A vibrant ray of brilliant golden light shined upon the land of Kanto, providing great sustenance for the array of beautiful flower beds dotted all around the hometown village of two of the future greatest Pokémon trainers soon to be; me, Ace Freedom and my buddy Ash Ketchum.
I took a long, satisfied whiff, stepping out my home with a mundane looking royal blue backpack strapped behind my back with a single white strap dangling horizontally over my matching-coloured t-shirt, "What a great day for an adventure!" I sung. An unzipped yellow hoody covered my athletic body, complementing my sapphire-coloured long shorts, white socks and blue sneakers with white trim. As the sun was beaming against my eyes, I wore blue-tinted shades, embellishing my white wireless headphones curled around my curly cornrowed raven hair.
My already fully evolved orange-furred starter chirped, unmistakeable yellow circles on each of her cheeks and bat-like ears making her recognizable from a distance, along with her thin jet-black tail with a bolt of lightning curled on the end of it, "Raichu!" Well, technically it wasn't my starter, per se, since I had found her years ago as a Pichu and raised her all the way to this stage, but I figured I would let the other kids hog the traditional starters.
Even for a small village like Pallet Town, there were still plenty of ambitious kids eager to step out into the wider world and given that Professor Oak only had a few Charmanders, Bulbasaurs and Squirtles to go around, it only made sense to leave one for another kid and set out with the Pokémon I had been training since I was five.
Ash still needed to get his male Pikachu and he would do, too, considering Mama told me at breakfast that Ash also slept in like me, learning this via his own Mama Delia over the phone.
"I packed two sandwiches in case you and Minnie get hungry later," Mama explained, coming to see me off. Keeping with the tradition of all moms from the game (plus Delia from the anime) being beautiful, Mama was a MILF most mans would like to smash. Better keep my eye on Samuel Oak. I know he's been around to Ash's when him and me were playing outside. Hahaha. Just kidding, probably. It probably wasn't like that.
Anyway, my second Mama wore a sleeveless cloudy blouse emphasizing her curves and watermelons, cladding her lower body with a long jean skirt with an apron wrapped around her waist. She straightened and curled her long, raven hair, tying it up in a ponytail and styling two bangs to fall either side of her warm face.
She reached into her apron and pulled out a pink case, "And here's some Quick and Heal balls.
"Thanks, Mama," I said appreciatively, taking it from her and peeking inside to see 10 sets of shrunken Quick balls opposite to the Heal balls Mama loved using as a kid herself.
She took a moment to admire her baby boy all geared up for his own grand adventure, soaking everything in with a wistful look in her glittery brown gaze. I couldn't say I blamed her, really. I was an only child, like all protagonists in Pokémon games, that she had watched grow up into a strong preteen boy. (I waited an extra 2 years before starting my Journey since my bro Ash would've been lonely without me).
There was a lot of pride but also sadness seeing me preparing to take off for the next year.
"Look at you, about to set out on your own journey," She declared, emotion beginning to seep into her voice. Me and Minnie chuckled, rubbing the backs of our heads sheepishly. She forced a smile herself, kneeling down and wrapping her arms around us, "Take care of yourself, okay? Brush your teeth, change your underpants and eat well everyday, but most of all, have loads of fun! So, you can come home happy and well."
I soaked in Mama's warmth, returning her affection. Minnie hugged her back too, "I will, Mama. We're gonna destroy the Gym circuit and win the Kanto Championship."
She giggled, pulling away and taking Minnie's little brown paws, "You'll take care your Ace, won't you, Minnie?"
"Raichu," She nodded, smiling.
I grinned, gesturing Minnie to the gate, "Alright, we're off."
She saw us to the gate, waving us off as me and Minnie walked in reverse to return the gesture. I could only imagine from her angle, seeing the magnificent sun cast behind us as our background, that we must have been quite a sight for her.
When Mama finally became a dot in the distance, we dropped our hands and faced the right direction, "Alrighty, then! Let's go make Mama proud, Minnie!"
"Rai!" She poached up on me.
We grinned at each other before I began sauntering off, taking in the feel of what had been the nostalgia of my second hometown. Although, the walk through town didn't take too long considering the village was only about the size of a small city block, comprising of about twenty buildings. I travelled up a slope; the village fading behind me in the distance.
