Have a one-shot exploring the relationship between trainers and (wild) pokemon. Inspired by a giant book of questions.
Who Are You This Time?
Dear fellow pokémon trainers,
I’ve been around these parts for a long time. I’ve seen several of you pass by over the years, but not as many as you’d think. There just aren’t that many people that make it this far in life, contrary to popular belief. Most people, by the time they come close, realize that their dreams are unbelievably faulty. Their pokémon aren’t strong at all, not compared to us, anyway. They don’t have enough money for food or potions to get through the entire trip, and by the time they have enough, they feel settled down, unable to find the motivation to journey once more. They’ve been through experiences that shattered their will so suddenly that they were sent straight back to where they started. Yes, I’ve seen several of you pass by, sometimes with a smile, but mostly with a frown that stretches on for miles and miles. I’ve seen some of you live, I’ve seen some of you die. I’ve seen some of your pokémon die, even—mostly trying to save you, but no one likes to think of the guilt that follows.
And who am I but a pokémon that sits outside of your prized Victory Road and watches you? I used to belong to one of you. She was a good girl, one who had dreams that no one’s ever heard of. She was only on a pokémon journey because her parents and her classmates claimed that it was abnormal to do anything else. I was caught early on in her journey, and I was used as messenger bird to send letters to her family and friends back at home. The letters sent back and forth spoke of success, never of defeat—but I knew she was never going to make it. Her heart just wasn’t in it, so it was inevitable.
And she didn’t make it. We grew stronger, and eventually I evolved into a bigger bird, though I don’t know why I bothered. When she had completed the gym circuit and was considering challenging the Elite Four, she ended up leaving me and the others at the gate of Victory Road, and said it was time to return home. She had fulfilled her role, and was heading back to say that she had failed, and was giving up, just like everyone else she knew. She didn’t want to doom us to being pets for the rest of our lives, so she was leaving us. She left without glancing back.
So I’ve been around these parts for a long time. And I have learned a lot of things. Now, I am going back to my old days of being a messenger bird and am trying to tell you the ten rules of Victory Road that every trainer should know, for the ones who are much more foolish than the trainer I had before. For the ones who are foolish to come here at all.
First, there should never come a day where one of our habitants goes missing because of you. It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised by how many trainers are completely oblivious to this. By now, if you want six pokémon on your team, all six pokémon should already be on your team, and fully prepared. No pokémon on Victory Road is going to want to join you because you are so far into your journey already. How will they have time to grow attached to you? They won’t have any time. Where will they be in all of your journey’s stories that you will tell when you return home? They won’t be anywhere, except at the end, the least important part. Basically, they won’t have any incentive to be with you, much less fight for you, and none of your expectations for these strong wild pokémon will be met. You will realize this rather quickly, too, because you won’t even be able to catch the pokémon. Me and the others will come to rescue them if we have to. And we always, always win, simply because this rule is so important to us.
Second, this is not a place to bury your pokémon. Like I said, I’ve seen many of them die here, mostly because they tried saving their trainers from some crazy accident. I once saw boulders fall down the side of the mountain and threaten a traveling trainer. The trainer’s arcanine quickly pushed the trainer out of the way, and while it succeeded in saving its trainer, it also succeeded in getting itself crushed. The trainer decided to bury his arcanine right there on Victory Road, and I can tell you that that wasn’t very satisfactory. The pokémon from inside the mountain will eventually find that arcanine by digging underground. And then what will become of that poor arcanine? I don’t like to think about it. My standard belief is that, if you were to go to all the cemeteries where your pokémon lie, you should only have to visit one cemetery, and it should be a symbolic, significant one, not the place of death that leads to so much grief and trauma, as I assume Victory Road did for that arcanine’s trainer.
This event leads to my next point: you must be tough to be out here. The pokémon on Victory Road are ruthless. They will not like you traveling on their terrain, and they will attack you without forewarning you or giving you time to prepare. They will steal your food and water. They will attack you in your sleep. They will do whatever it takes to drive you away in order to keep themselves safe from the harm your pokémon can cause. There has only been one time in the past where I’ve seen some kindness, but my point still stands. A trainer had found a graveler mother-to-be and her baby’s egg. The baby happened to be hatching at the time the trainer passed by, but the pokémon was stillborn. The trainer carried it to the grave because the mother couldn’t stand to do so. You can all say that you’re strong and unbeatable or whatever, but I’d like to see you carry a stillborn pokémon and still have the faith and capacity to look its mother in the eye.
