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Old 05-31-2019, 06:40 PM
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Here it is, my entry to the Origins Kanto contest on the Serebii forums. I had to do some edits to try and fix the more glaring flaws the judges pointed out, but I liked how it turned out regardless.

The following fic is written like a children's fable, influenced heavily by too much Okami and Undertale on the author's part.


Presenting,


Palette


---------


KANTO, LONG LONG AGO


-----------------


Sunlight filtered through the trees on a warm summer evening. Pidgey chirped, Caterpie crawled, it all seemed normal.


In reality, the various forest Pokemon were trying to avoid setting off the gods in their midst.


In a clearing in the forest, three majestic birds- one red, one blue, one yellow - perched across from a pink sprite, between them a plate of food.


"Thanks for taking us out to a picnic!" said the yellow bird, Zapdos, to the pink sprite, a Mew.


"The food is quite lovely," said the blue bird, Articuno. "And you probably needed time off from your duties as Kanto's chief guardian."


"This event is peaceful, yet full of passion!" said the red bird, Moltres.


The Mew chuckled. "Glad you're all enjoying this!"


Shortly after, however, she worriedly glanced over at a pot set aside from the food, one stewing with some strange energy.


"What is that?" asked Moltres.


"Er, hehe," said Mew, "that's Giratina's special sake brew! I was going to deliver it to my father Xerneas after this!"


"Sake? Neat!" said Zapdos.


"Hell yeah! I could use a drink!" said Moltres.


"Don't mind if I do," said Articuno.


"Wait, wait, don't-" said the Mew.


Too late. The legendary birds had tipped over the pot.


Instantly a black sludge spilled out and started spreading rapidly and seeping into everything. The legendary birds and the Mew flew upwards in a panic and watched in horror as the blight spread as far as the eye can see, draining color from everything it touched.


"Well," said Mew. "What I was about to say is that when not properly refined by my father Giratina's special brew has some... reality-warping effects. And you three spilled enough to curse and drain the color from the entire Kanto region!"


Zapdos cowered as much as he could in midair. Moltres looked around nervously while Articuno merely sighed.


"We're sorry!" said Zapdos. "We didn't mean to unleash a curse!"


"This can be fixed, right?" said Moltres, looking around at the color-drained landscape.


"No point in panicking," said Articuno. "Let's hear what Mew has to say."


"I know what to say all right. As punishment, you three are going to fix this."


"Er, roger that," said Zapdos.


"'We'll get it done in no time!" said Moltres.


Articuno sighed. "This is going to be a headache..."


-------------


The color-drained landscape stretched on and on. The three birds were increasingly intimidated by the sight of it, and as time went on Zapdos started to lose hope.


"Geez... We really messed up, huh... I dunno if it can be fixed."


"It'll be fine," said Moltres, "We just gotta do what Mew said and find something to restore color with."


"Question is where..." said Moltres.


It was then the bird trio heard a loud whimpering.


"Er, is that you, Moltres?" said Zapdos.


"Why would it be me?!" said Moltres.


"Look, over there," said Articuno, pointing to the ground with a foot.


There where Articuno pointed was a small, quivering, colorful lump.


...Wait, colorful?


"Hey!" said Zapdos, "we can use this to restore the colors!"


He swooped down to claim the lump only to be met with a scream.


The lump, in actuality, was a child, swaddled in a colorful blanket.


Moltres tsked tsked. "Calm down, Zapdos! It's just a kid!"


Articuno eyed the child curiously. "Maybe we need a gentler approach..."


Things were still for a moment. Then three Pidgey - one red, one blue, and one yellow - fluttered down to the child hesitantly. The child giggled and attempted to pet the Pidgey as they darted out of the way.


The yellow Pidgey, Zapdos, looked the kid over. "We need that blanket to bring the colors back... but we can't just take it away from this kid."


"Maybe we lead the child where we need them

to go?" said Articuno.


"Good idea!" said Moltres.


The multicolored Pidgey gripped the child and effortlessly started carrying them away. The child giggled the whole while.


--------------


The group eventually emerged in a small spot in the trees were a village had taken root; the village consisted of a few small houses surrounding a larger, central one. The color had been drained from all of them, and the people and Pokemon were so drained they looked like uncanny phantoms.


"Now what?" said Zapdos.


"We should start by restoring color to here, right?" said Moltres.


"Question is how," said Articuno. "We have the blanket but little else."


Articuno inspected the child. They noticed they were playing at a thread in the blanket butthat seemed to be it.


But then they looked closer and noticed it wasn't a thread.


"Is... is that a wisp of color?"


Indeed, as the viridian wisp drifted down it started restoring color to the grass.


"It's so little though... do you think there's enough?" said Zapdos.


"Only one way to find out," said Moltres.


