Death, violence, British swearing, Non-British swearing
A cold wind blew down the main street of the lonesome town, carrying tumbleweeds with it. To the sides of the road, pokémon were crouching behind barrels or nervously peering out of storefront windows. Two figures stood across from each other underneath the high sun. One of them was a braixen wearing a black ten-gallon hat and cowboy boots. The other was a grookey, naked.
“So you’re finally here. Guess you’re not as much of a lily-livered coward as I thought.” The braixen’s whole body was tensed, his eyes narrowed.
“Ook Ook Ack?” Grookey replied.
Braixen scoffed and spat into the dirt. “You know damn well why there can’t be any peace between us! This franchise just ain’t big enough for two adorable starter pokémon with sticks stuck in their fur.”
“Eeek, eek, eek? Ook ack ook!”
“No, I ain’t gonna agree to switch off who has the stick every other Tuesday! There’s only one way this can end, and it ain’t with both of us leaving this town alive.”
“Eek, ooo, oooh...” Grookey said, dejected.
“So it’s settled. On the count of three,” Braixen said. Grookey nodded.
“One.” The quiet murmuring of all the gathered pokémon watching the pair came to end. There was no sound save that of the whistling wind.
“Two.” Nothing else seemed to exist in the world to Braixen except himself and Grookey. His breath stilled and his heart quickened.
“Three – draw!” With the speed of a striking viper, Braixen reached behind him and whipped a stick out of his tail, aiming at Grookey’s heart. Grookey also reached behind himself, and began to slowly scratch his butt. The tip of Braixen’s stick ignited, and the flame quickly grew to the size of a cannonball. With a cry of rage, he willed the fire forwar-
A steel anvil labeled ‘DEXIT’ plummeted from the sky and crushed Braixen to death.
The Team Yell Way
Megan made a quick survey of her appearance. Purple hair? Check. Hot pink leggings, ripped in just the right places? Check. Striped armbands? Check. Satisfied, she grabbed her vuvuzela and stomped downstairs, bee-lining for the front door.
“Bye mum I’m headed to see Marnie’s next match with some friends be back by-”
“Not wearing that outfit, you aren’t!” her mother called back immediately, dashing any hopes of a quick egress. Megan produced an irritated huff and turned to face her.
“Look, mum, I’m seventeen now. I can choose what I want to wear for myself, okay?”
“It’s forty degrees out and I can see your bellybutton! Don’t you have any common sense? And that facepaint makes you look like- like some sort of gang member! Do you want people thinking you’re in a gang, now? What if one of your teachers saw you like that?”
Megan’s eyes nearly rolled out of their sockets. “It’s a pokémon battle, mum, not – not something boring! None of my teachers are going to be there! And it’s not forty degrees out and I’m taking my jacket anyways.”
“And I notice you’re also taking that horrid noisemaker with you! Everyone who’s there - potential employers, maybe, not like you’ve ever shown any interest in getting an actual job in this town - is going to notice you as soon as you start making that awful screeching sound, and if the outfit didn’t make them think you’re a complete hooligan, then-”
“It’s called a vuvuzela, mother, and it’s a perfectly legitimate way to express-” Megan stopped short as she caught a glance of the instrument, and her eyes widened. “Bloody hell, you’re actually right!” she cried. How could she have even thought of going out to the game with that thing? Embarrassed, she turned around and stampeded back up the stairs to her room.
Bewildered and caught off guard, her mother’s call of “-don’t use that language in this household-” came too late to reach her by the time Megan slammed her door shut. She frantically opened drawer after drawer before finally finding what she was looking for. Whew, that was a close one, she thought, hastily making the needed adjustments. She could’ve ended up being a complete laughingstock! After all, what self-respecting member of Team Yell carried a vuvuzela without any spiky armbands wrapped around it?
A large crowd of blue-robed individuals gathered in an auditorium deep beneath the ground, murmuring excitedly amongst each other. Before them was a stage upon which stood a massive glass tube filled with strange blue liquid. It was almost opaque, but one could just barely make out the form of a living creature within, slowly beginning to stir. As a man in purple robes walked up to a podium on the stage carrying a microphone, the noise of the gathered audience grew louder.
