? Could that be...it, the thing that keeps haunting my dreams? But why does it want me so badly? Am I...

    Am I the modern day 'fish from the deep?'

    With that sobering thought on his mind, Ash turned to a new page, resuming his reading.

    Alas, it would be a most regrettable falsehood if I were to blindly advise the handling of Transmutation Stones by our own, already vastly elevated, species! A most fascinating tale comes to me from a brief fifteenth century work known as the Textus Transmutarium ("The Text of the Transmutation"), written by some elusive, unknown Italian hand. What could possibly be the only record of a human encounter with one of these most miraculous of stones, and I have uncovered it; lost and uncatalogued amid Oxford's dusty shelves! I have transcribed it in a modern English hand for the purposes of this book and for the accessibility of a wide audience, but I have tried to retain the flavour of the original to the best degree that I was able.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I (in the phrasing of the unknown author) heard this tale second-hand – I cannot vouch for its accuracy. However, it seems as likely a theory on Bestari's disappearance as any, and the idea of there being a Stone in existence as miraculous as this one makes the Philosopher's pale by comparison!

    The learned minds doubtless have read up on their Bestari, devouring his texts like manna from the heavens. A fine alchemist was Bestari, whose crowning achievement was discovering the amazing properties certain minerals could have upon pokémon. In his own texts, he had written the tale of how he had by chance first made the discovery, by accidentally dropping a lodestone upon his pet eevee. Experimenting further with a variety of minerals and a variety of species, he found no species that would react to so many different types of mineral as the humble eevee would. The eevee therefore became his base upon which he would test all new minerals he brought in for experimentation – if they altered the eevee, chances were high they would alter at least one other species of pokémon.

    The story, as I have heard it from one of Bestari's apprentices, is that one day the great man was in his sitting-room, an eevee upon his lap and a new mineral for testing in his hand – a rock that looked all the world like a pidgey's egg might if one were to dye it in brilliant colours. “I knew there was something about it right away,” the apprentice, now advanced in age, had told -


    A shadow suddenly fell across the book, and Ash backed away in surprise, his heart catching in his throat. Pikachu, carefully grooming a terrified Alex, remained on guard behind a box, ready to make a move as soon as his Trainer gave a signal. [I]Why didn't I just hide the book to take with me and read later? Now the man's back, and...

    And he must have seen me...reading from it...

    The man knelt down on the tarmac, folding his arms along the floor of the van, keeping his face level with Ash's. His eyes, the grey of a winter stormcloud, stared out from behind messy black bangs; his gaze piercing and intelligent in its intensity. The teen tried to stare back defiantly; but the more he stared at the man's face, the more he realized he knew it – it had been more youthful when he had observed it through the dust of old photographs, but they were the same features, the same hair, the same eyes -

    Papa!

    The man picked the book up off the carpet, smoothing its rumpled pages as he watched his pikachu son, his expression unreadable. Ash closed his eyes, tucking his muzzle under his forepaws, unable to stand being scrutinized by this elusive figure from his past. What is Papa doing here? Why did he have that book, out of all the books in the world, in his car? What does he know? Could he possibly have anything to do with this? What will he do to me? Does he recognize me? Is he friend or foe?

    Is he a father...who would love his son?


    Ash felt his father's hand upon his fur, and he tensed, his ears and tail twitching erratically in his fear. His head was pulled out from in between his paws, and once more he was forced to look into those eyes – the steely grey eyes of a man of secrets and hidden pain.

    “You.”
    ~Fanfics~
    Please don't friend me if I have no idea who you are.
    Since we can't claim Pokémon in the Bishie thread anymore....I claimed the lovely Ranger Solana instead. All mine!
    My Pokémon claim is Minun...Plusle's better, but Minun is still cute! XD

  12. #12
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    PPG, you need to fix that double-post. Now.

    A pleasure to meet you, for the second time. I believe I have enough evidence to safely assume you a fellow literary antiquarian, though a greater one than me. It's something of a rediscovery. I did enjoy the 1827 excerpts as no healthy man should enjoy; I was meaning to write a 19th century imitation once myself, but you beat me to it (so it seems).

    I also enjoyed the AMV more than you would expect--it's far more sensical than the random animated slideshows one sees so often around the place. I am no animator myself, but my impression as a watcher was most impressive. Additionally, perhaps it was a pleasurable experience to hear a benevolent voice speaking in song for once--I've been living on Blue Oyster Cult madmen's laughter for quite some time now--the song was fitting in a unique way, especially at the verse: "How can you close and fail?/How can the light that burned so brightly/Suddenly burn so pale?" with the lights indeed failing. BUT I WILL COME TO THE POINT.

    What I enjoy especially is the devotion to realism here, embodied speifically in the existence of external factors which are all but random for the characters, and in no way help to progress their personalities in an intuitive or harmonious manner. The transmutation itself is the most gloriously twisted example. After all, Ashachu resolves his relatonship with Alexander well enough, but there are a thousand circumstances which will mess up the score farther--how will fatherhood afect a thriteen-year-old with a destructive second personality, and what about when he regains his humanity and the pichu is left orphaned? A great many things will have to be resolved before then, and knowing you I'd guess a whole slew of new sticky issues will materialize by that point. It's almost Neon Genesis Evangelionian.

    I feel that Papa has already recognized his son by this point, having read upon the subject of transmutation and perhaps even tracked the course of that boy-pikachu over the great Kanto stretches. All right, this is likely a stretch. However, I can't see why else he would say such a greeting word to a stray set of pikachu. Perhaps he's recognized them as something he knows or has been searching for, but not necessarily as his son and grandson.

    Unlike the general consensus I feel long and complex sentences, as long as they are sensible, to be quite all right according to quaklity of writing. In the manner you arrange them they even convey moods and themes emotionally very well. However, in some places the comma usage appears a little excessive; the main cause seems to be the existence of small clauses. "His blue fur, however, he thought, was a bit inane." (Please excuse the surreal example.) A good way to fix this problem is to use other means to punctuation, or even lengthen the clauses. That may actually work, though it seems to my ears insane.

    All right, that's about it. Guten Nacht!
    Last edited by Praxiteles; 17th April 2008 at 6:06 PM.

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