Target Pokemon: Cottonee (Medium) and Petilil (Medium)
Story Deal for: Ebail and Eeveedude.
No. of characters: 55,311
Required Characters: 20-40k
THE HEALING SALVE
A symphony of thunder clacked and rumbled above, as a torrential downpour of rain fell harshly to the earth. The night sky was inevitably gray with darkness, obscuring any light that would otherwise emanate from the stars. The howling of the winds was heard, and it seemed as though it came from every direction. The smell of lightning-fried soil was in the atmosphere, as Pokémon retreated to their homes; frightened of an invisible force that disrupted the clouds which lingered ominously above them. Things could not get any worse for a Cottonee, who has been injured and hurt. He flew (or perhaps “floated” would be a better term) with such hardship that he was forced to land on a nearby cedar tree. Cottonee from birth are instructed by their Whimsicott parents to never leave their homes during heavy rain. As such, they are inclined to follow, despite their mischievous natures, for their usually feather-light bodies become exponentially heavier when soaked in rainwater. Now the injured Cottonee, bearing a serious bruise on its left leaf, landed haphazardly on the buttress of the cedar tree. It could do nothing more but weep—and it was tears of regret that it shed—for at least crying would get rid of some of the excess moisture within its mud-covered body. In order to understand all of this—how this poor Pokémon gained its injury, and why it belligerently disobeyed its parents’ command, we must go back to the beginning of this dreadful day.
CHAPTER ONE: INQUISITIONS
Everyone gathered in front of Shiftry’s court located in the deep verdant heart of Sinnoh, and by everyone I mean all the Grass-type Pokémon that lived in Eterna Forest—from lowly Oddish to high aristocrats like the Venusaur Barons. The court was like a meeting place for them, in which the Order of Shiftry proclaimed their daily sermons, which were considered dogmas by the forest Pokémon. The court was huge; made entirely out of bent oak, with each branch laced with an astonishing work of floral filigree. Virizion would be humbled at the sheer magnificence the structure was built upon, for the place was a construction of rustic nature, and a beautiful one at that. And about the Order—well, no one exactly knows how it was formed, because no one really wanted to question their teachings enough to bother finding out.
There was a big lectern on the center; sporting a three-leaf triskelion etched in its woodwork—the insignia of the Order of Shiftry. As was ritual, two Nuzleaf spread incense made from Rose oil around the room. This was a signal that the sermon was about to commence, and that the group of Sunflora should stop chattering about who had found a better spot for solar nutrition. On the far middle of the room was a wooden chamber which leads to the Shiftry’s quarter. The Nuzleaf put down the incense on both sides of the lectern. They mumbled an inaudible ditty, and then approached the wooden chamber. They stretched their brown, wooden arms to grab the knobs on the chamber’s door, and opened it with much carefulness. From the chamber came out the Pokémon the others have been waiting for—it was the Kuhani— that was what they called the highest Shiftry priest.
The Kuhani wore a headdress ornamented with fine emerald jewelry and deep-blue Chatot feathers. On his neck was some sort of talisman which reflected a light that matched the emeralds’ coloration. He held his leafy arms high, as he held a small piece of carved wood. He too, mumbled the inaudible ditty the Nuzleaf spoke earlier, before putting the piece of wood on top of the lectern. And upon closer inspection, the audience was flabbergasted when they saw the piece of wood—for it was more than just a carving: it was an effigy. And they knew what the idol represented—it was a person with short, brown hair, and had a green tunic over its shoulders—it was one of the demons the Order had warned the grass Pokémon of Eterna Forest about! They knew her as “The Defiler”. Many rumors have spread about this “Defiler”, most of which have strayed from what the Kuhani originally told them. But for the grass Pokémon, one thing was certain: meeting the Defiler will result to your death, or as quoted from the high priest’s previous sermon, “It shall extinguish your life in the most horrible means. And be aware that it shall introduce you to far horrid things than death itself.”
Surely such a warning would have embedded fear in the hearts of all those who have heard! But this was not so. For you see, in the midst of the court’s believers was perhaps a single Pokémon that questioned the Order’s teachings—and that is the Cottonee I had introduced to you earlier. He sat with his Whimsicott father and mother, who were beside a half-asleep Torterra. It was aforementioned that the Order’s sermons were considered dogmas by the Pokémon, but to him it was nothing more but a suspicious web of lies. He thought that the Shiftry themselves do not know what they were preaching, and that they just made stuff up in order to keep them from communing with the outsiders. For fear of being condemned for his disapproval of the orthodox he kept this all to himself, but he no longer could tell if he would be able to restrain himself any longer. He would have began an outburst, but then the Kuhani started the sermon, and he thought that it would be best to save his witty reasoning until the moment presented itself. He bit his fluffy-white lip, and focused on the Shiftry as what others did (aside from the Torterra they sat beside with, for now he was fully asleep).
“Friends, our Order have yet again called upon you, as this is what the Forest Guardian had commanded,” the Shiftry priest spoke—voice loud as thunder; and to this the Cottonee just scoffed lightly. “I am certain that, by now, each and every one of you is aware of the Defiler. This nuisance, this evil—and what a great evil this thing is! I am here to proclaim to you an ordeal I had to suffer last evening. Had it not been for the Forest Guardian’s guidance I would have died that night, and you, my friends, would have had to elect a new Kuhani in my blessed place!”
“For last night, under the darkness of the sky I was attacked, and my attacker was none other than the demon you see carved in wood right in front of you!” The Sunflora could not help but gasp and begin chattering about the incident—their happy smiles got erased, which did not seem a good fit for their cheery, yellow faces. “Yes, the Defiler had targeted me in an attempt of murder—I am quite sure of it. What is worse, my leafy friends, you ask? The Defiler had hypnotized one of our own kind—a Roserade—to do its heinous deeds. The blasphemous demon used a Roserade in an attempt to kill your Kuhani!” When the priest said this, he slammed his hand on the lectern and his headdress almost fell from his head. In the crowd, a Roserade mother tried to appease her two Budew from crying, who were cowering in the apparent horror that could befall their mother. She placed her rose-arms over her children’s buds, as if to prevent them from hearing the sermon any further, while comforting them that “everything would be all right”.
