PMD: New Beginnings
Season One: Spring Arc
Chapter One: Dawn of a New Day (Part One)
The grass beneath me was soft, and the cool breeze overhead felt truly blissful. There was a vague scent of hayseed around me as well, bringing to mind a few calming recollections of home.
Still weary, it took me a few minutes to realize that this wasn't home. And that I hadn't fallen asleep in grass the night before.
My eyes snapped open immediately.
All thoughts of rest fled my mind; it was no illusion. The field was large and bordered by thick tree-growth, hiding whatever lay beyond from view, and the sun was just rising above them. Everything beyond that seemed oddly blurry.
I frowned. This isn't right.
Glancing around and ensuring that I was alone, I hesitantly ran a hand over myself, checking for injuries. Naturally, I expected some sign of a conflict- instead, my only epiphany was that I was a lot softer than normal.
A self-entertaining joke about skin cream on the tip of my tongue, I looked down curiously.
And promptly screamed.
My entire body was covered in yellow- yellow- hair was the first word that came to mind, familiarity, but I knew it was fur immediately. My arms and legs had shortened, and now ended in… paws?
What… what's happened to me?! I tried to stand, but collapsed, overbalancing on account of a tail I hadn't realized I had. I twitched it from side to side, uncomfortable with the sensation, then looked to my paws again.
I don't look like any creature I've seen before.
What is this?
What am I?
"What the hell is going on…?" I hissed under my breath.
"What is your name?"
I froze immediately, my eyes darting from side to side. I couldn't discern where it was coming from, and even by swivelling my now-enlarged ears all I could tell was that it was echoing too much to pinpoint.
"… Who are you?" I answered warily.
"What is your name?"
"Look, I don't know who you are, but if you're the one who dragged me out here, I'd really like to go home now-"
"What is your name?"
My teeth ground against each other. "… Chloe. My name is Chloe. Now who the hell-"
"Do you see yourself as an adventurer, Chloe?"
"Who are you?!" My shout ended on an angry squeak as I struggled to mask my fear. "And what am I?!"
"You are a Pikachu," the voice responded, ignoring my first question. "An Electric-type Pokemon."
"… A what?"
"Do you see yourself as an adventurer?"
I sighed sharply, opened my mouth to say no, and instantly stopped.
… What will happen to me if I anger this person? I asked myself.
I'm already somewhere unfamiliar… if I don't do what they want me to, and they leave me here, I'm doomed.
And I do have to get home…
At least they might be able to point the way.
"… Yes," I said cautiously.
"Good. We've sensed great power in you, Chloe. Hopefully you'll be able to help us."
I quickly stood up again, preparing myself to run. "Help you with what?"
"That you will find out on your own."
And the ground beneath me began to crumble before I could flee.
Darkness… cold… I'm underground?
But the ground… it crumbled, didn't it?
… Am I falling…?
… Are they trying to kill me?!
The moment I awoke from the dream, I experienced an odd feeling. Something I'd never before felt; a sensation of weightlessness, of touching absolutely nothing.
It didn't feel real.
But I opened my eyes, already knowing what I was going to see.
I was falling through the sky.
Th-that's… okay… maybe I'm still dreaming…?
Out of habit, I dug my fingers into my thigh, dragging them up my side. The action was accompanied by a sharp burning feeling, one very familiar to me.
The situation suddenly felt much more realistic.
A scream bubbled up in my throat as I turned myself and stared downward, hoping against hope that whatever was below me would be soft. As I cleared the cloud barrier, I realized that this was not the case.
I was headed for a canyon.
"You can't be serious!" I screeched. "This isn't a fricking adventure! This is suicide!" For a reason I couldn't explain, I felt almost betrayed; though I hadn't known the speaker in my dream, I'd somehow had the sense that I could rely on them.
Feeling fear begin to gnaw in my stomach, I looked down again. With every second, it drew closer. With every second, I found myself struggling not to close my eyes.
