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June 27th, 2009 (6:15 PM). Edited August 26th, 2009 by Venia Silente.
We know from the Canalave Library that there is something particular that links Humans and Pokémon. Why do they appear in the tall grass ready for battle? Why have we forgone guns and swords to train them for battle? Why when the world itself is in danger, even the most powerful Pokémon may stand aside and let a ten-year-old human take matters in their hands?
There is a reason why we live together. Some sort of "pact" maybe.
But whatever the reason is, it originated with humans and will probably end with them too. What does this mean for a Pokémon that was supposed to be long gone when the first human stuck up their thumb?
Let's discover what one of these specimen thinks...
Check the proposal @ Writer's Lounge. Thanks to Valentine and Giratinasaur for the help and suggestions.
March, slow and unstoppable. March, sibling left and right, brethren short behind.
Follow the waves that make our home, brand the shoals with our mark.
Emerge to the land of wind and sun, gaze at them and listen to our mother behind.
Meet the enemy, let them meet us. Let's taint the sands with scales together.
Lower not your sight, always louder cry,
for over the land of trees, wheat and sun
the wall of waves and froth we shall expand.
Wind warmly and gently brushing the appendages that circle my head as I gain consciousness; gently excusing itself for its inability to nurture me the same way the other, more ancient currents did.
Wind means sun, too: I've got another day to observe this world and let it observe me, this world where I do not belong yet I have chosen to stay.
Finally awakened, I first perceive the rasping sound of a hundred small tendrils brushing the floor somewhere close, alerting me that the dust accumulated here is to raise again before being carried away by the wind in its feeble attempt to compensate me.
I like to sleep in this place for some reason. It is not like my watery chamber, but I still like it. The ground I am standing on is more plain and simple than the sandy beaches and the rocky shoals. The walls extend to an incredible height, where a strange ring holding several small suns provides a bright, yet empty light. This chamber is at least as big as my watery chamber, and is most of the time vacant.
The rest of the time it is me who stays here. And sometimes him.
The sensory tentacles that circle my neck move instinctively, my eyes dart to the left slightly as the sound of the dusting object ceases and I feel in my anchor appendages that they no longer press against the ground. Then I feel a constant motion, a weight slowly reaching up to me across the ground; before I can stretch my green trunk and turn my head around to watch, the cause of this commotion appears before my eyes looking inquisitively at them. At my real eyes, not the marks in my head others mistake for eyes.
It's become custom that I lean my trunk away from this apparition to better accommodate my restricted field of vision while the creature in front of me remains immobile and awaits for my next reaction.
I was once taught that this is no Pokémon but a creature called human. This particular specimen is what the others call Trainer, one I've become more used to see since he took me under his care. I think of it as a very rich, weird and busy uncle. Emphasis on weird.
I was surprised to see this kind of creature the first time: a two-legged land dweller covered in a flexible, pale brown-ish coat, which when looked closely seems to be made of a porous and elastic tissue a bit similar to that of my tentacles. Two long legs support a prominent trunk that is wider and bulkier and as tall as the legs are. Then from the top of the trunk two long and thick branches flow to the sides, as long as the legs are, but these are ended in five small, semi-rigid tendrils.
On top of the trunk stands the head, a bulky round mass of the same tissue separated from the main body by a very short neck; unlike the rest of the mostly plain body tissue, the head is covered by lots of pointy scales at the top, countless dark blue ones some of them reaching down to the trunk. Other humans have different amount, layout and colouration of head-scales, or sometimes none at all.
Such body gives the creature a feeble appearance, like they could be easily swayed by the wind was it not for their big trunk, and their strangely short tendrils make them look, well, freaky. One of the five tendrils at each branch-end is bulkier and shorter than the others and it seems to be misplaced, as it bends counter-wise with respect to the others. Wait, it's even weirder: other Pokémon have explained to me that when a human sticks up their twisted tendril for others of their species to see it means they are very proud of their accomplishments.
I'm really not making this up! If one asks the others, should they dare, the answer will be the same.
However I warn you the humans' feebleness is only apparent: they can armour theirself by covering the body with hides of different make, texture and colouration, covering either small parts of their body, or encasing themselves completely. I've learnt that the sets of hide they choose offer both protection and a means of self-identification. They have a fancy word for it -- I haven't bothered to learnt it. What use would it have for me?
I've seen Trainer's unarmoured frame only a couple of times, and it is quite impressive but depending on the hides he chooses, his appearance can be even more impressive. Such a weird ability had to be their greatest asset in this world, since it didn't seem to me that they had any other powers. I'm most sure this hide-switch is instrumental as a means of establishing status or in activities such as travelling, mating and battling.
Depending on the hides, a human can look more big, outrageous, playful, defenseless, woeful, or even more "nothing" at all, as some kinds of hides render them incredibly difficult to distinguish by sight. But given that most of the time they won't cover themselves entirely I guess the hide-switching ability may be ineffective against others of their species, or may hinder their senses. Which makes it even weirder because most of the time I see humans in packs and wearing alike sets of hides which would mean they would all be hindered alike; whereas when I see a human alone, such as Trainer, he is usually wearing a more distinctive set of hides and doesn't seem to care he may be left vulnerable.
Oh, about senses... now that I'm looking up at Trainer's blue-covered head I should point this out, let it one day be of use. The head of a human seems to harbour their sensory systems: two eyes of liquid light blue-green colouration with small marks in their centers. A big mouth (albeit small in proportion to their entire body) which has no fangs, but two rows of nearly identical small teeth instead. – what does that mean about human predatory habits I haven't managed to understand, since I've never seen them during hunting or a similar activity.
Yeah, I told you: they're weird. Whoever came up with the idea for such a creature was probably having a field day in seaweed land, if you know what I mean... Oh I hope it wasn't Arceus.
I stop staring at the human before me after I've checked the hides he is wearing, and my heart skips a beat both because of surprise and joy. He seems to feel it as well as he smiles at me (yes, showing me those white-yellow teeth), steps back and asks some questions. I do not pay attention since I know he is probably asking how I spent the night or why I didn't return to my water chamber.
What I care very much about today is the full set of hides: dark, clean and soft to touch, and very commanding and majestic to sight. Ornamented with several stripes of yellow and green colouration, two thick tendrils of a strange red and rough material covered with minuscule spikes that hang down his branches and a singular wide hide in a wing-like fashion flowing behind. He shows to me his hides and points to the door that leads to the largest chamber here. Now I smile as he does (err... bar the teeth).
He steps back and walks away from me. I notice as he walks to my left, towards the door, that six small spherical devices hang from the middle part of his trunk, and this confirms my suspicions. I feel now more relaxed, even though I hate the sensation that I know comes next when he points one of the little balls to me and a red tickling beam seems to engulf me; but I shall endure this nonetheless because I love the sensation that comes next, once I am returned to this world inside the so called "Battle Chamber".
Today is one of these important days.
Such presentation of his means combat... and it's me who goes first.
I don't remember exactly how I came to be or how things were when I first awakened. I never met my parents and the other Pokémon unpolitely remind me I have no parents, although I was very, very sure that I did have, it's just that no one seemed to be able to find them back then. I soon learned to no longer care about that.
There's very little that I remember from my first day and whatever I remember gets kinda... fuzzier with each passing day. After a slumber so long I can't remember when it began or why was I sleeping, a sudden burst of light made me open my eyes that one, first time, and I saw three or four creatures of this human kind, watching at me with their mouths open. They all looked somewhat green-y, in fact everything seemed to be excessively green, and I thought (don't know why, I just did) that it meant green was the colour of my egg.
Yeah, that had to be: I was somehow looking at them though my egg. A quite large one, as I remember that it was big enough that maybe me and six or seven of my siblings could have grown inside with no problems.
The one human with blue pointy scales was among them, the closest to my egg's shell, his tendrils pressed against it. I wondered why couldn't I see my mother instead, but I decided that she might be busy and that, of course, I had to break the egg and go to the outside world myself if I wanted to meet her. When I tried to move I couldn't, however. I would command my body to move and it would respond, as evidenced by the feel of my trunk extending and my root tubes crawling slowly towards the wall, and the bubbles of liquid I was floating in moving out of the way, making the liquid more translucent, but my eyes and the rest of my body reflected no further results of what should have been motion.
It was like some other thing was holding me in place, and for an instant I panicked because I just couldn't feel anything else wrong. What would happen to me if I couldn't leave my egg? Where was my mother, why couldn't I see her calling me to the outside world?
What if... what if something had happened to my mother? Would I have to fight my way to the world, and then... what, against them, or against whatever had happened to her? Looking back at the humans for a while, however, I felt that I was fine for the time being. I guessed that I would be in danger if they were the ones trying to break my egg instead.
The other humans were wearing long, thick white hides and strange objects covering their eyes, and from my position inside the egg I could see them communicating with each other. I could not understand what they were saying to each other because sound didn't seemed to penetrate the shell (and I did not know about human language then, anyways). Then, while I was thinking, I felt something strange pulling one of my tentacles and tried to move it further, a force pulling it to the other direction instantly responding. I focused a bit further and could feel some strange objects attached to the tips of my tentacles, essentially pulling them away from my head. I grew more nervous: it didn't feel right that I couldn't move inside my own egg.
One of the humans did something with his tendrils to a device it was holding, and I felt the liquid of my egg starting to circle, becoming hotter as it did, the increasing amount of bubbles making my vision of the outside world more blurry and less green at the same time. Then I picked something strange in the water and, as I stretched my tentacles to perceive what was going on, something inside me told me that this water was tasteful. My body instinctively sapped some of the water before it quickly disappeared as if a tide was taking it away. It felt bad that I could only grasp its taste for a while before somehow the egg was left empty. I didn't know whether to feel endangered or safe, so I just stared at them and decided to wait for something else to happen.
Then I remembered. Instead of water there was only air, unnatural air that something in my brain told me it was for land-dwellers to enjoy; I panicked again for a moment thinking that I was to die inside my egg, but when nothing happened after a while I stretched my trunk, as far as the objects pulling my tentacles allowed me to do and realized that I could move and breath in the air without much trouble. A fickle of thought in my head sorta reminded me that it was all right after all, I just didn't know why.
The humans just stayed there looking at me, so I made a head motion to let them know I was awake, and asked, a bit afraid, what was going on. There was no discernible answer, so I tried again, more politely. I had to ask a lot of times before I decided that these creatures were not capable to understand me – or my shell blocked my voice from the inside too.
Then things started to get fuzzy. There was a loud and strange sound coming from everywhere in my egg at once, and I felt a strange pressure through the objects that were pulling my tentacles. Then there was another sound, a more growl-like one and the translucent shell was suddenly gone and my body seemed to be forcefully lifted from the ground and carried around – none of my roots managed to keep me in place.
Next thing I knew, I had been somehow extracted from my egg and was over a flat and cold surface before them. I was too stunned to react, and only when one of them pointed a red, flashy device at me I obeyed my instinct and did what I felt was the most adequate defense just in case: I spat a burst of acid at them. Which, as I had never done it before, failed miserably, dropping to one side of the human and melting part of the ground before him.
Then chaos ensued. I don't remember too much of what happened then, because there was a lot of noise, and devices popping out of nowhere, and one of the humans started yelling at the one who had approached me, and one other of them was touching different devices repeatedly, and the lights of the chamber I was shifted from a dull blue to a yellow like that of sun and then to a green tone, and then to the blue again, and again and again, what with all the noise and I could only feel cold and a soft shaking under my trunk.
Anything after that I can't remember, no matter how much I try.
So I decided that it was better to focus on the next big thing that happened.
Next time I awakened I was in another chamber, just like the one with my egg but a lot bigger. The blue-haired human was sitting in a strange four-legged unmoving mount, his body and surroundings blurred by a blueish tint, so I assumed that this time one of us was inside another egg. I wondered, most probably it was me. My worries fade quickly however when I noticed I was finding difficult to concentrate: I was feeling very tired yet I had just awoke.
I also noticed another creature standing at his side. Trying to mentally filter the blue tint away, I decided that the creature was an either yellow or green two-legged land-dweller, shorter and bulkier than the human, with strong lateral branches and a trunk branded by either brown or black zig-zagging stripes. On top of its strangely shaped head two large protuberances like antennae stood proud. A flash in my mind told me this was a Pokémon, and that he could understand me if I tried to communicate.
Before I tried anything, however, the human perceived somehow that I was awake. He started looking at me, and after a while he unmounted the four-legged object and knocked the wall that separated us a couple of times. Hoping that at least he would stop knocking and let me rest if I paid him attention, I slowly turned around a bit and crawled though the floor of the chamber to get closer to the wall. He would insistently point one of his fingers at me and repeat the same sound several times while flashing a smile. It was difficult for me to hear him, and I had the strange feeling that I was not intended to hear things through air, but that didn't seem to matter to him.
Then it occurred to me that the Pokémon would know, so I just looked at him and asked, “You, land-dweller, tell me: what is this creature saying?”
The land-dweller leaned closer and answered with a soft growl: “Your name.”
I looked back at the human, who had perceived that the Pokémon at his side had communicated with me, but insisted in pointing one of his tendrils at me while slowly and loudly repeating the same sequence of sounds.
I would soon get used to the sound, since it was how all of them had named me.
For a long time after that, I had to learn what I was and what they were. I already knew I was a Pokémon (heck, who doesn't know that – I mean, besides human...). I knew I knew some things without having someone explain to me, such as the fact that I could breathe, move and hear better while I was under water, that I could easily perceive motions across the soil if I stiffened my trunk, and that while surrounded by air I could not use my tentacles to drag nutrients to my mouth.
If I felt threatened (should I say when, what with humans always bugging me...) I knew I could just spit some acid at them, or even better at their devices. That made them angry. Weird-- they seem to value their devices more than their hide, for how important hide seems to be.
If their invading was too insistent I could try another thing: when focusing my inner energy it would somehow concentrate over my mouth. With just a small motion of my trunk I could hurl that energy at the intruder in the form of a bright green ball, just as if I had spat at them. The only problem is that charging this energy took too much time and left me very tired afterwards.
So, if even that failed, I would literally stick to the ground and stretch my tentacles to grab and constrict anyone who came too uncomfortably close. That tactic required them to get very close, yes, but it had the advantage that once I could get a grip on them I could to whatever I want without too much resistance. In particular, if I had any spare tentacles I could just spit acid at their faces.
I also knew that if I was getting too annoyed but still calm enough to trick them into staring at me for long enough, I could do something with my eyes and tentacles that would project a soft light on them: the effects of the light would leave them dizzied, moving stupidly and eerily and apparently talking nonsense. Admittedly that was the funniest thing to do with the white-hide wearing humans. Yet I got quite surprised once: against the human with pointy blue scales this trick had no effect.
There was one more thing I knew, and it was just bugging me everytime one of them humans came to my sight. There were no humans. There shouldn't be. I was so darn sure of it that I would have bet one of my tentacles had any other Pokémon challenged me to it.
