Nimbasa City, a place known for its grand-scale landmarks such as the Musical Theater, Gear Station, Big Stadium, Small Court, Battle Institute, and the Rondez-View Ferris Wheel. This city was one of the most popular places to go in the Unova region and tourists from all over the world would flock there just to get the chance to see the fascinating sights it contained.
One certain teenager was just arriving there for exactly that but he was no tourist; he had been born and raised in the Unova region, all the way back in simple Nuvema Town. His named was Touya, or ‘Black’ as his friends and relatives fondly called him. He could always be recognised via his red cap and brown hair that stuck out from it which bounced along when he walked. For whatever reason, he always wore light blue and because of his job of being a photographer, he was hardly ever seen without some kind of camera slung around his neck with a strap.
Unlike most teenagers Black’s age, he did not pursue the dream of becoming a famous Pokemon trainer and instead took up his interest in photography to a higher level, succeeding in gaining employment despite his young age of fifteen. He had once shared the dream with his twin sister, Touko (or rather, White), to become the first ever twin Champions of Unova and share the title but their interest in this dream had quickly faded after a short time of traveling together and they split ways.
Despite not being a trainer anymore, Black still kept Pokemon with him for company and support since he was a solo photographer who travelled to dangerous places full of wild Pokemon just to get a chance to take fantastic photos of scenery, Pokemon, and basically anything. Black never complained and did as he was told, always making sure that his team were all healed up and well-rested just in case he got into a bad situation.
Black smiled as he entered the amusement park part of Nimbasa and looked around in awe at all the rides and people around. Combined together, it was all a blur of bright colours that contrasted well together. It was sunset and the sky was painted with beautiful hues of oranges and reds that was a perfect backdrop to the rides. It was the perfect time to snap some photos so that’s exactly what he did. He carefully unclasped the strap connected to his fancy and small camera before turning it on and letting the lens focus before taking photos, moving spots every now and then.
No one seemed to mind his actions and some even posed once they spotted what he was doing which put a grin on his face. What he had liked about being a trainer was meeting different kinds of people but at least with this job he could still do that though he was slightly timid when it came to strangers.
After a few requests from likely tourists and locals to take their photos, Black made his way to the famous Rondez-View Ferris Wheel and stood before it. He craned his head back and looked up to the top before looking back down. He moved back a few paces and then released one of his Pokemon from its Pokeball which turned out to be his strong and loyal Zebstrika which snorted and stamped his hooves on release in a delighted fashion.
Black patted him on his head before the photographer pointed over to a spot by the Rondez-View Ferris Wheel and said, “No good quality photo could ever be complete without at least one Pokemon in it.”
Zebstrika didn’t need to hear anymore to understand what his trainer wanted so he clopped over to where Black indicated and stood in a spot by the Rondez-View Ferris Wheel, turning his head to face Black.
“Alright, now keep still and don’t blink!” Black said before snapping the photo with ease. “Haha, maybe I should make this photo into a postcard and send it to White!”
He could no longer hear the chatter of tourists and locals. No laughter, no singing, no talking. That’s when Black noticed that something was off. Zebstrika seemed to pick up on this unease and hurried over to his trainer as if trying to guard him from harm.
It was too quiet and there was no longer anyone around. Where had they all gone to so fast and why?
A man and a woman dressed in odd uniforms that consisted of the colours white, grey and black ran over to Black with Pokeballs in one hand each.
“Umm, yes?” Black asked as he quickly clasped the strap back onto his camera and secured it around his neck.
“We don’t take kindly to trainers who imprison their Pokemon just for their own selfish purposes!”
“Yeah, so you better release all your Pokemon or else we will have to use force!”
Before the two hostile strangers could release their Pokemon, Zebstrika clopped over to them and snorted in their faces, his behaviour clearly aggressive. It seemed that whatever Pokemon the duo had or were going to use would have been no match for the electric-type because they looked anxious and maybe even a bit frightened. Either that or Zebstrika was just extremely intimidating on his own.
