Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

Rivalry – Part II (A Charmander Story)

A story by Christian Brumwell

Like a demon ascending from hell, it starts to rise. Image credit: MistyPoison

This is part II of this story. If you haven’t checked it out yet, see part I first!

‘Hissssssssss’.

Charmander slowly moves to her feet and takes a step forward, craning her head. She tries to focus some energy on her tail, forcing the flame to increase in size. A hot ember sparks from it, and she flexes her claws.

‘Hisssssssss’.

The unknown entity is slowly slithering, getting unmistakably closer. The female Charmander growls and starts to extend the claws on both her arms into Metal Claw attacks.

The slithering stops. Fthe ground, like a demon ascending from hell, it starts to rise. Twice as tall as she is, and with more than half its body trailing behind it, the hiss turns into a snarl. The glare of two yellow eyes peers through the smoke. She growls again. The eyes do not move. They almost seem dead; there’s no expression, and the creature has gone silent.

Confused, Charmander starts to move forwards, edging very slowly keeping her metallic claws extended and her flame held high. A slight glint of green twinkles just above the creature, and Charmander looks up. The glint immediately turns to red, and now she freezes in her tracks.

Now she sees the real eyes of the monster. For a split second they changed green, and then to red, piercing into her mind and now little Charmander can’t move. Stuck in her tracks, a bead of sweat travels slowly down the back of her neck as her metallic claws retreat back into her arms.

‘Hisssssssssss’.

The creature has disappeared again, but within seconds it’s alongside her. At least three metres long and purple, it turns to look at her. It’s unforgiving eyes a deathly back, it runs its tongue over her arm, hissing as it does so. Arbok rears up, showing her its hood again. Ever so slowly, Arbok begins to coil itself around her golden, shiny body. Taking great care to flatten her tail to the ground, while avoiding the flame. Every breath she takes is getting more and more difficult. Closing her eyes, she tries to force something; anything!

Just as it becomes impossible to take in any more air, her flame reacts. A shockingly critical ember bursts out of the tip, lighting up the monster’s hood. Snarling, Arbok pulls away, shaking in agony; it’s hood completely ablaze with the golden flames. Arbok freezes and then dives down, bursting into the ground.

Little Charmander collapses to the ground, her breathing heavy. She can move her arms, but barely. She cries out for help.

‘Chaaarrrrrrrr…. Chaarrrrrrrr’.

The ground starts to rumble again; once again with the force of a miniature earthquake, even worse than it was before. She closes her eyes and, once again, covers her head with her arms. The great snake bursts out of the ground, right above her, snarling with the rage of a dragon. Its hood is almost black; but not as black as its eyes. Its fangs extend, as a green venom drenches them. Arbok hangs in the air for a second, taunting poor Charmander before going to plunge in the Poison Fang.

Just before the deadly fangs can make contact, the Arbok is blasted with a powerful flamethrower. The snake snarls again, and pulls away, dropping down for cover. Charmander lifts her head from the floor.  Her heart almost stops. The male, orange Charmander is there, standing tall with his flame held firmly, burning with courage.

Arbok rears up again, not alight this time but still badly burnt. Arbok snarls, while Charmander almost seems to roar.

‘Chaaaarrrrrrrrrrr’.

Adrenaline pumps into the female’s body faster than a Scyther draws swords. Jumping to her feet, the female screams in anger.

‘Chaaaaarrrrrrr’.

Arbok turns to face her again, event taller than before. The female Charmander looks it dead in the eyes, growling. Arbok almost seems to pull away for a split second; then the familiar tint of green flashes from the cold, black eyes. Charmander quickly closes her eyes. A quick tremor passes through her body: she’s seized up for a split second, but is still able to blast out a red-hot flamethrower, keeping her eyes closed she does.

She opens her eyes to see the green dripping fangs lunging towards her. The Poison Fang catches her straight in the midriff, pushing her into the ground. Arbok had dropped to avoid the Flamethrower and countered with devastating effect. Crying out, the female quickly extends her metal claws, and starts slashing randomly at the great snake’s hood. The beast doesn’t let up.

‘Chaaaaaaaaaarrrrr’.

The snake lets go. Charmander looks up to see the male is on the back of the snake’s hood, with his burning fangs embedded deep in the back of the snake’s neck. Grinning, the female extends her own Fire Fang and jumps back into the fray, biting deep into the front of the neck. The snake thrashes its head around violently, but the two Charmander have extended their claws into the snake and are hooked on.

The male keeps his fangs rooted into Arbok, pressing deeper in with every passing second, while the female keeps releasing and then biting down with fresh attacks. The snake writhes furiously, before finally dropping to the floor and rolling ferociously sideways. Both Charmander are caught in the gravel and ripped from the skin of the screaming snake.

The snake continues to roll, as both Charmander jump to their feet. The snake uncoils, and starts to once again rise from the floor, its fangs extending once again.

‘Hissssssssssss’

Before Arbok can move, two jets of fire blast towards it. One jet is perfectly orange, the other, a bright shimmering gold. Both flames engulf the snake: hood, coils and tail; combining into a gold and orange display. Sparks of both colours fly from the top of the blaze, exploding into the sky.

The Charmander cease fire. Arbok is lying motionless on the floor, with light grey smoke hissing out of the charred, black body. The male Charmander looks to the female. She turns to meet his eyes. He nods. Together, they turn from the beast and start to head off into the sunset.

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

Al (A Charmander Story) – Part II

This is part II of this story. If you’ve not yet read part I, head there now!

Al woke up feeling like he had never felt before. The blanket underneath him was soft, the temperature toasty and the air cool. But despite all of the pleasant sensations, he felt an ingrained sense of panic. Where was his pack?

The room of the Pokécentre buzzed with a hum of working nurses as they seemed to glide from bed to bed. Al pushed himself further under the blanket and away from the glare of the lights. He felt like he had fallen through the window of Al’s Chicken Shack and landed slap bang in the middle of it all, except the cooks and smells of food had been replaced with a clinical odour. Alongside that was the smell of a wide range of different Pokémon.

Al grumbled to himself. He thought of Elvis and Scarface. He thought of the sound of their breathing and the smell of their home. He nibbled and sucked on part of the blanket as he imagined his mother finally returning to the nest and taking his brothers into her arms. In his imaginings, they mistook him for dead and ventured off as a family, leaving him alone.

*

Camille had to wait three days before the nurses would let her in to see the Charmander. He had been placed on the wild Pokémon ward, so it had taken a lot of persuading. She followed a nurse, watching the bow on the back of her pinny bounce as she walked. Next to her, a Chansey bounded holding a big pile of towels. It kept glancing back at Camille every couple of steps.

“We have good news and bad news”, said the nurse, “the Charmander has recovered from his injuries but , unfortunately, he isn’t stabilising. He won’t eat and his flame is staying low.”

Camille peered at the hospital cart and saw two eyes peeking out from under a blanket, huddled over a small wavering flame. She went to reach towards it, but Chansey tapped her hand.

