OOC: Had this story in mind, figured I'd get it out before I forgot.
The Amagi Spirit
At 3 o' clock, an electronic bell chimed throughout a large building. This was the bell that dismissed the high school students, who would come bursting through every exit in little time. They all had important things to do after school. Some had part-time jobs while others had family-related matters to attend to. One of those students would be visiting a shrine dedicated to his departed grandfather, as he did every cold November day. His name was Shin Amagi, and he had lived with his grandfather for three years before the old man finally died of old age. Now Shin tends his grandfather's herb shop, "The Amagi Spirit". Running a shop at the age of 17 was difficult, but the old man had taught Shin well.
"One of the coaches at school asked me to join the football team," Shin said, placing a flower on his grandfather's grave, "I told him that the shop kept me too busy for a school team. It does, but I wouldn't trade the honor for the world. I love The Amagi Spirit, and I'm proud to own it."
After spending a minute in silent prayer, Shin turned to begin walking down the large mountain. The shrine was built on top of Camerupt's Hump, a large mountain in the center of town. The Amagi Spirit was built halfway down the mountain, on a large balcony-like extension. Many wild Pokemon inhabited this mountain, and Shin's grandfather, Saito Amagi, spent a lot of time with these creatures, sometimes bringing herbs to treat sick patients. It wasn't rare for Shin to stumble upon some of these Pokemon when he visited the shrine, they were sensitive to death and felt they owed Saito for his kindness. Shin had no idea that the Pokemon he met today would soon find itself in mortal danger.
"Vulpiiix!" a small quadruped cried from the nearby bushes.
"Hey little one," Shin said gently, creeping toward the foliage, "no need to be shy, I won't hurt you."
Vulpix, a small brown Fire-type Pokemon, cautiously stepped out of the brush. Its six tails were covered in dead leaves. Shin reached into the pocket of his denim jeans and pulled out a small comb. He then crouched down, his bright hazel eyes meeting the Fox Pokemon's amber irises and began petting the Pokemon's head. While one hand kept Vulpix calm, the other was hard at work combing the leaves from its tail. When the work was finished, Vulpix gently cried out in appreciation.
"You're welcome," Shin smiled, pocketing his comb, "do you have family that's worried about you?"
The little fox shook its head in response, its pointed hears seemed to wither as its eyes looked at the ground below.
"Oh... I see," the boy replied, running a hand through his light brown hair, "listen, you can come hang out at my shop. We don't usually let Wild Pokemon wander around, but I'll make an exception for you."
Vulpix seemed to understand and let out a happy whine. It eagerly followed Shin down the mountain, towards a quaint looking cottage with a large sign on its roof. The inside of The Amagi Spirit were large shelves stocked with every kind of herb imaginable. The soil on Camerupt's Hump was very fertile, and Saito had taken care to plant various herbs in different areas of the mountain, giving him the perfect excuse to sneak off to enjoy nature. During the day, when Shin was attending school, Saito's apprentice Stella ran the shop. She was busily working behind the counter, sweeping the floor and making sure the cash register was in order. When she looked up and saw a Pokemon sitting on the counter, she let out a tiny scream.
"What is that thing
doing in here?" she cried, pointing at Vulpix.
"Don't be mean," Shin scolded her, "it's an orphan, I'm letting it stay at the shop for a while."
"Look," Stella said, her face was red with anger, "I've put up with a lot of things since you moved here. I was okay with you inheriting the shop, but I will not let this animal in here."
"Too bad this place isn't 'The Stella Spirit' then," Shin replied, a look of superiority spread across his face.
Before Shin's parents moved to the Kanto region and left the boy with his grandfather, Stella would take over the shop after Saito passed. However, Saito's goal was to pass The Amagi Spirit down through his bloodline, so when Shin came along, he was immediately named the old man's successor. Stella seemed okay with this, but what Shin didn't know is that the young woman had argued with Saito constantly. Under the surface, she despised the boy, and his cocky attitude wasn't doing him any favors.
A few days had passed since Vulpix first starting staying, and it had made a nice little nest behind the counter. Whenever Stella was on-duty, the small Pokemon would be forced outside, where it patiently waited by the door for Shin to return home. Today however, Vulpix was nowhere to be found. A thick black smoke was pouring out from the door of the shop, and it was filled with the scent of the herbs that had been carefully picked the day before. Shin threw open the doors, being struck with a roaring cloud of smoke! Several firefighters were gathered inside, working to extinguish what was left of a previously large fire.
"Get out of here!" one of them yelled, "you're going to be in the way!"
Shin quickly backed outside, and looked around for the small Fox Pokemon. Instead, he found Stella fidgeting with something behind shop. He slipped behind her and overheard her mumbling to herself.
"I can't believe I did it," she whispered, her voice was filled with stress, "there's no going back for me now, 'The Amagi Spirit' is finished! I torched the whole place, that punk kid lost." She let out a satisfied chuckle before turning around.
"Nice lighter," Shin said, fighting back the urge to strike her.
