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Old November 11th, 2018 (1:13 PM). Edited 4 Weeks Ago by Venia Silente.
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Pigbeetle Pigbeetle is offline
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Age: 24
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~1~

I'm tired. I’m always tired. After no matter how many hours of sleep, or days I spend in bed, my body always feels like a heavy, lead weight. It usually takes me an hour or two to actually get up once I wake up, and if I do manage to stand up for the day, it takes even more effort to utilize whatever time is left. As usual, I spent the beginning of this afternoon just scrolling through my dry phone, riddled with all the Pokemon news and Battle Digests I couldn’t avoid no matter how hard I tried.

In this day and age a phone can be anything with all the modules we have available. Most people invent and make their own, sometimes sharing them with others, but the most popular and sought out one is the Pokedex, which I’ll never touch.

Living in a pokemon obsessed world when you have no interest in pokemon is a wild endeavor. You can’t go into a home renovation store without seeing shelves of jigglypuff childrens room carpets, fungoos salt and pepper shakers, or (cruelty-free) squirtle shell dresser knobs . One time I tried to buy some incense that would help me stay awake and the lady wouldn’t sell it to me because I didn’t have any pokemon to make us of it.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon I finally spilled out of bed, landing myself on the floor. My legs and my body felt like a wet soggy towel, but I stood up anyway and slumped down the stairs, one slow step at a time.

At the base of the stairs, staring out the window was my brother, Falkner, the town gym leader.

“Morning, Gretchen! Good day to be outside battling, isn’t it?” He said with energy. The idea of having to talk to him, especially about Pokemon, made my legs feel even heavier.

“Doesn’t your new game come out today?” He asked, turning to me with his chipper lopsided smile and wide eyes.

“Yeah,” I said sitting down at the table, “release is at five. I already paid for it so I just need to go get it.”

“With the money I gave you last week?”

I said nothing.

“You know, there are better things to be spending your money on.” He said, sitting down at the table across from me.

I placed my hand on the back on my neck, “whatever.”

Better things meant pokeballs and battling items.

“Hey Wretch,” he said, throwing me that awful nickname. I turned towards him just in time to catch a small coin bag thrown at my chest. “Some spending money. Don’t waste it on something stupid.”

“Sure, Hackner.”

Stupid, in my brothers vocabulary, meant another game, or stolen or scalped merchandise from the local thugs. I can’t say I like giving them any money, especially when it’s the allowance from my brother I earned doing nothing, but they’re the only market in the whole region who will sell battle items to anyone who has the money, regardless of how many pokemon or gym badges you have, or don’t. Which is good for when all you want is some damn incense.

~~

Pokemon battling probably gives you a lot to feel proud of, if you’re good at it. Otherwise you end up sitting on a route corner, desperate for some passerby to come and beat up your team of pet rats, followed by some tag-line about how proud you are of them anyway. And you’d do this for months, probably, until your parents are calling you, begging you through tears to just come home.

What would be the point of subjecting myself to that embarrassment when I already live in the shadow of my brothers wings, flying freer than I ever will, no heavy boulders, prickly bushes, or anxiety holding him back? I could never be on Falkner’s level. His energy and motivation alone have me beat, and it shows in just the weight of our steps. I hate going out into public as it is; it irritates me when people recognize me.

“Are you buying pokeballs? Will you finally join your brother?”

“Are you going to fight alongside your brother?”

“Will you be joining your brothers gym?”


Or worse yet: “Are you going to try and defeat Falkner?”

Join him? Defeat him? With what? A team of rats and bugs that don’t require any special skill to catch, just to throw them to my brothers highly specialized (and legally officiate) team en mass like the rest of the toddlers and schoolchildren in this town who delude themselves into thinking they’ll be anything more than glorified pet owners? No, I won’t be joining him, or defeating him. I’ll just continue to live off him like a parasite, stuck in the confines of freelance programming gigs and the occasional graphic design commission, earning nowhere near enough to move away somewhere.

