‘Twas a bright, gorgeous day in the land of Equestria, home of the ponies. A happy country full of pegasi that flew high above in the clouds, unicorns trotting about in the cities below as they performed their various spells to make their lives easier and exciting, and the earth ponies in the farms and businesses that kept Equestria running behind the scenes. Of course ponies were not the only kind to inhabit this lush green landscape. Half eagle, half-lion griffons, bulky and imposing minotaurs, stubborn-to-the bone donkeys, dangerous and greedy dragons, friendly cattle, mysterious zebras, and even a sea serpent or two also called this place their home.
Yet even they did not entail the fullest of Equestria’s population. More abundant than anywhere else on the planet, creatures known as Pokémon roamed everywhere. In the air, flying types soared right along side the pegasi, many surpassing their abilities as well. Grass and bug types inhabited most forests and prairies, living out lives just as peaceful as any other creature alongside the normal types. Fire types were few and far between, usually found amongst the dragons that frequented volcanic hot spots. Poisons and ghosts were just as rarely found, exclusive to areas like the Everfree forest where they ruled without opposition from others.
Water types roamed and played in the many rivers and lakes of Equestria, being even more plentiful in the bordering oceans. Electric types were another rare sight, often hiding in caves and deep forests from the outside world, despite their usual friendliness. The mountainous regions were home to the rock and ground types, as well as the fighting who use the rough terrains as training grounds to keep in top shape. Psychics were a common sight in cities and towns, often as assistants to political figures and business owners. Steel types, another rare, could only be found near rich mineral mines, being very territorial and dangerous when provoked. The most obvious home of pokemon were the Frozen North and Crystal Empire, the only place in Equestria where one could come across ice types. They were bountiful in this region, being used to the presence of ponykind and the like.
But the oddest of them all were the dark and fairy types. Dark types were often looked upon legend and myth as terrible beasts, but no evidence could ever be substantiated against them. One would think they would call the Everfree forest home alongside the poison and ghost types, but actually they were more often seen alongside the grass types in the plains and prairies. They were just as peaceful and friendly, just much more cautious and defensive. The fairies were odd in the sense that they were a more recent discovery. Many different Pokémon were suddenly displaying these new traits as the new discovery grew and grew. The pure fairies were discovered upon the return of the Crystal Empire, allowing them to flow back into Equestria proper and be researched by professors and enthusiasts alike. This only proved there was so much more to learn about these wonderful creatures.
In the capital city of Equestria: Canterlot, home of the sister princesses who controlled the day and nights, however, is where our story truly begins. Where this beautiful day goes down in history as one of the strangest.
“I want to start our field trip here, in the world-famous Canterlot sculpture garden,” said a cheery, cerise pony as she walked into said garden. Several young foals followed after her, two colts and five fillies, all looking at the many statues that littered the grounds. Their teacher, Miss Cheerilee, pleasantly describe each statue as they passed. “That one over there represents ‘Friendship’.” She gestured to a statute of three young foals at play, three of her own young students bumping into each other in front of it. “All right, my little ponies, this one represents ‘Victory’.” This was a statue of pony standing tall while holding a flag that waved in the wind.
“How cool would it be to have that for a cutie mark?” an energetic, orange-furred and wild purple maned pegasus filly said in her tomboyish voice.
The yellow coated filly with deep red hair got a devilish smirk on her muzzle. “Cool, if you were actually victoryful at somethin’,” she said in a thick southern accent. Apple Bloom received a glare back from her pegasus friend.
“That’s not a word!” squeaked a pretty unicorn filly next to them. Her grey-white coat and purple-pink swirled mane certainly screamed the idea of cute.
“What are you, a dictionary?” the pegasus filly, Scootaloo, questioned with a look of confusion at Sweetie Belle.
“Girls!” Cheerilee interrupted their little feud before pointing at yet another statue. This one was the strangest of them all. “Now this is a really interesting statue. What can you tell me about it?”
“It’s got a pidgeotto claw!” Apple Bloom replied.
“And a pyroar paw!” Scootaloo said, getting in front of Bloom.
“And an ekans tail!” Sweetie cheered, jumping in front of them both.
“This creature is called a draconequus. He has the head of a pony and a body made up of all sorts of things. What do you suppose he represents?”
Cheerilee would come to regret asking those three that question. Each of them had a differing opinion on what the creature was. From confusion, to evil, to just simple chaos. The three instantly began fighting, attacking and jumping on each other to prove who was right.