Eventually I was allowed into a water chamber, large enough that it seemed like a miniature sea to me, where I could crawl and eat as I wanted, and sometimes emerge across a slope, out of the water, to enjoy sunlight. There were some foolish fish that I could attract with my tentacles and devour if I felt hungry, and the chamber floor had several kinds of algae that I could hide between and use to scare the surviving fish and other Pokémon away.
During all of these activities I'd take note that the white-hide wearing humans were staring at me from the other side of the chamber behind a transparent and very thick wall. Beyond that permanent surveillance, life was calm enough that for the most time I would either sleep or feel sleepy.
It was in such occasions when I was profoundly asleep that I would find myself suddenly transported to a much richer, deeper and populated sea.
Most of these dreams were quite alike and vivid, and for some reason very enjoyable, to the point that sometimes I regretted waking up the next day.
In this sea of dream I awake to find myself suddenly surrounded by my siblings and my family. We Lileep dominate the sea floor, with the elder ones, with larger trunks of a greenish colouration, watching over from the higher sea cliffs and hunting most of the unsuspecting prey.
At some point during the dream, our large family would gather at a particular point in the sea floor, where the rocks had a particularly strong reddish glow, and claim the warm water and the nutrients that our bodies required. Above us and swimming the sea, several different sea Pokémon and creatures were making us company. In this spot we all together prayed to the Great Keeper of the Seas for her gigantic blue form and her powerful tides to protect us.
Then, when we were all satisfied, we would be instructed by our elders to chant in preparation for battle. Today, the Great Keeper had announced, we would march across the sea, to where it met with the land, and invade the higher terrains to claim them from the Horrible Beast of the Grounds and his army of land-dwellers.
And so, with my countless siblings and friends we would rise our tentacles to the warm waters and sing the ode that the Great Keeper had left for us.
March, slow and unstoppable. March, sibling left and right, brethren short behind.
We would then march slowly, a giant wave of Lileep and elders carpeting the sea floor as above us the eel-like and fish-like Pokémon took the back position, and ahead of us several groups of Water Pokémon with shapes similar to that of the land-dwellers but armed with great powerful jaws and thick blueish hides paved the way for us.
And far behind, a pulsating bubble of peaceful, illuminating blue light would wait for the moment to make its move.
Follow the waves that make our home, brand the shoals with our mark.
And behind us, a wide and enormous trail was left that would welcome us once we had fought for the Great Keeper. Once we had claimed the land from the impure. A trail so large that when we started climbing the walls leading to the shore, the ones of us who took vigilant looks behind to masure our advance claimed that they could still see our path and by its breadth measure our strength.
Emerge to the land of wind and sun, gaze at them and listen to our mother behind.
Meet the enemy, let them meet us. Let's taint the sands with scales together.
When we reached the shores and emerged from the sea, the hordes of big-jaw Pokémon stayed to our sides, gathered in small clusters, and in the surface of the sea behind us stood the fish-like Pokémon and some others who were very large and powerful, ready to give us support.
Before us, a landscape of grass, trees, mountain and dust. From it emerging the land-dwellers.
Coming from behind the treeline and slowly covering the sand just as we had covered the sea floor, countless Pokémon appeared. Most of them were two or four-legged, with rough coating and big claws, some others had elongated and tall bodies covered in spiky hide, and a group of particular ones in the first rows seemed to be able to swim in the wind, unattached to the soil in any way.
But my siblings and I focused only on the horde that was closer to us, the ones who had come to fight with us. Because every time Lileep crossed the sands to invade, they would be the first ones to try and stop us. Their claws would end stained with our blood, and our tentacles would carry back pieces of their bones and hides, every single time. Those four-legged land-dwellers were smaller than us, and their bodies had a predominant brownish colouration, but their heads were surrounded by an oval-like black plate that made them very hard to damage.
Lower not your sight, always louder cry,
for over the land of trees, wheat and sun
the wall of waves and froth we shall expand.
A strong wind and the sound of crashing waves behind us indicated that the Great Keeper was already here. She emerged from the sea, her strong, voluminous and beautiful blue body dominating the sea behind us, casting long shadows over the battlefield. She let out a mighty roar and started charging an enormous amount of energy. We answered by shouting as well and preparing to charge forward.
Then we saw from beyond the treeline and still far from us, a huge pillar of fire emerged, splitting in half to reveal Him, the Horrible Beast of the Grounds, the most powerful and horrendous land-dweller that we had ever seen: its two legs and blood-reddish body branded with black marks just like the orange ones the Great Keeper sported, and several white claws and spikes giving its body an air of outrage and murder. He too roared in anger, calling his brethren to battle.
And then we marched. And they marched. Behind us several streams of water and ice flew over the beach towards the enemy line washing several columns of enemies away, as from beyond the tree line several boulders and bolts of electricity pierced our ranks.
But this all did not matter. We would battle to the end just like we had always done.
Today, only one side shall dine well.
Except for the interesting dreams, my life was mostly dull and devoid of strong emotions and risks. The only times I still felt threatened were the times when one of the humans would get close to me to inspect me, say some things that I didn't understand, and poke me with all kinds of strange objects.
Yes, I know I can do the dizzy light trick, but I no longer resort to it. Without the light, they'd limit themselves to watch me, poke me a couple of times and talk of things that I simply ignore; but with the effects of the light they'd become quite annoying and stupid, stumble on their own legs and somehow just...won't... stop... talking.
One day another Pokémon was introduced in the chamber, and when I saw her for the first time I almost gasped. I was sure this long, serpentine creature, of blue and white rough scales and a massive mouth, was powerful and important in the ranks of the sea, and I felt somehow that she was supposed to be a sister in arms... I just couldn't remember what war it was, or if there was a war any longer. Also one particular thing that was out of place was that she was supposed to be smaller, bulkier, more fish-like, and with red scales to begin with.
The other Pokémon introduced herself as Gyarados and she told me my name was Lileep. I did not like the idea that she was calling me like the human nad names me, but since there was no one else to ask for my name I decidied to simply take it for the moment.
When I asked her about my parents, she simply responded: “Haven't seen them.” I felt something strange in the way she did so I decided to leave that particular question for later.
She talked to me and explained about the things that were happening. She told me that her kind was from my time, which was “too long ago”, and that my kind was somewhere called "museum", which if I understand correctly means they're nowhere to be found, so humans decided to bring one “back” and it turned out to be me. I... I know it sounds complicated, I didn't understand it either.
When I asked how could my kind be back if there were no others of them to begin with, she excused herself saying that she didn't understand how humans could do that, then shrugged the matter off entirely and started talking about how strong, beautiful, vindictive and revered she was and that she had been designated to be my instructor or something. Go figure.
The next days went by with Gyarados explaining me some “basic” things about the world and the humans. She explained me that the scales of different colouration they had on top of their heads was called fur, a different form of hide most land-dwellers had. Also humans spoke a strange common tongue where their words ended in sounds like “a”, “i” and “o” depending on the particular meaning of every word, that some of these words were names for us Pokémon, and that with some training we Pokémon were able to understand them for the most part; but also that for some reason they couldn't understand even the most basic forms of our language unless they underwent extensive training.
She proceeded next to explain that we were in a place called Laboratory, intended for white-hide wearing humans to research the world and do experiments. ”Research” and ”experiments” seem to be the pesky things they do to me, which leaves me to ponder why do they do that stuff to begin with if it is so annoying.
The one human with no white hide, the one who apparently named me, was from outside Laboratory from a place called League, and was here to assist in the work of something called “fossil”; because that was supposed to take a while the human had brought his Pokémon for a ride.
“Why his Pokémon?” I asked. “What does than mean?”
“It means we are his partners. Isn't that obvious?” she replied, with immutable voice, as if was asking something with no significance.
I was feeling confused to the point that when I opened my mouth again to ask why, I could not remember exactly what was the why I wanted to ask. So I took a moment and decided to settle for a simpler question, the one I should have been asked to begin with:
“What kind of creatures are humans anyway?”
Gyarados looked at me and seemed to measure me with her sight. Then she came closer, circling me with her elongated body, and replied: “You're a just-hatched, right? Why aren't you with your parents?”
“I can't find them,” I replied back, feeling my trunk contracting itself as I thought of them, “I can't find any other of my kind.”
“Because they're in museum, I told you. I'll ask around for them anyways,” she answered.
Then she swam away while leaving me with a cryptic message:
“It is a parent's job to teach their offspring about the Pact.”
I wanted to ask more, but she was already gone. I was left alone with my thoughts.
Most of the following encounters I spent eating sea food and thinking what did most of these words such as Pact or Trainer meanwhile she taught me some simple things such as what kind of sea food was edible (as if I didn't know), how to swim (hello? I have roots, if you haven't noticed), where did the light come from (the sun, obvious), what Laboratory was, the day-night shifts the white-hide wearing humans followed, and what other Pokémon looked like. That part, albeit interesting, I didn't get very comfortable with, because from what I could grasp, humans and most of the things I had seen so far outside of the pool indicated a clear dominance of land-dwellers.
Sometimes during the next weeks she also talked about how she had asked other Pokémon about my parents, but no one seemed to ever have seen a Pokémon like me. After those reports she would leave me alone to ponder.
Unfortunately, as I would eventually learn, this lack of information wouldn't last.
The first signal that things were to change happened a particular day I emerged from the pool to the sandy terrain populated by trees. I did not like it, but it had one thing that the depths of my pool lacked: the strong and delicate sunlight coming from the big sun above. Oh, and the gentle and warm wind too, but sunlight is what I care the most when I'm not in my pool.
I picked a good spot to absorb sunlight and was probably distracted enough not to notice that I was invading a land-dweller's terrain. Not that I would have cared anyways: it always felt the right thing to do.
I could feel the energy of the sun penetrating my body, feeding and healing me. I strained my tentacles and stretched my trunk to catch as much of the light as I could before the sun would fade behind the giant walls that protected this place. Meanwhile the soft wind scurried in between my tentacles, carrying strange messages about small creatures up the trees I did not care to decipher.
It was all interrupted when I felt a strong motion course across the ground, as if something big and heavy had set foot in the sandy ground. I opened my eyes and turned my head to the right to look at the large land-dweller that was walking towards me. This one I hadn't seen before. Its overall frame was similar to that of the humans: that is a trunk sustained by two legs and with two branches and a head attached to the top. The entire body, however, was covered by those things called fur, of a white colouration, except in the head where the fur-thing amassed itself in to form a strange reddish protuberance right between the creature's brown mask that circled its eyes.
Unlike the human and other Pokémon I had seen so far, this one had two black and large claws instead of tendrils, both in the branch-ends as well as the lower part of the legs, and the creature could either walk as a two-legged, or as a four-legged by using its branches.
“What are you doing in my territory?” he asked with a ferocious tone as he walked in front of me.
“Bathing in sunlight,” I answered.
The other Pokémon did not take my answer very well, as it suddenly came closer, blocking my sunlight, and thrust one of its branches towards me, the two black and hard claws scratching my head and the force of the impact pushing me backwards. The pain subsided quickly, and I returned my head to its upright position with a soft, elastic move, but I then found my neck trapped between the claws.
“And who said,” the other asked, “that you could take a sunbath in my island?”
I blinked a couple of times, wondering if this Pokémon was stupid or something. Well, right now it just looked like a brute and stupid land-dweller to me.
“I myself, of cour─”
My answer was cut short when I felt a strong impact in the lower part of my head and my body was pushed away by the strong force of the other Pokémon's sudden branch-swipe. My roots held me in place easily, however and I bumped back to my original position but I was careful enough to catch the attacker's branch with two of my tentacles and constrict it as I prepared to spit some acid on him.
“Look, land-dweller," I warned, "I've decided to take the sunlight here. If you attack me you're looking for trouble.”
“This... is... MY ISLAND!” shouted the creature, moving slightly to one side and pointing with his other branch to one of these things called posts that was near the shore, but still leaning enough close enough that its big, furry face dominated my field of vision. “See? It says Vigoroth! Not 'lump-thing'!”
“But you're a land-dweller. If this is your place you should defend it.”
“Yes I shall!” he yelled, surprising me for a moment.
The Pokémon pulled his branch with an incredible strength and got free of my tentacles. Then he roared as he stood upright, trying to intimidate me. I felt in my roots that he was about to dart forward and attack me again, so I pointed four of my tentacles to him and launched some acid. It was too late, however, as the Vigoroth thing moved to the right (his right), crunched and then leapt towards me. In just an instant he had grabbed my neck and head with his two branches. My tentacles were locked and I felt I was in trouble as his white-furred trunk covered my entire head.
“You're out of here!” yelled the Vigoroth as he summoned his strength and tried to pull me off the ground. He had quite an incredible strength: I could feel an intense pain in my stretching neck as if he was literally trying to tear me in half. I could barely see, the pain was making it difficult for me to focus my energy to attack, and no matter how much I resisted the Vigoroth kept pulling, trying to get me off the ground. Slowly I felt my roots tiring out, yet I refused to give up.
I then realised that this land-dweller was attacking me just like the ones in my dream, and that I had to answer, to show dominance... to claim this piece of land as mine for sunbathing. And before I could thing of how to do that, by body started working things out by itself.
I resisted silently, reasoning that if this attacker started feeling tired or uncomfortable he would then get off me for an instant to try another kind of grab. I just had to wait for long enough, and just in case I could get the Vigoroth a little bit away, I started to focus the dizzying light in the tips of my tentacles.
As I suspected, the tension was too much for him to bear. With a sudden growl, he let me go and recoiled back a couple of steps. I could see now that his trunk was more wet and his breathing was strong. He leaned forwards ready to grab me again but I was now ready to counter. I used two of my tentacles to spit some acid forwards, taking care to aim to his sides, causing him to leap even further backwards as I expected.
Before I could release the dizzying light, however, he opened his large mouth and released a powerful and painful scream, a sonic assault I could not protect against. I closed my eyes and swayed my tentacles in pain and when I opened my eyes again, I could see the Vigoroth leaping in mid-air towards me. Then I felt one of his branches hitting the upper part of my head and releasing a strange and powerful energy that shocked my entire body.
I could feel my body spasming, swaying back and forth without control, coursed by an indescribable and almost crippling pain as I had never felt before. It was as if every fiber of my body was being ripped off my body, torn and swung around, and then put back into place, all of them at the same time. I could swear the pain was so intense that it pushed me towards a very beautiful lake surrounded by mist that appeared out of nowhere in my mind. The mist covered a small creature floating above the lake who was dancing, it had an eerily big head covered in a yellow or golden hide, and two tails with small red protuberances at the tips. She was dancing in joy, luring me in...
Somehow my consciousness slowly returned to my body and I realized the roots were still holding me in place, but my body had been thrust backwards and my head was now laying on the ground and firmly pressed against it by the same giant claws that had punished me an instant before.
“Now you're seriously out of here, stupid!” yelled the Vigoroth as he retreated his branch and held it over me, probably readying himself to attack me again.
