[Rated T due to mild coarse language and violent scenes]
Chapter 1 : Underdogs Begin
Many years ago, the world of Pokemon was blighted with countless natural disasters. Many Pokemon were put in danger, and were in desperate need of help. Out of nowhere came a Rescuer named Lucario. He overcame any obstacles in his way, and rescued all Pokemon that were in need. One day, whilst on an unknown Rescue Mission, he tragically died. To this day, no one knows what the Rescue Mission was, but many Rescuers have vowed to find out. And thus began, the era of Rescue Teams.
“I’m sick of you treating me like a kid!”
“You’re eight years old, Sparky. Am I supposed to treat you like an adult?”
A furious-looking Pichu sat talking to a calm-looking Raichu wearing a red bandana. Around them, twenty or thirty Pokemon sat drinking, talking, dancing and just generally having a good time. The atmosphere could make even the most serious of Pokemon want to join in with the fun, but that was the atmosphere Team Thunder brought everywhere with them.
“Richie, I’m a lot stronger than you think! I could complete any Rescue Mission!”
“Ha! You don’t even know any attacks! How are you going to defeat anyone that may stand in your way?”
“Wait, you have to fight others?!”
“You see! You have no idea what you’re even talking about. Being a Rescuer is hard, there’s no way a pipsqueak like you could handle it!”
“I can handle anything thrown at me!”
“Oh, really? What about this Gravelerock?” said Richie as he produced a small, rough stone from his bag and proceeded to lob it at Sparky.
“What? No! I didn’t mean-” The rest of Sparky’s sentence was cut short by the Gravelerock hitting him square in the face, sending the young Pichu flying back about five feet.
“So much for being able to handle anything thrown at you!”
The whole room erupted into laughter.
“Grr… I’ll show them…” mumbled Sparky.
“Try to calm down, Sparky.” said a voice behind him. Sparky turned to see Xatu - nicknamed “Stoner” by the team members - looking at him in an amused way.
“The leader’s just looking out for you.”
“He’s just mocking me!”
“Come now, that’s not-”
“Doesn’t know any attacks!” sjirachied Richie.
“SEE?!” yelled Sparky.
“Err…” said Xatu, struggling to come up with anything.
“Alright, Richie! What if I told you I’d completed a Rescue Mission before?” Sparky said proudly. A mild look of curiosity appeared on Richie’s face.
“I would be impressed… But I don’t believe you.”
“It’s true! Isn’t it, Catriona?!” Sparky said desperately, turning to a Delcatty that was serving drinks to the Rescuers.
“Oh, well, um…” she began.
“I saved your daughter who was stuck up a tree!”
“HA!” Sparky cried victoriously, turning to Richie.
“But you just knocked down the branch she was on… She fell down and broke one of her legs…” Once again, the whole room erupted into laughter as Sparky turned red with embarrassment.
“I should have known!” said Richie. “There’s no way you could have-”
Richie’s words were drowned out by a loud slam. Everyone turned to look at the doorway. A group of snarling, smirking Mightyena walked in.
“I’m thirsty!” declared a Mightyena with long, shaggy fur and a scar across his eye.
“Why don’t you be a good girl and bring me and my men a drink, huh?” he said, addressing Catriona.
“R-right away.” said Catriona.
“Why don’t you try saying “please”?” said Richie.
“What was that?!” snarled the Mightyena, turning to Richie.
“I said, why don’t you try saying “plea-”
“SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” shouted the Mightyena as he tackled Richie off his seat. Richie hit the floor with a loud thud.
“Richie!” cried Sparky.
“See, you’re not so tough now, are ya?” smirked the Mightena.
Richie got up, brushed some dust off himself and went to sit back down.
“Not gonna fight back?!” said the Mighyena as he tackled Richie again, this time sending him crashing into the wall.
“Ow…” groaned Richie as he slid down onto the floor. The group of Mightyena began to laugh.
“What a weakling!” one cried.
“He’s all talk, no action!” said another.
“Let’s go, boys! Just being in the same room as this guy makes me wanna puke!” declared the leader. The Mightyena all left.
The entire room erupted into laughter.
“That guy really outta work on his manners!” said Richie, as he got up smiling.
