The Story of a Sandslash
A Pokemon trainer walked through a barren desert, a red and white ball clutched at his side. He stopped for a moment to wipe his forehead, which was drenched in sweat. He checked his Pokedex to see the picture of the creature he was trying to catch. It was yellow with brown spines all over its back. Then he heard a small voice to behind him say “Sandslash!” That was me.
As you can obviously tell, I am a Sandslash. I am a Pokemon (if you don’t know what a Pokemon is, leave now) that shares many of the attributes of our beautiful earth. Simply saying, I’m a ground type. My main body is a darker yellow color. What makes me unique is that I have a large amount of brown spikes protruding from my back. I also have long sharp claws that have been used on the flesh of another all too often. Being a ground Pokemon, I have lived in the desert my entire life as is the custom of my species. And you can probably guess that I’m in for the ride of my life on this story. Good guess.
I was the species of Pokemon he was trying to catch. I had just had a very good dream about meeting an attractive Vibrava. I was just about to kiss her good night when I woke up. I found myself with my snout an inch away from the mound of sand I used as a pillow. ‘Oh well’ I thought, ‘all good things eventually come to an end’. I climbed out of my burrow and was terrified at what I saw. It was a human. The last time one of them had come here, they had taken my best friend, Cacturne, away. I let out an audible little gasp which humans here as my name.
Back to the story, the boy turned around and saw me before I could escape back into my burrow. He said something in an odd language and threw the duo-colored ball. Out of that ball came a large blue tortoise. I suddenly remembered something I had learned at the Pokedesert Academy. This enormous creature was called a Blastoise. I had also learned that when a human sends out a creature out of a red-white sphere called a Pokeball, it means he wants to challenge you to something humans call a Pokemon battle.
Then I also had to quickly rack my brain from when I was training at the Pokedesert gym. I remember learning four attacks that I could use in case I was ever challenged to one of these barbaric contests. I think they were called Sandstorm, Focus Punch, Substitute, and Metal Claw.
All the while I was thinking the trainer called out something to Blastoise. It nodded and shot powerful jets of water out of the two spouts positioned on its back. I nimbly jumped to the side. After a split second’s thought, I decided to use Sandstorm. Suddenly the winds picked up and whipped sand in all directions. Blastoise looked around blindly while I snuck up behind it. I decided to give Focus Punch a try. My claws began to glow. After a few moments, I felt a feeling of power course through my body. The attack was ready.
I swung as hard and fast as I could at the shell on its back. It gave a cry of pain and fell to the ground, spirals replacing its eyes. The Sandstorm lifted immediately. When the trainer saw what happened to his Pokemon, he withdrew it with a surprised look. Then from his pocket, he took out another Pokeball. He said another odd word and threw the ball at a spot a few yards away from myself. Out of it appeared a Pokemon I had learned was called a Shiftry. How I learned to remember this Pokemon was to think of it as a tree with a beard.
For this battle, I thought Substitute would be a good first attack. I must say that I was very amused with the results. I was suddenly transported to an alternate dimension where I stood in front of a large glass window. Through it, I could see an exact replica of myself being attacked by Shiftry. As it backed off for a brief moment, I jumped through the window, deciding to use Metal Claw.
I found myself back in my body, my claws shiny silver. Without hesitation, I lunged at Shiftry. Even though my eyes were closed, I felt a satisfying scraping noise as I made contact with my foe’s wooden body. Shiftry keeled over in pain, though it was not knocked out. Right before it had time to strike again, I had retreated to the glass window, leaving the badly beaten replica behind.
Before I even got to the window, I was already charging Focus Punch. As soon as I felt that feeling of power again, I saw the shell of myself shatter and I was immediately transported back to the battlefield. After taking a moment to realize what happened, I swung my claws. Once again, I swung with tremendous force. This time I made contact with Shiftry’s face. He was lifted off the ground and skidded several feet before coming to rest several yards away. Now Shiftry was also knocked out.
For a third time, the trainer pulled a Pokeball. But instead of throwing it at the ground, he hurled it at me. The next moment, I was trapped inside that ball. I furiously slashed at the thin outside of the capsule. So this is what had happened to Cacturne? The thought of this cruel method of capture only made me swipe harder. Suddenly I found myself back outside the ball. The trainer pulled out a ball that had a different pattern and hurled it at me. This ball was much different. The walls were now made of reinforced steel. I slashed and slashed as I had never before. But every moment I spent, I felt more like I belonged in that ball.
