AN: This started when I got thinking (more proof that I should never start thinking, as it tends to lead to bad things) about the pokemon world and how normal animals seem to be completely absent. What do they have for fairy tales when most of the animals that the tales center around are gone? It was also partly an experiment to see how well I could write in a simpler style aimed at children. Turns out, kids are hard to write for...
Now without any more ado, I give you The Ugly Feebas, the pokemon version of The Ugly Duckling. Enjoy.
It was Saturday. To the children of Mossdeep city, that meant it was story time. As the children filed into the library Ms. Kole, the librarian and an ex-pokemon trainer, had just finished setting up.
A table laden with an assortment of snacks and juices stood at the ready near the colorful storytime carpet. Cushions and pillows in fanciful shapes were arranged around the area and in the very front sat the big, wooden rocking chair that Ms. Kole always read from. It was a cozy and familiar scene that prompted the children to run forwards, grabbing cushions and refreshments before they finally settled down in their usual spots on the floor.
Upon seeing that everyone was ready to begin, Ms. Kole hurried over, an old and haggard book in her hand. It was obvious that the book had been well-loved and reread many times over its long lifespan. Taking her seat in the antique rocking chair, she turned the cover of the book out for the children to see. It was scratched and scuffed in places, but the cartoony drawing of a tiny Feebas among school of Magikarp was clearly visible.
"Hello, everyone, and good morning. It's good to see all of you again." She paused, waiting for the children's roar of "good morning, Ms. Kole" to subside before continuing.
"Today for story time I'm going to read you all a story that I liked when I was your age. It's called 'The Ugly Feebas'. I hope you like it too. Now, here we go!"
Once upon a time, in the far north of Hoenn there was a clear river that ran out of the mountains and all the way down to the sea. There were all sorts of pokemon who lived in the great river. There were Magikarps and Barboaches, Staryu and Poliwags, even Goldeen and Surskits too! Every sort of water pokemon lived happily with their friends in the great river. That is, every pokemon except poor Feebas.
While there were always a lot of the other pokemon around, there was only one Feebas. This made him very lonely... The poor little Feebas only wanted to have friends and play like the other pokemon, but they didn't like him. They called him names and chased poor Feebas whenever he came near, just because he was different.
Feebas didn't look like any other pokemon in the river. He didn't look like a Magikarp. They were all covered in shiny orange scales and had long whiskers. He was a weird brownish color with silly fins and a funny-looking mouth. He didn't look like a Goldeen either, or a Barboach, or a Staryu. He was different from all of them, and they called him Ugly Feebas.
One day while Feebas was swimming about, looking for food, he spotted the school of Magikarp swimming towards him. He was overjoyed to see that the Magikarp had finally decided to make friends with him! But he was very sad when he heard what the Magikarp leader had to say.
He told Feebas that all the fish in the river had decided that Feebas was just too different to stay. Then they all swam forwards and began to shove Feebas upstream! Before long, Feebas had been pushed far away from the waters he had once called home.
As he swam around the strange new waters, Feebas began to cry. All he had ever wanted was to be friends, now he was lost and alone. Whatever would he do?
Then, just as quickly as he had begun to cry, he stopped. Feebas was sure that he had heard someone talking to him. Turning around he saw the most beautiful pokemon ever. It was long and slender with pink scales and fins on it's head. It was a Milotic!
Feebas had heard that such a beautiful pokemon existed, but this was the first time he had ever seen one. He stared in amazement as the lovely Milotic began to speak to him.
'I have never seen you before, little pokemon. What is your name?'
He quickly told the Milotic who he was and about what had happened to him. She felt so sorry for him that she swam up close and told him a secret that she thought would help him. She said that long ago, she hadn't been such a pretty pokemon at all. In fact, people had called her ugly too! But she had found a certain special type of berry tree that dropped big blue berries into the river. They tasted dry, but eating them would make him look prettier and prettier!
Feebas listened to her story, amazed and filled with hope. There was a way! There was something he could do to become more like this kind-hearted Milotic. He thanked her and swam off as quickly as he could to find the special berry tree.
After a long search he found the tree the Milotic had told him about. It leaned out over the water and there were many blue berries floating on the surface of the river. He took a bite out of one of the berries and found it tasted horribly dry, but he ate the whole thing anyway. Once he was done, Feebas felt much better. He also noticed that his scales and fins looked a little shinier! The berries really worked!
He was so happy that he grabbed another berry and ate it whole. He continued to eat and eat the dry berries for days, until one day he looked around and saw the Milotic swimming towards him again. Feebas was suddenly sad. He had eaten so many berries and, although he was different from when he started, he still wasn't as lovely as the kind Milotic.
Feebas was suddenly ashamed and swam behind a rock to hide. He didn't want the Milotic to see how little he had changed. When the Milotic arrived she called out 'Where are you, little Feebas? Where did you go?'
Feebas called back from behind the rock, 'Please, don't come any closer. I'm still ugly!' He was so worried about disappointing the Milotic that he didn't notice he had begun to glow, but the Milotic noticed the light coming from behind the rock where he hid.
She swam over to the rock and said 'Don't be silly, Feebas. You've been eating the berries, right? Those berries reveal who you really are on the inside. Now come out, I'm sure you're not ugly.'
Feebas wanted to believe Milotic, so he swam out from behind the rock. When he looked up at her, he saw she was smiling. There wasn't anything around that would make her smile, he had checked. The only thing there was, was... him. He looked down at himself and found, to his surprise, that he had changed! He wasn't an ugly Feebas anymore! The berries had transformed him into a beautiful Milotic, just like his new friend. And together they swam off to find the place where all truly beautiful pokemon, the ones who are beautiful on the inside, can live together in harmony.
Ms. Kole closed the book and looked out over the heads of the seated children. Judging from their attentive postures she could tell they had enjoyed the story very much, but she still had to ask the question. It was almost a ritual that after she finished each story she would inquire "So, did you all like the story?"
Today, as always, she received a roaring chorus of cheers. The children always loved the stories she picked out for them, that's why they kept coming back every Saturday. Well, that and the free snacks...
"Wonderful! I'm glad my story was such a hit." As she spoke she stood and moved her chair off to the side of the room to clear a space. "Before we end story time today I have someone for you all to meet." She pulled a pokeball off her belt and held it up for the children to see. "He's a good friend of mine."
The children perked up immediately and crowded around as Ms. Kole lightly tossed the pokeball into the air, watching with fascination as a mid-sized Feebas materialized and hovered above the storytime carpet.
"This is my friend, Feebas. He's very nice." She pulled her pokeblock case from her pocket and shook out a few blue pokeblocks. "Would anyone like to feed him?" She asked, offering the blocks to the kids, who snatched them up posthaste.
Feebas could not have been happier. An adoring crowd? Wonderful. One that gave him candy? Even better! After a few moments of the star treatment, the blue pokeblocks raised his beauty status so high that he began to glow with the energy that comes before an evolution. The children stared and gasped in amazement as Ms. Kole's Feebas transformed into an elegant Milotic, just like in the story.
Later as the children scampered out of the library, chattering happily among themselves about Ms. Kole's awesome pokemon, the popular librarian sat back at her desk. She was already laying out her meticulous plans for next week's story time. The tale of choice? A collection of nursery rhymes, starting with Mary Had a Little Mareep.
AN: "Mary Had a Little Mareep" was one of the stories I was originally planning to write, along with "Pop goes the Furret", but then I decided on The Ugly Feebas. I think it was for the best. ('Round and 'round the berry tree the mankey chased the furret...)