“He got you good, boss!” laughed a Camerupt - nicknamed “Humps” by the rest of the team.
“I sure hope I don’t see him again!” said Richie, acting mockingly terrified. “I’m sure he’ll make me-”
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!” screamed Sparky. The room became silent.
“What’s the matter, Sparky?” asked Richie.
“WHAT’S THE MATTER?! YOU’RE A GOLD RANK RESCUER! AND YOU LET SOMEONE LIKE THAT PUSH YOU AROUND! YOU COULD HAVE KICKED HIS ASS!”
“That’s right, Sparky! I’m a Gold Rank Rescuer. My job is to rescue Pokemon - not fight them! That guy was just a bully. There would be no point in fighting him!”
“Whatever… Coward…” muttered Sparky.
“So, Sparky, you still mad at me for not fighting that Mightyena like a Gold Rank Rescuer should have?” said Richie.
“Yes.” replied Sparky with his arms crossed.
“Oh, come on! There’s no reason to be mad! Have a drink!”
“I don’t want a drink!”
“Oh, Sparky, lighten up! It’s not as if-”
“RICHIE!” screamed a voice. The local mayor, a Scrafty named Nocorrea, ran into the room.
“Mayor, your pants have fallen down again…” said Richie.
“Oh, damn these pants to Hell!” cried Nocorrea as he lifted his oversized pants up to his waist - only for them to fall back down again.
“What’s the problem?” asked Richie.
“Richie… It’s… It’s Garchomp…”
Richie’s eyes widened. Several members of Team Thunder turned so pale, Sparky could have sworn they had become transparent. Even Xatu, who usually had an expressionless face, looked absolutely terrified.
“He wants to fight you…” said Nocorrea faintly.
“Alright!” declared Richie as he cracked his knuckles. “I suppose I better give him what he wants!”
“Leader, are you sure?! This is Garchomp, we’re dealing with! He’s one of the most powerful outlaws in the world! Only Diamond Rank Rescuers and above are allowed to go after him!” said Humps.
“I know that, but there’s no way around this! I have to fight him!”
“Richie, no!” cried Sparky tearfully. “You can’t fight him, he’ll kill you!”
“You said yesterday that your job is to rescue Pokemon, not fight them! I’m sorry for being mad at you! Just please don’t fight Garchomp!”
“Sparky, listen to me. There are times when fighting is pointless, like yesterday with that thug. However, being a Rescuer, I have to protect people. If Garchomp doesn’t get his way, he’ll destroy this town and hurt the people I love. People like you, people like Catriona, people like my team. I won’t allow him to do that. I’ll fight him to protect the people I love!”
“Richie! No!” screamed Sparky as he was restrained by Catriona and Nocorrea. All he could do was watch as Richie walked to his death…
Richie walked along the road, eyes narrowed. The usually bustling town was completely empty. After five minutes of walking, Richie didn’t see a soul.
“Grr... Dammit, Garchomp… Where are you?” Richie muttered to himself. He continued to walk, looking for any signs of the Pokemon who’d destroyed entire villages on his own.
“Hm?” Richie suddenly noticed a large cut on a nearby wall. Richie walked up to it.
“Rubble and dust are still falling from it… This cut must be fresh… But that means-”
Richie suddenly felt something sharp cut across his back, leaving a deep wound and sending him crashing through the wall on impact. Richie tried to get up, but the burning sensation on his back refused to let him. This was impossible… He had suffered one hit, yet he was already down for the count. Was this how it was going to end?
“So this is the renowned leader of Team Thunder, “Lightning Tail” Richie? Pathetic… They’ll hand a Gold Rank to anyone nowadays…”
“Garchomp…” thought Richie. And if on cue, the dark-blue dragon appeared before Richie’s eyes.
“Uh! I can’t even begin to express how feeble you look just lying there, almost excepting death. Have you no will to fight me? It’s your life on the line!”
“You know, being a Rescuer, I thought nothing could surprise me anymore…” Richie laughed weakly. “Yet, here I am, being lectured on not fighting for my life by the world’s most notorious killer…”
“The chase is better than the catch. Besides, would you rather die having put up a good fight against the notorious Garchomp, or having done nothing as you let him take your life away in the blink of an eye?” Garchomp looked to Richie for an answer, but was only answered with silence.