Then I suddenly remembered Cacturne’s last words to me. He had said, “I will not, shall not, and cannot be captured.” I now felt an anger towards humans that I had never experienced. My claws suddenly began to shine with a brightness that even the sun didn’t have. For Cacturne’s sake, I slashed with all my might. Then I was once again facing that trainer, my claws still shining.
The brightness of my claws seemed to terrify the human and he ran away. As soon as he was out of sight, my claws ceased to glow and I lay slumped on the ground, exhausted. But as I rested on the hot sand, I knew that human would tell other humans about me and they would come and try to capture me. There was only one choice. I would have to run.
I rested on the sand for a time. Then I managed to move myself into a sitting position. I glanced up at the sky to see it was a deep shade of purple. I decided that I should get a move on while the humans were all sleeping. As I licked a small wound, a gentle breeze began to blow. I had always adored my dad because he had defended me against a Flygon when I was only a Sandshrew. From that point on, he had been my hero. ‘Well’ I thought as I began to walk away from the place that could no longer be my home, ‘Now I can be my own hero.’
As I walked, I contemplated the actions of the human. He had sent out creatures of his own to attack me. Why did he want to attack me in the first place? I was a normal Pokemon just like everyone else. He had no reason to ambush me in such a manner. Was it merely some sort of sick game? Did they just capture us Pokemon to make us fight? Now a feeling of hatred was quickly replacing the one of curiosity. So they captured Cacturne, my best friend, just to pit him against some other poor creature for their own amusement. That must be it. I guess I’ll just have to play their little game. I would have to eliminate all the humans.
It was slightly past dawn before I passed my first patch of grass. It felt very smooth and cool compared to the hot, grainy sand in my homeland. But I knew that this was only going to be the first of the changes in this wild new world.
I also knew I was going to meet new species of Pokemon on my way as well. The first one was a most peculiar fellow. I met him as I was walking past a big brown and green thing called a tree. He dropped down from the low limb he had been hanging on and beamed at me, which surprised me very much. I remember this short, round Pokemon by the name of Seedot.
“Good morning, fine sir!” he said in an aged but enthusiastic voice, “What brings a desert Pokemon such as you to our splendid forest home?” I explained my situation to him, excluding the part where my claws had started glowing. I said that the trainer ran from me because he couldn’t capture me. It made the story seem a little awkward, but the ear-to-ear smile on Seedot’s face never faded.
“I, being very old and feeble, cannot help you. But I do know some who can!” He deeply inhaled and let out a shrill noise that made me cover my ears. But as he continued to whistle, Pokemon appeared from every direction. They all lined up to face me. After the old Seedot finished, he looked up at my astonished look and grinned broadly. “Take your pick.”
I stared at him for several moments, aghast at how many Pokemon were lined up before me. And some of them didn’t even look like they were from the area. There was even a species I knew as an Arcanine.
“How many can I choose?” I asked. For the first time, a look of embarrassment spread across his face. “It is my deepest regret to tell you that you can only take one as your companion.” Seeing the disbelieving look on my face, he continued to say “Each one of these Pokemon is as eager to accompany you as the next. The problem is that they all are so bent on becoming the best, they refuse to work together!” “Very well.” I said slowly “Give me a moment and I’ll tell you which one I want.”
I walked through the line, examining each and every Pokemon. All of them looked as if they hadn’t laughed in a while… except one. As I was nearing the end of the line, I met a purple-furred cat called an Espeon. He looked thoroughly relaxed as he sat on its haunches and licked his paws. Unlike most Espeons, this one had a large fringe that covered his eyes. I was amazed that it could even see. He occasionally flicked his hair back. I was thinking that this was more of a developed habit rather than to gain visibility.
As it I passed him, he looked up at me and said in a calm and collected voice “And who might you be?” It sounded as though he asked only to hear my response. I don’t think he cared at all who I was. “I’m a Sandslash,” I said in a dignified manner. “Sure you are,” he said in an amused way. All the while, he continued to lick his paws, not even bothering to make eye contact. “Are you making fun of me?” I asked sharply. “Oh, no sir!” he said, respect in his voice now. He now gazed unblinkingly into my frowning face. “Please except my deepest apologies, sir. I did not mean to make it sound as if I was mocking you.”
