"I-I am sorry mum.", seeing his mother sad again, Arthur couldn't help but apologize.
"It's okay Arthur. It wasn't your fault, well not entirely. Things would have been different if your father was still there ...", her eyes lost themselves in the air for a moment, deep in thought. Then she snapped back to reality and looked straight into Arthur's eyes:
"Arthur, what you did was very very foolish ..."
"Yes, yes I kno-"
"Let me finish first. It was foolish and very dangerous. Going alone into the wild, without any equipment or Pokemon, you didn't even notify me or anyone else!", just as she was about to burst out in rage she suddenly calmed down,
"That's why I realized ... that I can't ... protect you forever, *sigh*. You will follow your own path Arthur, sooner or later. You will spread your wings and carve out your legend into this world. The most I can do is to prepare you as best as possible before that time arrives. But up until now I have failed in that regard. Very badly."
"No, you didn't! I was-"
"Manners! Arthur McNeal, never forget your manners!", she reprimanded him
"Yes mum ...", he quitened down again.
"Well, I can't always be by your side and take care of you. However, you still need someone to be there with you. Someone to protect you outside in the wild, someone you can rely on when you are surrounded by countless enemies. Your ... *sob* your father told me he was never afraid when he faced seemingly unsurmountable challenges during his adventures, because, because he had his partners always with him by his side.
You need a partner Arthur. I should have known that long ago but I was just too selfish and overlooked the burden you had been carrying all along on your back.", after that last sentence her creased forehead relaxed a little and a huge burden got lifted up from her shoulders. It was the right decision, she told herself and walked upstairs while telling Aunty Latia,
"Aunty, could you take Alicia out for a moment please? I and Arthur need a
Aunty Latia understood they needed a private moment and brought Alicia out.
After a couple seconds, his mother came back with a small bag, letting out a long
"Mum, are you ok?", he asked her worriedly,
"Where have you been?"
"I-I, during those few weeks I had a lot of time to think ... and plan. I did the transfer from the ranch just yesterday before you were released. I thought it was finally time."
"Transfer? What are you talking about?"
He was still confused but her next actions made his eyes go wide open!
"Arthur, this, this was a present from your father actually.", her eyes got a little teary and her voice started shaking again,
"*Sniff* H-he wanted to give it to you when you turned ten already but then ... he knew you were meant to achieve much greater things in life, he always had your future in mind ...", she took out a small rectangular box from the bag and presented it to him.
When she opened the lid, what revealed itself inside was a shiny red and white ball!
"What?!", Arthur exclaimed under his breath. A Pokéball?! For me?! Deep inside, he had always felt jealous about the other children who got their own Pokémon. They could play and train with them all day and do fun stuff. He knew it wasn't possible for his family to help sustain another Pokémon but this didn't lessen his dejection at all.
But now the situation had seemingly changed. He could finally become partners with a Pokémon as well!
"Wait, you said this was from dad?"
"Yeah, he found this Pokemon when he did some work abroad. It was gravely wounded and your dad as a Ranger felt responsible to save it. It probably got into a fight with other Pokemon and lost the battle and escaped.
Ever since then he had kept it at a Ranch and waited for you to grow up.", she explained to him.
"But, mum, we can't. We can't afford this. We shouldn't ...", he wanted to dissuade her, he could put down his interests for his familiy's sake, but his mother cut him off sharply,
"Arthur, there is NO price in this world I am NOT willing to pay when it comes to you and your siblings well-being. The fact that you got injured and endangered yourselves is entirely my fault. You need a Pokemon no matter what. Don't worry, your mother will make this work out somehow. Just enjoy yourselves, it's your first Pokemon after all!", she tried smiling everything off but Arthur saw through her facade. Still, he asked her hesitatingly:
What Pokemon is it?"
"See for yourself!", she said and smiled at him.
Arthur gulped down his excitement. As if time had turned back, he remembered an alternative version of his tenth birthday. This time instead of the usual present he could be like every other normal child and summon his first Pokemon!
He picked up the ball with the greatest caution and pressed on the silver button. A click sound responded to his motion and the ball jumped open and a red stream of light poured out of it on the ground. Two meters ahead of him a figure gradually took form and the red light increased in density and apparently in mass as well.