Well, I guess I'm going home soon, I thought, trying to convince myself that I hadn't just signed a death contract.
But… this won't hurt, right?
It'll be instantaneous.
… I hope.
That final thought made my eyes close.
This is a horrible way to start the day.
The last thing I remember noticing was the wind whipping past my ears as the ground came up to meet me.
"Hello? Hello? Come on… up, up, up!"
At first, the female voice sounded like it was in my head. Assuming that either I was imagining it or that I'd finally bought myself a first-class ticket to hell, I didn't respond.
Her voice rose to a worried squeak. "P-please be okay…!"
Be okay? That's not something you hear in hell, is it?
"… Why are you talking to me?" I mumbled finally, now thoroughly unsure of my situation. "I'm already dead. Leave me alone so I can rot in peace. Thanks."
The unknown person made a concerned noise. After a few more seconds of being still, I frowned.
"… How am I still talking if I'm not alive?" I asked, eyes still closed. "Shouldn't I have stopped that by now?"
"U-umm…" She trailed off for a minute. "… I don't know. Are you sure you're dead?"
"Well, are you?"
"I don't think so."
"… Then I guess I'm not either. Or I'm a ghost. Which would be totally awesome." Oddly satisfied by this logic, I opened my eyes and sat up. "Where am I? What happened?"
The pink creature in front of me bit her lip. "… You're on the edge of the canyon you fell into. I was playing here and I saw you drop from the sky, so I used Psychic to catch you before you hit the ground."
My slow mind began to wrap itself around this explanation.
"… So I'm alive?" I responded after a few minutes.
She blinked quickly. "You're… a bit confused, I think. But yes." She held out a tiny paw. "I'm Mew. What's your name?"
I felt my lips twitch slightly with annoyance- I was very tired of that question. But it would have been rude of me not to answer because of such a grudge; after all, she did save my life. Apparently.
"… I'm Chloe," I answered simply, shaking her paw. I was surprised by her strength, but didn't comment on it. "… What exactly is 'Psychic'?"
Mew gave me an amused look. "It's a move, silly! All Pokemon have them! That's kind of hard not to know, isn't it?"
Oh. This thing is a Pokemon. I guess that means I am too. That's… that's great.
"… Ahh." The sound rose from my throat sounding more like a question than a response. "Sorry. Guess I… bumped my head… I don't remember much." Better not to tell her that I'm human. She probably already thinks I'm crazy.
"Oh no!" The little Pokemon floated in distressed circles. "I-is there anything I can do to help?"
"Uhh…" I struggled to think of something that I could use to improve my civilization.
Should I ask for food and water?
I shook the now-useless thoughts out of my head. Obviously, they weren't going to get me anywhere.
With a sigh, I looked up. The sky had grown much darker since the last time I'd seen it.
"… Is there anywhere I could sleep for the night?" I asked.
Mew perked up immediately. "Of course! You can stay with me! I don't live very far away!" She gestured for me to follow her, then zipped off into the thick forest nearby.
I stared witheringly in her direction. Her emotions seemed to change on a dime; it grated on me, not being able to predict what she'd do next.
And so much of this is already unpredictable…
Slowly, I got to my feet and followed her.
I thought Mew said she lived nearby…
I groaned inwardly. As my cheerful guide flew onward, oblivious to my feelings on the matter, I struggled to climb over fallen logs and jump across large holes in the ground. The forest terrain was fairly hard to trek, and many times I misjudged my new body and fell down, berating myself for being so uncoordinated.
"You're doing great!" she called back. My ears twitched. False compliments. Extrinsic motivation. Joy.
"… Is it much further?" I gasped back, trying not to sound too annoyed. A difficult feat to accomplish, considering the fact that I was aching all over.
"Nope! We're here!"
Mew smiled beamingly as she approached a gigantic tree and gestured up into its branches. I stared upward, blinking slowly.
