Arriving in Pewter City, the raptor had rarely ever seen any mountainous towns in his life. The very notion of carving out the very rock itself to formulate any sort of settlement was something he had never truly seen before. Deserts, snowfields and small islands yes, but not the mountains. Pewter City was somewhat more active than Cerulean City, having a more bustling fare of trade mostly involving the mining industry.
Rocks and minerals were being carted to and fro from the mountains and back, or being shipped off onto vans and aerial packages for transportation. He also noticed people using their pokemon a lot more openly here as part of their occupation, mostly involving huge rocky creatures with four arms or two, or muscular lizards with reddened veins along their grey biceps. James blushed slightly at seeing such masculine specimens, lifting huge boulder-sized crates with nary a sweat, all while wearing a strange loinclothed belt in black and god.
Sexuality is also a divisive topic with pokemon.
Your eyes roamed a little TOO much upon that Machoke over there.
"I-i was just impressed by his strength, that's all!"
Is that really all you were thinking, hmmm?
"C-come on, I wouldn't think anything like that, I'm devoted to Koopin and there's no one else for me."
He sternly crossed his arms with resolution, despite the invading thoughts of the muscular pokemon, as Kirie chuckled in his mind.
Very well. I am glad to see you take on such a stern stance. Pokephilia is a VERY touchy subject in this world.
"Poke...oh god you are kidding, no. No, let's not go there okay, this is not the time for that."
I agree. Why don't you go to the museum to clear your mind, as well as to help you understand my world a little more? It's free as well to enter.
"Yanno what, that's a great idea."
Desperate for a distraction of any kind, the raptor in human disguise headed off towards a large building nestled at the base of the mountain cliffs. The houses were simple, almost unitarian in their design with but little extravagance to them. A Pokemon Center laid at the southern exit of the city, and despite being called such, the city was surprisingly small and easy to navigate around. Not that James minded for he appreciated such ease of its layout, being more the size of a large town than anything else. There were also a multitude of trees planted everywhere.
Soothed by the abundant aura of both mountain and forest that the city seemed to blend together, the newcomers passed by the grey-and-brown Pewter Gym before heading up into the Pewter Museum of Science. While James had never really taken an interest in museums, he smiled fondly at seeing that the majority of the exhibits were fossils. Dozens of them, excavated from Mt. Moon nearby.
The clean clinical interior of the museum, surrounding the walls with fossils and skeletons of ancient times, allowed him to cast his mind back towards a younger age of his. But he shook himself free from the reverie before anything clear could be made out. Various sea creatures and spiral shells could be seen within the glass cases, their names noted beside them. One looked rather like an ammonite, and he chuckled at his mind once again casting back to the museum he had once been to, long long ago.
"I wonder how Crossville is doing right now?" he asked himself softly.
Did you say something?
"Um...no, just...wondered how old this thing is."
I thought you were a good liar.
"And I thought you wanted me to be interested."
Hm...look over there.
She pointed towards some rather impressive skeletons of ancient pokemon. One was like a pterodactyl, only with a more craggy beak similar to that of a reptile rather than a bird. The other one had a flat shell-like head with a crustaceous bipedal body, its arms ending in two huge deadly scythes.
"Hohoholy shit that one looks sick nasty."
Indeed. Kabutops I believe it is called.
"Looks badass, like some kinda crab samurai cockroach thing."
Hmhmhmhm, sounds like an absurd children's cartoon.
"Yeah, like...extreme X-gene samurai cockroaches! ...man that would be a kickass show now that I think about it."
Ha ha ha, such a childish mind you possess.
"Hey, it's kept me happy plenty of times."
Keeping his mind on the present, the raptor continued looking over the various fossils and regions from where they were discovered. Using his map to correlate various regions of semi-interest, he left the museum to find a much more interesting sight, right around the back of the Pewter Gym building as he heard a voice coming from there.
"You stupid li'l freak! Can't even deal with a stupid ROCK!"
