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Hitoshizuku
February 20th, 2005, 03:37 PM
I've finally got the courage to stop lurking around. ^_^ Hopefully, this fic isn't too awful. It's old and iffy in some parts, but I've always been kinda fond of the poor thing and didn't want it deleted into oblivion. Anyway, read/wince/shove it in the corner at your leisure.

Summary: Its ridiculous, right? Everyone knows that Pokmon cant become trainers. With the help of a struggling language researcher, a wild Pokmon runt aims to break all the rules and lead a team of rejects to glory.

Rating: PG

***
Blue Eyes' Warriors
Chapter 1 - Pummelo

***

That one never had a chance.

Lugging a bulky plastic bag behind them, the two men grunted as they heaved their load into the waiting dumpster. The burlier of the two shook a bead of sweat from his forehead and wiped his grungy hands across his jeans. Its no use, he called to his young companion. That Pokmons deader than a decapitated doornail. You heard the orders gotta toss the body before it starts stinkin up the lab.

The other was silent as he lifted a second, considerably lighter garbage bag. With a deft toss, it fell on top of the first. Grey eyes carefully emotionless, the young man crossed his arms over his stained lab coat and watched his friend give both bags a perfunctory shove. The thud of the dumpsters closing cover resonated in the alley.

Ill never understand why they agreed to take such a weak Pokmon, the older man grumbled. Never was a chance for that one, no sir. He laughed harshly, shaking his shaggy head and starting back the way hed come. Couldve told em that from the start, but they wouldntve listened. Toadies and boot-lickers, every stuck-up one of em. The young master wont be pleased, I can tell ya that.

Arms still crossed, the grey-eyed man did not move. Ignoring the strands of brown hair falling into his face, as well as the overpowering stench of week-old garbage, he waited until the other man had disappeared around the corner before walking deliberately up the dumpster.

Well, I guess this is it, little buddy, the young man said, a bitter smile twisting his face. I warned you not to expect a proper burial, but thisyouve got to agree this is going a bit far.

He laughed nervously, then quickly grew solemn. What you couldve become, if youd actually lived, thatll always haunt me, he said finally, bowing his head. But not even having the strength to survive; maybemaybe you wouldve been even more worthless than any Pokmon of your kind. But no one will know now, will they, little buddy?

A choking lump formed in his throat as he forced himself on. Well always be left to wonder, wont we? Wonder what you

A loud call rang through the air, breaking through the faltering words. Yo, Sammy! You comin or what?

Taking great care not to trip over the edge of his wrinkled lab coat, the young man took off at a brisk trot, the unformed words left hanging in the putrid air.

Underneath the dumpster lid, buried underneath layers of black plastic, the slow, subtle beating of a tiny heart quickened into a nervous pound. But the danger was over, for now, at least. Slowly, the rapid hammering slowed into a relaxed, easy beat.

And a black-tipped ear gave a single twitch in the darkness.

***

The Pummelo Waste Disposal service arrived early the next morning, prompt as always. Yawning sleepily at the rosy dawn sky, the driver backed the garbage truck into the alleyway before signaling a pair of coworkers in the back.

One of the workers cried out as a scrawny Raticate shot out from behind the dumpster, barely missing his leg as it dashed down the alley. His companion shook her head, smirking. Vermin, she pronounced coolly. Theyre everywhere nowadays.

The citys got more wild Pokmon than the forests, the other scowled irritably. Not that those good-for-nothing trainers ever bother to come here. All the kids today care about are those so-called Gyms on the mainland. Second they become Pokmon trainers, theyre off to Kanto or Johto. Dont take a backwards glance at the Orange Islands, much less return to support their ailing parents.

Good thing, his coworker said dryly, or wed be working even longer.
The contents of the dumpster thudded into the truck in a smelly cascade of bags and loose debris. Rumbling noisily, the old garbage truck started back down the street, rattling a bit over the numerous potholes in the road.

At every bump, a certain plastic bag gave a small, spastic shudder.

Shrill, screaming Wingull filled the malodorous skies above Pummelo Bay. Still more covered the shoreline, gleaning choice pickings from floating mountains of rotting food. In a burst of white and blue, several scattered as the garbage truck clanked towards the water. Others, however, flapped their wings and squawked indignantly at having their meal interrupted.

As soon as the truck emptied its load into the bay and drove off, a huge flock of seabirds converged upon the new bags, tearing at the plastic with their beaks and beating their wings fiercely at any other Pokmon that ventured too close.

One sharp-eyed Wingull caught sight of a bag that the others had overlooked, one half-buried underneath a mound of old test-tubes and binders. Chortling craftily to itself, the Pokmon hopped forward, darting a cautious look about, before yanking the bobbing garbage bag out of the water and pecking it apart.

From within the folds of plastic, the eager Wingull caught glimpses of matted yellow fur. Two long ears followed, both looking as if their tips had been dipped in glossy black ink. Last of all came the round face and blood-red cheeks, small and still against the expanse of the black bag.

The Wingull cocked its head skeptically at its discovery, noting the creatures tiny, scrawny body with distaste. Prodding at the tip of the zigzag tail that protruded from the other end of the bag, the bird Pokmon threw away its momentary qualms and bent in. Food was food, and the Wingull was hungy.

As the bird moved in, the creatures eyelids twitched, as if struggling to open. Letting out a piercing scream as its meals body began to shudder, the shocked Wingull rocketed into the sky, wheeling crazily past several others and disappearing from sight.

On the ground below, the other members of the flock looked about, curious to see what had startled their fellow Pokmon. All pairs of beady black eyes were on the yellow-furred creature as it staggered onto its four paws, tiny limbs wobbling unsteadily. Finding balance at last, the creature crawled forward through the folds of the bag that surrounded it. It collapsed moments later, body sliding across the slick plastic and falling on top of an discarded, floating Frisbee.

A raucous cawing swelled up from the assembled Wingull. Feathers flying, two or three landed inches away from the dirty plastic disk, cocking their heads curiously at the small body. Once more, the muscles in the creatures eyelids twitched. Its long ears perked up from its petite back as the Wingull began to jeer and poke with their beaks.

Slowly, deliberately, the tiny creature turned its face towards the Wingull and opened its eyes.

The cries of the bird Pokmon echoed through the skies of the Pummelo Bay, sending the majority of the flock fluttering into the air and speeding away on their ivory white wings.

A light breeze sprung up moments later, rocking both the Frisbee and its light occupant. With only this gentle push, the old piece of plastic started moving across the bay, bobbing as it went. Curling its body into a tight ball, the yellow-furred creature turned its large, almond-shaped eyes towards the cloudless sky.a sky that was as a dazzling clear blue as the creatures own unblinking gaze.

The Frisbee kept on moving, drifting past the voluminous mounds of garbage and into the open ocean, carrying its diminutive passenger along with it.

***

As she trotted down the sandy shoreline, skimming the ground so quickly that not a single pawprint marked the wet sand, Blackberry the Raichu raised her head into the air and took a deep sniff. Salty sea air filled her nostrils in a brisk wave, making her wrinkle her button-black nose.

