(edit: rewritten at 27/8/2022)
When the wild Ralts agreed to join I kind of expected something to happen. It felt like it warranted any sort of action. Maybe a cheerful "Ralts joined your team!" pop up, or maybe some kind of flashy effect. It felt like a major step for me.
Nothing happened, not even a sound effect.
Ralts looked quite satisfied with its agreement, bobbing its tiny head. Or maybe it was just looking around, hard to say.
"So," I began to start my conversation with my newly acquired Pokémon. "Do you know how to battle? Got any good moves or hidden OP protagonist powers?"
Ralts titled its head, confusion written all over its face. I was sure it understood English.
"Raaaalts?" It asked, the sound drawn out like a question.
"You do know how to battle right?" I asked again. Uncertainty was creeping into my voice.
"Ralts?" It repeated with the same intonation.
I still had no idea how to Pokéspeak. But I could read body language and interpret the tone of her response. Reluctantly I decided to interpret it as a 'No'.
"You decided to join me without even knowing a single thing about battling and just thought following me was good enough?" I asked.
Ralts nodded excitedly. Guess Stockholm syndrome kicks in quite faster than I thought. To be fair though, I wouldn't want to spend any longer in this God forsaken forest either.
Or was it Arceus? Helix? Whatever.
"Okay, how to explain a Pokémon battle?" I wondered out loud; glorified dogfights with all the participants having superpowers?
"Well," I began, drawing from my own limited understanding of this world. "Pokemon like you team up with a human to fight with each other, the Pokémon fight while the humans give them commands from the sidelines. They fight together in competitions, tournaments and against random Pokémon in general." I tried to explain the concept as honestly and basic as possible, I wouldn't want to force a Pokémon into battling on a false promise.
"Ralts Ralts?" It sounded like a question.
I decided to interpret it as 'Go on, tell me more about it'. "Well, they do it because they like it, there is also fame and money. The Pokémon themselves seem to enjoy it too, I guess it's because they like to become stronger through battling oponents."
Or it's because they're all masochists. I decided not to share that perspective.
"Ralts, Ralts?" It pointed at himself and then at me.
I really needed Ralts to learn telepathy or something, guessing the definition of 'Ralts' every time was bound to cause some confusion. There was a chance Ralts was talking about the weather while I was monologuing like a crazy person.
"Yeah," I went on with my hopefully-not-monologue. "We would be a team, trying to beat the Gyms and challenge the league. Become the very best like no one ever was."
Ralts stared at me.
"Sorry," I chuckled, "Inside joke. You wouldn't get it."
"Anyway," I awkwardly tried to carry the conversation, which was hard. "That's my short term plan. Assuming I don't die on my way to finding civilization. Still want to join now you know what is required of you? All the fighting and stuff?"
I was a bit unsure, I had expected that all Pokémon would instinctively understand the concept of battling, apparently they did not.
After a scary silence Ralts surprised me by saying a cheerful "Ralts Ralts Ralts!"
I was 90% sure it was a yes.
"Well, that's nice." I let out a sigh of relief. At least I was not alone in this weird and very dangerous world.
"So...what attacks do you know? Got some special moves?" I asked.
Ralts nodded and walked towards a tree trunk, it took a pose in front of, retracted its hand and gave it a Falcon Punch…minus the fire, shouting and being effective.
"Ralts?" Ralts titled its head and gave me a confused look when it noticed my lack of reaction.
I tried to approach it carefully. "Do you know any Psychic or Fairy moves?" I recalled Ralts being a Psychic type, although they later made it into a Fairy/Psychic hybrid.
Ralts gave the tree trunk a weak kick and fell on its butt. Effectively losing to a tree.
I sighed. Well it did explain how it got harassed by the three Zigzagoon. I saw it use a Psychic move back there but it seemed weak. Was it a newly learned move?
"Silly," I smiled at Ralts, "you're not a close ranger fighter."
"Ralts?" Ralts turned to me. "Ralts Ralts Ralts?"
A new record...4 Ralts in one sentence.
"You're not supposed to fight someone close," I explained. "You're a long range fighter, a mage, blaster or zoner. Whatever you call it, fighting close is not your style. You strike from far away and avoid physical combat."