The mysterious Pokemon was around Arthur's waist height and had a humanoid form. It stood on its two feet and white hooked claws on its limbs got recognisable. It had a darker blueish skin colour as well as three red feathers on its tail and one on its left ear. It had a yellow marking on its forehead and chest area.
Its narrow red eyes stared deeply into Arthur's as if scrutinizing the person it had been summoned by.
"It's ... it's a Sniebel!", Arthur thought out loudly and exclaimed under his breath. He remembered his Pokedex and used it to scan the Sniebel:
["Beep. Scan begins ... Pokemon recognised as Sniebel, dark/ice type, place of origin ...."], after that rows of information appeared on the screen. Strangely it felt very familiar to Arthur somehow and also incredible how many information this PokeDex had access to. Almost like a computer.
It looked like Sniebel were commonly found in mountain forest areas. They moved in pairs or bigger groups and were agile thieves when it came to stealing Pokemon eggs from other Pokemon. Several of them together could even overwhelm Pokemon with Ranks higher than themselves.
Its claws were retractable and could gain lengths that were as long as its own arms, and when it came to mobility they could be used to scale tress by punching their claws into the bark of trees.
Its red pupils allow it to catch more light in the dark which enhances its ability to see in the darkness at night.
But before his brain could process alle these new information, the actual Pokemon in front of him ... disappeared!
It vanished into thin air! From one moment to the next, Arthur's eyes lost track of the Sniebel that had just stood before him seconds ago.
"What? Where is it!"
"Oh, so that's what they meant with being careful about it!", his mum regretfully said realising her mistake too late,
"Quick Arthur, go find the Pokemon and send it back into the ball. Don't worry, you just need to be within its immediate vicinity and then activate the mechanism again! I will go look after your sister and your Aunty, just in case. Mr.Nyao, stay with Atiqo and help him!
"Nyaoo!", Mr.Nyao had appeared right after the moment the Sniebel had disappeared from sight. It might have sensed the change in Cathelyn's mood and immediately hurried to her side.
Arthur was feeling unsure and anxious about the situation. He didn't know what had happened just now. He wouldn't have expected the Pokemon to run away right after it saw him. Did he smell bad?
Their house wasn't quite big and he chose the kitchen as it was directly next to their dinner room.
Looking around the room, he saw the clock ticking, the plates needed to be washed, the refrigerator was open ... the refrigerator was open! It should have been closed, so why was it opened now!
He approached the machine and lurking behind the door was the Sniebel, gobbling the food into its small mouth. Eggs, meat, left-over from yesterday. Some entered its mouth, the rest fell onto the ground.
"Uh, have you been hungry?", Arthur asked it.
The Sniebel flinched back with its mouth full in a ball like shape. It saw the human from before again and then it disappeared from Arthur's sight once more.
"Where is it now?! How can it be this fast?!"
Compared to Arthur's shocked demeanor, the Glameow Mr.Nyao was as cool as ice. Like a seasoned warrior, it calmly assessed the situation and found food leftover in one corner of the kitchen. It closed in on the place and suddenly saw something fall down from above ... more leftovers!
It raised its head and found the Sniebel hiding next to the upper cupboards in a corner. Their gazes met and the Sniebel wanted to flee again when something unexpected happened.
It couldn't shake off its head, its eyes from the Glameow. The Sniebel felt like falling deeper and deeper into this creature's captivating stare!
Arthur realised that Mr.Nyao had moved to another spot and still looked at something up above. He followed its direction and found the Sniebel seemingly unmoving and still in the upper corner. It had buried itself into the walls with its white claws but this time when being spotted by Arthur it didn't move a muscle, instead it continuously maintained eye-contact with Mr.Nyao.
Before this opportunity could pass by, he grabbed the Pokeball intently and pressed on the mechanism while pointing it at the Sniebel. Before the Sniebel could react in any way possible, the red light flooded over its body and dragged it back into the ball!
Arthur heaved a sigh of relief when the situation looked like being under control again.
"Thank you Mr.Nyao, you were great!"
"Nyaoo", shrugged it off but was still feeling good from being praised.
"Let's find mum and tell her everything is fine now ..."
