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Forenote: this is a story I've had in my mind ever since I encountered the Pokémon Gardevoir. I never thought of a way to put it into words until now. I hope you enjoy. Feedback and criticism are appreciated.
The rush of the wind across my face brings me into wakefulness from my unconscious state.
I sit bolt upright and stretch, invigorated by the morning crisp. With a sigh and a crick of my neck, I begin to pack away my camping gear.
As I do so, I find that something found its way into my backpack last night. I sigh, as whatever it was took my ****ing sandwich.
The great thing about camping out here is that it's beautiful. The worst thing is that it's infested with Pokémon, all ready to take your food...
I roll my eyes in irritation as I pack everything away. I'd better go find the foil, just to be sure that no Pokémon will choke on it...
After filling my water bottles in the creek, I start after the footprints left in the loamy topsoil. I can't tell what species they belong to, but I can tell that they left with a sandwich, mostly due to footprints that return into the trees: they look like whatever took my sandwich started running, as if in fear of being caught.
Eventually, I find a small ball of foil, tossed carelessly into the underbrush. I pick it up with a sigh, and tuck it into my pocket.
I take out my compass, and find that I'm actually headed North West - the same direction as the ruins I'm headed to! That's wonderful, I actually made progress while wasting my ****ing time!
I roll my eyes as I continue on, determined to reach these ruins by nightfall. I've been walking all the way from Pallet Town - if I could afford a bike or a boat, I'd use that.
Then again, there's a rumor that these ruins are connected to other ruins halfway around the globe. So, I may end up having to saving up for a boat, anyway...
I stop as I hear a twig snap. I turn, worried that it may be an Electrike - they're very territorial in this area...
However, I find that I'm totally alone, so I just keep walking, hitching my backpack up a bit higher to keep it in place.
After about an hour and a half of walking, I get the feeling that I'm being followed. I frown at the sensation, and pick up my pace by a bit. I take care not to accidentally step on any of the Joltik scouring the area.
The sun begins to set, and I let out a groan of irritation. ****ing...****, man...
I'm still about...four miles from my destination! There's no way I'll reach it tonight...
I sigh as I decide to make camp. Again.
I decide to skip making a fire, as it's pretty darn hot out. I just find a level area in the woods, set up my sleeping bag, and take out another one of my sandwiches. I leave my bag next to me, right on my sleeping bag.
Once I've finished my "dinner", I take out my map, and check my location. I was right - four miles away. Placing my compass on the edge of the map, I decide to draw a new-ish route. Leaving my supplies bag and sleeping bag in the clearing, I scout out the area for any sort of easier path I can take. Eventually, I find one - it's not an actual man-made path, but it's along a creak that's actually heading in the same direction that I'm going on. I nod to myself as I mark it off on my map, and follow it for a few yards. It turns off towards the East after a while, and empties out into a small basin. I nod to myself as I retreat back to my camp.
Once I reach my sleeping bag, I freeze for a moment as I realize something: I was being followed. I gulp as I watch the silhouetted Pokémon go through my supplies bag, searching for something in the darkness.
Taking a flashlight out of my pocket, I shine it right at the form, causing it to freeze in petrified fear. It looks up to me, and I see that it's a Gardevoir, and a rather malnourished one at that: its eyes has black bags sagging underneath them, and its dress hangs loosely off of her thin arms. I can tell that it's a female due to the shape and length of its chest-horn.
She takes a step back, gripping a sandwich in her hand. I frown as I get a good view of the front of the Pokémon's dress: it's torn, filthy, and downright ruined. While they can weave new dresses from the silk of bug-types, I have no doubt that this Gardevoir won't have the energy to do so...
The Gardevoir takes another step back and trips on a rock, falling onto her backside with an exclamation of surprise. The sandwich tumbles out of her arm, and she begins to cry.
I spit a curse as I hurry over to her, before she can get up and run away again. As I reach her side, she looks up and gasps as she sees me. Her entire body begins to shake in petrified fear.
"P...please..." I'm dumbstruck. Pokémon that speak English are incredibly rare. I should know - I've taught every Pokémon I've caught to speak English. "P...please, don't hurt me..."
I'm about to speak, when the Gardevoir collapses onto her back, and falls unconscious. I blink in surprise as I watch her, unable to determine what the hell just happened...
I decide to check her hip, to make sure she didn't pass out from pain. I cringe as I find something: an obvious and outwards fracture in her leg, right near the hip. Without proper nourishment, her bones must be so fragile...it must've broken so easily...
