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Summary: Welcome to the Umbra Region a melting pot for people and Pokemon alike… Where life continues just as it has for as long as it’s existed… But this isn’t about legendary fights, or evil teams… Join me Professor Wilson Higgsbury into a fantastical world… The world of Pokemon. (Banner: @Aileen-Rose ) The Professor “Hello! My name is Professor Wilson Higgsbury! But those in these parts call me The Pokemon Professor! I’m here to help new trainers start their journey as a special hub through the Umbra region a melting pot of different Pokemon and people too! Please don’t hesitate to stop by my laboratory and choose the Pokemon who will become your partner!” Wilson Higgsbury sighed as he listened to his old recording. He was much younger back then and things had seemed to much brighter. Fresh out of college, finally able to start his own lab and provide starters for new trainers like his grandfather had before him. It was ten years since that day and now at thirty three.. It seemed no one wanted to even walk in the door. He admitted the place was intimidating upon first glance but he had to build it that way! They’d all get out if he didn’t! And he thought it looked nice… “Let’s face it… No one wants a Pokemon from crazy Ol’ Wilson…” He looked out the window half hoping to see some new faces scurrying up the steps. But no. That wasn’t happening. He sighed giving a stretch before getting up and grabbing a feed bucket. “Well that’s what happens when people choose to willfully be ignorant…” For you see… In those ten years, there had been plenty of new baby starter Pokemon for Wilson to give out from the various regions… But since no one would ever claim them, he instead wound up with Pokemon who evolved at their own pace and bred. So there was more than enough to fill up his property. He had to duck as two charizards flew by him, roaring at one another. “REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS!” He yelled, shaking his fist at them as he went on his way to deposit the feed for the fire types. He smiled as a group of tiny fire starters huddled around one bowl, happy to eat. He knelt down rubbing the head of a small charmander as it squealed a little. A chimchar climbed up his back, holding onto his head, chittering as it played with his hair. “Chimchar!” Wilson laughed. “Don’t be naughty now!” The others looked at them, back at their food and back to Wilson… Wilson knew the look as he scrambled to get up. “CHAR!/FENNEKIN!/TOR!/CHIM!/TEP!/CYNDAQUIL!” He was tackled to the ground under a pile of very warm, very cuddly pokemon. He sighed before grinning, hugging them all close to him as best as he could. While it got lonely up there… he would admit, he loved nothing more than playing with the Pokemon and tending to them. Giving attention to the little ones, organizing training battles to help them run off some energy. Grooming some, or giving baths to others. “Tepig, do not eat those pokeblock out of my pocket-Chimchar my hair is not a chew toy! Charmander, I told you not to eat those granola bars-Torchic that tickles and-CYNDAQUIL!” The small Johto starter seemed to snicker to itself as it ran off with his shoe in its mouth. Wilson pointed to it. “Get them!” The tiny herd scurried off as they more so play wrestled. He eventually was able to swoop in and take his prize back. “Whew…” He went about his routine, getting everyone fed, checking up on those who had managed to scrape themselves up. It took a long time but worth it. Be it swimming with the water types, or having the grass types lift him up to get to other areas faster… He loved it. Wilson looked down from a rock he was seated upon on a cliff that overlooked his whole property. All the different pokemon from every region… and all of them under his care. While ideally he hoped one day some trainers would come and ease him of a few of the little ones… He just wasn’t sure anymore if he could separate them. It was rare for professors in charge of starters to be able to naturally see on their own property how the individual types interacted with one another. And while they were all different types there was one thing he was positive of… They were family. His family. oooooo At least… most of them were. Occasionally, during the spring, when most young trainers from their childhood to late teens were leaving home, he would still get boxes of new starter pokeballs. During these events he would give them time until late spring at the longest to let them be separate from the herds out back… But most of the time he still wound up introducing them since in his ten years of being their caretaker no starter liked staying in their pokeball forever. I swear one of these days I’m going to send them all back! Maybe take a few spare evolution stones and send ‘em back loyal to me. See how those other guys think sending more to me is a great idea! He thought bitterly one morning as he unloaded three new pokeballs from Kalos. He could only say his thanks that the Umbra Region’s ties with the mysterious Alola Region wasn’t tight enough that he was getting a box of starters from there too. “I do not need fire kittens or grass owls in addition to everyone else.” He sighed, letting the new arrivals out for their morning feed. He looked out the window after making sure everyone was playing nice. And couldn’t believe his eyes. Someone was coming up the walkway. He felt giddy. Maybe someone finally didn’t believe the rumors about his sanity! “Okay, be cool, be cool.” Wilson took a deep breath steadying himself. He looked out the window raising an eyebrow as the person was coming into view. They were too old to be a new trainer… He would admit, he knew some people didn’t get pokemon at the usual ages but that was unusual. It was a young woman with long dark hair tied into two long ponytails. She was wearing a pair of copper