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Altareon made by Bluwiikoon <3
  1. marowak-alola
  2. ho-oh
This was written for the 2020 summer one-shot contest hosted over at Bulbagarden. Any comments are welcome and appreciated! <3
character death, addiction (gambling), depictions of war


A gnarled gob of sludge lurched in the water.

Harrah stared, ignoring the stray droplet that splattered onto her face. It rolled halfway down her acrylic body and sizzled away. The porygon’s heal ball could still handle a little poison—thankfully so, because this just wasn’t a moment she could stand to botch up. What design the sludge molded into, the client-side data points that would guide its behavior, the software required to give it a unique voice, a mind with which to think and answer her many questions… All of it was her responsibility. And she already had the most foolproof blueprint mapped out in her coding, ready for transfer.

She supplied the sludge a lofty height of six feet even and a mole with a diameter of one inch just five centimeters under his left eye. One hundred thousand black hair follicles swept in a fringe style, a snub nose with a slight lean on the left side of his face, and broad ears reminiscent of his mother’s. His skin remained a thick layer of mauve-hued poison, courtesy of Harrah channeling the energy needed for her signature moves.

Finally, she prepared one final, vital touch on her trainer. His eyes, round like almonds. Hazel-colored like the roasted chesto berries he’d top vanilla sundaes with. He’d always reward himself with one if there was good cause for celebration.

No celebration was in sight now—only her sorrow, her confusion, impossible to ignore.

Harrah had scanned her trainer and filed him in her storage unit at Saffron’s Silph Co. headquarters, back when… back when. She didn’t have an internal clock installed, only an obscure understanding of the human construct known as time. But it was where a white coat plastered a sheet of wire gauze on her underbelly and assessed her resistance to fire. Once the white coat discovered her melting point, the white coat asked if she was resistant to water, too. And on and on, until there were no more substances to expose her to.

These details had lain dormant in her storage unit ever since her heal ball had become her permanent tower. She’d been unwilling to free up space, free herself from the knowledge of the world she’d glimpsed before. She simply chose not to run the programs containing these memories and wandered vaguely in her pokéball, a manmade cyberspace.

The gnarled gob of sludge wasn’t solidifying fast enough for Harrah, who had had too many questions for too long already. Were her signature moves really that special? Was type changing in pokémon a rarity, and if yes, why did his face turn so red when he’d been told about the glitch in her storage unit? Why did he desert her in a pokéball? Why didn’t he just fix her? Won’t he release her so they can figure out a solution together?

Poison. She thought she’d chosen poison to form her trainer because it was the only substance his hometown of Celadon had to offer. But her reality was evershifting. She could breathe life back into the cherry blossom trees lining the main streets or in the razed entertainment district. She could save the sewage system from pollution and harness the power of clean water, although its amorphous nature would sap much of her energy.

Still, poison-types were her trainer’s speciality until she joined the team, and her mind worked with strict categories, concept hierarchies. Inevitably, POISON and TRAINER were linked ideas. So were CREATE and DISCARD. She needed to hold her trainer’s phony form but for a brief time.

Once Harrah could manage it, she endowed the mold of her trainer with the sentience needed to understand her plight. Finally, finally, she activated her audio output device and prepared to speak. Her voice would’ve sounded robotic but with a tinge of humanness, had it gotten the chance.

The sludge collapsed back into a gnarled gob.


Harrah’s trainer’s almond-shaped eyes were ruined. In their place were mere beads that wouldn’t stop staring at her. The sludge’s newfound gaping mouth was no better, mocking the failure to reconcile with her new life—whatever life meant for an artificial machine trapped in another artificial machine.

After all her mental and physical preparations, the intense focus and power she’d channeled, Harrah was drained. The memories of her trainer lingered. She hadn’t the will to delete this farce of a grimer that now breached her artificial world, either. He wasn’t real and, without permission, he couldn’t reach her. But he followed her.

The Malachite district in Celadon City was one of the few places in Kanto to boast of skyscrapers, built after the land withstood earthquakes caused by a colony of onix and was deemed seismically stable. Harrah floated, weaving in and out of every skyscraper window and door, some still locked tight. Grimer trailed not far behind. Sludge oozed from his mouth, his hands, the base of his body. It dripped onto important business papers and distorted the ink—a small, coded decoration that Harrah didn’t want to decipher anyway. It melted machines made to mass produce pokéballs, powerups, medicine, type-infused shards and stones and orbs. Harrah had to look away. She would take the small steps to fix Grimer’s destruction and uncorrupt her world, but later. Right now she didn’t want to understand the potency of his poison, nor her failure.