“We’re going to try him on an IV, but its difficult with such a young Pokémon. He needs his mother, really. You said you didn’t see her around?”

The eyes under the blanket closed.

“No”, said Camille.

*

Al didn’t like the nurses. The tall human pricked him with a needle, which Al managed to carefully pull out with his teeth later, while the large, dumpy Pokémon kept watching him all the time. He tried moving his legs, but his muscles were stiff and sore. The blanket now felt itchy on his back.

He flipped between dosing and slowly flicking his tail. The methodical flicking soothed him. When he slept, he dreamt of rain, of nests and of mothers. He had vague memories of his egg; the moving shadows dancing on the outside of the shell. While he hadn’t yet had the capacity for thought, sometimes he remembered a guttural purring vibration as his mother cared for the eggs. Like a hum, like singing.

Somewhere in-between sleep and living, he felt his body being lifted and was only gasped back to full consciousness with a breath of fresh night-time air. He looked up with blurred eyes and scented with his nose. The oily smell of car engines and the harried breath of Camille filled his nostrils, yet it felt glorious to be outside.

*

Camille couldn’t leave the Charmander there to die. Sneaking him out was actually much easier than she thought it’d be, but she felt bad for locking Chansey in the supply cupboard. It was only a matter of time before the centre found out so she ran, Al clutched to her chest still wrapped in the hospital blanket, back towards the alley.

She’d just turned the corner by the restaurant when she heard the whine of a police bike. It may not have been coming for her, but her heart hammered anyway. She knelt down on the wet cobbles, not quite sure what to do. Charmander never wandered far from their nest, so there must be a mother around here somewhere.

She unwrapped Al, who still looked a little dozy from the medication. She rubbed his back gently to stir him, “Come on fella, make a sound for your mummy to hear”.

The Charmander looked up at her sadly, but made a noise anyway. Camille was shocked to hear a little chirrup in response, followed by a thick growl. She span towards the drainpipe, where a crash of lightening revealed the shining eyes of two more small Charmander, Scarface and Elvis – though, of course, she didn’t know their names.

Moving very slowly as to not startle the scared babies, Camille lowered the blanketed Al towards the disused drainpipe. Scarface and Elvis backed further in, allowing enough room for her to put him down out of the rain. Surrounded my familiar smells, Al seemed to perk up a bit and he murmured weakly to his brothers. Camille backed away and watched as Elvis and Scarface cuddled around him. Three babies on a rainy night, yet no mother in sight.

To be continued….

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

Al (A Charmander Story)

Sometimes he’d get caught up watching and smelling, and his stomach would gurgle painfully. Image Credit: The Char Boy

Al had been dreaming of working as a chef ever since he was a hatchling. One of the first things he saw after breaking out of his egg was the shiny neon lights of Al’s Chicken Shack, after which he’d named himself. The hot air from the restaurant’s ventilation duct brought with it smells of exotic spices, smoke and grease. The young Charmander wondered what created those magical fragrances as he took shelter from the rainy nights with his siblings.

After a few days of waiting for their mother, the pack of three brothers were hungry enough that they started to risk taking turns running out to find food. Typical pickings had been discarded pots with some residual sauce smears to lick, or the remains of dead birds.

Whenever it was his turn to go out, Al would sneak up to Al’s Chicken Shack’s windows to peer inside. He watched in awe as the people wearing little white clouds on their heads cooked. Pans flashed, salads tossed and water boiled. Rain pattered around Al, making the bricks of the alley thick and sooty. The longer he sat there, though, the less the real world seemed to matter. Sometimes he’d get caught up watching and smelling, and his stomach would gurgle painfully.

One night, Scarface (so named after a cool-looking poster that hung in the alley) carried in some strips of meat from the trash. Al and the third brother, Elvis (named after a little keychain they found that said “We ❤ Elvis”), ran over salivating. This wasn’t the usual pickings of stringy, fatty leftovers. This was prime cut.

Despite his aching belly, Al paused before gobbling it up, chittering at his siblings so they’d do the same. He took a deep breath to let the scent run deep into his snout. He’d first started doing this a few weeks ago, copying some diners at Al’s Chicken Shack. Doing it thrilled him. It made eating (which was pretty awesome anyway) into a real treat, and he had been practicing it at his window seat above the kitchens.

As he smelled, he expected the tang of onion or the smooth jazz of gravy. Meat that looked this good ought to smell of sizzling pan juices and a faint hint of char from the grill. But what hit him was none of that. It was in fact a stark contrast to what he was seeing. The scent was sharp and sickly. It rang in his nose like a loud bell. He pulled back his teeth and sneezed, backing away from the garlic-like chemical odour.

At Al’s reaction, Scarface’s flame intensified, reflecting angrily in his eyes. He flicked it from side to side, and his shoulders haunched as he let out a little growl. As Al continued to sneeze and shake his head to get rid of the smell, Scarface nipped at Elvis, who had been standing to the side with his head cocked. Scarface’s body language was speaking loud and clear: “How dare you turn your nose up at my catch?”.

Once he was done sneezing, Al puffed up in warning to make himself as big as possible. He wasn’t sure what, but something about that smell was just not right. He needed to take charge of this situation and quickly. A wiser Charmander may have taken a softer approach, chittered softly at his brother and convinced him to ignore his hunger and really consider the meat. But neither hatchling had gained their mother’s guidance, and both were just too young to not bicker.

Al eyed his eldest brother as he pushed passed Elvis and towards the meat. This forced Scarface to back off a little, but his tail flicked faster. The closer Al got to the food, the more his brother lowered his stance, tensed his muscles and intensified his growl. Defying all these warnings, Al continued on and disposed of the meat by flicking it into the gutter by the vent entrance. As the food dropped into the abyss, Scarface’s growls became a shrill hiss, “How dare you, how dare you? How DARE you?!” The sound echoed in the duct work, creating a deafening cacophony that finally triggered Scarface into action. He pounced, claws extended, right into Al’s belly.

The two tumbled together, swiping painfully at reach other’s faces. Al was pushed back, out of the drainpipe, and hit the curb hard in the back of his neck. Al brought his own claws round in a sweep, just missing Scarface, who jumped back a step. The two Charmander faced each other off once more. Al felt a white burning rise from the bleeding cut on his belly. His head felt woozy and he shook it. The water pooling on the alleyway turned red. He tried to muster the strength to puff himself up and show dominance, but both Charmander were stopped in their tracks as the alleyway flooded with light.

* *

Camille tossed some garlic, onion and butter in a pan. She breathed in deeply, enjoying the well-known fragrances. The busy hum of the kitchen gave her a beat to move to. She used the rhythm in her cooking. Cha – a pinch of salt; Cha Cha – a dash of pepper; FWAAH – the fizzle of boiling water as it was poured into the pot. She lived for that music. If six months of working as a commis chef in Al’s Chicken Shack hadn’t killed her dreams, nothing would.

