(EDIT 04/06/2014: First chapter is now below the rules here. It was originally separate for about three years, but after a recent barrage of harassment from Critics United I have been forced to move it to the same chapter as the rules.)
Okay, I'm doing something a little new and I don't know if anyone else has done this: a Nuzlocke fic. I know most people draw comic strips, but I can't draw so much as a Voltorb, so I'm doing this instead.
First off, for anyone who doesn't know, the Nuzlocke challenge is aimed at hardcore Pokémon gamers who want a bit more challenge out of their game. There are three basic rules, with various alterations possible.
Catch only the first Pokémon you meet on each route or territory. If you kill the first Pokémon, too bad. Move on and catch nothing in that area ever again. (I'm making two alterations to this rule: one minor and one major. The minor one is the first new Pokémon on each team; I'm not interested in having, say, three Pidgey on a team. The major one is that if I see a shiny, all catching rules go out the window, but then if the shiny is captured in this irregular manner it is to be put in a special PC box and nothing else. If I do catch one, I probably won't bring it up in the fic; I'll just have the joy of owning it XD)
Nickname all Pokémon. (I do this alliteratively.) This rule famously serves no real gameplay purpose, other than making rule 3 hurt more…
If a Pokémon faints in battle, it is dead. Box or release it, but never use it again. (I box them. And it is painful.)
I'm not using the no-items rule, not on my first run. Also, when asked by a friend what happens if you run out of usable Pokémon entirely (IE your team is wiped out and you've no usable boxed Pokémon), I decided that it just means going back to the last save point, rather than starting the whole game over.
So that's the challenge. It's certainly turned out to be more emotional than a usual runthrough of the game, making you much more attached to your Pokémon- which, again, just makes it hurt more when they die. *cries* That's probably what brings the Pokémon to life so much in your head, to the extent that for a while now I've been writing the backstory and personalities for my character and my Pokémon in my head. So I've started writing it up, and I'll post a chapter on an irregular basis. It'll be interesting, since at the time of writing I haven't finished the game yet, so I can't predict exactly what'll happen in the story or which characters will make it. It's not taking place in the same universe as my Revive fics. If you're enjoying it and think it works, let me know. If you think the idea is utterly failing and I need to leave this stuff to people like Petty and Ky-nim, please let me know XD
A small apology to those waiting for A Spirit Detective; yes, I know this is not that, and I know that a lot of people have been asking when ASD will happen. All I can say is, I don't know. I haven't finished the outline for the story yet; I have a general idea of where I want it to go and what things need to be cleared up, but I still haven't the faintest idea of how to do that, and frankly I'd like to do a lot more research on death and afterlife myths from various cultures first. Problem is, I just have no time for that right now. I've got a lot of jobhunting to do, presentations about my gap year to make for funders, I have to sort out my computer files for transferral to my new laptop, and I have to start sorting out what I'm taking to Uni with me and what goes in a box in my parents' attic, and then pack that stuff and get ready to move. I've got a lot to do, and I just don't have time to stare blankly at an empty word document, which I'm afraid is all that happens whenever I try to work on ASD right now. My DC muses are only willing to throw out the occasional Toichi x Chikage oneshot right now, and that's all. I only have time to work on what I have inspiration for, and right now, that's this.
Edit, 04/10/2012: Doing a major edits run to sort out a lot of typos and errors, and also to get rid of some early instalment weirdness such as Red and Misty not addressing their Pokémon by name. Plus, I get to add in extra foreshadowing this way. I believe that a good bit of foreshadowing does a story good. Anyway, once these edits are done I'll start getting to work on getting the SoulSilver fic up :)
Pokémon: 0 Deaths: 0
Dear Mum and Saylee,
How is everyone doing? Are the houses finished? I'll have to come back and visit soon—imagine, having a roof over our heads every night! I'm near the settlement anyway, I'm just going to check out the Indigo area first. There's supposed to be something pretty valuable hidden up there, some kind of treasure. I've gotta find that, right? That could set us all up for life!
My Pokémon are doing really well. Eric's just evolved, I don't know what into—he doesn't look like Flareon, Vaporeon or Jolteon. I'll ask the old Professor when I'm next home. Perun still doesn't want to evolve, though!
I love you guys, and I'll be home soon, so look after yourselves.
Saylee read over the letter for what must have been the millionth time in the year since it had arrived. Then she carefully folded it up and, after only a moment's hesitation, placed it carefully in the inside pocket of her bag, along with an old photo of her brother. Her mother could keep the photo he'd sent with the letter. It would comfort her more than the letter did.
