AN: Well, here we are with a little something I've been working on. Enjoy.
Nack looked straight up. The blue sky stared straight back at him, just as it always did, along with the sun. Some days, there would be clouds covering up the light, but it was okay, because they were allowed to greet people, too. They brought rain, after all, and even if he didn't like it, a lot of others did.
He didn't want to tear his eyes away, but he knew if he didn't look at his mother while responding, she'd scold him about manners. He reluctantly lowered his neck and turned his head to the right. "Mm?"
"Why don't you go play with the other children? You're not a grass type, you don't need to sit in the sunshine all day," That was what she thought. Then again, not even grass types seemed to like the sun as much as Nack did. No. He was a Tepig. He liked burning things, apparently.
The Tepig stretched, his tiny hooves digging into the earth. Then, he stood up, shaking his head to clear his brain a little before replying, "Okay."
The Pignite by his side smiled. "Little Callie is waiting for you by the three oaks," Oh, not the worm. He hated her. Of course, if he even implied hating anyone he'd get a lecture, so he faked a smile and started to trot over to the three oak trees that had grown side by side about five minutes away.
While he walked, the Tepig kept glancing back towards the sun. To him, it felt like it was the only thing that he could trust. Sure, life in White Forest was rather predictable, with everyone always doing the same tried and true things every day. But at the same time, the sun was the only citizen of the town that did its job without a false sort of happiness attached. It was pure… above them all.
It wasn't long before something, or rather, someone, jumped out from a bush and tackled him. But even that was expected; she always did this. The Tepig responded with a large snort, sending embers flying towards his attacker. She yelped, jumping away.
"Ow! Nack, don't do that!" shouted the Lillipup, licking at a spot on her paw that a flame had hit. He rolled his eyes at her, chuckling.
"Please, Maribel. I'll stop with the fire when you stop hitting me every time I walk by your home," He said, grinning at her. Well, he guessed he could trust Maribel. Maybe because she actually was happy, unlike everyone else. Or maybe because she was the only one who didn't call him "Nicky", his great-grandfather's name, instead of his real one.
She continued licking her paw. "And thus, the cycle goes on," she said, a hint of sarcasm. "So where are you headed? Three oaks?"
Nack nodded, starting to walk again knowing she'd follow him. "My mom wants me to play with the worm," he said, a grimace forming on his face.
"Aw, gross! You think she's going to String Shot you again?" Maribel asked, sticking her tongue out in disgust.
Nack laughed, remembering the last time he was forced to play with Callie the Larvesta. The little worm had tried to battle him, but all she knew was a useless bug move and Ember. Nack had defeated her easily, but not before she spit a wad of sticky string into his face. It took a whole hour to get it all off.
"If she does, I'll squish her," Nack said.
"That's lovely," said Maribel. She pouted. Then, her face lit up. "Hey, I know! Why don't we accidentally get her lost in carnivorous territory, huh? Then you won't be the one who's blamed for her death!"
Nack grinned. "Great idea, Mary. Why don't you shout it out a little louder?" He gestured towards a family of Pidove on a branch above them, all four of them looking highly affronted.
Maribel sighed. "Oh, come on. It's just a joke. I just wish the worm didn't find us so amusing to play with."
He nodded in agreement. "That's for sure. It could have been anyone," He looked at her.
"But it had to be the only two sane Pokémon in all of Unova," they finished together. The two of them laughed. They had discussed the same things so often every day that they had learned to finish each other's sentences; it was one of the only things Nack enjoyed about the monotony.
It was about half a minute before they made it to three oaks. Surely enough, there was a large, fat larvae covered in white fuzz hanging from a branch, singing happily. When Callie spotted the both of them, she squealed in delight, lowering herself to the ground as fast as her body could let her.
"Nicky! And you brought Mary-bell, too!" The two of them cringed at the butchering of their names.
"Right, Callie, what do you want to play?" The sooner they were done, the better. That's what Nack liked to think, anyway.
The Larvesta shook her head (or rather, her body, there was no clear definition between the two) and waved her stubby arms. "I want you to hear something today! Mary-bell will like it too!"
