Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot however are my creation. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No profit is being made from this, nor am I expecting any profit to be made, no copyright infringement is intended.
Now that that's out of the way, I want to thank a fellow author by the name of Felix. His story, "Luca", is the semi-inspiration for this story. I contacted him and I asked if it was ok to have his characters make a few cameo appearances later in my story, to which he had this to say,
---"Thank you very much for asking. I would be honored to even have one cameo in your story!"---
So with that end, I guess I'm gonna cameo it up! lol
Seriously though, Felix is a great writer and I encourage everyone to read his stories which can be found here ----> http://agn.ph/fics/viewuser.php?uid=164
Like this story, don't like this story? Either way, drop a review and lemme know ^_^. Anyway, thanks for clicking on the link and at least giving Mina a try!
For those who have ever even visited the forum, it has been revised due to the site overhaul. The new link is this: http://forums.agn.ph/index.php?topic=38.msg282#msg282
Author's Chapter Notes:
As expected, Caleb comes back after spending the night with Azure. Now as a real Absol, he must face the pokemon he had claimed to be on his side.
On another note. Luke Finally wakes up and is greeted by the pleasant chaos that ensues.
Chapter 9: Face Off! Caleb's Return!
“Abra, Please get me zeh prepared vial.” The human commanded with a soft tone. As instructed the Abra teleported a vial that was formerly fitted snugly in a centrifuge into its hands, and handed the tube to its master. “Sank-you.” He said. “Experiment -02167, I ‘ave created zis DNA combination by mixing zeh data collected from Castform with zeh DNA samples of Ditto.” The man took a syringe out of his pocket and forced the needle through the rubber stopper in the vial. The metallic tube continued to slide inside of the test tube until it was a centimeter from the bottom. At this point the scientist began to draw out the liquid and mix it with the liquid already in the syringe. “I am now inserting zeh DNA into zeh Pokerus virus to allow a transmition meathod.” Once the needle was full of the liquid that was once in the vial the blonde man pulled it out of the rubber stopper and held it to eye level, flicking all of the air bubbles out. He then placed one hand on the Rattata’s back to steady the creature as he brought the other hand with the syringe down in preparation to inject the pokémon. “If I am correct in my calculations, zis subject vill attain powers it vould never ‘ave in zeh wild, including zeh ability to transform its body based on atmospheric variance.”
Upon finishing his monologue, the doctor stuck the needle into the Rattata’s back causing the pokémon to screech out in pain and fight back. Once all of the fluid was injected the creature slowed its flailing and passed out. “Zeh subject ‘as experienced zeh drop point and ‘as gone into a stasis mode. Zeh virus vill now infect zeh cells and change zeh subject’s genetic makeup. Including zeh TNA vhich iz vhere my research shows all pokémon’s powers lie.” The man adjusted his glasses after discarding the syringe. He unclamped the Rattata from the table and put it in one of the cages along the wall. “I vill now take a sirty minute break and check on zeh pokémon’s progress.” After stating this Colress stopped the tape recorder and pocketed the device. He looked to his Abra and smiled as he crouched to almost eye level with the pokémon. “Do you vhant to get a snack, buddy? Are you ‘ungry?” The Abra smiled back at his master and nodded. Colress clapped his hands together and stood up straight. “Alright zhen. Teleport us to zeh lunch room and you can ‘ave anysing you vhant.”
“BRA!” The Abra gave out a joyous cry and lifted his arms in the air then just like that the two of them disappeared from the lab.
The previous night with Azure was actually a pleasant one. Despite knowing I was a human, she didn’t hate me, and she apparently didn’t want to enact any sort of revenge upon mankind either. I guessed she really didn’t care. Once we had gotten back to the den, we had another few chomps from the Deerling carcass she had taken that day and of course I remembered the order in which to eat. The meat was cold by that time, but still tasted good. Also, last but not least, we cleaned each other of the blood stains in our fur. There wasn’t nearly as much as there was when we first dug in, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the licking. Afterwards, the female and I curled up together on one side of the bean den to conserve warmth and pretty much fell asleep like that.
A speck of light had managed to bounce its way into the darkness of Azure’s hole. I, being on the inside of the spoon we were forming, was closer to the entrance and was exposed to the morning light. My eyes peeked open and I became conscious once again, but not quite awake. I could feel Azure’s warm body inflating and deflating with every breath she took; her arm draped over me adding to the warmth. Facing the same way, our horns were both sticking up in the air ensuring that we wouldn’t hurt each other while we slept. She had her muzzle buried in the fur on the back of my neck so I could feel each warm breath she took.
The dirt on the den floor was strangely comfortable and I didn’t want to get up; I wanted to just keep sleeping, but I knew I couldn’t. I had to get back to my pokémon before anything bad happened to them. I let out a long yawn and a small stretch; I didn’t want to wake up the sleeping feline yet. With that in mind, I began to slowly slide out from beneath her foreleg. My feline skeleton was more than flexible enough to pull off the task and within a few moments I was able to free myself from her. As I left her body, she immediately curled up to compensate for the loss of warmth. Now standing in the middle of the den, I fully stretched out my muscles, taking a low bow towards the entrance of the den. The white hairs on my back stood up on end at the feeling of being woken up in the morning.
Taking a sniff at the air, I detected the remnants of our dinner still lying where we left it. Despite all of the time it was left out, it still seemed to hold out its freshness. I doubted that would be the same in the summer months. I wasn’t hungry at the moment anyway, and disregarded the corpse. I took a glance at Azure and saw that she was still sleeping peacefully curled in a ball. Then my eyes scanned the entrance to the den and I saw that despite how dark it still was in here, there was a ton of light at the end of the exit tunnel. Naturally I decided to follow it. Ducking into the exit-way and making sure my horn didn’t knock any dirt from the ceiling, I quietly made my way outside.
Once out of the hole, I squinted as my gaze rose to the sky so I could estimate the time. The sun wasn’t close to being directly above me so I guessed that it must be around eight-ish in the morning. The grogginess of sleep was still on me and I let out another long winded yawn as my eyes returned to the ground, blinking away the light stains in my retinas. I rolled my tongue around my mouth and swallowed the dry spittle that had formed in my mouth. Smacking my lips a few times, I started to wander towards the river to satiate my morning thirst. As I padded through the forest, I went about elating my ears to the various cries of pokémon; some of them were actual words, but most were just random noises. Mating calls perhaps. The most prominent sounds were the cooing of bird pokémon. I just assumed that anything that lived on the ground would have left at the scent of me. However, through the trees, I could see two Sawsbucks through the trees. The distance was almost as far away as the Deerling yesterday. I understood that, if I wanted to, I could probably take down at least one of them with my newfound abilities, but I probably couldn’t stomach seeing something die again.
Images of the Deerling crossed my mind and I remembered how it cried out for its’ parents. Seeing the Sawsbucks now, made me wonder if our dinner had belonged to them… I ignored the thought and the sadness it would ensue. Instead of thinking about it, I put my focus to more present matters, like getting a drink and finding a place to pee.
