"I GOT NIDORAN!" Clever Clover cried triumphantly as he caught the PokéBall in his hoof.
"Rattatta!" his Rattatta replied.
"Good work, little buddy; return." The purple rat Pokémon disappeared into its PokéBall in a flash of light. "Now, I wonder if there are any more wild Pokémon around," the pony mussed.
Clever Clover had gone to the Flatlands to investigate a mysterious dream he had. He discovered a plot by his long-time nemesis, Bic the imp. He also discovered that he was a prince, the son of the king of an island nation that had been cursed by the devious imp. Clever Clover had managed to break the curse and free his people. Now he was on his way back to Friendship Gardens and was hunting Pokémon along the way.
"A Weedle! Come out, Farfetch'd! Use leak slap, fast!" But it was too late; the hairy bug Pokémon disappeared into a hole in the tree. "Stay away from the tree hole, Farfetch'd! It'll eat you!"
"Fetch-far-far?" the wild duck Pokémon quacked in confusion.
"Never mind," Clever Clover sighed. "We don't have time to be digging for Weedles right now. We should be heading for home."
The pony and his Pokémon strode calmly through the woods toward home. After all that had happened in the last weeks, Clever Clover was glad to be able to relax for awhile. Once he got home, he'd have to get back to his job. He wished that for once he could have a vacation that didn't turn into an adventure.
As the pair passed along the base of a rocky hillside, a strange sound reached the pony's ears. It was a faint whimper coming from a bramble-filled ravine. "Farfetch'd, go check it out. And be careful."
"Far-fetch-fetch-far," the Pokémon replied as it waddled into the bramble, using its leek as a machete to clear a path. Clever Clover followed at a short distance. Soon they came into the view of the source of the sound. A Vulpix had apparently stumbled and fell into the ravine. Clever Clover couldn't see if it was injured, but its tails were tangled in the brambles. When the fire fox Pokémon saw the newcomers, it growled weakly and bared its teeth.
"Keep your distance, Farfetch'd; it looks weak but it could still be dangerous. Digger, come out and give us a hand. See how close you can get to it, but be ready to go underground at a moment's notice."
"Dig dig," said the mole Pokémon with a nod. It slowly approached the injured Pokémon.
"Vullll," the Vulpix hissed threateningly.
"Digglet, dig dig!" the Digglet said in near panic, trying to calm the fire Pokémon. "Dig dig digglet dig!"
"Vul vullll vul, pix," the Vulpix replied sadly.
"Digglet!" answered the mole, cheerfully. He turned to Clever Clover and smiled. "Digglet dig dig!"
"I hope that means what I think it does," mumbled the pony as he got out another PokéBall. "Rattatta, help our new friend here get untangled."
The purple rat cautiously approached the Vulpix and began gnawing at the brambles to free its tails. The Vulpix stumbled forward and collapsed with a faint, "Vul."
Clever Clover carefully picked up the injured Pokémon and carried it out of the ravine to a clearing. He gently began to remove the last bits of bramble from the Vulpix's tails. "Hm, she's only got five tails; she shouldn't be on her own yet. I wonder where the mother is?" He finished removing the brambles and examining the Vulpix. One of her hind legs had apparently been struck by a rock. It didn't appear to be broken, but it was bleeding. Clever Clover washed the wounds and bandaged them. By this time, the Vulpix was awake. Clever Clover got out an empty PokéBall. "Alright little fella, I think you should go into the PokéBall. It'll be safer. I'll let you out when I find your mother or when I get to a Pokémon Center where you can get some proper care."
The Vulpix nodded. "Vul pix."
* * *
With all his Pokémon, and the injured Vulpix, now in their PokéBalls, Clever Clover continued on his way. But something was not right. There were no animals around. Even the bird songs had ceased. Suddenly, the pony came upon a most unusual sight. In a clearing was a circle of burn marks. All the vegetation in the area had been trampled. A pair of caterpillar tracks led away from the clearing.
