AGNPH Stories

The Human Species by RingsOfSaturn


Story Notes:

It was a quiet night when Deoxys descended from the heavens.
Believed to not be of this world, it went on a rampage, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
Finally defeated by an unknown force, the tragedy of unparalleled magnitude it created remains in the heart of every human.
To make sure that something like this will never happen again, every wild Pokèmon powerful enough to cause such mayhem must be captured, controlled or killed.
Needless to say, this year has been a bad year for Legendaries. This year has also been a bad year for Champion Trainers.
But my year... Has been... THE WORST! 

Extraordinary Eeveelution Astrid

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"Welcome to our base!" Astrid exclaimed happily, Lucario picking himself up from the bad fall. It was a fairly small and unremarkable cave, containing nothing but dirt and a few cloths of undetermined material in two of the corners. There were also one or two Pokèmon there, looking at them with interest. The walls and ceiling had large stems growing out of them which glowed strongly, seemingly illuminating the entire area.

The cave's ceiling was just barely above Lucario's head, making him not so surprised when he saw Connor walk past him with his head bent forward, heading for the corner to their left.

"Not our real one, of course," Zoroark said while tapping Lucario's shoulder, making him stumble forward in surprise, "A temporary one."

"WHAT THE F-" Lucario screamed as he tried to regain his composure, "When the hell did you...!? How the hell did you...!?"

"The time has not come for the battle against Entei. I waited until you were safe, then ditched him," Zoroark explained while brushing off soot from his left shoulder, most of it completely invisible against his black fur, "I would have been here sooner, but I wanted to make sure you all got in first."

"Zoroark!" the Lilligant exclaimed happily as she threw herself against Zoroark, "I was-"

"Please, later..." he responded calmly while carefully pushing her away, "I was struck once, and I'm a bit sore."

"Heh... You look fine to me," Lucario said, about to pat his shoulder before abruptly stopping himself, feeling embarrassed as Zoroark glared back at him, "So, uh... This place! It's huge! No way you built this just now!"

"... Well, by 'temporary' I meant that I managed to convince the earlier inhabitants to join our cause," Zoroark mumbled, nodding towards one of the Pokèmon who started fidgeting around in a strange manner.

"You're pretty good at that, aren't you?" Lucario asked with a hint of animosity.

"I hope so..." Zoroark said quietly, "We need to talk in private, but I have some urgent business to handle first."

"Go ahead," Lucario said while casually waving his hand in the air, "I could use some food and water, anyway."

"Perfect," Zoroark said as he turned around to leave, "Astrid, now's your chance. Show him around!"

"Oh..." Astrid said weakly before suddenly lifting his head with a joyous expression, "Oh! Of course!"

It took Lucario quite long to figure out that the small four-legged creature was not stopping himself anytime soon. He looked around, only to see that both Zoroark and the Lilligant had already left. He thought that he and Astrid were the only ones left in the room, when he suddenly saw the hulking body of Connor lying on a ragged sheet, having fallen asleep.

"Hmm... He has a surprisingly small presence for such a big guy..." Lucario admitted, Astrid too occupied with his tour guiding to pay him any notice. Remembering how easily Connor had dispatched their enemies earlier, Lucario felt a twinge of jealousy over the brute's strength and wondered if he could even take him in battle despite his resemblance of a human.

"... And these plants give off the light!" Astrid continued, "They're different than the ones from my cave, but serve the same function!"

"... Luminescent, eh?" Lucario said loudly, "Perfect! Finally, I can't believe I went this long without a fucking lamp!" He snickered before bending over and ripping one of the flowers from the ground, which instantly ceased its glowing.

"Oh..." Astrid exclaimed worriedly, "Plants, uh, have these things called 'roots', you see..."

"I know, shut up..." Lucario muttered embarrassed before throwing away the limp stem in his hand.

Astrid looked at him for a moment before continuing his incessant talking, starting to move forward. Lucario reluctantly walked next to him, narrowly avoiding stepping on a brown cylindrical nub with a huge nose sticking out of the ground. It looked at him and he looked back at it, before it suddenly blinked and dug itself underground. Lucario stared at the hole, wondering why the hell Astrid wouldn't bother explaining the one thing that made no sense.

