Gregory Robinson awoke, as he did every morning, to the gentle nudging of his pikachu.
"Alright, I'm up, I'm up," he groaned, exhausted and annoyed, "jeez, I don't know why I don't just have you sleep in the pokeball."
Once he was out of bed and at least three fourths of the way to being fully awake, he made his way toward the bathroom, but not before stopping to take a quick look at his 8 gym badges, which were hanging right next to his newly earned high school diploma. Back when he was 10 years old, he was considered one of the most promising pokemon trainers in his class. He had defeated the eight gym leaders and was well on his way to victory with the elite four. However, because of financial problems being faced by his family, and early developmental issues with his newborn brother Freddy, he had to retire to support the family. Now it was 8 years later, his family's financial troubles have long been forgotten and his now 8-year-old brother was in good health. At first he was certain that once he finished school, he would be able to continue his quest to become the greatest pokemon trainer in the world but now he wasn't sure what kind of a future laid ahead of him. The only pokemon from his heyday who he still kept with him was his pikachu.
Once he was done in the bathroom, Gregory went downstairs, his pikachu closely following him (his pikachu followed him almost everywhere), to the kitchen. When he arrived at the fridge he saw a note from his mother with a list of groceries to get while she was gone. He then made himself some pancakes, sat down at the main table, and started eating. About halfway through this, Gregory's little brother Freddy came downstairs and sat at the other end of the table, looking tired and relatively downcast.
"Good mornin', bro," Greg said, with some food still in his mouth.
"...Morning," Freddy replied.
"There's still some waffles in the fridge if you want," Greg pointed out.
"Thanks," said his brother, getting up to put some waffles in the toaster.
When he got back to the table, he sat down, petted Pikachu's head a bit, and starred eating his waffles.
After about a minute of silence, Greg spoke up, "So, I'm not sure if I've asked yet but... How was your last day of school?"
"Oh, it was fine," said Freddy, putting on a tired smile.
"Fine?" Asked Greg, "you mean, somewhat fine, or really fine?"
"Is there even a difference?" Freddy asked.
"A very significant one," replied Greg, "one I will happily explain to you."
Freddy sighed, "just fine, okay? About as good as the last day of school is known for."
"What I mean is," Greg clarified, "Did you make ANY friends?"
Freddy knew this question was coming. For as long as he could remember, Freddy was very shy around others. The only person besides his parents who he felt at all comfortable with being talking to and being himself around was Greg. Lately however, Freddy has been reclusive toward him as well, mostly out of guilt over his part in Greg having to give up on his lifelong ambition.
"Well," Freddy pondered, "I got Mr. Hurtz to sign my yearbook.
"Who's he," Greg asked, "your teacher?"
"No, he's the janitor," Freddy replied, embarrassed and defeated, "but he's very good at what he does!"
Greg sighed, "Fred, how many times do we have to go over with. Sooner or later, you're gonna have to learn to let other people into your life. I'm not always going to be around for you, and when that day comes, you'll need someone else to lean onto, okay?"
"Okay..." said Freddy
Gregory cared a huge deal for his little brother, and he wanted to make sure he overcame his shyness, so that he would be able to live a happy and full life. This has become quite difficult, with how little Freddy has been letting him in.
After he finished his breakfast, Gregory got up, "I got to run to the market. We'll continue this conversation when I get back."
As he went out the door (his pikachu perched on his left shoulder), he called back into the house, "I'll be back in 45 minutes! I'd tell you to stay off the computer, but I know you'll just do it anyway."
Freddy slightly chuckled at that as Greg closed the door.
Gregory had just finished his grocery shopping and he and his pikachu toward the exit from Viridian city. On his way, he came across some people who recognized him from his training days and greeted him. Just as he left the city limits, a pidgey swooped in from above and snatched one of the apples from his bag. Greg's pikachu then leapt of his shoulders and started chasing the thieving pidgey around the path.
"Pikachu!" Greg chasing after his pokemon, "come back here!
Eventually, pikachu chased the pidgey off the road into a forest entrance. Greg came to a screeching halt once he was a few inches from the forest.
