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It was 1/4/2012 when my friend let me have his copy of Pokémon Black; my friend had a tendency of selling his consoles but keeping the games, by evidently still owning Super Street Fighter IV though he hasn’t had an Xbox 360 since a year ago. The same applied for Black.
He recently sold his DSI to GameStop to make some money for the long board he wanted. Of course, when I asked him if he was willing to give it to me for free, he hesitated but agreed as long as I would find a way to transfer out his Pokémon.
I had a friend who would help me trade out the Pokémon but he was in Oregon for the holidays so he had to leave all his stuff at home. Over the next few days, I had the game in my dresser drawer waiting for my friend to get back from his vacation. Until then I thought to myself, 'I guess I can start a new game just as long as I don’t save'.
My starter, of course, had to be Oshawott, and I nicknamed him Chip. In every Pokémon game I've played since Crystal, I've come up with two rules; Rule 1:The first 6 Pokémon I catch would stay with me until I beat the Elite Four. Rule 2: I also could not catch any more after I've caught these six until after the Elite Four. Because of these rules I usually refrained from catching any Pokémon until later. I didn't catch my second Pokémon until I reached Nacrene City it was a female Blitzle.
I finally made it to Pinwheel Forest and managed to beat Team Plasma with Blitzle alone, which was good because she needed some training. After the events with Team Plasma I decided to remain in the forest before venturing onto the next town because I have the habit of leveling up my team to the next nearest 10, mostly because I loved having the upper hand in the next gym battle. While there, I also thought to have a look around for any items that could be useful.
While walking around I encountered a patch of rustling grass; being my first time seeing one I didn’t know what to expect (and over all unfamiliar with this generation, and the only information I knew about it being related to N), but I decided to go for it. The patch of grass began to move away from me and I immediately thought “I have to chase after it? Well it certainly makes catching Pokémon interesting. I guess.” I followed it for a minute when I realized I don’t really think this is worth it, so I began walking back.
As I began my walk back to the path I noticed I wasn’t in a familiar part of the forest. It didn’t concern me much, since I was thinking I could probably find more items this way. That’s when my game screen began to shake and large roots came out from behind the trees, blocking my path back.
I had thought back to a Pokémon Ranger I had battled while in pursuit of the Plasma Grunt with the Dragonite skull, mentioning that the forest was alive and that every day something changes. So I had thought, 'This is what he was talking about' :it was a maze that would shift randomly. So I began walking in the other direction to see if I could find another way around. After walking in a straight line for a while I began to think that this probably wasn’t a good idea.
Just then an “!” icon appeared above my character's head and the screen panned left to a woman in a dark green ball gown, as though she had come from a fancy party. She was facing the opposite direction and as I approached her the “!” icon appeared above her head. She turns around to face my character. Immediately she said “Oh well if it ain’t nothing but a child, what are you doing this far out in the woods, sugar? Not trying to scare anyone I hope,” She waited for my character to respond. When he didn’t, she continued to talk. “Well not much of a talker are ya? Well you should come with me anyway, we'll see if we can’t do something about your predicament.”
She began to lead my character west and into a town called Pinwheel Village. I hadn’t noticed it on the town map the last time I checked, and the music was a blues influenced version of Route 1 from the original Pokémon game. She continued to lead my character through the town, which was rural styled; almost all the houses were made of wood and old fashioned, the only exception being the stone cottages at the entrance. As we walked she began to speak. “Pinwheel Village is an old town and was built on a swamp. My family has owned these fertile lands for generations. We also don’t get many visitors round here, so I apologize if I seemed startled by ya’ll earlier.”
We finally stopped in front of a building that had a small sign on the front which I could not read because it was written in that universal gibberish for international cartoons. My first assumption was that this was some type of herbal shop. The woman then said, “This here is our town's Pokémon Center. Feel free to heal up your Pokémon, then when you’re done, come by my mansion and take on my gym challenge. I’ll be waiting for ya’ll so don’t keep me waiting.” She then walked north off the screen. Immediately I pulled out my town map and checked where I was, and sure enough I was in Pinwheel Village just west of Pinwheel Forest (before reaching the coast).
