Prologue Chapter 1: Devon
The following story takes place ten years after the initial events of Pokemon Red/Blue Version.
The Kanto region is in dark times. A mysterious entity has arisen from the depths of Mt. Moon, and seems to be influencing the natural flow of events in the peninsula. The Kanto National Security Corps is keeping a tight grip on the populace in an effort to curb rising levels of crime and chaos, equipping themselves with the latest pieces of military technology to combat the growing illegal Pokemon ring trade. The remnants of Team Rocket are attempting a comeback, and the Kanto government itself is strangely holed up in their district, pulling the strings of the KNSC to complete their mysterious aims. The hero from ten years before is nowhere to be found. Who will take up the mantle, become the ultimate Pokemon master and save the world at the same time?
Saffron City, Lower Downtown Markets. 09:30
"COME BACK HERE, SQUIRT!"
Two bulky merchants lumbered after their target, pushing and wading their way through the early morning crowd. One of their merchandise, a big juicy watermelon, was being carried away by an agile boy wearing a blue baseball cap and baggy shorts. The merchants waved giant sticks, and were shouting all sorts of obscene curses as they gave desperate chase to the young criminal in front of them.
"GIVE IT BACK! IT DOESN'T BELONG TO A STREET URCHIN LIKE YOU!"
The boy, cradling the watermelon with both arms, ducked past a couple pedestrians and shifted to his left, stumbling into an even smaller alleyway. The merchants continued plowing forward through the crowd, oblivious to the sudden change in direction by their target. Wiping his brow, the boy paused to breathe a prolonged sigh of relief before resuming his haste route through the narrow cement alleys with his prize in tow.
A few minutes passed, and the boy entered a courtyard overlooked by a worn apartment complex, with a simple stone bridge shadowing a small, murky river not far off. The watermelon was still tight in his hands, and the situation had calmed down enough for the boy to pause, sigh, and sit on a bench beneath the shade of a tree, plopping the watermelon down beside him. Looking up, the boy absentmindedly gazed at the towering skyscrapers across the river, looming so high that they seemed to reflect the sky right off their shiny windows and walls. What were skyscrapers like on the inside? The boy thought to himself. If only he had enough money to walk around in one of them...
Shifting his blue eyes to the left, he stared at the huge stadium situated further down the river. He had heard tales about that place, and knew that prestigious battles and contests were held there every so often. The boy had never seen such a battle before, but heard all about them through stories told and radios.
"Hey early bird! Off running into trouble again, huh."
A swift hand slapped the boy's forehead, causing his hat to fall off sideways. The boy snatched it out of the air and looked up. Standing before him was a girl about a year his senior, wearing her unkempt brown hair down to her shoulders, with a single ponytail sticking out to the side.
"Eh?" the boy stared into the girl's brown eyes, confused and slightly disoriented from the slap.
"Good morning!" the girl greeted, this time formally.
She pouted, and turned her attention over to the watermelon.
"What's this?" she said with mock annoyance. "Another watermelon, Dev?"
"Hey, this time I actually made sure it was approved by the KFDA," the boy responded. He rustled his hair and resumed staring at the shape of the stadium in the distance. "This time, it's for breakfast."
"Just be careful this time," Claire stifled a laugh. "Also, a watermelon for breakfast? Didn't Mister Vance teach you a thing or two about the food pyramid?"
Devon bit his lip, and Claire playfully poked him in the head.
"Oh that's right," Claire continued. "You never pay attention in class, do you? You're always off in your corner, daydreaming about those adventures of yours."
"What does paying attention in school gotta do with getting something to eat?" Devon murmured. "We all know how to eat, right? Open mouth, put thing in, chew, swallow. I don't really see the point of school at all."
Claire picked up the watermelon and began tapping on it, listening for a pitch.
"There's more to school than just eating, you know," she said, with twinkling eyes.
She turned the watermelon over and inspected the yellow and green pattern.
"Besides, we have it easy," she said. "I heard that over in the actual schools, they have to deal with tests and homework every day." And emphasizing each of the following words with a tap on the watermelon, "Every. Single. Day."
"Not the ten year old dropouts," Devon said quietly.