When I finally came upon the stream, I splunked my face into the cool crisp water and started to draw in the liquid. After about seven or so gulps, I pulled my face out of the river and took in a deep breath. With my thirst gone, I looked to the sand beneath my paws and flexed my claw tendons; the black spikes extended from the edges of my pads to poke into the golden earth beneath me. I clawed at the sand, making lines and then covering them up; a sort of self entertainment for a few seconds. ‘When I get turned human again, I am going to miss this.’ I thought, giving the sand one more scratch. Knowing that I could use the powers of an Absol was an amazing feeling! After learning how to use the dark energy, I found that I could jump higher and run faster. I kept thinking that there has to be some kind of drawback to all of this, but other than a little bit of exhaustion, I was completely fine! But I knew this couldn’t last. Eventually I would have to go back to the Weather Institute and face my pokémon and once I was human again, I wouldn’t be able to do any of these things. Although I could do without killing for food, the thought of losing everything else was a bummer.
‘Oh well,’ I thought as I started heading back to the den. ‘Things can’t be helped. I was born a human and even though being a pokémon was exciting and somewhat fun for the most part; I have too many stocks in humanity to just give it all up.’ After walking through the forest for a few minutes, I came back to Azure’s burrow and assumed the female would still be sleeping. Still not wanting to disturb her, I decided to keep walking for a while. Across the small valley, through a pile of leaves, down the hill and finally stopped at the tree I had climbed in my first hour of pokémon-dom. Looking in the direction I came from, I thought that it would be far enough away from the alpha’s den to respectfully relieve myself without trying to mark any sort of territory away from her.
I gave a cruel smile at the Aspear tree and laughed. If only it knew what was about to happen to it. I came along side the trunk and shifted my weight to be supported mostly by my front legs and lifted my back leg. Then I closed my eyes in relief as I felt the pressure leave my body as urine splashed against the bark. “Hehe… here’s pissin’ on your boots tree.” I said aloud. Laughing away as the spattering continued. Once the peeing had ended, I returned my leg to the ground and shook it just in case I had got any on me. It was about then that I heard a soft chuckle come from the hill behind me. At this point I wasn’t surprised enough to jump at the sound; I simply turned to find Azure lying on top of the hill. “Heh… Good morning sleepy head!” I yelled loud enough for her to hear.
Azure’s red irises were contradicted by her soft smile. “The tree can’t hear you, Stupid.” She said, ending with a chuckle. “And good morning to you as well.” The Absol got up from the ground and walked down the hill. Watching her do this sent a wave of de-ja-vous through my mind. It was this same way when we first met, albeit a bit more aggressive. She came up close to me, avoiding the tree for obvious reasons. “So, what shall we do today?” She cooed, rubbing against my side. “We could go for a swim, or maybe spar some more. We don’t need to do any hunting but we can still catch and release.” Her suggestions did sound appealing, but the reality was that I couldn’t stay and do those things. “Or… maybe we could just go back to the den, lay down next to each other and see where that tak-”
“Azure…” I cut her off with a soft voice. The interjection seemed to tick her off a bit as she looked to me with a touch of scorn, but quickly decided to hear me out. “I would love to stay here and just. You know, live here, as a pokémon and be with you, and forget about my old life…” The feline’s eyes rounded out as my words passed through her ears. “But, I-I’m a trainer, and I can’t just leave my pokémon behind like that.” Azure blinked a few times. “They’re the whole reason I could use that power in the first place.”
The White female let out a sigh when I finished, then she spoke softly, taking a seat at my side. “So… You're going to leave me?” her voice cracked a little bit showing her obvious shattered heart for a split second but she quickly recovered. “That’s okay. I got what I wanted from you. You're an Absol now, and that’s all that matters.”
We both kind of sat in that spot, just listening to the breeze for a little while. In silence for the most part, until I ‘popped the question’ so to speak. “Y-you know… I’d really like it if you would come with me. You wouldn’t have to be alone out here, and I promise I won’t just cram you into a ball and leave you there.” Azure’s gaze remained fixed on the ground as I continued to plead my case. “Hell, Mina could probably turn me into an Absol again from time to time so we could go off and, be wild? Along with Terkin, Glade, Pawniard, Emolga, and uh… I think Juggo?” I didn’t quite catch what Axew’s name was. I know Mina said it at the fountain, but I couldn’t quite remember. “So uh. What do you say? Wanna come with me?”
Azure looked up from the ground and into my eyes. Her red irises beamed at my own brown rings. She was taking her time, thinking over everything. Once again we sat in silence and my heart beat faster belaying my nervousness at what her response might be.
The white space, as well as my supposed father’s shadow, had slowly faded from my sight leaving me with only the blackness of my own mind. Maybe everything that happened was in my mind. Maybe I was crazy. Maybe it was all just a dream and didn’t mean anything. I didn’t know what to believe in. The only things I had were my memories as I fell through the darkness. For some reason I was fixated on a memory of an early morning on a week day.
It was a long time ago. I was just twelve years old and Mina had lived with me for almost a year now. I was lying in my bed with the little fox curled up next to me under the covers. Suddenly, the alarm started to go off and I felt Mina stir next to me. I didn’t want to get up and I rolled over to smack the clock to snooze. The little vixen beneath the covers didn’t seem to match my wishes and stirred awake anyway. The clock continued to beep so I hit it harder this time, but to no end. Frazzle haired, I moaned sitting up in the bed and scowled at the obnoxious electrode making all the beeping sound.
“BEEP!.. BEEP!.. BEEP!.. BEEP!..”
“GUGH! SHUT UP!!” I slammed my hand on the clock so hard that it made my bedside table shake, but the clock still kept its infernal beeping. My expression turned to shock; I didn’t know why the noise wouldn’t stop! Usually it only takes a light touch. I looked down to Mina to see that she was sitting up, staring at me with worry in her eyes, her paw laid on my hand. I only gave her back a soft embarrassed smile at the loss of my temper. The beeping continued as I stared into her eyes. Everything was fine until I realized that something was different about her. For some reason I was having a hard time paying attention to the oddity as the damned beeping kept going.
I squinted my eyes and inspected her closer. Then I noticed it. Mina’s eyes are a beautiful emerald green color, but now… as she stared at me, motionless, her eyes became eerie. They were empty; soulless orbs that had no color and were only black. The beeping from the alarm became distant; almost fading into the background. For some reason, I became terrified of her. Terrified of the pokémon I had come to love. Her eyes, so empty, just stared off into space matching its hue. I moved my head around to see if she would follow my movements, but she only stared off motionless.
I didn’t move the hand she was resting a paw on, but the other hand I picked off of the bed and shakily brought it to the fluff on top of her head. “M-M-Mina…? A-are. Are you, okay?” My voice echoed along with the beeps in the distance. The little fox’s eyes remained unblinking as she replied in two voices. One of them young, the other sounded older, but they said the same thing.
“Wake up, Luke!” Her mouth didn’t even move. It was like her voice was completely separate from her body.
“What do you mean wake up? I’m already awake!” I responded. Tears started to form in my eyes. Not from sadness, but from sheer terror.
Mina spoke again, in a doubled disembodied voice. “Please wake up!”
I started to lose it. The beeping was maddening! I couldn’t take it anymore. Mina was scaring me talking about waking up with her soulless black eyes. My vision began to fade away as blackness wrapped its’ grip around me once again. I was blind now, but the distant beeping still resounded and for some reason it shifted sides; coming from the left instead of my right. I just wished it would stop. But it wouldn’t quit! I began to hate the sound more than anything in the universe! I couldn’t stand it ANY LONGER!