I gulp as I snake my arms under her unconscious form, and gently lift her. I bring her over to my sleeping bag, and make sure that she's comfortable before I fetch my First Aid Kit and a Swiss Army Knife. As soon as I find it, I take out the blade, and cut away a part of her dress so I can get to her leg more easily. I get a bandage from the kit, and tightly wrap it around her calf. I blush as I accidentally pass over her poorly concealed mound with the edge of my thumb.
I insert a wooden splint between the bandage and her leg, to keep the bone from moving. I know that it won't fix it: I've got to get her to a hospital, and quick...
While it will require a detour, and will cause me to lose some time on my journey, that's not what I care about right now: she's injured, and injured animals that can't take care of themselves are my first priority.
I repack my back back, and move the Gardevoir so I can pack up my sleeping bag, as well. Once that's done, I take out my map, chart a route to a nearby town with a hospital, and attach the flashlight to my vest as I pick the Gardevoir up. Thanks to the flashlight's ability to bend, I can put it in my pocket, and have the bulb shine in front of me.
I take a deep breath, the route imprinted into my mind. I begin to walk, kicking aside underbrush and rocks as I make my way towards the town.
I realize that I'm awake before I feel the pain.
I lay on what seems to be moss, waiting for the pain to begin once more. The pain of my aching stomach, crying out for any sort of nourishment...
I squeeze my eyes shut, and continue to wait.
But nothing comes.
I frown, and slowly open my eyes. I'm immediately blinded by a bright light, and I have to shield my eyes with an arm so my eyes can adjust.
As I look up at the light, I start to wonder if I'm dead.
I lift my head a bit, and look around at my surroundings.
However, all I see is that I'm lying down on a bed.
I gulp as I stare at the mattress. How long has it been since I've been on one of these...?
Back when...I was a child...
When I snuck onto my masters' bed...
My eyes widen as I remember. I remember how I had escaped...how I had destroyed my prison, and run out, my body too weak to survive as I made my way through the forest...
I found another human, and I stole his food. Then I followed him, and...he found me, and...
And I'm back to being a prisoner once more...
Tears form as I realize my fate. Trapped by humans once more, destined to never be fed, and forced to do work for the terrible beings...packing the strange substance that burned my eyes, tickled my nose, and dulled my senses...
I press my hands to my eyes, and I start to cry.
I don't want this life...I don't want to be like this...
I mustn't cry. If my captors see me crying, they'll hurt me...
I gulp as I force myself to lie down on my back, and act completely inert. I observe my body, hoping I can find some way to escape...
I see that my right leg is ensnared in a white cocoon - undoubtedly a form of punishment for my escape...
I gulp as I see that my arms are laced with tubing. They're probably keeping me sedated, so I can't run away again...
I gasp, and force myself to sit up in a sign of respect. I immediately feel a pair of hands before I've even lifted my back. I cringe as I prepare for the punishment...
However, none comes. I open my squeezed-shut eyes, and search for the source of the hands. I eventually find that they lead to a human - the same human I saw in the forest...
"Come on, lie down," he says, softly. I gulp: my old master used to speak like that when he was going to...
I don't want to remember it...
I oblige as I recline. His hands are removed from my body, and I see his eyes above mine.
"You're in the hospital," he whispers to me, frowning into my eyes. "You fractured your leg just near the hip when you fell..."
I blink, waiting for my opportunity to speak.
"Are you thirsty?"
I shake my head. "No, sir," I whisper, my throat scratching as the words force themselves out.
He frowns as he sits on the edge of the bed. "Why are you calling me sir?"
"Would you prefer something else, sir?" I ask him, my heart speeding up as I begin to fear that I've disrespected him...
"Yeah," he responds. "Just call me Peter."
I nod. "Yes, Peter."
He frowns at me, and I fear the I've made him angry. If he's more relentless than my previous master, I may not be able to escape...he hasn't hit me yet, which makes me believe that he's waiting to make it hurt...
"What's your name?" He asks.
I try to resist, but I cannot. As an act of spite against my master, I had given myself a name that I found to be nice. "Jane," I respond. If he hits me for having an identity...it's worth it.
"That's a nice name," he responds. He gives me a small smile, and I feel a spike of fear: what is he going to do to me...?
"Where did you learn how to speak English?" He asks me, in that same soft, terrifying voice.
