I came up with this alternate re-telling of PMD: Explorers at the risk of seeming like I'm recycling ideas, because I couldn't let it go. This time, it'll be more focused on the main story. There are heavy spoilers all throughout, and, even in the beginning, several key plot points in the game are implied. Spoiler warnings: if you care, then make sure you've played the game first, or read my first fanfiction, "A New Life" (it's not the exact same, but it's close). Or, if you're one of those people who just don't give a hoot about spoilers, then the story's right here.

Chapter 1: The Stranger on the Shore

A storm raged above a small town in the world of Pokémon. Most were curious about it; there were almost never any storms. Most simply dismissed it as bad weather and tried to ignore it as they went to sleep for the night.

However, unknown to the residents of the town, there were two figures trying to weather this storm, one taller than the other. The taller one gritted his teeth; they had not expected to arrive in the middle of a thunderstorm. Of all the rotten luck!

However, the storm above the town was nothing compared to the storm that they were experiencing as they traveled. Trying to hold onto each other, after a particularly close blast of lightning, the shorter one's grip started slipping from the other's hand.

Turning his head, the latter yelled out, "No! Don't let go! Just a little longer… Come on! Hang on!"

Breathing heavily, the companion said, "N-n-no! I can't… hold on…!"

The taller one only had a moment to be confused at his partner's change in tone before he was swung around, with his partner's back facing a massive blast of energy that had been behind him before. Even though he was mostly shielded, he still felt the blast of energy past his partner's body.

He screamed out, and briefly registered his partner's grip slipping from around him before he too passed out.

The following day, on the shore of a beach near Treasure Town, a lone figure washed up on the shore. After a while, the figure started groaning and trying to wake up.

"Where am I…?" he murmured. What had happened? He remembered seeing a shadow, but he hadn't been able to see anything else before acting on instinct.

Trying to get up, he winced in pain and immediately fell to the ground, the action costing him the last bit of energy that he had. Shortly after he fell back to the ground, he passed out again.

As the sun set over Treasure Town, a lone Pokémon paced back and forth in front of an odd building that resembled the Pokémon, Wigglytuff. On each side of the building, there was a burning torch and a totem pole carved to represent various Pokémon. She glanced nervously at the building as she stopped pacing.

"Hmm…" The Eevee resumed her pacing for a bit before turning back to face the iron gate in the tent-like building. Her brow furrowed slightly in determination as she said, "No. I refuse to be paralyzed by this any longer! This is it. Today I'm going to be brave."

She moved towards the gate, but she stepped on a wooden grate on her way over and she yelped as a high-pitched voice shouted, "Pokémon detected! Pokémon detected!"

A lower voice shouted, "Whose footprint? Whose footprint?"

"The footprint is Eevee's! The footprint is Eevee's!"

The Eevee screamed as she jumped back off of the grate. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself before sighing and saying, "…I can't… I can't bring myself to go in. I vowed that I would do it today, but…"

She took a rock out of a small cloth sack at her side and held it in her paw. "I thought that holding on to my personal treasure would inspire me…" She put the rock back in the bag and sighed again, "…I just can't do it. I'm such a coward… This is so discouraging…"

Being plagued with negative thoughts, the Eevee turned away from the odd building and walked down the stairs of the cliff.

After she left, two Pokémon, a Koffing and a Zubat, came out of their hiding place behind one of the totem poles.

"Hey, Zubat. Did you get a load of that?"

"You bet I did, Koffing."

Koffing raised an eyebrow, "That little wimp that was pacing around… had something good, right?"

Zubat nodded, "That wimp had something, that's for sure. It looked like some kind of treasure."

"Do we go after it?" Koffing asked with a sideways glance.

"We do."

As the Eevee left the cliff, her feet carried her towards the beach by themselves. As she arrived, there were bubbles floating around in the air. She gave a happy sigh at the beautiful sight of the bubbles catching the setting sun's rays, making them appear rainbow. She had been hoping that the weather would be good enough after last night's storm for the Krabby to come out and blow the bubbles.

The calming experience was somewhat interrupted as she thought aloud, "This is where I always come when I'm feeling down on myself." Then the Eevee smiled, "But it makes me feel good to be here, like always. Coming here heals my spirits."

As her sight swept over the waves to take in all of the sight, she spotted something out of the corner of her eye. Something that shouldn't have been there; she had been there tons of times, she knew what was and wasn't supposed to be on the beach.

Moving closer to investigate, she shouted in surprise and started moving faster. There was somebody passed out on the shore!

"What happened?! Are you okay?"

The voice roused the castaway out of his unconscious state. After waking up, he sat up and held his head as he tried to shake off his fatigue. The instant he opened his eyes, he shut them again with a grunt. But then he froze. Were those ocean waves? Was that a sea breeze on his face? Forcing his eyes open, despite the light, he saw the sunset and the bubbles from the Krabby floating over the ocean waves.

The Pokémon next to him was speaking, but he paid her no mind. These were things that he had never known in his entire life. Seeing them now all at once practically made his mind go blank. After a short while staring at the scene before him, once his eyes had adjusted, he started registering the voice that was speaking to him.