“Stop this foolishness.”
Black looked around for the source of the new voice and it seemed to belong from a guy a little older than him with long, green hair tied into a ponytail who wore mostly white and a cap. His brow was furrowed and the duo drew back from Zebstrika and went over to the third stranger.
Woah, I haven’t been in this town for thaaaat long and already I’ve run into trouble. Go me.
Black’s inner thoughts were cut off when the green-haired person was looking directly at him with so much intensity that visibly Black flinched.
“You, come battle me. Your Pokemon is telling me the most interesting things…”
“No way! I’m not even a real trainer! I don’t do battling anymore! I’m just a photographer!”
“Lord N, I really don’t advise testing your skills on such a-”
“Silence. While I battle him you two can go inform the others that this area is secure.”
The two fled the area which made Black raise an eyebrow. Just who were these weird people and why hadn’t he ever interacted with them before? Maybe they were some new religious group trying to force their beliefs on the general public or something akin to that.
“I’m not going to fight you and you can’t force me to! I said that I’m not a trainer!”
“My name is N and Zebstrika tells me that yours is Touya or do you prefer Black? Your Pokemon says that that’s your nickname and that you would be more comfortable if I refer to you-”
“Woah, woah, WOAH! Just slow down for a second!” Black exclaimed as he brought a hand to rest on Zebstrika’s neck. “You can…talk to Pokemon? Or is it that you’re some kind of Zebstrika-whisperer?” He had heard of there being Ponyta-whisperers before on TV so why not those for electric-type horses too?
‘N’ shook his head and smiled but it was an empty smile devoid of all real emotions. “I can’t talk to Pokemon, they talk to me. Anyone can ‘talk’ to Pokemon but they can never seem to understand what they say back. Pokemon are our friends and many seem to get frustrated over the fact that their trainers never listen to them, never give them as much respect as they deserve.”
Black took some time to let the information he was being fed sink in before he pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “Alright, alright. Let’s pretend that I do believe you and move on to something else. So what was with those two strangers threatening to take my Pokemon before?”
“Team Plasma’s dream is to save all the Pokemon in the world from humans by liberating them,” N replied without missing a beat.
N was already starting to bug Black who was trying his best from holding back anything that might insult him. He didn’t want to start a conflict and wanted to avoid battling as much as possible.
“And I’m guessing that you’re someone important in this ‘Team Plasma’?”
“Yes, I guess so.”
Silence followed and Black shifted uncomfortably. He wasn’t sure what else he was supposed to say and a part of him wished that White, Cheren or even Bianca was around to talk for him. They would know what to say and do in a situation like this.
Zebstrika snorted before arching his neck and nudging Black in the shoulder in a comforting way.
“Thanks buddy,” Black told the thunder-type affectionately. “Not sure what you’re trying to say but I guess actions speak louder than words.” He gave N a pointed look who raised an eyebrow at him. “Zebstrika and I must be heading off now so have fun with your cult!”
N shook his head and took out a Pokeball saying, “We haven’t even battled yet. I want to hear what all your Pokemon have to say in battle.”
“Not my problem! I have a deadline and I’m not gonna let some weird group hold me up! Ciao!”
Black waved before he grabbed onto Zebstrika’s back and hoisted himself up easily, having done this many times before. He saluted N mockingly before grabbing onto some of Zebstrika’s white mane and gently nudging the Pokemon with his feet. “Let’s head to the Pokemon Center!”
N watched in surprise as the electric-type cried out happily before setting off into a gallop, speeding up until it kept a constant pace. He hadn’t even heard the Pokemon complain once about Black and he seemed to only have positive things to say about him.
“I hope we meet again in the near-future, Touya.” N murmured as he watched Zebstrika’s retreating form.
There was a new barricade at the entrance to the amusement park and the Team Plasma grunts were surprised when a Zebstrika jumped right over it in one majestic leap with a teenage boy on its back who was having trouble containing his laughter. The Pokemon seemed to have enjoyed the stunt as well but it wasted no time to head to the Pokemon Center which was close by.