"... Where we keep the food!" Astrid finally concluded the tour.

"Food?" Lucario repeated excitedly, instantly forgetting about his weird encounter, "Where!?"

Astrid pointed to the ground in front of them, making him look down slowly.

"Berries..." Lucario grumbled, looking at the disappointing food lying on what appeared to be a discarded tablecloth on the ground.

"I know!" Astrid shouted happily, "See how many they've got! Blue berries, black berries, rasp berries..."

"Disgusting comes in many different flavors, it seems..." Lucario groaned as he felt his mouth drying up, his hunger only growing stronger, "Come on, this is a base! You must have something to eat besides berries!"

"Oh..." Astrid whispered with a confused look, "Why would we have that?"

"BREAD," Lucario said sternly, his hunger not doing much to improve his already rotten mood, "The mother of all sustenance, flavorless but preferable to this crap. DO YOU HAVE IT!?"

"Oh! Of course we have that!" Astrid responded quickly and making Lucario's heart leap from surprise, "What kind of base would this be if we didn't?"

"You..." he stammered, getting the highly uncomfortable urge to kiss and cuddle the small Pokèmon, "You do!?"

Astrid pointed with a small greyish paw from the depths of the cloak at a corner of the cavern, where Lucario saw several straws gathered on the ground. He noticed Connor lying on them, apparently having fallen asleep the moment they arrived.

"... Bread..." Lucario muttered as the hope for a solid meal left him, never to return, "... Not bed... That you sleep in..."

"Oh..." Astrid whispered sadly, "Uh, Viri said something about being that, but... She's..."

"... Bread..." Lucario repeated with the same hopeless, defeated voice, "... Not bred... Without an A..."

"Oh..." Astrid exclaimed, having made himself depressed by remembering the past, "... I should probably just stop talking..."

"... Please..." Lucario whispered.

A highly awkward moment followed, as he felt his stomach rumble with hate and disdain. He knew what he had to do. Cursing his own taste buds he sat down and grabbed the nearest berry, a colorful thing in the shape of an unpeeled banana. Defeat once more set into him as he realized the disgusting morsel tasted nothing like a banana, filling his mouth with a taste comparable to that of a fried toenail.

Astrid sat down next to him, whistling some odd tune while having the meal of his life. Lucario decided to try to chat casually with him in an attempt to get his mind off the horrible food he had to consume. This, as he soon found out, turned out to be a big mistake.

"And so I said, 'Hey! I'm a Flareon!', you know?" Astrid explained while moving his head back and forth in excitement, "You see, my father used to call himself that, and then he named me, but when he died, I evolved into something else, and had to name myself, and I remembered, my father said, Astrid was a good name for rock types, which I had become, did I mention that?"

Lucario stared at the chatterbox, his face aghast at the nonsense it was spouting. Much to his relief it suddenly went quiet, picking up a small berry and letting it disappear under the hood of the cloak as it scarfed it down.

"Hey, Astrid..." Lucario said as a memory of Zerobi made his interest become piqued, "Why're you wearing that cloak?"

"Oh!" Astrid chimed while swallowing down his food, "Um... Zoroark says my appearance frightens people... So..."

"Hmm? Interesting..." Lucario said menacingly while scratching his chin, "Take it off."

"... B-But..." Astrid stammered worriedly, "I don't want to scare you away!"

"What am I, five?" Lucario huffed before shaking his head, "My heart's been through major shit lately, you'd have to be pretty messed up to make a dent."

"Oh..." Astrid whispered before looking around to make sure no one else was nearby, "O-OK... Just... Promise you won't be scared!"

The cloak came off slowly, getting caught up in whatever was beneath it. When it was finally gone, Lucario could finally lay eyes upon see the creature he had been talking to all this time. The eyes he was met with were black like onyxes, making him realize why seeing them in the darkness of the hood had been such a difficult task.

