It was a sunny day out, with a few clouds in the sky. A pleasant breeze rolled through the air, carrying the smell of seawater. All things considered, it was a nice day out.
Blaine’s tenth birthday was yesterday - and it had been a terrible one.
He had asked his parents if they could take him to Pallet Town to get his very first Pokemon and begin his Pokemon journey the same way most of what friends he had had already done. They had said no.
When he asked why, they told him it was because they didn’t have the time to take him to Pallet Town. Blaine’s parents were volcanologists - they studied volcanoes, and the one on Cinnabar Island was one of the only one that existed in the region of Kanto. His parents had thusly moved to Cinnabar Island when Blaine was just a baby, coming to work under Dr. Fuji’s Pokemon Lab. However, Cinnabar Island was tucked away in a corner of Kanto. It was sparsely populated and very lonely, with a population of less than fifty people.
That was why Blaine wanted to leave, and explore the region. He wanted to meet new people, and bond with Pokemon. He wanted to beat Gym Leaders, and one day become one himself. Unfortunately, it looked like that wasn’t going to happen any time soon, if ever.
Blaine sighed, staring at his reflection in the sea route of Route 21. Covered in a large white overcoat, a pale kid with a bony face and sandy brown hair. It wasn’t an image that inspired anything, well, inspiring. Blaine hated the way he looked. To him, it resembled the desolate Cinnabar Island he longed to get away from.
The wind picked up, and the sides of Blaine’s overcoat were lifted up by the sudden gust, revealing a red and brown sweater vest, and a pair of dusty khakis. Blaine lifted his head, allowing the wind to rush past his face.
If he looked closely, Blaine could see the mainland along the horizon. On the other end of Route 21 was Pallet Town. Could it be that, at this very moment, some lucky kid, freshly turned 10 years ago, was at Professor Oak’s lab picking out his starter Pokemon in anticipation of the journey that awaited him? Perhaps they might even have picked the same Pokemon Blaine had his eyes set on - the Fire-type Charmander.
Blaine sighed again, and stood up. He turned around, and was met with the familiar sight of Cinnabar Island’s legendary volcano, jutting up from the earth.
The volcano Blaine’s parents studied was, to be completely honest, cool to him. He held nothing against Cinnabar Island itself. He had daydreamed many times of becoming a Gym Leader and returning to Cinnabar Island to build a gym on top of the volcano. In the distance, Blaine could spot the familiar red and blue roofs on the local Pokemon Center and PokeMart, and next to them, the gleaming Pokemon Lab building. Then, in a different direction, was the abandoned Pokemon Mansion that he dared not enter. He had heard stories of monsters inhabiting that mansion, and had never found any interest in exploring it.
Blaine drew in a sharp breath. Would the Pokemon Mansion have any wild Pokemon in it? He knew the volcano did, but he couldn’t go there when Lab researchers, his parents included, were there at all times. However, the Pokemon Mansion would be abandoned. Blaine didn’t know what laid in wait in the mansion, but if Pokemon lived there, it was definitely worth checking out.
Blaine began walking towards the Pokemon Mansion, his heart’s pace picking up with excitement. He had one empty Pokeball on him - one Pokeball he had purchased in anticipation of his Pokemon journey, one Pokeball that shared his disappointment when he learned the journey wasn’t going to happen, and one Pokeball that now shared the new hope that was breathed into him by the Pokemon Mansion.
The Pokemon Mansion rose up as Blaine got nearer to it. Without any Pokemon of his own, it would be up to him to keep himself safe. However, he was willing to take the risk. Right now, catching a Pokemon was his number one priority. It stood over everything, even his own safety.
The doors of the decrepit and broken down building stared Blaine down, daring him to turn heel and run. Gripping his sleeves tightly, he pushed the entrance open and blindly wandered away from the sun.