"PIKACHU!" he yelled into the shady forest as loud as he could.
Greg had first heard stories when he had started on his pokemon journey, about the very forest that was standing right in front of him. How it was seemingly devoid of pokemon life, and how children had often been seen wandering into the forest, never to be seen again. Determined to find Pikachu however, Greg took a deep breath inward and anxiously walked straight into the mysterious area.
Upon entering, the forest gave Greg a disquieting sense of foreboding. The trees above let in just enough sunlight to see what was in front of him, and fog crept along the dirt like flowing water. He was so occupied with trying to find Pikachu, and keeping his own teeth from chattering, that he didn't even notice the charmander, bulbasaur, and squirtle watching him from behind the trees with great interest. Soon after walking around with little sense of direction, Greg eventually found his pikachu curled in a ball on the forest floor, lost and scared. Upon seeing his master, Pikachu, excited and relieved, leapt up into his arms and nuzzled into his chest.
"There you are," said Greg, "You really shouldn't run off like that, if you had stepped in a tall patch of grass, there's no telling what would have happened!"
"Pika..." Pikachu said, a bit shamefully.
"Now," said Greg, with a look of worry beginning to develop on his face, "let's see if we can find our way out of this place..."
Greg looked around the forest, every direction looking the same to him, and with no idea which way he came from.
"Well," he said with a false sense of confidence, "Let's just keep going straight, see where we end up, and figure things out from there.
With Pikachu safely perched on his shoulder, Greg turned around and started walking at a quick pace through the forest. About 30 minutes later, he stopped and sat beside a tree to take a breather.
"Well Pikachu," he said, "How long do you think until the missing posters start appearing?"
Saying that gave Pikachu a look of anxiety on his face. In near-hopelessness, Greg lazily let his head turn to the right. Almost immediately something different caught his eye. With newfound curiosity, he and Pikachu got up and looked at what appeared to be a modest sized but ancient looking shrine. Greg was no archeologist, but he could guess by the deteriorating textures and the moss growing all over it that it was probably over 5 centuries old. After pondering what purpose a shrine such as this in the middle of such a foreboding forest could serve, eventually, he cautiously walked in small steps toward the structure. With his Pikachu clinging tightly to his shoulders, he slowly began to ascend the small set of stairs to the slightly elevated center surrounded by four stone pillars. Looking up, he saw on the ceiling that was being supported by the four pillars, ancient looking drawings of people and all of the 150 pokemon native to his region, and even some he didn't recognize. Looking straight ahead of him, he saw a small cylindrical table, and resting upon that table, was a shining bright orange orb, giving off a shining light from within it's center at a slow but constant rate. He slowly approached the orb with a look of curiosity and wonder in his eye. Not sure whether or not he should try picking it up or just leave it there, he carefully hovered his hands over the mysterious artifact. Meanwhile, near the shrines entrance, the three pokemon that have been following him since he arrived in the forest stared at him from behind with a look of anticipation. Soon enough, Greg decided to try picking up the orb. Nervously, not knowing if removing the orb would set off some sort of booby trap, he placed his hands over the orb. Once he gathered enough courage, he lifted the orb 9which was a lot lighter than he thought) from it's resting place. About 5 seconds later, an orange glow, similar to the color of the orb, surrounded his body. Upon seeing this, Greg simply stood there petrified with fear. About a minute later, he glow dissipated, leaving Greg standing there confused and frightened. Just then he heard what sounded like a child's voice.
"What happened?" he heard the voice say, "Why didn't he change?"
"How should I know?" said another voice.
"Hello?" Greg called out to whatever direction setting the orb back down on the table, "Who's there?"
"I think it came from that way Greg!" said another mysterious voice, this one sounding very close to him.
"Who said that?" Greg said while looking around, confused, "Where are you!?"
"Can... Can you... Understand me?" the nearby voice asked in a confused and astonished tone.
"I... I think so," Greg tried saying to the mysterious voice, "Why can't I see you?"
"I'm down here," stated the voice.
Stopping in place, Greg slowly looked down, and saw his Pikachu staring back up at him.
