Isekai stories are such a divisive genre.
People love them, people hate them. They can be diverse, or derivative. No matter how strange or unique an Isekai might be, they always have a common beginning. Whether or not a god/goddess or king/queen is there to greet them and fill the protagonist in on the going-ons of the new life they would lead is completely up in the air.
Unfortunately for me, no such being was there to greet me. I had gone to bed at the usual time, having fallen asleep to a V-tuber I had come to enjoy watching as a guilty pleasure.
I am die. Thank you forever.
Thankfully, I didn't have to know what dying felt like to get here, unless I had died in my sleep… but let's try and remain optimistic for once…
Pushing that morbid thought aside, it was a jarring and surreal experience opening your eyes to an overcast bustling cityscape that appeared to be in the fits of evening as people milled about their day to day lives, completely unaware that a proverbial alien had invaded their midst. And before I could do the cliché thing where you pinch yourself to see if you're dreaming I felt someone bump into me as they rushed past me.
That sudden jostling did the trick and I could confirm I wasn't having a weird dream. I began to look around at my surroundings. Surprisingly, the first thing that caught my eye wasn't the scenery which looked similar to what I was used to, but rather the people or rather the things that walked alongside people and perched on their shoulders. Big round pink blobs, yellow rats, birds, blue cats, all sorts of strange animals I had never seen before.
At least I thought I could claim that, except I recognized each one after thinking about it. Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Starly, and a Shinx were the Pokémon that I could identify. I gawked at them all in amazement as they moved about in an uncanny life-like fashion for them to be simply animatronics, not to mention having so many at one place would be far too costly for something as dumb as a prank.
I looked down at my attire to see I was wearing a hoodless high collar red jacket with a black shirt and a matching pair of black jeans.
I definitely don't remember wearing this when I fell asleep.
Whoever had the bright idea to drop me here at least had the decency to keep me from coming here with my night clothes on.
I checked the pockets of the jeans and jacket. All I got from that endeavor was a small cherry topped orb with a milky white bottom in my front jacket pocket.
"Wait… is this…" I pressed the button on the middle and saw it expand in my hand in amazement as physics was being defied in front of my own eyes.
A single Pokéball was all I had on my person.
That's not foreboding at all…
I started moving my feet with no planned destination in mind as I started thinking about what to do. I thought better when I walked, you see.
Okay, I just gotta calm down and analyze the situation. You're good at that. Heck, that might even be your only redeeming quality.
First things first, I was somehow isekai'd straight to the Pokémon universe for unexplained reasons, with a Pokéball tucked away in one of my pockets.
Insinuating that whoever brought me here wants me to catch or train Pokémon. I was never really big on the whole 'gotta catch'em all' thing, so I hoped it was the latter.
As for culprits, there aren't any humans that exist within this universe capable of such a feat as far as I knew, at least, not without those wormhole thingymajigs, which would probably require a lab of some sort I think. I didn't really play the 3DS games, so knowledge on that subject eludes me, and my knowledge on the Ultra Beasts only extended to competitive play.
A legendary Pokémon then?
The only ones that I think could be responsible for my current situation were Palkia or Arceus. Dialga and Celebi were also possible candidates depending on how the definition of time was stretched here. I suppose even Unown could be a candidate too, but that requires a high volume of them, which I definitely don't see around me.
As for motive, they're goddamn gods of the Pokémon world. I could not even begin to fathom their reasoning for bringing me here without any information. I could only conclude that it probably wasn't for anything fun… Either that or they were the type to play around with people's lives in amusement.
On another note, unfortunately for me, the Pokémon universe had a functioning government. Even if it was confusing as all hell how it worked, considering it's rarely talked about in any of the source material. At least the ones I've seen. I'm not going to lie and say I've seen everything Pokémon had to offer.
I guess I should be thankful that I wasn't taking part in a 'Mystery Dungeon'…
I'm getting sidetracked.
The Pokémon universe has a functioning government.
This means it has a functioning identification system.
This means I had no functioning identity here.
And this would look bad to a third party who had a functioning brain.
Sure, I could roll with the perception that since this universe was based on a children's game, it would have smooth brain people running about.
