Target: Nidoran (M), simple; 5-10k for capture
Char count: ~9440
Evan and Growlithe sat languidly beneath a tree; one of the few around the shrinking lake that still had a handful of leaves. They were turning brown and dry under the unusual heat, but the trunk was wide enough to shelter the boy and his Pokémon from direct sun.
The boy brushed blonde hair out of his eyes as he looked around him. The forest was still and silent; not the quiet of anticipation, but empty that comes when everything has burrowed underground or moved to more hospitable locations.
They had just made it through a rousing adventure involving a swarm of Beedril; the Lotad that had saved them floated nearby, in the shallows of the lake. Evan knew that he and his orange-furred companion needed to get home before his parents worried about him, but the sun was high in the sky and the walk home would be brutal unless he waited another couple hours.
He was distracted from his idle counting of branches on the tree across from him by his Growlithe; Legend’s ears perked up and he began looking up at the sky.
Just before Evan could ask his companion what he’d heard, the same sound made itself noticeable; a loud, distant basso growl interspersed with high-pitched blasts he had never heard before. Scanning the sky, it took him a moment before he saw the far-off figure.
As it quickly sped in his direction, he could tell that it was actually three figures; the largest was a bright orange Pokémon with small, blue wings; a long, slender tail; and a pale cream-colored belly. A figure rode on its back, dark clothing making details indistinguishable at this distance, and the pair seemed to be chasing a small pink and grey Pokémon.
The sounds he’d heard were from the largest, the deep growl seeming to be a howl of chase; the blasts emanated from its throat between growls, firing thick beams of a brilliant white energy at the smaller figure. It was just nimble enough to dodge all of them, most dissipating harmlessly before striking the ground; the few that hit the surface of the lake elicited brief spouts of steam.
The smaller Pokémon dove heedlessly into the lake; Evan caught a brief impression of a pink crest, twin grey tails, and serious eyes before it disappeared with hardly a ripple. The orange Dragonite chasing it expanded its stubby wings to their utmost and checked its dive, skimming over the surface of the water.
The water began to glow with a blindingly deep indigo hue; after a few seconds, the glow faded, leaving the lake surface rippling lightly. The Dragonite and its rider flew in a couple circles, then landed on the shore near Evan. The rider dropped off and said something into a walkie-talkie they grabbed from their belt; Evan was finally able to tell it was a man, garbed head to toe in a sleek black outfit.
Several Pokéballs hung from his belt, along with a dazzling array of gadgetry; as Evan watched, he pulled something with several screens and dials from his pocket and scanned the lake. This time, what he said carried clearly across the intervening distance.
“No, I wasn’t able to get it in time – it dived into some local lake and used that water-teleporting ability. No, I don’t know the name, it barely made it onto the local maps.”
Evan stepped out from under his tree; Legend paced him as they approached to within a dozen steps of the figure, who seemed to notice him for the first time.
“It’s called Sweetwater lake, sir. And normally it’s larger than this, but we’ve been in a drought for several months.”
The tall figure seemed to consider this for a second. He spoke again to the walkie-talkie. “Some kid told me it’s Sweetwater lake. Keep me appraised; Bruce, you may as well head back to base. I’ll be along shortly.”
He returned the communicator to his belt. “Thanks, kid. Did you happen to see the Pokémon I was chasing?”
Evan nodded. “I’d never seen anything like it before; it was grey, with some sort of pink thing on its head; and it looked like it had more than one tail.”
The man smiled in amazement. “Wow, kid. You’ve got a good memory – it couldn’t have hung out more than a second or two. Yeah, you’re exactly right, and lucky to boot. That was the legendary Pokémon Mesprit. I’ve been trying to catch up with it for months, and I’ve only once gotten closer than you did just now.”
Evan’s Growlithe stepped forward and sniffed at the man’s pantleg; he bent down and scratched Legend gently behind the ears. “Your Growlithe here seems pretty well trained, too. How long have you had him?”
“Just over three months,” Evan responded. “I was supposed to get a Pokémon a couple years ago, but our town is so small we had to wait for a wandering Professor to teach us how to use them responsibly.”