The voice was certainly loud enough for James to take notice as he peered round the building. It appeared to be a teenaged boy in blue and yellow clothing scolding his pokemon, a small orange lizard about two feet tall, its tail blazing with fire weakly at the tip as it cowered before its master. Its eyes were large and panic-ridden like a puppy, as the trainer sent a foot flying at its chin, kicking it away as it yelped.
"You're twice as strong as that Geodude, and YOU cost me half my damn money! What you gotta say for yourself huh!?!"
The creature tried to get up, clearly wounded with several large bruises as it meekly cried:
"Shut up! I wasted a lot of time on you and you give me NOTHING, if that stupid Pidgey or freakin' Rattata couldn't do anything, I thought YOU could at least! I chose you, and this is what I get?! You're worthless!"
Intervention demanded itself into FG's mind, standing up in his human illusion with Kirie floating nearby.
"What the hell you want!?!"
"I want you to leave that li'l guy alone! What the hell did he ever do to you?!"
"Stay out of this ghost boy, this ain't your problem!"
"Not my problem huh? Believe me, when I see a li'l kid like that getting hurt, I MAKE it my problem. Now you're my problem and I'm gonna correct it."
"Oh get lost dammit, I don't have time to deal with you!"
"You're not going anywhere!"
"I can't fight you damnit, all my pokemon are down, except this li'l shit! If he had been better at FIGHTING like a real pokemon, I wouldn't have to teach him a lesson!"
He shoved the boy down to one side right before he was about to kick the little creature once more, the disguised raptor standing in front of the pokemon who could barely stand.
"Fine, you don't want him?"
He picked up the wounded lizard, who recognised that he was coming to his rescue and immediately began to nuzzle James' shoulder out of fear, shaking and refusing to look at his trainer.
"I'll take him off your hands, and you can just piss off where you won't bother him again."
"Wha-you can't do that, he's MY Pokemon!"
"Well, maybe you wanna take this down to the police station where I can tell them about your abuse huh!? Look at him, he's shaking like a battered kid! So you either keep him and I take you down for a night in the slammer, or you just hand him over to me, we say no more, and we solve all your problems...got it?"
The trainer sneered and looked around, struggling with fury at the ultimatum. On the one hand, he'd been challenged with a creature he owned. But on the other hand, he wanted to get rid of it after feeling ripped off. Torn between a free exit without consequence and a challenge of ownership, he eventually just threw his hands into the air and threw a pokeball on the ground.
"FINE, take the li'l bitch, I don't want him anymore! I never wanna see another Charmander ever again! DAMMIT! Shoulda picked a frickin' squirtle..."
And so he stormed off, his pride wounded but all the better to be rid of his Charmander, who gazed up weakly at his rescuer and whimpered softly. Seeing the wide blue eyes made James' heart melt, as he hugged him closely with reassurance.
"Shhhh...it's okay, he won't come back. Poor little guy, you okay? ...fuckin' asshole, who does he think he is?"
The charmander babbled out a soft stream of sounds, using only his species' name as hot tears of gratitude ran down his cheek, the spirit gazing over slowly at the fire lizard.
"What's he saying?" he asked.
He's thanking you deeply for saving him. He said his master was not kind to him, that he had only known him for a few days and yet was pushing him to become more powerful...which became fruitless against this city's Gym leader.
The gym here uses Rock-type pokemon. A Fire pokemon such as this charmander is ineffective against it.
"Heh...so there's...different TYPES of pokemon that can't harm each other?"
Or at least become ineffective against each other.
"Hah, so you were made to fight something you were totally outclassed by. ...hmmm...you remind me of someone li'l guy...maybe me, I dunno."
"Charmander," squeaked the lizard. "Char-char, CHAR, charmander."
"Yeaaaaah um...wow my translator isn't even doing anything, I can't even understand him."
