Shelly jumped off my back and we stood and waited for a few minutes. When she walked out the door, I spread my wings in a dramatic pose. She was chatting happily with her Pokémon, but they all froze when they saw me. Her jaw dropped and she raised a hand to the blue stone. Her eyes widened. She put the Seel on the back of the Lapras and walked slowly to us.
I looked down at Shelly. She was smiling up at me, arms folded. She turned her head back to the girl slowly approaching. Her Pokémon stood behind her, talking in whispers. She stopped a meter before me and I lowered my wings to my sides. She closed her eyes and mouth and put her hand on her chest, then bowed to me.
"I am honoured to meet you," she said. I was surprised at that, I definitely hadn't expected it. I had expected either "Wow" or "What happened to your tail?" but not that. She was too good to be true.
She rose her head again and opened her eyes. She stepped to me and stroked my snowy white chest.
"You're beautiful. It's okay, I won't hurt you, you can talk to me."
"You can understand Pokémon?" Shelly asked.
She nodded. "Mm hm. I've been trying to learn Articuno too, but without any Articuno, it's been a little tricky, so if you could talk slowly, I'll be able to understand you, I hope."
"Shelly and I were watching you from the stadium roof, you really care about your Pokémon." She blushed. "I live up in the mountains and my egg was stolen. My mate and I have come here to look for it, but it's very hard to find out how. I figured that the only way would be to find a human who seems to like Pokémon. Glacier, my mate, ended up in the Pokécentre because of one of them. He'll be out in two weeks. Anyway, I was wondering if you'd be able to help us find my egg."
She listened the whole time. "I would love to. Oh, I'm Sapphire by the way."
"Snowfall," I said.
"And also," added Shelly, "We like the way you've trained those guys, I've never been able to do such a great psychic, and Snowfall says that ice beam from the Lapras was stronger than hers! We were wondering if you could use your delicate training methods with us."
"Really? You'd let me do that? Oh, thankyou! It's been my lifelong dream to have an Articuno on my team, and another Jynx would be great! Thankyou!" She gave us both a hug and called over her Pokémon.
"Guys, these are the newest members of our team, Snowfall and Shelly," she said, indicating each of us. "They've come here to find Snowfall's egg."
Through more introducing we found that the Sneasel's name was Jewel, the Seel's was Dewdrop, the Cloyster was named Clam, but nicknamed 'The Rock', the Jynx was called Scarlet and the Lapras' name was Deep Blue, Blue for short.
"So where do you live?" I asked Sapphire.
"On the other side of town," she answered.
"I might be able to fly you there, but I can't carry everyone."
"That's okay," said Deep Blue, "Sapphire, we can go via Pokéball, it's more comfortable than the bus."
"Are you sure? I know you hate those things," she said to them all.
"We'll be fine, Sapphire," replied the Lapras.
"Okay." She reluctantly took out the balls and transformed them all to red light. "Would you like to go in a ball too?" she directed the question to Shelly.
"Yeah, what the heck, can't be that bad." And she too was transformed to red light, then disappeared.
"Hop aboard!" I said, turning my back to her.
She smiled and climbed on. I stretched my wings and flapped hard. It was tricky to take off, but I managed it. I had to flap a little more than usual in the air, but it was worth it. Sapphire was too good to be true.
"That one down there, with the pool," she said, pointing.
I glided down much faster than normal, but managed a relatively smooth landing.
"Wow, that was amazing, Snowfall! I've only ever flown in a plane, but that was much better! Wow!"
"I'm just curious," I said to her, "every human I've seen has had the same reaction to me, you know, awe, disbelief. I was just wondering what makes an Articuno any different to other Pokémon."
"Well, basically it's because you're so rare, and no Articuno has ever been seen down from the mountains. And of course because you're so majestic. Most people don't even think they exist, or ever did. You know people call you the god of ice? You're a legendary bird. The only others are Zapdos and Moltres. What's wrong?" she asked when I cringed at the word Moltres.
"I had a battle with one a week ago. That's the result." I turned and showed her my pathetic stump of a tail. I had left the rest of it with Glacier.
"I guess it's no surprise that I was wondering how you lost it, but I felt rude asking you how. I'm so sorry. Do you want to tell me about it?"
I shook my head. "Not right now." I tried to brighten up a bit, "So, what's for dinner?"
She laughed and let the others out of their balls. "Whatever you want!"
"Goldeen'll do me fine for now," I said after a bit of thought. I hadn't had Goldeen for a while.
"Woah!" cried Shelly after being released, "That was weird. I've never been in a Pokéball before, and I can see why you guys don't like it!"
"You'll get used to it," smiled Scarlet.
"What's it like?" I asked.
Shelly rubbed her head, "I dunno how to explain it. It's kinda like you're there, but you're not there. Hard to explain, but it's really weird."
The pair of Jynx waddled over the lawn to the house, the others following close behind. I bent my head and walked through the door myself.