I reached the top, turning back around and drinking in the scenery of my hometown for the last time. Professor Oak's research lab towered over the town from its high perch sat atop a huge lump of grass, classic windmill blow on top of it, 'Gonna miss this place.' I mused. I was starting to feel even more sentimental than I already was, "Well, Minnie. Take it all in. We won't be back for a long time, sis."
"Rai…" And that declaration made her just a wee bit sad, too.
Despite the excitement of getting out there and experiencing this vast wide world, we were in no rush to leave our comfort zone; taking the time to burn the image of Pallet Town's cosy environment within our ultra-secure one-drive memories.
After drowning in sentiment for an unimaginable stretch of time, we eventually made our trek down the beaten dirt path onwards to Viridian City, gaping in awe at the flocks of Pidgeys and Spearows flying overhead through the sky like the birds of my old world. The sight of Spearows, of course, made an important thought pop in my head.
'Hope I don't interfere with that one dick that tried to kill Ash and Pikachu.' That sounded all sorts of wrong out of context. Not that I wanted my boy to suffer, because I obviously didn't, but he needed that brush with death to show Pikachu how much he loved him. I couldn't rob him of that development, hence why we weren't travelling together despite being bros since we were babies.
That and he was surprisingly prideful and wanted to get by without his big brother.
I clued him up on his type chart, so he wasn't a complete noob like he was in the anime, at least.
"Raichu!" Minnie drawn my attention in a hushed whisper.
Good spot, girl. I nearly missed that similar four-legged violet rat tucking into an distinct oran berry with its buck teeth by a tree. Minnie knew the old slogan 'Gotta catch em all.' I just wish the writers realized this sooner instead of having Ash pass up on the many sick Pokemon he encountered in his journeys. He probably liked bonding with Pokemon before catching them and I hear that.
At least Goh embodied that slogan.
"Minnie, pass me a ball," I requested and she crawled over my shoulder, unzipping the front department of my bag and pulling out a classic red and white Poké ball. No sense wasting a Quick ball on a weak Rattata since they would only become available to me when I had six or so badges, just like in the games.
They were a precious commodity right now.
"Thank you." I said. Minnie zipped up the front department of my bag like the good girl she was as I clicked the button on the centre of the ball, enlarging it to regular size. Breathing in like I was about to make an epic pitch at a batter, I hurled the ball, twisting my arm while doing so and making it spin. It smacked into the back of the unsuspecting Rattata; Legends Arceus style, and converted it into red energy it sucked up with ease. Then it landed on the soft soil where the Pokemon had been, rolling once. Red flashed white with the familiar ding, signifying my capture.
"YES!" I roared in elation and Minnie jumped onto my shoulders, throwing her arms up.
"Rotom." My Rotom-possessed smartphone flew from my pocket in a Pikachu case, displaying and reading Rattata's dex entry aloud in an automated voice.
Pokédex No. 019
"Will chew on anything with its fangs. If you see one, you can be sure that 40 more live in the area."
"Good to know in case I find a Mankey. Easy training." I noted, penning its nickname when opted by the dex app. Normal Pokédexs were a thing of the past in the modern day, unless a kid came from a lower middle-class family.
I registered Rattata's nickname as "Bruno" because I disliked the Rattata evolution line and absolutely despised the horrific footballer, Bruno. Then I benched him immediately, teleporting the ball to Oak's lab. Oak can look after him for a bit until I release him later down the line.
"Raichu?" Minnie blinked at the blinding glow surrounding the ball, gasping when it dissipated.
"Don't worry, Minnie. Bruno's just resting forever on the bench at Oak's lab," I remarked. The reference flew over her head naturally, but she beamed anyway, "Now, then. Where do I find a Mankey?" Not like I could run in circles in some grass and hoped one spawned in front of me, like in the games. This was real life and mechanics like that didn't quite happen, meaning I would have to walk all around the area of route one until I found one. Hopefully.
"This is long."
I would like to think Minnie echoed my thoughts.
And so, the long hunt began; capturing a male Nidoran and a female Nidoran along the way, coining them Curtis and Izumi and sticking them in reserve for the time being. Coincidently, they were together snuggling so stealth-catching them with two traditional Poké balls was lightwork. I passed many Rattata as the dex indicated, which hurt my soul knowing a Mankey would've gained so many levels decimating their normal-type asses.
