Indeed, I think you may change your opinion, but of course I don't know much about you to decide for sure!
Anyway, here's chapter 2. Just a reminder: the point of view changes every chapter, so this is another introduction-ish chapter.
chapter 2 ; [KUIORA]
Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl—and then the girl left him and the boy did not love her anymore.
She did not want to leave, but she felt that it was her duty to do so. The two of them had been together for many years, and the girl loved the boy more and more every day. The girl was eternally grateful to have him in her life, and often wondered what she had done to deserve him. He deserved more than her. He deserved more than life. But he chose to stay where he was, and the idea of what could have been haunted her. She dwelled on these thoughts, but could not find a way to ease the chaos in her mind.
One day, she stumbled upon someone who told her about the three legendary pokémon that represent emotions, the will to live, and knowledge. They had all been born from the same egg, created by the god of the pokémon universe. They reside deep in the caves of Sinnoh, safe from harm and disturbance.
She felt that it was her duty to see these pokémon, and she told her husband this.
“We have them to thank for everything,” she said. “Every tree, every mountain, every sea, they have all conspired for millions and millions of years to get us both here. And I don’t know why they conspired so much, but I want to see them and thank them for not making their efforts in vain. I need to.”
But the husband did not want to go. He wanted to leave them be, wanted to accept things as they were and not try to interfere with things that cannot be changed.
“You are the most important part of my life. These creatures have given me the ability to love, the desire to live in this terrible world, and the knowledge to know how to survive long enough to make you happy somehow. Do you not think of this? Will you not go with me?” she asked, but still, he would not go.
He tried to convince her to stay, but could not. She left, explaining where she was going and saying that she would be back as soon as possible. She took a ferry to Sinnoh, and several people asked her what was wrong, why did she look so sad, but even she did not know, though she carried with her the comfort of finally finding the answers that she had been looking for.
She visited Uxie at Lake Verity, and thanked the legendary pokémon for its service and effort. The Uxie did not lash out or respond negatively, and so she felt that her emotions were true. She loved her husband, and he loved her, and that was how it was meant to be. When she visited Mesprit at Lake Acuity, it was the same, and she now felt reassured about knowing how to make her husband happy and how to live a fulfilled life.
When she reached Lake Valor to visit Azelf, the pokémon was not there. The cave was empty, and nothing could be found in the lake itself. She decided to stay in the nearest town and try again soon, but she heard rumors of a man who had disturbed Azelf’s resting place and was now being punished for it. Upon hearing more information, she came to realize that the man from the rumors was her husband.
She visited him in the hospital, where he was alive, but still gone. She screamed. She screamed so loud, and he did not—could not—hold her. The doctors could not explain much of anything. She knew more than them, yet knew nothing at all. He had come to see the legendary pokémon after all, but why? And what had the legendary pokémon done to him to make him like this, and again, why? She would never know.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved a boy—and when he died by her hands, she could not stop loving him.
This was the last story that Professor Elm told me before I left the lab. He said that it seemed a little too heartbreaking and dark for a young totodile like me, but I had insisted that I could take it, and so he did not hold anything back. The story was sad, yes, but it made me want to travel the world so I could see what else was hiding from me, and so I could see the good parts of life that the professor was much more eager to tell me about. They seemed so common and pure to the point where I couldn’t stand being here.
I didn’t usually value self-induced vulnerability or a lack of strictness, but I believed that I was somewhat lucky to have been raised by Professor Elm. It was destiny, of course, but I still felt lucky. He was timid and quiet and patient, and most importantly, very flexible. I couldn’t imagine another professor giving up a potentially perfect starter pokémon just to keep me satisfied with life, but that’s what he did. While he emphasized training for all of the other starter pokémon, while he taught them to listen to trainers and practice controlling their beginning moves, he told me stories of legendaries and myths about lands that he promised I would see someday. Of course, I took part in the training and had learned that obedience is necessary, especially under certain circumstances—I wouldn’t have wanted to meet a legendary pokémon someday and be completely weak and clueless and disrespectful, after all—but I was not avoiding sleep or practicing outside of normal training times with the others who seemed to exhaust themselves more than needed. It was all about balance and routine. Every day, I woke up, ate, trained, listened to Professor’s Elm stories (or reflected on previous stories if he happened to be too busy), ate some more, and slept. And that was enough for me.
It wasn’t enough on the day that the trainer came for me.
