Since I'm currently suffering from the dreaded writer's block on my current fic, I decided to write this one in my spare time. I actually tried this a couple of times before, but after a while I lost interest in it. A month or so back, however, I read a thread by fellow author Breezy about journey fics, which got me inspired to start this up again.
EDIT: Ah, it never ends with me...I always forget to put the rating. So far it's rated E10 for ages 10 and up, but it may go to PG-13 later on.
Without further ado, we now begin a version of a trainer fic that I've been putting a lot of effort into making different from other journey fics:
Proving Grounds: Kanto
Chapter 1: A New Trainer’s Start! Enter: Derak Kadir!
Phenac City, Orre…a city filled with water and riches. In recent years, the city had expanded beyond its former boundaries, becoming a thriving metropolis in which hundreds of citizens performed their daily chores, alongside the mystical creatures known as Pokemon. Sand-colored bricks held the city in place, as well as allowing water to travel freely.
Children frolicked in the city’s recently improved fountain, splashing the fascinating blue life-giver onto their friends and siblings. Those children ten years of age or above were often seen training their Pokemon. Senior citizens gazed happily at Phenac’s beauty, feeling blessed to reside in such a marvelous city.
There was one child, however, who was unaffected by all that occurred around him. This boy was outside the city, staring back with eyes of sapphire and hoisting a burlap sack over one shoulder. His raven-colored hair was smooth and slick, stretching down to the top of his neck and drifting lower in miniscule dreadlocks, coated across the top with three streaks of green, orange and blue. His clothes were colorful for such a seemingly cold individual, consisting of an orange torso, a short blue right sleeve, a short green left sleeve, a mud-like coloration on the left pant leg, and a yellow right pant leg.
Colorful this boy may be, he remained invisible to all who frolicked in Phenac.
Finally, I’m out of there, the child thought, and not a moment too soon. I turned ten this morning.
Derak Kadir was this boy’s name, and he knew full well of how one’s first Pokemon was obtained. A child was to reach their tenth birthday, and it was on that day they would be permitted to receive a Pokemon as their starter. Although he knew this, he knew little about Pokemon in general. This he planned to fix soon.
“Let’s see how Anoch deals with my ‘absence’,” Derak smirked, referring to his father not by ‘Father’ or simply ‘Dad’, but by his first name: Anoch.
“POLICE!” a voice bellowed from Phenac, shattering the tranquility and causing Derak’s stare to become even colder. “WHERE ARE THE FREAKING POLICE?!”
“Figures,” Derak sighed. “Well, I guess that’s my cue to hit the road.”
As Derak turned and allowed his crimson shoes to scrape the desert surrounding Phenac, he speculated that his father’s demands were becoming increasingly more noticeable by the village far north of Phenac, Agate. Ignoring every stream of words flowing rudely from his former home, Derak set his course for the neighboring area: Pyrite Town.
Derak wished to avoid his father, and the police, for as long as possible. This meant that to do so, he was to enter the darker, shadier town of Pyrite. Known as “the town of earth, wind, and money”, Pyrite was complete contrast to the splendor of Derak’s native Phenac: buildings were coated brown with rust and dirt, residents eyed one another darkly while idly tossing Pokeballs in their hands, and the occasional small Pokemon darted from alley to alley.
“Hey, kid,” called a voice from Derak’s right, “welcome to Pyrite. You’re not a trainer yet, are ya?”
The voice came from Cail, Pyrite’s gatekeeper. Well known for being a strong trainer himself, the belt of Cail’s black jumpsuit held five spheres that were half red, half white with a black streak in the middle. His long, green hair stretched to the bottom of his neck, a pair of black-and-orange goggles strapped to the top of his head.
“No,” Derak answered simply, still gripping his burlap sack.
“Well, the lab’s that way,” said Cail, pointing a black gloved hand outside Pyrite.
“I’ll be going there as soon as Anoch quits ranting,” Derak replied.
“You’re Derak, right?” Cail asked, tilting his head slightly.
“How’d you guess?” Derak answered, sarcasm dripping from his voice.
“Just luck,” Cail shrugged, “since your dad’s pretty well known for hating Pokemon. Why does he, anyway?”
Derak thought for several seconds, racking his brain for an answer.
“Dunno,” the ten-year-old responded, “but I heard him say something about them being ‘childish’ at one point.”
“Huh,” Cail nodded before speaking again. “So, judging by the sack, I’m guessing you ditched him?”