Dr. Brennen had allowed me to spend the night in Luke’s room. I had returned inside after talking with Caleb’s team. Before leaving them, I offered to let them inside so they can sleep in the room we were given, but they refused and insisted on waiting outside. I guess I couldn’t blame them. I would be outside too if Luke weren’t in this hospital bed. Luckily I still didn’t have to starve to death in here because another nurse had brought me something to eat. It wasn’t the cherri berry marinated steak I loved from that fancy human restaurant, but it was okay.
Now I once again sit in silence next to my beloved human. My human hand wrapped around his human hand and together we were just so ‘humaney’. The bandage woman had come and gone and wasn’t due back for about another two hours or so. I thought about turning on the TV again but the quietness of the room was somewhat soothing and I didn’t want to disrupt that. I had long since gotten used to the heart monitor and didn’t really hear it anymore.
Suddenly I felt something. It was faint, but I definitely felt Luke’s hand squeeze mine. I withdrew my hand quickly in shock at the sudden pressure. Then the thought occurred to me. ‘OHMYGOSH! HE’S WAKING UP!!’
I heard him give out a slow moan and my heart was sent rushing into my throat. I started thinking about what he would say when he woke up. How would he greet me? What should I say? With quick thinking I thought that maybe he would like to see me? The real me? The pokémon me. So with that thought I changed back into a Zoroark, letting the clothes I wore to slack over my smaller form the shoes were not an issue as I had kicked them off of me long ago, and laid a paw on his hand again and gasped when he reacted to my touch by squeezing around my paw.
He continued to just moan and squeeze on me and I thought that maybe he was having trouble waking up. I laid another paw on his right hand and leaned against the plastic railing of the bed. “Wake up, Luke!” I loudly whispered to him, but this didn’t do it. He only gave out several more moans and even moved his head away from me. ‘HE CAN HEAR ME!’ my eyes roamed over him frantically for a few seconds. The anticipation was killing me, and I couldn’t resist saying something again.
“Please wake up!” This time I said it quite loudly and to my surprise he completely let go of my hand and started to growl for some reason. His other hand clutched at the bed sheets as his growls became louder. Then it was like he snapped or something; he started to yell out as he sat straight up. I did so as well, coming to stand next to him, but I had to quickly jump out of the way because his right arm drew back and his hand clutched together in a fist. Standing in front of him now, I could see that his eyes were still tightly shut. Then in one fluid motion he sort of flung himself over his left arm and extended his right arm in a swing through the air all while yelling out in agony or anger… terror? His fist came to land on the beeping machine causing the device to literally fly across the room and slam against the wall. The poor thing was instantly smashed into several pieces even before it hit the solid surface, causing it to fall silent.
My eyes were wide with fear. ‘What was that all about!? Doesn’t he need that thing?’ I thought as Luke still sat up in the bed. He panted out loud, making the only sound that existed in the room now. I could see sweat forming on his face. He was traumatized. Terrified perhaps. Surely he was awake by now, but with him looking down and his brown hair covering his eyes, the obvious couldn’t be proven just yet.
I was afraid to move as well. He wouldn’t snap on me like that too… right?
The next thing I knew, I was sitting upright in some sort of bed. The beeping had finally stopped and I found that the source wasn’t my Electrode alarm clock; it was some sort of computer monitor. A bead of cold sweat dripped off of my forehead and onto the dark teal sheets. Where was I? My eyes were open now, and looking around the room for clues. There was a TV mounted to the wall which bore clean white washed paint. The bed I was in had some kind of plastic rails attached to it. Lifting up my right hand, I touched my chest and felt bandages that wrapped all the way around me, and then I remembered…
I was injured, by a Tyranitar. My mind started to put two and two together. ‘I must be in a Pokémon center. They always had humans come in and out for medical reasons, but how did I get here? The last place I was at was the Weather Institute.’ My mind was waking up, and racing through the possibilities. Then I felt it, a dull pain across my chest. I grunted as it settled down a bit after throbbing a few times. ‘I must be back in Driftveil.’ I thought as I panted still looking down.
The quiet squeak came from my right and hearing it made my eye twitch. Memories of the nightmare I was in a few moments ago flashed across my mind and I was afraid I was still in one. Shaking the sight of nightmare Mina’s eyes out of my mind, I slowly lifted my head and saw my favorite Zoroark all but pressed up against the wall at the end of the bed. My own orbs watered over as a wave of relief came over me. She was fine! Her eyes weren’t all black and scary! It was all just a dream and I was awake now! A smile cracked across my face as the wonderful sight of her emerald irises blessed my vision, but not everything was alright. The tall dark fox looked to me with fear as she blinked, jaw dropped. ‘What was wrong?’ I asked myself. ‘I’m okay. She’s okay. Everything is fine right?’ I took a deep breath and lifted the light covers from my legs, exposing thin plastic like pants, and started sliding off of the bed avoiding the safety rails.
I tapped my bare foot on the linoleum floor and drew back from the cold surface, but then planted it firmly back down. As I rose from the padded mattress, I saw Mina’s eyes widen in reaction to me standing up. After a few seconds of struggling to get my muscles to wake up, I was completely standing, but I felt a sharp pain stab at the back of my left hand and noticed that I had two needles stuck in me which were attached to tubes that had stretched as far as they could reach across the bed. Without thinking, I pulled the IVs out, cringing as I did so and pressed my hand against the bandages on my side to stop the slight bleeding.
“Y-you. Y-you're, awake.” I heard Mina stammer the words as I redirected my attention to her again. I only chuckled under my breath, taking a step closer to the pokémon. She in turn inched closer to me, leaving the wall to lift a clawed paw to her muzzle and the other outstretched towards me a little bit. I took another step closer to my love and stumbled on my weakened legs. My arms naturally reached out to catch me, but they didn’t need to because Mina had jumped the three or four feet to break my fall. I felt her arms wrap around me as her fur and warmth enveloped my being. I brought up my arms to wrap around her and they were all but buried in her thick, un-banded, red mane. My face pressed up against her neck, cradled by her shoulder and I drew in her scent with a long breath. She smelled, unbathed; not dirty or gross, but almost like she was just locked in a room for the night. The kind of musky scent that was comforting to wake up to.
I re-supported myself and parted from her, so I could look at her head on. I beamed a warm smile to try to melt away her worried look. “Hey honey.” I said quietly, chuckling at the end.
Mina’s lips curled to a smile as her green eyes slowly became glossed over with tears. She compressed me into her chest, hugging me tightly. “You’ve been out for three days, and all you have to say is ‘hey honey!?’” The fox let out an exasperated giggle and took in another breath. “You're still you Lukey! Arceus, I love you!” She started to cry into my shoulder as her grip became tighter around my body.
“O-okay girl. Come on… I. Hard. Breathe!” I felt several vertebra in my back pop as I used the last of my oxygen to laugh at her enthusiasm. My hands tapped her back trying to convey her to let me go. I went a few seconds without air but she eventually released me to which I then drew in a deep breath and panted, laughing some more.
