Chapter 1: The Classroom
Great, great, you're back. Hope you haven't told anyone I'm crazy. You'll want to after I finish, but for now, give me the benefit of the doubt.
So, the most significant events today- or several months ago; hard to tell – began at math class. Mr. McDonald, my tall, friendly, commanding-voiced teacher, was standing outside the classroom door and talking to another teacher. I had come in alone, and when I did, Mr. McDonald held his foot out to stop me in my tracks. He nearly tripped me, and he handed me a sheet of paper. Thinking it was a quiz, I took it suspiciously and walked to my seat.
Garrett was sitting behind me. Curly haired, face brim with freckles, always a smile on his face. He had the sheet out and was grinning when I turned around.
"Seen the rules, yet, Arthur?" He asked with a knowing grin.
I looked at the classroom rules, which we had gone over several months ago. "Sure?"
He tapped his own sheet. "These! Check them out!" He was incredible excited, and I wondered why. I looked at the paper. Immediately, the bolded, underlined, italicized, 48-font words caught my eye: "Nuzlocke rules". I read the list, and my own grin widened as I went down.
"These sound suspiciously like a certain video game we play," I said. I looked to my left, to the classroom video game expert: Quinton. Quinton had a rounded face and a bulky body, and his spectacles glimmered in the sunlight. He looked somewhat sullen, but his foot was shaking in anticipation. "What say you?"
He turned to me and cracked a small smile. "I'm familiar with this," he replied. "I've done a Nuzlocke before."
"How is it?" Garrett asked.
"Incredibly difficult," he replied. "You have to grind so many levels, and you have to pick the right moves and right stats." He looked at the list again. "It's missing a rule, though."
"Doesn't seem too hard," Garrett replied nonchalantly. "Pokémon is never a hard game. And what's that about a rule?"
Before Quinton could respond, our classroom jock sat down behind him, saying, "What's this about Pokemon?"
Quinton turned around and pointed at the list. "It seems we're playing Pokemon this hour, Drew."
"Awesome!" Drew replied, throwing his backpack to the ground and fiddling with his earring. "Think you could give me some tips?"
"Sure," Quinton replied. Drew turned to talk to his friends, and Quinton turned around to face the board. I could sense the hostility. It had been going on for years.
The remaining seats filled up. Max sat to my right, and his wide-eyed face was as ecstatic as Garrett's when he heard the news.
The bell rang, and Mr. McDonald closed the door behind him. He had no sheets of paper left. For once, everybody was there that day. He walked to his desk and pulled a large, wide box and stood at the front of the classroom. The class, except for the rustling of paper as people skimmed the rules, fell silent.
"Who wants to play some Pokémon?" He asked. There was a large bout of cheering. Mr. McDonald was a friendly guy. We respected him greatly. We joked and kidded and had grand old times. He never raised his voice or got angry, and for that we appreciated him.
"Of course!" Called Max. "We're teenagers, aren't we?" The class cheered in agreement. If there was one game most of us had played, it was Pokémon. Even if we'd outgrown it by now, it was our childhood.
"Glad to hear it, Max," Mr. McDonald replied. "So I hope you've read the rules. We're going to play a game today. It will involve these objects and the sheet of paper, as well as your own knowledge of the game and your common sense. If you need pointers, I'll be happy to explain after everyone's settled. Now then, we pass out balls."
There was a great whisper at these words. Nobody even chuckled at the double entendre. Our minds raced with thoughts. Garang, the tall, athletic, amiable boy at the front was Mr. McDonald's first choice.
"Reach in the box, and pull out any random one," Mr. McDonald replied, giving everyone a sly look.
Garang peeked into the box, and gave one of the widest, toothiest grins I'd seen him give. He looked at the rest of us and said, "You're going to love this." He reached into the box and pulled out a Pokeball.
"Open it!" We called, as Mr. McDonald stood at Garang and waited. Garang opened the ball, and pulled out a coin. There was immediate disappointment.
"What were you expecting?" Mr. McDonald asked with mock annoyance. "I'm a school teacher. I can't afford real Pokeballs. They're far too expensive."
"What's an Oshawott?" Garang asked, as he held the coin to the sunlight, mispronouncing the name.
"Let's get our Pokémon expert," said Garrett, ushering Quinton forward. Quinton obliged, correcting Garang on his pronunciation and pointing out the creature's species, and some basics. As others weren't familiar with every Pokémon in existence, Quinton helped as best as he could, eventually following Mr. McDonald and checking every single one.
