It has been a long time since I wrote a PokéMon fiction, and my previous one was a bit lackluster. I was inspired to write one again, with all new characters and new elements to the world. Depressed/Drunk!Oak is a reference to a joke made about the old fiction, and there will be other references along the way. This fiction will contain scenes of gore and other mature subjects. Read at your own risk. Chapter One It was that time of year again. The grass had started to grow and the trees were beginning to blossom. Petals from said flower blossoms were occasionally blown off by the wind, only to dance around in the breeze. It was perhaps the most breathtaking sight the onlooking girl had ever seen, the warm spring day refreshing and new. Light suddenly evaporated into darkness, the outside noises ceasing their repetition to make it seem all the more eerie. It was as if everything had gone silent, like all the color had drained from the world around her. The trees withered and died, the blossoms and leaves fading into nothing more than mere brambles and rot. She felt paralysed with fear, unable to move or escape from the oncoming darkness. A soft murmur rose from the woods, which soon turned into several talking voices, until they were yelling in her ear. Her mouth opened into a scream, but there was no noise to come out of her anymore as red eyes flashed open in the darkness. The mouth of the creature pulled into a manic grin, and it advanced on her position, the maw opening with a great cackle as if to swallow her whole. Shadowy hands reached out from the darkness, coiling towards her as a soft beeping noise got louder and louder. Green eyes fluttered open, followed by a soft gasping of air as Justice Dellacott woke from the nightmare. The beeping noise was coming from her alarm clock, which she looked at with a semblance of gratitude before switching it off. She brushed her long brown hair away from her face and pressed her hands to her forehead, the memory of the nightmare still pressing itself into her mind vividly. But there was little time to think on it, because she had somewhere to be. Still trembling, she rose from her bed and changed into regular clothes – jeans and a green t-shirt - picked up her backpack of previously packed belongings and clambered downstairs. The two floor cabin smelled of bacon and eggs that particular morning. An older woman with greying dark hair stood thoughtful over the simmering frying pan, only perking up at the telltale sounds of footfalls from the thirteen year old. Light blue eyes glimmered with the loving smile mothers often tended to give to their children, and with one last flip of the spatula, the woman finished the batch of scrambled eggs. “Good morning, dear,” said Zandra Dellacott, turning off the burners and coming over to press a light kiss to her daughter's forehead. “I got you a little something for your journey, but that can wait until after breakfast.” There was something in the older woman's eyes at the mention of said journey, a certain coldness that carried the weight of something long since past, but no less hurtful. “Thanks, Mom,” replied Justice calmly, the effects of the nightmare long since faded. The girl took a plate and grabbed some bacon and eggs, plopping her backpack down for a few moments as she took a seat at the dining room table. Zandra joined her soon afterwards, and as was morning tradition, they bowed their heads and clasped their hands together in prayer. “Oh, Arceus,” intoned the older woman, “The Original One, creator of all. We give our thanks to you for this blessing of food and drink, for it gives us life. I pray that you will watch over Justice as she begins her journey into your world and into adulthood. I pray that you still watch over Scarlet as she continues on her way. Finally, I pray that you have looked after the soul of my dearly departed Christopher, and that he is watching over us as well. Amen.” “Amen,” Justice repeated, though more out of obligation for the morning routine than out of belief. The world of PokéMon was rife with legends about god-like creatures – backed up by ruins, carvings and other such things – but she felt like if Arceus was truly all-powerful, her father would still be alive. The two women ate in silence, the young teen finishing up quicker out of her eagerness to begin the day. While she waited for her mother to finish her morning routine, she checked her backpack to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. Clear storage capsules held her food and clothing, her phone was in her pants pocket, and her trainer license was in her front shirt pocket. It made her frown slightly, wondering what her mother could have possibly purchased that would further help her to be prepared. Before she could ask, another storage capsule was pushed in front of her labelled 'camping gear', as well as a small black box. “Open it,” said Zandra, a somewhat neutral expression pulled over her face. Justice looked at her mother skeptically, but nonetheless flipped open the lid of the box, her mouth falling open slightly at its contents. Lying inside was a silver chained necklace, the pendant a golden cross-like wheel with small emerald gems at each cross point and a white circular opal in the middle. “It's beautiful,” came the awed reply. “Thank you.” It was the symbol of Arceus, similar to the purple necklace with emeralds that Zandra wore around her neck to show her devotion for the being. Justice brought it up from its case and strung the chain around her neck, clasping it together to let the pendant dangle in the center of her upper chest. A shiver ran down her spine as she realized it somehow looked right on her, almost as if it had been made specifically to fit. “It suits you,” mused Zandra, as if noticing the same thing. She looked as if she was about to say more on the matter, but a large thudding sound interrupted the both of them. Not long afterwards, there was a light rapping on the front door, indicating someone was there. Justice got up from her seat to answer the door, her mother following swiftly behind as she opened the door. A red-headed woman now standing at the door, looking to be at least twenty years of