"Now don't freak out or anything," Pikachu said, in what Greg heard as pure English.
"Pi-Pikachu?" Greg asked, freaked out of his mind. "Are you... Talking?"
"I... I don't know" Pikachu said, "I'm just talking the way I've talked for years!"
Just then, they heard a young female voice from the entrance to the shrine, saying, "The orb has given you the ability to understand pokemon language," to which Greg and Pikachu quickly turned toward the entrance to see the Kanto region's three most common starter pokemon.
The female voice came from the squirtle. "But it also should have changed him into a pokemon"
"Like it did to us," said a young male voice coming out of the bulbasaur.
"Yeah," said a slightly older male voice from the charmander, "what gives."
Confused, and desperately wanting answers, Greg interrupted, "Hold on, time out!" to which all the pokemon fell silent, "what the hell is going on?"
"What's happening," said a mysterious and mystic sounding voice from behind Greg and Pikachu, "Is that the chosen one has finally been found."
Upon hearing that voice, Greg slowly turned around to the orb stand, to see a celestial and ghost-like figure of the legendary pokemon Mew floating just above the orb.
"Are you-" Greg asked, astonished, "a mew!?"
"I am an echo," explained the apparition, "the remaining essence of that which once was."
Greg simply stared at the mew before speaking up, "I don't follow."
"I think it's a ghost," suggested Pikachu, making Greg seem like a complete idiot.
"O-kay..." said Greg, "so, what is this place, and why am I suddenly able to understand pokemon?"
"During my time in the mortal world," explained Mew, "I traveled the world and brought happiness to those who never before knew such feeling, by transcending the boundaries of form."
Attempting to comprehend what Mew had said, Greg simply looked at Pikachu gave a confused shrug.
"He turned miserable kids into Pokemon so that they could live a better life," stated Pikachu, annoyed at Greg's lack of understanding.
"Yes," stated Mew, "But whether you live a hundred years, or a million, the end always comes too soon. So upon my twilight, I came here to my personal sanctuary, and transferred my powers of metamorphosis into the orb that lay before you. Now any human who touches it, shall be transmogrified into the pokemon that best fits their soul."
"Wait," said Greg, pointing to the three pokemon standing at the entrance watching him, "so these pokemon, were once human?"
"These children, have all spent their days of humanity either alone, or unloved," said Mew, "They each eventually wandered into this forest, only to discover this shrine, and be transformed by the orbs magic."
"And the pidgey that flew in here?" asked Greg.
"That was probably just a pidgey," explained the bulbasaur.
"Wait," said Greg, "I touched it, and I'm still human, I think"
"Yes, you are still Homo-sapien," Mew assured Greg, "you see, I put my unique magic into the orb, so that one day, a human would come along, whom the orb would deem worthy of continuing my legacy. Someone who would be able to take the orb from its confines, and search for those who are in need of a true family."
"So," Greg pondered, "Is that why I am able to understand Pokemon"
"This ability will be essential," stated Mew, "If your are to communicate with the children you have changed."
"Now, hold on," said Greg, ""I'm not sure if you have noticed, but I am not exactly 'Chosen One' material."
"We all have parts of ourselves that we are yet to discover," stated Mew.
"Look," Greg sighed, "I'd love to help you out, I really would, but I haven't traveled with pokemon in over 8 years, and I have way too much on my plate as it is. I can't do whatever it is you expect of me. If this 'Chosen One' does exist, he's certainly not me.
"You may be hesitant now, Gregory Robinson," Mew assured, "but soon, you will come to embrace your destiny."
"I'm sorry," Greg sincerely said, walking away with Pikachu already perched on his back, "but I don't believe in destiny. Not anymore."
As he began his walk from the shrine toward what he hoped was the entrance to the forest, the charmander snuck the orb into one of his lower vest pockets. The three pokemon/former humans watched Greg walk away, hopeful that he would change his mind.
It took almost an hour, but Greg and Pikachu finally made it out of the forest, and miraculously, right where they entered.
Greg simply stood there relieved, and muttered, "that was without a doubt the most bizarre 17 minutes of my life..."