Something told me that this was my chance, that I could end the battle here if I could just prevent him from attacking altogether... if I could just deprive him of air. Not knowing exactly what I was doing, I hurled myself towards his head, opened my mouth... and literally stuck myself against his face.
Chaos ensued. As he tried to strike my head and neck with his claws and I held his face in my mouth, carefully spraying some acid with my tentacles, the Vigoroth tried to bash me, swaying his head left and right, mumbling something that sounded like “mph mphsf fmpf hfp ff fkng ffmg hmffm mmhmffckmmhm fmmffm!” because his mouth was stuck in mine. I could only see his mouth and nostrils, which was quite disgusting to me but seemed to be even more disgusting to him as he was essentially screaming inside me.
He tried to pull further but I didn't let him go until I felt in my tentacles the energy for the dizzying light was already charged.
A moment after, the Vigoroth was let free and he stumbled backwards, moment that I chose to release the dizziness trick. The idiot just stood there looking at me letting himself be bathed in the soft orange light; and not before long his body assumed a laconic stance, his branches fell and he started looking out in all directions, eyes wide open, and started talking some nonsense about a fruit called Iapapa and how “fluffy” clouds were, whatever that word meant.
Now I only had to charge my energy into a ball to hurl at him and this all would be over, with a little luck I could drag the body to the shoals and digest him over time. I just had to raise my tentacles and charge enough to--
A shrieking noise and a stream of yellow light that impacted close to my body made me stagger, and I had to crawl and turn to the side to see the new intruder.
This time it was the Pokémon that I had seen accompanying the blue-furred human, the land-dweller with yellow fur and antennae on its head. “Leave him alone,” he stated plainly as he walked towards me, “or the next one goes straight to your head.”
I locked my eyes on this Pokémon that had appeared suddenly, thinking whether he wanted to battle me and what things would he be capable to do. Vigoroth had already been surprise enough and this time I was facing an opponent who didn't need to touch me to cause some damage. “It is you, the one with the human,” I told him as I leaned forwards, then I swayed my tentacles as a warning and asked: “What kind of Pokémon are you?”
“I'm Electabuzz,” he stated, “the one in command here.”
“Keep him in check then,” I blunted back while pointing at the aimlessly wandering Vigoroth with one of my tentacles. Electabuzz's vision only briefly darted towards said Pokémon and then he stared back at me with a glint of joy in his face. I could also see a tail swirling behind him and little sparks of electricity surrounding his body so I decided to get ready for another battle.
Electabuzz continued speaking: “Mind you, it takes some work to leave Vigoroth this dumbfounded.” Then he walked closer to Vigoroth and touched him with one of his branches, releasing an electric strike powerful enough to make the white-furred Pokémon to briefly yell in surprise. After a while Vigoroth shook his body, apparently recovered from the effects of my dizzying technique. He shook his bruised branch (the one where Electabuzz had touched him) a couple of times before starting looking in all directions and finally locking his eyes on me.
“That... that thing did something to me!” Vigoroth screamed as he pointed at me and readied himself to charge, “Electabuzz, just give me a moment and I'm gonna beat that thing to a pulp!”
Upon those words I readied myself too, extending my tentacles forward to summon the power necessary to materialize the ball of energy. I was lucky: both of the opposing Pokémon were standing together, and probably I could strike both of them if I was quick enough.
Electabuzz looked back at me and then suggested to his companion: “I'd rather leave him alone, pal.”
“But, but, that...” answered Vigoroth looking at the other Pokémon for a moment, yet never ceasing his pointing at me, “that thing kissed me!”
Electabuz blinked a couple of times, stared at me and then at Vigoroth, and tried to calm him: “Well, if you feel like talking about--”
“No! I'm going to throw him back at his pool!” answered Vigoroth for a final time as he crunched and readied for the next assault. “Now you're going to see...!” He shouted, and I could feel in the ground the pressure from his legs building impulse to leap at me.
I focused further and started materialising the ball of energy. But before I could do anything with it, a tremendously bright yellow light came from where Electabuzz was standing and when I dimmed a bit the power of the energy ball to better see, I could see the body of Vigoroth losing all balance and loudly falling to the ground, legs and branches spread and parts of his fur crackling with electric bolts of energy.
Electabuzz stood to the side motionless. He smiled at me and said: “Now, I guess it's better if the two of us talk alone.”
I felt momentarily shocked and it took a blink to realise I had let the energy of the ball dim too much. I focused in my roots to better sense the vibrations across the ground, and clearly perceived that Vigoroth's were weaker and more irregular. That yellow land-dweller had knocked him unconscious with only one touch.
I was in sea-deep trouble.
“Look, Trainer has allowed you to live with us,” Electabuzz said as he approached me, “so you should at least behave.”
“Trainer?” I asked, “The human with blue spikes?”
“Spikes...?” he repeated, blinking like an idiot (not as much as an idiot as that Vigoroth was, but still). “Yeah, whatever. He,” he continued as he darted past me, “is our Trainer and the one who owns this place.”
I sensed some vibrations from behind. I strained to hear and I recognised the sound of human voices who were approaching towards our place. Three or four of them, most surely the white-hide wearing ones.
“I did not ask to be here,” I replied, as I slowly crawled towards the water, “I can handle myself quite well.”
“That I can see...” replied Electabuzz as he took a quizzical look towards the fallen Vigoroth. Then he started walking closer to me and said: “You can hold your ground, quite literally. And you'll later explain to me that 'kissing' stuff.”
“I was just trying to suffocate him.”
He smiled. “Weird... Look, humans are going to be upset. The scientists, at least...”
I refrained from asking what “scientist” meant, instead I dimmed the energy from my tentacles away and continued crawling towards the water. I was about to reach the shore when I saw the humans looking at us from the other side of the pool. The blue-spiked one was shouting some things, probably to the Electabuzz.
I decided to hurry back to the water, just in case they decided to attack me. But when I was about to submerge I could hear Electabuzz patiently calling at me.
“Lileep, you fought quite well. Maybe you can join us some time?”
“What for?” I asked inquisitively. “Fight?”
I hesitated for a moment, thinking that it might be some sort of foul play. But thinking about the fact that I had been undisturbed for the most part, I decided that maybe their intentions were not bad, it was just that the Vigoroth was stupid.
So I looked back, dropping my tentacles as to indicate that I meant no harm, and asked: “And you'll tell me what the Pact is?”
Electabuzz stared at me for a while before answering with a surprised tone: “Haven't your parents taught you?”
I ignored his empty answer and slowly returned to my realm. The whole fight felt quite good but I needed to eat and rest.
From the shallow side of the pool I could still see the humans staring at me as I walked my way to the depths of the pool.
If I wanted to find answers I needed the help of another Pokémon, one who would actually know me beforehand and would not answer my questions by asking back. But where was I to find such an individual?
To Be Continued...
July 6th, 2009 (7:52 PM).
Okay, I’m here with a review!
Now, I don’t usually like reading Pokemon fanfics (don’t know why), but I found myself really enjoying how Lileep sees the world it was brought into. I thought how you described the humans without just saying ‘arms and legs’ really clever and creative. I’m also really curious at the contents of ‘The Pact’ and how Lileep will finally discover it.
The one thing that threw me was Lileep using Energy Ball (since they learn it at level 50), but then I realized Lileep was fighting in the war between Kyogre and Groudon so it would probably be at a pretty high level or something like that.
Though, the one thing that bothers me is Lileep living in water and being under Kyogre’s rule. Lileep is a rock / grass type, so wouldn’t it be more suited for a land environment?
Anyways, I quite enjoyed your story and hope you’ll write more soon. Keep up the good work!
July 9th, 2009 (1:33 PM).
I'm interested to see how you handle the battle, seeing as Cradily (*crosses fingers*) doesn't seem to understand human language. Hmm.
Your flashback is good, but it's very colloquial. I know I said I wasn't going to mention it, but . . . there's not much else to comment on, except to say that you communicated the feeling of apprehension rather well.
So we get the idea that Lileep knows Acid, Energy Ball, Constrict, and Confuse Ray. I like how you brought that up, but perhaps all the italicising was unnecessary.
I just have to say I like your dream sequence. It's very vivid and . . . believable. And this whole 'Great Keeper' and 'Horrible Beast of the Grounds' (does it need that 's'? It sounds like the grounds of a property.) business reeks of Kyogre and Groudon.
I am really liking your pre-battle sequence. You use words with positive and negative connotations for Kyogre and Groudon, respectively, which leaves me no doubt that Lileep believes he/she/it/cookie is firmly in the right.
What was that suction attack, by the way? Was it Constrict, something else, or just improvisation on Lileep's part?
Anyway, overall I found this story excellent. A few mistakes, but nothing majorly painful. The best part would have to be your use of the five senses, and I suggest you improve on your indirect questions. I now see that the colloquialism was designed to come into play as Lileep slowly becomes more and more familiar with its environment, am I right? Anyway, excellent job, and I'll be back for the continuation!
July 9th, 2009 (4:03 PM).
Thanks, Dagzar and Sparkling Dragon for reviewing. Remember to claim your cookies later. Thanks for explaining the thing about indirect questions, SD, I had not noticed I was having quite some troubles with that.
Now, as to answer the reviews and explain some things that may have been left pending:
You're right, people, in that it is Lileep/Cradily who brings to us this perspective. The way the narration is performed, SD, states that it is a Lileep who is born, but if you read carefully the first paragraphs in "Human", it is a Cradily whom the human speaks to: a hidden statement that the Pokémon has evolved. That may have been the reason you were confused with the neck tentacles, SD: Cradily's tentacles extend from the base of the neck, whereas Lileep's radiate (sp?) from the mouth membrane. I may have to reword the description later, but I am happy you had no further trouble getting the picture.
I tried to make a point in that for those savvy enough the description up to "Touch" would be enough; otherwise "Human" kinda settles some practical description for both the speaker and the human.
Task #1, then: recheck the strength of description, JIC.
About the coloquialism, SD, I'll try to fix that: maybe I let myself grow too much in the "directness" of the description. Also I'd expect any creature to have a certain understanding of filiar relations enough to grasp the idea of an "Uncle", the more considering that Cradily has been around by the time he makes that statement. As for "weird", I'll definitively correct that. I have to look for another word.
Actually, now that I think about it, maybe you people would find more realistic a "soldier"-like approach. He was fighting a war after all, and he was not exactly in the commanding positions.
The colloquialism can stay later in the story as Lileep(Cradily) becomes more used to its new environment, but now I share the opinion that I introduced it too soon.
Task #2, then: remove colloquialism. Explore a more strict or frugal way of expression.
I kinda spent my creativity (of which I don't exactly have much) in the war flashback, since I wanted it to sound very vividly and at the same time very natural and apalling to Cradily. Some of it will be explored later.
About the Trainer naming Lileep, you are right SD, the problem is that I forgot to state that Gyarados doesn't know that. She only knows Lileep was given that name. I am pleased that you liked the aspect of Gyarados' personality I explored, although I feel is kinda cliché...
I also took note of the slipped "to"s and "if"s and will address them when I start reworking the matter of the indirect questions. I'll do more research on it to make sure that I a doing it wrong right next time, and thanks for making these mistakes stand out SD.
Now, on descriptions, I'll take advice and rework those of both Electabuzz and Vigoroth. I didn't expect anyone to recognize Vigoroth anyway since I somehow found a lot of trouble to describe him - I'm more experienced in describing bug-like or reptile-like creatures... I can't believe I was so vague with the description and forgot that Zangoose is very much alike in body build.
Task #3, then: improve descriptions of other Pokémon.
Task #4, then: work indirect questions.
Task #5, then: do F***ING something with my commas!
To discuss more on the plot and setting now...
I can only hope it makes sense. I took a more scientific approach to cloning, instead of the idea of a "fossil revivification". No Phoenix Down/Max Revive/magical revivification, just a sort of biological reconstruction. I was inspired by The Fifth Element but I'd rather forget that now...
For example, consider how Grass-types would be expected to have a plant-like cellular structure that, seem from our RL world, would allow them to store and process energy, and in particular their typed energy, at individual cellular level; whereas Fire-types are expected (and stated as) to have a "dedicated" Fire/Energy organ or sac. The same way, Lileep's and Anorith's means of motion is much closer to the stereotype of Grass-types (stems, cirria and the such) and Bug-types (multiple legs, longitudinal body symmetry) than, let's say, Water types. Looking back to "before" the fossilization process one would expect Lileep's and Anorith's ancestors to have had a natural typing of Water/Grass and Water/Bug, respectively. The Rock type may be a result of the (de)fossilization process or because of natural hardening (they fought God wars you know), but I decided to forgo that exploration to avoid unnecessarily complicating matters.
Compare, by the way, Shieldon and Aerodactyl's particular type combinations and RL inspirations.
Also, Bulbapedia says Lileep is shown to be able to move out of water, but since I've never seen the episode I can only figure out from their natural behaviour in water and use the "they're Pokémon after all, hey are supposed to be awesome" approach to stretch it further enough with some level of plausability.
Enough with the pseudo-Pokémon-scientific mumbo jumbo! I hope noe of you were bored to death with my explaining, I just wanted to make clear that I am not trying hat-rabbits, ass-pulls or anything of that kind of nature.
All in all, I thank you both for taking the time to review and being patient enough to made clear what you liked, what you didn't and why. I'm working on these issues and I will of course continue this story.
It may be worth mentioning that the first post almost broke the character limit; if I am to improve descriptions or something that lengthens the chapter, it's most likely I'll be moving the Instinct section to the next post before posting new material.
Thanks for all the recommendations and the trust.
July 12th, 2009 (7:44 PM). Edited July 13th, 2009 by icomeanon6.
I've really enjoyed what you've written so far. By limiting the narration to the knowledge of an extinct Pokemon, you do a good job of preventing the description from being stale and generic. Because it takes a little thinking to discern what's being described, it's far more interesting than most other fanfics I've read.
In other reviews, it seems one of the main complaints was the colloquialism. I didn't think it was too bad a problem in and of itself. In fact, I'd say it helps establish Lileep/Cradily's personality. The only real problem with it is the sudden switch from narration that was more serious and analytical. In your response to the earlier reviews, you say that you might have introduced it too soon. On the contrary, I think you might also solve the problem by introducing colloquial speech at the very beginning. I think the only issue here is consistency. If played right, the informal speach can come across as entirely intentional, as opposed to being a flub.
And one more thing:
Good job so far. I'm looking forward to future installments, and seeing how you handle any revisions.
My chapter fics:
Kanto: The Disputed Frontier - Indefinite hiatus // Gary Stu's Unpredictable Adventure - Complete // New: Digimon Campaign - 15 chapters posted out of 17
There's Always Tomorrow (SWC 2009) // A Matter of Stubbornness (SWC 2010) // Left by the Roadside (SWC 2011 1st place) //
Giovanni Destroys the World and Everything in It (2012) // By What Right? (SWC 2013 1st place) // Back in the Day (SWC 2014 1st place) //
Dad's Old Gym (SWC 2016 2nd place)
Family (kind of?): Strange person who calls me strange names
If the pen is mightier than the sword, the keyboard is mightier than the ICBM.
