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There was somebody in the river. Somebody who really didn't look like they were supposed to be there.

Charmander was generally quite pleased with her type—that whole "feeling cold" business sounded awful—but there was the very occasional downside, and that downside was splashing around all over the river rocks right now. Whoever it was lying half in the water didn't look any happier about it, though, with their face twisted up in a grimace. After just one hopeful glance about to see if there was anybody else around who might be more suited for helping, she grit her teeth, lifted her tail extra high in the hopes it'd help with the spray, and waded in.

The mysterious pokemon was big but not particularly tough; they whimpered as her grip tightened around a limb and kept whimpering for every inch she pulled them over the smooth rocks. Part of that might be down to how battered they looked, like a bruised pecha berry. They felt a bit like an overripe pecha berry too. And clammy.

Clammy could be serious. She knew that. She knew a lot. She patted them down once they were on drier ground, trying her best to get a sense of them. There was a dim warmth to the center of them that didn't flow right to the rest of their body, and even outside the cold water they seemed to still be losing heat. That part was a lot easier to handle that the water. She waved her tail over them, just to be sure, and when they didn't try to shift away from the heat she nodded to herself and went to get wood.

The resulting fire was evidently smokier than the mystery pokemon would have liked, going by the sniffling and choking sounds, but live wood was what was around and she didn't think leaving them for a longer search would be wise. She lay down on the other side of them, carefully breathing over the thick green hair to dry it without setting the whole mane alight.

After ages and ages and ages, the pokemon moved, coughing horribly. She sat up. "Hey! You awake?"

The pokemon made a noise that Charmander was pretty sure sounded conscious.

"You were in the river. Looks like somebody beat you up. You a traveler? Never seen anybody like you, what are you?"


"Persian?" Charmander repeated. "Oh! I never thought of all the kinds of persian I'd meet first it'd be the hairless sort. Well, mostly hairless, I guess. You look almost like a zoroark," she added, gesturing at the long green mane.

"Persian," the persian corrected, blinking like they were trying to get their eyes to focus.

"Sorry, was that rude? I've never met a persian before. Haven't met most sorts of people before," she adds. "We're kind of out of the way. Way out of the way. How'd you get here? Do you remember who beat you up?"

The persian lifted a foreleg to stare at their claws. They did not seem to like what they saw, which was understandable. Theirs had been reduced to dull little stumps.

"You got beat up," she repeated. She patted a less bruised-looking patch of their side. "Don't worry, I'm sure they'll grow back fine. Do they still hurt?"

"A hairless persian," the persian said, like it was a revelation.

Realization hit like a watergun to the face. "DO YOU HAVE AMNESIA?!"

"I..." They were quiet for what felt like forever as she nearly wiggled out of her skin in anticipation. " a hairless persian," they finished finally. "Yes. I don't remember anything else."

"Oh! I bet you're somebody super important!"

With surprising force, the persian said, "No."

"How can you know if you don't remember anything?" Charmander pointed out.

"I'm sure," the persian insisted. "What about you? You must be important."

"Oh, I'm... Well, I'm not one just yet, but I'm going to be an explorer. See new places, help out other people who get lost... The thing is I really need a partner, and everyone around here is a boring old homebody..." Charmander wasn't entirely convinced that was necessary, but Mom and Dad remained unswayed. "You could be my partner! Mom and Dad would definitely agree then!"

The persian shook their head. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't be any help to you."

"Don't worry, I can teach you! I know all about berries and mapping and anomalous tectonic events and first aid, and I'm super responsible and won't forget and lead you into a pile of lava or anything. My parents said I had to get an evolved pokemon to agree to be my partner first, and you're a persian, you're fully evolved, so they'll have to say yes if you just say yes now!"

"I..." the persian said. "Yes. I am a persian, and I would be happy to be your partner."