“What attacks do you know?” I asked, not wanting to embarrass him anymore. “I know Psychic, Morning Sun, Teleport, and Hydro Cannon” he proudly replied with a smile. But this was not the smile I had just seen. It was not one of mockery, but an effort to redeem himself. “Hydro Cannon?” I asked in bewilderment. “Yes, sir” he said in a very esteemed sort of voice, “I trained many years with the Tyrogue that runs the dojo atop the hill over in the distance.” He gestured toward the hill. It indeed did have a dojo, though it looked rather small. “Excuse me for a moment,” I said. I walked back over to the elderly Seedot and said, “I think I’ve made my choice.”
A while later, Espeon and I walked along a dirt path. “So you want to destroy all the humans, huh?” he said after walking for quite some time in complete silence. “How did you know?” I said, stopping in my tracks to gape at him. “Mind reading, pal. Get used to it”, he said with a little smile. “But to the point,” he said, “I support you all the way with the idea. My mother was a Vaporeon. A human kidnapped her. After that, my dad refused to eat and died soon after.” “Same thing happened with my best friend,” I said in a reassuring way. “Thank you,” he said in a small, choked voice as he wiped something from under his fringe. I guessed it was a tear. Even though neither of us had said it, I knew that Espeon and I were now friends.
When night fell, we decided to make camp in a small clearing of a forest we happened to be traveling through. I made a fire by setting up a large pile of dried leaves next to a large rock nearby, and then slashing the rock with Metal Claw to create a large amount of sparks that caused the whole pile to catch fire. Espeon picked some things called “apples” from trees and gave one to me. As I bit into it, sweat juices flowed from it into my mouth. It was the most wonderful thing I had ever tasted in my life. It was far tastier than the small Ratatta my family had to hunt.
That night I dreamed that I was with Cacturne and Espeon, eating apples by the fireside. Espeon and I were laughing at a joke Cacturne had just told us when a mighty wind picked up and Espeon and Cacturne were lifted off there feet. I attempted to pull them back down, but the wind’s fierceness won out. I sat down and began to cry the tears that came from the innermost layer of my heart. There was nothing more to live for. I held my claws up to my throat. But before my life was extinguished, I heard a hoarse voice whisper in my ear. “A life is something not to be taken by the its holder. Life is something with which to do good for those who have wronged you, to help those that are unable to provide for themselves, and to do to every living thing as you would do for yourself.”
Suddenly, an echoing voice began to ring around me. “Sandslash, sir? Are you all right? Please wake up.” It was Espeon calling me. So that meant that this was all just a dream. But it all seemed so real. I opened my eyes. “Espeon?” I said weakly. “You’re running a fever. Just relax,” he said gently. I closed my eyes and felt something cold press against my forehead. It felt very refreshing. So for the rest of the day, I just sat there with my eyes closed and rested. By the time evening came around, I was still feeling weak, but not as exhausted as when I woke up that morning.
The next morning, I woke up to find it was still dark. I glanced over at Espeon. He was lying on his side, still fast asleep. Or was he? I shambled over to where he lay and listened for breathing. I heard nothing but a few Tailow screeching their cry across the horizon. Was my dream coming true? I worriedly spoke into his ear, “Espeon? Espeon?” With each calling of his name, I gradually increased the volume until I was halfway in between my normal tone and a shout. It was no use. I’d have to take him to the nearest Pokemon Center. My fear of humans immediately counteracted this. But I then remembered another part of my dream. I recalled that hoarse whisper in my ear. “Do to every living thing as you would do for yourself.” Espeon was more to me than just a living thing. In the brief time we had spent together, I already felt a friendship with him as I had with Cacturne. I had to betray my instinct if I wanted to keep my friend alive.
As I walked through the forest with Espeon upon my shoulders, I heard a rustle from the bush to my right. ‘Oh, great,’ I thought. This was really not the time for a wild Pokemon to decide to attack me. But what was to come shocked me with a large dose of fear. An Arcanine stepped out of the bush and simply looked at me. It was enormous. Its shoulder height was three times more than mine. But it neither snarled nor bristled. It just looked at me, then at Espeon, and then its gaze switched back to me. Arcanine then turned his head back over his shoulder and barked once. What stepped out from the shrubbery next surprised me even more than Arcanine.
A very pretty human girl stepped out whilst patting Arcanine on the back. But when she looked at me, she stopped and gaped at me. After a few moments, though, she spoke a few words to the Arcanine. It then lowered its hindquarters to me. I supposed this was an invitation to get on. I clumsily go onto his back while the girl waited patiently. Once I had hoisted Espeon and myself on, the girl climbed swiftly on and said a few more words to Arcanine. He then shot off at top speed. I had no idea where we were going. But since the human had not hurt me, I decided to trust her. I had to.