July 19th, 2009 (3:35 PM).
Thanks for the review and recommendation, icomeanon6. As per your and S.D.'s review, I've taken care to rework the coloquialism to a level of "mere informality" at the beginning and then "afable bluntness" in the next parts.
Anyways, here I am with the second part. Took me long enough, I had some particular troubles with the description of... certain characters. Now our little friend Lileep will get his hands tentacles on a particular method to learn about humans. Also the other Pokémon partners of this Trainer guy, as well as his actual role in all of this, are better introduced.
In this part I try to take a fun and not necessarily canon approach to certain characters of the Pokémon mythology, for the sake of making Lileep's impressions more fun and surprising. I hope you enjoy this.
And yes, I know, it's long. That's how I write. Remember there's a Quick Navigation so that you don't get tired (of me ).
March, slow and unstoppable. March, sibling left and right, brethren short behind.
Follow the waves that make our home, brand the shoals with our mark.
It took me some time to notice and it made me very sad, that life was becoming harsher on me. Probably it was because I fought that Vigoroth, or because I refused Electabuzz's offer. Probably it was because all of a sudden the weather changed, and for a very long time there was only rain, strong wind, and barely any sunlight over the humans' land.
Being the only Lileep here has some complications. Although the water chamber is very large and has plenty of places to hide, and is populated by all sorts of food such as fishes, eels and the occasional Feebas, the fact remains that I could only camouflage for some time before the fishes realized my presence: I was simply too singular to miss. Also I had pretty much no one to talk to. There was a small red creature with pincers who introduced herself as Krabby and her family from another pool, but they were too young and most of the time they would simply talk to each other until their mother came for them.
Gyarados? She wouldn't stop talking about herself, what she could do, what humans thought of her, why she was such a good instructor, where her pupils were now, and so on.
I could not call to my siblings or parents for company.
I got more and more bored as the days passed, with only the emotion of the occasional hunt and the perpetual annoyance of the humans peaking at the chamber, looking at me and taking notes. Sometimes they entered the water and would put up some strange devices over their faces that would allow to breathe underwater. After the whole Vigoroth incident they became more pesky when approaching me or pointing at me with their devices. When there were lots of them they would attach a small device to my neck that would cause me pain every time I tried to spit acid.
All in all, I was feeling too constrained here so one night I decided that the next morning I would go out and take a crawl to wherever I got to go.
As my exit point I chose the same shallow area where Gyarados usually rested. From there I reached a small island, similar to that of Vigoroth's but populated by small reddish land creatures resembling eels with small pointy legs instead of fins, that would crawl around just like me but also climb to the trees. They chatted, ate and never seemed to notice me, so I crawled past them and reached a structure made of dried tissue that connected this island to the next. Unlike the soft tickles that the sand gave to my roots, the new brown-coloured tissue felt quite rough, it was kinda spiky, and smelt like dead. I rushed to leave it behind.
By the time I reached the next island the sun was high but covered by clouds, so there was a din light bathing everything and I could see a lot of particular creatures. They could also see me and after they noticed my presence they sort of welcomed me. They had round bodies, covered in blue and white, and had very thin tails with a round tip that bounced behind them like a toy of some sort. These creatures were quite childish and instantly surrounded me while looking at me and yelling things like “Hello!”, “Who are you?” and “Food?”, showing no sign of fear.
I took a glance at one of them and asked: “Who are you?”
“Marill!” answered all of them at unison, as they started hopping around and cheering as if I had said some sort of joke. Then one of them came closer and asked: “And who are you?”
“Lileep,” I answered.
Now that put them in a frenzy. They started leaping around, playing with their tails and shooting water our of their mouths as the ones closer to me danced around happily chanting: “Lileep, Lileep!”. Some of them would play chasing each other and some others would form large arcs by standing in a row and touching the tail of the next Marill in line. Then some other Marill would leap back and forth the Pokémon-made fence.
I decided that they were too feisty to stand around them for long and started crawling away, but they followed me dancing and chanting loud enough that after a while my head started to hurt.
Thankfully I left them behind when I took to the water and swam around the island looking for another exit, paying no attention to the different creatures around me.
I had almost circled the island when I noticed something yellow walking in the water below me. I got a bit surprised since I had assumed that water creatures could only crawl or swim, so I anchored myself to the floor of the island and took a closer look. I saw Electabuzz walking inside some sort of translucent and hollow root that sprouted from the island floor and stretched to the walls of the Laboratory beyond. A small creature, a green and yellow four-legged with a small tail was following behind. I was bit by curiosity as I was again surprised that land-dwellers would walk around underwater or that I could see them from outside the root.
I floated down to the thick root, this time anchoring myself to the structure and following Electabuzz and his companion from above. Once we reached the great walls I lost them because the root seemed to extend beyond to the other side of the walls, so I decided to emerge again and see if I could trace them from there.
When I reached the surface I found myself crawling over a strange kind of soil. It was plain and a bit grainy, but not in the same way sand of the rocks were. It was also full of colours, mostly red and yellow, forming strange patterns that I could not decipher. I inspected this soil with my roots – it felt as if it was formed of countless small tendrils that would brush against me as I crawled forward. I noticed that the walls were rocky and had a particularly strong smell like that of the sandy beaches. I followed the red and yellow patterns until I found a point where this soil split in two.
Decisions, decisions... I didn't know where I was nor where was I headed, so I simply took left.
Not much further ahead I found myself facing three possible choices. I took quick glances to each of the three paths and decided to keep going ahead, because it kept the red tendrily soil whereas the left and right paths were darker and it looked like they had a wet soil.
The road was long and it seemed that I would get nowhere for the time being, but after I don't know how long I noticed that the ceiling was now illuminated as well, with strange protrusions that emerged from the ceiling and split in three small bright-yellow branches, each one ending in some sort of small sun. In exchange, the orange lights from the walls were now gone.
Not much further, the ceiling and the walls were suddenly gone as well. But on further inspection I realized that they weren't gone: they had simply moved far – quite far.
I was now in an incredibly ample space. The floor, the walls and the ceiling were made of a plain material that looked and felt rocky, but had nothing of the roughness I had associated with the rocks so far; in fact, it felt kinda slippery to my roots, and by the way the vibrations in the floor reached my body it seemed this floor was made of several identical boulders literally glued together. I stretched my tentacles and looked up, noticing the several small suns that were literally hanging from above. Close to the suns, four pillars emerged from the ceiling and plunged down the ground, closer to the corners of this giant chamber.
I felt a twist in one of my tentacles, a current of air coming from my left, and I turned to see. Close to the back of the chamber and surrounded by two pillars and strange floating red hides that waved with the soft wind there was a pedestal, and on top of it, Trainer himself.
Quite surprised I turned towards him and approached, but stopped after a moment when I realized none of his vibrations were reaching me. The floor was telling me there was nothing there, no heartbeat, no breathing, no twitching or trembling that would reveal his presence, yet there he stood before me, on top of the pedestal. A bit worried, I circled around and approached slowly, closer and closer, and when I finally reached close enough to perceive the texture of his body I realized there was something very strange going on.
It was him, I was sure: the spiky fur on top of his head, the branches (Gyarados had explained me they were called “arms”) were bent in such a way that they held a strange plaque, he was covered in a set of hides, and he was looking kinda to the ceiling. But he was completely motionless and not only his body but also his hides seemed to be glued together and covered in a dull greyish tone.
I approached slowly and stretched my tentacles to touch him, expecting that he would move and I could sense something. I darted cautiously and felt my body shivering for a moment before my tentacle finally made contact with one of his legs.
Whatever had happened to him, he had become a stone image of himself.
I retreated and examined the figure more closely. Had he been turned into stone during a battle? Where were Electabuzz and the others? What was he holding and why his body seemed so big with those hides? Why was he standing on top of a pedestal--
I moved closer again and examined the pedestal Trainer was standing over. I noticed several symbols I could not decipher, forming some kind of message. Some of them looked familiar to me, but I couldn't exactly understand why. Further examination of the pedestal revealed the drawing of a rectangular object with three circles inside in a vertical line, one of them resembling a sun, but I could not understand their meaning.
Thinking about the pedestal and the message, I focused and tried to think what could the strange symbols mean. Something inside my head ticked when I surmised that not only the symbols seemed to follow a specific pattern, but also that when I closed my eyes and tried to picture them again, I would get strange and not very comforting images of one-eyed creatures of different shapes, coming from the abysses of light. Whatever that meant, I decided that the symbols should have a relation to the images I could see in my mind.
I started to move away when I felt an approaching motion behind me. It seemed to be a large creature followed by a smaller, four-legged creature. I remembered Electabuzz and his mysterious partner and sure enough, as I turned around I could clearly distinguish the yellow and black-stripped fighter walking towards me, with the small yellow-and-green land-dweller following close.
“Lileep?” Electabuzz asked as he showed his fangs, “What are you doing here?”
“Taking a crawl,” I answered dully, thinking whether he would try to fight me. I noticed the small creature looked at me for a while, lowered its head and then hid behind Electabuzz. “Look, I'm not trying to eat anyone here.”
“He was like this when I found him,” I explained as I leaned my head back and pointed to Trainer with one of my tentacles.
Electabuzz simply leaned forwards, looked at me for a moment, and then rushed towards Trainer, asking: “Did something happen to the statue?” He circled Trainer and started examining him, his tail swirling and his eyes darting up and down for a while, until he turned back at me, crossed his arms and said: “But there's nothing wrong here.”
“Wrong?” I said. I heard the small creature wincing close to me, he was apparently scared of me and was slowly moving away, trying to keep distance or maybe trying to reach Electabuzz. I didn't care so I turned to Electabuzz again and asked: “But what about the stone?”
“Oh yes,” he explained smiling: “it's a beautiful piece of art, don't you think?”
Electabuzz stared at me for a moment, blinking, and opened his mouth but said nothing. I waved my body inquiring him about that, and then he said: “You... you actually thought this was Trainer, right?”
I nodded. In response, he started laughing for a while, but stopped himself shortly after. He made a motion to me and the small creature to my side to approach him and then turned back to face Trainer.
“This is a statue, Lileep. An image built of stone to commemorate out Trainer.”
“He's gone to retrieve a new Pokémon.”
I moved forwards slowly. The small yellow-and-green creature rushed past me and sat alongside Electabuzz, taking cautious looks back at me every once in a while. Its white eyes and pointy snout made me remember some land-dwellers I had seen in my dreams, who were bigger, blue, with striking pointy yellow fur, and attacked my kind with pulses of electricity.
As I moved to Electabuzz's left, he explained to me: “This is a yearling Electrike. I have to babysit her while her dad is sick. Kela,” he added as he turned back to the small creature, “say 'hi' to Lileep.”
Cue the small creature pushing herself closer to Electabuzz and grabbing his tail. He seemed to be quite annoyed but said nothing to her, instead he just turned at me and stated with a hesitant growl: “Sorry. Her family doesn't go out much.”
Electabuzz looked up to the statue, knelt besides the pedestal and looked back at us. “I can explain these symbols, if you like,” he offered.
“These words here,” he began as he pointed towards the larger row of symbols, composed of two sets, “is his name among the humans. This name he was born with. And those words below,” he continued, moving his arm a bit lower towards a larger row of symbols, “is the name this land gave to him.”
“The land?” I inquired. I was promptly cut off by a soft and inquiring growl from the yearling Kela as she tried to stick herself to Electabuzz again. I waved my tentacles in annoyance.
“The people of this continent-- come on, Kela, he's not going to eat you... gave him this name: 'CHAMPION'. It means he is the most important among humans in this land, and that we,” he explained as he pointed at himself with his free arm, “the Pokémon who stick with him, are the strongest, fastest and smartest of our kind.”
“'Champion',” I repeated. “sounds like he is superior to everyone else.”
“In a way, yes.”
“Do you mean humans fight each other?”
“No,” he answered, “we serve humans and fight for them.”
“That-- that's ridiculous,” I countered. It made no sense to me. I noticed the small yearling looking at me and at Electabuzz as if she could not understand a thing. I ignored her and continued: “Why would we serve them? Can't they solve their own issues?”
“Because that is how it works,” he explained as he approached me. He tilted his head and said in a slightly unnerving tone: “That is our Pact, period.”
“But wouldn't that mean you're better? You're stronger and faster, the human does not even actually fight, right?”
For an answer, Electabuzz shook his head, raised his arm and released some electric sparks. The small creature by her side howled in admiration while I remained silent expecting his next words.
“I'm just the best,” Electabuzz stated. “The last time I was in a real battle I took down thirty-eight enemies by myself. Sea creatures, tree-climbers, living boulders, you name it.” After that he straightened his posture and lowered his arm. He continued: “Ravir is the one who has taught and trained me, however, that's why he is Champion.”
“Ravir?” I asked. “Is that his human name?”
Electabuzz blinked for a couple of times and then he nodded. “That it is. I'm the only one allowed to speak it,” he growled at us, “so forget about it now.”
“And how about the Pact?” I asked taking the opportunity to finally get some information of value to me. “Why did we make such pact with them?”
“We didn't. The Gods did. They said,” he explained, this time directing his attention to the yearling at my side, “that we would serve humans and help them live at peace with nature, and in exchange they would care for us and lead us to glory.”
“Glory?” inquired the yearling. “Is that important?”
“It is,” Electabuzz answered. “Glory is when others around you appreciate you for being the strongest, the fastest, the smartest. You will be a Manectric one day, kid, and if you battle well alongside your human there will be one day a statue of him. That will be your glory.” Upon those words the kid showed her content by roaring with pleasure. “As for you,” Electabuzz continued this time addressing me, “my offer stands, just in case you want some of it glory, too.”
“Thanks, but not for the time being, thanks,” I replied, then I waited a moment and blurted out the first question that came to my head: “Was nature in trouble?”
“What do you mean?”
“Was she damaged? Why the humans take care of her, I mean?”
“Dunno,” Electabuzz answered with obvious hesitation as he shrugged and moved closer. “Life's always a bit harsh, but I don't remember anything about huge calamities or something in the past. For the most part we live... well.”
“Calamity?” inquired the four-legged kid, essentially robbing me of my next question.
“That means a huge disaster. Something that threatens existence for all of us, maybe?”
“Don't like it,” roared the kid shaking her head. “I like taking a nap with my dad.”
Electabuzz approached the kid and patted her in the head, their bodies releasing some sparks upon contact. “Don't worry,” he said, “We've never faced that kind of disaster.”
I noticed a faint trepidation in his voice and some sort of uneasiness coming from him as he stated those words. I wondered if he was hiding something, but the soothing breathing of the kid (and remembering that Electabuzz had knocked out Vigoroth with only his touch) convinced me to leave that question for another time.
