Wandering Wildfire

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Wandering Wildfire

A Fist of the Pikachu Story

Disclaimer: The characters in this story are based on other people's work as well as my own, so let's not talk about suing anyone, okay?

: Thoughts

~ ~: Pokemon Talk

"Oh look! He's adorable."

The newly born Ponyta shook his head and began focusing his eyes in the direction of the voice. Like all Ponytas, his mane, tail and other areas with hair would not develop into living flame until the second week or so. As of now, he had thin strands of red hairs, which marked where his flames would develop. At the moment, his father and mother, both of them Rapidashes, were now licking off the excess fluid and helping him to stand. Unlike most Pokemon, Rapidashes gave live births, rather than laying eggs. As the newly born horse was shakily testing out its feet, he finally focused in on the female voice and saw Laura Laramie for the first time.

The daughter of the Laramie Clan and one of the owners of the Big P Ranch smiled as she and her parents watched the newest addition to their Pokemon breeding program begin to take its first steps. Laura only had to take one look at Ponyta and she knew right off that he would be a very strong runner. What she would have never imagined is just how fast Ponyta would be.

Two weeks later…

Laura marveled at the newly lit flames of Ponyta as she led the horse to the trough. She had used the first few days to get the trust of the Pokemon and the two had become fast friends. When the red hairs of his mane and tail ignited into flames, Laura already knew that Ponyta would not burn her. Having already experienced the flames of her own Ponyta, the young girl was more than prepared to help raise this one as well. She seemed to have a natural gift in training horse-type Pokemon and her parents had designated her as the head Ponyta and Rapidash handler of the ranch.

"That's it Ponyta, eat up! You're going to grow up big, strong and fast, just like your parents." Laura stroked the horse's flank as it bent down to feed.

Eight weeks after Ponyta's birth…

Laura's father clicked the stopwatch as Laura and Ponyta completed the tenth lap on the ranch's race course. As the rider and mount trotted over to where the man was standing, the owner of the ranch smiled as he said, "Good work Laura. You and Ponyta beat the last run by eight seconds."

"Thanks Papa, but Ponyta deserves all the credit. He's getting really fast and I'm really proud at how much he's improved." Laura gave Ponyta an affectionate pat on the side of the head as she dismounted.

"So, do you think he might be able to compete in the Pokemon Challenge race by next year?"

Ponyta stomped a hoof in agreement. Like all fire-horses, he loved to race. He had heard about this race and was absolutelty certain that he could win it. He and Laura had been training hard to improve his speed and endurance and with her as his rider, they couldn't lose. He couldn't wait to show those other Pokemon what a great trainer he had.

Laura gave Ponyta a sad smile as she slowly shook her head. "Sorry Ponyta, but I'm afraid that you're not ready for something as tough as the Pokemon Challenge. I've already decided that I'll be using my own Ponyta. Maybe you'll be ready for the year after next year.

When the fire-horse heard this news, the eagerness it had previously began to fade and his head started to droop in disappointment. His eyes reflected the sadness at being passed over for another by his trainer.

Laura did not notice this change in behavior until she turned the reins over to another handler to take Ponyta back to his stall. When she did see the sadness in his eyes, she imeediately regretted her earlier words as he watched him being led away.

Later that night, Ponyta was having a quiet talk with his parents in their stall. (Since we don't speak Pokemon or horse language, the following conversation will be translated. Just use your imagination for the neighs, snorts and whinnies)

~So, how was your run with Laura, son?~ Ponyta's father asked.

~Did you beat your old time?~ His mother asked.

Ponyta said nothing as he continued to stare off into space.

~Son? What's wrong?~ The stallion asked.

~Speak to us. Is something the matter with you?~ The mare inquired.

~Yes, something is wrong.~ Ponyta finally replied. ~I have an uncaring human for a trainer.~

~What?! You mean Laura?~ The male Rapidash said. ~That's ridiculous!~

~Laura is one of the best trainers that a Pokemon could have!~ Ponyta's mother added.

