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    Default Chasing Clouds

    CHASING CLOUDS
    PG-13
    Violence, language, and sexual content.


    About the Story
    I'm writing this story in an effort to describe a journey without evil teams
    or a main character's centuries-old connection to a legendary Pokémon or any of the
    other plot points that have become common in this genre. An adventure is made up
    of moments, people, and feelings that may not be epic, but are always important,
    at least to the ones they affect. Hopefully I'll be able to capture the experience
    of traveling the world with both human and nonhuman friends and keep everyone
    interested enough to stay with it.


    The Author's Note
    Hey, everyone. :)
    This fic is partially based (mostly just character names and a few other details) on an
    old fic of mine, which was unfortunately never finished. I do intend to see this one through,
    though, even if it takes me years to complete. I can't always promise the fastest updates as
    far as chapters go, but if you're willing to stick it out with me I will get them done and out to you.
    Thanks for reading.

    PM List
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    Chapter List
    Chapter 1: Keep Dreaming, Kid
    Chapter 2: The First Night Before the First Morning
    Chapter 3: Where the Ocean Meets the World
    Chapter 4: Liars and Believers
    Chapter 5: Into the Sky
    Chapter 6: Violet Zephyrs Comb Green Fields (Coming soon)


    Chapter One

    Keep Dreaming, Kid


    Six alarm clocks were placed at various points in a young man’s room, ticking almost simultaneously, off by just a few fractions of a second. They were all set to ring at seven in the morning, one hour before Professor Elm gave away his “starter” Pokémon to three beginning trainers.

    In addition, there was always fun to be had around the Professor’s large ranch for the people not participating in the giveaway, as local businesses would set up booths and contests for small prizes. It was safe to say that the entire town came to this famous festival.

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    The alarms of all the clocks fused together to create a constant, wavering drone, loud enough to not only awaken the boy, but also the entire household and its neighboring families if even one window had been open.

    “Uuugh…” He sat up, his blue eyes weighing down the pink bags underneath and his scrappy brown hair sticking in every direction except down. He looked sadly at the large space between each clock, knowing that he had to cross the entire room if he ever wanted the ear-splitting noise to stop. Drudgingly, he plopped his bare feet onto the cold wooden floor and began shutting off each of his annoying reminders.

    After brushing his teeth, he opened the drawer he had set aside for this day and retrieved the outfit his mother had picked out for him: pressed khaki slacks, a white collared shirt with a blue-and-black tie, and a pair of dark brown socks and shined tap shoes which he had used some years earlier and now pinched his toes slightly when he wore them. But tennis shoes were his only other options, which his mother insisted wouldn’t do when he met Elm. She somehow always managed to fake high class while sticking to her budget.

    A little annoyed at his parent, the boy put on his itchy clothes and stuck an almost empty wallet into his pocket. He then grabbed a comb and halfheartedly attempted to tame his hair, which worked out well enough to create a clean image. He adjusted his tie and forced a smile, imagining himself taking a Pokéball right from the hand of Professor Elm. His stomach bubbled anxiously.

    Meanwhile, down the stairs, across a hall, and through a door, a woman in her mid-thirties, sharing the same hair and eye color as the boy a story above her, was piling an obscene amount of scrambled eggs onto a large blue plate, next to several strips of bacon and three freshly-buttered biscuits. A pitcher of orange juice sat in front of a glass filled with the same contents.

    She smiled, sat the pan aside and looked proudly at her work, examining every detail to make sure that nothing was missing from the morning arrangement. “Danny!?” she called, apparently satisfied. “Breakfast is ready!” After a few moments, she heard sharp tapping coming from the staircase, then down the hall, and finally in the dining room section of the kitchen, where her son now stood. “Sit down, sweetie.” She pulled out the large wooden chair and brought forth a bib, which she tied around Danny’s neck as he sat, and a washcloth, which she placed on the boy’s lap, out of her apron pocket. “You don’t want to ruin your nice clothes,” she mumbled, straightening his collar.