Man, route one was massive, unlike it was in the game for obvious reasons. The path to Viridian City was still a linear walk straight but the area around the designated road was gigantic. I had already swayed well off the beaten pathway searching for this fucking angry pig-monkey.
"Hm." A familiar blue sighting caught my eye, currently free of one short-tempered tomboy companion of my boy, Ash. 'Hey, this is where Ash met Misty for the first time in the anime.' Somehow she had the herculean strength necessary to fish a heavier boy out of the pond she had been fishing for water Pokémon in. How the fuck did she not notice Ash and Pikachu splashing in it was another jarring discovery, but whatever.
I wandered over to the vacant pool side, "Guess she's not here yet." I pulled up my phone, "2:40 now." Ash didn't get up until 4:00pm and had to run back home to change out of his pjs. Taking that into account, he basically left Pallet Town dragging Pikachu along at around 4:40pm, running into trouble with the Spearows and being fished out by Misty at around 5:00pm, I would assume.
It's safe to say Misty would probably camp here between 4:00pm and 4:30pm.
"Just musing to myself," I clarified, stroking Minnie on her favourite spot.
"Man, we've been here for 40 minutes just looking for this freaking pig-monkey," I noted. Sounded like me playing Scarlet & Violet. I just love how many Mankeys could pass by Ash during episode one of the anime yet I couldn't spot one.
Just my luck, I guess.
"Chu." She nodded.
"Probably not one here, I'm guessing," I relented, swinging my arms behind my head and walking away from the small pond. I doubted there were any Pokémon on its seabed, least not ones in sight since Misty didn't fish any up upon inadvertently saving Ash. Also, I didn't have a fishing super rod on me to prove since it I hated fishing with a violent passion.
"Chu," Minnie gave me a comforting pat on the shoulder.
"Thanks, Minnie," I said, wrapping an arm around her head and nuzzling her cheek.
"Raichuuu." Minnie giggled.
We returned to the beaten path just in time to see Viridian City come into view at the bottom of a long hill we stood at the top of, "Okay, time to get the first badge." My curiosity wiped away my confident smirk like colourful scribble cleaned off a blackboard, "I mean, if boss man is in, that is."
Giovanni was away in the Gen 1 games and this world was a combination of both the anime and the games; e.g Ash being a thing as well as TMs.
"Well, just gotta see, I guess." I motioned to move forward.
A lone bush to our left wiggling in distinctive fashion gave us pause.
Something sparkled like stars in the night sky, god's imaginary voice gallantly screaming in my ear, "Here comes your luck!"
An emerald-green ground-type mouse that should definitely not be green scurried out into the middle of the road on all fours, dropping my jaw.
With hyper-dramatic enthusiasm to rival old man Joseph from JoJo's Bizarre Adventures part 3, I bellowed his signature line, "OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDDD!" Startling Minnie so much she nearly fell off my back until she caught herself. "Holy smokes, bro!" The shiny Sandshrew just glanced at me, tilting its head. "Oh my god. A shiny, just like that?" I was hysterical, pulling out Mama's Poké ball case I hadn't put in my bag yet from my pocket on my hoody and drawing out a Quick ball, "Bro, I'm sooooo lucky!"
My excitement must've been piqued Sandshrew's curiosity, because they prodded toward us on two legs.
"That's right." I said, luring them over like a predator in the woods. This would feel all sorts of wrong when I would stop and think about it, but, right now, I only had one thing on my mind, "Come to daddy." I enlarged the Quick ball I was firmly clutching and just tapped it lightly on Sandshrew's head, not trusting my aim. The shiny Pokemon deformed, turning to pure energy before being absorbed into the ball.
I held my breath as it wiggled from side to side in the palm of my hand like a vibrator.
That 'ding' ringing loud and true whenever a capture was successful never felt so satisfying.
"Yesssssss!" I roared, "I caught a shiny!"
"Alright! Time to name it." I said, bringing up rotom displaying Sandshrew's dex entry with a picture of its shiny form.
Pokédex No. 027
"Its body is dry. When it gets cold at night, its hide is said to become coated with a fine dew."
