Rated PG-Raffe for I wrote it. There's something in there.
The stage was garishly decorated, coated in rainbow lights and silver baubles. The stage itself was a wooden affair, thrown up hastily by a team of inexperienced workers when they had heard the famous Psych was coming to town. The crowd shouted enthusiastically for the man to come out and amuse them, dazzle them, wow them.
A voice reverberated from behind a clumsily constructed backdrop of stars and swirls. "Do you want me to come out?" the voice cackled, sounding thoroughly amused at some inside joke that the crowd was not party to.
The screams and shouts in response to this question were overwhelming, many of the people jumping up to their feet to goad him onto the stage. The voice chuckled. "All right, all right, I'll come out now."
The crowd froze in anticipation, waiting and watching, but they saw no such thing.
Just as a few disappointed patrons turned to leave and demand their entry fee back, a pink light flared up from the stage, illuminating the night sky. When it faded, a man in a tuxedo and a clean-shaven face grinned out at the crown. "Psych!"
The crowd exploded with enthusiasm, cheering for all they were worth. The man strode along the stage, coattails flapping against his legs, basking in the radiance of the crowd's pure adoration. "Thank you, thank you so much. Psyched you out good, didn't I?" He waited for the crowd's murmurs of approval before continuing. "For my first trick, I will do an old favorite. I will pull a Bunnelby out of this hat." He took his top hat off and showed it to the crowd, kneeling on the edge of the stage and asking a young girl to check inside for hidden pockets. "Go ahead, check away, it's clean, I assure you. I don't have lice," he added, eliciting a rumble of laughter from the mass.
Boards creaked beneath his feet as he strode back to the center of the stage, with all eyes on him. He wiggled his fingers above the hat, stomped his foot twice and nearly broke the stage, then reached deep into the depths of the hat...
...and produced a Bunnelby. The little rabbit Pokémon looked bewildered, blinded by the flashing lights and deafened by the screaming crowd. Psych strode forward again to the front line of fans, finding a young boy and offering that he pet the Pokémon to confirm its tangibility.
He grinned out at the crowd, holding up the uncomfortable-looking Bunnelby for all to see. "Thank you, thank you, my, this is such a great audience. Anyways, I'm done with this fellow, so I'll just put him back in here..."
He lowered the Bunnelby into the hat until only its ears were showing, and he shoved those down too. The Pokémon squeaked in discomfort, trying to wriggle away from the magician's hand.
You see, the truth was that Psych was a trainer of sorts. He only had two Pokémon, and they weren't used for battle. They were used in his magic shows. Bunnelby was constantly kept in a little cage below the stage, only released for brief moments of light and terror. He pitied the other Pokémon even more, though. For the last Pokémon was a Ralts. She was really the one behind all of Psych's magic. She was low-level due to never having battled, and at every show she was forced to expend every bit of her energy powering Psych's tricks.
Bunnelby leaned his head back when the hand came for him again, biting down hard on the man's gloved hand. His sharp buck teeth pierced the thin skin and blood welled up, staining the crisp white glove with red. The man recoiled, clutching his hand to his chest, his face first shocked, then angry.
Bunnelby shot out of the hat, shocked to be on his own two legs after so long in cages and hats. He took a couple of wobbly steps, regained his balance, then scampered off the stage before the magician could grab for him again. His legs, once strong, had been weakened and almost atrophied from disuse, and the moment he was off the stage he collapsed from exhaustion, barely making it into the darkness of the nearby brush.
He sighed in relief at his freedom at last, half-wondering why he hadn't attempted to bite the magician earlier before answering his own question. Because Psych had terrified him, with his largeness and his dark suit. He had seen horrors inflicted on Ralts when she couldn't produce enough power to perform a trick. He was terrified such things would happen to him, although now that he could finally feel the fresh grass soothing his tired legs, all of his worries seemed to melt away.
All but one. He needed to rescue Ralts. The poor little fairy worked day in and day out for an abusive master who had essentially kidnapped her. He had the opportunity to rescue her now, and if he didn't take it he knew he would never forgive himself. He stretched his tired legs out, promising himself that he would take a long nap when this was over.He slunk forward, keeping low despite the fact that it would be nearly impossible for Psych to see him, and stopped right next to the stage. Despite being dangerously rickety, it did go all the way to the ground. Bunnelby just smiled to himself and rubbed his paws together before starting to tunnel. It had been far too long since he had tasted the thick scent of the earth, let it fill his nostrils and control his every movement. He almost wanted to just tunnel straight down and disappear into the dirt, but firmly pulled himself back on track. He had a duty to perform.