Kirie and the charmander began to talk to each other, the ghost repeating the word "haunter" for some strange reason that he was incapable of understanding for now. Starting a small dialogue of assurance, she began to soothe the worried creature, and ascertained that James was a trustworthy individual. But he knew that he had to do something about this creature before moving on, as well as the fact that the little lizard was quite wounded, weakly nodding up at him.
"Soooo uh...what should we do with him?"
We cannot claim ownership of this charmander, and it would be unwise to release him into the wild for how tame he appears to be. Firstly, let us take him to the Pokemon Center to heal his wounds.
He took the charmander in his hands like a baby, as Kirie picked up the discarded pokeball from the young trainer while heading towards the Center. Not only was it identical to the one he had gone into before Mt. Moon, but it also had the exact same nurse. This threw him off slightly.
"Welcome to the Pokemon Center, how may I help you?!"
"Uh...huh. Do you...have like a twin sister?"
"Nope, why do you ask sir?"
"I...never mind, I'm having a weird day, I found this charmander nearby and I think he needs help."
"OH the poor thing, what happened to him?!"
"His trainer was kicking the hell out of him, I think he lost at that gym battle."
"Ohhh that's awful! Let me take him for you please."
Handing the nurse the charmander, James waited at the chairs nearby as Kirie floated around. He wanted to go out and punish further the abusive trainer, rough him up some more. But he didn't want to leave the charmander at the Center. Gazing at his hands, which remained reptilian from his own perspective and human from everyone else's, the raptor sighed and laid back, anxious to go, yet even more anxious for the charmander's health.
Look after the wounded first, thought James, no matter what. Don't care who you're after, you never abandon someone in need...heh...how long have I been thinking like that now...nnnngh...god I hate waiting, especially in a damn hospital, hope this doesn't become regular in this world.
Eventually, after an hour or so of waiting with twitching foot, the nurse called for him as he got up.
"He's fine," she said gladly, "he's bruised but nothing major was broken and he's back to perfect health."
"Oh thank god. So what's gonna happen to him now?"
"Well, do you know the trainer he was with?"
"Do you know where he came from?"
"Mmmmmno...he did mention about how he should have picked a...squirtle?"
"OH...ohhhh of course, he must have been a new trainer. The charmander must be one of Professor Oak's starters."
"Mmhmm...if that's the case then perhaps it would be best if someone took him back to Oak."
"Well, yanno I AM actually gonna go see Professor Oak myself, that's why I'm heading this way. Why don't I take the charmander back to him?"
"Well...I worry about him now, I...I don't want anything to happen to him now, I wanna know that he gets to somewhere safe."
"You're very kind mister...?"
"Uh James, James Campbell."
"Mister Campbell, I would very much appreciate it if you could return this charmander back to Professor Oak. Let me just get him for you."
Returning to the back of the medical rooms, she returned with the charmander who smiled happily at James, raising its arms to be taken up in his embrace as it babbled happily.
"Awwww he likes you!"
"Heheh...yeah, guess he does. Okay I'll uh, just get going then, bye now!"
"Goodbye, take care!"
Exiting the Center with charmander in tow, James and Kirie smiled as they made their way down south. The fiery tail burned brightly in the air, as they passed through the grassy area of the route towards a large dense forest ahead. A cave laid to the east of James, but was inaccessible from his side of the route.
How convenient for us.
Do you plan to carry him all the way?
"Well why not, he's just a baaaaby."
They can walk you know, if you let him.
"...do you wanna walk now li'l guy?"
The charmander nervously looked towards the forest and shook its head, burying it into James' chest.
"See, he don't wanna walk, he jusht a widdle baby hatchliiiing."
Hmhmhm...I never saw you for having parental qualities.
"What, I just worry about him now."
Is this perhaps some sort of reptilian empathy?
"Hah, reptilian empathy, in my world they'd call that an oxymoron."
And is it?
"Pfft no, only scalist assholes think that."
Do they treat your kind badly in your world James?
"Bad enough that most people don't like reptiles. Not even some of the anthros, not my fault I'm not cuddly and fuzzy like some fucking teddy bear."
