It was a bright and clear morning. I awoke to the adorable squeaks and cries of my three young children playing together. They were a few weeks old now, just starting to be able to walk unassisted. Old enough to understand when I spoke to them, but still struggling to form words of their own. It didn't matter, I could tell what they meant just from their squeaks and mews. I stayed lying down where I was, watching them pounce on each other, trying to stay on top as the winner before being knocked down and starting over. They were the cutest little Absol I had ever seen.
Then one of them poked me with his horn and mewed hungrily. I smiled at him and stretched out, waking myself properly. The little one poked me again, and soon the other two were doing it too. I laughed as I stood up.
"Okay, okay, I get it," I said to them. "I'll go hunt for some breakfast. You three stay here, and keep quiet and safe until I get back, all right?"
They squeaked happily and scrambled to the deepest corner of our little cave. They knew exactly what to do, and I knew they would wait there, as instructed, until I returned.
I gave them one last smile before leaving the cave and setting out on a hunt.
We Absol, like many Predator Pokémon, are carnivorous. We can get by on berries, but there's nothing more satisfying than a good piece of meat. Plus it would help the children grow big and strong, so it was important to feed them right.
I followed the stream down the slope from the cave, into the thin forest slightly below. Hunting wasn't particularly easy for a Pokémon completely covered in pure white fur, but on the other paw it wasn't as difficult as you might expect. There were tricks to it, and plenty of ways to catch your prey and bring it home. I wandered through the forest, listening for any sound to guide me while ensuring that I made none myself. A twig or even a fallen leaf could be heard at a distance, and easily ruin a hunt.
After a few minutes, I heard a slight rustle. I stood completely still, and listened for it again, trying to pinpoint the source. There! It was close, just behind a bush. I squared off, readying myself to pounce. Ready... and... jump! Easily clearing the bush, I leaped over and bore down on the unsuspecting target.
Sadly, it was not breakfast.
"Ren, what... what are you doing there?" I asked, hopping off of him.
"Looking for you, of course," he replied, shaking himself to clear out some of the dirt from his fur.
"I'm hunting here, you klutz..." I said with a growl.
"Yeah, but you know I live in the plains below. I have to come through here to find you. So how are the kids?"
"Same as they were last time you asked, eight hours ago, when you disrupted my evening hunt."
This Luxray was always asking about my children, and always getting in my way. I think he thought he was cute, but it was just annoying.
"And what about you, Moonie?"
I twitched a little at him using my pet name. "That's 'Silent Moon' to you. And I'm frustrated, because I'm hunting, idiot!"
"Hey..." he responded dejectedly. "Come on, let me help you? I can find food real fast."
That was true. His X-Ray vision ability was certainly well-developed, making the searching part of a hunt significantly easier.
"Fine. But this time, when I say 'leave the kill to me', I mean it. Last time I let you help me, our prey escaped three times because you wouldn't sit still. You do the searching, I do the hunting, got it?"
"Absolutely," he replied, keeping a straight face for a second before giggling to himself. Absolutely. Like I'd never heard that one before.
To his credit, Ren padded silently on the forest ground as he scanned the area for a possible meal.
"I can see a Ponyta further down the hill," he whispered. "Seems kinda lost if you ask me."
I flinched at the memory of my last encounter with a Ponyta. Their meat was delicious, but a kick to the head had almost killed me, and I wasn't willing to take that chance again.
"Pass," I replied flatly.
"Okay, I see a Bunnelby some distance to the left... ah, but it's already being stalked by a Mightyena. Best not interfere there."
I agreed to that. Mightyena were vicious, and not above taking another Predator as lunch.
"Anything else?" I asked.
"There's an Ampharos about a dozen lengths to the right."
That wasn't far. About five minutes running, followed by another five stalking would get us there easily. And Ampharos, a relatively safe target assuming you didn't get hit with its electric attacks. That alone could keep my family fed for several days.