"Interesting entry," I murmured, pencilling in his name on the second page. "J-e-r-r-y." A smile. "A special Pokemon like you deserves a special name." I pressed the button on the ball once more, releasing our newest team member, "Welcome aboard, Jerry."
"Sandshrew," Jerry answered, calm and nonchalant.
Minnie jumped off my shoulders, landing in front of Jerry and engaging him in animated conversation. Probably the closest I would ever get to a crossover pairing between Minnie Mouse and Tom's arch nemesis/frenemy, Jerry.
A riveting discussion. Still, I could really see the stark difference in their personalities side by side like this. Minnie was the bubbly and energetic-type and Sandshrew was the calm and lethargic type. (Probably should've called him Shikamaru, then."
"Okay, guys, let's move out," I instructed.
Minnie took ahold of Sandshrew's paw, doing a number on my poor heart.
'Aw, they're holding hands!' I gushed, leading the way to Viridian. I checked Sandshrew's summary before putting my rotom phone away, "Hmm. Level 12 and a bashful nature, eh? Not bad, Jerry. That makes you the second strongest in the party behind Minnie." I only had two party members right now, but let's not sweat the details!
"Sandshrew," He acknowledged with a nod.
"Rai," Minnie smiled, happily guiding him forward with a merry spring in her step.
A peaceful air shrouded us, practically whisking us down the lengthy hill as though we were skipping down the yellow brick road, and that reference made me feel old. Our dirt rural trail came to an end at the bottom of the hill, resuming into a modern cement road; once more reminding me the Pokemon world was set in the past, present and future all at once like Dragonball.
"Hey," A familiar little boy approached me before we could traverse down the road leading to Viridian City, "Your Sandshrew's a different colour! That's so cool!"
'Hey, it's that kid from the game.' That one kid that stood outside the gate to Viridian asking for a battle after you delivered Professor Oak's package. 'Neat.' I answered, "Yeah, it's a shiny. I just caught him a few moments ago."
"Whoa! You're so lucky! I never get any shinys!" He dropped his head.
I chuckled, "Keep trying. Your time will come."
He beamed, "Yup!" He took out a shrunken Poké ball, "Oh, since you're here and all, let's have a Pokémon battle!"
"Sure, why not?" I smiled, looking down at Jerry, "Up for a battle, Jerry?"
He slowly lifted up his bulky, yet short arms, "Sand." He couldn't sound more unenthusiastic if he tried.
But it was a clear yes anyway, "Alright, I choose you, Jerry!" Jerry wobbled forward.
"Rai, Rai, Rai Raichu!" Minnie cheered.
"Rattata, I choose you!" The schoolboy declared, throwing out his Poké ball and releasing the aforementioned normal type upon it.
"Ooh. Not a wise choice." I quipped, "Jerry, use Rollout."
"Sand…" He intoned, curling up into a football and driving rapidly toward the opposition Rattata with speed defying his sluggish personality, flinging it across our makeshift battlefield with a cry.
"Ah. Rattata!" The Pokémon bouncing harshly and impacting the flat earth before us drew a gasp from the schoolboy, "Don't give up!" He encouraged, giving Rattata enough motivation to struggle to all fours despite being hit with the full force of a battering ram. It had spunk, but at its low level, it didn't stand a chance against Jerry.
"Rattata, use Quick Attack!" The buck-toothed rodent blitzed forward with untraceable speed, connecting its head into Jerry's white gut, staggering him slightly.
"Shrew…" He rose his little blocky arms, throwing himself back into his boulder and ploughing toward Rattata with double the speed and power.
"Rattata, look out!" He tried, but it was futile. Jerry was already crushing into his Pokemon, slamming it down with unrelenting force, "Rattata!" It rolled three times along the solid concrete, stopping motionless on its back with unconscious eyes, "No."
"And that's game." I flashed two backward peace signs, feeling a ping from Rotom notifying me that Jerry had gone up a level.
"Raichuuuuuu!" Minnie darted forward and grabbed Jerry's hands, trying her level best to hype him up with a happy dance. He still barely moved. Bless him.
"You're good, big bro," The kid acknowledged, ambling up to me and handing me my winnings; a measly 130 Pokédollars. He was a gracious loser, though.
"I just got lucky with the typing," I soaked it up.
