"If you must have a god, do not worship one that exists. Somebody will make friends and be equals with it."
While working at his field, Nago looked up at the daylight sky. He smiled at the memory of the three full moons of good weather this year had brought him, and the prediction that the good weather on the island-country this year was likely to continue for at least another three full moons, even though the days of sunlight were waning.
Suddenly, he noticed a shape in the sky – a giant blue and white birdlike creature, soaring directly overhead, and landing at the far corner of his field. It started plucking out a few stalks of his rice crop.
Nago was about to shoo the bird away, but noticed that as he got closer to it, it was looking him in the eye. He stopped where he was in surprise, and the glare that the bird-creature gave him while munching the rice was a look of seriousness, one usually only found in humans, that told Nago that the bird meant business, whatever the business was. He knew now not to try and harm this bird.
After the bird plucked out a few more stalks of rice, it flew over to Nago and dropped a ball from its mouth into his hand. The ball shone white and contained a strange form of energy. Nago, being a simple farmer, was confused. "What should I do with it?" he asked the bird creature, not expecting an answer.
He quickly got what he didn't expect, as a voice erupted in his head, "Anything."
The bird-creature then flapped its winglike arms twice, and flew away. As Nago watched it leave, he was struck by realization. "That... was Lugia! The legendary bird!" He quickly took the ball in his hand and planted it in his field, knowing that it would bless his land for a long time to come.
As he finished burying the ball, he looked up at the ocean. There was now a strange stone formation in the middle of the ocean that he had never seen before – a stack of rocks in the shape of a mushroom on top of which was Lugia, sleeping.
Nago suddenly rose into the air, became frightened, and looked down at himself - and found quickly that he couldn't, making a 360-degree front flip in the attempt. He looked left, and right, and noticed that his arms were white, flat, and a little furry, and quite long at that. He tried feeling his face, and quickly found that as he brought them to his head, his long, stretchy arms blew him backwards with air resistance. He quickly flapped his arms back, returning himself to an upright position. Then, he felt compelled to fly in the direction he was headed in. As he did so, he felt several flaps of skin open up on his back. What is Lugia doing to me?
* * *
As the morning sun rose over Spectrum Town, Tana had a good feeling about herself, waking up from a dreamy slumber. Today's the day, she thought, as she rose from the ground she was sleeping on, and sat up.
"The day for what?" asked Suigun, her Buoysel, from a nearby pond.
"Ahhh!" Tana fell back onto the ground, frightened. "Don't scare me like that, Suigun!"
"I was just asking..." said Suigun, slightly dejected.
"Today's the day Matthew comes back from his Pokémon adventure, and I'm going to propose to him!" said Tana triumphantly.
"Aren't you a bit... young for that?" inquired Suigun.
"Hmph," puffed Tana. "For your information, I'm thirteen and fully capable of supporting myself." At that phrase, Suigun's float ring deflated out of disbelief.
"Tana!" called a voice from her house, about 30 metres away. "Have you been sleeping in the backyard again? Don't you know it's almost winter? You'll die of a cold if you stay out here too long!"
"Alright, I'm coming..." called Tana back to her mother. "Come on, Suigun," said Tana to her Buoysel, "Back in the Pokeball..."
"Aww, I hate it in there... almost as much as a Pikachu," complained Suigun, as he went inside.
"Didn't you stay in there a lot when you were with my dad?" asked Tana.
As Tana entered the back of the house, her sense of confidence only increased. She quickly ran upstairs, showered, changed into clean clothes, and rushed out the front door into the road of Spectrum Town, crying, "Here I cooooooooooooooome...whoahoaoaoa...oof!" She tripped on the top stair, falling all the way down to the ground. She quickly leapt up again, oblivious to her minor scrapes and bruises, and headed toward Matthew's house, where he was taking a vacation from training Pokémon.
"Yoo hooooo!" Tana's voice crawled up to Matthew's house as she ran over and rang the doorbell. "Mrs. Palton? Are you in there?"
"Why yes, Tana," said a kindly old lady at the door as she opened it. She looked about 50 years old, with a slightly hunched back and a slow gait. A brown hood surrounded her thin brown hair. "But Matthew isn't here. He's over at the Pokémon Center, looking for you."
So he does like me, thought Tana. She suddenly stood up straight and saluted Mrs. Palton. "Alright, ma'am, leave Matthew to me!" She dashed off.
As she ran, she let out Suigun. "Think you'll get him this time?" he asked, as he ran alongside her.
"I always do," said Tana. Her confidence was so great it was almost physically visible.
