Whenever you go out wandering with your Pokemon, you need to make sure you've got the proper supplies. You might need a large pack if you're going out on a full-blown Pokemon-catching expedition, or nothing but a Potion or two in your pocket if you're just biking over to the next town. Today was kind of in between those two- I wanted to do some field research, so I needed enough supplies to keep my Pokemon able to defend me, but not enough to go fight a Trainer or capture a wild Pokemon.
I packed a bag with all the stuff I needed: phone, the standard assortment of cheap Poke Mart items, flashlights, camera, and lunch-
Ah, and I'd almost forgotten the antivenin. I gratefully took the little package of syringes from Foo Foo's mouth and slipped it into the bag as well.
Traveling with a Poison-Type Pokemon has its special challenges. Depending on how close you are to your Pokemon, you're just as likely to be poisoned as whatever he, she, or it is attacking. Foo Foo... likes to ride on my shoulders, all twenty pounds of him. I think he's decided that since he does all the fighting, I have to do all the walking. Whenever I try to put him in his Poke Ball against his will, he subjects me to what I call the "bunny face." Wide eyes, quivering nose, drooping ears- he fights dirty. We've pretty much sorted out how to get along without any accidental poisonings, but it's best to bring along an antidote just in case.
I slung the now-full backpack over my shoulders and Foo Foo hopped on. My knees buckled a little from the impact, but I'm pretty used to his weight by now.
With that, it was time to go on an adventure. For science! Today, I wanted to get a close look at Geodude. You know how they eat rocks? It turns out very few people have seen them do it in the wild. It's just not something most people wonder about. Sure, you can see a Trainer feed a bag of gravel to his Geodude any day of the week, but I was curious about how it happened in nature.
For an amateur Pokemon researcher like me, nature is my laboratory. There was a cave system nearby, which- of course- was full of Geodude and Zubat. What cave isn't?
We took the bus. Sure, a true gung-ho Trainer walks everywhere, but I only had Foo Foo, not a full set of six. I also only had one Revive in my backpack- they're too expensive to have more than one, especially on my budget. The less fighting, the better. Since the cave was off the beaten path- no Pokemon League routes ran through it, for example- the bus was slow and bumpy, and it stopped very often as it bumbled along the back roads. There were few people on the bus, but all of them had Poke Balls. In the grassy mountain foothills, you needed a Pokemon to protect you. At least I didn't have to worry about avoiding eye contact- battling's forbidden on public transit. An old woman sitting across from me raised an eyebrow at the Nidoran leaning on the top of my head, then smiled. I smiled and nodded back. Grass, trees, small buildings, and farms scrolled past outside the windows, with the mountains a wall to the left.
I had to press the stop request button to get off at the bus stop in front of the cave entrance. Nobody lived nearby, so the bus didn't normally stop there. As it drove off behind me, I set Foo Foo on the ground.
"Let's go, Foo Foo!"
"Oh come on, we might be attacked in there! You need to be ready, and that's not possible when you're riding on my shoulders. And you might bump your head on the ceiling."
"Nido..." Foo Foo sigh. He knew I was right.
As we entered the cave, I took out my flashlight and switched it on. Unlike some Pokemon, Foo Foo can't light up dark places with Flash, so we have to make do with electric light. This was a good cave for exploring- sure, it was dark, but it was also dry and there were rocks of all sizes all over the place. Plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in if something bad happened.
The cave was relatively quiet at that moment- it was a good time to set up our plan.
I handed Foo Foo the supplies he'd need. An old miner's forehead lamp and a peanut butter sandwich- it might sound strange, but bear with me. I helped him strap on and switch on the light, and then he hopped away into the darkness with his sandwich, a dancing yellow glow.
I took out a small spray can. I'd bought this Repel just this morning so that I could use it to protect myself while my Pokemon was away. It would last maybe five minutes or so- just enough. After spraying myself down, I took out my camera and turned the flashlight off.
I heard the trademark high-pitched squeal of a Zubat. I looked around for the tell-tale fluttering, but it wasn't near me. I saw it flying over Foo Foo's head. He growled at it, and it left him in peace. That was good. The less fighting we did today, the better.
I tripped on something and almost fell over. I managed to stop myself against the cave wall, but ended up making a lot of noise. There was the flutter of wings. I must have disturbed a swarm of Zubat.