I disagree, I find you to be QUITE a comfortable reptile.
James turned his head slowly towards Kirie, quizzical upon his expression.
"...I...dunno what to say to that...um."
The charmander looked up with eyes of a curious nature, chirring at what James and Kirie had been saying.
"Can he...understand me?"
To an extent yes.
"...is he asking why I keep talking about reptiles?"
"...how about you tell him that I'll explain later when we get him home okay?"
Kirie relayed this back to the charmander, who nodded simply and stayed close to James' shoulder. Soon they entered the Viridian Forest.
The woods were incredibly thick, and the sounds of insects buzzing all around them were almost deafening to their ears as they walked on. The undergrowth, while thick and lush with green, was not difficult to walk through, the raptor keeping the charmander close to his human-illusioned chest. He was surprised the illusion was good enough to fool even a fellow reptile, who was currently too busy looking around nervously at the multitude of bugs.
Caterpillars of brown and green were the main encounter, most of whom were rather too concerned with their own feeding schedules to bother them. Occasionally one of them got ballsy enough to either shoot a silken thread, or even a poisonous jab to slow them down. Thankfully James kept himself out of harm's way, along with the charmander he kept ahold of while dodging or leaping over any particularly bug-infested areas. Kirie kept them away with a good scare of her supernatural aura.
Sometimes there were even strange green and yellow cocoons, who did absolutely nothing at all and simply stared creepily at James. He kept on walking through the thickening grass, between trees and bushes where sometimes he saw another body coming through the grass. Bug catchers seemed to spend a lot of time here, children mainly gathering up a fine collection of bugs. Some of them were curious for a battle, but James waved them off saying he wasn't a trainer yet.
"Man the bugs are weird here," murmured James. "Did you see those cocoons, they had fuckin' EYES."
Be glad that without the right trainer, they do not become their true forms.
"Oh god, what happens then?"
They either become a Butterfree or a Beedrill.
"...I don't like the sound of that last one, thank god I don't have allergies."
Perhaps we may catch one when you become a trainer hmm?
"Heh, maybe...lot of kids here, they were trainers too?"
Yes, a pokemon trainer can begin at the age of ten.
"Ten?! ...hah, wow, so you get out in the world backed up by some kickass monster hanging around with ya."
"I bet there's no child kidnappings in this world ever."
I should certainly hope not.
"Hey mister, stranger danger, then POW! Punched in the face by a huge-ass fist from one of those things uh...back in Pewter City?"
You mean Machokes.
"Yeah...those. Alright I think we're almost there."
The light soon began to grow stronger from the other end of the forest, and they found their way out of the forest. The charmander kept close, and still decided to stay close in James' arms, who gladly obliged as he found himself in yet another small city, called Viridian City. Kirie had him pass through quickly, finding little interest in the place despite the beautiful greenery that had been planted all around, with a rocky area to the west leading up towards a plateau. With one final winding small route besotted with grass and trees, they reached their destination.
Pallet Town was barely even a town to James' eyes, but more fitting to that of a village. Several red-roofed houses, no stores or gym buildings even. It was however a coastal town, snugly set against the coast of Kanto isle facing towards the southern seas. The refreshing warm breeze of the ocean was incredibly soothing, as James could see in the distance a mountainous-looking island far off to the horizon. Kirie lead him towards one particularly unique building, rather boxy and grey with various paraphernalia fitted around the outside.
The inside was perfectly a laboratory, with bookshelves of white and pale blue walls, along with a well-placed wooden floor with the occasional green carpet. The bookshelves framed the lab in halves like pillars, separating the entrance area where James stood and the lab itself beyond them. A doorway lead further in at the very back, but James was cautious and announced his arrival first.
"Uhhh hello?! Anyone here?"
From a desk out of view from the lab came a man wearing a labcoat, with grey hair and black eyes. He smiled with curiosity at the newcomer and strided up towards James, who guessed the researcher to be somewhere in his 50s.
