Yesterday had been an ordinary day. The sun rose. The wind blew. The Pokemon ran through the grass outside the house. And Dante Argento would stand in the doorway and look in the direction of the Johto region and think back to the night three years prior when his father had left him for that region, never to return. Like every day before that Dante would clench his fist and grit his teeth and shout loudly that he was not weak and that he would some day become the greatest pokemon trainer in the world. Then Arthur would walk by, look at him, and then Dante would spend the rest of the day staring in the direction of Johto.
Dante Argento was not an ordinary eleven year old boy. He had not pokemon, he had no family, and he had a secret he could never tell anyone, a secret that constantly tore at his heart and caused to rage and cry. Dante Argento was the son of one of the most wanted men in the history of the Kanto Region, Giovanni Argento, the once mighty head of the nefarious Team Rocket and gym leader of Viridian City. Three years ago when Dante was only eight years old his father had abandoned him and his mother in order to go train in secret. Giovanni would not return until he was certain he could defeat his nemesis, a now fourteen year old child named Red who had somehow managed to topple the greatest criminal empire in Kanto history.
Then Dante's mother Ariana left him to search for her husband. This was how at the age of eight Dante Argento had to flee for his life from the police and bounty hunters of Kanto, alone and scared, until he reached the Tohjo borderlands. It was there that he ran across a small family, the Weeks. They were a family of seven who took him in and sheltered him and provided everything he could ask for. In truth is wasn't a bad life. A roof over his head, a bed to sleep in, Dante had it all. But it wasn't enough. What Dante wanted more than anything was to make up for his father's weakness.
Giovanni had abandoned his family, his dream, and his empire to save himself. For the first year of his exile Dante thought his misfortune to be Giovanni's fault alone. Then he began to realize that it was the incompetence of Team Rocket themselves and the fact they failed to serve their boss that led to all this grief. Dante had long since named his anger and frustration. Proton. Petrel. Archer. And Ariana, his mother. Yes, she too had failed Giovanni. She too had been incompetent and surrendered to a child from Pallet Town.
Today was going to be different.
It was a rainy day. Not that Dante cared. He wouldn't be in the rain at all. He got up, combed his red hair, put on his black clothes, and then approached his adoptive family, the Weeks.
Monica, the eldest, spoke first. She gave only advice. "Remember, Dante," she said softly. "You are on a quest to prove yourself. But do not lose yourself in the process. Trust in yourself, and trust in your pokemon."
Tuscany gave him his trainer card. "Hold on to this with your life. A trainer card is an important document and we can't afford to replace it if your lose it." That was Tuscany for you. Always trying to act like his mother, always giving him warnings.
Wesley just gave him a clap on the shoulder. "Dante man, you are gonna be a star. Remember the training we had together and you're gonna go far." Wesley laughed at his little rhyme.
Arthur gave him his old Pokedex. "I can't imagine you using this very much, but you never know when a pokedex will come in handy." Of the seven, Arthur was the one Dante didn't get along with at all. The two just did not click.
Frieda gave him a lunch and said, "We'll be around the region from time to time. Look for us in the usual spots if you need help."
Santos said nothing. He just handed Dante the Sneasel he had caught last year. Dante grinned. This was the best gift of them all. Sneasel was a very fast, very powerful pokemon of the dark and ice types. Dante was going to train it to be the strongest it could be. He hadn't started yet, but Dante knew when training started Sneasel would quickly learn or suffer the consequences.
Sunny tugged on Dante's arm. "Don't leave. We'll miss you."
Dante threw him off. "I'll be passing through Ecruteak eventually. No need to get all whiny. We'll see each other again."
Sunny stifled a tear. "You're right. I'll be strong like you told me."
Monica opened up the cellar door. "Now Dante," she said, ever as motherly as Tuscany, "Remember. Go through the door in the cellar and follow the tunnel until you reach the train tracks. Go up the stairs and follow the tracks west towards Johto. Once you get to New Bark Town, get off there. The Magnet Train isn't running right now, but do not push your luck."
Dante interrupted her. "I already know this. You've been telling me it over and over again. I can take care of myself."
Welsey spoke up, "We know you can Dante, but we worry about you. Three years you've been with us, practically becoming our eighth sibling. We love you man, like family. So, like family, we're supposed to watch out for you."
Dante just nodded. "I understand," he said sharply, "but I'll be fine. I can't prove to the world I'm strong if I have everyone babying me. I'm not a child anymore. I'm eleven years old."
Tuscany smiled and rubbed Dante's blood-red hair. "Oh, we know. We know." She hugged him, continuing," Just remember: stay strong, be tough, trust no one. And if you can handle that-"
Dante finished, "-then I won't have any problems at all. I know."
The family said their goodbyes and Dante walked into the cellar and through the door. He didn't stop and look back. This was his moment to leave his old life behind. If he stopped, even for second, he be weak and be unable to continue. Even though the tunnel was dark he must continue.
After what seemed like hours Dante found the stairs leading up to the surface. Swiftly he climbed them and threw open the door. The rain had stopped and the sun shone bright and clear, a good omen. Grinning, Dante started walking down the tracks of the Magnet Train. New Bark Town was only a couple miles away. He'd be able to make it long before dark, and when he arrived he would begin training his Sneasel. From there it would be to Cherrygrove, then Violet and on and on. On to the Indigo League and the Championship.
Dante stopped and stared at the majesty of Mt. Silver reflected in the sunlight. He said, loud and clear for all of nature to hear, "Father, I am not weak. I will not give in. Today I begin my quest to being the greatest trainer of all time, and when I have finished that quest you will see that you were wrong and I was right. You are weak. You are a failure. And then you will admit your mistake and you and mother will return. And then we can be a family again. I'm doing this for you Father." Dante stopped and turned his gaze south towards the distant roar of Tohjo Falls. "Everything I do from this next step on will be done for you." And with that next step, the journey of Dante Argento, son Of Giovanni, had begun.
END CHAPTER 1