To understand shiny pokémon, you first have to understand the mechanics behind their birth. Breeders have determined that a pokémon has a one in one thousand six hundred and thirty eight chance to be born a shiny pokémon. It’s not a solid estimate, as there are several other factors in effect, and going over all of them would amount to at least a three-volume set.
Given the sheer number of pokémon in any given area at any given time, this may not seem like that much of an issue, but pokémon live in communities much like humans do, with pokémon acting under their own rules. They live in a harsh world, where pokémon kill each other just to survive. There are pokémon who prey on others just because they’re stronger; others who do so because they don’t know any other way, and still others who hate everything around them and want it all to go away. Being different makes you a target.
“Sasha! Where are you?” The voice echoed across the valley where the small community of pokémon lived. The speaker was an irate-looking Glaceon, who scanned the area for the missing Eevee. “Honestly…” she grumbled to herself, before turning and trotting back towards where she kept her den. She knew her daughter wouldn’t wander far; the forest was safe enough, for humans rarely lingered on their way to the next town, but they seemed to have a strange fascination with Sasha’s unique coloration.
Glaceon wasn’t Sasha’s real mother, and every pokémon in the small community knew it. Yet she was the only one who had taken in the small Eevee who had staggered into the area with an Espeon a little over two years ago.
Not far from where the Glaceon vanished, a few leaves drifted down from a disturbance in the branches. A white-furred head poked its head out of a leafy bough and pricked its ears. Shaking her head to dislodge a few leaf buds, she slowly began to climb down the tree.
For my species, usually classified as “Eevee”, I wasn’t anything spectacular in terms of stat allotment, nature or characteristic. Like every pokémon, I have my own abilities: Adaptability, which boosted moves that matched my typing, and Run Away, which came in very handy escaping trainers that try to battle and catch me. Over my thirteen years of existence, I have been caught only twice, but both of the trainers seemed to understand that I wouldn’t, or couldn’t, be controlled and had released me. The red-eyed one with the red and white jacket had caught me to keep me from dying on the mountaintop where he apparently lived; after nursing me back to health, he had released me at the base of the mountain near the Johto border. The gold-eyed trainer with the black and gold hat had caught me to protect me from a gang of pokémon thieves that had been terrorizing his region, and after he had dealt with them, he had released me.
While neither trainer had been able to understand me, both had been able to sense my discomfort around humans and had given me the space I needed and hadn’t bothered me again. Meanwhile, every Breeder who saw me seemed determined to use and abuse me. I still have nightmares about the one Breeder who had planned to have me mate with every one of his own Eeveelutions until he had a shiny version of each.
I shook my head to clear the memories, and as I did, my paw slipped and I plummeted from the tree with a shriek. Before I hit the ground, I was enveloped by a light blue aura. Panting, I blinked and looked around before I saw the familiar lavender face of Espeon, who was shaking his head.
“Little one, you are not a bird-type, so why are you nesting in the trees?” he asked, his voice a curious blend of accents that I found appealing. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say I had a crush on him, even if he was nearly five times my age. Pokémon aged gracefully; looking at one, you’d never be able to tell how old they were unless they told you. They were not immortal by any means, although some pokémon were spectacularly long-lived.
I had met him after a truly dark chapter in my life, where he and a strange green-haired trainer who could talk to pokémon had saved my life. The trainer had known of a small pokémon community nearby that he knew could shelter us and had guided us there, and Espeon and I had staggered in nearly dead on our paws.
I felt my cheeks redden and I averted my gaze, but he spun me telekinetically to make me look at him. I glared at him and he simply arched an eyebrow. “Well, little bird?” he asked, humor coloring his tone. I muttered something under my breath. His expression softened and his voice dropped slightly. “Are you worried the stones will reject you?” Espeon asked. I flinched and cursed myself for it.
Espeon let me down and I smoothed my ruffled fur. Taking a breath, I nodded curtly. “Yes, I am worried about the stones. From what I hear, there’s never been an Eevee like me at an Awakening.”
An Awakening was an ancient tradition among various pokémon, usually found within colonies made of up pokémon that evolved when exposed to energies from special stones. It was considered the highest point of a young pokémon’s life and afterword they generally found a mate and lived out the rest of their days within the colony.