Thinking quickly, I picked up a small stone, threw it in Foo Foo's direction, and got down on my stomach. As it clattered off the ground next to him, the Zubat flew over me, squeaking loudly, and found Foo Foo.
This time, growling wouldn't work, but he knew what to do. He got down into a crouch and kept his eyes on the Zubat swarming around him. One of them finally got up the courage to swoop down at him. Before it could even finish tucking in its wings, Foo Foo leapt straight upwards with his powerful legs and struck it with the horn on his head. Three feet straight up- Nidoran are good jumpers. With the light attached to him, it looked like a firework taking off. The Zubat seemed to stagger in midair, then fluttered off. The others, grumbling darkly, followed their comrade back into the darkness.
All according to plan. I'd told Foo Foo: when faced with multiple weak opponents without me, Horn Attack the first one to charge as soon as its attack starts. This almost always ended up dispersing the group. I learned that one from an old man in a Pokemon Center- the wisdom of age.
Foo Foo was several yards deeper into the cave when he stopped moving and called out softly. When my eyes adjusted to the dark, I crept towards him until I got a clear view of where he was. There was a boulder beside me- I crouched behind it and readied the camera.
There was a clatter of stones behind me. I turned around to see what it was, but whatever it had been wasn't moving anymore. I guessed it was a Geodude shifting in its sleep and turned back to Foo Foo. I centered the camera's viewfinder on him, set it to record, and waited.
The plan was simple: in order to see a Geodude eating, invite it to lunch. Hey, I've done sillier things.
It worked, too. Foo Foo wandered around for a bit before one of the rocks on the ground stirred. It uncurled itself to reveal a Geodude. Perfect. Foo Foo held out his lunch and said something in Pokemon language. If they have a language at all- I never was very clear on that. They do make themselves understood, though, you know?
The Geodude gave him a long steady look, then shrugged. The two of them sat next to each other, and the Geodude searched along the ground until it found a stone it liked. It popped it into its mouth, and reached for more.
I grinned behind my camera. This was going to be great footage. If I could get a geologist to see if he could identify the rocks the Geodude was choosing, it might even have scientific value.
Foo Foo and the wild Geodude struck up a conversation of sorts as they ate. By the pitch of the voice, I pegged the Geodude as male, but you can't be sure with deep voices like those. I wondered what they were talking about. Maybe Foo Foo was explaining the life of a domesticated Pokemon, or maybe they were talking about the food, or the weather, for all I know.
The Geodude held out a pebble for Foo Foo to try. I'll say this for Foo Foo- he's not afraid of anything. He actually tried to eat it, and only spat it out after he wasn't able to chew. He offered some of his sandwich to the Geodude, which resulted in a similar reaction. I didn't know that wild Geodude rejected food that wasn't rocks. I've definitely seen a Trainer's Geodude eat human food before.
They kept eating and talking. I decided that I might as well do some eating as well, but when I reached into my pack, my sandwich was gone. I decided I must have dropped it somewhere.
They finished their food, and their conversation, not long after. Foo Foo bowed to the Geodude, who clumsily bowed in return. His social visit done, Foo Foo hopped over back to me. I saw the Geodude curl back up and go back to sleep as the light from Foo Foo's lamp faded.
"Nice going, Foo Foo, I muttered happily. "It actually worked!"
We'd gotten what we'd come for, so it was time to go home. I reached for my backpack- it wasn't there.
"Foo Foo, have you seen my pack?"
He shook his head. "Ran."
"It was right here- ouch!"
A pebble had just bounced off the back of my neck.
"Nido!" He'd been hit as well.
I turned around to face where the pebbles had come from just in time for another one to hit me on the forehead.
The two of us were pelted with several more pebbles. This was getting annoying.
"It must be a Pokemon. Foo Foo, can you sniff it out?"
He nodded, and swept the beam on his forehead around the cave, nose wriggling. He seemed to catch the scent, and pointed his light straight at where it was coming from.
All we saw was a flash of shining black and some bright color, as whatever Pokemon it was immediately ducked behind a boulder.
Before I could think about what it could have been, more pebbles came flying at my Pokemon and me. We ducked behind a rock ourselves. The rock turned out to be a Graveler, but it just rolled over and went back to sleep. We were trying to be quiet, after all.