“Camille!”, came the bark of sous chef Louis, “Baguettes. Where?”
The dirty scent of charred hobs and built-up grease emerged again like dirt being kicked up in a wind.
“Store #2, chef”, Camille watched as Louis marched round the back, his pointy chin leading the way. He wasn’t gone two seconds before a great shriek came from the store room.
“Camiiiiile”.
Despite being short and stubby, Louis could be intimidating when he wanted to be. When he was dragging you curtly by the arm to a messy store room was one of those times.
“Get this mess cleaned up at once!”
He thrust a mob and bucket into her arms, sloshing some leftover water laced with a thin film of chicken grease onto her shirt. Trying not to balk, she set down the bucket, topped it off with some fresh soapy water, and began to clean the room.

The bucket quickly turned black, the soap dancing delicately around a blanket of scum. Camille grimaced, trying desperately not to breathe through her nose, as she picked up the bucket and headed to the alley.

The door was usually stiff, so, with her hands planted firmly on the mop bucket, she barged it hard with her shoulder. Too hard, it turns out, as the door gave easily and she tripped over the step and tumbled mop bucket forward into the alley.

* *

Al’s eyes and the cuts on his belly stung curtly as a torrent of soapy water washed over him. He yelled out in a series of pained yips, and he slipped on the sudsy pebbles as he tried to run away. Through the blur, he heard the patter of Scarface’s feet as he slipped back into the air duct and back to the nest. For a moment came Elvis’s panicked cries, but this was soon hushed by Scarface.

Camille dropped the bucket with a clang on the alley floor. She nearly tripped right over Al but managed to keep her balance.
“Oh my, you poor thing”.
He looked a sorry sight, he tried to stand back up but a mixture of the slick pebbles and his dwindling energy wouldn’t let him. Camille looked around for something to catch him with, and had to make do with a torn piece of tarp from the dumpster. She scooped him up, avoiding his weak attempts to bite her, and didn’t even take a glance behind her before running to find the nearest Pokémon centre.

Continue to part II!

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

The Hitokage Detective Agency (A Charmander Story)

Story by Jack Bumby

The Hitokage Detective Agency (Charmander Story #1)
It was our first job – literally the very first, we’d barely even set up shop. Image credit: Thyfany Ron

The water splashed up at my torso.

“That’s just swell.”

“Char! Char!” Charmander scolded, from his position on my shoulder.

“It didn’t go anywhere near your tail flame, Charmander. Stop your whining.” I continued through the tunnel. It was getting deeper. We were just passing beneath the factory labs at this point. I made a quiet prayer to myself that it was only water splashing me and not chemical waste or runoff from some unpleasant experiment. The labyrinthian system beneath the factory had turned out to be a lot easier to navigate than I’d expected, thanks in no small part to my Charmander and his impeccable sense of direction. His tail flame also lit up the tunnels better than any torch could. He was a regular swiss-army Pokémon.

“Charmander, up ahead.” I pointed forward at the upcoming crossroads. Charmander raised his claw to his chin and scratched. The flame on his tail pulsed and wavered.

“Char! Char!” He pointed right.

“Thanks pal.” I turned right, deeper into that warren of confusion.

*

It was our first job – literally the very first, we’d barely even set up shop. We’d not even paid the first month of rent on the office. I was still moving my desk in when an old guy knocked on the glass of our door. Our first client.

“Are you the Hitokage Detective Agency?” his nasally voice whispered into the office.

Actually, forget about old. This guy was prehistoric. I remember almost jumping out of my skin when I saw his shrivelled face peering in, the huge spectacles magnifying his cloudy ancient eyes, his bald and liver-spotted head serrated by the shadow of the office blinds. My first thought was that it was a Pokémon I’d never seen before. I’d heard they were cloning ancient Pokémon in a lab somewhere, but no, this was just a man. I put on my business face, invited him in, and heard him out.

Like anyone else who still lived in that hellhole, he worked in a factory. In fact, he owned a handful of factories, he explained. And his top factory was in trouble, someone kept blocking the inflow pipe and it looked like corporate espionage. He wanted us to catch the criminals in the act. It wasn’t the romantic first case I’d imagined but he was paying in cash. The money was good. And besides, in Gringey city, romance was a foreign word.

“Sir, we’ll take the case.” I said once he’d explained his situation. He stuck out a cold and leathery hand – the texture and colour was the same as the hide of a Sandshrew – and I shook it with a wince. Once he’d left and Charmander had woken from his nap, we headed out into the haze and smokestacks of Gringey City.

*

“Char! Char!” He pointed forward. I could see it too. The tunnel was getting wider. It was getting shallower too. Which was good, because moments earlier it had almost reached my chest. I’d nearly had to carry Charmander above my head, which wouldn’t have gone down well. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the light of his tail flame reflect off of something on the wall. I moved closer. The brick here was dark and furry-looking, as it had been since we entered the tunnel. But in this section of the tunnel, the wall glistened with a shimmering film, like someone had sneezed all over it.

“What do you reckon Charmander?”

“Char…”

“Yeah, I’m not stupid. I wasn’t exactly going to stick my hand in it.” I saw his tail flame flicker. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap. This place is freaking me out.”

“Char!” I felt his hand grip my shirt.

“You too, huh?”

“Char! Char!”

His attention was no longer on the wall. I saw that he was pointing off further down the tunnel. Something was down there.

“Ok, calm down pal.” We began moving down the tunnel. I could feel him rumbling on my shoulder, getting ready to attack. His tail began to light up the remainder of the tunnel. A dead-end. The wall at the far end was covered in the same slime.

“Char!”

“I thought you were leading us to the inflow pipe?”

“CHAR!”

“Don’t shout at me, you’re the one who led us down a dead-end.”

But all of a sudden it made sense. Charmander wasn’t shouting at me. He was shouting at the wall. The wall that was slick with a sticky substance. The wall that had begun to twist and writhe. Spots of moonlight shot through the wall as cracks began to appear. It seemed to be alive. Looking up, I realised that the ceiling of the tunnel was bending and snaking too, in the same eldritch way as the wall. Something fell from the top of the tunnel with a wet slap. It landed in the water at our feet, a large pile of purple goo. Charmander was urging me to move, but I couldn’t look away. Two eyes appeared out of the goo. Then a toothless, gaping maw.

“GRIIIIIME!” it croaked. Something inside of me snapped, the spell of fear that had been cast over me broke. I began to back away.

“Ok Charmander, not too quick. Let’s just-“ My sentence was cut short as a pile of the gunk hit me on the back, propelling Charmander from my shoulder. Another hit my other shoulder, sending me sprawling.

“Char! Char!” He stood on his tiptoes, holding his flame high above the dirty water.

“Hold on Charmander. Just keep your tail out of the water.” Another mound of sludge hit my belly as I tried to scramble to my feet, knocking the wind out of me. I went to scream, and a heap landed on my face. I felt it begin to seep down my throat. Some began clogging my nose. I couldn’t breathe. The smell of sulphur and mould was unbearable.