Derak couldn’t help but smile. If only Cail had been his older brother…
“Heh, score one for Cail,” the gatekeeper chuckled. “But, hey, congrats anyway. Didn’t think you’d put up with him for much longer. Seriously, I can hear that guy ranting from all the way here in Pyrite!”
“Yeah,” Derak agreed, “that’s always been Anoch’s problem: he just can’t shut up.”
“So,” Cail began, “since the cops are on your tail, mind if I tag along ‘till you get to Gateon?”
Now it was Derak’s turn to tilt his head.
“You sure you can do that?” he asked.
“We in Pyrite don’t respect a whole lot of rules, remember, even if we are reformed,” Cail explained. “Besides, I haven’t had a chance for a good battle in a long time. Messing with cops is something that practically runs in my blood. That, and I wanna see the look on Johnson’s face when he loses ya.”
Derak tilted his head to another angle…this was a hard question. On one hand, he wanted to travel alone, with only Pokemon by his side. On the other hand, Cail was somewhat easy for Derak to get along with. After a few moments, the runaway ten-year-old gave his answer.
“All right,” he said. “Deal.”
“Sweet,” the gatekeeper stated. “And, don’t worry: I’ll get you to the lab before you can count to ten…”
“One, two, three,” Derak began, smirking.
“Uh…ten-thousand,” Cail added.
“You cheater,” accused Derak.
“Seriously, though, lemme show you my ride.”
Outside of Pyrite, Cail and Derak stood in front of a black vehicle. It greatly resembled a motorcycle, although a front wheel did not exist. A side car was attached to one side, and six shining silver pipes—three on each side—rested on the back of the vehicle.
“With this baby,” Cail began, “we can go through Orre without a problem! Yeah, she can go from zero to sixty in a few seconds, so no cop can catch up.”
“Unless they ‘rip off’ your ride,” said Derak.
Cail barely noticed Derak; he was too busy praising the capabilities of his motorcycle. It was then that Derak looked behind him, and became somewhat uncertain.
“Uh…Cail?” Derak said.
“Yeah,” Cail said, “what?”
Upon seeing several police officers clad in blue standing directly behind him, he merely let out an “oh”. Among the officers was Officer Johnson, clothed in a navy uniform matched with crimson pants and a tall blue hat. A pair of brown, angry eyes glared from Johnson’s face at the two.
“Cail, what are you doing?” Johnson demanded. “That boy has run away from home! Why are you showing him your bike?”
“Hey, Officer,” Derak began, cutting off Cail’s comeback, “you know what the difference between a house and a home is? Apparently not, because that place wasn’t my home. As far as I’m concerned, I’m homeless.”
Smart kid, Cail thought as Derak bravely stood up to Johnson.
“Uh, uh…,” Johnson stuttered, taken quite aback. “That—you—Mr. Kadir…”
“Cail, you mind dropping me off at the lab?” Derak asked as Johnson began sputtering words at random.
“Fine by me,” Cail replied, “Hop in.”
“H-hey, wait!” Johnson called, raising a hand. “Stop in the name of the…”
Cail had already driven his motorcycle away, Derak in tow on the sidecar.
“…law,” Johnson finished, his hand falling limply to his side. “Men, get a team ready. We need to bring back that runaway SASP…what?” he added, noting the confused expressions on the faces of his men.
Cail departed shortly after dropping Derak off, leaving him on the dirt pathway leading to the place where starting Pokemon were only recently added, namely the Pokemon HQ Lab. The pure white walls radiated an aura of cleanliness, much unlike the town of Pyrite, where rust and filth seemed to have no end. Sliding glass doors provided the entrances and exits to the Lab, and a structure resembling a giant Pokeball rested on the roof.
“Ah, hello there!” a brown-haired man in glasses said as he stepped through a door, smiling kindly, “What’s your name?”
“If you have to guess,” said Derak, “it’s not Bob.”
“Hmm…you seem somewhat cynical for a boy your age,” the man remarked. “By any chance, are you Derak Kadir?”
“Isn’t there ANYONE in Orre who doesn’t know my name?” Derak sighed, slapping himself in the forehead.
“I’m afraid not, Derak,” the man shook his head. “My name is Professor Krane. I’m somewhat well known for developing the Purification Chamber during the second Shadow Pokemon incident, but in more recent years I’ve been handing out starter Pokemon to Orre’s young trainers.”
