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Old April 7th, 2014 (9:39 AM). Edited April 10th, 2014 by xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx.
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    Poké One: A, Um, A Journey

    It was that palpable triple-fear that pervaded this moment and that split Red's focus like a devious pie chart as he flew. First there was, of course, the fear of toppling over a hundred times to his death. Second, even less enchanting, was the knowledge that if the whole world were watching him now it would laugh. But third and most baffling was his knowledge that it wasn't, it hadn't been, it could not possibly have been his fault. Something had been different about his room, and he felt it keenly as he awakened. It wasn't the fact that his bed was just a little askance from the wall, nor was it the way the television levitated in the middle of the floor-space. No -- he noticed it as soon as he woke up and stared out from his bed. It was the little red rug at the edge of the stairs that had grabbed his shoe and tossed him like a mixed martial artist. And Red thought now, as the wind rushed up in his face and his throat continued to tighten, that maybe he should have never left the bed.

    He painfully descended the stairs. He moved just like a slinky and face-planted on the ground floor. "G'morning, Mom," he managed to say. Nobody answered but the too-loud television airing the hit movie based on the popular Stephen King novel Stand By Me. The tip-tapping of boys' shoes on railroad tracks was deafening. He panicked a little. "Mom?"

    Now she muttered to herself from the dining-slash-living room-slash kitchen table: "...Right. All boys leave home someday," she said in a sort of dull drawl. "It said so on TV."

    Red gathered all the strength he could muster; he slammed his palms on the floor and pushed up. Then he looked down and he didn't like what he saw. It was another little red rug.

    His mother turned to watch. "Honey, you're not even bleeding," she huffed. "Honey, did you trip on the new mat or something? Honey pick yourself up, you're gonna have to leave home someday."

    Trembling, he came to his knees. "I knew something was wrong with today..." he moaned. And he stood. "But it...wasn't my fault..."

    "It was. You tripped on the rug."

    The wave of realization which passed over him then was simultaneously uplifting and terrifying.

    A mother and a son sat at a table for four in the residence dubbed, according to the mailbox out front, "Red's house." By the delicious smell of things somebody had been cooking here, but no food was visible, and judging by the lack of any refrigeration or food storage of any kind there was likely none left. "Mom," said the owner of the house, "why are there two red rugs in our house?"

    "There's three honey," she corrected hastily. He hesitated. "Red rug, red rug... I think a movie said if you say it backwards, you get 'murder.'" He flinched. She laughed, hearty and delirious. "Oh, honey, those rugs are for our own protection. You should've seen it. There was an alert came on channel seven, and it told me that not being able to get out of a room is a very serious condition. On the stairs or exits of a building, it said, there's a red mat."


    "So if you ever get lost in your own room again, just look for the red mat, move your character on top of the red mat, and then press the + Control Pad toward the stairs or the exit to advance."

    Mom hadn't answered any of his questions, but deep down, he had a feeling she knew that. Red told her that he now understood the importance of there being a red rug to every door. If there wasn't one then people just wouldn't know where to go. He thanked her for caring. "Red mats." He said okay. Stand By Me roared in the background like the falls.

    "Oh and also Professor Oak next door was looking for you." Red gasped. "Yeah, I guess it's a big deal." He gasped. "I bet he's looking for your rival, too, honey. You know, your rival since you were babies." He gasped. "Oh yeah," his mother said, nodding hastily. Red was already racing toward the door. "And I bet he's even plotting to get whatever starter is strong against your starter in a devious ploy! That's what they do on TV!"

    He cleared the second hurdle of the day via a skillful three-step process. First, he made sure to position one foot just behind the rug. Second, he shoved the thankfully- and potentially dangerously-unlocked door wide open, forming a large aperture. Third, he bounded with unbridled grace into the rejuvenating sunlight of Pallet Town where, as the motto goes, "Shades of your Journey Await!" which, I don't know if that makes any sense.

    "Oh, my son, my son." Mom waved meekly, smiled weakly and closed her eyes at her departed son. "I bet next door he won't be so lucky."
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    Old April 8th, 2014 (11:58 AM). Edited April 13th, 2014 by xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx.
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      Poké Two: Don’t Forget; Never Give Ground

      Daisy Oak was the sister of Green Oak, who was the grandson of nationally-renowned Professor Samuel Oak, who worked in the laboratory just south of Red’s house, which housed Green’s childhood friend and rival. Needless to say, Daisy lived next door. She wasn’t anything special; she was by all means average. But after you got to know her, you started not to hold it against her. Red peeked slowly through the Oak’s front door and planted both feet firmly on that fancy red rug of theirs.

      “Professor Oak?” Red wondered aloud. But the only one there was Daisy. She looked up from her Inane Random Unidentified Pokemon broadcast and smiled softly; on the living room table was a map of the regionside.

      “Red,” she recognized. Her tone seemed to suggest miles of chains were slowly being lifted off of her shoulders, but she was still so far from freedom. “Hello. Did you see—” She flinched—“—Green outside? Is he still close?”

      “Well, no,” Red assured, “hopefully he’s already on some adventure. And getting lost. And then neither of us will ever have to deal with him again.” He took her hands in his. “And once we’re free of your grandfather, will you marry me?”

      “You don’t really mean that,” giggled Daisy sadly.

      “You ARE the only girl in town who lives in a house. I don’t even know where that fat guy came from.”

      Daisy shook her head sadly. “I’m sorry Red. But you’re not boring enough for me.” Red delicately kissed her hand and took a tearily nostalgic leave. He stepped over Daisy’s red rug for the last time.

      The surrounding Pallet Town land was flat, safe, and devoid of buildings. The sea was to the south, despite a distinct lack of beach. All they had were two houses and a laboratory facility. A few townspeople ambled about and stood in place, basking in the noonday sun. Maybe they lived in the lab. Maybe there was a secret basement. Maybe they were fans of camping. At least they were better than Green.

      Professor Oak wasn’t better than Green. To the north of the town was the route to the nearest city, decorated with forest, giant grass, and Professor Oak, hiding in the brush. He was stifling a crafty grin. The man was a Pokémon genius, to be sure...but he was also an arse.

      He just won’t let you do it the easy way, thought Red, creeping toward him. He stepped foot onto the lush green carpet of the forest...and then Professor Oak stood three inches behind Red.

      “Reeeed, m’booooooy!” crowed Professor Oak.

      “YOU’RE SO FAST,” Red gulped. Oak’s large, big hand rested itself on Red’s shoulder area.

      “What’re you DOING, kiddo? Don’t you know that wild Pokémon live in the tall grass like this?” Oak gestured at the verdancy. A four inch-tall Rattata walked out slowly into the sun, took one look at the professor, and frowned a ratty frown. “Now, I know your mom told you to go looking for me to learn some Poké-knowledge, but here I see you getting all excited and running out into the woods, defenseless? Without a single Pokémon? My gosh, I never realized how dumb you were!”

      “Sir, please. Just...stop...touching me,” Red hissed, steadily creeping away with all his heart.

      “Come along!” Oak hollered, clutching his wrist with his full tensile gripping strength, lurching back to the lab. “Today’s the day I give you your first Pokémon! You better be thankful for this, Red! Someday, when you make it big, it’ll be all thanks to me, today! You’ll owe me a dump-load of money, won’t you!”

      “I can go catch the Rattata! Just loan me 200 Poké Dollars for the Ball! I refuse to be your slave, old man!”

      As a direct result of their town being about sixty-paces large at best, by the time that final complaint came to light, the cast of two had arrived at the laboratory. “So up-TIGHT, Red! I know you’ll be good for it once you make Champ or whatever!” laughed Oak maliciously.

      As Oak pushed through the double doors with child in hand, Red stared harshly at the fat man who stood by the waters, mouthing the words, Call somebody.

      “I know, technology really IS great,” the fat man sighed contentedly.

      The doors closed on the last act of Red’s life.

      The laboratory was decorated with several bookcases full of books, a few scientists full of science, and a 1990’s computer in the back. In addition, there were things nobody cared about, and three Balls of Poké sitting on a table towards the back of the small, small lab. One of the things nobody cared about was Green Oak.

      “WHASSAP, BAEBYYYYYYYYYYY?” crooned Green, an arse.

      “WHASAAAAAAAP!” Oak returned, swinging his tongue left and right. The scientists were glad they were paid well. He swung Red next to Green and leaned back against the wall.