Harrah only wanted to determine where Grimer wouldn’t follow her. Where did she want to exist in peace, without altering her code drastically to get rid of him? She led him to the entertainment district which, down to the finest of details, depicted how the Feldgrau district was razed during the recent border war with the other Tohjoic region, Johto. Vermillion gym leader and army lieutenant Surge had been deployed overseas to America, bringing with him much of Kanto’s troops, pokémon, and resources for battle. Naturally, Johto had used this opportunity and its collective anger to prove its superiority.

So Feldgrau was known for its fun and tourist attractions no more. Johto’s steel-, fire-, and rock-types had crushed the infrastructure of every building beyond repair. The district’s normal, lively crowds were now reduced to scattered body parts and somber quiet, the doors of Tohjo’s travel agency were splintered and its roof collapsed. The casino, which particularly stood out to Harrah because her trainer often visited table games and basement meetings until sunrise, was a glittery mess of bright colors and mottled piles of ash. All she could register here was GLASS and DETRITUS and BLOOD.

Harrah again preferred to pretend that she couldn’t revitalize the district. Johto’s electric-types had infused all debris with currents that, when touched, could paralyze experienced pokemon for hours. Surely this effect extended even into cyberspace, if she commanded it to continue simulating real life. Her programming allowed flexibility, of course, but overloading her system wasn’t recommended.

Besides, Grimer seemed most at home here in Feldgrau. There was an abundance of garbage to eat and ponds polluted long before the war. A thick layer of smog wrapped around the wreckage, with some clouds hovering far above. Grimer floated away from Harrah and twirled in the sky, elated. This was what Harrah wanted—to free herself without resorting to drastic, energy-consuming methods.

“You,” she started, surprised by the rustiness of her voice generator, “should stay.”

Grimer stopped in midair. He stared at her, his beady eyes uncomprehending. Although Harrah hadn’t the knowledge to endow him with an anatomically correct set of vocal cords, she could command him to speak.

“Poison,” he said immediately. His voice crackled, its tone monotonous like that of a robot’s. It transformed to sound true to her trainer as he went on. “Pollutants everywhere. Herbicides, insecticides. We cannot provide Celadon’s horticultural district with all it needs. Low quality water. Beauty makeup. Flushed pharmaceutical drugs. Excess ammonia used in food processing. Construction runoffs and silt and—”

“You should stay,” Harrah said again, then gave Grimer a voice of his own—lighter, difficult to take seriously.

“Stay,” he said.

“Yes. You should stay.”

“Stay.” As if he were commanding her instead, he repeated the word over and over. Multiple, identical voices emerged from the surrounding smog. Sludge leaked from the grimer’s body and sputtered on the asphalt below, louder than thunder.

“Poison,” Harrah agreed. She powered down her system and invited nothingness.


Harrah could use her signature moves, once. The fluid movements when harnessing water energy, the new found appreciation for nature when she adopted the grass type, the ironclad confidence of steel and surreal paranoia as a ghost…

She remembered with feeling.

Celadon City’s casino, Harrah’s namesake, was overloaded with flashing neon colors and backlit slot machines skilled at mesmerizing any human’s eyes. The patterned carpets were less bright but equally colorful. No matter where she was with her trainer, she felt lost, as if navigating a maze. But she was forbidden to leave his side because she was his good luck charm. While he smoked his packs of cigars and donned his poker face long enough to permanently reshape his cheekbones, she stood by and withstood the uneasy stares of the other players. Onlookers tried to pay attention to the actual game, but often she attracted their gaze, along with accusations of cheating. Undeterred, Harrah glimpsed through the dome security cameras installed in the high ceilings to cure her boredom and curiosity. Every table was usually full except for her trainer’s.

In his basement bedroom was a safe even his teammates didn’t know about. And in his head were tricks he used to play the system and increase his odds of winning whenever possible, which he only shared with trustworthy, high ranking teammates. Harrah was, to him, second-in-command next to himself and thus deserved to hear of his plans before he set them in motion. He always jingled his pocket change, dim rubies and crystals that had been passed between dozens of hands in a single night, as he explained himself step by step. Occasionally he let his vulnerability show and jingled a bag of amulet coins, which became worthless once the meowth line was held in captivity to mass-produce them. But for the superstitious gambler, they were good luck. Either way, her trainer was always true to his word. Harrah watched his plans unfold in proper order and—unlike her movements—without glitches.