“You do realize that not every Eevee is destined to evolve, correct? Look at me; I evolved during the day, no special rock required.” Espeon said with a slightly amused grin. I peered at him curiously. “How did that work, exactly?” Espeon smiled and made his way over to a patch of sun-lit grass. I followed him and blinked as he laid down and gestured for me to do the same. Hesitantly, I nestled next to him, trying not to dwell on the fact our coats were touching.
“It’s not really an interesting story,” Espeon said, shaking his head. “I simply lay down in a warm sunny spot to take a nap and when I woke up, I was an Espeon. No one was around to see it happen, they were all rather surprised to see me though, and a few thought I was a Ditto or a Mew,” he said, shaking his head. “My own theory as to why I evolved was that I was happy with what I had in life at that moment. I had a mate, I had a safe place to live…what else did I need?” He turned to look down at me. “This world is a cruel place,” he said simply, before gently nuzzling my forehead. “Are you feeling alright? You seem rather flushed.” I could hear the teasing tone in his voice.
Oh sweet Arceus; he knows…
I nodded and smiled awkwardly at him. “I’m fine…” I said softly. “What happened to your mate?”
I slapped my paws over my mouth in horror and Espeon looked surprised. “Oh, I still haven’t told you, even after all these years?”” Espeon mused. Beside him, I was doing my best Squirtle impression by trying to suck myself into my neck fluff and failing miserably.
“Not for many years; I laid my Leafeon to rest years ago; a few months before your birth, I think,” Espeon said softly. “No one understood my grief…”
Relationships between pokémon were rarely long-lived. Usually a couple stayed together to raise a few offspring, but more often than not, they separate after a few years and find new partners. Some pokémon trainers, usually breeders and a few scientists who are interested in the field of pokémon behaviour theorized this was why there were so many pokémon all over the world. Contrary to popular belief, even Legendary pokémon raised families of their own. There were stories of some Legendary pokémon taking regular pokémon as mates; even if they would never produce offspring. Love knew no limits, it couldn’t be contained, and if a Rayquaza wants to be your mate, saying no isn’t really an option.
“’Let her go’, they said…’find another’” Espeon snorted softly. “No, I couldn’t do that to her memory.” He looked at me with a strange expression. “And then you were born,” he murmured.
I tilted my head and looked up at him. “An outcast among your own kind, much like how I was; much like how she was,” he chuckled and ruffled my head with a paw. “But no matter what happens, you are still your own pokémon, nothing is going to change that.”
“The looks and whispers still hurt though,” I said with a tired sigh, resting my head on my paws as I leaned into Espeon’s warm coat. I felt a rumble course through him and I wondered if he was trying not to laugh.
“They’re jealous, little one,” he said. I frowned as I watched a group of Pidgey squabble with a few Fletchlings over food. Espeon seemed to understand my confusion and he went on. “Yes, they’re jealous that they don’t stand out. Look at any group of pokémon, most of the time they all share the same coloration; maybe one is slightly taller than another, maybe one has longer claws, but in the end, they still don’t stand out in a group,” Espeon said as his tail curled around me. I batted at the twin prongs and I heard him purr in amusement.
“As much as I’d love to continue this conversation, you have an Awakening to attend,” he said as he got to his paws. Sighing, I got to mine and stretched. I gazed up at the sky as it slowly turned a deep shade of orange as the sun started to go down.
I followed Espeon as we wound our way deeper into the forest. All around me, I could hear the sounds of other pokémon making their way to their homes for the evening. They didn’t care about an Awakening, it was mainly reserved for pokémon who evolved via stones. That, and most pokémon weren’t very bright.
Pokémon aren’t born able to battle, or even talk; that comes later, usually from their parents. Yet there were trainers who found an egg, cared for it until it hatched, then immediately start battling with it. This led to a very intense case where eventually there was a law passed that no pokémon under the age of two years could battle. Younger pokémon were usually given to schools so that the kids there could grow and learn alongside the pokémon.
Among pokémon, intelligence varied. Many water and bug types weren’t as aware of their surroundings as other pokémon. Popular examples were Magikarp and the Caterpie and Weedle families, although their evolutions were greatly desired by some. It was a strange concept to think about. Some Pokémon Researchers had put forth the theory that pokémon caught by humans were smarter than their wild counterparts, which was somewhat true.