Speaking of which, how much money did Falkner give me?

20,000 yen. Boujee gym leaders...

What did he expect me to do with this? He didn’t even tell me to pick up take-out.

The Pokemart passed by me in my peripheral. I turned my head to glance at all the shimmery new pokeballs in the display window. Pokeballs, great balls, ultra balls, some special ones I didn’t recognize, all marked with a price - the original pokeball’s price tag being the largest in size, marked at the cheapest, 200, as it was the standard for beginners. You weren’t even allowed to buy the higher gear unless you had a certain number of gym badges to prove you can handle it, regardless of how many pokemon you had.

Had I went in and bought one I’d be stuck with the embarrassment of only being allowed the most basic gear: original pokeballs, your standard weak potion, and some other cheap medicines.

As I was needlessly staring at merchandise I'd never make use of, I caught a glimpse of my own wretched reflection in the window. No wonder Falkner calls me that. We share the same blue hair, and blue eyes, but he carries himself much better. There’s so much more love and pep in the things he does; his voice doesn’t crack when he tries to speak, his steps are as light as his birds’, yet just as fierce as all his good intentions. Every move he makes has meaning, whereas I haven’t brushed my hair in 3 weeks, and I’m just now leaving the house to grab a video game.

There was a midnight release I didn’t go to because I didn’t want to walk the 2 blocks to the game store to pick it up. I didn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of people having fun I couldn’t join in on because nobody wants the gym leader’s weird and estranged younger sister hanging around with no purpose. No wonder I was bumming Falkner out. I’m a textbook disappointment.

With no control over my legs or voice, I walked inside. Normally, no one would catch me in here on my own free will; usually I was with Falkner, or picking up supplies for Falkner with a list officiated by my brother’s stamp himself to prove I’m not some rocket grunt trying to scalp battle items.

But this time, I walked up to the counter with shoulders more hunched than usual and asked, after a long, awkward pause.

“O...one standard pokeball, please.”

You’d think Arceus itself had walked through Violet City, with the amount of sheer perplexity on the store clerks face.

Don’t..look at...just give me the item, please.

I tried not to sigh, close my eyes, and pass out. The familiar stares of recognition and surprise were physically paining me. I could feel the lasers in their eyes burning holes in the back of my neck. I’d only wished it was real, killing me instantly.

The store clerk placed my new item in a small brown paper bag, and I stiffly walked out. People had recognized me. If anyone was on friendly terms with Falkner, they’d surely ask him the next time they see him, “your sister caught a pokemon?”

I tried not to think about it, deciding to just get back as soon as possible. Let them think what they wanted, I just wanted to be away from eyesight.

I’d catch the same battle fodder everybody else does just to say they did. Something easy, something Falkner knows how to deal with, a simple flying type. There are Pidgey on Route 31 this time of day. Shoving the pokeball in my pocket, and the paper bag in a recycle bin, I headed East, to Route 31.

~~

The pokemon on Route 31 required no skill to catch. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even need to battle; the pokemon here have adapted to living so close to the city, most are just naturally friendly towards people.

A few yards in front of me, a wild Pidgey sat preening its wings. Having noticed but caring very little for me, it still watched cautiously. This was it. I pulled out my single little pokeball and pressed the center button.

I never took any classes on how to aim these things (though they were offered). Instead, I just took a deep, nervous breath, and threw it. It flew, fell, rolled, and stopped at the Pidgey’s feet. From what I knew, that should still have worked. The Pokeball opened, but Pidgey didn’t go inside of it: something came out.

“Wh-what?” I blinked. The Pidgey was unfazed, and I quickly realized why.

A Weedle had come out of the pokeball. The pokeball I bought from the store, that should definitely not have had a Pokemon inside, but it did, and there it was. Face to face with its own wild predator.

I was so stunned that when the pokeball returned to me, instead of catching it I just let it hit me and fall back to the ground. Weedle turned to look at me in confusion and fear as Pidgey started rearing up its wings.