Together we made our way in the direction of my prey. When we were closer, Ren confirmed that the Ampharos hadn't gone far. I instructed him firmly to stay put. He nodded, but I could tell from his grin that he wasn't taking this seriously. I didn't need him ruining another hunt, especially not with this kind of prize at stake, so I made sure to threaten him with my scythe. Having wiped the stupid smile off his face, I thanked him for his help and quietly stalked my target.
The Ampharos was foraging. There were a number of various berry plants nearby, and she was walking between them, picking some berries from each, planting one and collecting the others. I hid myself silently in some tall grass, watching carefully. I needed to time my attack properly to ensure a successful kill.
She turned her back to me as she knelt down to plant a berry, and that's when I made my move. I burst out of the grass and gave a loud cry. My startled target dropped the berries she had collected and turned to face me, but was too slow. My Night Slash attack found its mark, and the Ampharos doubled over in pain. I planted a paw firmly in the ground and used my momentum to spin around to face my target again, this time attacking from where I stood with Psycho Cut. The waves of power easily drained the prey's energy, and she collapsed.
"Perfect kill..." I muttered to myself, proud of the achievement.
Such a successful hunt fulfilled my most primal desires, and it felt good. However, there were strict rules to be followed, lest you invoke the wrath of Arceus for abusing the power He gave us. I sat down beside the fallen Ampharos and placed a paw on her.
"I thank you, and Arceus for creating you, for the food you will provide my family. Your strength will live on through us, and we will never forget. May Giratina grant you a peaceful place in Her Afterlife, and may you reunite with the ones you have lost."
A gentle wind blew through the area, and a shimmer of light rose from the Ampharos, carried away by the wind, confirming my rite.
Now came the irritating part. I had to get this Ampharos all the way home, back up the hill to the cave. Ren had left, probably gone to find his own food or maybe he left to make sure he wouldn't ruin my hunt. Either way, he wasn't there to help, so I did my best to carry my prey myself.
I hadn't travelled far when I heard loud steps. Twigs snapping, leaves rustling, someone was making no effort to hide their presence, and that wasn't good. Maybe the Mightyena had failed his hunt and picked up on mine... I quickly hid the Ampharos between some tree roots, and hid myself in a thick bush close by, waiting for the intruder to pass. If I had to give up my hunt, then so be it, but I needed to be safe so I could take care of my children.
The noises grew louder, but there was more than just steps. I could hear the crunching of leaves, but there was also the sound of leaves and dirt being pushed aside... then a voice.
"Come on, Serperior, someone else beat us to that Luxray, we need to find something else soon."
A human! A human Trainer had come here... and apparently hadn't been alone. The only Luxray he could have been talking about was Ren... Ren had been captured. It shouldn't have bothered me, he was nothing but an irritation to me, but still... he was gone... and I might be next if I wasn't careful. I stayed as still and quiet as I could, staring at him as he came into view. Please... please just walk past... or better yet go home, you don't belong here...
The Serperior accompanying him didn't seem too happy. He was complaining, though of course the Trainer didn't understand.
"That's nice for you. You had to pick the rockiest mountain to search for a Pokémon, and then took the most gravelly path up here, and expect me to be just fine crawling up here while you have your fancy hiking boots. Could've at least checked with me first, and put me in my Ball before dragging me through that torture. I don't know why I put up with you sometimes, I really don't."
I couldn't help but smile a little to myself, Trainers were so ignorant. But at the same time I felt sorry for the Grass-type. It really wasn't fair for him to have had to drag himself up here, I could only imagine the pain he had to go through.
The Trainer stopped and pulled some kind of device from his pocket. It wasn't anything I was familiar with from my past encounters with humans, but he pushed a few buttons on it and it sent out a loud ultrasonic pulse. It didn't bother the Trainer, but his Serperior flinched and I just couldn't bear it. I let slip a cry of pain from the noise, giving up my position.
"There! A Pokémon!" the Trainer called excitedly. "Serperior, Energy Ball!"