“GRIIIIIME!”

I felt more land on my arms and legs as they pushed me under the water. There were dull vibrations as more of the things landed around me. I began to black out.

“CHAAAAAAAAAAR!” There was a blast of heat overhead, above the water. I felt the muddy weights move off me in a flash, retreating from the flames. I could hear muted squeals. Desperate for air, I threw my head above the water as soon as the fire disappeared and took in a deep gasp. My mouth still tasted foul. Behind me, Charmander stood still holding his tail above the water. Smoke curled around his snout.

“Flamethrower, huh?” I croaked.

“Char!”

“Well done buddy, I think you just saved me from a whole heap of trouble.” I stood up and spat out the last of the grime. The Pokémon seemed to have fled, revealing the inflow pipe at the end of the tunnel, where the pulsating wall had been just moments earlier. I reached down and picked up Charmander, putting him on my shoulder.

“Char?”

“I don’t have a clue. But they were disgusting. At least they seem to have gone now. They must have been clogging up the inflow pipe.”

“Char! Char!”

“Yeah, I guess it was a success. Though when they make the movie adaptation of our life stories, they can leave out this case.” We began walking back out of the tunnel. Charmander’s tail was flickering and glowing.

“Char!”

“Of course you’d be the star of the film.”

“Char?”

“I don’t think you’d want him to play you.”

“Char!”

“Good point. C’mon, let’s go get paid.”

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

The Horror – Part 3 (A Venusaur Story)

Story by Jack Bumby.

This is part 3 of this story. If you haven’t read parts, one or two, check them out first!

Venusaur Gravestone
The anger in its eyes was replaced by weariness. It was tired of the fight. Image credit: Laurie MacQueen

“SAUUUUUUUUUUR!”

The sound burst from the foliage, sending a flock of Pidgeys shooting above the canopy. It was coming from beyond the vast muddy tract to the side of the shanty village.

“Get somewhere safe, if you know what’s good for you,” I shouted to the men and women, in their black hoods. I noticed that a small red ‘R’ had been sewn into a few of them. Rebranding was right.

“Good luck,” the grunt I was talking to spat.

“Just stay down. You lot have done enough.” I gestured over my shoulder. “Growlithe, with me.” She jumped down from the boat and stood by my side. In that moment I thanked the stars I wouldn’t have to make my way over the crest of that dark hillock by myself. I walked forward, the Venusaur roared once more, urging me into a run. Growlithe stayed by my heels, keeping speed with my swift, heavy footsteps.

*

We were up the hill in seconds and, upon reaching the top, I realised the scale of the operation. In a semi-circle that reached about a mile in diameter, every tree had been decimated so not even a stump remained. In the middle of this, a huge ribbon of land had been cut out and filled with metal and concrete. Judging from what the guy at the dock had said, this was just the entrance too. No doubt there was an entire network of tunnels and pipes below me. For a moment, I thought I could feel the thrum of the machinery coursing through the ancient ground. Or perhaps it was the scarred, violated ground itself, screaming out. Before I could ponder this, that booming cry let out once more.

“SAUUUUUUUUUUR!”

About a quarter of the way around the vast semicircle, the trees shook. It reminded me of the supportive groups of Dugtrio we’d seen on our descent into this wretched place. Though I knew that the thing coming out of the trees was something permeated with uncompromising anger, not the kind, cooperative spirits of the burrowing Pokémon we’d seen the day before.

“SAUUUUUUUUUUR!”

And could I blame it for being angry? This was its home, had no doubt been its home for decades, and it was being devastated. Not only that, but it had been forced to stand by and watch as other Pokémon were subjected to the cruellest kinds of servitude. Of course it would intervene, how could ‘Team Rocket’ have expected anything less?

“SAUUUUUUUUUUR!”

I’d spent so long battling and training Pokémon, focusing on my next big win and the next big pay out, that it had long slipped my mind that Pokémon were living creatures with their own spirits and ways of life.

“SAUUUUUUUUUUR!” This final cry was the closest yet. And as that fact occurred to me, and my hat was blown from my head, the Venusaur burst through the treeline. The Venusaur I’d trekked into hell to capture, the Pokémon I was being paid to subdue. Only now I realised that either the forgettable man in his minimalist office had been mistaken or, more likely, he had lied. This was no ordinary Venusaur. I’d done my research, and I’d seen more than my share of Venusaur in my time – battled a few too. They usually stood at around six foot, this one was over eight. It was also the oldest Pokémon I’d ever seen. It almost looked like it was part of the forest, moss and leaves clung to its hide, small flowers bloomed to accompany the gigantic tree on its back. It stood now, just out of the canopy, observing the latest damage. I gestured for Growlithe to remain where she was. She obliged, but looked at me as if to say I hope you know what you’re doing. I took a gulp, crouched down a little lower, steeled myself, and approached it.

*

It let out another blistering roar as I approached, but this one seemed more for show. It didn’t seem to see me as a threat. Though, I realised when I was in spitting distance, things might be a heck of a lot different if I was in a Team Rocket get-up. Moving my hand upwards, the Venusaur bent down to receive it. I stroked its muzzle. It rumbled contently.

“I’m not like the others. I was sent here to capture you,” I began. In its eyes I saw brief panic, or anger, but I continued as quickly as I could. “But I won’t be doing that. I’ve seen what they’ve done to your home, and I can’t bring it back. I’m sorry, but we’re fighting forces beyond our comprehension.” It looked dismayed at this, and turned to go back into the forest. I called after it, “But I know where you can exist peacefully. A place where you can live your last few years in quiet serenity.”

“Sauuuuur?” Its voice was gentler now. It turned back around. The anger in its eyes was replaced by weariness. It was tired of the fight. I knew that a warrior like that could never back down from a battle. But this particular battle was close to killing it.

“And,” I smiled at it, “There’s no reason we can’t tear this place down on our way out.”

*

Venusaur made short work of the construction site. Once I’d identified the weak spots and pointed them out, its vines made the laboratory into a pit of nothing more than rubble. It wouldn’t stop the construction, but it would slow it down. Though, if we were lucky, the cost implications would be too great for Team Rocket and the whole operation might be written off.

“Let’s go,” I said, to Growlithe and Venusaur, “There’s a boat waiting and an army between us and it.”

I soon found that my warning was premature. Once down the hill, Venusaur obliterated any resistance. In a flurry of vines it dispatched all the grunts, sending them flying into the water downriver. One lucky grunt managed to throw a Pokémon before being thrown screaming into the murky eddy. It was a Houndoom, and it may have even been a Mega Houndoom. I never got chance to find out. Growlithe and I looked on, stunned, as Venusaur sent out a scorching Solar Beam which sent the dark Pokémon fleeing into the underbrush.