      “How’s it goin’, Reddy? Things goin’ red?” Green greeted, flashing various gang signs. Every word felt like grimily-polished southern silk against the ears. “Me? Aw, as usual, I got nuttin’ up m’sleves...nuttin’ but GREEEEEEN!” He began flicking Poke Dollar after Poke Dollar into the breeze. They were all worth 1.

      “I’m gonna feel so good when I kick your ass several times,” Red predicted.

      Green laughed and placed a dollar bill over his own eyes, like a sleep mask. “Can’t beat what ‘cha can’t see, mmbabyyyy...” He flashed a billion-dollar grin. Red remembered how cool Green had used to be in Kindergarten. It had been a long five years. First it was just a stray ‘smell ya later’ every now and then, but now... The abusive grandfather had taken his toll on both the brother and the sister. Red held back his tears...but it was easy, because Green was an arse.

      “So,” Oak said, “pick your first Pokémon, boys. Have a ball! Go crazy! And all that good stuff.”

      “Ya know what, Red?” Green chuckled, “g’won, you go first. You pick the Pokemon first! Not like it matters so much, though. ANY one AH choose is gonna LUHB me.”

      Red studied his choices. “Again, I could go catch something myse—”

      “No,” said Oak.

      Red studied his available choices. The three balls glistened in the electric light. Each one...offered a myriad of worlds of choice... “How do I know what Pokémon is in each one?”

      Oak shrugged like it ain’t no thang.

      “Screw it,” Red decided, snatching himself a ball, “the faster I get out of this town, the better.” He dropped the ball, causing a nice Squirtle to occur.

      “Brbebbblblbll,” he gurgled, spitting slobbery bubbles along his chin.

      “I’m gonna name you Guntroll,” Red decided arbitrarily from the warm depths of his heart. This was the new love of his soul.

      “Meanwhile,” Green spoiled, standing with a Bulbasaur, “say hello ta my new BAYBE-FACE! See who I got here? This lil’ green dude, jus’ like me. Looks like I made m’self the RIGHT CHOICE, nnnnyehyeh.”

      “I’m out,” Red announced, pacing backward to the exit, flashing both palms in the air. “I’m done with this family forever. Tell your sister to never talk to you again for me.”

      Oak snapped his fingers. The nearest scientist in the room stepped into Red’s way and pressed his finger in a gun shape against Red’s back. “This may in fact be a gun,” she warned. “Don’t do anything he doesn’t want. Or else I’ll get hurt.”

      “Why don’t you kids have a Pokemon battle?” Oak wanted. “That’s fun, your very first battles with your new widdle friends?”

      “Yeaaaaah!” Green sjirachied. “Baybefayce, wanna show us what’cha got?” Babyface wiggled her rump in suspense.

      “Bulb,” she said normally.

      Red looked to Guntroll, terrified. This new life that was in his hands. He couldn’t just let him be hurt.

      It was become the Pokémon Trainer he was destined to be. The kind of trainer who would make sure his Pokémon would live to see the next sunrise. Would get to look back and thing ‘yeah, that guy was pretty good.’ The kind of trainer who showed his Pokémon victory.

      Guntroll wiped his face lamely. The saliva was everywhere.
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      Old April 8th, 2014 (12:44 PM). Edited April 10th, 2014 by xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx.
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        Poké Three: Color Saint Wild

        "One..." Green laid a dollar bill gingerly over his eyes as he leaned backward about as far as humanly possible. It looked just as if he had been sliding the pickle on a burger, and his smile as he did it was one of thorough and catlike pleasure. The child, sublime, added another: "Two..." And another, and another... "Six, seven...eight....." His arms drew back into a weakly-crossed position as he snored and his mouth gaped. The saliva went everywhere.

        This gave Red the perfect window of opportunity in which to plan this battle out with his listless-looking comrade. TV, always a bountiful garden resplendent with tutelage for any subject, had given him all he knew about how to manage a Pokémon fight, and provided his mother's success in life had taught him anything that would certainly be enough. "Professor, Squirtle's first moves are Tackle and Tail Whip, right?"

        "Oh, for Pete's sake... So pushy, as always," Oak gently snapped. Red blinked. Oak blinked. He blinked. They both blinked. Oak gritted his teeth and sighed. He concluded, "Yes, those are Squirtle's moves..."

        So he summoned that deep-seated spirited side; he cupped his hands around his mouth to roar; he told Guntroll to stroke Babyface with his tail and he did, and with it Red had sipped from the chalice of power. Babyface's defense decreased by one healthy stage.

        "Whuh!?" Green, frazzled by the frenzied power-scream, accidentally shook the currency right off his liquidied face. "My dough!" As he fell to his knees and gathered it, he turned wildly. "My doe! Ohh, BAYBUHFAYCE!" He cradled her for a moment. "Did he tarnish your million-dollar looks?" Her looks were the same, but for good measure he licked his thumb a little bit and rubbed it across her brow, like maybe a little lion could do. Honestly, why is there so much spit in this story?

        Red looked around a little worriedly, but all he saw of note was a maybe-armed aide and an uproariously-laughing professor. Maybe this wasn't against the rules...or...against his rules.

        Reluctantly, Green let lose a command to Tackle. "Bulba!" she cried, followed by a hefty drift not unlike that of a kid down a Slip 'n' Slide. When she hit Guntroll she bounced. It was the first damage of the game! "Nyehenyeheh! SNEER!" Green chanted. "You ain't laid a scratch on my lass. Must be the inferior Trainer."

        "Ha!" Oak chuckled. "Ha, ha!" he chuckled. He used the same tone for every laugh he uttered, made a man sick.

        Green jammed his hands into his pockets, and at that moment Red knew, instinctively, that he was about to try something risky, and he almost though that he should have never been born, to better to not experience this risky, rivalrous game called Life. Then Green jogged up to him, slowed down when he got in real close proximity, and he stared with the widest eyes as if he were a doe himself. He was beating out this strange tattoo with his eyelids and he said this in a growl: "If you need help playing this game, or on how to do things, press the L or R button...y'NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD..." Green stopped beating what Red assumed was the forty winks out of himself, and then he just winked. Red said "um" and Green took a series of quick strides all the ways back, paws pocketed all the while.

        "...You know what, jerk? I think I know how to play the game a little better than you do." He shifted gears. "Guntroll, she's been weakened. Let's Tackle."

        The Squirtle, as we all probably expected, chanted, "Squirtle!" He became, for a few moments, a swirling and awkward bullet with a tail, not unlike Sonic's friend when he becomes a ball and spins up really fast. This projectile plopped against Babyface's aforementioned beautiful bodypart. The green body, weak as it was, luscious though it was, keeled over instantaneously. And maybe, just maybe, Red thought, his bubbling baby could potentially not be a doofus. Except only when he was telling him what to do.

        "Quit faykin' it, Babby! Go on! Growl at'm!" Babyface responded not. "Maybe you's moruva Tackler." The will to fight existed not. Green began to perspire. "Uhh..." He turned to Oak, who looked a little severe. He quickly turned his hesitant "uh" into that uncaringly-confident type of "uh" you hear rappers say whenever they have a blank line to fill. Green recalled his Pokémon with these boastful, rhythmic "uh"s, then eased into creative arm motions and finally made a lightning-fast beeline for the door. He tripped on a red rug.

        Before Red could see the aftermath, Professor Oak's twinnish-looking male lab assistants collaboratively closed the doors. "I study Pokémon as Professor Oak's AIDE," they said, robots.

        "HONESTLY!" Oak boomed, fists on his hips. "Red, how dare you! Your rival's first battle and you didn't even play fair!" Red didn't respond. "You know how I don't like to ADMONISH you, but sometimes, I...I need to! I really do! Why, I thought you were cool once. If I had a PokéDollar for every match you were about to win in a non-trustworthy fashion, I'd be richer than my grandson! Betsy take this sunnuvagun out I'm done!"

        If night or day existed in Kanto, then it would have been night. The lab assistant escorted Red out with her "gun barrel." "Don't take it too hard," she said flippantly. "I've seen this before and it's just a warning. It means he keeps an eye on you, not that he hates you." She'd half-entered the doorway now. "But he might next time." It closed.

        Red slowly trudged toward Route 1, figuring he had nothing to his name but an empty bag, a single set of clothes and a tiny baby animal. No, he couldn't claim the house his mother paid for. He couldn't even claim the room he'd decorated once upon a time, for it had been corrupted, just as everything could be, and was.