As Greg began his walk back to Pallet town, he noticed Pikachu giving him a dirty look.
"Now don't give me that, Pikachu," Greg said, "you know as well as anyone I'm the last person who would be cut out for a ridiculous task such as that."
"This is coming from someone who was able to beat the Viridian Gym with just a rattata and a butterfree," Pikachu stated.
"We were different people back then, times have changed." Greg admitted.
"Greg," said Pikachu, "You might have been able to convince yourself that you're a different person now than you were then, but in all the years since you retired, I've known that the little boy who dreamt of traveling across the world, discovering and training new species of pokemon."
Greg simply sighed and muttered to himself quietly, "I can't believe I'm arguing with a mouse..."
"I heard that!" exclaimed pikachu.
When Greg finally got home, he walked into the kitchen, exhausted, and trying to think of what he would say to mom to explain why he had no groceries. When Pikachu leapt off his shoulder and onto the ground, Greg removed his vest and hung it on the side of one of the chairs. When he sat down on the couch with a newspaper and a pen (Greg had been looking for a job since graduating High School),
Freddy walked into the room.
"Where have you been all day?" Freddy asked, a bit frantically.
"Just getting the groceries," Greg answered, deciding to keep the whole experience to himself for now.
"You were gone for 4 hours! Freddy stated, "I was just about to call the cops."
Upon hearing that, Greg slowly turned his head over to his brother, with a look of frustrated astonishment.
"You should have called them after one hour!" exclaimed Greg.
"I thought whatever you were doing was your business," Freddy said defensively.
"Well, believe me," said Greg, turning back to his paper, "there is some business I could really do without."
Annoyed with his older brother's response, he looked over to his discarded vest as an orange glow from one of the pockets caught his eye. Being as curious as he was, he reached his hand into the pocket and pulled out the orb.
"What's this?" Freddy asked
"What's what?" asked Greg, not looking away from his paper.
"This round, glowing thing." Freddy answered, not noticing the orange glow beginning to take shape around him.
"The what?" said Greg getting up and turning around thinking to himself that it couldn't possibly be the same orb?
When Greg saw his brother with the orb, both glowing orange, it confirmed his suspicions.
"Where did you get that...?" said a surprised Greg.
"I found it in your vest." Freddy answered.
As Greg came over and took the orb from him, Freddy finally noticed the glow surrounding him.
"What's happening!?" Freddy exclaimed, panicking.
Soon, Freddy felt a strange itchy and tingling feeling spreading around his feet. He took off his shows and socks to see what looked like the beginnings of brown fur growing over his feet. Horrified, Freddy, Greg, and Pikachu watched, as brown fur continued to grow on both his feet, until not of speck of human skin was visible. As the fur started to continue up his legs, his feet began to reshape themselves, five toes turning into three, until they were canine like in appearance. The fur continues up into his shorts and up to his thighs. Freddy then felt a large discomforting feeling in his legs, as through his bones were shifting and changing. Soon he could no longer stand upright, and fell onto his upper arms. With his complete bottom half completely unrecognizable, his shorts and underwear fell to his feet, revealing the beginnings of a tail. His entire body then began to shrink, his shirt becoming more and more baggy on him. As the fur spread up his hips, making its way to his arms, his tail began to grow into a puffy, brown, fox-like tail, with a dab of lighter brown at the tip. The fur began to spread down his arms and all the way to his hands, which suffered the same fate as his feet. Still shrinking, his arms and legs shortened until they supported his body in a textbook quadruped position. The transformation then reached his neck, with a small blond mane covering it. Finally, the fur reached his head, completely covering it. As this was happening, Freddy, felt the most nauseated he ever felt in his life as his head shrank to accommodate it's new body, his back teeth reshaped into fangs, his nose turned small and black, and his ears moving to the top of it's head, both growing long and pointy. Then it was over.
Greg and Pikachu just helplessly stood by and watched as this happened, and were soon standing in front of a pile of Freddy's former clothes, with a small mass moving within his shirt.
Soon, the small mass was able to free itself from the oversized shirt, revealing a scared looking eevee, on the verge of tears.
