[Catch up on the story so far here!]
Last time, on A Pokémon Trainer Is You:
What do you dream about?
- Your Pokémon
As the mountain cave fades away and the Clefairy’s strange song fills your head with fog, you come to realise, all of a sudden, that you’re back home, in Pallet Town. You’re at school, on your lunch break – and so is Blue, who is mid-sentence saying something about why studying Pokémon scientifically is dumb.
You were never close with Blue, back in Pallet Town. Obviously you knew him – you were at school together and he’s related to the Professor, so it would have been hard not to – you just didn’t feel like he had the qualities you wanted in a friendship. And, I mean, fair play to you; he’s a piece of $#!t. But you remember this day. Your Pokémon Studies teacher had asked the class why people become trainers, and you and Blue had gotten into a fairly spirited argument about how much trainers should value strength and power, which spilled over into lunchtime. You think it was about six months before you both left home.
Only… your Pokémon are all with you. That doesn’t seem right; you didn’t have Pokémon until you left Pallet Town – then again, maybe you did? Even Kite the Magikarp is there, but she’s just kinda… floating through the air in circles as if she’s swimming. Maybe that’s because this is a dream – or can Magikarp just do that, when they’re out of the water? You think it’s the second thing; you’re sure you remember reading something about that.
“But how do you explain that when wild Pokémon fight each other all the time, huh?” Blue is saying. “They want to get stronger, same as trainers do! It’s just in their nature!”
“He’s got a point, you know,” says Jane Doe in a silky, self-assured feminine voice. “I have lots of reasons for wanting to get stronger; you get into all kinds of interesting battles and I’m just happy to be along for the ride.” You’re pretty sure she could always talk. She told you about wanting to get revenge on Team Rocket, right? There’s no way you’d know about that if she couldn’t talk.
“Isn’t getting stronger just a means to an end, though?” asks Scallion, his deep, nasal voice pensive. “We get stronger to develop our powers – to get closer to what makes us unique as species.”
“And what about if what we’re best at is making others stronger?” Nancy the Negator wonders. “There’s gotta be more to it, there’s gotta be!”
“Karp, karp, karp,” Kite glubs argumentatively. She can’t talk. You’re pretty sure this makes sense.
“I already got what I wanted,” Aura says dreamily, her voice whistling through her wings like wind. “I have wings, I have magic, I don’t have to eat leaves all day and hide from Spearow… more power than this, I could take it or leave it.”
You remember how this conversation went; you’re supposed to say something about science and advancing the collective knowledge of humanity. But you weren’t sure of yourself even then, because of course part of you agrees with Blue; you want to win badges and fight in the Pokémon League and become a Champion. You don’t want that because you think it’ll make you a better scientist, or even really for the glory, you just… want it.
“Of course you do,” Blue says, even though you haven’t said anything out loud. “We all do. Sooner or later you’re gonna have to embrace that and accept that strength just matters because it does.” He leans in close to your face, then playfully taps you on the nose with two fingers. “Smell ya later!”
Sounds to me like you’ve got some thinking to do about why you want the things you want, kid. Do it on your own time, though. There’ll be no namby-pamby “character development” on my watch.
You wake up, your hair askew and your mouth dry. The chamber where you fell asleep is empty now – the Clefairy are gone, and seem to have taken all their stolen supplies and junk with them. They’ve left one of their floating light balls, though – in fact, it looks like they’ve left a trail of them, possibly leading back to the cave entrance. That’s… suspiciously considerate of them. You catch sight of Jane Doe, still curled up on the floor next to you, and suddenly think of your other Pokémon. Your hands flash to your belt – all your Pokéballs are still there. Checking your backpack… some of your food is gone, but not all of it, and your notebooks are untouched. Your sleeping bag is missing too; you should ask Ellie if her group has a spare when you get back to camp. That’s a pain, but you’ll survive. But…
…oh. Ohhhhhh dear.
The little $#!ts have taken your Pokédex! Those things are expensive! And they’ve probably just stripped it down for parts, too, if what you saw of their inventory was anything to go by. What the hell do they want that stuff for, anyway? Obviously you’re fascinated by their behaviour and you’re already compiling a report in your head, but it’s hard not to get pissed off about this. You wake up Jane and follow the trail of lights, which leads you quickly and easily back out of the cave, although you almost lose the path a couple of times purely because you’re grumbling to yourself about your Pokédex. It’s not even like the Professor will be mad at you; heck, you’re certain he’ll be fascinated. It’s more wounded pride than anything else. Speaking of wounded pride, Jane doesn’t seem too happy either. You reassure her that it wasn’t her fault, and she was right to chase that lead on the stolen gear from the camp, which seems to cheer her up a bit. Still, you already know Jane’s the vengeful type, and you have to imagine she’ll be eager for a rematch if you run into those Clefairy again before you leave the mountain.
When you climb back out of the cave, the sun is already quite high in the sky; you must have been out for a good couple of hours. To be fair, you kinda needed the extra sleep; the floor of Miguel’s cave wasn’t exactly comfortable. Anyway, in a roundabout sort of way, you have solved the palaeontology team’s problem. Kinda. I mean, you haven’t stopped the thefts or gotten their stuff back or anything, but at least you have a good idea what’s happening. You also have pretty good reason to think the thieves aren’t trying to hurt anyone, and you can’t imagine there’s anything else on this mountain that’s likely to be an immediate threat. It’s probably time to go back and check in.