        He neared the gently-waving grass and asked himself, Where are the saints? Oh yes, there was angst in this boy; there was the weighty impression that the world could be on nobody's shoulders but his own, that he was great, but also that he had an irreversible burden. As he waded into those dark, inviting tendrils, he wondered what there was, really, to life, if it was true that everybody around him was totally boring or, on some level, a sociopath. But then he laughed; knowing that, of course, made the answer to his question quite easy and made him feel a lot better about himself.

        He heard a rustle in the waves behind him. Not far behind him reared the head of a fuzzy-headed animal. Its eyes seemed to glow and there was obscurity about it, like somebody was consciously trying to hide its identity from the readers. Red shivered. Wary, he squinted at the shadow and reached for his sole Poké Ball. Then the figure stood taller -- it had to have been at least four feet. He stepped back wildly, but the thing barreled towards him looking merciless, and as it got very, very close, time itself began to slow. Or maybe it was repeating itself. Doubling over?

        Because Red stared straight into that rich boy's wide eyes and saw a look whose conviction was threefold: fear, embarrassment, lack of guilt. And when he beat out the tattoo it became a clear pattern, no hodgepodge of awkward beats, because he felt he'd been granted the time in which to comprehend it.

        "Morse code," the fool half-whispered. "Do you know it?"

        The moment shattered; it seemed to have splashed apart. Green had landed perfectly to the side of Red and continued to inelegantly barrel off. Red, bewildered, heard nothing more for a while. Then he heard the gentle gossipy chirrups of the two homeless people paces and paces behind him. It was just the usual talk about their famous rivalry-since-babehood. Only Red realized that was stupid; babies generally aren't rivals. The most they do is try to nibble each other and try and steal their toys. For there is no bad blood in the young, but in the old.
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        Old April 10th, 2014 (4:42 AM). Edited April 13th, 2014 by xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx.
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          Poké Four: Don’t Look Back Again – A Magician’s Story.

          Red said his goodbyes to his mother, who helped him close his eyes, feel a warm motherly embrace, and instantly restore his Guntroll to full vitality. The love of mothers is potent, much like a magic potion. And then he stood before the first route of the world ahead of him. The air seemed fresher, more vibrant, and housing of wild animals.

          “This is it,” Red announced to nobody. Nobody except for the Squirtle standing beside him.

          “Blaub,” he exclaimed, vomiting tiny bubbles. It was strangely not adorable.

          Red took one step into the grass. His life suddenly changed. The paradigm shift was palpable.

          Suddenly Professor Oak appeared, told Red he couldn’t go out without a Pokémon, then laughed at his face as he explained he was ‘just Joshin’.’

          The forest! The grass! The trees! They were green. The hills! They were leapable. A frowning Rattata! They avoided its freakish expression. Small bird Pokémon accosted them, but they didn’t let them get any of their sugar! Tackles were had, saliva was espoused, and Red figuratively pressed the A button several, several times.

          And then, after much fighting, Red came to a realization. “Oh no,” he narrated, hefting his tiny turtle Pokémon above his head, “I’m not QUITE to the next town yet, but my Pokémon is getting really beat up in battle! This is kinda terrible!”

          “Did somebody say ‘the?’” yelped a mysterious traveler. A wizard stepped out from the foliage.

          “It was anybody else but me,” assured Red.

          “My boy,” the wizard said, heavy-hearted, “your Squirtle is looking very grave indeed.” Guntroll sadly studied a bump on his forehead. Twirling his beard with his finger, the wizard decided, “you may be in need of my various magycks for the health and safety of your steed.”

          “Are you from America or something? Ah yua korayzee oa samutingu?”

          “BEETLEBROX AND FINGLETWIDDD!!” hollered the wizard, shedding many calories of magic. He handed Red a tiny medicinal spray bottle. It was purple-based. “Take this magic potion. It will aid you on your quest.”

          Red took it in his hand and studied it carefully. He looked at his famous Guntroll, suffering minimally. His eyes glistened with trust.

          Red ran home, hugged his mother for help and threw the potion into the ocean. And then on his way back into the woodlands, Professor Oak stopped Red again just to laugh at him.

          And then Red was in Viridian City, the next town after his home of Pallet. It sadly only had two houses, one of which was the local school. A man was stuck behind a tree in a small grove. The only way out was to swim through a tiny pond. Some old man was passed out by the side of the road, screaming of pepperoni. There were also three locations of note: the Pokémon Center/Pokémon hostpital, Poké Mart/Pokémon market facility, and Pokémon Gym/place where you have to beat the boss to gain glory, and a shot to challenge the strongest trainers in all the land. It was closed because it was Sunday.

          “Well, at least I can buy some Poké Balls, finally,” Red figured.

          “Gwirtle,” Guntroll said.

          The interior of the Poké Mart building was cobbled together out of stone, like a castle with various racks of Pokémon-related goods and fixed p with refrigerator units along the wall, with the odd bubbling cauldron now and again. Spices and magic herbs hung from the ceiling in black metal baskets, and the two men behind the counter looked like generic fantasy wizards. The other shoppers present were generic schoolchildren and youngish wage earners.

          “Hidely ho, young traveler! Do you care to sample yonder wares?” a wizard asked.

          “I’m going back to Pallet Town,” Red decided as loud as he could.

          “Oh, why Pallet Town? Did you just say Pallet Town?” the second, younger and more inexperienced wizard gasped. “I have a package addressed to one ‘Prof. Oak’ at that address! Young adventurer, could I ask you to take this package to the old local professor?”

          “That counts as child labor, mister, and unpaid at that. You should rent a truck or something if you’re too tired to make the walk yourself.”

          “I will give you a potion and five Poké Balls.”

          Red was a sort of greedy chap. Besides, who could refuse a 1200 Poké Dollar value?

          Red opened the door to Professor Oak’s laboratory and carelessly chucked the fragile box inside before slamming the door shut. “Okay, THAT is the last time I’m dealing with Oak!” he said decisively. And then...he looked to the direction the sun was shining from. It was Daisy, standing in the gentle breeze, water sparkling at her back, with eyes like a pure cotton blanket of warmth.

          “Red, I wanted to see you one more time before you left,” said Daisy.

          “Daisy, look. This is my Squirtle. Together, we’re going to make it big on the battling circuit until I can afford to get you out of this hellhole. And a house for my mom someplace nice. She deserves it.”

          “You don’t have to do any of that, unless it’s for yourself.” She glanced away. “There’s...not much hope for me left anyway...” She extended a nicely-folded map with both hands. “Take this map. So you never get lost and end up here ever again. Escape my grandpa’s town...and don’t look back again.”

          Red carefully took Daisy Oak in his arms and gripped her tight. This girl didn’t deserve this place, this family matter how average she was forced to become, she would always be no. 1 in his heart. And he would never forget it. “Wait for me,” he whispered gingerly, holding back his sobs.

          “Oh, and one more thing,” Daisy remembered, gingerly prodding him away and reaching behind her back. She took out a shoebox, filled with two shoes. “These are the running shoes. While you’re wearing them, hold the B button in any direction and you’ll start to run! I’m sure you’ll find them useful.”

          Red gave her a soft salute and began walking away. “You need them more than I do,” he explained. “You still have to run away from the Professor.”

          Daisy held the shoes against her heaving chest as Red left her. If only she weren’t so average...maybe she, too, could become a Pokémon Master. If only, if only...

          As Red approached the forest, Professor Oak jumped out and screamed at him. Red was so frightened he sprayed his potion at him. It tasted of clementine and mild peppers.

          Red stood in Viridian City one more time. The breeze felt freer, now that he was rid of Oak’s hellish grip. “You know what?” he decided, looking to Guntroll for support. “I’m gonna go west for a bit.” West was the way to Indigo Plateau, the path to the Pokémon League where Pokémon trainers fought to become Pokémon Masters. To gain entry he’d have to storm eight Gyms and conquer their leaders, but for now he had a ways to go before he could even face an experienced trainer in the eye.

          He entered the mountainous route, taking care to study the topography of champions. A large square patch of grass greeted him. He touched the five empty Poke Balls at his belt and thought to himself, I’m gonna need more friends if I’m gonna make my dream come true. He stepped into the grassy grass, and a Mankey appeared, which is a cross between a monkey and a hamster with a pig’s nose on it.

          “HISHYUU,” she rallied. Something vibrated hard in Red’s back pocket.

          “What in the...?” He released from his back pocket the Pokédex, which was red, book-shaped, and Nook-like in features. He must’ve slipped this in my pocket when he spooked me!


          “You’re lucky you’ve got good info,” Red huffed.