"Yeah! I bet if I had a water Pokémon, I mighta won!" I shook my head, snickering. Credit to him, he looked sheepish over shamelessly snatching at the bone I threw him, "Hey, are you going to compete in the Pokémon League?"
"Yeah, yeah. We're on our way to Pewter City to take on Brock."
"So cool!" His gaze turned starry, turning my head left and right again. Kids were so easy to impress, "Maybe I'll see you on a stream of the Pokémon League next year, big bro."
"Maybe you will," I grinned, walking forward, "See ya later" I jerked my head in Viridian's direction, "Minnie, Jerry. Let's bounce."
12 years ago
"Is this… heaven?"
A tight space of pitch black surrounded my sight. I could barely move my limbs that felt strangely small, though I felt something warm and rubbery caressing my wet head? My bewilderment only increased when the sensation on my head began to pull me toward what I could only describe looked like a tear in reality, flashing a blindingly white light upon me so harsh it hurt.
'Ouch. It hurts.' I was bawling up before I realized it. I knew I probably died moments ago, but I didn't think my sight would be that unadjusted to heaven's lights. Was heaven always this bright or what? I struggled to even squint properly, feeling myself lifted into the air as though I weighed nothing, 'Huh.' I focused as hard as I could, trying to make out the gooey green blob in front of me, presumably holding me up.
'Everything is so blurry,' I mused, 'I think that's a nurse, though.'
"Congratulations, Mrs Freedom!" She said, cradling me in her arms and I began to clock, passed over to a dark-skinned lady drenched in her own sweat with dishevelled hair, "You've given birth to a healthy baby boy."
"He's beautiful," My supposed new "Mama" remarked, enveloping me in the irreplaceable love and warmth that only a true mother could. A ray of sunshine glowed so brightly on her countenance. "You think so, too, don't you, Choco?"
It then barked; a peculiar distinctive howl that I had only heard in one such anime. And even before my brain had time to input everything, an orange blob and a wet nose appeared in my vision.
So, I was in the Pokémon world.
It hit… different being in a real world based on one of my childhood favourite series, being surrounded by mythical creatures in place of ordinary animals which no longer existed. Mama's Growlithe, in particular, was always around and out of his Poké ball, treated like a regular dog with his own circular bed and "dog" bowl and everything.
He was a good Growlithe, too, always trying to keep me entertained and preoccupied whenever I sighed from boredom. He even let me mount him like a horse while he slowly trotted around the house. Like dexter said in the anime, Choco was as immensely loyal as his otherworld dog counterpart.
The eternally youthful Delia Ketchum occasionally popped over, having formed a kinship with Mama. Mama even took me to Ash's birth in Viridian when I was two, since there were no hospitals within our a small town of Pallet. Pregnant women usually had to call an ambulance or Pidgeot express, a friendly flying taxi service, to come pick them up from Pallet.
I popped on my sneakers, tying up my laces bunny ears style and standing up off the upraised step; Choco by my leg and Mama above us, "I'm off, Mama," I remarked, opening our white door. Mama was finally letting ne off the leash now that I was five again, albeit with Choco's supervision.
"Okay, dear. Be safe and steer clear of wild Pokemon." She instructed, "Though Choco will protect you if worst comes to worst!" She beamed, bending down to him and stroking the Growlithe's white mane. "Won't you, boy!"
"Growlithe!" He yapped, nuzzling her palm.
I chuckled, "I will! Back in a bit!" I jerked my head forward, "Let's go, boy."
"Have a nice trip!" Mama called over my shoulder.
A sparkling glow radiated brilliantly upon my little hometown, lending a striking sheen to all the buildings in my rose-tinted view. Breathing in clean unpolluted air sent a wave of contentment passing through my body, increasing the enjoyment of my stroll through Pallet Town. 'It's so nice and relaxing in the country,' I mused.
The village of Pallet was the equivalent of a Japanese countryside; with crystal clear rivers flowing seamlessly and a huge mountain even bigger than the giant lump of grass Oak's research lab sat on like some kind of guardian angel.
"Hey, big bro!" A young voice called me. I spun to my right and found a much younger Ash Ketchum approaching me on his red tricycle, baring his signature z-shaped birthmarks underneath his black eyes that matched well with his spiky raven hair. He wore a shirtless crimson-red t-shirt and sapphire coloured shorts, sandals cladding his feet without his trademark red and white cap.
