Happy Friday, everyone!
If you didn’t get a chance to see it, Rachel started streaming a Pokemon Sword Nuzlocke over on our Twitch channel. While you can watch hers live or on a VOD, I’m joining the challenge with a Shield Nuzlocke of my own in fanfiction format. I hope you enjoy it!
Shield Nuzlocke Rules:
- Fainted Pokemon are considered “dead” and must be released.
- Nickname all Pokemon to form deeper bonds.
- Only the first randomly encountered Pokemon may be caught.
- Duplicate clause: if random encounter is a Pokemon species that was already caught, you may try again with the second random encounter.
- In areas with no random encounters, first wild Pokemon fight counts.
- After the initial trip and first random encounter through the Wild Area, one new Pokemon may be caught in a new zone after each gym badge collected.
- This was amended from a previous rule being that only 3 Wild Area Pokemon could be caught before Motostoke and before Hammerlocke; since 3 Pokemon were initially caught, the new rule will be instigated after the 4th badge is earned.
Current Team: Bond the Sobble
Body Count: 0
“Hop, this was a terrible idea.”
“Pretty sure this was your idea, mate.”
“Was not.” I huffed, squinting my eyes as if that would help me see better in the thickening fog. “You would have gone straight into the Slumbering Weald after the Wooloo no matter what I said, and you know it.”
“Come off it,” Hop’s voice said from somewhere in front of me on the overgrown path, his outline just barely visible. “There was no hesitation from you when I asked what we should do when we saw the broken fence.”
I glared in Hop’s general direction. The Slumbering Weald had always been off limits for us. I thought it was just due to the wild Pokemon in the area, but if it was always foggy like this… Well, point taken, Mum.
“Bond, where are you?” I paused and glanced down at my feet just as my new Sobble smacked into the back of my leg. He placed a little hand on my calf, his few digits trembling despite the physical reassurance of my presence. I scooped him up and he heaved out a sigh.
“This is mad. I can’t even see my own hand in front of my face!”
“And I can’t see you,” I said in response to Hop’s voice, quashing down my own panic. Bond whined in my arms, and I tried to be brave for both of us. “Hop, come back!”
“Kris, I’m right here.”
“You are not,” I said, reaching forward blindly with my free hand. “We should have asked Leon to go and save the Wooloo…His Charizard would have been able to blow away this fog or something…” My hand collided with denim and I snatched it. “Please tell me this is you, Hop.”
“As long as you tell me that it’s you gripping my sleeve,” my friend said. His own hand reached out from the fog and nearly smacked Bond in the face. I grabbed Hop’s hand before he could.
“Let’s stay together,” I said.
“Yeah, sorry about going a little too far ahead,” Hop said as we walked together. “I’m just worried about the Wooloo. Can you imagine if we had sent Leon in here? With his sense of direction, he’d end up in Unova or something–”
A gust blew and with it came an eerie howl. My Sobble hiccuped in my arms as Hop and I stepped closer together. The howl washed over us, seemingly coming from every direction, until the fog opened up before us.
Stepping forward was a canine-like creature, crimson and blue fur standing out amid the silver fog. I had to crane my neck up to see its golden gaze scrutinizing us.
“Is that… Is that a Pokemon?” Hop asked, the pair of us trying to walk backwards before he tripped over my foot. He tumbled to the ground, me being yanked down with him, and Bond fell out of my arms.
The creature howled again, the sound vibrating through the air. Despite his shivering, Bond shot a blast of Water Gun at it. The attack only reached the creature’s ankles, if it had hit…
“It has no effect…” Cold dread sat in my stomach at the realization and I reached forward for my Pokemon. I just got my Sobble maybe half an hour ago, and I had no interest in it getting hurt by some ghost canine thing! We’d have to try to run.
The creature’s gaze was fixated on us, even as Bond tried a second Water Gun. I grabbed onto my Sobble as the creature howled again, its voice thickening the fog. Hop’s hand scrabbled for my sleeve.
