Thanks. Octa is my favourite character to write as well.
Chapter Four: Rivals N Enemies
“...To which the barman says: “May I push in your stool?”” Octa finished. Boreas laughed, though the joke was rather lame. “Now it's your turn again, my dear fellow.”
“Let me think...” Boreas said, “Oh yeah, I remember another one: A zombie-pirate and a Wigglytuff are walking on the beach together, when suddenly the zombie-pirate steps in a- Hey, look over there, I think we're getting close to another herd of humans!” Boreas pointed at a big, grey building that was visible through the trees.
“Herd of humans, my dear fellow?” Octa mocked, “We in the civilised world call it a town, you know.”
Embarrassed, Boreas uncomfortably shifted position in Black's arms. “I know, I know.”
Octa climbed from Black's shoulders to his head and stood on top of it to look further. “Regardless of your odd vocabulary, I believe you're right. We seem to be approaching an urban centre, quite possibly Accumula.”
“Ouch!” Black yelped, “Octa, get back on my shoulder, or you can walk for yourself!”
Octa quickly apologised and slithered back to his shoulder. The sight of the big grey building ahead frightened Boreas a bit. “Octa, I'm scared. Isn't going inside a human town dangerous for us?”
“Well, on our own it might be somewhat perilous, yes, but with Black along we have nothing to worry about. Humans never attempt to capture one another's pokémon. After all, if one went around doing so, what is to stop others from doing the same, and then one would have to perpetually watch one's pokémon and be wary of others. Besides, most pokémon are rather attached to their trainer and wouldn't appreciate being taken.”
“But what if we get lost? Or if there's something much more dangerous than humans hidden in there? And I don't know anything about human towns, maybe I'll inadvertently do something very stupid or dangerous...”
“Don't worry, my dear fellow, just stay close to Black and yours truly. I shall tell you all about urban locations and their oddities once we arrive there.”
“Hey, Black!” A voice shouted from behind, “Yoohooo, wait up!”
“Bianca?” Black said as he turned around. A human female wearing white and orange clothing was running at them while waving. Black stopped to wait for her..
“Heeey, Black!” She said as she caught up, beaming, “It's good to see you again! What, it's been...” A thoughtful expression appeared on her face.
“...All of five days, yeah.” Black chimed in jokingly.
Bianca returned to her energetic demeanour, “Only five days? But so much happened! I have so much to tell you!”
Black smiled friendly. “I have much to tell you too. Why don't we try to find Cheren and then we can have something to eat together in Accumula?”
“Cheren? Oh, I passed him about an hour ago, so he should catch up to us soon. I wanted to walk with him, but he was so slow and when I told him to hurry up he became all Cheren-like and told me I would scare off- Oh, you caught an Eevee!”
Before either Black or Boreas could protest, Bianca had taken Boreas from Black's arms and was hugging him. “Oh, it's so cute! Where did you find an Eevee, I want one too! They're so rare and cute! Oh, it's so cute and fluffy, like a teddy bear! It's even purring cutely! What will you make it evolve into? I hear they can evolve into three different pokémon! Oh, Cheren will be so jealous of you when he sees it! Has it- Hey, don't be scared!”
Boreas, startled by the sudden hug, had escaped from Bianca's grip and was now hiding from the overly energetic human behind Black's legs.
“I told you you would scare pokémon away.” Another approaching human said. He had black hair and wore glasses, black trousers, and a blue jacket. “And to answer your questions, since Black looks like he just about drowned in that torrent of words of yours, yes it is, presumably here on Route 1, yes they are, yes it is, it was actually growling because you were just about smothering it, knowing Black he probably doesn't know yet, they can actually evolve into seven different pokémon, and no, I won't.”
“Hi Cheren.” Black greeted the new arrival. “Where's your pokémon?”
“Tepig is in his pokéball.” Cheren said. “There's no reason to tire him with walking around.”