Soon we reached what I figured was the Pokemon Center. After we had all gotten off Arcanine, the human took out one of those red spheres. She said only a few words and he was absorbed by a beam of red light into the ball. She then gestured to me to lead the way. I was shocked at her manners. Before that moment, I had thought that humans were cruel fiends. But I gathered myself and walked into the building. People stared at the awkward sight of a Pokemon carrying another Pokemon its back. After making it to the counter, I slowly lowered Espeon onto the counter. I took the Nurse a second to realize that I wanted Espeon to be healed. She then nodded to me and carried Espeon into a room behind the front desk. I looked around, wondering what to do. Nearby were a good many comfy-looking sofas. I shuffled over to one of them and sat down.
The next thing I knew was that I was being lightly nudged by a soft something. As I slowly opened my eyes, I thought I was seeing an illusion. Espeon was standing right in front of me, gently poking me with one of it’s paws. “Espeon!” I shouted joyously. He looked equally happy to see me as I was to see him. I hopped off the couch and gave him the biggest hug of my life, which he gladly returned. It was one of those kinds of hugs you only give a brother. As I embraced him, I felt tears of happiness start to trickle down my cheek.
Over Espeon’s shoulder, I saw the Nurse that had healed him. She was also crying softly. Espeon must have read my mind, because he slowly exited the hug. I approached her slowly, but not cautiously. I was thinking of a way that I could express my gratitude to her. Then I just decided to give her a hug. I wrapped my arms around her legs, careful not to let my claws touch her. All the people in the Pokemon Center gave a big “awww” while the Nurse just looked down, seemingly surprised. Then her face split into a wide smile. It was a sight that could make anyone cry.
A couple minutes afterward, Espeon and I walked out of the red-roofed building in a very good mood. Then we heard something that made us jump. A voice behind us said “Son?” We turned to see the human girl standing there. But now she had all of her Pokemon out. I saw the Arcanine from earlier as well as a Dodrio, a Roselia, and… a Vaporeon.
It was the Vaporeon that spoke. “Son?” she repeated, now facing Espeon. Then I remembered when he had told me that his mother had been a Vaporeon. “Mom?” said Espeon very quietly. “This is your mom?” I suddenly interjected. When Espeon nodded, I bowed low and said, “Pleasure to meet you,” I said gently, yet clearly. When I came out of the bow, I was surprised to see that Vaporeon was blushing. She then beckoned her son forward and whispered something. He looked rather taken aback. He looked at me, then at her. “Are you serious?” he said, giving her an inquisitive look. “I am,” she said, still blushing.
All the while, I noticed that the human girl and her Pokemon were just standing there politely, watching curiously. “Can I see you for a moment?” Espeon said to me. “Sure,” I said calmly and followed him a place several yards away. Espeon sighed as if he didn’t really know how to explain whatever he was about to tell me. “Look,” he said with a very expressionless face “there’s no other way to put it. My mom has a crush on you.”
“Could you run that by me again?” I said in a disbelieving sort of way. “My mom has a crush on you,” he repeated simply. I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head. “How old is your mom?” “Let’s see,” Espeon muttered to himself, “She was twenty-one when she was captured. And it’s been eleven years since that episode. So she must be around thirty-two or so right now. All the color drained from my body. She was the same age as me. But then a thought struck me. “Then what age are you?” I asked. “Sixteen,” he said flatly “with my birthday being next month.”
“And all this time I thought you were the same age as me,” I said, laughing shakily. “But to the point,” Espeon said, “what do you think of my mother?” This took a little thought. What did I think of her? She was very pretty. And she seemed very kind. “Well,” I said after a better portion of a minute, “she is very good-looking. And she seems very kind.” At these words, Espeon just stared at the ground. “I knew you would say that. Well, not that my opinion matters, but I’m fine with it. It would kind of cool to have you as a dad. Should we tell her?” “Of course,” I said quickly.
It seemed that the walk back over to Vaporeon took forever. But when I finally stood in front of her. Espeon seemed to guess that I was lost for words, so he began. “Well, mom,” he said in a slow voice, “I’ve had a talk with Sandslash. And he now knows how you feel.” Vaporeon seemed to be content just looking at the ground and blushing. “ And you’ll be very pleased to here that he feels the same.” For moment, she just stood there looking into my eyes with a confused look on her face. Then she ran up and gave a hug even bigger than Espeon’s. And then I realized that this was what love was all about. Not those big-chested Mawile in Cacturne’s PokePlay magazines. It was being with someone that you loved no matter what the species.