Fourth? Know that every year is better than the last. With every passing year, we are getting even stronger. More and more pokémon are appearing here, too. This presents a problem for you, obviously. With more and more obstacles in the way, how in the world are you ever going to get past us? The answer, one of these years, will say that no one can get past us.
Victory Road is also not a place for you to go if you never want to be heard of again. Many trainers’ goals, I’ve seen, have been to simply stay on Victory Road so that they never have to deal with the outside world. Occasionally, they will travel back to Viridian City and stock up on supplies, but they always come running back. They are so stagnant that they make me sick. Who said that a human could make a pokémon’s place their home? No one did, of course, no one. Don’t they have lives to return to? A job? Family? Friends? Yes, I’m certain that they do. Needless to say, these trainers don’t stay for longer than a few months. Again, the ruthless pokémon here drive them away. Or we do little things that eventually build up and scare the people away, such as being as loud as possible, or by trying to kidnap their pokémon, thinking they’re one of us. It can be fun amongst all the annoying traits that these trainers present to us.
The sixth rule: know why you’re here, and how you got here. Really. Why are you here? To challenge the Elite Four, or to stay here forever? Knowing why you’re here will dictate the path you take, whether it is a long and winding and annoying one, or a short, passable one. I knew, for example, that I had come to the right place once someone brought me a berry as a thank you for saving them, and I asked, “What is this for?” I knew why I was here: because I wanted to be, and that was enough. There was nowhere else to go after my trainer left me, anyway. Also, realize that it’s your pokémon that got you here, not just your will and desires. Your pokémon fought for those badges you hold so dear, not you. They sustain all the injuries and have to be healed constantly, not you. If you don’t treat your pokémon with respect, then you have no chance against us, and especially not the Elite Four.
The seventh rule: know that you will fall in love here. And I don’t mean that you will fall in love with another person and then live happily ever after, like humans say they want to do. No, that’s not the kind of love I’m talking about at all. What I mean is… this place will speak to you. Every mound of dirt, every tree, every small pond, they will speak to you. They will tell you that, after all your hard work, that you are meant to be here. Whether or not that’s true doesn’t matter, but I’ve seen trainers fall in love here. I’ve seen them fall in love with their pokémon all over again, like they probably did on the first day they were caught or the first time they fought in a battle. This is partly why trainers want to stay—because the place speaks to them so much. Out of all I’ve seen, these trainers are my favorite.
Eighth rule. Know that someone, somewhere, wants to be exactly where you are. It’s true, believe me. My trainer in the past taught me all about how everyone in the world wants to be a pokémon trainer, collect all eight badges of the Kanto region, and then win the championship against the Elite Four. So someone, somewhere, wants to be exactly where you are. Age or location of these people doesn’t matter, just the fact that their envy radiates throughout the world. Use this as motivation to cherish your pokémon so more, as I’ve told you that’s important already.
Ninth rule. Realize the futility of your actions. Even if someone wants to be where you are, this doesn’t mean that your actions really matter. You just swept some crumbs off the side of Victory Road? That’s nice. You just won a battle against a wild onix? Okay. The rest of the world is unconcerned, and the sun would have gone on rising and setting had it not happened. Yes, your actions are meaningless here to the rest of the people on earth… Do with that what you will.
Finally, the tenth rule. Know that this final stretch on your journey is not a test or a race. I mean, it is a test in the sense that your pokémon’s strength is being measured after all your efforts. But again, the last part of your journey isn’t going to impact the world in any meaningful way. Also, chances are, you are the only trainer on Victory Road at any given time. But you are definitely not the first one to be here, nor will you be the last. I can assure you this because…
I’ve been around these parts for a long time. I just want pokémon to be treated better, with our home staying safe at the same time.
I’ve seen a lot of things—smart trainers, stubborn trainers, guilty trainers. Strong pokémon, heroic pokémon, pathetic pokémon.
Let me see more, but don’t let me be disappointed.