“CommCollars are a government plot! There are microphones and cameras in them, they record everything you do and say so the Isshu government can track you day and night! Say NO to CommCollars and NO to Global Innovators! They’re working hand-in-hand with the government to keep us DOWN! Anyone who seems like a threat to their structure, to their perfect world, they’re gonna GET you! They’re gonna use CommCollars to FIND you and make sure you don’t get in their way!”
The young man on his sleek black sports bike sighed at the man raving on the mid-afternoon radio program. It was on an obscure station, and the DJ, one aptly-named Mad Maxx, would rant and rave about this and that. Usually he was good for a laugh, though on rare occasions his colorful views were worth taking to heart. Today, though, he was spouting pure garbage. He was pretty much the only person who thought CommCollars were anything but wonderful.
“Of course, this coming from someone who thinks the Isshu government is poisoning our drinking water with Snorlax DNA to make us into a lazy, uncaring nation that’s easy to control and manipulate,” the young man said aloud, snickering at the thought even as he spoke the words. The fourteen-year-old’s boyish face crinkled in amusement as he chuckled, the wind from his riding whipping his shoulder-length blonde hair back into a streamer trailing behind him. The black shorts and white tee-shirt clothing his lanky, five-foot-even build snapped loudly as he rode, pedaling furiously with feet protected by simple white tennis shoes. “CommCollars are one of the best things ever invented for Pokemon Trainers.”
CommCollars were a recent invention of Global Innovators, a pharmaceutical and technological company that specialized in advances in “Pokemon science”. They made an array of medicines and machines meant targeted at Pokemon and their Trainers, such as PokeRUS tablets that were 100% guaranteed to give your Pokemon the benign PokeRUS.
The CommCollars were something everyone gushed over, though, and were more popular than all of Global Innovators’ other items combined. Basically they were collars that came in a variety of sizes to fit any Pokemon and, once placed, would translate a Pokemon’s words into any of dozens of different languages. Each collar had a tiny microphone that would capture the wearer’s speech, and the translated version would be emitted from an equally small speaker. Special voice recognition software in each individual collar made sure that only the wearer’s words were translated, and not the speech of other Pokemon that might be around.
As Mad Maxx spiraled deeper into his tirade on the evils of CommCollars, the youth on his bike shook his head and reached for the basket installed between the handlebars, switching off the small digital radio that was sitting next to his stained blue backpack. He then turned his attention back to the dirt path he was riding, just in time to see a Venipede lumbering across about fifteen feet ahead of him. He came to an abrupt halt, sending a clod of dirt and loam into the air and balancing on one leg as the purple, hunchbacked Pokemon faced him with an unconcerned gaze.
“How ironic. Every other time I come to Pinwheel Forest to find a Venipede I never once see one, but now that I’m just passing through, look what I find,” the young man sighed, watching as the centipede turned from him and trundled off into the undergrowth on the other side of the path. “Of course my Pokemon aren’t in any shape to take on even a little guy like you…” A previous battle on the Nacrene City side of the forest had left all the Trainer’s Pokemon fainted or at very low health, and so it was with much regret in his hazel eyes that he watched the wild Venipede vanish into the gloom.
Once the Pokemon had gone, the young man started pedaling again. He only passed a few other people, all of who seemed to be hunting for wild Pokemon, and about fifteen minutes later he exited the dark, humid interior of the forest. The sounds and scents of the forest were replaced with those of the street leading to Castelia City, and overhead the sun shone brightly, its light and warmth no longer kept at bay by Pinwheel Forest’s thick emerald canopy. The sky, a particularly brilliant shade of dark blue, was marred by a single puffy white cloud in the distance.
“Man, they need to install some AC in the forest,” the Trainer mumbled to himself as a cool breeze blew, drying the sweat that had beaded on his forehead during his journey through the forest. It was humid and stuffy during the warmer months, and in the middle of summer, trekking through the forest could be a tiresome nightmare for any not prepared. Thankfully, another five minutes of rapid pedaling saw the young man reaching Skyarrow Bridge. A special bike path had been built above the main bridge several years ago, and there was a constant wind thanks to hundreds of cars and other vehicles passing beneath. The young man quickly started to feel chilly as he crossed the bridge, shivering occasionally as he rode, Castelia City looming even from this far away.
Twenty minutes later the youth exited the bridge and entered the bustling city, having to slow down and practically walk his bike along to avoid hitting any of the dozens of people lining the sidewalks. All around him skyscrapers jutted into the clear skies, giant plasma screens advertising this or that to the masses below. Performers of all kinds had claimed small portions of the sidewalk to ply their trade and make some money, while workers of various shops and stores called out to the throng of people to try and entice potential customers inside. The young man ignored it all as he was jostled this way and that, making his way to the gleaming white PokeCenter in the distance.
After much fighting against the living tide he’d entered, the Trainer reached his destination and dismounted his bike, chaining it to the bike rack near the sliding glass doors. He then strode forward, pausing long enough for the doors to open with a soft, pressurized hiss. He shivered as he headed inside; after the chill of Skyarrow Bridge, the press and pull of the hectic crowd outside had been as stuffy and oppressive as the atmosphere in Pinwheel Forest. Compared to outside, inside the PokeCenter it was like an iceberg.
“Gonna get a headache if this keeps up,” the Trainer commented to himself, taking note of the spectacular lack of detail at this particular PokeCenter, which he had never visited until today. The floors were standard white tile, but the walls and ceiling were blandly white as well. There were a few stubby bushes in black pots scattered at what seemed like random intervals, and a generic picture of a Pokemon was hung here and there, but there wasn’t much going on in the way of décor. To the immediate right of the doors was the PokeMart, and an escalator leading to the second floor sat in the far right corner of the PokeCenter. A few tables with three chairs to each broke up the monotony of the floor, and a door leading to ICU units in the back sat to the left of the reception counter, which itself was set near the back wall of the spacious room. Electric lights were installed every three feet in the ceiling, casting an illumination that reflected off the floor and threatened to blind anyone who stared at the tile for more than a few seconds at a time.
