Yep, MagmarFire's back in action! I apologize if you've been waiting for the next installment of The Master Sword Chronicles, but this idea popped up, and I just really wanted to go through with it. Don't worry; I still haven't given up on it, and I've made more progress on it since my last update. Rest assured, it'll come out one of these days. :)
Now, then, anywho, I told you guys that I'm an Advanceshipper, too, and this is the result! After a few weeks, Advanceshipping Day was announced for today (November 21). So, hey, I really wanted to contribute. This is my token to offer, so I hope you all enjoy it! So here we go! I give you Teching Cupid's Arrow!
Teching Cupid's Arrow
Event I: Beginnings
…I've heard legends of that person…How he plunged into enemy territory…How he saved his homeland…
It was a cool summer's morning in the Kanto Region, and the sun, much like a child about to awaken from a good night's slumber, poked her head out from the eastern horizon sleepily. In a long yawn, she basked the dew-coated ground with golden rays of light. The Pidgey, no longer inactive from the calming night, began their daily rounds anew for the search for food for their young, whom they nurtured and passed on their simple views of the world to ever since the smooth transition of the seasons a few weeks prior.
The sound of a particular small, yellow mouse contently snoozing away the last few minutes of civil dawn carried itself through the gentle breeze. Some of the crepuscular bug Pokémon who heard it immediately fell into a desire to retreat into the forest and spend the rest of the day refreshing themselves for when the sweet aura of twilight would perfume the earth once again.
He, too, was replenishing whatever little was left to regain of his lost strength from the trials of the previous day. From having not been at a Center for the past week or so, scratches and small burns were somewhat common on the poor Pokémon's body; and the untidy, partially dusty fur easily screamed, "Fortnight in the wilderness!" For one of his small body constitution, however, he appeared to shrug it off quite well and continued sleeping.
His master, a mature yet determined black-haired boy of about sixteen, was quietly dreaming a couple feet away. Unlike his partner's dreams, which were often crammed with rows upon rows of ketchup bottles, his were more serious—meditative, if you will. For years, his dream of one day becoming the greatest Trainer in the world had stayed alive, burning with as flaming of passion as when he got his first Pokémon. Never once did he stop short and give up his dream for easier goals, and the path along it filled his being with all sorts of experiences: friendship, perseverance, excitement, danger, and vision.
He was rising to the top, he always thought. He always knew that he was making progress, and by no means did his hard work ever withhold any from him. The firm eye on his goal hardly blinked—and with the Great Tournament only a couple months away, most of his thoughts dwelled on training his Pokémon and tweaking his battle style to be in tip-top shape…except the rest were focused on when his next large meal would be, of course.
Finally, a second Trainer, whom the first knew really well, obliviously snoozed farther away still, about an arm's length away from the charred fire pit left abandoned by countless other Trainers who chose to explore Viridian Forest and add strength to their teams. As the somewhat cool weather kicked in overnight, she curled up tighter into her sleeping bag and kept some of her warmth trapped inside. Her brown hair struggled to keep its inverted V-shape, but she herself cared more about sleep than her looks at the current time.
A sweet, cheerful girl about one or two years the boy's junior, she had begun traveling with him and his Pikachu after her bike had been completely obliterated by a well-aimed Electric-type attack from the latter. While surprised and, needless to say, angered by it at first, she didn't have the heart to stay mad at them forever. And after a little convincing, the boy let her travel with him (her response being a quiet, celebratory, "Yes!"…which the boy was blissfully unaware of).
During their travels, her experiences were similar, while still different in specificity. The twosome, along with others, fought, laughed, cried, hurt, and succeeded together. It was from the beginning of that fateful day of meeting that an unbreakable bond was formed—one that transcended great distances and time. It grew and flourished until it became as great friendship as it was that day in the woods.
A loud yawn sounded through the branches, although his two companions didn't seem to care. With a groggy sigh and a crack of his neck, he quietly got up and reached for his knapsack. He grasped the zipper with a slightly fatigued hand and opened it up, afterwards reaching deep down through old snack bags, Poké Balls, and other supplies for his canteen. He shook it slightly and heard the loud sloshing of water, which somewhat disappointed him. Not much left… he thought to himself, frowning. He twisted the cap off of the container, lifted it up to his mouth, and took a swig.