I then made my way into the Pokémon Center, but everything in there was totally different compared to the last Pokémon Center I was in. First off there was no upstairs for communicating with other players, no PC, and no Pokémart. It was cramped looking in there, but the nurse at the end of the hall along with what appeared to be a small pinkish Pokémon (I remind you, I know nothing of this generation so I still don’t know certain Pokémon names) were the only ones in there. I approached the desk and talked to the nurse. Instead of the regular greeting she simply said, “Welcome! Ya’ll look tired, why don’t ya have a quick lie down?” When my screen came to I exited and made my way to the gym. I noticed that all the houses were locked and the only person out was standing facing his Purloin. When I pressed A on him, he said: “They are busy playing. Maybe it's best we don’t disturb them.”
At first I saw nothing but fenced in wheat on both the left and right of my screen. The walkway was about three spaces wide and I had passed by an open gate earlier so I assumed I had entered the plantation. Upon approaching the gym the camera began to move behind my character as if I were walking right behind him, so I saw the mansion in total detail. The first thing I noticed was it was a HUGE mansion. Next I noticed the large amounts of vegetation growing on it which included vines, roots (similar to the ones that blocked my path earlier) and an extremely large tree bursting out of the roof of the complex. Multiple branches poked out of windows and balconies. I knew from that view that this was going to be a grass gym and since I had no fire types the best option was using Blitzle, seeing as Chip (who was a Dewott now) was a water type. I thought she stood a better chance.
Entering the gym, I was greeted by the music of any normal gym, but the man near the statues who was supposed to give me advice was not there. This was strange but I thought nothing of it since I didn’t really need any advice for this gym. As I looked around the rest of the room I noticed the building on the inside looked just as destroyed as on the outside. Roots were digging into the floor, vines were spreading on the wall, and shrubs grew from cracks in the walls. As I walked forward the floor was covered in the same roots as earlier and just as I was about to take my first step onto them, the screen began to shake and they opened up leaving a giant gaping hole in the floor and set of stairs. A trainer climbs up and says, “Well, it’s been awhile since we had a challenger. I promise to make it worth the trip.” When the battle sequence started the trainer’s sprite looked a lot like a mature version of the male character from Sinnoh when he wears his tuxedo; his trainer class was a Ball Room Dancer Stanley. The trainer had a Deerling and a Pansage which were both taken out by Blitzle’s stomp attack.
After the battle, the trainer says, “If you want to get to our gym Leader you’re going to have to battle all of us in the ball room. Every time you beat one of us a new root at the end of the room grows out, extending the bridge a little more.” Just as he had finished the sentence the screen panned north and began to shake, I saw a root come up patching up the bottom bit of the gap in the floor at the end of the room. Seeing as the opponents weren’t very tough I decided that in the next battle I would use Tito to gain some experience.
The next set of roots came up and just as last time the screen shook and the roots moved revealing another trainer. This time it was a young female dressed in a yellow ball gown. “May I have this dance?” Her name was Ball Room Dancer Jessica. Her sprite was a young brunette around the age of 10 or 11 in a big yellow dress. She had both a Deerling and a Snivy around level 16. As before, her Pokémon were fairly weak so it was an easy experience for Chip. By now Chip was level 20 and Blitzle was level 17. The battle ended and she ends with “Was I being polite?” The bridge then grows a bit more.
Now what I expected to be the final trainer was left, seeing as the bridge had one root remaining. I approached the next set of roots; as before the screen shook and the roots spread only this time revealing a pair of trainers, a male and a female. The man wore a dark green vest and the woman wore a black dress. The text box then appeared; Jack: “We are the best dancers in this room, so don’t expect us to let up easily!” Diane: “To get to Samantha you’ll have to do better than that!” The battle then started; their sprites were very dark, almost Hispanic. Both were dark haired and were making that classic tango pose with both hands together pointed to the character. Tango Couple Jack and Diane would like to battle, the text box said.
They had three Pokémon instead of the normal 2 that the other trainers had. The first 2 were Simisage and Maractus. I hadn’t ever seen a Maractus yet so I was a bit excited about it, but not as excited as I was going to be when I found out what was next. They were hit by my Chip’s Razor Shell and Blitzle’s Stomp; of course, the Simisage survived the Stomp without even a dent but Maractus had gone down in one hit. The next Pokémon to appear was a Pokémon called Hollowseed which I had never even heard of; its cry was the sound of rustling leaves and two wooden objects hitting one another. It looked like a walnut half way pried open enough to reveal two red eyes (similar to Kabuto) in the dark hollow space inside the shell. In its animation it rocked back and forth for a bit, stopped, then the eyes moved left and right inside the shell as though looking around. Then the animation repeated itself.