He was standing on four legs, with a clear rocky theme going for him. Sharp stones were sticking out from his sides like spikes, and his tail was short and stuck out like a stalagmite. Covering his head was a boulder, working as a helmet but doing little to cover up his exposed face. Even though his body was completely covered in hard grey rock, tiny cracks showed that underneath the shell of granite was a creature of fleshy brown skin. It looked like the pet of a knight, wearing a suit of armor.

"BWAHAHAHA!" Lucario roared with laughter at the small Bouldeon, "Frightening!? That's rich!"

"P-Please don't laugh at me!" Astrid stammered, having expected every reaction apart from this one.

"Ha ha... Ahh, I'm not laughing at you," Lucario explained as he calmed himself down to catch his breath, "I'm laughing at the fact that anyone'd find YOU scary!"

"... Oh?" Astrid exclaimed, not knowing what to say but feeling both happy and insulted at the same time.

"Seriously, you're like the cutest thing I've ever seen..." Lucario admitted, the rocky creature reminding him of the small brown one he had met in Snowpoint, "The girls are probably all over you."

"Well... No one's seen me without a cloak..." Astrid said to himself with a sad tone, "... No one alive, that is..."

"Ooh, badass..." Lucario replied, oblivious to the sadness in Astrid's voice, "How unfitting."

"W-What do you mean by that?" Astrid stammered, hastily putting his cloak back on so no one else would see him and start ridiculing him as well.

"Just listen to yourself! You're stuttering all over the place!" Lucario exclaimed, his hunger and general displeasure with life making him feel rather vicious, "And what was with all the cowering back there? A bloody flower looked more macho next to you!"

"I've... Been through a lot..." Astrid responded, trying to make his sadness more apparent as to gain pity from the brash Lucario.

"Not an excuse," Lucario said sternly before holding up his right arm and clenching his fist in a determined manner, "The only thing that matters is how you handle it - Are you going to whine like a little girl, or are you going to man up!?"

"... Man up?" Astrid repeated, the term resounding strangely in his head. Man up...

"Look at me! I've been stabbed, starved, paralyzed, poisoned, burned, frozen solid... Hell, someone even cut my throat, once!" Lucario yelled while flailing his arms around, trying to charade his many different afflictions, "Shit happens, and there's nothing I can do about it! The ONLY THING getting me through all this is that between crying like a bitch and growling like a man, I'd rather face my adversities with muscles flexed!"

Lucario stood up to increase the impact of what he had just said, before realizing just how weakened he had become from the lack of regular food.

"At least that way..." Lucario said calmly while slouching down, finally having spent whatever energy he had left after the earlier prison break, "... I can go out with no regrets. Not worrying over if things could've been different, somehow... And not blaming myself."

"... I-I..." Astrid stammered, speechless. Not since his initial talk with Zoroark had anything moved him so much. The words struck him like a sledgehammer, every syllable bringing back the horrid memories of piles of mutilated corpses surrounding Zerobi.

Zerobi. The monster inhabiting his every nightmare, the unstoppable beast of indiscriminate murder. In his naïve stupor, he had ended up assisting her killings. Had he been braver, could he have averted the catastrophe from taking place, and perhaps still even be with the love of his life...?

"What..." Astrid whispered as his black eyes started becoming hazy with tears, "What can I do...?"

"Well... It's never too late to man up," Lucario said as he was both surprised and impressed that Astrid had taken his words to heart, "No matter the adversity, face it. If it mocks you, spit in its face. If it beats you down, you take it with gritted teeth. Then, spit at it again."

"Are you teaching the boy how to get himself killed as efficiently and quickly as possible?" Zoroark asked with a sigh, making Lucario jump half a foot backwards in shock. The black Pokèmon's lack of an aura had once again led him to sneak up on them, Lucario wondering if he was doing it on purpose or not. He then remembered Zerobi having the same effect on him, but wasn't sure that she hadn't been doing it on purpose as well.

"I have something to discuss with you in private," Zoroark said to Lucario while turning around to leave, "Come with me."

