Request list is getting long again, so you'll have to be patient. And I only take requests for the Pokemon, not the plot. I like to surprise people, like with this one. If you've seen the show Animaniacs, you'll know what this is about. But I think you'll still enjoy it if you don't know that cartoon.

Checking my calander, I see that January 26 is Chinese New Year, and it's Ox this time. The closest Pokemon to an Ox is Tauros, which I already did. However, the 26th is also Australia Day and Republic Day (for India). So, uh, combining all three cultures, the closest Pokemon is... Kangaskan!

In Process: Ludicolo/Shiftry
On Deck: Torchic, Turtwig, Igglybuff/Waillord, Dragonite/Garchomp, Zubat line
Reserve: Kangaskan (01/26)

D/P entry: Just like a plant, it uses photosynthesis. As a result, it is always enveloped in clear air.

Pearl entry: It tugs on the hands of children to steal them away. However, it gets pulled around instead.

It was an idyllic suburban neighborhood, with tidy green lawns, brightly white houses, pretty flower beds, and the occasional tacky lawn statue. It was a place where fences were to keep pets in place and the kids could run across the street at any point. Freed from the worries of the big city and small town alike, residents were able to pursue any passion they wanted.

Particularly if it made one’s family look better than any other family in the neighborhood.

One home was especially happy, if the delighted squeals and laughter from the backyard were any indication. There was a toddler tied to a harness, which was secured to a large oak tree. Somehow, she had climbed up the tree, got the leash caught on a knot, and thus was using the harness as a bungee cord to bounce up and down in midair. “Hi Buttons!” she called shrilly before being snapped back up.

In a sunnier part of the yard, a Leafeon wagged his tail in response. He wasn’t too concerned about her play, even if he was supposed to be watching out for her. He’d seen Mindy pull off crazier stunts and she always walked away unhurt. As for him getting hurt by her stunts... he’d rather not dwell on that.

The backdoor opened, letting out two nicely dressed women. Buttons looked over them, wary about any strangers coming close to his girl. But it was just the lady of the house and one of her party guests.

The guest came over to him, knelt down, and scratched his head. “Aw, it really is a Leafeon. It must have been so much trouble to get him, since Eevees are so expensive and it requires extreme effort to get this evolution.”

The lady of the house smiled, knowing that she had one-upped everyone with this choice of a Pokemon pet. “But it’s worth all the trouble. He’s such a sweetheart and very gentle around Mindy. Since he gets most of his energy from the sun, he doesn’t eat much, so the food doesn’t cost a fortune like your Arcanine. And he cleans the air in the house naturally, so what more could you ask for?”

“How wonderful,” the neighbor said cheerfully, although inside she was burning with jealousy.

The back door opened again. “Honey, how does this camera work again?”

The neighbor sighed. “I’ll be right there.” She patted Buttons one last time. “He’s obviously a sweetie.” Then she got up and went in the house.

The lady of the house waited until the door was closed, then said, “Remember, Buttons, that you can’t be making a lot of noise while everyone’s over. And don’t go digging in the trash can; we don’t want to look like savages, do we?”

He shook his head. “<Of course not.>”

She patted him on the head. “Good. Mindy?”

The blond-haired toddler squealed as she started back down. “Hi Nice Lady, wheee!” She bounded back up again.

“Can’t you call me Mommy, at least for the party?” she pleaded.

“Okay, Nice Lady,” Mindy replied, blissfully more concerned with her bungee harness.

She shook her head. “Oh, I hope you break out of this phase soon. It’s so embarrassing. Don’t hurt yourself.” She went back inside to the party.

Buttons watched, then huffed. “<And you wonder why I’d rather spend all my time with her,>” he mumbled to himself. He went back to soaking up the sun. So long as Mindy kept bouncing and squealing, she was all right.

A gust of wind blew through the yard, bringing in a violet colored balloon. The balloon opened its eyes, betraying itself to be a Drifloon instead of an ordinary decoration. Thinking, he twisted his ribbon arms together, then apart. He moved closer to the toddler. “<Child, come with me,>” he said soothingly.

