A/N: Hi, I’m here to post my fic. It’s very long, already fifty-five chapters in, but I was advised to post it here to get more reviews and stuff. I’m going to post the first three chapters now and then post a couple more in the next few days. I really want to get all these backlog chapters out of the way, so I’ll be posting pretty frequently, about two-three chapters a week. If reading in chunks annoys you, here’s a link to Mentor on FFnet so you can read the whole thing at once. Though be warned: I am editing these chapters as I’m posting, so chapters on FFnet probably have mistakes scattered about them. It might be better just to wait for me to post edited chapters so your reading experience will be better overall.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
It was cloudy. Too cloudy.
Glaring at the sky between the leaves and branches of the tree, Leah grumbled under her breath as she fidgeted in place. A cool wind blew her dark hair into her face, but she roughly tucked it back behind her ear without taking her eyes from the skyline. She shoved her hands into her pocket and leaned back against the thick and smooth wood of the tree.
Her narrow gray eyes studied the dark clouds in the distance that were rolling towards her at a slow, but threatening place.
A burst of laughter caught her attention. Leah frowned and tried to put her focus solely on the weather. Though, in the corner of her eye, she could easily make out several huddling, though cheerful, figures ahead of her that hardly had a care in the world.
She made something of a bitter smirk as she lost her concentration and decided to watch them instead of doing the more important thing in her mind. Unlike the shivering population across the street from her, she wasn’t the least bit cold, having worn a heavy raincoat; just in case the day wouldn’t have been as bright and sunny as the news predicted last night.
‘And behold,’ she thought. Knowing how her luck went, it would probably be raining and miserable by the time she finally got out of here.
It was definitely not the weather one would expect for someone’s very first day as a Pokemon trainer.
…Well, technically not her first day, exactly. No, she was talking about their first day, the ones that were obviously much shorter and brattier than her. The ones that were stupid enough not to expect a cold day in the middle of July. The ones that were talking excitedly to the people around them about what type of Pokemon they were going to get.
The ones that had no clue what they were getting into.
She could pretty much guess what they were talking about, even if only hearing the faint buzz of their conversation since she was standing quite far away. They were hoping for a rare Pokemon for their starter. Maybe Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur, the endangered and highly sought out Pokemon that were usually the starters in most gameboy games; the ‘classic’ starters. Or maybe something more exotic, like Eevee, Dratini, or Pikachu. Or maybe even something foreign like Larvitar.
If not talking about Pokemon, they were most likely boasting on how they were going to be a Pokemon Master. How they were going to be the next Champion of the Pokemon League, having sorely trounced the Elite Four. They didn’t care how they were going to do it. They were just going to and nothing would stop them.
Well, whatever they were talking about, all she knew was that every single one of them was going to be disappointed in the end. No exceptions. None. Zip. Nada.
She knew this, could predict this with ease, because she was an official Pokemon trainer. Emphasis on the ‘was’, though.
What raced through their minds once went through hers… But that was a long time ago.
Leah stared at the bunch of brats, mentally counting all the continuous moving figures as they were running and splashing in the mud and small puddles. One, two, three…. Maybe about fifteen, according to her calculations.
It was actually surprising. She had been expecting a bit more than that puny number. Why, when she first became a trainer, there were three times more kids! All of them, including her, admittedly, were eager to get their first Pokemon from Professor Oak. Her ‘generation’ of trainers came from all around Kanto, having looked forward to that day for their whole lives.
She shook her head and tried to redirect her thoughts. That was then and this was now. Besides, what did she care if there weren’t a lot of them? It would be less work for her. She had been watching the idiots for over thirty minutes and she already didn’t like them. They acted so immature and, well, stupid. It just bugged her to think she was once like that.
With a small sigh, she closed her eyes and tried to block out the buzz of chatter.
Oh, if only she could have stayed in bed that morning. Her grandmother was at a conference in Viridian City, so no one could have forced her to get up and get going. She could have skipped the day entirely and have been completely worry free. But, sadly, unfortunately, and of the most rotten luck, she had to go. She had to get up at eight in the morning, walk all the way to Oak’s lab while ignoring the chill, and had to watch the little morons until Professor Oak bothered to come out of his cozy little lab.