"How may I help you?"
"Uhhh, are you Professor Oak?"
"Indeed I am lad! ...wait..."
He looked at the charmander in James' hands, who turned and smiled happily at the older professor with a squeaking of joy.
"Ahem, excuse me but where did you get that charmander?"
"Well, that's one of two things I wanna tell you. I found this li'l guy up at uh, Pewter City? His trainer was kicking the hell out of him for losing a battle. But I stopped him and told him that if he didn't want me to report him, he'd give him to me. So I took the li'l guy to a Center and healed him up and they suggested I return him to you."
"...I see. May I?"
Handing the charmander over, who gladly grabbed onto Professor Oak's labcoat with a nuzzling of joy, James watched the scientist walk slowly away from him while examining the fire lizard. He shook his head with a clear disappointment, while trying to smile at the creature who babbled up at him.
"I knew he was a punk."
"The trainer who chose this one. Clearly a boy who just wants to be the very best, not even caring about how he treats his pokemon. ...oh, thank you by the way mister...?"
"Yes, well I thank you very much for returning my pokemon to me...hhhh...I'm sorry charmander."
The charmander seemed to forgive his original owner, and hugged him still. He also peeked over the professor's shoulder and waved at James with equal gratitude.
"He's very grateful to you too for rescuing him."
"Yeah I can tell."
"May I say that is quite an interesting Haunter you have there James."
"Oh yeah? Thanks, her name's Kirie, she's my only friend here really."
"Indeed, she seems quite strong too, and well-cared for...now um, was there something else?"
"Yeah actually, I wanna become a pokemon trainer."
"...you mean you aren't one already?!"
"Uh no. See my grandma was a trainer and before she died, she gave me her uh, Kirie, and said that I had to get out there in the world and learn what it means to be a pokemon trainer. So I came to you, like she told me to."
"Well I uh...I see. Normally I get trainers much younger than you, how old are you if I may ask?"
Upon saying this, James only then truly understood how old he was. In a world that apparently had many young trainers starting out onto brand new adventures, this feeling only further impacted upon him, as a strange tiredness started to linger within his body. Professor Oak however smiled with a hand in his pocket.
"Well you're never too old to become a pokemon trainer so welcome! You already have your starter, a ghost-type which is most unusual but I won't complain. Now, do you have a pokedex?"
"Sure do, actually I need you to help me activate it."
"Very well, come into my lab and we'll see what I can do."
Heading further into the building, James now saw more desks with various electronics, ranging from the odd red-and-white balls in various parts, to a machine on his left that resembled some sort of teleporter. Taking out the pokedex that had been left inactive in his satchel, he handed it over to Professor Oak who began to fiddle with its controls. The charmander, now placed upon his desk, waddled over with intrigue and watched, looking between both James and Oak as the professor made light conversation.
"So where are you from James?"
"Uhh Lavender Town sir."
"Ahh that makes sense, where else would one find a haunter?"
"You came all the way here just with her?"
"Well I must say that's good to see, a lad like you with such tenacity will make a fine trainer I hope."
"I aim to be that sir, I swore to my grandma I would."
"That's good. Which way did you come from, Mt. Moon or?"
"Uh yeah, I went through Mt. Moon. Frickin' bats man are everywhere."
"Hahaha yes they are quite a nuisance aren't they?"
Occasionally petting the charmander, he stopped briefly in fixing James' pokedex to get food for the little lizard, a large apple which the charmander munched on happily so. As the professor began to cautiously dismantle and reassemble the PDA-sized device, he was rather surprised at the condition it was in commenting:
"No wonder this thing doesn't work, it's been badly damaged!"
"Why yes! Looks like this thing was almost taken apart I-...OH, there we are. Easier to fix than I thought despite the condition it was in, this was a badly handled pokedex, who used this before you?!"
"Um...my grandma used it, I dunno what she coulda done to it, she just gave me it."
"Looks to me like this suffered a lot of abuse."