As he called out names, I started noticing a pattern. There were no limitations as to region or type. It wasn't just the fifteen starters who were chosen, although they certainly were. All thirty Pokémon chosen were the first evolutions of three evolution trees. For example, when Quinton got his Pokémon, he smiled at his choice: A Beldum.
"One of the greatest Pokemon in the game," he explained.
"Well aren't you lucky," I replied.
Drew was as confused as Garang was with his Pokemon. "Looks like a duck," he joked as he handed Quinton the coin.
"Magby," Quinton explained, as Mr. McDonald moved to our row. "Powerful fire type. If you remember Magmar, it gets even more powerful."
"I think I remember that episode," Drew reminisced.
Garrett had gotten a Ralts, and he knew enough to know that this was a lucky deal. When Mr. McDonald came to me, I wasted no time in getting mine. Quinton, Garrett, and Max all leaned in as I opened mine.
"Charmander," Max grinned. "Arthur, you lucky son of a gun." He had gotten a Trapinch, and he was disappointed.
"Flygon isn't the greatest," Quinton agreed. "But it's powerful once you get the right moves."
All of the Pokeballs had been passed out, and Mr. McDonald tossed the box aside. "So, you all have your Pokemon," he began. "Now, we're going to be going on a field trip to a faraway land called Kanto. When we get there, I'll explain all I need to know. But, for now, I'd like for you all to take a nap."
We looked at each other in confusion, and then that angelic snap. It sounded like a choir had descended from the heavens and was singing a soothing, beautiful melody which lulled us into a deep sleep. I wasn't tired before the snap, and at the time I wasn't even aware Mr. McDonald had done anything. It happened so quickly. One second, I was wide awake, and the next, my head felt like lead and it had collapsed onto the pillow of a desk.
When I woke up, I was lying in a grassy field. The wind blew strongly, bringing with it a cooling air which helped immensely, as the sun was beating down on me with intense heat. I lifted my head slowly, feeling slightly nauseous, but otherwise in fine shape. My classmates were lined up, and most were unconscious. Drew had woken up, and he was kneeling by his friends and shaking them awake. I did the same with mine.
As the others awoke, I turned to see Mr. McDonald standing and facing us with a stern look on his face. Other than that, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, but when I did a double take, I noticed he was now wearing a long, white lab coat and small spectacles that reflected the sun.
"Hey, look," I said to the groggy Garrett, pointing at Mr. McDonald. "It's Oak. Only young."
Garrett blinked a few times. "I see the resemblance. Where are we?"
I shrugged. Finally, everyone had woken up, and we were all facing Mr. McDonald expectantly.
Mr. McDonald cleared his throat and stepped forward. "Each of you has on you three things. Each of these objects is essential to you completing this task. I cannot stress this enough. You must not lose any of them. This, of course, means that several of you will lose several of them. In fact, I guarantee it. But to those competent enough to remember: remember these items."
"You know this is kidnapping, right?" One of the Drew's friends called.
"It's not kidnapping if you're willing to go," Mr. McDonald replied.
"Well, technically that's not-"
"This is Kanto," Mr. McDonald said with finality. "You'll want to go." He stepped closer. "Now, item one-" he pulled a Pokeball out of his pocket. "You will want to open these."
There was a rustling as people pulled miniature Pokeballs out of their pockets. There was a collective wisp of air as the white button was pressed and the balls grew in size, and then a large, almost deafening stretch of the futuristic laser-like noise as people repeated the press. White light shot out from each Pokeball and culminated into the appearance of the respective Pokemon.
…is what I would have said, had there been Pokemon in each ball.
"Mr. McDonald," said one girl with disgust. "What is this?"
"This is a Moemon," Mr. McDonald replied, picking up his own. It was wearing a leaf on its head and was wearing a blue dress. "It would have been a Lotad, had it been a Pokemon."
We didn't know what to make of this. I myself was looking at my own Charmander with confusion. She, however, was looking at me in awe and fascination. She had large, red eyes and was wearing an orange hoodie which covered her whole body, equipped with a tail with a small flame at the tip. She was one of the most adorable creatures I'd seen in my life, and it took me a while to realize this.
"These are little girls," continued the girl. "And you want us to travel with them?"
"That's correct," Mr. McDonald replied.