If I existed here then that means me and everyone else are on the same level. They knew more about how things worked here, actually. I'm the scrub.
This means I needed information.
Without money, this would be difficult to obtain. Perhaps they had a library around here? Speaking of here…
"Where is here?" I grumbled this question under my breath.
I heard the pained yowl of some creature come from further ahead of me and down to the right of an alley way.
Looking around me, my musings and straying feet seemed to have led me to what looked like a bad part of the city. I noticed ramshackle and abandoned buildings around me, graffiti littering the walls.
I heard some cackling come from the same direction.
I sidled up to the wall and carefully made my way over to the corner and peaked around to see what was going on.
There were three people circled around some sort of gray looking dog creature whose back was against a brick wall.
I squinted my eyes and leaned my head forward to get a better look.
The Pokémon was crouched towards the ground as low as it could, its tail between its legs in fear. I noticed some blood dribbling down its side from a fresh injury. It looked slightly malnourished, and its breathing was slightly labored.
I recognized the Pokémon as a Poochyena. It and its evolution were considered perfectly average Pokémon by most people's standards.
But screw those people; this one was a personal favorite of mine. And screw these guys for picking on it!
"Ehehehe, look at this mangy lookin' fucker." I heard one of them speak in a sinister tone. "So weak, he looks like he's about to pass out from just breathin'." No, he's going to pass out because you idiots are hurting him. Like, is this really happening right now? "What should we do with his one boss?"
Another one spoke up with red hair, presumably the leader.
"This one is worth less than the ball he'd go in."
"Well, if we can't sell it… then that means we can have some fun with this one right?" The crude one pulled out a pocket knife and extended the blade.
The red head merely nodded.
"Gotta teach it what it means to steal from us."
I had to assume it was food, since they were implying it could be caught, which meant that it was wild. It would have no other motive if it were anything else.
I took out the Pokéball from my jacket pocket. I wasn't going to be some heroic idiot and run at them and ask them to stop hounding the Poochyena, but I also didn't really want to leave here without it either. That would keep me awake for far too many nights, and that was far too much of a pain for me to deal with.
I had already started sneaking up to get behind them as they had been talking, making sure to hide behind piles of garbage and down other alleyways. By the time I was close enough, one of the ugly duckers with the knife was already making its move on the Poochyena.
From one of the alleys, I pressed the button on the Pokéball, expanding it, and with a silent prayer I threw the ball at the Poochyena.
My aim was true, and the ball bounced off the Poochyena's hide. This surprised the punks as they merely looked on baffled as the ball shook a few times.
It made that familiar ding I remember hearing in the show, confirming a successful capture, and, like magic, the ball lifted off the ground and returned it to sender. Which was pretty convenient, and I certainly wasn't going to question the absolute horse garbage technology required for such a thing to work.
We stared at each other for what felt like ages, their stances obviously hostile, before the one with red-hair spoke up with a scowl.
"Yo, asshole, you want to explain what the hell you're doing?"
I sincerely thought about what I wanted to say to them. Perhaps by saying something to make them not want to waste their time on me? But when I realized that they were probably about to murder a Pokémon in an alleyway, I decided it would be futile. Besides, I was a bit of an introvert anyway.
"No, not really!"
And when he opened his mouth to presumably announce his superiority and how this was his turf or some other horse garbage…
I booked it.
When I looked behind me after running for a minute, I found that these guys were actually ducking following me!
"The hell!? Don't you guys have anything better to do!?" I yelled out in disbelief as I picked up the pace, knocking over a nearby trashcan as I passed it to hopefully slow them down.
"When Ray wants somethin' he gets it. Ya dig!?" I heard the one with the knife shout behind me.
"Stop him with Supersonic, Zubat." I heard a new voice speak up in a calm voice. I heard a pop sound, followed by the shriek of what sounded like a banshee. I barely managed to round a corner before a wave of sound passed me and impacted on a nearby wall.
These guys were going to kill me!
I wasn't the most athletic person, but when that realization popped in my head, adrenaline and the need for survival came with it, and I used that adrenaline to climb a metal fence that I didn't even realize I was running into. I unceremoniously plopped down on the other side only to see one of them throw a Pokéball over the top of it.
