a/n: Hi, everyone! We’ve got a new Pokémon fanfic starting this week, this time based on the mobile game Pokémon Masters EX. If you don’t play it, no worries! There’s zero background knowledge needed. This fic technically takes place in our Mergers universe, but no background really needed there, either. This is more of a wacky “What if?” scenario than anything else. Hope you enjoy!
Brock never liked change. He liked things he could rely on–Pokémon like Onix and Geodude. Friends like Misty. He got the sense that despite her love of the ever-changing water, Misty appreciated the stability of those things as well.
It was like the universe looked the two of them over and thought, “Nah, life’s too short for things to go how you want.” Then the universe acted on that thought and shoved an Ultra Wormhole in their faces out of nowhere.
At least, it had seemed like an Ultra Wormhole. Brock didn’t exactly get a close look when he was being sucked up into it. The speed made him feel like he was being spun and squished and reshaped like a piece of putty. When the spinning sensation stopped, he and Misty tumbled over each other into a large tuft of tall grass.
Brock spat out a clover blossom as he stood and patted his arms and sides, making sure he was still in one piece. He massaged his hands; he had two of them, as expected, the skin surprisingly smooth and uninjured from the fall. He experimentally tapped the ground with one foot, then the other. Beside him, Misty went through a similar routine. For some reason, Brock couldn’t shake the feeling that in the process of being jostled around, he’d forgotten something vitally important.
But that was all it was. A feeling. “What’s going on?” he said. “What happened?”
“I don’t…know,” Misty replied. The worry in her eyes told him she probably had that same unease.
“Okay, okay. Let’s just back up a second,” Brock said. “Retrace our steps.” It sounded like good advice, in theory, but Brock found himself struggling to remember the last thing he’d seen. Or what he’d been doing. His heart raced as he realized that the past several weeks, or possibly even months, were all a murky blur to him.
“We were standing somewhere near water before we were sucked up…I think…” he said. “And I remember fighting Team Rocket at some point before that…but…everything around it is foggy.”
“Weird…it’s the same with me. Guess that means we aren’t filling in any gaps for each other here, huh?” Misty gave a nervous and forced laugh, and while Brock felt bad for her, it was at least some comfort to not be alone in his feelings. He tried to focus on what they could do and surveyed their surroundings. That wasn’t much help, either. They could have been in somewhere in Johto or even Alola for all he knew. The sound of distant surf suggested there must be a beach nearby, even if the surrounding countryside was mostly flowers and grass. A refreshing floral scent danced on the breeze, and a rolling green hill stood behind them like something out of a painting. If it wasn’t for the terrifying and disorienting memory loss, it might have been quite the pleasant experience.
“You think Team Rocket might have sent us here?” Misty asked.
“I dunno…maybe?” Brock crossed his arms, considering the matter. He wouldn’t put it past some of the smarter, more vengeful of Giovanni’s henchmen to attack Kanto’s gym leaders. The thought stirred some vague memories in him. Team Rocket had been defeated, hadn’t it? Yes, that sounded familiar. But before they could continue the conversation further, the sounds from two sets of footsteps–one heavier and distinctly faster than the other–approached behind them.
Misty and Brock turned to see a pair of strangers crest the hill. The first was a towering bald man with muscles fit to take on a Bewear in an arm-wrestling match. (And win.) He wore a white suit with dark red fringe at the shoulders. The second was a petite young woman, shorter than Misty, with thick purple hair in two large twists. She walked with her arms partially extended, her sleeves so long, they nearly scrapped the floor.
“Iiinteresting. We were, like, wondering who would show up next, you know?” the purple-haired woman said.
The tall man rubbed his knuckles. “I don’t know about all this. Is it really okay to bring these trainers here?”
“Hoopa was gonna do it anyway,” the woman replied. “If anything, we’re keeping that hyperactive little genie in check.”
Misty took a shaky step forward. Probably still worried she was losing her mind and that her feet would vanish out from under her at any moment. “Um, excuse me?” she said. “But are you…discussing Hoopa? The mythical Pokémon?”
The purple-haired woman’s face lit up. “Seeee?” she said to her companion. “She’s already heard of Hoopa before. We don’t even have to explain to her.”
“I’m pretty sure there’s still plenty of explanations to go around,” Brock said.
The tall man rubbed his head. “I agree, and my apologies. Let’s start with our names. I’m Sawyer, and this is Rachel.”
“I’m, like, the cool one,” Rachel said, grinning.
Sawyer ignored her. Neither of them stepped closer for a handshake, but considering Brock still had no idea where he was or if these two were even friendly, he was okay with that.
“You’re standing on the island of Pasio,” Sawyer continued. “It’s an artificial island, created by my employer’s family–”
“Prince,” Rachel corrected. “We’re supposed to say he’s our prince.”
“The ‘prince’–” Sawyer replied, making air quotes, “–is not present at the moment, so I can call him a Seismetoad if it suits me.” He frowned a moment and added, “I mean, it doesn’t suit me, but if it did…ugh, you’re getting me off track again, Rachel.”
“Always a pleasure,” she said, grinning as she swished her sleeves back and forth.
Brock glanced at Misty, who hugged herself and stared at the swaying grasses, her ear turned towards some distant music beyond the hill. Her face read of worry that everything could vanish in an instant, like a dream slurped up by a hungry Haunter.
