Summary: Jack Wolfe was never supposed to receive a letter. But not only does he get a letter from Dark Myst Academy, but when he goes to get his school supplies, he gets a very special Pokémon as well…

AN: I don't own Pokemon. No, this is not a crossover, even if it seems like it sometimes. I may reference stuff, but I don't own those things, either.

The room was lit dimly by single, dying lamp, the bulb flickering tiredly. Jack Wolfe stretched across his bed, staring blankly at the slightly off-colored stones where the single, high window had been blocked up.

When he was little, he used to climb up on his desk, drag his chair up and stand on it, and stare out the window, his green and blue eyes peering through the slightly-too-long grass, his raven colored hair barely visible. He would stare out and hope his father came back from wherever they took him and rescue him and his older brother, James. Then they could go home, play hide-and-seek, and be a family again.

Then Lord Richards, who had taken him in (if you could call it that), caught him looking out one day and paid a stonemason to brick the spot up. There went his happy daydreaming. Not long after, James died, crushing what remained of Jack's young spirit.

He heard the lock outside click, the heavy chains rattling as they slid away. That was his cue to get up and go to Lord Richards's office for his "challenge."

Challenge…what a joke. It was a task he was guaranteed to fail. An hour to find some Pokemon or berry or herb that couldn't be found on the Richards estate, if it existed at all. If he failed, he was punished. If he completed the task, he got a "prize." It was all part of his "rehabilitation."

Jack rolled out of bed and approached the door, swallowing hard. His punishment could very well kill him, but he would rather take it than the so-called reward. If only he had the guts to run away. Go out on assignment and never look back. But he wouldn't survive the first night, and he knew it; Richards knew it, too.

If only someone would think to check up on him…but who would bother? He was the son of a traitor, no one would bother to rescue him, and no one would be willing to take him in if they did. Certainly the crown wouldn't interfere, after the trial.

Once he reached Lord Richards's office, he knocked softly. "Come in," a light voice called.

Taking a breath, Jack pushed the door open and took two steps inside, keeping his eyes fixed on the wooden floor boards and staying as far away as possible from the desk.

Strangely, he didn't immediately receive a task. Normally, Richards snapped an order at him and let him flee to the forest, but today, all Jack heard was shuffling papers. He started feeling nauseous, worrying about this new development, wondering if Richards was going to forgo the challenge altogether.

Finally, the man spoke, his voice casual. "You have a letter."

Jack swallowed, risking a glance up. Who would send him a letter? Then he caught sight of something.

There, on the desk, in plain sight, was the letter, his name written across it in bold green script. Sitting in a chair, watching him curiously, was a stranger, probably the poor sap who got roped into delivering it. And on the other side of the desk, a halo of light behind him obscuring the finer details of his expression, was the elder Richards himself.

Of course, it didn't take much imagination for Jack to figure out his expression. Jack didn't always meet the visitors who came through—Richards preferred to leave him locked in his room, "studying." But when he did, he was expected to act "normal," whatever that was. Probably like he wasn't being almost drowned, or beaten, or chained outside for not finding the non-existent Nark Berry, or a blue magikarp. So Jack, his eyes flickering once towards the stranger, edged forward and tried not to look like he was afraid of anything.

He slid his finger under the flap of the envelope, carefully opening it. It might have seemed weird to an outsider, but Jack had never gotten a letter before, so he didn't want to damage the envelope. He unfolded the papers, his eyes scanning over it quickly.

Dear Mr. Wolfe

We are happy to inform you that you have been accepted to Dark Myst Academy, a training academy to prepare students to face the Forester Elite Four. Enclosed is a list of required supplies and materials for your first year of schooling.

We await your reply no later than July 31.


Darrel Askance

Headmaster, Dark Myst Academy

An acceptance letter? He looked up at Richards and the stranger uncertainly, wondering if Richards had decided to play a cruel joke. No, that was more Liam's style, his son. What was Dark Myst Academy, anyway? The letter said it prepared students to face the Elite Four, but that couldn't be all, could it? He had never heard anything about it before.