The doors shut behind Blaine, and he was enclosed in complete darkness. He backed against the doors, his heart beating wildly. Of all things, he hadn’t expected this. The terrifying adversary of darkness, right off the bat. He could imagine a dozen cold eyes, silently stabbing him from places not visible to him.
Blaine jumped - he couldn’t tell how high, but pretty damn high. The growl had come from right beside him.
A faint orange glow flickered from around Blaine’s ankles. Blaine’s heart pounded frantically as he looked down, expecting an explosion to blow him up at any moment. However, moments passed, and the orange glow proved to be harmless.
Air began circulating into Blaine’s lungs again. His mind began processing what his eyes were seeing. Standing by his feet, with a longing for companionship visible in its eyes that must have matched his own, was a small orange dog. Sand-coloured fur covered its chest and tail, and another tuft stood up on its head, resembling a mohawk of sorts. Black stripes marked its back and its knees. A small ember had appeared in its mouth, offering a dim light source.
“Graar!” the Pokemon cried again, trying to avoid putting out the flame in its mouth. Blaine realized now that its voice was high-pitched and friendly. Had it been the same voice he had heard just moments ago in the dark? There was no way he could’ve really been so scared that he imagined this voice as threatening and menacing.
The Pokemon pawed its way in between Blaine’s feet, and nuzzled against his shins affectionately. Nervously, Blaine bent down and patted it.
“Hey there,” Blaine murmured, his voice full of uncertainty. “What’s your name, buddy?”
Blaine didn’t understand, but he nodded. “My name’s Blaine. Would you be my Pokemon friend?”
The Pokemon’s eyes lit up, and it nodded back at him enthusiastically. Blaine smiled at it and patted it again, this time feeling much more relaxed. He liked this Pokemon. It looked like a friendly and loyal companion.
Suddenly, the Pokemon stepped forward, deeper into the mansion. It looked back at him, and barked. Blaine frowned. Did it want him to follow? He had been hoping that, after meeting a Pokemon, he could end things here. However, as the Pokemon continued on without him, he had no choice but to chase after the faint light ahead.
Blaine caught up with the Pokemon. With the flame in its mouth lighting up the area around him, he could see parts of the mansion now.
The signs of abandon were clear. Windows were boarded up, and rubble lay everywhere. Floor tiles were upturned and wires hung from the ceiling. Everything looked dusty and creaky. More than once, Blaine saw something out of the corner of his eye move that he could’ve sworn was a Pokemon hiding from him. The purple carpet he was standing on was stained with something darker than purple. Suddenly, Blaine didn’t want to think about how the Pokemon he had just seen had stayed alive all these years.
Blaine followed the Pokemon as it led him up a set of stairs. From the outside, the building seemed to have more than a few floors - he guessed four or so? The Pokemon led him up three set of stairs, taking him to a fourth floor. At this point, he didn’t see any more stairs, so he guessed that this one was the final floor.
“Hey, where are you taking me?” Blaine asked the Pokemon as it led him down a hallway.
At the sound of his voice, Blaine heard shuffling from his side, and turned. Nothing. More Pokemon fleeing? It made sense that these Pokemon were afraid of humans. They had been living alone in this mansion for at least a decade and possibly more - the mansion had been abandoned for as long as he had lived here. Only this one Pokemon had approached him so far, and he had yet to find out why. He didn’t care, either - he was starting to get scared. If he needed to get out of the mansion, the fourth floor was an awfully far distance away from the door.
“Graar!” the Pokemon barked. Blaine looked at it. It was further down the hallway, standing next to a door. Blaine walked over, and found himself staring at a locked door - the handle wasn’t working.
Blaine had never been an athlete. He was skinny, and frail. He couldn’t push open the door by himself, and the Pokemon didn’t look like it could make up the difference. He looked at the Pokemon, trying to say that he couldn’t open the door.
“I’m sorry, I can’t-“ he began.