Saylee carefully moved the old computer she'd scavenged out of the way—it might be useful someday, if they ever got an electric-type to provide power for the town—and started packing the cache of supplies that she'd been scavenging for some weeks now. There were some survival supplies, a potion for healing Pokémon, and a filter bottle for water. If she got a water-type, she could be assured of clean water, but until then she would often be stuck with possibly toxic rivers. You couldn't ever be sure that something was safe. It had been that way since before she was born.
Pushing her glasses up her nose, Saylee took one last look at her room—their room, a room they'd built with space for both her and her brother, a room he'd never set foot in—trying not to think of when she might next be here. Then she carefully walked down the shaky stairs.
Downstairs, her mother was sitting at the table, crying over a picture of Red and Saylee together as children. Saylee hugged her mother warmly from behind, looking down at the photograph. The two of them had different colourings, Red with black hair and dark red eyes, Saylee with light brown hair and light blue eyes, but they were both pale and looked somewhat alike despite the colours. Saylee wondered what he'd look like now, three years since she'd last seen him in the flesh. He had been fifteen, the same age she was now, and slightly shorter than her. He should be eighteen now, and he'd probably hit a growth spurt like Blue had. Saylee wouldn't care if he'd shrunk as long as he was still alive.
"…The Indigo area's so big and remote," her mother whispered, clutching her daughter's arms. "It's so dangerous out there… Do you have to go, honey?"
"I do, Mum," Saylee sighed. "Somebody has to go find Red. And we finally managed to build a village of our own—somebody has to make sure we get supplies, money to tide us over until we can fix up the wastelands enough to start farming. Besides, you can stretch our food twice as long with me gone!" Saylee tried to say it jokingly, to raise her mother's spirits, but it only made her choke out a sob, before turning to hug her daughter tightly.
"Please be careful, Saylee," she sobbed. "Please. I don't want to lose you too. I can't. It won't be worth struggling through all this without…"
"Don't talk like that, Mum," Saylee said firmly, stepping back. "I'll always come back. And I'll bring back Red, too. I promise."
"I know, honey," her mother sniffed, wiping her eyes and tucking her greying hair back. The stresses of the life of a nomad in a ruined land had aged her far beyond her years; she'd had grey hairs as far back as Saylee could remember, as if the colour had been drained from her hair into her baby boy's. "Just… no. Just go. I love you, honey."
"I love you too, Mum," Saylee said, turning and walking out over the sleeping blankets spread across the floor, not letting herself look back.
It was just late enough in the morning that the sunrise had stopped painting the clouds brilliant colours, and they too had faded back to grey. A few people were working on the fourth hut in their "town", built from scratch on the wastelands that nobody else wanted. They didn't even have the advantage of being able to scavenge the remains of former cities as others did. Instead, they were clearing trees and building with the wood, and were beginning to till the land that the trees had been on for farming, reasoning that if it could still sustain forests, the land should be able to grow edible crops. It was slow going, with the entire project being dependant on the few Pokémon that Professor Oak had left for protection, and Saylee felt guilty that she was about to take another. Well, if I can catch more while travelling, I can send them back with the money and letters.
She stopped to fill her filter bottle from the pond at the edge of town, ready to roll away from the pond if the ripples attracted anything hungry. Taking a moment to tighten the laces on her trainers and straighten her red shorts, she set off for the laboratory.
It was probably too grand a name for the ruined building, broken stone walls patchworked with wood panelling and roofing, inside of which they'd found some vestiges of the old technology and information. It had been enough to convince them that this was a slightly better patch of desolate wasteland than any other on which to settle. What towns there were now were so undersupplied that none had been willing to take in any wandering families. Saylee could vaguely remember the endless rejection of those early years; they'd found this place when she was eleven. Four years of work and they had three and a half solid buildings and an almost safe path to Viridian City.
Someone needed to support this town if it was to survive. Someone needed to convince the towns to support each other if anyone was to survive. And someone had to find her brother.
She entered the laboratory and headed past the villagers who were feeding some of the Professor's Pokémon their breakfast, chatting to them about the plans for the day, and started looking for Professor Oak, the oldest member of the community and default headman. He was nowhere to be seen; however, his grandson Blue—a boy a year older than Saylee who had grown up with her and Red—was standing at the back of the room, staring impatiently at two pokéballs on the table.
"Blue?" Saylee said tentatively. Once they'd been close friends, but he'd been getting colder and angrier ever since she'd declared her intent to go find Red on her fifteenth birthday, six months ago. He didn't agree with her plan, considering it suicide, and hadn't reacted well to her refusal to change her mind. He didn't like Pokémon much anyway, and didn't agree with Saylee's idea to set off into the world with one. She never knew these days if he'd be mean and bullying, or if he'd forget his funk for a while and be friendly again. She prayed for the latter, and feared the former.
