Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
What do you say to Whatshisname?
– Ask about the health of his Pokémon.
You’re honestly not sure how trainer etiquette is supposed to go in these situations, but it seems to you like the polite thing here is to ask the other guy about how his Pokémon is doing.
“Uh…” He blinks, fumbling for a second. “Squirtle’s doing great. Uh, aren’t you, buddy?” He glances down at Squirtle, who is poking around some brush with Scallion. Squirtle looks back up at him and replies with an affirmative-sounding squeaky grunt. “You know a bunch of nerd stuff, right? Think you’d be able to tell if a Pokémon was sick or hurt?” You do, of course, know a spectacular amount of dumb nerd $#!t, but most of it isn’t directly related to Pokémon health. You can certainly observe a Pokémon’s behaviour and take note of even fairly subtle changes, and it does occur to you that Squirtle seems to have a little more spring in its step, so you tell Prussian(?) as much. They’ve only been together a day and a half, but some Pokémon seem to become more lively just from being in the company of humans; it’s a phenomenon that Professor Oak has always been fascinated by.
“Yeah, that sounds like gramps, all right,” Prussian replies to your musing. “Sometimes I can’t tell whether he’s talking science or new-age mumbo-jumbo.” You force yourself not to roll your eyes. “But anyway… yeah, I mean, we battled a couple of wild Pokémon. Squirtle’s Bubble attack kicks ass, and wild Pokémon have a really hard time dealing with Withdraw if you time it right. We’re gonna be Champion material in no time; just you wait.”
Indigo’s eyes linger on his first Pokémon for a while, and he purses his lips like he wants to say something but isn’t sure what. “I didn’t realise it’d be like this, y’know?” You look at him quizzically. Scallion triumphantly fishes a big, tart-looking blue berry out of the depths of a spiny bush with his vines, splitting it with Squirtle. The two Pokémon get two or three bites each, which they savour with obvious pleasure. Indigo finally elaborates. “Me and Squirtle, we click. I mean, I knew I was gonna be a great trainer, because… duh. But I guess I thought it’d be more about taking charge, coming up with unbeatable strategies. Maybe that stuff just comes later. But I didn’t think it’d be this…” he pauses, fishing for a word. “I dunno. Chill.”
You nod, but say nothing. He falls silent, and the two of you watch your Pokémon playing for a minute longer. You suspect that he and Squirtle have both been quite deeply affected by your little stunt yesterday, asking Professor Oak to let the Pokémon choose their trainers. What this ultimately means for them, or indeed for you, you can’t yet say.
You break the silence by asking Denim whether he’s caught a second Pokémon yet. He grins.
“Sure have – wanna see?” His Pokéball is already in his hand. Only one way for one self-respecting trainer to show off a new Pokémon to another. You return the grin and unclip Nancy’s Pokéball from your belt. Scallion and Squirtle sense that playtime is over and promptly spring to their respective trainers’ sides. By unspoken agreement, you throw your Pokéballs at the same time. Denim’s bursts open in a blaze of light, revealing a plump-breasted, healthy-looking Pidgey that immediately takes to the air. Nancy appears in turn, doing a cheerful little twirl and letting off a burst of blue sparks from her cheeks. You notice Denim wince a little at that. You don’t know if he’s ever seen a Minun before, but he can tell she’s an Electric-type. Looks like you’ve got the advantage over him again, by sheer dumb luck – although you don’t think Nancy knows a strong Electric attack yet, and Pidgey will be able to dodge her close-range strikes by staying in the air.