“Graar, graar!” The Pokemon cut him off, with an agitated look developing in its eyes. It blew the small flame in its mouth at the wooden door. The door began to catch fire, and as the flame spread across the wood, the Pokemon tackled it and smashed it into pieces. Blaine stepped back as burning pieces of wood fell to his feet.
“What the...” Blaine muttered in disbelief. The fire was now on the ground, and fraying threads from the carpet hung dangerously close to the flame. Blaine was no expert on fire, but he knew what would happen if the carpet caught on fire - the flame would spread, and he would have no way out.
“Graar, graar!” Blaine heard the Pokemon’s urgent cries from the now open room, and rushed in.
He was met with what looked like an office. Large bookcases, with shelves filled with books that reached to the ceiling, covered every inch of wall there was. A desk rested in the back of the room, and the Pokemon had climbed on top of it. It had a paw on something on the desk - another book?
There was no time. Blaine rushed over and picked up the book. As soon as he did, the Pokemon began barking, and rushed out of the room. Blaine followed.
The fire was beginning to spread now. The Pokemon didn’t need to light the way anymore - not more than a few moments after they had left the office, the fire spread to the carpet. The fabric was immediately lit ablaze, and the whole hallway was lit up.
“Graar, graar!” The Pokemon tugged at Blaine’s pants, and lead him towards the stairs. They weren’t the only ones - other Pokemon were making their way down to escape the fire.
A few purple rats, and even one larger, brown rat scurried past Blaine. As Blaine reached the stairs and began to climb down, he could see other Pokemon the floors below - a small brown fox with six tails, a horse that seemed to have a mane of fire, and a floating purple ball that seemed to be emitting gas.
With the book pressed tightly against his chest, Blaine climbed down to the third floor. Suddenly, the fire on the floor above roared loudly, and the light on the walls got considerably brighter. Blaine could see thick smoke developing, and guessed that the fire had spread to the walls.
They kept running down, and a few more Pokemon passed them as Blaine’s friend was determined to stay by his side. As they reached the second floor, they heard a loud crash. The building was starting to fall apart, and the fire had reached the third floor now.
The ceiling on the second floor collapsed as Blaine continued down. They were the only ones now - everything else had either passed them, or had been caught by the fire trying to get out.
Finally. They had reached the first floor. Blaine ran at full speed now, and the Pokemon matched his pace. Blaine could see sunlight at the opposite end of the hallway. The Pokemon from before had trampled the door on their way out.
The ceiling above them caught fire. Blaine ran faster. The door was still more than a few steps away.
“Graar!” The ceiling collapsed. Blaine turned, hearing the cry that had become familiar to him now.
The Pokemon was trapped underneath a pile of rubble that had fallen from the ceiling. Around them, more and more pieces of the ceiling were collapsing. Blaine didn’t have time to pull the Pokemon out and still make it out in one piece.
“Graar, graar!” the Pokemon cried, with a look in its eyes that clearly told Blaine to leave it behind and save himself. However, he couldn’t do that. Not after he had built his first bond with this Pokemon.
Blaine reached into an inside pocket in his coat, and pulled out the lone Pokeball he had. Clicking the middle button to activate it, he tossed it at the Pokemon. The Pokemon turned into red light, hardly visible amongst the fire’s light around them, and was sucked into the Pokeball. The Pokeball dropped to the ground, and began shaking - just like the ceiling above Blaine’s head.
The ball shook once. In front of Blaine, the stairs at the back of the hallway collapsed and was immediately taken by wild flames.
The ball shook twice. The fire had consumed the walls of the floor now. Much of the ceiling was gone, and in many places, fire raged uncontrollably.
The ball shook thrice. The ceiling above Blaine’s head began to crumble now. A piece of the ceiling dropped and nicked Blaine’s arm.
The ball dinged, and stopped shaking. Blaine felt something hard hit his head, and he toppled over.
The last thing he saw before blacking out was a violent burst of white light. His last thought was wondering if he had failed to protect the Pokemon after all.