"Yeah, sure, whatever," the Serperior replied. "Just cause me more pain and order me around. Would it kill you to say 'please' from time to time?"
In spite of that, he obeyed. The sphere of energy was fired directly at my hiding place, and I was forced to jump out of the way and into the open.
"An Absol! Wow! Okay, Serperior, hang back for a moment." He pulled out a Nest Ball and threw it into the air. "Watchog! You're up!"
A Nest Ball was probably the most embarrassing thing to be captured in, and the Watchog definitely didn't seem too happy. Nonetheless he faced me and waited for a command. I wasn't going to wait, though, and turned away to run.
"Mean Look!" was the command, and the Watchog dashed in front of me to perform the move. His glare was piercing, locking me in and preventing me from escaping. My only chance now was to defeat this Trainer's entire team of Pokémon. I had to do it, for my children...
Starting off right on the offensive, I attacked the Watchog with the strongest Night Slash I could pull together. There was a flash of white light as my attack hit for critical damage, draining all of the opponent's energy in one strike. Although I was lucky, I somehow doubted that this Watchog was seriously used for anything other than his trapping move. I faced the Trainer and growled at him.
"He won't listen to you," the Serperior said to me. "He's stubborn like that."
The Trainer recalled his Watchog, and commanded Serperior into the battle.
Before he could issue an order, I attacked swiftly. Megahorn, an attack my parents had taught me a long time ago. It was fantastic against other Dark-type Pokémon, and in this case it would work well against the snake. It was a powerful hit and he cried out in pain, but was still strong enough to fight. His Trainer's confidence, however, took a blow and he immediately recalled the Serperior into his PokéBall, replacing him with Machoke, his third Pokémon.
Piece of cake. This is exactly why I learned Psycho Cut. I could keep a safe distance away from his punches and strike critically with ease without once coming in range of his attacks. Despite the Trainer's best efforts, he just couldn't get Machoke to come close enough to attack, and I was victorious again. Two down, one barely hanging on. Three to go, and I was tiring...
Next came Lucario. A Fighting-type again, but this time his additional Steel-type made my Psycho Cut less useful.
"Aurasphere!" came the command, the attack followed promptly. I jumped to the side, but there was no way I could avoid such an attack and it impacted strongly against me. I staggered and fell to the ground, and it was then that the Trainer let fly his PokéBall. Unable to dodge, I was dragged into the Ball.
Inside, I wasn't about to give up. It wasn't about physical strength here, which was good. It was all about mental strength, and I was not about to let my children lose me. Not now. With minimal effort, I burst out of the PokéBall, destroying the device in the process. I was back.
I knew I had to act fast, though. I would not endure a second Aurasphere, and I was certain that's what the Trainer would command for.
Me First, I thought to myself. I pulled energy from the Lucario and cast his own Aurasphere against him. It wasn't ideal, but it was my best option and I just hoped it would be powerful enough... It hit hard, and he fell to the ground, but... there was still fight in him, and he pushed himself back to his feet. He was readying his attack, but I could tell he was struggling. I only had one chance. I rushed in blindly with a Quick Attack. The impact with the tough canine stunned me for a moment, but to my relief it was just enough to knock him out.
The Trainer was not happy. I guess he was relying on his Fighting-types to bring me down, and they had both been defeated. But it only served to renew his determination to catch me. He sent out Serperior again, and immediately threw an Ultra Ball to me. Again inside the Ball, I could feel its power compelling me to stay. But no. I would not give up. I would not subject myself to this Trainer. He didn't care for his Pokémon as anything more than things to battle with, and I could not allow myself to be reduced to that. It was a struggle, but I managed to escape again.
The next command came: "Giga Drain!"
Serperior seemed to like that command, and was quick to prepare it. However, in his haste he neglected to take proper aim and I was able to evade the attack.
Predicting a second attempt, I repeated my last strategy. Me First allowed me to steal the Giga Drain attack, and absorb Serperior's remaining energy as my own. The good feeling from my victory was multiplied by the relief that the stolen power granted. I quickly recounted, I had now defeated four Pokémon, and I was feeling good now. I was fairly sure that he was running out of suitable Pokémon, and he might even be scared away from the fight. But no... he was just refusing to give up.
