Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
How will you frame the situation in your report to Professor Oak?
– Suggest encouraging the Bidoof population and increasing their influence on the area, while searching for ways to mitigate any harm they cause to native species.
The situation here is complicated, and you worry that removing the Bidoof by force could be just as disruptive as doing nothing at all – not just to the Bidoof themselves, but to everything else living in the area. It would take half a dozen trainers to round up just the ones here (you assume there are other dams), and breaking the dam could easily be destructive. Besides, the Bidoof aren’t just crowding out or oppressing native species; they’re also creating something new. Many of the local species actually stand to benefit from their transformation of the landscape, and the end result could be a more diverse ecosystem than Route 22 started with – if the competing needs of the different species are managed correctly. It’ll be like threading a needle, no mistake, but your instinctive compassion makes you unwilling to dismiss the possibility that all the Pokémon of the area can live in something resembling harmony. You resolve to write the conclusion of your report in a way that emphasises the potential benefits of the Bidoof presence, but without downplaying the risks to species like Goldeen that could be harmed by their effects on the landscape.
I hope you know what you’re doing, kid.
What do you do next?
– Keep going towards the mountains to find the source of the strange noises you heard yesterday.
You resume your westward course towards the Tohjo Mountains. You still hear the same distant wailing noises coming from the mountains – not constant, not regular, and not (as far as you can tell) coming any closer. It’s just something (you assume a Pokémon) making a very loud noise once or twice an hour for no apparent reason. Heading further west will bring you into the territory of stronger wild Pokémon, which will probably be in an agitated state already due to these piercing noises, but even with your mediocre wilderness skills you get lucky and avoid any conflict. Late in the afternoon, you start to feel like you’ve pinpointed the source of the sound – a cave mouth, low on a mountainside another valley or two over.
As you get close, you bring Scallion and Nancy out of their Pokéballs and make sure they’re ready for a fight, then creep towards the mouth of the cave. You decide to hide behind a nearby rock for a while and observe. Your Pokémon seem agitated, and after a minute you realise that you can hear a gentle rumbling noise, like a crowd of people all trying to have private conversations at the same time. Once you notice it, you realise it’s always been there, maybe even since before you got anywhere near the cave mouth. You’re not sure how a sound that seems so quiet – barely noticeable – can carry so far. While you puzzle over that, you hear a screech from above as a small group of hunting Spearow spot some prey, somewhere off to your left and back down the hill. You barely have time to register the sound before it is completely drowned out by a shockwave of ear-splitting screaming from the cave mouth. The Spearow nearly fall out of the sky and scatter in all directions. Nancy clamps her hands over her ears and winces, while Scallion just grimaces. And then it’s just as suddenly over, and the low murmuring returns. Still no sign of whatever Pokémon is making the noise. Well, at least you confirmed you’ve found the right place.
You resolve to enter the cave and find out what this is. You and your Pokémon creep towards the entrance and squint into the dark. You aren’t sure what you were expecting – a Pokémon would have to be huge to make such a loud noise that could travel so far. When you get into the cave mouth and your eyes adjust to the dark, though, you see a huddled group of perhaps two dozen squat, round-bodied, pinkish Pokémon, no higher than your knee. At first you think they’re Jigglypuff, but their ears are much too big and floppy-looking. You glance questioningly at Scallion and Nancy. Both seem to relax when they see how small and… well, frankly squishy-looking these Pokémon are. They must be responsible for those screams, but they seem so harmless. You shrug and step out into the open, palms up in what you hope will be seen as a non-threatening gesture.
You are physically bowled over by a wall of sound that leaves your ears ringing and your head spinning.
When you pick yourself up and shake off the effects of the blast, Scallion and Nancy are slumped on the cave floor in a daze, but the other Pokémon are not attacking – they’re huddling even closer together, flinching away from you with their floppy ears clenched tightly to the sides of their heads. You do your best to make some calming noises and gestures as you reach for your Pokédex. It identifies these Pokémon as Whismur – a Hoennese species known for the deafening cries they make when they feel threatened. Slowly, you slip your Pokédex back into your pocket and sit down on the cave floor, still in full view of the Whismur. If you want to walk out of here with your eardrums intact, you need them to realise you aren’t going to hurt them.
The Whismur continue to watch you warily, but don’t shriek at you again. You glance at your Pokémon to confirm that they are also recovering, then take some time to think. These Whismur are in an unfamiliar and hostile environment, and probably short of food. Practically every unexpected sound or movement is a possible threat – like the screech of those Spearow outside – and they’re reacting exactly the way stressed and frightened Pokémon do. That explains the sounds you’ve been hearing since yesterday. This situation clearly isn’t good for either the Whismur or for any other Pokémon in the area, but it’s not like you can just catch them all – even if they’d let you, you don’t have nearly enough Pokéballs. You come up with several possible courses of action, each more terrible than the last.