The Johto region, home of some of the most skilled trainers that have ever existed, and birthplace of Ethan, the famed hero of New Bark town who defeated the resurging Team Rocket, achieved the title of Champion of the Johto League, and even managed to overthrow the most famed and legendary trainer who ever lived, Ash, of mount Silver.
But how much of this story is fact and how much is legend? Never should we forget that there were two other trainers who left from New Bark that same day. Lyra, who was Ethan's childhood friend, and the one other young boy with red hair. A boy who valued strength above all else. Let no man deceive you, the boy was much as the stories say, angry, cruel, and constanty against the world, but he still had a story to tell. This is his story, the story of a boy who was always second best, and who hated not only the world but himself for it.
Chapter 1: Into the Dark, Shining Horizon (Prologue)
It was dawn, just after 6 o'clock in the morning, in the eastern Johto region. A flock of Pidgey flew through the orangeish sky on their daily hunt, and a pair of mating Rattata jumped and tussled through the tall grass of nearby Route 29. The Hoothoot were just tucking themselves in for their long daytime sleep, and the Sentret were starting to wake up in preperation for their own active days.
Amongst all of this, a single human being trudged his way through the undergrowth, a hard look on his face as he made his way towards New Bark Town. A harsh looking fellow, wearing a tightly cut black jacket with red lining, red hair that was slicked back and fell down to his shoulders, where it bent upwards slightly just before terminating. He also wore skinny blue jeans and sneakers that were black with red lining to match his tight jacket. All in all, he looked like a person who was not to be messed with lightly.
However, the boy also looked as though he had seen better days. His face, which might have been decently handsome under normal circumstances, was smeared with dirt and what might have been blood, his jacket was slighty dishevelled and it's left sleeve was torn, and he walked gingerly, holding his side as he slipped through the trees.
Still, the boy was happy, or at least pleased with himself. He couldn't remeber the last time that he was truly happy. Not many people could tangle with what he had just gone through and come out alive. He had beated down a territorial Heracross from Route 45 with his own bare hands. To hell with what his father said, he was strong. He had, and would prove it.
His stomache grumbled at him, reminding him that he would need to find some food soon. He hadn't eaten in nearly two days.
The boy could now see that the trees were thinning out and, if he stood on the tips of his toes, he could see the rooftops of New Bark Town not more then a few hundred yards ahead of him. One of the few places in the Johto region where people could go to procure their first Poke'mon to start an official Poke'league journy. There had been a few other places that he could go to which had been closer to his home, but he had trekked through multiple Routes and towns to come here specifically for a few reasons. First, while he didn't know anything about Professer Elm, he did know that the man was reknowned for being the keeper of many rare and powerful Poke'mon, and this boy was not going to accept anything less then the best. Second, the place was a tiny, backwoods town with minimal connection to the outside world, very few families who had lived there since the biggining of time practically, and a reletively tiny law inforcement force.
The boy reached into his pocket and took out his trainer card, looking at his own picture of the front, his trainer number, and various other data which identified him as a brand new Poke'mon trainer. Thing was...it wasn't officially his. Dear old dad had refused to register him as an official Poke'mon trainer, and so he had been forced to procure a trainer card through other means. The picture was his and the name was his, and it would work fine for some less official things, but the number was assigned to someone else.
But whatever, the guy wouldn't be missing the card any time soon.
Here's hoping that Professer Elm didn't take his security and background checking too seriously.
The boy continued walking, until he reached an area where the trees suddenly gave to open fields and a few dotted houses that were each ringed with picket fences. He had reached his destination.
To call New Bark a town was being generous, it was really something closer to a tiny village, consisting of, as far as the red-haired boy could count, no more then 5 homes, not including the large building to the north which could only be the Professer's laboratory. There wasn't even a shop, which meant that the people who lived here had to do all of their shopping at the nearby Cherrygrove City.
The red-haired boy smirked slightly and collapsed against a nearby tree, exhaustion finally winning out now that he had reached his destination. It wasn't even 7 a.m. yet, so he had plenty of time to meet Professer Elm and procure a Poke'mon of his own. Right now he needed to rest.
He had almost dirfted off to sleep when a young brunette with a large white hat walked up to him and nudged his shoulder. He was awake immediately, his eyes flicking over to the girl and his arm tensing up as it prepared to defend him automatically.
"Where did you come from?" The girl asked, a pleasant smile on her face, completely unaware of how close he had been to lashing out at her out of pure reflex.
It took the boy a moment to respond, so unused was he to people speaking in such a manner to him that he wasn't at first sure how to respond. When he did finally respond, it was blunt and in a characteristically harsh voice, "None of your business."
The girl recoiled slightly, somewhat surprised at his lack of manners, "Well...who are you? What's your name?"
She finally seemed to be getting annoyed with him, but continued her line of questioning regardless, "Are you here to see the Professer?"
Finally, the boy snapped at her, "Are you always this inquisitive?" he asked, snidely.
The girl looked stunned for a moment, but then smiled as though she had just come to some sort of realization, "My name is Lyra." she said with a smile.
