I did Kangaskan, but not Nidoqueen. I like that idea for Mother's Day. And for something with Lt. Surge for Memorial Day. I saw that suggestion and immediately got an image of Surge rambling off some old war story to Koga and Brock.
But me and Animorph must be on the same wavelength or something, because when I read that, I was in the middle of this entry with another Gym Leader. And now would be a good time for requests.
In Process: Electivire
On Deck: Munchlax/Combee
Reserved: Nidoqueen (5/10), Electrode/Pikachu (5/25)
Fire Red entry: The legs freely contract and stretch. The stretchy legs allow it to hit a distant foe with a rising kick.
Dewford was a rock-filled island, stranded on its own just south of the Hoenn mainland. There were a great many gemstone caves and excellent fishing grounds all around. However, there was no farmable land and the village was built on a sand plain that was constantly under risk of flooding and tsunamis. The residents stuck it out, though, trading with Rustboro in order to survive.
The island itself was almost a living thing, changing and evolving over time. Due to Pokemon and unstable geography, the dark tunnels were constantly shifting, growing, and shrinking. A peak aboveground might not be in the same location six months later. Paths appeared and disappeared overnight. Therefore, most people stuck to the sandy town, where things stayed the same.
Most people. A gray-haired boy was climbing along a steep path to one of the higher entrances of the caves. Being only seven and still light-weight, he scrambled across loose rocks that would have made an adult stumble. He got past the path and paused in front of the dark opening. The salty sea breeze teased his hair, but the air inside seemed dank and still. By the entrance, there was an angel carved from stone.
“Then this would be the place,” he murmured. He stepped inside slowly to get his eyes accustomed to the darkness.
It didn’t get any easier to see, though. Cracks in the walls and ceiling let in small rays of sun, but that seemed to make the darkness darker. Along the path, he found signs that someone lived here: a box of hand tools, another of fishing gear, a stool. But the only sound he could hear was the whistle of the wind trying to penetrate into the caves.
He came upon a larger room. There was no source of light for this cavern. “Hello?” he called out.
From directly in front of him, he heard a sound like someone moving. He stepped forward, but something crashed into his leg. He tripped to the hard floor, barely catching himself from smashing his face. Thankfully, it seemed someone had smoothed the cave floor.
The boy was terrified for a moment that he had found robbers or some evil men. But the room was now lit and he saw no one close to him. Near a cheap-looking brown table lamp, there was a Pokemon. His head merged with his body to become one large slab of muscle covered in short brown fur. He had short arms with large fists. Most telling, he had strange gray legs, almost like coils of a tightly wound spring. His feet were larger that his fists, and clawed besides.
The Hitmonlee left the lamp and came to a brightly patterned rug in the middle of the room. He sat down there and watched the boy. Nearby, a small generator began to hum.
Getting back to his feet, the boy watched him back. “Hi, I’m Brawly. I heard some people saying that there was a martial arts master living up here. Is he home? I want to learn from him.” He noticed an open passage on the left side of the room and started in that direction.
In a blink, Hitmonlee kicked his right leg out at Brawly. Although he was a good six feet from the Pokemon, the boy felt the foot pass right over his head. The Pokemon then held his hand out to the left passage and shook his head. It was simply a warning: no one was allowed back there.
He backed away. “Oh, okay. Wait... are you the master?”
Hitmonlee looked at him critically, then shrugged.
As odd as it seemed, it must be this Pokemon. Brawly remembered the adults saying that the master was modest, but powerful. He bowed. “May I learn from you? I really want to be stronger. I don’t know if you usually take a human for an apprentice, but I’ll work hard.”
There was a minute of stillness. Wondering if this was some kind of test, the boy waited for an answer. Then Hitmonlee shook his head.
“What? Why not?” He caught his temper right then, realizing that the Pokemon wouldn’t be able to explain. “Can’t you at least give me a test or something to see if I’m worthy? I’ll do whatever you want; just show me how to be stronger.”