“Brethren and sisters! Our long-awaited triumph is almost at hand!” he announced, prompting cheers from the assembled crowd. “For too long, we’ve had to endure the vile reign of the electric vermin called ‘Pikachu’ - infesting every corner of every region with its foul spawn, stamping its accursed image on every form of merchandise imaginable, and stealing the spotlight from the truly worthy pokémon!”
“DEATH TO THE PIKACHU! DEATH TO THE PIKA-CLONES!” the crowd chanted, waving signs and banners depicting a red cross drawn over a stylized pikachu face.
“But at last, the hour of our vengeance is nigh! We have created an instrument of destruction that will wipe their unholy race off the face of the Earth!” the man continued, as the blue liquid began to slowly drain from the tube beside him. “Thousands of hours of genetic engineering and the fervor of our scientists have created a beast beyond any compare, an avatar of righteous wrath! A veritable god of triumph and power given mortal flesh!” he yelled, shouting to be audible over the cheers and ecstatic screams of the cultists below.
Steam billowed out of the glass cylinder as it began to slide open, the fluid having emptied. A vague figure could be made out slowly striding forth from the obscuring cloud.
“Ladies and gentle-cultists, I give you… CRAMORANT!” A two-and-a-half-foot-tall bird with blue and white feathers waddled onto the stage, glancing around with a distinct look of confusion.
“Bawk!” it said.
The mania of the crowd suddenly came to a crashing halt, replaced by a moment of stunned silence fading into a pall of confused muttering. This didn’t seem to be the reaction the purple-robed figure expected, and he swallowed audibly before continuing. “Er, as you can see, every aspect of this creature has been optimized for the efficient destruction of our enemy! Note the webbed feet and broad wings, designed to allow movement through any environment to pursue its prey! Look at the large green eyes, connected to a visual cortex with heightened sensitivity to all scurrying yellow forms! Observe the massive, vicious beak that can open wide enough to swallow any pikachu or pikaclone - with the possible exception of the unfortunately rotund togedemaru, although we’re planning on fixing that in a post-launch gene patch to be delivered by-”
“Is that a flying-water type?” someone in the audience called out.
The head-cultist glared down at the interrupting voice. “Yes, as it so happens, it is, although of course we must consider that type-advantages are far from everything in combat! Intelligence is the true determining factor in a battle, and Cramorant is a sly and clever beast, a master of strategy and tactics that can-”
“Bawk!” Cramorant blurted, and lunged at the presenter, seizing his microphone with its beak and wresting it from his grip.
“H-hey! Give that back!”
“B-urk! Uuurk! Uuurk!” The bird made strangled choking noises as it tried unsuccessfully to swallow the microphone, then stumbled around the stage before slamming into the glass tube and falling to the floor. The dissatisfied mutterings of the audience grew louder.
“We paid five-thousand pokedollars in monthly fees for this?” a heckler yelled.
“That thing couldn’t kill a baby pichu! My magikarp would have a better chance of exterminating the pikachu race!” another voice cried.
Gradually, all the cultists began to stand up and filter out of the room, scowling and griping all the way.
“W-wait! Come back! You haven’t even seen its strongest ability yet, the dreaded gulp mis- OW!” the presenter said as Cramorant forcefully expelled the microphone at his forehead with a burst of water.
“No Petey, spit that out! Out!” Ellie called as her cramorant choked on a pikachu, the electric mouse’s back legs wriggling wildly. Eventually, the bird spat out the pokémon and then turned to stare at their trainer’s feet, appearing vaguely guilty.
“I swear, it’s like fifty percent of the time they try to swallow something, it’s a pikachu. You’d think natural selection would’ve taken care of that by now,” Lewis, Ellie’s traveling companion, said.
“Yeah, it is pretty weird. It’s almost like they have a genetically-programmed instinct for going after the things. Maybe there was some sort of fat yellow fish with brown stripes in their natural environment, wherever that was.” No-one knew for sure where exactly cramorant had come from – it just seemed to have turned up in the wild one day, and researchers could only assume it had been smuggled into Galar from some unheard-of island far across the world.
Lewis shrugged. “Yeah, maybe. I guess we’ll never really know.”
“Bawk!” said the cramorant.
More stories coming soon!