After only two or three gulps, the water was all gone, save for only a few drops. He clutched his stomach as it grumbled angrily at him; it seemed to want something that was actual food rather than a mere liquid. He looked back into his knapsack in the hopes of finding something substantial. After digging through some dirty clothes, he eventually found two granola bars. It's not the best…but it's better than nothing.
As if his mind were under the utmost control of his stomach, he tore open one of the wrappers and opened his mouth to take a bite. Just when he was about to snap his jaw on the food, however, he heard a stirring: a small yawn filled his ears as his small yellow buddy woke up and smelled something edible. Ears twitching and nose sniffing, it tracked the scent over to his Trainer.
"Pika!" the Pokémon greeted happily.
"G'morning, Pikachu," his Trainer returned the greeting, gently scratching the mouse's long yellow, black-tipped ears. "Did you sleep well?"
"Chu, Pikapi, pikachu ka," Pikachu nodded, licking his lips with his large, black button eyes on the bar in his Trainer's hand.
Noticing the want on his Pokémon's face, he broke the bar down the middle and willingly surrendered one of the halves. Pikachu, happy with the delectable, albeit meager, breakfast, immediately began nibbling joyfully on the grains. "Chu!" he said, his stomach returning positive sentiments.
"You're welcome," his Trainer smiled. Looking back at his half of the bar, however, a sad look formed on his face. Sighing, he said, "Guess we'd better wrap this trip up and head back to Viridian City and pick up some more food, huh?"
"Pika," the Pokémon agreed.
The Trainer stood up and paced around the campsite, his granola half in his hand, which was sooner than likely in the next ten seconds to be completely in his belly. Looking up toward the pale sky, he thought he might've seen an elegantly flying Fearow scan the earth vigilantly for some unfortunate prey. Off to the side, some wary Caterpie saw the Fearow, too; and with a small cry, they high-tailed it into the lush, green bushes. He chuckled at the perceived cuteness of the quick scramble of the small bug Pokémon, but the frown came back to his face a few seconds later.
Noticing his Trainer's unease, and with his granola bar completely devoured, he asked, "Pikapi, chu chu pi chu ka pikachu?"
"Oh!" he jumped, his frown artificially gone. "No, I'm fine, Pikachu. Just a little tired, that's all."
The mouse could see through his façade, however. "Chu? Pika ka chu pi?"
"I could hardly sleep…" the Trainer yawned, covering his mouth and rubbing his eyes. "Just kept thinking about the tournament coming up…"
"Scared?" he cried. "Of course not!" To prove his point, he put on a determined look, one that he had always been notorious for, known by most, if not all, of his opponents. The sharp eyes, the fierce grin, and (unbeknownst to him) the slightly-flaring nostrils were the dead giveaways of his "drive" being tapped into. When Pikachu was not convinced, though, the trainer's shoulders drooped, his face went back to normal, and his eyes stared at his feet. "Ah, who am I kidding…? I'm a nervous wreck."
The Pokémon approached his trainer's shoes and climbed up to his shoulders, licking his cheek in a futile attempt to comfort him.
"Thanks, buddy…" the boy said, massaging his partner's head.
Just then, when the sun was finally over the horizon, a loud caw came from deep in the woods. It was a warning sign that the birds were ready to begin their daily hunt. For the travelers, on the other hand, it was an alarm clock that required no power outlet or batteries. With a small stir, the girl curled in her sleeping bag slowly got up, keeping the bag wrapped around her body like a chrysalis for warmth. Yawning quietly, she mumbled sleepily, "Good morning, Ash. Good morning, Pikachu…"
"G'morning, May," Ash returned, smiling. "Did you sleep well?"
"Uh-huh," she nodded. "It was a bit chilly, but I managed to catch some z's." She looked down at the midpoint of her body as a sound that was the relative equivalent of her sleeping bag burping practically exploded out into the open, almost as loudly as the bird Pokémon's call. "Heh, guess I'm a bit hungry," she laughed, all the while being a bit embarrassed. "Do we have any food left?"
"Only this," Ash said, tossing the second granola bar in her direction. His aim wasn't particularly great, to say the least—not to mention that with her bag wrapped around her like a cocoon, she wouldn't have been able to catch it. It grazed past her side and landed a few feet behind her. He saw the imminent scowl headed his way and quickly said, "Gah, I'm sorry! My throwing's a bit off, it looks like."