She grabbed the wisp of color in her Pidgey beak and started spreading it around, soaring over the village. The color dripped down as if paint, filling in the village and surrounding trees. The child laughed and clapped at the spectacle.


Soon the whole village had been restored to normal, at the cost of the viridian square of the blanket now being a dull gray.


"Ha! Easy!" said Zapdos. "We'll take care of this color thing in no time!"


"We'll cover all of Kanto in brilliant colors!" said Moltres.


"On to the next village then..." said Articuno.


The group headed off.


Something in the uncolored areas shifted and twisted.


---------


Zapdos was sitting by himself, in Pidgey form, snoozing. Then, however, he felt a poke, and heard a giggle.


He opened one eye to see the child peering at him curiously.


"Look, kid, you need to be fed again?"


The child giggled again.


"Ornery aren't you. Kinda like me when I was your age."


He stopped and stared.


"Lugia that was a long time ago..."


The child gave him an odd look, then scooped him up in a hug. The Pidgey-Zapdos squaked but then leaned in.


"Heh... This is actually kinda nice..."


-----------


The next city the group came upon was a port, one that would be normally bustling and thriving but instead was still and listless from the curse.


"Okay," said Zapdos, "we just need another color from the blanket again and..."


He tried tugging at a cinnabar patch with his Pidgey beak, but only got thread. "Hey! What gives?"


Articuno sighed. "Perhaps we need the right color for the job..."


The child clutched the blanket tightly.


"Problem is the kid's blanket has a lot of colors," said Moltres, shaking her Pidgey head. "How do we know which is the right one for the job?"


"I suppose we look around," said Articuno.


And so they did, passing wisps of humans and Pokemon until they reached an awe-inspiring sight: A statue of a samurai and his Arcanine.


Zapdos paused to read the inscription at the base of the statue. "Dedicated to Hideki the... the... and his Arcanine companion Kamiya... Something's missing!"


"Let me guess," said Moltres, sighing. "It's the solution to

this puzzle."


Articuno noticed the child had wandered off to play with a Pokemon that was noticeably less wisp-like than the rest; specifically a Growlithe. Articuno hopped over to the Growlithe.


"Excuse me, ma'am, we're on a mission; can you tell us more about Samurai Hideki?"


The Growlithe tilted her head before barking affirmatively. "Aye! Hideki and Kamiya are very famous around here! They're heroes!"


"Did Hideki have a title of some sort? Perhaps a color?"


"Oh yeah! The title just got knocked off the statue during the weird color blight! For some reason no one can remember it! I think it started with a V? Pet me!"


The child obliged, while Articuno put a wing to their chin in thought.


"So a color that starts with V... Viridian? No, we already kinda had that... violet? No, that can't be it..."


They noticed a bright red similar but distinct from the cinnabar on the child's blanket. "Wait a minute."


They tugged gently on it. A color wisp, not thread, came out. They brought the wisp over to the blanked engraving on the statue.


In an instant "Hideki the Vermillion" was restored, and from their color spread out to affect the entire port city in cascading waves.


"You did it, Articuno!" said Zapdos.


"I sure did," said Articuno, giving a bird smirk.


"Pet me!" said the Growlithe.


"Come on, guys!" said Moltres. "The rest will be a cinch at this rate!"


The group headed out of the port.


The non-colored shadows continue to shift.


---------


Now it was the child's turn to sit by themself.


Zapdos fluttered to their side.


"Hey kid."


No response. They were just kind of slumped.


"What's wrong?"


The child looked wistfully off.


"...Let me guess you miss your parents."


The child nodded.


"Well , don't worry. After this color mission is over we'll get you back to them. I promise."


The child hesitated, then hugged Zapdos again. Zapdos cooed.


----------


The next town the group came across was another port, and in a similar state to the last. This time, however, the group noticed what in particular was off really quickly:


"What's with the water?" said Zapdos.


Indeed, the water, which in addition to being drained of color like everything else, seemed to be made of roiling sludge now.


"Ick." said Moltres. "Is this some kind of pollution?"


"Seems like it," said Articuno. Maybe we should-"


Before they could finish their sentence something emerged from the water.


It looked like a Seadra, but its features were off, almost distorted. Its nose was stretched out, its fins were the wrong shape, and its scales had a grossly different pattern. Its entire body seemed to be made of strange, tiny, interwoven blocks. Its eyes stared at the group, cold, unfeeling.


Then the Seadra lunged at the child as they screamed.


Quickly, Zapdos intervened, shifting out of his Pidgey form just enough to zap the Seadra with a Thunderbolt. The Seadra immediately burst into black motes that quickly disintegrated and vanished. The child collapsed, sobbing.


"What the hell was that?" said Moltres.


"No ordinary Seadra, that's what," said Zapdos.


