a/n: This Paldea fanfic began as a joke based on the technical hiccups Scarlet and Violet have seen so far. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of writing it with a completely serious tone. No spoilers past the terastallizing tutorial, since I’m not actually finished the main story myself. (Spoiler tags will be added as I go if needed.) Hope you enjoy!
Penny leaned back in her desk chair, the dorm-issued one that felt like it had been designed for kindergartners–inefficient and clunky, its remaining shelf life painfully uncertain.
It was the perfect metaphor for everything in Paldea right now. Everything she could see.
Penny pushed her glasses higher up the bridge of her nose and scrolled through the photos on her computer screen. The anomalies had started as little things. A child swinging his legs under his desk, his movements slowing to a crawl while his voice remained as quick as chipper as ever. A wild Pokémon seeming to blink out of existence, only for the witness to be told by fellow students that she probably just saw a Kecleon or something.
Who’s ever seen a Kecleon in Paldea anyway? Penny thought, rolling her eyes as she scrolled faster. Of course, with the way things were going, maybe she shouldn’t shrug off the possibility so quickly. That was one nice thing about computers. They reported things exactly as they were, whether those observations made sense or not. Penny had documented as much of the strange phenomenon on her own as she could, but her sources had sent her even more, which made her grateful. If nothing else, it would good to have at least a couple people who didn’t think she was straight-up losing her mind.
Beneath the desk, Sprigatito mewed and nuzzled her ankle with its grassy, blanket-soft fur. Penny gave a rare smile and patted the little Pokémon on the head. She didn’t realize how dark it had gotten in the room. That was what happened when she got absorbed in work. Did she even eat dinner yet?
Penny leaned over and switched the desk lamp on, to which Sprigatito gave a satisfied nod before it curled itself back into a ball at her feet. The little Pokémon wasn’t hers. She didn’t actually know who it belonged to. The poor thing had phased through a wall and found itself next to Penny in the library, lost and disoriented. Penny had asked a few students nearby if this was their Pokémon, but they had all waved her off and said not to bother them. The treasure hunt was about to begin, and they had to prepare.
Penny had her own ideas for the treasure hunt. Much bigger and more important than any other student’s. I’m going to find out what’s causing all these strange occurrences in Paldea, she promised herself. If any humans are at fault, I’ll make them sorry. And if any Pokémon are at fault…
She swallowed hard. Pokémon were such amazing creatures–capable of flooding entire regions, creating new land out of nowhere, treating even the fabric of time like their personal plaything. If one of them decided on a whim to distort and erase Paldea piece by piece, what hope did she have of stopping them? At best, she might be able to help people evacuate the region and find somewhere safe. If there was anywhere safe.
Penny shook her head and stood up from the desk. Her stomach growled, a sure sign that she had, in fact, skipped dinner. She walked over to the mini fridge and pulled out a leftover sandwich. Chorizo, cucumber, and wasabi. The only correct way to make a sandwich. Then she retook the spot in her clunky preschooler-sized chair, breaking off bits of the spicy sausage and passing them to Sprigatito under the desk. Stay nourished, stay healthy, stay focused, she reminded herself.
If anyone had asked Penny a few months ago what it would look like, practically speaking, for Paldea’s existence to deteriorate before her, she would have been clueless. She’d never been the creative type and didn’t care to speculate on theoretical disasters. But all the strange events she had seen–Pokémon walking through objects, appearing and disappearing, humans and Pokémon moving like they were in some messed-up, stop-motioned animated film–if that didn’t add up to a crumbling reality, she wasn’t sure what did. Why, the other day, she’d even spotted the academy’s newest student, tucked up in a seated position as if riding a large bike and gliding through midair on absolutely nothing. No one responded. No one noticed. Everyone acted like this was a completely normal and acceptable event. Even among the few students who admitted they’d seen “a few strange things lately,” most of them passed it off. Pokémon were Pokémon. A few odd occurrences here and there didn’t equal cause for alarm. And wasn’t life at the academy all so wonderful? Who wanted to get bogged down with worry when badges and treasures and adventure all waited at their metaphorical doorsteps?
I’ll put a stop to this, Penny thought, taking an extra large bite of the sandwich and chewing with uncharacteristic gusto. I’ll put a stop to all of it. No matter what.