This is a work of fanfiction by Butterfree/Dragonfree/antialiasis and is not to be reposted without permission. This story is in no way official or endorsed by Nintendo, GAME FREAK, Creatures Inc., or The Pokémon Company.

Pokémon Master

Pokémon master. I didn’t even know what it meant. In my mind, it merely had some kind of a higher, magnificent meaning; the ultimate goal, the final target. Something to be desired over anything else; my mental image of greatness.

Pokémon master. Those two words had all those meanings. I’d feel pride spread through my chest every time I had acquired a new Badge and, or so I thought, brought myself one small step closer to this goal.

Pokémon master. I guess it was comforting to imagine it as a stairway, because no matter how high a stairway goes, it can always be climbed. However long the walk from one stair to the next, and however often one would need to rest on the way, the progress was constant.

Pokémon master? What was it, anyway? Did I have the right to proclaim myself their master after climbing a set of stairs? I asked myself this sometimes. Shouldn’t I be my Pokémon’s friend, not master?

Pokémon master. Yet, the words rang in my ears, driving me further up. And my Pokémon helped me go on. They loved me; in a childish sort of manner, but they loved me. I had been told again and again, and reassured myself of it every day, that my progress was not only thanks to my own determination and endurance, or to my careful training with them, but also to the bond between us.

Pokémon master. Was this it? This bond? Were we perhaps already there, but searching blindly for steps further up? But something told me otherwise. I kept going and drove my Pokémon harder.

Pokémon master. A master of Pokémon. Would humans ever become Pokémon masters? I was starting to doubt it. Pokémon worked so hard for us, protected us, were friends with us, helped us – all of their own free will. Why did they do it?

Pokémon master. I was starting to sense some irony in the concept. Pokémon had us nailed down; we were completely helpless against them. They were the true masters, weren’t they? Yet I was taking them with me up never-ending stairs, at the end of which would be recognition and fame for me but nothing for them. They would only come up with me to go down again sooner or later.

Pokémon master! It was becoming laughable now. Why did I treat my superiors like slaves or children? I started treating them like the people they were – as equals. As I would treat a human friend. I started respecting them.

Pokémon master. They also felt that goal fade in my mind. They sensed that I was ready to upgrade our relationship. They started respecting me back, not like a parent but like a friend of their own species. And to my surprise, I discovered that they honestly wanted to be around me. They liked my company, and enjoyed shifting into a blank state of mind in which they could trust me to control their bodies like a puppeteer.

Pokémon master. Yes, I finally became one. We battled better this way, and finally nobody doubted that no one was a match for us. Many others followed in my footsteps, considering their Pokémon equals instead of inferiors.

Pokémon master. That’s what I am. Ash Ketchum, the world’s first trainer to respect his Pokémon as equals. Yet, I cannot help noticing that our relationship has grown stern and formal. Pikachu would never lick my hand or snuggle up to me now. That is a way of showing affection for a superior, not an equal. Sometimes I find myself missing the old days.

Pokémon master… yes, sometimes I wish it was still a dream at the end of an endless stairway; that I was still struggling to proceed. Sometimes I wish they would only start considering themselves inferior again. But it’s too late now.

Pokémon master. Ironic term indeed. The little control that we had over them is now lost. Our fate is in their hands.

Pokémon master? The idea remains, but the reality is long gone.

They are the masters now…

Page last modified July 14 2017 at 16:44 GMT