➟ every story
((OOC: Thanks! :D))
FORD K N O X
→ viridian city
The second day of Ford Knox's pokémon journey started with a gray sky, full of clouds. Ugly words flew mutteringly through his mouth as he got out of bed and got ready for the day. Pikachu had been sleeping peacefully at the foot of the bed, but now yawned and watched his trainer go about. The second last thing Ford did before leaving his room was making sure he had all necessary things in his bag and the pokédex and smartphone in the front pockets of his black jeans. The very last thing he did was opening Pestify. Immediately messages came up that had been sent privately to him while he was asleep.
Aquarius: Sagittarius, greetings.
Aquarius: answer if you are there, please.
Aquarius: I see that you are going to bed early.
Aquarius: it befalls me to wish you good luck on your journey but enlighten you of the fact that the chance of it being more successful than the journey of another one of our fellow Zodiacs are so slim that they nearly diminish out of existence as soon as anyone's thoughts dare touch them.
Aquarius: the chances, that is.
Aquarius: good morning!
Aquarius: as I said, good luck. but not as good luck as some other luck.
Sagittarius: Haven't you even been asleep tonight?
Aquarius: nonsense. so, will you continue traveling immediately?
Sagittarius: Wait, just explain first. Do you mean someone else among us is becoming a pokemon trainer?
Aquarius: good lord. your brain functions aren't as high as your school teachers care to pretend, are they?
Sagittarius: Was that some lame attempt of insulting me?
Aquarius: let us just pretend that these words were never spoken
Sagittarius: Well, technically they were written, so
Aquarius: and instead look forward. what pokemon might you want to capture in viridian forest?
Sagittarius: Something tells me you are up to something fishy.
Aquarius: how dare you! I am nobler than you could ever hope to become, if you even married the king of sinnoh.
Sagittarius: Yeah. And I need breakfast. Bye!
He walked down to the kitchen and found the head chef of the Knox house there. It was a hearty man who always tasted his own food but strangely enough was the tallest and thinnest man Ford had ever known. It was as if his metabolism worked at tenfold the rate of usual men's.
After a decent breakfast and lots of sandwiches and small packages of relatively healthy snacks put away into the backpack by the Chef, Ford left the house with Pikachu in his arms. Pidgey and Pansear were in their pokéballs, both having been healed at the pokémon center on the evening before. Today he had planned on going to route 22 to find more pokémon. Being native to Viridian City, he knew very well that he would have no luck trying to get further after route 22 at this point; the League guards would chase him away if he as much as lingered near the gates for too long. But he had spotted a lot of pokémon in his days sneaking out to play on the route, sometimes together with Will.
First, he should stock up though. He went to the pokémart and looked through the wares. He had never gone into this store with the purpose of buying something before. Just sneak peeked in or followed a friend who would buy something for their pet occasionally. But now he would buy his own stuff! If he only had the money to do so. He hadn't, at the moment.
Now, he was a rich boy. His dad had made sure to spoil them, which was part of the reason that Burt was such an unbearable brother and person generally. Ford had tried to not be so obviously spoiled, moderately successfully. The modern smartphone was a pretty obvious display though. He could just go back home and fetch some money now. But that wouldn't be completely fair. He should earn his own money. By battling. And to battle successfully, he would need pokémon. And to get pokémon, he should go out to route 22.
Hm, seems like his trail of thoughts ended up right where it began, didn't it?
→ route 22
Anyways, Ford was soon stepping onto the westward route with its somewhat rocky and windy landscape. A river ran alongside the road, which winded upwards towards the Victory Road and eventually Indigo Plateau. The place only legends reached. Or incredibly lucky / rich / badass people. Ford didn't need to go at all that far though. He just wanted to stray away from the path enough to see some wild pokémon. He encouraged Pikachu to look around as they walked away from the road in a particularly rocky region, out onto a ledge. Looking down, Ford was just a little relieved to see that a deep part of the river was beneath him. Just in case he should fall. Not that he planned to.
Suddenly, Pikachu said something to make him look up. The rocky ledge widened into a plateau where three yellow mouse pokémon sit together and talk. They weren't the least bit like Pikachu, but something still told Ford that they were mouse like. Oh yeah, it was the pokédex, which he held up in front of himself to let it recognize and read the info on the pokémon ahead. They hadn't spotted him nor Pikachu yet.