“Oh yeah, I returned Oshy to his pokéball too,” Bianca said as the three walked into Accumula, “he was very tired after we caught a seriously cute Lillipup, so I'm giving him a rest. By the way, guys, how's your pokédex coming along? Did I mention I caught a Lillipup and that it was really cute yet? So now I'm at 2.”
“I've caught a Purrloin,” Cheren said, “so if that Eevee is all Black caught, it looks like we have a three-way tie.”
Black scratched behind his ear in embarrassment. “Uh yeah, I didn't actually catch Boreas, he's not really mine. I'm just taking him to the pokécenter.”
Boreas had more or less forgotten about that. In the past few days, he'd gotten so used to being around Black and Octa that he didn't really want to be dropped off at the pokécenter any more.
“Really?” Bianca asked, “what's wrong with him then?”
Black told the other humans the story of how the Zangeese had attacked Boreas' family and how he had managed to rescue only Boreas as they walked through town. The story reminded Boreas of that horrible night, and how terribly alone he had felt. He had felt as if he was the only person left in a cold, dark, empty universe, no one to care for him, with no one to talk to, no one to love, no one to dry his tears about his family. Now he had Octa and Black, and the thought of losing them too and being alone once again was unbearable.
“Octa, Black!” he squeaked, “I want to stay with you! I don't want to go to someone else!”
“Are you certain, my dear fellow?” Octa said, slithering down to the ground and walking next to Boreas, “we shall be travelling through Unova for at least several months, quite possibly years. We may encounter exceptionally perilous situations, and circumstances may get dire, especially during winter. Wouldn't you prefer if the pokécenter found you someone who doesn't travel and has a group of Eevees, so that you may live happily with an adoptive family?”
“No, I want to stay with you, you are my friends. I don't care if it may be dangerous, I want to stay with you. Please?”
“I'm honoured, my dear fellow, but you'll have to convince Black, not me. Of course, that means you'll first have to make him understand what you're saying in the first place. For what it's worth, I'd like it if you remained with us. 'Tis said that a civilised man seeks out good and intelligent company, so that through learned discourse he may rise above the savage and come closer to Arceus.”
Black had just finished his story and Bianca was softly weeping. “So, did you catch any pokémon after that?” Cheren asked.
Bianca was suddenly furious. “You- You callous, cold-hearted, insensitive jerk! How can you care about the stupid pokémon catching contest after that?”
Cheren held up his hands in apology. “I'm sorry, I meant nothing by it, I was just curious.”
“No, I didn't catch any pokémon. I... just didn't meet any. Bad luck, I guess.”
Boreas grinned. They had actually met nine wild pokémon, three of them had fled before Black could even throw a pokéball, he had missed five of them, and the only one that he had actually hit, a Patrat, had escaped from the pokéball and ran off before he could thrown a second.
“That's strange,” Cheren said, clearly suspecting the truth, “I ran into seven wild pokémon. What rotten bad luck for you. If I was a suspicious kind of person, I might actually think you were lying and are just really bad at catching pokémon... If I were a suspicious kind of person.”
“R-right. Fortunately you aren't a suspicious person, are you?”
Boreas tried to tell Black that he wanted to stay with him.
“You want me to hurry up?” Black asked, “Alright then, we'll visit the pokécenter before finding a place to eat if you just can't wait.”
“No, no, that's not what I said at all!” Boreas said.
“Alright, alright, calm down, we're already going. You just can't wait to get there, can you?”
Exasperated, Boreas turned to Octa. “Can you believe this guy?”
Black turned to Bianca and Cheren, “I'll have to visit the pokécenter first, and I'll probably be there for a while. Why don't you go on ahead, I'll catch up later.”
“No no no.” Bianca said jolly, “Oshy needs a break, I'll follow you to the pokécenter. Cheren is coming along too.”
“But I don't- hmpf, whatever.” Cheren sighed.
