Chapter 1: Start

"It's finally time," shouted a young boy as he walked out of his house, "I can't wait to see Prof. Oak and get my very own Pokédex!"

The boy was named Krad, and yesterday just happened to be his tenth birthday, making him eligible to become a Pokémon Trainer in his home town of Viridian City. Ever since he was seven years old, he had waited for this day, three long years of preparing himself for the excitement of being a Trainer. On his birthday his mother gave him a wonderful set of gifts: a backpack, running shoes, a new set of traveling clothes, and something he'd always wanted, but never seen up close before, a Pokéball! He was excited as he left his house, looking out at the blue sky above.

As with any Trainer, he was on his way to see the local Pokémon Professor to receive one of three "starter" Pokémon to begin his journey. The three were Bulbasaur, a grass-type, Charmander, a fire-type, and Squirtle, a water-type. Krad wasn't entirely sure which one he wanted to start out with, but he thought about getting a Charmander. He'd read about its evolutions, and knew that nothing was more awesome and powerful as a Charizard. If he raised one right, he'd be the first Trainer of his family to own one.

He smiled as he tugged at his backpack, walking out of his house towards the south of town. He'd taken his mother's advice and packed some repel with him so he wouldn't have to worry about wild Pokémon so soon. He learned that they loved to lurk in tall grass and without the handy repellent, he was likely to encounter one before he was ready.

He was almost out of the town when suddenly he heard someone calling his name. Turning around he saw it was his friend and rival Shinji, a young boy the same age as him who lived not far from his home.

"Krad, wait up!" he yelled as he ran over to him. As he got closer Krad noticed that he too had a backpack and running shoes on, meaning he was most likely planning on visiting Prof. Oak as well. After stopping a moment to catch his breath he smiled up at his friend. "I'm coming with you."

"Really?"

"Yeah, your mom said I could."

Smiling a little, Krad adjusted his sunglasses as he realized it was typical of his mom to have someone look after him while he left. Growing up wasn't easy for the boy as he was usually picked on by his peers at school. His eyes were unique, as red as the flame on a Charmander's tail, and because of it he was hazed often by the other kids. As he got older he wore sunglasses constantly to hide his appearance. His parents made the excuse that it was because his eyes were sensitive to light, but others knew the truth. Shinji was one of the few people who didn't harass the boy for his eyes, and because of it, he considered him a good friend.

"Thanks, I could use the company."

The two adjusted their bags one last time, applied some Repel, and began the journey south to Pallet Town, home of Prof. Oak's lab and where their journey would truly begin. As they walked, the two chatted casually, both eager for the adventure that lay ahead.

"So what Pokémon will you choose?" Krad asked, curious of his friend's preference.

"I'm not sure. I'm thinking about getting a Charmander."

"Really?"

"Yeah, I've always loved fire-types, you know that."

Krad nodded and wondered if he should get a Charmander as well. Since he considered Shinji to be his rival as well as his friend, it was custom to choose a Pokémon that was the opposite of his. So in this case, Krad would need to choose a Squirtle as his starter, as the water-type was super effective against Shinji's fire-type.

"What about you Krad? What Pokémon will you choose?"

"Um… I don't know" shrugged Krad, hiding his disappointment. "I'll just decide when we get there."

Shinji let out a light laugh. "Always the last minute thinker, huh?"

The boy just smiled and pushed up his sunglasses, glancing around at the tall grass that covered most of Route 1. From where they were going they could easily pass by it by jumping down from the ledges that ran along the route. Krad noticed a couple wild Pidgey foraging in the grass and wondered if he'd see them again after he got his Pokémon.

The air was cool as they walked, a pleasant day to be out, as Shinji commented. The two stopped for a moment to take a quick break and were once again off. They had heard that Route 1 was one of the shortest in Kanto, so with luck they'd reach Pallet Town by sundown.

Hours went by and soon they found themselves passing a couple people from the very town they were headed to. They weren't trainers but just a few kids playing in the grass and a one who was pretending to be a trainer. As they got closer, they even saw a familiar face.

"Hey, isn't that Murasaki, from the PokéMart?" Shinji said, pointing at a man sitting at booth near edge of the trail.

Krad looked at him and noticed that it was in fact one of the people who worked at the Viridian City PokéMart, a short stout man with a receding hairline and a dark violet apron. He looked as if he had set up a convenience booth right on the Route.

The pair of young, soon-to-be trainers walked over to him in greeting, both as surprised as him to see each other.

"Hey, Krad, Shinji!" he shouted with joy, "Good to see you boys! I see you're on your way to Pallet Town."

"Yes, sir," replied Shinji.

"We're off to see Professor Oak and become Pokémon Trainers" said Krad with a smile.

"I figured as much," said Murasaki with a proud smile, "I was wondering when the day would come when you would be off on your grand adventure."

He reached into one of the boxes at his side and pulled out two objects of what looked like spray bottles.

"Do you know what these are, boys?"

"Those are Potions, sir," said Shinji. "They heal injured Pokémon."