"Ralts…" Ralts answered thoughtfully.
Still no idea what that means.
I began considering how I should train Ralts...unless, a thought popped up. Ralts had two final forms, Galade and Gardevoir.
Gardevoir was a so-called zoner but Galade was a melee fighter with his Fighting/Psychic type. I hadn't considered that.
"Hey Ralts," I began awkwardly. "Quick question. Are you a boy or a girl?"
Ralts froze, it gasped and stared at me. Eyes widened, shock written on its white face.
"Uh…" I muttered, feeling I had just said the wrong thing. Just had to figure out what part of what I said was wrong.
"RRRRAAAALLLTS!" It said accusingly, its voice filled with disbelief. It even pointed its finger at me.
"A boy?" I guessed, 50% chance I was right.
"RAALTS!" It yelled, sounding angry?
"A girl?" I guessed for the second time. Ralts stared angrily at me. "A girl!" I said, "You're a girl of course." Well that it did explain a few things.
"Ralts!" She said angrily.
I groaned, "I'm sorry, Should've known."
Not really, I mean what was the difference between a male and female Ralts anyway? However, admitting my fault seemed to be a better idea than arguing with her.
Ralts stepped forward and gave me a weak kick. However due to her size she didn't even reach my thighs.
"Ralts Ralts Ralts Ralts." she muttered.
"Look," I said, "I'm really sorry for mistaking your gender."
Ralts stared at me and began muttering in her own weird language, it sounded like she was complaining.
"Come on," I cried. "What do I have to do to show I'm sorry?"
I learned a few things about Ralts, first off she really needed to work on her almost non existent move set. Second, she did not appreciate being mistaken for a boy and lastly, she enjoyed riding on my shoulders.
She had a satisfied smile on her face as she sat on top of my shoulders, cheerfully bobbing her head back and forth. At least she had stopped complaining and guilt tripping me. And I really didn't mind giving her a ride, she was not that heavy and it allowed me to think and ignore all the red flags.
Ralts would evolve into a Kirlia and after that into a Gardevoir. Right now she was still underleveled. If this were the game I would simply take her to the first patch of grass and grind until I was 15 levels above the wild grass Pokémon. Sadly this wouldn't work and I had to do it the hard way.
Assuming we would even be able to escape this forest, craft a believable backstory, get enough money to even start an adventure and not straight up die from starvation. Haha, gotta stay positive.
Still, Ralts was a good starter and she seemed determined to do her best, also she was a Psychic which was in my opinion one of the best types. Maybe not in the game but now? It was a blessing.
It was not powerful per se but it was versatile. I could play with the possible strategies it provided. For example a Fire type was pretty straightforward with what it could do while a Psychic could fuck you over a thousand different ways. Assuming the laws of this universe operated on the same principles that is. There was so much research to be done.
I of course will use every exploit and loophole I can find to cheat the system.
Also, black holes!
According to the Pokédex Gardevoir creates black holes to protect her trainer. Fucking black holes, in case you don't understand that would be like bringing a nuke to school because your sister is being bullied. Would I want that kind of power? Hell yeah!
"Ralts!" Ralts said, I really should find a nickname for her.
"What?" I asked absentmindedly, "You're saying I should find a Pikachu and spam down-B?"
"Ralts!" She insisted and she pulled a strand of my hair. That actually hurt.
I looked up and saw the white humanoid pointing forward with its weird hand thingy. I stopped moving and froze. There were sounds coming from ahead, was that coughing?
I looked up at Ralts and she looked troubled.
Making sure I didn't step on a twig, I stepped towards a tree and hid beneath it, trying to be as silent as possible.
I knelt down and grabbed Ralts from my shoulder and put her down. I motioned her to be dead still, but I think she understood that already. She had a nervous look on her face. She stared at the tree we hid behind, a second later I realized she was sensing something in that direction.
Empathy, I remembered, was one of Ralts abilities. If I were correct she was able to sense emotions from humans and Pokémons.
I had totally forgotten about it.