“And if something were to happen,” he stated as if to complete his train of thought and calm himself, “I'm sure the Gods would do something.”
“I see... I was worried about nothing then,” I mumbled. Then I turned around and started crawling away. “I'll be going back to my pool then,” I said as a goodbye.
“Right,”Electabuzz answered. “Remember that--”
“I know, I know,” I interrupted him as I kept crawling away. “Offer, battles, conversation. I'l think about if if I get more bored.”
I left and silently wandered around, trying to find the way back to the pool. Not that it was difficult with the red-and-yellow patterns in the ground, but it was still quite a lengthy task.
By the time I made it back to my chambers it was night and I was tired. And a bit more confused.
Whatever the Pact said, it linked humans and Pokémon. We were supposed to serve them and in accordance, if I understood correctly, they would serve nature. What was the purpose of it? I had only seen a couple of Pokémon in my life, but between Gyarados, Electabuzz and Vigoroth I was quite sure that we Pokémon were better prepared to serve nature. We were born for Her.
Besides, if there was any truth in my dreams, there was no way humans could have survived for too long. The Great Keeper and the Beast reshaped the world as they fought. What were humans supposed to do against that? Against us?
Had humans do something bad in the past? Was this Pact a sort of penitence for them?
Why weren't we allowed to live freely and serve nature?
And why would be the Gods staying away from this?
I felt something strange with all this story. Had I overlooked something? Had everyone overlooked something? Maybe it was that I had had no one to explain me and thus it seemed too weird for me. But trying to disregard my discomfort this way only made me feel more miserable.
I decided not to have dinner tonight.
The next couple of days I spent exploring the other islands I could reach from my chamber. I had some unfriendly encounters with their inhabitants when I tried to eat them or when they sensed I was invading their territory.
Most of the inhabitants of these islands were quite weaker than Vigoroth, although that didn't mean I had it easy. It took me almost two weeks of effort until I managed to lure a small Pokémon with several legs and a long tail ended in a kind of spear, away from its group, beat it up and drag it to the shoals to eat it.
One strange thing happened one night when I was about to crawl to my chambers from the Marill island. I heard a voice calling my name and when I turned back I saw a small Pokémon with two legs and a pointy snout carrying a small brown object as he walked towards me.
“Are you Lileep?” he asked.
“Who wants to know?” I retaliated, just in case.
“PokémonEx Services. There's a package for a Lileep here.”
I titled my head and nodded. The other Pokémon opened the object he was carrying, which was some sort of bag, made of brown and elastic hide, and produced a large rock with symbols on it.
“This was sent for you,” he said as he handed the object to me. I held the object with my tentacles, muttered a thanks, and saw the small Pokémon leaving and shouting “Grovyle? An urgent message for a Ms. Grovyle?” every once in a while. I waited until the sound of his voice faded in the distance before resuming my crawling.
I wondered what this was about and, remembering I was holding the rock, held it closer to my face. It was marked with symbols I could easily recognize.
“Uxie's Quick Guide to Humans' Communication”, it read.
Uxie? Quick Guide? I skimmed down the rock to get a quick glimpse of the rock's subject.
“In this Fourth Edition: Diamond and Pearl, knowledge master and guarder Uxie offers the readers with the most interesting strategies and secrets to understand humans' expressions and rituals, their vocal and body language, and the most recent variations on their informal speech.
“Avid readers may be interested in the Platinum Edition, which includes two exclusive appendixes: 'Clothing and Hair Style of Evil Teams' and 'The Six Vocal Meanings of the Dreaded «Dodge»'.”
Interesting, I said to myself. Had someone figured out that I needed a quick tour on humans? I wondered if it was Electabuzz or Gyarados who sent this to me, but the strange wording and the ancient symbols made me reconsider that, if I could understand them, probably humans couldn't and their Pokémon wouldn't have to (or would have to lie about it).
I read a bit further and noticed a note running at the edge of the rock. I tilted the rock so that I could better read it:
“Exclusive copy for use by MJV·KORPUS., not to be disclosed to any Pokémon or human.”
“To any”? Not “to anyone but the owner” or “to any other Pokémon or human”? So I was not supposed to have received this?
I could only hope that the “KORPUS”, whoever it was, would not come back to retrieve it, yes?
I was too tired to try and think about what was going on, so I dragged the rock with me and hid it underwater close to the Vigoroth island, in a spot I could easily check should anything happen.
The “guide” thing turned out to be quite useful. From it I learned some more things about humans when the blue-spiked one returned from his leave. He was quite friendly towards me, unlike the white-hide wearing ones. He even brought food.
I learnt to recognize some of his voice and body patterns and their meaning. I already knew “Lileep” was the humans' name for me. I also managed to identify the sounds humans use for “food” and “water”, among others which were very easy to pick up. Electabuzz was right: once I could learnt the sounds that had similar terminations I could more easily identify the objects he was talking about.
I also learned about their body communication. The end of their arms humans call “hands”, for example, which sounds simple and practical to remember. And hands are very important for them. For example, when a human wants to acknowledge that he has met another, they'll clamp their right hands together, or on occasion the left ones. When they take one of their tendrils to their nostrils and stick it inside, it means they think no one is looking at them. The guide also explained the tendril-up gesture indicating pride or success, and a similar but completely opposite one when they stuck their thick tendril facing down, which means they completely disapprove of what is going on. Humans also press that tendril against a special device that beeps and seems to be yet another form of identification, like the hides (which, by the way, are called “clothes”). That thick tendril is quite nifty to have around it seems.
There was also a particular combination consisting of a sound that was like “Ey” and a waving of their hands that they used as a manner of salutation. I made it a custom to always answer to that particular salutation from Trainer by raising and waving one of my tentacles the same way he waves his arm. He seemed to like it.
One day while I was testing my ability to crawl up walls (something quite hard to do), I sensed a particular vibration coming from the other side. It was a violent wave, similar to the ones I felt in the ground when I fought Vigoroth, but had a strange element added to it that I could not clearly identify. It felt similar to the way it felt when I tried to charge power for the green energy ball, but the waves coming from afar seemed to somehow carry this same energy with them.
Deciding it could be useful to see what was going on, I turned ways and crawled my way towards the open space that seemed to be the origin of the vibrations. As I approached the place, I could hear the voices of several Pokémon, Electabuzz among them, who seemed to be shouting instructions or berating each other.
Curiosity was too much to resist so I made a final leap from the wall to one tree and climbed down. I got down the tree and found Electabuzz was there to welcome me, he must have spotted me while I crawled across the wall.
He led me to the rest of the group, at least twelve Pokémon, most of them surrounding the blue-spiked human while he was shouting instructions to two specific Pokémon who were battling at a clear. I didn't care that the others stared at me every once in a while, I ignored them as I saw the two Pokémon in the battlefield attack each other. The human looked at me for a while but then kept shouting words at the Pokémon.
After some time, the human would point his tendril at another Pokémon who would stand up and enter the fray as the losing Pokémon left to rest. I saw several shifts and remained silent while the other Pokémon would shout their suggestions at the combatants in pretty much the same way the human did, only with more... spirit:
“With the other leg!” shouted a small two-legged creature with strange multicoloured scales and a pointy brown snout as he flapped his wide and flat arms: “You have to hit her from the right!”
“Watch out, Lotad, he's right abo--” shouted Vigoroth, stopping himself and wincing after we all saw a tremendous jet of flames engulf a small Pokémon with a big flat plant on top of its head. “That's going to leave a nasty burn...”
“Come on, Kirlia!” yelled another Pokémon, a strange black orb with a face who was floating all around us and loudly laughing at the battles: “That's not going to work, he has slept enough!”
After a while this floating Pokémon was called into battle. Upon command from the human, he seemed to disappear somehow, and the water attacks from its opponent simply went through him without hitting or making any sort of damage. That was a nice trick. I was also surprised by how easily could this Pokémon perform the green ball attack: he opened his mouth and in just an instant the green ball was projected away and knocked his already tired opponent, a two-legged beast with brown fur who had a ring drawn on its torso, unconscious to the ground.
The battles continued for a while and I paid some attention to the ones who used lightning bolts and green balls to defeat their opponents. The Pokémon who were not fighting kept cheering the ones who were.
“Who the...” shouted Electabuzz at my side, “tries to captivate a Lunatone?”
All the while I was looking at the combatants attack each other by flailing, tackling, shouting leaves, sparks and flames, calling them names, strike poses and even faking being tired or hurt. Some times one of the Pokémon would go into the ground and I could follow their movement with my roots, and other times one of them would detach themselves from the ground and float in the air, making it difficult for me to follow their movement.
What impressed me the most was the incredible resilience most of these Pokémon had.
Suddenly I heard the name of Electabuzz being shout from the mouth of the human. Electabuzz stood up, look back at us, made a gesture similar to the humans when they stick up their thick tendril and said: “Now you're learning how this game is played, kids!”
He leapt to the arena as another Pokémon that looked like a blue turtle with a brown shell painfully took seat close to the so-called Kirlia.
In front of Electabuzz stood a land-dweller with two legs, a purple body covered with bruises, a tremendous jaw with two large teeth-looking protrusions rising almost to the line of the eyes, and flattened ears. Its dull-white eyes were fixated in Electabuzz and its thick and short tail was waving in the same way Electabuzz's was. The two contestants were staring at each other and most of the other Pokémon suddenly got silent.
I assumed that the human was to command Electabuzz, which he did. With the first command, Electabuzz channeled energy through his hands, making them glow white, and started running towards his opponent who let out a tremendous burst of flames. Before he could move aside Electabuzz was hit by the flames, but he kept dashing forwards and then leapt high to release a strong hit to the ground right behind the opponent who managed to dodge by jumping the direction Electabuzz was coming from.
With the next series of commands, Electabuzz held his still glowing hand high and started running towards the opponent, who charged against Electabuzz too head first, knocking him out of the way. That didn't discourage him, however, and Electabuzz rolled back and dashed to connect a strong hit in the opponent's leg, with the opponent releasing a very angry growl at that move.
After that more commands came by and the two Pokémon tried to hit each other several times, Electabuzz mostly working with his hands whereas the opponent, who Kirlia had named Granbull, tried to knock him away with his head or pierce him by jumping and diving at him head-first with those jaws.
Suddenly a particular order came from the human which made Electabuzz stop in place and put up a face like he was trying to concentrate on a hard problem. I stiffened my trunk and sensed his muscles tensing and his energy building. At the same time, however, a strong vibration came through the ground and I saw the Granbull thing punch the ground with such a strength that a cloud of dust covered him for an instant. I felt movement in my roots and as the dust dissipated he was no longer there – he was making his way to Electabuzz from under the ground.
I looked at Electabuzz, who seemed very confused at the disappearance of his opponent: he was turning his sight left and right and his legs didn't move even a bit. I found it strange that he was having such trouble to locate his opponent when I could clearly see in my head the Granbull stopping about three body lengths to the left and four below Electabuzz and stretching his arms. I also sensed a strange energy flowing from the underground Pokémon and focusing in the locus of his chest, in pretty much the same way I would build up the green ball.
Electabuzz seemed to pick up the vibrations from the ground and stared at the position on the ground right over Granbull, and with the next command from the human he raised his arm and tail and started building energy around them. Then I felt Granbull digging his way upwards in a strange fashion: quick swirling movements and caving a tunnel too wide for him to strongly launch himself against the electric Pokémon. As Electabuzz suddenly crouched on the ground and charged more energy in his hand, I realized Granbull's tactic was similar to my own.
“It's a trap!” I shouted. “He will stay down and launch energy!”
The others, of course, looked back at me. The human did too, although I don't think he understood a thing about what I said. Electabuzz leered at me very briefly and then took an incredible jump, and high in the air he clamped his hands together and channeled a kind of pink-glowing energy to them.
The ground below Electabuzz shattered releasing several small rocks and a cloud of smoke. My roots registered Granbull barely popping out of the hole and projecting a small, pulsating energy ball with his hands upwards to attack Electabuzz, but the airborne Pokémon was now ready to retaliate. As the energy ball emerged from the cloud and reached to Electabuzz, he yelled and hit it with his now glowing hands, returning it to the sender. The ball impacted somewhere down the cloud and I could now feel Granbull's body painfully hitting the edge of the tunnel.
Electabuzz swirled his entire body, concentrated the energy in his tail, and plunged head first towards the smoke. We all felt the tremendous shock and heard a painful scream, and when the smoke finally dissipated, Electabuzz was carrying Granbull by the tail towards the group.
The human seemed concerned and walked towards the pair, spoke some words to Electabuzz that made him put up a strange, amused face, and took the fallen Granbull. Electabuzz shaked his hands with some of the other Pokémon who had gone to him, leaving him and the human surrounded. Meanwhile, Vigoroth approached at me and before I could raise my tentacles to defend myself, he said:
“That was a good tip... I didn't know you could see things in the ground.”
“It's pretty easy,” I answered. “I can feel anything that's heavy and moves in the ground.”
“I'll take that into consideration for our rematch,” he replied.
“What was the pink light, anyway? He bounced back the energy with a swift move.”
“Don't know, but he learnt it from a Medicham,” Vigoroth replied as he pointed at another Pokémon, very thin in appearance, who was talking to the floating laugh-ball. “Now, if you excuse me...”
Vigoroth left to climb a tree while Electabuzz left the side of the human, who produced some small spherical devices and pointed them towards each Pokémon. A small beam of light erupted from the spheres and it made the Pokémon literally melt into the light and disappear. I was about to jump in and attack (or, more likely, to turn roots and try to crawl away), but when I saw Electabuzz' tranquil face I calmed down.
The human and Electabuzz came closer to me and the human started talking. I couldn't understand much except some simple sounds, so I shrunk my trunk and waved my tentacles, prompting Electabuzz to translate.
“He was asking if you tipped me. I'll explain that to him later.”
“Was it wrong?” I asked. “You were having a hard time there.”
“Hey!” he shouted as he put up a frown. “I had everything under control, it would've just taken longer.” He looked up to see the human's amused face, coughed, and continued. “He says if you like to watch you're invited to see our training sessions.”
“Isn't it what you offered to me before?”
“Well, yes,” he replied, “but this time there are two differences. First,” he pointed out as he stuck up a tendril, “it's official. You would be part of our group.”
“Well, have you thought about the glory stuff?”
“No...” I answered.
“Then second is, you're welcome to train with us if you feel like you're up to it. I'll teach you the commands and such.”
“I'll think about it.”
He approached me and said with an amused tone: “Tell you what: you teach me how to trace opponents in the ground, and I teach you how to shoot a light beam to blind your opponents.”
I gave the idea some thought. The human kept looking at us for quite a while. It couldn't be that bad, I said to myself. I was very slow when compared to most of these other Pokémon, so having them blind for a while could give me enough time to charge my green ball. It could also help me attract fishes to eat.
Or maybe... I could blind Gyarados so that she would leave me alone? Yes. That would be great.
“Fine then,” I answered. “I'll give it a try.”