Rather then responding politely however, the boy narrowed his eyes at her, "I don't give a damn what your name is! Get away from me!"
The girl now narrowed her own eyes at him and placed her hands on her hips, "Look, I'm just trying to be friendly, you don't have to be such a-" Suddenly she was interrupted by a loud gurgle, originating from the red-haired boy's stomach, and she brightened up again, "I get it! You're just grumpy because you're hungry!" She reached behind her to a large bag that she was carrying and pulled what looked like a half of a sandwitch from it and offered it to the boy, "Here, I'm sure that you'll feel better after eating something."
The boy couldn't believe what he was hearing. Had this annoying little girl really lived such a sheltered life that she couldn't concieve of a person who wasn't as disgustingly pleasant as she was!? He didn't want her grubby sandwitch! He wanted to be left the hell alone!
Angrily, he swatted her offering out of her hand, and she recoiled from her, a look of astonishment on her face as she gently nursed her wrist, "Listen, you annoying little twit! I don't need your damn pity! Just get away from me!"
Lyra slowly backed away, "Fine!" she spat at him, angrily, "Just be a jerk for all I care!" and she stomped off.
The red-haired boy sighed, knowing that he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep after that. His stomach growled at him again and he turned to look at the sandwitch that the girl had offered him, now laying on the ground only a couple feet away.
Well, it wouldn't do to let it go to waist, right? He picked the object up, removed the layer of plastic wrap which kept it isolated from the dirt on the ground and, presumably, the other things in the girl's pack, and took a bite. If he wasn't so increadibly hungry, he probably would have spat it right back out as well. Lettuce, mustard, peppers, all things that he coudln't stand normally, and only a thin layer of some sort of protein...avian, possibly turkey(1)...Arceus, who eats that stuff willingly? Especially peppers...He really hated peppers...
The boy glanced up towards the laboratory in the distance and noticed, to his chagrin that the girl seemed to be heading in that direction as well, and was in fact nearly halfway there.
Trying not to walk too fast so as that he wouldn't look like he was following her, he started off towards the laboratory.
It didn't take him more then 2 minutes or so to reach the large building (to his annoyance, the chatty girl did indeed enter the laboratory before him), but when he did he froze for a moment. What if things went badly? What if the Professer did indeed go through all the protocol in verifying his identity? What if they discovered that he had stolen his Trainer ID card from someone else? Worse, what if Elm just refused to give him a Poke'mon? What would he do?
Well, he knew one thing, he wasn't leaving this city without a strong Poke'mon of his own, one way or another.
Taking a deep breath, he grabbed onto the door handle and pushed his way inside.
He supposed that it was much exactly as he expected, with the people running around in lab coats, the large computers with different lights and flashing displays, and all the things that one expects from a laboratory, although to his surpise the floor was hardwood, and the walls were painted a rather pleasant shade of deep mahogany. Clearly Professer Elm liked his lab to have a confortable feel to it.
"Can I help you?" A man in a labcoat and gawky glasses asked him, a clipboard in his hands.
"Yeah," The boy asked him, "I'm a newly registered trainer for the Johto League and I'm looking for a Poke'mon."
"Oh, uhhh, yes," The man replied to him, "Well then you're in the right place. I'll just alert the Professer and he'll be with you in a minute." the man stated before running off.
The boy snorted, annoyed at the flustered man, but took his words as a cue to wait where he was and so leaned himself up against a nearby wall and waited, closing his eyes in order to try and shut out the annoying noise of the laboratory and it's workers.
He didn't have to wait long either, "You've got to be kidding me!" an annoyingly high-pitched voice screamed out.
The boy opened his eyes to see the annoying girl from earlier standing in a nearby doorway a few feet in front of him, a look of outrage on her face, "You can't be telling me that this punk is here for one of the Professer's Poke'mon!"
The boy sneered, "What do you care?"
Lyra stomped her foot down, "No way! I won't stand for it! You'd probably end up abusing any Poke'mon that you got!"
"Now Lyra," a calm voice spoke from behind her, "That's impolite, you have no proof that he would abuse his Poke'mon."
A tall and thin man in a labcoat with a receding hairline and a pair of thin glasses stepped through the doorway. The boy could only assume that this was Professer Elm.
"So, young man, I hear that you're looking for a partner to start your Poke'mon journy with, correct?" The boy nodded and Elm smiled and gestured him to follow.
"Professer, you can't!" Lyra protested, "This is that punk boy I was telling you about just now!"
Elm smiled pleasantly (sickening), "Now Lyra, just because a person prefers to be left alone, doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve a chance."
Lyra crossed her arms and humped before marching off.
"I'm quite sorry about her," Elm spoke, rubbing the back of his head as he smiled sheepishly, "She can be quite opinionated about people at times." He sighed and gestured through a different doorway, "Anyways, follow me, my reserves of Poke'mon set aside for league trainers is in the back."
The boy nodded and followed the Professer through a few different rooms until they reached what appeared to be a small office type of area with a large table in the middle, upon which were placed a long row of roughly 20 different Poke'balls(2).