Assuming that it was just a Pokémon I would encounter later in the wild I attacked, this time I used Stomp on Holowseed and Razor Shell on Simisage. Simisage went down no problem, but the Holowseed didn’t take a hit. It had no effect so it must have been a Ghost Type. I thought to myself, “Ghost-Grass Pokémon? That’s a first. At least it’s something new, right?” The Pokémon then attacked with Bullet Seed. The next turn I KO’d it with Razor Shell before it could attack again. The match ended and the text box appeared; Jack: “It takes 2 to tango doesn’t it?” Diane; “Yet you still beat us by yourself.” The final root then shot out of the wall completing the bridge and allowing me to cross over to the Gym Leader.
She was standing at the base of the tall tree’s shadow with a beam of sunlight (almost like a spotlight), casting out from between the leaves on its colossal branches. I approached the Gym Leader and pressed A. “Ya know I just realized, I never properly introduced myself. I’m Samantha, the owner of this plantation, and what do they call you? … ‘Santi’, now that’s a mighty powerful name. Well now child, y'all kept me waiting long enough, it’s my turn to dance with y'all, so don’t hold anything back and give it all ya got!”
Samantha’s battle sprite had much more elegance then that of her overworld sprite. She was blonde and wore her hair in a bun with a white and purple flower on the side of her head and two streaks of hair running down both sides of her face. She had a beauty mark on her left cheek and had light green eyes. She wore long gloves going half way up her bicep, her dress sleeveless and starting from the top of her neck and slim fit until the waist; there, it spread out into a beautiful cascade of green and yellow dotted with light green flowers thickening into light green mist towards the bottom of the dress.
Her first Pokémon was a Hollowseed; mine was Chip. As my first attack I chose Razor Shell and took care of her Pokémon without hesitation. The next Pokémon was another Hollowseed, so I decided to use Blitzle this time because she lacked experience. For this attack I couldn’t use Stomp, so I decided to use Charge and then attack with Shock Wave. Hollowseed used Vine Whip, which took out a quarter of Blitzle’s health. The next time I attacked and KO’d it. Blitzle leveled up to 18, learning the move Flame Charge, which was perfect for the situation I was in.
The next Pokémon was called Swampress. Its cry was almost the same as Hollowseed's except the rustling was replaced with a more scraping sound and the wood taps were replaced with a small drum beat (like a heartbeat). When I first saw it the attributes that stood out to me were the same red eyes as Hollowseed, of course giving me the idea that this was its evolution. They were at the base of the tree in the shadow of the thick white roots which were spiraling upwards merging into a solid trunk of a tree. For its animation it would grow a few inches appearing to bounce but then spring back to its original height. I used Blitzle’s Flame Charge and got it almost down to zero health. Swampress then used Ingrain, but it didn’t help seeing as I took it out in the next attack.<
That was Samantha’s last Pokémon or so I thought. The battle ended and a text box appeared; “Well that was one heck of a battle, but don’t ya’ll think it’s over. I’m just getting started. It’s time I introduce you to my strongest Pokémon!” As she said that the music intensified and the whole gym began to shake. Roots began to detach from their places in the gym and back through the holes in the ground, shrubs sank into the wall. Then as the gym continued to shake a text box appeared “Seeing ya’ll this far out in the forest made me suspect something about ya’ll. But I didn’t expect that ya’ll would be the strongest challengers to step foot into this gym. I can’t let my families’ legacy die, so with great angst I must ask you for a rematch, and I won’t take no for an answer.”
The shaking began to intensify and the tree in the background suddenly had a little red orb moving about within its hollow frame appearing occasionally in the dark gaping holes in the bark. I immediately knew it was the final evolution of Hollowseed. It then began to rise out of the ground, revealing two more red eyes in the shadows of its roots. A battle then started, but the sound was much more intense as if fighting a legendary. Samantha rolled in saying “Alright now it’s time to show me what you really got!" She then faded into the background and the monstrous Pokémon rose from the ground. The only eye visible was the one moving about inside the dark brown bark; the two eyes I saw earlier were reburied into the ground. The sound it made was that of a tree after being cut falling, snapping branches and landing with a loud thud. The screen only fit in everything below the branches, maybe a reference to how tall it was.