"What-" Greg heard Freddy's voice mumble from the eevee's mouth, "What happened to me!?"
"Now, don't freak out or anything," assured Greg, kind of freaking out himself, "but I think you're an eevee now."
"Well, I can see that!" Freddy snapped back, "but why!?"
"Now, Freddy," said Pikachu, Freddy now able to understand him not that he himself is a pokemon, "just calm down, and we will explain everything."
Hearing his brother's pokemon speak English, along with his earlier transformation, made Freddy faint.
"Well this is just great," exclaimed Greg sarcastically, "can this day get any worse, or awkward?"
"Greg! Freddy! I'm home!" he heard his mother's voice say from the front door.
"Oh, crap," muttered Greg worryingly.
When his mother came into the room, she saw her older son and his pikachu looking at her sweating, her younger sons clothes scattered over the floor, and an unconscious eevee lying near them.
"Gregory," she asked, "Where did you get that eevee, and what's your brother's clothes doing on the floor?"
Gregory, not having had enough time to contemplate what to say, just smiled nervously and said, "okay, you're gonna think this is hilarious..."
Greg then told his mother the entire truth. Let's just say she didn't think it was hilarious... at all.
The shine was surprisingly a lot easier to find a second time. He and pikachu ran up the steps, to the empty table where they first found the orb. They both just stood there not knowing what to do next.
"Hello?" Greg called out, "Mew, are you there."
After a few seconds, nothing happened.
Greg just looked over and down to Pikachu and said, "So what are we supposed to do, knock?"
"Hello, Gregory," Greg heard the Mew say.
He then looked toward the spot above the table to see the apparition from before, looking down at him.
"Oh," Greg said, "hello... weird, ghost, mew... thing. I have a problem"
"Your little brother has been changed by the powers of the orb?" said Mew.
"Well," Greg stammered, "yeah, and I need to know if there is a way to change him back."
"The power to change man into pokemon and pokemon into man are both powers I have possessed," stated Mew, "but still two different things. Therefore, where one orb has the power to do the former, another has the power to do the latter."
Greg just stared for a while and said, "Honestly, I can never understand half of what you're saying."
"He's saying there's another orb that can change him back." Pikachu clarified.
"Unknown." Mew stated.
Greg just stood there with his mouth slightly open.
"Seriously?!" He sstammered, "How could you lose your own shape-changing orb, that sounds like a pretty hard thing to lose."
"I can only see within the confines of the shrine, and of the second orb has constantly changed since the time of my passing."
"Look," Greg stated nervously, "I can't go back to my house and tell my mother that her youngest son is going to be an eevee forever! She'll disown me!"
"I'm sorry Greg," stated Mew, "But if your brother ever wants to be human again, then his best hope is for you take on the quest in which I have bestowed upon you, and retrieve the other orb. Nay, the journey will not be easy, but it will bring you a step closer to a world, that deep down, you never truly wanted to leave."
With that, the apparition began to dissipate.
"Wait!" shouted Greg, but it was too late, Mew was gone
Greg stood there taking in the information he had just received. He then turned over to the shrines entrance to see the pokemon/children looking at him expectantly.
"Well?" asked Charmander.
Greg's mother was waiting on the house porch for him to come back, with Freddy, still an eevee, lying on her lap worried. Soon enough, they saw Greg returning home.
"Well?" asked his mother expectantly.
Not knowing what else to say, Greg simply sighed and said, "Mom, there's something I gotta do..."
Greg entered his room with a look of determination on his face and stood face-to-face with a small, medium-class wardrobe. He swung the doors open to reveal all his old pokemon training equipment from his hay-day, including his outfit. However, a look of surprised disappointment fell on his face when he saw that his old outfit was now many sizes too small.
"Mom!" he shouted downstairs, "I'm going to the store!"
Greg later came back with a similar outfit that was his proper size. Once he got it on. He packed all his equipment, and the orb, into his pockets, belt, or backpack. He then left his room to begin his long journey. A few seconds latter however, he came back into his room, having forgotten something important, and took his cap out of the wardrobe. He brushed it off and placed it upon his head. THEN he set of on his long journey.
