The Gift of a Master Ball

Some wounds never really heal.  Some scars rip themselves open at the most inopportune moments.  This is gonna take some explanation, though, so bear with me, please.

I’m currently working on developing an idea for continuing this whole “Pokémon Diaries” concept that I have going.  I like the writing style and I’d like to keep the whole daily writing thing going for as long as humanly possible because the longer I keep it going the easier it’ll be to keep going and maybe I can actually get something finished!

Yeah, yeah, dreaming real damn big there, but I gotta do something.

Anyway, I have this Original Character idea for the Pokéworld.  Her name is Erica Anne Redwood and she’s the daughter of Professor Kieth Redwood, the foremost expert on Fossil Pokémon.  I’ve got a rough outline of an idea but it’s being darn slow in development.

Basically, Professor Redwood sends his assistant, Heath, with three Pokédexes and three Pokéballs to find his estranged daughter and set her on a journey to fill the ‘dex by meeting as many Pokémon as possible.  I’m looking for ideas on where to have her start out at and what her Starter should be because I’ll have her start with the League Challenge in that region and then move on from there to the other ones.

So I was playing in Pokémon Black last night and my Trainer, Harmony, was given the Master Ball by Professor Juniper.  (She later USED said Master Ball to catch Tornadus because that’s a legitimate use of a Master Ball to my mind.  If he’d stay still then I wouldn’t resort to that because I prefer not to use Master Balls if at all possible.)  Harmony was the one who nearly got her backside handed to her by Clay and Bianca because I was suffering from the effects of Confusion.

Anyway, seeing Harmony receive the Master Ball, a fairly important event where Trainers and Pokémon are concerned, set off something in the back of my head and the next thing I knew I was writing and trying to keep tears from messing up the paper too badly…

Oh, and did I mention that Professor Redwood’s based very strongly on my own father?  Yeah.  ‘Cause that’s a thing.  It’s actually the original concept for Erica’s journey, to be honest, born from my own struggle to deal with the legacy of a father who was so absent and yet so foundational to my life… only to have him suddenly disappear.

So yeah, Erica is very much my attempt to deal with things that are ripping my insides apart at odd times.

The Gift of a Master Ball

Erica couldn’t believe her ears.  “He… what… I-I don’t…”

Heath’s expression was filled with painful sympathy.  “Professor Redwood, your father, died suddenly this morning.  I’m… I’m so sorry.”  He took her nerveless, unresponsive hands and put a box in them, a box that was tied with an absurdly inappropriate bow.  “He left this for you.”  Heath’s voice choked slightly.  “I think he intended it to be in celebration of your Eighth Gym Badge.”

She knew, some portion of her mind just knew what was in that box, but she didn’t want it to be.  She tried to deny it even as she tugged the bow loose and opened the lid to see the colorful sphere with the “M” painted on it sitting on a plush velvet cushion.  She shook her head, still wishing that this wasn’t happening.

Heath sighed and nodded as he saw the final legacy.  “The Master Ball… I knew that he’d been looking for one, can’t say that it surprises me that he would give it to you.  You’ve become a very strong Trainer.”

Erica looked at him in disbelief, emotions roiling in her mind.  “Strong?  What in the hell is that supposed to mean?  Strong trainer… powerful trainer… gifted trainer…” her voice changed as she obviously imitated the comments she’d heard on her journey.  “How in the world do I get the credit when my Pokémon are the ones who are doing all the damn work?”

Her hands clenched as the hysterical need to destroy the most coveted Pokéball in the world flooded her mind.  “I’m not even telling them anymore which moves to use.  They know what they can do and they don’t need me micro-managing something that comes naturally to them.”  She’d never been this irrationally angry before.  “They don’t even need me at all!  What in the Hell am I doing here anyway?”

Tears started streaming down her face and she couldn’t hold them back.  “This whole damn journey was his idea in the first place.  Why did he have to send me on this damned wild goose chase if he was going to just… just leave like this?”

Heath shook his head.  “This… being given a Pokédex and tasked with filling it… it’s an honor.”

“But did he ever consider that I might not want it?  That it might be just nothing more than… than a bloody, annoying burden?”

“You don’t understand…”

“Damned right, I don’t understand!  He didn’t know me.  He never even tried to know me.  If he was feeling so Arceus-damned paternal, why’d he never try talking to me himself?”

Heath took her by her shoulders, pulling her close in a hug.  He grieved, too, for the Professor who, in a very real way, was more a father to him than to his own daughter.  “Because, Erica, the point of a Pokédex journey isn’t the Professor; it isn’t the League Challenge, or even the Pokédex itself.  The point of it all, my sister-in-tasks, is you, the Pokédex-bearer.  He knew… he knew that he was dying and he knew that he’d never have the years he’d squandered along the way.  Not even Celebi herself could give them back to him.  He was never going to have the chance to know you.”  He cradled her in his arms for a time.  “In giving you a Pokédex, he gave you the chance to get to know yourself in his place.”

She utterly collapsed, then, crying out the loss and pain and resentment of a lifetime that had been stolen by pride.

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