age, though she was only eighteen. The long locks of hair were pushed back behind her ears, revealing large claw-like scars over her right eye, which was white with blindness. Her functional brown eye sparkled with the small smile she gave as Justice rushed up to hug her, a warm glance shot at Zandra as well. She wore a similar necklace to the one Zandra had given Justice, but the wheel-like cross was colored orange and in place of the emeralds were yellow topazes. Behind her was a gigantic, orange, dragon-like PokéMon that stood on two legs and had a burning tip to its tail. “Hey, kiddo,” said Scarlet Dellacott, her tone somewhat gravelly but nonetheless feminine. “A little bird told me you were starting your journey today, so I thought I'd stop by to give you a little present.” With that said, the older woman pushed a small cylinder into her hands. It was a white container with a purple top, the slosh of liquid and push-down spray mechanism betraying its purpose as a Potion. “Thanks, sis,” exclaimed Justice, her excitement clearly showing in her expression. It was her first official item as a PokéMon trainer, meaning more to her than some silly old necklace. “Phoenix, come back and rest,” murmured the older woman, at which the Charizard dissolved into red light that syphoned into the PokéBall she had picked up from her belt. “You hurry on your way now, kiddo. Mom and I have some catching up to do.” With a purposeful look to the eldest Dellacott, Scarlet stepped inside the house, only popping out again to hand Justice her backpack before closing the door. It was a sudden goodbye that left the girl somewhat bewildered, but there was little time left to dwell on such things. She had an appointment at the PokéMon Lab with Professor Oak, and she didn't want to be late. Luckily the laboratory was right at the edge of Pallet Town, the large building coming into view as she walked up the path towards it, the spring air adding to the experience. The large set of stairs lead up to a building with yellow walls, a grey roof, a chimney and several windows. It had large windmill peeking out behind it, with two front doors that opened at a motion detector, leading Justice to the interior. As the doors swished closed behind her, green eyes explored a hallway with several doors; and to her immediate left, a chest of drawers and the stairway to what she presumed was the second floor. “The research floor is upstairs,” said a masculine voice, startling her slightly. There was an older gentleman with glasses and a lab coat looking down at her with an almost knowing look, like he had seen many a person like her before. Considering that this sort of thing happened once every three months or so, she wasn't surprised. Justice timidly nodded in thanks, feeling the weight of everything crashing down on her as she ascended the stairs upward. She heard two other male voices speaking, but they seemed to be much younger sounding than the gentleman in the hallway. As she reached the top, she looked on amazed at all the large computers and complicated machinery, making her question exactly what universe she had stepped into. “Looks like we finally have our third member,” said one of the male voices from earlier, causing her to turn her head. The boy had dark eyes and short blonde hair that made it looked like he shaved his head recently, a grey t-shirt and brown cargo pants. He wore almost the same grin as his companion, who had longer hair than the other male but still short, black in color. The boy peered out from behind a pair of glasses with light blue eyes that contrasted the red and black checkered t-shirt he wore, but his black shorts at least complimented the outfit. “A pretty girl, no less,” complimented the longer-haired boy, which caused Justice to blush slightly. “I suppose we should introduce ourselves. I'm Theodore and this is Daniel, but we often go by just Ted and Dan.” The shorter-haired boy nodded in acknowledgement of the nickname, both boys smiling in wait of her reply. “Justice,” she finally spat out, reaching to shake their hands in turn. “Not a whole lot of nicknames for that, though.” She was still slightly red from the compliment, but she smiled in return and took the remaining seat in the laboratory, beside Dan. The boys both seemed to know each other quite well, so she suspected they were old friends, possibly having gone to the same school together. She was going to ask, but all conversation ceased as an older gentleman with greying hair stepped into the room, a somewhat worn look in his dark eyes despite his friendly smile. He looked at each of the younger people in turn, giving a soft sigh as he quickly smoothed his hands over the folds of his lab coat. “Welcome, young trainers,” he stated firmly and practised, like he had said it many a time before. “I am Samuel Oak, but I'm more famously known as the PokéMon Professor. Today, you will begin a journey into the world of PokéMon, where you will form strong friendships and see things you never imagined possible. However, contrary to popular belief, on this journey you will also experience great hardship and struggle.” Something in his demeanour changed, as if he was veering off from practised speech and turning more fully into his own emotions on the subject. “Despite many revolutionary years of rule changing, you are all still here; young, bright and naive. Two boys - barely eleven - and a young, teenage girl. But I shall not bore you with the personal memories of a tired old man. Just know that the real world is nothing like the cartoon shows, and sometimes, people die. Now come, your final test awaits.” With that, Oak turned on his heel and walked towards a machine in the center of the room, motioning for the children to follow him. The two boys exchanged glances with one another before rising from their seats together, Justice quickly following suit. Three red and white PokéBalls laid inside the machine, each with their own symbol on the front. There was one with a flame, one with a leaf, and one with what looked to be a water droplet. From what Scarlet had told her, they represented the three starters – Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle. A monitor