"Ehhh...my grandma's hands got pretty shaky towards the end, she was always dropping things a lot, that might have been it."
James looked towards Kirie suspiciously, as Oak professionally nodded.
"I see, well it's all fixed now. Try it out on your pokemon and let's see."
Taking the pokedex back, he aimed it towards Kirie before it read out a rather factual analysis of her species.
"Haunter, a gas pokemon, number ninety-three. Possesses the ability "Levitate". Because of its ability to slip through block walls, it is said to be from another dimension."
"...woah, it's got everything in here, even has your WEIGHT?!"
Kirie gasped and looked away with a humph of insult, which James smirked at.
"Uh, you weigh like zero-point-two pounds, that isn't even a THING, you're a ghost!"
"Now now," said Oak, "you should never tell a lady her weight James."
He chuckled with a wagging finger, to which Kirie nodded in agreement while humphing once more at the raptor. James decided to test the pokedex once more on the charmander, revealing thus:
"Charmander, a lizard pokemon, number four. Possesses the ability "Blaze". The flame on its tail shows the strength of its life force. If it is weak, the flame also burns weakly."
"Wow this is pretty neat! Is that everything?"
"Not quite," said Oak, "you also need your Pokemon Trainer license. Come with me."
Following further into a sideroom, James was given a small yet rigorous little examination of his bare essentials. Name, blood type, birthdate, birthplace, eye and hair colour which he had to really struggle with for a second. Once he had been verified, complete with a photograph to be laminated, he was soon presented with a shiny new license. He only just realised that he had left his home without his driver's license. The thought made him smirk as he said:
"Wow thanks professor! I expected a lot more red tape honestly."
"Normally we would take a census within a group and set up a standardised exam," said Oak, "but some things change and licensing has gotten a little easier, damn reshuffling or what have you. Besides, a boy like you coming all the way here just to return my charmander safely? I'd say that's a good sign to show how much you care about pokemon. That, and your haunter seems to be very content with you."
"Heh well, to be honest I did just come for the license, charmander here was just on the way and I WAS going this way."
"Nevertheless, I hope you do well in your travels. Do you know how to catch pokemon at all?"
"Uhh sure I do."
Kirie rolled her eyes and murmured into his mind:
I will teach you later do not worry.
"Don't worry about me professor, I'll be alright."
"Yes I-...OH goodness speaking of capture, did you get the charmander's pokeball?"
"UH...oh damn did I?"
The haunter produced the pokeball she had picked up in Pewter City from her hand.
"Hah, so I did! Here ya go."
Handing it over to the professor, James began to wave goodbye and walk away. As he was about to head out the door however, a voice squeaked from behind him.
Looking back, he saw the charmander had waddled up to him and smiled sweetly, hugging his leg warmly.
He picked up the lizard happily and nuzzled him once more.
"Don't worry about it, you just get back to Oak now."
The professor gently walked towards James. James was rather confused, supporting the charmander with one arm as the professor asked:
"Do you...trust this man, charmander?"
"Char char!" said the creature resolutely.
"...would you like to go with him instead?"
"Clearly he has quite a fondness for you, and you DID rescue him as well as keep him safe until coming here. Aaaand normally I DO give a starter pokemon to those who come here...I only ask one thing."
Professor Oak tentatively gave back the pokeball to James.
"Don't make me regret this."
Seeing the severity of the trust he was given, he softly hugged the charmander closer and nodded firmly.
"I swear on my life to keep him safe."
"Thank you. Alright then, I guess it is time once again that we say goodbye charmander. Now the two of you take care for me alright? You can speak to me anytime from the computers in the Pokemon Centers, if you need anything."
"Really? Wow cool, okay then! Uh...thanks professor."
With one last nod, James left having gained not just a license, but a new friend in turn. He looked up towards Kirie with a smile, already finding this world to be a rather pleasant land, or at the very least more easygoing than he anticipated it to be. The only thing he had to worry about now, was on when he would have to reveal his true form to his new young friend.