He wouldn't win that until a few years later, unfortunately.
Ash Ketchum without his cap was just a cursed image.
"What're you up to? Come play with me!" He beamed.
A look of warmth descended over my countenance, "Not right now, little bro," I replied apologetically, tenderly petting him on the head, "Gotta run an errand for Mama. We're having a takeaway today. We can play after, though."
"Okay!" He accepted without issue. Ash was a good kid, "I'll be waiting!" He turned his bike around to ride off.
"Won't be long!" I assured.
"See ya later, Choco!"
I waved Ash off as he rode away, smiling down at Mama's Growlithe who yelped before continuing on our way. We strode up the hill leading away from Pallet and I took a moment to smell the roses from above, "Someday, I'll be setting out from here to embark on my own real life Pokemon journey." Bro, just saying those words aloud felt so surreal and exciting all at the same time.
There was a gait in my stride and elation in my eyes, watching the wildlife all round us while walking to our destination. I even spotted a Spearow resting on a branch, injecting a small dose of harsh reality considering what happened to Ash and Pikachu in the anime. It always amazed me that Ash didn't know what a Spearow was given that he lived and breathed Pokémon.
Did Delia never let him out of Pallet Town? I supposed it was a distinct possibility if you factor in the reality that Pokémon were dangerous creatures with powers far succeeding humans. (I was only allowed out because I had Choco by my side after all.) Not to mention your player was also forbidden from leaving the starting areas by the person guarding the gates in the games.
But Ash DID leave Pallet Town before his journey began, though. We saw how he protected Serena from a wild Pokémon like the badass he was at a summer camp outside the village during his earlier adolescence.
Surely, he would've seen one then, no? Answers on a post card, I guess.
The first season of the anime was rough, to say the least.
The lush greenery of the countryside soon morphed into white and grey when I stepped into civilisation; Viridian City being comprised of tall buildings and skyscrapers taller than anyone could see from a mile off on approach. It made me wonder how on earth it ever took Ash's Dad FOUR days to reach this point from Pallet when he started his own journey, according to Delia. It was only like 30 minutes down the road.
Maybe he got side-tracked hunting shiny versions of the local Pokemon around Pallet Town? I've certainly wandered off of the beaten path many a time playing Scarlet/Violet.
Still, the difference between Pallet Town's country life and Viridian City was staggering, considering the short distance between them.
The quaint environment and soundless air of the countryside instantly transformed into a bustling city state of suburban life. Loud engines revved through the air, polluted from the vehicle's fumes and a power plant powered by the Magnemite line as per the sign that hung above the building was telling me. Mankind had even found a use for Koffing and Weezing's poison gas, using a radiator-shaped machine they poured their gas into which then got converted into pure fuel for drivers to pour into their car.
'People and Pokemon sure found some unique ways to coexist.' I mused, blinking at a petrol station's Koffing inside a cubicle and farting out its gas, concealing it from view briefly until the cloudy substance was vacuumed up into a hose connecting the cubicle and the strange device.
'Kinda uplifting to see considering what happened in Legends Arceus.' I smiled, resuming my trek. I found a chip shop labelled chippy, 'Riveting name.' I snickered, "Be right back, Choco."
"Growlithe!" He nodded, taking up a spot on his haunches beside the door.
I stepped in, ordering a Donor Kehab and chips for myself and Mama. Thankfully, I didn't have to worry what Pokemon was in a Kehab this time since this store used substitute meat in place of Pokemon meat, though they did have some nutritious moomoo milk; the all revitalizing daily goodness that perked your Pokemon right up in the games.
Lemme tell you, it was a good stuff.
I bid the owner and his Houndour a day after receiving my order, ambling out of the restaurant, "C'mon boy," I nudged my head, "Let's move out."
"Growlithe!" He barked.
The noisy everyday hectic city life soon faded behind us, and, upon reaching the summit of the long slope leading back to the country, the quiet ambience and soothing smell of the flower beds planted here and there emerged around us.
'Never thought I'd come to love the country more than I do the city, being a Birmingham-boy originally.' I wore a tranquil smile all through my supremely relaxed stride. I found feelings of nostalgia swelling up in me; of a time when I played Fantasy Final X as a kid in my past life strolling nonchalantly across Besaid Island, just listening to its calm melody.