“Hello!” the aide called merrily as the young man approached. “What can I do for you today?”
“Oh, I need to heal my Pokemon is all,” came the response, and the older PokeCenter worker nodded once before reaching down and producing a black tray from under the counter. Lining the tray was soft black foam with six holes in it, three of which the Trainer filled with his PokeBalls. He also presented his Trainer ID; after an incident with a Pokemon thief, it was required by law to have one’s Trainer ID any time a Trainer used the restorative services of a PokeCenter.
“Jarrod Banks,” the aide read off, then stepped to the restoration chamber set up behind the counter. She pressed a button, causing a panel in the glass dome to slide open soundlessly. She then placed the three PokeBalls in the chamber, placing each one in a shallow dent before closing the dome. With the press of a second button the chamber lit up with a soft golden glow, and a gentle humming noise could be heard as the machine got going. After several seconds the humming died down, the glow faded, and the panel on the dome slid open automatically. The aide retrieved the Balls and carefully placed them back on the tray, then returned to the counter and allowed Jarrod to take the orbs containing his Pokemon back. Smiling in thanks, the young man took the Balls and put them back on his white leather belt. At that moment he noticed movement in the left corner of the room, something shifting in the shadow of a small potted tree. Instinctively he glanced over and saw a little creature staring back at him, an unreadable expression on its face.
“Hey, what’s up with the Minccino?” he asked, turning from the small, gray-furred Pokemon and facing the aide again. She blinked and looked over at it, watching it for a moment as it swished its long, bushy tail, then turned her attention back to Jarrod.
“That little guy? I don’t really know, honestly. About a year ago he came in on his own, and his fur was in horrible condition. Took us hours to get him cleaned up and everything. He leaves with people all the time, but always comes back after several days. I guess he’s trying to find someone he wants to stay with.” As the woman spoke, the little bipedal chinchilla took a step towards the counter, its large ears twitching every so often. It was watching Jarrod with intense chocolate eyes, and though its stare was cutting, the young man still couldn’t perceive its emotion from the mask that was its expression. The two watched one another, until finally Jarrod felt too uncomfortable by its piercing gaze to hold it any longer.
“Well, thanks for healing my Pokemon,” he told the aide, turning from the counter and heading towards the smaller counter of the PokeMart by the door. He noticed the Minccino following him out of the corner of his eye as he turned. He didn’t pay it any mind until he reached the blue-painted counter and purchased a large number of Great and Ultra Balls. Only when he was getting ready to leave and the cashier mentioned a CommCollar for Minccino did Jarrod actually look at the little creature. The Pokemon was right beside him, and where before he wore no emotion, now he looked happy and cheerful. The chinchilla smiled up at him with hopeful eyes, and Jarrod couldn’t help but smile back. He was a cute little thing, and he’d heard stories of how strong a Cinccino, their evolved brethren, could be if raised right.
“You know what, go ahead and give me one,” Jarrod said, turning back to the clerk. The teal-haired young man turned away from Jarrod and went over to a display case holding several CommCollars; after opening the case and pulling one of the black boxes from inside, he closed the case and turned back to Jarrod. He then deftly scanned the bar code on the back of the box and added it to the total for the Balls. After paying for everything and putting the Balls in his backpack, the young man knelt near the little Minccino beside him.
“Well then, this is for you if you wanna tag along with me,” he said, opening the box. Minccino started at the picture on the front, which was a Zigzagoon. Above the raccoon Pokemon’s face read was the word CommCollar in large white font, and underneath it said “For small Pokemon”. He then turned his attention to the CommCollar Jarrod was now holding, which was basically just a thin black collar with a small white speaker on one side. Slowly, Jarrod held the collar out, and Minccino did a little dance as he moved closer. Jarrod chuckled and bent forward enough to slip the collar over Minccino’s head, then adjusted the collar so it was snug but not constrictive. Minccino waved his tail merrily when Jarrod moving back, running his paws over the collar and the speaker curiously.
“Go ahead and say something,” Jarrod told the little creature. “It’ll translate everything you say. It needs to read your voice and everything first though, so the first thing you say doesn’t get translated.” Minccino gave Jarrod a quizzical look, then happily chirped, “Min min ccino!” A moment after Minccino stopped talking, the speaker on his collar beeped twice.
“Okay, it’s read your voice and your species. Try saying something else now,” Jarrod said, leaning back and nodding encouragingly.
=I’ve never worn one of these,= came the Pokemon’s translated response. At hearing his words get turned into English he gave a little ‘eep’ of surprise, abruptly falling silent. =It sounds like my voice!= And indeed it did, thanks to the highly specialized software that mimicked a Pokemon’s natural voice, from inflection to mood.
“C’mon, we’ll head to the town square and you can meet the others,” Jarrod replied, and a moment later the two were on their way.
Castelia City’s town square was a two-acre field with trimmed grass, closely-tended trees, and a large stone fountain in the shape of a Wailord. There were white marble benches interspaced throughout the square, and a foot-high white fence encircled the entire thing. The rush and bustle from the surrounding city was muffled by the towering evergreens planted here, making it a relaxing place to get away from the crush of the crowds.
Jarrod put the kickstand on his bike down and scooped Minccino from the basket, where he’d been sitting to prevent him from getting lost or trampled by the ever-flowing river of people. After depositing the chinchilla on the ground, he pulled the Balls containing his Pokemon off his belt and chucked them to the ground. Each one bounced once before popping open with a bright stab of light white, a different Pokemon emerging from bursts of light.