One night, he knew that Boss would be around and brought with him a modest seventy-five sapphires. Harrah never learned Boss’s real name, only that her trainer didn’t want him to know that the twenty percent of his earnings he owed monthly was much more than he forked over. Boss left the bookkeeping to his henchmen, but her trainer paid them to tamper with those, too, just in case Boss got bored on a rainy day or was suspicious enough to do an audit. He saw her trainer make three hundred emeralds in three shots at the craps table and then walked away without a crack in his stony face.

Harrah was released from her pokéball at sunrise so that her trainer could tell her, “Tomorrow night I’ll win playing on the hard four,” which he hadn’t relayed to her before bedtime. “We’ll get up early to switch the loaded dice in,” he added quickly. How long had he been lying there, thinking? Harrah herself rested easy afterward, replaying her trainer’s words so that they resounded all throughout her makeshift Celadon City. The enthusiasm in his voice was soothing and she wanted others to share their joy, even if the others in her world were simulations and she had to work harder to animate them all simultaneously.

She got her wish when he won another seven hundred emeralds the next night by playing the hard four at the craps table—as he’d promised. People clapped him on the back and gave him their widest grins. After some small talk their demeanor changed and they walked away, tired of waiting for him to gift them a handful of emeralds or offer to buy drinks, which he rarely did. One man made a plea directly, but his reason for asking was drowned out by the wailing of a nearby slot machine. Her trainer’s dispersed crowd gathered around the new winner, cheering and wishing their own luck would pick up soon.

Harrah’s prism feet began to spin. The symphony of human sounds rattled her system daily, but rarely did anyone win enough to cause a scene because slot machines could not be rigged as easily. She was overwhelmed by the raucousness of the machine and its barrage of dazzling lights. A spark of electrical energy surged in her, followed by another spark, and another—until her body adapted to the type and needed to discharge. Her feet spun and spun and crackled. She didn’t realize what was happening until the power had already burst. People’s gasps and moans of disappointment were the only sounds to reach her senses. All else was blissful quiet. In the dark she could see her trainer, given how close they stuck together, but she could not make out his reaction.

The electricians were under pressure in situations like these. They struggled to determine whether an electric-type specialist was needed. Harrah’s trainer recalled her lest someone try something funny under his nose, fully aware that she was the cause of his night being cut short. He didn’t release her again until he was settled in at the Vanilluxe Deluxe, an ice cream shop that got enough business to operate even until Feldgrau’s bars closed at two in the morning.

Harrah didn’t need to eat, and her trainer didn’t bother to ask out of politeness anymore. For himself he bought a vanilla sundae with roasted chesto berries, then sat in an empty corner of the shop. The table had more chairs than they needed, even with Harrah’s body floating over two and her trainer’s legs outstretched across three total. He ate slowly. He was too preoccupied to care when bits of melted vanilla threatened to spill out of his bowl. After glancing at her a few times, his eyes unreadable, he pushed his bowl over to her.

The harsh hum of a blender started. “Try a bite,” he said once it was gone. “Don’t you ever wonder?”

In fact, Harrah had wondered what consuming food was like, but not for curiosity’s sake. She only wanted the knowledge in case it could help her help her trainer in the future. Still she lingered, lacking the proper limbs and mouth necessary to accept his offer.

“Mm,” he said. “A stupid idea. But I feel bad, devouring all kinds of good stuff in front of you day after day, you know?”

That, Harrah didn’t know. Whenever they were alone, he donned his poker face—except when he’d finalized his plans and was ready to share them. It was as if he believed that he was being analyzed nonstop—a paranoia with truth to it, in part, although Harrah’s programming was indifferent to human emotion and many of his nuances were lost on her.

She floated on, the bottom of her prism feet lightly brushing against the diner chairs’ upholstery leather.

“Okay,” her trainer said, shrugging. “Have it your way.”

Harrah wasn’t prepared when he brought the next spoonful to her face, toward where a mouth would be if she were a real pokémon. In an instant her acrylic body felt a numbing cold and then a burning hotness. Her trainer recoiled and cursed under his breath. He gestured that they should leave, and Harrah briefly saw scorch marks on the chairs she’d been using.

Silence enveloped them for the rest of the night. More confused than ever, Harrah tried to practice her signature moves, from electric-type to fire-type and back again. But her trainer put a stop to that quickly with her pokéball.