The Pokemon closed his eyes. Biting his lip, Brawly waited again. This time, the Pokemon got up. He waved the boy back out to the entrance of the cave, but made as if to follow him.
“All right.” He walked back outside.
Once in the sun, Hitmonlee went to a sturdy boulder, from which much of Dewford Island and a vast stretch of ocean could be seen. After looking around, he pointed out a large rock jutting out of the ocean some distance from the shore. He waved his hand towards Brawly, then back out to the rock.
“You want me to swim out to that rock?”
Brawly looked down at the area. “That’s quite a ways out. But I’ll try. You just watch.” He began back down the mountain trail.
Hitmonlee came out of the cave and sat on his outlook boulder. Everything seemed okay. And... there. That boy was at it again. Standing alone on the beach after the fishing ships had left, Brawly was contemplating that rock out in the ocean.
It had been two weeks now since that boy had first climbed up to Hitmonlee’s cave. The Pokemon had done his best to discourage him from sticking around or coming back. After a flat out refusal had failed, he had sent Brawly on a difficult task. The local teenagers liked to play Chicken with that rock, daring each other to swim out to it and back. But it really was too far out for most people to manage.
Originally, his idea was that the boy would get caught, scolded, and persuaded to give up. That’s what happened to most of the kids who dared to reach that rock. But not Brawly. He would wait until all the adults were busy, then go out alone to the closest point to the rock and try to swim for it. Once he was in the water, something seemed to change. He was timid with this, going out partway only to change his mind and return. The furthest he’d gone was a quarter of the way.
But then the next day, he’d be back to try again.
Hitmonlee wondered what was so important to this kid that he’d keep trying the test, even if he was stopping himself far before he got into trouble. He said he wanted to be stronger, but for what? By his observations from up here, the seven-year-old had nothing much against him. He had friends and family, had no special problem with bullies, and seemed quite ordinary. If it was simply a child’s dream, it was stronger than most.
After spending longer than usual watching the water, Brawly went in and began swimming. Hitmonlee watched. Prudently, the child kept to a steady pace. He could swim much faster (Hitmonlee had seen him do so), but held back to conserve his energy. He didn’t hesitate today. He got a quarter of the way to the rock and kept going.
Interested, Hitmonlee went into the cave for a minute to retrieve a pair of binoculars. His vision was good, but not good enough to watch him all the way out to the rock. He continued watching as time went slowly by. Brawly faltered a bit halfway there, but then decided that he had to finish. The boy continued swimming and, after forty minutes in the water, he made it.
He’d done it. Hitmonlee growled though, angry at himself. He had sent the boy out there to get rid of him, but now Brawly was in trouble. There wasn’t a good spot to rest near that rock and the boy showed signs of exhaustion. He wouldn’t be able to make it back. Since he was to blame for that, the Pokemon put down the binoculars and ran down the mountain.
With his long stretchy stride, he was there soon. He didn’t pause, but went straight into the water and swam out towards the rock. He was able to swim much faster than the boy, having both better strength and stamina. When he got within twenty yards of the rock, he found Brawly. The boy was panicking, being pursued by a Sharpedo.
Hitmonlee put forth an extra burst of speed, then spun around and kicked the large gray fish with both legs. His limbs moved slower in the water, but they still connected with enough force to knock the Sharpedo back several feet. The aquatic Pokemon growled, but swam off.
He then swam over and caught the boy by his waist. Bringing him above water, he looked into Brawly’s eyes. They looked dazed.
“Huh? Hitmonlee? Thanks, but I can make it back on my own.” He looked around, a flash of dizziness and fear clearly indicated that he’d become disoriented. “I... I can.”
Ignoring that, Hitmonlee held onto him securely and brought him back to shore.
Brawly found his legs almost too weak to walk on, but Hitmonlee continued to hold onto him as they approached his house. His stomach squirmed, not just from the sea water he had accidentally swallowed, but also from what he knew was coming. He tried to open the front door quietly, but it always creaked.