Engrossed in my own world as I was, it made the sudden pull back to reality that much more jarring.
"Whoa!" I practically jumped out of my skin. "That scared the bejeebers out of me!" Choco sighed, drawing a sheepish chuckle from me.
I looked left where the startling groan of a hungry stomach had come from; a rustling bush, "Hmm?"
"Pic…" A depressed voice escaped its thorny surface.
"Pic?" I blinked, eyes widening wide when a triangle-shaped paled yellow ear with black trim poked itself through, "Oh!" A little Pichu crawled out of the bush, looking exhausted and miserable. Watery fluids began to gather within its black irises, "Pichuuu…"
My heart fluttered, "Oh, no. It must be hungry." I took a step toward the fallen Pokémon, but Choco circled in front me, barring me with a stern glare, "Boy?"
He growled, barking away, "Growlithe!"
I couldn't fault him. He was only doing as Mama instructed him to and Growlithes were super obedient by nature. Still, I had to convince him to let me past, "It's okay, boy," I kneeled, holding his fierce gaze with steadfast resolve.
He whipped his head from left to right, making the point clear that it wasn't okay, "Growl!"
"I know," I assured, tenderly cupping his white mane, "Mama told you to keep me away from any wild Pokemon, because they're dangerous, right?" He nodded, "But, level with me, do you really think that little guy is dangerous?" I directed his gaze to Pikachu's unevolved form and he turned his head, taking in the heartbreaking sight before us.
"Pica," It sobbed, laying on its belly, "Pic…"
"Because I don't." Choco turned back to me with a softened gaze of clear sympathy, finding hard, steel-like resolve glittering within my brown orbs, "It's just hungry, and I'm sure we can both empathize, so please!" I took his furred cheeks in my palms, "Trust me!" My voice rose an noticeable octave with my plead, "I know you love me and I love you, too," I awarded him a warm smile and we could see each other's reflection in our eyes, "So, please."
A moment passed.
And then a single paw rose, soon followed by the others and Mama's Growlithe eased aside.
My smile warmed in gratitude, "Thanks, Choco." I patted him and he took the opportunity to wet my face.
I chuckled, quickly raising back up to full height and walked over to Pichu.
"Pic?" It perked up.
"Hey, Pichu!" I greeted brightly, crouching, "Are you hungry?"
A nod, tears gathering in its eyes, "Pic."
"Would you like to come to my place and have dinner with us?" I asked, slapping my carrier containing my order, "I have yummy food. You can have some if you like."
The Pichu shot me a hopeful look, essentially screaming "Can I?"
A giggle escaped my lips, "Of course!" Pichu beamed, using its back-up energy reserves to leap into my torso. My tender-hearted gaze descended over the electric rodent like snowfall, "There, there. I know it must've been scary being all alone." I scooped Pichu up, ushering Growlithe along, "Let's roll, Choco."
Pichu rocked in my arms with bubbly anticipation, pink pouches flaring.
I laughed, 'It's so cute!~' A frightening thought of the future occurred to me, 'What if this is-?' My heart stopped, remembering Pikachu's added backstory in Pokemon Journeys. I looked over Pichu, clicking my teeth silently. There was no visual indication to determine a Pichu or Raichu gender like there was with Pikachu's tail.
I just had to ask, wetting my lips, "Hey, Pichu." It perked up at me, "Are you a girl or boy?" I held up one finger of my bag-filled hand, "Nod once if you're a girl," I rose another, "Or twice if you're a boy."
A paw latched on my fingers, stopping my breathing; that was, until she pushed down my middle finger, leaving one remaining, "Pica!" She sung.
I exhaled, relief pouring through me, "So you're a girl, then!"
"Pica!" She nodded once elatedly.
Thank heavens for that. Last thing I wanted to do was steal Ash's Pikachu by mistake. Ash was the hero of my childhood. I could never take any of his Pokemon.
"Okay, with that sorted, let's book it home and eat!"
Species: Raichu - Level: 55 - Nature: Adamant - Moveset: Thunderbolt - Light Screen - Double Team - Focus Blast
Species: Sandshrew: Level: 13 - Nature: Bashful - Moveset: Rollout - Sand attack - Poison Sting - Defense Curl