"Alright," Lucario responded, starting to walk next Zoroark. He saw that Zoroark now had some kind of white ointment covering the part of his body where he claimed he had been burned earlier.

"... Lucario!" Astrid said as he quickly leapt to his feet and faced them with determination, "Thank you! I... I'm gonna man up!"

Lucario kept walking and held up his arm up high while trying to look cool and give thumbs up, but the lack of digits forced him to clench his fist instead. The two of them then entered a nearby human-sized hole in the wall, leading into a tunnel. Astrid stared dreamily after them, blissfully unaware that Lucario had not only befriended his worst enemy but also at one point beaten up the love of his life.

"I trust our accommodations were to your satisfaction?" Zoroark asked as they made their way through the long tunnel. The walls were covered in the plants producing light from earlier, Lucario almost ripping out one of them again before remembering his earlier endeavor. The tunnel quickly began slanting down, placing them further underground with each step.

"Uh..." Lucario mumbled, the bad aftertaste of berries still on his tongue, "Yeah. Sure. Thanks for saving me from that... Research prison."

"Heh..." Zoroark exclaimed quietly, "Indeed. A research facility to humans, a prison to anything else..."

"So..." Lucario muttered while looking over the white balm covering Zoroark, "... Why DID you save me?"

"I simply cannot bear to see my fellow brethren suffer!" Zoroark responded quickly with a triumphant voice.
"Yeah..." Lucario mumbled sarcastically, "So, why did you save me, really?"

"Because of that," Zoroark said while giving Lucario a quick nod, "You're sharp. Experienced. Won't fall for just anything."

"I wouldn't say 'experienced', exactly..." Lucario replied, for some reason imagining Zerobi laughing heartily at the statement.

"Would you prefer 'acclaimed'?" Zoroark asked, "You fought Brendan... Red... Lucas... And came out a free Pokèmon."

"Well, you DID find me in a prison..." Lucario mumbled, all the praise making him feel uncomfortable.

"... Chained up, still not under the control of a Pokeball..." Zoroark finished his sentence with an impressed tone, "Truly something else..."

"Hey..." Lucario exclaimed slowly with a questioning voice, "How do you know about all this?"

"Friends of mine have been observing your progress, Lucario," Zoroark answered.

"Ah... Spying on me?" Lucario asked, "Yeah, right. I'd have sensed their aur-"

"Not spying, mostly just gathering information from the people that WERE there," Zoroark interrupted him while shrugging his shoulders, "What kind of organization would we be if we did not keep tabs on the champion trainers?"

"... A clean one?" Lucario asked snidely.

"Heheh... Interesting," Zoroark snickered quietly, "I seem to recall you associating yourself with a rather bloodthirsty Weavile not long ago."

"Uh... Well, I didn't know about that back then," Lucario responded as his mind once again went back to Zerobi, this time fidgeting around while looking at him helplessly, "But still! She's normal 99% of the time!"

"I am not judging you," Zoroark said with another shrug, "I'm simply rather impressed that you were able to tame such a wild beast."

"Says you! That Entei back there," Lucario suddenly burst out, before noticing the loudness of his voice and silencing himself a bit, "... Man, I can't believe you made it. Its aura was immense, even compared to the other legendary dogs I ran into."

"It's what you'd expect from a legendary formerly teamed up with the strongest trainer of all time," Zoroark replied while unconsciously rubbing his chest, accidentally covering his hand in ointment, "... Ugh. I'll never get used to topical medications. Anyway, just be glad Ethan wasn't around to direct him, or we would have been in real trouble..."

"... Listen, I've already fought Brendan, Red and Lucas," Lucario said while scratching his own chest, "I'm probably going have to fight Ethane as well... Eventually. What can you tell me about him?"

"You will not be fighting him," Zoroark replied bluntly, wishing to move on to a subject more productive to his cause.

"You don't know that!" Lucario said with desperation in his voice, "Just tell me! My life might be depending on it!"

"Hmm..." Zoroark grumbled before coming up with a way of turning this to his favor, "I'll tell you on one condition - That you listen to what I have to say afterwards."