Something wet fell on to his cheeks. Someone, a woman, was yelling.
A different voice - a man’s, this time.
Blaine knew these voices. They were his parents.
Blaine opened his eyes. Light surged into his eyes, and he immediately closed them again, grimacing.
“Oh my god, Blaine!”
Blaine opened his eyes again. Fluorescent lights in the ceiling were shining down on him. Where was he?
Blaine looked down. A woman in a white lab coat and long brown hair was sobbing into his shoulder, pressing his body tightly in an embrace - his mother. Standing behind her was his father, a tall, bald man. Tears were quietly streaming down his face as well, and the tense face Blaine was used to seeing was relieved for a change.
“Mom, Dad... What... what happened?” Blaine murmured groggily. He looked around. He was in a white room, on a stretcher bed. There were a few machines next to him, and he dimly noticed bandages hanging from his head.
“They found you unconscious outside of the Pokemon Mansion,” his father said, trying to sound stern but clearly just relieved. “The burned down Pokemon Mansion. The doctor said that you were saved by a Pokemon.”
Oh yeah, that’s right, Blaine thought, that happened. I guess that means the Pokemon survived, after all.
“What the hell were you doing there, Blaine?” his mother cried, lifting her head from his shoulder. Tears were falling from her face freely, and her eyes and face were red and puffy.
“I was looking for a Pokemon,” Blaine confessed, “and-“
“Do you know how worried we were? Don’t ever do something so stupid again!” his mother cried, ignoring him and falling back down on to his shoulder. Behind her, Blaine’s dad smiled weakly.
The door opened, and a nurse walked in.
“I’m sorry, Blaine needs his rest. We still haven’t confirmed his concussion status, and more importantly, his body needs to recover.” Blaine’s parents grudgingly gave in to the nurse, and after they said their goodbyes, left him alone.
The moment Blaine’s parents left the room, Blaine turned to the table beside his bed. He picked up the Pokeball and the book - the two things he had taken out of the Pokemon Mansion.
First, he picked up the book. It was a leather bound journal. The Pokemon had put everything on the line for him to have this book. He wished to read it in silence and see if he could learn anything from it.
He flipped open the front cover. The first few pages were drawings of the Pokemon he had seen in the mansion. The rats had been Rattata and Raticate, the fox with the six tails had been a Vulpix, the horse had been a Ponyta, and the floating purple ball had been a Koffing. Blaine turned the page, and found his orange dog. Growlithe.
“Growlithe,” Blaine murmured, touching the picture in the book.
Blaine turned to the next page, and was met with diary-style entries. Only four entries were logged. Blaine read them quietly.
“Diary: July 5
Guyana, South America
A new POKéMON was discovered deep
in the jungle.”
“Diary: July 10
We christened the newly discovered
“Diary: Feb. 6
MEW gave birth.
We named the newborn MEWTWO.”
“Diary: Sept. 1
MEWTWO is far too powerful.
We have failed to curb its vicious tendencies…“
So that was it, then. Blaine closed the notepad. It seemed that the Pokemon Mansion had, in the past, belonged to some sort of researcher or adventurer. He had discovered Mew, which birthed Mewtwo. The latter had turned out to be some kind of ultra-violent monster. Blaine didn’t know what happened to the author, but he could presume that Mewtwo was the one responsible for leaving the Pokemon Mansion in its current state. This information could prove to be very important if presented to the authorities - that must have been why Growlithe had wanted him to take it.
Blaine picked up the Pokeball now, setting the book aside. He clicked the middle button, and in a flash of white light, the orange dog appeared on his lap.
“Graar, graar!” Growlithe ran up to his face and licked his cheeks happily.
Blaine laughed happily. “You saved me, didn’t you?”
“Graar!” Growlithe nodded, smiling brightly.
Blaine smiled back, looking at his new Pokemon. This Pokemon, Growlithe, was his partner for life - he knew it. Finally, his journey was about to begin.