The Ugly Ducking
The idea for this fan fiction stems from Dynamic’s comment about my description of how Smeargle and Milotic were united in the World of Pokemon RPG thread. The post in question can be read here. He suggested that I start to write fan fiction, and despite never having any experience in doing so, I felt I’d give it a go, starting with this one off story, giving Milotic’s background.
Reflections of happy faces rippled in the water, as the rush of the waterfall swayed the water further downstream. The school of Feebas splashed about, enjoying the warm summer sun. A gentle breeze whistled through the trees in the valley above, creating a soft chorus – a song comprising of the raw, pure sound of nature at its very finest. A group of braver Feebas darted up and down the lake, daring each other to see who could get the closest to the waterfall and ridiculing those who weren’t braze enough to join in. The school itself wasn’t very large, but it was comprised of a well-knit group of fish – ones that had shared generations of love, loss and everything in between. The school itself wasn’t much to look at, and to those with an untrained eye, they could even have been described as ugly. However, there was a lot more to the Feebas than first met the eye. Fairly shabby looking, with rough bodies and tattered fins, none of the fishermen that ever frequented the lake in which the school thrived ever bothered to keep one if they were ever lucky enough to catch one. Despite it’s frail, unappealing outwardly appearance though, the school of Feebas was incredibly tough and had managed to withstand years of changing tides, intense flooding and even drought – periods when Legendary Pokémon Kyogre and Groudon had ravaged the land until their anger had been quelled by a human with pure heart and soul – a human that could rightfully be called at one with his Pokémon partners. Despite the things they had heard, none of the Feebas ever desired to be captured by a human – no matter how ‘nice’ they may be. They were simple creatures, and all only desired the freedom to roam their lake in peace.
However, one lonely Feebas – an outcast that the other Feebas had long since given up on – had other ideas. A dreamer at heart, this Feebas knew that there was more to the world than the little patch of water that her friends and family occupied. She longed to shed her outwardly appearance and become the creature she felt inside – a creature symbolising power and elegance. She knew deep down inside that she never fitted in with the rest of the school, and she could tell by the way they looked at and spoke to her that they could see it too. In a world fraught with legends and mythology, this one particular Feebas sought comfort and solace from stories that she overheard passing fisherman speak of, and from the words that the wind whispered in the valley above her home. She had heard of the return of Kyogre and Groudon in the years prior to her birth, and was confident that this proof of their existence gave her assurance that there was truth in the rumours she spent her life trying to make sense of.
Watching her peers from a lonely corner of the lake, surrounded by weeds and shrubbery, she shed a tear or two and cast her eyes heavenward. Her voice, a mere whisper in contrast to the roar of the waterfall opposite her, said a prayer to Rayquaza. At first, she had been told by her peers that it was a human that soothed Kyogre and Groudon’s anger, but she knew better. She knew that it was Rayquaza, Master of the Weather. She firmly believed, from the bottom of her heart, that Rayquaza would provide the answer to all of her problems.
“Raquaza, Master of the Weather, calmer of Kyogre and Groudon. I come before you now, as a humble Feebas, to ask for your strength and guidance. Others may be ignorant, but I know that you are the source of all power and balance within nature. I do not belong in this body. I feel it in the very depths of my bones that I am destined for something more, something great. Please Rayquaza, I ask you-”
“Please, come quick” cut in another Feebas, tugging at her fin and indicating towards the large gathering of the school that had congregated in the centre of the lake.
As she arrived, she knew that something was wrong. The Elder Feebas all had a look of deep worry upon their faces.
“The sky is darkening” croaked one, so old that his voice was barely discernable.
“The end is nigh” said another, a shiver running down his spine.
“We must leave, immediately. We can swim down the river, then follow the currents into the ocean. We are strong. We are united. We are Feebas” announced another, after which a huge roar of approval erupted from the school.
“I’m not going” said the girl, unable to speak properly due to the gravity of the situation.
“I’m not going”, she announced firmly. “I’m staying here. I’ve never fitted in with the school, and if the world is about to end, I want to be here as a witness to it.”
The school murmured and muttered, and the Elders huddled together, clearly discussing the situation before them.
“Alright” croaked the Elder, “do as you please. Follow me, Feebas!”
Without another word, or so much as a goodbye, the school swivelled in the water and swam swiftly downstream, letting the underlying current guide them. The lonely Feebas that was left behind was stunned, unable to speak, unable to breathe, unable to even shed a tear. She couldn’t believe that despite being family, the school had no trouble leaving her behind.
‘Oh well’ she thought, ‘I shall take whatever is thrown at me’
As predicted, the sky darkened within a matter of moments. A huge, sprawling mass of darkness melted in from the distance and slowly began to consume the sun, casting a huge shadow upon the lake. The Feebas floated there, sombre and alone, ready to receive whatever judgment was to be cast down upon her. There was a sudden gust of wind and the lake beneath her was whipped up into a vicious choppy sea. Feebas fought to stay surfaced, so that she could see what was going on. A wave, unusually larger and stronger than the rest, caught her off guard and overturned her. Struggling against the strength of the tide, she fought her way to the surface, just in time to see the darkness melt back into the horizon as easily as it had arrived.
She sighed with relief. She was safe.
However, her relief was short-lived. As she squinted, she could see that there was still a dark object in the sky. It was difficult to make out against the dull greyness of the night sky. ‘[i]What on Hoenn could that be?[i]’ she wondered. As she began to ponder its mystery, she realised that it was getting bigger and bigger. Whatever it was, it was coming straight to the lake – straight for her. Her reactions, a little slow due to the shock, proved to be just enough as she managed to skirt slightly off to the left before the shape crashed into the water beside her with an almighty smash. Curiosity getting the better of her, she swam over to the shape to investigate it. The closer she got, the more the shape came into focus and as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she could see that it was a Pokémon – although it was one that she had never seen before. She watched it thrash and after glimpsing the whites of its pupils, she saw that it was still alive and swam under its arm to tug it out of the water and try to save its life. It wasn’t easy, due to the size difference, but she persevered and laid the Pokémon down on the riverbank, then proceeded to collapse with exhaustion.
As sunlight broke through the clouds, Feebas came back around. She felt strong again, well rested, and the night’s events were merely nothing but a bygone nightmare. Eyelids opened, slowly at first, and a shocking sight greeted her. It wasn’t a nightmare. It was real, very real indeed, although she was unsure of whether the Pokémon was alive or had died upon impact and took the time to examine it a bit closer.
It was an odd-looking Pokémon, with a hat like the many humans she had seen around the lake that liked to paint pictures of her. Its coat looked as if it once shone magnificently, although now the colour had faded to dull beige – probably due to shock and exhaustion. Most interestingly of all though, its tail wasn’t like Feebas’, it was long, sleek and slender with a strange green mass on the end. As she reached out to touch it, consumed by curiosity, the Pokémon’s eyes shot open and Feebas staggered back, flopping back into the lake.