Yay, hinted Pikashipping. :3
Rellymaster's fic gave me the idea.
There are many legends surrounding the mysterious creatures known as Pokémon. Some are mere fairy tales, but others are far more sinister. The Legend of the Three Brothers, which details the demise of three foolish young men; The Master of Darkness, which tells of a man who becomes immortal but is plagued by vengeful spirits; The Forbidden Story, which has all but disappeared from the face of the Earth.
However, these tales are, for the most part, ancient Sinnoh mythology. There is one tale that originates in Kanto – Ninetales' Curse. According to legend, each of its tails contains a mystical power that can keep it alive for a thousand years. Grabbing one of its tails could result in a thousand year curse. Ninetales were illusive and beautiful creatures, so most people would never be so foolish as to harm the creature, but there were always the rare few…
"Torterra, Leaf Storm."
The tortoise nodded, and began to glow a bright green. The tree on its back shook as though it had been blown by a sudden gust of wind, and thousands of thick, pointed leaves shot into the stone side of Mt. Coronet. The ground rumbled and shook as the attack clashed against the stone. A sudden rockslide poured down onto Torterra, while his trainer leapt out of the way with the agility of a Lopunny. Torterra blasted itself free from its stony prison, and then turned to its trainer for further instruction.
Paul frowned as he noticed the indentation the attack had left. His Torterra was at a relatively high level, yet the Leaf Storm had hardly made a dent. He gave a little huff of indignation and reached for two of the Balls that hung on his belt. An Ursaring and Weavile appeared in a flash of light, ready to battle. When they realized there was no opponent, both looked quite confused. Paul never let them out except to battle or capture another Pokémon.
"Leaf Storm, Focus Blast, and Blizzard." All three Pokémon began to charge up their attacks, without as much as a glance back at their trainer. Torterra began to glow jade, Ursaring formed a ball of light in its claws, and Weavile took a deep breath. The attacks hit the wall with the force of an Exploding Metagross. A crack appeared in the wall, and then another. Finally, the wall collapsed, exposing an entryway into the dark cave.
"All of you, return," Paul muttered without any enthusiasm. When the three Pokémon were safely in their Balls, the prune-haired trainer threw another Ball into the cave itself. "Electabuzz, Flash!" he called. The inky depths of the cave lit up, revealing a long, narrow passageway. Paul adjusted the straps on his bag and walked into the corridor, not bothering to look at his Pokémon. "You stay in front," he told it, sneering down at the Electric-type.
The walls of the passage eventually went from looking like a natural stone to walls of ceramic tile. Pictures of ancient Pokémon and other legends adorned the walls, but Paul ignored them. They were of no interest to him. He was searching for a Pokémon of legend, and no cave paintings were about to distract him. After all, distraction was a form of weakness.
The painting began more and more elaborate as time went by. They were in full color, with a ruby-red Groudon attacking a sapphire-blue Kyorge, a teal Suicune racing through a field, and a magnificent Ho-oh spreading its wings. Here and there, ancient treasures littered the ground, golden coins and precious gems the size of your fist. Paul still ignored his surroundings, keeping his eyes stubbornly ahead. Finally, a light came into view, a natural light instead of the flash attack.
Paul recalled Electabuzz as he walked into the middle of a grassy clearing. It was surrounded by the walls of Mt. Coronet on three sides, but the fourth lead to a steep drop down to a rushing river. More passageways led off into the walls of Mt. Coronet, but it seemed the one Paul had just come out of was the largest. According to his research, the other three lead to Celestic Town, an underground stream, and the sea. The one near Celestic had been blocked by a rock fall, the underground one was impossible to reach by normal means, and the position of the one near the sea had been lost to time.
Paul surveyed the clearing, watching for any signs of movement. Finally, he saw it. A female Ninetales, sunbathing on a large, flat rock. Her eyes were closed, but her ears were perked straight up. As an experienced trainer, Paul knew that she was waiting for him to make the next move. He pulled a Poké Ball off his belt and crept closer to her. Her nine luxurious tails rippled in the wind, and her cream fur stuck up in anticipation. She couldn't have been too old, as her fur was still light in color – as the aged, Ninetales' fur became a rich golden color.