As she got to the Pokémon center, Matthew was in sight. "Matthew! Matthew!" She called out.
"Hey, it's Tana," said Matthew, almost nonchalantly.
"Matthew," she squealed, running up to him with a hyperactive excitement usually only found in angry Mankey. "I'd just like to say that I've had stewing feelings for you for the whole while that you've been gone, you wouldn't know fond three years of absence has made my heart, I'd love to see your Pokémon when we get home, but we need to get home first!!!" All this she said in one breath, and then she started carrying Matthew by one hand off to her house.
When they got back to Tana's house, she was calmed down a bit, if not only from Tana's exhaustion. Matthew was astonished at his childhood friend's sheer giddiness at the thought of actually proposing to a lifelong bond. They sat down at a backyard table and started chatting. Matthew let out his Pokémon and Tana greeted all of them.
During their conversation about Matthew's three-year journey, the topic of their relationship came up, introduced by Tana, of course.
"I'm sorry, Tana, but we're thirteen years old. We have our whole life ahead of us, and I think we should just take it slow. You know?"
Tana felt like an icicle was piercing her heart as Matthew told her this, but the icicle melted right away as she realized that he wasn't rejecting her.
"Oh, it's alright, Matthew," said Tana, jokingly. "I just wanted to say that I love you."
"As if..." said Suigun, right next to them at the side of the backyard table.
"Heh, Suigun has an attitude," said Matthew. "I heard him say 'as if...'."
"I promise I'll come back again for you," said Matthew, returning to the subject. "Who knows, maybe you'll start training Pokémon as well."
"I've got my Suigun," said Tana, rubbing cheeks with her Buoysel. "No matter what, at least we'll always be friends."
* * *
Three years later, Tana was studying chemistry, because she had decided to become a biochemist, studying new ways of creating medicines and analyzing the old ways for clues.
Matthew came back again. This time around, he wasn't at all interested in Tana's relationship. He had collected 24 badges from various regions around Japan, and was intent on showing them to Tana. "I'm well on my way to becoming a Pokémon Master!" he said proudly, while they were in the Pokémon center that they agreed to meet at.
"Yeah, but what about us?" asked Tana timidly.
"Huh?" Matthew was genuinely confused.
"Our relationship!" squawked Tana indignantly, regaining her confidence. "You promised you'd come back again for me!"
"That's right, you did," said Suigun, although all Matthew heard was "Bui-bui, bui bui!"
"Well, I'm here, aren't I? What more d'ya want?" asked Matthew.
Tana left in a huff. "Boys," she muttered to herself. But inside, a part of her was sinking. As she walked away from the Pokémon center, she saw Matthew tending to his Charizard. All Matthew cared about now were his stupid Pokémon. There was no room in his heart for her.
* * *
After another year passed, Matthew made another unexpected visit. His mother was terminally ill, and wanted to see Matthew one last time before she "passed on to the next realm", as he recalled her speech to Tana later. He explained that he felt sorry for what happened a year ago, and was determined to make things right.
Tana, however, didn't want any of it. During that one year, she had made up her mind, so she said, to ignore any thought of bonding with Matthew ever again. Tana's parents had tried to get Tana's head straight, but out of sadness and anger, she had shut Matthew out. Life continued as normal, and Tana even found some new boyfriends, even if they did break away after less than a week of meeting.
Now, though, her poorly set-up defenses were starting to crumble as she began to remember her experiences with him. She also did feel sorry for Matthew's mother. Matthew told her about everything that happened in that year as they stood together under the storm roof of Matthew's house.
"During that year I was away, I thought about what you said. Heck, right when you left and I started feeding my Charizard, I was even thinking about what you said. While I was away in the Sinnoh League, I lost many battles because I was thinking about what you said."
"I didn't say much, though," said Tana, confused.
"Those three words were enough. 'What about us?' I realized that I had been so caught up in trying to train my Pokémon and earn badges that I had forgotten about things that were more important in life."
"That's true," said Suigun with much indignation. "Tana is more important than anybody you'll ever meet."
"I also knew something was wrong when I couldn't hear Suigun speak anymore," said Matthew, realizing something. "It meant, as I found out later, that I had lost my connection with you. If you're truly connected to somebody, you'll be able to hear anybody they're connected to speak more clearly - even Pokémon."
"But that's all over now," said Matthew, also regaining his confidence. "About a month ago, I realized that I still do have room in my heart for you - I just didn't realize that my heart had so much room."
"By the way, I have a surprise for you," twitching slightly at something behind his back.