“Look, Professor,” Derak began, “no offense, but I didn’t come here to listen to your life story.”
“Of course,” Krane’s spectacled face smiled despite the somewhat insulting phrase Derak had uttered, “Please, come inside.”
Derak followed the Professor into the Lab, where he was led into a room on the left side of the first floor. It was then that the boy suddenly froze in his tracks. There, on five steel tables, were fifteen Pokeballs—three for each table. On each of the tables were a green Pokeball, an orange one, and a blue one, all in a row.
“From left to right,” Krane began, “we have the starting Pokemon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and last but not least, Isshu. You’re free to choose from any one of these Pokemon, but you can only choose one.”
“…what do I have to choose from?” Derak asked, confused.
“I’m surprised your father allowed you to come, Derak, given how little you know about Pokemon. What did you do to convince him?” Derak’s response to Krane’s question was to glare for a brief period of time. “Oh, so you ran away?”
“What did you expect?” Derak answered. “He always kept me away from anything Pokemon-related, not to mention he made me study junk I never cared about since I was five. I was tired of it. Now, like I asked before, what are the choices?”
“Well, there’s—” Krane began, but a shouting voice cut him off.
“In there!” the voice cried. “The kid’s in there!”
“Not them again,” Derak groaned as a group of men wearing blue-and-black outfits stomped inside, “Oh, so it’s not the cops.”
“No, we’re better than the cops!” one man grunted. “We’re the Retrievers: we track down Pokemon and humans who’ve run away! Your father’s promised us a big reward if we bring you back to him, so shut up and come on!”
“Back off!” Derak suddenly snapped, taking a step back. “I’m not going back there, understand?!”
As though it heard him, the orange Pokeball on the Sinnoh table began wobbling from side to side. With a click, it opened to unleash a burst of white light that passed Derak and landed on the polished floor in front of him. The light took a chimpanzee-like shape before it faded away, revealing a small Pokemon.
The Pokemon indeed seemed monkey-like in appearance. Orange fur covered almost all of its body, and yellow skin on its hands, face, and front ensured a slightly colorful appearance. A small tuft of hair resembling a flame spiked from the top of the Pokemon’s head, and a spiral pattern was etched onto its stomach. Large, hazel eyes would have made the Pokemon seem cute had it not been for the eyes appearing dark and vicious. A flame flickered on the monkey’s rear, serving as a sort of small tail.
“Wait, what’s that?” Derak asked. “Is that…a Pokemon?”
“Yes, it is,” Krane nodded. “It’s a Chimchar, Sinnoh’s Fire-type starter.”
“Chim-CHAR!” the Chimchar cried in a somewhat squeaky voice, fists clenched tightly in an aggressive posture, “Char char, chim char!”
“Isn’t that cuuuuute!” laughed the leader of the Retrievers, the one who had spoken earlier. “That little Chimchar thinks it can take us on! It hardly knows what it’s up against, does it? Since we’re gonna have to stun the kid anyway, I think I’ll give my Pokemon a little practice.”
The lead Retriever pulled a Pokeball from his belt, smirking.
“Elekid, get it!” he bellowed, lobbing his red-and-white Pokeball into the air.
Like Chimchar, this Pokemon also appeared in a flash of light, though this one seemed slightly more humanoid. As the light cleared, a small yellow Pokemon became visible. Black, horizontal stripes ran across the sides of its egg-shaped torso, leaving a small black lightning bolt insignia between their stopping points. Egg-shaped feet attached to black legs held this Pokemon up, and a pair of bulky, yellow, black-striped arms hung limply at its sides. A pair of what appeared to be plug-like appendages sprouted from the Pokemon’s head. Scowling eyes glared beneath the plugs, and a mouth bared its small fangs at its opponent.
“Bee-BEEP!” Elekid cried, swinging its arms in circles angrily.
“That’s an Elekid!” Krane cried. “Derak, take command of Chimchar; I think it’s chosen you as its trainer!”
“Uh, okay then,” replied Derak, unsure. “Chimchar, use…uh…something…”
This seemed to do for Chimchar, for it reared its head back before lurching forward, spitting a storm of flaming orbs towards Elekid. The attack came too fast for the yellow Pokemon to block, forcing it to stumble back slightly. Its bulky, clawed arms did no good in defending Elekid against the attack, leaving even its trainer in shock for a short moment.
“That’s a strong Ember, kid,” chuckled Elekid’s trainer, “but it’s not strong enough! Elekid, use Thundershock!”