The coughing stopped and for a few seconds I heard nothing but the usual chattering of birds and wind blowing through the trees. But then I heard footsteps. They came closer. I didn't look but I knew someone passed through the clearing we were just walking through.
Taking a gamble, I took a quick peak and saw something you don't want to see on your first day in the world of Pokémon.
A Team Rocket grunt.
He wore the typical black Team Rocket uniform I had seen in the anime. He had a rough appearance. The kind of person you wouldn't want to follow you into a dark alley.
He was just passing by though, his eyes were straight ahead and slid past me. It looked like he was heading towards something judging by the fact that he did not even bother to look at his surroundings.
He had a Pokéball attached to his belt, though I saw he had no Pokémon out.
I held my breath and luckily Ralts was smart enough to stay silent.
The guy left the clearing and the drum of his footsteps faded into the background. I remained unmoving for several more seconds. Meanwhile thoughts were running wild in my head.
Ralts had detected the Rocket grunt before he was even in sight. This meant that her Empathy was not limited by sight and could potentially be used to detect our opponents location.
Did it work as a radar or something? If it did it could be used to track down Pokémon who were using Smokescreen and Dig. Hyper awareness of the opponent's position could be a huge advantage against Pokémon who liked to strike from the shadows.
It required more research though, test the limits and see how we could apply them. Putting those thoughts away I considered what to do.
"Ralts?" Ralts asked unsure.
"That was a Team Rocket grunt." I replied after double checking he wasn't coming back. "He works for Team Rocket, an organization who abuse Pokémon to further their own goals. They're evil." Or atleast, I assumed he was. I hoped my meta knowledge was still relevant.
Team Rocket. What a day this turned out to be. Did this mean I was in Kanto? Or Johto?
For all I know I could be in Galar and this was some stuff that was hidden beneath the lines of game dialogue. Best not to make assumptions.
"Did you sense his emotions?" I asked Ralts, she nodded and shivered.
"Was it bad?"
She nodded. I wondered what her standards for good and bad emotions were.
I looked up at the sky. The sun was on its way to descend. I had no clue how long the light of day would be able to aid us. I weighed my options before turning to Ralts.
"Well, what do you think we should do?" I asked. "We could try to find out what that guy is doing here. Though it could be dangerous. He has maybe some supplies we could we stay away and spend more time looking for a town. Opportunity or safety,"
If it were a video game it would be easy, go after Team Rocket. However I did lack any real resources. On the other hand, wasting more time in this forest was also not preferable. I was growing to despise it and I really didn't want to run around the bushes when night came.
Ralts must have sensed what I was thinking because she pointed into the direction the grunt had gone. She had a decessive look on her face.
"Okay," I said, "warn me if we get close." Ralts nodded and narrowed her eyes like she was focusing on something. Hopefully it was working.
Together we followed the trail as silently as possible. My eyes were constantly focused on the ground and the trees ahead. A hyperfocus that almost cancelled out everything besides my immediate area. Despite this,I almost stepped on a Weedle which freaked me out more than it should've but I managed to keep my screams internal.
After a solid 10 minutes of playing Metal Gear solid in the woods we finally found what we were looking for.
We found a river in a clearing. A spot devoid of trees. But that wasn't the only thing. Someone had set up a large tent, though it looked more like a small villain lair than a tent. It was the kind of tent people used at festivals. Big enough for like 2 or 5 people.
Ignoring the big red R on the side, I saw it was stacked to the brim with stuff one would need to survive and technological equipment. I did not even know what half of the machines he had did but it all looked expensive as fuck.
I saw Pokéballs lying on the floor along with a few empty birdcages. At least I recognized that. Everything here screamed 'Team Rocket Outpost'.
I wondered why they even put a big R on the side of the tent? Were they really that determined in branding themselves? Was the presentation such a big deal for them?
As I scoured my eyes widened when I saw an antenna sticking out of a device that suspiciously looked like a radio.
I could already see the opportunities. If I could use it I could contact the police and escape this damn forest. Settle and find more about myself, this world, and get started in this new world.
The question was...how could I do that without exposing myself and potentially dying?
A/N So I'm looking for a name for Ralts, anyone got some good ideas?