Two sets of eyes, one much smaller than the other, watched from a nearby tree branch."Now that wasn't very fair" whispered the girl to her pokémon. "Anyone could tell that poliwag is much to young for battle." The creature on her shoulder pushed its snout through her hair and began to search for food. A smile appeared on the girls face. Even though she only had her pokémon for a few hours now, she already found herself quite attached to the thing. Her happiness faded quickly, though, as she watched the boy advance to the water's edge and stare into the depths. How could anyone be so cruel? she thought. No, not cruel. Just... cold. She thought of his opponent. He hadn't seemed to enjoy causing pain. He just seemed to want - to need - to win. Even if he was the only one playing.
She suddenly felt a shock of pain, as if her earlobe had been stabbed with a pin, and nearly slapped the creature from her shoulder. Remembering herself, she softly chided the pokémon and took a bluk berry from her pouch. She carefully removed a single drupelet, which she held up to her shoulder. The animal sniffed it tentatively, and then snatched it from her, and set to the task of eating it. Thus satisfied that her ear was no longer in mortal peril, she looked back towards the boy.
He was on his knees now, sullenly staring into the water. A magikarp's head pierced the surface of the water, and it looked at him. It waited for a second, and then swam away, splashing some water at him as it did so. He never moved.
Red shivered, the water leeching heat from his body, though the weather was still well above freezing. The loss of the poliwag - of his poliwag - cut like a knife. It wasn't that he had liked the creature. Its existence made him despair of ever achieving anything, of even surviving as a Called. Nevertheless, now that it was gone he had nothing. No creature to help him protect Pallet. No pokémon to keep him alive as he ventured into the forests. No bumbling, happy Nyoromo to provide companionship.
He was so preoccupied by his thoughts that he didn't see the first bubble break the surface of the water and float off into the sky. Nor did he see the second. When three broke the water at once, though, he couldn't help but take notice. More and more bubbles rose, and a small section of the lake seemed to boil. Then, all at once, the bubbles stopped. A moment passed, and a blue sphere leapt from the water. Red watched incredulously as it dove through the water again. It reappeared a moment later, and in seconds it stood before Red.
"Poli!" it gurgled, a bubble still clinging to its face.
The girl was bemused. I'll need to remember this. She placed her pokémon in her satchel, and swung into the woods. Preoccupied with embracing his poliwag, the boy didn't hear a thing.