Story by Michael Turner
Through the peaceful shade of the trees, sunlight trickled through like the last fragments of fallen rain. Each drop drifted down, flashing the area beneath. As the brief sparks of sun found their way to the earth, a patch of vegetation opened a single eye. Summer.
The heat was so intense it could be smelled in the air. It was pleasant, in smaller doses. The shrub gave a low sigh. She had lost her concern for the sun long before. Dancing in the stream, playing with the others: it was a younger bulb’s game. Now, the greatest concern she held was the pleasantness of the shade and the beauty of a good nap. Taking a deep sigh, she relaxed back onto her stomach, her stumpy legs curling up to cover her eyes.
The silence did not last long. An echoing boom rang through the forest, shaking the trees and the earth. Once more, the shrub’s eyes flashed open and a low sigh gurgled up from the pit of her stomach. With a grunt from both the creature’s lips and legs, the large patch of shrubbery struggled to its feet. A low growl rumbled out from the shrub’s mouth before it began to lumber forwards.
Coming to a thicker patch of vegetation, the shrub uncoiled a pair of vines from around the flower that rested on its back and sharply slapped the brambles apart. The creature skulked forwards, coming to a stop at the edge of the greenery. A small clearing lay ahead, a grass field spilling out into the open before ending in a rough rock wall.
Atop the patch of rocks stood a large Mankey, its furred limbs raised as it screeched down in warning. Below the Mankey, cowering behind a patch of rocks, was a small horde of baby Nidoran. The little things squealed and shrieked, bumping their heads against each other for reassurance. The Mankey didn’t seem to care for this small family and instead continued to cry itself, thumping the floor with its foot. It was an unusual affair, the shrub concluded.
The Mankey was always grumpy by nature and the little ones there had strayed too far from their mother. They were eager to run, that much was clear, but their terror kept them rooted to the spot and clinging to one another for support. They were in no real threat, the shrub knew. Mankey, feral though they might be, knew better than to anger a poison type. Still, Mankey are stubborn things and so, instead, it continued to shriek and bawl, pounding the floor with its limbs.
The sound was like a drumbeat, obnoxious and constant. The shrub growled, crouching down into the nearby plants and hoping the poor children would see sense and dart for the safety of the undergrowth sooner rather than later.
Her hopes were dashed as further loud shrieking called from above. Pidgeys. Those ambitious but arrogant little things had started to circle. It wasn’t long before one of them took a swoop at the big bully. The Mankey screeched again, swatting at its new enemies. The fresh noise startled the baby Nidoran more and they swarmed towards the rock, hoping to gain shelter from it.
This, of course, only served to anger the Mankey more, who began stamping on his rock and swiping down in an effort to scare the young ones away. It didn’t work. Worse still, it attracted further problems. Beedrill and Butterfree were disturbed by the banging. They emerged and began to circle as well. Their curious buzzing mingled with the rest of the noise. Soon, the entire group was as angry as the Mankey was and the noise was only getting louder.
This, the shrub decided, simply would not do. With a loud grumble, she struggled forwards from her hiding place, emerging into the brightness of the clearing. No-one noticed her approach. Nor did they notice as she settled beside them all and took a deep breath. The light of the sun fell free of the shade here, flowing into the shrub’s outstretched flower. It twitched, reaching for the sun in turn, before folding out as a puff of golden spores rose into the air. The spores rose steadily. They hit the Mankey first. For a moment, the Mankey was angered further. What strange attack was this? The creature’s rage did not last for long. His swings to the sky became more and more half-hearted and his pounding on the rock floor lost its lustre.
The gathered Pidgey, likewise, seemed to lose energy as the spores finally took hold. Their swoops became lazier, until they simply flopped to the ground and nested beside the Mankey they had once fought. The insect Pokemon, soothed by the growing silence, soon left after an encouraging vine whip from the shrub dispersed them. The shrub turned to the baby Nidoran and gave a low groan. The Nidoran did not need to be told twice. They filed out from their shade under the rock and scurried towards their new saviour.
As the shrub opened its flower wide, the Nidorans took shelter, nuzzling against their new friend. This, they decided, was much better than the rock they had so fiercely tried to covet. The shrub gave another low call to the Mankey, who replied in kind with a nod, before shooing away the Pidgey and curling up atop his rock. With the chaos defused, the shrub turned to leave with the crowd of Nidorans trailing behind her.
There were seven in total, three boys and four girls, and all of them had clearly enjoyed their adventure, now it was all done. It didn’t take long for the fading excitement to dull into weariness. The poor creatures stumbled forwards a few more steps before flopping down beside the shrub. She was warm and pleasant company. The shrub cared little, but was at least glad the little ones appeared to share her respect for rest. With a lazy shrug of her great legs, the shrub collapsed back into the shade, the small swarm of Nidoran resting around her. As one nuzzled up to her, the Ivysaur gave a grateful sigh and closed her eyes once more. Peace at last.