Ponyta turned his head with a little anger in his eyes. ~If she's such a good trainer, then why won't she let me compete in the Pokemon Challenge this year?~

~She won't?~ Ponyta's mother said, then she thought about it for a moment. ~That is one tough race. I don't think you're ready for something as intense as that.~

~I am ready!~ Ponyta protested.

~Laura is probably worried that you might get hurt, son.~ The stallion soothed.

~No she's not! She just doesn't think that I'm fast enough. She's planning to ride that other Ponyta that she raised!~

~Well, he is a bit faster than you and he's run the race before so he does have more experience.~

~What?! Are agreeing with her too?!~

~Calm down son. There's no need to get so upset. We are just worried about your safety, just as much as we're sure that Laura is too.~ Ponyta's mother remarked. ~Like all Ponytas and Rapidashes, we have the instinctive desire to race. It's in our blood and we can understand why you want to complete in the Pokemon Challenge. However, Laura is not letting you compete because she's concerned about you getting hrut, just as we are. The Pokemon Challenge has caused severe injuries to Pokemon before and she doesn't want to put you into any danger. As your trainer, she has to take responsibility for your health and welfare. She's only looking out for your best interests.~

~I have to agree with your mother.~ Ponyta's father said. ~Laura is the best friend a Ponyta or Rapidash could have. Don't worry about it son. You'll get your chance at the race someday.~

Ponyta was just digesting what his parents had told him when his ears perked up at the sound of someone enetering the stables. Laura quietly walked toward the stall where Ponyta and his parents were.

"Hi Ponyta. How are you tonight?" Laura reached out to pet Ponyta on his head. The flames of his mane suddenly flared and the girl just barely managed to pull back her hand before getting burned.

The male rapidash snorted angrily at his offspring. ~Son! Don't be like that!~

Hie mother also nodded. ~Remember son, Laura is YOUR friend. We wouldn't be telling you this if it wasn't true!~

Laura was bit on edge at almost being burned, but she gathered up her courage to reach out again. "Come on, Ponyta, don't be mad with me. I know that you must be angry at me for not letting you ride in the race this year, but I don't want to see you get hurt or worse. You're like part of my family. All of the Ponyta that I've raised are. It would really make me sad if you got hurt because I put you there."

Ponyta's ears perked up at those words as he looked back to his parents.

~You see son? We told you so.~ Ponyta's father snorted smugly.

~Go on son. Make up with her.~ His mother gestured back to Laura with her head.

Ponyta looked back to his trainer, then after a tense moment, let his flames die back down to their normal intensity. Laura gave the horse a small smile as she patted his head, then opened the stall door.

"Come on Ponyta. Let's get some fresh air."

A while later, Ponyta and Laura were riding along the wide plains near the Big P Ranch. With the wind whipping past them as they raced along the flat ground, the flame-horse's depression soon faded away as he engaged in his favorite pastime. The pure exhileration he felt in his need for speed made him feel so alive and free. With Laura's legs gripping his sides and leaning forward in a jockey's position, Ponyta pushed for even greater speeds. However, his endurance was still not as great as the Ponyta that Laura intended to ride in the race, and he was soon tiring out. Eventually, he and Laura stopped on a ridge that overlooked the plains.

"That was a good ride, Ponyta." Laura said as she dismounted.

Ponyta nodded in agreement as he nuzzled her with the side of his head.

Laura smiled as she stroked his head. "I really would like to ride you in next year's race, but I don't think you're ready for it yet. You've gotten faster, but you can't keep it up long enough. And I'm pretty sure that rat Dario would try to cheat. I don't want to see you get hurt. I don't want any of the Pokemon I train to get hurt. I love you all too much. Do you understand?"

Ponyta was about to protest, but then thought back to tonight's run. It was a good run, but Laura was right. He was already exhausted from the run after only ten minutes. The race required more stamina than he had. With a reluctant neigh, he nodded his head in understanding.

"Thank you Ponyta. I'm glad you and I are friends again." Laura hugged the horse and added, "We're going to be friends forever, right?"