From one came a strange-looking thing that didn’t look like a living creature at all. It resembled two steel-gray gears hovering in the air, their constant spinning creating a soft whirring sound. Even with their combined height the odd Pokemon didn’t reach a full foot, falling short by about an inch. Each of the two gears had six teeth spread around its body, and the inner portion of each was a darker gray than the outer portion. Both gears had one eye each, the left one, and in place of their right eyes were white x’s. In the dead center of each gear was a crystal blue screw that looked like a nose, and beneath these screws were tiny mouths that constantly gaped open. Around the bottom portion of gear were CommCollars.
From a second Ball came another small Pokemon, this one about six inches taller than the first. It resembled a lime-green bulb with a white face and a fluffy body the same color as its large head. A series of dark emerald leaves grew around its neck, and three slender, sharp leaves of the same hue grew from the top of its head. Dark brown eyes stared back at Minccino as the little Grass Pokemon gently swayed back and forth with the wind that was blowing. This one, too, wore a CommCollar around its throat.
The final Pokemon was the tallest of the three, at just an inch under two feet tall. It resembled a bipedal lizard with a blunt face, with a pale yellow hide covering its body and lower face. The upper portion of its head, as well as its legs and tail crinkled tail, were a darker shade of yellow, bordering on gold. The skin around its legs was loose and stretchy, and the Pokemon kept pulling it up to its neck as it bobbed back and forth. Its stomach, as well as the blunt yet hard scale growing from the top of its skull, were a deep maroon hue. This was what was known as a Shiny Pokemon, one with unnatural coloring that it would carry for the rest of its life. Like the other two before it, this Pokemon also wore a CommCollar around its neck.
“These are my current Pokemon,” Jarrod said as a means of introduction. “Domo there is a Klink, Wera is a Petilil, and Christo is a Scraggy. Everyone say hello to our newest friend.”
=Hello!= came the response. Minccino shuffled about, looking fit to burst from excitement.
=My name is Metcha and I’m a Minccino!= he exclaimed, and from there the four Pokemon chattered amongst themselves as they got to know their new teammate. Jarrod chuckled at their enthusiasm; he’d been worried they might see Metcha as a threat, seeing as he’d had only the three little Pokemon for several months now in an effort to train them up. The Trainer was grateful that they didn’t think he was trying to oust them in bringing another Pokemon onto the team.
“Hey guys, why don’t we find someone to battle? We can test our progress in a real battle instead of against an endless parade of Wild Pokemon,” Jarrod suggested. The four Pokemon agreed quickly, and Jarrod nodded once. He mainly wanted to see what Metcha was capable of, which is why he’d made the suggestion. After recalling his three Pokemon and putting Metcha back in the basket of his bike, the young man set off for Route 4.
About twenty minutes later they came across several Trainers who were battling random Wild Pokemon in the desert area known as Desert Resort, which Route 4 led to. Most of the Trainers were already caught up in one battle or another, so Jarrod laboriously made his way through the sands to the Relic Castle. At one point it might have been a towering symbol of majesty, but now there was little left of it save a crumbling entrance sinking into the ever-shifting sand of the surrounding desert.
Jarrod was relieved to get out of the blistering sandstorm and scorching heat that plagued Desert Resort, rubbing his arms where the scouring sands had made them red and raw. The dim, cool interior of the old structure was a welcome change from the glaring sun and soaring heat of the desert. Metcha seemed just as happy to be out of the sandstorm, cleaning red-brown grains of sand from his pristine gray coat with an almost frightening intensity. As the chinchilla cleaned himself, Jarrod carefully walked his bike down the long, twisting narrow path of the Relic Castle. There wasn’t much to look at; in most places, the floor had been swallowed by rust-colored sand, and the walls were an off-yellow hue with nothing but the occasional discolored patch on them. There were electric lights hanging from the ceiling in intervals to light the way, and various signs pointed out treacherous quicksand and sinkholes so people wouldn’t wander into them. There was the musty scent of old air and dust from the sand hanging in the air, but it was better than breathing in the sand that was whirling around outside.
Eventually the path opened into a wide room that was as bland as the hallway before it. To the left there were some worn-down stone stairs leading down, and several more signs denoting pitfalls so Trainers and tourists could avoid them. In this area there were several other Trainers, most of them locked in battle with each other or one of the many Yamask that called this place home. Thankfully, one of the Trainers who wasn’t already in battle was quick to notice Jarrod as he entered the area. The two exchanged a quick greeting before getting down to business.
The opposing Trainer, a woman in a flowing black dress and probably in her mid-twenties, led with a Snivy. The little serpent had bright green scales on the top and side of its body and cream-colored scales on the bottom. It had yellow marks around its large red eyes and a yellow leaf growing from each shoulder. At the tip of its short tail was a large leaf with three points, and despite being a snake, it had two tiny arms and two stubby legs. It held its head in a regal, snotty sort of manner, watching Metcha as the chinchilla hopped out of the basket.
=I’ll go!= he declared, determination in his voice. The Snivy sniggered but didn’t say anything as its Trainer ordered it to use a Razor Leaf attack. Bending over and shaking its tail vigorously, the Grass Snake Pokemon sent a flurry of smaller green leaves flying towards Metcha. Jarrod had no chance to give a command to the little Minccino before he acted on his own. Dropping to all fours, he speedily dodged every single leaf slicing towards him, then lunged at his startled foe in a powerful Slam attack. His right shoulder struck the Snivy in the chest, flinging it onto its back. For a moment it looked like it was over, but the battered Snivy managed to get up a moment later, though it looked rather haggard.