Seeing the familiar blue cat take form in mid-air, it let loose a discharge of electricity at my position, and I managed to throw myself to the side of it. The lingering static caused my hair to stand on end as I pulled myself together and started running again.
I had no doubt that they managed to hop the fence with little difficulty, unlike me.
My heart hammered away in my chest as I looked behind me to see another of them pull out a Pokéball, causing my eyes to widen to the size of dinner plates.
"Someone! For the love of god! Help meeeeeeeee!" I didn't give a single crap how unmanly I sounded right then, as tears started falling from my face.
I was not a fan of dying.
Especially not in a world that I had only existed in for a couple hours!
"Houndour, Ember!" The one who I assumed was the boss, Ray, let loose a command as I instinctively stepped to my right to avoid it.
Thankfully, people had to give commands here or else there'd be no telegraph for me to use…
I felt intense heat blaze past me, hitting a nearby trash can, instantly lighting it up in flames. I shielded my eyes from it as sparks flew from it, and focused on any avenues of escape.
I would at least entertain the thought of sticking around to fight it out if I knew I would have the Poochyena's cooperation. Not to mention it was malnourished and probably wasn't even in top fighting condition.
Before I could ponder my options further, I saw a man further ahead of me with short black hair that jutted out to the side wearing an outfit that looked like it belonged on David Tennet.
He looked familiar to me. I saw him put a hand in his pocket and unleash the creature within. A blue frog-like creature appeared with a croak, it's height extending up to my shoulders.
"Halt! International Police Agent Looker. Any attempts at further hostility will be dealt with by my partner Toxicroak." The man shouted, while pulling what looked like a police badge from his coat pocket.
I remembered this guy! He thankfully didn't seem as goofy as he was in the games…
I gave the Toxicroak a pleading look to let me past him. It seemed to gauge the situation with a certain eye before nodding its head as I slipped past him and hid behind the Agent.
"Um, these guys are after me because I saved a Poochyena from their abuse." I explained as I held up the Pokéball containing said Poochyena. He nodded without looking at me as the punks didn't seem all that deterred after hearing about this guys profession.
"Yes, I heard your plea for help."
Oh, so screaming my lungs out was actually worth it.
"Zubat, Supersonic!" The one with the knife shouted out with a manic grin, blood lust clear in his eyes. Toxicroak responded by shooting a ball of purple acid from its mouth at the incoming sound waves, causing the two moves to collide and explode mid-air.
"So what's the plan, Agent?" I asked as I eyed the Agent with hope. He was the professional here after all.
I saw Shinx discharge another bolt of lightning out of the corner of my eye, only for Toxicroak to raise its hands in an x-formation, a green shield appearing before it. The bolts of electricity seemed to be absorbed by the shield.
"You caught the Poochyena, right?" He asked while keeping his eyes focused.
"Then give me a hand, I don't really like my odds here."
"What!? But I just caught it! I'm not even sure if it will list—"
"Do you have any other Pokémon then?" He questioned as if he already knew the answer.
"Then it will have to do. If you can at least keep one of them busy, then Toxicroak should be able to handle the rest." He reassured me. "Toxicroak, Sludge Wave to keep them busy!" With swipes of its hands I watched as torrents of purple acid were slung by the Toxicroak with reckless abandon, causing them to back up or suffer the wrath of a toxic tsunami.
Knowing that this was only to buy time, I quickly pulled out the ball and expanded it.
With a pop, I was greeted to a confused looking Poochyena, it started backing away from me in fear, not sure what to make of me.
"Hey, little guy, sorry to do this to you on such short notice, but if you want to get out of here safely then you're going to have to help out." I said in a pleading voice. I tried to recall what moves it could know. It'd been a while since I had played a game with them in it considering they weren't in Sword and Shield. Really, all I needed to know was one move at least to keep them busy.
The Poochyena merely looked to where Toxicroak and the others were and saw the humans that were trying to harm it. It merely shook its head at me in fear, not wanting to have anything to do with them.