"You mean the Pokemon trainers," Claire reiterated. She placed the watermelon back down on the bench and put her hands on her hips. "Devon, you do know that Pokemon trainers are handpicked from the brightest and best elementary school students, right? The professors only pick children who they know won't go out and destroy the universe with their Pokemon. Besides, you're much too old already to be a registered trainer. Fourteen and counting!"
"You're fifteen," said Devon. "Doesn't seem to bother you, though."
Claire let out a laugh, then sat down on the bench besides Devon. "That's because I'm not looking to become a registered Pokemon trainer." she replied brightly. "I'm going a slightly different route; I'm going to open my very own restaurant, and become a super world class chef!"
She held out her arms in triumph, paused for a few seconds, then sulked back into reality. Devon idly took the watermelon and placed it on his lap. They both stared out at the line of skyscrapers in the distance, listening to the drone of the daily marketplace behind them.
"Claire, do you think we'll be like this forever?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, stuck in this city, forever. Scrape together our own food, that sort of thing."
"If you truly believe in yourself-"
"I...I don't know."
"Roger said we're fated to live like this forever."
Claire pouted, and they sat there on the bench, looking out at the scenery. After a few moments, Claire stood up and gestured towards the city skyline on the opposite side of the river. Something flashed in her eyes.
"This city is beautiful, don't you agree?"
"Yeah, I guess..."
"Every skyscraper you see out there, every floor, every pane, someone built that, right? Why would they build it if they didn't want people to be in it? Why would they build a whole beautiful city if they knew no one would live in it? Why would they even care? See, Devon, those skyscrapers were built with people in mind, because they want us to live here. They want us to admire beauty and create life in the presence of this beauty. They know that if there were no people here, everything would be for nothing. Things around here would be boring. There would be no marketplace, no KNSC guards chasing us out of the rich people districts, no delicious restaurants serving pork buns. The city gives us beauty, and we give it life. It's what makes our city a community of life."
"Um, I see, but I meant...what I meant was that we're poor. We're orphans. Are we going to stay-"
"Don't go spouting out that 'poor people' nonsense! Don't you get it? Poor people, rich people, it doesn't matter. The life of the city matters. Live life!"
"You know, your face could make a clown frown."
"Y...yeah...well, I'm going to go to the kitchen to get a knife."
"To cut the watermelon?"
"Oh yeah! Haha, I totally forgot about that! Can I have a piece?"
"Sure! Oh, and Claire."
"No problem! Remember, live life!"
Mr. Vance's apartment sat on the third floor of the complex behind the courtyard. It was not a very big apartment, and possessed no desirable characteristics. The beige wallpaper appeared to be torn in the corners, a lone radio sat on a worn table opposite a faded red couch in the main room of the apartment. The kitchen, cramped and poorly lit, stood in between the main room and the bedrooms, which were occupied by eight different kids, Devon and Claire included.
Devon gripped the handle of a long knife, slicing it through the crust and flesh of the plump watermelon. He pried off a sizable piece and set it aside on the cutting board, where five other pieces awaited their fate.
The front door swung open, and a blond-haired boy with big glasses walked in, carrying a stick of sourdough bread on one shoulder.
"Devon!" the boy said with enthusiasm.
"Hey Sid," Devon replied, still cutting up his watermelon.
"Another watermelon, I see," Sid raised his eyebrows.
"Another stick of bread, I see," Devon returned. Sid's eyebrows came down, then rose back up as he set the stick of bread onto the counter. He stayed in the kitchen, leaning against one of the cabinets.
"So Devon, where'd ya get the watermelon this time?" he asked. "I hope it's not from Kazuo's. You know what happened after that debacle."
"How could I forget?" Devon sighed, deep in thought. He knew the consequences of picking out the wrong watermelon. He did so just last week, and had spent the next three days holed up in the tiny chamber Mr. Vance called the bathroom, letting his stomach do nasty work. He wasn't about to make that mistake again, not now, not ever.
"I got it from a fruit stall on 3rd," Devon continued. "Picked the place out a few weeks back, before Kazuo's. They're KFDA approved."
"Really? That's cool," Sid replied. "I took this bread off a food cart down 5th."
"Same old lady?"
"Same old lady. I swear, she would not realize a thing even if I told her what I was doing."