"I was hoping to be done with adventures for the time being, but I can't just walk away from this."
The tracks led through the woods into a large cave. Clever Clover slowly advanced into the cavern. Surprisingly, it got brighter as he advanced rather than darker. Before reaching the source of the unnatural light, the purple pony found his progress blocked by an enormous metal gate. There was a platform above the gate where two humans stood.
"I don't know what you're doing here," said one of the humans, a woman with orange hair in two tails.
"But you'd better prepare for trouble," said the other, a blue haired man with a gruff voice.
"And you'd better make it double," the woman continued.
"To infect the world with devastation!" said the man in turn.
"To blight all peoples within every nation!"
"To denounce the goodness of truth and love..."
"To extend our wrath to the stars above!"
"Team Rocket, circling Earth all day and night!"
"Surrender to us now or you'll surely lose the fight!"
Clever Clover stared at the two humans, Butch and Cassidy, as they stood posed dramatically. After a moment of silence the pony replied, "Hey! I know you guys; Tabby told me about you. But as she described you, your hair was better; and where's your Meowth?"
"Meowth?" rasped Butch.
"You must have us confused with those losers, Jessie and James," said Cassidy. "That is an insult we cannot forgive. Ratticate, get him!" She hurled a PokéBall that released the large rat Pokémon ten feet in front of the pony prince.
The pony grinned. "Get 'im," he said softly. Suddenly, the ground beneath the Ratticate began to shake and gave way, dropping the Pokémon into a deep pit. Clever Clover's Digglet poked his head out of the ground at his master's feet. "Now, you didn't think I'd walk in here without backup, did you?"
"He's good," mumbled Butch.
"Maybe, but not good enough," Cassidy scowled. "Drowzee, go!" This time she released the Pokémon on the raised platform, out of reach of the mole Pokémon.
"Drowzee," said the psy Pokémon as its fingers and hips began swaying in rhythm. Digger turned toward Clever Clover with an evil look in his eyes. The entire cavern began to shake around the pony.
Clever Clover produced a large axe from his pack; it had belonged to his ancestors and was given to him by Raven, regent of Isle of the Lake. The princely purple pony hurled the axe toward the Drowzee. The heavy blade cleaved the platform, rattling the Drowzee's concentration. His control broken, Digger was free to turn his attention back to the villains of Team Rocket. The cave shifted, rending the gate asunder. Butch, Cassidy, and their Drowzee tumbled from their perch into the depths of the cavern. The axe fell to the ground at Clever Clover's feet.
"Good work, Digger," said the pony as he retrieved his ancestral cleaver. "Now, let's see what those two were up to." Clever Clover climbed through the ruins of the gate; Digger just tunneled under. Beyond was a chamber filled with cage upon cage of Pokémon. They seemed underfed and miserable. "I'd be willing to bet that Vulpix's mother is in here somewhere. Farfetch'd, Rattatta, help get all these cages open, before those Rocket clowns come back." The pony and his Pokémon set to work, but before they could get far a low rumbling emanated from the depths of the cavern. A massive clawed construction riding on twin caterpillar tracks came rolling into the chamber.
"You won't beat us that easily!" cried Cassidy from atop the machine.
"This Pokémon collector is entirely Poké-proof," boasted Butch, as the dastardly duo ducked into the machine's control room.
"This does not look good," mumbled Clever Clover. "Everybody! Get out of here! Now!"
The massive claws lashed out and began to gather up the fleeing Pokémon. Clever Clover hurled his axe once again, but it merely glanced off the armored hull of the contraption. "This does NOT look good," said the frustrated pony. The axe, when it landed, struck one of the cages, knocking the door off its hinges.
A Vulpix poked its head out of the cage and let loose a massive burst of flame upon the massive machine, but to no avail. "Vuuuul," the Vulpix moaned in disbelief. One of the PokéBalls in Clever Clover's pack began to rattle, the one in which the injured Vulpix rested. A flash of red light burst forth from the PokéBall.