He took her to a doctor she’d seen before, who also lived in the basement but in a separate hall, the very next day.


Without knowing why, Harrah transferred these memories to Grimer. He watched them unfold, unflinchingly, not seeming to recognize them at any point. How could he not remember himself? Harrah wondered, and concluded that her experiment failed so badly that she didn’t create a shadow of her trainer, but a separate entity capable of its own identity and maybe even memories to be summoned.

She allowed Grimer to access his own storage unit and speak. But it was empty and nothing happened. Then she allowed him to access his computer memory, more appropriate for recalling in the short-term. Rather than speaking, Grimer shared several files with her and she reluctantly opened them. From his point of view she saw Celadon’s horticultural district, Castleton, home to an uncountable amount of native plants and the Dartmouth National Forest. Wild mushrooms bloomed on the bark of hackberry trees lining the boulevard leading to the ranger station, where people could pick up pamphlets and rent fishing boats for the day. Bursts of blue hydrangeas surrounded a water fountain that Harrah had stopped the flow of long ago, to preserve her energy for more practical matters. She reactivated it sometimes, for distraction’s sake, but most of Dartmouth’s appeal came from the largely untouched wildlife areas. There, she could practice being a real pokémon for whenever she returned to the real world.

What Grimer seemed to relish in was the crunching of pine needles and fallen twigs beneath him, and following trails of footprints leading to free food sources or deadends. He didn’t need to eat, either, but his species was known for inhaling anything edible in sight, and he apparently had to live up to that expectation.

Grimer’s next memory brought her down Cycling Road, with a shuttle bus running parallel to it for those uninterested in the sport or needing to commute to Fuchsia in business clothes. Celadon’s gym leader, Erika, had helped design what was beautiful in the city, and she put no less effort into its outskirts. Her own grass-types, along with those belonging to her gym trainers, had planted and nurtured topiary trees all along the road. From depictions of battles in-progress but frozen in time to dedications to foreign pokémon that would appeal to all tourists, there was no chance for anyone to enter or leave Celadon without a sense of awe.

Not that Harrah would ever leave Celadon and risk losing what was worth keeping. The last quarter of Cycling Road was actually unknown to Harrah, but, if untouched by the war as every district but Feldgrau was, she couldn’t imagine it to be anything less than beautiful. And as for Grimer, well, he could leave or stay. He couldn’t fully appreciate all that Harrah had gifted him, and no doubt the appeal of any place in Kanto would go unrecognized. If he stayed, he could clear the muck that Harrah was afraid to face. But if he left willingly, she could grasp onto some peace of mind once more.

Her ambivalence left her paralyzed. She’d never become an electric- or fire-type again—if she could help it, anyway—lest she overwhelmed her makeshift world, or the inner workings of her pokéball, and ruined the possibility of being released by her trainer once more. Until then she had to think before she initiated even the smallest of actions.

Grimer stood in front of her now. In Feldgrau. In a pile of rubble, obscured by morning fog. The truth was, he had never been to Castleton, and Harrah didn’t intend to waste effort on remedying that. If he wished his memories to be whole, he would have to bridge the gap alone.

“Why are you here still?”

Harrah thought that she had asked the question, but her audio output device was deactivated. But neither could she recall reactivating Grimer’s.

“You are still here,” he said after a moment. “Why?”

Harrah felt compelled to reply and prepared herself to do so. “Here?” she said.

Grimer nodded and motioned to nowhere in particular. Harrah’s body recoiled. Had he ever made gestures before? When had she given him permission to do anything so frivolous?

“I will not go to Fuchsia,” she said. “I will not leave Celadon.”

But Grimer shook his head, showing that she’d misread his intentions. He made another sweeping gesture that set Harrah’s nerves on edge.

“My heal ball?” she asked, and he nodded. “I cannot leave unless my trainer releases me.”

“Why are you here still?”

“I have to heal. I am destructive with the glitch in my system.”

“Why are you here still?”

“My trainer is waiting for me to heal. I am waiting to be healed. To be like a real pokémon,” Harrah said. Her distress evolved into a flicker of hope. “You are supposed to be my trainer. Will you release me?”

A knifelike silence followed. Around them were reminders that not everything about Celadon was lovely: Double entry doors and their broken hinges, loose wires frayed at the ends, jagged shards of broken windows… At this point, Harrah aimed to drill away the fantastical feel of her fantasy world for Grimer and let him make realistic decisions. She’d failed in recreating her trainer, but none of her past attempts had at least succeeded in giving birth to a separate being. Fascinated both by herself and Grimer, she waited for an answer.