*

The battle was nothing compared to getting that great, lumbering creature onto the S.S. Cactus. The Captain mimed a dramatic fainting motion when I began leading the mossy giant on board. But we managed it, with the help of the First Mate and about a dozen, freed Machamp, Machoke, and Machop. Once accomplished, Growlithe rubbed against my leg.

“You didn’t do so bad yourself girl,” I said, before retiring to our cabin.

*

The sun had come up. The sound of the Vermilion City port drifted closer.

“What happened then?” Jaime asked. I was surprised she’d stayed awake.

“Well I never heard from Team Rocket again. Though soon after returning home, I found that I was no longer welcome to participate in the Pokémon League, which was surely their doing. But I discovered on that journey back up the river, as the sounds of Pokémon conversing and playing drifted into my cabin, that battling was no longer the life for me. I’d find my purpose doing something to benefit all Pokémon, something worthwhile. Even now, decades later, I don’t know if I’ve found it yet. But Growlithe (now Arcanine) and I have had one heck of a time searching.”

The group sat around me smiled. I looked at Arcanine as she dozed. She’d heard all this before.

“As for that Venusaur, she lived out her final years in complete peacful harmony, surrounded by younger Pokémon who would often sit around in a circle and listen to her stories. I never told anyone where I’d taken her, but I still visit now and then to pay my respects to the Pokémon that changed my life.”

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

The Horror – Part 2 (A Venusaur Story)

Story by Jack Bumby
This is part 2 of a story. If you’ve not yet read part 1, click here.

Fishing Village png
I’ll never forget what I saw in that dismal place, so far from the rest of humanity. Image Credit: @fdjrt

The journey down the river was short, but it had its moments of beauty. I’ve seen lots of very memorable sights in my lifetime, but nothing compares to the two days I spent heading into that dark place.

On the first day, I saw very little aside from the usual small fishing villages you see dotted all around Kanto. But once we moved out of the region, and further up river, it was unforgettable. On my first night I saw a school of Horsea and Seadra, all following a lone Kingdra. I don’t think those proud creatures even knew we were there, despite Growlithe’s continued attempts to bite and roar at them from the side of the boat. She was loyal, and well-trained, but was still a slave to her animal instincts.

I also witnessed the ship’s (albeit minimalist) crew in the heat of an argument. I’d never even imagined what a quarrel between a Mr Mime and a Machamp would look like, but it was as surreal as you’d expect. After a few minutes, and more than a few heated shouts, the First Mate retired below decks to continue shovelling coal. From what I could tell, he was suggesting they turn back. The Captain had managed to mime that it was “their job”, and that had shut the First Mate up. But I don’t think it was anger that started that argument. As First Mate Machamp retreated to the engine room, it looked like fear.

*

On the second day, the boat ran aground. The river had gotten very shallow around the edges, and despite the best efforts of the Captain, she ended up on the bank. The relief in First Mate’s Machamp’s eyes was easy to miss, but I saw it as he poked his head from inside the bowels of the ship. But it was to be short-lived. I’d stepped off to assess the damage, which appeared minimal, but we were well and truly stuck. I considered my next move. Should I walk? Surely the forest would be far too perilous for just Growlithe and myself. As if in agreement, a deep rumbling sound emerged from the forest. Having read up on the dangers in this part of the world, I swiftly re-boarded the boat. But Growlithe stood her ground.

“Get on the boat, girl!” I shouted but she paid me no mind. The rumble was close now, and I could see the trees in front of her wobbling and swaying. There was a dry crack as one collapsed. Growlithe assumed an attack stance. I ran to her. Out of the treeline, a Dugtrio emerged. They were followed by another, and then another, and then another. The line continued until it disappeared into the depths of the forest. They descended on the boat.

“There girl, take it easy.” I stroked her fur. It was easy to forget, but she was still a pup. The Dugtrio got to the boat and began moving it back into the river. I saw Mr Mime grab the wheel to keep himself steady as the ship jerked and bounced back into the water. They surrounded it until they were underneath the entire hull. With this many, the ship was soon back into the water, bobbing on a gentle current – seemingly unaware of how close the journey came to disaster. The Dugtrio then headed back into the forest. Growlithe calmed.

“C’mon girl. Back on the ship.”

Reflecting on the events of the day, I lay awake that evening. The Dugtrio didn’t attack, they weren’t crossing the river, and they came out of their safety to help us – even risking their lives in the water. We were in their home, and they aided our journey. This led me back to the Venusaur. Who was I to capture it? With this dreaded thought circling my mind, I fell into a sporadic and unpleasant sleep.

*

There were four hard knocks at my door, each from a different muscled fist. The First Mate was telling me it was time. I could see from the small window that it was barely dawn. The light outside was grey and thick with the petrichor of a wet night. I put my hat on and swung the door open. The First Mate was stood outside and it appeared he’d been crying.

“Are we here?” I asked. He looked at the ground, nodded, and pointed his finger to the front of the boat. I beckoned for Growlithe to follow me and I headed to the bow of the ship. I’ll never forget what I saw in that dismal place, so far from the rest of humanity. We’d pulled into a small port. Down the jetty was a rudimentary town. There were a few buildings that might pass for living quarters, and a makeshift Pokémon Center. There was a despondent-looking Pokémon Nurse stationed there. Stood around were men and women dressed in black, holding lanterns like out-of-focus extras in a gothic horror film. Besides the town was a steep and muddy hill. Slowly trudging their way down this was the gloomiest group of Pokémon I’d ever laid my eyes on. It was mainly made up of Machamp, with a few Machoke, and even a small number of Machop. Tired was an understatement for these poor creatures, they looked on the verge of fainting. They began heading into the small living quarters, until the last of them closed the doors. Appalled, I approached one of the men at the end of the jetty.

“What’s going on?” I demanded. “What in the devil are you doing with those Pokémon?”

“Those?” He sneered. “They’re building.”

“What on earth would you want to build all the way out here?” I lifted my arms, gesturing to the wet trees around us, the air ripe with the putrid petrichor of the previous night.

“Our new digs,” he smiled. “You’re looking at the future site of Team Rocket’s newest underground laboratory.”

“Team Rocket?”

“We’ve rebranded.” He looked me up and down. “Say, are you the guy they sent down from head office? The one who’s supposed to catch our Venusaur?”

“Yes, but-“

“Well watch out. He’s been destroying our buildings, freeing the Pokémon. He’s no ordinary Venusaur.”

“He’s freeing them?” I spluttered.

“Yeah. Big guy too. Must be as old as the forest.” As if the forest had overheard the conversation, and I was beginning to think that place had an impeccable sense of timing, the floor shook beneath us.

“Is that him?” I asked, readying myself. But there was no time for the man to respond. From the depths of the labyrinth around us I heard a cry that froze my blood in its veins.

“SAUUUUUUUUUUR!”

Go to Part 3!

Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

The Horror – Part 1 (Venusaur Story)

Story by Jack Bumby. Part 1 of 3.

