Orin released a low groan as they followed the friendly Pokemon; he hadn’t traveled through this area before, but had heard chatter from the flock. Pidgey flew all around the world, and often traded flocks like Trainer Battle Teams. He just hoped in the future he’d be strong enough to not be stunted and forced off the team.
Flying Pokemon naturally knew a lot, a lot more than most other types. Ground-Types came as a close second with their listening ears underground and Water-Types had a decent information network, but no one could match Flying-Type.
Not having flown through here before was actually a blessing … he hadn’t been the most honest of Pokemon, and it was fun being a little impish every once in a while. He played tricks on his new buddies sometimes, but he’d sworn off the troublemaking life when he’d met Cami’s Exeggcute.
Jade’s sister was really nice and spirited, but her Pokemon was so friendly … cute, too, of course. He’d seen his fair share of female Exeggcute to know when one stood above the pack.
Unlike most of the Pokemon the other Trainers they fought had, he chose to bond to Jade from the comfort of her own home, having been a regular visitor to the apartment balcony. He was a little embarrassed that the first real danger his Trainer had been a part of was because of his past.
The Pokemon near Pallet had known about his tricks and lies that had more than a few areas blacklist him. Honestly, Amber and Gables had been the only deterrent on their first day that kept the Wild Pokemon mostly civil. He was kind of dreading when they made it to Leaf Jungle, southwest of Vermilion City. He had Pidgeot, the Big Boss of the skies between Leaf Jungle and Pallet, to protect him, which made him rather bombastic; he regretted that now.
Still, he had to protect Jade, and he’d come to really like her after their short time of being bonded. He could never go back to the flock now that he’d been bonded, but there were never any hard feelings and he’d even had some good conversations with a few old buddies earlier today.
Mt. Silver, though … even Big Boss Pidgeot stayed clear of here … this was Dragonite’s territory, and everyone in the skies knew it. His Area Bosses were very aggressive, too, and Skarmory had almost killed Big Boss Pideot two months ago when he flew too close to this very location.
Of course, one of the four region’s Moltres had passed through the area three months ago, and it had been one of the females, the strongest, which could go crazy on the drop of a leaf. She had everyone stepping on eggshells; the flaming giant would even turn Dragonite to ash.
He’d had his fair share of experience with Bosses and it made him cautious. Then again, they did have Lyra’s Pokemon watching over them, but it’s not like these guys would know that; everyone knew about Pidgeot and not to mess with certain flocks. This was whole new territory, though.
When they stepped onto the meadow, Orin shivered; he didn’t need the Pokemon around him chirping about the Boss being ahead, but he mustered up his courage. There were occasionally protected pockets like this in the wild where the Boss was a peaceful Pokemon that liked to keep things chill; although, from the looks of it, Jade had to be careful where she set up her tent. This Lilligant seemed to like her floral arrangements.
The emotions swirling around in his breast were somewhat vexing. Jade was really depressed, and he apparently couldn’t do anything to help, but the new random human could. Her Cyndaquil was nice, but not that helpful when it came to information. Flying Pokemon were just so much more knowledgeable when it came to explaining things.
Well … at least you’re feeling better. Orin sighed, leaning over to nudge his Trainer’s ear. I’ll go see what we have to expect. Just chill here.
Jade gave him a thankful nudge through their link; it was getting better. He couldn’t quite understand her like Hector said he did Sam, but that wasn’t uncommon. Understanding which Move might be best to use was simple enough when you had so few to work with; he’d never had to fight in the wild since he’d been in a flock. It was always dive bomb and peck the few unlucky fools that annoyed them … how times had changed.
“Hello!” Orin greeted, making it to the small group of Pokemon with the Boss.
Lilligant was a decent looking Grass-Type, but not really his style in women; she did have a kind face, though. Her seed-like orange eyes turned to survey the crowds of Pokemon filling the meadow. “Oh, no … guys, we’re not supposed to group together like this … it draws the larger Pokemon up the mountain. C’mon … let’s go…” She urged, basically ignoring Orin.
He was a little indignant with the action, but what could he do but wait; usually, he’d show up with a flock and Pokemon would be begging them why they were there, hoping the crew wouldn’t steal all the berries.
“That’s right … I know,” she sighed, “humans are interesting … yes, they can cry, Bulbasaur, Wooper wasn’t lying.”
A few of the stronger Pokemon protested, hoping to stay, which Lilligant allowed. The ones that caught his eye was a Tangela and one of the strange puffy Meowth he’d rarely seen before. Other than those, several Petilil were hovering around, whispering to one another too softly for Orin to hear.
One of the new Pokemon started freaking out with his Trainer, practically jumping up and down while pointing at the Meowth. Jade didn’t seem as impressed; it kind of made her feel a little uncomfortable since she was used to the Kanto version.
