Hi! This is actually my second try at a pokémon fanfic. I like this plot more than the one I had posted before, so here we go!

Sometimes he wished that he was an ice-type.

Jax bit into his apple, withholding a wince as the lukewarm mush met his tongue. It must be convenient to refrigerate foods when hot, humid air refused to let them stay cool. He wouldn't have to worry about rotten food as often when he traveled, lowering the chances of sleepless nights and struggling through the day afterward.

Fire-types had it lucky, too.

They would be able to cook whatever they wanted, not being forced to eat bland apples in order to have the energy to keep going. Scorching days like this wouldn't be a problem either, and cold nights would be a nothing but a breeze.

Jax looked up as he swallowed another bite, peering through the scattered leaves above to watch clouds drift freely in the sky.

Having wings would be the dream.

Rotting food and rough nights wouldn't be a concern at all. He'd soar high and fast from place to place, bypassing forests that had him fighting against the smothering humidity. He wouldn't be sitting here in this tree, relying on the scarce breeze to cool him down. This forest would've been nothing but a fleeting memory, and there would be less pokémon around to get in his way.

His brother's medicine would already be in his grasp if he had wings.

The apple was nearly done now, almost stripped to its core. After a final nibble, he dropped the fruit, it bouncing against sturdy branches and broad leaves on the way down. He continued to gaze at the sky.

Jax didn't mind his typing, though. He could hold his own in a fight and could be intimidating if need be. It hurt his pride a little when he had to be wary of anything pink but smacking around basically every other type was a major perk.

Most of the time, when he wasn't asked too many questions.

Jax relaxed against tree trunk more, careful to not squish anything in his worn knapsack. One leg was dangling beside the branch he was sitting on along with his tail to help with balance. He could afford a quick nap up here. The leaves above mostly protected him from the beaming sun, so while the heat wasn't pleasant, it was bearable.

After wiping some beads of sweat off his forehead, he drifted off.

His nap couldn't have lasted more than five seconds when the entire tree jerked, its leaves violently rustling. Jax hastily straddled the branch to steady himself and wondered why the world seemed to hate him lately.

"Why?" He groaned in frustration, squinting down to find the one so eager to go out of their way to be rude. Despite the foliage, he noticed the grey jagged hide only belonging to a rhyhorn. Jax glared and barked, "There are a thousand other trees around here! Pick another one to bang your stupid head against!"

The rhyhorn looked up and found him, those enraged eyes glaring back. The rock-type released a guttural bellow before ramming the base of the tree again.

Jax wearily sighed. He was hoping that this was someone he could rationalize with, but the forest had already claimed them. He couldn't be too surprised, for he knew that taking this short cut would send him straight into hostile territory.

"You wanna go?" A rhyhorn would only take a minute or two to beat. "Then let's go."

After making sure his sack was completely sealed, Jax leapt off his perch without further hesitation. Leaves brushed against his body until he caught another branch on the way down, swinging to another and another and another before landing in a crouch on the grassy ground.

Jax dug his fingers into the compacted earth, palming a handful of dirt as an incomprehensible roar came from behind him. He gave the antagonistic rhyhorn a level look over his shoulder and watched as they charged with a lowered head. The piercing horn aimed at him was glowing brightly in the shade.

The ground vibrated underneath as he waited for the right moment. Jax stared at his adversary until the horn was a second away from stabbing his chest.

He hopped to the side and twisted around mid-air, hurling dirt directly into the rhyhorn's right eye. They slid to a stop, crying out in pain.

After Jax landed, he propelled himself high into the air, directly over the rhyhorn's head. He flipped a couple times before slamming his heel on top of their skull. A sharp yell followed suit, and the rock-type collapsed to the ground.

Usually, a high-jump kick was all it took to down his enemies, but apparently, the rhyhorn's defenses were drastically higher than their IQ.

They tried to stand back up on wobbly legs. Jax allowed his right arm to glow, and he bashed the rock-type's head with no remorse. The brick break seemed to do it. The rhyhorn splayed out on the forest floor, unresponsive.

Jax took a deep breath, the air hot and heavy. "Next time you wanna pick a fight, find a damn weedle or something." He coughed and hated how raspy his voice sounded. He had been waiting to drink until after his nap, but of course fate had other plans.