Her frown lightened up after only a couple seconds, eventually turning into a chuckle. "It's all right." Hopping into a pivot, she eagerly bounced toward her small meal, much like a young puppy would fetch a fresh dog treat. Ash found the behavior rather cute and laughed to himself; however, his entertainment was cut short when the girl lost her balance while bending over to pick up the bar and toppled into the dirt with full force.
"M-May!" Ash cried as he dashed toward his friend, Pikachu nearly falling off his shoulder. He kneeled down and offered his hand, which she graciously accepted. As their hands locked, he tugged at her, and she easily flew up and landed her face in his chest.
And so she stood like that, her cheeks slowly tinting to a light red and her heart pounding in her chest. She rather enjoyed the experience of being that close to him, but as soon as she noticed that he could probably feel her heartbeat, she began to panic slightly, which only made it worse.
After what seemed like a minute, he asked, concern in his voice, "Are you all right?"
"Y-yeah…" she said dazedly as she spaced herself from him a bit and avoided his golden-brown eyes. She prayed to the heavens that he didn't notice her slight, but sudden, change in skin tone—but by how he turned around and swung his bag around his shoulder without saying so much as a word, she, with relief, took for granted that he neither noticed nor suspected anything of the sort.
As May saw Pikachu greeting her with one of his famous ankle cuddles, she picked him up and hugged him. "Did you sleep well, too, Pikachu?" she asked sweetly.
"Pika!" the mouse Pokémon cheered, which earned him a small peck on the nose.
Ash saw as Pikachu rested on May's head and prepared for an enjoyable ride. He crossed his arms and smiled, the floral aroma of a nearby bush filling his nostrils. There's something…different about May… he thought while his two friends were trying to enjoy getting ready to depart for the day. I can't put my finger on it, but there's this strange air about her… Gosh, I hope she's not getting sick.
After she collected her things, May returned somewhat swiftly, although her hunger was an obvious hurdle to her energy. "Ready?"
"Only when you are," Ash replied.
Then the three were off. They took the path down south, back to whence they came. Luckily for them, the path back was plainly visible, almost to the point of being a natural trail. Long and narrow patches of grass pointed them to their destination, and a couple Rattata gnawing on their food paid no heed to the travelers. May took the opportunity here to open her bar and munch on it as they walked. She was disappointed that it hardly had any of the necessary mass to satisfy the hunger pangs.
"I miss Brock…" she sighed sadly with her mouth partially full of granola.
Ash's eye twitched after hearing the familiar name. "Yeah… I do, too," he coughed. "I wonder how he's doing?"
Brock, the former Gym Leader of Pewter City, had had begun traveling with Ash (and his other friend Misty of Cerulean City, with whom he kind of lost touch a year or so back) shortly after he had been awarded—or given, rather, but he gave much effort to avoid remembering—his first Gym Badge for the Indigo League. To him, Brock had become much like an older brother to him; any one of his past adventures never failed to force him to remember the dark-skinned, squinty-eyed young man. Whether it was his awkward behavior toward the opposite sex or his extravagant cooking, the latter of which was one of the associations he best remembered and missed the most, he could never avoid its nostalgia.
A month or so after the Sinnoh League, however, Brock left; he just simply disappeared without saying so much as a formal goodbye—only leaving a small note with the following:
I must say that it was a joy looking after you and Pikachu for all these years, but I'm afraid that it is time for us to depart. You and your Pokémon have gotten much stronger since when we first met, and I'm at large to say that I'm going to miss the times when I was there to back you up and see the sights. But then came the fork in the road…
Your dream and mine differ, I'm afraid. You aim to become a Master, while I aspire to become a world-renowned Breeder. It's gotten to the point where it's simply become too hard to follow our paths and travel together at the same time. No, don't try to find me and talk me out of it. We both know what we need to do; now we just need to get out there and do it.
But don't worry; we'll see each other again. Never give up!
His friend Dawn left in a similar way. After the League and when Ash decided to leave Sinnoh to continue his travels, Dawn decided to stay behind. Her reasoning was…exactly like Brock's, he thought. "I'm a Coordinator, and you're a Trainer," she said. "I need to follow my way." And so she did. But the insistence to stay wasn't as cold as it sounds, no; it's not like she left to spite him and because she thought their sibling-like relationship was too creepy or anything like that. She, too, simply thought that it was time for them to part.