"Cool, I think they are rare!" he said, excited. Pikachu smiled.
Just to make sure that it was a good idea, he pulled up the smartphone and consulted with the guys on Pestify. He just hoped that Aquarius wouldn't be on at the moment...
Sagittarius: Hi guys, I've spotted some Sandshrew. They're good, aren't they?
Aries: good, bad, it's all relative some say but I know that everything sucks,
Sagittarius: I know you do, Aries.
Sagittarius: Anyone else?
Leo: hi! no, sandshrew are mice and they are almost rats. so I'm not sure how I feel about that, Ford!!
Aries: word has spread that he also has a Pikachu, word has spread that you like Pikachu, Leo, so I assume that you either dislike Pikachu, or like Sandshrew then,
Sagittarius: Haha. Snap!
Sagittarius: Well anyways. I just, kind of wanted confirmation that it's a decent pokemon and not as common as Rattata.
Leo: I think sandshrew are cute!! catch it!
Aries: we will all eventually die, so what pokemon you capture makes little difference, but it's not the worst pokemon out there, I guess,
Aries: I've seen some Sandshrew survive battles longer than their opponents,
Sagittarius: You mean... win?
Aries: win, lose, it's all relative they say, but,
Sagittarius: Ok, thanks!
Unfortunately, fate wanted other things to happen. The rock ledge that Ford was standing on suddenly crackled and grumbled. All hairs on Ford's body stood up and Pikachu's ears shot up. The mouse had time to see a frightened look on his trainer's face before the ledge under his feet disappeared and he fell helplessly down. Without saying goodbye to his newfound acquaintances, Pikachu dashed to the edge of the plateau and saw a big 'splash' where the boy landed in the river. His head soon came up, panting for air and trying to swim against the strong current. Pikachu's eyes scouted for the fastest way down there and his legs took him on that way even before the eyes had found the end of it.
Ford was completely soaked and so was his backpack and probably everything inside it. He swam and swam but didn't seem to get anywhere. He had to struggle to stay afloat. Through splashes of water and streams, he could see Pikachu loyally running along the beach, eyes fixed on him. But that little mouse couldn't possibly hope to save a human from drowning here. When Ford's brain formed those words, panic struck him for real. He might drown! He started waving his arms and legs about even worse than before, getting bruised by some underwater rocks in the process.
Pikachu helplessly ran on the shore and thought, thought and got frustrated by not being able to help. Eventually, the normally calm pokémon couldn't take it anymore. It sat down and screamed.
"FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD!!!!!!!!" which of course sounded to Ford like 'CHUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!'
Suddenly, Pikachu wasn't alone on the shore anymore. Three yellow mouses of the earth stood beside him and one of them quickly ran away down the beach to try to spot where the human boy were now. Another one left Pikachu to scream something down into the river itself, standing high on a rock to avoid getting wet. Sand pokémon disliked water too much to dive into it themselves. But other heads popped up in the water, heads of pokémon who didn't mind getting wet. Some heads were pink, others were blue and some where red and white. There was even a yellow head there too. The second Sandshrew said some things to the pokémon, who first looked warily at each other but then nodded and started swimming downstreams with the Sandshrew running alongside them on the shore.
The third sand pokémon had stayed by Pikachu's side and carefully took his paw to comfort him. Pikachu was speechless and didn't even know how to say thanks to what he suspected that these wild pokémon were trying to do for him. Sandshrew motioned for them to follow, when it noticed that the water pokémon had caught up with the first Sandshrew, and thus the human boy.
Pikachu's legs had never run so fast, he thought. When he reached the others, the river had widened up to a small lake, but Ford was so beaten up from the river ride so he couldn't stay afloat and as soon as he drifted into the lake, his head - eyes closed - disappeared beneath the surface. Pikachu yelled, but only a second later, the boy's head bobbed up again, along with the only yellow head in the water. A head with a large, flat beak and narrow but wide eyes. The pokémon ferried the boy ashore, where they all helped getting him out of the water and up on the dry grass. Pikachu frenetically licked his face to wake him up. When it didn't work immediately, he found his fellow team members' pokéballs and made them break out.