The Shiftry, being the boastful Pokémon it was, revealed an unhealed, almost perfectly fresh bruise on its abdomen. There was notably some kind of purple residue that was around the wound, and judging from the mother Roserade’s point of view only a Sludge Bomb could have had inflicted a mark such as that. “This is the mark that demon had left me. Let this be a warning to all of us—should we disobey the teachings of the Order; let the hands of death touch us and bring more than just a wound. The Order has placed a barrier around our home, and crossing it is extremely prohibited. Let us not dare to mingle with the beastly demon, as it will bring nothing but strife and dilemmas to us all.”
The Kuhani’s voice lowered, and the court grew silent. Then, he swiftly threw the effigy into the air, and in an instant, cut it into pieces with a swing of its leafy hands. The pieces of wood fell hard on the floor, each breaking into even smaller pieces. “Do not let the demon do that to you, my friends...” the Priest whispered, as he moved back his headdress in place. The Shiftry turned around, as the two Nuzleaf approached the lectern to grab the incenses, and these happenings were signal that the sermon was over. This was followed by the choir of Cherrim which used their glossy petals to perform GrassWhistle. This put the court in a very pleasant atmosphere, but still our Cottonee was discontented. He wasn’t quite sure if what he was about to do would be a good thing, but he was sure that it would be better than listening to the sermons of the Kuhani, which were, for him, deluded ramblings that did not make any sense whatsoever. Determined of himself, he shouted “Stop!” before the high priest could enter his quarter. And so, the spreading of the incense and the singing of the Cherrim ceased—as the Kuhani turned at the voice with an expression of shock on his old, wicked face.
“Who has raised his voice to call me?” the Kuhani uttered, his yellow eyes became as pale as his white hair. “Have you not met the entity of respect?”
For a short moment, the Cottonee contemplated on turning back and acting as though nothing had happened, that he had not spoke in the tone he had used. His mother and father were confused why he would do such a thing, but the Cottonee ignored fear and went on with what he had to say. He had to force the words right out of his mouth, and when he did, he spoke:
“I have, oh glorious high priest,” the Cottonee confessed, in somewhat a mocking tone with little hesitation, as his parents became abashed by their son’s behavior. “I do not believe in what you say... In fact, I don’t think you have even met the human you so inappropriately call a demon! All of that you have said are lies—malicious corruptions of what is the real truth! The Defiler is not what you claim her to be. If anyone is evil it is none other than you and your dignified convent of baroque Shiftry!”
Immediately, gasps louder than ever before were heard all around the court, breaking the former atmosphere of joy and harmony and sending it into turmoil. For a moment the Kuhani’s expression turned into blood-boiling rage, as evident in his frenzied stare. He clenched his fists of leaves hard, and bit his lip as he closed his eyes to calm and change his appearance, in order not to endanger his repertoire. He looked at the young Cottonee as if he was examining it, and then he replied in a vicious yet soft tone.
“And may I ask how you know all of this, young one?” The Shiftry said, as the Cottonee’s parents tried to get him and leave the court of the Order. “You would not have happened to have met the Defiler to know anything about it, now have you? Else you would not have a single breath of air in you, as the Defiler would have extinguished your petty life in an instant, child. And that is the truth. So answer me, you who think you know more than the Order of Shiftry. Have you met the demon in question for you to have proof on your outrageous—not to mention baseless—accusations?” Then the Shiftry paused, and did a gesture to call the two Nuzleaf.
The Cottonee did not want the other Pokémon to know about his doings, that he indeed had encountered the so-called Defiler repeatedly. He knew the punishment would be severe, not that he was afraid of excommunication, rather he was concerned about his parents. And so, he could do nothing more but be quiet. He looked down, ignoring the voices in the room: his parents scolding and apologizing to the Kuhani, and the uproar caused by a Cacnea who accidentally woke up the Torterra that sat beside the Whimsicott (it was rather a painful wake-up indeed).
Satisfied by his slanderer’s lack of sufficient remarks, the Shiftry laughed, and it was a wicked and dark one. The two Nuzleaf he called scrambled to reach him, and he then ordered: “Finally you have silenced your sacrilegious mouth. The Order shall bestow upon you only a light consequence despite your grave and malevolent doings. You are sentenced to assist the Exeggutor in labor to finish the barrier around our perimeter. May the Forest Guardian be merciful and cleanse your tainted mind, and for it to not blot and ink out the hearts of others, lest your soul be a nidus for fault amongst our society.” The Wicked Pokémon then turned to his Nuzleaf lackeys. His harsh tone grew harsher, signifying utter coldness towards the Cottonee. “Now take this heretic out of my court immediately!”
The Nuzleaf lunged for the Cottonee and grasped the Pokémon’s arms, as it tried to resist the Wily Pokémon as best it could. His attempts, however, were futile, for even a tricky Pokémon such as himself will be out-tricked by another clever Pokémon eventually. When he tried to evade them by floating away, the Nuzleaf just executed a perfect ExtraSensory attack, hindering the Cotton Pokémon from any chance of escape whatsoever. The grunts used the Psychic attack to immobilize their target, and landed the Cottonee back to the ground. His parents were pleading for them to stop, but these pleas went on unheard. Once they grabbed a hold of the Cottonee, they cuffed him with a vine restraint, and carried him out of the court. The only thing that he could do then was to wink at his best friend in the crowd—a small, but also a clever Paras.