“Snivy, use Giga Drain!” the Pokemon’s Trainer called, recognizing how low her Pokemon’s HP was. With a huff, Snivy crouched low to the ground, then charged at Metcha and jumped at him, jaws swinging open. Metcha didn’t seem at all concerned, though, nimbly ducking under Snivy and dancing behind the serpent when it landed a moment later. As the Grass Snake turned to attempt its attack again, Metcha struck out with a paw and viciously slapped the right side of Snivy’s face. The force of the blow was so strong that Snivy’s head snapped to the left, then back to the right as Minccino delivered another ringing smack. Three more blows followed in rapid succession, with the final one knocking Snivy back to the ground. His DoubleSlap complete, Metcha flicked his tail in a dismissive manner and turned to face Jarrod, grinning widely. Jarrod simply gaped back, unable to believe how quickly the battle with Snivy had gone. He had almost felt the sting of each slap himself, watching Snivy be subjected to it, and felt somewhat bad for the snake as it was recalled.
“Lucky break,” the woman said, traces of anger and disbelief in her voice as she released a second Pokemon. This one was a Scraggy, though unlike Jarrod’s it had normal coloration. It bobbed about restlessly as it eyed Metcha, who faced it with seemingly no worry whatsoever. “Scraggy, use Swagger!”
The lizard started to strut about, pulling its stretchy skin up to its neck over and over as it did its best to get Metcha riled up. Instead of falling for the ploy, though, Metcha took the opportunity to rush forward and go into a spin. Whipping his tail around, the little Pokemon bashed it into Scraggy’s face. Then he snapped his tail around again, and this blow made Scraggy stumbled away with a pained cry. Not giving any quarter, Metcha spun again to gain speed and once more slammed his tail into Scraggy, this time catching the lizard in the stomach. Winded, it doubled over and clutched at its belly, not getting a chance to recover before Metcha lashed out with his tail one final time. This time he struck Scraggy square in the temple, knocking it out before it even hit the ground. Sputtering, the Scraggy’s Trainer recalled it and scurried off, most likely to get her Pokemon healed at Castelia City.
Jarrod blinked in surprise as Metcha danced over, looking pleased with himself. He then noticed the fur on his paws and legs was covered in sand and set to cleaning himself again. So intent was he on his goal that he completely ignored Jarrod until the sand was removed from his fur; at that point he climbed up the bike and settled himself in the basket, looking at Jarrod with a beaming grin. Jarrod simply gawked at the Pokemon for a few moments more, then shook his head slowly in wonder.
“You, my little friend, are quite the powerhouse,” he said, causing Metcha to squirm joyfully at the praise. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Scraggy go down so quick in my life.”
=He wasn’t that tough,= Metcha scoffed, causing Jarrod to laugh. He started wheeling his bike back towards the exit, but didn’t get far before Metcha suddenly asked, =What about the others? Will they get to battle? I want to see how they do it!=
“Well, I’m sure we can find another Trainer if you want to see how the others fight,” Jarrod mused, glancing about. Several Trainers that had been battling before were done, most of them hurrying for the exit. Walking closer the where the most Trainers seemed to be gathered, the young man caught the attention of an older woman wearing brown khakis and a white tee-shirt. She took one look at Metcha sitting in the basket of Jarrod’s bike and made a somewhat grating cooing noise, flouncing over with more pep than Jarrod would have expected of someone her age. She used a hand to flick her shoulder-length burgundy hair out of her face, smiling brightly and nodding towards Metcha.
“What a cutie!” she said, making Metcha wiggle happily. “Look at that fur, so clean! Oh, sorry, I get easily distracted by anything even remotely adorable. Care for a battle?”
“Always,” Jarrod replied, putting down the kickstand on his bike and pulling free a PokeBall from his belt. He and his opponent each back away several paces before releasing their Pokemon. Jarrod led with Domo while the other Trainer sent out a small, levitating black Pokemon. Its red eyes were opened wide in what looked like perpetual sadness, and two long arms ended in loosely curled hands. A short, thin tail grasped a golden mask, a representation of what the Pokemon looked like when it had been human. The Yamask let out a soft sigh as it hovered motionlessly before its Trainer, watching Jarrod with those piercing red eyes.
“Domo, hit it with a Thunderbolt!” Jarrod commanded. In response, the Klink’s gears started to rotate at high speeds, and after a few moments bright white sparks and dancing tendrils began to jump from the Pokemon’s body, a soft hissing, popping noise accompanying the lightshow. The sudden surge of electricity caused Jarrod’s skin to tingle and the hairs on his body to stand on end, while across from him his opponent frowned at the sight of Domo’s powerful attack being prepared.
“Well that’s not going to do. Yamask, counter with a Protect!”
Jarrod cursed inwardly as Yamask clapped its hands together, focusing its energy and narrowing its eyes as a blazing white shield of energy erupted into life before it. The energy seemed to roil and emitted a loud hum; not even a second later, Domo’s Thunderbolt was fully charged and let loose. The searing bolt of bright blue electricity arched into the air, reaching a height of nearly ten feet before dropping back down. The bolt smashed into Yamask’s Protect with enough force to make the shield sputter, but not break it altogether. The attack petered out a moment later and Yamask’s Protect fizzled soon after, vanishing with a faint shattering noise.
“Domo, Shift Gear!” Jarrod called now, slightly irritated. The two combatants before him had the same speed, and Yamask had been lucky enough to pull off its move just before Domo could use its own. With Gear Shift, though, Domo could increase its speed, as well as its attack power, and give it the edge to take out Yamask. Domo’s gears stopped spinning abruptly and then began to rotate in the opposite direction before halting again and spinning the other way. Every time Domo stopped spinning and began to go the other way, the change in direction caused a surge of energy to fill its gears. After several directional changes, Domo’s gears were spinning in their natural manner, albeit much faster than before.