"You're right!" He put them back in the box and smiled at them. "That's why I'm here. I'm giving a way a free potion as a sample to trainers coming out of Pallet Town. Think of it as a kind of small incentive to shop at the PokéMart in Viridian City."

"So… if we come back with our Pokédexes in hand, we can get a free potion too?"

As he nodded the two boys smiled at each other.

"We'll be back soon then!" they both said in unison.

Agreeing to return, the boys set out to continue their walk to the town, even more eager to become a Trainer. Potions were just one of the many key items to have on a Pokémon journey. As Pokémon battled, they would get injured to the point it was painful for them to continue fighting. Normally a quick trip to the Pokémon Center would remedy this, but if one wasn't close by, a Potion was the next best thing. The quick healing medicinal spray was perfect for healing Low-Level Pokémon, with more advanced sprays for Pokémon of higher levels.

They continued walking for awhile, curious as to how far Pallet Town really was. Darkness was slowly covering the area around them as the sun set and they wondered how much farther they could continue with only the moon as their light for the night.

Suddenly, they heard the sharp cry of a bird Pokémon from the woods nearby and turned to look. A large Pokémon, a Fearow by first glance, was busy attacking something. Krad, concerned it might be a helpless Pokémon, rushed towards it.

"Hey, wait!" Shinji grabbed his arm to stop him. "It's just a Fearow. It's probably eating something right now."

"If it was eating it wouldn't be fighting as hard as it is," Krad argued, prying off his friend's hand. "I'm just gonna go check it out, okay?"

Shinji nodded as he watched his friend slowly sneaked over to the tree, glancing around it. They both knew that Fearows weren't native to this area of Kanto, so it must be a released Pokémon, and an aggressive one at that.

Removing his sunglasses so he could see in the fading light, he gasped as he saw the target of the Fearow's aggression: a lone Bulbasaur, large scratches along its body and head from it being attacked.

The small grass-type Pokémon was cowering in fear from the larger bird, feeling the pain of its sharp pecking and scratches. It tried a couple time to growl, but the feeble sound it produced did nothing to stop the attack. Krad looked back and forth between the two, trying to figure out a plan to help.

Then he remembered… he still had a can of Repel in his pack!

Waiting for the right moment, he quietly set down his bag and reached inside it, pulling out the green can of Pokémon Repellent. He knew it was usually meant to prevent encounters with Wild Pokémon in Tall Grass, but for now it was the only option he had. He watched as the Fearow rose into the air for another attack and as it turned toward the Bulbasaur and dived, Krad leaped out from his hiding spot.

"Leave him alone!" he shouted as he held the can of Repel high, spraying it into the oncoming Fearow's face.

The bird Pokémon cawed in discomfort as it was temporarily blinded by the spray. It flew around blindly until slamming into a tree, knocking itself out. Krad watched for a moment to see if it would get up, then tossed the empty can aside. He slowly walked over to the Bulbasaur, hoping it was alright.

Still weak from the attack, the grass Pokémon looked up at him, scared at first. He wasn't sure if he could trust the new stranger, but then noticed the knocked out Fearow nearby. Its eyes then glanced at him with a glimmer of hope, as if wondering if the human had come to save him. Krad gave a warm smile and held his hand out for the Pokémon.

"It's alright… I'm here to help you…"

The Bulbasaur slowly leaned forward and sniffed his hand. Sensing no ill-will in the humans scent, it began crawling towards him, but stopped from the sharp pain running through its body. It let out a weak sound and fell onto its stomach, head laid down in shame.

Krad couldn't stand idly by and watch the poor Pokémon writhe in pain. He quietly moved closer and looked over its wounds. From what he could see, it sustained a lot of Peck attacks and possibly even a few Sand-Attacks, judging by the amount of dirt across his face and eyes. That Fearow must have been very angry when it attacked, though Krad couldn't imagine why the bird Pokémon would hold such animosity toward a small, defenseless grass-type.

It didn't take long for Shinji to investigate the whereabouts of his friend. When he saw the injured Bulbasaur he quickly rushed over to help.

"What happened?"

"This poor Bulbasaur was attacked by that Fearow we saw," Krad replied with a sigh. "We need to help it."

"But how? The nearest Pokémon Center is all the way back in Viridian City… and we don't have a Pokéball to carry it in…"

Not even minutes after Shinji spoke they heard the sound of a jeep roaring along Route 1. Krad quickly stood and ran out to see what it was, surprised to see the 4x4 racing closer, one of it's passengers looking around at the forest line. At first glance it looked like a Police Jeep, with the driver most likely being an Officer Jenny.

They must be looking for the Bulbasaur, Krad reasoned as he looked back at Shinji and the injured Pokémon. Waving his hands in the air, he tried to signal the jeep, yelling as loud as he could.

"Hey! Hey over here! Hey!"

Sure enough, the jeep skidded to a stop nearby and both driver and passenger exited. One was in fact an Officer Jenny who adjusted her hat once she exited, while the other was a taller, older man with graying hair and a white lab coat.

"What's going on here? Did you need assistance?" said the Officer, looking him over and around him, as if to assess the situation.