above the machine confirmed her suspicions, displaying information on all three of the PokéMon in turn for all of them to see. “It used to be on a first come, first serve basis,” said Professor Oak, his tone slightly more chipper. “Now we bring in groups of three and give them personality assessments, to see which starter would match best with each trainer.” With that said, he handed out a small piece of paper and a pencil to each of the children in turn, studying their faces slightly as if trying to find something. His eyes betrayed nothing as each of the young trainers filled out their piece of paper. Justice looked over her own and found they were easy enough questions to answer, simple personal questions that one might ask if making a new friend. She found herself looking up at the Professor and the other boys every so often, but ultimately she focused on answering the questions as honestly as possible. Dan was the first to finish, then Justice, and finally Ted. Oak skimmed over the pieces of paper in turn, looking somewhat thoughtful after each one, nodding his head after only a few short moments. “Mister Miller,” called the Professor, at which Dan perked up. “Both you and Mister Griffiths are quite similar in some respects, which made it difficult to place you. However, you have much of your mother in you. Quirky, bold and a certain resilience that makes you a good match for Squirtle.” The boy was handed the PokéBall with a water droplet on it, as well as a belt of five empty PokéBalls and what appeared to be a chrome PokéDex. Oak quickly demonstrated that the outer appearance could be changed via the computer screen on the inside, which Dan changed to blue with copper detailing. The PokéDex was registered to the boy via his picture and fingerprints, and the PokéBall with the water droplet was merely scanned in to register that there was indeed a Squirtle inside of it and the creature belonged to Dan. With that demonstration over with, Oak turned to the other boy, who looked both excited and frightened at the same time. “Mister Griffiths, do calm down,” chastised the Professor, at which Ted took a few deep breaths. “I do believe you are the first of your family to come to my laboratory, so it was harder to place you. You seem to have a strange duality between energetic and relaxed, but your strong sense of loyalty and friendship ultimately places you with the Bulbasaur.” The PokéBall with the leaf design on it was handed over to Ted along with the other items, at which the boy picked the more classic red and black color scheme for his PokéDex. Finally the Professor's eyes landed on Justice, his hand already outstretched with the final PokéBall. “So very much like your sister, Miss Dellacott,” commented Oak. “Emotional, brave and with your own desire for challenge. Phoenix may yet enjoy the company of one of his own kindred, if Charmander eventually wants to evolve.” “We'll see, Professor,” replied Justice, a slight smile on her face as she took the PokéBall with the fire symbol. She clasped on the belt of PokéBalls as it was handed to her, putting the one with Charmander in the final slot. When she was given her PokéDex, she chose to change it green with silver detailing, which looked like a nice color combination. “Some of you may know that the true face of the PokéMon world is,” said Oak, his expression grim as he looked from face to face again. “I feel you could all learn from one another just how much friendship means in a world like this. Take care of yourselves and your PokéMon. Good luck in the Kanto region, and good day.” With that said, the Professor turned his back on the young trainers, picking up a previously unseen beer bottle from the table before leaving them to their thoughts. “What did he mean by that?” asked Ted, his expression filled with worry. Oak had said something about him being the first in his family to experience a PokéMon journey, so he was probably new to every aspect. “There's a reason my mother wears long-sleeved shirts even in summer,” murmured Dan in reply, his expression somewhat dark. “She was a PokéMon trainer as well, and has the scars to show for it.” “My sister went blind in one eye thanks to the claws of a PokéMon,” said Justice, catching the attention of both boys. “She doesn't bother to hide it, though. I think she's actually quite proud of her battle scars, as she's mentioned some on her back and chest as well.” Ted's expression pulled into a thoughtful grimace, his hand absently touching the PokéBall with Bulbasaur inside of it. Dan reached his hand out to gently clasp the other boys shoulder, gently squeezing it to perhaps comfort his friend. The grimace pulled into a small smile at this, but the light blue eyes swiftly turned to the face of Justice, looking somewhat contemplative. “Maybe he was right, then,” Ted murmured. “We may need all the friends we can get. What do you think, Dan? Should we invite her to come with us?” “I'm sure neither of us would mind the company,” answered Dan, his expression changing to the large grin from earlier, causing her cheeks to become slightly red again. “But it's ultimately up to her whether or not she'd want to.” “Of course,” affirmed Ted, mirroring Dan's grin. “Would you like to come with us on our PokéMon journey, Justice?” Justice suddenly found it hard to answer, simply choosing to study both boys again. Though they were two years younger than she was, their faces seemed to be honest and open. From their earlier comments, it was obvious they liked her in some respect, not to mention they both probably thought she was more knowledgeable due to her age. They could probably learn a lot from one another, and she would develop strong friendships with them as they went through the trials of the PokéMon world. It seemed to be a good decision to go in a group anyways, considering everything that was said. “Sure,” she settled on, nodding her head and smiling. “I'd love to.” “Awesome,” exclaimed Ted, his expression jubilant again. “Let's go outside so we can meet our partners, shall we?” Both Dan and Justice nodded in reply, and they all left the laboratory together, each clutching their PokéBalls with their respective PokéMon in them.