“I am waiting, too,” he said, with no indication that he’d heard her question at all.


The two fell into a routine of sorts. Harrah stopped fiddling with the finer details of Celadon so that Grimer could memorize them and navigate the districts alone. Even changing the amount of cars hogging the street, and the stoplight colors, sent Grimer into a frenzy. He questioned where he was several times over and begged Harrah not to drop him into another maze. So she only created small things for the sake of entertainment—graffiti wall murals and spinning roulette tables being among her favorites—and then threw them in the trash bin.

Otherwise, Harrah rested and waited. Whenever she scanned her body to determine if she was ready to test her signature moves, she saw no difference in her diagnostics. The result was the same whether or not she powered down her system for stretches of time, which Grimer didn’t notice. She’d interrupt his scavenging in Feldgrau so that he’d be distracted by all the garbage once she was booted back up and he regained awareness of his surroundings.

Physically passing through Feldgrau herself was an exhausting chore unless Grimer was already halfway covered in debris. If not, he’d accost her and ask that foul question again: Why was she still here? Her immediate thought was always to ask why he was still here, too. But they both knew the answer to that, or else the question would’ve been part of his meager repertoire.

Perhaps Grimer did ask himself that, however. Harrah had altered her own coding, to officially detach herself from his actions and speech—which proved to be yet another mistake when he approached her with an unauthorized item.

Though she’d never seen an Up-Grade before, she recognized the circular disk immediately. It was protected by a glass case free of cracks and dust and smudges. Grimer’s slimy hands left no residue, defying physics. Overall, he had a talent for breaking rules that real pokémon couldn’t get away with. Harrah would’ve been impressed if it wasn’t her fault, or if he could release them both from the heal ball and separate his existence from hers.

“Where?” Harrah asked. This time, she had all the questions and would fabricate all the answers, if needed, just to have some.

Grimer’s beady eyes darted around, as if to suggest that the item emerged from the rubble somewhere. Then, gasping softly, his gaze settled on Harrah. “Wait. Where are you?” he said. “Have you connected to the storage system yet?”

Immediately Harrah mimicked the gasp. It was a sound she could not make naturally, without replaying a recording of what she’d heard seconds before. This she did as if on instinct. The storage system was another manmade invention—one more useful and hardy than herself. A plethora of research and ensuing debates had led to an upgrade that allowed pokémon to communicate with each other in their pokéballs.

In essence, Harrah could travel to other makeshift worlds and ameliorate the loneliness of her trainer’s abandonment. But she wasn’t convinced that she deserved that ability as an unreal pokémon, nor could she accept that her trainer had, in fact, left her here to both live and die. She had never seen him give up on anything before exhausting all possible ways to beat the odds. Besides, the repairs and upkeep needed to form friendships with other pokémon would surely slow down her healing—or test it, if she lost control in the midst of a visit.

Harrah wasn’t about to outline these details for Grimer. She hadn’t given him permission to access any files related to the storage system in the first place. Not that her permission mattered anymore, but she didn’t think him this bold. Staring at the rubble, she wondered what other miracles from there might trespass into her world. Ground-type energy welled up in her until she worried that she might cause an earthquake and bury Celadon entirely.

So quick did she have all the questions and none of the answers. And so quick did her previous hope in Grimer burst.

“Please,” she said, not bothering to adjust her voice to how it usually sounded. “Please help me. Get me out of here. My heal ball is not healing me,” she admitted. “Only my trainer can do that, and you.”

Grimer held out the Up-Grade. “Here,” he said, unperturbed by her sudden desperation.

“I cannot,” she said, “until I am healed. What if I lose control completely?” She didn’t mention that evolving might grant her unwanted side effects, like more capacity for feeling or a larger storage unit with which to remember her trainer.

“It is not about control. It never was,” he said. “You will see.”

“It hurts to think that I am nothing to you anymore,” she said, voice distorted. “Do you not hear me?”

“Without you I am lonely. But I am not afraid of what will happen to me when you are gone. Do not miss me too much, okay?”

“Too late, too late.”

“I am data. Please do not make me lie to you.”

“Too late, too late.”

“Take this,” he said, offering the Up-Grade again. “This is real, you are real, and I am not. You will see.” He paused. “But I have enjoyed our real enough time together.”

“Just get me out of here,” she continued pleading, “and I will do my very best for you.”

