"But, Master Wake, why Croagunk?" asked a small boy, no more than 8 years of age. "The Marsh is full of Water-types, and you're Sinnoh's Water Gym Leader. Surely the mascot of the city should be... uh... Quagsire or something."
He was addressing an older man, perhaps in his late twenties, clad in wrestling garb. Well-defined muscles stood out on his exposed torso, while bright spandex leggings indicated that he practised a rather flamboyant sport, as did the luchador mask obscuring his face. Crasher Wake chuckled slightly, this being far from the first time he had to field this question from an inquisitive youngster. "Things are not always so clear-cut, young one." he replied, turning to lock the door of the Pastoria City Gym after another successful defence of the Fen Badge. "More than just Water-types find their home in the Great Marsh, after all."
The child nodded. "One time, I saw a Tropius, but it noticed me and flew off and no-one believed me." he responded, quietly, the memories of being labled a fibber still sore in his young mind. The Gym Leader laughed again.
"Well, I wouldn't be surprised if you did. Tropius have been known to make their nests in the Marsh, but are experts at camouflage among the trees." he replied, having seen far stranger sights during his time. "But yes, Water-types are far more common, and that is why the Water Gym was founded here. But if it weren't for Croagunk, our great City would never have been founded at all!"
The youngster was instantly entranced by staple luchador dramatics, his eyes widening. "Why, what did the Croagunk do?" he asked, his interest now definitely piqued.
A wry smile appeared on the exposed part of the wrestler's face. "The exact details are lost in time. But the story goes that the area that is now Pastoria City was once just as wild as the very depths of the Great Marsh. The early settlers found it tough to survive. This was in a time where Pokémon were befriended, not captured. In this area, even the elements were against them, and they struggled to cope to build and maintain the fledgling Pastoria in the wetland." the Gym Leader elaborated, the look of wonder on the child's face building. "But one day, a small group of Croagunk came into the town. They brought food, Berries they had found in the Marsh. They helped, using their great strength and Fighting-type endurance to build houses and move heavy loads. All they seemed to want in payment was training. You know that Croagunk aren't the biggest creatures, but they love to fight. They got all their satisfaction from sparring with the people of the town. Over time, the town expanded into the city you know now. No-one thinks it would have been possible without the help of the Croagunk."
"And that's why Croagunk is Pastoria City's mascot?" the boy asked.
"Indeed. And they never left. Oh sure, the wild ones mostly live in the Marsh, but most households have a resident Croagunk, for company and entertainment more than anything else." Wake concluded. "I know your home doesn't have one, despite how often I've suggested it to your father."
"Dad doesn't like Pokémon in the house." replied the child, quietly.
"I know. I blame myself for that. But that's another story. Come on, let's get you home." the wrestler replied, starting to make the short walk to his charge's house, while the boy pondered in silence.
"Master Wake?" the silence broke. "When I'm old enough and get my own Pokémon, I'm going to find my own Croagunk. That way, I'll feel like part of Pastoria is always with me, even when I'm far from home."
Crasher Wake chuckled lowly again, stopping to kneel down to the lad's own height, placing a hand on his shoulder. "You are a child of the Marsh, David. Pastoria will always be with you. I hear your fishing skills are improving every day, and I have no doubt that you will eventually become a great trainer. And if a Croagunk should find its way to you, I hope you will realise that the Great Marsh has sent its blessing."
David's face split into a large grin, nodding at his mentor in reply. "Thank you, Master Wake. I'll try not to let you down."