Price of a Meal

by Sierra


Ekans perked up somewhat from its silent watch for Pokémon trainers. The girl had something interesting in her arms. An egg, perhaps? I haven't eaten all day. The snake's tongue flicked out in anticipation. Whatever the Pokémon was, it resembled an egg and therefore must taste like one.

Not vicious by nature, Ekans would prefer not to attack the trainers. There should be no reason to. If it weren't for that Snorlax again, sleeping in the river...

The girl was sitting on a rock and sorting through her backpack, letting the egg Pokémon wander away. "Ash, we're lost again and this time we have no food!" she wailed.

"You're the one who said to go this way," objected the younger boy, fiddling with his hat.

"Now, let's not get into a fight about this," soothed the older. "There must be a town somewhere around here."

"Toge, toge," hummed the forgotten egg, waddling toward the tall grass.

The yellow mouse warily kept one eye trained on it.

Ekans slid closer. This must be what the humans called a Pikachu. An electric rodent. Protcting my lunch. It glared through the foliage, turning over possibilities in its mind; ways to get past the mouse to the egg, then away before the girl could notice.


Spotted. Spotted by my own food. Pathetic.

Ekans took the chance, then. Lunging out of the bushes, it snatched the shrieking egg in its jaws and threw itself into a Diglett hole as electricity coursed through the ground.

"Togepi!" screamed the girl.

Somewhere outside, the mouse was rapidly thundershocking all within three feet of its electric pouches, but Ekans and quarry were safely beneath a layer of rock. A quick glance told Ekans the Pokémon had died. Probably from a heart attack. Venom would have needed time to kill.

What can be done? I would have starved.

"My Togepi!" it heard the girl crying. "That Ekans stole my Togepi!"

"Ekans?" asked the boy.

The familiar beep of a Pokédex rang and a dull voice proclaimed, "Ekans, a poison snake Pokémon. Moves silently and stealthily and eats the eggs of birds such as Pidgey and Spearow whole."

"But Togepi isn't a Pidgey or Spearow!" wailed the girl.

The Pokédex chimed again. "Ekans is also partial to rare Pokémon eggs such as Togepi, Exeggcute, and Chansey."

Ekans slowly approached the tunnel opening. The Diglett would not be pleased to find a snake in their home, and perhaps now that it had eaten, it might pay for its food with a battle.

"Pika!" shouted the yellow mouse, blocking the entrance. Sparks lit its cheeks and it glared in fury at the snake.

"Ekanssss." (A battle.)

"Pika chu." (Fair enough.)

Ekans shoved the rodent aside and slithered toward the trainers. "Ekanssss."

The Pikachu leaped onto its trainer's shoulder, translating.

"All right," he agreed, turning back his cap angrily. "Pikachu, go!"

The mouse hopped to the ground, glaring defiantly at Ekans. "Chuuuuu."

Coiling, the snake stared into its eyes. "Kansss."

"Don't look it in the eye, Pikachu!" shouted the trainer. "Thunderbolt!"

Unprepared for the electricity, Ekans was sent reeling across the ground, eyes bulging with surprise.

Then the force took over. A white shield glowed around the Pokémon, dazzling the Pikachu.


Something was changing against its will.

"Ekkaaarrrrbokk!" The light faded, and the taller hooded snake slithered into the open. Narrowing its eyes, it appraised the trainers and Pikachu with contempt. You did this. I am not myself because of you. The girl gasped and stepped behind the other two, feeling the Pokémon's rage directed toward her. Arbok glared, then. Cold, penetrating eyes stared into theirs.

"Charrrrbokk." (Leave me.)

The mouse frantically translated to its trainer, who nodded solemnly and took the other humans by the hands. "Let's go," he whispered.

Arbok whipped its tail around the girl's ankle. "Charrrr."

"Just let me go," she told it, trying to pull away.

The snake released her, flicking out its tongue apologetically.

"Shhhhaa. Charrrrboku charbokkk." (You understand. Go in peace.)

She sighed and slowly followed the others away from the campsite.

"Goodbye, Togepi. I'll miss you."

Arbok's eyes trembled, but it turned away, determined not to feel remorse for its food. It is the way things work in the wild. It is the natural price of a meal.

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