All I knew was that while I wasn’t the smartest Eevee, I was unique in my own way. Pushing the thoughts away, I turned my attention forward as we entered the colony.
For years, researchers have been mystified over the concept of pokémon colonies. A group of pokémon living together in a single area without much conflict seemed to sit wrong with many people, who seemed to view pokémon as wild beasts with no other needs other than eating, sleeping and breeding. We laughed at them.
Pokémon could live peacefully with each other; an Arcanine would protect a Gogoat instead of ripping it to pieces. A Gyarados would offer rides across bodies of water if there wasn’t a Lapras in the area. We are not savages, even if there are pokémon among us who seem to exist solely for the purpose of making other pokémon’s lives miserable.
Espeon weaved through the makeshift paths as we made our way to an old hollow tree. I felt a pair of eyes on me and I paused to look back.
An Absol was sitting by the entrance to a shelter, looking at me. What really made me pause, however, was the fact that they looked nothing like I had ever seen before. The sclera was a solid black, whereas the eye itself was a simple white orb. I was somewhat reminded of Espeon, whose eyes didn’t have pupils. I saw it narrow them thoughtfully before it turned and disappeared into the grass. With a shiver, I hurried after Espeon, who was waiting by the entrance to the old tree.
He was staring after the Absol thoughtfully, but turned his eyes to me as I approached. “Well, it’s time to see what you’ll become; best of luck to you, little one.” He nuzzled my forehead lightly before brushing past me and going after the Absol. I put them out of my mind and turned my attention to the old tree.
It was by far the largest and oldest living thing in the forest, towering over everything around it. No pokémon made their homes in its branches; no pokémon ever went near it unless it was absolutely necessary. The tree just felt creepy. As if it was alive, silently guarding all of us.
I felt a ripple of unease wash over me and I entered the tree.
It was pitch black inside the tree, the only light coming from a series of stones set into the walls at regular intervals in the large room. They glowed with their own inner light. These were evolutionary stones, strange stones that emitted a curious strain of radiation that induced evolution in a pokémon. While the number of pokémon that could evolve via them was few, they were surprisingly common, found in caves and deserts.
It was said they came from space, although there still wasn’t a real explanation why they induced change in specific types of pokémon.
All I knew was that these stones would decide what I would be. I stopped in the center of the room and slowly looked over the stones. It was said that the stone that chose you would glow brighter than the rest, but I couldn’t see a difference in glow among them.
Do you understand what you’re here for?
The voice thundered in my mind, making me jump, yet I couldn’t make a sound. I felt a strange pressure around my throat and all I could do was mewl softly.
Espeon was right about you; you are special. You do not need these rocks to tell you what your future will be.
I looked around the room with my eyes; my entire body seemed to have frozen and wouldn’t obey my thoughts, which were screaming for me to move, to get away from this place as fast as I could.
What is it that you are looking for? Answers? Those will come in time. Right now, there is something you need to know.
The air around me seemed to get heavier and I staggered as I felt a weight fall on me, yet I couldn’t feel anything solid on me.
You woke something up; an ancient evil, something even I have not seen in billions of years, and that’s something, coming from me.
Who was this pokémon? What was this evil? How could I have awoken it? I blinked in confusion as I felt the weight disappear from me and I gasped as my paws gave out. I collapsed, my vision flickering.
It is not much, but I do have a gift for you; make what use of it you can.
I felt my body warm, then cool, and then warm again. Seven times, I felt the strange temperature fluctuation and finally I simply laid there in the dark.
Something clicked in my mind.
The glow from the evolution stones was gone. Adrenaline shot me to my paws. Sure enough, the glow from the stones was gone. I looked around desperately for the exit. “Help!” I screamed.
The interior of the tree suddenly flared with light. I fell back with a startled yelp, shielding my eyes from the flare of light.
“Sasha?” asked a voice. I pricked my ears.
“Espeon?” I called warily. I felt someone beside me, helping me to my paws, guiding me as I stumbled forward. I lifted my head and looked around. What seemed like every pokémon in the colony was standing before me, eyes wide.
“Where are the stones?!” a voice behind me cried out. I turned my head to look over my shoulder to see a Flareon glaring at me. I shook my head. Before I could speak, Espeon spoke up.