My character then threw out two Pokéballs: both Blitzle and Chip came out. Of course I thought it was strange. I’m only going against one Pokémon so why would I need both at the same time? It was when the status bars finally slid into view that I realized why; The Pokémon’s name was Eternatree, but that wasn't all. Its level was 40 and compared to my teams level that was a little bit high… Make that really high, the strongest Pokémon I got is level 20. I don’t stand a chance. In its animation it would just sit quietly with its eye moving about uncoordinated as if it were looking around for something; then suddenly the tree would tilt back and all 3 eyes (including the now revealed ones hidden in the tangled mess of roots) would all focus on my screen as if looking at me. Then it would repeat.
Eternatree went first: it used the move Sunny Day, I immediately knew what it was trying to do. It was preparing for Solar Beam. Electra attacked with Flame Charge but that barely did anything, Tito used Razor Shell which didn’t do much either but at least lowered its defense. I had better luck this time around, though: it tried to use Shadow Ball but it missed. I then attacked with Flame Charge and Razor Shell again, reducing its health to a little bit less than half. Next round my luck ran out, because it used Shadow Ball on Blitzle and KO’d her. I was down to just Chip and I knew I was screwed. But, luckily, Razor Shell's effects had now taken their toll and lowered its defense enough so it was a somewhere in the third quarter of its health. Next round Eternatree was now using Ingrain and I thought I was done for in the next turn. But, just as I thought it was all over, Chip landed a critical hit on Eternatree and I won the match.
In the text box after the match the text read; “…” The next scene after the battle, instead of fading into the over world was a close up of Samantha. She was looking down with shadows covering her eyes, but tears running down her face. The Eternatree was in the background but back to its dormant state like before the battle; it appeared as if straight out of the anime, only much more detailed. Samantha looked up, with tears still running down her face. She was smiling. As soon as the text box appeared the song “Sad Song”, from the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, played...but it sounded different, like it was softer and sadder, and slightly more orchestrated.
She then said “So I get it now...not everyone can be the strongest. I think I’ve known that for some time now… but I was too ashamed to admit it… (She then closed her eyes and her grin grew larger looking cheery) Santi, thank you; if it wasn’t for you and your Pokémon I wouldn’t have realized that. I owe you an apology, I had a bit of an outburst. I hope you will forgive me?"
(A 'yes' and 'no' option appeared, and I chose 'yes'.) "Oh you don’t’ know how much that means to me. I wish I could give you a badge for all your hard work but I honestly don’t have one. So instead I’ll leave you with something to remember me by. You’ll find it upstairs in my room…” (Her expression then changed to her looking away over her left shoulder. Her smile turned into a slight smirk) “So I guess this is goodbye, then. I wish I could say we will meet again…” (She then looked back down like from the beginning) “Santi… when you think all is over, never lose sight of the ones you love.” And with that she slowly faded into white and began to drift away, as if she were made of white petals and a gentle breeze was blowing her away. The now visible and still dormant Eternatree began to sink into the ground: it unraveled into millions of vines in a stop motion style, and it slowly slipped into the ground allowing sunlight into the now empty mansion.
“Wow,” I thought, shocked and speechless. “Gamefreak really went all out on this game, that was just awesome.” I was now looking at the gym, which seemed decayed as if it had been years since anybody had been there. It had shifted into a darkish brown as if the building had the life drained out of it.
The music began to fade, like it would stop, but instead it continued faintly. I made my way towards the doorway on the other side of the gaping hole left behind by Eternatree. I found myself in a dark room, as if it had been inside of a cave. The only forms of light were once again the beams of sunlight squeezing through the holes in the roof. I then noticed a bed and thought, “I could heal up my Pokémon while I’m here”. I walked over and pressed A expecting to take a nap. Instead a text box appeared: “There is a notebook on the bed. Would you like to read it?” I chose 'yes'. The music increased in volume and another text box appeared.
