Intended Capture: Cubchoo
It wasn’t unfamiliar to him, he’d done this dozens of times before. It was just one more obstacle in his path, one more tower to ascend. Another bridge to cross. This was different of course, perhaps his greatest challenge yet. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to separate from the rest of his team, but they didn’t have the same ambition as him, no, not the same drive. But that had always been what separated him from them, he’d always put more heart into the project.
They all wanted the fame and notoriety without really putting working hard enough for it. He knew they’d abandon the project when it actually came to it, he could see it in their eyes when they signed up. Cowards, the lot of them. Weak. Not like him, no, not like him. But what could he do?
It’s hard enough organizing an expedition up on of the most treacherous mountains, you’re really have to settle for whoever is remotely willing. Oh well, none of it really mattered now. He was where he was, and team or no he was going to finish what he’d started. Not like those cowards back at base camp. When Francis T. Ranford says he’s going to do it, he does it. It’d always been that way.
Back when he applied for University, they didn’t want to accept someone with his moderate GPA. But he marched down to the office himself, and demanded to be admitted. Two weeks it took, but he got in in the end. Because that’s just the kind of person he was. And it was the right place for him, he really was a smart person when it came to academics. They say sometimes people are too smart for school, and true genius can be overlooked. Maybe he wasn’t a genius, but it was clear that he was where he was supposed to be. He quickly hooked up with some friends that were interested in the same thing as him, namely the outdoors.
He’d always loved the outdoors, and camping. His father took him on several occasions, and in high school he’d made it a point to go on many trips with friends. The ones that didn’t evolve into a night of drinking and debauchery, he really felt connected with nature. At one with Gaia, to put it another way.
It wasn’t till his third year that he really got interested in rock climbing. He picked it up quickly however, and with just two years he found himself surprisingly proficient at it, making many trips out to actual mountains in his Senior year. He loved the thrill of it, the knowledge that although you hopefully had someone you trusted holding the other end of the rope, there was still the feeling of real danger. The knowledge that you could actually die. This invigorated him, and he found very few other things that would give him the same thrill. Even in Pokémon battling. He’d tried it a few times as a kid, but was never much good at it. Almost every attempted capture ended in failure, and he had hardly any Pokémon to his name.
None of them were with him, either. He felt like it was almost cheating, having your Pokémon with you to help. It was a true challenge of man against nature, and maybe it was a little cliché, but he liked it that way anyway. After all, anyone can climb a mountain with help from their Pokémon. All you’d need would be perhaps a grass type, it could easily pull you up with vines or plant its roots to sturdy you. A fire type would provide all the heat you would need, something that could maintain even in the harsh cold of the high mountain reaches. Finally, a water type could keep someone hydrated. As long as they had a supply of food (and perhaps a strong Pokémon to carry it), almost anyone could make the climb. Hell, a good flying type could simply carry their trainer to the highest reaches. But where would be the funny in that? The challenge? The sense of danger? No, he would not use Pokémon. He would climb mountains as it was originally done, with naught but yourself and maybe a few companions.
He was such a foolish man. It was clearly a bad idea, even he must know that. His selfish ambitions would clearly be the end of him some day, and it wouldn’t surprise him if some day was soon. The expedition had been a bad idea from the start, with a group it may have been possible but alone he stood no chance. He felt bad leaving the man to his fate, but with the rest of the group leaving he could hardly stay. He would die too! Still, it felt wrong leaving him. But what could he do? He couldn’t believe how people were sometimes. Even with how Ranford had acted, you couldn’t just leave someone to die.
Then again, maybe insulting an entire team wasn’t the best way to gain favor. He’d called them all “Ignorant naïve buffoons that couldn’t climb monkey bars.”, if he remembered correctly. Still, this was his life. Well, he wasn’t about to go after him with this weather. Damn the weather! If it wasn’t for the storm, they’d all be halfway to the top by now. But instead, they were nearly to the bottom, with their leader on a insanity fueled trip to the top on his own. Even if they had all stayed with him, they’d probably all die anyway. He knew leaving him was the right choice, he just couldn’t stand the idea of leaving him to die.
Well, the storm had calmed down a bit. Maybe he would defy all odds and survive. They might even be able to go back after him, but convincing them of that would be all but impossible at this point. Even so, if he somehow did manage to make it back he’d go down in history. But he knew that was impossible. Still, he was always the optimistic.
The storm had calmed down a bit, that was good. Not that it mattered, he still lacked the proper supplies. The thing about having a team, is they can all share a bit of the load. Sure he only had the worry about his own supplies, but there were certain tools you needed on an expedition of this sort. Most of the things you would use tools for he had to instead do by hand. He’d done this before though, but not this high up with such a harsh storm. But he was strong. Tiger blood ran through his veins, and he wasn’t one to give up. There wasn’t too much further to go, after all. They had made good progress before the storm had started. If he kept at the pace he was going, he’d be there in a matter of days.