    “Mooom,” he whined, swatting her hand away. “I can eat on my own. I’m going to be doing it for the next few months.”

    “I know, I know.” She was agreeing, but still scrutinizing his posture and fork technique. “But I doubt you’ll be wearing the only clean thing you own while you sit in the woods inhaling convenience store candy bars,” she teased.

    They went on like this for several minutes while Danny continued to eat, imagining the things he would experience after began his journey. They were all mostly good, of course, and the only scenarios with any negative aspect naturally ended with him saving the day or using a clever idea to overcome the problem.

    “We’d better go,” his mother said, waking him out of his daze and taking off her apron. “We want to make sure to get there early. If your name’s at the bottom of the pile, people say there’s a better chance that it’ll get picked.” The pile she was referring to was actually a spinning cage where one wrote their name and some basic information on a card and entered it in the starter Pokémon giveaway. Up until now, Danny had tried to avoid considering the possibility of him not winning, however logical it was that his name wouldn’t be randomly chosen.

    “… Okay…” he answered, suddenly feeling sick. They both moved to the old red pickup truck sitting next to the curb outside and drove to north Newbark Town, where they found hundreds of cars parked in the enormous field at the entrance to Elm Ranch. Danny and his mother parked uniformly and got out of the vehicle, smoothing out their shirt and dress respectively.

    “Look, they’ve got a Ferris Wheel this year!” the woman exclaimed, squinting into the distance where the apex of the bright red roller coaster could be seen. “Let’s hurry!” She motioned at him as she quickly walked down the aisle between the cars, Danny following rigidly behind.

    So many people,’ he thought, swallowing. ‘I bet at least half of them are here for the contest. I… I can’t win.’ He stopped cold, wanting to turn back and wait until next year, when the odds would surely be better. He only started to move again when his mother called him forward, and the two went to the fair grounds together, where she helped him enter the Pokémon contest at the gate.

    He handed the card to the greasy man behind the counter and watched as he stuck it through a slot and into a metal cage filled with too many papers to guesstimate. Forcing himself to look away, he entered the busy and festive area, which only made things worse when he saw the many children and teenagers enjoying the delicious, fattening food and large space to play in.

    “Mom?” He turned around and paused as he saw that she had already joined a group of her friends. “I’m just gonna find a place to sit and wait,” he finished, despite the fact that she was too far to hear.

    He found a bench near the temporary fence, bordering the enormous pine forest, which was always off-bounds due to the wild Pokémon living there. He seemed to be the only person sitting down, as everybody else was in the dance contest, throwing Pokéballs through tires, or any of the other many activities.

    Danny, on the other hand, chose to wait silently.

    It was about half an hour of sitting before the crowd became silent as Professor Elm, a tall skinny man with bushy light brown hair, awkwardly walked on the white wooden stage pushing a short podium with three Pokéballs sitting at the front, followed by a large man carrying the cage full of entrants. This was happening directly across the field from Danny, so he had to stand on the bench to see over the ocean of local heads.

    “Um… hey, everybody,” the Professor said into a microphone, waving quickly. “The time’s here again. Three of you lucky kids will be getting a Pokémon.” Even though it was said almost in a way to play down the excitement, the crowd erupted anyway, causing Elm to blush and smile. “Y-yeah,” he mumbled. “Anyway, let’s get to the drawing. We’ve got a lot of entries this year, huh…?” Several scattered claps and shouts spilled from the people. “Uh… so…” He walked to the cage and took hold of the wooden handle, spinning it clockwise to cause the entire container to spin with it, shuffling all of the cards. Finally, he stopped turning the knob and opened to the little door at the front. “Here we go,” he said, leaning forward and sticking his lab coat-covered arm deep into the pile of papers. He selected one and lifted it into the open air.