“We’ll be starting the training for today, all right? I hope you’re all refreshed from sleep and ready to go,” Professor Elm said. As usual, I got up from my normal resting spot. The back of the professor’s lab was surrounded by split-rail fences that were designed so that we could look outside of the fence if we wanted to, but without the space to escape. I could understand the precautions, though Professor Elm seemed to trust us so much that I wondered why it was needed. Even I would not have escaped given the opportunity. I was to wait for whatever the legendaries had in store for me, whether it was being stuck here forever or for a special, designated trainer to come and choose me. Still, I adored sitting near the fence, right where the sun shone the brightest, where I could see the entire backyard and everyone in it. This was also where the professor would read me stories; he would never ask me to move, even if the sun was in his eyes and it was difficult for him to concentrate. I only left when told to, and so I left when he announced that it was time to train.
All of the totodile, chikorita, and cyndaquil gathered in the middle of the backyard. I sat on the grass while the others remained standing, already preparing their known attacks. They were having trouble standing with the wind blowing against us, though I did not feel it, as the professor standing in front of me and blocking it. Aside from excited squeals from the pokémon, all was quiet, as if nothing and no one else existed.
As usual, the professor started by talking about us being starter pokémon.
“What can you, as a beginning trainer’s pokémon, do to help the trainer grow and learn? You yourself are not necessarily weak, but are just beginning as well… I cannot teach you much, because it is not up to me,” the professor said, a hint of sadness in his voice. Had he wanted to be a trainer once so he could travel the world, too? “But I can make it easier for them. You will all have to battle, as you know. We’ll warm up by starting out with tackle and scratch attacks, which you’ll often use in battle to start out with.”
There were three large trees in the backyard, all of which looked beaten up and as if they would tumble at any given moment. They had taken much abuse over the years, and we were about to add more to it. We were instructed to go to a different tree based on what type of pokémon we were. At first, we were just told to tackle the tree with however much strength we wanted to, though we would have to increase the strength every turn, so I started out slowly, lightly. With every tackle, I let myself get stronger, allowing my head to adjust to the collision and rough texture of the bark on the tree more and more every time. I didn’t practice my scratch attack, since I had a tendency to scratch at things when I was nervous, so I felt that I had enough practice with it, and that it would just remind me of things that I didn’t want to think about.
“I really like training,” one of the other totodile stated after a while, “but tackling just makes my head hurt all the time!”
“Same here… and I’m not even hitting the tree that hard since I’m so tired!” another totodile said, and for the next few turns, they kept missing the tree entirely and had to be told to stop by the professor before they got hurt more or crashed into something else. The totodile pouted and watched in dismay as the rest of us continued practicing.
I wanted to say that starting out too roughly without any real experience would, of course, cause a headache, as can a lack of sleep and not allowing the body to rest after training for hours on end… but I said nothing and just kept setting a quiet example. I was verbal once, but got nowhere; they weren’t willing to listen and adapt. They didn’t seem capable of watching and adapting that way, either, but at least that didn’t seem like a failure on my part.
Eventually, we moved on to our specialized elemental attacks.
“Of course, all of you have special attacks that only certain pokémon can learn,” the professor said. “Each one of them will be helpful to your trainer in a different way. A cyndaquil’s fire can keep things warm, especially in the winter. They can also help cook food when traveling. Chikorita can carry things with their vines, and, when they evolve, can provide health for all. Totodile can provide water, and, since they generally look tough, can scare away unwanted predators. All of you should be willing to do these things for your future trainer and teammates, just as you are willing to do them for me. Understood?”
We all nodded in agreement and got to work. The chikorita tried carrying anything in sight, whether it was a rock, a plant, or another pokémon. Cyndaquil were practicing on each other, since fire didn’t hurt their bodies, but instead provided more heat to help them feel more powerful and energized. That, and because if they tried to fire at the grass or the plants, the professor would be panicking over the results; it had happened before. And finally, all of the totodile were aiming and shooting water at anything possible, with each of our targets varying in distance and size. Most of the totodile considered the exercise a success based on how soaked the target was, though I didn’t think that helped much since more than one totodile was aiming at the same thing, so my success based on how long I could keep the attack going without having to stop to take a breath.
Just when I thought that I had started improving, the professor forced us to stop due to the cyndaquil starting to miss and setting things on fire again. The totodile were asked to put the fires out, but dead grass still proved that the incident occurred and would likely happen again, so we didn’t bother asking to continue.
The professor eased our sadness with food. He brought out various trays filled with different kinds of berries and he let us choose what we wanted. I just took a few of my favorite Cheri berries. We all spread apart once we got what we wanted, with me going back to my normal spot near the fence, and with the others going back to preparing for training with attacks that wouldn’t destroy the lab completely.