The Horror
We began our journey into that enigmatic place of mystery and malice. Image Credit: @fdjrt

The PA system buzzed and a tired voice crackled out. “Sorry folks, looks like we’re here all night. The water’s too choppy to cross, but we’ll have you in Vermilion City by daybreak tomorrow.”

The others groaned. Arcanine let out a low whine and covered his head with his paw. I leant back into her fur and lowered the brim of my hat over my eyes. The giant living pillow beneath my head rumbled.

*

I’m not sure how long I slept before their discussion woke me. I opened my eyes and surveyed the cabin. Flames bounced from the low ceiling, down the walls, and lit up the sleeping Pokémon around the space. In the centre, the other trainers were huddled around a small fire – talking about their glory days. It took a few moments for me to gather my senses, but I realised they were talking about the biggest Pokémon they’d ever encountered, or perhaps the most dangerous. In my experience, the two went hand-in-hand. Jamie’s laughter had awoken me. It was a sudden, distressing sound, like a Haunter with a sore throat. I closed my eyes, hoping to catch up with the last few tendrils of the dream I was having before they vanished forever.

“Hey Robert!” It was Jamie. I briefly wondered about keeping my eyes closed, pretending I was still sound asleep and hadn’t heard her. But there wasn’t much chance of me falling back asleep anyway. I sat up and stretched my arms with a dull pop.

“Yes, Jamie?” Irritation had seeped into my voice. I tried to hide it. “Are you guys alright?”

“We were wondering,” she broke eye contact, shifting her gaze to the straw-ridden floor, “What’s the most dangerous Pokémon you’ve ever seen? Face-to-face I mean.”

The others looked around at me. Their voracious eyes flickered orange in the fire-light.

“Guys, you don’t want to hear an old man’s stories.”

“Of course we do!” Jamie burst in.

“It’s not very nice. I don’t like to talk about it.” Arcanine shifted under me, nudging me with her head. “But, if you guys want to hear it.”

Jamie looked back at the others, as if to say I told you he would. Whatever anyone says, deep down everyone enjoys telling stories.

“Ok, shift a bit closer. And put that fire out. The sun’s coming up soon and we’ll be on the move again.”

I began.

*

When I was a young man, I made a bit of a name for myself as a trainer. Nothing fancy, but enough to attract the attention of a few particular organisations. They liked my efficiency, and the fact that I’d never lost a battle didn’t hurt things either. I’d also managed to catch a troublesome Onix, one people said could never be caught – let alone trained. (But that, as they say, is another story for another day). There was one up-and-coming organisation in particular that took an interest after that moment. You’ve probably heard of them as Team Rocket, but back then they were called something different. I can’t recall.

I took the meeting with the head honcho. You have to remember, I was popular back then, and that meant I made a lot of Pokédollars. But being that popular, I spent most of it as I made it. Usually on things I’d regret. So I took the meeting. What harm was there? He was offering me some sort of opportunity, said it would raise my profile even more and it’d be easy money. And, as I said, my pockets were tapped. I was more than willing to ride that potential gravy train.

The meeting was odd. I was lead, or escorted, to the penthouse office of the biggest building I’d seen in my life. In that office was one table, and a chair on either side. The man across from me during that meeting made next to no impression in my mind. It’s as if he could have been any number of people.

“We want you to catch a Pokémon, a Venusaur,” he said. His voice was perhaps the least memorable thing about this already forgettable man. Looking back, I think he wanted me to forget every detail about him.

“Of course.” I was happy to do it, this was firmly in my wheelhouse. But I knew the old idiom, if something’s too good to be true, blah, blah. “What’s the catch?” I asked.

“No catch. Having this Venusaur out of the equation is in this business’ best interest. It’s been causing quite a lot of environmental havoc. Not to mention quite a bit of pandemonium with the local populace.”

It was an altruistic view, but it mattered little to me. I only needed to know one thing, “What’s the pay?”

He went into more detail after that. Apparently, a Venusaur was running rampant in a rural area just outside the Kanto region. It was a desolate, depressing place. Only reachable by boat. It was this more than the money that hooked me. As a boy I’d always been fascinated by the dark places on the map, the undiscovered areas of the world. Of course, by the time I’d grown up, the majority had been discovered and someone had built a Pokémart and a gym. After we’d agreed on pay, the only question I wanted answering was when I could get started.

*

The boat they gave me should have been my first clue that things weren’t exactly on the level. It was named the S.S. Cactus, and it looked like a wreck that had been left as a bizarre floating mausoleum. The captain didn’t instil much confidence in me either. An ancient Mr Mime, he looked older than even the ship. The moth-eaten peaked cap atop his head appeared older than the two combined. He showed me to my quarters. It was a small cabin at the rear of the ship, barely large enough for myself and Growlithe. But we’d spent a few tough nights in Viridian Forest, and compared to that with its incessant buzzing of Beedrils and the constant hooting of Noctowls, the cramped accommodation was practically the S.S. Anne.

I soon found out that, apart from the Captain and the Machamp acting as First Mate, we were the only ones on that vast ship. But, through a tricky exchange, the Captain assured us that it wasn’t a long journey. I asked the First Mate and the Captain just before we set off if either of them had heard talk of the Venusaur at the end of the river. The Captain pretended not to have heard, and First Mate Machamp all of a sudden made himself very busy moving my luggage aboard.

Soon after that, we began our journey into that enigmatic place of mystery and malice.

Go to Part 2!

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

A Search for Peace (An Ivysaur Story)

Story by Michael Turner


All of them had clearly enjoyed their adventure. Image credit:
Thyfany Ron

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.

Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10) · Stories

The Mayor of Mizuna Town (A Bulbasaur Story)

I dipped my canteen into a little stone fountain that had been crafted to look like a tree stump. Image Credit: @fdjrt

I wandered through the central square, kicking despondently at any piles of leaves that had grown too high. It was a child’s game that still thrilled me. Looking back now, I wish I’d spent less time standing with groups of people I didn’t like and more time running around kicking up leaves.

If it wasn’t for the hustle and bustle of people, I’d have never expected that it was a town. The houses were made from tree bark and leaves, which were woven together to make chequered huts. All of the roads and buildings were decorated with vines. They blended almost seamlessly with the forest.

I dipped my canteen into a little stone fountain that had been crafted to look like a tree stump. The water bit at my fingers. I gave a half-smile to a man to my left who was bent over a smoking pile of bricks. His wife was wafting the smoke away from the entrance of her hut with a giant leaf. The only giveaway to this curious escapade was the earthy smell of bread baking.

I remember it making me feel off kilter at the time, but not understanding why. Just this creeping feeling of difference. They verses me. Pallet is no city, but we had embraced the thirst for technology. Of course, computers were a new thing back then, but we still came installed with a sense of excitement to embrace what was to come. Watching the man stooped and sooty over the bricks put up a barrier between us that I was just not equipped to see.