“Brawly, are you back?” His mother came into the living room and saw how wet and tired he was. “What happened to you? Were you out swimming again?”
She came over and hugged him. “What were you thinking? That’s the third time you’ve nearly drowned this month! I thought that you’d have learned to be more careful by now. What if a Tentacruel had gotten to you again?”
That was, unfortunately, true. The first time, he had been on his father’s fishing boat and had fallen off. That was a complete accident, as he’d hit his head on the boat’s side before getting submerged. The second time was also on the fishing boat. His father had asked him to jump out and retrieve a troublesome trap. Unnoticed by either of them, a Tentacruel had been caught in it. Lashing out because of its injury, it had paralyzed him. And when his father had come in after him, the Tentacruel struck him too. He had still managed to drag both of them back onto the boat, though.
If he’d been stronger, he would have been able to avoid getting hurt both times. Like his father, he would have been able to swim despite the Tentacruel’s poison. But it wasn’t so. Even if he had made it out to the rock, he still had to be rescued yet again.
With his mother still fussing over him, he looked aside to... but he was gone. “Hitmonlee?”
“What is it?”
He looked at his mother. “What happened... to that Pokemon?”
She glanced around, but there was only a footprint of damp sand on the floor. “He’s gone, I think. Thank Kyogre that he helped you. But what were you doing to get in trouble this time?”
She wouldn’t like the truth. “I’m really tired,” he said, trembling. He was trying not to cry.
The crunch of loose rocks broke through Hitmonlee’s meditation. Looking down the path, he saw Brawly coming back up to him. He waited patiently.
The boy bowed to him again, then stood with his hands rubbing together nervously. “Hitmonlee... thank you for coming after me the other day. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it all by myself. But can’t you reconsider?”
Not having to stall this time, he picked up a pebble and threw it into the cave entrance. It hit a metal pan, making a ‘chink!’ sound.
“What is it?” a man’s voice called out. He emerged from the cave, brushing his unruly red hair out of his eyes. He was muscular, but not overmuch, as his fighting style relied on being quick on his feet. Looking down at the boy, he smiled. “A visitor, huh? What brings you up here?
Brawly looked surprised. “Oh, are you his Trainer? So then, you’re the fighting master?”
“Hmm.” He rubbed his nose. “I suppose people are calling me that. Yes, Logan here is one of mine. They call me Tide.”
“I’m Brawly; I live down there. I want to learn how to fight, so I came up here looking for you. But then I thought everyone meant Hitmonlee... Logan here, so I tried to convince him to teach me. He told me to go swim out to that rock out there,” he pointed to it, “but when I finally made it out there, I couldn’t get back. He rescued me from a Sharpedo, so I came back to thank him.”
“Is that so?”
Logan bowed his head low, regretfully.
“I see.” Tide patted Brawly on the head. “He’s sorry he made you do that. But I left a month ago on an important trip. I had Logan stay behind to guard an important item, so he was likely trying to discourage you from hanging around here.”
“That was why?” The boy’s ears turned pink. “I guess it’s all right then. He did come help me.”
“Then why are you looking to learn about fighting?”
“I want to be stronger, so people don’t have to worry about me. Dad isn’t letting me back on his boat right now, because I fell off one time and hit my head. And then another time, both of us nearly died when I got attacked by a Tentacruel. So I need to be stronger.”
Tide looked over him for a moment, then knelt down to look at the boy eye to eye. “You aren’t going to be strong enough to defeat the sea, no matter what you do. The sea is all powerful, in beauty and ferocity. However, it is impressive that a kid like you can swim out that far.”
“I’m not doing that again.”
“No, not until you are stronger.” He looked up at Logan. “What do you think?”
The Hitmonlee nodded. If he was determined enough to get past his fear of the water, then he deserved a chance.
“All right then. We’ll start training you to be stronger. On land, of course.”
Brawly smiled. “Thanks!”