If only she didn’t have to deal with them-
A loud voice cut into her thoughts.
Leah turned her head to stare down at one of the smartly dressed figures that was standing before the crowd of kids and in front of the door to Oak’s lab. His arms were waving at them. “Can everyone look at me, please!”
All eyes turned towards the two men and the kids quieted their talking into a whispering frenzy.
“Uh, thank you,” the man said and cleared his throat. “I am Professor Jones and this is my colleague, Professor Mare,” he said, indicating to the silent and solemn man beside him before continuing, “Professor Oak, unfortunately, will not be handing out the Pokemon today as he is CURRENTLY BUSY-” The man was forced the shout over the moans and groans of the excited, and now disappointed, children.
Professor Jones tried to get their attention again, but couldn’t. He gave his colleague a pitiful and helpless look.
“As Professor Jones was saying,” the stern, but booming voice of Professor Mare said, instantly cutting through the protests and silencing the many voices. “Professor Jones will be handing out the Pokemon, Pokedex, and your trainer licenses to you. All other equipment isn’t our concern. If you’d follow Professor Jones, he will brief you on what you will be doing as a trainer-”
“Yes, thank you,” Professor Jones said with relief. “Children, if you’d follow me into the lab-”
Professor Jones disappeared behind the door of the large building as the trainers-to-be scrambled forwards, nearing running after the professor. They somehow squeezed through the small doorway and all their loud voices were cut off as the door closed behind them.
Leah watched them leave, having not moved an inch from her tree. ‘What now?’ she thought, hiding her anticipation behind thoughts of boredom.
She noticed that the only ones left outside were herself, Professor Mare, and five other people. Like her, the five were all obviously older than ten-years-old and she could instantly tell they were trainers. Of course, some of them having Pokemon out, like the Ekans wrapped around one guy’s neck, did help her out.
She sighed and knew the end had come. Reluctantly leaving her tree behind, she carefully walked down the hill that was overlooking the lab, her shoes making a squishing sound as she walked over the muddy grass. Crossing the road and stepping onto the solid cement of the driveway, she lined up with the five trainers, her hands clenched in her pockets.
A slight feeling of nausea started to grow in her chest and she could feel her jacket clinging to her skin. She swallowed nervously and suddenly didn’t feel quite as brave as she felt just minutes ago.
There was no turning back. It was time to face her doom.
“Now,” Professor Mare started again.
“I understand you six signed up for the Trainer Mentorship Program that Professor Oak is hosting-”
‘Oh yes,’ Leah thought bitterly, anxious to distract her mind from her sudden swell of nervousness. Though ‘signed up’ wouldn’t even be close to the terms she would use. More like ‘bribed’ or ‘unwillingly signed up in an attempt to dodge the likelihood of boarding school.’
The Trainer Mentor Program. There were so many words she could use to describe it, but she liked to sum it up with ‘annoying’, ‘troublesome’, and ‘the source of all her problems’. The program was relatively new and had only started up about two years ago. The purpose was, according to her, to travel with a bunch of brats and make sure they didn’t hurt themselves or get into any stupid situations.
The only good side that Leah could see, was that it only lasted around four months. It could have been worse. A lot worse, actually, if what her grandmother told her about the ‘rough draft’ of the program was true.
The Trainer Mentor Program was also something that she had been positively dreading for the past month. No matter what her grandmother said, Leah just knew that it would be an awful experience.
“-I, Professor Jones, and Professor Oak are thankful to you for lending us your spare time in guiding young trainers on their Pokemon journeys,” he continued, addressing the group as a whole. “You are already Pokemon trainers and you know what to expect and know the dangers that can happen on such a journey. You six are here to prevent any accidents from befalling these youths.
“This year, there are sixteen new trainers and, as such, four of you will be mentoring three of the children and two of you will have two, each. I have chosen your groups for you and I’d like you all to wait by the mailbox for your charges after I am finished,” he peered at them seriously. “Any questions?”