I sat in peace and ate the berries, waiting for Professor Elm to show up and talk to me as he always did around this time of day. The sun shone overhead, rays of light pouring onto my body and the entire backyard, keeping everything warm and safe. I shielded my eyes but didn’t mind doing so. I found it fascinating and strange how the legendary pokémon had made the sun necessary for everyone to live, yet it never had any reaction toward what happened on the land it provided so much for. We could all be gone tomorrow, and would it even notice? Probably not. It would still rise and fall. It did not care about anything or anyone. It did not care about me. Someday, I vowed, I would make it care.
While getting lost in thought, Professor Elm had come over to me and sat down next to me, his back resting against the fence comfortably, and he was smiling. This was unusual to me, since he tended to look rather uncomfortable at other times. He would lean forward and put his face in his hands to try to avoid the sun. If he was annoyed, he never let it show, but I always assumed that he was.
“You look awfully happy today,” I pointed out. As soon as I said it, I hoped that I didn’t sound too rude. My tendency to talk without thinking had caused more problems and fights than I had wanted, and I had been trying to improve and keep my thoughts to myself.
“Yes,” Professor Elm replied. “Someone’s here for you.”
My head snapped in his direction immediately, and I just started at him. “Who would be here for me?”
“A trainer, of course.” He would not stop smiling.
“A trainer… How do you know they’re here for me?” I asked. I didn’t normally ask so many questions, but this seemed too good to be true. And too specific. There were many totodile here. If he would just say that the trainer was here for a totodile, any one of us…
“He said that he saw us training through the fence when passing by,” the professor explained. “He was impressed with what he saw from you.”
special, then. The things I had done better than everyone else had finally paid off. I vaguely wished that I had known the trainer was there, so I could have tried even harder and made him think that his decision was undoubtedly the best one that he could possibly make.
“I’m leaving today, then? Now?” I asked stupidly. I felt as if I had not spoken in weeks. I wondered if I really hadn’t.
“If you’re ready. If you want to. I can say no and explain that I feel that you are not ready to be handled, though I’m not a fan of lying…” the professor said, rubbing the back of his head nervously.
“I want to go. It just seems odd, of course...”
“You’re different from the rest, you know. So you’ll be fine. You’ve always wanted something more than just training and the basic necessities of life, unlike the rest of the pokémon. I’ve tried to provide that as best as I could for you, since it’s my job. And I think you’ll get even more of what you want if you leave.”
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go,” I said, trying not to sound too excited. It reminded me too much of the others.
“You don’t want to say good-bye to any of the others?” the professor asked, though it sounded more like a statement to me.
I hesitated before saying, “No. They won’t care.”
“They’re young. They just haven’t reached the level of maturity that you have yet. Don’t be too hard on them,” he said, as if he was reading my mind.
“I know.” But it didn’t change my mind. Being stuck in one place had not gotten me far at all, and I seemed to be the only one who noticed how all that the lab’s land was good for was holding the world together. Did the others even know what a world was?
I had never been inside the front of Professor Elm’s lab before. There was a space behind this part of the lab for pokémon when it rained or stormed, so I had been inside a building before, but it made me kind of angry to know that I could have had access to this part of the world this entire time, and yet I had never actually taken advantage of it. There were tall shelves filled with the books that the professor would read to me from, and there were several machines with other people attending to them, looking serious and concentrated on whatever it was that the machines were doing for them. The walls were filled with pictures of what I assumed were other types of pokémon, and with places that I did not recognize. The ground beneath me was soft like the grass, but did not tickle my feet as expected. My attention was immediately drawn to the boy, however, when I first laid eyes on him.
The trainer had asked specifically for me, yet he did not seem pleased to see me. He looked as if he had just woken up, and his arms were covered in cuts and bruises. His hair looked wild. I supposed that I could take it as a sign that he had already traveled to get here, and I was suddenly very interested. Already here was an example of what my future would be…
“This is Sai,” Professor Elm said, motioning to the boy.
“Sai,” I said. I kept repeating the name over and over in my head. Since all of us were called by our species name and had to rely on the differences in voice and body sizes, I had assumed that humans were similar. I had imagined that perhaps they were all named Elm and that they all had to identify each other by individual, unique characteristics. But it looked as if they all had different names! I was learning a lot already.
I was barely paying attention to their conversation, but I heard the parts where Professor Elm explained that I was the totodile that Sai had seen through the fence. I heard bits and pieces about things like the attacks I knew, precautions to take when starting out as a beginning trainer, and then—
“Do you have a trainer’s card?”
“…No, I do not.”
“You do know that you need a trainer’s card if you want to go around traveling with pokémon, right?”
“I… wasn’t expecting to see the totodile. I just happened to be passing by,” Sai replied slowly, carefully. For whatever reason, his words made me grin.
“Where are you from?”