Wha-what do I do? That wasn’t supposed to happen!

Then I realized something was off about the Weedle. The barb that’s normally on the top if it’s head was chipped. Instead of a pointed tip, it was a broken stub.

As fast as I possibly could, probably pulling a muscle in the process, I ran to Weedle, and snatched it up just as Pidgey’s beak missed it and hit the ground. As I passed it, the pokeball systematically returned to me. I can outrun a single Pidgey; I did all the time playing with Pudge, Falkner's first Pidgey now a Pidgeot, growing up. But if it started kicking up dust and calling for more, it was over for us -- it was over for Weedle, and Falkner would never forgive me for that. Neither would I.

I felt sand hit my back as I ran down the path back towards town, only hoping I wasn’t about to lead a whole flock of them back to town. Another mess for my brother to clean up. Still, I kept running.

By the time I made it back to the town entrance my legs were so tired I couldn’t feel them anymore, my lungs felt like they might burst, and I felt like I might throw up. I sat down against the side of the “Route 31” sign post, and caught my breath, waiting to see if anything followed me.

Hopefully one Pidgey wasn’t going to bother itself with a runaway Weedle, who, speaking of, was still curled up in my arms. It looked up at me with two beady, compound eyes and made a weak sound.
Where did you come from? I thought, but just as I did a runner in a tracksuit and a Hitmonlee in tow came passing by.

“Hey, are you okay?” He asked. “You look like a mess! You should get you and your pokemon to the Center. There are places there to rest up.” He jogged off. He didn’t recognize me, and I didn’t recognize him so he wasn’t on personal terms with my brother. Or maybe that’s just how bad I looked.

I shifted positions and a pain tinged through my legs; they were so sore. Sand fell from my hair down into my shirt and down my back. Some went down the back of my pants. I was a mess. I needed to get home.

“Sorry about this,” I said to Weedle, who I doubt could understand me anyway. “Re-return?” I said hesitating, pointing the pokeball back at Weedle, putting it safely back inside in a beam of red light.

~~

I returned home on sore feet that wished for death. When I walked inside Falkner was still sitting at the table with a cup of something warm in hand watching the news on TV. Pudge, resting outside his pokeball in a nest made of cotton stuffed fleece, alertly opened his eyes and jerked his head around in my direction.

He can smell Weedle…

“Holy...! You get in a fight, Gretchen? What happened to you?”

I was too tired to even make something up.

“I need a shower,” is all I said, and I painfully climbed up the stairs past my brother, unaware of the little commodity in my pocket. Pudge followed me, flying up the stairs next to me, keenly eyeing my pocket all the way up.

Once in the bathroom I combed as much sand as I could out of my hair, which was knotted to hell after weeks of leaving it. I shook off my clothes, letting the sand pile up on the floor. I’d have to sweep that up later. My legs hurt so bad I took my shower kneeling down, standing only made me shake. I never did exercise much - or at all.

Once back in my room in clean, grit-free clothes I sat on the edge of my bed, holding the shrunken pokeball in my hand, staring at it, unable to decide what to do next. There was a pokemon in there, one I hadn’t caught on my own. Who did? Who was its trainer? How did it end up in circulation at the Mart?
Pudge perched outside my door, occasionally tapping on the doorknob with his beak, which was no doubt grabbing Falkners attention.

I jumped at an unpleasantly loud knock on my door.

“Wretch? Are you in there? There’s sand all over the bathroom floor! What did you get into today? I thought you were picking up some game!”

“Go away, Hack, I’m tired.”

“Tired? You’ve been awake for like, 2 hours. Let me in, why don’t you?”

I ignored him. There was no way I could tell him. There was no way I was going to be able to keep it. I couldn’t train a pokemon, and a Weedle hardly even works as a pet. To make matters worse, Falkner was a flying type specialist, not bug. What was I thinking?

Despite my aching legs, I ran back out past my brother, who chased after me towards the door, Pudge right behind him.