“Bee, bee, bee, bee-bee-bee-BEEP!” Elekid cried as its arms began rotating rapidly once more. Instead of an intimidation tactic, however, the pattern was used this time to form a spark of electricity between the Pokemon’s plugs. Soon, the spark formed a weak bolt of electricity, which quickly made a line for Chimchar.
“Uh…Chimchar, dodge it?” Derak managed, though still unsure.
As instructed, the monkey leapt into the air and away from the Thundershock with spectacular speed. It performed a mid-air flip just before its vaguely hand-like feet touched solid ground once more. Elekid angrily bared its fangs, frustrated at the failure of its attack.
“Now, Ember again!” Derak ordered, becoming more confident with commanding Chimchar.
Chimchar blasted Elekid with another Ember, this one further injuring the yellow Pokemon. The fiery assault continued as Elekid futilely attempted to block the attack using its bulky arms, each sphere of flame spat by Chimchar striking Elekid’s front. Soon, as the storm ceased, Elekid was left with ebon burn marks scattered across its arms.
“Don’t take that, Elekid!” boomed the egg-shaped Pokemon’s trainer. “Quick Attack, now!”
Elekid proved that the move known as Quick Attack certainly lived up to its name, a trail of light following the speeding Pokemon as it rushed towards Chimchar. Slamming into the monkey with a violent tackle, Elekid knocked Chimchar back with such force that the fire monkey was thrown back into Derak’s leg.
“Hey, are you okay?” Derak asked Chimchar, only to receive no response as Chimchar rose into its aggressive stance once more. “I don’t understand what your problem is, Chimchar, but I guess I’ll live with it for now. Ember again!”
“Not this time, runt,” chuckled the lead Retriever. “Elekid, Light Screen!”
Elekid’s bulked-up arms spread out, obeying the orders of its trainer. The egg-shaped Pokemon’s trainer was expecting a panel of glass to form between Elekid and Chimchar’s Ember, effectively blocking the attack. Instead, however, the burns on Elekid’s arms began to spark, which—as evidenced by the small Pokemon’s clenched teeth—caused Elekid enough pain to prevent it from using its own attack. Ember struck home, the attack’s abnormal power causing Elekid to stumble back in a futile attempt to escape the storm. The attack did end, but Elekid was immediately found Chimchar clawing it in the face afterward, knocking Elekid down and out.
“Beee…” groaned the small Pokemon, face blank and mouth hanging open.
“What the…Elekid, return,” grunted the lead Retriever, pointing Elekid’s Pokeball at it. A red beam of light fired from the center of the ball, which absorbed Elekid inside of it. The Retriever looked to his men for advice, but seeing as he was the only one with any Pokemon, none was given.
“You win this time, kid,” the humiliated man grunted as he turned away with his Retriever minions following, leaving Derak alone with Krane and Chimchar.
“Thank goodness you won,” Krane sighed in relief. “I shudder to think what would have happened if you had lost.”
“Why?” Derak asked.
“Those men were not legitimate officers,” Krane explained. “The ‘Retrievers’ simply find any Pokemon or human that has fled their home and takes them back by force…more often than not using excessively. All they care about is money, and that's why so few of them own Pokemon: they can't be bothered to catch or train them.”
“That explains why my ‘father’ hired them,” Derak snorted. “He always did like cheap labor.”
He looked down at the monkey that had essentially saved his life, quickly changing his tone.
“That battle was great, Chimchar,” Derak congratulated. “You were just...well, amazing.”
Again, Chimchar made no response. Derak confusedly tilted his head to one side.
“What’s with Chimchar, anyway?” he asked.
“I was afraid it would do this,” Krane muttered. “You see, Chimchar is the least social of all the Pokemon. It focuses on nothing but battling, rarely showing any emotion other than anger. There are some rumors of trainers treating their Pokemon as if they are machines, and my guess is Chimchar believed those rumors true…it thinks it’s a machine.”
“You’ve gotta be—Chimchar,” Derak began, “you’re not a machine. You’re a living being. You know, heart and stomach and all that stuff…right?”
“Chim char char,” Chimchar responded, though it did so with a monotonous voice, despite its high-pitched voice.
“Speaking of which,” Derak began, “I think I’d better give you a name or something. I’ve only been at it for about ten minutes or so and I already hate calling you ‘Chimchar’ over and over.”
“An excellent idea!” Krane remarked. “Perhaps you can reopen Chimchar’s mind.”