An hour later the Nuzleaf dropped the Cottonee off at the society’s borders, and just as told, Exeggutor were there propping up transparent barriers in order to keep the demons, or humans, if you prefer, away from entering their safe-haven. The Nuzleaf removed the vine restraints from their captive, and told the head constructor to keep an eye (or perhaps six) out for the Cottonee, who has been noted to be quite the mischievous kind. The Exeggutor-in-charge nodded, and with hasty action he immediately told the Cottonee his tasks for the day. Then the two Nuzleaf mocked and laughed at the Cottonee’s situation, before leaving him under the supervision of the chief Exeggutor.
“You are in for a lot of manual work, mister!” The Exeggutor chuckled, though his two other heads were somewhat indifferent. “You ought to never have done that to the Kuhani. Now I have to make you help us construct barriers.”
“I am confident with what I know, and thus I regret nothing. If this is punishment for proclaiming what is true then let it be so,” the Cottonee answered, although he wasn’t paying attention to the chief, for he was instead focusing on his surrounding, as if looking for someway out. “You must know that you can not contain me.”
The chief chuckled again, this time his three heads were all expressing joy. “You’re a feisty one. I can see why that ol’ Shiftry condemned you to this work. Now tell me lad, do you know any of the moves Barrier, Light Screen or Reflect?”
“I do not know any of those,” the Cottonee answered in reply, and he figured that cooperating would be best for the mean time. “I do, however, know Safeguard.”
“Aye, that will suffice,” the Exeggutor said, as he then instructed his new underling to go to the west end of the barrier. “You better not do anything funny, because you won’t like me if I catch you doing shenanigans. So let’s make it clear that there will be no funny business, all right?”
Although the Cottonee appeared to come into terms with the chief, he was determined to get out. And now his only hope was to rely on his best friend Paras. Hopefully, the Cottonee thought, Paras got the signal to bust me out of here. C’mon, Paras.
After having listened to the orders barked by the chief Exeggutor, the Cottonee got a bit anxious; worried that his friend might not be able to rescue him. He was in this dire hurry because he wanted to meet the Defiler (although “human friend” was the term he used in his mind, but for the sake of context I shall use ‘Defiler’ instead) on the outer edges of Eterna Forest, for he was always sure to find her there in such an hour. He then removed all thoughts of losing faith in his closest comrade, as it did him no good to think his best friend would let him down. A few more minutes had passed, and Cottonee had finally been exhausted of his strength, as he landed on the ground (he floated most of the time) when he unleashed his last Safeguard with his final ounce of power. Just then, the Pokémon he had been waiting for arrived, and a smile came to his obviously weakened face. There, with two red mushrooms on its back was Paras, who seemingly looked jumpy at the time.
“Oh, Exeggutor, come around, quick!” The Paras shouted, calling the attention of the numerous Coconut-like Pokémon working on their respective light-created defenses. “Come around, I have news of greatest urgency that came directly from the high priest himself!” His bulging, clear-blue eyes expressed such truth in his every word, but his friend, the Cottonee, knew that this was all planned. The head Exeggutor, characterized by his long, tattered leaves, approached the worried Pokémon, while the other Exeggutor followed.
“What news do you speak of, little one?” The chief asked, raising one of his eyebrows, as if expressing slight disbelief. Perhaps his psychic powers sensed a certain suspicious thing about the Paras, but the mushroom Pokémon was not about to back down now.
The Cottonee watched from afar, and he knew that his friend needed a distraction. In an effort to help, the Cottonee rammed and shattered one of the barriers and shouted for the chief Exeggutor. This got the Pokémon’s attention, while the Paras moved swiftly into action. While the group of Exeggutor looked back at the noise their captive was creating, the Paras released a thick cloud of beige-colored spores which settled easily on the mass of Exeggutor, who were now clear on the Paras’ intention. The Cottonee quickly guarded itself with its own Safeguard, releasing a green force field around him that deflected any of the spores from landing near him. The disgruntled shouts of the chief Exeggutor disappeared with the blanket of spores the Paras had released. When everything cleared down, it was evident that the Spore attack worked, and that the crew of Exeggutor workers had fallen into the world of dreams, eyes shut and bodies flat on the ground. The Paras then approached his friend, with his crimson pincers shaking about.
“You’re weak,” the Paras started, his eyes contained a look of concern within them. “Do you really have to go through with this? I mean, you and I know very well that my spores aren’t going to keep them like that for a long period of time. And your parents talked to me too—they’re worried sick and they had told me to tell you to come back.”
To the look of concern his best friend had he responded with a spirit of persistence. “Without a doubt, Paras. The human shall be in the outer rims of the forest any moment now, and I must go to her and convince her to come to our society, that she may clear the misunderstandings that had enveloped around her name. And do not worry about my health, Paras. I am quite sure that the forest will provide me with enough comestibles in order to sustain my endurance.”
The Paras sighed for not having convinced his friend to go back. “Very well then, but you owe me big, Cottonee. Let’s just hope the Exeggutor won’t remember anything once they wake up, for the sake of both our lives. Take care of yourself.” The Pokémon then moved away and began digging in the ground. He said goodbye to his friend and he was off.
“Do tell my father and mother that I will be all right, Paras,” The Cottonee shouted, and the Paras gave a gesture which he did not understand, but it was safe to say that his friend had heard what he had to say. “You take care of yourself too.” And within seconds, a tunnel had appeared where the Paras dug, and the Cottonee had finally lost sight of his friend.
The Cottonee then looked at the barriers he set up, and he figured that it would not be so much an endeavor to cross his own Safeguards; especially that he channeled an ability to infiltrate magical walls such as these. He centered his mind, clearing any thoughts that would prevent him from using his ability properly. He felt his body become even lighter, light as a ghost, even. Then he charged for the wall of green light with full force. Next thing he knew he was out of the borders and into the wilds the Kuhani had since then forbidden for them to venture on. It was a delight to him to have been freed from the place which held him captive, as know he felt the freedom the other side of the forest had to offer. He was sure to cover his tracks, and he even repaired the broken barrier he had shattered. Without further thoughts of going back he went straight to the place where he had met the Defiler before. He was quite sure that his escape was flawless, but perhaps he should have looked at his surroundings closer. For in the floral bushes back within the barriers was a Pokémon that had caught sight of everything—from the Paras’ ambush and his escape.