Pansear was annoyed with Ford being asleep, but after being yelled at by Pikachu, he instead conjured some fire in his hand to warm the boy up without burning him. Pidgey chose another approach. He forcefully slammed down into the boy's chest with his Tackle attack. Pikachu was about to yell at him too, but it had done the trick! Ford couched up some water and started breathing normally again. Pikachu now hugged a proud Pidgey instead of bashing his head in.
When Ford sat up, the water pokémon started a commotion and scurried away back into the water. Ford didn't quite realize what had happened until he saw his three pokémon standing in front of him with relieved faces and two Sandshrew jumping away in the distance. He connected that with all the water pokémon that had been there when he had waken up and understood.
"Oh my god," he said. "You guys saved me?"
Pidgey blew up his chest and looked important, until Pansear set one of his tail feathers on fire with a giggle and made the bird mad. Pikachu gestured at the lake and in the direction of the fleeing Sandshrew though. He wished so much that he could talk so that Ford would understand. Why were humans so bad at understanding others? From what Pikachu had seen during his time as a pet - or as a captured pokémon could be a better way to put it - humans even had a hard time understanding each other. Pokémon never had that problem. Being creatures made up of the same flowing aura energy, they could understand each other profoundly no matter what words really came out of their mouths. Even human words. But humans were so... distant. So strange. Pikachu gave up and sighed.
But Ford lifted Pikachu up in his arms, surprising him. "Thank you," he said with a big grin.
Had he understood? Pikachu smiled as well. Maybe there was hope for humankind after all.
Behind a rock, the third Sandshrew watched the happy reunion. Thoughts were awakened inside its mind. A strange longing.
→ viridian city
They came as far as back to the doorstep of the Knox house before Ford realized that he had dropped both his pokédex and his smartphone into the river. They were probably both broken now and lay at the bottom of the whirling inferno he had barely escaped with his life to spare. He spent half an hour panickingly half-crying at the kitchen table while both Nanny and Chef tried to comfort him. Then he shaped up - after getting a weak electric shock by Pikachu who was tired of his crying - and decided to go visit Will. First he got new dry clothes, of course, and left his backpack at home for Nanny and Chef to pack with new, dry stuff. He put on a new pair of jeans that were just as black as the old ones and reluctantly switched to less comfortable sneakers while his Converse dried. His favorite blue hooded shirt also had to dry - and be washed even - so Ford put on a green one for a change now, on top of a simple white t-shirt.
Will of course understood Ford's devastation over having lost his most precious mechanical items. He packed some of his own weird mechanical stuff and encouraged Ford to go with him back to route 22 to search. It wasn't even midday yet so they should have lots of time. Ford had no hope of actually finding the things and had already started planning how to excuse himself to professor Oak for having destroyed his precious pokédex. Or rather, how to avoid getting hanged and banned from ever becoming a pokémon trainer again. Will did what he could to cheer him up as they walked back to route 22 with Pikachu tagging along.
They went right back to where Ford had fallen down the river. Not via the broken ledge, but down at the shoreline. It wasn't easy to find the exact place though, since they couldn't be sure of where and when Ford had dropped the items.
"Here somewhere, then?" Will said, taking off his backpack and starting to rummage through it.
"I don't know. Really, I have no idea."
All of a sudden, a yellow pokémon dashed between their legs and came to a stop by the shoreline. It turned to look at them but didn't say anything for a while. Then, just when Ford was about to question the situation, Pikachu spoke up. He looked friendly, as if he knew the new fellow. Maybe it was one of the Sandshrews from earlier? Sandshrew then pointed down into the river and turned back to the water. Pikachu ran up to it.
"What... do you think it knows where the stuff are?" Will asked.
"I... still have no idea," Ford said.
They both walked closer to the water's edge and saw numerous water pokémon popping up their heads in the stream, seemingly fighting the current without problems. Ford wished that he was as good as swimmer as they were... The pokémon didn't do more than carefully glance up though. The humans were scaring them, no matter how Pikachu tried to tell them that they wouldn't get hurt.