His head popped up directly beside his old cage and he experienced a moment of panic, thinking his brief foray out of the hat was all a dream or some desperate delusion, before he felt the firm earth under his feet, reminding him he could always tunnel out if needed. He remembered Ralts always being locked up underneath center stage, as that was where Psych performed all of his tricks, which he needed Ralts's power for. The area below the stage was dimly lit and sparsely decorated, the only light coming from the dramatic affects above. Bunnelby slipped forward, keeping an eye out for
Ralts, wincing every time he saw something resembling a cage. When he did find her, she was quite noticeable.She was curled up in the bottom of a cage similar to his old one, looking frail and weak but blazing with pink light. Bunnelby wanted to help her, wanted to desperately, but there were two problems. The first was that he had developed a chronic fear of cages after years of being contained in one, and even looking at Ralts's was causing him irrational terror. It was taking everything he had not to just burrow away.The second was that the light around Ralts was so fierce, Bunnelby was worried it might burn him. She put her entire soul, everything she could offer, into these shows, and occasionally had to be rushed to the Pokémon center immediately afterwards. Psych always lied to the nice lady, of course; said that he used Ralts in battling, and that was how she had gotten hurt, when the truth was so much worse.
Bunnelby bit his lip with his big teeth, almost drawing blood, before he made his decision. He couldn't live with himself if he just left her there to suffer, now that he was so close. Maybe if she heard her name, she would snap out of her daze and help him. "Ralts," he whispered. There was no effect, and he raised his voice a little. "Ralts!"
The painful aura faded a bit, then disappeared completely as she wearily raised her head. "Yes, master?" she muttered.Bunnelby was shocked by how bad she looked. There were deep purple circles under her eyes, and her green hair was knotted and burned by constant exposure to her own magic. Her eyes were half-closed, and she looked exhausted. Bunnelby took a step forward so she could see him. "I'm the Bunnelby from the Bunnelby in the hat trick... I escaped and came to rescue you," he said. He had seen her lots of times, but she spent all her time sleeping when she wasn't powering Psych's magic shows, trying to restore as much power as she could. He suspected Psych exhausted her on purpose to make sure she wouldn't attempt an escape. "Please," she whispered, a bit of hope edging its way into her voice. "I'm dying." She paused for a slight cough. "I haven't been to a Pokémon center in months, and the shows are every week at least."
Bunnelby's ears stood straight up in shock. "What? Why hasn't he taken you to a Pokémon center?"
Tears gathered in Ralts's tired eyes. "He thinks the people there suspect him of Pokémon abuse. It's a felony... If he takes me there too much, they'll inspect him and find out. They would send him to jail." She laughed, but there was no joy in it. "An escape artist in jail."
"I'll get you out, um, just one problem. I think I might have developed a slight... cage phobia... when I was locked up. Looking at yours is like hot oil on my mind," Bunnelby explained while steadfastly looking away.
Ralts looked slightly panicked. "There is something I could do to help that, but it would use up the last of my energy, so you'd need to get me out fast before it wears off. I could cast an illusion over the cage so it looked like a cloud or something and you could bite the lock off then. Okay?"
Bunnelby nodded an affirmative, then watched in astonishment as Ralts worked her magic out of the corner of his eye. The outline of the cage fizzled and blurred, then reshaped itself into fluffy pink clouds. Ralts was crouched inside, looking pained. "Now! I can't hold it much longer!"
Bunnelby dashed forward and chomped down hard on the puffy-looking lock, swinging the door open and yanking Ralts out. He jerked away from the cage as the illusion faded, and finally gave into his instincts and tunneled into the ground, cradling Ralts in his front paws as he used his legs and paw-like ears to dig.
Psych smiled out at the expectant crowd, waiting for them to go silent before continuing. "And now, I will disappear off this very stage!" he shouted proudly, stomping his foot twice to signal Ralts to teleport him off. The crowd waited expectantly for a second for him to vanish, then began laughing at his bewildered look. He stomped the stage harder and promptly fell through due to poor construction.
Target Pokémon- Ralts (Medium)
Character Count- 10309