The man whistled. “You’ve only had him three months? You just keep springing surprises, kid. Where’s the nearest large town, Violet City?” Evan nodded. “I know a guy there who teaches a couple classes at the Trainer school. His name is Terrance, and he leads the group called the Rocketeers. Show him this, and he’ll let you into his class for free.”
The man dug into a jacket pocket and produced a crimson lapel pin in the shape of a capital R. He handed it to Evan, who pinned it proudly to his shirt. “I’d love to see, first, a demonstration of your prowess.”
Evan stood up a little taller. Here was his chance to impress this guy; clearly, he was a highly advanced trainer to be chasing down legendary Pokémon.
“See over there, at the base of that tree – the Nidoran? How about you catch him? That’ll really show if you’ve got the stuff to become an ace Trainer.”
Evan’s mind raced. Ace Trainer? That’d definitely get him some fame in his home town. He’d grown up hearing the stories about the other Trainers who’d left, sending home detailed accounts of their journeys across distant lands.
“Legend, come on. Let’s show him he’s right about us.”
Legend barked his assent, turning his gaze to the purple, rabbit-like creature peeking out from under a tree root. Its ears were nearly as large as the rest of its body, and it had patches of even darker color in places.
“Just remember,” The man said, “Its barbs are covered in poison. You probably don’t want to come in direct contact with it.”
Evan nodded, his mind already switching to battle mode. The Nidoran, seemingly sensing that it was being put on the spot, crawled forward onto the shoreline; it tensed up its muscles, making its glistening spines arrange themselves more defensively.
Time to do something different, he thought. “He’s right, Legend. Make sure it doesn’t jab you with its spines. Use your Agility to keep out of harm’s way!”
Growlithe exploded into motion; the Nidoran had been preparing an attack, leaping forward with its horn extended. Legend was several steps ahead of it, diving to the side and spinning about to face it.
“When you get the chance, use Flamethrower after you dodge!” Evan cried to his faithful companion. The Pokémon complied; after another leap that carried it to safety, it retaliated with a blast of fire that left mirage-like shimmers in the summer air.
The Nidoran screeched; steam curled from its horn where the poison had literally been boiled away. Switching tactics, it feinted another lunge; before Evan could call out to be careful, it had spun to the side and unleashed a powerful kick with its hind legs.
Growlithe barked, more in surprise than pain; it rolled away with the force of the blow. The Nidoran chased after it, trying to retain the offensive, and Growlithe was forced to dodge and leap away without being able to attack.
This was going to end badly unless Evan switched tactics. Looking around for another idea, he seized upon the dry, dead tree that was nearby; it was on a small hill and looked to have been dead for several months at least. “Legend, try and lure it back to that tree!”
The Growlithe began to dodge and leap in its direction; rather than evading attacks, it now had a purpose. Slowly, it led the Nidoran to within a dozen feet from the tree. “Now, use Takedown on the tree!”
Evan had calculated it just right. As the Nidoran overextended itself with an attack of its horn, Growlithe leapt away; building up speed, it slammed into the base of the tree, knocking a large chunk of the decomposing wood away. With an ominous creak, it bent and then fell, narrowly missing Growlithe.
The Nidoran wasn’t so lucky; the spreading branches fell directly onto it. Giving Legend a moment to recover from the impact, he shouted out his final direction. “Now, Legend, use Ember on the branches!”
The dead wood easily burst into flame at the first touch of the fire Pokémon’s powerful attack; the crackling blaze shifted and surged merrily as the poison Pokémon struggled to free itself.
Evan ran to a good vantage point; he saw the purple Pokémon give up struggling and begin screaming. He hadn’t meant to hurt it this badly, and he quickly dug for a Pokéball in his pocket. Muttering a quick apology, he sent it flying into the flames. They jumped higher, obscuring the view, but he heard the familiar sound of energy being drawn into the Ball.
He had to do something else, though; there was no way he could get in close enough to retrieve it. “Legend! Whether I caught it or not, get in there and get it out!”
Legend was nearly impervious to the flames he’d caused; darting in, Evan saw him pushing something out. “Lotad!” he called to the Pokémon at the shore. “Spray some water over here to help put out the fire, please!”
He waited with bated breath to see if he’d caught the Poison Pin Pokémon...