CHAPTER TWO: SOME EXPLANATIONS
For us to continue and move on with the story, it is necessary that we find out whom that Pokémon was in the bushes, and so we must focus on the Kuhani and his checkered past. Earlier I have mentioned to you that no soul is quite sure as to how the Order of Shiftry arose in the society of Grass Pokémon in Eterna Forest. That is quite true, but we must find out for it is an integral role in discovering the identity of the mysterious Pokémon. In order to clear up the layers of secrets that hide the Order’s origin we must go back years, where the forest of Eterna was just growing.
It all began when a band of Nuzleaf had just come to the region. There were five of them, and these Nuzleaf would later become the founders of the Order. They have traveled a very long journey, and they sought to spread what was then known as The Grand Truth. The Grand Truth revolved around the acceptance that all humans are a threat to their existence, and are all naturally evil and corrupted. In order to establish this belief they had gone to great extents and have bended facts themselves, like the exaggeration that humans posses demonic powers. They say that fear is a shield that forms one’s safety, and that their minute lies were all in good intention. But why would they spread such malice? They had the right to, after all they were not just travelers—they were escapees; captured by the evil organization of Team Rocket that have treated them very badly. They had chosen the young forest as a good place to start, as it was then secluded from civilizations and thus convincing its inhabitants would not be difficult.
The group’s leader would evolve to be our Kuhani. He was chosen to be the first high priest of the land, for he had the gravest experience with the humans, or “demons”, as they now choose to call it. In order to keep their benevolent purity they swore an oath to never commune with outsiders, and to any Pokémon that’s attached to them. They all agreed to keep the oath, however our Kuhani did not. His defiance to the oath happened just a week before he was crowned the Chatot headdress (signifying wisdom and leadership) and the Leaf Stone talisman (which symbolized growth through his evolution). He risked the faith his allies had in him, and this bore negative fruit in his name.
Before he had adopted a bitter disposition, the Kuhani then was full of robust youth. When he and his Nuzleaf comrades had just settled in the forest of Eterna, they found that the land was ruled by a Lilligant queen. She had the most austere face in all the forest, possessing such an otherworldly glamour that was alluring to our Kuhani. Her face—it was white as winter, her crown—it outshined the flowers of Shaymin, and her dress of leaves, her magnificent dress of leaves—it made everyone that went near look inferior to her astounding beauty. She was a queen, and she had everything a queen should have. Except, that is, for a partner in her rule.
You see, our Kuhani and the Queen Lilligant would in due time become lovers. There was something the queen saw in the Nuzleaf that attracted her to him, and it was the same for the Kuhani’s point of view. However, the queen hid this from her royal judges because she knew that they would not approve of their relationship, as it was forbidden for royalty to marry ‘low-bloods’ and the like. Their forbidden romance became even more complicated, when our Kuhani found out that she was not a wild Pokémon—she was, in fact, a Pokémon owned by the first Gym Leader of Eterna City. She would often come to the forest to be in touch of her home, as this was where the Gym Leader had captured her. He was crestfallen, knowing at an instant that he had been breaking the oath he and his comrades vowed never to break. He decided then to forget what had happened between them, and to just act as if nothing had ever happened, lest the other Nuzleaf would loose trust in him. He condemned the queen for lying to his face, but neither of them could erase what had happened: for the queen bore a child. I would no longer expound on the intricacies of how this was so, but let us accept it, as the Kuhani did that day. The birth of his illegitimate child was done in secret, as the entirety of their relationship was. The Shiftry agreed that even the child must not know the truth, and as a cover story the Lilligant queen told her people that she had just adopted the Petilil as the next heir to her throne.
The Kuhani went on with the ritual of his admittance to become the society’s first high priest, without his allies knowing of his grave transgressions. This was the cause of the Kuhani’s spiteful attitude; for he had sacrificed so much for a duty that he had devoted himself to. Weeks later, the queen Lilligant would die from an unknown sickness, and her trainer would have searched for her lost Pokémon, but alas she would not find her. The Kuhani mourned in silence, but it was discovered that it was the queen’s will for him to be the supervisor of the next heir. For both their safety he did not tell the Petilil the truth: that he was his father, although the Petilil grew up in his care that they would bond to become close to one another, perhaps closer than they could be if he would tell the child the truth.
And so, you may now ask, who that Pokémon was in the bushes. It was none other than the Petilil I had just told you about. Yet again it is time for another flashback; however it will encompass events that are of the present day, just when the Kuhani had shouted at the Cottonee inside the Order’s court.
“Now take this heretic out of my court immediately!”
With that command, his two Nuzleaf lackeys reached for the Cottonee, while the Shiftry went back to his chamber. The chamber’s doors had an ornate screen window on it. The Petilil was watching the disturbance on that window, which the Kuhani now approached. He opened the doors to see a small, yellow-green Pokémon having three slender leaves on its head. It had a sight of disappointment and misery in its face, and the Shiftry tried comforting the Petilil by asking what was wrong.
“It’s sad that he has to be punished,” the Bulb Pokémon said in reply. “I must go with him, Shiftry.”
The high priest stood aghast by her words, baffled at why the Petilil would say such things. “Why would you show pity on those who oppose the order? Do not tell me you are a heretic yourself—my heart can not bare that.”
“That is not the case, “ The Petilil added, this time she went out of the chamber, only to see the Cottonee winking at her (though he was really winking at his best friend, the Paras, who was in close proximity with the Petilil) while the Nuzleaf carried him away. “My step mother had entrusted you to take care of me, Shiftry. And I must be honest with you.”
The Shiftry followed her outside the chamber. Before he could speak, the Petilil continued, “I am in love with him, Shiftry. I must follow him."