Only a year later did May decide to join him again after placing in the top five in her Johto Contests. She figured that a small break would give her a fresh continuation in her appeals, and her Pokémon unquestionably seemed to like her choice. She knew taking a small vacation in Kanto was perfect for them, and it was less stressful on her, too.
They both reminisced on the past for a few minutes before May broke the silence. "I'm sure he's all right," she said as she swallowed the rest of her bar, sweatdropping when her stomach unleashed a mighty roar in interruption. "Oh, I sure miss his cooking…"
Ash grunted silently when he ducked below a low branch. "I do, too… His stew was the best! Remember the thick chunks of beef and potatoes soaked in gravy?"
Her mouth watered at the greatly appealing thought. "Yeah… And the rice balls and the ramen and the…" she trailed off as drool began to trip from the corner of her mouth. Ash was almost afraid that she'd become rabid and eat him in desperation for the food. She, noticing the small mess on her face, wiped it off with a nervous laugh. "Sorry about that." She looked to the side and put a hand behind her head in embarrassment, keeping her eyes focused on the Pidgey keeping an eye on them.
"Haha, no problem. We should be there in a little while, though." As the thoughts of Brock's cooking flowed through his mind like a warm, broth-filled river, he picked up his pace, forcing May to quicken hers in tandem and Pikachu to hang on to her more tightly. The forest gradually grew brighter as they approached its edge. All three were glad that during their exploration in the woods, they did not go too far in and risk spending a longer time than they had to. Already they thought their stomachs were beginning to digest themselves.
After about fifteen minutes of fast walking, the forest cleared completely, and a large wooden sign reading "VIRIDIAN FOREST" stood to the side. Right up ahead was the large group of white buildings that completely replaced the natural landscape. Where there was once grass, there was solid concrete and long, straight paths of asphalt; and where there were once trees, there were gray and white buildings adorned with fancy signs, logos, and ads, although some were unfortunate enough to be scribbled on with spray paint and depict words and scenes that made Ash cringe.
Upon seeing the first transparently obvious signs of civilization, Ash, May, and Pikachu practically jumped in celebration. "Finally!" Ash cheered, his mouth already salivating with the thought of a stomach-bursting meal. "C'mon, guys!"
They wasted no time and quickly ran down the road, scanning the shops for the Pokémon Center with excited smiles on their faces. But then…a twinge of interest struck May's heart, and her smile was replaced with a frown—not one that expressed disappointment; it was more like one of curiosity.
Ash seems to be so simple-minded… she thought with her aqua-colored eyes now staring at the side of his face. When he's not out there training for the next battle, he's either trying to help people or wondering what's on the menu. She chuckled to herself, but Ash couldn't hear it.
"Hmm… Bookstore… Drug store… Bowling alley…" he mumbled, tracing his finger forward as he scanned the buildings. When they passed the streetlight, Ash's eyes lit up. "A-ha! There it is!" The Pokémon Center was looming about a quarter mile away, just as bright and clean as every other Center they visited over the years. "There it is, May! Keep up!" He picked up his pace once more, and by now, it was nearly a sprint.
May had a bit of a hard time keeping up, and therefore, Pikachu had a bit of a hard time holding on from all the rocking. "Wait up, Ash!" she called ahead. He's so hasty, isn't he? she contemplated, chuckling once again. Then she noticed the unique contour and color of his face, his slim but sturdy physique, and the broadness of his shoulders. Heh… Well, that only makes him cuter…
Her eyes widened to about the size of softballs when she realized what she was thinking. She instantly released the lock of her eyes on his body and whistled to the side to get her mind off of the matter. Unfortunately for her, however, Ash took notice as he looked to the side and decided to slow down. "Uh, May?"
"Yes?" she inquired, her voice filled with fabricated innocence.
"Your face…" He paused. "It's… It's all red."
Her jaw dropped slightly, and she pressed her hands to her face. "What?" she asked incredulously. "Red?"
"Like a beet."
Oh, my gosh, I gotta think my way out of this, quick! She looked to the side and bit her lip, trying to formulate a response that would get her off the hook. "Uh… You think it could be from the running we're doing?"