“I can’t see anything,” he said, his shout wavering with panic. My head grew fuzzy as I tried to turn to him, but I couldn’t even respond when he asked, “Kris, are you ok? Kris…?”
The fog swallowed us.
“Kris, wake up…”
A groan reached my ears and I belatedly realized that the sound was from me. Something was shaking me by the shoulders and I lashed out.
I blinked rapidly, trying to figure out where I was, only to see Leon in front of me rubbing his nose. Bond appeared in my view, my Sobble’s eyes wide and shiny with unshed tears.
“Uh… sorry?” I sat up gingerly, keenly aware that I probably punched the Champion in the nose. I reached over with one hand to rub the top of Bond’s head while the other held my own temple. “Did I just hit you?”
“Yeah,” Leon said, sitting back to give me more space. With a crooked smile, he added, “Think I was more startled than hurt. I’m glad you’re awake. You both seem to be okay.”
I glanced over to Leon’s other side, seeing Hop sitting there looking just as groggy as I felt. Just beyond Hop was Leon’s Charizard, its wings flared out protectively with the little Wooloo settled next to it, looking none the worse for wear. There was no fog competing with the shadows and flickering patches of sunlight peering down from the treetops.
“How’d you even get here, Lee?” Hop asked. “You’re pants with directions.”
“Gee, thanks,” was Leon’s deadpanned response. “I came looking for you two when you didn’t show to go to Wedgehurst. Let’s get out of here. You’ll be okay now that Charizard and I are with you.”
“Thanks, Leon.” I stood up, my legs only slightly wobbly but more than willing to leave the Slumbering Weald behind. I returned Bond to his pokeball, sure that my Sobble was more than spooked as well, and followed Leon and Hop out of the forest.
I only half listened as Hop told Leon about the creature we had encountered. Leon wondered if the rumors of the powerful Pokemon in the area was merely an illusion since Bond’s attacks went right through it. I bit my tongue to stop myself from arguing.
That Pokemon was no mere illusion.
“Hey, Kris.” Hop turned back to me with his usual grin as we reached Postwick again, the shadows of Slumbering Weald gone. “Don’t forget to tell your mum that we’re leaving for Wedgehurst. She’ll go spare if you leave without a word.”
“Don’t have to tell me that,” I said, already wondering how Mum would be just hearing that I stepped foot into the Slumbering Weald. “See you by Route 1.”
Mum’s heavy frown met me as soon as I walked into the house.
“Leon told me what was going on,” Mum said as a greeting. “I’m glad someone bothered to tell me! He mentioned how Hop and you were supposed to meet him to go to Wedgehurst and, instead, found the gate to the Slumbering Weald open.”
I took a deep breath and relayed what happened to Mum. “Hop and I have our own Pokemon now, more than just his Wooloo,” I reminded her. “We didn’t think it’d be that dangerous.”
“Kris, your Sobble is a sweetheart, but young,” Mum said, pinching the bridge of her nose as she tried to remain calm. “You both could have been seriously hurt.”
“…Yes, we can,” I said, my hand reaching to my belt where Bond’s pokeball was clasped. “Should we even go to Wedgehurst?” Bond and I could totally stay home with Mum. I’m sure he would like growing up amid Mum’s Budew.
Mum said nothing for a moment before I felt her hands cup my chin and make me look up at her. Her smile was small, but her eyes shone.
“Yes, you should,” she said after a moment. “Go out and see the world. You will make mistakes. You may get hurt. Your Pokemon, your friends may get hurt. It can be dangerous out there, but you’ll find plenty of opportunities and reasons to call the world beautiful.”
I took a deep breath and nodded. “Alright… Thanks, Mum.”
She kissed my forehead before shoving a small purse into my hand. “Here’s some pocket change and some pokeballs for Galar’s newest trainer. Go out there and follow your dreams.”
And Mum looked so excited, so proud of me that I could only think to say, “I will, Mum,” before giving her a hug and heading out the door.
I guess figuring out my dream would be my first goal of this journey.