That thing puts every other treehouse ever to shame.
The structure did indeed look more like a house than a fort; it spanned every available branch, its roof stretching until just below the treetop. The greens and browns it was painted with made it blend in almost perfectly with the leaves around it.
My jaw dropped very slightly. "Did you… uhh…" I began.
"Build this?" The pink creature smiled. "I did! All by myself! What do you think?"
I looked at her with newfound respect. She'd seemed a bit airy at first, but now I saw that it was less obliviousness. More a sense of confidence.
"… I think it's great," I answered with a smile. Mew immediately twirled happily, her feeling of joy nearly palpable.
"Thanks so much!" She zoomed up into the tree so fast that I felt the wind rushing after her. "Hang on, I'll get you a ladder and make a nest!"
I didn't have time to question it before a rope ladder dropped from the deck to the grass beside me. I looked up again to see Mew grinning down at me.
I laughed and climbed up the ladder, crawling onto the deck and finally stopping to catch my breath. I hadn't entirely realized how much effort it had taken to get here until I'd finished the trip.
"I'll get some Berries for us!" Mew declared from beside me. Quickly disappearing into the house, her next words echoed back, "Sorry for the mess! I didn't think I'd have any friends over!"
I smiled. Friends?
Taking a few minutes to recover, I slowly sat up. A light wind was beginning to blow, and a peaceful feeling seemed to emanate from the world around me.
Rather than accepting it, I tensed slightly. It was very much like how I'd felt in my dream.
"Chloe, dinner's ready!"
I glanced back to the door, shouting back a quick answer to her, then looked around. Though there was no obvious threat here, and Mew seemed very kind, I still felt a bit uneasy.
I wonder why I'm here.
In an attempt to dislodge the creeping chill that suddenly settled over me, I shook out my fur and went inside.
"What kind of Berry is this?"
I sniffed it curiously, then set it aside and picked up another. "And this one?"
"Oran!" Mew popped another Berry into her mouth. "Try it! You'll like it!"
I examined it carefully. It looked somewhat like a small orange, but with the colour and texture of a blueberry.
I took a small bite, chasing it down with a sip of water, and smiled. "That actually is pretty good."
My host looked relieved. "I'm glad you like them."
The two of us ate in silence for a while; I'd explained that I had trouble talking and eating at the same time and apologized for it, but she seemed quite content just to have company.
Finally, I set the Oran Berry down and glanced at her. "May I ask where we are?"
Mew looked up at me with a slightly confused look. "… You aren't from here, are you? Do you have a map?"
I shook my head. "Never seen one from around here, no."
She paused, then set her food down as well. "Hang on." She floated into the next room, returning seconds later with what appeared to be a large scroll.
The Pokemon set it on the table between us and opened it. "This is a map of our region," she explained, speaking slowly. A small finger pointed to a forest on the map, at a spot marked with a small yellow dot. "This is a mystery dungeon. Every yellow circle on this map shows the entrance to one. And we…" Her finger dragged across the page, pointing approximately to the centre of the forest, "… are here. In a place I like to call the Mysterious Jungle. Although it isn't technically a dungeon… it just seemed to fit." She smiled awkwardly.
"Mysterious Jungle…" I echoed. Funny place to fall from the sky. Lucky someone caught me.
"And this," Mew continued as though I hadn't spoken, "is the Pokemon Square." She pointed to a red dot, fairly far from where we were. I made an agreeing noise, not entirely paying attention, then realized that I should being doing so and leaned forward to examine the map.
"Pokemon Square?" I repeated in a questioning tone, prompting more information. I felt a bit stupid, responding with nothing but the names of the places she was showing me; I hoped she didn't think I'd bumped my head too hard when I'd landed.
She didn't seem to mind. "Yes, it's the biggest town in the region. It's where all rescue teams go to be registered."
Rescue teams… "What's a rescue team?"