Today, though, there was something different woven in beneath the sharp scent of the ocean. Twitching her curved brown ears alertly, the Raichu crept towards the edge of the island and waded paw-deep into the tidewaters. The cold waves slapped at her sides as she went, drenching her orange fur and stinging her eyes.

As Blackberry looked about, debating whether or not to venture further offshore, a bright piece of plastic caught her eye. A disk was bobbing up and in the shallow water, only several feet away. Huddled atop that flimsy piece of plastic was a sodden, unmoving shape, its yellow fur matted stiff with salty water.

Blackberry caught her breath with dismay, hoping that one of her wild Pikachu pack mates had not been injured. But as the Raichu paddled towards the floating plastic, she already knew that this was not one of the Pokmon she lived with and watched over. She would have recognized one of her fellow pack members by scent. This Pikachu, however, was completely unknown to her.

As Blackberry came upon the strange new Pokmon, she saw for the first time how small it really was. No taller, nor broader, than the Raichus front forelimb, it could have easily been held in Blackberrys cupped paws. Tentatively, she extended her neck, clasped the Pikachus limp body in her teeth, and carried it back to shore.

An anxious cry greeted Blackberry as she set paw back on the sand. Setting the Pikachus body carefully down, and shaking out her soaked fur, Blackberry spotted a young Pichu racing towards her on all fours.

Big Bolt Blackberry! the Pichu shouted, skidding to a stop before the Chu pack leader. Big Bolt, Zaps been shovin some of the baby Chu into the bramble bushes again! Im not tryin to tattle, Chaser told me not to tattlebut The Pichu broke off sheepishly, its pink cheeks flushing a bright red. Whos that? it said curiously as its gaze fell on the Pikachu Blackberry had just found. Big Bolt, what happened to tha Pikachu? Is italive?

Placing a gentle paw onto the Pikachus body, Blackberry could just detect the subtle rise and fall of its scrawny chest. The Pikachus fine, Sycamore, she told the anxious Pichu with a surprised laugh. Try as she might, Blackberry could not imagine how the small Pikachu had managed to arrive at the wild, remote island alive. Had it floated across the entire ocean, for days and days?

Gently, Blackberry bent forward and licked the crusty salt from the tiny Pokmons face. The Pikachu did not open its eyes, but its mouth gave a small twitch. Blackberry watched silently as the Pikachu let out a spluttering cough, choking up sea water and spittle.

We need to take our new friend here down to the sunning stumps, to dry off, Blackberry said as the Pikachus spit ran down her fur. Then you should take me to see Zap, Sycamore. I have a feeling that my little brother needs another talking-to about respect in the pack.

Sycamore nodded vigorously in agreement, before its round face lengthened into a worried frown. But, Blacky, the Pichu said, eyeing the strange Pikachu in Blackberrys arms. That Chus not from our pack, is it?

No, Sycamore. I guess its not. How it reached our island, Im really not sure.

But you dont think that The Pichus bright black eyes had grown very wide, and it ducked its head sheepishly as it went on. Blacky, you dont think that the Pikachu came here witha Trainer? Do you?

The Raichu shook her head and rested her long tail on Sycamores shoulder. I smelled no Trainers, she said firmly, pushing the Pichus chin up so that its face met her own. Many Chu, I know, worry about Trainers in our forest. But none of us would ever stand by and let a Trainer Capture a fellow Chu. Were a pack, Sycamore. Not one of us would ever let another come to harm, not one Blackberrys face darkened as she recalled an image of her brother Zap, shoving a baby Pichu off a log and laughing. Well, Zap would be dealt with soon enough.

With Sycamore at her side, Blackberry started away from sands of the beach and into the darkness of the forest, cradling the small, sleeping Pikachu in her paws.

***

Notes: (slaps hand to forehead) Gah, I should be beaten for my portrayal of wild Pokmon. Though I like the ring of "pack," it's an iffy word. Pikachu seem more like mice or rabbits; perhaps they should have "warrens" or "nests"?

Anyway, italicized dialogue, as you can probably see, is translated Pokmon speech. Also, many of the Pokmon characters will tend to capitalize certain words, such as "trainer" or "captured," to emphasize a particular meaning.

Continuity-wise, this is probably about 30 years before Ash and co. The Orange League is not yet in existence. (shuffles out)

oni flygon
February 20th, 2005, 06:15 PM
This is a pretty good story...
Kinda wondering why no one has replied to it yet...

Congrats, this is the fanfic of the week! ^__^

Hitoshizuku
February 26th, 2005, 01:26 PM
Wow, fanfic of the week? I didn't think anybody would even read it! Thanks, Oni!

I'll try to get the next chapter up tomorrow. ^_^

Hitoshizuku
February 27th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Ack, there's a word limit! Eep, I'll add the rest of the chapter later.

***
Chapter 2 - Zap's Pack
Part 1

***

The Berry supply was getting low again, but Zap saw no reason to move from his shady spot underneath the ailanthus tree. As the new leader of the islands Chu pack, Zap was entitled to certain privilegesprivileges which included bullying the smaller Chu into forking over their dinner, if need be. Stretching like a well-groomed Persian, the wiry Raichu sank back into his leafy nest, preparing to sleep away the rest of the morning. Unfortunately, luck was decidedly not on his side.

Theres a HUMAN in the forest! came the shrill voice of Chaser, the Chu Packs chattiest Pikachu member. A HUMAN ! I saw a HUMAN in the FOREST, walking right by the drinking pool!

Zap opened a lazy eye as Chaser bounded forward, its ears perked in excitement. I told you not to wake me up, chuahu brain, the Raichu said irritably.

Zap, did you hear? the Pikachu cried breathlessly. Theres a HUMAN in the FOREST! And hes got PokBalls with him! I think hes a TRAINER!

Look, you half-charged ion, I could hear what you were sayin way back Zaps long black tail shot straight up as the remainder of Chasers sentence sunk through at last. A Trainer? the Raichu exclaimed, bolting onto all fours. Did the Warden?

Buckeye saw the Warden coming down a couple minutes ago! Chaser said hurriedly, rocking back and forth on its paws. If we hurry, we might not miss the start of the battle!

Zap was out of sight before the Pikachu could even finish its sentence.

Dodging through the thick forest undergrowth and bounding over a succession of upraised roots, Zap skid into a row of leafy sumac bushes, where the majority of the Chu pack was already assembled. Chaser trotted up seconds later, visibly out of breath. Though whether it was from talking or running, Zap couldnt say.

Ill bet half my Bitter Berries on the Warden, one Pichu was eagerly telling an older Pikachu.

The Pikachu scoffed at this. Bettings stupid, chuahu, it retorted. These half-charged battles are stupid. The Warden always wins.