“Excuse me”, I said, “Could you point the way to the major’s office?”

The woman turned, shielding her eyes from the mid-day sun. She looked around for a second, as if she were the one asking for directions and not me, before flicking her wafting leaf in the direction of a market. “He’ll be somewhere that way, I reckon”.

Between us and the market, a sort of playschool had been set up where kids ran around barefoot under the watchful eye of someone’s Skuntank. I must have looked a tad concerned, as the lady with the fan leaf chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, lass, he won’t stink you unless you’re out here for trouble.” I gave her a sheepish grin.

I wandered through the houses, enjoying the dappling sunlight and watching people working together with their Pokémon on various tasks. At the farmers market, people haggled over Mudbray and Mareep. Nearby, a man had set up blanket on a rock to sell scratched jewellery, while a woman was having a hearty discussion with her customer about the best ways to use Flaaffy wool. Next to her sat a very bare-looking Flaaffy.

I looked out for anyone mayor-like. I imagined a tall, elderly gentleman with a large gold chain settled on his shoulders. He would laugh in a jolly way, a little like Santa Claus. There was no one like that here. I tried to think back to if Professor Oak had given me a description. If he did, I couldn’t remember.

Near the market, a man was scrutinising some sacks of corn with his Bulbasaur, taking down notes on a piece of bark. The Bulbasaur was especially chatty, using his vines to point and prod at the goods. Professor Oak was always going on and on about how smart Bulbasaur are. I was practically sick to death of it. I’d chosen a Charmander as my starter. I’d been training it for a few years now and it was about as strong as a Charmander could get. No way I could lose to a puny Bulbasaur.

“Uh-uh young lady!”, I heard the professor say in my head. I could almost see him stood, arms crossed. “You will not fight that Bulbasaur”, he said, “you have important work to do”. I looked at the letter in my hand and shrugged. It could wait. This battle would take no time at all.

I strode towards the man and made my best battle pose, “Hey, you”.

The man looked at me, startled, “I, uh.. me?”

“I’d like to challenge you to a-” before I could finish, I heard a shrill craacck and felt a searing pain on my hand that made me drop my Pokéball sadly to the ground. It opened and out popped Charmander looking a bit perplexed. The skin instantly began to welt and throb an angry red. “What the-“

“I’m sorry but we don’t battle in this town”, the man said. Still in shock, I could only stand blankly and watch as the Bulbasaur
used his vines to pluck a roll of bandages out of the man’s pocket, efficiently wrapped my hand in the cooling bandage, gave me a curt nod and turned back to his companion. Bubba, he said.

I snapped out of my daze with intense fury. “Your Pokémon just attacked me! How dare you? He can’t do that, I ought to-“

“My Bulbasaur?”, the man grinned. A small crowd had gathered now and they all grinned at each other, all in on some sort of joke. That made me insanely angry. I felt like challenging them all to battle. In my head, professor Oak put his head in his hand. Their laughter magnified ten-fold and cut me deep. A cold surge burned within me that built and built until I could take it no longer. I gave a deep guttural scream. “CHARMANDER, EMBER, NOW!”

My loyal Charmander took my word as law and launched his attack. The flame came thick and fast, the muscles in Charmander’s belly tensed as he gave it all he had. That Bulbasaur should have been toast. Except, the flames were getting beaten back. Without any word from its trainer, Bulbasaur began flinging sharp-edged leaves at the flames in just the right angle to deflect the heat. The speed was incredible. Charmander tried to push harder, but he just wasn’t quick enough.

As the flames began to dial down, this gave Bulbasaur his chance. He jumped high over the fire, pushed hard with his back legs from a fence post and smacked down into my Charmander’s forehead. At the same time, he slapped his mouth shut with a vine, snatched the Pokéball from my hand and pressed the button to force him to return. Charmander faded into the ball, leaving one Bulbasaur and a circle of horrified townsfolk.

I couldn’t believe the skill with which Bulbasaur had battled. And without a word from his trainer. I turned to him, all anger put on hold. “Woah, your Bulbasaur is amazing”.

The man crossed his arms, reminding me again of Professor Oak. “Like I tried to tell you, kid. That’s not my Bulbasaur.”

He walked forward and put a hand respectfully on Bulbasaur’s shoulder, “You ok, sir?”

Bubasaur nodded.

He looked back up at me, “What are you doing here in Mizuna town? I think you should do what you need to do and leave.”

His tone set of a confusing array of sparks. Part of me felt shame, part of me fear, and a piece of me still burned with anger. The crowd had started to dissipate. Some tutted teenagers as they walked away. I gave them a side glare. I remembered the letter and grabbed it from my bag.

“Professor Oak sent me with this letter.” The man took it and contemplated it. “Its for the mayor”, I added.

“Well, it has found the right place”, he said. With a second’s pause, the man moved the letter down and passed it to Bulbasaur, who took it gently in a vine, opened it with the sharp edge and began to read.

At first, I thought it was a joke. But there was something about this Bulbasaur’s seriousness and the way everyone looked at him that made me think that this insanity might actually be true. A Bulbasaur running a town?

I looked back at the town, its leaves blowing gently in the breeze. Next to the treeline sat allotments where smiling families planted vegetables, nearby an old woman smiled happily at her grandchildren who were helping thread vines around their house. Everyone seemed so happy and the town ran like clockwork. And this was all ran by a Bulbasaur? I looked down at my Charmander and thought about all of the training we had been through. Despite his low level, he’d been able to beat all of the trainers I’d met just by strength alone. But seeing all this made me wonder if perhaps there was more to Pokémon than just strength.

Bulbasaur gave a short Bubba and handed the note back to his aide. “Bulbasaur says he thinks this letter might actually be for you.”

I took it from him and read.

Dear Elizabeth,

This may be a hard lesson for you, but I hope you heed it well. See all of the wonders that Pokémon can achieve and learn to use that in your own journey.

-The Professor

I looked at Bulbasaur and his aide, “I’m sorry. I have a lot to think about”. I turned around and began the walk back to Pallet Town.

Generation #1 · Stories

In the Clearing (A Bulbasaur Story)


Yes, these were indeed Bulbasaur. Not just one but hundreds. Image Credit: BlueBerryBlanket (Al Rigby)

One of the best parts of being a Pokémon Breeder is the field research: getting out there and seeing where Pokémon come from. Our natural world provides many great spectacles, from the grand migrations of Tauros to the Butterfree mating seasons. But one of the more precious to me was the time I saw a Bulbsaur family gathering.

I’d not seen another person in four days and my supplies were all but run out. It was ridiculous, really. People went in and out of Viridian forest all of the time and got out ok. Some people sometimes nipped in for a dare. That’s how easy it is meant to be. I’m not even sure what wrong turning I made, and I think it just made it worse when I tried to back-track. The longer I walked, the darker the forest got.

