One lunatic's love-hate relationship with the Pokémon franchise, and his addled musings on its rights, wrongs, ins and outs. Come one, come all, and indulge my delusions of grandeur as I inflict my opinions on anyone within shouting distance.
You could rush in, guns blazing. After all, there’s only two of them now, even if they were good enough to beat Blue; you reckon you could take ‘em. But why take the risk, right? You’re smarter than that. You might not be able to split the other two Rockets up like you did the first one, but you may as well seize the element of surprise – especially now that you now have a really cool opportunity for another trap.
You’re not going to pay any attention to the warnings, are you?
lol, no; follow Jane’s lead and keep going, quietly
yeah I figured, Larry said the same thing just before The Tangela Incident. God, he was a piece of $#!t (rest in peace, man).
Opting for a stealthy approach, you turn off the light on your Pokédex and put your trust in Jane’s impeccable night vision. Reaching down to touch her shoulder with one hand so she can lead you, you creep slowly forward, hearing the giggling grow incrementally louder. You think you can see a pinkish light source around another couple of bends. With any luck, you can peek around a corner and get a look at whoever – whatever – is hiding here without revealing your own presence. These caves are full of weird rock formations formed by the slow dripping of water and accretion of limestone; with Jane’s help, you move from one to the next as the light slowly gets better and you find yourself able to see properly. Finally, you crouch behind a big stalagmite right next to a bend in the tunnel, the strange pink light around the corner now almost as bright as torchlight. You slowly crane your head around the bend, and see… just a floating ball of soft pink light, hovering in a dead end. Puzzled, you stand and walk up to the light. There’s no heat coming off it, it’s just… light. Reminds you of the light that Pokémon glow with when they evolve, or when they channel energy for some of their more powerful techniques. You vaguely recall that some Psychic, Ghost and Fairy Pokémon can create spiritual light sources, a minor application of their abilities that doesn’t even rise to the level of a real battle technique like Flash.
There’s really no question here – even after hearing the transmissions he picked up, you’re not convinced that Miguel’s rambling about “the Enemy” represent an urgent threat. It’s just a bunch of code words and static; you have no reason to think it’s connected to the mysteries you’re here to investigate. Jane… well, you don’t know what she’s found, but she clearly thinks it’s worth investigating, and as a Pokémon trainer you feel like you have to trust your Pokémon’s instincts. Besides, the palaeontologists probably have Blue and Squirtle with them. They can handle anything that comes up, right?
Screw it, may as well ask what he has in mind. You quietly gesture for Blue to continue. He waits for the Magikarp seller to reach a crescendo of enthusiasm in describing the virtues of his “product” (his words, not mine, just to be clear). Then, he presses something into your hand. You glance down at it. It’s… a plastic drinking straw? From… the restaurant you had lunch at in Pewter City yesterday, you guess? Has this just been in his pocket the whole time? Why did he even keep this? “Use that Pokémon you have,” Blue whispers to you under his breath. “The one you used in the gym battle.” Jane? How-? You look down at the straw again. Oh. You interrupt the Magikarp seller to cheerily ask him whether it would be all right for you to take a closer look at the merchandise. “By all means!” He waves a hand towards the tank. “See for yourself how smooth and soft its scales are!” Blue clears his throat. “So, uh, how exactly did you get into the Magikarp business, anyway?” “Oh, my young friend, you shouldn’t be asking about my story, but about how you can get into the Magikarp business! Let me explain…”
Which Pokémon do you plan to open with against Brock? – Jane Doe, the Zorua
Which Pokémon would you like to talk with? – Jane
You’re a reasonably down-to-earth kid. You’re not going to go charging into your first gym battle with a Pokémon on your team that, frankly, you barely know. You’re going to figure out what Jane’s deal is. As far as Jane herself is concerned, her deal is primarily rolling over and receiving belly rubs, and to be clear, you are 100% down for this. She is a good girl and her fur is almost outrageously soft and silky. You still want to know what her powers do, though. Jane’s species isn’t even in your Pokédex, but the Pokémon Centre has a book room with a decent collection of field guides and textbooks. With a little help from Jane herself, who yaps encouragingly whenever you find pictures of Pokémon from forested central Unova, you quickly find a profile in a recent trainer’s almanac. Like I said, Jane Doe is a Zorua. She’s a Dark-type and a fiercely intelligent ambush predator. She should be able to learn a range of speed-based techniques, as well as attacks that strike at an opponent’s senses or mental state, and she has certain unique abilities that make your eyes pop out like an old cartoon character’s when you read the book’s description. This definitely warrants a little practice before you go to bed.
Do you want to give Zorua a nickname? – Let Jim the Editor name it. – Let the Narrator name it.
[AUTHOR TIEBREAK: The dice say we give this one to the Narrator.]
Y’know kid, you shouldn’t make a habit of this; nicknames are personal and your Pokémon should have names you came up with for yourself. But yeah, all right; if you’re not feeling too creative I guess I can give you something. You don’t technically know this yet ‘cause it’s not in your Pokédex, but what you’ve got there is a Zorua, a rare Pokémon that can impersonate other Pokémon using illusion magic – keeping its true identity secret from all but the keenest observers. With that in mind, and by the power vested in me, I hereby name this Pokémon:
Jane seems pretty pleased with herself just for having a nickname at all. You gotta have an identity in order to conceal it, I guess.
What kind of Pokémon wanted to join you? – Creepy – Intelligent
The odd thing is, you didn’t see it at first. You mostly remember releasing Bug Pokémon from the cages – Caterpie, Weedle, Ledyba, Spinarak. There were some Pidgey, even a couple of Pikachu, who immediately fled into the underbrush. Not really anything you’re surprised to see; hell, aside from the Pikachu you aren’t even sure what Pokémon there are here that are even worth poaching. What is the business model of a Pokémon poacher, anyway? You make a mental note to ask your prisoners that. The point is, everything you consciously remember seeing is… well, not that you’d ever put it like this, but trash.
But when you glance over your shoulder at Scallion and Nancy, the Pokémon talking to them isn’t any of those. It’s… a four-legged, furry charcoal-grey Pokémon with a pointed face and keen, intelligent, almost sinister eyes. Did it just come out of the forest? No, you’re sure it walked over to them from the stream of Pokémon you were releasing from the cages. You saw it out of the corner of your eye.
I should probably begin this entry with a disclaimer: for various reasons, I don’t actually have a Zorua or a Zoroark. In theory I know everything about them I need to know to write the entry, but their powers are rather complicated, as I’ll explain later, and I’m not sure I can really do justice to their impacts on the flow of battle. Then again, I’ll probably just do exactly the same thing as I always do: stare at their numbers for a while, research what everyone else says about them on the internet and then make dozens of wildly unsubstantiated assertions laced with bizarre and confusing metaphors before declaring victory and passing out on the sofa.
What, you mean you didn’t know?
Anyway. Zorua and Zoroark are clever and elusive fox Pokémon, not actually malicious but fond of deception and mischief. Their main power is their ability to create flawless illusions; they normally use their powers to disguise themselves as other Pokémon, but they can also take human form or even create false images of landscapes. So far, this is giving me flashbacks to Ninetales – another highly intelligent fox Pokémon with magical abilities related to trickery – probably because she shares a common inspiration with Zorua and Zoroark: the kitsune fox spirits of Japanese legend. Continue reading “Zorua and Zoroark”→