“Octa, can't you write what I'm trying to tell him?” Boreas asked.
“Sorry, my dear fellow, but these stone roads are too hard to write on. We'll have to think of something else, and fast too.”
Boreas was too busy thinking to be worried about the humans all around them or the weird stone surroundings as they walked through town. Suddenly an idea sprang to mind. “Octa, we could form the shapes of the letters ourselves!”
“Wouldn't that look rather silly, though?” Octa responded.
“C'mon, help me. I can't do it by myself.”
“Fine. B is up first.” Octa sighed. Boreas stood up on two legs, carefully keeping his balance with his tail, and Octa grabbed his shoulders and curved his body to form the upper bulge of the B while his tail formed the lower bulge. With Octa hanging on to him like that, Boreas had a very hard time staying on two legs.
“Aww, look how cute!” Bianca squealed, “Black, your pokémon are playing some kind of game.”
“Hey, that looks pretty funny.” Black chuckled.
“Oh, oh!” Bianca looked like something was just escaping her memory. “I think I saw pokémon do funny tricks like that on TV once... Let me think... Oh yeah, it's called a pokémon musical! I think they do them in Driftveil!”
“Nimbasa.” Cheren corrected her.
“When I get to Nimbasa, I'm totally going to sign up my pokémon for that, it'll be so cute! You guys should sign yours up for it too when you get there! Maybe they'll get to perform together.”
Meanwhile Boreas just couldn't keep his balance any more, so he let go of Octa and they both fell backwards. “Hmpf, that was futile.” Octa grumbled.
“No it wasn't!” Boreas didn't want to give up hope yet, “Let's form the next letter.”
“That won't help, my dear fellow.” Octa said, “If they didn't recognise our B as a letter, an O shan't fare much better. I'm afraid we'll have to think of something else.”
They followed the humans through the town, thinking in silence, when they entered a large square where people were coalescing. One of the buildings had an image of a pokéball printed on it's façade and a red roof.
“Look Boreas,” Black said, “That's the pokécenter where we'll find you a new family.”
Boreas shakes his head, but Black had looked away before he saw the gesture.
“I wonder what's going on there.” Cheren said, looking at the people collecting on the other side of the square.
“Oh, let's check it out!” Bianca said, “It's sure to be exciting if it draws so many people!”
“I think Boreas wants to get to the pokécenter right now.” Black said, “Or is it okay if we see what;s going on first?” Boreas and Octa both nodded vehemently. “Okay, let's see then.”
The three humans joined the crowd to see what was going on. Octa and Boreas each climbed to one of Black's shoulders so they could see over all the humans. On a grassy plateau in the square stood nine humans. Eight of them wore the same costume, mostly grey with a white, apron-like cloth. The left- and rightmost of them were holding big black flags with a symbol of a blue line that zigzagged over a shield and formed a P. The same symbol was also embedded on their clothing. The eight who wore the same costume formed a line together, and a ninth figure was pacing in front of them. His clothing was nothing like the others', a long yellow-and blue mantle with red eyes on it and an upper portion that resembled a castle's battlements. He had long green hair and his right eye was covered by a red eyepatch.
“My name is Ghetsis.” he spoke. His voice sounded like it belonged to a much older man. “I am here representing Team Plasma. Today, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to talk to you about pokémon liberation.”
“Huh?” Cheren said.
“What?” Bianca said.
Ghetsis continued as he paced. “I'm sure most of you believe that we humans and pokémon are partners that have come to live together because we want and need each other. However... Is that really the truth? Have you ever considered that perhaps we humans... Only assume that this is the truth? Pokémon are subject to the selfish commands of trainers... They get pushed around when they are our “partners” at work... Can anyone say with confidence that there is no truth in what I'm saying?”
“No way.” Cheren exclaimed, though his voice betrayed some uncertainty.
Black seemed lost in thought. “I don't know.” he mumbled.