Nack raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean, you want me to hear something?" he asked.
Callie started crawling away. "Follow me! Nicky, Mary-bell!"
Nack glanced at Maribel, who shrugged. The two of them followed the worm, their speed incredibly slow due to her inability to crawl at a semi-decent rate. He wondered absent-mindedly how Callie was able to get to the three oaks almost every day without getting eaten. She was such an easy target, after all.
"I know what you're thinking," said Maribel. "I wish a Braviary would just swoop down and catch her. The Basculin family in the lake would probably be grateful, don't you think? It would save them another family member."
"Probably," Nack agreed. He frowned. "I wish I were a Braviary. Then I could eat her and get away from here in no time flat."
Maribel gave him a grim look. "You're still going on about that?"
"Mary! Don't tell me you actually like it here," he whispered, an edge to his voice.
"As if," the Lillipup muttered, looking at him like he was a complete moron. "The only way I'd ever like it here would be—"
Maribel was interrupted as Callie came to a stop, causing her to bump into the Larvesta and trip over her feet. Nack shook his head, scowling up at the sun. He liked Maribel, he really did. As one of the only sane Pokémon in Unova, he had to. But sometimes, she just had to go and give him that look…
"Are these the friends you wanted to hear the stories, little one?" asked a creaky, old voice.
Nack brought his head back to level. In front of him, situated in a small pool of water, was someone who could only be the oldest person in White Forest. She was a Carracosta, an already ancient-looking species, but she was so old she appeared to be too weak to stand. Instead, the Carracosta had her flippers and head on the shore, with the rest of her body floating in the shallow water. She looked at Callie kindly.
"Uh huh! Can you tell me and Nicky and Mary-bell your story again?" the Larvesta asked.
Maribel made a face; Nack hid his. Well, this was great. He was probably going to be subjected to some stupid fairy tale he'd heard a million times before. Exactly why had Callie decided he needed to hear some old turtle babble on?
The Carracosta either ignored their faces or never saw them, as she smiled and adjusted her position on the somewhat-sandy grass. "Of course, little one. Sit down, children." Fantastic, she was one of those people who treated anyone who wasn't an adult like an infant…
"This is a story about the creation of White Forest," the Carracosta began. "It's a true story. I saw it happen with my own eyes when I was just a little girl."
"As little as me?" asked Callie. Ugh, she could be so annoying.
The Carracosta chuckled. "Maybe a little bit bigger. But I'm the only one left in the forest who remembers it," she said.
"Could you get on with it?" asked Maribel, not even bothering to mask the boredom encased in her drawl. Normally, elders scolded her for her behaviour, but this Carracosta was surprisingly not offended at all.
"Well, all right. Years and years ago, White Forest was not the beautiful sanctuary we live in today. No, before all the trees and grass and lakes, there existed a much different time and place."
Callie stared, her attention fixed on the Carracosta. Maribel yawned audibly. Nack merely lay down, his mouth forming a small frown. This was going to take forever, wasn't it?
"You see, long ago, there weren't just Pokémon living on this earth. There were also strange, colourful creatures known as Trainers. They were so strange; no two Trainers looked alike, and they lived in tall, tall gray trees without any branches called 'skyscrapers'."
Nack raised an eyebrow. What was this, a ghost story?
The Carracosta continued. "But that wasn't the strangest thing about them. Trainers never battled, and they didn't know any moves. Yet, if they wanted to, they could catch any kind of Pokémon they wanted."
Maribel snorted. "How can you get eaten by something that doesn't even attack?"
"No, Trainers didn't eat people," the Carracosta replied, shaking her head. "They had circles they threw that sucked you up inside. Then they made you battle other people so they could catch even more."
Somewhat confused, Nack said, "But that doesn't make any sense."
"Hmm?" asked the Carracosta.
"Why would they catch Pokémon but not eat them? There's no point," said Nack. "If you don't do anything with your prey, then it's just a waste of time."
"Oh, well, Trainers liked catching Pokémon because they thought it was fun. Sometimes, they found other Trainers too, and made their captured Pokémon battle with each other. It was like a game," the Carracosta explained.