Now the Shiftry was filled with concerned rage, which he tried to suppress as best he could. “You shall not do such a thing! And you are in love with that foolish ingrate? How come? You have only seen him just now...or have you been keeping all of this a secret from me?“
The Petilil’s response was just an affirming silence. She nodded her head, and then looked at the Shiftry, who was white with anger. “I forbid you to go near that heretic. From this day onwards you shall have Nuzleaf guards to patrol and monitor your activities. Go and head on to your quarters this instant!”
Naturally she would do what she was told; as a future ruler she was expected to have highly cultured manners. But this time she let her emotions precede her etiquette. “What powers do you have over me that you can restrain what I do? Might I remind you that Queen Lilligant may have granted you the privilege to watch over me, but you have absolutely no right to control what I will and will not do! After all, you are not my father.” She then left the Kuhani, her outburst was somewhat freeing and she felt liberated from his command.
The Petilil would then follow the Cottonee, hide under the cover of the floral bushes, and become the witness to the Cottonee’s brilliant escape. But back in the court of the Order of Shiftry, the Kuhani she left behind was utterly devastated. The Petilil’s words were like a cold rapier, dashing and severing his heart into pieces. This, along with the blow he took from the Defiler’s Roserade caused him to become incredibly sick. As he said, he could not bear losing her child—and what was even more depressing was that the Petilil might never know the truth. He lied in a bed of leaves inside his quarter, where Meganium doctors began to examine him. But even with their wide arsenal of medicinal knowledge, there was nothing they could do. He tried to speak, forcing himself to say what he should have told the Petilil and the rest of the Pokémon: that he broke his pact and that Petilil was indeed his offspring. The Shiftry felt hopeless, and soon he would feel no more.
CHAPTER 3: TODAY THE SALVE IS MADE
“Alice, use Ice Beam, now!” A tall, teenage boy cried out, calling to his determined Glaceon that stood on the battlefield, ready to attack. Sweat poured from his pale face, while he fixed his eyes on his Pokémon. “Keep your guard up!”
He had light, golden hair which was almost fully hidden under a white sports cap. He wore a gray v-neck shirt with black sleeves, and his jeans were held fast by a sleek, silver belt, which carried all of his six Pokéballs. His dull get-up stood out inside the Eterna Gym, for surrounding him was a multitude of vibrant plants and lush trees, their leaves swayed with the intensity of the battle. This boy was Evan, a Pokémon trainer who was in a match for the possession of the Forest Badge—an object which would signify his triumph against Sinnoh’s second Gym Leader. He was convinced that he would have the Forest Badge in his palm soon enough, but Gardenia thought otherwise. Both of them were down to their last Pokémon: Evan had Alice, his Glaceon, while on Gardenia’s side there was her Grotle—standing firmly as the trees that made up their environment.
“Grotle, execute Seed Bomb,” the hazel-haired Gym Leader ordered the turtle-like Pokémon. “And be ready to take that Ice Beam.”
Gardenia knew that her Grotle was too slow to evade the attack her foe had just launched, and she just placed confidence in her partner, hoping inside that the Ice Beam wouldn’t do too much harm to her Pokémon. Grotle knew this too, and he also trusted on the human’s stratagem. Evan’s Glaceon quickly released a winding beam of particulate ice, looking as if it was a crystal serpent that was about to lash its cold fangs on its target. “Gla-Glaceon,” Alice cried in the midst of firing the attack.
On the other side of the battlefield, Gardenia’s Grotle released a flurry of huge seeds encased in a magnificent light, acting as defensive projectiles that headed towards the fairly confident Ice type Pokémon. Alas, the Ice Beam hit Grotle first, and the stings of deep coldness made even the tough Grotle react with pain, which the Pokémon strongly tried to resist. Just when the Ice Beam had hit the Grass type, the Seed Bomb Gardenia told Grotle to launch fell like rain on Alice, barraging the Glaceon with nature-forged capsules of explosive, relentless force. It all happened so fast that Evan did not even have time to command his Glaceon to dodge.
Gardenia’s Grotle upheld its toughness, as it had survived the Ice Beam, even though it had hit the Pokémon full blast. The Grotle’s golden shell was even more astonishing to look at, after the Ice Beam had somewhat polished it. “That’s excellent resistance, Grotle!” Gardenia said aloud, thinking that encouragement could help remove doubt from the Pokémon. “I know you can defend this gym, so go on and use Leech Seed!”
The Seed Bomb had ceased, leaving the challenger’s Pokémon weakened, although it still had the energy necessary for it to continue on with the battle. Evan had to think quickly, else his Glaceon would suffer from having the constrictive, decrementing growths that Leech Seed would otherwise inflict. He thought it was best to dive into an evasive approach, so he ordered that Alice use Dig to escape the Leech Seed.
“We can’t have those seeds take away your energy,” the boy said, with his calloused knuckles clenched, while his Glaceon dug under the earth with which the battlefield they stood on was made of. “Keep at it, Alice!”
Just as he had predicted, the Grotle’s Leech Seed attack was fired into oblivion, and having no target the seeds landed uselessly on the ground. This did not remove tension from Evan, because he knows that Dig was just a shoddy tactic, and that Gardenia could easily turn the situation back into her favor and exploit the opportunity that Glaceon being underground presented. An amused grin formed on the Gym Leader’s face, and at that moment Evan was not so sure if he could win the badge anymore. But he wiped this thought out of his head, and he decided that he should be able to count on his Pokémon.
“It’s a risky move, subjecting your Pokémon under soil like that,” Gardenia started, as she and Grotle knew exactly what to do. “Especially when Grass Pokémon tend to have an inner connection with the earth, and so Grotle here would have no trouble sensing where your Glaceon might be hiding.”