"... You think I normally wouldn't?" Lucario asked with a surprised tone before slapping his forehead, "Wait, don't answer that. Just tell me about Ethane."

"First of all, his name is Ethan," Zoroark corrected him with an annoyed sigh, "Ethane is gas. Mixing the two together would be a fatal mistake."

"Hey, I fought a guy named 'Red' not long ago," Lucario said while shrugging his shoulders, "At this point, nothing surprises me."

"Exceptional trainers are constantly entering the world scene, popping up from the most unlikely of places and winning battle after battle," Zoroark started explaining, ending with an annoyed huff, "Of course, it's all thanks to us Pokèmon... But humans are vain, egoistical creatures that require recognition."

"Uh..." Lucario mumbled while lifting his finger, not knowing whether to interject or not.

"In that same vein, they decided that the time had come to see who the greatest trainer of all time was," Zoroark continued, "A few years ago, a worldwide tournament was held among trainers."

"Oh?" Lucario exclaimed with a questioning voice, "Worldwide? Must've been hectic."

"Actually, it was a fairly peaceful time for us wild Pokèmon, since all the trainers were busy fighting each other," Zoroark said while shrugging, "No one would be crazy enough to bring a newly caught 'untrained' Pokèmon into an event this big."

"So, when are we getting to Ethan?" Lucario asked with a bored tone.

"Fine. Skipping all the social impact this event had, it came down to 128 masterful trainers as the finals were held in a coliseum called Pokèmon Stadium," Zoroark continued with annoyance, "The finals were televised, and humans from around the world watched it with intense dedication. Pokèmon even began developing ways to be able to see it, everything ranging from electrifying a television set to dis..."

Zoroark suddenly stopped himself and became quiet for a moment. Lucario wondered what had happened, and noticed that the air had been thinning out for a while, due to them being so deep underground. He imagined Zoroark had simply run short on breath.

"... Anyway, trainer after trainer fell off the brackets until only four remained," Zoroark then continued as if nothing had happened, "Red, the original master as well as his sworn rival Blue, both from Kanto... Brendan, the prodigy from Hoenn... And finally Ethan, the crowd's favorite from Johto."

"Red AND Blue?" Lucario asked while slapping his paw to his forehead, "What kind of candy-ass names are those?"

"They're just nicknames from what corner they fought from..." Zoroark explained before starting to wonder to himself, "... Hmm, I can't remember their real names."

"Purple?" Lucario suggested, getting a confused look from his counterpart.

"Getting back to the point, Red defeated Blue while Ethan defeated Brendan," Zoroark continued unfazed, "Their battles were on an entirely different level compared to anything seen before. A true struggle between superpowers."

"Ethan and Red met in the finals," he kept going, "And in a battle once more going beyond what anyone thought was possible... Ethan defeated him."

"... Shit!" Lucario yelled as he struck his waist with a closed fist in frustration, "Damn it! He beat Red just like that!? How the hell am I supposed to deal with him if I run into him!?"

"Keep listening," Zoroark sighed as he began recalling his own reaction to what happened next, "Ethan didn't win."

"... Okay...?" Lucario exclaimed with a confused look on his face.

"At the award ceremony, the champions stood on top of a podium in front of a crowd of thousands, their cheers reaching far and wide," Zoroark continued, visualizing the magnificent scene in front of him, "Brendan, giving off an angry glare... Red, with a content smile... Blue, nudging his side with a somewhat annoyed expression..."

Zoroark stared into nothingness for a while. Lucario was about snap him out of it, but decided to take the time to examine if he could locate any of the vials Zoroark kept contained within his hair. The mere notion of them sticking out of the sides made him stifle a chuckle.

"... I remember it like it was yesterday, the slow silencing of the crowd as faint whispers were starting to become heard..." Zoroark said as he finally came to it once more, "'Where is Ethan?' they asked. 'Where is the real champion?'"

"... Huh?" Lucario mumbled, having abruptly been forced back into the story, "He wasn't there?"