Finally, the teacher had had enough. “Actually, in a way, you’re all right. This statue represents "Discord", which means a lack of harmony between ponies. In fact, you three have demonstrated discord so well that you're each going to write me an essay explaining it.” The three foals hung their heads in shame as the other children laughed at their punishment, but Cheerilee didn’t let it last as they moved further into the statue garden.
Roughly an hour later, Cheerilee was finally finishing up her tour of the gardens, knowing that the very last statue would surely get her class excited. “Now class,” she said, stopping in front of the said figure. “This is the last of statues before we move into Canterlot Castle for lunch with the princess.” Several foals cheered at that, but she quickly calmed them down. “Can anypony tell me what this is a statue of?”
The foals looked up at the polished statue. It was clearly well taken care of, meaning it had to be of some importance. It stood tall on two legs that appeared to be covered in some sort of fabric. Sweetie Belle inwardly guessed it was meant to be denim jeans. The statue also had shoes carved instead of feet, meaning special care was put into its making. It’s torso appeared to wearing vest shirt over another t-shirt based on the carved outlines. One arm was posed to its side, fingerless-gloved hand on its hip. The other, similarly covered extended up to hat on its spiky haired head, pulling the bill over its face, covering it in shadow.
“A mankey?” Scootaloo asked.
“No way. Ain’t no tail. Gotta be a primape of sorts,” Apple Bloom guessed.
“Is it a monster‽” Sweetie asked, shaking a little at the thought.
“On the contrary, Sweetie, this is a statue to one of history’s greatest Pokémon trainers.” She smiled in victory as her class’ collective jaws dropped.
“Hold on,” the pink dem...er… filly named Diamond Tiara said as she trotted up. “You can’t honestly expect us to believe that...thing was a Pokémon trainer?”
“Yeah, like as if!” added in Diamond’s grey coated lackey, Silver Spoon.
“Oh, but he was more than a simple trainer, colts and fillies,” Cheerilee said, changing her tone to be one of awe-inducement. “This statue is to the legendary master, Red.”
“RED‽” everypony shouted.
“But Ah thought Red was a pony‽” Apple Bloom questioned in disbelief.
“Oh no, my little ponies. Red was a creature never before seen on Equestria. Back then, over a thousand years ago or so, he taught our ancestors the secret skills to becoming friends with the Pokémon of our home and even created what became the Pokémon league. Some of our ancients even thought he was a form of Pokémon as well. Fun fact: he thought the same of us initially, according to some records.”
“Well, if wasn’t a pony, then what was he?” Scootaloo asked curiously.
“Good question, Scootaloo. Red was described as a human, possibly a being from beyond the stars.” The class ‘oohed’ at that.
“What happened to him?” asked Sweetie.
“That’s where things get blurry. You see, Red had a special somepony back then that mysteriously disappeared. Legends say that he stayed in one spot, looking out into the distant horizon, praying for his love to return. They say he stood there for days on end, never moving, until one day… he had turned completely to stone.”
“That’s possible‽” Sweetie nearly cried.
Cheerilee giggled. “Of course not, Sweetie. It’s only a legend. Now come along, we have a lunch date to keep.” The foals cheered and talked as they trotted out of the gardens, leaving the statues to their peace.
Or not as a certain former statue slithered over to the legendary Pokémon trainer. The chaotic creature floated up behind the stone human with a dark chuckle.
“So,” Discord said with a menacing tone, “this is what became of the great Ash Ketchum. Another pidgey pedestal in Celestia’s keep.” He chortled a little.
He disappeared and reappeared in front of ‘Ash’ in a bright white flash. “I would think you’d deserve some pay back old friend. Wouldn’t you?” Discord wrapped his serpentine body around the statue, smiling wickedly. “Let’s set you free and together, we can rule as father and son!” A thought then came to the draconequus. “Oh wait… we’re not related.” He shrugged. “Point still stands, lad.”
He flashed into a standing position again. “Join me, Ashy-boy. You can get back at the Sisters for freezing you here unfairly.”
There was only silence.
Discord frowned deeply. “I know quite well you can here me in there! I’ve been hearing every word for centuries!”
Only the sound of the whistling wind greeted his ears.
“ANSWER ME, KETCHUM!!” Discord roared.
It was nearly quiet on the light breeze, but Discord heard it quite clearly, echoing into his mind. A voice of emptiness, very much unlike the sound he was used to hearing from his rival.