While Domo had worked on its Gear Shift, the Yamask’s Trainer had called for it to use a Haze attack. Holding out its hands and waving them about slowly, Yamask began to exude a Ghostly energy that looked like a black, hazy cloud. It quickly started filling the space between the two Pokemon, but Jarrod wasn’t about to let his tactics get shut down so easily.
“Domo, before it can finish that Haze, use Discharge to clear it away and then go in for a Gear Grind!” Domo made a mechanical noise of acknowledgement before releasing a massive blast of vibrant yellow electricity, Discharging the lingering amount that has built up during the course of its earlier Thunderbolt. The wave of electricity cut through the Haze Yamask was creating, causing the Ghost’s Trainer to give a cry of dismay as the energy was dispersed by the unstable electrical energy passing through it. The wave also hit Yamask, momentarily stunning it as Domo suddenly darted forward. It struck Yamask on the left side, and the gears separated as one rolled over Yamask’s back while the other rolled over its stomach. The combined pressure from the gears squeezing Yamask between themselves caused the Ghost to thrash about feebly, but it was unable to fight them off as they rolled the opposite way, squeezing Yamask once again. After they met back up the Pokemon retreated to hover about two feet away from Jarrod.
“Oh dear,” the Yamask’s Trainer said as her Pokemon started to drop towards the ground, clearly too exhausted to continue battling. She praised the Ghost for its effort before recalling it, then pulled free a second PokeBall from a little pouch on her hip. Jarrod recalled his Pokemon as well, sending out Christo next as his foe released a Darumaka. It was a tubby little beast, nearly two feet tall and covered with short, coarse red fur. It had stubby arms and legs that ended in hands and feet with three digits each, and on its chest were three yellow oval marks. It eyes were black and had a thin ebony stripe around each, and above its eyes say thick, bushy yellow eyebrows. Its face, hands, and feet were a dark cream color, and occasionally it would pull its arms and legs close to roll back and forth.
“Use Headbutt!” the elderly woman called to her Pokemon, and Jarrod chuckled a little as Christo bounced back and forth.
“Christo, you use Headbutt as well!” he said, and Christo offered a grin before leaning over and charging forward. The two Pokemon barreled towards each other and met in the middle of the makeshift battleground, their skulls coming together with an audible crack. Even before the dual Headbutts had been completed the Darumaka’s Trainer had looked concerned, but after the exchange of blows she paled quite a bit. Christo, who had a much thicker skull than Darumaka, came out of the experience none worse for the wear. Darumaka, however, was knocked clean off its feet and thrown onto its back, where it clutched at its head and howled in pain. Jarrod felt a little bad for it, seeing as it would have a massive headache from the force of the attack it had just received. Much to his surprise, though, Darumaka’s yowling died away a moment later and the little Fire Pokemon clambered to its feet, an angry, pained expression on its face.
“Rage!” Jarrod’s opponent said, and Darumaka instantly rushed forward recklessly. Before Christo could react, Darumaka tucked its arms and legs in, curling into a ball and spinning into Christo’s stomach. The force of the attack made him stagger back with a startled exclamation, but he managed to stay on his feet. Darumaka spun a few feet away before standing, a slightly crazed look in its eyes.
“Christo, use Payback!” Jarrod hollered, and Christo puffed out a breath before drawing back his right arm. His paw curled into a tight fist, and then with surprising speed he dashed forward. His arm snapped forward and caused a sharp whistle of displaced air, which was drowned out by yet another audible crack as the Scraggy fist connected with Darumaka’s chest. His attack focused thanks to having received damage prior to his retaliation, Christo’s Payback was extra-strong, and Darumaka was too weakened from the earlier Headbutt to withstand second blow. It was knocked down, fainting a moment later, and its Trainer recalled it with an apologetic smile.
The Trainer had no other Pokemon, and as she left to get her party taken care of, Jarrod recalled Christo and wondered why most people around the Desert Resort only had two Pokemon. His pondering was interrupted by Metcha, who was grinning in a manner that left Jarrod feeling…uncomfortable. Before he could dwell on it too long, the strange glint in Metcha’s eyes was gone.
=They’re strong,= he said, and there was something about the way those two words were spoken that made a thrill of dread jump through Jarrod’s veins. The Minccino’s tone was casual, friendly even, but there was an undercurrent to it that twisted the words and almost made them seem like a threat. Pushing the idea away, because surely he had to be imagining it all, Jarrod smiled back at the chinchilla.
“Yep. You haven’t seen what Wera can do, but my guys are pretty tough. Been raising them for several months now, just the three of them. It’s easier to train Pokemon better if you have a smaller team; you can give each one the attention they need to really reach their full potential.” As he spoke, Jarrod felt more at ease, certain he hadn’t seen or heard anything threatening in Metcha’s earlier words and actions. The little chinchilla didn’t reply, as he was too busy going through his fur for any stray bits of sand he might have missed. His desire to remain clean bordered on obsessive, and Jarrod frowned just a tiny bit. Was the Minccino’s wish to remain clean what chased him from the other Trainers he had left with in the past? Had they become exasperated with his constant grooming and sent him away? It seemed like a trivial thing to worry about, honestly. With a mental shrug Jarrod pushed the issue out of his mind. For now, he was eager to see more of Metcha’s strength and find out just what the little Pokemon could do.
So the days went by. As they marched on into the past, Jarrod started relying more and more on Metcha. He couldn’t understand how the little Pokemon was so darn STRONG. Barring the initial battle with the one woman’s Snivy, Metcha was able to knock out every other foe he went against with a single DoubleSlap or Tail Slap. The small creature most likely had the Skill Link Ability, too, since those attacks always hit the maximum amount of times, never once giving the foe a chance to strike back and interrupt the chain.