The shelled Pokémon then began to center itself, as an aura of natural energy engulfed it, repairing the wounds it had received from the Ice Beam earlier. It was Synthesis—a move that Grass type Pokémon use in order to heal themselves. “Finish up that Synthesis,” Gardenia announced, in a very excited tone. She then gazed above, seeing through the glass roofing that the sunlight was still intense from the effects of Sunny Day her Roserade used much earlier in the battle. “And when Glaceon comes out, fire everything you’ve got into a SolarBeam.”
“Grotle-Grotle,” the Pokémon answered, expressing determination and understanding to what his trainer had instructed. The green aura finally healed the Pokémon, and it looked like it was not even hit by a single move.
“Fall back, Alice!” Evan exclaimed, for he deemed that the situation was not looking very well for his Pokémon. “Come out now!” His voice become slightly pitched and then became raspy, but he was too focused on what was going on the battle to notice.
Gardenia then knew that the Glaceon would come out any moment, so she reminded the Grotle to be responsive and vigilant. “When I say ‘fire’, release the SolarBeam. Got it, Grotle?” Her Pokémon then nodded back to her, and then it tried to sense where the Glaceon would resurface. In an instant, Evan’s Pokémon emerged from the ground, fairly distant from the Grotle. When Gardenia laid eyes on the brilliant blues of the Pokémon’s fur, she shouted for her Pokémon to release the SolarBeam, which was perhaps the Grotle’s strongest learned move.
Evan’s face then shifted expression, as if he had anticipated Gardenia’s tactics all along. He then said only one word, and when Alice had heard it, she jumped right into action. “Hail,” the trainer said, forcing the word out his lips. The Glaceon had moved just in time before the Grotle had fired, and with Evan’s order the Pokémon’s eyes shined with a mysterious hue, and before they knew it the intense heat of sunlight disappeared, only to be replaced by a storm of blocky ice that had formed above them.
“Of course,” Gardenia told herself. “Changing the weather would force my Grotle to charge for a moment. Very clever, Evan, but this does not change anything. Grotle, fire your SolarBeam when ready!”
But Grotle became puzzled, for his target disappeared from his watch, while his trainer realized the problem. She was just bound in silence, as the hail storm grew thicker by the second. “If your Grass Pokémon have connections with the earth,” Evan started, with a smug look on his face, although Gardenia could then only hear his voice, for the hail storm had obstructed her view. “Then you should know that Alice here becomes one with the harsh element that is cold ice!”
The Glaceon maneuvered silently and swiftly through the hail storm with great finesse. Evan’s plan had rendered Grotle and Gardenia immobilized, both of which did not know what to do. The teenager then thought it was time to win the match. “Finish it up with Blizzard!” The boy ordered, and if he could see Glaceon he would have seen his Pokémon answer with eager agreement.
Gardenia knew that her Grotle was defenseless, but she also knew that she could not let Grotle down by not doing anything. “Grotle, SolarBeam!” She said, with an exasperated sigh.
Then, both of them heard a thud, a sound that could only mean one of the Pokémon was knocked out. The hailstorm gradually started to vanish. The humid temperature inside the gym was present again, and the two of them could only wait for the cloudy remains of the hailstorm to dissipate. And not too long after, it was finally revealed, that the Grotle, no matter how tough it was, was not capable of receiving an incredibly powerful Blizzard attack. It lied on the battlefield fainted, while Evan’s Glaceon panted a few yards away from where the Grass type was. It was clear, that Evan had succeeded, and he was so giddy with his success that he ran to the battlefield and hugged his Glaceon. He also let his Flareon, which he named Mars, out of its Pokéball. He had used Mars to battle Gardenia’s Roserade in the beginning of the battle. “We won, Mars. We won the gym battle!” Of course Alice was relieved too, and the Pokémon expressed its joy by licking their trainer’s face. “Glace-Glaceon, Glaceon!” The Glaceon said, and his Flareon also showed happiness for its trainer.
Gardenia then called back her Grotle back to its Pokéball, and said to it that it did well. The Gym Leader then approached the challenger, or more appropriately, the victor of the battle. Evan then got up to see the gym leader get something from the inside pocket of her green coat. It appeared to have the shape of three diamonds in a pyramid-like structure, with silver lining and green tincture. It was the Forest Badge, and it was his.
“You’re a pretty impressive trainer,” The Gym Leader spoke, as she got another object from her pocket. “Both you and your Pokémon have demonstrated such incredible willpower that I have never seen in any of my challengers before. And as such you are worthy of having Eterna City’s official badge. And you should take this too; it’s a Technical Machine containing Grass Knot.” Gardenia handed the teenager a small disc, bearing the same color of the badge Evan had just received. Both of them extended to the other the courtesies of farewell, and soon Evan took off, heading to another city.
Now you may be wondering, what that gym battle would have to do with our story, but as I told you from the start, we must go back to the beginning of the dreadful day the Cottonee was now in. I have shared to you the beginning of the Cottonee’s day, as well as the Petilil’s, and as such it was only necessary that I tell you the beginning of the Defiler’s day. Without a doubt, the cheery, kindhearted Gym Leader of Eterna, Gardenia, was whom the Kuhani called a demon.
After her battle with Evan, the Gym Leader went out the establishment to get a breath of fresh air, because even a well maintained indoor garden such as the one surrounding her gym did not have the immense feeling the clean atmosphere Eterna City had to offer. The splendiferous touch of the wind passed through Gardenia’s face, as she gazed southward, looking at the huge trees that made up her favorite place in all of Sinnoh—the Eterna Forest. She then began to contemplate on catching a new Pokémon, wistfully thinking if she should add another Pokémon to her arsenal, but then she figured catching a new Grass type would not hurt. Gardenia locked the gym and put on a sign which notified trainers that she was out.
She then grabbed a blue-colored Pokéball from her pocket, looked at it closely, and threw it in the air. As the Great Ball descended from the sky it opened to release an astonishing light, and when it materialized it revealed a Pokémon having a humanoid- appearance, save from the two bouquet-like growths that was its hands. The Pokémon had white hair, and it appeared to have a mask around its face. It was her Roserade, the first Pokémon she caught in the forest she planned to go to.