    “Ahem…” He unfolded and read it, then smiled. “The first winner is… Alec Tally!” Everyone cheered as a boy about Danny’s age walked on the stage with his fist raised in triumph. He had feathery blonde hair and was wearing a clean blue jacket and a pair of black jeans. He made his way to the stand on which the Pokéballs awaited in a triangular arrangement and selected the one closest to the crowd, holding it high above his head as everyone in the audience clapped and shouted. He then sat in one of the three chairs set out near the back.

    “Next…” Elm repeated the same steps as before, soon holding a new entrant’s name in his hand.

    Danny was wringing his hands uncontrollably, refusing to breathe until the name was called. He tried to convince himself it would be him, but he had no hope.

    “Lucy Ellender!” A tall, skinny girl emerged from the screaming people in tight, ripped blue jeans and a white bedazzled tank top. She had piercing green eyes that were hidden behind large sunglasses, and appeared a few years older than Danny and the last boy. Combing her long black hair behind her ears, she stuck her finger over the two remaining Pokémon, hovering over each for just a second before plucking up the one on her left. She held up the ball proudly next to her face and walked coolly to the chair beside Alec.

    This time Danny heard nothing while the cards flipped among each other while they were shuffled. A sharp ringing clouded his hearing and he could only rely on sight to interpret the drawing. Just like before, Elm pulled out a folded piece of stiff paper and unfolded it.

    “Our third and final winner is…”

    These words came fuzzily at first but slowly became clearer to Danny as he focused on the note card. ‘That’s not my card,’ he thought hysterically. ‘My card was bent on the corner. Oh God, it’s not me. I’m not the winner. I can’t believe I didn’t win.’ He was breathing harder now, as if he had just run several laps on the school track. He closed his eyes to calm himself and listened intently to the double speakers projecting the Professor’s words.

    “Ronald Wallace!” A T-shirted boy with gelled red hair ran onto the stage, pumping his fists. He wasn’t much older than Danny, but had clearly already taken the full frontal force of puberty, as was evidenced by the number of pimples on his face. He snatched the final Pokéball, played a quick game of hackey sack with it, and then jogged to the remaining chair.

    “Thank you to all the contestants this year!” Elm smiled into the microphone. “The festival will be going on all day, so please enjoy yourselves as long as you’d like.” He turned to the kids, said something to them, and left with the winners following him.

    Meanwhile, Danny sat stonily on the bench, still gaping at the empty stage. He only moved when his mother came over to console him. After a few hugs and kind words, she rejoined her friends, leaving her son alone to sulk. Eventually, however, he got thirsty and decided it wouldn’t hurt to find a concession stand.

    The festival had been expanded since the previous years. Businesses from as far away as Goldenrod had come here to take advantage of the light mood and open wallets. This made for an interesting choice of refreshments. Everything from Moomoo Milk to Purified Rage Water could be found with the various vendors but Danny ultimately decided on a bottle of Softies Cola, since he was never allowed to drink soda at home. The bubbled crispness of the dark liquid excited his lips and tongue and gave him the energy not to return to his bench. Instead, he continued to explore the grounds, sipping on his drink.

    He saw a petting zoo, which didn’t help to cheer him up, a small roller coaster made primarily for young children, and lastly, a forest.

    A forest just outside the designated fair area. A forest that no one was allowed to enter, except the Professor himself. And while he looked into the pine tree’s branches, through the clusters of needles and over the hills and mountains, he heard the echoing shriek of a wild Pokémon.

    Needing no further convincing, he jumped the fence and quickly entered the woods.

    Sunlight had to fight to get under the trees and to the sparsely scattered grass, which made the small trail Danny was on difficult to follow. He continued forward through the darkness, though, and eventually reached a small clearing with a lazily flowing river cutting through it. Thankful for the higher visibility, he knelt at the shore and studied a dam, made of sticks, mud, and various other bits of natural debris, which separated one side of the water from the other.