          Red sneered darkly and chucked a Poke Ball at the Mankey. He named her Veronica, just because.
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          Old April 10th, 2014 (12:45 PM).
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            Poké Five: Afilar su Espada Antes de la Batalla

            Who would put a delicious potion behind this dinky tree?

            But no one answered. No one ever answered the most mysterious, the truly profound questions. Nor would anyone tell him why every stray object was carefully encased in a Poké Ball before being left all on its lonesome. Maybe it was just out of force of habit, and at this point in their lives nobody was fighting to go against the current.

            Red picked it up. Inside was a potion. He was hoping the ball would come in handy, but the thing spontaneously disintegrated in his hands. It was time, he knew acutely, to go. Back out to the west.

            "You off to the League? Fuggedaboudit!"

            Green was repeatedly, incessantly, brattily shrugging and un-shrugging his shoulders as he chortled, presumably over that wildly popular and contemporary reference he just made. His laughter sounded like it was on loop; Red felt his only option was to wait and groan. But then he realized he could just walk away, which is just what he began to do when suddenly the guy warped away and appeared before him, as if he'd just pulled off a Double Team.

            "What do you even want? A battle? We just did that!"

            "But I'm a battle monster!" Green admitted. "I hunger fer cash, I hunger fer battle, all Green wants is da HIGH LIFE!" He blinked in an odd pattern. Red frowned and writhed uncomfortably, as if to say that he had no idea what he wanted him to say. Green blinked out another odd pattern. Red mouthed 'why.' Green sucked his teeth a little and said, "You wouldn' unnerstan'." Each of his hands clutched an opposite side of his belt in a gesture that was, presumably, very cool. Then he just pulled one of the Poké Balls off like a loser and opened it to reveal a bouncing baby bird with a luscious feathery coat by the species name of Pidgey.

            "Bet'choo wanna know whas' name is," said his rival darkly. "Well?" Red was silently watching. "His name's Benjamin. Wanna know why?" He stared aloof. Green keeled back and began to whoop, "Because it's ALL ABOUT THE BENJAuhhhh...'cause 'Benjamin' refers' mind, baby."


            "Ne' mind."

            Red sent out Veronica not because he believed in her - he did, as much as he could believe in some random untrained critter he'd just captured - but because she was the first thing he happened to grab. She seemed to be chanting 'tissue,' and it was actually very charming. "Alright, you're still fairly weak -" Veronica moaned with fury - "not to insult you -" she magically calmed down - "so follow my lead -" she beat her chest, which was actually her face - "and Leer at him." She was furious and regretted her inability to unbridle her true fury. Instead, she worked with what she had and attempted to channel it through eye waves, freaking Benjamin out by one defensive tier. The bird had begun to sweat.

            Green smirked -- he couldn't believe this kid! Red hadn't even realized that he was at a distinct elemental disadvantage! Had he never pressed the L or R Button in his life? But Green knew better. He commanded Benjamin to Tackle.

            Both creatures, as they collided, roared like the falls, and Red could tell that this hit had already taken out a substantial chunk of Veronica's fairly-impotent life force. And when she Scratched her foe, the results were piddling in comparison. That bird was just more fighting-fit, and she was just too weak to handle an entire match of this without some wizardly wares. It was a horrible reality, true, but he was just trying to face facts here...

            A round later and Veronica had come to her knees. That's when Red tip-toed over to her and sprayed some weird crap on her to make her feel better. "Hey, TWO kin' play at THAT game," Green said before degenerating into the laugh of some kind of character from The Simpsons. He reached into his pockets with a vengeance and he came out with money. "Here, Benjamin, take all the money! It'll make y' feel good if y' let it!" The sweet rain washed over his tiny bird. Maybe it worked. But it probably didn't.

            A few supertense moments later, it was between a pig-nosed beast below full capacity and a tough, greenery-laden dinosaur. Red began the match handily by telling it like it was to his pal: "Alright, you're still fairly weak -" Veronica moaned with fury - "not to insult you -"

            Meanwhile, Green was crouching down next to Babyface and rubbing the cash of love all over her. He encouraged her to even eat some. "I mean, s' green like plants," he said matter-of-factly, quietly, almost under his breath. "Some folks don' take it well when you eat what you "shouldn't," but, well...I'm not that pig-headed."

            The Mankey whirled around and stared, practically glared, her eyes burning directly into Babyface's psyche for a too-short moment before facing the brunt of a tough blow, the winningest facet of Green's strategy: the Tackle. No, he wasn't even going to try using an elemental attack right now, just the Tackle. It was a shame, considering Guntroll had known how to bubble-blow practically all his life and had learned how to do so professionally a level ago.

            Veronica angrily tumbled away, but Red tucked her into the spacey safety of the Ball Zone. He began, unexpectedly, to sweat a little as he revealed his second and last usable capsule. What if Green was just saving his type chart know-how, trying to surprise him? Did he know more about strategy than he'd let on? Had he actually earned any of that money he flaunted?? A little later as the turtle and the sproutlet looked each other over once more, like a bazillion questions flooded Red's mind. And even later as that same turtle paraded over the baby-faced corpse shouting "SQUIRTLE, SQUIRTLE!" all the while like a little jerk, Red realized that he'd had nothing to worry about, and he was more than a little disappointed.

            Ambling over to Green, he said, " can you profess to being my rival if you haven't even beat me once?"

            "ONE!!" Green shoved a pinky finger confidentlyly close to Red's nose. "CLEARLY got you beat in the money department. And TWO!!" Here came another, nearly poking him in the eye. "Rivals? Who says?" The fingers started to jitter.

            "One, I bet you really don't, but that's neither here nor there, and two, I'd hazard a guess that you did, several times, in the past, and that you're the one who came up to me trying to battle here anyway, and that this statement really, really isn't as deep as you're trying to convince yourself it is." He closely observed the fingers, but tried to pass it off like their graceful and coordinated movements didn't totally fascinate him.

            "I'll tell ya this, son. Baby. Man. Whatever. That we need t' quit dawdlin', the better to meet the Elites together someday." And with that the twin claws drew back. Green walked backwards for a few strides, recalling his injured beast at some point along the way, and then charged off like a criminal. Red couldn't figure him out, and for now he'd decided that he didn't want to. He didn't want to at all. Maybe he'll learn Morse code tomorrow.

            Fighting in the earliest stages of an adventure is a complicated maze of precise rationing and timing; it is the labyrinth of the truest balance of skill and power that lies in the parched death-valley between the Tackle and the Tail Whip. This is no place for a man, nor a beast of any caliber, to train in hopes of quickly gaining strength. Nirvana, perhaps, but not raw muscle. In his efforts to train Veronica in Route 2, Red experienced this time and time again, especially as the tides of defeat repeatedly overcame his monkey-thing, forcing Guntroll to win the day.

            As he left this not-very-scenic-at-all hilly route, psychologically tired and bored, he glanced over at one of the many "TRAINER TIPS" signs, and it read, "Catch Pokémon and add them to your collection. The more you have, the easier it is to battle."

            Now the knowledge that he only owned two Pokemon was a little shameful. That's not a bad thing, he thought, to keep in mind...


            "But now that you say it, it sounds like a horrible idea."

            "DON'T YOU LIKE FREE STUFF?"

            "I do," he said, sounding exasperated, "but -- are you trying to say that if I catch any Pokémon from hereon out, it'll be for something selfish like that?"


            The boy began to speak but hesitated, then sighed. "Why do you sometimes say smart things?"

            Maybe the next thing he'd do, Red told himself, could be seen as an act of goodwill. Maybe he did it to "show" that P'Oak what for. Maybe he did it out of curiosity. Maybe he would tell you his motivation if you'd just bothered to ask him one of these days. Maybe you're inconsiderate. Maybe you're just lazy. Or maybe - which is the most likely scenario - you don't really care. You just don't care that much.

            That's what Red thought the first time he saw that creepy, forlorn denizen of Route 1, that creature who dwelt in the shadows of all who looked upon her with fear, she who preyed upon the weak, the young. She was a Rattata with a grievous frown. Here, Veronica's relative weakosity suited her just fine; the mission was not to kill but to brutally injure. She dodged the rat's gently-waving tail and kept up the best defense*.

            The purple rat went down gentle and quiet into the square patch of grass, her health in the red, and Red, with red in hand, red her, and she, read we, was red. And he named her "Rockabilly" because it just suits her, y'know?