Once the two arrived, Black hoped off Zebstrika and patted him on the head before he made his Pokemon return. Zebstrika was just too big to take into the Pokemon Center as a companion so Black sent out another Pokemon of his instead: Dewott.
The water-type looked around, as if looking for potential threats, before fixing his dark eyes on his trainer and smiling.
“Alright, let’s head inside and find somewhere to sleep.” Black told him before they walked into the building together.
When Black and Dewott entered the free sleeping quarters of the center, they were relieved to find that there wasn’t many people occupying the beds. It wouldn’t be good if all the beds were filled and if the place was overcrowded. Black just felt really, really uncomfortable sleeping near strangers no matter how nice they were.
Black made his way over to a corner and sat on the bed there and his blue Pokemon sat beside him. Dewott wasn’t really Black’s Pokemon; he was Cheren’s, but Cheren had given him to Black once he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a Gym Leader. In addition to Dewott, Bianca had given him her Tepig saying that she didn’t have to time to look after and train him anymore. Tepig had evolved into a Pignite soon after Black received him.
It seemed like all his friends had given up on their dreams of becoming the Unova Champion…
White had started up her own café in Castelia City with Bianca, her official girlfriend and childhood friend of both of the twins. Cheren had busied himself with learning from Gym Leaders all around Unova about how to be one, what he must do and other advice.
Black’s thoughts cleared when he heard his Pokemon and he looked around the room. Dewott was no longer on the bed so where had he gone?
In a separate corner of the room there were two other people who had their hoods pulled over their heads so that their faces were shrouded in shadows. One wore a brown hoodie while the other and shorter one wore grey.
Dewott was near them and interacting with an Eevee that he assumed belonged to those two people.
A sigh escaped Black’s lips before he got to his feet and came over. “Dewott, don’t just go running off without me.” He crossed his arms and tried to look disappointed but he couldn’t keep a straight face, especially when the water-type stuck his tongue out at him. “Alright, I get it, I get it. You were just trying to be friendly.”
The Eevee was looking at him curiously and wagged its tail before puffing out its chest proudly, as if introducing itself to Black. “Vee!”
Black grinned and waved awkwardly. “Ugh, nice to meet you?” He couldn’t tell what gender the Pokemon was since he really couldn’t be bothered getting out his Pokedex to check. It was a waste of time and kind of rude.
The Eevee eyed Black’s camera and made odd sounds before puffing out its chest more proudly.
“Oh, umm… Do you want me to take a photo?”
He took that as a yes but he wasn’t sure if he should. Black’s brown eyes looked over at the two hooded people who seemed to be looking his way. It was hard to tell since he couldn’t see their faces.
“Does one of you own this Eevee?” he asked politely although deep down he was nervous. What if the duo were some of those crazy Team Plasma people?
“Yeah, she’s mine,” the one with the brown hoodie replied, suspicion heavy in his voice. “Why?”
“I think she wants me to take her picture.”
“No, no way.”
Black raised an eyebrow and didn’t try and hide his confusion. It was just a photo, how much could it hurt? It wasn’t as if he really wanted to take the Eevee’s picture, even if she had a nice coat and beautiful eyes. She was obviously well looked after.
The person with the grey hoodie sighed and elbowed the other guy in the ribs.
“Ouch! What the hell was that for?!”
“…Don’t be rude.”
Both sounded like guys but boy would Black feel silly if they turned out to be girls instead.
“…Fine! You can take Eevee’s photo, I don’t care!”
Black nodded and didn’t bother unclasping his camera and instead just took it off his neck like a necklace before getting it ready.
The Eevee was now sitting on an empty bed and like before, she was puffing her chest out proudly. Black wondered if she would fall backwards eventually so he quickly took a photo to prevent just that from happening.
Once the photo-taking process was done, Black sat down next to Eevee and showed her the photo. She let out a pleased sound and nuzzled Black’s elbow before hopping over to the bed that the duo both sat on and she lay down on the brown hoodie guy’s lap.