The Pichu was glaring at the Lilligant, mumbling under its breath. Only after the crowd had started to disperse did she speak up. “Hey, I’m awesome, okay; I’m not different than the other Pichu! You’re different from the other Petilil! Yeah!”
“Ugh,” Lilligant rubbed the side of her head with a sad expression. “… I’m not making fun of you, Pichu … I’m trying to help.”
“No, no!” She barked, rising up with electricity sparking at her cheeks; judging by her small size, she’d probably just recently hatched. “You’re telling everyone I’m not normal!”
Lilligant turned her focus to Orin as the other two Pokemon made their way to them. “Hello … I apologize for being rude, but I need to address something…”
“Nu-uh,” Pichu huffed, “because I don’t need no one’s help! My brothers and sisters are making fun of me because of what you said, and it’s mean! You’re a mean Boss!”
“Okay,” Koko mumbled. The Cyndaquil gave Luka, the Charmander, a look that said it all; troubles in paradise.
The Flower Pokemon shook her head. “Pichu … I talked to the southern Boss; Butterfree says he’s seen this before … you’ll die in a few weeks if we don’t figure out how to fix you.”
Judging by how agitated the Pokemon was getting, Orin, Luka, and Koko retreated a few paces. “I don’t need fixing!” Pichu yelled. “See,” sparks increased around her, “look at this big Thunder Shock! I’ll show you!”
“No, Pichu!” Lilligant stepped forward as the electricity the Pokemon had been building erupted toward the Boss.
Orin’s eyes widened as he watched a massive discharge of electricity seemingly collapse in on the electric mouse, shattering its defensive matrix, and then the bolt swiftly flipped in the air, racing right back at the stunned Pichu. She couldn’t see it coming after being knocked out by her own discharge, mind scrambled and still recovering.
He winced as it struck, damage waking her up and sending the screaming little girl flying back in pain; Orin was trying to figure out precisely what he’d just witnessed.
She tumbled to a stop a meter away, causing Orin to wince again. “Oof … was that supposed to happen? I’ve uh … never seen a Pichu or Pikachu attack themselves like that.”
Lilligant moaned while rushing over to see if she was alright with the other Pokemon around them. “Pichu … no, no, no … I told you not to do that…”
“Arceus!” Jade cried, hands flying to her mouth as she watched the Pokemon tumble limply across the grass.
Bright shimmering leaves shot out from the flower’s green aura she swiftly built, falling around everyone in the area. “Someone bring a berry … oh,” she paused as Jade came running over with one of the items Lyra had given them. “Thank you, human … who’s human is this?” She asked, glancing back at them.
Jade was asking questions of the other two Trainers as they came to join her.
Koko and Luka pointed at him, causing the Silver-tier Pokemon to give him a charming smile. “Can you tell your human thank you? Umm … and … do any of you know how to help Pichu? I’m afraid if she remains here, then she will die.”
Orin wasn’t the happiest about this plea; the last thing they needed was a defective Pokemon in their party, especially one that refused to see they had a problem, but Jade was far more compassionate.
He sighed as she sent waves of empathy to him. She was horrified when she saw the Pichu attack itself and get blown away in an instant; true, the electric shock had hit it after it basically self-destructed.
In fact, how did a Pichu know Self-Destruct? That was supposed to be Hector’s thing. Wait, no … that wasn’t right, there wasn’t an explosion; it was more like it blew a circuit and then hit itself with its own attack. He’d seen some human electric towers do that, never a Pokemon.
“Uh … I can ask,” he reluctantly mumbled, hopping over to look up at his concerned Trainer; she was trying to heal the Pichu without much success. Having been hit with its defensive matrix down had actually hurt it pretty bad. Although, something else caught his attention when he drew near, seeing how battered the electric mouse looked.
It suddenly clicked in Orin’s mind, she’d destroyed her second energy matrix. He’d never seen nor heard of a Pokemon sabotaging themselves that much. It was as if she was trying to commit suicide.
Gathering his thoughts, he sent Jade the Lilligant’s request. Uh … yeah, the Boss wants to know if you guys know how to … eh, fix her? By the way, Lilligant says she’ll probably die in a few weeks, but judging by that … I wouldn’t give her a few days.
* * *
Pichu groaned, senses slowly returning; she released a low whimper as liquid misted around her. It felt like her whole body was on fire.
No … no … I’m not different … I don’t need fixing … I can shock things like my brothers and sisters … why does it hurt…
Tears started leaking out of her eyes as they opened; she was in some strange creature’s lap. It looked funny, but seemed to be helping her. The mist Move it was using was restoring her defensive matrix, but it wasn’t getting rid of the burn she felt running through her whole frame.