This Pokémon was far too traumatized by them for this to work.
I went over so many lines I could say in my head, but they were either lies or sounded hollow, and too many of them involved asking it to trust me.
I shook my head in frustration.
"Hey, you were out here just scraping by on scraps left by other people, right?" I said in an accusatory tone. This seemed to get its attention as its ears flopped down in shame.
"That's what I thought."
I could see the despair on the creature's face, and I knew right then and there that these Pokémon were definitely sentient just like they were in the show. It probably thought I was going to abandon it right here and now to save myself, but it also didn't have the courage to stand up and fight for its freedom.
I crouched down, putting a finger under its chin and lifted its face.
"Look at me." I said this calmly, a cool expression on my face.
It listened as its bright ruby eyes timidly locked with mine.
"If you help me, I swear right here and now I will pamper you for the rest of my life." It tilted its head at me in confusion, probably not understanding what pamper meant. "It means free pets, free food, and free water whenever you want." To emphasize this I stroked the top of its head and scratched it behind the ear. It leaned in to my touch when I happened upon a hot spot.
"I may not have the food and water all the time, but I can guarantee you'll get first dibs when we do. The upside is that pets are infinite, I'll never run out of those." I laughed.
"And that's the promise of a lifetime. Though I suggest you act now, it's a limited time offer." I smiled as its eyes widened in surprise.
"So, what do you say?" I took my hand off its head and stuck it out for it to take. The sounds of battle faded away as even Looker's and the punk's orders were drowned out as I focused on the Poochyena. A feeling in my gut, almost like an instinct, told me that I was making history.
'You've passed, young one.' I heard an indistinct voice mumble in my ear, causing me to look around in panic, only to see Looker's back facing me.
I turned back towards the Poochyena to see a fire burning behind the hound's eyes, a soft paw in my open hand. It nodded its head in acceptance, and my shock was replaced by a smirk.
"The contract has been sealed! Now time to keep your end of the bargain! From today onwards a legend will be born!" I declared openly arms outstretched.
So I was a bit of a dramatic.
"Dream on, shit face! Zubat, Supersonic that stupid mutt." Poochyena merely ducked under the attempt of sabotage while I side-stepped it. Poochyena ran onto the battlefield, taking a guarded stance next to the Toxicroak, snarls coming from its mouth.
"Leave the Zubat and Shinx to me! You take care of the Houndour!" I heard the agent bark an order.
"Got it! Poochyena, Sand-Attack on the Houndour!"
"Get in their way, Shinx!"
The boss's two lackeys shouted out at once, clearly used to doing this, but before they could…
"Toxicroak, Sludge Wave around the Houndour."
This had two results.
Not only did it prevent either Pokémon from helping Houndour, but also limited Houndour's movements, allowing Poochyena to strike when it pleased. And, sure enough, a spray of dust was kicked up by the Poochyena and caught the Houndour in the mouth, causing it to hack and wheeze.
"Houndour, get rid of it with an Ember!"
"Poochyena, another Sand-Attack, aim for the flames!"
I smirked as I saw the Houndour breathe in and let loose another ball of flame. Poochyena's aim was true and the dust impacted with the flames before it could fully leave its maw, causing a miniature dust explosion.
Considering we weren't in an area with natural earth, I was curious how Sand-Attack would function, but it appeared that Pokémon could be pretty good at improvising.
This explosion caused the Houndour to be blown back into the wall of sludge that Toxicroak kept slinging all over the place. While the explosion itself didn't really do any significant damage, it's bout with the toxic sludge was enough to instantly knock it out.
I heard Ray curse under his breath as he returned his downed Pokémon with a beam of red.
The other two nodded, albeit the one still holding a knife (seriously?) did so reluctantly.
"Shinx, Flash!" The crazed one shouted dejectedly, as a sudden blinding white light exuded from the Shinx's tail, blinding me.
When my senses returned to, I noticed Looker had been affected as well, and the trio of hooligans were nowhere to be seen.
I stared up at the night sky in exhaustion, the twinkling of stars bright and shining.
A tell tale sign of a world with little pollution.
And so my first day in the world of Pokémon drew to a close.