Mindy’s momentum had slowed some, so she pointed at the Drifloon. “Ooo, pretty balloon.”

Knowing that tone, Buttons checked on her. That ‘ooo’ nearly always meant trouble. This time, the cause was a Pokemon that he wasn’t familiar with. He got up and moved closer, just in case.

Drifloon held his ribbons out and swished his string tail. “<Come with me to another world, yes? You never need come back to this one again.>”

A kidnapper? Buttons growled. “<You’re not taking my girl anywhere!>”

“Aaa,” Mindy said, reaching out with all her might. She grabbed hold of the Drifloon’s tail. “Gotcha!”

“<You get away from her,>” the Leafeon threatened.

“<What can you do about it?>” Drifloon taunted smugly. “<I’m up here, and you’re going to be toast.>” He flicked a ribbon, summoning a gust of wind.

Yipping in pain, Buttons was knocked over and flipped in the strong wind. He got back onto his feet, but was dizzy. “<Ugh, I’m gonna... get you for that.>” He fumbled to the ground, too dizzy to stand.

Mindy broke into laughter. “Silly Eevee,” she said.

‘She doesn’t mean anything by it,’ Buttons reminded himself. ‘She’s too little to really understand.’

Drifloon wrapped his tail around her wrist to get a better grip. “<Come away, child, come with me.>” He started to pull her away.

The girl looked down at the ground and noticed that she wasn’t bouncing anymore. So she squirmed until the harness started stretching and retracting again. “Whee!”

Still holding onto her, Drifloon was tugged up and down as well. “<Whoa, hang on! I...>”

By the time Buttons got his bearings back, Mindy was going at full tilt again. She clung tight to the stranger, jerking him about. “Bouncy, bouncy!” she called out merrily.

“<Oh, my poor head,>” Drifloon moaned. “<I think I’m going to hurl.>”

He snickered. Then, an idea came to him. Buttons went over to the trash can and located what he had in mind. He plucked that out, then returned to the backyard.

One way or another, Drifloon had managed to unwrap himself from Mindy’s wrist. He was hovering low by Buttons’ house. The Leafeon came up to him and dropped his item. “<So you’re gonna play with Mindy now?>”

“<Yes, play,>” he replied deceptively. “<She will play with me. I do wish that she would come down and play a little nicer.>”

“<That can entertain her for hours. Anyhow, I thought you’d like to see this.>” He nosed the limp remains of a popped balloon.

It was just an ordinary balloon, but it had the effect he wanted. Drifloon shivered. “<Th-tha... what terrible carnage.>”

“<This was Mindy’s last balloon. I’m just warning you to watch out for yourself. She’s too young to realize when she’s being too rough.>”

In the meantime, Mindy had slowed in her bouncing enough to unlatch the harness from the leash. It was supposed to be childproof, but nothing was around that child. She dropped to the ground and ran over to the two Pokemon. “Balloon!”

Drifloon hovered up out of her reach. “<Erm, I believe I must locate a less dangerous child to ta... I mean, to play with, of course.>”

“<But she’ll miss you,>” Buttons said in mock sadness.

He flicked his ribbons. “<Ahem, I won’t.>” Then he set off to catch the wind again.

“Awww,” Mindy pouted, sticking her lower lip out.

Buttons nosed her affectionately. “<You’re better off with regular balloons.>”

Just then, the lady of the house came back out. “Now where did I put that bowl?” she mumbled to herself.

Uh-oh. Buttons knew that his mistress was occasionally sharp-eyed, and that included things like the busted balloon. He went to cover it with his paw.

But she came over to them. “Mindy, what are you doing off.. Buttons! I told you not to go digging in the trash.” She snatched the broken balloon away.

He lowered his ears. “<B-but I was saving her from an evil balloon,>” he stated, even though he knew she couldn’t understand.

Seeing him upset, Mindy hugged the Leafeon. “I love you, Buttons.” Then she gave him a sloppy toddler kiss.

That made the trouble worthwhile. He put a paw on her shoulder. “<Thanks.>”