But seconds after the storm had seemingly passed away, a vibration awoke him from his premature delight.
A tremor ran through his right arm coming from his right hand. The Pokeball in his grip was shaking a little and when he tried forcing it to a standstill ... it just got wilder instead!!!
"What is going here?!", he was dumbfounded and didn't know how to cope with the situation at all. It felt like something inside the ball was pushing the vessel in all directions to break free of his hand. Just when he was about to lose control of the Pokeball, the mechanism of the ball activated by itself and revealed its insides bare!
A red translucent figure took form again yet before Arthur could make out its appearance the figure moved swiftly away from the kitchen. Arthur still stood on the same spot, lost in a daze. It was only the insistence of Mr.Nyao's light scratches that awakened him from his stupor and made him realise:
"SHIT?! MUM!", he had lost sight of the Sniebel and was afraid something could have happened to his mum. Who knows what was going through that Pokemon's mind.
He rushed out of the apartment, sighing with relieve when seeing his mother together with Aunty Latia and Alicia not far away from the house.
Right beside his mother's legs stood a small pink Pokemon. A Shellos. She was surprised to find Arthur for a moment but quickly adapted and asked him uncertainly:
"Arthur, have you found it already?"
"I-I ...", Arthur stuttered for a moment not knowing how to respond to this question,
"It was there ... Mr.Nyao stopped it but then ... the ball just opened by itself ..."
"What do you mean the ball opened by itself ...", she pressed on the matter, frowns appearing on her face.
"Huh, I caught it while it was momentarily distracted but then ... the ball just shook like crazy! And then it opened by itself which is why the Sniebel got out and escaped ... I couldn't find it anymore. I am sorry!", he apologized ruefully. He had managed to catch it but then fate decided to take another turn.
"What?! It opened by itself?! That shouldn't be possible! Let me take a look at the ball!", she was visibly upset and wondered what had happened.
Arthur handed it over and after scrutinizing the insides a couple of times his mother looked like going on a rampage. Arthur expected the worst and braced himself but ...
"Those cheaters! This ball must have been a defect! How dare they give out a damned ball like this!", his mother loudly cursed not caring about her surroundings for a moment.
"Cathelyn! Language!", Aunty Latia reminded her angrily and quickly put her hands on Alicia's ears.
His mother noticed her mistake and smiled embarrassed:
"Ah, sorry. That got over my head.", she calmed down and said,
"I will have a talk with the ranch again. If they don't give me a satisfying reason I will sue them their clothes off their bodies in court! I might need to report this to the police as well. We can't have a dangerous Pokemon running wild in the city like this! Arthur, don't worry about this. I should apologize instead," she smiled wryly,
"It was supposed to be your first partner and then something like this happens. Don't worry, I will definitely get you another one. I promise. Just go back inside and calm down a little. Mommy will take care of everything."
Arthur saw the stress building up inside her, when was the last she took herself some real rest? His mum was actually just about 30 years old yet her fatigue and worries made her look like little over 40. It pained him to see her like that and he blamed himself for this disaster:
"Mum, I will go into the city and search for it. It couldn't have gotten that far either, I am sure I will find it!", he made up his mind to take responsibility.
"No, that's too dangerous! You just came back from the hospital! You are not in the right condition for this! Who will protect you if something were to happen?!", his mother argued heavily. She was obviously against his proposition.
"Nyaooo!", someone unexpected raised his voice. Mr.Nyao got up from its resting position on the ground and walked towards Arthur's legs snuggling against them and then made eye-contact with his mother.
Understanding her Pokemon's point, she pouted slightly:
"Hey, you're supposed to be on my side!"
"Mum, please! Let me help out!", he pleaded again.
"Sighh, ok, ok, if your father was here, he wouldn't even argue about this and directly head after that Pokemon, always following an adventure. I suppose it runs through your veins to put yourselves in danger. Mr.Nayo will go with you and if anything goes wrong, what do you do then?"
"Yes, run away! Don't let me see you again in the hospital Arthur McNeal!", Arthur gulped down slightly. Everytime she mentioned his full name he knew there was nothing more dangerous than not listening to her orders.
Scheduled chapter for the week ;)
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