"With all due respect," the girl said. "These girls must have families. And if we take them with us, who knows what some of us would do with them. We could misplace them or-" she paused, and gulped. "-abuse them. Not to mention, if I remember correctly, in Pokemon, the animals fight each other. And that's bad enough. These are little girls."
"I wanna fight," came a small, but confident voice. I looked at the ground, and my Charmander was looked at the girl intensely. "We… we're Moemon. Right? We fight."
The girl looked at me angrily, as if it was my fault. I didn't know what to do, so I walked forward and picked the Moemon up in my arms. She turned to me and smiled.
"Did I do good?" She whispered, grinning happily. I nodded and smiled and for the rest of the conversation, I held her in my arms."
"That's brainwash," the girl continued, still glaring at me. "You've done something to them, and now you're forcing them to fight for some sick pleasure. I want to go home."
"I want to fight, though," said the girl's Moemon. She looked at her master in anger. "Don't stop me from fighting. I want to fight and to become strong and be the strongest!"
The girl kneeled down and whispered to her. Meanwhile, Mr. McDonald turned to the rest of us and continued. "I didn't realize this would have such a strong negative feedback."
"She reminds me of my sister," said Max. "I wouldn't my sister to fight other girls."
Mr. McDonald looked to the side and thought. "I suppose these next thoughts wouldn't help matters. I suppose if anyone wants to fight, I'll let them. It is entirely up to you. But, if I could sweeten the deal, I would say that the prize for becoming the champion of Kanto will be one million dollars. Taxfree."
"Because that's believable," said the girl. "The reward wouldn't be worth the suffering."
"The second item will be a watch. No matter what your decision is, I'd like all of you to put the watch on. These watches are connected. They have a few apps. The first is the list of rules which I gave you in the classroom. Of course, there is an added one. But you can read it on your own. The second-"
"That's absolutely horrible!" the girl shouted after she read the added rule. "And it only furthers my point. We can't subject these girls to it!"
"We were happy about doing it to animals," admitted her friend. "It's somewhat hypocritical to be fine with the suffering if it was another species." The girl didn't answer.
"The second application is the location of each competitor. By clicking on their name, you will be able to see their Moemon's status, their location, and their position in battle."
"No privacy," the girl stated. "Even better!"
Many classmates were still skeptical, and many had taken to holding their Moemon like I was. Garrett decided to comment, "It's a good thing this screen is so large, then."
"Not the most comfortable watch," said Mr. McDonald. "But it's practical. The third app is your own status. Whenever you enter in battle, the watch's screen will change to fit the game's menu system which you're all too familiar with. This will show your Moemon's HP, your opponent's HP, each Moemon's type and level, as well as the PP of each move."
"Battles won't happen like in game, though," Quinton asked. "They'll be faster, and we'll have to think on our feet."
"Correct. The watch is more of a way to gauge whether you can win each battle, which will be important if you decide to pursue the challenge.
"The final object is the Moedex. This shows each Moemon you have caught and places them in your personal computers, provides a small description of each, has some helpful tips should you get lost or confused, and allows you to name your captured Moemon. I suppose that's it. I had thought I'd have gotten more positive feedback, but your choice is your own. I hope at least one person will participate, as I believe this will be a great learning experience. Any questions about strategy, please ask me. As for morals, I can see your point," he indicated the girl. "But I stick to my suggestion. I believe you'll thank me for this. Maybe. Someday."
My Charmander looked at me in confusion. "Why is Mr. Oak talking like that?"
"Mr. Oak," I chuckled, shaking my head in amusement. The Charmander continued to look at me, so I was forced to answer. "She believes that taking you from your parents and forcing you to battle is wrong."
"What parents?" Charmander asked in genuine confusion. She didn't show a hint of remorse, so I assumed she hadn't lost her parents, but that didn't stop me from wanting to cry. Manly tears of manliness.
And then I remembered the rules. There were five on the app. I checked them when I had the time.
Rule 1: You may only catch the first Moemon you find on a route. (And here, there was a list of all of the possible locations. Pallet Town was in red, the rest in green)
Rule 2: Name each and every Moemon. (I came up with Charmander's later)
Rule 3: No matter what you do or where you travel, you must go through the following routes. (And here was the same list as in Rule 1. Once again, Pallet Town was in red)
Rule 4: No matter who you travel with, you must do the following in order to complete the challenge. (And there was a large list of essentially every task in the original games, without sidequests such as the Sevii Islands or the Power Plant or Seaform Islands)
Rule 5: Moemon can die if they lose HP. Take care of them.