From that day and for some weeks, I would leave my place at the water chamber and spend the day with Electabuzz and “the Party”. That's what he called the group of the five best who, in his words, “rock the most in battle.”
Such use of the word “rock” was strange enough that I had to check the Guide that night, and I figured out that he most probably meant “we are the most effective and best looking ones in battle”. It kinda sounded like how Gyarados spoke of herself, but I liked the conciseness and shortness of this “rock” speech.
Electabuzz explained to me that humans had some rules to help and train us, and one of them was that at most six Pokémon could battle for a human at any time. So I was surprised enough when Electabuzz took me to a new chamber, covered in sand, and I saw only four other Pokémon with the human. I would have thought that if the human was that important there would have six of us with him... But I did not ask questions.
The “Party” was split in three different groups. Electabuzz and the human took me to one edge of the chamber and we started practising some stuff. I would show them what I was capable of doing, and Electabuzz would translate some of the commands and inquiries the human had. Vigoroth was at the center of the sand chamber fighting against another Pokémon who looked like a giant, floating rock with the shape of the moon at night: the one called Lunatone; and at another point in the chamber Kirlia was dancing around, emiting a pink aura, while floating in the air three small blue spheres followed and danced around her.
The first days Electabuzz and the human taught me how humans named the attacks and tricks I had, and I learnt I had to be very careful with some kind of things such as bugs (little flying creatures who fought by shooting poison or spores to their enemies), punches (which is what Electabuzz was doing when he tried to hit the Granbull with his hands) and ice (which is like water, except is more white, solid, and one can not swim in it). I spent some time practising my abilities with Electabuzz, and sometimes with Kirlia. They would try to get close to me and I had to attack them and keep them “at bay” which for humans means “far enough”. Some other times, we would try different kinds of food, drink water and do simple things like that.
During one session, while I was trying to aim at a floating Kirlia to spit some acid at her, she floated high enough that I decided to crawl to a wall and try to reach her. She would look at me with funny eyes while I climbed up the wall and when I was about the height of the human, she asked what was the idea of crawling if I was not to reach her. I explained that it would make it easier to spit at her. But she answered that as long as she was floating she could go to the opposite wall and I would have to climb down and chase her again, which she demonstrated.
I was a bit furious when I climbed down because I was getting tired after all the exercise. When I was about to reach the floor, I noticed a part of the wall that stuck out and was made of a particularly strange kind of rock. Very cold and plain to touch and of a strong grey, almost black colour that somehow seemed to reflect light from the suns above, it called my attention and I decided that it could serve me as a shortcut to slide down to the floor.
I did not notice anything strange until I hard Vigoroth running towards me. Then I felt strange vibrations coming from inside the wall, which was very strange. I moved my roots slightly to confirm the origin of the vibrations and was even more confused when I felt that the entire part of the wall I was stuck to was actually generating a dull sound, and pushing itself away from the wall.
I moved my head slightly and was about to ask what was going on when I heard a deep, dull and guttural voice:
“Greetings, biological unit.” recited the voice. “It looks like you are trying to walk up the wall. Would you like some help?”
I shivered as the part of the wall I was sticking to started to move by itself. Two arm-like protrusions emerged from out of nowhere and the wall suddenly seemed to... walk? My roots couldn't be lying. This part of wall had legs.
“Lileep, get off that!” I heard Electabuzz yelling. “What were you doing?”
I quickly detached myself and roughly fell to the ground. As I circled my head and tried to stand up again I noticed that the part of the wall I had tried to climb had walked up to my side and was looking at me. It was quite bulky and its trunk was very short, supporting however an incredibly large round head with a plain, almost black face and seven small red eyes arranged in a curious pattern.
Before I could answer anything, some of the seven eyes started blinking in strange patterns and the creature turned its head to one side. I could feel Electabuzz and the human coming close to me.
“Unit Electabuzz, is this Pokémon hurt?” asked the strange creature.
“It's all right, soldier!” shouted Electabuzz as he stood right between the wall-thing and me. I noticed the human grabbing me and helping me to my root. “Lileep was just going to take a rest,” he explained as he looked back at me.
I nodded and uttered a “hi”, which made Vigoroth took his hand to his face while the human walked to the wall-thing and seemed to give it some instructions.
The eyes blinked again and the creature inquired: “Does the biological unit Lileep need rest? Please state the location of Lileep's nest and I will take it there.”
Electabuzz and the human looked at each other for a couple of minutes. Thinking that they had forgotten about my water chamber I made an attempt to explain, but Electabuzz turned around and ordered me to remain silent.
The human said something, a simple word that from what I had gathered meant “here”. In response, the eyes of the wall-thing blinked a couple of times, and then it said:
“Lileep has been already returned to its nest. I now return to the rest mode.”
After that, the wall-thing turned around and walked back to the wall, where it stood for a while until the eyes shut down and I could no longer register its motion, vibration or power. Just like what had happened when I saw the statue of the human, except the wall-thing remained the same.
“Sorry about that,” said Electabuzz as he rubbed my head, “but that Registeel takes things too literal. If you answered that you lived at the water chamber, he would have picked you up and taken you there.”
“What's the problem about that?” I asked.
“Well, he would've gone in a straight line, digging the walls and knocking down all the doors and the gates. But that doesn't matter. Here, let me take you home.”
That night when I returned home I found the same creature with the sac who had delivered the guide to me. He told me there was an urgent message for me, handed me a leaf, and continued his way.
“Salac Berry?” he asked left and right. “Who ordered a Salac Berry...?”
I brought the leaf right in front of my eyes and read:
“Tonight when the lights of the humans go off. Meet me in front of the hollow tube. Bring the Guide. Dispose of this message.”
I did (I ate the leaf, it wasn't tasty) and returned to the depths of my chamber, wondering who was calling me and why.
That night, when the lights of the humans went off (which I could see by watching the hollow tube), I took the rock guide and went to the designated meeting place.
I had to wait for quite a while and I figured out that it was better for me to distract myself doing something until the time came. So I spent some minutes wondering how to speed up the charging of the “Energy Ball” attack like I had seen the floating-ball Pokémon doing.
I was actually getting busy about that, when my tentacles registered a strange pressure building somewhere in the water close to me. I turned my head and observed as from out of nowhere a sphere of white light was forming, as if unrolling itself out of an imaginary water cocoon.
The sphere silently grew larger and brighter. I closed my eyes for an instant, and waited until my tentacles registered pressure no more. But instead I was feeling a strange energy coming from the sphere. An omnipresent power that was sucking life towards it, yet at the same time pulsating with life in all directions. I readied myself to attack as I opened my eyes, but what I saw looking at me left me speechless.
A small white-pink creature was floating in the water no more than three body lengths away. Its small legs and arms were moving in the water and the entire body leaned back and forth. The head of the creature was kinda triangular in shape and had a small snout and two prominent eyes looking deeply at me. Small bubbles were coming out from the creature's nostrils. Behind the trunk a thin and incredibly long tail was swirling all along. And the creature was completely surrounded by a multicoloured aura that emanated from the body and gave the surrounding water an interesting effect of reflection.
With all that I recognized the creature-- no, The Ancient God, on the spot. I managed to gracefully bow towards the figure and drop my tentacles. While I was doing so I felt a voice coming from everywhere at once.
“Welcome, to the world of the present!”
I staggered, not knowing who was talking to me, and nervously looked left and right. I mean, of course I knew it had to be The God, but the voice was ominous, piercing, proud, ineluctable and warming. When I raised my sight and heard The God speak again, I could see no mouth or head movement, only a faint glow surrounding his body as the voice appeared again out of nowhere.
“I said, welcome,” He repeated. Again from everywhere and nowhere at once, and with a bit of questioning and rudeness in it.
“I-- I'm sorry, I mean-- It is an honour to receive your visit, oh Ancient.”
Mew answered by twisting His body around and swiftly moving a bit closer; then He focused His eyes on me and released some more bubbles out from His nostrils as His glow faded slowly.
“Of course it is an honour for you,” he said again, and I could feel a sort of tickling in my entire body as I watched one of the most ancient and powerful creatures of the world joyfully looking back at me. “And in time, too. I understand you have some questions for me?”
To Be Continued...
(darn... character limit again~! )
July 21st, 2009 (5:40 PM).
Wow, very cool, I really like that cliff hanger.
It it really neat how you describe things from Lileep's POV. If Lileep does not know, then the reader does not know, truly a great story (so far).
I really need a new signature.
July 24th, 2009 (5:28 PM).
Forewarning: I'm not big on catching spelling or grammar errors, or spacing out reviews with lots and lots of quotes, so I'm sorry if a few-paragraphs-long review insults you at all. No offense to you or to your (totally awesome) fic.
When you proposed this idea in the Writer's Lounge, I just thought it would be some short story about an ancient Pokémon just staring at a human for a long time, maybe following him around for a while. But I'm pleasantly surprised with what's been going on so far. I haven't had time to read through all of them (I've only seen the first post's worth so far), but what I have seen compels me to come back later to read further. The ways Lileep explains the human and his actions were kind of difficult to decipher at first, but I soon got used to it and really enjoyed Lileep as a protagonist. Even though some of the informal terms (like 'weird' and 'sorta') sounded somewhat odd coming out of the mouth of a Pokémon who otherwise seems to have some very accomplished vocabulary, he's still very enjoyable to read about!
Lileep's little brawl with the Vigoroth was done pretty well. Lots of the proper yelling and violence on Vigoroth's part, and Lileep's retaliation did a good job of turning the tables. Thank goodness Electabuzz stepped in to stop the feud, though; any farther and it certainly wouldn't have ended well.
And now, my reactions to certain lines:
...You are a remarkable specimen.
August 8th, 2009 (9:40 PM).
Oh well, continuing with the story... I'm now much more closer to finish this stuff and I laaaaaaaike it how it's turning out!
Now, as for comments, thanks a lot Buoysel バクフーン and Giratunasaur Giratina of Never-Turn-Back. I'm quite glad that you and other readers have enjoyed this work.
As you know, バクフーン, I like cliff-hangers. I try not to abuse them, but here in this particular case I hadn't much of a choice, see. I tried to maintain Lileep's POV and clearly state it as a Pokémon POV by making a specific choice of senses and terms. However the story is reaching the point where senses and vocabulary will be less of an issue, as what matters from now on is Lileep's forming opinions. Let's see how can I treat this new angle of characterization.
Actually, the original idea was to steer that way from Lileep's (originally Shieldon's) birth. Give him to a GaryStueish trainer who would have to unlock the wonders of interspecies communication and work all the things about battles and commands from imitation. When I received Valentine's answer and she pointed out the key issue of cloning v/s revivification, I decided to lock on that subject more closely, detour the plot and work from there. As a result, Lileep is still assigned (sorta) to a Trainer, but the mechanics leading to it are to be handled differently. Specifically, this new chapter is to address the issue of Lileep learning what leads to a Pokémon allying themselves with a human.
I have taken note of the corrections but will wait a bit longer to implement because I want to get extra check on this chapter and kill two birds with one stone.
Now, for the continuing story...
In front of me I had one of the greatest Pokémon ever known.
I stayed quiet for some moments, not knowing what to do next. I guessed that it would be disrespectful to try and ask a question or do anything before Mew did. Meanwhile, he just kept swirling around in the water, close to me, releasing some bubbles and blinking every once in a while when He got closer to my body.
“They did it again, look at that...” He mumbled.
They? I staggered again-- I couldn't help it, what with the ominous voice. Mew seemed to perceive my discomfort and I felt deeply ashamed that I was making him uncomfortable, but before I could retract my mind to more innocuous thought like who “They” were or ask for forgiveness, the voice popped again in my mind.
“Relax, it is a form of communication we the Ancients have...” He darted towards me, very close to my body, moved one of his arms around a couple of times and stayed there, immobile. Then He added: “I hope it's not that disturbing?”
“No, it is not, of course,” I hurried to answer, “it's just I'm not exactly used to it, Great God.”
“Yes yes, that is to be expected,” He answered.
“What is what a God wants from me?” I humbly asked.
Mew retreated and floated higher in the water, and stated plainly as He looking down at me: “I said it already: Your questions.”
Questions? My questions? I stayed there looking passively (although I have the very distinct perception I was blinking my eyes and moving my tentacles like an idiot) thinking about what Mew had meant, until after a while it came to my mind that he was probably waiting me to plea for something.
“Not exactly plea,” he interjected with that ominous voice again, “just the questions for now, shall we?”
“I'm sorry, Great Mew, it's just that I... I don't understand...”
“The questions you asked the Gyarados, for example?” he indicated while retreating a bit.
Oh right. I of course had questions. It's just that, well, when you have a God in front of you the last thing you think about is your own problems I guess. I decided to begin with the first question that popped in my mind. Then again, I didn't know that it may have been better if I hadn't asked:
“Where are my parents?”
The God moved around while keeping his stare locked at me and his voice emanated again from nowhere: “You don't have parents”.
I... I don't have...? What...?
I felt something strange in my body. Nowhere in particular, but still, a strange weight oppressing me. I managed to push the next question beyond my mouth.
“But... my... others... where are the others?”
Mew moved around again, dancing in the water left and right, ans dully answered: “You are the only one; there are no others.”
The pressure grew, and I suddenly felt sick. It was as if something was suddenly strangling my thoughts, preventing them from forming. I had more difficulty even trying the next question.
“But... how...?” I mumbled, essentially not realizing what I was saying.
“You were not born, unlike others. You exist as a repetition of someone else.”
Me... a repetition? Was I not... real? Or something?
Mew seemed to feel my hesitation and, after looking at me for a moment, he moved frantically around for a moment and stopped right in front of me, so close to my body that I could have-- Arceus forbid me-- touched him if I wanted to.
“Not... not born...” I tried. I didn't know what I was saying any longer. “I remember... egg... my egg.” Words just seemed to pop out of my mouth, each one of them leading to a more sickening answer.
“You never had an egg.”
“I crawled... I... out... the human...”
“They are the ones who created you. You were growth out of their machines.”
I felt tremendously sick. Everything around me started to move eerily, as if I was being forcefully extracted from reality, and felt the terrible urge to return the lunch I had had to the waters around me.
“Oh darn... the shock thing...” stated the voice from nowhere with a faint sign of doubt, or maybe remorse. “Looks like I was too blunt.”
I unwillingly raised my tentacles, not sure if I was actually willing them into motion, and I looked at the God, and I saw the God looking at me with what seemed to be a sense of guilt in his face. He was no longer dancing. He was staring at me almost from eye level, no more bubbles coming out of his face. Such a vision somehow helped me calm and regain composure. I don't know if I actually succeeded before Mew spoke again in my mind.
“You seem to have lost the peace of mind to ask questions... so, maybe it's better if I begin.”
I looked back at Mew, who was simply standing there, bubbles still coming out of his face. A certain feel of compassion and honesty that I managed to distinguish in his eyes prompted me to nod.
“All right then,” Mew said as he moved around to my side and carelessly toyed with his tail, “let's see...”