"This color curse also seems to be summoning monstrosities," said Articuno. "We must be careful on our mission."


Zapdos glanced worriedly at the crying child. "Are they gonna be OK?"


"I think they'll be fine. Kid's been pretty tough so far." said Moltres.


"They should still be good to help us with our journey;" said Articuno. "Speaking of..."


The child had stopped crying and was starting to stroke the blanket affectionately. A cerulean patch of the blanket had started glowing. Articuno took the glow and placed it on the ocean waves.


The glow overtook the ocean, replacing the sludge with crystal-clear cerulean water. The glow then spread outward and onward to the rest of the port town, coloring it anew.


"Well our work here is done," said Zapdos.


"What about the Seadra monster?" said Moltres.


"Creatures like those may very well be lurking in the uncolored parts," said Articuno. "We must be careful."


And so off they went.


----------


Once again, Zapdos approached the child when the others were resting. This time, however, he noticed the child trembling.


"What's wrong?"


The child kept shaking.


"Was... was it that Seadra monster?"


The child nodded.


"Ah, ah geez..." said Zapdos. Here.


He tucked his head under the child's arm and cooed. The child started petting him. Despite it all Zapdos thought to himself.


Me and the others need to talk.


---------


The group at this point was headed through a dark, de-colored forest, with the darkness of the woods and the lack of color and wisp-like mons bearing over them. The child looked around cautiously as the birds carried them, but they weren't the only one that was nervous.


Zapdos was worriedly looking between the child, the other birds, and back over and over before he finally spoke.


"...Hey guys?"


"Yes?" said Articuno.


"What is it?" said Moltres.


"It's about the kid. Don't you think we're being a little too hard on them?"


"What do you mean?" said Articuno.


"Well, we've been... Been acting like they're a means to an end," said Zapdos. "Not a person."


"That's ridiculous!" said Moltres. "We wouldn't do that, now would we?"


"We've been lugging them all over Kanto just stopping to rest, eat, drink and restore color and yet we barely acknowledge them otherwise," said Zapdos. "They're there for the blanket. And they almost got killed back there."


"Well, we need them," said Articuno, "and will protect them as needed."


"As needed?!" said Zapdos. "That's kinda cold considering we used to be humans once!"


There was silence. Moltres shuffled awkwardly. The child looked at them oddly. Articuno sighed.


"We will never demean or forget what Pandora Mew and Lugia have done for us." said Articuno. "But Kanto needs us. We will do what we can for the child but the whole is in greater danger."


"The whole? The whole is made of individual parts! Every human... Every Pokemon... They're all important! Like... colors in an artist's palette! That kid's part of that just like everyone else!"


"Can we just keep going?" said Moltres. "We won't accomplish anything debating how to treat the kid."


Indeed the child stopped observing them oddly and started walking ahead.


Zapdos ruffled his Pidgey feathers. "Fine..."


They left, carrying the child off. And were silent a good while.


-------------------



The next town they got to was a dim, bleary town even factoring in the lack of color. The group looked around warily, not sure what to think. A tower loomed in the distance.


"Well," said Zapdos, "Where do we start here? This place is spooky."


"The tower seems like an ideal spot." said Articuno.


"Yeah, seems like a safe bet for... shenanigans," said Moltres.


The three approached and entered the tower. It was quiet, and the group could tell from looking around that this was a holy place for honoring the dead.


So why did something feel... off?


The four advanced slowly. Then they heard a wailing.


"Ack!" said Zapdos. "Of course this place is spooky..."


"Something's off about it though..." said Articuno.


"It sounds like a cry for help!" said Moltres.


The group rushed over to find a cowering Haunter. The child giggled and played with the ghost's tail, causing her to wail more.


"Is something the matter?" said Articuno.


"Monsters!" said the Haunter. "Like us Ghosts but... scarier!"


"More of them here?" said Moltres.


"We ought to take care of them..." said Zapdos.


The Haunter suddenly screamed and dove into its own shadow. "They're coming!"


Indeed, several gray, distorted, block-woven Gengar approached. Like the Seadra, they converged on the child, who screamed and hid. Unlike the Seadra, they spoke. Muttering the word "home" in strange tinny voices over and over as they clutched and lunged at the child and their blanket.


Articuno and Moltres shifted to their true forms, attacking the bizarre Gengar with ice and fire blasts. Zapdos covered the child with his wings, the monsters trying to pry him off.


"I could use a little help here!" he said.


"We'd try but they keep coming!" said Moltres.


Indeed more and more Gengar kept coming from the shadows, their cacophonous cries of "home" getting louder and louder. Zapdos looked down at the cowering child and saw there was a glowing lavender patch to the blanket. Zapdos took hold of the patch with his beak and threw it at the ghosts.


Instantly, they faded away peacefully as the color spread, taking over the whole tower and then the whole town.