"Yes, there's a Bulbasaur in the woods, injured. He was attacked by a Fearow."

He pointed to the spot where Shinji and the Pokémon were, and all three quickly raced over. The older gentleman kneeled next to the Bulbasaur and looked him over, frowning.

"There's not doubt about it… he's the one we're looking for Officer."

"Are you sure Professor?"

He nodded once. "Yes… though it pains me to see him this way. He always had a fear of bird Pokémon, so to hear him being attacked by one, a Fearow no less, is distressing."

Krad listened to the man speak and was certain he'd heard his voice before. It was gruff, but gentle; the knowledge in his voice reflecting years of studying Pokémon. Officer Jenny called him Professor… could that mean…?

The gentleman stood up and cleared his throat. "Boys, I'll need you two to assist me, if you can."

"What is it, sir?" said Shinji, looking up at him.

"This Bulbasaur is in critical condition. It needs to be taken to a rejuvenator and now. I need you two bring him into the jeep, but gently."

"Will we be going to a Pokémon Center?" Krad asked, hoping there was one in nearby Pallet Town.

"No, there's not one close enough. We'll have to take him to my lab. I have one just for emergencies like this."

Without asking many further questions, Krad and Shinji gently picked up the injured Bulbasaur and headed into the back of the jeep. The two sat on either side of it as Officer Jenny and the Professor got back in.

"Now hold on everyone!" yelled Jenny as she shifted into gear.

Everyone indeed held on as she quickly pulled a U-turn and sped off, their destination: Pallet Town. In the darkness of the setting sun, Krad removed his sunglasses and looked at the Bulbasaur. He was surprised to see it staring at him, its eyes just barely open.

He's… he's not scared… Krad thought as he gazed into the Pokémon's red eyes. They were nearly the same hue as his. Never before had anyone, Human or Pokémon, look him in the eyes without fear or resentment. Yet here was a Bulbasaur, staring into the eyes of his savior with not fear, but gratitude. The two stared into each others eyes for a few moments before the Bulbasaur finally fainted from its injuries.

"Professor!" Krad shouted, "He's fainted!"

"We'd best hurry then," he replied in a grave tone. "Officer Jenny, our we close?"

The jeep jumped a ledge and plowed through a path hidden by tall grass. "Almost there Professor!"

It didn't take much longer for them to reach the Lab which was near the center of Pallet Town. The jeep skidded to a stop and the two boys quickly carried the Bulbasaur inside, following the Professor and Officer Jenny. A few aides rushed over once they were inside and they led them to the back of the lab where a Pokémon Rejuvenator, the same kind as those found in a Pokémon Center, was set up ready for use.

The Professor grabbed a Pokéball lying on a machine nearby and aimed it at the Bulbasaur. A flash of light later and the Pokémon was in, what Krad assumed, the Bulbasaur's ball. He watched as the Professor inserted the Pokéball into the Rejuvenator and it began to heal. A few tense minutes later and the machine chimed in it's familiar tone to signal a successful heal.

Both Krad and Shinji let out a sigh of relief, knowing that the Bulbasaur was fully healed now. They looked at the Professor, and in the bright light of the lab, gasped as it finally dawned on them who he was and where they were.

"You're Professor Oak, aren't you?" Krad said in awe.

The man smiled and nodded. "Yes, that's me. I'm Prof. Samuel Oak, Lead Researcher and head scientist on Pokémon Studies in all of Kanto."

The two boys looked at each other with excitement. They'd made it, they were in Pallet Town and visiting Prof. Oak! Both could feel their adventure beginning soon. However, the feeling was soon followed by something else that took much higher priority.

Shinji gave a loud yawn, feeling exhausted from the journey and the rescue. Krad was also tired, and the two asked Prof. Oak where they could possibly sleep.

"Since you two helped me in rescuing my Bulbasaur, I'll let you sleep here for tonight, but tonight only." He smiled softly. "Judging by your apparel, I assume you were planning on visiting in the first place to start your journey."

When they both nodded he gave a short laugh. "Well then it must be fate that we met in such a manner."

He called over one of the aides and led them to a set of rooms connected to the labs. The two boys fell onto the beds, too tired to change into their night clothing. Krad let his bag slump to the ground as he rolled onto his back, staring at the ceiling. From his right he heard Shinji do the same and let out another yawn.

"We did something great today, Krad"

"Yeah, I know."

The silver haired boy looked over at his friend and smiled. "You made you decision yet, huh?"

"What do you mean?" Krad asked, confused at first. "Oh… you mean my starter?"

After Shinji gave a tired "yes", Krad replied with a soft smile, "Now that I think of it… I think I'll have my starter be…"

Before he could finish he heard a loud snore. Looking to his right he saw that Shinji had already fallen asleep. The nerve of him! What was the point of asking a question if you were just going to fall asleep before hearing it?

Shaking his head, Krad decided to get some rest as well and relaxed against his pillow. In his mind, he finished what he said.

A Bulbasaur… my starter will be a Bulbasaur…