“It … it hurts…”
Lilligant came into view as the strange creatures began talking to each other, and the other Pokemon discussed her horrible failure. Questions started to prod her dazed and feverish mind.
Am … am I a defective Pokemon? Mom and Dad don’t want me … my brothers and sisters make fun of me … what do I do?
“Hey, little Pichu…” Lilligant whispered, stroking her head. “I … don’t know if there’s anything I can do for you. There are humans that might be able to help, though … I have heard things from other Pokemon, and this girl named Jade wants to see if there’s someone that can heal you.”
“Lilligant,” she cried, tucking tighter into a ball as her body flared again, “Lilligant … it hurts…”
“I know … I know…”
After a while, the aches became bearable, but even the berries the other Pokemon brought didn’t stop the burning. The human Pokemon, or that’s what Lilligant called them, said she needed special care to stop it since her second defensive matrix had been broken.
W-Why me? I just want to be normal…
* * *
Jade sprayed the injured Pichu with the Super Potion Lyra had given her, but knew it wouldn’t help with the damage she’d already taken from her own attack; all she could do was comfort it until they could get it to a Center for further treatment.
Inoa and Ellie came jogging over, tossing their packs on the ground.
“What … just happened?” Inoa asked in shock.
Ellie hummed, kneeling down beside her as the Lilligant observed with a worried look in her seed-like eyes. “The blasted thing attacked itself … what the Mook?”
“I don’t know,” Jade returned. “Umm … she’s hurt now,” she groaned, feeling for her and Inoa seemed to be trying hard to control her own emotions to not send everyone nearby into tears; they could tell she was female by the heart shape at the end of the little Pichu’s tail. “Is there anything we can do?”
A few of the Pokemon that had stayed were running off into the forest on the Lilligant’s orders to get berries, and the Pichu started to stir in Jade’s arm as the potion helped stabilize her energy. At least it wouldn’t die like a normal animal if its matrix returned to help ward off any illnesses.
Ellie frowned and shook her head as the Pichu began crying softly, talking to the Area Boss; she appeared to be comforting the baby Pokemon. “Eh … mi da’ might ‘ave somethin’ ta say but in Galar they be Mookin’ sleepin’…”
Inoa nodded. “Yeah … it would be really early in Alola right now.”
Wait … what about Rhea’s Mom; she’s a world famous scientist and breeder, right? No, but … I can’t just … but this Pichu’s hurt…
Lips tightening, Jade put the bottle down beside her and got her phone out, keeping the Pichu in her lap. The others gave her a questioning look, but she was too focused on fighting past the discomfort in her gut.
Opening PikaBook, she sent a DM to Christie since her profile was open to her with Rhea listed in her Close Contacts.
2:34 P.M. Jade: Hey, you might not know who I am. My name is Jade and I’m friends with Rhea. A Pichu just zapped itself really bad, and I don’t know what to do.
Setting her phone to the side with a long sigh, she stroked the hurting Pichu; it seemed to be trying to stifle its cries since the shakes only made it ache more. “Hey … I’m trying to get some help, just hang in there.”
“A Ranger might be close by,” Inoa mumbled; her face creased with frustration while trying to work her phone, but everyone froze when Jade’s started to vibrate.
She picked it up; Christie was calling her over PikaBook. Nervously answering it, she said, “Hello, umm … what do I do?”
Rhea’s mother was gorgeous, showing features similar to Cynthia, and the background appeared to be some kind of hospital. “Hmm … yes, I remember you,” the woman stated with a small frown while doctors in lab coats bustled about in the background; judging by the outfits it was probably Rocket Private Hospital for Research and Development in Viridian. “Now, tell me what’s happening?”
Jade pivoted the phone to show the Pichu on her lap, explaining what she’d seen.
Christie shifted to a less busy room, but the hospital was packed with researchers and doctors, talking in small groups and sharing charts. “Hmm … it’s a very rare Ability irregularity caused by distinct chromosomal abnormalities that occurred in cell division. What you’re describing sounds like this Pichu has activated its Dream World Ability instead of its natural one … it will die in the wild.”
“Why?” Jade asked. “Is there anything we can do?”
Ellie and Inoa gave the Pichu a sad look as they listened; their three Pokemon were talking with a few of the Wild Pokemon.
Christie scratched her scalp with tight lips, glancing away while pondering something. “… How would I explain it to you? Okay … humans have fortitudes and Pokemon have Energy Cores. Pokemon use their Energy Cores in various ways; some of that power is focused on defense and some offense. That should be pretty standard knowledge. Following?”
Jade silently nodded, hoping there was an answer in the woman’s explanation. “Mhm.”
“Right … well, think of that Energy Core as a sphere and only so much can fit in that sphere. Moves, Abilities, and even IVs and EVs take up a certain amount of room … if you put too many Moves or Abilities in that space … it cracks and breaks.