"…re you okay? Why are you crying?"

Crying? He put a hand to his face and found the wetness, but when he ran his hand over his cheek, he felt a zapping sensation. Pulling his hand away, he was as surprised at the lack of pain as the actual act of getting shocked. Once he pulled his hand away, he noticed that it was much smaller than he remembered… And much more yellow.

He looked at the Pokémon next to him for the first time, an Eevee, and he was puzzled. Shouldn't he be towering over this Pokémon, not at about the same height? As he put two and two together, his eyes widened.

'Stay calm,' he thought. Pulling himself up, he found a puddle of seawater trapped in a shallow dip in the sand. He walked over methodically and looked at his reflection. It wasn't perfect, but he got the general outline and the message. He was no longer a human. He took a good look at his entire body; it would seem that he'd been turned into a Pikachu.

Taking a deep breath, he thought, 'Don't freak out.' He had always told his partner that panicking solved nothing, and now he would live by that advice. All it would achieve would be wasting time and energy that he could devote-

"Um, excuse me. You seem to be a bit shocked."

'Understatement of the century,' he thought before turning around. The Eevee was looking at him, a little concerned, "Do you have any idea how you ended up unconscious out here?"

He crossed his now smaller arms and thought about it before saying, "I don't remember." Technically true; he couldn't remember every detail about how he came to be here since he was passed out for most of it. He had a solid grasp on the important things, though. Who he was, his closest friends, his mission…

His thoughts darkened at that, 'This might be a kinder time, but it might not be so kind once they find out what we're doing here, my partner and I…'

The Eevee was unaware of the Pikachu's thoughts as she continued, "Well, I'm Martha. Happy to meet you! And who are you? I don't think I've seen you around before."

'Not very surprising considering where I came from.' He wasn't sure how much he could trust this Pokémon. Picking his words carefully, he said, "My name is Ian. I'm afraid that I can't remember who I am." He looked down as he continued, "Whatever knocked me out must've given me amnesia…"

Martha seemed to think for a moment before nodding, "Okay. Well, you don't seem to be a bad Pokémon, at least. More and more bad Pokémon have been turning up lately, you see. A lot of Pokémon have gotten aggressive lately. It's just not safe anymore."

After briefly marveling at the Eevee's readily given trust, Ian's thoughts took a dark turn. 'So it's already started… I feel bad for giving a fake name to this random Pokémon, she seems real nice, after all, but this just shows that I need to get moving, regardless of my state and find-' Noticing something rushing up behind Martha, Ian was about to say something to warn her, but she was knocked from behind and into him. Something fell out of a bag at her side.

Koffing said, "Well, I do beg your pardon."

Martha growled and turned around, yelling, "Hey! Why'd you do that?!"

"Heh-heh-heh! Can't figure it out?" Zubat chuckled. "We wanted to mess with you! Can't face up to us, can you?"

Any and all hints of Martha about to fight back vanished as she said, "Wh-what?!" Zubat turned towards the object that fell on the ground, "That's yours, isn't it?"

"Oh! That's…!"

"Sorry, kiddo," Zubat said in a tone that showed he wasn't the least bit sorry. "We'll take that!" He took the rock in between his feet and flew back up with it.

Koffing laughed, "Whoa-ho-ho! Not gonna make a move to get it back? What's the matter? Too scared? I didn't expect that you'd be such a big coward!" He turned to Zubat, "Come on. Let's get out of here."

Zubat chuckled, "See you around, chicken. Heh-heh-heh."

During the whole interaction, the Krabby had stopped blowing bubbles and fled. Also, "Ian's" temper had been mounting. The Sableye had always picked on the native Pokémon back in his home, just because they could. Seeing a similar behavior here, despite his original plan to move on, it simply made him start seeing red.

After Zubat's final remark, the two Pokémon started moving to leave towards the cave at the end of the beach, but he sidestepped to stand in their way. With his cheeks sparking due to his new Pokémon instincts, he said in a dangerously low tone, "Excuse me, but you must be a pretty sorry bunch if it takes both of you to pick on a lady. I may not remember who I am, but I know that I don't like Pokémon like you. If I were you, I'd just put down that item and leave quietly before I make you."

Koffing and Zubat stared at him for a second before laughing. "Whoa-ho-ho! This puny Pikachu is trying to be all noble!"

"Heh-heh-heh! Well, if you want it back that badly… Just try to come and get it!"

'Very well, you asked for it.' That last remark eroded away the last bit of hesitance Ian had for getting involved in this conflict. Instinctively concentrating, he released the electricity stored in his cheeks at the Zubat. The Thunder Shock attack hit dead on, zapping Zubat, but doing no harm to the rock held between his feet. He spasmed as he fell to the ground, temporarily paralyzed by the electricity.

"Zubat!" Koffing turned to Ian, "Why you…!"

Ian just got ready to attack again instead of bantering. He suddenly felt a paw at his side, and new energy surged through him as a colorful aura surrounded him. At his side, Martha had her paw on him, using Helping Hand to boost the energy of his moves.