Several minutes had passed and I had received a full assault of the pokémon’s poking and prodding, both physical and mental. Afterwards, I had returned to sit on the end of the bed and carefully unwrapped my bandages. Looking down, I was shocked to see that the giant gashes were now little more than scars in my flesh. Not bleeding like they were, what felt like a few hours ago. Then Mina’s comment earlier hit me, “I've been out for three days?” I asked in a low voice, but my sore feelings on the topic were evident.
“Well, you went out on the night you got hurt. You were asleep all yesterday, and it’s about ten thirty today.”
So that’s that huh. I wasted three days away. ‘Oh well,’ I thought, ‘we have time to kill anyway until the contest in Opelucid.’ I still didn’t like the idea that I basically slept all that time though. It also killed me to think that Mina had been left alone all that time; which brought me to my next thought… what happened to Caleb? I looked to her to ask the question but I was interrupted by a knock and then the door slowly opening. Mina let out a yip and hurriedly changed into a human, filling out the clothes that she already wore. Judging by the fact that she was wearing clothes and her natural form’s mane was unkempt without her hair band, I guessed that she had been posing as a human all this time.
Dr. Brennen popped her head through the doorway. “Excuse me Mina, do you know where Caleb went off to? I believe his pokémon are causing a scene out-” Once the woman was fully in the room and laid eyes on me, her words stopped dead in their tracks. “O-oh my. Luke, you're up!”
I was the one who was confused here though; Brennen was supposed to be at the Weather Institute. What was she doing in the Driftveil pokémon center? Did she really escort Mina all the way here? No. That seemed unlikely. The doctor didn’t seem like a trainer or the traveling type. Then again, the building was pretty big, maybe I was still at the facility. “Uh, yep… I’m up, heheh.” I replied, scratching the back of my neck. Brennen hurried over to my side and inspected my bare chest, poking at the scars and still tender flesh.
“This is the quickest heal I’ve ever seen!” The doctor pulled out a stethoscope from her white coat and started listening to my heart and breathing. Then she ran her light fingers along the stitches on each of the three marks. “These stitches are designed to degrade themselves after a few weeks, but at the rate you're healing up, we’ll have to remove them before the day is over to prevent them from hindering your recovery.”
“I’m gonna have some kick ass scars too, huh.” I jokingly commented.
“Uhg. You're such a kid! Why can’t you see the severity of the situation? You could have died if it weren’t for this infirmary, you wouldn’t have made it back to Driftveil!”
I chose to ignore the dying bit that Brennen had pointed out and chose instead to focus on what she was talking about when she entered the room. “What were you saying about Caleb’s pokémon?”
“O-oh yea! I’ve gotten complaints that they have maybe taken the fountain as their territory? Any way, they are scaring some of the visitors and I was wondering if Caleb could control them or something.”
‘That’s weird.’ I thought. ‘Where could he have gone? And why did he leave his pokémon behind?’
“I’ll take care of it ma’am.” Mina said as she stood up abruptly.
“Uh yea, I’ll go too.” I said and stood up as well, albeit still staggering a bit.
“Oh, no. Luke you may have been healing up great, but you still need to rest and get your strength back.” Dr. Brennen came to my side and tried to make me sit down again but I held my ground.
“Come on, lying in bed won’t make me stronger. Walking will. Plus, as I understand it, I've been in this bed for three days and I don’t smell too good.” I used the most convincing tone I could, trying to plead my case. “I could use some airing out hehe…”
Dr. Brennen raised a hand to her furrowed brow and rubbed her forehead. “Fine! Fine! Go. Just, be careful and don’t push yourself.” She left my side and headed to the door. Once she had her hand on the knob she turned to look at us again. “Caleb seemed so happy to get his pokémon back. He wouldn’t just leave them would he?” we all sat in silence for a few seconds then Brennen opened the door and left the room. I found it odd that she didn’t notice the smashed computer on the other side of the bed, but knowing her, she probably had a full plate running the Weather Institute and all.
“Mina…” the fox jumped at her name being said and looked to me. “What happened to Caleb?” I knew she didn’t like him that much, and I didn’t think she would hurt him. Still, him leaving his pokémon behind was unlike him. At least I thought it wasn’t; being out for a few days, I didn’t know what the situation with Caleb and his pokémon was. Maybe they had grown closer since I've been out? Maybe they grew further apart? Who knew? Not me.
“I turned him into an Absol and he's been gone since yesterday.”
Mina’s softly spoken answer didn’t quite register through my mind. I stood in confusion for about thirty seconds just thinking about what she said. “YOU DID, WHAT!?” This was so weird. I couldn’t have asked it normally. Instead it came out like some kind of confused shout which made my love jerk in surprise. “You… how. I didn’t know you- What??” The jumble of words left my mouth leaving Mina to giggle a bit. Once I recollected my thoughts I could complete my sentences again. “I didn’t know you could turn people into pokémon!”
“Hehehe” she snickered at my shocked voice. “I didn’t know either, but I tried it, and I guess I can!” Mina’s human body skirted around the bed and picked up the thin blanket I had pulled off of me. She returned to my side and draped the object over my shoulders. “I’ll explain later. Right now we have to deal with Caleb’s team.”
“Alright then.” I said as she guided me out of the room. Seeing Mina take charge like this brought a smile to my face. It was almost like role reversal, although I’ve never really commanded her to do anything.
We left the room and I was immediately greeted by a much larger than pokémon center room that had doors against each wall that looked the same as the one we had just left. This area even had a desk and its own receptionist and… a waiting room? I just wanted to look around but Mina hurried me into an elevator and pressed the Lobby button. The silvery doors closed us in and the weird feeling in my stomach told me that we were moving up. ‘This place is something like I've never seen before.’ I thought as we ascended, ‘how big is this facility?’
After the elevator doors opened up, it didn’t take us long to reach the spinney doors at the front of the building and through the glass I could already see Terkin’s bright orange fur as he sat on the edge of the fountain. The Arcanine stared off into the trees across the road, his ears at attention. Walking closer to the doors, I could also make out Caleb’s other pokémon. Glade sat on the concrete ground leaning against the fountain. Gyro the Pawniard was sort of meditating in the grass off to the side where as Juko and Kimi were sitting on either side of Terkin. I moved myself into the glass wedge and Mina joined me as we began to rotate the doors to the outside. The pokémon must have either herd or smelled us coming because as soon as we stepped outside, every one of them looked in our direction.
“Mina. Luke?”Terkin’s voice boomed out to us. I guess in surprise of me walking around; I haven’t seen them in a while, and even when I did see them last, they were fighting Archangel. Gyro got up from the ground and joined the rest of the pokémon at the fountain. “How are you feeling, Luke?” He asked, taking a stand at the stone ring which was almost as tall as he was.
“I’m doing fine, thank you for asking.” I smiled at the bladed pokémon as I came to the fountain as well. I tried to take a seat, and Mina helped me lower myself onto the cold stones. Once down I let out a sigh, “Thanks love.” I said; which brought a sweet ‘mm’ sound from the pokémon in disguise. Now I addressed the pokémon, “So, what’s going on guys? I heard that you were claiming this as your territory or something??”