“Fine, I get the picture. You’ll die pathetically. Have it your way. DRAGON CLAW!” Garchomp thrust his claw downwards, kicking up a storm of dust. He listened for the breathing of Richie, but heard nothing. Less than satisfied with this kill, he lifted his claw back up, and prepared to leave the town.
“You know, I’ve decided on the third option.” said a voice behind him.
“Huh?!” cried Garchomp, spinning around.
“The option where I don’t die, and I kick your ass!” smiled a severely injured, but ready to fight, Richie.
“Hm! It would appear I underestimated you!” said Garchomp as he realised Richie had avoided his attack at the last second.
“You’ve sealed your own defeat, Garchomp! I was ready to die, but you encouraged me to fight… Which is exactly what I’m gonna do!”
“I’m glad to hear it! However, don’t get cocky. All this means is that your death…” Garchomp stopped speaking all of a sudden. He was completely still, and didn’t even look like was breathing.
“WON’T BE QUITE SO SOON!” he yelled as he flew at Raichu with another Dragon Claw.
Richie was ready this time though. He waited until the last moment, then jumped up high into the air, causing Garchomp to miss him completely and crash into a nearby building.
“Is this really all the infamous Garchomp has to offer? Just constantly using Dragon Claw? I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed…” laughed Raichu.
“Oh, don’t worry…” said Garchomp as he appeared from the remains of the building he had just crashed into. “I’ve got much more up my sleeve!”
“Bring it on!”
“SAND TOMB!” cried Garchomp as a large tornado of sand surrounded him, making him impossible to see.
“Huh? What’s he doing…” muttered Richie. Just as quickly as it started, the sand tornado disappeared - only, so had Garchomp.
“What? Where has he gone?” said Richie as he looked around. Richie prepared himself for an attack, but nothing happened. So he waited… And waited… And waited… Still, nothing.
“Has he… Given up?” wondered Richie. Silence.
“He… He’s given up!” realised Richie. “Haha! I won! Yeah! I came out of it alive!” Richie began to walk back to his team, getting ready to tell them of his victory…
“DIG!” a voice cried.
“Huh?” said Richie.
Suddenly, Richie was thrown upwards by a figure quickly emerging from the ground underneath his feet. It was Garchomp.
“Damn you, Garchomp! That was a dirty trick!”
“A dirty trick?! A merely took advantage of the fact you had let your guard down! You’ve only got yourself to blame!” shouted Garchomp. Richie’s eyes widened as he horrifically came to the realization that it was his fault. Garchomp had landed a powerful hit. Could that one mistake… Have entirely changed the course of this battle?
“Now that you’re in the air, you’re completely helpless! I’d say this was a good time to finish you off, wouldn’t you?!” sneered Garchomp.
“No! Damn it, I won’t let this it end like this!” cried Richie.
“DRAGON RUSH!” yelled Garchomp. Garchomp’s body became enveloped in a light-blue aura.
“This isn’t how it’s going to end…” thought Richie. Garchomp leaped up high into the air.
“This can’t be how it’s going to end…” Garchomp was mere inches away.
“Please don’t let this be how it’s going to end…”
“FAREWELL RICHIE!” screamed Garchomp.
Seconds before they collided, a bright, white light erupted from Richie, blinding anyone within a five mile radius, followed by a small explosion. As the light and smoke faded, they revealed Richie lying on his front and Garchomp lying on his back, both injured. Garchomp groaned as he got up with little trouble.
“I must say, I’m impressed! I didn’t think you would be able to unleash it. Only the most powerful of Pokemon can do that!” Richie remained silent as he breathed heavily. Garchomp couldn’t tell whether he didn’t want to talk, or he couldn’t.
“Anyway, you put up a good fight, but you appear to be unable to fight anymore, while I’m still good to go!”
“You are right…” coughed Richie. Garchomp could tell every word he spoke was painful for him. “But mark my words, you will be defeated… Maybe not now… Maybe not soon… But eventually, someone will stand in your way, and you will fall to them. That is the day you fear the most.” Garchomp looked at Richie intensely.