“Now, ladies and gentlemen, pokémon are different from humans. They are living beings that contain unknown potential. They are living beings from which we humans have much to learn.”
“You can say that again.” Octa proudly said.
“Tell me, what is our responsibility toward these wonderful beings called pokémon?”
“What could it be?” Bianca mumbled.
“Liberation?” Cheren said mocking.
“That's right!” Ghetsis pointed at Cheren, either oblivious to or ignoring the sarcasm, “We must liberate the pokémon! Then, and only then, will humans and pokémon truly be equals. Everyone, I end my words here today by imploring you to consider the relationship between people and pokémon... And the correct way to proceed. We sincerely appreciate your attention.”
“That all sounded very reasonable.” Aqua said. “I take it that wasn't your last meeting with Team Plasma.”
“Unfortunately it wasn't.” Boreas said, “But I agree, Ghetsis' speech sounded very reasonable, and it gave everyone something to think about. People around us were discussing it, and I myself wondered if I really wanted to stay with Black. If being with humans really meant being ordered around and never reaching my full potential like Ghetsis said, wouldn't it be better to be released? Though Octa didn't say anything, he may have wondered what right human breeders had had to choose for thirty-five generations whom his ancestors bred with. At least, he should have wondered that.”
“But despite you thinking of leaving Black, you obviously convinced yourself you wanted to stay with him and somehow managed to communicate that to him, didn't you?”
“Yes I did, but I got some help on the second point...”
The crowd dispersed as Boreas was thinking about all that Ghetsis had said while Bianca, Cheren, and Black discussed the same topic. The only other person who kept standing in place was a human with long green hair. He wore white clothes and a Purrloin sat on his shoulder.
“I agree with Cheren.” Octa said to Boreas, “While this gentleman may be right about some humans, Black is not like that. I, for one, would not leave even if he did “liberate” me.”
The green-haired human seemed to be startled by that. He walked over, pushed a surprised Bianca aside, and spoke very rapidly: “Your Snivy, just now he was saying-”
“Hey, who do you think you are?” Cheren asked annoyed.
“Saying? What do you mean?” Black said. “That's a weird thing to say.”
“Oh.” the human seemed disappointed, “Then you can't understand them either. How sad. My name is N.”
Octa chuckled. “Now what kind of silly name is that?” he said to Boreas as the three other humans introduced themselves.
“That is my name.” N said.
Octa blushed. “Um- I apologise, I was just surprised by your rather uncommon name. My name is Octavianus, and my friend on the other shoulder is Boreas.”
“It's a pleasure to meet you both.”
Boreas was becoming increasingly aware that Black was in an awkward situation, with N talking to the pokémon on his shoulders and more or less ignoring him. “You can talk to pokémon?”
N nodded. “Yes, I grew up with pokémon and learned to understand them. It's a shame your master cannot.”
Black scraped his throat. “Oh yeah, almost forgot I was here. So, N, it was nice meeting you, but we've got a pokédex to complete and a Champion to beat, so-”
N interrupted him. “The pokédex, eh? So you're going to confine many, many pokémon in pokéballs then.”
“I'm a trainer too, but I can't help wondering... Are pokémon really happy that way?”
“I don't know if they are,” Black said, “but I try my best to make my pokémon as happy as I can.”
“You're an interesting trainer. Let me see your skills and your pokémon's!”
“So, you want a battle then? Octa, show that Purrloin what you can do!”
Octa jumped off Black's shoulders. “Ha, the day I lose to a Purrloin is the day I ask my parents whether I was adopted!”
“Then get ready to hear their confession!” The Purrloin said as he jumped off N's shoulder.
“Show him who's boss, Diego!” N cheered his pokémon on, “Pursuit!”
“Hit it with a Vine Whip, Octa!” Black ordered.