His next Pokémon was Espeon. Of all the stupid things he had done so far, this had to be the worst. She turned to glare at her Trainer.
"Seriously?" she asked. "Seriously, you want me to take on an Absol. Have you lost your mind?"
I didn't give them a chance. I had to act first. I dashed forwards and attacked with Night Slash. The flash of white happened again, and I smiled. Arceus must have been smiling on me, to grant me two critical strikes in such quick succession.
The Espeon yelped in pain as her energy drained near-instantly into the Dark swirls of power.
"You're an idiot..." she muttered to her Trainer before collapsing.
However, the Trainer was beyond caring. He let fly a Luxury Ball, and since I was facing away from him in the follow-through of my attack, I couldn't evade.
The Ball... it soothed me. Its calming energy was so welcoming. It was comfortable, so much so that I felt like I was a baby again and lying curled up in my mother's warmth during the cold months of winter... I closed my eyes and could see the memory clearly. I had been outside when the snow hit, and now I was inside, curled up tight, while my mother wrapped herself around me and groomed my fur to dry it of the snow and water. My father was there too, shaking himself clear of the snow.
"What a sudden storm," he commented. "You okay, Moonie?"
I uncurled a little and nodded, but I was still shivering.
"I'll get a fire going, so we can all warm up," he said.
With the fire crackling gently, I uncurled and basked in its warmth, purring softly. With my mother behind me and the fire in front, I was warm, comfortable and at peace. I closed my eyes and started drifting to sleep. It was so... so calm...
Then I heard a howl from outside. I didn't know what it meant, but my parents stiffened at the sound so I knew it was bad.
"Mightyena..." my father whispered.
He put out the fire and my mother ushered me up and to the back of the cave. "Stay here," she said. "Keep quiet and hidden."
I nodded and obeyed, huddling into the corner and using the darkness to conceal myself.
I heard growling, snarling, the most vicious noises imaginable... Howls, cries, and then a scream of pain. My mother's voice... I heard her, I wanted to run out and save her, but... I knew I would be no help. My father roared in anger and the fighting grew louder, more intense, but ultimately... he gave his own cry and fell.
Hours later, I finally uncurled and emerged from hiding. My parents weren't there, all that remained was a few tufts of their fur, and two trails of blood having been dragged out of the cave...
"No!" I cried, dragging myself to the present and erupting from the Luxury Ball. "I will not fail my children!" I shouted, and in my rage I cast my Psycho Cut at the Trainer himself. Normally we never attack humans, as they are far weaker and less capable of enduring our attacks, but right now I didn't care. I could only see red, as I struck again and ran forwards with Night Slash. I hit his leg and he collapsed. He desperately called out his final Pokémon, a Pidgey. It distracted me for a few seconds as I attacked his Pokémon instead, making short work of the bird before I faced him again.
Oh Arceus... help me...
He was standing again, and in his hand... a Master Ball. The bane of our existence. But I had won the battle, I was free from the Mean Look. I curbed my rage and turned to flee. All I had to do was put something between me and him, and I would be safe...
No such luck... I had jumped to hide behind a tree, but as I was in mid-air I felt the Ball strike my side.
I struggled. I fought. I unleashed my rage, putting all of my energy into resisting. But there was nothing I could do. No ordinary Pokémon had ever escaped from a Master Ball. And I wasn't about to be the first, no matter how much I tried. Escaping from a Master Ball was something even Arceus had trouble with, but He at least could rearrange the universe and break the rules to free Himself. Please, Arceus... don't let him take me... My mate had been taken from us just three days after my children had been born, and already he rested on Mt. Pyre after his abusive Trainer worked him too hard. My children... They're alone, waiting for me to return... and if I am caught, I never will... They're too young, Arceus, I need your help... Please... Please...