“November 6, 1861: it has been 8 months since I’ve seen my father. He had enlisted in the army to fight in the civil war. I’ve seen those beasts go at each other for months now, the black and white dragons shrouded in cloud. I told my mother about it, but when she looked up they were gone… As I was getting ready for bed I could hear them, crying out that they no longer wanted to fight…”
“June 11, 1862: We haven’t received a letter from my father in weeks. Mother waits for him every day, outside on the bench under the tree where they would spend their time together. As for my brother, he hasn’t spoken to anyone since my father left. I haven’t seen the black and white dragons since May, but I could still hear them at night. When I asked my mother she said that it was nothing, just the wind… Until my father can return home, when the war and the bloodshed stops, and until those beasts stop fighting… I won’t give up, as long as I carry his burning spirit…”
''December 20, 1862: We’ve just received the news. My mother has locked herself in her room since the letters arrival, and as for my brother… Nobody has heard from him since the night he disappeared… When the black dragon flew over our village, nobody saw it but me, and trying to prove it is pointless… As for me, I’ll carry the legacy on my shoulders, until my brother finds his way home…”
“July 20, 1864: My father’s birthday is in exactly a month, and we're having a ball in his honor. Everyone will be there, even Jack and Diane, my family’s closest friends. Seeing them dance is always the best and with all this maybe I’ll finally get to see my mother smile again…”
"August 1, 1864: I saw a Pokémon today but something about this one was odd, as if it didn’t belong here. It looked like it had come from a distant land. It had short white fur, it was on four legs, with the body of a hound, black tail and a black horn that looked like a scythe on the right side of its head. It then directed its gaze in my direction. It had a dark humanoid face, and two red shimmering eyes. I felt a warm sensation on my cheeks as if near a campfire or in front of an oven. The Pokémon then directed itself towards the forest and ran off. It looked into my eyes, almost as if it was trying to tell me something..."
"August 15, 1864: Five days until the ball, this morning I awoke to the sound of a Pokemon in the yard. When I went outside, I saw a quick figure dash around the side of my house and as I turned around the corner, it was gone. However, as I returned to the door, at the foot of the first step, I found an egg. I didn't see a nest or another Pokémon around so I decided to take it inside, at least until its mother returns. I'll make it a temporary nest until then."
“August 20, 1864: The ball is tonight at 8 o’clock, so it’s in about in an hour. This morning while out in the fields I saw three Pokémon again, only their appearance in comparison to the last was completely different. They all moved on four legs. One was thick, brown and strong looking; another was swift, green and made no sound as it galloped about; and the third was blue and stood upright with such presence, a dominate figure amongst the group. It looked at me, and I was overcome with a presence so familiar, I felt a sudden tear run down my face. It then turned and disappeared amongst the trees with the others. They were headed east towards the forest. I thought I saw smoke in the distance but everyone told me not to worry. Well, I must finish getting ready for the ball. We're supposed to be expecting a very important guest…"
The book ended there.
I then wandered about the room looking for anything else of significance. I ended up finding a notch behind the bookcase; my character, after pressing A, reached behind the bookcase and found an egg. He placed it in my party. After this I made my way out of the mansion. Everything was burned and didn’t look like as it did before. I never saw anyone on the way out. The music stopped and never returned: it was just silence the whole time except for the sound of my character bumping into things. The field was nothing but dry soil, the wooden houses were piles of charcoal, and the stone houses were nothing but moss-covered rocks. On my way back to the path, nothing made a sound. It was all quiet until I made it back to the familiar path leading to Castelia city. Then the music began to play again.
Now I wish I could say I still have the egg and that it hatched into something marvelous. I wish I could say that... Sadly, since I had no idea what I had come upon until the next day, it was too late. The day before I had turned off the DS because I had grown bored of it at the time, and I assumed I would just replay it again after my friend swaps out the Pokémon.
I was having a conversation with my friend (not the one who gave me the game) about it. I asked him,
“So do you have any idea what’s inside the egg that one chick gives you?”
My friend says, “What egg?”
“The one you get from Pinwheel Village after you defeat that Grass gym.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The Grass gym, after you beat that chick who has all those Ghost-Grass Pokémon.”
“There aren’t any Ghost-Grass Pokémon.”
“What about Eternatree and Hollowseed?”
“What the hell are those?”
“The Grass-Ghost Pokémon!”
“Those don’t even sound like Pokémon, man!”
I ended up explaining the whole story to him but he didn’t believe me, said I was full of crap. This whole time I was playing this game I thought Game Freak had just hit another jackpot on another memorable story. As soon as I got home I got on the game and checked the map, sure enough the landmark for Pinwheel Village was nowhere on the map. Even the path I took to get there is gone. Ever since then I’ve been trying to repeat the whole thing again without success... I feel like such an idiot! Whatever Samantha had inside that egg was the legacy she left behind… I’m sorry, Samantha….