The stranger looked at him calmly, as if expecting something. Hell, maybe he was expecting Jack to fall to his knees, thanking him profusely. It wouldn't surprise him; he would never have expected a way out to be presented so readily to him.

A look at Richards confirmed the man's agitation. Even though his face was blank—almost serene—his eyes were a dark, stormy grey, promising pain later. Jack fought back a shudder. As it was, he was sure he still shrank away, judging by the stranger's raised eyebrow.

"You'll be going with Liam to get your school supplies." Richards watched him carefully, leaning back in his chair.

Jack cringed internally. "Th-thank you, sir." Richards nodded curtly, a clear dismissal, and Jack turned on his heel, thanking them both before leaving. As the door snapped shut, he could hear Richards say something, the other man laughing sharply. He winced, knowing he had missed something and would pay for it later.

A guard who had been waiting for him led him to the front hall, where Liam was hopping impatiently from one foot to the other in a strange dance. The other boy glared at Jack as he approached.

Liam and Jack were the same age, fourteen, but radically different. Liam had his father's golden locks and eyes that ranged from icy blue to various shades of grey, depending on his mood, and was just as much a bully. Jack had dark hair and eyes like a stormy sea, blue with hints of green and steel; James used to tell him that he looked exactly like their mother, Sophia, where James's auburn hair and coffee eyes spoke of their father, Eric.

"Why are you here?" Liam sneered, arms folding across his chest. He glared at the guard. "Well, what are you waiting for? Take him back to his cell! Father didn't say anything about him coming."

"Lord Richards has commanded he go with you to get his school supplies," the guard explained smoothly. Jack gave him a grateful glance. The guard gave him a short, cool glance, almost disgusted; he didn't do it for him, exactly; he hated dealing with Liam's bratty behavior, and took every opportunity to knock him down a peg or two.

The guard guided them out the door before Liam could start complaining, pushing them to the waiting rapidash-drawn carriage. Jack squished himself into a corner, making himself as small as possible, drawing out his letter to see what supplies he needed while the guard ordered the driver to take them to Charity Square.

All students are required to bring the following:

One starter Pokemon.

The Forester Compendium, by Felicia Greene

Pokemon Basics, by Felicity Fairfield

Items and Medicines, Sixth Addition, by Serena Anders

Gotta Craft 'Em All! PokeBall Edition, by Samuel Hawthorne

Four school uniforms.

One basic medicine crafting kit.

One basic apricorn set.

Five empty basic PokeBalls.

Jack stared at the list, a lump forming in his throat. Serena Anders…his grandmother, the head of the Anders family. Even she had refused to take him and his brother, instead disowning her daughter to prove her loyalty to the crown.

Something thumped against his head. A piece of paper that had been crumpled up, probably launched by a certain bored brat. He stared moodily at it for a moment before looking out the window; if he tried to retaliate, he would catch hell from Lord Richards.

"How'd you even get a letter, anyway?" the blonde sulked. He was not looking forward to everyone at his new school learning that he was connected to the son of a traitor.

Before the blonde could say anything else, the carriage came to a smooth halt, the rapidashes pawing the ground with their diamond-hard hooves. The driver opened the door, allowing the boys and their escort to jump down.

Liam immediately took off, running straight into a crowd that was surrounding two battling kids, who couldn't have been more than twelve. Merchants' children, perhaps, or maybe even farmers'; the nobility never allowed their children to journey and risk dying, leaving their parents without a suitable heir. Or worse, tempting them to abandon their duty.

The guard led Jack towards the shops, sticking to the edge of the crowd, where it was less packed. Still, Jack's palms started sweating as they approached the mass of bodies, and it was all he could do not to hide in the nearest secluded corner.

Eventually, the older man stopped, glancing at his own list, probably borrowed from Liam. "Come on," he said distractedly, somehow forgetting to be hostile, "the book shop's closest. We can get your starter once that crowd clears out a little."