"Oh, let's cut the crap," said Tana mischieviously, not one to fall into suspense. "Bring it out."
He brought his hands forward. "Oh, it's beautiful!" said Tana.
Matthew was holding a golden locket, that had a diagram of a Pokémon stadium on it. The circle in the middle was different, however - it was split into four quadrants, each coloured a different colour - red, blue, green, and violet.
"I won it after defeating the Elite Four," explained Matthew. "You'd be surprised at the new system they have now. Each region in Japan now has one Elite, making for a total of four. They all live at the Mandarin Plateau."
"But... it's yours! Why would you want me to have it?" asked Tana.
"Isn't it obvious? But that's not all - open it up." said Matthew, as he dusted off the clothes that he was wearing.
Tana looked for a clasp or something that could open the locket, and as her thumb grazed the circle in the middle of the stadium, the four regions glowed and the locket opened up. Inside was what appeared to be a 3-D window peering into the faces of Tana and Matthew.
"It's a new technology called an 'enclosed hologram'," explained Matthew. "People have found a way to project 3-D images onto flat surfaces to make it appear as if the picture is jumping away from you instead of jumping out at you. Basically, it looks like you're peering into a window of a museum exhibit."
I'll treasure it forever, thought Tana, not noticing that Matthew had gotten down on one knee. "Oh, so now you're the one proposing?" said Tana with an expression of playful malice, as soon as she turned to look at him.
"Wy-naut?" said Matthew, as a rimshot played and tomatoes flung out of nowhere, hitting him in the face. They both started laughing about the tomatoes as Tana said, "Yes!"
* * *
There were no wedding bells, but the nineteen-year-old Tana wore "a dress that would take an Entei two bounds to leap over," said her uncle, commenting on its absurd length. As the priest read the couple their vows in Tana's garden of a backyard, the couple found themselves snickering whenever the word "Arceus", "Dialga", "Palkia", "Mew", "Ho-oh", "Lugia", or some legendary Pokemon was substituted in the place of "God", "Jesus", "Christ", "Allah", "Jehovah", "Zeus", or some other name. This type of replacement was so prevalent in the vows that at the end of the priest's reading, the couple was doubled over in laughter. "What in the name of Arceus is so funny?" asked the priest.
"You're not helping," commented Suigun, who was dressed up in a tuxedo and standing next to Tana.
"By the power vested in me by the commander of Dialga and Palkia, I--" he stopped abruptly as he watched the couple, once again convulsing in laughter, showing no signs of stopping.
When they finally recovered, the priest gave up. "You know what, it's obvious that you two love each other, and agree to your vows, otherwise you wouldn't be doing this in the first place. I pronounce you man and wife, now please stop laughing! Giratina!" He sucked in another breath as they started wheezing while everybody sitting in the benches outside watched in amazement. No other couple that they had known – even young couples - had ever done this before.
* * *
"Isn't she cute?" asked Tana in her bed, holding onto her newborn daughter.
"She is, but I can't believe it's so early. We're only 21, you know that," said Matthew.
"Oh, don't be such a pushover," said Tana. "I'm sure we'll make a happy family."
"I'll name her... Rachel. After your mother," said Tana.
"But my mother's name was Ruth..." protested Matthew. Their baby promptly slapped Matthew's finger for making the suggestion.
"Doesn't matter, see? It's stuck with her already," said Tana, laughing.
* * *
Suigun was playing with Rachel in their playroom. Rachel now held what she thought was dominance over Suigun when she was around – they played a game where she ordered him around and he would usually comply in good spirit. Rachel and Suigun made good friends nonetheless; in fact, they took such good care of each other that Rachel even rode on Suigun in the water sometime. As she grew, though, Suigun was no longer strong enough to support her, so she stopped riding on him.
Right now, they were playing a game of who could throw the most beanbag cushions at each other. Rachel was winning, and not because Suigun was going easy on her.
"Say cheese," said Tana to Rachel, as she flashed the camera. "I'm winning!" said Rachel proudly, sitting next to a spiral-eyed Suigun with a wide grin on her face.
* * *
"Rachel's almost five," sighed Tana. It was Tana and Matthew's seventh anniversary, and to celebrate, they had gone on a boat ride together and left Rachel with her seven-year-old friend Shigeru. Tana knew that Shigeru's parents were trustworthy, and that Shigeru's Wartortle would definitely keep Rachel busy for a while, as they tried each other's territories.
Matthew looked up at the sky. "Seven years, huh. It seems like it was just yesterday."