She jumped to her feet as Paul stepped on a twig, the loud snapping startling her into action. She aimed a Flamethrower at him, but he rolled to the side with ease. She began to charge up a Solar Beam, but a glowing claw slammed into her side and cut off the attack. She growled at the Gliscor and sized it up. Even though she knew she was stronger, she was certain this would be a difficult battle.
Meanwhile, in a stone passageway not too far from where the battle was taking place, two figures blundered through the dark. One was about a foot and a half tall, with long, pointed ears and a jagged tail. The other was about four foot six, and quite a bit noisier. Whenever it kicked a rock or ran into a wall, the figure would give a pained shout, while its partner simply sighed. The two voices appeared to be those of a young boy and a Pikachu, which is, incidentally, what the two forms were.
"Ow!" the boy screeched as he ran into one of the walls yet again. "You'd think they'd install some lights in here, what with all the pointy things lying around!"
The Pikachu sighed. "It's your own fault, you know," it told him, "You're the one who wanted to explore the cave, and you're the one who got us lost!" Of course, the boy had no way of understanding what his Pokémon was telling him, but it went on anyway. "On top of that, you left all your other Pokémon back at camp, because you were supposed to be searching for edible berries with me. But then, nooo, the cave's more important, so here we are, lost in some dark tunnel with no food whatsoever!"
"Hey!" the boy screamed, "look! There's a light up ahead!" Before his Pikachu could protest, the boy laughed and took off for the exit like a rocket. Shaking its head, Pikachu darted after him.
"Slash," Paul said emotionlessly as his Gliscor slammed into Ninetale's side again. She bit down unto the claw, and much to Paul's horror, her eyes began to glow blue. Gliscor was helpless to the Psychic attack, and crashed into one of the mountain's sides, KO'd. Paul returned Gliscor and reached for another Ball, but stopped in shock and rage as a human projectile slammed into Ninetales.
"You!" he shouted, glaring down at his rival. Ash looked back at him, disoriented for one moment, angry the next. Pikachu ran out of the passage, noticed Paul, and took a protective stance in front of his trainer. Ninetales struggled back to her feet – the unexpected attack had taken a lot out of her.
Without waiting for an answer, Paul threw another Ball, right towards Pikachu. The startled Pokémon jumped into Ash's arms as Honchkrow streaked towards the group with glowing black claws. The three jumped out of the way of the attack, and as Honchkrow began to swerve around, Pikachu aimed a Thunderbolt at the black bird and put it out of commission.
Paul's eyes widened in rage. He recalled Honchkrow and reached down for the rest of his Poké Balls, but Ninetales' eyes began to glow again. Before she had full control, Paul tackled her, sending both of them straight towards the jagged cliff. Paul went over first, grabbing onto Ninetales' bangs as she followed him. Ash yelped, rushing over just as Ninetales lost her grip on the ground. As she tumbled face first of the mountain, Ash grabbed the only part of her that he could reach.
She screeched in pain, thrashing from side to side. Apparently, her tails were extremely sensitive and the tug of all her body weight was excruciatingly painful. Paul lost his grip and plunged towards the ground below – without a Flying-type strong enough to carry him, he splashed down into the rapids below, clinging to his backpack for floatation. For once, the trainer seemed to lose his cool and began to shout, terrified. His screaming rang through the whole mountain before he finally disappeared round a bend in the river.
Ninetales had tears in her eyes as the other boy slowly started to pull her up. Once she was back onto safe ground, she burst into tears and licked her pained tails. Three of them had been used to pull her to safety – the other six twitched restlessly. Finally, she seemed to relax, all nine tales ceasing to move.
"I'm sorry!" Ash cried. "I didn't mean to hurt you!"