“Yeah,” the boy with the Ekans, who was standing beside her, piped up, “What if one of them wants to go home? What do we do with them then?”
It was no secret that around fifty percent of all newbie trainers gave up in the first month, and around forty-five percent in the next four months. For whatever reason they had, only around five percent of the newbie trainers would stay in the game and become ‘professionals’. The drop outs, on the other hand, would go back home, go back to school, and mostly forget their dreams of being professional Pokemon trainers.
Hell, she should know; she was one of them. And hopefully, so were the brats she was going to get. She had been watching them for a while and she could hardly see any of them becoming a real Pokemon trainer.
Professor Mare was still talking in an annoying drone, “-I’d advise that you fly them home or drop them off in your travels. Your job of mentoring them is only done when either one or both of your charges quit, or if your time period of four months is done, or if they gain four or more gym badges. That way, their Pokemon should be strong enough to take care of their trainers.”
Another one of the trainers asked a question, but Leah zoned out of the conversation. What they were talking about wasn’t important. Whichever type of brats she would get would probably – hopefully – drop out after a week. She doubted that she would have follow them around for a whole four months.
‘Keep thinking positively’, she advised herself. The whole situation would go by faster if she did.
“Hey,” the boy with the Ekans whispered to her with a smile, also ignoring the Professor.
Leah barely glanced at him, still submerged in her thoughts. “What do you want?”
“What Pokemon do you have?”
“None of your business,” she replied immediately, not caring if she was being rude. It wasn’t like she was ever going to see him again anyways.
“Aw, c’mon,” he said with a whine. “I’m curious.”
Leah dodged the question with a furious whisper. “Why do you want to know?”
“Because I know all these guys,” he said, indicating with his head at the other trainers next to him, trying not to disturb his Ekans. “A lot of us started together and we’ve seen each other around a lot. I know all their Pokemon and stuff. I like to know my fellow Pallet trainers and what way is best than to start with Pokemon?” He shrugged with a grin. “It’s also just a weird that I’ve never seen you around before.”
“You wouldn’t of seen me around,” she said with a grimace.
“If you two are done whispering,” Professor Mare interrupted with an icy stare as he and the other four trainers looked at them. “I am quite sure that it is almost time for your charges to come outside.”
“So, we wait at the mail box?” the boy asked, looking properly chastised.
“Yes,” Professor Mare said and spoke again just as the trainers were turning away. “One more thing. I would like to remind you all that if you have any problems that you cannot solve for yourselves, get in contact with the Pokemon League or with Professor Oak. Do not keep your problems to yourselves.”
A few of the trainers muttered an affirmative as Leah walked back up the driveway and towards the metal mailbox standing on a wooden post. She stopped right before it and, after a moment of thought, turned to the Ekans boy who followed her.
“Hey,” she said and continued before he could reply, “I’m gonna be up there.” She pointed to the large tree which she was leaning against earlier. “Tell that to the ones that come looking for me.”
Leah had already walked off the driveway and across the dirt road by the time the boy could reply.
“Wait!” he exclaimed. “I don’t even know your name!”
“I don’t care,” she shouted back without looking as she hopped over the shoddy looking knee-high fence that separated the road from the wild looking grass. She made her way back up the hill, kicking up the excess pebbles behind her and stood proudly at the top.
She found that she rather liked the hill as she appreciated the sudden silence. Turning around, she once again leaned against the tree. Her shoulders slumped and she found herself finally relaxing.
The conversation with the Professor didn’t go that bad, though that was probably because she zoned out for, like, half of it. It was short and not that sweet, but it didn’t matter. Actually, maybe it was a good thing that Professor Oak was busy. He would most likely ramble on a lot more and look them straight in the eye to make sure they understood. Or, at least, that’s how her grandmother said Oak acted. Leah had never met the guy before.
And now most likely never will. Oh well.
Glancing down, Leah could only spot the bored looking teens, but couldn’t see any of the newbies. How long had she been up there for? Maybe a minute?
“This,” she said out loud, “is going to take a while.”