    As he looked closer, he could see a small underwater alcove in the side of the construction. Resting within it, three white eggs about the size of his head could be seen through the water’s surface. He leaned forward and focused on them, and as he did, he could’ve sworn he saw one of them wobble.

    “Pom?”

    Danny’s head snapped up and on the opposite bank a short purple ape stared back with large, devious eyes. Apart from his crooked smile and lack of any digits in the places one would expect, the strangest thing about it was the peach-colored hand that was attached to the end of his long, wobbling tail. Its fingers appeared poised for snatching.

    Keeping an eye on the boy, the monkey slowly crawled across the dam and eventually stood above the eggs.

    “No,” Danny said, moving closer. “Shoo! Shoo!” He threw his own hands into the air and did manage to scare the wild Pokémon away, but not before it grabbed one of the unhatched babies. Before it could be stopped, it had disappeared into the wilderness.

    “Hey!” he yelled, stepping onto the damp mud bridge. “That’s their egg!” He pointed to the stream where he assumed the rightful parents were. “Get back here!” He had to balance himself and move carefully, but he made it to the other side and sprinted into the trees.

    It appeared that the forest on this side of the river was even darker, and it was no easy feat for Danny to follow the Aipom’s trail. Luckily, however, its recent loot was both weighing and slowing it down, so the noise it made as it climbed from branch to branch gave its location away.

    Several minutes went by during the chase, neither side gaining the upper hand. To Danny it seemed as if they had been going in circles when he saw the dark form of his target drop somewhat awkwardly to the ground in front of him, egg still in tow, and start the pursuit anew on foot.

    Grunting, Danny dived forward, hands outstretched, and landed with the milky white treasure in his grasp. In the first few moments, he could already feel it trembling slightly within the soft shell.

    “Pom!”

    “Aip!”

    “Aipom!”

    Within seconds, a shower of nearly identical monkey Pokémon came raining down from the trees, landing on Danny’s back and shrieking aggressively, causing him to lose his grip.

    “Agh!” He threw his hands over the back of his head and began rolling around to shake off the angry Pokémon. Eventually they cleared off, leaving mud on the back of his shirt but no serious injuries. When he looked up, there was no sign of either the egg or its captors. “No,” he coughed, getting on all fours and then climbing to his feet. “Where’d that thing go?” He stilled himself and focused on the noises of the forest, hoping to hear a clue, but the only sounds he heard were in the distance. Resigned, he turned around full circle, realizing for the first time just how far he had run, how long it had been, and how dark it was getting. Not to mention the cold.

    He stepped forward and stopped, instead moving to the left. He stopped again, however, looking behind him to see if he could perhaps remember any specific trees.

    “Aipom!”

    He whipped around. The sound wasn’t far. Just a few hundred feet away. Forgetting about his predicament, he ran in the noise’s direction and soon found himself looking through the bushes at a scuffle between two Aipom. That was the first thing that caught his eye. The second was the egg, sitting about three feet to the left of their small fight.

    It was now or never.

    Heart racing and adrenaline beginning to pump, he lunged through the thorny twigs and scooped up the round object, sparing no seconds to make a getaway. It was a few moments before the squeaking of a wrestling match changed to the howling of yet another chase, only this time the predator and prey had been reversed.

    “Ow!” A swiftly thrown acorn had just hit Danny in the middle of his forehead. Another then beamed his arm and soon after yet another bounced off his back. ‘They must have friends all over the place!’ he thought frantically, his heartbeat synchronizing with the baby creature inside the shell pressed against his chest.

    Then, almost in slow motion, he watched a nut fly down from the branches and make direct contact with the prize he had just acquired, leaving a dent and a rip in its soft milky covering. Through that hole, he could’ve sworn he saw a tiny black eye looking back at him, but he was forced to look away when a branch swatted his face.

    The barrage become heavier and the breathing down his neck became louder the farther he ran. If he had had any time to think about anything other than dodging obstacles, he would’ve mentally cursed his mother for forcing him to wear his nice clothes, as is was becoming increasingly evident that they were not made for running long-distance through the woods.