"I'll help too," she said. "Zubat won't stay down for long. I'll finish him off." Martha ran off towards Zubat, who was already getting up and flying again. Turning his attention back to Koffing, Ian was just in time to dodge a Poison Gas attack.

Tapping into the new energy along with his natural electricity, Ian shot another Thunder Shock and took Koffing down in one shot as Martha jumped and used Tackle to finish Zubat.

The two Pokémon were down on the ground and they groaned in pain. They managed to pull themselves up again and glared at Ian and Martha.

Koffing muttered, "B-blast it… How'd we get wiped out by wimps like them?"

"Bah!" Zubat shouted. "Here you go. Take it, then!" He threw the rock at Martha's feet.

The two of them started backing away and Koffing said, "Whoa-ho! Don't think you're so awesome. Your victory was a fluke!"

They ran off, and Zubat shouted, "Yeah, you just remember that!"

Martha picked up the rock and said, "My Relic Fragment! Thank goodness… I actually managed to get it back." She turned to me and smiled, "This happened only because you helped me, Ian. Thank you!"

'I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,' he thought. 'I suppose that there's no harm in it. Now I can move on, but first…'

Ian tilted his head, "You called that item your Relic Fragment? What's that about?"

Martha set it down on the ground, "Well, that's what I started calling it. It's my precious treasure." She smiled, "You see, I've always liked legends and lore… I always get so excited when I hear tales from the past! Don't you feel the same way?"

Having to squash a chuckle at the absolute irony of the question, Ian merely nodded in response as Martha went on, "Hidden troves full of treasure and strange relics…" Her eyes practically sparkled as she looked at the setting sun over the waves, "…uncharted territories veiled in darkness… and new lands just waiting to be discovered! Such places must be full of gold and treasure! And history! Wouldn't it be dramatic to make historic discoveries?"

Turning back to Ian, she said, "That's what I always dream of. It's all so exciting to me. And it just so happened… that I found this Relic Fragment. Sure, it does look like junk, but take a closer look."

Curious, Ian leaned closer to the stone, and saw a peculiar pattern on the flat surface on top of the Relic Fragment. He had never seen anything like it, even with all of the research he had done with his partner and best friend.

"Look there," Martha said. "See that strange pattern inscribed on it?" Ian nodded, and she continued, "There must be some meaning to this pattern. This Relic Fragment must be the key to legendary places! To areas where precious treasure lies! At least that's the feeling I get. That's why I want to join an exploration team."

'Right, they still have those here.' Ian thought, remembering his studies. Then he internally grimaced, 'All of ours were promptly executed or they disbanded to go into hiding.'

Unaware, Martha said, "This fragment must fit into something… somewhere! I want to discover where that is. I want to solve the mystery of my Relic Fragment! So, earlier, I tried joining an exploration team as an apprentice…" She looked to the side with a slightly sad expression, "But… I was too cowardly…" Turning back to Ian, she said, "What about you, Ian? What are you going to do now? You lost your memory. Do you have any place where you can stay?"

Ian was suddenly more cautious. He didn't like the direction that this conversation was heading.

"If not, can I ask a big favor? Would you form an exploration team with me? I think we could make a good exploration team together, Ian. So will you do that with me? Please?"

Ian tried to think of a way out of this. Yes, he had a place to be and someone to meet, but he couldn't tell her that. Not only would it nullify his earlier claim of amnesia, it would also cause a bunch of questions that might result in him having to go into hiding. Trying to buy a bit of time, he said, "Are you…?"

Martha looked confused, "Huh? Am I what? What do you mean, 'Are you…?'"

Having a bit more time to think while she asked, Ian said, "You're trying to talk me into it?"

She seemed shocked, "What?! Talk you into it? The thought never crossed my mind!" One look at her face told Ian that she was telling the truth. Every emotion was clearly displayed on her face. She probably couldn't tell an effective lie if she tried.

Sighing, Martha looked down and said, "Well, I'm a complete coward… Honestly… I mean, yes, I thought I could depend on you, Ian… But during the fight with Koffing and Zubat earlier… Having you there with me, I felt really brave. I think I could do anything as long as you're helping me, Ian. So come on, I'm begging you. Let's form an exploration team, you and me."

Letting out a mental sigh, Ian saw that she would probably follow him until he said yes. So he decided to play along until he could find a way to contact his partner.

Nodding, Ian said, "All right then, I don't see why not. I'll gladly form an exploration team with you, Martha."

Martha smiled, "Oh? Really?! Yay! Thank you! We're going to be a great combination! Let's make this work!" She looked and Ian followed her gaze to see a tall cliff next to a town further inland. "First, we need to go to Wigglytuff's place and sign up as apprentices. That's where we can get training to become a proper exploration team. I think the training will be very tough… So let's give it our best, Ian!"

Ian watched as she cheered and jumped for joy. 'Pokémon like her… for them to be able to express so openly and cheerfully… and for the beauty of the sunset that I saw when I first opened my eyes… This is why I came back. Why my partner and I came back to this time. These things are what we are fighting for.'