“Gretch! Gretchen! Where are you off to now, seriously! Please,” he pleaded still chasing after me. “Talk to me, sis!”

I stopped and turned to him, also stopping him in his tracks. Pudge fluttered his wings in place next to Falkner, wanting to follow me but a Pokemon as loyal as that wouldn't leave it's concerned trainers side, no matter how interesting I suddenly may be.

“I swear, I will when I get back.” I ran off again back to the Pokemart.

~~

“I’m really sorry to bother you with this, but I need to make a return.”

“That’s no problem! What will you be returning?” The PokeMart clerk, pulling out a returns book with pages of the different bar-codes.

“This Pokeball I bought from you guys already had a Pokemon in it.”

The store clerk looked up from the returns voucher book with both a puzzled and surprised look on her face.
“That’s very odd. May I see it?”

I handed the pokeball to her and she scanned it with the hand tool normally used to scan items. She looked at the register screen for a few seconds before turning back to me.

“I’m very sorry about this, that doesn’t normally happen. When people make returns on items such as pokeballs they go through our systems to make sure they’re empty, but this one must have been missed. I’ll take it off your hands for you, replace it for free, and throw in a premier ball for the troubles.”

“Oh, th-thank you.” I said, having no intentions of using one ever again. I’ll give them to Falkner if I can ever bring myself to tell him about it.

New pokeball and premier ball in bag, in hand, I left the store back out onto the street. A few yards ahead of me across the cleanly swept, cobblestone city clearing, I could see the Pokemon Center. Outside sitting on one of the benches was a smiling trainer. On the ground in front of her was a Spearow, flapping its wings with happily ruffled feathers, clearly in love with its trainer. I almost felt...envy?

Weedle, with its stubbed barb, flashed in my mind on repeat. What’ll happen to it? It’ll get released for sure, but then what about wild Pidgey and Spearow? It happens every day to wild Weedle, but this one had been caught, and safe in the hands of a trainer who at some point took on the responsibility of not letting anything bad happen to it, then sold back off for money to pay for who cares what. The mental image of Weedle, that Weedle, trying to fight off a horde of Spearow with just its stub caused a twinge in my heart that was going to last for as long as that image would play in my mind.

“On second thought,” I said walking back into the store, “I’ll keep that Pokemon.”

The store clerk looked confused for about half a second, before an understanding smile spread across her face.

“Okay!” She said. “I’m sure Weedle would like that, too.”

Out of courtesy, I gave back the two extra pokeballs I had and trudged home with Weedle back in my pocket.

Falkner might actually kill me.
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Come over, and wreck my ʰᵉᵃʳᵗ

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Old November 15th, 2018 (11:19 AM).
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Venia Silente Venia Silente is offline
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Pudge (nice name btw) can smell Weedle, eh? Should have expected that.

Good premise in general terms. There's always the cliché, not spoken of loudly in public circles, of "person who wants nothing to do with Pokémon in a world full of Pokémon", and this story starts with placing a character in the situation where it seems, for them, that the world is as such - but then again, sister to a canon character, the recommendation of how to look at the world comes from too close.

A good work with the poor Weedle too, that was a close call. Pidgey are not as aggressive as let's say anime Spearow, so everything should be fine~

(And luckily it was not a Murkrow. IRL crows learn the faces and voices of people who mistreat them -or deny them food- and then you eventually have a mob ready to snap at you because of word of beak. But hey, Pidgey are so friendly~)
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Old November 23rd, 2018 (10:02 PM).
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Bay Bay is offline
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I agree with Venia that this is a good start to an interesting premise. Besides Gretchen being related to Falkner, she doesn't like the pressure of becoming a trainer because of her family. Speaking of which, I recall in the games Falkner being stressed being in his father's shoes, so the two siblings aren't so different. That would actually be a neat conversation the two can have in the future.

I too am curious how a pokeball with a Weedle was able to get through, but I assume you're saving that mystery for later. Will be interesting how she'll handle training now. Looking forward to more!
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