Only one head remained after all other water pokémon had sunk back down again after having spotted the humans. It was the yellow one with the flat beak. Ford picked up his... no, wait, he didn't. Because his pokédex lay on the bottom of the river somewhere, unless some jerk had eaten it or otherwise destroyed it already. Ford was fuming and Will noticed.
"Hey there," he tried. He hadn't spoken to many pokémon before the monkeys for his experiments. The duck actually walked ashore and stood to look at them with a strangely disturbed face, while holding its head between its hands as if it hurt. "You're a duck. I don't know your name though."
"Let's call him Duck for the moment," Ford said, keeping his cool somewhat. "Hey, Duck, have you seen my stuff?"
"Maybe you should try a more gentle approach..." Will suggested when Duck's face grew increasingly narrow.
"I mean... I've lost some things in the river. Would you please look for them for me? It would mean a great deal," Ford said after having taken a few deep breaths. It wasn't like the items were going to work when he got them back. What were they really doing here. He was as good as dead already.
Pikachu sighed sadly, but Sandshrew looked from Ford to Pikachu and then to the duck who was almost about to step back into the water again. Sandshrew didn't like seeing Pikachu so sad. It quickly ran down to the duck, dangerously close to the water, and talked to it. It knew that Duck had been the one to really save Ford earlier and that the human might be a bit blunt to not even say thanks for that now. But humans were like that, obviously. And it would make Pikachu happy if Duck helped them. And that would make Sandshrew happy and that would make Duck the best duck in all of Kanto. Phew! Sandshrew didn't think that it had ever talked in such long sentences before. The sand language was short and concise, normally.
Duck still looked like it couldn't care less, but its gaze lingered on the sand mouse for a moment before it turned away and sunk down into the whirling water. Sandshrew sighed and turned back to Pikachu and the humans with a disappointed look. It tried. Pikachu wondered why it was doing this.
"That's it, then. I'm dead. Really," Ford exclaimed and slumped down on his back in the grass, staring up into the sky.
"No, you're not. Just tell the professor that an accident happened. He'll be glad that you're alive!" Will said, standing beside him.
"Haha. You should have seen the old man yesterday. He didn't really want to hand Pikachu to me after I consulted the Zodiac before deciding on..." Oops.
"What's the Zodiac?"
"Oh, right..." He had forgotten. He was supposed to ask Will if he wanted to join. It meant less now though. Without the smartphone, Ford wouldn't be able to be on Pestify when he was journeying so Will wouldn't know anyone there most of the time. "It's just... a thing. Nothing..."
The thick mattress of clouds above did nothing to improve his mood. What a disastrous start on his journey, and likely its end. Just then, something else was in the sky above him, for only a few seconds. Then they fell down on his belly, making him jump and sit up. Two wet items: one pokédex and one smartphone. Both almost without a scratch. Ford turned around, bewildered. On the shore stood Duck, still with a narrow and grim face. But he stood there. He hadn't just turned his back on Ford.
"Whoa, he did it!" Will cheered together with Pikachu.
Sandshrew nodded and smiled, in its discrete, Sandshrewy way. Ford took the items - both were stone dead, but still, they were back in his possession - and walked up to Duck.
"Thank you," he said. "I guess... I underestimated wild pokémon."
"They do seem more intelligent and compassionate than I too thought!" Will commented.
Both a wild Sandshrew and a... Duck, had helped him today. And he had seen even more pokémon scurry away when he woke up earlier. They must have helped him as well. Why did pokémon do that? But then again, there were humans too who dedicated their lives to helping wild pokémon thrive without capturing them. Helping was maybe natural. It was in pokémon's blood. Humans maybe had just forgotten that.
"Let's go back to my house. I actually think I can help revive your pokédex and phone... give me a few hours," Will said. "Pity I didn't even get to use any of the equipment I brought here. It could have helped us locate the items, but probably not fetched them for us. So we still have the duck to thank for that."
"Yeah..." Ford said again. He was thinking. The duck was still there. Maybe it was thinking the same as Ford was?
Pikachu seemed to understand his trail of thoughts and walked up to the duck, nodding with a determined smile, as if he wanted to tell Duck that it was doing the right thing.