The young Vulpix stood defiantly on shaky paws before the metal monstrosity. "Vuuuul-pix!" it cried.
"Vuuulpix," the Vulpix in the cage replied.
"Hey, it's that little one that got away!" cried Butch, peering out through a narrow view slit.
"Ha! We should thank that pony for catching it for us," said Cassidy evilly.
The little Vulpix's eyes began to glow. Soon the fiery glow surrounded the entire Pokémon. A slender finger of flame shot out from the fox's mouth. The flame shot through Butch's view-port and exploded, turning the control room into an inferno. The roof hatch blew off, firing Butch and Cassidy clear through the roof of the cave.
"Wow," was all Clever Clover could say. Then he looked to the Vulpix who had vanquished Team Rocket. The little fox Pokémon had collapsed from the exhaustion of its concentrated fire blast. Clever Clover rushed to the side of the fallen Pokémon, as did the Vulpix from the cage. "It looks like she's alright, just exhausted," said Clever Clover. "So, you must be this little one's mother."
"Vul," said the Vulpix with a nod.
Clever Clover rummaged around in his pack for a Pokémon potion. "This should make her feel better," said the pony as he administered it to the young Vulpix. The mother Vulpix, who had been examining the child's bandaged leg, nuzzled her child lovingly. "That kid of yours is something else."
Clever Clover and his Pokémon returned to the task of releasing the wild Pokémon. After they had finished, Clever Clover said to Digger the Digglet, "Once everyone is out of here, I want you to use your earthquake attack to destroy this cave and bury that contraption forever."
"Diiiiiig let," the Pokémon replied.
By this time, the young Vulpix had recovered some of its strength and was standing with her mother. "Well, you two, it's about time for us to be out of here."
The mother Vulpix turned to her daughter. "Vul vul pix vul."
"Vul?" the young Vulpix replied.
"Vul, vulpix," the mother insisted, as she gestured toward Clever Clover.
"Pix," the little one replied and walked over to Clever Clover and sat next to his hoof. "Vul pix," she said, looking up at the pony.
"Huh?" Clever Clover said. "Hey, Digger, do you know what they're sayin' "
"Digglet!" said the Digglet.
"Well, that makes one of us."
"Vul vul pix pix vul," the mother tried to explain.
"Dig dig, digglet dig," the Digglet tried to translate.
"That was sure helpful. But I think I've got an idea what you're sayin'. You want me to take care of your kid?"
"Vulpix!" cried the mother in delight.
"Well, if it's okay with you, it's okay with me. Now, let's get out of here."
* * *
On his way to Friendship Gardens, Clever Clover stopped by the Dream Valley Pokémon Center to have his new Pokémon checked out. "Hey, Tabitha, what's up?"
"That's Tabby, Cleve Clove," the pink nurse pony huffed, then noticing the young Vulpix, who wasn't in a PokéBall. "Oh, I see you've got a new Pokémon. What a cute peacock tail!"
Clever Clover scowled. "She's got five fox tails, no peacock tails. And I've got two others in PokéBalls, a Digglet and a Nidoran."
"Eww, a corndog," said Tabby.
"Are you going to check out my Pokémon or insult them?"
"Don't worry, I'm a professional. Chansey, would you take care of these Pokémon for me."
"So, now that that's taken care of, how was your trip? Did you find me any eighties toys?"
* * *
"And so I'm a prince from an island kingdom and Bic is finally out of my life for good, I hope," Clever Clover finished recounting the tale of his adventures.
"Narfy," Tabby replied.
"Chansey!" the nurse Pokémon announced.
"Oh, your Pokémon are ready."
"Cool, I've got to be going now," Clever Clover said as he gathered up his PokéBalls and turned to leave, with Vulpix right behind. "Yeah, and about this prince thing, I'd rather not have it public knowledge just yet, okay?"
"Oh, sure," said Tabby as she dialed Sugarberry's number on the phone. "Hey, Sugarberry, guess who's a prince..."