Valour plodded through along the dirt track, barely managing to put one paw in front of the other. Snow was falling down his face and into his eyes, but he didn't wipe them, he was much too tired. He had dark bags hanging under his eyes, a result of not having slept once since he left home, three days ago. When he had left, he believed that Tao village would be no more than a day's walk, lasting no more than twelve hours.
However, after walking for three days with no food and no sleep, Valour began to think that maybe he could have thought it through a bit more. The few times he had tried sleeping on the icy ground had resulted in nothing more than a face full of snow and a sore back, so he had decided to simply continue until he found Tao Village, or at least a place to sleep. 'You know,' the Totodile thought to himself, 'I believe that I may possibly have underestimated both the distance and the travel time between Pola and Tao Village.'
It had begun snowing a few hours after Valour left Pola, and the temperature dropping dramatically. He had come too far to turn, so he continued walking, holding his arms to his chest for warmth. Staggering through the snow, all of a sudden, he felt his body pitching forward toward the ground. He heard the sound of crunching snow approaching, but he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer, and suddenly he was fast asleep.
As soon as Valour woke, the first thing he noticed was that he was on a wide, soft bed with a warm heavy blanket covering him from the neck down. Cautiously, he opened his eyes and looked around. He was inside a large room occupied solely by the bed, a small wooden desk to one side with a lamp, and a small clock on the wall that was shaped like an apple. There was a single door, leading out of the room. 'This reminds me all too much a particular Stephen King story.'
Warily, Valour moved out of the bed, to discover that the floor was covered in soft, bone white carpet. Sighing, he made the bed, which he found to have an intricately carved head board depicting an apple tree, and then opened the door to find a room roughly twice the size of the bedroom. The room itself was divided into two halves, with the right half containing a fireplace, a television, and a large sliding door, which showed that it was almost dark, with the snowstorm beginning to pick up, a piece of snow occasionally landing on the glass door with a dull 'thunk'.
The right side was essentially a kitchen, consisting of a sink, an oven, a microwave, a stove, a fridge and a pantry. Nobody was in the house, however, which puzzled Valour. He wasn't sure whether or not to wait for somebody to arrive, or to just leave. While contemplating his next move, he found something that decided for him. On the fridge was a note, stuck with a magnet shaped like a shiny red apple.
Taking the note down, Valour read it, or attempted to read it. The handwriting was uneven, with multiple words being misspelt, and various letters being larger or smaller than they were supposed to be. After looking at the note for a few minutes, he finally managed to determine what it was that was written on it.
Dear Unconscious Stranger
Hello, and welcome to my home! My name is Horace Herbert Hornbuckle The Great. Now, you are probably wondering what you're doing here. Don't worry, you aren't being kidnapped. I merely noticed you walking outside in the snowstorm. I walked over to say hi but you fell over. After repeated slaps to the face failed to work I picked you up and carried you here.
I noticed how skinny and light you were, so I hereby give you permission to eat anything you want in the pantry. Just don't eat all the apples.
Horace Herbert Hornbuckle The Great
PS. If you were wondering where I am, I'm outside looking for other people, just in case there's anyone else who has collapsed. Be back soon!
After he had finished interpreting the note, a deep, loud rumble emitted from Valour's stomach. Opening the pantry, he found it filled with more than twenty small wooden boxes. On each box was an opening big enough to see inside and each of the boxes were completely filled with apples. Each box had its own variety of apples. Some were larger than his fist, while others were small enough to eat in one bite. Some were red, some were green and he even saw a box of pink apples.
One hour and twenty apples later, Valour lay on the couch by the fire place, the dancing flames being born a half hour earlier. The warmth of the fire, combined with the apples and sleep, rejuvenated him, restoring his strength. It was now completely dark outside and the snow was falling heavily. Valour wondered where Horace was, wishing for the opportunity to thank him for his generosity.
He sat watching a rerun of the popular television show, 'Two and a Half Magikarp'. 'This show's been heading downhill ever since they killed off Chaplin. He was what made the show funny. The new guy's just creepy.' Valour head a loud knocking on the screen door.
Getting up, he saw the most unusual Pokémon. It was a bird, slightly taller than him, with a red beak, blue wings, a yellow underbelly, a large white tuft of feathers surrounding its neck, and a head shaped liked a musical note. It was smiling at him, motioning to open the door for him.
Valour obliged, quickly closing the door to keep the cold out. He turned to the bird, who smiled at him. He spoke in a voice that was both soft and steadfast, probably belying his age.
"Hello, stranger, my name is Horace Herbert Hornbuckle The Great, and welcome" he paused to bow, "to my home." Lifting himself up, he turned around and entered the kitchen, pulling an apple out of the fridge. He ate it in a few bites, and then asked the Totodile in his living room, "So, may I ask your name, Totodile?"
Valour nodded, replying, "I'm Valour, proud leader of Team GUOSIM, of the rogue's guild." The bird raised an eyebrow at this.
"So, you're a Rogue are you?" Valour nodded again, beginning to like this Pokémon.
"That's right. I sent off my application form a few days ago, then set off for Tao village." The bird laughed at this.
"So, you set off, without food, water, or even any warm clothes, on a long hike, through the snow?"
Valour chuckled, rubbing the back of his head. "Ha ha, yeah. I didn't think it would take that long to get to Tao Village." He ceased rubbing his head and looked at Horace, who after hearing this, jumped up with a loud squawk, flapping his wings rapidly.
"Tao Village, you say?! Well then, what are you waiting for? You need to get going!" With that, the brightly coloured bird ran to his bedroom in a hurry, quickly emerging with a large piece of paper rolled up into a long tube. Horace placed the tube on the ground and unrolled it. Sitting down cross legged on the floor next to him, Valour saw that it was a large, incredibly detailed map, showing the entire land. It took him only seconds to find Pola, a mere black dot on a massive sea of green.
Pointing to a dot that was slightly larger than Pola, Horace explained to Valour, "This is Tao Village." He moved his claw delicately downwards from Tao Village, until it rested on the end of a small line, extremely close to the Rogue's destination. "While this is my house. Now, you merely need to walk for around ten minutes, twenty in this weather, and you'll reach it."
Valour nodded, and then, as he made a startling realization, looked at Horace, eyes widened. "What do you mean I have to get going? There's a snowstorm going on out there in case you haven't noticed." The bird ceased smiling, his voice now serious.
"That's exactly my point. Tao Village is where the snowstorm is hitting hardest, and as a guild member," He paused slightly, as if to say something else. "No, as a decent Pokémon, it is your duty to get there, and help people." Valour closed his mouth, and nodded. He embraced the bird, knowing that he owed his life to him.
"Thank you Horace. I owe you my life. I am in your debt." As they moved away, the bird smiled at Valour.
"If that's the case, then remember these words. A true rogue helps those is need. Not for the opportunity of fame, glory or wealth, but for the chance to help." Valour smiled back at Horace, nodding. "Remember those words, young Totodile"
"I shall, friend." Valour turned around, and exited the house. Before he closed the door he shouted above the roaring of the snow, "I'll see you soon. Keep that bed ready for me!" With those words, the young Totodile, now full of energy and the knowledge of where his destination was, set off towards Tao village, while Horace watched from behind the door, smiling at the child.
"What an interesting child. He definitely takes after his grandfather. I did always wander what Rufus did with that bandanna."