"It always does," said Tana, shoving him playfully. "Next thing you know, it'll be our fourteenth and you'll say it feels like just two days ago."
Matthew shoved back, rocking the boat. "That may be, but I'm still young!"
"If you consider 26 to be young... haha!" A shoving contest erupted, and the boat tilted, dumping them both into the water. They came out, and started laughing. Who said life over 25 was dull?
When they got home, Rachel had completely overpowered Shigeru's Wartortle, but eventually they made good friends.
* * *
*RING* *RING* *RING*
"Mmmh..." said Rachel. "Five more minutes..." she mumbled as she closed her alarm clock, which quickly sprang open again, counting five minutes.
Five minutes later, the alarm clock rang again, and Rachel was up almost immediately, bumping her head on the ceiling. "Hmm..." she wondered. "How'd I get all the way up there, anyway? I'm too short! Oh well."
She checked her calendar, ripping off the previous day's entry. "April 7... oh no, that's the first day of school! I forgot!" She rushed down to her kitchen, where her grandma was waiting for her with breakfast.
"Here you go, schoolgirl-chan," said her grandma kindly. "Eat up, you have a big day ahead of—whoa! You're really wolfing it down, aren't you," she said, surprised at how quickly Rachel was eating.
As soon as she finished her last gulp of orange juice, she slammed the cup down and pressed a button on her watch. "Aha! 1 minute and 49 seconds! Suigun said I couldn't do it, but I did!"
"Whatdya mean I said you couldn't do it? I only made a bet with you!" said a voice from the living room.
Rachel then looked down at what she was wearing, and realized that she was still wearing her pajamas. "Ahh! I need to change! That's why I woke up so early, to decide what I'm going to wear!"
As she came up, she took out all of her clothes and neatly laid them out on the floor. As she was laying out all of her clothes, Tana walked in. "Deciding what to wear, hmm."
Rachel simply stood there, thinking to herself for about three minutes, and finally decided on a pair of camouflage jeans and an orange shirt with yellow sleeves from about 2 inches above the elbow down that had an inflatable collar.
"Hmm," said Tana. "You should lose the inflatable collar, it makes you look too much like a Buoysel."
"In that case, I'll have to change the whole getup," said Rachel. "Dressing a girl is an imperfect art, but an exact science," she said, feigning sophistication.
"Haha, I like the way you think! But make up your mind quickly, there's only another half-hour before you leave."
Again, Rachel thought for three minutes, and put on a navy-blue jacket on top of a purple T-shirt, and a pair of blue jeans. Her shoes were plain white sneakers, which she said looked best simply because they were white.
She brushed her teeth and washed her face, and went to her dad for one final inspection. "You look great, darling," said Matthew, approvingly.
As she walked to school, she met up with Shigeru. "Hey, Shiggy-kun!" she called out.
"Wow," said Shigeru, catching up to her. "You're the first person I've ever met who mixed up an honorific with an endearing nickname."
"I'm sure you'll meet a lot of that kind of person when you grow older," said Rachel. "And why are you bringing your Wartortle?" Rachel pointed to the blue Pokeball that Shigeru was holding.
"Oh, this isn't Warty," said Shigeru, calling his Wartortle by its nickname. "It's a Butterfree. I caught it with a net last week when I was out hunting for butterflies."
"Wait, so you caught it with a net first, and then used a Pokeball?" asked Rachel. "Isn't that... kind of cheating?"
"Nah," said Shigeru, blowing it off. Then, the bell started ringing, so they hurried up.
"Ohayou gozaimasu, class," said the teacher.
"Oha—you!" said most of the class, who were sitting on the floor in front of her. Some of them remained quiet out of nervousness.
"My name is Yamato Takahashi," said the teacher. "I'll be your teacher for the next two years. First, I'd like to get to know your names..."
* * *
After class was let out, Rachel met up with Shigeru again. "So, how was your first day?" he asked.
"Oh, nothing unusual," said Rachel, with the same tone of confidence her mother had. "I got into trouble a few times for fighting with the boys, but they all respect me for it. I know they do," she said with pride. "How was your first day of your last year of school?"
"Oh, nothing unusual," returned Shigeru.
As Rachel stepped in the front door of her house, she sensed that she had forgotten something. It lingered in her mind for a few seconds as she walked into the living room, when all of a sudden, a picture of a Pokémon she didn't recognize popped up in front of her face. "Happy birthday!" said her entire family. So that's what she'd forgotten... she was five years old today!