A collective shudder arose from the Chu pack at the mere mention of the Warden. None of the Chu, even Zap himself, knew the old humans real name. They knew only of the sharp eyes, the nasal shout, and the clunking pair of leather boots. Not to mention the Wardens Trained Graveler, who frequented the Berry bushes and delighted in dispelling hungry Chu with vicious Rock Slide attacks. None of the Chu had favorable memories of the Warden or his Pokmon, but endured their presence nonetheless. For it was common knowledge that, despite the Wardens hate of all Chu, he did anything and everything to keep other humans away from his precious Berry bushes.

Which, in turn, kept ambitious young Pokmon trainers from finding the Chu pack.

As much as they loathed the Warden, all Chu feared Capture far more than the old humans wrath. Whenever a trainer did show up in the forest, the Chu excitedly watched the Warden drive out the intruder with a Pokmon battle.

Zap, the sole Raichu of the Chu pack, was no exception. In fact, Zap had been the one who had started the tradition of attending the Wardens battles. The previous Chu Big Bolt, Blackberry (sentimental old spark that she was) had always denounced Pokmon battles as dangerous and barbaric, something that all Chu should stay away from.

And Zap, of course, had always done everything he could to annoy his older sister.

Bettings stupid, huh, chauhu-a? Zap said now, picking out the Pikachu that had spoken and signaling it forward with a swish of his tail. These battles are stupid? Well, little chauhu, Ill make you a deal. If the Warden wins, you give your Berry rations to the rest of the pack, for a week.

Shouts of approval accompanied this proposal. Zap quickly silenced them with a wave of his tail.

But if the Trainer happens to win, the Raichu continued, the whole pack, including myself, will gladly fork over our Berries to you, my young friend. What do you think of that, my achuau-chu companion? Is that a bet youre willing to take?

Looking at the snickering faces of the other Chu, the cowed Pikachu mutely shook its head. Zap sneered, shoving the Pikachu backwards with a slap of his long black tail. Next time, the Raichu sneered, watch how youre shooting off your mouth, chuahu-a. It takes a lot less than a stupid bet to take away your Berries for a week.

Ooh, the Big Bolt got you good! Chaser said enthusiastically to the fallen Pikachu. Got you real, real good!

But Zap wasnt finished. Raising his paws to the assembled Chu, he called out loudly. These battles are far from being as stupid as our friend here, the Raichu announced, pointing a brown paw at the already humiliated Pikachu. The Warden always wins. Thats true enough. But where would we be if he didnt?

Fearful murmurs rushed through the crowd of Chu like ripples over the water in the drinking pool.

Our resident chuahu brain doesnt seem to realize that. Never seemed to cross its pitifully half-charged head, Zap continued, putting extra emphasis on the word its. As the only fully evolved Pokmon residing in the Chu pack, only the Big Bolt Zap deserved to be addressed with as a he or a she.

The Raichu gave one final smirk to the Pikachu before adding caustically, Youre lucky that the Warden always wins, chua-hu. With your scintillating smarts, youd be Captured within a week.

The other Chu giggled as the Pikachu buried its flushed face in its paws. Feeling satisfied at last, Zap was just about to turn back to the impending battle when a small, soft voice broke through the air.

The Warden doesnt always win, it said, barely more than a whisper.

Ears twitching, Zap spun about. Which one of you scrawny sparks said that? he demanded angrily, static fizzling across his cheeks.

The crowd of Chu parted instantaneously, leaving behind a single, tiny Pikachu. Its head was bowed as Zap stormed forward, and it did not look up even as the Big Bolt began to speak.

You calling me an idiot, runt? Zap snapped at the tiny Pikachu, who, he realized in surprise, was no larger than the packs youngest Pichu.

No, sir, came the quiet response.

Say that again, squirt, and look me in that eye this time.

Devoid of all emotion, the Pikachu stood on the very tips of its paws and raised its face towards Zap.

The Raichu took an involuntary step backwards as the Pikachu blinked its strikingly blue eyes. Eyes that were not even in the proper round shape of a Chus, Zap noted with disgust. They were much too elongated, much too large, to belong to any Chu.

The little freak, Zap thought in revulsion, had eyes that looked eerily like a Humans.

Stop staring at me! Zap yelled at the blue-eyed Pikachu, his tail lashing against the ground. The Pikachu blinked again in response.

The Warden didnt win, it said in that same light, but frank whisper, when Blackberry was Captured.

A wave of whispers rippled through the assembled Chu. For as it had pronounced the dreaded word, the Pikachus strange gaze had revealed none of the fear so often seen in the eyes of Wild Pokmon. For one of their fellow Chu not to be afraid of Humans was unheard of! Zap, however, only bristled at the mention of former Big Bolts name.

Somewhere in the back of the crowd, a Chu was whispering Blue Eyes, dont! but Zap hastily stilled all commotion with a slap of his tail.

Blackberry was an idiot, the Raichu proclaimed coldly. You think she was Captured, runt? Im telling you she probably wandered out of the forest and fell into some hole. Better yet, got run over by one of those human otto-moe-bill things. The whole pack nearly starved to death cause of Blackberry! Couldnt even feed herself, the half-charged chuahu, yet she took in stray Chu left and right. Heh! Only an idiot like Blackberry would let a runt like you into the pack.

Blackberry was the one who found me several months ago, the tiny Pikachu, Blue Eyes, admitted expressionlessly. She saved my life when she let me into the pack. And Ill take on your bet.

All the Raichu could do was stare confusedly at Blue Eyes. What in the world are you talking about!

Blue Eyes voice remained as soft and steady as ever. The bet that Hawthorn wouldnt take on. It indicated the Pikachu Zap had made an example of before, now crouching miserably under the scanty cover of a beetle-ridden sumac.

Ill bet that the Warden loses this time, Blue Eyes went on. And the Trainer wins.

Zaps tail lashed forward, cementing itself into a shake with Blue Eyes own lightning-bolt shaped limb. Youve got yourself a deal, runt, Zap said loudly. Dont think that your rations are going to very filling for the rest of us, though.

That runts small enough to fit between the thorns on a Prickly Berry bush! Chaser proclaimed mockingly. The runts small enough to be a Berry on a Prickly Berry bush! The Pikachus taunts shifted into a squeal of excitement seconds later.

Here comes the Trainer now! it cried, poking its head impatiently through the bushes. All thoughts of the insubordinate runt driven from his mind, Zap pushed past the younger Chu for the spot by the leafiest, shadiest sumac. Curling his tail behind his body, the Raichu gazed breathlessly at the clearing before them, where the bulky leather boots of the Warden were already waiting.

Excuse me, came the young, clear voice of the Trainer. Im lost, and I need to get to the Tarroco Ferry by noon.

The Wardens gruff, grating voice rose up in response. I dont have time to take care of kids like you, the old human retorted. Now get off my land!

But I already told you, Im lost! the Trainer replied, running a hand through his spiked pale hair. And this forest is public property!
Maybe a little three-on-three Pokmon battle will convince you otherwise, kid.

Zaps heart thudded in excitement as the Warden pulled a tarnished PokBall from his vest pocket and brandished it at the Trainer. Sneaking a backwards glance at Blue Eyes, Zap sneered to see the runt Pikachu on its haunches, eyes closed and face lifted into the wind. It came as no surprise that the runt would have second thoughts about its hasty bet. The Trainer in question looked even younger than most of the others who had come through the forest.

