It wasn't the bright purple exterior juxtaposed against a sterile white mallscape that caught his attention, or the the clever Shuttle logo that featured a Meowth sticking it's shiny head out of a rocket window, or even the fact that he had paced this exact hallway every day for the last four months after the Game Corner had announced it has been going out of business. No, it was the shape of the faint yellow light filtering through the sanded windows, pushing around the painted pink words "Shuttle Pokemon Adoption Center," outlining the shape of some giant, hulking dinosaur he'd never seen before.
So he'd tugged on the hand of his father and begged him to go inside to see the mons, and his father (contractually obligated by the documents finalizing the divorce to spend quality time with his son once a month) begrudgingly obliged.
The pair were greeted with a soft tinkling of a welcome bell, which called the attention of countless eyes on the two as they entered a surprisingly spacious room packed with enclosures in every corner.
On the far end of the room, along the longest wall were rows upon rows of interconnected kennels, reaching from corner to corner and from the floor to the ceiling. An assortment of pet-sized Pokemon occupied the few enclosures that held Pokemon; three Skitties and a Zigzagoon slept in a pile in a kennel in the top right corner, a Fenniken joined a Tinypup in barking incessantly at the sound of the doorbell, a Purugly stared intently at a sleeping Fletchling in the bird cage that spanned the length of the east wall.
Next to the bird cage was a good-sized aquarium, empty save for a sign nestled in the pebbles at the bottom of the tank reading "PARDON OUR DUST! NEW POKEMON WILL BE MOVING IN SOON!"
To the immediate right of the newcomers was a small section dedicated to the sale of items essential to Pokemon care, toys and treats and beds and food and brushes and little magazines dedicated to the education of an ignorant reader on the care of a Pokemon.
To their left was a wooden counter occupied by a bored looking teenage girl with brown skin and vibrant green eyes, her wildly curled black hair reaching past her waist even when pulled back into a high ponytail. The name tag on her pink-and-purple uniform revealed her name to be "Manny."
Behind Manny was a door with a paper sign - "EMPLOYEES ONLY" - drawn with Sharpie and adorned with flowers and Florges and two faces (one of which was unmistakably the grim-looking girl at the register). More signs cluttered the wooden surface of the counter, hiding the cash register with signs alerting customers of the expanding nature of the shop - "PARDON OUR DUST! NEW TRAINER ITEMS IN STOCK SOON!" "PARDON OUR DUST! NEW POKEMON WILL BE MOVING IN SOON!" "PLEASE ASK FOR ASSISTANCE BEFORE HANDLING ANY POKEMON." "PLEASE DO NOT PET THE HAXORUS." "PLEASE DO NOT PET THE HAXORUS."
"PLEASE DO NOT PET THE HAXORUS."
And, there it was, beside the tired employee, the great, hulking Pokemon that had attracted him into the store in the first place. The fabled Haxorus was a monster standing at nearly six feet, yet it exhibit impressive control over its powerful frame as it moved about the store carefully, making an effort to take up as little space as possible, lifting its mighty tail a little off the ground so as to not scratch the floor, explicitly trying not to knock anything over as she stalked the aisles.
The Haxorus soon decided she found the strange boy in her path far too often.
"Hey, kid," called the girl, "don't pet the Haxorus."
"She's an impressive specimen," said the boy's father casually, not at all worried at the hostility his son's cooing noises were eliciting from the mon in question. "Is she up for adoption?"
"No, not Alice. She's mine. She hangs out in the shop because she doesn't really like her ball too much, and she's typically pretty well behaved... I wouldn't push it."
"Where do you get your Pokemon from?"
"We've got private suppliers, and that's where most of our stock comes from, but we also take in abandoned eggs and mons that were left here by their trainers or brought in from Centers."
"Can you tell me more about these... 'private suppliers'?"
"Look, man, I just work here."
"Just curious, is all. I like to know where my Pokemon are coming from."
"Get your kid away from my Haxorus, please."
"Why? Does it bite?"
"Yes. She does."
"Perfect IV attack and max EVs in attack and speed, her jaws can sever your hand from your wrist before you can say 'Alice, heel.'"
"Impressive. Is she a rescue?"
"She seems to be in very good shape. Perfect IVs, and all."
"Got her as an egg from one of my first rescue missions with Shuttle."
"Seems a little too good to be true, doesn't it?"
"I got lucky."
The cashier sighed. "Sir, if you're gonna sit there and judge the way I make my living, you should do it out of my shop."
The little boy reached out to pet the irritated Haxorus.