Ponyta nodded and snorted in agreement.

A minute later, Laura and Ponyta were trotting back to the ranch.

Later that night, Ponyta and the other horses were fast asleep in their stalls when a large truck pulled up silently up to the stables. Several men quietly emerged from the back of the vehicle and crept into the stables with tranquilizer guns and ropes. Ponyta was too exhausted from his run with Laura when the thieves struck. He suddenly felt a sharp pain in his side and was out like a light a moment later when the powerful sedative in the dart put him out. The rustlers smirked as they silently began loading up his unconscious body into the truck, along with several others. They were about to load up the sleeping forms of his parents when one of the ranch's hired hands had come along on night watch.

The hired hand immediately began sounding the alarm, causing the theives to drop what they were doing scamble back to their truck to escape. By the time the entire ranch was awake, the theives managed to get away with their ill-gotten Ponytas, five in all, including the one that Laura had ridden. They were securely tied down as the vehicle raced away into the night.

Sometime near dawn, the sedative that had kept Ponyta under wore off and he found himself in some strange truck with four other Ponytas, who were still unconscious. Noting that he was laying on his side and bound, he immediately assumed that he had been stolen. On the cargo area of the truck, he saw a large letter R painted on the side. Looking out of the back of the truck, he saw that he was far and away from the Big P Ranch. He had no idea where he was, but it was imperative that he and the others had to escape. He tried to use his flames to burn through the ropes, but the bindings were made out of a fireproff material, which made the effort useless. Ponyta then began gnawing at the nearest rope, hoping to chew through it. With the angle he was at, it was slow progress and he wished that he could evolve into a Rapidash so that he would have a horn to use. As it was, it took him a half-hour to chew through the first rope. Finally though, when the sun was just coming up over the horizon, the flame-horse Pokemon manged to free himself and was just getting up to release the others. That was when the truck hit a huge dip in the road, followed by a large speed bump.

Ponyta was still a little wobblily from the sedative and was thrown back and out of the truck! It was also more unfortunate that the truck had been driving along a steep incline, and Ponyta went tumbling down the sides. It was just a lucky thing that there was some dense bushes and hedges to break his fall. However, Ponyta had tumbled down too far from the road and was in too much pain to go after the truck as it sped off into the distance. When he finally managed to get back to his feet, the truck was long gone. He was alone… and lost.

Ironically, had Ponyta remained with the others, he would have been returned to the ranch. The thieves had been caught a day later when they tried to sell their stolen Pokemon. The Big P Ranch had secretly marked each of their horses with a brand on their left hind hoof and it was recognized by the buyer. However, as it was, only four of the Ponytas were taken back to their home and Laura had become heartbroken when she discovered that the fifth Pokemon was the same one she had ridden the night before.

Several months later…

Ponyta was running for his life as a Pokemon trainer with his Tauros chased after him. It had been extremely difficult evading capture as it seemed that this Billy Bartonne was bound and determined to add him to his collection of Pokemon. Ever since that night when he was stolen, Ponyta had spent that last few months trying to get back to the ranch. However, three weeks ago, he had come across the spoiled rich kid and his friends, who immediately tried to capture him with their Pokeballs. Ponyta did not like the way they coveted him and had spent the last few days evading their traps and their attempts to weaken him. At present, Billy Bartonne was chasing him down and Ponyta was becoming exhausted at being constantly hunted. He just wanted to go back home to his parents and trainer, Laura. He didn't want Billy to catch him, after seeing how cruelly he treated his own Pokemon. He would not be caputred!

Unfortunately, Billy and his friends were quite persistent and now they had Ponyta right where they wanted him. As of now, Billy was chasing Ponyta into a trap where his two cohorts were waiting with weighted, asbestos nets up ahead. When Ponyta passed by a large boulder, Billy's partners jumped out from behind it and threw the nets.

Ponyta found himself entangled and went down. He became desparate and tried to burn his way through the nets, but it was no use. When he saw one of the trainers release a Blastoise, he cried out in fear. Was there no hope? He let off a scream of pain as the Blastoise's water cannons let off dual streams and almost snuffed out his flames completely. Ponyta knew that this was the end.