"You haven't heard of them?" Mew frowned, looking a bit surprised. "I thought they were everywhere." Before I could make something up to defend my obliviousness, the Pokemon shook her head. "I guess I shouldn't have assumed… rescue teams are groups of Pokemon who travel to mystery dungeons to help people. They do missions that are assigned to them. Some teams are quite famous."
"That sounds interesting." I wasn't just saying it to be polite- I was honestly fascinated by the idea. "Can anyone make a rescue team?"
"Yup!" Mew smiled brightly. "All you need is a partner! Of course, you can let other Pokemon join, too, but having a co-leader is a very important step!"
I narrowed my eyes thoughtfully. Being in a rescue team might be a good idea… at least, it sounds like a good place to start. I don't really know much about this world…
Maybe it could teach me a few things.
"Do you want to go to the Square tomorrow? I could take you there."
I looked up, surprised that the other Pokemon had voiced my thoughts. Mew blinked at me, still poised to reach for another Pinap Berry, and took in a breath to repeat her request.
"I'd like that very much," I responded before she could. "If it's not too much trouble."
"Oh, not at all! If we wake up early enough, we'll be there before noon!"
I smiled, relieved. "Thank you."
"No problem!" Shoving the Berry into her mouth quickly, Mew rolled up the map and flew it back to its place. Within minutes, she'd dragged a nest out from the same room and settled it on the floor. "Here you are! Make yourself comfy!"
I gave the hay-bed a sideways glance, then made a grateful noise and lay down in it. Despite its spiky appearance, it was actually fairly soft.
"Where are you going to sleep?" I asked.
"Here!" The pink Pokemon's voice came from above, and I uncurled myself enough to look towards it. She hung by her tail from a roof-beam, looking surprisingly relaxed.
"Do you usually do that?" I raised an eyebrow.
"… Is it comfortable?"
"… I'll take your word for it." I think it would be horrible, having that much blood rushing to my head. But different strokes for different folks, I guess.
I closed my eyes, already drifting off, when Mew's voice roused me again.
My mind was fogged with fatigue, but I managed to acknowledge her. "… Yes?"
"… Why were you falling from the sky?"
I frowned slightly. There was no suspicion in her tone, nor confusion. She simply wanted to ask.
Unfortunately, I wasn't sure myself.
"… I don't know," I whispered quietly.
Mew asked me no more questions, and I gave her no more answers.
Within minutes, we were both asleep.
We'd left Mew's house just as the colours of dawn spilled across the sky. Despite the early awakening, I felt very well-rested; Mew explained that the Oran Berries I'd eaten the night before had replenished my energy.
"Do all Berries have that effect?" I had been asking.
"Not all of them," she replied. "Others work for status conditions, and some are just food."
"You know- poison, burns, paralysis." Mew blinked, but didn't seem overly bothered. She was getting used to my questioning, I thought.
I nodded sagely, pretending that I understood, but couldn't resist asking, "Shouldn't people go to a hospital for those kinds of things?"
"Hospital? There isn't one in town." At my concerned look, she added, "They do have a doctor, though! He showed up a few years ago."
That's… better than nothing? I smiled. "I see."
She looked as though she were about to impart some other type of comfort when an excited smile lit her face.
A stubby paw pointed to the horizon. "There it is!"
I looked up. Not too far away, I could see buildings peeking up from beyond the trees.
"That's the Pokemon Square?" I inquired.
"The one and only!" Mew floated a bit further, then stopped. "Well, this is as far as I'm going!"
"Wait… what?" I frowned. "What do you mean?"
She gave me a rueful grin. "I don't visit the Square," she replied wistfully. "I'm not much of an organized-civilization type. I prefer the forest- it's a lot more peaceful."
I swallowed slightly. As chance and fleeting as our acquaintanceship had been, she'd acted as a lifeline to me. As a guardian of sorts, someone who made more sense than the rest of the world around me.
"… I understand," I answered with a grateful smile. "Thanks for getting me this far, Mew. You're a good friend."