After every battle, though, Metcha would vigorously clean himself. After a battle with a Wild Tympole that had used Mud Bomb, though, the chinchilla hadn’t had much luck in getting himself clean. There was some mud that refused to be cleaned from his fur, even when Jarrod had used a bottle of water to try and rinse it away. Metcha had been clearly annoyed, but had resigned himself to having to wait until they reached a PokeCenter where he could be properly bathed.
There was just one problem with that. The incident had been about two days ago, soon after entering a nameless forest close to Victory Road, and strange circumstances had been preventing Jarrod from reaching a PokeCenter. About an hour after going into the forest, a sharp rock hidden under the leafy path had ruined the front tire of Jarrod’s bike. On top of that, a sudden attack from a hive of Combee had chased the young man further into the forest; when he’d finally lost the angered bees, Jarrod had realized his compass had been lost in the mad dash to get away with being stung as little as possible. On top of that, when he tried to backtrack, he found dozens of small but thick trees blocking the path; the tangled undergrowth was far too hazardous to traverse through in order to get around these obstacles, forcing the young man further into the pressing, steamy depths of the forest.
As they tried to make their way out of what Jarrod was seriously considering some sort of trap, more and more Pokemon attacked them with little to no provocation. The Pokemon were getting stronger, too, and Jarrod soon fell to using only Metcha when they were dragged into battle. With every fight, Metcha’s fur grew more and more messy. After days of constant battling, the chinchilla’s fur was covered in mats, mud, dirt, burrs, and small twigs. Jarrod tried to help clean the Pokemon up as best he could, but eventually it got to the point where he simply gave up. Metcha himself was becoming more and more withdrawn, less the cheerful little creature and more one that seemed to radiate resentment that bordered on malice. Every time he’d finish a battle he would simply stare at his foe, his debris-tangled fur a silent accusation.
But then, just when Jarrod thought things were going to become critical thanks to the complete depletion of food, they finally managed to exit the choking confines of the forest. One minute they were in what seemed like the heart of the evil place, surrounded by the gloom and shrieks of various creatures and the scents of rotting plant matter. The next they were standing on the verge of a wide field, and laid out before them was the familiar path leading to Victory Road. Jarrod was momentarily stupefied by the sudden freedom, but was shaken from his daze when a harsh male voice hollered, “Hey, you, let’s do a battle!”
Blinking, Jarrod turned in the direction of the voice to see a young man who appeared to be about seventeen striding towards him. The young man had on a black short with sleeves that were too long and white pants that were far too short for a guy to be wearing. He had on tan sneakers and had messy blonde hair. He looked like a snotty little brat, and the expression in his eyes was one of someone spoiled well past rotten. Jarrod groaned softly, casting a glance around to see if there was anything he could use to distract the Trainer who was swiftly growing closer. Finding nothing, he muttered a curse and faced the other.
“I can’t battle,” he called in response. “My Pokemon are weak from trying to get through this forest for the past four or so days, and we’re out of food. I need to get to a PokeCenter.”
“Don’t try to get out of it!” the other Trainer huffed angrily as he drew to a stop about five feet away. He planted his hands on his hips and glared at Jarrod in what was clearing supposed to be a commanding expression, but Jarrod just found it stuck-up and annoying. He readied himself for an arguing match, but decided it might be faster just to beat the punk stupid and be done with it. In truth his normal team hadn’t seen much action in the past few days, and Jarrod felt a slight pang of guilt when he thought about how much he’d been neglecting them in favor of Metcha. Well, that would be rectified right here and now.
Pulling Wera’s PokeBall from his belt, Jarrod wordlessly released the little Grass Pokemon and watched as his privileged opponent snickered before releasing a Pokemon of his own. Upon seeing the Pokemon sent out, Jarrod felt his heart drop into his feet, and before him Wera gave a worried little noise as she shuffled a few steps away from her enemy.
Across from her was a Volcarona, staying aloft on three pairs of flame-colored wings. The large moth, topping a little over five feet in height, had an upper body covered in fluffy white fur and an ice-blue lower body. Its belly was a dark gray, as were the four small legs that were pressed tightly against its chest. It had two thick antennae growing from under its piercing blue eyes; these twisted around several inches beyond its gray head. The appendages matched the hue of the creature’s beating wings, which seemed to catch the sun with every stroke. Scattered across the Sun Pokemon’s wings and lower body were small black dots.
“Hades, Fiery Dance!” the Volcarona’s Trainer ordered, and Jarrod quickly pulled himself out of his shock. Focusing on the battle, he whistled to get Wera’s attention before telling her, “Quick, Sleep Powder!”
Wera gave a wordless little cry as she ran towards Volcarona, which was starting to beat its wings in time with some music only it could hear. Its legs reached out and wove through the air, and its head bobbed back and forth as it rose and fell in a steady rhythm. As its wings beat the air, small flaming scales were dislodged; these hovered almost motionlessly in the air, occasionally caught up in the air currents created by Volcaron’s pumping wings.
Sadly, the larger moth was quicker to finish its attack then Wera was to launch her. Just before she had a chance to shoot a plume of anesthetizing spores into the bug’s face, Volcarona trilled and a massive burst of flames erupted from its wings. With a single powerful heave, the moth sent a rush of super-hot air and hundreds of tiny flaming scales washing over Wera. Screeching in pain, Wera was thrown into the air and knocked several feet back, where she landed on her right side with a thud. She twitched feebly but didn’t manage much more before fainting.