As Billy was shouting at his partners for their stupidity, Ponyta saw someone racing toward the scene with a Pikachu on his heels.

"Hey! Leave that Ponyta alone!"

The three boys turned to face the newcomer.

"Who the heck are you?" Billy asked.

"Butt out pal, if you know what's good for you!" One of his friends said.

"This is our catch!" The thrid boy said.

Ponyta was wondering who this person was, when his flames died down to almost nothing. That was when he lost consciousness. When darkness claimed him, the last image he saw was the strange pigtailed boy and the Pikachu glowing with an eerie blue light.

Some time later, Ponyta awoke to find itself laying on some soft ground at a campsite. It was also tied down and the boy he had seen was applying some bandages as well as some healing potions to his wounds. As soon as the boy got close to a wound near its mane, Ponyta's flame flared up a bit.

"OW!" The boy said as he received a burn on his hand. He quickly retracted it and doused it with some water from a canteen.

"Pika! Pika! Pikachu!" ~HEY! What was that for? We're only trying to help!~

Ponyta looked over and saw the Pikachu with a white headband glaring at him.

"Neigh!"~I don't need your help.~

"Pikachu! Pika, pika!" ~Yeah, just like you didn't need our help with those three boys back there.~

Ponyta became silent at the memory, then asked. ~You… you were the ones that saved me?~

"Pika, pi. Pikachu. Pika." ~Yes. Ranma and me chased those guys away and brought you here. He's been tending to your wounds.~

"Whinny." ~Ranma?~

"Pikachu." ~He's my trainer. By the way, I'm Raiden~ Raiden pointed to Ranma, who was rubbing his hand and looking back at the horse with a bit of edginess.

Ranma weakly waved to the horse and gave him a small smile. "Heh, hi there Ponyta. I'm Ranma and I guess you've already met Raiden. Would you mind not doing that again? It's really hard to tend to your injuries without you trying to barbeque me."

Ponyta looked at him with suspicion. After his ordeal with Billy and his friends, not to mention others that had tried to capture him, he was very disturstful of humans in general. The human that he would trust was Laura, and she wasn't here.

Ranma sensed the reluctance in Ponyta and could see it in his eyes. He then said, "Look, if you're worried that I might try to capture you, then you're worried for nothin'. I don't wanna catch you. I just couldn't leave you here to die. I just tied you down to keep you from thrashing about. I give my word. I won't hurt you or put you in Pokeball. Just let me and Raiden help you and when you're all better, you can go any where you like."

Ponyta continued to stare at Ranma supiciously, then looked back down at Raiden.

"Pikachu. Pi, pika. Chu. Pikachu." ~He's telling you the truth. He won't try to catch you. Trust him. When Ranma gives you his word, he keeps it. Let us help you.~

For a long while, Ponyta was silent. Ranma thought that he had been given the go-ahead and began applying more of the bandages. However, when he got to the last of Ponyta's wounds, he had to smear on a large amount of disinfectant, and that caused the horse to react to the stinging solution.

"YOW! THAT SMARTS! Ranma yelped as he retracted his arm from Ponyta's fiery mane and poured more water on the burn. He then said to the horse, "You're not making this any easier Ponyta! I told ya that I'm only trying to help! I don't wanna catch ya!"

This made Ponyta even more confused. 'What kind of trainer is this guy if he doesn't want to catch Pokemon?'

He looked at Raiden who sighed a mushroom puff. This was going to be a long night.

The next morning…

Ranma woke up early and went to check on his patient. After seeing Ponyta's fire regain more of its luster, he nodded and then noticed something on Ponyta's left hind hoof. He couched down and saw a large, stylish P printed on the hoof.

'What is this? Some kind of brand?' Ranma looked over the still sleeping horse. 'Do you belong to somebody? If you do, then I definitely can't keep you. Pop may steal, but I don't, not any more. As soon as you're better, I'm going to let you go to find your owner.'