'Go away, Discord… it’s not time, yet.'
The draconequus blinked, backing away slightly. He was deeply tempted to keep badgering Ash, but… something deep in his supposedly non-existent heart told him not to. He slowly floated away from his former battle partner, only giving the statue one last glance back. His mouth opened to say something, only to have it die on his lips and he blinked away with white light.
Once again, silence reigned in the gardens.
'...But it will be soon…'
'Faster,' she thought to herself, running as quickly as her legs could take her. Her legs ached from the hours of running she had done without break.
But she couldn’t stop. Not with them right on her tail.
She didn’t know how they found her this time. She thought for sure they had lost her scent, but still they found her. Only took five years this time. They were getting better, and that was most definitely a problem.
Quickly she ducked behind a tree, panting heavily as footsteps ran past her at the same rate she had been going. She inwardly thanked her luck on that one. And thanked whatever deity watching over her for the small break.
Only a moment later she cursed that same deity as she heard the sound she dreaded in nightmares. Some would say the sound was melodious, appealing. Many more would say it was overwhelmingly enticing.
For Serena, it was the sound that her death was encroaching once again. She took off in a sprint, quickly running through the dense forest.
'Faster!' she inwardly screamed at herself, quickening her pace as much as she could. It always happened this way. Always. No matter what, Serena always had to be on guard for the day that they would come for her once again. She never lost them for too long, fifty years had been the longest time stretch in recent memory.
An inner sense of danger rang through her mind, bringing her back to reality. Just in time to stop herself from running right off a cliff. Serena panted hard as she looked at the nearly ten story drop to a jagged rock floor below. She looked out into the distance, seeing the expansive desert she was searching for.
“Ah, there you are,” a voice said behind her.
Serena froze stiff. She knew that demeaning, cocky tone. Her ears had become accustomed to being bashed by it over the many years she had been running. Slowly, she turned to see her pursuers. Just as every time before, she saw three young women sneering at her. On the left was a rude looking girl with long purple, green-striped hair tied up in twin pigtails. Beside her stood another, clueless woman who had long turquoise hair in a ponytail with dark blue highlights. The most outrageous of them was the the one in the middle with large, poofy orange hair with bright yellow streaks. All three wore what could be described as punk-rock outfits, spikes and studs included.
“It’s been a complete pain in finding you, ya know,” the pigtailed one, Aria Blaze, said in a snide tone. She never did have much of a personality.
Serena felt the need to smirk. “Well, one usually does prefer living to dying by a bunch of rock-star wannabes.”
“What did you say‽” Aria growled at her.
“Like yeah!” the pony-tail said, her name being Sonata Dusk. “We’re totally punk-rock wannabes, duh!” Aria slapped her hard upside the head. “Ow! What did you do that for?”
Their leader shook with anger before exploding on them. “QUIET BOTH OF YOU!” Adagio Dazzle screamed. She growled before turning back to Serena. “Now then, girly, are you finally ready to give up this pointless chase? We’ve been around the world at least twice by now. Just make it easier on yourself.”
Serena took a small step back, feeling the ground crumble under heel before she completed the step. “I’d love to girls, really I would… but I need to catch my ride.” Before they could react, Serea spun on her other heel and jumped off the cliff in a swan dive. The Dazzlings ran to the cliff, seeing their prey plummet.
Quickly, Serna grabbed a red-and-white ball from her belt and through it. “I need a quick get away, Rhyhorn!” The ball opened, releasing a blueish-white light that transformed into a charging, quadrupedal, silver behemoth. It growled out as Serena grabbed its back. “Rock climb!” she called out. The Pokémon’s claws extended out in glowing forms, allowing the rock type to race down the remaining cliff face with ease before jumping down to the ground.
It let out a growl of triumph as Serena panted. She slowly repositioned herself before Rhyhorn charged off into the desert. “Thanks, girl. I’ll make sure you get a nice treat when we hit the next town.” She let out delighted growl, smiling as she ran, leaving the Dazzlings in the dust.
Adagio screamed at the top of her lungs. “AFTER THEM!” But Serena was already far out of range of any weaponry they had on them.
The trainer let out a sigh of relief, laying down on her Pokémon, her eyelids feeling extremely heavy. “Rhyhorn… you know what to do, girl. Just… just wake me when we start to reach civilization.” The rock-type let out a grunt of confirmation as Serena drifted into sleep. Her final waking thoughts being, 'Ash… someday… someday we’ll find each other again. I know it.'