Still looking for ideas on St. Patrick's Day and first day of spring with one being a legendary.
This story partly comes from how, in Ruby at least, you nearly always find a Heart Scale hiding in the landscape around couples. Happy Valentine's Day!
In Process: Mudkip
On Deck: Dunsparce/Qwilfish, Beedrill
Emerald entry: Luvdisc make the branches of Corsola their nests. There is a custom from long ago of giving a Luvdisc as a gift to express one's feelings of love.
The coral reefs of Hoenn made for one of the most diverse and colorful ecosystems in the world. There were many kinds of fish and fish Pokemon. There were both jellyfish and Tentacools. There were micro-bugs and the occasional Surskit. Even the reefs themselves, much of them were ordinary plants, but some of them were Corsolas. Hiding within these reefs were Luvdiscs, a Pokemon special to local traditions.
The small heart-shaped fish usually kept hidden, save for springtime mating rituals and the test of adulthood. The latter was a rite peculiar to the species. Most other Pokemon did not have such tests, but ancient traditions stated that a Luvdisc was not considered fully mature unless it could produce a whole Heart Scale and offer it to a loving human couple. Why this was so was buried in legend to the point of the Luvdiscs continuing it simply because it was always done that way.
And that was her mission when she had left the reefs a week ago.
She had been so excited when she’d finally shed a whole Scale that she’d crashed into a Clamperl trying to find her mother. It had not been pleased and she had been afraid for a bit that it would ruin her first Heart Scale. But she’d managed to get away and show off the Scale to her family and friends.
It was a lovely thing. Most of their scales were pink, but a few had an iridescent sheen to them, like a rainbow painted on a pink canvas. The iridescent ones were the only ones that could become a true Heart Scale. However, when they were shed, most of the scales had frayed edges or cracks. To shed a whole one, with clean edges and no dullness, that was something to be proud of. They were happy for her, but now she had to give it away.
But who knew that it would be so hard? She could see plenty of humans on the beach, but none she felt right in giving her scale away to. Maybe she was just being possessive. It was her first Scale, after all. And yet...
It was nearing the end of winter, as the days were becoming even with the nights and the air was warming little by little. Still, there were people walking along the shore. There were beachcombers carrying their woven baskets. There were joggers running up and down in daily routines. There were a few children, but that was in the afternoon and their parents weren’t around. There were surfers and swimmers, artists and anglers... but not many couples.
The young Luvdisc swam close to one couple she did see. It was a young man and young woman, he wearing waterproof pants that all the beachside anglers wore and she wearing a nice yellow dress that made her wary of getting too close to the water. For a minute, he had put down his fishing gear to help her balance on some rocks. The cold waves lapped against those rocks and teased at her black shoes.
Once she was as far out as she would go, she knelt down and tossed a berry into the water. “Luvdisc, Luvdisc, heart of the sea, will you prove my true love to me?”
The young Pokemon had heard that little rhyme several times over this week. The berry certainly smelled tempting, but she had been warned not to accept bribes from undeserving couples. And this pair didn’t seem right. There was a feeling of tension between the two that didn’t bode well for long-lasting love. He had put away his fishing for the moment, yes, but was annoyed because he had been doing well before the interruption. She had dressed up nicely for this, yes, but her attention wasn’t completely on him.
They were doomed to fall apart unless they changed themselves. They might be looking for a Heart Scale, but once their love failed, it would no longer mean anything special to them. With that in mind, the Luvdisc ignored them and swam off to find another couple.
The next pair she found was a pair of teenagers, both with red hair. They were playing around, kicking a soccer ball between each other and joking around. “No seriously, it’s an awesome Pokemon and would work great on your team,” the boy said, knocking the ball high into the air.
“But it stinks something horrible,” she replied, catching the ball with her knee, then kicking it back. “I don’t want one like that.”
“Aw come on. You’re not going to stand a chance in the League if you only use cute and pretty Pokemon.”
She stuck her tongue out at him. “What makes you think that, squirt?” Then she laughed.
He laughed back and shook his head.
They certainly loved each other, even if they weren’t that open about it. But they didn’t feel right either. Somewhere in her heart, the Luvdisc felt that this pair were actually cousins, and thus weren’t appropriate humans to offer her Scale to. So she left them and moved on.
How did she know how to judge the quality of love humans had for each other? She knew she could do it, but she didn’t know how. Legend had it that long ago, there was a holy man and holy woman who were deeply in love with each other, so much so that they had died at the same moment because they could not bear to live without the other. The older Luvdiscs had told her that a pair of trees had grown from their graves that were so intertwined that one could not tell which leaf came from which tree.