“You said this is an artificial island?” Brock asked.
“It is,” Sawyer said. “Pasio was built to cultivate a unique environment. One where no wild Pokémon exist. Every Pokémon here is bonded to a trainer.”
“Every one?” Misty gasped. “But…how is that possible?”
Sawyer rubbed the back of his head. “To be honest, I’m not fully sure how it works myself. This place…wasn’t just built by human hands. Some powerful Pokémon had a part in its construction as well.” He shifted around uneasily, grinding down some of the grass with his toe. “There are Pokémon strong enough to alter reality to suit their needs. Our…’prince’ is bonded with one of them.”
“Hoopa?” Misty asked.
“On that note,” Rachel said, throwing up a hand. Her long sleeved slumped down into a bunch at her elbow. “Before we go any further here, I just wanna check…are you guys, like, different from before you left?”
“Um, different how?” Brock asked.
“Y’know…different ages? Different memories? Different species?”
“Different species?” Misty asked.
Sawyer groaned and moved to massage his forehead, though he looked more like he was trying to hide behind his own hand in embarrassment.
“For example,” Rachel said. “We had this one dude in town, right? And he’s all patting his head and going, ‘aaaah, my ears are gone!’ And I’m telling him, ‘Your ears are on the sides of your head, dummy’ and he’s all, ‘No, my Pikachu ears!’ They were so cute!'” She shrugged. “I just, I dunno, thought he had some kinda novelty headband he’d lost. But he sure acted like he meant it literally. Oh, and there’s this new guy who swears he’s decades older than he looks and has a long-lost twin brother he just now remembered. And then there’s–”
“I believe Rachel’s point is this….” Sawyer said, stepping in, “…if your trip has changed you in some significant way, please tell us now before you go ranting to the locals.”
“I see,” Misty replied, inching back. “Well, Brock and I are having some memory loss, but–”
“Ah, that’s not so bad,” Rachel said with a shrug. “You’ll be fine, then.”
A breeze picked up as she spoke, causing the long grass to tickle everyone’s ankles. Somehow, the sensation felt novel to Brock. But that didn’t make sense. His memories were fuzzy, but surely he had walked through grass plenty of times before this. He rubbed the side of his foot against his ankle. Grass was itchy. “Is there, um, anyone else who’s claimed to be significantly different before coming here?” he inquired, pulling himself back from his wandering thoughts. “Maybe someone…relatively calm about it?”
“Huh…yeah…” Rachel mused, resting her chin on a sleeved hand. “Now that I think about it, there was that one other guy. You know the other guy, right, Sawyer?”
Sawyer’s long sigh suggested the term “other guy” did not provide enough context for him to assist her.
Rachel shrugged off his impatience. “He’s a chef. Says he used to be part Blastoise or something. I think he’s some Elite Four big shot from…where’s the place, Sawyer?”
“Which place?” he said curtly.
“The one with the city where I used to get lost all the time.”
Sawyer’s expression suggested that there were several cities Rachel had gotten lost in before, but he took his best guess all the same. “Castelia? Lumiose?”
“Yeah, Lumiose! That’s the one.”
“Lumiose City is in Kalos.”
Rachel nodded confidently. “Right. The water-type Elite Four guy from Kalos.”
“Let’s see…” Brock said, rubbing his chin. “That would be Seibold, if I’m not mistaken.”
“He never struck me as the joking type,” said Misty. “You think he’s serious? About the Blastoise thing?”
Brock shifted his weight from one side to the other. Lost memories, teleporting to a manmade island, and people claiming to be part Pokémon? There were more than a few strange things going on in this place. And Brock never felt quite right leaving such mysteries unsolved. “Honestly?” he said to Misty. “I don’t know what to think.”
“If you wanna talk to Seibold, you can probably find him in town,” Rachel said, bouncing up and down at the opportunity to provide some helpful information. “He’s been cooking up an absolute storm at, like, every restaurant around here. Showing them how to ‘do it right’ or whatever.” She shrugged. “In the meantime, relax! Enjoy the New Year’s festivities!” She paused looked thoughtfully upwards at nothing. “Or any of the other winter holiday festivities. Honestly, we told Seibold he could lose the holly-colored vest by now, but he’s not having it.”
A stronger breeze picked up, making her sleeves rise up like wind socks. Misty took the opportunity to draw Brock’s attention to the hill. If there was a town nearby, as the slow, far-off music suggested, they could probably get a pretty good view from here.
Sure enough, as soon as they crested the hill, the music grew louder–a gentle, festive beat that the strung-up lights along the sidewalks seemed to twinkle in time to. Rows of adorable little townhouses lined the streets, and dusk was approaching, making the remnants of snow on the rooftops glitter like fresh frosting. A few people were working to unwind the decorative ropes of evergreen on the light poles, the quiet signal of a shift from winter to early spring.
There was no sign of anyone who looked like the prince Rachel and Sawyer had mentioned. Of course, neither Misty or Brock had asked what he looked like. But one thing at a time.
“Guess we’ll figure this out together, huh?” he muttered.
“Guess so,” she replied as the two of them made their descent down the hill. “Welcome to Pasio.”