“We are just waiting for Caleb to return. We mean no harm.” Glade commented, putting my mind at ease just a little bit. Mina and I had pretty much lived in the wild for the most part on our travels and if a pokémon has claimed a piece of territory, it can be hard to dissuade them from it. Luckily these particular pokémon were only waiting. Then I started to think of what Caleb turning into a pokémon would do to them, I started to wonder if they were experiencing some kind of ‘tameness regression;’ which wouldn’t really affect anyone but Caleb himself. Humans did things based on rational thought, morals and beliefs, more driven by a ‘super ego’ if you will. Pokémon were more instinctual and did things based on intuition, feeling, and urges, being driven by the ‘id.’ That is not to say that pokémon cannot make rational decisions, I mean look at Mina. She’s the most rational pokémon I've ever been around; and being around humans is what makes pokémon develop a super ego and humans to listen to their id more. It’s kind of a mutual benefit thing.
But now, Caleb was a pokémon and no longer held his human role in their relationship and I would bet anything that the events after his transformation weren’t as pleasant as he had planned them to be. Even though I already knew what the answer was, I still had to ask the question. “So, what happens when he comes back?”
As expected, Terkin was the one to answer. “We fight.”
Yep, that was just about what I expected. “Okay, I know that has to happen, but you're not gonna kill him are you?”
“What? Of course not!” The Arcanine exclaimed. “But when he loses, I’ll be in charge.”
“And if he never comes back, I have to release them.” Mina added.
“Wait, you can’t just release them here! We’d have to take them back home…” My words hung in the air for a few seconds before getting a message from Glade.
Mina’s eyes widened as she looked around. Terkin, as well as all of the others looked in the direction the Gallade was. I followed suit and moved around the front of the fountain to put my back to the Weather Institute. I saw a white body walk out of the forest and across the road. Mina had said she turned Caleb into and Absol, and sure enough one was just strutting towards us. The Absol stopped at the edge of the concrete pad nearly twenty five feet away from us, and in a few more moments he was joined by another Absol.
I looked to Mina with raised eyebrows. “So, in addition to turning him into a pokémon, you also made two of him?”
Both of us laughed at the thought of two Calebs until Mina replied, “Don’t be ridiculous, I didn’t do that.”
Never the less, as we looked on at the two, just sitting there, Caleb’s team began to get restless. “So…” Terkin barked out at him.
“You decided to come back.”
I sat on my haunches maybe thirty feet away from them in the grass. Them being my team, and I was surprised to see that Luke was there as well; sitting on the stoned edge of the fountain, wrapped up in a hospital blanket, Mina attached to his arm. It didn’t take long for Azure to join my side and sit next to me as well.
“So… You decided to come back!” The massive orange dog sitting on the fountain ring yelled out to me. It was interesting to see him sitting so close to the splashing water. Being a fire type, I figured that he wouldn’t like water and my experiences at the river before would have confirmed that, but here he was anyway. “Well that’s good. Because now… I can prove who the REAL alpha is here.”
On the way over here, Azure had filled me in on what actually happened between my pokémon and me. At this point, I knew why they wanted to fight me, and I knew I had to fight back. To keep command of the group I cared about, I would have to become the alpha and dominate over them. The only ones I really worried about were Terkin and Pawniard. Glade didn’t look like he wanted to fight me and the other two were still small and new additions to my team. Fortunately, and unfortunately, they didn’t get a lot of experience and I’ll have to be sure to change that when I was human again. Since becoming a pokémon and actually living like one, I had a good idea on how to make their lives better. ‘First thing I’ll do is get rid of those damned balls.’ Memories of that little boy’s pokéball came to mind and I shuddered a little bit. I still didn’t want to fight them though, and tried to talk some sense into them.
“We don’t have to do this.” I yelled across the distance to them. “We can just calm down, and have some fun.” I knew that they wouldn’t take that though, and Terkin’s response proved me right.
“Fat chance! Now let’s get this over with!”
My head hung low as I sighed. “Azure. I probably won’t die from this… but if I do, I want you to know that I really enjoyed hanging out with you and I’m grateful that you showed me how to live in the wild.”
“Whatever Stupid, just don’t pound them into the dirt too hard.” Azure’s reply made me laugh a bit. Did she really have that kind of faith in me? Hard to believe she was as sharp as a tack merely a day ago. I got up from my spot and took a step onto the concrete. After I had moved a couple feet, I felt a pair of fangs lightly grip my black tail, stopping me from proceeding. I whipped my head around to meet her eyes. She released my tail from her jaws and said one more thing. “I’ll be rooting for you, Caleb.”
Bowing my head to her, I looked back to my team and continued my approach. Axew and Emolga jumped off of the stones and stepped to the side allowing Terkin’s large body to make his way to me. I began to think that maybe it was just me and the Arcanine that would fight and so far, that’s what it looked like.
The beast started running towards me, paws pounding the concrete. I just retained my composure and kept walking at my own pace. Terkin opened his maw and flames escaped through the spaces between his fangs. The benefit of being his trainer, is knowing what moves he’s going to use, and it looked like he was going to use flamethrower. Sure enough he let out a roar and a jet of flames was fired straight at me. I wasn’t afraid this time; I knew that flamethrower had a narrow effect area so dodging it wouldn’t be a problem. In a flash, I had sidestepped the flames and felt the heat as they whooshed by me. I kept up my slow stride and let a smile crack across my muzzle, a kind of mocking gesture. If I was going to go down, at least I would do it smiling.
Terkin started running again, and the short distance between me and him was cut all too short. Before I knew it the, twice my size, canine was crouched next to me, paw outstretched. He swung it through the air and that was all it touched. Once again, I had avoided another attack, but I didn’t stop there, now was a chance for a counter! I mimicked his move and swung my own paw, but mine was heavily shrouded with the black energy of a shadow claw. The Arcanine was just as fast as I was, but my attack managed to graze off just an inch of his orange shoulder fur. I knew how he was going to move next, so I chased after him by moving to the side and jumping forward to meet him face to face. I saw his eyes widen for an instant before I unleashed my zen headbutt and smashed into his forehead. The Arcanine reeled back and held a paw to his head as he growled in pain. I didn’t want to hurt him, but it was what he wanted after all.
I thought maybe now would be a good chance to land a finishing blow and end this madness quickly, so with that end I concentrated my power into the black blade on the side of my head. I felt the energy pulsate in my horn as I whipped my head to bring the blade down on Terkin. This was it, I was about to make my own pokémon faint. Trainer of the year award, right here! That was sarcasm in case you didn’t know.
As I brought my horn down I closed my eyes, and felt the blade stop in its tracks. It vibrated like it hit something hard, and my eyes snapped open as I thought I had cut him to the bone. However, to my relief, I hadn’t even touched Terkin because Pawniard stood in front of him and his bladed arms crossed over his head, holding my black weapon from going any farther. The Arcanine looked up in frustration.
“Damn it Gyro! Get out of here! This is my fight!!”
“Wrong!” The Pawniard yelled back, struggling to keep my weapon above him. “This is all of our fights!!”
The short pokémon thrusted me upwards making me lose balance and back step a few feet, but before I knew it I was on my back as Emolga and Axew tripped me. I didn’t stay on the ground of course, in half a second I had rolled to all fours just in time to avoid a brutal looking lightning bolt shot by Emolga. I kept thinking that Glade would pop out and strike me at any moment, but a quick glance at the fountain reviled that he was just sitting there with Luke and Mina exchanging worried looks.