“All right, Roserade,” Gardenia spoke, now determined to catch a new Grass Pokémon. “I sure hope we do catch something this time around. Last night was really something with that Shiftry we tried to capture.”
Gardenia was talking about the events that happened to her last night, when she encountered and tried to catch a Shiftry in the Eterna Forest. The Shiftry seemed to be acting weirdly around her, and when it fled from the battle Gardenia just thought that it did not want to be caught. From childhood Gardenia was fond of Grass type Pokémon, and the Pokémon too, liked her too, as if she was one with them. But she did not make any connections with the Shiftry, but she just brushed the incident off as something not worth fussing about. “Ro-Roserade,” Gardenia’s Pokémon said, and soon after they were walking towards the forest yet again.
It only took them roughly twenty minutes to arrive in the forest, which was alive with Pokémon regardless of what time it was. The leaves high above the canopy rustled, and a variety of Pokémon cries was what the Gym Leader heard. Trickles of sunlight pierced through whatever openings remained above, dappling the various plants that sprouted within the sea of dry leaves below. Gardenia still watched the whole place with wonder, just as she had as a child years ago.
Meanwhile, in an inner part of the thicket, our Cottonee had just escaped from the Kuhani’s punishment, eager to go on and meet the human he had defended so valiantly against the claims of the Shiftry. The first time he had done this, he was aimlessly lost—ignorant of the rooted paths that was scattered all over the unknown area. But as he was now familiar with the route he should take, he was well on his way to meet the human, carrying with him an unfaltering spirit in his endeavor to convince the others that the Defiler was not the creature the Kuhani made her to be. He swiftly moved past an Ariados den, careful as to not wake any of the red spider-like Pokémon up. He was thankful that he got out in one piece; else he would regret escaping from the Exeggutor. The Cottonee watched the afternoon sun begin to shy itself away deeper into the horizon, as the sky grew dark and silent.
The Cottonee then had to go through an ominous part of the forest. Surrounding him were a myriad of twisted, bent trees that made dreadful figures under the evening sky. He swallowed his fears, ignoring any thoughts of the horrors that might be upon him. But then, a strange noise came out from nowhere. He took a deep breath, and paused.
“Who is out there?” the Cottonee demanded, shrouding him from exuding terror.
“You need not be alarmed,” a familiar voice said, echoing from a tree that stood behind the Cottonee. “I would never hurt you, Cottonee.”
The Cotton Ball Pokémon turned around, both excited and confused why he was being followed. A yellow face confronted him, and in a snap he knew it was none other than Petilil. The Petilil apologized, sorry for having caused distress without warning the Cottonee. She then confessed her motives, and her love for the Cottonee, and that she has abandoned the Kuhani and the Order for him. The moonlight accented the Petilil’s face, and to what she had to say the Cottonee was overjoyed. He admitted his mutual fondness for the Petilil as well, and afterwards asked the Petilil to come with him to the Defiler, so that she may see everything and never call the human that false name ever again. The Petilil had full faith in the Cottonee, and although she was still a bit afraid of the Defiler, she agreed to go with him. The Cottonee then proposed that they should go now, for the night was getting colder and darker.
Gardenia looked around the forest for hours, and she did not even notice that the sun had set. She then began to play with the idea that Eterna Forest might not be full of life every time after all. The Gym Leader started to head back, but all of a sudden, two Pokémon appeared right in front of her. Coming out from the bushes it was a Cottonee and a Petilil, both of which Gardenia knew she had to capture. She looked at her Roserade, and her Roserade back at her. It was time for a battle, the gym leader thought.
In the eyes of the Cottonee, however, battling was the last thing he would think of. He introduced the Petilil to the human, but of course we know that Gardenia only perceived a language that she did not understand. The Cottonee told the Petilil the great times he had spent playing with the human, and that she had a good heart, unlike what the Kuhani had told about her. After having the Petilil enlightened about the true nature of the human, he pleaded to Gardenia that she must go with them back to their society that she may clear her name from everything the Shiftry had said about her. But again, Gardenia could not understand what the Cottonee was talking about, even though she had a connection with most Grass Pokémon. Why was this so? Perhaps this was because the Cottonee was from the inner parts of the forest, just like the Shiftry, both of which Gardenia made no connections to. For whatever reason, we may never know.
“Nee-Cottonee, Cottonee,” the Cotton Ball Pokémon spoke, thinking that Gardenia would understand every word he was speaking.
“Let’s try to capture the Petilil first, Roserade,” the Gym Leader spoke, pointing to the three-leafed Pokémon. “Weaken it with Sludge Bomb!”
Her Roserade then started to wave and contort its arms, preparing to fire the poison attack at the Petilil. The Petilil did not understand what was going on, but she knew that she was worried. She asked the Cottonee what the human was up to, and if she had accepted coming back to their society. The Cottonee only responded with the assurance that the Petilil did not have to be worried, but in all truth he was confused inside as well. Gardenia’s Roserade unleashed from its roses a stream of toxic sludge, heading towards the Bulb Pokémon, who cringed with fear. The Petilil screamed for the Cottonee, who immediately took the hit for the Petilil, saving her from the Sludge Bomb. The attack landed a hit, sending the Cottonee down to the ground.
“Why is her Roserade attacking us, Cottonee?” the Petilil inquired, while helping him get back up. “Are you sure that she isn’t truly a demon?”
The Cottonee managed to keep himself straight up, withstanding the pain from a bruise that formed on his left leaf. “I—I do not know,” he said, in a most depressed tone Petilil had ever heard. “Perhaps...the Kuhani...Perhaps he was right after all.”
“Then we better get of here, I do not want to lose—” the Petilil’s words were interrupted, for another Sludge Bomb headed towards her, only this time the Cottonee did not have the reflex to save her from another attack. It left her wounded, one leaf plucked away from her bulb-like head.