There was a soft thump. I looked over the top of my hiding spot and saw a quarter of my sandwich lying on the ground nearby. Something had already eaten the rest of it, judging by the teeth marks. Some of the teeth were evidently much larger than the others. I tried not to think about that too much.
I stood up. "Um... hey, Pokemon. Do you think you could give me my stuff back, please?" I asked. It never hurt to try being polite.
"Ow!" That one had actually hurt. That was no pebble. I looked down at where it had fallen- it was one of my Poke Balls.
Throwing rocks, food, and Poke Balls... I put it all together.
"You've been to the Safari Zone, haven't you?" I asked.
Another quarter of my lunch landed on my head in response. This Pokemon had good aim... and apparently a cheeky sense of humor.
I went over to pick up the other piece of sandwich. It was best not to litter, after all.
"In Soviet Russia, Pokemon catch you!" I muttered as I put the spoiled food away. That joke had to have been twenty or thirty years old, but it was still funny sometimes. Yakov Smirnoff was a good comedian. I decided to give his name to whatever unseen prankster was tormenting my Pokemon and me.
"So, Mr. Smirnoff, that was pretty funny. Now I know how it feels like to be a Pokemon at the Safari Zone, too. Could you give me my stuff back now?"
This time, I shielded my face in time for the barrage of pebbles. Foo Foo was hiding behind my legs by now.
"Oh, for Pete's sake. Foo Foo, sic 'im!"
My Nidoran was only too happy to comply. Sniffing madly, he sprang off after the unseen Pokemon, leaving me in darkness- my flashlight had been in my pack when Smirnoff snatched it.
There was a sudden burst of noise as Foo Foo tackled our mysterious assailant.
And there it was- I knew what was after us. A Mawile, one of the only pure Steel-Type Pokemon. Judging by the voice, this Mawile was female. That was probably why she threw stones at me when I called her "Mr. Smirnoff."
Foo Foo probably wasn't in too much danger. Poisonous attacks were nothing against Steel-Type Pokemon, but Foo Foo had a pretty decent trump card.
"Use Double Kick," I shouted as I groped my way through the darkness after him.
Fighting-Type against Steel-Type- it's super effective, you know. It's a nice bonus of having a Nidoran. Having rabbity legs means you've got rabbity kicks.
Loud ringing noises came from before me as Foo Foo did his best to kick the living daylights out of the Mawile, foot to steel. From the sound of his cries, he seemed to be enjoying it.
There was a loud crunch, and he suddenly sounded less happy. Smirnoff had undoubtedly bitten him with one of her two mouths.
The beam of the flashlight danced wildly along every surface of the cave. They really were going at it hammer and tongs.
"Try to KO her with a Horn Drill!" I panted as I stumbled onwards towards the battle. If we could just knock out the Pokemon in one hit, then the two of us could find my stuff and escape before she came to.
Foo Foo screamed in response and charged. I couldn't see the attack itself, but I saw the light marking his position suddenly fly to the right. There was a thunderous sound of splintering stone. Foo Foo must have missed and drilled his horn through a rock instead.
There was another chomp and a pained yelp. Foo Foo had been bitten again.
All right, this wasn't going to work. I decided to go back to the reliable attacks. "Use Double Kick for the rest of the battle!"
Ping! Spang! The Mawile appeared above one of the boulders blocking my view, tumbling in the air, then disappeared again as she fell. Foo Foo had literally knocked her flying.
There was a thud as she hit the ground, and I heard Smirnoff start to sob. I wasn't sure what to make of that (who wants to make a girl cry?) but she suddenly stopped crying, and there was a squeal of surprise and pain from Foo Foo. Clever girl. Fake tears could be very effective. I tried to move faster, because it sounded like the battle was about to end.
I finally arrived at the fight to see that they'd reached a complete deadlock. The Mawile had Foo Foo caught in a vice grip by the black jaws on the back of her head, which she'd apparently carried out as soon as she stopped crying. However, he'd managed to maneuver himself into position to kick weakly at her face. She winced. Both of them were exhausted. If I ordered another attack, I didn't know who would faint first, him or her.
What was I going to do now? All I had was... a Poke Ball.
I grinned. "Heh. Smirnoff... you may have had the rocks, and you may have had the food, but I have the Poke Ball now. I guess the girl on safari is about to be caught herself."
The Mawile smiled despite herself. At least she was a good sport about the joke being on her.
I threw the Poke Ball...
(Version II final)