“Hah!” the moth’s Trainer gloated as Jarrod recalled his fallen Pokemon, guilt twisting sharper in his gut like a dull knife sawing through his innards. A rush of heat swept through him and a bitter taste settled itself in the back of his throat as he silently apologized to the little Bulb Pokemon’s Ball. He then placed it back on his belt and sent out Domo, dread clenching in his stomach. All his Pokemon except Metcha were weak to Volcarona, which was quickly proved when Domo was taken out by a single Flare Blitz and Christo dominated by a vicious Hurricane.
Finally, only Metcha was left. Jarrod had started carrying him in a PokeBall as of late, as the chinchilla would only stare at a Pokemon after knocking it out and not move on his own. Tugging the Ball containing him off his belt, Jarrod felt his queasy stomach flip so violently he almost got sick. He didn’t know why he suddenly felt so AFRAID, but he wanted nothing more than to turn tail and flee like he had the Run Away Ability. Instead, he gritted his teeth, glared hatefully at his gloating opponent, and released Metcha from his PokeBall.
The other Trainer’s smug expression quickly twisted into one of shocked disgust when Metcha emerged from the Ball. His eyes narrowed in disdain at the Pokemon’s grubby coat, then sneered and shook his head in a demeaning manner.
“Wow, your Minccino is absolutely filthy!” he crowed, laughing a moment later. “Your Pokemon aren’t only weak, they’re simply grimy as all get-out! How on earth could you let that thing’s fur get so terribly mucked up?” The Trainer laughed again, causing a mix of anger, guilt, and dread to flood Jarrod’s veins. Anger and guilt for being reminded how neglectful he’d been to his party, dread because Metcha was tensed up, rage pouring off him so strongly Jarrod imagined he could taste its bitter tang. Without being aware of it he moved back a few paces as Metcha slowly raised his tail, then bashed it into the ground. Over and over he did this, breaking up large chunks of earth and clods of grass, revealing many large rocks lying just inches under the surface.
“Humph,” Volcarona’s Trainer scoffed at the show, not recognizing the danger that was rising up like an invisible tidal wave around them. “It wants to play in the dirt, we can make it happen. Volcarona! Take that thing out with a-“ Whatever he was going to order his Pokemon to do would remain a mystery, though, because at that moment Metcha soundlessly spun around and grabbed a basketball-sized stone from the ground, then flung the rock at Volcarona as he completed his spin. The stone whistled through the air, a sharp sound that seemed to pierce Jarrod’s brain, and smashed into Volcarona’s face a moment later. The rock had ended in a jagged point, which had hit right between Volcarona’s eyes with enough force to bury itself in the bug’s skull. A thin jet of emerald ichor squirted around the stone, splashing across Metcha’s face as the little chinchilla started squealing furiously.
Jarrod could only watch in mounting horror as Metach flung stone after stone in what had to be the most brutal Rock Blast he’d ever seen. Again and again Metcha used the attack, raining stones down upon Volcarona until it was not only knocked out, but clearly dead. Every stone seemed to end in a sharp point, and each point would somehow wind up embedding itself in Volcarona’s body. By the time Metcha finally stopped, his fur was dripping with thick, metallic-smelling ichor. The mutilated Pokemon’s Trainer had long since fled, and Jarrod had remained only because fear had rooted him to the spot.
“You…” came a soft voice a moment later, making Jarrod jump. Metcha slowly turned to face the young man, a crazed, psychotic grin stretching across his face. It was clear the Pokemon had snapped, and Jarrod’s blood chilled to ice as terror squeezed the air from his lungs. “This is your fault…you just wanted to use me like all the others…you made me dirty…”
Jarrod didn’t have control of his body, didn’t even realize he was turning. When he became aware of the fact that he was running, there was no thought to stop, only a sudden, driving urge to ESCAPE. He ran, back towards the forest, but before he’d gotten more than a few feet, a sharp, concentrated pain exploded in his right calf. Shrieking in pain and blind panic, Jarrod was thrown off-balance and fell to the ground with a painful thud. He whimpered for a moment before trying to crawl away, but another blast of agony flared up in his left shoulder. Over and over he felt something pounding into his body, until finally all sensation left him and his world faded into nothingness…
Hannah reeled back from the screen with a tiny cry of shocked repulsion, her heart beating so forcefully it made her chest hurt.
“What the hell…?” the young woman breathed, staring at the screen as the image faded to black. A moment later the words “The End” faded into sight, printed in a bright red font that was designed to look like it was bleeding. Scowling darkly, the woman abruptly shut off her 3DS and yanked the hacked version of Pokemon Black out of the system. Her amber eyes studied the little black ship with revulsion before she stood from her chair, tossing the black 3DS on her bed. As she got up her shoulder-length mahogany hair fell into her face, and she pushed it back irritably.
“Just my luck, this would turn out to be some sick person’s idea of a joke,” Hannah fumed, glaring at the hacked game like it was the source of all her life’s problems. Her petite, five-foot-three-inch frame marched its way out of her room and into the living room, where she hastily snatched the generic 3DS game case the chip had come in. She popped it open and shoved the chip inside so hard it nearly cracked; she then snapped it shut and threw it on to the couch. The receipt, which had been in the case, was shoved into Hannah’s pocket afterward.
Anger filled the sixteen-year old as she prepared to ride her bike to the local GameStop to get a refund. She’d read all kinds of scary stories known as creepypasta and generally liked them, but had never thought she might end up experiencing one first-hand. The game, one that had been labeled as pre-owned, had seemed normal at first. Nothing had seemed out of the ordinary at first, which was probably why the game managed to slip by the testing GameStop did for all games it took. When she’d started noticing different things, like the addition of CommCollars to the game’s normal storyline, she’d been excited to have gotten what appeared to be a clever and well-done hack. Having never played the game originally or even really looked at information online, she hadn’t noticed that the male Trainer sprite had looked different from what he normally should.