During their lifetime, the man and woman had seen many of their peers foolishly pursue false loves and unhappy marriages. They tried to show others the wonder and joy of true love, but human society wouldn’t pay attention. They then began leaving offerings on the sea, praying that the others would learn to be loyal, loving, and patient. The Luvdiscs living at the shore began eating the offerings, and then some way or another, they gained the ability to discern true love from false. To use that ability, they began rewarding true couples with a lovely Heart Scale.
It seemed such an odd story, even to her limited understanding. Why would the spirits decide to answer the couple’s prayers by giving the knowledge of true love to a lowly Pokemon like herself? There were far more beautiful and graceful fish in the sea, so why the Luvdisc? But even if she couldn’t answer those questions, she knew she had to follow tradition. It was her gift, and it was only right that she share it properly. Which meant waiting patiently to find the right couple for her Heart Scale.
She paused a moment to check the sky. The sun was starting to pass from its highest position. Wondering if she would meet that one human again, the young Luvdisc hurried on to the southern arm of the sheltered bay. The land was a bit higher here, with many grasses and reeds growing freely. There was a hardy oak tree by itself. Next to that tree, she was indeed there again.
This human was about the same age as the fisherman and his girlfriend, old enough to be on her own. She had tinted prescription glasses and long black hair, which was how the Luvdisc knew this was the same human. Every day this week, she had come out here to eat her lunch. And she shared, which was the main reason a handful of other fish were gathering.
Like before, she pulled out a chunk of bread and began tearing it into pieces. “I thank the sea for your protection, your life-giving abundance, and your unbiased ear. I thank you for listening to me.” She then tossed a handful of pieces into the water.
Normally, the Luvdisc ate algae and small pests that bothered the corals and Corsolas which made up her home. But such things were scarce in these shallow waters. She darted in and snatched a piece of bread before another fish could take it instead.
The woman noticed. She lay down and reached her hand into the water. Most of the fish scattered at this, but the Luvdisc remained. “Are you the same one I’ve been seeing all week? It’s early for you to be up here and you’re all by yourself.”
She swam up and sniffed at the woman’s hand, getting patted for the action. This young woman held a great love, she could tell, but was always alone and thus she couldn’t give away her Scale. It was reckless to judge true love just on one half of it.
“Of course, I’m all by myself too,” the woman said. “It wouldn’t be like that if I’d said something to him before he left. And now you go into the Trainer’s Fan Club and hear all sorts of talk about him. He could probably date anyone he wants now, so why would he think of returning to me? I knew he’d be good, but I didn’t expect him to get this popular with the Frontier.”
She felt sad for this human, since there wasn’t anything she could do about it. She could only reward truly loving couples. Frustrating, that the only love she could find worthy of her Scale couldn’t properly be judged because the man wasn’t around.
Someone else walked up to them, startling the Luvdisc into darting off towards the bottom. When she looked back, she saw the woman stand up and greet him warmly. Curious about this, she swam back up to listen better.
“I heard you like to eat lunch around here lately,” he said, obviously familiar with her. “I was in town and decided to drop by and see you. So what are you doing?”
“Oh, just feeding the fish. It’s relaxing, for the middle of the workday.”
This was the guy she’d been talking about all week. He had dark blue hair and light blue eyes, like the ocean against the sky (that’s how she put it yesterday). The Luvdisc wasn’t much of a judge on human beauty, but guessed that he might be attractive to others. And he held a great love for her as well, but was holding back on the issue. He didn’t want to ruin their friendship by trying to be something they weren’t.
If her Heart Scale could encourage them to take that risk, she’d gladly give it to them. She popped through the ocean surface and splashed around to make noise. But they were too intent on talking with each other to pay attention to her.
Well she’d spent all week waiting for them to appear together. She wasn’t about to let them slip away from her. The Luvdisc swam down to the bottom, then rushed upwards and jumped clear out of the water. With a clumsy flop, she landed on the ground.
“Oh dear,” the woman said, kneeling down to pick her up. “What was that for?”
He smiled in amusement. “Your pink friend is a bit enthusiastic, don’t you think?”
“She’s been here by herself all week. I’m not sure why.”
The air hit her gills and irritated them greatly. She found it difficult to move and to breathe, but she’d got their attention. Squirming until she could manage, she took her Heart Scale from underneath her fin and pressed it against the woman’s hand. She then found herself being gently placed back in the water. It was such a relief when she could shake the air out of her gills and fill them with water once again.
“Oh, she gave me a scale,” the woman said, surprised.
“Really? That’s odd. Poeple say the Luvdiscs only give them to certain people,” he stopped abruptly, not sure what to do.
“Yeah, that’s true.”
He was awkward for a moment longer, then opened his travel bag. “You know, I’ve got an extra Net Ball hanging around. Do you want to see if you can catch her? I know you haven’t had your own Pokemon in a while.”
The Luvdisc watched as he handed the blue Pokeball to her. What should she do? Should she go with them and see if the legends were right? Or did she go back to her school and be accepted as a fully mature member?
There was only seconds to decide.