"I dunno…" Ash replied slowly, coming to a stop and crossing his arms. "We've only been running for, like, ten seconds. Are you feeling all right?"
May also stopped and turned to face him. "Of course! I'm hungry, but I'm feeling well." She turned her head to the side to face Pikachu's yellow face by her shoulder. "You feeling okay, Pikachu?"
"Pika!" the mouse answered with a lick on her cheek.
Ash sighed with dismissal. "Okay…" He continued jogging toward the Center, leaving May and Pikachu to follow him.
"Whew… Thanks for that, Pikachu," she whispered in Pikachu's ear, petting his head. "That was too close…"
Within a few more minutes, the gang finally reached the Pokémon Center. Ash reached the double doors first, yanking them open in complete eagerness to heal his Pokémon and to purchase his food. May and Pikachu were next. The latter was just as excited about food as his Trainer was, so he hopped off of May's shoulder and chased him down. Nurse Joy was typing at the computer, but when she saw the boy and his Pokémon approach the counter, she dropped what she was doing and put on the smile that her kind was well known for.
"Welcome to the Viridian City Pokémon Center!" she greeted warmly. Ash returned the greeting and offered his five Poké Balls and lifted Pikachu up to the counter. Joy accepted them all and called for her Chansey to come and take them to get healed.
While that business was being taken care of, Ash turned to see May standing at the door. "You want me to take your Poké Balls to the counter for you?" he asked kindly.
"Uh…" she looked to the side and saw the buffet table, complete with chicken, bread rolls, rice balls, ramen, and many other dishes that were yet to be eaten. Eyeing the porcelain plates, she dropped the balls into his hands, zipped over to the table, grabbed one of the plates, and began piling on the food.
Ash narrowed his eyes as he continued to witness May's strange behavior. "Are you sure you're not sick, May…?" Are you trying to hide something from me? he pondered in fear. I hope I didn't do anything to offend you. Afraid as he might've been, he attempted to get his mind of the matter and took her Pokémon to the counter to get healed.
Meanwhile, as May's plates got completely full of food, she quickly walked over to the nearest booth, sat, and began shoveling the food into her mouth. Bread, soup, veggies, and meat—all that and more were soon ingested. But after a minute…she stopped. Her mind went back to when she was staring at Ash and how she tried to weasel her way out of talking about it. What's going on here? she mulled. Am I—
Her train of thought was interrupted from loud orchestrated music coming from across the room. A large group of Trainers, maybe a group of thirty to forty, was gathered around a large television screen, most in the group with a game controller in their hands. A large, arc-like chair sat in front of the screen, a circular coffee table in between holding a small, white console with four cables coming from one of the sides.
The music, driven by brass and vocals, was epic and dramatic—it was music one would often associate with exciting competitions with worthy contenders, kind of like the Pokémon League competitions, only with much greater stakes. It almost made her want to leave her food and to check to see what all the fuss was about, but then she remembered how hungry she was and continued eating her meal in silence.
Just then, Ash came with his plate of delectable eats and sat down across from her. They looked at each other for a few seconds before May cracked and spoke up against their awkward stillness. "So, how's Pikachu?"
"He's still getting healed," he replied simply. "How's, uh…your food?"
"Excellent!" she replied with a smile, soon returning to her potatoes and gravy.
"Uh, listen, May…" Ash began, a bit unsure of himself. He noticed May's face twisting a bit with dread and held back his comment for a couple seconds. "Er, you've been acting a bit…odd lately. Are you sure you're not sick? Do you have any allergies or something?"
"Ash," she said with conviction, some bread still in her mouth, "I'm fine. I appreciate your concern, but nothing—" She was interrupted by a sudden change in music. It kept its strong orchestral style, but it was mixed in with the voices of the people around the television and the distinctive sounds of menu selections.
At first, both were slightly annoyed from the sudden interruption, but what really got Ash's and May's attention, however, was the deep, booming voice that soon filled the Center. It was the complete definition of energy: fast and intangible, but full of force. The voice came from the large speakers by the screen—and some on the ceiling—and took complete control over their conversation. Their heads snapped toward the screen…all because of three simple syllables:
So, then... Yes, the concept is rather odd, but hey, it's something I've wanted for a while. I dearly hope that you leave a review; your feedback is, as per usual, greatly appreciated!
Until next time, folks!