I guess my Pokmon could use some fresh air, the boy Trainer said nonchalantly, pulling out a PokBall and tossing it into the air, catching it again on its way down. Three-on-three? Ill go first.

In a burst of crimson light, a diminutive snake-like Pokmon emerged, its slender body as sleekly blue as the ocean on a clear, windless day. Dark eyes coming to rest upon the Warden, the mystery Pokmon let out a high, melodious squeal. Its ivory ears, the same exact color as its Trainers spiked hair, twitched as it waited for the man to send out his first Pokmon.

Zap had never seen such a Pokmon before, and apparently neither had the Warden. Eyes narrowing suspiciously, the Warden twisted the knob atop the Gravelers PokBall, releasing the balls occupant into the clearing. The tough-hided Rock Pokmon emerged with a rasping roar, beating its many arms upon its rocky chest. The Trainers Pokmon surveyed its opponent through its dark eyes, not blinking once.

Graveler, the Warden shouted, pointing at the other Pokmon. Bash em in with a Rock Throw!

Agility, Dratini! the Trainer called as large, ungainly chunks of stone began to rain down from the sky. Giving a small squeal of acknowledgment, the Dratini zipped its way past the falling rocks, no more than a blue and ivory blur among the rapidly building piles of stone. Body twisting nimbly, the lithe Pokmon launched itself into the air, somersaulting over its opponent and landing squarely behind it.

Behind you! the Warden bellowed as his ungainly Pokmon tried to turn around.

By now, the towheaded Trainer was smiling from ear to ear. Dratini! he called, cupping his hands around his mouth. Use Surf!

Rearing up onto its small tail, the Trainers Pokmon unhinged its jaws and let loose a watery blast directly from its mouth. The powerful blow knocked Graveler off its feet and sent it crashing into the Chu drinking pool.

From where he crouched behind the sumac bushes, Zap winced as a huge splash sent water droplets in all directions, soaking the entire clearing. The sumac was not spared, and as Zap spluttered, shaking water from his now-drenched fur, he snuck a second look towards the Pikachu runt.

Blue Eyes was still standing in the same position as before, paws at its sides and face upraised. Eyes squeezed tightly shut, the Pikachu seemed to be concentrating intensely on something unseen. Zap uneasily tore his gaze away as the battle resumed.

***

Excerpt from Greys Notebook

The Chu noun "chuahu" has no direct translation to Human. The closest we can get is somewhere along the lines of one who sticks their tail into a lighting surge and consequently fries their brains. Interpreted loosely, its Chu slang for idiot.

The a on the end of "chuahu-a" is a suffix meaning small. "Chuahu-a" is a phrase for little idiot.

Adding the ending chu to any Chu noun turns it into an adjective. So "chuahu-chu" basically means just plain stupid.

Lily
February 27th, 2005, 07:23 PM
Erm...this week is over, so unstick. ^^ Great job, anyway.

Hitoshizuku
March 25th, 2005, 06:12 PM
(rises out of the mire) Mwahaha, it's still alive!

(crickets chirp)

Gah, go away. And don't worry; you aren't supposed to like Lee.

***

Chapter 2 - Zap's Pack
Part 2

***

Recalling his unconscious Graveler from the pool with a steely glint in his eye, the Warden produced another PokBall. Youre just lucky, kid, he growled, glaring venomously at the boy. Despite his drenched crimson jacket and wet, flushed face, the Trainer was grinning broadly, showing off a perfect set of even white teeth.

Maybe, the Trainer shrugged, holding out an arm for his Dratini to wind itself around. Well see by the end of this battle.

A growl forming in his throat, the Warden unscrewed the Pokball with his calloused fingers. Letting loose a high, ear-piercing screech, a creature that seemed more vine-entangled mass than Pokmon tumbled into battle. Two unblinking white eyes stared at the Trainer from among the writhing vines, and as the Pokmon hopped forward, a bright red pair of feet sprang out from underneath its body.

Some of the younger Chu hid their faces and scurried backwards upon the sight of the new Pokmon. During nighttime Berry raids, many an unwary Chu had mistaken the Wardens Tangela for a Berry bush. All remembered the ensuing lesson well, one that had been delivered through an immobilizing Stun Spore or painful Poisonpowder attack.

Slow that mon down with a Stun Spore! the Warden roared at his Tangela.

Screeching again, the Tangela leapt forward and began to shake its many vines. The Dratini, who was still perched upon its Trainers shoulder, was forced to jump away as a thick golden haze wafted in its direction. The Trainer, for his part, jumped adroitly backwards as the angry Tangela barreled past.

Stun Spore! Stun Spore! Stun Spore! the Warden yelled over and over to his Pokmon. As it bounced, dodged, and wound its way past the bulky-bodied Tangela, the Trainers Dratini opened its mouth and emitted what was unmistakably a derisive squeal. Dark round eyes flashing impishly, the Dragon Pokmon leapt into the air, grabbing hold of a low tree branch with its tail. From its position on the ground below, there was no way for the heavy Tangela to reach its opponent. Unless

Quicker than Zap could follow, twin vines lashed out from the Tangelas body, twisting themselves viciously around the Dratinis body.

Dratini! the Trainer called, not seeming at all worried about his Pokmons predicament. Thunderwave!

Through the corner of Zaps eye, the Raichu thought he glimpsed Blue Eyes ears twitching, just the slightest bit.

Slipping out of its opponents grasp as easily as a bar of soap, the Dratini somersaulted several feet backwards before bracing itself against the ground. Fizzling sparks of static sprang up between its white ears, looking like miniature bolts of lightning. Zap could practically feel the air tingle as the Thunderwave attack shot forward in a swift succession of sparks, freezing the writhing Tangela in place. The Wardens face reddened dangerously as his Pokmon became locked in the same exact condition of paralysis he had intended to inflict on the Dratini.

Okay, Dratini! the Trainer instructed, flicking water from his pale hair. Finish it off with a Slam!

The Dratinis body met the Tangelas with a sharp crack, sending it flying backwards into the dirt.

By now, the Warden was sweating visibly. Digging into his vest for a final PokBall, he wiped his red face on the sleeve of his old, raggedy jacket. At the other end of the field, the Dratini bounded back onto its Trainers shoulder. Both watched patiently as the Warden fumbled with his last PokBall.

Spitting on the balls surface when he found it at last, the Warden looked the boy straight in the eye. Youre good, he said gruffly. No ones ever gotten me down to my last Pokmon before.

Yeah? The Trainer shrugged and his Dratini bobbed its head. Thats what my last-round opponent at the Pokmon League told me, just before I beat her.

Breath coming in gasps, Zap felt his gaze darting from the battle, to Blue Eyes, back, and then to Blue Eyes once more. How could the runt have known that this Trainer was some kind of battling champ? No one couldve have possibly known that! However, the Pikachu runts closed eyes and sedate face told Zap nothing.