“She doesn’t have them, I’ve already searched her, she’s not carrying them.” The Flareon looked confused. “But…how will we evolve our children?”
I heard Espeon sigh in exasperation. “Get new ones? They are a dime a dozen in any cave, and there’s plenty of caves in the surrounding mountains. Failing that, you could always ask Delibird or Pelipper to deliver some.”
The Flareon shrank back from Espeon’s words. “Ri-right…” he muttered.
Espeon sighed and shook his head. He draped his tail over my back and guided me through the crowd. “Come on, little bird, we need to talk.”
I followed him, my head and tail low, my thoughts whirling. Before I could pin down a thought and examine it, however, Espeon stopped. I looked up to see the same Absol from earlier standing before us, again, with its eyes looking at me thoughtfully.
“I’m surprised you’re still alive,” the Absol said, its voice definitely masculine. Espeon flicked his tail lightly and I stepped away from him.
“I can say the same for you,” Espeon replied, his voice neutral. “What is your business here?” The Absol nodded at me.
“Probably the same as yours with that one.” I glanced between the two male pokémon curiously. Espeon seemed agitated while Absol remained calm, looking at me with interest.
“Fine; whatever’s happening, I sense you’re going to be part of it whether we want you or not,” Espeon said with a sigh. He resumed walking and Absol took a place on his left, opposite mine. I had a feeling that, while he was no threat to me or Espeon, he would be deadly in a confrontation should one arise.
The three of us finally arrived at Espeon’s small isolated grove and we entered the small clearing. Espeon made his way over to one pile of grass and flopped down onto it, lying on his back as he ran a paw over his face with a heavy sigh.
Absol took a seat off to the side and simply waited. I wasn’t sure what to do and looked down at my paws.
“Well, Sasha? What happened in there?” Espeon finally said. I raised my head to look at him, but he wasn’t looking at me.
“I entered the tree, but none of the stones reacted to me,” I said slowly as I replayed the events in my mind.
I saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye and I glanced over to see a flicker of surprise dart over Absol’s face before it regained its neutral composure.
“So none of the stones reacted…?” Espeon said thoughtfully. “Not even the Moon and Sun shards?”
The Sun and Moon shards were an interesting anomaly. They didn’t induce evolution directly, but holding them would allow an Eevee to be able to evolve into an Espeon or Umbreon with the Sun and Moon shards respectively.
Many pokémon wondered why the Sun and Moon stones didn’t have the same effect.
“Thunder, Fire, Water, Moss, Ice…none of them,” I said softly.
It isn’t much, but I do have a gift for you; make what use of it you can.
I shivered, then sneezed, and a gout of fire erupted from my mouth, little more than a flame. I stared at the small patch of burning grass in surprise before another shiver rolled over me. This time, water shot from my mouth, extinguishing the fire. Another shiver; I spat out a bolt of lightning.
Shiver-a patch of ice.
Shiver-a beam of weak sunlight.
I stared at Espeon and Absol in confusion, and the expressions on their faces mirrored my own.
“No, the stones didn’t react to you, but…” Espeon’s tone was thoughtful.
“She absorbed the power of the stones,” Absol murmured. “Dangerous for a single pokémon to have that kind of power,” His tone grew dark. “Ember, bubble, thunder shock, icy wind, solar beam…” he shook his head. “With time and practice, they’ll grow in power, but will she be able to control them?”
No, she will not.
I flinched as the voice sounded in my head, and judging by the way Espeon and Absol’s ears flicked, they also heard it.
Not as she is now. Eventually, the elements will kill her, but I’m sure she’ll find a way to adapt to them; it’s what Eevee are known for, after all.
“Thanks for making me feel better,” I growled. “Who are you?”
Who do you want me to be?
“I don’t suppose normal is out of the question?” I asked lightly.
“I can do normal,” the voice said, and suddenly there was an Eevee sitting beside me. Yet it looked nothing like any Eevee I had ever seen before.
This Eevee was white, like I was, but its neck fur, tail tip, and paws were a pure shining gold. Its eyes were red, with a green sclera and I heard Espeon draw in a sharp breath.
I stared at the strange Eevee who stared back. It then reached out with a paw and touched my nose.
With a snort, I arched my head back and the Eevee sighed, dropping its paw.