            * For those of you who don't know the phrase, the best defense is the following: a good offense.
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            Old April 11th, 2014 (1:36 PM). Edited April 13th, 2014 by xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx.
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              Poké Six: Teach Me, Teachy TV

              “I am just SO SORRY, kid, I just can NOT be-LIEVE I was just so, ugh, like I can’t even be-GIN to TELL you how RAGGEDY-AWFUL I feel for bein’, all like, y’know????”

              “Sir, please, just...stop all of this,” Red heaved, as the drunk elderly man in the middle of the road shook a Weedle, and several clouds of ugly breath at his face.

              “You, yeh see how I, uh yeah caught this?” the old drunk man breathed. “You, you wanna know how I I I I um crap uh yeah caught this lil’ guy?”

              “KHEEEEEEH,” the weedy fellow hissed, shaking its scorpionic stinger at his nose.

              “Please step away, sir!” panicked Red.

              “I’m, I’m gonna, erh, do it and, yeah,” the elderly man assured, leaning backward slovenly and tossing a Poké Ball into the trees. “And, um, there, that’s how you, catch the uh, Hoothoots...? Don’t...kid, don’t tell your, your parents’r...the things...”

              Red leaped left. Red leaped right. But there was no getting past this man with just a physical challenge.

              “I think that really is special you know, mister,” Red lied. “Thanks so much, I love that information. You’re a treasure. Old people are the past AND the future. May I be on my way to catch a Weedle of my very own?”

              “Kid, ya remind me of my own son,” the old man reminisced. His only child, a woman, stared at him from their front door, humiliated. She retreated inside, fed up. “I want you to have this. Have it. Just, just have, this here.” He picked up a full-sized 90’s-fashon television and put it into Red’s arms. “Whenever you need the help...just flick the dial.”

              “Um...thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks,” Red supposed.

              Having already fixed up his ratty new comrade, Red dashed backward to the Poké Mart in an attempt to sell off the television. But they wouldn’t take it. It was empty except for fifty fluid ounces of beer. Red helpfully placed it gingerly in the recycling box outside.

              Red stood at attention before Route 2 once again. Guntroll twitched his eyes rapidly. Veronica shook her arms like an old kung-fu master. Rockabilly shook her head like a real brawler. “LET’S ROCK THE ROUTE,” Red rallied.

              “PYUU,” a Pidgey sighed, leaping out from the shade.

              “AAAAAAARRRHHH!” Rockabilly roared, nipping the nape of its neck.

              “Bwaaaaah,” called a Rattata.

              “PIEEH PIEEH!!” Veronica cried, kicking its shins until they bruised badly.

              “LEEDLEEDLEEDLEEDLEE!” guffawed a Spearow.

              “Squirt,” Guntroll said, slapping it in the face.

              All three foes went down hard. They had mastered the early routes of adventure.

              Now it was time for the forest. The deep, dark, viridian forest. The Viridian Forest.

              The passage to the forest was linked to the rest of the world by a helpful man-made two-ended building. Inside were various sorts of young Lasses, with slightly torn clothing and leaves all in her hair. Bug catchers, bathed in tiny scratches, shaking their heads into their hands. A Swimmer, though appreciated for branching out into new areas, was sobbing in the corner as he plucked burrs from his feet. Only his Goldeen could offer any solace. But at what cost...?

              “Don’t go in there,” a Bug Catcher advised. “I saw a Picnicker in there, I don’t even KNOW how many of his Pokemon got poisoned. Just don’t go in there.”

              “I think I saw a Caterpie,” a Lass gasped. “Its eyes...EMPTY...”

              The Swimmer sobbed; the fish asphyxiated.

              Red softly rubbed the three Poké Balls at his belt. “Thanks for the warnings, everybody. But unlike all of you, I have a little something extra to help me out.” He flashed the PokéDex.

              “SEE YA DUMMIES! AND PUT A SHIRT ON, BUM,” P’Oak advised.

              The Swimmer quickly covered his chest with his still-drowning Goldeen. It was really funny, I swear. Just like in the movies.

              Red spent seven minutes in the forest. Everything spat poison at him and his Pokémon. It was really scary, and all of his friends got infected with DEADLY POISON, so he left early and went to the Pokémon Center. “MAYBE YOU SHOULD BUY SOME ANTIDOTES AT THE MARKET? SEEING AS, I DUNNO, LITERALLY EVERYTHING IN THERE IS POISON?”

              “Ok,” Red hated. He bought many magical medicinal herbs for a great price. It was great!

              Okay, he was back in the forest. It was a veritable all-natural maze, where the sunlight fought to get a spot between the leaves. Wind huffed through at will, and it all felt as unfriendly as the Forest Temple. You know the one. The one with the freaky music, it was terrible. Rouguelike Pokémon slid through the foliage as they would at whim, and it one were to take a step, one would flinch for fear of squishing a fearsome fauna.

              “Time for take two!” Red muttered confidently. Nearby, a sign was posted, reading ‘For poison, use ANTIDOTE! Get it at POKéMON MARTS!’ “*@$& you,” Red muttered hatefully. And then, a fat green package fell from the trees above! But it wasn’t a package!


              “Hot diggity dog,” said Red emotionlessly. He tossed a Poké Ball at it, and it was a big success. Red caught a Metapod. Its name was Alex. It was gender-neutral, because you can’t tell a cocoon’s gender just by looking. It just wasn’t possible. “A full-health catch! That doesn’t happen often.”

              “Pikabobeekageeka,” announced a Pikachu, all yellow and mousey and rare and stuff.


              “A Pikachu!”


              “The only chick I need is Daisy, but everyone needs an Electric-type Pokémon,” Red reasoned, pulling out his latest Poké Ball. “Let’s go do this, Alex! Let’s catch this guy!”

              “ ” said Alex, being a cocoon.

              “Pikabobeekagogeekagagagigo,” the Pikachu babbled incoherently.

              “Porta-Oak, what moves does Alex have?”


              “How many programmed responses do you HAVE?”


              “Uh, okay. Harden, Alex!” Alex responded in turn by flexing a little bit and firming up. It was super effective.

              “BEEGA,” the Pikachu growled, using Growl. Now Alex’s Harden’s Attack Power fell so much. It was now weaker than ever.

              “And...what else does it have?”

              “JUST KEEP GOING.”

              “Harden again, then.”

              “ “


              “Um, Har...den?”

              “ “


              “, yeah. Harden.”

              GIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Alex shrieked, alien-like, as it detonated fleshily. The Pikachu was thrown into the trees. Blood spattered the trees. Red’s eyes went fish-like in blankness. Everything was quiet, except for the craws of the birds above the trees. Alex...had just hardened way too tight.

              Red walked back into the checkpoint building, sat next to the Swimmer, and cleaned himself up with napkins. He considered walking all the way back to his mom’s house and eating a home cooked meal, but then he realized that would mean dealing with the real Professor Oak again, and so he laid against the wall, went to sleep, and cried softly.

              The first Pokémon is always the hardest. That’s why you should never name your first pet.

              “Oh gosh, look’it you,” said some girl, lifting the injured Pikachu from the trees. She had yellow hair and the net of a Bug Catcher. “What in the world happened over here? Did someone bomb the forest ‘r somethin’?”

              “Peegabeegabeeg,” the Pikachu moaned sickly.

              “It’s okay, I’ll make ya feel all better,” the girl cooed warmly. From her wizarding robes she removed a tangeriney berry. “If ya want, you c’n help me fix this country...”

              “Oomanoomajujubeebs,” the Pikachu said, because there was nothing else to say.
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              Old April 12th, 2014 (12:21 PM).
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                Poké Seven: Day of Some Bugs

                Rockabilly had just defeated some Bug Catcher's Weedle in a quick succession of attacks -- and quick ones, at that. It was a proud day for the fast-leveling and lonesome rodent but a hollow victory for Red, and just one more to top off a mountain of them. What was the use in battles like this if he still felt sick?

                The Bug Catcher boy, dressed in the typical fare, recalled his buggie. "I'm looking for the stuff I dropped," he said nonchalantly. "Can you help me?"

                "I can, but--"

                "Oh, come on! What's the rush?"

                "I'll..." Red began to sound a little defiant. "I'll do it, but only if you help me too. I've lost something in this forest myself."

                "Really? An antidote, a potion or what?"

                Tears glinted in Red's eyes as he muttered, "A victory."

                As they trudged through the grass which at times hiked up to their throats and under the dim splotches of light, Red and the typical Bug Catcher talked quite a bit. At first it was Red asking whether he'd really dropped any of those stray items he'd kept coming across all over the forest, or if he was just faking it and taking the leavings of other, identical little boys. "No, only like one of it's mine," he said, "and really most of it's dropped by the dead."