Beedril! the Warden bellowed as he wrenched the PokBall open. In a flurry of gauzy wings and yellow-and-black stripes, the wasp-like Pokmon shot into the air, coming to hover yards above the forest ground. A sly smile twisted the Wardens face as he sized up the current battle.

I hope your mon can fly, kid, he chuckled. Else it doesnt stand a chance. Beedril! he thundered, pointing to the Dratini. Pin Missile!

Once more, the Dratini was forced to leap away from its Trainer. Several needle-sharp darts embedded themselves into the earth at the Trainers feet. Even more peppered the ground of the clearing as the Dratini skipped forward, dancing its sinuous body towards the edge of the clearing. To Zaps amazement, and horror, the Pin Missile attack missed every time.

Face flushing even redder than the vivid crimson of his Tangelas feet, the Warden continued to scream the same command over and over again. But the Dratini had already found refuge underneath a sturdy tree branch. Numerous missile darts implanted themselves into the trees bark. The Dratini evaded each one with either an agile flick of its tail or twist of its slender body.

Beedril! the Warden cried at last, clenching his fists. Use Twineedle! Now!

Buzzing irritably, the bee Pokmon folded its filmy wings and fell forward in a swift dive. Stripes merely a blur against the greenery of the clearing, the Beedril shot directly towards the Dratini on the branch, its silvery sting upraised.

Behind Zaps back, eyes still tightly closed in concentration, Blue Eyes ears perked into the air. Tail rising straight up in apprehension, the Pikachu mouthed a single word.

Duck.

The Beedril slammed into the branch with a resounding crash as the Dratini ducked below. Wings bent and mind dazed, the Wardens Pokmon fell back against the ground, fully unconscious. Chirping merrily, the Dratini swung down from the tree and wiggled back towards its grinning Trainer.

Zap paled, not daring to turn around and face Blue Eyes.

Could you give me the directions to the ferry now? the Trainer asked as the Dratini wound its way around his shoulders.

Sinking to his knees, the Warden recalled his Pokmon. You beat me, the old human said in amazement. Now the forest and the Berry bushes are yours. Not looking at the boy, the Warden stuffed his PokBall into his vest. Ill leave, then, he said blandly, shoulders hunched. Ill leave the forest to you, kid. Mind you, those Berry bushes have to be protected. There are all kinds of pesky Poks in these woods; a whole squadron of Pikachu came down just the other day and nearly ate the entire

I dont want the forest, the Trainer said firmly. All I want to do is get home. As long as you tell me how to get to the ferry, Ill be glad to leave and never come back!

Color retuning to his previously ashen face, the Warden looked up at the Trainer in surprise. Seriously, all I want is to go home, the Trainer said earnestly, extending a hand to help the old man up. Please, just tell me how to get to the ferry.

I dont believe you, kid, the Warden said, shaking his head. First you show up here, beat all my Poks, and then you say you dont want my Berry bushes! Who in the world are you, kid? Whats your name?

The boy grinned broadly and adjusted his jacket, as if he were used to getting this kind of awe all the time. Lee, he told the Warden. Lee Arcenciel.

Zap didnt stay around to hear the rest of the conversation. He didnt turn around to see the Pikachu runt lower its face and open its eyes to a sea of admiring faces and horror-filled stares. No, Zap didnt bother to do any of that.

Big Bolt Zap turned tail and ran.

Hitoshizuku
March 31st, 2005, 01:31 PM
Chapter 3 - Syca's Sacrifice

***

By the time Blue Eyes eyelids fluttered open at last, the clearing was empty and the sumac bushes were devoid of Chu. Devoid, save for one young Pichu lingering behind a gnarled tree stump.

The Big Bolt ran away after the battle, the Pichu said, wide-eyed, as Blue Eyes wearily moved forward. You won the bet.

I know, Syca, Blue Eyes told the Pichu tiredly.

The size of Sycamores (or Syca, as the Pichu was called) eyes did not diminish. Does this mean tha the rest of us arent gonna eat now? Syca asked worriedly. Its little stomach growled in protest.

No. Tail swaying behind its back, Blue Eyes started through the leaves of the sumac, Syca following hesitantly. The pack can keep its Berries, Blue Eyes said as the Chu duo neared the drinking pool. Ducking its head into the cool, cool water, Blue Eyes took a long, deep sip. Syca watched nervously as the Pikachus head remained in the water for several minutes.

Blue? Syca said anxiously, yanking the Pikachu backwards by the tail. Blue? You okay?

Drops of water ran down its cheeks in rivulets, but Blue Eyes made no move to wipe its face. Syca, I cant stay here anymore, the Pikachu said softly. Ever since Blackberry was Captured, Ive lost my connection with the pack. After the way that battle turned out, Zapll want me dead for sure.

The Pichu shook its head and put a paw to its mouth. No one ditches Big Bolt Zaps pack and gets away with it, Syca told Blue Eyes, gulping. Blue, whyd you take the Big Bolts bet? You shouldve known hed just spark himself into a rage!

I shouldve. Closing its strange eyes ruefully, the tiny Pikachu shrugged its skinny shoulders. But I got the strangest feeling about that Trainer, and I just didnt care about Zap. Chauhu-chu, I know.

Very chauhu-chu, Blue. Sitting there with your eyes closed and talking bout old Blacky. I was scared the Big Bolt was gonna shock you to the other side of the island!

Blue Eyes emitted a low, tired laugh. So was I, it admitted.

But the Big Bolt ran, didnt he? He was scared of you! Syca protested, stubby black tail waving about vigorously. Chaser was scared speechless when the Big Bolt ran! Ive never seen Chaser not able to talk before! But bringin up Blacky, now that was chauhuchu, Blue. Everyone knows Zap hated Blacky. Doesnt like to be reminded that the only reason hes the Big Bolt now is cause hes Blackys brother. Even now, some of the Chure sayin that Zap Syca broke off in mid-sentence, hesitant about going on.

That Zap bumped Blackberry off himself, Ill bet, Blue Eyes finished for the Pichu.

You think so too, huh? Blue, what are you gonna do about Zap? If the Big Bolt didnt care about getting his own sis Captured, theres no tellin what hell do to you when you go back to the pack!

Watching a drop of water slide from its nose to the grass below, Blue Eyes blinked. From where Syca stood beside it, the Pichu could not tell whether the Pikachus face was wet with pond water, or perhaps trickling tears. Im not going back to the pack, Syca, Blue Eyes said at last. Thatd just be chauhu-chu, right?

Too chauhu-chu even for you, Syca agreed, swiping hastily at its face with a paw. It smiled at Blue Eyes through its blurring eyes. Its not like anyonell miss you, anyway, Blue. Theyll just be glad you arent around to take their Berries.

Guess youre right about that, Blue Eyes laughed, batting at the head of a giggling Syca. I couldve gotten the tail on outta here ages ago and done something useful, for oncelike finding Blackberry, and bringing her back here to stop Zap. No one wouldve noticed me gone, Ill bet. Maybe every once in a while theyll wonder what happened to that freak runt with the ugly eyes

Sycas round face straightened into seriousness as its giggles subsided. I dont think your eyes are ugly, Blue, it said earnestly. But theyre nowhere as good-lookin as mine!