His legs were beginning to get tired, and the upwards march was taxing his energy. He needed to make as much progress now though with the storm calmed, it could pick back up at any instant. It was still odd, there weren’t usually storms this time of the year. That’s why they’d picked this time to go to begin with. Weather was unpredictable though, he knew this quite well.
This thought reminded him of a previous expedition, but of a different nature. This one didn’t even involve climbing hardly, it was in the forests surrounding Mt Silver in the Johto region. The primary purpose of the expedition was to determine why exactly so many strong and rare Pokémon could be found in the area. This was different from most similar expeditions into that area, as most people believed the reason had to do with the mountain itself. Francis thought about things differently. No one had found anything in the mountain thus far, so maybe it wasn’t the reason at all? No one else had even considered the forest, and that was exactly why he did. It had been hard to assemble a team, few took the idea very seriously. Though his logic was sound, as his logic always was. Nonetheless, the expedition was a relative failure, they were able to learn close to nothing to help explain the inhabitants of the area.
He tripped. He’d been too focused on his thoughts to pay attention to his movements, stumbling on the snow covered rocky ground. The bite of the surface stung greatly against his ill-protected hands, though the numbness of his body reduced the pain significantly. He’d pay greatly for this mistake, with such precious little energy left and without a crew to support him, he’d need all his strength if he had any hope of making it. He stood back up, with a defeated mood now looming over his heart. Bah, he’d been through worse. Besides, the summit was fast approaching with every step.
He was at town again! Now all he could think of was a hot fire and warm hot cocoa, with a pretty woman by his side. He’d heard tales of how the women in this town revered explorers, elevating them almost to the position of rock star. He’d seen a documentary on the life of rock stars once, and if he remembered one thing from it, he remembered the groupies. On second thought, his achy back and legs barely able to support him stood in stark opposition to this plan, and he didn’t feel in the mood to argue with them. He’d settle for the hot fire and chocolate at least, and maybe try his luck with the local beauties after resting for a week or five.
His thoughts then turned to sleep, and of the most comfortable bed the mind can possibly conjure. Still paces away from the inn where him and the group were to be staying, he felt like collapsing on the spot. But it was merely a few more steps away, so he endured.
Waking up the next morning, he found himself on one of the inn beds, feeling unsure if he would be able to move at all that day. He tried to move his arm, and was met with a sharp pain and a groan. Maybe just a few more hours. He could scarcely remember what had transpired the night before, but he imagined it included many drinks and some amount of broken furniture, though he lacked the headache to prove it.
The thought hit him like a ton of bricks, and he remembered. “Francis!” He yelled, and jumping up out of the bed he tumbled over the side, greatly adding to the pain he was already experiencing. Several annoyed grunts and sighs followed by a few yawns were heard around him, those from his team in neighboring beds. “Would you shut up, I’m trying to get some sleep!” Came a cry from one of the beds, and there were several replies of agreement. “But… we’ve left Ranford to die on the mountain!” “Serves the stubborn bastard right, he had his chance.” But he couldn’t just leave him to his fate, he wasn’t like the others. Using the bed as leverage, he pulled himself up to a standing position, and slowly but surely got dressed and, rather painfully, made his way out of the room and down the stairs, which seemed like the tallest mountain he’d ever climbed.
He could practically see it now, despite his vision being nearly gone at this point. As if it wasn’t hard enough to see already, what with the snow. Something else caught his attention, a small white figure some feet above him. He couldn’t make out what it was, and his first thoughts went straight to tales of mountain beasts that would eat climbers that dared attempt their heights. Never mind, he couldn’t stop his ascent on account of some stories. He pressed onwards towards the mysterious figure, putting such childish thoughts into the back of his mind. As he got closer he could see it. Mostly white all over, with a light blue colored head. It was small, he wondered how he’d even managed to see it. It appeared to be a small bear, with a large glob of snot running down its nose. He looked up at it, and it at him, and there was a moment of absolute silence. Neither creature appeared to know what to do. It was at that moment he lost consciousness.
Higher and higher he flew, the temperature dropping drastically. The Fearow he was riding was clearly feeling the effects as well, as it slowed ever so slightly the higher they went. At such speeds they were flying, it was hard to imagine he’d made this trip by foot only so recently. It was even harder to imagine that one could survive it on their own. He had to try though, if even just to know for sure of his fate. He spotted where they had originally stopped, and kept going. He couldn’t have gotten too much further from there, so he would have to keep alert. He wondered if he would even be able to see him anyway, or if he would be covered in snow. Higher and higher he went, until finally he caught a glimpse of something. Halfway submerged, he could make out a human figure. Landing, he got a closer look at the body. Snuggled up next to it was a small white and blue bear like figure, that he recognized as a Cubchoo. It appeared to be attempting to keep him warm, but the blank expression on the mans face didn’t appear to indicate life.