She swiveled around to stare right into his eyes. Petrified, the boy could do nothing as she looked him up and down, a strange look in her eyes.
Ash screamed, while Pikachu facepalmed. Its trainer could really be stupid sometimes.
I am grateful for you help. Ninetales tried again. Ash laughed nervously, realizing that she was able to use telepathy. However… she told him, you have done the forbidden – you have grabbed one of my tails. Even though you did it to save me, and not for your own selfish ends, you must be punished.
"What?!" Pikachu shouted, charging a Thunderbolt attack. "You can't do that!"
I am bound by the laws that Arceus has laid down. I am… helpless. If I were not to curse you, Arceus would kill all of us – me, both of you, and that vile boy. Please… do not consider this a curse.
Ash shivered in fear, clutching Pikachu tightly. Ninetales began to glow with an unearthly light. Slowly, the light drained into the twelve-year-old boy, causing him to gasp out in pain. His whole body was glowing now, just as a Pokémon did when it evolved. He began to shrink, growing into a familiar shape. When the light faded away, Pikachu grabbed its trainer, horrified.
"What have you done…" it whispered.
Another Pikachu groaned in its paws. This one, however, was much smaller and daintier. Its fur was a lighter shade of yellow than usual, and unlike Pikachu's tail, this Pikachu had a nick in the end of its – or to be more specific, her – tail.
Someday, you will understand, Ninetales told them.
Pikachu ran a paw through the other Pikachu's fur. He whimpered slightly as his old trainer slowly began to come to… erm, her senses. "Wha… what… what happened?"
"Oh, Ash… how are we going to explain this to everyone…"
The new Pikachu suddenly seemed to get her bearings, swaying to her feet drunkenly. "Pikachu? Are you talking? Why are you so big? What did Ninetales do?"
In response, Ninetales held up a small, crystalline mirror that she had found a couple of years ago. As soon as she caught sight of herself, Ash screamed so loudly, a couple of Pidgey flying overhead almost tumbled to the ground in surprise. Pikachu winced, Ninetales looked guilty, and the former human looked quite angry as she caught sight of her tail. "Why… why does it look like that? It's a heart! Only the girls have tails like that!"
"Well…" Ninetales began, speaking normally now that Ash could understand her.
"I'm a girl."
Pikachu and Ninetales looked at each other for a moment before nodding. The new Pikachu buried her face in her paws, looking like she was about to die of embarrassment.
"I could change your memories so you think you've always been a Pikachu," Ninetales offered helpfully, but Ash shook her head.
"Nah, I guess I'll just have to get used to it."
"What? But Ash, you've always-"Pikachu exclaimed.
"I'm getting sick of training. It's the same thing over and over again. We meet some person, help them out, and never see them again. Dawn loses her contests and cries, or wins and brag incessantly. Brock sits in the background and flirts every so often. I challenge the gyms and win the badge. Then we move on, for more of the same crap for another month or two."
Pikachu looked at his partner with extreme surprise. "You never said anything before!"
"Well, I just did." Ash looked quite proud of herself. "Come on Pikachu, let's go have some new adventures! We're going solo now!" She darted into one of the passageways, Pikachu following closely behind. Just before going into the dark tunnel, he turned around and looked at Ninetales.
"Will you be okay?" Ninetales nodded, staring off into the sky. Pikachu took that as a yes and darted after his partner, knowing that she had probably run into about fourteen walls by now.
Overhead, a thunderstorm was brewing. Ninetales curled her tails around her body and glared at the sky above. Lightning flashed between the darkening clouds, but no rain came down. Arceus was not pleased.
Ninetales allowed herself a quiet chuckle as she curled up on her sunning rock. She knew there was nothing he could do – she had followed his instructions. The victim of her curse was permanently changed, but she did not seem to mind the curse after a brief thought. Arceus loved human suffering – at the next meeting at the Hall of Origin, he would almost certainly try to punish her.
But, Ninetales thought, it mattered not.
She had outwitted Arceus, and that brought enough pride to last a lifetime.