He shook off his knapsack and fished out the water canteen inside. He flipped off the seal and swallowed a couple gulps, his throat thanking him. Finished, Jax shook the pouch and felt how light it was becoming.

Now he wouldn't mind being a ground-type. Their decreased need for water was helpful whenever it was scarce.

Jax wasn't too worried about his problem. In a forest like this, there had to be many streams winding about. He'd fill up when he encountered one, and-

A heavy footstep behind him disrupted his thoughts. Jax whirled around only to be pelted in the face with poisoned needles. He hissed at the stinging pain, dropping the canteen to pluck them out as soon as possible.

Another roar filled the air, higher-pitched than the rhyhorn's, and Jax snapped his head up. The scowling nidorino peering between trees made his gut drop. Those same enraged eyes were trained on him, promising pain.

Normally, Jax wouldn't be so hesitant to fight the poison-type, but he was out of pecha berries and the cargo he was carrying in his bag was too precious to lose. He slowly replaced the water back into his bag, pulling the latter up on his shoulders.

The items inside rustled around. The apples and oran berries didn't make noise, but the stones sure did. Jax needed every single one of them to trade for the medicine he was searching for, and this nidorino was a major threat to the deal.

Neither of them moved for a while until Jax made his choice.

He turned on his heel and hurdled over the unconscious rhyhorn, careful not to trip over his baggy skin. He ducked down just in time to see purple needles flying over his head. When they stopped, the ground rumbled, and Jax sprinted to the nearest tree.

With his powerful legs, he sprung into the air and grabbed a sturdy branch. He climbed up with celerity, noticing the angered nidorino under him. The poisoned brute stomped in rage before opening his mouth and aiming.

Jax hopped to another branch of a different tree to avoid the speeding needles. It creaked under his weight but didn't break, to his luck. He couldn't afford to stand around, though, because the nidorino was annoyingly persistent.

Needles were whizzing near his tail as he jumped through the trees like some crazed pansage. The spotty sunlight was making him squint, the heavy air made breathing harder, and he was nowhere near nimble enough for this.

He debated climbing higher, but that would give the nidorino more of a chance to hit him. He couldn't risk that, given that he'd already been stung once with those things. Poison would send this chase to a grinding halt.

It turned out that his bad luck streak wasn't over.

When Jax leapt off a branch, nausea hit him like a charging rampardos. He gasped when his world tilted on its axis, mind swimming. Jax wheezed when his feet missed the next limb, it instead slamming against his chest.

He wrapped his arms around the rough bark so he wouldn't plummet back to the ground, but he was too woozy to move from this position. His stomach was complaining loudly, a dull and twisting pain spreading across his abdomen.

If only he was a poison-type.

Jax sucked in a sharp breath when needles dug into the back of his dangling legs, setting fire to his nerves. "No…" His heartrate skyrocketed when the muscles in his arms began to cramp. "No, no, no!" His hold on the branch was loosening.

He swallowed thickly and trained his gaze below, seeing two fuzzy nidorino sneering up at him. The swaying height made his stomach lurch and lungs constrict.

The nidorino was waiting for him, waiting to take both Jax's and his brother's lives away. He had known that pokémon died entering these corrupted areas, either that or becoming claimed by the corruption blanketing the place. Only those who come prepared made it out unscathed.

Jax crossed corrupted lands before, passing through with cuts and bruises but nothing too serious. So why was it that now, when he was so close, did this have to happen? Why…

He clawed at the air when his weakened arms let go. His body crashed through a few sets of branches that scratched his skin, but that pain was nothing compared to when he slammed against the unforgiving ground.

Jax screamed when his leg snapped upon impact. He flopped on his stomach to take the weight off his leg, tears welling up in his eyes. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. He was supposed to make it to the next town, get the medicine, and go back to his brother so he could…could…

He barely managed to lift his head when a shadow fell over him. The nidorino was snarling, showing no remorse whatsoever about what he was going to do.

Jax rested his head on the grass. He didn't want to see.

"Get…Get away!"

Another voice joined the fray, and suddenly, the shadow over him disappeared. Jax blinked in confusion when the nidorino flew through the air, smashing against a tree.