“What’s this? Four of you, against little ol’ me? So much for a fair fight!” I shouted while kicking into a run. I skirted around the team, staying ahead of the barrage of fire balls and lightning bolts. Terkin and Emolga were basically ranged specialized fighters where as Axew and… (Gyro I guess?) Were more on the up close and personal range. It was a good thing that none of my pokémon had a super effective type advantage over me, or I would have been screwed. Right now, I was doing everything I could to not get hit by their attacks and I found that I was slowly running out of stamina. Terkin eventually caught on to my evasion tactics and fired a bolt ahead of me; something I would have ran straight into had I not already charged up another night slash. I saw the ball of fire approaching and in a fluid motion, I jumped and spun in the air, swinging my horn full circle, successfully slicing the attack in half and making it dissipate into a cloud of smoke. This gave me cover for my next move.
Once back on the ground, I made a Combee-line for the fountain. I saw Mina pick Luke up from the stones and jump out of my way; Glade followed them and now I was free to use the piece of décor to my advantage. Like a pair of springs, my legs launched me over the fountain water, close enough for me to get a mouth full of the clear liquid from the jets that sprayed from the top. The blasts of flames and electricity stopped and I was then assaulted by Gyro swinging his bladed arms about as I landed on the other side. His metal body shimmered in the light as his sharp blades managed to cut strips of white fur from my body. ‘Damn,’ I thought, ‘too close to this guy and I’ll be finished!’
As part of his combo, I recognized him using fury swipes, and I could read which arm was about to strike next. With this knowledge, I flexed my claw tendons and charged the dark energy into my paw and caught one of his knives, stopping the Pawniard’s attacks. A flash of shock went across the creatures face as I immediately transferred the power to my tail and whipped it around to hit him in his side. The attack made Gyro fly and then roll before slamming against the stone edge of the fountain. I probably wouldn’t have to worry about him for a while… As I was looking on to him, I was caught off guard by Axew using bite on my front leg. The pain almost made me shriek, but I kept my mouth closed still holding in the water. I didn’t want to waste energy in charging up the jewel on my forehead, so instead I just gave the little lizard a normal headbutt and kicked him off of me.
I guess Terkin saw that Axew and Gyro were out of the way, because he started to unleash more fire bolts at me. The balls of flames scorched the concrete as I agley avoided each one passing me by. The closer I got to the Arcanine, the bigger and hotter the fire became making them harder to avoid. I pulled into a full sprint in the last few yards and found that I couldn’t dodge the last one fired at me. Making sure to keep my mouth shut, I gritted my teeth and dove into the inferno.
The flames singed my fur which brought the stench of burning hair to my sensitive nose. To say that the fireblast was hot was an understatement. It burned a lot! Like taking a bath in lava; but I managed to come out on the other side and once again was I face to face with the orange dog. He already had another ball of fire welling up in his mouth as he drew in. ‘NOW IS MY CHANCE!’ My mind screamed as I curled my feral lips the best I could and sprayed the water all over Terkin. Some of it went into his mouth, but quite a bit splashed all over his face and in his eyes.
“AGH!” He started to gag on the fluids and reeled back knowing his flames had been put out. “That’s a cheap dirty trick!” He barked after regaining his breath.
“I’ll show you what’s a cheap dirty trick!” I barked back. Knowing what was about to come, I ducked behind Terkin and heard the crackling of electricity as it struck the pokémon in the front.
“GUAAAAHHHHHH!!!” The Arcanine screamed out in agony as the electricity went through him, amplified by the water covering his face. When it was over, Terkin collapsed, panting heavily in defeat.
“OMIGOSH!” I heard Emolga cry out exasperation. “I am soooo sorry!!”
The canine only coughed a few times before uttering a single word. “Damn…”
I looked to the flying electric pokémon now standing on the ground a few yards from me. “What do you say girl?” I asked out loud. “Still wanna fight me?”
The creature looked around at the devastation already caused. Gyro and Axew were both knocked out, Terkin was taken out by her own lightning attack, and now she was all alone against an Absol who had barely been touched yet cleverly and amazingly defeated all of them. “O- Okay. Master Caleb… I’m done. You're alpha. I get it.” The little pokémon put her paws to the ground in a show of surrender.
It looked like I had won. Frankly I was both surprised and depressed about the outcome. I thought I had trained them better than that. I knew how strong Terkin was and in any other battle like this he would never have been defeated. If there was a trainer commanding them, I would never have stood a chance, but on their own they weren’t focused or organized as they should be. I began to walk away from Terkin’s form and make my way back to the fountain but half way there the orange canine woke up again.
“Like hell you are. You cheated! And I won’t just lie down and take that from you!”
The Acanine’s comment took me off guard and I quickly spun around to face him again. He was now standing up and had his front half aggressively lowered. ‘Of course. Why would I think this would be that easy?’ I thought. ‘I might have to use that thing that Azure showed me on our way here.’
Caleb had been a pokémon for, what… Like a day and a half? And already he had gained the ability to use Absol powers and even take out his own team! As heart wrenching as it was to watch, I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off of the battle. This fight wasn’t about badges, or money, or fame. It was about respect, and status amongst the group. It was about Caleb proving that he was the leader, and by the looks of it, he had managed to beat them! I saw what he had pulled with the water. That was clever if not a bit cheaty. But the problem that remained now, was that Terkin was still standing and wasn’t about to give up the fight even after that lightning bolt. Mina, Glade and I just stood by watching as the two of them faced off for what could be the final time. I saw both of their eyes sharpen as they launched into each other exchanging blows. Caleb seemed to be very quick on his feet, but I could tell he was wearing down.
Suddenly in the fray, the Absol took a wrong step and ended up clamped in Terkin’s jaws, blasted by a fire fang. Caleb screamed out in pain as the flames licked against his body. Once the attack had subsided, the orange canine threw his pokémon formed trainer over the fountain to land closer to us. Caleb laid on the ground for a few seconds, but then struggled to stand on his paws again. Terkin followed his throw and came closer as well. I noticed something a little off about the situation though. Judging by where the sun was, both of their shadows should be directly under them, but for some reason they stretched together and intertwined; connected if you will. I thought ‘It must be some kind of move right? It wasn’t like that before he got bitten.’
Caleb stood there, back against us, panting heavily as Terkin came to a stop and cloaked himself in flames. I looked on in bewilderment as I noticed that the bright light he emitted didn’t make the shadows go away it was almost like they were a solid mass.
I heard a light chuckle come from beside me and was alarmed to see the other Absol sitting next to me. She bore a soft smile on her face as she looked onto the battle field. “Hey, you’re a friend of Caleb’s right? Did you two meet in the forest?” I didn’t know if she knew I could understand her or not, but she answered anyway.
“Yes. I’m Azure. I taught him how to be an Absol.”
“Well, Azure it’s sure nice to meet you.” I replied. After waiting a few seconds I spoke up again. “Do you know what’s up with that shadow between them? It looks weird…”
“Yes. I taught him that. It’s destiny bond. However, I made a few tweaks to the move and Caleb can do it now too. This fight is over.” Her sharp tone displayed true confidence in her friend.
Of course, I knew what destiny bond was. If the user faints, then the attacker faints as well, but if that happens, then this battle wouldn’t really be over. It would be considered a draw right? I continued to focus on the battle between trainer and pokémon. The two of them were just panting heavily; both wore out, both injured, and both struggling to fight.
