The creamy-coloured cat Pokémon sped across the forest.
It was a female. Otherwise covered with silky, soft fur, the purple velvet ruff around her neck and covering her ears and forehead didn’t look naturally attached to her body. But it was. So was the similar-looking tulip-shaped end of her tail.
Judging from her delicate legs, which you would expect to shatter like porcelain from the smallest impact, it seemed impossible that she could even keep her head up. Nevertheless, she was running sure-footedly, as if her life depended on it. And who knows, perhaps it did.
But for whatever reason she was in such a hurry, it was clear where she was aiming: Sunset Beach.
Sunset Beach had this name because it faced west so that one could see the sun sink into the sea in its full colourful glory every night, uninterrupted by the skyscrapers and pollution that often tended to block out the horizon and destroy the beauty of the setting sun inside and near big human cities.
Sunset Beach, however, was far away from it all. Only an occasional nature-loving human would come there to admire the wonders of the nature and watch the wild Pokémon go to sleep in the treetops, holes and glades of Golden Woods.
But now, there were no humans around. It was late August and most of these white ravens of the world were either competing in the Pokémon League themselves or watching it transfixed from their TV screens. Golden Woods were silent.
The Delcatty darted with amazing agility between the trees, dodging them so that all the years of precise training were clearly showing. A young Taillow sitting on a branch two metres above watched her and admired her accuracy and the grace of her catlike body, despite the fact that they were natural enemies.
But all she cared about was getting to Sunset Beach.
Finally, she reached the edge of the forest. She slowed down as the golden light blinded her.
She sighed deeply in relief; she had reached the sanctuary.
Indeed, Sunset Beach at sunset was a sacred place and time in the eyes of the Pokémon inhabitants of Golden Woods. No predator would chase its prey any longer than to Sunset Beach in the evening. And who could blame them? At such a beautiful place, no one would want to kill. Just sit there and look at the magnificence of the sunset.
The Delcatty walked slowly down to the coast, sat down and stared transfixed at the setting sun.
“Who’s there?” a voice suddenly hissed. She turned quickly around. It was a giant, red crab Pokémon with a tan underbelly. Its lower jaw was larger than the upper one, covered with spikes at the top. A deadly pincer, at least the size of the Pokémon’s body, was on its left arm. A smaller one was on the right side. Its shell formed a crown resting on its head. A royal glint was in its eyes, which glared hungrily at her from in front of the crown.
The Delcatty flinched.
Whatever this creature was, it looked terrifying, and, more importantly, like a predator that had no more respect for Sunset Beach than a human. It crawled after her as she backed away.
“You’d make a… decent meal…” the crab rasped, turning to the side. To her horror, it seemed to be faster that way.
“Shouldn’t I introduce myself first?”
The crab Pokémon obviously had an urge to strike, but wanted to let its prey’s panic last for a while.
“My name is Argo.”
His larger claw shot forward, but the terrified Delcatty leapt to the side, avoiding it. She tried to run away, but she was too scared. Her legs felt like rubber, trembling so that she could barely stand still.
“And I’m a Kingler.”
“You…” she said weakly. “You… c-can’t kill me here… this is a sacred place…”
“Do I look like I care?” the Kingler snapped. “I’ve spent all my life on this so-called sacred place of yours!”
“At sunset… no Pokémon should be killed on the beach,” she muttered.
“Very well, then,” Argo sighed. “I’ll just make sure you can’t leave, and then I’ll kill you when the sun has set. How does that sound?”
The creamy cat made an attempt to run regardless of her legs being so weak, but with a quick movement, Argo’s smaller claw grabbed her tail and held her still.
“So,” said Argo slyly, “isn’t it polite to say your name when somebody has told you theirs?”
“Nanee,” the cat Pokémon squealed, attempting to escape from the crab’s grip. But it was no use.
“Lovely name,” said the Kingler slowly, dragging her nearer to himself. “Has a… soft sound to it...”
He paused for a moment; nothing could be heard apart from Nanee’s breathing.
“Yes, very nice name.”
His claw pulled her closer. The Delcatty attempted to resist by scratching into the sand with her claws extended to the max, but it didn’t help. Argo smirked.
“You are my prisoner,” he rasped. “Actually… I can just as well eat you right now… I don’t respect this beach any more than the Wingull droppings on that rock over there…”
He held her on the tail up in the air, and opened his mouth.
“You won’t eat me!” Nanee hissed and opened her mouth as a bright orange orb formed in it. A beam of light blasted into the Kingler’s mouth. The effect was significant; he dropped her and was thrown backwards onto his back. His vulnerable underbelly now showed clearly as he flailed around in feeble attempts to get up.
Nanee was very weak. The Hyper beam had taken a lot out of her. Nevertheless, she was about to run, but then she eyed the helpless Kingler. She came to a stop. The thirst for revenge combined with her Pokémon instincts made this too tempting to resist.
Slowly, she walked up to the crab Pokémon. She wondered if she could…
The Delcatty took a deep breath, screwed her eyes shut in concentration and started glowing a bright yellow. Small sparks started forming around her body. Finally, a bolt of lightning shot towards the Kingler. He roared in pain, but she shouldn’t have let herself be tempted.
The Kingler had been thrown back a little by the Thunderbolt and managed to get himself back to his feet. He immediately smashed his bigger pincer in the Delcatty’s direction with gritted teeth, hitting her left front leg hard. A sickening crack was heard.
The Delcatty moaned, but then she had a rush of adrenaline. She wouldn’t go down without a fight…
She let out a battle cry as she shook herself violently. As if there was a metallic ball inside her head, a strong, bell-like chime was heard. Her broken leg was enveloped in a white glow as she closed her eyes in concentration. Argo watched, stunned, as the bones mended and the leg was left fully healed.
Nanee smirked. She had caught him off guard.
The cat looked upwards, at the golden sky, and started meowing in a sweet, silky voice. It got the old Kingler into a trance. His eyelids started falling…
The Delcatty smiled sweetly and continued her cat-song about long-lost love and courage. The crab Pokémon was starting to get dizzy, his thoughts cloudy…
When he had disappeared into a dream, Nanee charged up another Thunderbolt in her body. Argo twitched in his sleep when the lightning struck him, but it didn’t wake him from the enchanted sleep.
Nanee could have escaped now, but she was getting too well into her battle mood. Her eyes glowed deep violet as small purple orbs started draining from the Kingler and swirling around her. Argo twitched violently with each sphere of energy that ripped loose from his body. After the glow in the Delcatty’s eyes started to fade, the orbs circling her started sinking into her body, giving her added strength.
Now it was just finishing it off. Nanee took a deep breath, then glowed bright white as she smashed into the Kingler’s body at high speed. She was hurt from the crash, but Argo even more so. He was now waking up, opening his eyes slowly, weakly.
Nanee charged up electricity in her body again; yellow sparks flew around her head, then a huge blast of lightning shot forward and hit the crab Pokémon.
The Kingler froze for a second as Nanee breathed rapidly. Then his eyes rolled backwards and he fell down.
Nanee’s eyes widened in shock as she realized what she had done: she had killed on Sunset beach, while the sun was setting. A sacred place and time.
She quickly looked up in the forest’s direction. She was relieved, nobody had seen it…
A small Taillow took off from a branch, eyes wide in horror, heart beating rapidly.
Nanee screwed her eyes shut, then looked with regret at the dead Kingler. Slowly, she walked down the beach, towards the golden sun, a few steps into the beautiful ocean.
She admired the sunset with glittering eyes, tears running down her cheeks.