"Gramps isn't here," he said, crossing his arms, jaw ticking. "Where could that old man go?"
"Did you come to say goodbye?" Saylee asked, half-hopefully. "You didn't have to. I was going to come say goodbye to you and Daisy before I left, of course…"
"No," Blue bit out. "I came to say that I'm leaving too. If I can't convince you to give up your suicide attempt, you might as well not be completely alone out there. That way, if you get yourself in over your head, I can haul your stupid ass back home."
Saylee stared. She had not been expecting this. "Seriously…?" She searched his deep green eyes for some indication that he was bluffing or pranking her. He looked away, his eyes avoiding hers, and laughed.
"Besides, somebody's gotta support this place with Red gone," Blue continued snidely. "Someone with, you know, talent."
"Why, you—!" Saylee bit her tongue and turned to leave, fuming. She could still hear Blue laughing at her.
Blue's older sister Daisy looked a lot like him, though her long brown hair was much softer and fell in a long bunch rather than sticking up above her head. She was also much, much, MUCH nicer.
"I'm sorry, Saylee," the young woman said kindly, stirring whatever was in the big pot over the fire in front of her. Saylee wouldn't say it in front of her mother, but the nineteen-year-old was definitely the best cook in the village, and it was currently the practice for the whole town to pool supplies and for her to cook for everyone. She could stretch supplies, too, which was another bonus to her cooking. "Blue left a little while ago, but I don't know where Grandad is. I thought he'd be there, to be honest."
"Maybe he met a new Pokémon," Saylee suggested. "I'll go look around."
"Good luck," Daisy said, giving Saylee a one-armed hug while stirring. "And I know that Blue's hard work these days, but still, you two… a lot of the time, you'll only have each other out there, so look out for each other, alright?"
"I'll see what I can do," Saylee said, rolling her eyes. A year ago, the thought of travelling with Blue might have been cool, but these days… well, a year ago, they still had Red.
The others in the village wished her luck, but none had seen Professor Oak. Saylee was standing at the edge of the half-safe route to Viridian City, wondering if she'd be safe if she kept to the very edge of the tall grass thickets, when a familiar voice yelled at her.
"Saylee! What are you doing? Get away from there!"
Saylee gratefully stepped away from the slightly rustling grass, grinning when she saw the Professor. "Where were you hiding? I've been looking for you, Professor!"
"And I for you, now what were you thinking?" Professor Oak fumed. "There are wild Pokémon living in that grass!"
"No! Really? Whod've thought!" Saylee said sarcastically, not particularly wanting to be made to feel like a moron on the day that she left home. The Professor ignored her and started heading towards the lab. Saylee followed and felt her irritation dissipate behind the excitement of finally getting a Pokémon to call her own.
"'Bout time," Blue said irritably when he saw Saylee and the Professor enter the lab. Oak ignored him and picked up the pokéballs.
"I kept these from the old days," he said fondly, looking over the two capsules. "Don't know if there's any left in the wild… my notes say that there used to be a colony of this little guy on top of Mt Moon, but these days the Golem herds live up the mountains, and, well… never mind, I'm rambling. These are for you two," he said, holding them out. "You can pick first, Saylee."
"Gramps! What about me?" Blue complained. Oak glanced at his grandson, and then back to Saylee.
"Be patient, Blue, you'll get the other," he said. "Saylee's been planning this for months, and you just up and announced that you're leaving last night. You need a little practice at patience, I think."
Blue looked furious, but fumed silently while Saylee looked over the two pokéballs. One had a fire emblem, the other water.
Fire… Red fire… she thought with a smile, deciding that a fire-type would be good luck and picking up the pokéball. Oak nodded and handed the water pokéball to Blue. "I'll take this little guy. Let's see what he is!"
Opening the pokéball unleashed a small orange creature, a little over Saylee's knee, with a big round head and a little flame at the end of his tail. He looked up at Saylee and smiled.
"Hey," he said. "You're Saylee, right? The Professor told us about you. My name's Chaz, and I'm a Charmander. Nice to meet you!"
Short first chapter, just trying to set up a little background and characterization. Saylee's about the only character I'm going to describe physically, since she looks like me instead of Leaf. The rest of the characters and Pokémon, I'm going to assume that you know what they look like :P
And yeah, like most Nuzlockes, in this my Pokémon talk. So, first Pokémon get!
Name: Chaz. Species: Charmander. Nature: Serious. Ability: Blaze.
I do not own Pokémon. That happy right is Game Freak's.