Laughing loudly enough to rouse half a sleeping forest, the two Chu clambered out of the clearing, Syca first with Blue Eyes hot on its tail. Panting and wheezing as it skid to a stop, the Pichu held up its paws in surrender and fell back against a nearby sapling.

Blue Eyes, bent nearly double in exertion, shook its head in Sycas direction. Your good-lookin eyes are wet, it noted emotionlessly.

Dirt got in em, Syca defended itself hastily, scrubbing with one paw. Well, whatcha waiting for, Blue? Go on and get outta here already.

Miss me already, do you?

Syca barked out a short laugh. You wish! Folding its paws, the Pichu sat back on its haunches and tapped its feet impatiently. Youre not really leaving, are you, Blue? it said at last, eyes growing wide once more. There are horrible things out there. Trainers, with their horrible, horrible Tamed Pokmon. What if you were Captured, Blue? What if some Trainers Tamed hurt you?

Ive seen the Trainers that come to the island with their Pokmon, Blue Eyes stated flatly. And frankly, Syca, Ive never found them all that frightening.

Syca shook its longs ears impatiently and screwed up its nose. Yeah, right! Admit it, Blue. Youre scared of Trainers, just like the rest of us!

Im not, Syca, Blue Eyes protested. Maybe I havent lived here as long as everybody else. I dont know how else to explain it. As for the Tamed, arent they just Pokmon like us? Pokmon who had the misfortune to be Captured by Humans, just like Blackberry.

Blacky would never become evil like the Tamed, Blue! Blackys made of stronger stuff than that! She would fight, fight to come back to us! And shock any Trainer to bits before they ever made her hurt another Pokmon! With an emphatic sigh, Syca threw up its paws in frustration. Blue, the way you shoot your mouth off, a Chu might think that you actually approved of Trainersthat you wouldnt mind leaving and getting Tamed yourself!

Well A musing look furrowed Blue Eyes brow for a split-second, but was quickly broken by Sycas soft, pleading voice.

Blue, you dont really mean any of that talk about leaving, do you? the Pichu said anxiously, eyes growing even larger than before. Even with Blacky gone and Zap around, youll still risk staying here, wont you? Wont you, Blue?

Now thatd be chauhu-chu, wouldnt it, runt?

Both Syca and Blue Eyes spun about in time to see the Big Bolt himself emerge from under a nearby ailanthus tree. His ordinarily sleek fur disheveled and black eyes glinting madly, the Raichu swaggered forward and greeted both Chu with a slap of his tail. The dry crack resounded into the surrounding air, making both Syca and Blue Eyes wince.

The pack has no need for demon runts like you, Zap informed Blue Eyes coldly. Thats what you are, isnt it? You and your ugly human eyes. Only a demon could know about the Trainer and that battle. I wont have filth like you in my pack any longer, runt. So get your sorry lil half-charged rump outta my sight before I decide to come over there and give it a good kick.

Drawing itself up to its pitifully small full height, Syca looked Zap in the eye and cried boldly, You cant make Blue Eyes leave! Blues a part of the pack! Blacky said so!

The Pichu staggered back moments later as Zaps tail slammed into its face, sending it sprawling into the dirt. Never contradict the Big Bolt, chuahua, Zap snarled, tail raised for another blow. Shooting a smirk in Blue Eyes direction, the Raichu added swiftly, If you dont get going on the count of three, runt, your achuau-chu little friend here gets it.

Blood was running from a gash in Sycas cheek, along with a rebellious spark of electricity. Cheeks crackling, Blue Eyes stepped forward, paws clenched.

A Pika-runt like you doesnt stand a chance against a fully-grown Raichu, Zap sneered, still holding its tail over Sycas prostrate body. Heck, even the strongest Pikachu in the whole pack cant take me down. Pikachu and Pichu, theyre all worthless until they evolve. Worthless, every single one of them.

Worthless, even more worthless. Worthless, worthless, worthless! The taunting words echoed in Blue Eyes throbbing head, repeating themselves over and over again in a terrible chorus. With a roar in its throat, Blue Eyes lowered its small head and barreled forward in Zaps direction.

The Big Bolt let out a howl of anguish before Blue Eyes even got close. Syca had clamped its jaws on to the Raichus long tail and was refusing to let go. Screaming and twisting about wildly, Zap bounded back and forth across the clearing, Syca biting down for all it was worth. Calling out to the Pichu, Blue Eyes jumped into the middle of Zaps crazy path. It was smacked into a tree trunk moments later by Sycas flying body.

Syca! Blue Eyes cried, grabbing the Pichus tail and lugging it to its feet. Syca, youve got to get up!

The Pichu didnt answer. The ugly gash on its forehead was bleeding down the side of its body, and its little head was hanging off the neck at a funny angle.

Looking up frantically, Blue Eyes caught sight of Zap getting to his feet, sparks fizzling at his cheeks. Zap, stop! the Pikachu cried out, planting itself in front of Sycas body. Sycas hurt, Zap! Syca

But the Raichu wasnt hearing a word Blue Eyes was screaming. Eyes glinting in a feverish madness, the Big Bolt charged forward blindly, mouth open in a ferocious roar.

Blue Eyes went hurtling through the air, body curling into a tiny ball as it slammed into the ground moments later. Overhead, the Pikachu could hear Zap preparing himself for a second charge.

Syca, you shouldnt have been worrying about me! Blue Eyes thought, half-frozen by shock. Oh, Syca, I shouldve known

Blue Eyes knew full well that Zap was right. Not even the strongest Pikachu in the pack had a chance of standing up to a fully-evolved Raichu. And as weak and runty as Blue Eyes was, the Pikachu did have one thing: the will to survive.

So as Zap thundered blindly through the foliage, sniffing and groping for any trace of the Pikachu, Blue Eyes crept slowly and silently through the forest, using the numerous leaves and vines and cover. Inching its way farther and farther away until Zaps shouts of rage faded out of hearing range, Blue Eyes turned about and headed at a full run through the forest.

Shaking the last of the pond water, and the tears that had mingled with it, from its face, the Pikachu skid to a stop minutes later and briefly checked its bearings. The same, strange impulse Blue Eyes had experienced during its rash bet with Zap was returning in an overwhelming surge, taking control of the Pikachus wobbling legs.

Ears jerking forward into the wind, Blue Eyes bounded in the direction of the ferry. And as it ran, the Pikachu forced away all memories of Tarroco Island and its inhabitants from its throbbing head.

It knew better than to look back now.

***

Putting a hand over his mouth to conceal a yawn, eleven year-old Lee Arcenciel gazed sleepily out over the Tarroco Island Port for any sign of the ferry boat to Hamlin Island. Dragon, Lees Dratini, was curled in his lap, dozing off the afternoon hours.