Finding herself watching the Ekans boy as he rubbed the Pokemon’s head, she quickly averted her eyes and scolded herself. What was going on with her? She had much better things to do then to stare at some kid!
…But there was something about that kid that was bugging her.
“What Pokemon do you have?”
Leah blinked. Oh, right. That reminded her.
Digging through her pocket, she pulled out a miniaturized red and white Poke Ball that was warm in her hand and was coated lightly with sweat. She stared at it and her lips pulled into a grimace.
“Ew. Have I been holding onto it for all this time?”
Her thump rubbed against the edges of the tape on top of the sphere. Underneath the tape was a single sticker that had once been a sparkly green Bulbasaur. However, time had done its magic and now it was dull, crinkly, and yellow-ish, only held to the Poke Ball by the clear Scotch-tape.
The sight made her feel a prickle of nostalgia and she remembered that the day before her Pokemon journey began, her ten-year-old self had bought a whole sheet of Pokemon stickers and decorated all her new training items with them. The only reason her Poke Ball wasn’t covered with them was because her grandmother had warned her that she’d be holding the Poke Ball a lot and the stickers would peel off and get in the way.
Not that she had ever held her Poke Ball much since the days she had been a Pokemon trainer. She didn’t even know why the sticker and tape were still on the Poke Ball five years later; she had just never gotten around to peeling them off.
Another glance at Oak’s non-moving door made a decision.
Leah clicked the button in the middle of the ball and pointed it at the ground.
“Sands,” she commanded and flinched as the ball snapped opened in her hand and let loose a white light that gathered beside her. A small rushing sound had her lean uncomfortably to the side as her Poke Ball closed, its job being done.
The Pokemon that stood with her wasn’t as classic or exotic or foreign as she would have liked to deal with.
It stood on its hind legs and didn’t even reach her knee in height. It had a rodent face and body that was covered in yellow plating. Where the protective armor didn’t cover, like its muzzle and front, there was short white hair that was almost bristle in nature. Sticking out of its behind was a stubby tail and the Pokemon had two triangular ears on the top of its head.
The Sandshrew put its nose in the air and sniffed lightly. Its dark beady eyes looked around itself and it made a small squeak as it noticed Leah standing there, arms held firmly at her side.
“Hey,” she tried to give it a smile, but it just ended up looking awkward.
“Shrew?” Sands said with a small whine as it gazed at her with no tiny amount of suspicion.
Sands the Sandshrew. Where should she start? For one, it was her first and only Pokemon and it was about five years old now. She got it when she first became a trainer and had kept when she quit being a trainer a week after starting. Truthfully, she didn’t want to keep the Pokemon, not wanting any reminder of being a trainer, but her grandmother insisted on her keeping it. Something about responsibility and all that rot.
“Guess what?” Leah said with mock cheerfulness, deciding to get down to business. “You’re finally going to become useful.”
It looked up at her and blinked.
She just sighed in exasperation. The Pokemon was just an animal with superpowers; she couldn’t expect it to understand what she was saying.
“I’m being forced to become a… trainer, again,” she muttered. “So…”
“Shrew?” Sands said.
Leah hated to put it out loud. Saying it just made it more real and saying it herself felt like she was admitting defeat. “Yeah, Sands. Me and you have to try this again. Right from the very beginning.”
Sands sat on its hunches and its ears perked up as chatter suddenly filled the air.
Her attention being caught, she could see that the kids that came out of the door were filled with a new type of energy as they pranced around in excitement. They laughed as they dramatically threw their Poke Balls to the sky and watched as the bright light came down and manifested their first Pokemon.
Leah wondered which of the brats would be hers. Maybe the blond one in blue or maybe the one with the Meowth? But no. She could see the Ekans kid pointing over at her to two or three of the kids that were crowding around the five teenagers.
“Sands,” she said without taking her eyes off the crowd. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
The dark clouds that had been looming over Pallet Town were completely forgotten in her mind. Her only thought was centered around a hope that the future would go smoothly.
Though, knowing her, it was doubtful.