"Shi- I mean, Shin!" she yelled, tossing the lighter, "I'm so glad you're here!"
"Cut the crap Stella, I heard it all," the boy replied, "why did you do it?"
"This shop was supposed to be MINE!" she cried, "I couldn't let some idiot like you take it from me."
Before Shin could respond, the firemen came out and began questioning the witness about how the fire started. Of course, the only one in the shop at the time was Stella. Shin knew that her testimony would cause him grief, but he never expected her to pin the crime on somebody else.
"There was a Wild Pokemon in the shop," she explained, "it was a Vulpix, and usually slept behind the counter. We had taken care of it for the past few days, and it seemed like a nice Pokemon. But today, it went berserk and starting breathing fire everywhere. Before I knew it, the entire shop was burning."
"Who brought the Vulpix into the shop?" one of the firemen asked.
"He did," Stella said, pointing at Shin.
"Ah, the owner," the older firefighter said, "of course, this makes you responsible for the fire. This means you can't claim any of the insurance money."
"What?" he screamed, "but I
didn't burn down the shop, and neither did Vulpix! Stella was the one who burned it down."
"You do realize that you are accusing this woman of arson, correct?" one of them said, "do you have any evidence that backs up your claim?"
"She had a lighter!" Shin replied, "have her empty her pockets and you'll find it."
Stella obliged, digging around every hiding place until no lighter was found. Of course, she had thrown it away when Shin first found her. The firemen scolded Shin for making false accusations and began discussing possible options with Stella.
"What do you want us to do about this?" they asked.
"I used to shop here when Saito was still alive," the elder one said, "I will do whatever is necessary to help you, Stella."
"What about me?" Shin asked, "this is my shop!"
"Technically, we've done all that was asked of us," he continued, "this is a personal favor for Stella."
Being the cruel woman that she was, Stella found one more way to make Shin suffer.
"Could you help me catch the Vulpix?" she asked, forcing out a few crocodile tears, "it would mean so much to me if we could put it down, to avenge the death of Saito's beloved shop."
"Certainly," the fireman agreed, "I, Shinjiro Kunoda, will devote my free time helping you search for that accursed fox. In honor of my old friend, Saito Amagi."
Shin wanted to run off and find Vulpix. He had to protect the young pup from Stella's wrath, but he was forced to follow the firefighters down the mountain in order to fill out the insurance report. Of course, the men would make sure that he didn't try to pin the blame on Stella. By the time he was finished, the sun was beginning to set. Shinjiro told Stella that he had the day off the next day and would help her hunt Vulpix first thing in the morning. Shin returned home, he knew that he would have a better chance beating them to the fox if he was well rested.
The next day, Shin excused himself from school. He didn't waste any time getting dressed and running to Camerupt's Hump. The mountain was pretty bog, about half a mile in diameter. There were also a lot of caves and dens to hide in, and Shin was hoping that those would keep Vulpix safe from Stella and Shinjiro. The mountain itself wasn't very steep, there were several areas that were almost perfectly flat. On the side where the herb shop used to stand, the mountain was actually dug into to make several plateaus, almost like a giant staircase. Depending on which side you climbed on, you could be on top of the mountain in less than two hours. This meant navigating the terrain would be fairly easy, so Shin could scan every possible hiding spot fairly easily.
Still, a few hours had passed and Shin's search had turned up nothing. Some of the caves were relatively deep, so searching through them took some effort. Another difficulty was finding a clue about Vulpix's location. Even though the mountain was named after a Camerupt, there were actually very few Fire-type inhabitants, meaning there was little chance of finding a group that Vulpix would be spending time with. Shin was tired and wanted to take a break, but then he heard a voice that sent shivers down his spine.
"There you are you little rat!" a female's voice cried.
"You found the fox?" an older male asked.
"Yeah, it's in this little hole here," she replied, "how should we get it out?"
"I'll use my Dewott to fill the hole with water, we'll drown it before it can give us any trouble," the man replied.
Shin looked to his left and pushed pass some brush to find Stella and fireman Shinjiro standing over a small hole in the mountain. Stella had a devious grin on her face, and Shinjiro was fishing around for his Pokeball. Shin had to do something to stop them, but only one idea popped into his head. When Shinjiro called out his Dewott, a slender Water-type Pokemon with two shells on its waist, Shin knew he had to fight.
"Dewott, fill that hole with-" the firefighter cried out.
"Stay away from that Vulpix!" Shin yelled, reaching for one of his Pokeballs, "Galvantula, stop Dewott with Sucker Punch!"
The red-and-white ball burst open in a powerful flash, taking the shape of a four-legged spider with a yellow pattern on its abdomen. The Discipline Pokemon turned to face this new challenger, only to be struck in the face by a purple fist. Dewott was sent flying back, dazed by the surprise attack. Shin ran out and stood between Stella and the hole where Vulpix was hiding.
"Vulpix, run away from here!" he yelled, "Galvantula and I will keep these two busy."