"Today, we have a very special birthday present for you," said Matthew. "We've been thinking about it for almost a year now, and we decided to give it to you. But being the smart girl you are, would you like to guess what it is?"
"Well, for it to be that special," she said, "it must be something very important to you. Hmm... is it that locket you showed me with your pictures in it?"
Matthew was surprised. "That's an excellent guess," he said, regaining his composure quickly, "but nope, that's not it." He took the present out from behind his back.
"It's... a Pokeball," said Rachel, equally as surprised as Matthew at the steel ball in front of her. "But I'm too young to have one of those, amn't I? I need to be at least ten, right?" she asked, mixing up the word "aren't".
"No, you only need to be ten if you want to train Pokémon and join the league," said Matthew. "Did you know that this Pokeball is almost 35 years old?"
"Aw, so it's not a Taillow or a Beautifly..." she said, pointing out her expectation that it was a new pet for her. "Well then again, maybe it is, but you just kept it in a 35-year-old ball to surprise me. By the way, how does it even open?" she asked, knowing that with the newer Pokeballs, all you needed to do was to throw them and they'd open by themselves.
"You have to twist this cap here," said Matthew, pointing to the reddish caplike nub on the top. Rachel twisted the top, springing the ball open into two parts. Out popped...
"Suigun!" said Rachel. "It's you!"
"It's me, alright," said the Buoysel. "I've been in this family for almost 35 years," he explained. "Your grandpa was my first trainer, but then he handed me down to Tana and then you. But for some reason, Tana liked this old Pokeball. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to going inside a new one, this one is stuffy as hell," he said, nudging the steel ball with his nose.
"That reminds me," said Matthew, "You can also have this." He handed her a Pokeball. This one wasn't like most of them from this generation – the regular balls were red on top and white on the bottom, but this one looked blue on the top and yellow on the bottom. "It's a Pokeball I bought, specially customized to Suigun's specifications. Actually, the lady at the convenience store heard Suigun going 'bui-bui-bui', and asked me about it."
"Well, hurry up and go outside to catch me with it already," said Suigun. "The sooner this gets done, the better for me."
So they ran outside, and Rachel tried throwing the Pokeball at Suigun. But to both their chagrins, it just bounced off harmlessly. She tried two more times, but each time, it simply bounced off. She ran inside and asked Matthew why. "Oh, silly me," he said. "I forgot to release Suigun from his old Pokeball." He ran to his own room and got a contraption that looked like a miniature Death Star, and placed it inside the Pokeball. It went in just like a Pokémon would, and started whirring inside. The ball shook for about thirty seconds, and then stopped. Suddenly, outside, Suigun started glowing blue, and then returned to normal. "Okay, now you should be able to catch him."
When they got outside, Suigun was suddenly more patient. "Okay, now you can catch me, but I have to warn you, I might break free by instinct. I'll try and control it."
"Doesn't matter, I'll pounce on the Pokeball right afterwards and hold it closed myself. Pokeball, go!" said Rachel, as it opened and caught Suigun. True to her word, Rachel pounced on the closed Pokeball as it shook violently. "Howya doing in there, Suigun?"
"Argh, I can't fight this primal instinct... at least not very well, anyway... my body is going off in random spasms as if there's another Buoysel in here, taking up my space..." he said, sounding pained as the ball kept shaking like it was the Armageddon.
Finally, the Pokeball stabilized. "Yay!" said Rachel, striking a pose. "I caught a Buoysel!"
"Catching a Pokémon that was already yours doesn't count, ‘bui..." said Suigun as he came out, suddenly putting his paws to his mouth and gasping. "What's wrong with my speech, ‘bui?"
"Hmm, must be an effect of the new Pokeball," commented Rachel. "Well, I don't mind. I think you're cuter this way."
"What the hell, ‘bui! I can't talk like this forever, ‘bui!" protested Suigun.
"You should consider yourself lucky," said Rachel. "Most Buoysel can only say the 'bui' part."
"Agh. I guess I'll have to live with this stupid accent, ‘bui..."
"Good for you," said Rachel, as she returned Suigun to his new Pokeball.
As the next five years went by for Rachel, she and Suigun bonded even more, and her schoolwork didn't lag at all. In fact, her grades were so good that she did in fact get that Taillow she wanted, as well as the Death Star-like device used for releasing Pokémon, as a good luck charm. Shigeru went on to become a biochemistry student under Tana, studying how Potions worked and helping her developing new, stronger types. He also wanted to be a Pokémon trainer, but decided that that job was too cliché for somebody like him. Overall, things were high and looking up for both of them.