"Anytime, Chloe!" Her eyes shone with happiness- I assumed she didn't often get to talk to people out in the forest.
She floated forward and gave me a hug, then pulled back and placed something small in my paw. I opened it to see a silver ring. Set into it was a yellow-orange gem that almost seemed to glow in the sunlight.
That's… that's… wow. I blinked quickly, shocked by the sudden gift. "Th-thank you," I stammered, turning it around in my palm. "But a-are you sure you want to give me something so expensive…?"
"Of course!" Mew's voice took on a slightly higher pitch, and she twirled in place with an excited look. "Just take good care of it, okay? It's really important to me!"
I hesitated, then nodded and smiled earnestly at her to show my thanks. That was a little sudden, I reflected mentally. She really must be happy to have friends around…
She hugged me again, then turned and zipped back towards the forest fast enough to leave my head spinning.
I frowned. For a split second, I thought I'd seen worry in her eyes.
I shook my head. There's nothing to worry about. It's not like I can even get lost, with the Square so close. Putting a few concerns out of my mind, I forced myself to add, And I'm sure I can make it there on my own.
I bit my lip, trying to shoo my anxiety away. Already, I was nervous, and rightfully so.
But the only way left to go was forward.
I did so, slipping the ring onto my finger and trudging onward in the hopes that the unfamiliar townsfolk would be just as kind as my new friend had been.
As Mew had predicted, I reached the Square just as the sun peaked above me. The town itself seemed fairly peaceful; many Pokemon I didn't recognize were wandering around, chattering cheerfully with each other. I padded onto the stone tiles cautiously- no one stopped me.
I blinked slowly, giving my surroundings a less cursory glance, searching for some sign of hostility amongst the crowd. My instincts were telling me to be alert, though nothing seemed out of line. But surely there had to be some reason for it-
My ears suddenly twitched towards a shop on my left. I turned to look; there were two lizard-type Pokemon behind the counter, shaking their heads, and two other Pokemon that appeared to be customers.
"Mr. Metang," the older lizard was saying with a slightly haughty tone, "those TMs are 5,000 Poke each. Are you sure you have sufficient funds to pay for them?"
Metang turned to his acquaintance, a Pokemon who resembled a metal bird, and began to put the items into a bag hanging below its wing. "Of course we don't," it answered, its voice expressionless and tinny. "We aren't rich, bud."
Both Kecleon stared. The older lizard flushed an even brighter shade of purple than he already was. "Wh-what?! Then what are you- give those back!"
Metang gave the bird a small smirk. "What do you think, Skarmory? Should we?"
Skarmory laughed, his caw uproarious and grating. "Oh, yes," he sneered, "let's give them something in return. Something that they won't forget- I bet I can leave a pretty scar right across his face."
The younger, green Kecleon paled significantly, but his brother glared with defiance. "Those are my property!" he spat back, raising his voice and shouting, "Thieves!"
I darted forward before anyone could react.
I heard a few gasps of shock in my wake as I found myself standing behind the robbers. "I'm not letting you take those," I snarled, unsure of how I was going to follow through with that vow.
Both of the Pokemon turned. Skarmory looked down at me, then guffawed loudly. He'd obviously thought the same.
"Look at this runt!" he cawed. "What're you gonna do, sweetie? Ask me politely?"
My eyes narrowed. I wasn't focusing on his words- my mind was reaching back through my memories of my time here, searching for one particular moment.
"… What exactly is 'Psychic'?"
"It's a move, silly! All Pokemon have them! That's kind of hard not to know, isn't it?"
"You are a Pikachu. An Electric-type Pokemon."
… So I can use electricity?
A smile curved the edges of my lips. Good. These guys are both made out of metal.
Giving no warning of my intentions, I charged at Metang. I was much quicker on my feet in this form; everything became a blur as I jumped onto his back and clung to the spikes on his side, hoping that the whole "move" idea was instinctual.