Shin's words reached the startled pup, and it quickly hopped out of the hole and darted towards the mountaintop. Stella gasped, turning to Shinjiro with a worried look on her face. The old man nodded, and she started chasing after the Fox Pokemon.
"Galvantula, stop her with Electroweb!" Shin commanded.
Galvantula leaped into the air and pointed its abdomen towards the woman. It then shot a yellow ooze from its spinneret that took the shape of a large net. Before the electrified substance could wrap around Stella, one of Dewott's shells cut through the Electroweb, forcing it to uselessly fall to the ground. The Discipline Pokemon darted forward to collect its shell, and then stepped forward to challenge Shin's Pokemon.
"I don't have time for this!" Shin yelled, "Vulpix isn't responsible for the fire."
"Are you still trying to blame Stella for what happened?" Shinjiro responded, "why would she burn down the shop? She loved The Amagi Spirit!"
"But she didn't like losing the shop to me," he replied.
"I'm not going to listen to this," the old man grunted, "Dewott, use Swords Dance!"
The otter took its shells and began scraping them together. The tips of the shells lengthened with a blue light, making them look more like daggers than seashells. Galvantula's sensitive hairs stuck straight up, warning it of danger. Shin had to focus on the battle at hand, the longer he let Shinjiro stall, the more time Stella had to hurt Vulpix.
"Galvantula, use Electro Ball!" he yelled.
"Cut through it with Razor Shell," Shinjiro demanded.
Galvantula's mouth began crackling with electricity, which it harnessed into the form an electric ball. It fired the ball using a powerful burst of air, but Dewott ran straight for it, pulling back its arms to prepare a slash. When the Electro Ball was in range, the Discipline Pokemon swung its arms, using the sharpened shells to break Galvantula's attack. It then leaped into the air, waiting for Shinjiro's next command.
"Now, use Water Gun!" he yelled.
Dewott gathered a large amount of saliva in its mouth, and then purged it from its body. This created a giant surge of liquid that crashed onto Galvantula, causing it to flinch. Shin smiled, the fireman had little experience as a battler. He had Pokemon to help him extinguish fires, not battle other trainers. There was no way he would have expected his attack to be the reason he would lose the battle.
"Galvantula, Discharge now!" Shin yelled.
While the water still poured onto Galvantula, it began channeling the electricity in its body through its tiny hairs. These volts were conducted by the water, creating a giant surge of electricity that flew into Dewott's mouth. The EleSpider's attack singed the Discipline Pokemon and it came crashing into the ground, smoke pouring out of its mouth. Shinjiro ran to collect his partner. This was mistake number two for the passionate fireman.
"Galvantula, catch them with your Spider Web," Shin called, already running up the mountain.
The spider shot out another web from its spinneret, trapping Shinjiro and Dewott in its sticky trap. Shin recalled his Pokemon and charged up Camerupt's Hump, choosing to ignore the obscenities that Shinjiro was spouting. After a few minutes of running, he caught up with Stella on top of the mountain. He could see that Vulpix was cowering under Saito Amagi's shrine.
"Come on out you little prick," she howled, "I want to finish you off with my bare hands!"
"That's an innocent Pokemon, it doesn't deserve your cruelty," Shin called out, "what would Grandpa Saito say if he saw you?"
"I guess it doesn't matter anymore," Stella chuckled, turning to face Shin, "the old coot is dead! I don't give a f-"
"Don't finish that sentence!" Shin cried out, "Saito Amagi was a good man. He treated you like his own daughter, he LOVED you!"
"Like hell he did!" she retorted, "obviously I wasn't important enough to him, since he gave you the shop instead of me."
"Is that all you care about?" he asked, "if it was that important to you, then why did you burn it down? I was going to turn it over to you when I graduated."
"Don't lie to me! I don't want to hear from you anymore," she yelled, pulling out a Pokeball, "Mamoswine, use Blizzard now!"
Stella's Pokemon dropped out of the capsule, letting out an intimidating roar. Mamoswine was an eight foot tall pig with massive tusks. She had raised it from an egg and trained it to be as vicious as she was. The Twin Tusk Pokemon inhaled and spewed a powerful force of freezing wind. Before Shin could pull out one of his Pokeballs, the blizzard engulfed him in its chilly grasp. He watched in horror as his body slowly turned blue, and then began growing patches of ice. By the time Mamoswine was content with its attack, Shin was covered from head-to-toe in a thin layer of ice. Hypothermia was already beginning to set in, if he didn't melt the ice soon, he'd be frozen to death.
"Now Mamoswine, flip over that shrine and bring Vulpix to me," she cruelly commanded.
"No... you can't do that," Shin mumbled, his mouth still frozen shut.
Something suddenly darted from under the shrine and between Stella's legs. The brown blur let loose a mighty sea of fire that engulfed Shin, instantly warming his body. As the ice turned to liquid, and then steam, the boy's brown hair flopped into his face. He gasped for air before opening his eyes to see Vulpix standing between him and Mamoswine.