“Come on now, can’t you lighten up? I swear, every pokémon I give a gift to is all dark and mopey,” the Eevee said grumpily. I flicked my eyes at Espeon, who looked bemused by the arrival of the Creator of the world and Absol was as inscrutable as always.
“We’re just wondering why you gave this…gift…to Sasha if it could kill her,” Espeon said carefully, resting his paws before him, one draped over the other in a rather feminine gesture.
Arceus glanced at Absol, who met the look evenly, yet I could see the faintest of tremors running over the Absol’s body. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or scared by the proximity of Arceus.
I dismissed it as unimportant and turned my eyes to what was essentially our God given form. “You mentioned an ancient evil?” I saw Arceus narrow its eyes and it let out a soft hiss.
“Yes…something I made to balance out the good in the world…”
“You made it!?” Absol shot to its paws, eyes wide with disbelief. “You made something so evil that every time it so much as stirs, it cripples every Absol?” Three pairs of eyes turned to face the outburst, two with raised eyebrows.
“You are its harbingers, yes,” Arceus replied calmly. “Yet I see even that has failed; while people heed your disaster-sense, they never take it seriously. You aren’t very popular, correct?”
I had heard many stories about Absols. They were not very common, usually found in areas where disasters, both natural and man-made, originated. The only area off the top of my head I knew Absols to live was the Giant Chasm in Unova, where Kyurem used to dwell.
They could sense danger with their horns, and it drove them wild with a need to spread the word that a disaster was approaching. Unfortunately, most of the human race couldn’t understand them and simply ignored them until they were wiped out by the earthquake, or volcano, or whatever had triggered the response.
Yet an evil existed that was so potent that its mere stirring was enough to nearly kill them? I shook my head and asked in a small voice:
“What does this have to do with me, though?” Once again, all the attention in the room settled on me and I shrank into my fur.
“I am not really sure,” Arceus replied after a moment of quiet. “Your birth…accelerated its cycle. It wasn’t supposed to awaken for…trillions of years.”
“What is it?” Espeon asked. “This evil, that is.” Arceus shook its head.
“It has no given name; it’s hard to describe…it has no shape, no form, nothing we can see, but it’s there regardless of what we do. Our everyday actions shape it, some make it grow, others make it shrink. Still others fuel it while others weaken it.”
“Then why can’t you just tell everyone to do the things that weaken it?” Espeon asked.
Arceus smiled sadly. “I could do that, but there are those that wouldn’t listen, others that would do the opposite just because they could, and still others that want everything to end.”
“But what is my role in all this?” I asked. Arceus gazed at me with its old eyes and I again felt the same pressure from earlier surround me.
“Simply put…you’re a trigger. When all’s said and done, you will decide the fate of the world.”
I stared at Arceus in disbelief. “And why would I want the world to suffer?”
“Because your darkness would convince you that it was for the best,” Espeon said quietly. I blinked in confusion.
“Two years ago,” Espeon said simply and I felt my blood run cold. I had very nearly been killed by a pack of Houndoom, but first they had played with me in many unspeakable ways. Only after they had broken me, had they nearly burned me alive. IIt had been by the extreme lucky intervention by a green-haired trainer, his dragon pokemon and Espeon that I hadn’t died.
Even as the memories swirled in my mind, I felt a darkness there. It whispered to me, telling me insidious lies that I knew to be lies, yet they were still so very tempting-
With a start, I wrenched myself out of the darkness and found myself shivering again.
I felt a wetness on my cheeks and I lifted a paw to brush away the tears that had formed.
“What can I do?” I asked, my voice shaking.
“Leave,” Arceus said. Espeon frowned. “And where would she go?” Arceus looked down at its paws.
“There is a land…far from here - another dimension entirely, actually - where she could go. The…” here, Arceus paused for a moment before frowning. “I really should have named it, because calling it “The Evil” sounds really boring.”
“The Bittercold, perhaps?” Absol said innocently.
“Emotion given form without form; that could work,” Arceus said absently. “If Sasha leaves, I think the Bittercold would follow her. It knows it needs her. She’d be safer there.”
“And where is 'there', exactly?” Espeon asked. Arceus smiled slightly. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“A land of magical, colorful, talking ponies,” Arceus replied with a straight face. I stared at him in disbelief.