I waved my tentacles as Mew seemed to concentrate, until after a moment the bright emanated again from his body and the voice appeared in my mind, this time more plain and soft, yet at the same time filled with a sort of longing. He mumbled a couple of things, not talking to anyone in particular. Seeing a God worried for me somehow made me feel infinitely better, as if my heart relished itself in that my tribulations were probably – no, surely – nothing before his will.
And he proceeded to explain.
“You are as I said, a repetition of someone else. Your dreams are your life before this one, so to speak. In plain terms, you are a result of human action.
“You were once a Lileep with parents and siblings, and a race of others like you to follow. Your race, and countless others, filled the seas with life and every once in a while ventured into the lands above the sea, with, I have to say, not sane intentions.”
I waved my tentacles in annoyance, suddenly thinking about the dreams I had, but stilled myself when I remembered who was speaking to me.
“That was long ago... so long that after a blink of time your kind ceased to exist anymore... along with several others.
“Anyways, your existence and your kind's would have been erased from the memory of our Planet, if not because the white-hide wearing humans, whom we call 'scientists', unburied the history of our Planet's past. They thus acted to find a way to recover the life that had once populated this place, and in this self-appointed mission of them is that I and my kind came in.
“You see, since there were no longer Lileep around, the only way for your kind to exist was to be created again. Humans were taught the principles of life, and eventually invented a means of using the unburied records of the past to copy and recreate their information. It is these records that they called 'fossil', and the process of extracting the information from them to create new life they called 'cloning'.” He stopped for a moment and looked at me.
I made a swift motion to indicate that I was still paying attention, and Mew continued.
“When we Mew learnt what humans wanted to do, some of us were assigned specific landmasses to inventory each and every potential 'fossil' and the information in them that humans could recover,” Mew explained, stopping for a brief moment and looking at me, maybe to check that I had not fainted out of surprise when he said about the other Mew. “After that, we provided humans with the basic knowledge of life and guided their development so that they would choose the best available record to restore. I was assigned this landmass to archive, and I determined that your life had been the most plentiful for the records we had available.” Then he looked at me. “Hence, we guided them and they created you, what they call a 'clone'.”
“A Clone?” I asked, curious and frightened about such a word, that felt so unfamiliar and at the same time devoid of filial meaning. “But... that means I am not a real Lileep?”
“No, no!” Mew yelled mentally while shaking his head. “You are a Lileep just like all the others. The only difference being,” he explained as he darted sideways and leered at me, “that you simply have no parents.”
“No... no parents...” I repeated, again feeling sad. Mew probably saw my body slowly losing force, my tentacles dropping and hanging around my head, as he approached me furtively and watched intently for a moment, before manifesting his omnipresent voice again.
“Don't be sad. Being the first, no parents, that's your only difference. You have body, and what's more important: heart and soul.” he added, clenching his small paws and pushing one of them against his chest as his tail waved around behind him. “You exist,” he stated with a firm (mental) voice, as if trying to correct me in my view of myself, “and that is not to be denied.”
I simply nodded, and raised my head to notice Mew looking at me with eyes mid-closed, an expression of exasperation apparent in my face. I couldn't help but tremble.
“Repeat after me,” he said in my mind, “'I exist.'”
I didn't feel like playing games, but after a moment Mew darted closer and closer to me, making his exasperation way more patent. “I said repeat,” he mumbled with a threatening tone.
Needless to say, I felt the weight of the threat.
“I... I exist.”
“Well done!” Mew shrieked, now in a happy tone as he moved away, swirling in the water and toying around with a sudden smile in his face. I didn't know exactly how to feel: either Mew's temper was quite volatile or it was me who was too afflicted with apathy. Either way, I was cut short off further musings when Mew approached me again and continued his explanation.
“See, being a clone is much like being a sibling. Or something like that. No... see... it's more like you and you being the sibling...” he said, in a fading voice, his mind presence weakening as if he was getting distracted. After a while, he turned back and made eye contact with me, our communication strengthening again. “You know what? Forget it. It's fairly complicated... What matters is that you have turned out well: healthy, smart, and every bit the Lileep you once were. Which is why I sent you the Guide.”
I then remembered. The stone with small leaves and marks I had received, it had been sent by Mew then?
“What is it?” I asked. “I saw much information about humans there, but... how...?”
“That is Uxie's Guide.” Mew answered nonchalantly. “She's smart, granted, but arrogant. She won't let anyone make use of the darn document, which is why trained Pokémon have to teach the wild ones the little nitpicks humans have. I mean, what's the sense of collecting that much information about humans if those who actually deal with them won't get the chance to read it?” With that said Mew looked at me and seemed to perceive the next questions forming in my mind. “Oh, Uxie is the Pokémon who encompasses Knowledge. She's good at that stuff. I had to... uhm... borrow the Guide for you.” he added steering his sight away from me for a moment. “Was it good?”
“Yes,” I answered. “It was quite useful.”
“Great, because I have to return it.” Mew said. With that, he swam easily to the spot below us where the rock Guide was leaning against the sea floor and touched it with his paw. Then the object started vibrating (which I could feel despite the distance), emitting a faint red glow, and after a moment it faded away. It was no longer there.
Mew returned quickly to my side and started dancing around with his eyes closed. After what seemed to be a moment of mentally recalling something, he asked in a somewhat joking tone: “What were we talking about?”
I cocked my head and stated: “Human creations, Great God... and to forget about clones.”
Mew clapped with his small hands and laughed for a while. I did not fully understand, but he seemed to be amused that he would talk to me. “See?” he said. “You're smart. Not to be taken by surprise. Unlike that poor Omanyte...”
Mew looked at me and stretched his arms, legs and also his tail, for the first time showing me the full extent of his figure. “As I told you,” he explained, “there are several of us, and several records, one or two per landmass.
“Two landmasses have already been successful in archiving three fossils and recovering three different creatures from the ancient times, with two of them capable of evolving. That amounts to five in total. So you are the sixth one.”
“Sixth? Not... not the first one, then.”
“The first new one of your kind, you are. And the first in the sixth series of clones to be recreated. See, you are not alone, in a way.”
I lowered my head and tentacles, feeling a bit more confused than ever. Being the first, being the sixth. I pondered for a moment all the information that I was being passed on, and when I repeated to myself that humans had intended to retrieve information from the past, a realization made me shudder. My body shaked for a moment when I put a couple of things together and understood, to my horror, that I had been essentially explained that I was one of, at least, six entire species that had existed no more.
And I was still sure that humans were not intended to be here, either... but if they wouldn't be, and thus neither would have I...
Why were we brought back...?
Mew, as usual as ever, seemed to perceive my musings, and, probably after reading my mind, frowned and projected a particular thought in my mind.
“Maybe too smart, you turned out.”
I raised my head and decided to ask, somehow not afraid any longer. “What happened to us? The six, I mean?”
“Your lives ended. Your roles to nature had been...” I saw Mew's semblance momentarily shifting to a repentant one, “completed, long ago.”
“And now that your kind has been cloned, you can earn again a purpose.”
I remained silent for quite a while, unable to stop thinking, while Mew simply remained there incessantly looking at me.
I'm sure I spent several minutes doing mindwork, so I was not surprised when I looked back at Mew and he seemed to be a bit exasperated again. While I was thinking about the whole Clone matter, I had forgot that Mew had ordered me to forget about the entire darn matter!
But, that was quite hard to do. There were still so many questions, and I hadn't even scratched the surface of my worrying were new mirages lured me with promises of more interesting information.
So it maybe was a correct yet stupid idea that it formed in my mind and I was forced to let out in the form of a question, when I couldn't simply ignore its lure any longer.
“Great God...” I asked.
“Yes?” Mew inquired.
“You are very ancient as well, and you have a purpose...” I trailed.
“Yes...” Mew answered, apparently making an effort to prevent himself of divagating any further. “We take care and play with stuff, always.”
“And you, I mean... do you have a clone, too?”
Upon those words, Mew reacted quite strangely. He stood there floating in the water for a brief moment, looking at me with wide open eyes. Then, all of a sudden, his body twisted releasing bubbles in all directions as he closed his eyes and wildly waved his tail around – he started to laugh uncontrollably! Not only his body, the mind-voice as well, a playful laugh that resonated in my head and I couldn't evade. It was joyful, uncalled, burly, sincere... all in one. Mew was just there in front of me giggling, twisting and laughing at me or at what I said, I guess.
I felt deeply ashamed and made no further motion than crawl slightly away and lower my head and tentacles as I supposed I had to wait for my punishment or something.
After some time of laughing, the Ancient seemed to calm himself down. Mew's eyes opened again and he looked at me for a while, a smile still apparent in his face. He seemed to notice my shame and lowered himself to my level again as he playfully swirled his tail to one side.
“Sorry, it's just...” he said, still laughing a bit in my head, “you say so funny things.” He made a motion with the tip of his tail to wash away some tears that had formed on his face and that were quickly diluted by the water, and then he swam closer to me and made a gesture for me to look up at him.
“Sorry--” I said, but I was quickly interrupted.
“That was fun. Clones, a Mew?” he said as if it was the most unnatural thing in the world. “Humans look for my siblings the entire time,” he stated as he gave me a somewhat burly look, “but it's more fun for us than for them.”
“I-- I understand,” I replied faintly, while I gave some thought to the whole clones matter. I felt more surprised than sadder now, which I figured out it was good; I mean, Gods were supposed to help us, right? I wondered if Mew was like this with everyone or just me. After all, Gods were supposed to be serious creatures of power manifested. Not... not to have a childlike behaviour when talking to their subjects...
“Don't worry, though, it's only you,” Mew continued as if He had read my thoughts. “Oh and before I forget. Don't get sad and used to loneliness: there will be more of you once humans get used to the procedure.”
“They create us, then?” I asked, a bit more surprised. Then I remembered the whole “no egg” thing. “That... is so weird. Can-- I mean... would you, Great God, explain it to me?”
“Well, it's a bit my fault that the concept is not clear enough,” Mew stated as he started dancing aimlessly around me, forcing me to turn my head left and right to follow him every once in a while. “It's more than creation. I think it's... well... no, imitation does not quite put it well.”
I stretched my neck while I analysed the concept. “Re-creation?” I asked. “Like, taking something that's already created and creating it again?”
Mew stopped suddenly and looked at me with his big eyes for a moment before nodding and projecting a happy thought in my mind. “That's it! That's the description I was looking for! See? I told you you were smart.” He moved a bit closer to me and then leaned to my left, pointing with one of his small hands to the hollow tube near our position. “It's one of the special abilities of humans,” Mew explained as he took a quick look around, “to learn how things work by interacting with them, and then to unite their common intelligence to imitate those processes.”
“Imitate?” I inquired while leaned my head slightly. I perceived that kind of ability had to be useful, but I had never seen a human doing something that could be understood as imitation. The white-hide wearing ones would take notes and use devices, whereas blue-spiked essentially seemed to specialize in giving out orders.
I contemplated the words of Mew a bit longer as he seemed distracted looking around. Floating there, looking all over my place and making faint whirls with his tail, Mew seemed so simple of a creature, so small and feeble, and I got the distinct impression that he seemed lonely and repentant, despite everything I had heard from him indicating he had essentially done this... or everything.
After a moment, Mew seemed to perceive my impression of him. He looked at me with frightening eyes and for a moment I felt the instinctive call to defend myself from him, or at least to try and bow to the ground crying, but his short stature and fixated look held me in place. Then he smiled, and the frightening stare was gone, suddenly replaced with a jovial and inviting one.
“Well, it's obvious I'm making you too nervous with all the God thing...” he said out of a sudden. “So I'll try something, maybe a form you are more comfortable with?”
With those words, Mew lowered himself and touched the floor of the chamber with his tail, which made a strange sound and seemed to get stuck in the ground. Then his body was surrounded by a powerful glow, a light comparable to that of the sun, and I could feel in my tentacles the same suctioning force that I had felt when He first arrived. I shielded my eyes for a while until the glow was somewhat dimmed and I could clearly observe that Mew's shape had turned completely, divinely white while his body seemed to pulsate and somehow radiate a sense of familiarity... with me.
Then before my eyes it started to happen. It was a quick process, but somehow my mind managed to sense it in its majestic dominion of time as a process with distinct stages flowing together and filling every part of every second. I watched the glow and felt the power radiating across the from from where Mew was now anchored to the floor. The body of the God was acquiring a very liquid look in itself and after that it started glowing power-white again. Then the shape itself started to change: the tail becoming thicker, and the head somehow melting into the torso and the legs and arms stretching and loosely moving around. Then the body began glowing even more brightly and I was forced to turn away as I sensed the sucking force fading and being slowly replaced by the same life-pulse I had felt when Mew first arrived.
I had to wait for a while to turn back to Mew and when I did I was almost as impressed as when He had first spoken to me. Before me a very familiar shape was emanating a fading but still very powerful glow, its roots firmly anchoring it to the floor, its neck a bit stiffened and gracefully holding the head, now a lot more bulkier and surrounded by long and flexible tentacles. All in all, a body just as mine.
Except that it was a lot larger and apparently much stronger. Once the glow had faded completely I could distinguish many more features: the body was mainly of a green colouration only a bit lighter than that of seaweed and right at the top of the neck it was marked with four beautiful looking pale yellow rings. Two prominent marks of the same colouration stood proudly on the head, right over the eyes which were now more secluded thanks to the smaller and slightly more elongated form of the mouth. Eight tentacles sprouted from the base of the neck and moved up and down gracefully in the water.
When I managed to overcome the shocking I blinked, and upon confirming that I was, in fact, seeing what I was seeing, I thought I was to spiral into these kinds of surprises nonstop. In front of me was standing with majestic and serene brand none other than an Elder. I knew it was still Mew the God somehow, but I could do nothing more than stare, stiff my trunk in respect and look at him as one of the Elders.
He looked down at me, and suddenly said, not with the voice of the mind that resonated in my head, but now with a real voice, one of his own, “Now you feel more comfortable, yes?”
I tried to talk but soon I figured nothing more than nonsense was escaping my mouth. He stared sternly at me for a while, and after that he lowered his head and looked at me up down, while waving the front tentacles in a gesture that I interpreted as a call to order. Some moments after I managed to calm myself down, and he resumed his speech.
“I've programmed the humans so that they'll call this form 'Cradily'. That shall be your name once you become like this, what you call an Elder.”
“Cra- Cradily?” I asked out of surprise. More about the fact that he said 'programmed the humans' than about the name, but surprise nonetheless.
“Well, I had initially thought of something like 'Marlilŭosil' or 'ユレイドル', but 'Cradily' sounds firmer and meaner, right?”
I nodded and watched as the Elder-- Mew-- no, wait, Cradily, that is, crawled closer to me. Once we were at tentacles' length he stopped and turned around so that the two of us would be facing about the same direction.