"So, what type of Poke'mon do you think you're looking for?" The Professer asked, "We have plenty of extremely rare specimens from the Johto, Kanto, and even the Sinnoh and Hoenn reagions."
The boy looked at the numerous Poke'balls with something resembling contempt, "I just want a strong Poke'mon. Something that won't give out on me when the going gets tough."
Elm adopted a contemplative look, "Well, uh...maybe a fighting type then? I have a Machop here, or a Riolu if you prefer something more exotic."
The boy rolled his eyes, and caught something in his peripheral vision, "What's over there?" he asked, turning his focus to a structure in the corner of the room, a tall pod like object with three seperate Poke'balls placed in a triangular shape in the center.
"Pardon?" Elm replied, his eyes following the boy's line of sight, "Oh, I'm sorry, but those are reserved. They are the rarest and strongest Poke'mon in my collection and I'm saving them for a couple of children who live here in New Bark. I wouldn't trust anyone else with them."
The red-haired boy raised an eyebrow, "I want one of them."
Elm's eyes opened wide in surprise, "I'm sorry, but you can't have one of them. Two are reserved for Lyra and Ethan(3), and whichever one they don't pick I am going to keep for further research into the species."
The boy narrowed his eyes, "I don't give a damn. They're the best right? I want the best."
Elm gulped, "Listen, I have plenty of other strong Poke'mon in my lab. I'm sure that you'd be fine with the Duskull, or-or even the Houndour."
Finally, the red-haired boy lost his temper. Roughly he grabbed the Professer by his labcoat and, with a surprising amount of strength for having such a slight frame, picked the man up and slammed him against the wall, "Listen Prof., I have plans, you hear? I'm gonna be the very best, like no one ever was! The strong survive, and the weak perish, and I'm the strongest guy there is, and I need a Poke'mon strong enough to keep up with me!"
The Professer was now sweating, "I'm beginning to s-see what Ly-Lyra meant about you. You really d-do have quite a t-temper." He gulped, and continued, "Maybe you should seek your first Poke'mon elsewhere."
The presumptuous old man didn't know how badly he was skating on thin ice at this point, "Listen, you old fool, I hiked here from half-way across freakin Johto because I heard that your Pokemon are the best. I'm not going to turn away empty handed just because you don't have a damn backbone!"
The Professer gulped heavily and then, to the boy's surprise, steeled his gaze, "You have shown me that you aren't deserving of one of my Poke'mon. I wan't you out of my Laboratory."
Now fuming, the red-haired boy pulled one of his hands back, as if to punch the Poke'mon Professer in his face, but before he could land his blow he heard running footsteps behind him and the sound of something swinging through the air. With astonishing speed, he dropped the Professer to the ground and spun around, grabbing the wooden walking stick which had been flying towards his head with his bare hand.
'Figures' he thought as he saw his would-be attacker. It was that girl, Lyra once again.
"Get out of here!" the girl yelled at him, rage in her voice, "Get out of this lab and leave the Professer alone! And don't come back either!"
Two more pairs of footsteps drew the boy's eyes to the doorway, and he glanced two more men in labcoats. He grumbled, and thrust the girl's hiking stick back at her with such force that she fell to her back, "I'm not through with you yet. I'll be back." he stated, and marched his way to the doorway, roughly pushing his way through the two scientists.
It didn't take him long before he had reached the door again and walked into the open air. He was absolutely furious. How dare they look down on him! How dare they belittle him after everything that he went through to get here! Well he'd show them...this wasn't the end of things. He'd get one of those three rare and powerful Poke'mon even if he had to take a page out of his damn father's book to do it!
The red-haired boy turned back to the laboratory and glanced through one of the nearby windows, catching sight of a rather flustered looking Professer Elm, that Lyra girl trying to dust him off, a look of strong concern on her face.
"So that's the famous Professer Elm." he whispered to himself. As pathetic as the man seemed to be for the most part, he had to admit that he was impressed that the man had the guts to stand up to him like he did.
The red-haired boy twisted around in surprise to find a new figure standing behind him, a boy roughtly his own age (perhaps a year younger), wearing a red sweater, blue shorts, and a black and yellow baseball cap that he wore backwards, one long lock of his black hair sticking out the front.
"You said something about the Professer?" This boy asked, a curious look on his face.
"Nothing important," the red-haired boy said with a growl, "Get out of here," and he pushed past the boy, perhaps a bit more roughly then necissary, and walked away down the path.
He would get one of those Poke'mon, whether that idiot Professer approved or not.
(1): I know that a lot of people replace all the animals in the Poke'mon world with Poke'mon, but considering that they all seem to have such human characteristics, and sentience, I just can't bring myself to have him eating Pidgey meat. It just feels wrong to me.
(2): In my story Elm is a place where a decent few trainers go to, in order to get their start, so I figure that he must have more Poke'mon then just the three. He has a full reserve of rare and strong Poke'mon (nothing like a pseudo-legendary, but still rare and powerful) ready for the trainers which chose to make their start in New Bark town.
(3): Lyra doesn't have Marill, and she will get the last of the three starters that Ethan and the Rival don't get.