“I’ve specially bred and genetically tweaked Rhea’s Pokemon to be able to handle that required space … it wouldn’t happen in the wild. The issue with Rhea’s Pokemon is the energy they require to maintain all those little bubbles in that big sphere, which is why they must take so much energy from Rhea to survive.”
This was all new to Jade, mind spinning with the information. “W-Wait, umm … Rhea hasn’t told me about any of that stuff,” she mumbled.
“Oh…” Christie chuckled sheepishly before becoming somber. “Well, no use crying over spilled milk. In any case, that Pichu was born with her Dream Ability, which is far more demanding on her Energy Core. My guess is that it has one or two Egg Moves, one probably being very costly, while dealing with the added stress the Lightning Rod Ability has, taking up a much bigger area in her Energy Core than Static, the Ability she should have.
“It’s very helpful and can be used in a lot of tricky ways, but Pichu aren’t naturally accustomed to that Ability … there’s no one to teach her how to properly use it. There’s a reason why Dream Abilities naturally don’t activate until entering the Dream World; they put a lot of pressure on a Pokemon’s Energy Core.
“So, with the stress those Moves and Ability cause, alongside some generally high Stats … it’s just too strong for its age. It will die. I might be able to save her by force expanding the Pichu’s Energy Core, but it’s a risky procedure that is rarely suggested or worth it for normal Pokemon, and … it would require a Trainer’s bond to help stabilize her recovery.”
Jade took a heavy breath; Christie’s methods were rough on Rhea, which had an incredible fortitude limit. Just how bad would it be on her? Still, she couldn’t ask Inoa or Ellie to take it on.
“Umm … I’d like to try and … well, if I can.”
Christie scratched above her left ear, glancing away with a deep frown. “Look, honey … there are other issues. Wild Pokemon … especially when requiring Trainer’s energy to survive, will grow very attached to you … addicted, to be frank. Plus, it looks very young. I genetically removed that addictive trait from Rhea’s Pokemon. This Pichu won’t be able to return to the wild.”
“Yeah, but … she’ll die otherwise,” Inoa mumbled beside her.
Jade shook her head while petting the whimpering Pichu. “I want to … I just don’t know if I can.”
Christie sighed before a small smile moved her lips. “Okay … I’m swamped right now, but why don’t you bring her back to Viridian. Luckily, I’m close by. She’ll be in some pain and discomfort tonight, but just from what I’ve seen, she’s not in life-threatening territory at the moment.
“I’ve talked to Lyra and know where you are. Just try to help the Pichu understand her position and see me in the morning when Lyra brings you back. It might be hard for the little girl to understand at her age, but do your best.”
Jade accepted the challenge, feeling like this Pichu needed her. While they prepared camp and helped the Pichu, Inoa and Ellie found two Pokemon willing to join them with Lilligant’s help. Inoa bonded with a Galarian Meowth and Ellie with a Tangela.
* * *
Pichu spent the day in Jade’s arms or lap; the human girl’s hands were comforting, and the other Pokemon were helpful. Pichu just wanted the pain to go away; it hadn’t been this bad the last time she tried to use her Thunder Shock.
The other two humans apparently found the cause … she was born defective … she had an Ability called Lightning Rod, which she wasn’t supposed to have for a long time. That was the reason why her family’s electric attacks hit her, and she damaged herself … she couldn’t control it.
Pichu cried … the pain in her chest rivaled the burning across her body; it hurt more knowing she was the problem, and it wouldn’t get better. The human’s Pokemon tried to tell her there might be a way to fix her, but where would she go? Her parents didn’t want her … no one tried to help until Lilligant got involved … she was cursed.
However, all the injuries across her body and even a bit of the pressure in her chest evaporated when night came, and rainbow lights exploded across the sky. Everyone’s mouths dropped upon seeing the colossal shimmering bird Pokemon streak across the sky to their south, causing a wave of warm air to sweep across the forest.
The human Pokemon called it Ho-Oh, and he was beautiful. It was just the distraction she needed to pull her out of the hole she was in, and cuddling next to Jade in her shelter and big cozy bag made her chest flame in a good way. No one had been so nice to her since she hatched.
Orin seemed a bit uncomfortable with her being so close to his human, but she didn’t care; Jade was warm and comforting.
She shifted against Jade’s belly within the sleeping bag; the human had long since fallen asleep. “Psst … hey, Orin … you awake?”
“Mhm?” He grumbled just outside her covering.
“Umm … do you really think Jade can fix me?”
“Eh … probably not her, no. There are lots of humans that specialize in that kind of stuff; they call them doctors … kind of a stupid name, but yeah.”
“They can fix me?”
“… Thanks…” She smiled, snuggling closer to Jade. She liked humans. Wild Pokemon were mean.
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