“You already have. Do not ask the impossible of me.”

“Please. I cannot save myself.” Her voice reverberated into the distance.

“You can,” he said. “You will. Up-Grade.”

Grimer’s promises, truly, were reminiscent of the plans that her trainer elaborated for her the night before executing them. Only for this reason did she hold the Up-Grade, although her trust in him was still tenuous at best—the kind one grasps onto because no other options are available and nowhere else in the infinite world can provide another.

Harrah’s view of Grimer blurred. Pixels at the top of his head looked misplaced as she felt the edges of her body round out. She felt polished and smooth, cleansed, and was momentarily awed by the sun glinting off of her, until her enhanced storage unit was functional and confronted her in full force.

Having no choice, she remembered with feeling.


“You are still here. Why?”

Grimer peered up from the greasy-looking puddle he was submerged in. Some flattened, water-stained crates lay nearby. They had once contained wine served at the demolished five-star restaurant strewn about. Its foundation of black bricks had smothered everything fallen not long ago, but now, piles of them circled the remaining debris. Grimer had spent a long time moving them and was currently taking a break from digging. Harrah had not understood what he was searching for, besides junk to pretend to eat, until she’d evolved.

“We both know why,” Grimer said. “I am waiting. You must let me go.”

Indeed, they were on the same wavelength for the first time since she’d created him. It was sheer playfulness that made her steal the question that he’d previously tortured her with. Besides, visiting Feldgrau was an even bigger struggle now, so she had to mask the pain somehow.

“I thought little of the war before,” she said. “It took everything from me.”

“He is not going to release you,” Grimer said.

“And neither are you.”

“No. I cannot save you. But I did the best I could to show you. He is not coming back because he cannot come back.”

“I see now. Thank you.”

Silence enveloped them. Though her grief was immense, Harrah couldn’t deny her relief at not being abandoned. The last night she saw her trainer, he’d released her in the middle of what seemed like an earthquake. Muffled chaos could be heard above the basement bedroom. He wanted her to check out what was going on outside with her, but then recalled her instead.

“Never mind,” he’d said. “You need to heal, and it sounds bad up there. Rest here, and I’ll be back.”

If he’d had any other plans in mind, as he always did, Harrah wasn’t told them. The future at that point was wide open. For her, it still was. All because he’d left her pokéball underground, safe from the raging battle that had suffocated Feldgrau and stolen away her trainer from. Harrah wondered how true to the damage her makeshift district was, and if Celadon as a whole was actually marred. Perhaps one day she would know, but she was no longer in a hurry to escape from where she was. Nor did she believe that her glitch made her unreal anymore.

“Celadon really is a pretty city,” Grimer said.

“Yes, it is. I will miss it.”

“You will?” He stared at her. “I am sorry.”

“You are sorry, but I am healing,” she said. “Poison, please.”

He looked away, perhaps wishing that he didn’t understand what was being asked of him. “That is a viable request,” he admitted.

“I am ready to properly rest and heal. To try and fix my glitch.”

“You may not survive.”

“I know. But you have been digging for my pokéball all this time, have you not?”

Grimer confirmed her suspicions as he crept out of the puddle and slinked over to the rubble. It was untouched for miles and miles yet, but he knew, and she knew, that the effort was futile.

“I am sorry. I cannot find it,” he said.

“Someone in Celadon, the real Celadon, may find it and release me. If they do, I must be ready.”

“You may not survive,” he repeated.

Harrah could not be deterred. “Poison, please,” she repeated.

Together they channeled their separate types of energy, poison for Grimer and steel for Harrah because of its resistant properties. The latter naturally expended more effort but had no reservations about doing so. When he was at his most potent, Grimer approached and laid a hand on Harrah’s shoulder, then allowed the slime on his arm to slide onto her body. Gob after gob after gob, until she was effectively poisoned.

Before long, Harrah surprisingly felt lighter, less burdened. “It does not hurt,” she said to reassure Grimer, though he showed no sign of holding back.

“I hope I will see you again,” he said, keeping his hand in place.

“Yes, goodbye just for now.” Her voice was quieter than she’d meant it to be. It was becoming harder to link her senses with her surroundings because of the poison.


But she had no regrets anymore. She had not failed after all.

Poison. A little more and nothingness would follow. Perhaps someday nothing would evolve into everything. Until then she would be in the basement bedroom, confined in her pokéball, resting and waiting.

Harrah closed her eyes and powered down her system for good.
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