Within seconds, an anomaly in the forest atmosphere began: heavy winds howled as lightning came from the clouds above them. The Cottonee and the Petilil were both in a dire predicament, and the winds brought about only more trouble for them. The forceful gales hit the Cottonee, driving his light body away from where the Petilil was, who was then sobbing for fear of the Defiler.
“Take a leaf from me, Cottonee,” the Petilil said, she tried to cry but no tears fell from her eyes. “Its sap will make a salve for your wound.”
The Cottonee was in the mercy of the winds, and so he could do nothing more but apologize and tell the Petilil he was going to get help. But he knew this was a fallacy, because no one can help them here, outside of the society’s barriers. Soon, the clouds beat like drums, playing a streak of thunder and a chorus of lightning. The rain poured.
And so, this was how the Cottonee had injured itself, in the midst of turmoil and torrential rain. Regret rushed through his heart, as the rest of his body trapped rainwater, making him eventually land under the shelter of a cedar tree. He took the leaf Petilil had given to him, and extracted its sap. The colorless substance touched his wound, healing it, but leaving a scar—something that would be a bitter reminder of his unfortunate tale. He could only imagine what Petilil was going through.
If there was one thing the Petilil had inherited from her mother, the Lilligant Queen, it was that they were both had the spirit of combat. It must be strange for a Queen to be adept in battle, but you and I must remember that the Queen was actually a Pokémon owned by the first Eterna Gym Leader, and this made her used to it. The Petilil held back her fears, and began to retaliate, despite the blow she took from the Sludge Bomb.
The Bulb Pokémon let loose a pulsating orb of natural essence, an attack that Gardenia could identify as an Energy Ball. The sphere of energy shot Gardenia’s Roserade, but it did not do much at all. The human ordered for a final Sludge Bomb. The Petilil blacked out, only to be returned into consciousness by a feeling of being trapped.
Gardenia took a Pokéball from her pocket, clicked the cold metal that encased it, and threw the object right for the Petilil. The red and white sphere hit its target, as a red light pulled the Pokémon into it. The Pokéball fell to the muddy earth, shaking wildly to and fro. Seconds later, Gardenia would quickly pick it up, call back her Roserade into its Great Ball, and then quickly dash for cover as the rain fell even harder.
The Cottonee returned back to the society after enduring the chaotic storm, with news that the next heir to rule their society had been killed by the Defiler, and that it was his fault for not believing in the Order of Shiftry. This news would abruptly end the Kuhani’s life, and so the rest of the Order placed excommunication on the Cottonee, as punishment for his crimes. His best friend, the Paras, would suffer working for the Exeggutor, for unlike the Torterra (who was still inevitably asleep); they awoke and have remembered all of his doings. And the Petilil, who was not really dead, became a strong fighter in the Eterna Gym, where she defended the Forest Badge alongside the Defiler. She, just like her mother, had seen the truth about battles, Pokémon, and humans. The society of Grass Pokémon spent a brief period of time in chaos, as the two ruling powers were no more: no high priest to lead the daily sermons, and no heir to rule over their land. After a week had passed, the Petilil would return to them, saying that she escaped the hands of the demon that held her captive. But in reality, this was not so, for she was still owned by the Gym Leader, and had only come for a short period of time, although she would often come back whenever the human allowed her, although no one knew of this. She would tell them about the truth she had been privileged to acquire, but for fear of being called a deceiver and a minion of the demon, she kept everything to herself. Then it was revealed to her the will the Kuhani had left the Order, and in it she learned that she was in fact the Kuhani’s daughter, and that the Lilligant Queen was her real mother. Even sadder still was the Meganium doctors who informed her that the salve from her leaves would have saved his father, but since she ran away at the time, death was inevitable. Before leaving again, she lifted the punishment of the Cottonee, as well as the Paras’. The Cottonee would then turn away from his former views, and he devoted himself to the Order. Soon enough, his determination caused him to get elected as the new Kuhani by the Grass Pokémon, and he accepted, although he was not a Shiftry. He swore into the same oath the Kuhani had to years ago—to never commune with humans and any Pokémon that are with them. He consigned into the oath without the knowledge that Petilil was such the Pokémon he vowed to never be with. When the Petilil came back, she found the Cottonee to already be in the ceremony that would make him a full-fledged high priest, meaning she had missed the oath. There was nothing left to do but keep lying, she thought, and the Cottonee would not find out the truth until they were both in their deathbeds. The ceremony took place, and the Nuzleaf organizers placed the Chatot headdress on top of him, and a Leaf Stone talisman around his neck. However, he did not evolve when he received the talisman, so the Nuzleaf spent a great deal of time figuring out which talisman would work. After they had found the right one—the Sun Stone Talisman, the Cottonee evolved into a Whimsicott, which signaled the start of his duty as the new Kuhani. This happened too, when it was time for the Petilil to be the Queen—the Nuzleaf tried on various stones on her, only to find out the same stone they used on the Cottonee was the correct one. And so, she too evolved, into a beautiful Lilligant just like her deceased mother. She would marry the Kuhani, despite the oath she knew he took, and this was what had happened to those involved in the story of the healing salve.
Let it be a reminder to every one that not all Pokémon are blessed with the truth the Petilil and her mother had learned—the truth about battles, Pokémon, and humans; that humans use Pokémon to battle and capture other Pokémon. The ignorant view this as a horrific act, as if humans were barbaric slave drivers that did as they pleased. But perhaps they are right. This is the vital information the Order had missed in their Grand Truth—that it was normal for humans to battle, but since they had suffered at the hands of Team Rocket, they did not know this, thereby generalizing that all humans are wicked.
And so, the next time you throw a Pokéball, stop first, pause, and contemplate if the Pokémon you are catching knows the correct Grand Truth—the truth of battles, Pokémon, and humans.