We remained silent for a moment as Mew-- or Cradily waved his tentacles around, tried sipping some water, and took turns stretching and bending his trunk, apparently enjoying himself in a new shape. He seemed to spend a time trying to move his tentacles and swinging his head up and down, seeming to analyze the new perspective against the hollow tube below us. After a while he turned his head towards me again and looked at me for a moment.
“Much better now,” the Elder suddenly said. “I have to say, I had never tried a fossil form.”
I was still perplexed, but managed to let out a murmur of a “yes”, which caused Mew to look at me more closely and assume a firm stature. Upon seeing the Elder image look down at me, I instinctively bowed and saluted him with words that I didn't know I knew.
“Hail to the dominant flowers of the seas, my liege--”
I stopped suddenly, reminding myself that I was before a God, not an Elder, who despite being such a powerful figure would so greatly pale in comparison. I looked up to Mew's new form and received an inviting smirk of sorts.
“Yes, about that,” he said with a very serious voice: “We need to talk about your Goddess.”
I simply nodded.
“Your species story is a sad one,” Cradily said as he looked at me with an air of authority.
“Sad one? What... what does that mean? We fought wars--”
“Your Goddess' war was ended long ago,” he rudely interrupted me.
“Ended...” I repeated the word, trying to figure if the wording and the tone meant what I thought they did. “Like, by force?”
“It had to be done”, was the answer I received.
Feeling a bit depressed, I next asked “Who won?”. I knew that me-- the other me, hadn't made it to the very end. Essentially none of my people had. It then occurred to me that everything I had experienced so far was a result of the war. “The land-dwellers did, right? That's why everything is for them?”
He glanced at me and awaited for a moment before answering: “We crushed both sides.”
“The Mew Corps.”
I blinked a couple of times and the Cradily figure crawled around me until he positioned himself a hit lower and to the right of me, closer to the hollow tube. In the meanwhile I tried to surmise who the Mew Corps were.
Mew Corps, sounded like something important. It had to be a group of Mew. And a “Corp”... Corp...
“MJV KORPUS...” I murmured as I stared at Cradily's back.
For an answer he turned back at me and nodded. “As I told you, we Mew guard stuff. When we do well, we are allowed to play.”
“The Guide... Uxie wrote it for your group?”
“No... it was for the use of the Time-Organizer. We were handed a copy because The One said we had to correct something.”
The One. The sole tone and stature of the name revealed to me that Mew was talking about the very... beginning of everything. Mew were sent to repair things then... what if... maybe the ending of our species was a mistake?
“Mew-- Cradily, Sir,” I asked carefully, still not being too sure how to refer to this brought-down form, “you... you repair our deaths?”
Cradily gazed away and responded with a low voice. “Something like that, yes.”
Now more things were making sense. My dreams of war were once a life, and if that life had ended with the war, countless others would have had to.
“It was when your Keeper and the land-dwellers' were bringing too much trouble,” Mew explained as he returned his gaze to me. “Under their command, creatures were dying by the thousands, so we were sent to act.” he continued, looking over me as he did, the helmet-like structure of the head now preventing me from seeing his now Elder eyes. After a moment, he continued: “We used our powers to isolate the seas and the land so that you wouldn't attack each other.”
“So there could no longer be a war?”
“More like so that they would have to fight themselves. Unfortunately, the Keepers didn't took this too well.
“They saw that our interference would signify both their ends so they summoned a huge calamity to finish each other before we did. Both of them survived the resulting disaster and fled, however. They eventually found another remote continent, where they summoned the native sea and land creatures and resumed their fight.”
“They would... just fight? What happened to us, the soldiers?”
“We made sure you were left behind. But for that other continent we weren't fast enough...”
“But if it was not us,” I asked, “that means even more creatures died?”
“Not too many. The local God of Wind took them both down, but because of the enormous power their struggle released, the three had to be eventually sealed. By that time however, your race and many, many others were already extinct.”
“Extinct...” I repeated the new word, which I hadn't picked in the dictionary Mew had handed me.
“Disappeared from life.” Mew explained.
“But... but we were so happy with the Keeper of the Seas!” I intervened, confused an angered by the understanding that the work of my entire species was for nothing, that we were eventually abandoned. “We-- we fought and thrived, we... we had food, we...”
I didn't know why was I feeling this way, only that I was. It was like whatever we had intended to do was doomed from the beginning.
The Elder Mew looked back at me and blinked a couple of times. Then he stretched his tentacles and leaned towards me, surprising me enough that I recoiled. After that small gesture, I simply bowed, feeling a bit humiliated by the very act of existing, a bit frustrated for feeling simply like a remainder of a war.
“Yes, too much was lost in these wars,” Mew said sternly looking at me, “but one day The One decided that our paradise had to be, let's say, rebuilt.”
I was taken by surprise by the mention of The One. I picked something in the last sentence that had made Mew feel uneasy. I looked up to him to see that he was evading my stare a bit, although after a moment he summoned his presence and tacitly commanded me to keep listening.
“It was too much danger to let the Gods in control again, and it was more danger to have our creatures to mercilessly attack each other, so The One made a proposition no one could refuse.
“It was decreed that we, as creations of Nature, were still responsible for keeping her in good shape and return her goodwill. But to ensure that we would do better than putting our own desires over the favours of Nature, those favours had to be carried by a third party.”
“A third party?” I asked not exactly understanding what was Mew heading to.
“Yes. Humans.” Cradily said.
I diverted my sight for a moment to the hollow tube and thought of the blue-spoked human before Cradily spoke again and my attention was returned to him.
“The One brought humans to our world, and decreed that humans would be the ones responsible for taking care of our Paradise.” Mew then pointed at me and at himself with his tentacles. “And that we were to help by submitting to their judgement.”
I started connecting the dots. “We were left to their command.”
“Yes...” Mew answered. “Humans were given their special ability so that they could understand our purpose and judge us themselves by attempting to imitate our abilities. With this, they would teach us how to perfect our own abilities so that in their eyes we would serve them better, when it's actually the natural order who benefits from all.”
“The techniques... the fighting...”I ventured. “By training with humans... they help preserve nature, then.”
“Something like that, yes.”
“But... they don't know this, right?”
Cradily looked at me for a moment and nodded. He said nothing else for a moment. After a while, he gazed at the hollow tube for an instant and continued his story.
“Since humans retain final judgement and responsibility, Pokémon no longer have to fight to the death for foolish favours. The concept of humans training Pokémon was implanted in them, and with the invisible guidance of the Corps they started developing the technology necessary to play with these rules.”
“Technology?” I asked, unsure about the meaning of this new word.
“The name of their special ability,” Mew explained. “is what augments their understanding of events when they try to imitate them.”
What I was hearing was simply incredible. Humans were assigned to recover the Paradise, the old times. To recover me... I, a “clone”, was then the result of their actions and their learning of how to protect Nature. However...
A particular question unraveled in my mind when I considered what Electabuzz had said about the humans, how they had “named” Trainer because of what he had done for his country.
“Does that mean we are winning?”
Mew, now Cradily, looked at me with surprise. His tentacles waved a little and he focused on me for a couple of moments before inquiring in a doubtful voice: “Winning...?”
“I mean... winning. Paradise.” I explained myself.
This time Cradily stiffened his trunk shook his head. I did not know exactly how to interpret that, and was about to open my mouth and ask for more explaining, but Cradily suddenly moved away with a slow and threatening motion, crawling away some distance towards the hollow tube.
“Mew... I mean... Great God...” I asked as I crawled after Mew for a moment. “What did the other Gods said about this Pact?”
Mew stopped, looked back at me, cocked his head and waited for me to reach him again.
“It suits us well,” he explained. “They get their domains protected and their subordinates living a happy life. And they better don't complain. After all, they still retain the right to intervene if humans fail.”
We both remained silent for a moment. I had the distinct impression that I was not to reveal this to anyone else. I also had the impression that I was very close to solve the last important question that I had remaining. The one that had, in a certain form, triggered all of this.
“Cradily, Sir,” I inquired, now completely sure of my deference towards the majestic creature in front of me, “do normal Pokémon know about this story?”
Cradily looked back at me and then up to the surface of the water, very far from us, for a moment before lowering his sight to meet mine and replying: “They know only the second half. They will teach their offspring to follow this and we will all abide until humans fail.”
“The second half...” I repeated, and then I employed the expressions Electabuzz and Vigoroth had used to describe the relationship between humans and Pokémon to me: “Control for glory.”
Cradily leaned forwards and replied: “Order for power.”
I stared at him and, after a moment, offered a new combination: “Purpose for nature.”
Cradily remained static for a moment, then leaned back, his eyes still locked at me. And then I heard again the voice in my mind.
“Yes, a bit too smart.”
It took me long to realize that the water was now clearer, that the sun was about to make its appearance.
Cradily and I had continued talking for quite a while, now about far less interesting stuff. He also explained to me some things I had to know about my body and my senses, and what kinds of food I could and couldn't accept from humans.
He also explained to me the basics of the training Pokémon undergo with a human. There were three key elements: language, respect, and battle. Respect was the most important since it was the one that originated the deal, but battle was the one that was determinant in the continuing and effectiveness of the training. So long as a Trainer respected their Pokémon and the Pokémon would fare well in battle for him, they were allowed to continue the deal.
I made a couple of requests to get the Guide for some extra time, but Cradily was very expressive in detailing that if the Guide was not returned to some lake under a cave then he would “have his face meet the grass”, whatever that was meant to mean.
However, time was almost over. Cradily noticed that the water was illuminated enough that he could see the trees above the surface and approached me. I had the distinct impression that he wanted to be gone before the scientists would come around, and, when thinking about that, I realized all of a sudden that for the whole duration of the night no human, no Pokémon, had disturbed our chat.
As if knowing what I was thinking, Cradily smirked at me.
“Now, it's time for me to depart,” he claimed.
“I will be around, sometimes,” he explained while meeting his tentacles with mine, “as long as you decide my work has been worthy.”
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
“You now know a larger part of the truth. And my entire purpose here is to make sure you can have a purpose as well. That said,” he added while deviating his sight and pointing to the general direction of the buildings the scientists used, “I placed you under care of this human because I have great plans for him... and for you.”
A greater purpose than being the most powerful and revered human figure in a country? Sounded interesting, I had to admit it. I nodded, with the vague understanding that Mew had intended for me to submit to the Pact.
He assumed a gentler posture and continued. “If you accept Electabuzz's offer, you'll be in for a world of pain. No wonder this human is the Champion. But let me assure you, you will serve as a model for the next Lileep to come, and as an important support for the human to hold on.”
“Do I lose something if I refuse this Pact?” I asked.
“You? Only your purpose. But he will lose his, as well.”
I pondered the offer I had been given. Training under a human and belonging to him was not something I could completely grasp, despite the times I had been in light training sessions with Electabuzz and the others.
In the end, however, I had to admit that Mew here had taken too great a risk. He wanted me and the human to do something important. And I knew I could ask what it was, but I also knew that if I was to sign up for this, it would be not in my purpose to know.
“No wonder all the work I would have been done for nothing,” Cradily added as if to taunt me a little.
I raised my sight and after taking a breath, made a last question.
“How will I know if we are winning?”
Cradily frowned and seemed a bit surprised, but answered nonetheless: “If you pay attention enough, you will know.”
With those words, Cradily unanchored from the ground and floated slightly before being enveloped in a bright light. I felt again the life-sucking energy and closed my eyes, resisting the otherworldly pull until I felt the new pulse of life. And, when I opened my eyes again, Mew was in front of me.
“Will you give me fun, then?” He asked with the weird pop-inside-head voice.
“I'll see,” I answered bluntly.
Mew closed His eyes, muttered a voiceless “Perfect” and turned around, graciously floating down to the hollow tube. However, upon reaching it, he turned back and, raising one of his small hands, talked again in my mind.
“You know, you have much trouble with your Energy Ball!”
I cocked my head and thought about the move and how much difficult I found to charge the energy, before Mew's voice appeared again in my head.
“Remember how you felt when I suddenly appeared?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“Your energy is always around you and it knows how to move, sort of... Instead of trying to pull it together above your mouth, focus on the fact that it has to be propelled towards the opponent. She will do the rest.”
I smiled at the suggestion, but coming from a Mew I could do no less that taking it seriously.
“Come on, try it on me.”
Mew seemed to again read my mind, as he danced around and said in a provoking voice: “Come on, what's the worst that can happen?”
I took a breath, followed by another one, not believing what I was about to do. I stretched my tentacles and focused myself. Soon I felt the energy circulating around me, focusing close to my mouth. However, instead of keeping concentrated on my mouth, I took a look at Mew and decided that the energy should flow towards him instead. To my surprise, I felt my tentacles being drawn closer to my mouth as the energy formed itself into a ball without my intervention. I struggled with my tentacles a little and pushed gently with my head, causing the energy ball to be ejected towards Mew.
However, as the ball quickly approached him, I felt a sudden pull of energy towards his direction. I focused a bit further and I saw Mew effortlessly holding the energy ball in his tiny hand; then he offered me a burly smile... and threw the energy ball back at me. I had barely a time to react by closing my tentacles around my mouth and bracing myself for the impact, but I was surprised to feel a strange pressure emerging from my roots, and when I looked again, the energy ball was being dissipated by a faint yellow shadow in front of me.
I remained motionless until the green energy and the yellow shadow had fainted almost completely, at which point I again felt Mew's spectral voice piercing my head:
“Keep battling, and you'll learn to control that trick, eventually.”
I looked back at him. He made a gesture that looked like a bow, and then gently floated upwards. I could still hear him speaking.
“You know, playing is fun. And you were right: I hypnotized the humans and the Pokémon here so that they won't feel us. I also deactivated all of their devices, not that difficult to do because my grandparent invented the language they program their machines with.
“See, always remember this: humans are fun to play with. You know what? I'll give you a demonstration. Let's see if this time they can at least get a blurry picture of me.” Then he waved his tail at me. “Bye bye!”
With that, there was a sudden flash of light, and the next moment Mew was gone.
I waited for a moment.
Everything was silent.
Quite a while after that, I had thought Mew had already left.
Then, all of a sudden, I felt several small vibrations in the ground, coming from the human buildings. All of a sudden there was a sort of commotion. I took a look at the hollow tube, and saw several white-hide wearing humans, “scientists”, running around holding small devices with their hands and screaming like crazy. I smiled to myself, reminding that I still had to recover an entire night of sleep.
After crawling close to the surface of Vigoroth's island, where the sunlight was strongest, I decided to sleep there. And before I closed my eyes, I saw more of these scientists running around like crazy.
And to think they could have seen a Cradily...
To Be Continued...
August 9th, 2009 (6:38 AM).
Well that had lots of humor.
Several times I spotted mistakes with Mew's dialogue. I am not sure if this was done on purpose, or if to speak like Yoda, you intended.
Other than that, that was a great chapter, I really like how you did Mew's playfulness.
I could go on forever about how/what I liked about it, but I don't have the time to type that today. So I'll just leave it at that for now.
I really need a new signature.