"He had already left," Zoroark said with a shrug, "Apparently, the fight meant everything to him. He must have seen award ceremonies as a useless waste of time."

Zoroark then became silent, apparently content with his explanation. Lucario, however, was not.

"Wait, can you just leave your own celebration like that?" he asked, "The media must've torn him a new one!"

"They never got the chance," Zoroark continued explaining, "He immediately set off on a journey after that, and finding him's been about as hard as finding Mew."

"Oh..." Lucario whispered, relieved that he would likely not be facing this powerful enemy, while distraught that his current mission sounded quite a bit less probable than before.

"Perhaps he is still out there, seeking the challenge that he craved..." Zoroark spoke as he decided to wrap things up, "... Or he got his ass killed by a pack of wild Pokèmon. The idiot released all of his Pokèmon before leaving."

"... Yeah, that does sound kind of stupid," Lucario admitted, thinking how short his own journey would have been had he been a normal human without the strength of a Pokèmon.

"At any rate, Red was reluctantly crowned champion of the world by default," Zoroark kept going while wishing closure was at hand, "Heard he chased after Ethan for a year or so before age caught up with him, and he retired for good."

"For good? Yeah, right..." Lucario muttered sarcastically, the occasional twitching he adapted from their encounter still waking him up at night.

"Ethan's a different story. He's the strongest trainer who ever lived, but he disappeared from the scene and won't be returning for you," Zoroark said before shrugging his shoulders in a casual manner, "If you do meet him, try to make small talk instead of fighting. A single one of the Pokèmon he left behind is powerful enough to decimate most gym leaders."

Zoroark breathed out heavily, again rubbing at the wound spreading across his left shoulder.

"... Also, tell him to take care of that damn Entei," he muttered, "He's a real pain in the ass."

"You mean 'chest', right?" Lucario pointed out, "... Like a heart attack?"

"If a heart attack was thirty feet tall and drooled lava," Zoroark grumbled, "He's devoted his life to finding his master and 'serving justice'. HIS unwavering and very narrow minded justice, mind you."

"It wouldn't change anything..." Lucario said with disdain, "I've met the other legendary dogs. Complete assholes, and they all had their trainers with them."

"Still, at the very least he could set the blasted thing free," Zoroark sighed, "A captured Pokèmon cannot be caught again, unless his or her trainer releases them. Ethan never released Entei, and so he's essentially immune to being captured by anyone."

"Kind of like..." Lucario whispered while thinking of himself, before a thought suddenly hit him, "Wait... Are you implying that he wants to be caught?"

"Pretty much. He's also too powerful to be stopped any other way, so everyone simply lets him roam the lands doing as he pleases," Zoroark responded with a smile, "Except for me, of course."

At long last the tunnel came to an end, an opening in the wall leading into a larger room in which there seemed to be no light at all.

"Here we are," Zoroark said, "The inner sanctum. Ultimate privacy."

"We're... Pretty deep in, huh?" Lucario asked, having lost track of time at the start of their long conversation.

"Yes," Zoroark said as he casually stepped into the room shrouded in pitch-black darkness, "And now... It's time for you to uphold your end of the bargain!"

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Chapter End Notes:

"Alright, here goes nothing..."

"... Pidgey?"

"Listen up, for I am Blue! Master of the Heavens and the Earth! Water and Fire! Light and Darkness!"


"Darkness, engulf the light! Light, illuminate the darkness!"


"Now! Execute attack plan D, and... Commence with..."


"... Ahh, I can't do it. It's just a lame Pidgey. Go on, scram!"


"... Man! We're never gonna get to fight!"

"Another perk we are given for serving such a great champion."

"Perk!? You think these muscles just made themselves!? I wanna use 'em!"

"Go ahead, knock yourself out. Literally."

"Sorry, guys. You can go back, now."

"Hey! The next time you call us out, there'd better be a REAL opponent... Maybe even two! Hell, I can take on three if you just-"

"Mind him not. We are certain the debut of our new team will be nothing short of perf-"

"... Hmm... There's got to be a more worthy opponent somewhere... Just got to keep searching... Ahh, my back..."

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