“Last” *pant* “Chance” *pant* “Terkin!” his two sentences were broken by more heavy breathings. “Submit!” *pant* “And we can” *pant* “Forget about this!”
“I don’t” *pant* “Think so.” *pant* “Caleb!” Terkin’s sentence structure matched his trainer’s. “I will fight” *pant* “Until you make me.” *pant* “Pass out!” The Arcanine lifted his snout into the air and the flames on his body extinguished as his muzzle exploded into a ball of fire.
“Oh geez! It’s not safe here.” Mina commented, picking me up from the ground again. She started running out of we assumed was the blast radius. However, Azure stopped us and stood in between us and the fight.
“Don’t worry.” She said. “Caleb can do it, but if it will make you more comfortable, I’ll stand here to stop the blast.”
Mina wasn’t too quick to trust the Absol, but a quick touch from Glade told her it would be alright. He also stood in front of us, waiting for the attack to unleash. The flames wrapped around themselves in a tight ball. I could tell Terkin was pouring all he had into this last attack. Suddenly the ball of flames compressed itself to a quarter of its size. The large canine lowered his head from the sky which brought the ball down with it, then in a loud roar, he fired the attack. It was almost like the pokémon had shot the sun itself; I felt Mina tense up around my arm as the ball screamed towards its target.
Caleb didn’t move. He just stood there and accepted what was about to come. “I gave you a chance to stop…” he uttered barely audible over the rumbling of Terkin’s attack. The dense ball of flames had made its way to the Absol now and to my surprise it didn’t explode. It just came to a stop in front of the feline, and then the flames spun around themselves and dissipated into what looked like Caleb’s forehead.
“What the hell!?” I heard Terkin roar in frustration at the negation of his attack.
‘What the hell is right; this isn’t destiny bond, where did the attack go?’ I thought as I looked to the shadow that was still connected between them.
Suddenly, Caleb turned away from the Arcanine, and I could see his face. The usual black jewel on his forehead was now a bright shining blaze drop with smaller flames licking the air around it. “Sorry boy…” he said in a low voice as he took a paw and tapped the ground. The fire disappeared from his head and a bulge formed in the shadow at the bottom of his feet. Suddenly, the bulge started following the shadow towards Terkin. It was like an invisible ball was shot at him only visible through the shadow on the ground. Terkin noticed this as well, and knowing that it was some kind of counter he tried to avoid the attack. However, no matter which way he moved, the shadow was still firmly connected to his paws. He ducked to the other side of the fountain, but the black orb just passed over the object and through the water still following its course. The Arcanine launched into a full on sprint, but the attack picked up speed as well and caught up to him.
Terkin gasped in terror as his own attack appeared out of nowhere and blasted him in the face. The dense flames of the fireball consumed the dog and my jaw dropped at the sight of the inferno. Terkin had managed to run quite a bit away, so far that he had made it to the grass; the blast of course setting it on fire and scorching the area. Luckily Terkin was a fire type, which meant that the attack wouldn’t be enough to do any serious damage to him, but damn I bet it hurt. I couldn’t believe what Caleb had done; he just used a bunch of moves that didn’t even exist to my knowledge. That last one definitely wasn’t destiny bond that was for sure. I thought up some names to call it:
Really it didn’t matter; Caleb had won his fight for alpha status, for real this time. Terkin laid in the scorched grass and moaned as his trainer stood over him. “Are you done now?” he asked to the pile of Arcanine.
“Heh heh… yea. You're alpha alright.”
After the fight, Mina had gone to the room and gotten my clothes as well as my pokéballs. Luke stayed behind with us still wrapped in the hospital blanket, being the only human amongst us pokémon, I felt a strange sense of mischievety knowing that we could say anything we wanted about him, and he wouldn’t know what we were talking about. It was bad karma to talk wrong about someone in another language though, and I didn’t take the opportunity, but only silently chuckled to myself. I had my pokémon line up in front of me, once they had recovered from the battle. Turns out that most of them gave up the moment I showed the ability to keep up with them. Terkin was really the only one who took our fight seriously. Axew who I had learned was named Juko, and Emolga who was named Kimi, pretty much threw the fight when I had gotten the best of Gyro. Whereas Gyro gave up the moment he knew I could read his movements.
Of course there was the confusion about that last move I did, and the awe of me being able to not only take no damage from it and also turn the Arcanine’s attack against him. I received ‘oohs’ and ahhs’ as I explained how it worked and I tried to not get a big head about it.
As we waited for Mina to return, my attention turned to Glade. He was the only one who didn’t fight me, and I wanted to know why. “Glade.” I started, getting his attention. “Why didn’t you attack me? Everyone else was doing it, seems odd you didn’t join in.”
The Gallade took his time answering me, looking me up and down with his red eyes before he spoke. “I made a promise to your father. I would protect you. I would make sure that you were safe on our journey… Fighting you would contradict that promise.” The green bodied pokémon blinked and smiled at me. “Besides. Fighting for dominance is pointless. I would have followed you even if you had lost that battle.”
I thought I heard Luke let out a stifled giggle and I turned to look at him, but he was just giving us his half-lidded smile. I guess he felt out of the loop or something. I knew what being a human in a crowd of pokémon felt like and I sometimes laughed at them chatting amongst each other as well. Still, I looked back to Glade and beamed at the thought of him being my guardian all this time.
“Thanks for that, Glade.”
It didn’t take much longer for Mina to return with my stuff. Then we all gathered on the windowless side of the Weather Institute building where my pokémon lined up again, and Mina had laid each ball on the ground per my asking. She took the few steps back to stand next to Luke who was slightly leaning against the brick wall.
With the balls laid out and my pokémon lined up, now was the time to address the group. “Listen up guys.” They all sat up in attention to my words. “The past couple of days… have really shown me what it’s like to be a pokémon. After you chassed me off, I was almost captured in a pokéball, and I saw what it was like in one of those things…” I looked at one of the orbs as I said this, slightly traumatized by the unassuming object. “If it weren’t for Azure here,” I stated, gesturing to the female who nodded her head. “I wouldn’t have eaten anything, because being a carnivore means you kill your food in the wild… and I couldn’t do it.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mina give a slight nod to my words. “I learned what it’s like to be in a pack, even though a pack of two is hardly a pack at all.” Azure snickered at this. “I also learned the devastation a trainer can have on a family and I realize that I may have torn you away from the ones you love as well.” Looking over my team, I saw Kimi wipe a tear from her eye. “That’s why, I’m doing this.”
Looking to the balls at my feet, I stepped on the first one to hold it down and used a claw to shakily rotate the center dial. I heard the orb click and beep beneath my paw and looking to Glade, I saw his eyes flash blue once as the ball’s hold on him was released. He let out a grunt, and put a hand to his head and looked at me with his wide red eyes. I continued to do the same thing to each of the pokéballs, essentially releasing all of my pokémon. They all shook their heads as the devices deactivated on the ground.
“Wha- what are you doing Caleb!?” I heard Terkin growl from my left. “Are you just going to abandon us now!?”