"Ford?" Will said, having put on the backpack again.
Ford took up a pokéball from a pocket. He had brought some on pure instinct. As a trainer, it already felt wrong to not carry empty pokéballs wherever he went. Without another word, he threw the ball at Duck, who only winced a little as the ball hit.
"What are you doing?"
"Capturing good pokémon, I hope," Ford said. "I didn't get an opportunity to ask my usual people about it, so you'll have to stand in. Think the duck will be good to have on my team?"
Will blinked, a bit confused but glad for the honor of being asked for his opinion. "Yes," he said. "I do. That pokémon helped you already."
"All good then," Ford said with a relieved smile, waiting for the pokéball to stop wiggling about... or burst open. He wouldn't know until either thing happened. "Say, I appreciate your opinions. How would you like to become part of the people I usually talk with... permanently?"
Will raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean? Is that a really weird way of saying that you want to... uh, be better friends again?"
"Not really. I mean, of course I want that! I'm sorry for being distant, once again... but I mean..."
Pikachu suddenly pulled Ford's jeans leg, making him look at his surroundings instead of talking to Will at the moment. Indeed, Duck had burst out of its pokéball. But it was still standing there. As if it... "It wants me to battle it!" Ford realized. "It's one of those pokémon who doesn't respect you until you beat it. Like my Pansear!"
"Oh?" Will said. "Then what about this one?"
He pointed at the Sandshrew, who had crept closer and closer to Pikachu and Ford as they spoke. Now it was blinking up into Pikachu's face as if it didn't want to leave it. It reminded Ford of how Pansear had refused to leave him before, but in a much less intensive manner.
"That one... seems to just want to join me. Am I right?"
Sandshrew shifted its gaze to Ford and nodded shyly, but then looked back to Pikachu, who felt both a bit flattered and bothered by the attention.
"Haha, it seems to want to join Pikachu, actually!" Will giggled.
"Hey, you will be with Pikachu if you become my pokémon," Ford said and took up another empty pokéball. He simply dropped it onto Sandshrew's head. The pokémon got sucked in and the pokéball wiggled while Pikachu eagerly looked on.
"Seems we'll have to use another pokémon to battle Duck with, then..." Ford said, seeing as the water type still stood rooted in its spot as if it was waiting for Ford to take action. He thought hard. Well, not that hard. He had a fire type and a bird and fire was easily doused by water. Bird it is.
Pidgey came out of its pokéball and flew directly up into the air. He recognized the duck from before and wondered for a moment why he should battle it. But then he saw Duck's determined eyes and decided to do battle fur realz.
Ford directed and Pidgey flew. They started head on with a Tackle, which Duck countered by spraying a Water Gun at the bird, pushing it backwards. Change of strategy: a Gust instead! Duck tried to counter that too with a Water Gun, but the strong Gust burst through the water beam and turned into a light rain of drops onto the ground around them. Then the Duck used some attack to spray additional water all around it to make the ground wet and slimy. It didn't cause much inconvenience to Pidgey though, as he could easily stay airborne now that there were no nasty paralyzes to strike him. He took the opportunity to fire a Sand Attack at Duck, which turned into some sort of mud throw after the Water Sport. Duck was taken by surprised and actually fell backwards, tumbling down to the beach some meter below the ledge he had been standing on all this time. Ford and Pidgey followed, Pidgey throwing another Gust at the water pokémon before it had gotten back onto its feet. That made it fall over again, and then the bird finished with a strong Tackle, beak first. Actually, it had looked more like Pikachu's Quick Attack than like a normal Tackle. Maybe Pidgey had learned a new attack? That seemed to be enough, anyways.
Duck stopped struggling and looked up into Pidgey's eyes, and then Ford. It knew that Pidgey hadn't won the battle on its own. There was a human mind behind it. And this duck wanted to know more about that. When Ford threw the pokéball again, the duck couldn't resist and got sucked inside. Now the ball rolled from side to side in the sand once again... would it come to a stop in the 'right' way this time?
((OOC: ~4400 words. Also that was a Psyduck, I think you realized that. So trying to capture both Sandshrew and Psyduck here.))