The next ten days…

Ponyta was a bit perplexed as he was being led down a trail by Ranma. The strange boy and his Pikachu had kept by him the whole time, nursing him back to health. They had shared their food, medicine and kept him warm as his flames were given back their intensity. Throughout his convelesence, Ponyta began comparing this Ranma person to Laura. He was a bit on the crude side and rough around the edges. However, he had a good heart and kept his word about not trying to put him in a Pokeball. He was kind, honorable, and was patient with him, enduring several more burns in the process. Now he was going to fulfill his promise and set him free.

However, the thought of being freed wasn't as appealing as it had been ten days ago. Ponyta had gotten used to Ranma and Raiden's company. He liked the both of them. Traveling without a trainer had been lonely and there was always a chance that Billy or some other person like him would try to capture the flame-horse again. It was very unlikely that he would find Laura again soon and this Ranma seemed to be his best bet to surviving out in the world. It was just as Ranma was removing the bridle that Ponyta made a decision.

"Go! You're free!" Ranma said as he pointed off into the distance.

'Why? I'm not leaving my trainer.' Ponyta thought.

"Didn't you hear me? I said you're free!"

Ponyta did the opposite and nuzzled him. "Neigh." ~I'm not leaving my new trainer.~

Raiden smiled. 'Welcome aboard, Ponyta.'

Ranma was trying to push Ponyta away as he leaned to get at his Pokeballs, when they were interrupted by some laughter and some familiar figures. Ponyta became disgusted as he recognized the voices of Billy and his friends. His eyes glowed red as he tensed up and watched Ranma face off against those bullies. He didn't want his new trainer getting hurt and when a Pidgey suddenly flew down and created a dust storm, Ponyta saw his chance and swept up Ranma and Raiden onto his back and galloped off.

It didn't take long for those three boys to recover as Billy sent his Tauros after him. Ponyta began to go faster as soon as he heard the rumbling hoovs of the bull after him. He ignored Ranma's orders to stop, but was happy to oblige when Ranma saw what was chasing them.

"On second thought, don't slow down! Giddy up! Faster! Faster!"

After putting on an extra busrt of speed, Ponyta saw that their path was leading them straight toward a wide ravine. He couldn't risk stopping with an angry Tauros after him so he made the decision to jump the span. He began focusing all he had into gaining enough speed and that when he felt his body begin to tingle and get hotter. He wondered what was happening, but put that thought aside as he concentrated on the task ahead. He then gave off a whinny and jumped.

When the fire-horse landed on the other side of the ravine, he was a bit puzzled. 'That's funny. I thought the ravine was wider than that.' He decided to think about it later, after he and his new friends was far away from Billy. He didn't notice that he had just evolved into a Rapidash!

Some time later, just before Ranma arrives at Veridian City…

The Rapidash was feeling proud of himself right now. Not only had he evolved, but now he was going to see the world and with his new trainer, the horse was certain that he was in good hands.

"You know, I should give you and Pidgey names.Just like Raiden." Ranma said as he rode his new Rapidash toward Veridian City. Raiden was riding on his packpack.

"Neigh." ~Name?~

Ranma thought for a moment and then snapped his fingers. "Hey! How about calling you Wildfire?"

"Whinny?" ~Wildfire?~

Ranma then looked up to where Pidgey was flying overhead and then called up to it. "And I'll call you Wind Rider! So how about it?"

'Wildfire… hmmmm, not bad. I like it!'

The Pidgey above also nodded to its new name as he flew down and settled down on one of his shoulders. The group then came up to a ridge that overlooked Veridian City.

"Okay, we're here. Wildfire, Wind Rider, Raiden… are you ready?"

The Pokemon all gave their heartfelt acknowledgements as Ranma urged his fiery steed down the slope.

THE END Author's notes

Well, that takes care of Wildfire's story and how he came to encounter Ranma. I would like to hear some comments and maybe I might get around to telling the early experiences of ranma's other Pokemon as well.