-DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokémon, nor do I own any of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. The rights belong to Nintendo and ChunSoft.-
"Where... Where am I? Ugh, my head..."
The scent of a recent rainfall and fresh grass filled Rylan's nose. He slowly opened his eyes and took a look around. A lush, green meadow stretched out as far as the eye could see, and the sky was cloaked a beautiful shade of blue and dotted with white clouds. He was lying beneath a tree, and the shade was cool and comforting.
"This place… It looks like something out a storybook," Rylan murmured to himself. "Hmph."
Rylan felt no sentimental value for this place. He didn't know why he felt this way, but he could feel something welling in his heart, and he recognized it as uneasiness. His heart yearned for the peace and quiet that this grassy field offered, but something inside was urging him that this place just didn't suit him.
"This feeling…" he said. "I must have a reason for why I don't like this place, but I can't think of one. Come to think of it, how did I end up here in the first place? Where the heck am I?"
Feeling a bit drowsy but eager to find out more, Rylan shakily got to his feet and walked away from the tree, looking around for something familiar. Moments later, the wind began to pick up. Rylan stretched a bit and yawned loudly, and then his face became acquainted with a large piece of paper caught in the wind.
"Wah!" he sputtered, removing the paper from his face and taking a look at it. It appeared as some kind of Wanted poster. He gave it a curious glance over.
"…A Houndour?" he stated. "There's a Pokémon on a Wanted poster? That's—"
Rylan didn't finish his sentence; his attention immediately shifted to his hands after catching a dark shade of blue out of the corner of his eye. Alarmed as he examined his hands, he noticed that there were blue paws in place of them.
"What on Earth-?" he exclaimed. He looked down at himself, alarmed as well by the appearance of his body. In addition to that, there was some kind of pendant hanging around his neck he didn't recognize. However, that wasn't what concerned him at the present time. Frightened and shaking, he quickly looked around for a source of reflection. He soon came across a puddle in a patch of dirt close by and took a look at the face that stared back at him with his horrified expression.
"I'm a Riolu?" he yelped. "I'm a Pokémon? How could this have happened? I can't be a-!"
Startled by the sudden outcry in the distance, Rylan jumped. To his surprise, a Buizel was running towards him. A generally small Pokémon compared to humans, this Buizel was now much taller than Rylan, and… Did it just speak English? No way, Rylan thought. This was all a bad dream, and he would wake up soon enough.
"Hey there," the Buizel said as he approached Rylan, who attempted to slowly back away. A nightmare, it's all a nightmare, he told himself.
"I haven't seen you around here before," said the Buizel, now mere feet away from Rylan. "I see you found that Wanted poster. The wind picked up and it escaped my grip. Thank you. May I please have it back?"
Without another word, Rylan dropped the poster and fled. Buizel cocked his head to one side, his face appearing rather skeptical. "Um… Thanks," he said to the empty space where that odd Riolu stood seconds ago. He picked up the poster and started to walk around, apparently searching for something. "How much longer?" he wondered. "The mission's over already, and I don't want either of us to be late for dinner."
Rylan retreated to the tree where he first woke up, gasping for breath. Was he really a Riolu now? Did he really meet a talking Buizel? He sighed and started running off. He didn't want to ask for help, but surely there were some humans nearby who could help him. He certainly didn't want to run into any more talking Pokémon. Surely, such things don't exist.
What am I doing, he wondered. What will I accomplish by running blindly into the great unknown? I should just stop and take my time to think of a way to—"Oof!"
It was too late for Rylan to slow down; he tripped over something and fell flat on his face.
"Oh, gosh, I'm so sorry!" said a voice.
Rylan pushed himself up and looked around. A Vulpix was sitting there, looking concerned.
"No, this is not happening…" Rylan whispered to himself.
"I'm terribly sorry about that," said the Vulpix. "I didn't think anyone would ever trip over my tails," she chuckled.
"No, no…" Rylan managed to utter. "I'm the one who was running without keeping an eye out."
"Here, let me help you up," Vulpix offered, extending a paw. Rylan shook his head.
"I'm fine," he replied, getting to his feet. When he stood up, however, one of his legs gave out and he fell back down.
"You must have hurt your leg," Vulpix said. "Would you like me to take you to someplace where you can rest it?"
"No," Rylan suddenly responded. "I'll be fine."
Vulpix seemed rather worried. This was one odd and slightly rude Riolu. Still, she knew that every Pokémon has a good side to them. She intended to at least find it.
"So, Riolu-" she started.
"My name's Rylan," Rylan interrupted. "And I'm not a Pokémon, I'm a human."
Vulpix looked surprised at this. "Human? But you look like your average Riolu from where I'm standing."
"Then go stand somewhere else, please," Rylan said. "I appreciate your concern but I don't need your help."
Vulpix didn't want to just give up. She still had many questions. "Where are you from, then?" she inquired.
"I'm from-!" Rylan snapped. He quickly became silent and started to scratch his head. "I'm from… I…"
"Well?" Vulpix asked.
"I don't remember," Rylan replied. He felt disturbed by this. He remembered that he was human, yet he didn't remember where he came from? This couldn't be a dream, but it definitely twisted up the limitations of reality.
"You don't remember?" Vulpix asked. "Do you even have a home to return to tonight?"
Rylan shook his head. "No…"
Vulpix stood up. "Please, let me take you back to the Exploration Guild where I live. I'm sure my Guildmaster will find you a place to stay for the night."
"Exploration Guild?" Rylan asked. "Guildmaster?"
"Yes, I work as part of an official Explorer's Guild," Vulpix replied excitedly. "My partner and I travel all over the region, doing neat stuff like apprehending outlaws and saving Pokémon in danger. We get to see lot of interesting places and find awesome treasure!"
"Cool," Rylan muttered nonchalantly.
"The Guildmaster is the Pokémon in charge of our organization," Vulpix explained. "He's very strict but we at the guild hold him in high respect. He's a veteran explorer the likes of which are few in this region."
"Yes, that's nice," Rylan yawned. Vulpix frowned at his lack of caring.
"Please, just give it a chance, Rylan," she said. "Just one night."
Rylan sighed. He really didn't have any other option, did he? He realized that he must have been a pretty antisocial human. He didn't really want to go with Vulpix to the guild or even talk to Vulpix, but he did need food and shelter, at least until he found a way to return to his life as a human.
"Fine, I'll go with you," he said.
Vulpix smiled softly and nodded. "You won't regret it, Rylan. I promise. Here, climb on my back. I'll carry you."
Rylan did so, reaching down to rub his sore leg as he rested atop Vulpix's back. Seconds later, a sweet fragrance caught his attention. He turned his head to look at the source and saw a bunch of bright red flowers.
"You like them, too?" Vulpix asked.
"Huh?" Rylan asked, startled. His attention was still focused on the flowers.
"Hee hee… I can tell you do," Vulpix laughed. "These red flowers are my favorite. They're beautiful, and they smell so nice. I love coming here to Floral Meadow on missions just so I can stop and admire the flowers when I'm finished with work."
Rylan nodded his head. The flowers were indeed beautiful.
"Oh, gosh, that reminds me," Vulpix gasped. "I'm late for my mission report, and I bet my partner's waited on me long enough. It's almost time for dinner."
Just then, the two of them heard a growling noise. Rylan blinked.
Vulpix smiled. "Hee hee! You sound hungry, Rylan. Let's get going!"
Rylan didn't want to admit it, but he was indeed starting to feel hungry. He closed his eyes and relaxed as Vulpix carried him to their destination.