And then…that damned Minccino had been in the PokeCenter at Castelia, and things had only gone downhill.
Hannah had ADORED Metcha. He was so darned cute and cheery. On top of that, where most of her team had been about level fifty (she liked raising unevolved Pokemon to level 100), Metcha had been level ninety-nine when he joined Hannah’s party. His moveset had consisted of Tail Slap, DoubleSlap, Rock Blast, and Bullet Seed, and he’d had the Skill Link Ability. An Adamant Nature had given him a boost in his Physical strength, and Hannah had been overjoyed that the (now clearly) altered story had simply allowed the Pokemon to join her without some giant battle she would have easily lost.
Since getting him, Hannah had loved using him in battle. He would sweep through battles so quickly and with such ease that it didn’t take long at all for her favor him over her current team. Then another event had taken place, when she’d been biking along towards Victory Road to give Metcha some serious training; thanks to the game’s hacked nature, the entire map was open even though she hadn’t gotten even four Gym Badges. She hadn’t expected her character to notice something in the distance and move off the path, nor had she been counting on him suddenly entering the forest he’d approached. After all, the limited information she’d learned about the game said nothing of a random forest you could explore near Victory Road, and it was out of character for previous generations too.
She had known things were going to be bad when her character not only blew the front tire on his bike, but a short time later they were attacked by random Combee. It seemed entirely out of place, but as time went on, more and more Pokemon attacked her even though she couldn’t leave the path, which had no grass on it. Every time she tried to go back, the little trees that could normally be Cut down would be in her way, barring her from retreating. She’d been so frustrated that she’d turned the game off for a few days, and it wasn’t just the annoying maze that had made her give up, either; Metcha’s obvious change in personality had started to become highly unsettling. Upon coming back to it after a few days to relax, though, she’d been filled with renewed determination to see this strange event through to its end, creepy Minccino and all.
Of course, that grisly end had been one Hannah would have never imagined. After finally exiting the forest and being thoroughly bemused to find herself back at the same place she’d entered the forest, she had been surprised when another Trainer had come over to demand a battle. Her character’s protests that his Pokemon were too weak was unexpected, as she’d really only been using Minccino. When he’d mentioned they were out of food that had been a surprise as well, since no Trainer in any previous version ever carried actual food on them or even seemed to ever eat.
The big shock had been the irritating kid’s only Pokemon, a level seventy Volcarona, which had taken out her normal party with one hit each. She’d felt bad, because under normal circumstances if she’d been training them they would have probably been at a high enough level to whip the other Trainer’s giant insect. When it had come down to Metcha, Hannah hadn’t really known what to expect. The Pokemon had been getting more and more creepy as Hannah had tried to exit the forest, and truth be told, she’d had some trepidation about using him. In the end, her misgivings had been proven horribly accurate.
She’d known something bad was coming when the snotty kid started badmouthing Metcha’s appearance. A question mark had appeared over her Trainer sprite’s head, followed a moment later by an exclamation mark. The pixelated sprite had then backed up a few paces and a small box with an ellipses had appeared over Metcha’s head. From there, it had simply gone downhill.
Metcha had used his Rock Blast attack without being prompted, though Hannah had long since gotten used to Metcha acting on his own. This was the first time Hannah had seen him use Rock Blast, though, and the results had been devastating. After the first few hits, Volcarona had been knocked out, but when normally a multi-hit move would end once the foe had fainted, Metcha kept using it. Over and over rocks smashed into Volcarona, and with every blow a splurt of dark green blood shot from the moth’s body. She could tell, from the way the Pokemon’s mangled sprite had collapsed to the “ground”, that it was dead, yet still Metcha continued to attack. Finally, though, he had stopped. The battle ended, and when it was over, the Volcarona’s Trainer was gone.
After several moments of tension, a textbox with the word “You…” popped up along the bottom of the screen. Metcha had turned then, his front covered with thick green blood. A frightening grin had been slashed across his face as the text continued to scroll into existence in the box. “This is your fault…you just wanted to use me like all the others…you made me dirty…”
“No…” Hannah had whispered as a box with three exclamation marks had appeared over her character’s head. He’d turned and tried to run, but Metcha had used his final move, a Bullet Seed attack, and struck his Trainer down. Blood had shot from where each large, sharp seed hit, and within minutes the sprite didn’t even resemble a human anymore, just a jumble of pixels covered in red. After a moment, Metcha had come into view, standing near her deceased Trainer sprite and simply staring before that black screen had faded in, bearing the words “The End”.
“Someone’s sick idea of a joke,” the young woman huffed angrily. “At least I kept the receipt.” She then grabbed the game from the couch and headed out the door, more than ready to get rid of the hacked game and start on the road to forgetting what she had witnessed while playing.
Minccino, the Chinchilla Pokemon: "They greet one another by rubbing each other with their tails, which are always kept well groomed and clean. These Pokémon prefer a tidy habitat. They are always sweeping and dusting, using their tails as brooms."
Pokemon Going For: Minccino, Scraggy, Klink, Petilil, Darumaka
# of Characters Needed: 50-100k
Total # of Characters: 52,927
Hmmmm, didn’t quite turn out like I was expecting, and I dunno, this just doesn’t seem to be of the quality I normally produce. Maybe it’s just me, but if it’s not good enough for all four Pokemon I totally understand.
EDIT: Yes I know I said I don't think it's good enough for four Pokemon, so it might seem strange that I'm going for Darumaka too. Well, I figured I had the characters for it, and I was originally planning on going for Darumaka instead of Scraggy anyways, so I figured what the hell and decided to throw it in.