I sipped a little water from my flask, swilling it around in my mouth a little before swallowing to try make it last then instantly craving more and taking another sip. I peered at my map. None of the lines made sense anymore. They were purely fictional, as if my sister Kate had taken one of her marker pens and scribbled all over it with that mischievous grin on her face. Thinking of her hurt. It hadn’t even occurred to me when setting out that I may not see Kate or mum again.

But this is what a great trainer did! Just set off into the unknown with a Pokémon, finding distant treasures and uncovering mysteries. This was just another grand escapade. I felt that well-worn surge of excitement thinking about it. Journeying with a Pokémon was something I had wanted all my life. Some people were destined to be dancers, some accountants. Me? I was born to be a Pokémon trainer.

I thought of all the Pokémon I would catch and my hand relaxed on the Pokéball at my belt. The joy melted into shame. I wasn’t a trainer. I was a thief. I was only just ten and not old enough to get my own. The Manectric in the ball was my mum’s. Earlier in my travels, I had let her out while pretending to catch a Pokémon with the ball. Boy did she bark at me. You take me back this minute. You’ll be in such trouble when you get home! Where are we? You left without my chew toy? she said in as many barks. It took her a day or two to mellow out, by which point she was more concerned than angry.

I looked around at the deepening shadows and a feeling of paranoia began to creep up on me. I’m here, it would say in the creaking of a branch or the twitch of grass as some creature was startled by my clumsy footwork. I got jumpy and kept glancing left and right into the trees. Behind each stump, a wolf would be lurking ready to eat me up like in Little Red Riding Hood. My my, Elizabeth, these sharp teeth of mine are all the better to eat you with my dear. In the end, I couldn’t stand being alone any longer and I grabbed the Pokéball from my belt.

“Come out Manectric”, I said in almost a whisper. As she appeared, her presence instantly soothed me. She has always been small for her breed, but she towered over me when I was ten year’s old. I petted her long yellow snout. She yawned, made a little sigh and looked up at the trees.

“Maybe we’ll find our way out today”, I said already feeling lighter. I almost believed it.

We pressed on, heads pushed down by the rain that somehow battered its way through the canopy. The trees twisted and writhed in the sort of way that would make a fearless girl grin from ear to ear before dashing off in a race to the top. But that wasn’t me anymore. Not here in this place. The trees no longer just reached over us, but below and around us. They encased us in their bony rib cage as we moved ever closer to the heart of the forest.



The trees no longer just reached over us, but below and around us. Image credit: Marta Maszkiewicz.

My watch said it was mid-day, but it was getting darker. It was like we were in a different world entirely to the one I’d left back home. It didn’t seem right that Kate would be sitting in the school cafeteria, drinking milk and complaining to the dinner lady about not losing weight. That annoying kid Jaime would be pulling another prank, Eliza would be singing with Chloe in their band that they won’t let me join. My life was none of those things anymore. My life was only dark tunnels of never-ending mossy rocks and things that squirmed in the dark.

As I walked, my thoughts washed over me. In my head, people I used to know came walking out of the trees, tipped their hats muttering hello, hey, hi there, and good morning before continuing on into the murky darkness. My father was sitting on one branch, sipping a pint of milk. My mother on another, knitting a spider’s web. I imagined cats running passed my legs, street lamps, a school bus coming down the lane towards me. This last one seemed to stay with me. I could almost see the headlights ahead and my arm tensed, ready to flag it down.

I was snapped out of my daydream by Manectric licking my hand and yapping. She barked and ran ahead. My eyes followed her and I could see what she was headed towards. The bus headlights were real. Or, rather, the light was real. A circle of dazzling light shining like a beacon.

I’m not sure how I managed to stay on my feet as I ran, but my need to see sunlight urged me on. As it got close, my hopes got brighter. As I reached the edge of the treeline, I was almost ecstatic. Which, of course, made it all the more crushing when I crashed out into nothing more than a clearing. Just a clearing with a large flowered tree in the centre that was swaying in the breeze. I fell to my knees and wept, Manectric snuffling at my face and softly licking my tears.

I was too tired to go on. Not only did we not have any food, but we still had no way to tell where we were. Perhaps mum would have told Officer Jenny by now. Out there in the woods would be a search party seeking me with their torch beams. I found a patch of dry moss at the edge of the clearing and settled in to sleep.

When I woke, it was dark. I’d been having a dream of a Pokémon singing. I’d been running through the forest, pushing back leaves trying to find it. Bulllbbaaaa it sang Bulllbbaaaa. As I opened my eyes, I realised I could still hear that gentle hum. I felt Manectric stir beside me. She was crouched down low, peering through some tall tufts of grass looking out onto the clearing. Bulllbbaaaa. I crawled up next to her and looked out too.

Before us was a sea of bobbing turquoise heads. They circled the clearing, facing towards the flowered tree. Could these be… Bulbasaur? I tried to remember back to my time in Professor Oak’s lab. He had been working on breeding easy-to-train rare Pokémon for new trainers as part of his research. I’ve never been much of a scientist, but I did remember him showing me a Bulbasaur. And if my memory served me correctly, yes, these were indeed Bulbasaur. Not just one but hundreds.

I looked to the weird tree in the centre of the clearing. While before it was swaying, now it was shifting side-to-side. I looked from the flower to its trunk. From the trunk to its roots. Only, the roots were rising and falling. That thing was breathing! Amazed, I scooted forward some more to get a better look, but Manectric held my collar. The Bulbasaur stopped singing in one fell swoop. It was like I’d suddenly lost my hearing. Everything was just silent.

I worried it was me. I had a vision of them all turning round to look at me, raising their vines to attack. They did turn around, but not to look at me. From a grassy verge to our left, a taller, broader Bulbasaur pushed his way out of the thicket. He looked different from the others. Much bigger, for one. I noticed he had a little flower on his back, similar to the big breathing tree. No, not a Bulbasaur. An evolution of some sort.

The crowd of Bulbasaur made a path for this creature, some touching its feet with their vines as he passed. He walked up to the flowery tree and stopped. Ivysaur, it declared. Short and sweet.

With that, the clearing began to rumble. The Bulbasaur waved their vines in the air, branches snapped, rubble flew everywhere and I had to shield my eyes. When I was able to look again, I gawped. The tree had rose two metres into the air, revealing a huge monstrous body beneath. It had been lying so long that the trees had grown around it. It left a crater where it has arisen from. VENUSAUUUUUR, it bellowed.

At this, cries and shouts of Bulbasaauuur sounded from the crowd. The forest king freed several vines from its back and reached towards the Ivysaur. The Ivysaur, too, outstretched its vines and they met in the middle. Each called its name to the other and the Bulbasaur began throwing white powder into the air that sparkled in the moonlight. They all went back to their chanting: Bulllbbaaaa, Bulllbbaaaaaa. Some spores landed on me and I went to brush them off. A sudden weariness hit me and I could barely keep my eyes open. The last thing I saw before drifting to sleep was the giant Venusaur turning and disappearing into the forest depths and Ivysaur taking his place.