I hope Mom doesnt mind if were too late, Lee murmured to the sleeping Dragon, who wiggled a bit in response. I think I promised wed be back two days ago.

Dra, dra, Dragon muttered back groggily.

Getting to his feet as he saw the ferry chug up at last, Lee shifted Dragon to one arm and shouldered his pack.

Funny; he hadnt remembered the pack being this heavy before. But then again, it was getting late, and Lee was getting tired.

Shrugging off his momentary worries, Lee boarded the ferry to Hamlin, paid his fare, and took a seat at the front of the boat. And as Tarroco Island, and the unpleasant memories it had brought, faded into the distance, the Pokmon trainer gave an inaudible sigh of relief.

So did the passenger hidden in his backpack.

***

Excerpt from Greys Notebook

Three more popular Chu phrases:
-achuau: a close friend, one whose company is deeply valued
-achuau-a: literally, a little friend. In Chu slang, it also means best friend.
-achuau-chu: dear; treasured

Urgh, so many italics. Hope I didn't miss any. At any rate, next chapter marks the first appearance of Grey, the owner of that ubiquitous notebook.

Hmm...who am I talking to, anyway? (shuffles out)

Heart-felt
March 31st, 2005, 04:58 PM
Oh my, *sighs in dissapointment, seeing she had read all there was to be read.* That was wonderful! The best I've seen yet, in my opinion, here in the FanFic section.
I have nothing to complain about...except for the fact there wasn't anymore to read...^_~
Your descriptions are excellent, grammer correct, everything! Atleast in my eyes. And your words flow so smoothly...I was entranced, litteraly. I couldn't take my eyes from the screen.
I can easily picture all that is being told...your descriptions easily weave those bright colors that create such pictures.
I think the only reason why you haven't had very many replies to this, is because you post a good amount. Some people want an easy, fast read. *slight dissaproving sigh*
But anyways, I want to read more of this. I love it! It's so different from all those other Fan Fics. Count on me to be here and read this fantastic tale!^^

Hitoshizuku
May 28th, 2005, 03:25 PM
This "not-updating-in-several-months" thing is becoming a bad trend.

(hugs Legend and gives many sugar cookies) Wah, my first review! Nicest thing anybody done's for me in a while. ^_^ Thanks for the suggestions; I'm going to try to shorten the chapters from now on. (Hehe, it's less work for me, too, that way!)

***
Chapter 4 - Grey and Lee
Part 1

***

Come on, Grey whispered to himself, maneuvering the cumbersome tape recorder through the thick, dew-drenched grass. He could feel water soaking through the front of his old T-shirt, not to mention mud sliming up his palms. Sneaking one grime-streaked hand towards the recording button, Grey held his breath and crossed his free fingers before pressing it down.

As tape started rolling at last, Grey pulled back his hand and waited breathlessly, eyes fixated on the small, rodent-like Pokmon several feet away. The Rattata hadnt run off yet; that was good. Sniffing eagerly at the seeds Grey had set out earlier, the rodent Pokmon took one in its paws and began chewing industriously away.

Come on! Grey hissed again, in a much quieter voice than before so the tape recorder wouldnt pick up his words. Unfortunately, the Rattata seemed wholly intent on stuffing its cheeks with food. Save for the constant munch of sunflower seeds, the Pokmon did not make a single sound.

Gritting his teeth, and trying to keep his breathing as soft as possible, Grey continued waiting. If his mother woke up early and found him outside -with the tape recorder in this condition- she would literally skin him alive. Never mind that Grey needed these Pokmon vocal samples for his research project!

Grey sighed inwardly. He could be on the verge of breaking the human-Pokmon communication barrier once and for all, but did his mother care? All she saw was her older son, dragging an expensive piece of recording equipment through the mud and getting his clothes dirty.

A small consolation, Grey mused, was that his thirteenth birthday was approaching rapidly. If he could play his cards right, hed have a decent recorder by this time next week, one he could set up overnight without worrying about how wet it got. For now, Grey was reduced to slogging through the mud on his stomach, and stuffing the backyard Rattata with so many seeds they were beginning to become a nuisance around the house.

GREY ARCENCIEL! WHAT do YOU think YOURE doing in the MUD with THAT tape recorder!

Grey struggled to his feet as the Rattata bolted through the dew-soaked grass, splattering Greys glasses with mud before disappearing underneath the far yard fence. With an audible sigh, Grey grabbed the tape recorder, switched it off, and trudged back to the weathered yard porch.

Good morning, Mom, he gulped, trying as subtly as he could to brush the mud from his T-shirt. Whats, umfor breakfast?

What have done to your clothes again, Grey?! Mrs. Arcenciel groaned, eyeing her older sons mucky shirt and pants with distaste. Well, go change!

As Grey headed hastily for the stairs, tape recorder still in hand, his mother called loudly after him. And, Grey, do you know what happened to Pin? I cant find that Pokmon anywhere, and Ive just written a letter to your brother. Hes been gone two more days than he was supposed to, and hes beginning to worry me.

Pin was the family Pidgeotto. Too old and wizened to participate in Pokmon battles, Pin instead took letters back and forth from the post office to the Arcenciel residence. As for Greys brotherGreys lip curled at the mere mention.

I sent Pin with a letter when I woke up, Grey replied shortly, rubbing impatiently at the dirt on his glasses (which just succeeded in smearing it even more). Its to my pen pal, Sam.

Sam? his mother echoed incredulously. Sam Oak? Isnt he the intern you met at that science thing last year?

It was a research convention in Kanto, Mom, Grey corrected patiently. The principal chose me to go, remember? Out of all the other students.

His mothers clouded eyes did not clear. Why cant you make some friends your own age, Grey? she sighed heavily. Instead of crawling through the mud and writing to interns who must be twice as old as you.

Sams only twenty, Mom! Grey protested. And hes brilliant! You should see the work hes done on Pokmon molecular geneticsabsolutely fascinating

Before Grey had a chance to launch into a detailed description of Sam Oaks latest reports, his mother cut him off. Thats all very well, she said curtly. But I wish you had thought about your brother before sending out Pin. Its been days since weve heard from him, and Im beginning to think somethings wrong.

Grey barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes. Its only been two days, he pointed out. Besides, Lees always late for things. He probably just found some other trainer, and they had a really long battle, which made Lee forget about the time and

Do not talk about your brother in that tone of voice, Grey Arcenciel! his mother snapped before he had a chance to finish. Honestly, sometimes I think you dont even care about him! Being a Pokmon trainer can be very dangerous, Grey. I will not have you poking fun at your brother for something you didnt even have the guts to go through yourself!

Yes, Mom. Grey bowed his head solemnly, as the back of his neck turned an angry red. Im sorry.

You should be! Mrs. Arcenciel retorted. Now hurry up and change out of those clothes! Youre dripping all over the carpet!

As Grey bounded up the stairs to the bathroom, he was mentally composing another letter to Sam.

Dear Sam, he started, jaw clenched. Lee, the little brother I havent seen in over a year, is finally coming home from his Pokmon journey. Trust Mom to work herself up into a fit about it.