The Tepig frowned. "I don't see the fun in that," he remarked.
Callie spat a Sting Shot at him. "That's 'cause you're not a Trainer, Nicky!"
Nack grimaced as he poked at the gooey string on his nose. "Okay, sorry." He snorted out a few flames to help burn the sticky substance away.
"Anyway," said the Carracosta, "back when I was a little girl, there was a Trainer named Harmonia who decided that capturing Pokémon was wrong. The Trainer and its friends told all the other Trainers to release everybody. But a lot of them didn't listen, so the Trainer went to see Zekrom."
"The legendary dragon!" exclaimed Callie.
Maribel shook her head. "Zekrom doesn't exist," she said.
Callie whipped around. "You're wrong, Mary-bell! My mama said it's true!"
"Who cares if Zekrom is real or not?" Nack muttered. "Can we just finish the story so I can go home?"
The Carracosta nodded, her expression suddenly more pensive. "I can assure you, little ones. Zekrom is very real. The Trainer asked Zekrom to help it free all the Pokémon, and Zekrom agreed. Together, they created their ideals, and the world was then split into two parts; we live on one side, and the Trainers live on the other. That's how White Forest was created."
Nack waited for a moment. That… that couldn't be it. To spend all that time building up to something cool or whatever, and ending with a simple, "this happened, the end"? What kind of story was this supposed to be?
"What about Reshiram?" Maribel asked, her voice sharp.
"Hmm?" said the Carracosta. "I never mentioned Reshiram."
Maribel frowned. "You can't mention Zekrom without mentioning Reshiram, they're, like, inseparable!" she said. "I mean, it's not like they're real or anything, but I've never heard a story with just one of them, ever."
Nack blinked. Come to think of it… she was absolutely right. To hear Zekrom's name and not Reshiram's was very strange. There had to be more to the story, more that the Carracosta wasn't telling them. Well… if it really was real, like she claimed, and not some crazy thing she'd made up in her head.
The Carracosta frowned. "But I don't remember seeing Reshiram. The only legendary dragon I saw was a deep, deep black colour," she said thoughtfully. After a moment, she smiled. "I hope you enjoyed that, little ones. Goodbye!" And she slipped under the water.
"So, what are we waiting for?" asked Maribel.
"Huh?" said Nack.
The Lillipup shook her head. "Come on, Nack! We've gotta go looking for it! We can't just wait for evidence to show up under our noses!"
After hearing the strange story and managing to ditch Callie somewhere on the way home, Maribel had decided That while Zekrom wasn't real, Trainers had to be. Her logic was that it just didn't make any sense for the Carracosta to think up a weird story and trick some kids with it, and she probably was remembering something from when she was a little girl, just skewed in some way. All the while, Nack found himself reluctantly agreeing with her.
There was just as much proof against the tale's legitimacy as there was for it. And, knowing nothing about Trainers aside from what he had just been told, Nack couldn't make any theories from that, either. So when Maribel suggested to go searching for clues about "the other side", as she called it, he had to admit he was very, very curious.
He gave his friend a weary smile and sighed. "Mary, where would we even start looking? All we've got going for this is the words of a messed up old turtle," Nack replied.
Maribel smirked and pawed the ground. "Easy! We'll go to the edge of the forest. The other side has to connect to ours somewhere, right?"
"White Forest isn't the only place ever, Mary," said Nack. "Besides, we're small and weak and fresh food for all the carnivores out there. You know that."
"Yeah, but…" she trailed off. "Look, Nack. You want to get out of here, don't you? So let's go. If we find the other side…"
"Then we'll be caught by Trainers?" he finished.
"No! We… we'll… Nack, please. Will you just go with me to the edge tomorrow? If we don't find anything, I'll drop this. I promise." Maribel's dark eyes were intent. When she stared him down, he could never refuse.
He sighed. "Fine. We'll go."
Maribel barked happily. "Awesome! See you tomorrow, then!" She gave him a grin and ran off.
He just hoped he knew what he was doing.
I apologize to everyone for the whiny little Larvesta that is Callie. So, so much.