"Are you okay?" Jax turned his head enough to see a white and green blob running toward him. It tripped over a root in its haste, stumbling before kneeling in front of him. "I mean, you aren't, but um…"

Jax squinted through the moistness in his eyes, his vision focusing somewhat. The blob was a ralts, a young one. Jax didn't know whether to be relieved or not of the stranger's appearance. On one hand, there was a psychic-type here to help, but on the other, the newcomer was seemingly much younger than he was.

The ralts was whipping their head back and forth between Jax and the recovering nidorino. He heard the nervous swallow. "D-Do you have anything that could help?" The ralts, a boy according to the pitch of his voice, reached for his bag before Jax had a say.

"St…op…" Jax's lungs failed him, his voice nothing but an unintelligible rasp.

The ralts hadn't heard him, reaching over the Jax's back. Jax felt the bag being opened and filtered through. "It'll be okay! It'll all b-be okay!" The boy reassured a little too quickly, words shaking from his nerves.

Jax's eyes widened when items were tossed away, bouncing along the ground. His apples and oran berries were scattered about. Three stones, two yellow and one grey, soon joined them, rolling out into the open.

"Y-You don't have any pecha berries? Or any s-seeds?"

Jax didn't answer, focusing on the nidorino eyeing the thrown moon stone like it was the best treat in the world.

"St…ones." Jax's fingers barely twitched when he wanted them to point, so he had no other choice but to get the boy to listen. He needed that stone. Backtracking would mean starting over, and he couldn't let that happen.

The nidorino sprinted for the moon stone, and Jax poured all of his energy into his voice. "…tones! Get…stones!"

"Huh?" The boy pulled back to look at him, his eyes hidden by his thick green hair. The words must've registered, for he glanced over to where the stones lay. The ralts gasped after a moment. "Is that a moon-? I'm so sorry! I…"

Jax wanted to tell him to stop talking and act, but the kid learned quickly that stuttering over his words was doing nothing. The moon stone was surrounded with a pale blue aura and picked up off the ground.

It didn't make it any farther before the item disappeared inside of the nidorino's mouth.

Jax felt numb as the poison-type's body glowed brightly, changing in stance and stature. The four-legged pokémon grew to stand on two, and his long horn elongated along with his threatening fangs.

The ralts shuffled closer to Jax, his body trembling. "I d-didn't mean to! I-"

He was interrupted by an ear-splitting roar from the nidoking, the massive pokémon curling his claws and taking a menacing step forward.

Jax didn't have the energy to feel surprised when a cloud of powder exploded in the nidoking's face. He stumbled back a few steps before collapsing face-first to the ground with a thud.

The ralts pieced together that they were being saved before Jax could process it. The boy looked off to the side, brightening. "Hemmy!"

"Scout, I told you not to wander off!"

"I know! But...But I found someone! He's really hurt!"

It wasn't long before something green was studying Jax's face. His vision was so tilted and blurry that it was a miracle that he identified the other as an ivysaur. He also noticed the blue scarf around the grass-type's neck, the symbol of a rescue team.

Jax would have frowned if his body wasn't being attacked from the inside out.

"…you ate a persim berry?"

The ivysaur had been asking him something, those red eyes searching for an answer. Jax didn't reply as his own eyes struggled to stay open.

The rescue team member used his vines to open a bag tied to his front leg. He pulled out a pink berry and held it up to Jax's mouth. He nibbled the berry, for it was all he could do in his current state. It had been enough, though. As soon as the juice was swallowed, his vision began clearing up, the nausea weakened, and the all-encompassing pain steadily dulled.

When the pecha berry was completely devoured, Jax's leg was the only thing causing him to writhe in pain. The berry had chased away the numbness along with the poison, so his broken bone was almost overbearing now.

"I'm going to ask again," the ivysaur said after glancing at his horrid injury. "When was the last time you had a persim berry?"

"Two days ago," Jax answered without thinking, the pain in his leg jumbling his thoughts. Hearing the gasp from the ralts, he realized that he should've lied.

"Wait, this forest is huge! Hemmy, I thought it was impossi-"

"It is." The ivysaur frowned. He then regarded the addressed Jax again, voice tight. "Sorry about this."

The next thing Jax knew, a cloud of powder blanketed his vision.

He was asleep within seconds.