                Red seemed less than mortified. He responded as if he'd heard where his favorite football player just went for vacation. "Really!"

                "Oh yeah." He went on to describe in astute detail the obvious arrangements -- an antidote hanging in the tree boughs, encased by a bony hand, and a clearing encased by trees on three sides, a viridian peninsula, with a suspicious capsule sitting plumb in the center. "Sometimes," he said with a fond sigh, "it's as if some clever Pokémon set it up that way. But that's what made my Weedle and I so strong!"

                "Bug Catcher, why do you stay in this miserable maze?" The boy smiled and said it was like a haunted house. The grass was slowly smacking against his glinting teeth. "Yeah, but there's so many dead bodies. I'm not even pointing out the danger of getting eaten or ripped apart. Not by Pokémon, I mean. Because this place is like one big pathogen."

                "You don't mean that. I've lived here for months and I never get sick!"

                Red followed the sudden urge to stare very, very far into the distance. "Your family," he said, trudging on, "wouldn't like it if you keeled over tomorrow after a diet of whatever secondhand scrap you find catches up with you-"

                He stepped on something disgustingly soft. Red gasp-heaved. Bug Catcher moaned in anticipation. When Red backed away, they could see a bright and shining Pikachu vaguely through the grass.

                "That's it, that's it!" Bug Catcher cheered as he danced a stupid dance. He raised his net high above his unnecessary straw hat when he added, "This is what I'm here to find, right?"

                Red answered the affirmative on instinct; a moment later, his will to follow through had died. Clearly, this wasn't the one. It wasn't the one he'd known had suffered. If he couldn't have that Pikachu, then the death of Alex could never be worthwhile.

                At least this was his internal justification for it. It wasn't as if all of that was on his mind the moment he asked Bug Catcher to help him in the first place. Then what what the root of this, the cause of the cause?

                The Viridian Forest was like a lumbering, slow thing spattered with blood. It felt, here, that no matter how much initiative one had, how close one's dreams, one could only trudge on feeling heavy, degenerating, losing motivation, and losing sight of what's ahead. So they reluctantly left this stranger Pikachu, and as they did Red felt that a bigger picture had just been painted in his mind's eye. When he looked at the Bug Catcher, or any of the other Bug Catchers who challenged him to fights they were clearly destined to lose, he saw, as if they were mirrors, the nature of the wood itself.

                Before he spoke again he found a Poké Ball on the ground. He opened it. It contained a Poké Ball. "Ooh!" Bug Catcher hollered. He lobbed it to the boy.

                "Bug Catcher," Red addressed gravely, "do you have any goals in life?"

                He said in a heartbeat, "To defeat my rival!"

                "Who's that?"

                "Some other Bug Catcher!"

                "Named what?"

                "It doesn't matter which one!"

                "Have you ever challenged one?" He didn't answer. Red shook his head like a solemn king.

                "Hey, I can pick a new one whenever I want to!"

                "Stop. It's obvious. You...feel as if there's nothing to look forward to in life." Bug Catcher started to get defensive, but Red silenced him with a little hand gesture. "The longer a person stays in the forest, the more they become like it. The slower they go. The lower they hold their head. The more they, I should say deteriorate. Their dreams, their motivations, their perceptions of reality...even their psyches disappear before them." They had stopped in front of a crop of dark, putrid trees. He looked to Bug Catcher, who looked increasingly mortified with his every word, and his jaw just hung ajar.

                "...So you see where I'm going with this," Red said with confident resignation, which changd to abject frustration as he roared the next second, "you're a freaking zombie! All of you here, you're just zombies! I mean, no wonder everyone is so scared to come here! Poison, paralysis! Wounds, death! Previously-able-bodied creatures becoming cocoons that never develop and waste away! And nobody here has any brains! It's a clever metaphor, I think! It's even the best metaphor I've ever made in my life, isn't it?! But believe it or not, there's a way to stop all this, even for a kid like you!" Twitching hands slammed against Bug Catcher's shoulders. "Heed these parting words," Red, with a remarkably smooth cadence, an even tempo, told him. "None of you are rotting. You're just fermenting."

                The boy's moth opened impossibly wide, his jaw vividly off its hinge, and his mouth appeared in the darkness like an impenetrable tunnel. His eyes sank into their pits like birds retreating into clocks while his nose just disappeared. Bug Catcher became haggard, looking as if an entire king-size mattress had been tossed onto him, bedsheets and all, after a bloody bedroom slaughter. Bloody, as the speckled trees behind him, was his smock. Red's hands suddenly dropped through the boy and to Red's sides; he could hear himself breathing and his own heart beating.

                "Oh... I-I'm sorry..." he said as his mouth-bones chattered and a primal fear struck him dumb. He was dead earnest when he whispered, "Have I insulted your kind?"

                The ghost which had intervened in his life specifically to help him cope with a terrible turning point in his life, who looked exactly like a nasty floating sheet with a face like the mask from Scream, not the painting but the movie, didn't say, because he - or it - merely faded out of existence. And it was in the boughs behind him where a fainted, traumatized Pikachu should have been waiting. Red considered looking deeper into their meat-laden branches, but common sense told him, hours too late, that the mouse might have already escaped.

                Four boys on railroad tracks found the courage within themselves to get a move on. Red decided he'd better go, too.

                Red, now fermenting, walked away.

                "TRAINER TIPS," another wooden sign read. "Contact PROF. OAK via a PC to get your POKéDEX evaluated! P.S. OAK WAS HERE -- RED IS A LOSER"

                Red's inner cartoonishly-over-the-top straight man archetype screamed, as his real self gently kicked the fragile sign face-down, "OH! MY GOD!! DID THAT PROFESSOR SERIOUSLY HAVE THIS SIGN MADE JUST FOR MEEEEEEEE!?!?!?"

                Three alcoholic-looking beverages clinked and clanged together above a glass table. Their owners shouted, "CHEERS!"

                They were three lucky souls who had endured the pilgrimage from one end of those rotten woods to the other.

                Three people, in Red's eyes, who quite possibly had escaped damnation.

                A lady with stylin' blue hair sipped her root beer float coolly, then blopped, "One of those Bug Catchers tried to beat me with a thing that only knew Harden." A chill went up Red's entire crazy skeleton. In his throat, twin lumps. "And you know what he called it? A battle of attrition! Really! You're really going to call it that!" The old man laughed heartily. Either he looked exactly like that drunkard down the road, or he didn't but looked uncannily similar. "Ah ha! Really!" The lady looked around a little, as if she was expecting a little more of a rise. "Really!"

                "Amen to that," said the old man.

                "Geez louise, all those bugs..."

                "Amen to that," said the old man.

                Red sipped his root beer uncomfortably. "...More than once today, I've felt like a changed man," he admitted; he wasn't sure why he was caving to the social atmosphere. "Now that I'm reflecting on it all, I'm starting to wonder what the worth of every being really is. Whether it should be judged by how many friends and family members feel they need us, how few enemies we make. Or whether that's selfish. And whether we're entitled to any -"

                "AMEN," hacked the old man. Everyone laughed, just like in middle school.

                Red looked away. He sipped his root beer uncomfortably.

                "Amen to that," said the old man.

                "That Viridian Forest," Red, pressing his luck, small-talked, "sure is...terrible. I would even call it heart-rending."

                The blue-haired lady chuckled. "You kidding? Us three, we might be celebrating a huge victory, but that's because we're losers. That's the first dungeon and your rival cleared it in minutes." Red spat out his drink. His entire drink.

                His entire drink.
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                Old April 13th, 2014 (12:29 PM). Edited April 13th, 2014 by xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx.
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                  Poké Eight: Welcome to the Big Town

                  Red entered Pewter City. It was so great! There was a garden patch! There were some houses! There was even a museum, called the Pewter City Museum.................and up on top of a tree’d hill stood the Pewter City Pokémon Gymnasium, or Gym for style. The entire area looked to have been originally cleared out from a forest. How scenic.

                  “Wow,” Red marveled, “what a big town. There must be, like, twenty people here!” He trekked to the Pokémon Center, which sadly, was just like in the games, and had the nice nurse lady make his Pokémon feel better.

                  Upon stepping back out, a random boy stared into Red’s eyes. “Ugh.”

                  “Hey! Have you been to the Museum yet??” they shrieked.