Devon chopped the final slice in half, and set the pieces aside. He now had twelve slices, ready to go on the cutting board. Setting the knife down, he scooped the slices all into a waiting bowl. Devon pivoted and rinsed his hands out in the sink.
"Where's Claire?" Sid asked.
"With Mr. Vance out on the street," Devon answered back, wringing his hands dry.
"Ooh, really? What are they selling?" Sid picked up a slice and chomped on it unceremoniously. He moved into the main room and started pacing around.
"Clefairy keychains. Claire made them with Marissa."
"Marissa? That makes sense. Where's she?"
"Out on the street."
"With Claire and Vance?"
"Why didn't you just tell me that earlier?"
"You only asked about Claire."
"I did, huh."
"Yeah. What, is she the first thing on your mind every morning?"
"No, I just happened to see you two chatting out by the bridge earlier today."
"You saw that?"
"Yeah. The two of you and that watermelon."
"You know, the two of you, you and Claire...really cute. ;)"
"What do you mean 'what'?"
"Wow, you really are the slow innocent one, even as a street kid."
"What are you trying to get at?"
"Don't you two, you know, talk often?"
"Yeah? So? We were taken in by Mr. Vance at the same time."
"Yeah, but you've gone through puberty, right? Your hormones in action?"
"Oh, right, I forgot that I'm the only one eavesdropping the high school classrooms."
Sid adjusted his glasses with an index finger and tossed the watermelon peel into a nearby trash can. Devon remained standing in the kitchen, eating a slice of watermelon.
"But speaking of eavesdropping and high school classrooms, I've brought home another round of spankin' clean high school gossip, straight from the rich citizens of Saffron themselves!" he announced excitedly. "Wanna hear?"
"What's new?" Devon looked up from his watermelon.
"Oh, a load of the usual. Billy dumped Daisy, Fran dumped Joe, Terry dumped Fred. KNSC security crap. Latest fashions. Sabrina beat four challengers this week, did you know that?"
"Really? With what?"
"From what I heard, she used that Kadabra all four times. None of the challengers made it through the first round."
"Heheh...If you think that piece of news is amazing, then you'll like this next one."
"And what's that?"
Devon perked up, suddenly interested. A silence echoed through the crummy apartment, and the sound of the distant metropolis reverberated throughout. Devon could feel his heart pounding through his chest, and his cranium throbbing.
"Red?" Devon repeated, astonished. "You mean, the legendary Pokemon trainer Red?"
"Yes," Sid's eyes widened with delight. "I couldn't quite believe it myself when I heard it, but quite a few of our friends at the high school are reporting that the extremely enigmatic and mysterious Red has been sighted. Here. In Saffron."
Devon stared into Sid's eyes, trying to determine the legitimacy of the latter's words. Devon had grown up listening to the tales of Red's heroic deeds all those years back. It was an amazing prospect: A ten year old boy, taming the three legendary birds of Kanto and singlehandedly bringing down the most ruthless criminal organization of the decade, the nefarious Team Rocket, all in the period of a year. The news of Red's astonishing deeds grew in the years following his questionable disappearance, and quickly blew out of proportion, enveloping the peninsula in fascination.
"Red's here?" Devon again repeated Sid's words. "In Saffron? Since when?"
"Since an hour ago, before I went on my bread raiding spree."
"Really? Oh crap, that's today! Maybe he's still here!"
"Hold your Ponytas, Devon. There's no solid evidence that Red is actually here. It's just a rumor."
Devon bolted out of the kitchen and into one of the bedrooms. From there, he peered out the window and stared out at the skyline visible beyond the bridge. The upscale section of Saffron City.
Devon sprinted back through the kitchen and into the main room. Picking up his blue hat off the table, he moved to the front door with haste.
"Wait, Devon!" Sid called out. "Where are you going?"
"Out for a walk." Devon replied.
"You're going to push your luck, right?" Sid guessed. "Try to find Red in the big city of Saffron...but you don't even know what he looks like!"
"You're right," said Devon. "I don't. But I feel great anyway, so I'm going to burn some of this energy off for a bit."
"All right then," shrugged Sid. "Say hi to Claire for me. And don't get mugged."
Devon nodded and left the apartment.