“No… I am giving you all a choice.” I heard several gasps ripple through out the pokémon in front of me. “You can go free. Go back to your families, live your lives with your friends again out in the wild. Or… you can choose to follow me. I won’t make any false promises; I still want to battle the gyms and take on the league. I will say this however; I will take better care of you. I won’t treat you like tools. We’ll have more good times than bad and I’ll start by getting rid of these balls… Once we’re in Mistralton, I’ll exchange them for different ones. Ones that don’t have an ‘open mind writing program.’” I took a pause as the group took in what I was saying. “I want you to stay with me because you want to. Not because These things are forcing you.”
I looked out amongst the pokémon who were still rooted to their spot. They each wore a furrowed brow, obviously thinking their choices over carefully. All accept Glade who had already made up his mind and had stepped closer to pick up his pokéball. “I’m staying. I will fight along your side.” He said in his usual short and ‘to the point’ sentences. He then raised a finger and poked the button on the front of the ball, sucking him inside. The ball fell to the ground and settled after being programmed with Glade’s data again.
I had hoped that all of my pokémon would choose to follow me, and my heart raced as the rest of them tried to make up their minds. Suddenly Kimi shook her head and stepped back. I saw tears form in her eyes as she jerked away and jumped into the air, gliding through the foliage. My own eyes watered over as I saw Juko turn and chase after the rodent.
“Kimi! Wait for me!” he shouted as he disappeared into the bushes.
Now I looked to the remaining pokémon who have yet to make up their minds. Terkin and Gyro were left staring down the balls, considering their options.
“Well, That’s that.” Terkin said. “I have no choice.” My eyes widened in curiosity and fear at what his decision might be. “You’re the alpha, and that means I have to follow you until I can usurp your authority.” I smiled a bit letting out a soft laugh as the Arcanine pressed the button on his pokéball and was sucked inside of it.
Now only Gyro remained, and I already knew what his answer would be. What he said, confirmed my beliefs. “Caleb. I’m sorry. I cannot follow you anymore.”
“You don’t have to feel ashamed thinking that.” I tried to console him. “I’m sorry I kept you cooped up in that pokéball for so long… now go on, you deserve to be free, if that’s what you want.”
The bladed pokémon bowed to me and started to walk away, but then he glanced back and spoke the last words I would probably ever hear from him again. “Good luck on your travels… I hope I can meet you again some time.” I gave a heartfelt grin and nodded as he turned and left
Now I was alone. Three of my pokémon had left me, leaving Terkin and Glade. I felt the sting of tears to my eyes. I had been doing the best I could to hold them back, but now I didn’t have a reason to. I just laid down into the dirt and sniffed up snot that started clogging my nostrils. Of course I was sad to see them go, but on a deeper level I was happy that they could live their lives again. In an emotional confusion, I was both crying for their loss and smiling for their happiness. I felt a hand lay on my furry shoulder and jumped as I had forgotten that Luke was even there.
His blue eyes looked into mine as he wore a comforting grin. “You did the right thing, Caleb.”
“I know…” I replied, forgetting that he couldn’t understand me anyway. I know I did the right thing, but I still felt a little bad about not getting to make up for all the times I ignored or used them. I supposed that freedom would be its own reward.
Azure looked to me and rolled her red irises, “Tch, you're such a baby.” Her comment made me laugh through the tears, and with the added pressure a snot bubble formed on the end of my snout. “EEW! Get away from me, Stupid!” She tried to jump away from me, but I pounced on top of her and rubbed my face into her clean fur. “Ahh! NO! Eww Eww! Come on! Stop it!” She shrieked and struggled to get away from me but I held on.
“You never told me if you would come with me or not!” I cried into her chest fluff and snorted in the nose gunk, making gross sounds and pretending to blow more mucus into her fur.
“UGHH!! You're so DISGUSTING!” She squirmed some more before giving me the answer I wanted to hear. “FINE! FINE! OKAY! I’LL COME WITH YOU!” Her answer brought a shred of joy to my soul and I pulled away from her and beamed into her eyes which were fiercely glaring back into mine. “But you're going to clean me up!”
“Deal.” I said, and then I licked her nose and let her up. I heard Mina and Luke busting out laughing behind me and I stared to join them.
My adventure as a pokémon was over… for now anyway. Mina turned me human again and Azure made some kind of comment about me that had made Mina giggle. Luke did too, but I think he just did it because of Mina. Knowing what I was going to turn into gave me the luxury of putting on my shirt and pants before turning, so I didn’t end up naked again. Maybe it was getting colder, or maybe it was the loss of fur, either way I started to believe that I was crazy, wearing a t-shirt in this weather before all this happened. I was thankful to have my arms and hands back, although I found that I was getting used to walking on all fours, and ended up missing it shortly after. The biggest change was the absence of super sensory like smell, vision, and hearing. Going back to human again, I couldn’t smell the wonderful scents of nature as strongly as I could before. True to her words Azure stayed by my side and became the sixth… ahem, I mean, third member of my party. I had plenty of pokéballs that I could have registered her with, but chose instead to wait until we got to Mistralton so I could get the proper ball for her and the other guys. Convincing Dr. Brennen to allow me to have a wild pokémon in the Weather Institute outside of a pokéball was a challenge, but in the end she decided to make a special onetime exception for us. Actually it would be a twotime exception as she knew about Mina.
Luke had managed to get into trouble. Something about breaking Weather Institute equipment. So after he had his stitches removed, painfully I might add, he was asked to pay for the broken machine, which cost him somewhere around 430,000 pokédollars. Truthfully I was shocked that he was just carrying around that much money, but then I remembered that he and Mina were contest stars after all.
Finally we finished up the day by finally getting to meet the Castform that we had rescued, a welcoming experience as I had almost forgotten about him, being a pokémon and all that for the last day or so. The door to the Bio-dome had been repaired, and Brennen gave us special access to the pokémon for a few hours. During that time, Mina had managed to have a full on conversation with the creature, Azure included of course. I felt especially lucky that we had gotten to interact with him while we could. Dr. Brennen had told us that because of the incident, the higher ups were going to relocate Castform to yet another research facility. They had said he was being transported to a more secluded area in the Kalos region within the week. I decided that I would let Terkin and Glade out of their balls early tomorrow and not ever make them go back in. It was part of my ‘We’ll have more good times than bad’ promise I had made to them.
Having nowhere to hurry off to, we spent one final night in the Weather Institute. Since Luke was up and moving, I took the liberty to buy my own room for the night and leave the one Mina and I shared to them. Knowing quite a bit about their situation and relationship with each other, I figured they might want some time together. You know… Alone. without anyone else. As for Azure and I; I thought that she wouldn’t want to cuddle up to me like she did when I was a pokémon, so I just jumped in bed and covered up, expecting her to curl at the foot of my bed or something. Little did I know she would give me a sharp yip, yank the blankets off of me and curl up on the inside of the spoon we formed…
Oh yea, one more thing, she did make me clean the snot out of her fur. With my tongue. I had to lick it off of her. Truth be told, it just wasn’t as good as the blood, but that may just be a difference in tongues. Obviously I couldn’t get it all because my organ wasn’t spiky like a brush anymore and she rolled her eyes and eventually let it go. Either way, after that was over I started to run my fingers through her white coat until she purred her way to sleep, and by that time, I wasn’t too far away myself.
Chapter End Notes:
OKAY!! Now with that delay, the plot can really get back on track!
However, that will have to wait T_T.
"WHA!? Why does it have to wait!?"
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