"My master forced me to learn," I respond, submissively.
"...Master?" He asks with a frown. Before I can respond to his strange question, the door opens, and another human in a white coat walks in. My heart catches in my chest: that was what my master wore when he...
I gulp. This man must be just as cruel, to do that to me...for doing nothing wrong!
"Good morning," the man in the white coat announces. I keep quiet: my master never wanted me to speak when he had his white coat on. "You gave us quite the scare - you look as if you haven't eaten in days!" I frown. I have eaten, recently...
"Now, I'm going to have to take your blood pressure - don't worry, it won't hurt."
I nod, although I'm sure it will hurt. He takes out a strange device, and wraps it around my arm. Almost immediately, it begins to inflate, and I let out a gasp of shock: is is even worse than I imagined...
I feel something on my hand, and I look down in fear. However, I see that the human that I took the sandwiches from has pulled my hand off of the bed, and is holding it in his own. He smiles at me, and I feel something strange...
I feel hope.
This is the same thing my old master used to do to me. Let me have a bit of hope, then shoot it down. He'd hurt me afterwards...
I gulp as I suppress the hope. This new master is just as cruel, if not even more so...I'll have to keep myself as submissive as possible, so I can escape when he least expects it...
The pressure on my arm abates, and the plastic is removed. I sigh in relief, but realize that it's just a taste of what's to come...
"Alright...well, the only thing off about your blood pressure is that you've got to eat. Now, I'll leave it up to your Trainer to -"
"I'm not her Trainer," the human responds. "My name is Peter. I found her in the woods, and brought her here."
I look to him in surprise. Peter isn't a title. It's his name...
"Ah. Well, in that case, I'll just have to bring up a bit of everything!" He smiles at me, and departs. "Peter" immediately sits back down on the edge of the bed, and I wait for him to taunt me...
"You said that your master taught you how to speak English," Peter reminds me. "What did you mean by master?"
I frown up at Peter. "My...my master," I respond. "You're my new master...aren't you, sir? I mean...Peter?"
He frowns at me, and shakes his head vehemently. "No, Jane. I'm not your new master. You don't have a master anymore - you're totally free."
Some more hope comes surging back, but I quell it once more.
"I'm not free," I remind him, averting my eyes from his in submission. I had said this time and time again to my previous master in an attempt to keep myself safe. "You are my master."
"No, I'm not," Peter tells me, vehemently. "Gardevoir - I mean, Jane...were you...were you a slave?"
"No," I immediately respond. My master never wanted me to use that word. "I'm a worker. I work, and I eat."
"Oh my God," he mutters, standing up from my bed. He paces a bit before turning to me. "Jane, I want you to be totally honest: were you a slave?"
I gulp. He wants to know, but...he'll probably hit me if I say yes...
I've escaped once. I can escape again. If I must, I'll be as rebellious as possible just to escape.
"Yes," I announce, bravely. "Yes, I was a slave. And I will not be yours."
Peter stares at me, his hand covering his mouth. "Holy ****," he mutters. He immediately sits on the edge of my bed, and grasps my hand. "Look at me, Jane."
I do so, and prepare for the pain. "I don't care if you hit me," I announce. "I've spent too many years being hurt, too much of my life cowering and letting him do what he would. I am not a slave - I will never be a slave again."
Peter's eyes widen, and he's about to start speaking when the door opens again, and the man wearing a white coat is joined by a woman wearing a white coat. The latter is wheeling in a trolly - the same kind of trolly that held my master's tools.
But there is food on this trolly.
"Oh, should I come back later?" The woman asks.
"No," Peter responds. "This is perfect timing. Should I prop her up, doc?"
"Yeah. Let me help you with that..."
The two men help me to sit upright, and both are incredibly gentle with my right leg. They move the pillow that keeps my hip above the bed to accommodate my new position, and Peter picks one of the foods at random.
"Try this," he urges, holding out the spoon for me to use. I nod as I carefully take the spoon, hope surging through my veins like I've never known before.
I take a spoonful of the steaming food, and I immediately let out a sigh of satisfaction. It tastes wonderful...
"I bet you're hungry," Peter announces. "Go on, eat."
I nod, and begin to shovel more food into my mouth, greedily eating the wonderful food of a new life. As I realize what this means for me, hot tears join the hot steam that billows up from the food.
I feel Peter's hand on my shoulder, and I smile to myself.
For the first time in my life...