Second battling champ in the family, thats Lee. Everyone, Pokmon or person, loves him on sight. Dad would have, too, if he were still alive. Perfect boy, perfect son, perfect brotherbut thats selfish of me, isnt it?

Is it?

If I gave Lee one of your research papers, Sam, he wouldnt understand a quarter of the contents. Hed have fallen asleep at that convention last yearwouldve been kicked out or locked in a broom closet.

But what does all that matter? No one cares about anything besides their precious Pokmon trainers and the glory they bring to our small town. People like you and me, Sam, were scorned for NOT being trainers ourselves!

They say I dont have the guts to be like my brother? Why doesnt someone ask if my brother has the brains to be like me?

But, yeah. Thats right. Who needs brains to be a Pokmon trainer?

As soon as he had laid it down, Grey crumpled this mental tirade and pitched it into the dark recesses of his mind. There was no use in getting mad at Lee, not for being the way hed always been. It certainly wasnt Lees fault if he got all the attention heaped on him, received all the glory and admiration for being lucky at the mere game that Pokmon battling was.

But, Grey thought bitterly, Ill bet he enjoys every second of it.

Grey! his mother called from down the stairs. As soon as youre done, take this letter to the post office for me, will you! And hurry right back! We have to prepare for Lees coming home party!

Okay, Mom! Grey yelled back down the stairs. Pushing away unfavorable recollections of Lees gaudy going away party, as well as the sinking realization that he himself had never had such a celebration in his honor, Grey mounted the last of the steps and turned into the hallway.

Hitoshizuku
June 12th, 2005, 03:18 PM
Chapter 4 - Grey and Lee
Part 2

***

As it turned out, there was no need for Grey to deliver his mothers letter. As soon as Grey stepped back down the stairs, shirt dry and glasses clean, he was greeted by the loud pounding of the door knocker. His mother rushed past before he had a chance to open the door. Hes home! she cried joyfully, unlocking the door and throwing it open. Lee, weve been so worried about you!

I got lost, Greys younger brother smiled, making a face. You know how I am, Mom. Took the wrong boat, got off someplace called Tarroco Island. But I found the ferry againeventually.

Oh, Lee! Mrs. Arcenciel said, giving her younger son a hug.

With his platinum blond hair and tanned, healthy complexion, Lee Arcenciel was a far cry from his dark-haired, sallow-skinned older brother. Even though their ages differed by almost a year, the boys were practically the same height, and it took no amount of guesswork to tell which made the more notable impression.

You dont even have to know hes a Pokmon battling champion, Grey thought, absentmindedly plucking at the fraying sleeve of his old T-shirt. No one could possibly imagine spirited, confident Lee Arcenciel as anything else.

Lee, resplendent in his new red jacket, brightened as he saw Grey hanging behind their mother. Hey, guess what! he exclaimed, throwing down his backpack and rummaging through its contents. You wont believe what Iow! What the!

Greys jaw dropped in amazement as Lee withdrew a tiny Pikachu from his backpack, along with a slightly bleeding finger. The Pikachu, eyes squeezed shut, scurried back under the cover of Lees old jeans and curled its body into a tight, shuddering ball.

Another mouse! Mrs. Arcenciel cried, throwing up her hands in disgust. Grey, how many times have I told you to stop feeding the vermin in the backyard!

Mom, thats no Rattata! Grey replied indignantly. Its a Pikachu. A rodent Electric Pokmon that evolves in Raichu with use of the

Snapping his fingers suddenly, Lee let loose a sheepish grin. It mustve gotten in my pack on Tarroco, he declared. That place was like some kind of Pokmon forest preserve. Making a face, he turned and regarded the Pikachu with a grim countenance. I hope they arent gonna come after me for smuggling that mothball out!

Careful not to touch the little Pikachu, Lee dug through his pack again, this time emerging with a shiny gold medal. Guess who won first place at the Pokmon League this year? he asked with a grin.

Mrs. Arcenciel hugged her younger son once more, sobbing in joy. Your first year there, too! I knew you would win! Grey and I listened to the reports on the radio every day, didnt we, Grey?

Oh yeah, Grey said, feeling it inappropriate to add that the only reason he had been listening -instead of doing groundbreaking research with Pokmon speech patterns- was because their mother had threatened to break his tape recorder otherwise.

The whole town was so proud! Mrs. Arcenciel went on. Even when we heard about the second place winner, that girl who wanted to dispute the awards distribution

Tora Allbright? Lee said with a grin. She was a tough last round opponent. Toughest Ive ever faced. But I won fair and square. Even she was forced to admit that in the end.

Giving Lee one final hug, his mother took the medal from his hands. Ill set this up right on the mantle! she declared, dabbing at her teary eyes. Where everyone can see it!

Grey had to smile at this. The mantle was already so cluttered with Lees many Pokmon battling ribbons and certificates that he doubted one more medal would be distinguishable. As Mrs. Arcenciel left the front hall, Lee turned to Grey and grinned.

So hows it been going? he asked Grey nonchalantly. Still crawling through the mud to feed rats, big brother?

Grey forced back a grimace. Beats helping Mom set traps, he replied.

I dont suppose you know any way to get rid of that rat. Lee indicated the tiny Pikachu, still scrunched up and shivering inside his backpack. Ive got to get it out before Mom throws a fit. You think shed mind if I let if loose in the backyard?

A tiny little Pokmon like thats not going to stand a chance against some well-fed Rattata, Grey mused. Hey, Lee? Mom would kill me if I took this Pikachu anduhhid it in my room, wouldnt she?

His brother nodded without hesitation. Especially if it has anything to do with your rat research, he said shrewdly.

Well, do me a favor and dont tell her, okay?

Shaking his head, Lee handed the backpack to his brother. I guess I could put it in a PokBall and tell Mom its mine, he admitted. But you know, Ive already got a perfectly good Electric Pokmon on my team, and Pikachu, wellPikachu arent exactly the best fighters, are they?

Lousy defense and low stamina, Grey agreed, examining the Pikachu through narrowed eyes.

Well, maybe, but Pikachu are just so Lee rolled his eyes towards the ceiling and made a funny face. You know. No offense, but no self-respecting trainers ever gonna have a Pikachu on their team. Pikachu have cute and girly stamped all over them. Itd wreck my reputation if people found out.

No sweat, Lee. Ill take care of it. Just dont tell Mom.

***

Excerpt from Greys Notebook

It is very common for a Pokmon to consider itself an it. With many species, gender-specifying terms (he, she, etc.) are used in only in very formal situations, and even then, only with a superior or stranger who is of a fully-evolved level (the exception to this rule is the Nido family; all forms are addressed as he or she). Another exception is a human or trainer.

It is also perfectly ordinary for some trainers to call their Pokmon an it as opposed to a he or she. This is not necessarily intended to show disrespect. The belief that humans are superior to Pokmon can trace its origin back many centuries. Though views of Pokmon and humans may have somewhat changed since that time, forms of address generally have not.