    Just as he was beginning to consider giving up and throwing himself to the beasts, the choice was made for him: a vertical rock wall stood in front of him, ending his race.

    Too fatigued to fight it any longer, he turned around to accept his fate. He wasn’t prepared for the jolt through his stomach, however, when he saw the dozens of pairs of eyes looking at him through the brush.

    The number of thoughts that flickered through his mind were too great to be counted. No one would ever know what happened to him; if anybody did find him, he wouldn’t be the honorable egg-savior, but rather the disgusting but sharply dressed trespasser; how his skeleton might be used as a jungle gym set for the Aipom, and slowly each bone would break until there were none left and they dumped his crumbled remains into the river; and many, many more.

    He didn’t even notice that the moonlight that cut through the small opening he was standing in was illuminating the now-shaking and tearing egg in his arms, sending bits of its shell wafting to the ground as it left a small, blue, innocent Pokémon in its place, only about twice the size of a human fist. It had no arms or hands, two stubby toeless feet, and a long, white paddle-like tail. Its most striking feature was the little black swirl on its stomach.

    Danny let go in his shock, allowing the creature to land soundly on the grass at his feet. “Poli!” it peeped, oblivious to the surrounding danger. Within moments, the thumping of Aipom falling from the trees and onto the ground could be heard, and their harsh growling slowed to a more steady, relaxed breathing.

    “They’re… asleep…?” he asked himself, looking down to the newborn. A smile spread across her large pink lips as she stared at him innocently. “You?” He grinned and picked her up, surprised by her slick, oily skin. ‘I guess I'd better find my way back,’ he thought tiredly.

    He walked aimlessly for about an hour before he saw fireworks through an opening in the treetops. He then walked in that direction for another hour or so before arriving at the festivities once again. He hadn’t been missed much, it seemed, as everybody was still partying. His mother was apparently the only one who had noticed, and she was horrified when she saw what had happened to his clothes. After he explained, she seemed to cool down a little bit, but still encouraged him to explain the situation to Professor Elm, who had retired early to his home. He agreed, and soon found himself standing outside the man’s large wooden double doors. A large gulp traveled down his neck.

    “Poli?” The Poliwag, still in his arms, looked up questioningly.

    “It’s just…” he started, keeping his voice down. “I wasn’t supposed to be out there. I’ll probably have to return you, or even worse…” He considered the possibility of never entering another starter Pokémon contest, but quickly shook the thought away. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed the thick rope hanging down and pulled it slowly, listening distractedly to the deep echo of the bell. He then heard quick footsteps from inside and the left side door swung open to reveal a short, thin, balding man in a white lab coat.

    Adjusting his glasses, he asked, “Yes?” in a nasally voice.

    Danny quietly explained that he was there to speak to the Professor, so the aide led him inside and to the office. Elm was working inside, and appeared a bit annoyed at the interruption.

    “Um… sir?” Danny started, clutching Poliwag a little tighter. “I… I have something to tell you…” He started from the beginning, explaining how he felt when he didn’t win and how he just wanted a Pokémon and what he saw at the river and that the reason he chased was because he didn’t want to egg to be eaten or break. The man listened intently through the entire story, nodding occasionally but mostly devoting himself to hearing everything correctly. When Danny finished, there was silence for nearly a minute.

    Finally, Elm leaned back. “You said you were holding Poliwag when it hatched?” Danny nodded quickly. “So you were touching it?” He nodded again. The professor sighed and shook his head. “There’s nothing we can do, then. As inconvenient as it may be… you’re the new father.”

    Danny was a bit taken aback, and looked down at Poliwag for some kind of confirmation. “You mean… I’m a trainer?”
    Last edited by Umbreon Ruler; 17th August 2010 at 4:25 AM.
    These tickets and passports will lead me home...
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