I felt a slight tingling in my cheeks, saw a flash of orange light and suddenly fell forward as the Pokemon below me lurched towards the ground.
I rolled away just in time to avoid being crushed by the heavier creature. He groaned and began to prop himself up again, but I didn't give him the chance. Something had clicked in my mind in that moment, something hidden within my subconscious risen to the surface.
Suddenly, everything about Pokemon made much more sense to me.
"Thunderbolt," I growled quietly.
A streak of light erupted from around me, shooting the Metang and bringing him to the earth again. This time, his pain was clearly visible; he made no further attempt to challenge me.
"Go!" he shouted weakly to the his partner.
The Skarmory spread its wings to take to the air. As it lifted from the ground, I pounced, snatching at the bag.
I misjudged my speed and slammed into him instead, gasping with pain as I collided with the razor-sharp edges of his feathers. However, it was enough to knock him down again, and as I stumbled back in a shocked daze, he dropped the TMs.
The Skarmory's body clicked as he rose from the dirt. He saw the bag on the ground between us and froze.
His split second of shock was all I needed to react. I lunged forward and grabbed the bag, feeling an odd tingling run up my arm as my paw grazed something inside. Suddenly, my vision fogged, and when it refocused, the air around me was crackling with light.
I've learned a new move, I told myself slowly. The voice in my head seemed more instinctual than conscious.
I frowned slightly. But how is that possible? And how do I know what move-
Everything seemed to explode.
I didn't realize what I was doing, but at the same time it occurred to me that there was only one thing I could be doing.
Skarmory screeched as everything went white.
And with that, the battle was done.
Everyone in the Square stared at the gigantic beam of electricity connecting me to the thief. The light arced between us, seeming almost red with what looked like fire. Part of my mind told me that this attack was unrelated to any Fire-type moves, and yet… it was unmistakable.
There was something about the flame that was indescribably beautiful.
I only had the energy to use the attack for a moment, but it was enough; the bird was unconscious immediately.
I stayed unmoving for a long time, one paw still stuck inside the bag of stolen items. Part of my mind reflected that using the TM had probably just made me a criminal by default, but as the townsfolk began to crowd around my enemies and I, the first things I heard were sounds of admiration. Apparently, no one had noticed the oddity of my final attack.
"That was amazing!" a Pokemon I somehow recalled being a Jumpluff gasped.
A Houndoom leaned over me, sounding slightly concerned. "Blood…" he murmured almost silently. "Oh, surely that won't do…"
A bit unnerved by the odd tone in the second Pokemon's voice, I looked up. The dog Pokemon was watching me a bit too carefully for my liking, his blue eyes narrowed as though he were troubled. A shiver went up my spine.
Somehow, he doesn't seem very safe.
The Houndoom shifted away from me immediately, as though sensing how uncomfortable I was. Seizing my opportunity to escape the crowd, I pushed myself to my feet and picked up the bag, turning to the Kecleons' stand again and shoved it into the older shopkeeper's hands.
He took it, surprised, but before he had a chance to say anything I was darting away from the Square. I didn't like crowds, and I especially didn't like that Houndoom.
Sprinting until I was out of sight, I stopped and tried to catch my breath. To my right was a large round building, a large wooden dome that seemed to welcome me somehow. I raised an eyebrow slightly, confused.
A quiet breath to my left made me turn. There was a clump of bushes there, and from inside of it I could see a pair of sky-blue eyes. They seemed to fill with fear as I met them.
I hid a frown. Was someone watching me?
I took a small step towards the edge of the road, and the Pokemon went completely still. Unable to think of a more appropriate greeting, I said the first thing that came to mind.
"… Hiya," I said dorkishly. "'Sup?"
There was silence for a long minute. Finally, a small Quilava emerged from the leaves. She was covered in cuts and bruises, and the terror in her expression was nearly tangible.
She only said three words.
"Please help me."