While Black was turning off his camera and putting it back around his neck, he heard ‘grey’ tell him quietly, “Thanks.”
He turned to the duo and smiled. “It was nothing really…”
When Black was nice and cosy in his chosen bed, about an hour passed before he heard the duo talking to each other quietly. He was tired and the duo were not easy to hear but he could pick up pieces of what they were saying.
“-idiot. We won’t-“
“-just listen to-“
“-dumb idea, they will-“
“-Ghetsis must be-“
Ghetsis? Was that someone’s name? Either that or it could be a Pokemon but Black knew most of the Pokemon that populated Unova and only a few from other regions.
“-don’t punch me! That hurt-“
“-go to bed, tomorrow we will-“
Black heard the rustle of blankets before there was silence. The duo no longer said anything to each other and Black turned and looked in their general direction. They were in beds next to each other and while one lay on their back the other was on their side, facing away from the other.
Black’s took in a deep breath before he closed his eyes and was consumed by the dream world.
Morning wasn’t sunny like the previous day and was downcast instead. Soft rain pattered on the roof of the Pokemon Center and Black was stirred from his slumber when there was a crack of thunder that rattled the windows.
He sat up with a start and calmed down when he remembered where he was. On the bed next to his were his bag, hat, camera and Pokeballs. Dewott had been returned before Black had settled into bed.
When Black’s vision cleared he saw that the duo had gone which made him shrug. He didn’t even know their names or anything so he probably wasn’t going to meet them ever again. Somehow, that thought made him a little bit sad. He would have liked getting to know them and more about this ‘Ghetsis’. Maybe they were spies or something cool like that?
Two teenage boys dressed in black stood a distance away from the bustling Castelia City, a place renowned for its gigantic skyscrapers that people said pierced the clouds. From a distance, the saying appeared to be true.
“So this is where we’re supposed to meet our employer? Flashy, I like it! I hope they up our pay for being early, Silv!”
“S-i-l-v-e-r, what does that spell? Silver! Not ‘Silv’ or ‘Silvy’ or even ‘Silvster’!”
“Take a chill pill, S-bomb!”
The insulted one of the two had red hair and silver eyes, hence their name ‘Silver’ while the other had black hair hidden under a backwards black and yellow cap.
“Gold, I swear to Arceus that I will push you off this bridge if you keep coming up with idiotic nicknames for me. My name is Silver and it always has and always will be Silver!”
Their bickering continued for some time before they made their move and walked together to the city, shoving each other at random and having arguments over the silliest of things. They seemed to be around the age of fifteen but their actions and words made them seem like mere children. What they were like outside of battle was the polar opposite to their in-battle skills. They were both admired and feared at the same time. Besides from that, they were trained in physical combat themselves and had a vast knowledge of breaking into places and leaving no clues behind (well Silver was more superior at breaking and entering, having done that since he was a child and Gold had learned from him).
Their many skills were what they used to make a profit and they worked for whoever offered the most money. As long as they weren’t Rockets, or extreme Pokemon abusers at least. This time, their hirer was some guy named Ghetsis and they were going to meet him in Castelia City soon enough. His group was all about the ‘liberation’ of Pokemon so he couldn’t be too bad of a guy, right?
“Silver, what if we’re making some mistake?”
“You’re the one that wants the money. I’m just going along with it.”
“You’re avoiding the question.”
“It isn’t my responsibility to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, only you’re the judge of that. Now hurry up, we don’t want to keep this guy waiting.”
With a troubled frown, Gold followed after Silver. He had to commit to this way of life. It was the only way to fill the void that kept getting bigger. Being a trainer, even a Champion, wasn’t enough. He had to be doing something different, even something dangerous. Nothing else would cut it, nothing else made him feel like he was even alive anymore. He was too good for common trainers, too good even for the Elite Four back in his region.
Everything he did was never enough. So why keep trying to play the hero? To play the part of being the role model? He was doing this for himself.