Derak simply stared at him as if the professor of Orre had suddenly grown a third arm from his forehead.
“It’s an expression,” Krane responded.
“Meaning…?” asked Derak.
“Look,” said Krane, “why don’t you name Chimchar now? If you give it a name, and treat it kindly, over time it may cease to believe that it’s a machine.”
“Fine,” Derak agreed prior to placing the tips of his fingers to his forehead. “Okay…what am I going to name you…Blaze…nah, that stinks…wild…yeah, that sounds good. How about ‘Wildfire’? How’s that sound?”
The newly-named Chimchar once again made no response.
“I think it fits very well,” Krane commented. “Here’s Chim—er, Wildfire’s Pokeball. Point the Pokeball at it and…no, it’s better if I show you.”
He pointed the orange Pokeball towards Wildfire.
“Wildfire, return,” Krane stated, and the red beam of light absorbed Wildfire just as another had done to Elekid moments before. “Say anything along the lines of that and Wildfire will be recalled into its Pokeball. Oh, and here is a Pokedex. It analyzes and catalogs Pokemon you point it at. I assume you will be leaving for Kanto first?”
Derak nodded as he accepted the Pokedex. The device resembled a compact video game system with an orange hue to it.
“Excellent,” Krane continued. “It is, after all, the most recommended region for Orre’s starting trainers. Originally, trainers who hail from Kanto received a Pokedex that only works on Kanto-native Pokemon. Given the discoveries of Pokemon from other regions, however, starting trainers—including ones here in Orre—will receive a national Pokedex that—”
“Gets every Pokemon,” Derak guessed, “right? Can I go now?”
“Ah, eager to start your journey, are you?” Krane chuckled.
“That,” Derak answered, “and I’d really like to leave before Anoch sends some more lunatics after me.”
“All right,” said Krane. “The ferry for Kanto leaves from Gateon Port within four hours. Good luck on your journey!”
Derak simply nodded before departing. Although he seemed calm as a smooth ocean, inwardly he was rather joyful. Derak allowed a smirk to cross his face.
“I’m gone,” he said to no one in particular before setting off to Gateon Port. He knew the way, for Anoch had taken him multiple times for the sake of business trades with other regions. And now, Derak was headed for the ferry that would take him towards the journey of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, Derak’s father did not share even a small portion of Derak’s pleasure. He remained oblivious to Derak’s reasons and saw only a disobedient son with a need to be severely punished. Had he not raised the boy on his own for nine years? He should be entitled to respect and obedience!
With the failure of the Retrievers in mind, Anoch Kadir stood now in a bounty hunter’s office in a smaller portion of Pyrite, slicked black hair shining from the light of a ceiling fan. The hunter before him reclined in his chair, heels stationed on his wooden desk.
“Must you have that THING there?” Anoch asked, eyeing the somewhat large tan cat at the hunter’s side. Pure white eyes narrowed as the cat’s black-rimmed ears perked angrily, a vicious purr radiating from the fanged mouth.
“Yes,” the hunter responded in a cold tone. “I must.”
“For what reason?” Anoch glared. “It’s an inferior—”
“Persian, if you would,” the hunter sighed.
Immediately the Pokemon called Persian leapt gracefully onto the table and positioned a pointed claw at Anoch’s throat. Realizing that stating his belief of Pokemon would get him nowhere, Derak’s father refused to further speak of it.
“All right,” the hunter began, moving his heels off of his desk, “are we going to talk business, or do I need to have Persian move that claw just a little to the left?”
“Business,” Anoch hurriedly stated. “I’ll give you a hundred thousand in cash if you track down my son.”
One of the hunter’s eyebrows rose, becoming visible rather than hidden behind a blue visor. The red jewel embedded in the center of Persian’s forehead gleamed as it crawled back down to the floor, long whiskers twitching and curled tail swaying through the air.
“Isn’t a hundred thousand a bit steep for one ten-year-old kid?” questioned the hunter.
“Will you take the job or not?” Anoch demanded.
“Relax, old timer,” the hunter chuckled, though his voice remained cold. “There’s a reason I’m called the Tracker…there isn’t a target I can’t find.”
As of this chapter, all post-chapter bits will be underlined.
So, what did everyone think? I know, I know, it's an OT fic, the plot of which is generally overdone. But, as Breezy stated in the thread that he/she made a while back, there's hardly any finished journey fics. I intend to make a difference in that regard.