As Diego came charging for Octa, vines shot out of Octa's hands and hit him hard in the face. The Purrloin, however, didn't even flinch at the pain, nor did he seem wounded or hurt in any way. In his surprise, Octa forgot to defend and the Purrloin jumped on him and dug his claws into his flesh. Octa tried to get the Purrloin off him by slapping it with his vines multiple times, but as before Diego seemed impervious to the attack.
Black recognised the uneven battle and got Octa's pokéball out. “Octa, retu-”
“No, I've got this!” Octa said. To Boreas' great surprise, Black actually seemed to understand the meaning this time.
Octa lashed out with both vines this time, and the Purrloin was knocked loose, made a half somersault through the air, and landed hard on the ground.
“Ha, and how do you like that?” Octa boasted, “You cou- Hey, are you alright, chap?”
It seemed Octa had hit Diego much harder than he'd thought. The Purrloin was not getting up, and a flood of blood was starting to ooze out of deep wounds all over his body. His breathing was very fast and shallow.
Octa rushed over to the dying Purrloin, heavily shocked. “H-Holy smokes, no. I didn't- It wasn't my intention to-”
Suddenly the blood now covering Diego's flanks disappeared, and he lifted his head, bit Octa's leg, and gave him two vicious slashes with his claws. Octa screamed in pain, Black cursed, and Boreas shouted: “That's cheating!”
N smiled mischievously and said, with a twinkle in his eyes: “No, it isn't. It's a legitimate attack called Fake Tears. Diego just gave it his own special touch.”
“You filthy feline fiend!” Octa hissed furiously as he slapped Diego with his vines, “I'll get you for that!”
While the battle continued as it did before, with Diego seemingly impervious to Octa's attacks, Boreas asked, “But how? How did he do that trick with the blood?”
N merely smiled as he cheered Diego on. Boreas decided to give his own support to Octa and cheered “C'mon Octa, you aren't losing to a Purrloin, are you?”
“I'm not losing,” Octa hissed as he dodged another Pursuit, “he's just a bit more surreptitious than I had expected.”
With a rapid turn, Diego once again grabbed a hold of Octa with his sharp claws. Octa desperately slammed him with vines, and he let go and ran back to N while Octa pursued. Diego climbed back to N's shoulder.
“Come back here!” Octa called after him, “'Tis not over yet!”
“Actually, it is.” N said, “I give up, you win.”
“Huh?” Black said, “But your pokémon isn't even hurt yet!”
“Diego is in much worse condition than you can see.” N responded. “You win, but remember that as long as pokémon are confined in pokéballs, they will never be perfect beings. I have to change the world for pokémon, because they are my friends.” He started to walk off when Boreas had an idea.
“N!” he called, “could you please tell Black I want to stay with him?”
N turned around surprised. “Why?”
“Black rescued me from a pack of Zangeese that killed my family. He wants to take me to the pokécenter so they can find a new home for me, but I've already found one. I want to stay with him.”
“I never expected to hear pokémon say such things...” N said. He turned to Black. “Boreas says he wants to stay with you. I can't fathom why, but he's quite adamant about it.” He walked off.
“Weird guy.” Cheren said, looking after N. “But I'm not going to worry about it.”
“Boreas, do you really want to stay with me? Don't you want me to find you a new home?” Black asked.
Boreas nodded. “Well, if you're as adamant about it as N said, I won't try to persuade you. Welcome to the team, then.”
“I do still have to visit the pokécenter, though.” Black said to Bianca and Cheren, “Octa received some nasty scratches in that battle.”
Bianca had been uncharacteristically silent for quite a while now. “Black, I've been thinking about what that Ghetsis guy and N said. D'you think they might be right? I mean, maybe Ghetsis is right about this pokémon liberation thing. What if Oshy is unhappy with me?”
Black gave his friend's shoulder a friendly squeeze. “I'm sure he's very happy with you.”
“Do you really think so?”
“Of course,” Black boasted, “I don't need N's powers to understand the general idea of what a pokémon thinks.”
Octa and Boreas roared with laughter.