“You want to send her to Equestria?” Espeon asked, his voice mirroring my thoughts in terms of amazement.
Arceus seemed impressed. “You’ve heard of it?”
“Studied it back in the day, but I thought all portals to it had been closed,” Espeon replied.
“You forget who my children are,” Arceus pointed out.
“Dialga, Palkia and Giratina; time, space and antimatter…ah,” Absol said, perking up. “They could open a portal easily enough.”
I blinked, my head reeling. Why was it always this way? I never had a choice in my life; everything was decided for me. Again, I felt the darkness stir in my mind.
Wouldn’t it be easier if they weren’t here? With a single thought, you’d be in charge of your own life again, never have to answer to anyone again…
I felt something strike my face and I let out a yelp of pain, and then nearly choked as a torrent of bubbles exploded out of my mouth. I gasped in large lungful’s of air and looked to see Espeon sporting a ridiculous bubble beard. Without meaning to, I burst into giggles.
“You spaced out again, and, might I add, you were glowing black,” Absol said, a grin on his own muzzle. I stopped giggling.
“Glowing?” I asked.
“Covered in shadow,” Absol said as his eyes ran over my body. “Your eyes were a really creepy yellow as well.”
I rubbed my face with a paw nervously. “So, if I leave, the Bittercold will follow me? But wouldn’t that put the residents of…Equat…Equis…that other place in trouble as well?”
“Yes and no,” Arceus replied. “They’re no stranger to weird dangers, and they’ve had a remarkable record of dealing with dangers relating to emotions. It’s a very peaceful place. Back in the day, many troubled pokémon have gone there and came back feeling a lot better.” It shook its head. “That was long ago and I doubt any there even remember what a pokémon is.”
I turned the idea over in my mind thoughtfully, examining it carefully. It seemed like the best course of action, but…
“Would I be going alone?” I asked, looking at Espeon. He looked away and Arceus spoke.
“Yes, you would.”
I bit my lip and started thinking. If I left, I could draw away the Bittercold and save this world…but I would be taken away from Espeon. I wished I had other friends, but I felt that that would’ve made it even harder to decide. Again the darkness stirred within me, but it was easier to ignore, which I found rather surprising.
I took a breath and nodded. “Very well, I will leave for Equestria,” I said softly. I heard Espeon hiss softly and I turned to look at him with a smile. “Thank you…for everything…” I didn’t know what else to say and I hugged him.
“Excellent, you will leave at once,” Arceus said, and without warning, I was suddenly sucked into a dimensional hole. I tried to scream in terror, yet before I could do so, a giant blue and silver colored pokémon caught me on its broad back.
“Ah, so here’s the little one who father has tasked me with babysitting for the journey,” it said in an oddly cheerful voice that seemed downright wrong coming from what I assumed was Dialga. “Come on, then; might as well get comfortable, it’ll be a while before we arrive, so you might as well get some rest.”
Back in Espeon’s clearing, Espeon was enraged. “What did you do?!” he growled at Arceus. “You could have prepared her or something!”
Arceus looked at him calmly. “I could have, but she’s going to have a lot of shocks coming up, might as well give her a big one to help make her immune to them. Besides, who’s going to tell her mother?”
“One, two, three, not it!” Absol said quickly before beating a hasty retreat. Espeon watched him go with a mixture of amusement and exasperation.
The tone of Arceus’ voice caused Espeon to look at it curiously.
“You said you studied Equestria; may I ask how?”
Espeon smiled slightly. “You ever hear of Magnagates?” A flicker of surprise crossed over Arceus’ face. “I used them to view a lot of worlds…yet none of them were as beautiful as Equestria,” Espeon said softly. “I could have told her about it, but I never really had a chance to bring it up.”
Arceus nodded and got to its paws.
“Will she be able to return?” Espeon asked, making Arceus pause as it looked at the old pokémon.
“That decision rests with Sasha,” Arceus replied, its voice soft. “You really care for her, don’t you?”
Espeon didn’t say anything, but his silence was enough for Arceus to understand.
“She’ll be safer there. I give you my word.”
Espeon snorted. “Doesn’t matter where she goes; she’s different, and being different makes you a target,” he said. “But I know you wouldn’t send her to a place that you knew was dangerous; for that…thank you.”
Arceus nodded and vanished in a blaze of light.