“I think you’ve said enough!” he yelled, failing to contain his rage. “Now it’s time to draw your last breath! DRAGON-”
“NO!” screamed a distant voice. Garchomp looked around, confused. Richie, however, recognised the voice in an instant, and it filled him with dread.
“Sparky…” he whispered. And sure enough, the young Pichu, face full of fury, came running from the shadows.
“I won’t let you hurt Richie anymore!” he ran in front of Garchomp and spread his arms, blocking Garchomp’s way. Garchomp frowned at Sparky for a few seconds before bursting out laughing.
“What?! You think I’m gonna show mercy to a child?! Get outta the way, you little brat! Otherwise, you’ll end up dead!” yelled Garchomp. Sparky didn’t react in the slightest. He remained standing defiantly in front of Garchomp.
Garchomp frowned in confusion.
“Why do you remain standing there? You may be young, but I’m sure you know that you can’t defeat me! Blocking my way is suicide! If you move, you live. You have my word on that!” Sparky didn’t say a word, he remained where he was, frowning up at Garchomp. Garchomp’s frown of confusion turned into a frown of rage.
“ARE YOU MOCKING ME?!” he screamed. “I DON’T TAKE KINDLY TO THAT, YOU KNOW!”
“I’m not mocking you.” Sparky said quietly. Garchomp growled.
“THEN WHY DO YOU REMAIN STANDING THERE?!”
“Because I would be a sad excuse of a person if I moved.” Garchomp face was moulded in shock. Even Richie, who could barely move, let out a noise of surprise.
“Wha-what’s that supposed to mean?!”
Sparky’s arms dropped to his sides.
“I ran out here, fully accepting death. Whether I live or die isn’t important! So what if you kill me? At least I died trying to protect my friend. I don’t care who you are, or how strong you are. I don’t care if my death is certain, or if I’m not doing any good. None of that matters, because whatever happens, I won’t abandon Richie!” Sparky spread out his arms again to end his speech.
Garchomp was completely lost for words. Never in his life has someone thrown him more than this young boy. He was certainly one-of-a-kind.
“Sparky…” Richie whispered with tears forming in his eyes.
“I don’t care what you say, Richie. I won’t leave!” Sparky said, turning around. “Even it means being killed by this jerk!” Sparky turned around once again, but was shocked to see Garchomp walking away.
“Where are you going?!” Sparky shouted. “To much of a coward to kill me?!”
“My job is done, kid.” Garchomp sjirachied.
“Done? How could it be done? That would mean-” Sparky froze as a sudden realisation hit him hard. Slowly, he turned to face Richie - and saw for the first time, the pool of blood Richie was lying in.
“Ri-Richie…” whispered Sparky. He shakily walked up to Richie, held onto his side, and turned him onto his back - only to jump back in shock. Richie had a giant x-shaped gash across his chest which was pumping out litres of blood at a time.
“He got me. Back in the air, he got me. He must have only realised by seeing the pool of blood.” Richie said wearily.
“Richie… You’re not gonna die… You can’t die…” Sparky said, his sobbing muffling every word.
“My time has come, Sparky. It’s a shame, but at least it got Garchomp to leave.”
“I’ll kill him. I’ll get stronger, and when I’m strong enough, I’ll find him and I’ll kill him.”
“Don’t seek revenge, Sparky. Revenge creates destruction. It’s not a path you should follow…”
“However, you can do something else for me…”
“Here…” Richie shakily lifted his arms and took off his bandana. It seemed like every second he spent moving cut a minute off of his remaining lifespan. “Put this on.”
Sparky tearfully took the bandana from Richie and put it around his own neck. The bandana hung down to his feet.
“Haha… You’ll grow into it.”
“Why are you giving me this?! You’ll need it for future Rescue Missions! Stop acting like you’re gonna die, because you’re not!”
“Sparky… Promise me that one day, you’ll start your own Rescue Team, and complete Lucario’s Mission. I know you can do it, even if you an underdog…”
“Oh, and don’t cry, Sparky. I’ve had… A good life.” And with that, Richie closed his eyes forever, as Sparky began sobbing uncontrollably.
A young Pikachu wearing a red bandana walked happily down a road.
“Alright, this is it! I’ve been training all these years for this day. Today’s the day I fulfil my promise! Today, Team Underdogs Begin!”