Once they stepped inside Tons of Tomes, the guard elected to stay by the counter while Jack found his books himself. Jack loved the shop; it had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, winding maze-like throughout the building, and the ceiling was the highest he had ever seen outside the Richards' mansion. The whole thing felt cozy and warm, like he would be safe there.

At Jacob's Apothecary, Jack found himself in love for a whole different reason. Even though the shop was musty and the windows were slightly grimy, the bins of berries, apricorn powders, and herbs combined to create a powerful, spicy, almost adventurous scent that had shivers running up and down his spine—and in a totally good way, which was new.

Lucinda's Latest was where he got his uniforms. The girl at the counter spent the entire time flirting with the guard, while an older woman helped him pick out the right size. She tried to get him to buy a Moonstone choker that she swore would make him the envy of his entire class, but he politely declined, knowing Liam and his father would both beat him six ways from Sunday if they ever found out.

By the time they got his uniforms, the crowd was gone, the sun was just starting to set, and Liam was inside a shop called Sharpe's Menagerie, picking his starter. Jack glanced around and decided to take a look inside Joy's Treasure Chest instead.

A bell chimed cheerily at him as he pushed the door open. Inside, the walls were painted a cheerful shade of yellow, and the floor was carpeted in the same shade of pink that the wooden counter had been painted. The walls were adorned with pictures of kids ranging from nine to fifteen with a variety of Pokemon.

"Hello, there! Welcome to my shop!" a voice chirped. Looking over, he saw a woman with pink hair standing behind the counter with a blissey and a slowking. "I'm Ginger Joy, a retired nurse. Are you looking for a starter Pokemon?"

Jack approached, nodding shyly. When he reached the counter, the woman beamed.

"Well, then, let's get started! You just come over here—" She pointed to a space in front of Slowking. "—and we'll let Slowking test you for the best match, alright?"

"O-okay," Jack replied, nodding sharply. He stood in front of the psychic type for a moment, before offering his hand uncertainly. "I'm Jack," he introduced himself to it softly, feeling it was only polite. The slowking smiled at him, taking his hand.

For a moment, Jack felt nothing, and wondered if something had gone wrong. Then, he felt something akin to butterfree wings brushing the edge of his mind, like a warning, and then a dull pressure, like someone was pressing on the inside of his forehead. Images flashed before his eyes, memories, like he was dying, but instead of starting at the beginning and working its way to that point in time, it was in reverse, and Jack tensed as he felt the ghost of a hand around his throat, choking automatically, a hand on his hip, and he was shoving at the pressure to get it away, make it stop—

It stopped.

Tears were streaming down his face when he found himself looking at a very troubled slowking, his breathing labored like he had just sprinted a mile. The psychic Pokemon patted his hand gently, like it was about to give the boy the solution to all his problems, before going in the back room.

Ginger looked at him, concerned, and even the guard looked alarmed. Jack shrank instinctively away. "I'm fine," he muttered, looking away.

Slowking came back with a green and white PokeBall with four red dots slanted towards the middle and a gold dot in the center. It grabbed Jack's hand from the counter and placed the ball firmly in his hand. Then it backed away, as if nothing had happened.

Jack walked back to the other two, holding the strange PokeBall carefully with both hands, afraid to drop it. He looked at Ginger quizzically.

Ginger smiled. "Here at the Treasure Chest, we use Friend Balls instead of standard PokeBalls or the Ultra Balls the menagerie across the way uses." She took the ball and placed it in a wooden case, alongside five standard PokeBalls. "These PokeBalls are empty and come complimentary." She rang them up. "Why don't you see what Slowking picked out for you?" she suggested.

Jack picked the Friend Ball up and squared his shoulders. "Go!" he called with a toss.

The ball popped open, releasing a torrent of light that formed a small, four-legged shape. It solidified into a red-and-brown fox-like animal with six tails.

"Vuuuulpix," it yawned.

AN: So, yeah. Chapter One. No, they aren't getting Pokedexes. The guard won't be making a reappearance after Jack leaves for school, which is why he doesn't have a name. Please read and review!