With the pokemon he met safely stored in pokeballs, and his pikachu perched upon his shoulder (he was one of those pokemon that didn't enjoy living inside a pokeball), Greg waved goodbye to his parents, and set off on the same path he took 8 years ago on his first pokemon journey.
After he walked a few steps, Freddy came out of the house and called out to him, "Hey Greg, wait!" and ran after him, stumbling due to his lack of experience walking on four legs.
Greg stopped and looked over to see his little brother turned eevee approaching him.
When he caught up, Freddy said, "I wanna come with you."
"No, Freddy," Greg said sternly, "This is way too dangerous for someone your age."
"Look," explained Freddy, "I'm a pokemon now, I really don't have much I can do with myself if I just stay here. Besides, this way, I think you can really benefit from each other."
"But you can barely walk." Greg pointed out.
"I think I'm getting the hang of it." Freddy assured, before falling over.
Defeated, Greg just sighed, "alright fine." Greg picked up Freddy, which wasn't as easy since he was 7 months old. "But for now, until you get the whole 'walking thing' down, just stay in here." Greg placed Freddy into his backpack, with Freddy facing outward and holding the outside with his front paws.
With a final wave to home, he walked through the array of bushes that separated pallet town from the rest of the region and started a long walk on route 1.
Night had fallen and the gang had set up camp somewhere in the middle of the woods. The pokemon who Greg met in the forest were out of their pokeballs and were asleep next to a fire that Greg had made. Pikachu was also sound asleep near Greg, who was still awake in his sleeping bag, writing in his journal, something he did all the time on his previous pokemon journey. About when he finished his entry, Greg heard soft crying behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see his brother lying on his stomach, facing away from him, with his face buried into his front paws.
"Freddy?" Greg said quietly, "What's wrong?"
Freddy just got up, put on the best straight face he could at the time, and faced Greg.
"N-nothing," he croaked.
"Freddy," Greg said sternly, "by this point in your life, you should realize by now how terrible a liar you are."
Freddy sighed, defeated, "It's all my fault."
"What is?" asked Greg.
"Everything," Freddy admitted, "That we are out here on this quest, that I may have to spend the rest of my life as an eevee, and that-"
"And that what?" asked Greg.
"That you gave up on training pokemon in the first place." Freddy finally admitted. With that Freddy just buried his face into Greg's chest and started bawling.
Greg put his arms around Freddy and let gave him a few minutes to cry This was the most closure they had had with each other in over a year, and although the circumstances were bizarre to say the least, they needed each other now more than ever.
When Freddy was sufficiently calmed down, Greg looked at him and spoke up.
"Listen," he explained, there are a lot of reasons I stopped being a pokemon trainer. Thinking back, I probably I could have easily found time to continue my journey, but I guess I just lost my priorities. For someone who spent his time in kindergarten contemplating the difference between a metapod and a kakuna, that was very selfish of me. As for... This whole deal, I'm the one who brought that orb into the house, so if there's anyone to blame, it's me.
Freddy simply looked at him, feeling a little bit better.
"Look," Greg explained, "This is something I just have to do. I can't explain it, but, it's something I've always had to do. I don't know how I'm supposed to do it, or even how long it will take, but I just have to do it. Okay?"
"*Sniff* Okay." Freddy said, feeling mostly better.
Greg then gave his brother a gentle hug, which Freddy happily returned, tail wagging.
When he set him down, Freddy looked exhausted, especially considering his earlier crying fit.
"Now get some rest," said Greg, "we have a long day ahead of us."
"*Yawn* Okay." said Freddy, curling into a ball right next to his brother, falling asleep within the minute.
Once Freddy was sound asleep, Greg slowly laid his head on his pillow, looking up into the infinite abyss of stars, wondering what tomorrow, let alone this entire journey, would bring.
Will Greg ever find the orb in Cerulean Cave to change his brother back?
Will Freddy be able to overcome his shyness and finally make some friends?
Will the other kids turned pokemon finally find families of their own.
Will Greg get back in touch with his goal to become the world's greatest pokemon trainer?
I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA! -Max