                  “No, I just got here—” The boy took him by the arm, carried him over his shoulder across the town, and threw him in front of the famous museum. Then he waked all the way back into the center of town, where he started. Red shook his head and willed the sudden attack out of his memory. Disregarding the museum, he walked in front of the Gym and stepped through the famous gym doors.

                  The interior was mountainous, rocky, and earth-like. One boy stood proudly in front of a boulder; a bookish-looking man stood next to the double generic monster statues at the head of the Gym. “Hey, kid,” the man greeted. “Check it out, yo. This be the Pokémon GYM, son. In here, you gotta beat every single guy you see and take home the glory of earnin’ a Gym Badge. And they you’re one outta eight steps closer to makin’ the Pokemon League dream come true, diggity dog. Y’know it? Y’know what I’m feelin’, dude?”

                  “Who ARE you?” asked Red.

                  “Just keepin’ it interestin’, that’s all it is...” The guy then backed off into the shadows, behind the boulders, and disappeared from view; perhaps from reality itself. “Also, the Trainers here all use Rock-Type Pokémon,” he helpfully added.

                  “Thanks. For something, I guess.” Red turned his attention to the Poké statues and glared at the placards. A doodle of Green, labeled ‘It’s all fer da money$$$’ was placed on each one. “I gotta catch up,” Red huffed.

                  “Keeee-yah!” screeched a young boy scout Picnicker, diving from above. Holding out twin Poke Balls, he cried “Fight me! You’re LIGHT-YEARS from being able to face Brock!” Red looked over the Picnicker’s shoulder, and spotted Brock, the close-eyed spiny-haired Gym Leader, punching a punching bag softly. “I meant it figuratively!”

                  “Well, riddle me this: why are you the only other Trainer in this Gym?” riddled Red.

                  “Rock Pokemon aren’t very popular,” the Picknicker admitted shamefully. “Schmandshrew the Sandshrew, I choose you!”

                  A heavy-duty armadillo thing appeared on the dusty floor! “SCHMEW,” Schmandshrew shouted.


                  “Hey,” the Picknicker sniffled. “Your computer is AWFUL.”

                  “I know. Rockabilly, let’s win this!”

                  “AAAAAAAAAUUUUUGHHH!!” Rockabilly howled, diving into the thick of the action.

                  “Let’s do a scratch attack!” The Schmandshrew waddled over slowly, brandishing wicked claws.

                  “Rockabilly, dazzle them with your amazing speed!” Red explicated!


                  “You aren’t even using a Rock-Type! Just do Quick Attack!” Rockabilly dove into Schmandshrew’s stomach like a drill-like missile. Sparks flew.

                  “Okay now, do a Rollout, just like that!” strategized the Picnicker.

                  “Foosh,” the Sandshrew obeyed. He folded inward, smashing Rockabilly into his chest, and slowly rolled into a helpful boulder. Rockabilly was surely injured for massive damage!

                  “Nosh him!”

                  “NAOWM,” Rockabilly noshed, Hyper Fanging the nearby belly for even MORE massive damage. Schmandshrew cried seven tears and fell on his belly. Rockabilly jumped out into free air and did a little tap dance. It was great to watch.

                  “SNEAK ATTACK!!” the Picnicker hollered, tossing a rock with arms at Rockabilly. Massive twist: it was Geodude.

                  “DUUUUDE,” Geodude said, winning.

                  “OH NO!” Red cried, recalling his fallen friend. “Veronica! Showtime!” Veronica took the stage with a stylish swagger. “Karate Chop that freak of nature!”

                  “Dude,” Geodude sobbed, hurt.

                  “CHICHAH!” shouted Veronica, hurting him with her dangerous chop. The dude was down. Red lifted his and Veronica’s fists into the air, victorious.

                  “Wow dawg,” said the guy from the front of the Gym.

                  Red pushed the Picnicker out of the way and stared right into Brock’s closed-off eyes. “YOU,” Red began, without really doing anything with it.

                  “So, you defeated my ONE follower,” Brock chuckled like a brick. “INTERESTING!” The dust on the floor around him picked up in his invisible battle aura and swirled around in a tiny twister. “COME, KID! I, GYM LEADER BROCK OF PEWTER CITY, ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE!”

                  “COME AT ME, YOU SANDSHREW OF A MAN! VERONICA IS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR THE LIKES OF YOU!” Veronica did two front flips and shook her arms around. She was more than ready.

                  “GEODUDE, COME ON IN!” Brock ordered. A gigantic rock fell from the ceiling, about the side of two cars stacked on top of each other, except circular; plot twist, it was a very, very large Geodude. “UUUUUUSE ROOOOCK TOOOOOOOOMB!!”

                  “Do-dude!” the geology dude accepted, picking up two boulders and placing them around Veronica so as to impede her progress.

                  “Ignore them!” Red coached. “Give ‘im a Low Kick!”

                  “PIGYAAAH!” Veronica yowled, sliding between the rocks like she was sliding into home plate. She smacked into the base of the rock monster, flipping it through the air like he’d been rolled gently, in mid-air, and landed flat on his face. His arms shook around helplessly for a few moments.

                  “Oh, crap, that’s lethal,” Brock realized. “OKAY, COME BACK!” He whipped out a Poke Ball and recalled him via laser beam. Then he took out a blue-colored Great Ball. “ONIX! LET’S ROCK!”

                  “Heh heh,” laughed Red secretly. But he wasn’t laughing a second later, and that’s because a giant snake made out of rocks appeared, and even had a horn!

                  “BURAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH,” Onix belched. He really was ready to rock.

                  “ROCK THROW!” commanded Brock. Onix tapped the ground with his tail, loosing several of the large stones from the ground, and then whipping the tail around into them, smacked a barrage Veronica’s way.

                  “The bigger they are, the harder Low Kick hits for!” Red factoided! “Reach hiiiiiiiiiiiim!”

                  The rocks fell like rain if it could maim. Veronica tapped that crap out of her personal airspace and zipped around at fluffy monkey speed. A second later, she was almost floating, behind the tip of Onix’s tail. “Fufuah,” Veronica one-lined presumably. With a single hard, low air-kick, a shock ran all the way up from the tip of the tail to the end of his horn, somehow flipping the whole snake over like a cow. The landing was almost deafening. Onix was so totally out.

                  “Interesting,” Brock congratulated. “VEEEERY INTERESTIIIIING...” Brock’s hair flowed upward. Flames almost spurted out from where his eyes should have been. His muscles bulged and et cetera. “RETURN, MY FRIEND.” The Onix beamed back into the Great Ball. Then...Brock took out a yellow Ultra Ball. “TAKE THIS, MY ONE, MY ONLY, MY EVERYTHING! COME, MY GREATEST FRIEND! BILLY, COME TO ME!”

                  A giant metal snake Steelix came out.


                  “But it’s INTERESTING...!” Brock insisted, as Billy the Steelix flattened Veronica non-lethally.

                  “Oh no,” Red gulped. He recaptured his Veronica...and turned to his last Poke Ball. “Guntroll. Make. My. Day,” he commanded, full of nothing but love for his friend. He was all set to exploit Brock for his greatest folly: everybody in his Gym was horribly weak to all water and grass Pokémon. Hey, of course. That’s how Green won so fast. How cheap. I bet he didn’t even Pidgey it up or anything.

                  Guntroll was on the scene. “Chupapa,” Guntroll muttered confidently. Perhaps ignorantly.

                  “MUrgUR,” Billy exhaled, eyeing Guntroll, unimpressed.

                  Oh no, Brock thought. This is the decider.

                  “One move,” Red guided. “Bubble.” Guntroll leaped atop a boulder, and from that one to a slightly larger one, and from there, right to the height of Billy’s face, which was like two meters big or something.

                  “BLREHREKJHRJEKBKJBBBB” Guntroll spat, launching a barrage of bursting bubbles into Billy’s eyes.

                  “BWAAAAAUGH!” cried Billy!

                  If only...Rock-type Pokemon....didn’t have really awful Special Defenses, Brock lamented. Guntroll landed on the forehead of the beast as it craned upward in a death throe. The whole beast started coming down, metal-covered rock and all. An expert tactician, Guntroll took a mad dash down its neck.

                  “SQUIRTLE DIRTLE DIIIIIRT!” he screamed, sliding down the Steelix’s entire tail like some sort of Fred Flintstone aficionado. You had to be there. He slid all the way to the bottom, flew off and landed on Red’s head. Guntroll shrugged and winked at the viewing audience. What a card!

