I stepped off of the bus, nearly tripping on the Diglett protruding from the sidewalk.

Squeaking, it darted back underground. I hefted my backpack, glancing down at the medium-sized hole in the pavement. I'd probably have to fill it in later. Ground types... well, there was really no way to keep them under control.

I pulled a Pokeball off of my belt, releasing a Machop that eagerly took my backpack and started walking toward the house. Little guy was darn helpful, that's for sure. I convinced him a few weeks ago that I have a rare disease that prevents me from exercising or carrying heavy objects. Good thing, too, or he would have been literally carrying me to the gym every day. Once was embarrassing enough.

As I strolled down the sidewalk, I ducked to avoid several Tailow swooping overhead. I cringed, trying to cover my ears in time-

"HOUNDOUR! HOUN-DOUR DOUR!" Sure enough, our dog was going absolutely ballistic. I could see him through the window in the front door, paws pressed up against the glass.

"Oh, give it a rest," I muttered as I brushed a stray Nincada off of the door handle. Stepping inside, I gestured for Machop to throw down the bag wherever. Absently ruffling the top of Houndour's head with one hand, I opened the fridge and reached for a Lemonade.


I slammed my head against the fridge. "You've gotta be kidding me." I pushed the knucklehead to one side and grabbed an actual Lemonade. "The Pokemon that can become anything happens to be the one that loves messing with me," I grumbled.

With a sigh, I started walking down the hallway. Just keep your cool, I told myself. It's not that bad.

That's when I tripped over nothing. "Son of a Banette-"

A Kecleon materialized on the ground, looking smug as I swore and rubbed my knee where I'd slammed it into the computer desk. "I will sell you to the Safari Zone, punk!" He casually vanished again. "I'm serious!"

I half-stood and slid into a chair, turning on the computer. "I swear, if I have any trouble with that stupid Rotom again-" I shook my head, trying to calm down.

One of my friends was already online on our favorite site. I opened up a chatbox and fired him a message.

My bro's pets all hate me, and I still gotta finish that EVs assignment before Thursday. Throw my life in a Berry Blender.

I tapped against the desk, waiting for a response. A pathetic whimper sounded behind me.

Turning, I saw Houndour, who seemed much more despondent than a moment ago. "Aw, I'm sorry, little guy," I mumbled. "I wasn't really mad or nothin'."

I reached to pet his head again, when suddenly he opened his mouth and shot an Ember.

"OW! What's your problem, bonebag?!" I jumped up, running to the sink while smoke trailed from my hand. 'Houndour' smiled and changed back into Ditto.

Of. Course.

A Wooper lounging in the sink looked up when he saw me. Excited, he jumped to his feet and started spewing Water Guns all over the place.

"Quit it!" I yelled, raising my hands to block the water.

Hold on a sec. "That's... that's actually what I needed anyway." I looked down at my hand, which was already feeling better. "Thanks, I guess."

Wooper started Bubbleing happily as I sat back down at the computer. My friend had already posted a response.

Lol. Perks of being a Breeder's younger brother, huh?

Hilarious. Just hilarious.

I don't even want to hear the word 'breed' right now. That freaking Ditto is going to give me an ulcer.

I could still see it, from the corner of my eye. It was trying to look like a giant Sitrus Berry, for some reason.

Whatever, man. I'm logging into Hakunamon Wars. You in?

I grinned.

Heck yeah. Just give me a few minutes to make a profile and all that stuff.

I opened the game in a new window, then quickly set up a new score. The game itself was fun, but the virtual world was even better. Literally hundreds of different characters, all with special powers... you could spend hours playing it.

Switching back to the chatbox, I started typing again.

All set. Man, this game rocks.

My friend only took a few seconds to respond.

Dude, can you imagine if Hakunamon were REAL?

Not only could I imagine it, I often had.

That would be INSANE. I would be the freaking Hakunamon Master.

He typed out the next message right away.

Yeah, sure. But you'd have to defeat me first-

The computer suddenly shut down. Confused, I moved the mouse around, then checked the monitor. Everything seemed fine.

On a whim, I looked behind the desk, to the usual tangle of cords. There, gnawing on electrical wires, without a care in the world-