"You did it!" said the Haunter. "They're go-"


She stopped and stared at the three Legendary Birds before her.


"Oh great holy ones!" said the Haunter. "Thank you so much for saving us from those abomina-"


"Pipe down Rebecca!" said another, male Haunter. "They're probably insulted by you groveling!"


"Well I don't see you showing any respect, Wrathbert!"


As the two ghosts argued, the birds shrank down to their Pidgey forms, the child giggling and patting their heads.


"You should have had your priorities straight," said Zapdos.


"We know, we know," said Moltres, rolling her eyes.


"At the very least," said Articuno, "we know for sure the monsters want the source of the colors, which also somehow dispel them... And they want something to do with "home"."


"Well we're probably not going to find out here." said Moltres. "Let's keep going."


And they left the tower.


---------------------


This time, Zapdos had dragged the other two birds before the child.


"Talk."


The child waved.


"They don't talk is the thing!" said Moltres, fluffing her feathers indignantly. "They've been silent ever since we met them!"


"Calm yourself Moltres," said Articuno. "I think we can work with this."


They approached the child, her blue Pidgey form hopping over.


"Hello. Do you need something?"


The child reached over and pet Articuno.


"Ack! That... Oh, that actually feels good."


The child started scratching under their chin.

"Yes, right there..."


"Hey!" said Moltres. "I... I want some!"


She scooched over to push Articuno aside, getting pets and scratches herself.


"Heh... Guess you were right about the kid being a nice one," said Articuno.


Zapdos just gave a big beaky bird grin.


--------------


The group eventually reached another town, by the southern coast. It was plain, gray, quiet.


Once again something felt off.


The birds looked around while the child's face seemed to light up in recognition as they searched for something.


The the group heard wingbeats. They looked up to find three monsters in the shape of three beings in particular:


Articuno. Zapdos. Moltres.


The child, the birds, the wisps in the village. All were paralyzed with fear.


Then the monster birds lunged for the child and the blanket.


Immediately the true birds shifted to their true forms to ward them off. Each darted to meet their doppelganger - Articuno moved to freeze the monster Articuno's wings with Ice Beam, Moltres attempted to counter the monster Moltres' flames with Flamethrower, and Zapdos tried to fry the monster Zapdos with Thunderbolt. But the monsters barely budged, screaming "home, take us home!" in their tinny voices.


"What the hell do you mean by that?!" said Moltres.


She looked around and saw the child fleeing, dragging the blanket.


"Wait... The color banishes these things... but does it also send them... Home?"


In her distraction, however, the other Moltres broke free of her assault and rushed the child, charging up an attack. Moltres panicked and rushed over to grab the child, just as the other Moltres fired a strange-looking Fire Blast.


The child was saved. The blanket was not.


"No!" said Moltres.


Upon seeing the blanket destroyed the monster birds screeched in rage and agony.


"Home, you took home from us, you will die die di-"


Suddenly they were attacked by a powerful psychic blast, sending them flying back.


The birds turned to see the Mew floating in the air above them.


"I'll hold them off! Get the kid to their house in this village!"


"Which house?" said Zapdos.


"...Moltres! Let them lead the way!" said Articuno.


Moltres placed the child down and they ran toward one particular house in the village.


The door opened.


Two women opened the door, saw the child, and embraced them.


Everything was still.


The monster birds sighed as if freed from an incredible pain and faded away. A wave color spread out not just from the house but to all of Kanto, flowers and trees sprouting alongside it. The birds looked along in awe.


"So... What just happened there?" said Zapdos.


"I think I know," said Articuno. "The potential to bring color back was not in the blanket, but the potential of the child themself."


"Sounds about right," said the Mew.


"Heh... Guess you were right, huh Zapdos?" said Moltres.


"Aw yeah, I love being right!" said Zapdos.


He then looked over to the child and their parents.


"...Are they gonna be OK?"


"They're with the ones they love," said the Mew. "They'll be fine. Perhaps go on to do great things."


"If you say so..." said Articuno.


"They look happy at least," said Moltres.


"Anyway," said Mew. "You three want to have a normal picnic now?"


There were several cries from the birds of "heck yeah" "for sure" and "agreed" before the group flew off.


------------------


"...And that's why even hundreds of years later and even after the Kanto Civil War the towns and cities of Kanto have color names!"


"Really?" said the Pikachu. "I don't remember hearing that from my Trainer... Then again he was always the silent type."


"Heh, I know what you mean... Pass it on to your teammates at least?"


"Oh, I will," said the Pikachu, running off.


The Pidgey he was talking to gave a bird smile and stretched his wings.


Zapdos flew off.


***

As a note "Wrathbert" is a cameo of a character by my friend CorvusAtrox. And I hope whoever reads this enjoys it!
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