                  “You...have bested my Pokemon,” Brock conceded, cutting off all supernatural powers.

                  “Yes, I did it...with my friends,” Red boasted friendily.

                  “Take this,” Brock called, tossing a fancy brown disk and fancy brown rock-styled badge for your clothing at Red. “That disk is the Technical Machine to teach my Rock Tomb technique, and that badge is the Boulder Badge. It’s something you’ll need on your road to Indigo Plateau.”

                  “Aww,” Red cried as they missed and clattered on the floor behind him.

                  “Oh. I’m sorry about that.”

                  “It’s okay.” Red awkwardly headed back and picked them up, then stowed them away in his backpack he always had with him. He turned back to Brock. They both knew the moment was ruined. “...Bye!”

                  “Um, yeah. Buh-bye now.” They both waved. Red kept waving as he walked absentmindedly to the door. He bumped into it. Guntroll shrugged again, and the viewers went wild. What a guy!
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                  Old April 14th, 2014 (1:44 PM).
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                  xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx xXx~MahouShoujoFruitieBasket~xXx is offline
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                    Poké Nine: The Biggest Problems Are the Ones You Make Yourself, Including the Accidental Ones

                    A couple of nerds were eyeing the star attraction of the Pewter City museum: a miniature space shuttle. It was a lot less impressive than the dingy fossils downstairs. Nobody advertised the shuttle model with banners or fanfare of any kind, yet it was their present killer app. A stately man stood by the door and informed Red as he passed, "This month, we're running a space exhibit."

                    Red considered simply walking back down the stairs, but instead asked with false curiosity, "Is that so? How about next month?"

                    He said with great pride, "We're running a space exhibit."

                    "Next month?"

                    He smiled ignorantly.

                    A moment later and Red was booking it out toward the next route. He was power-walking with all his might, hoping to make it to a place of actual wonder and excitement. He considered following through on his walk, but stumbled partway through on a little moss mat and broke out into a trot for a few moments. He'd regret it. When he'd made it to the route's entrance, his feet were lying in a puddle of shreds. Not again, he maligned.

                    Then, eyeing a familiar figure in the shade of the trees, he gasped, spun on his heel and tried to hot-foot it back toward town, but a shoelace has-been tied up his big toe and figuratively performed a German suplex. Red hit the dirt. His Pokédex slipped out of wherever he keeps it again and chimed in: "RED TRIPS, AS USUAL. ACCIDENT REPORT SENT BACK TO THE LAB." Red gasped, sucking grass into his lungs. "JUST! KIDDING!! AHA!!! AHA!!!!! HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

                    One of Professor Oak's AIDEs, laughing eerily to himself, slowly stepped forward. Red could feel his footsteps sauntering across the green. "I see that the Pokédex," he said, "is doing its job. But I will report this to Professor Oak."

                    "Please don't?" Red pleaded half-heartedly.

                    He didn't get a reply. "I have a gift, and it's for you." He reached behind his back and pulled out...a pair of running shoes!? "Press B when you walk to activate."

                    Red coughed, grassed himself off, and stood up on his dirty, nasty, naaasty feet. When he saw the shoes he recognized them immediately, but he wouldn't let the realization show on h face. "Sorry, but I can't accept those. Put them back where they belong."

                    "But I have a gift, and it's for you."

                    "Going barefoot is just a risk I'm going to have to take." The AIDE wouldn't budge. He looked unperturbed; not flappable at all. Red...looked around. He looked at his feet. He looked at the shoe components. Not yet resigned to his fate, he weakly gathered the strips and debris and pushed them aside with one foot. He crouched down beside them. He lightly bandaged his feet with them.

                    About one hour later and the AIDE still hadn't left his side with those beautiful shoes in his hand. "They're so easy to use," he gently insisted. "Simply press B when you walk to activate." After that, the labcoat-clad device seemed to shut up. Even though he would persistently follow, Red shrugged the guy off for now.

                    Route 4 was part-sand, part-grass, and all-boring. Or it was only boring 99.9% of the time, when all the Trainers there simply loitered, thinking they were cool. There were children of all walks of life: young boys in short pants, young boys in larger hats and short pants, lasses in short skirts, and no one else. Though Red's teammates were figuratively massacring every Pokémon they met with skill and panache, he was beginning to notice something.

                    Here he was in a patch of sand, a fluffy monkey on his side and a brownish wriggly bug on the other. He knew from his woodland adventures that not even Veronica's newly-learned Karate Chop could put so much as a dent in an insect, reasons unknown. Bugs just can't be chopped well, even though they're already pretty much split into sections for convenience. "But I don't have anything that's strong against Bug-types..." Red realized all too late, stroking his chin.

                    The young boy opposite him was so freaking peeved. "First, you don't wear shorts!" he thundered. "Second, you don't wear shoes! Third, you don't even have a bird! What's wrong with you?!"

                    "Peep," mumbled his Weedle.

                    "And even if you don't have a Flying-type, what's the problem with just using a type that's okay against bugs, you ? ? ? ? ? i n f i n i t e l o s e r ? ? ? ? ?"

                    "There's no problem with it!" Red shouted, briefly and painfully stomping his throbbing foot. "There's no problem with anything you just said, as a matter of fact. Plus, are you even paying attention to that thing behind me?"

                    "Press B when you walk to activate," said the AIDE.

                    "I just wish defeating Trainers like you was a little more convenient, but at the same time I don't just want an average bird or one with oddly-pink wings. And that first part's not an insult. Well, it is. Just train harder instead of standing around all day."

                    "I train when you're! Not! Lookiiiing! Ugh, you're just the worst!"

                    Red congratulated Veronica for a few well-played and dramatic Leers, then rubbed her snout and switched her out for a cool Rockabilly. "Alright, let's do this!" he screamed, but before he'd completed his statement Weedle was already down. Rockabilly was just quick.

                    Youngster was just a-stomping all over the place, kicking up dust and bones. "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" He threw his hat to the ground, stepped across it twice, pulled his hair out, grew some more really fast, and fell to the ground in a massive tantrum. "YOU DON'T EVEN WEAR SHORTS." Red sarcastically saluted the boy as he trotted away and made extra-sure not to step on any cans, bottles, or other recyclables.

                    When he landed in the tall-grass squares, he felt as if his feet had breathed in a gulp of fresh air, and it was a little disturbing. Most of the fare in these parts was familiar: tiny Pidgeys, tiny Spearows. There were tiny Jigglypuffs that were so rare that he didn't ever even ever meet one. Red stepped (extremely conveniently at a time when he wasn't wearing shoes) on a purple barb filled with lethal poison. As he howled with a rather Tom and Jerry-ish yell and keeled over against the AIDE's cold chest, his helpful primate friend popped out of her carrying case to assist him. She looked ahead, and she saw...a purple, spiky rabbit with a single tooth. It was like a low-budget ripoff of a Rattata.

                    "HISSSSSH!!" The Mankey's chopper went whizzing through the air and cut off the tips of a few wild grasses. It slapped the male Nidoran in the back and made it wail; though the move was only mildly effective, Veronica was so strong that it did good damage anyway. But the Nidoran retaliated by hammering at her head, and this was, for some reason, super effective. It was all because he was mimicking the ancient pecking practice of the birds. Types are weird, okay?

                    Red saw this through his crying eyes as the AIDE helpfully administered a booster shot full of probably-not-deadly-to-humans antidote to the wrist. He had a true Trainer's spirit; at a time when most kids would be overcome with racking sobs and awaiting sweet release with the tasty treat, this battle, to Red, was that treat. It was the latest revelation in the Internal Red Nation.

                    "" he said more dramatically than he'd had to. She hoisted the rabbit off her cranium and turned toward him. "Just...weaken it."

                    "HIM," said P'Oak.


                    She lobbed him onto the dirt and assaulted him with a Low Kick to the gut. He was down, but not for the count, and it was the perfect chance for Red to use another Poké Ball. It bopped him on the top of the head and consumed him. He would call the beast Handsem because the medicine was making him woozy and he slurred it and couldn't think straight.

                    There was cold linoleum against his back. Red picked himself up and looked around. He saw the bright lights and bland sights of any old Pokémon Center, only there was a guy reading a newspaper on a clipboard and a fish peddler who was getting water all over the floor. He asked the pink-haired nurse at the counter beside him if she had seen the AIDE, and she said he'd run off shortly after leaving him in the middle of the floor. He looked down and he saw a pair of running shoes with their openings surrounded by wads of duct tape.
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