red pants with a pink shirt and a scarf that looked almost like it was made out of fire. There was soon a knock at the door. Wilson hurried to open it. “U-Um hello.” He greeted mentally cursing himself. “Where are they?” The woman asked trying to brush past him. “H-Hey excuse me!” Wilson threw an arm out in front of her. “It’s common courtesy to say “hello” back you know!” “E-Erm sorry!” The woman apologized giving a sheepish look. “I heard you had a whole ton of different fire types… I… Wanted to see them.” Wilson blinked. “See them? … You’re not here to take a starter?” “W-What? Oh no I grew up in Kalos, so I got mine from the professor there about… Ten years ago I believe?” “What’s your name?” He asked. “And I apologize for my manners, I’m Wilson Higgsbury, the man in charge.” “Willow Ashworth sir.” She smirked, crossing her arms. “But I’m better known as The Firestarter.” The Firestarter… Where have I heard that name before? “I see? But why are you here if you just want to see fire types? There’s plenty of places in the world.. The Charicific Valley in Johto, the volcano on Cinnabar Island-” “I wanna see just fire starters. I think they're adorable… And I don’t wanna go to those places. Been there and done that.” She smirked holding up a pokeball that was attached to a necklace she wore. “Me and my delphox have seen most of it. As have my team.” “So your delphox wouldn’t be interested in a kit?” He asked pointing to the latest Fennekin who was eating. Willow looked at it and squealed, darting over picking up, the little fox. “Oh my goodness I haven’t seen one of you since I was ten!” “Fen?” The little Pokemon tilted it, head, wondering why this strange lady was holding it. “Aww! Delphi used to do that too!” Willow squealed, hugging it close to her, nuzzling the top of its head, enjoying the warmth. “And oh torchic and charmander…” She knelt down looking at the baby Pokemon with nostalgia in her eyes. “I had those too!” “Did you now?” Wilson asked curious. “Yep. Fully evolved into blaziken and charizard… I wish I could have baby pokemon again but I don’t have the room… I stopped traveling awhile ago and my place is only big enough for the seven of us.” She explained, getting her chance to hug the other fire type starters, quietly squealing as they kept close. “I just love them!” “Heh… You should see out back.” She looked to him curious. “What’s out back?” Wilson grinned. It had been a long time since he was able to show off his pokemon. “Come and see.” oooooo Willow gasped as Wilson lead her to his cliffside. “This… is what I get to do every day.” He said, making a wide gesture as a pair of charizards flew by. Groups of sceptile and serperior sunning themselves atop the backs of torterras. Venusaurs and their herds of bulbasaur and ivysaur. A large blastoise stretched over the edge of the lake before a few squirtles jumped onto its back as it jumped into the water causing a wave that swept back an empoleon and its piplup. Infernape's and blazikens trained against one another. A group of delphox practiced with their mysterious fire, showing younger braixen how it was done. A typhlosion gave a roar before scooping up a cyndaquil, heading off. “You get to raise them all?” “Oh, their parents do that for them!” Wilson laughed. “I just help… But most of the pokemon on this property I’ve helped hatch or deliver in the last ten years. Some are starters from last year’s batch but they fit in with the rest. The others just take them in as their own.” “But doesn’t it hurt them more then when trainers come?” Willow asked, not taking her eyes off the property. Wilson smirked, a saddened look in his eyes. “Who says trainers ever come for them? You could take those little ones in the main part of the lab away and no trainers would ever come. This isn’t just where I raise starters…” He looked back over the property. “This is where I raise the unwanted.” Willow looked to him, frowning a little. “No one’s ever come for starters from you… Have they?” “Not in the ten years I’ve been here and likely not in the ten years to come. But that’s alright.” He smiled a little. “After all this time… I can’t bear to part with the ones I’ve helped take care of since they were small. It’s easier when they’re freshly out of their regions… But as much as I love having new additions… I feel bad they’re never able to do what other starters get to. And it’s hard doing it all alone. By the time I’m done feeding everyone breakfast, it’s lunch time and by the time that’s done, I do a bit of my research… But then the dinner bell rings and-Yeah…” “You look exhausted too.” Willow said, taking note of the dark circles around his eyes. He shrugged. “It honestly doesn’t bother me. When you have new little ones as often as I do you’re used to getting up in the middle of the night to tend to them.” “But it has to get lonely..” “It does sometimes. I won’t lie.” He motioned for her to follow him as he started walking back down. “But I have my family. And that’s all that matters.” “You seriously are alone here, huh?” “Indeed I am my dear.” Willow looked around biting her lip. Her own travels hadn’t exactly been full of friendships and joy. Most people were afraid of her and she got thrown out of gyms for setting the places on fire occasionally by accident. Usually grass gyms. Ugh I’m on a lifetime ban from the Celadon City gym… She sighed. “Hey, Professor.” “Hm? And please, just Wilson will do.” “I’m coming by again tomorrow.” He stopped short, looking at her perplexed. He hadn’t had anyone saying they’d visit since… Since before his grandfather had retired and closed his own labs’ doors! “What?” “Is there a problem?” “N-No.” He shook his head. “No problem at all… But… Why do you want to come back?” “I wanna help.” She told him with a small smirk. “I have nowhere important to be.” “Are you sure? It’s going to be messy.” He warned her. “I never back down from a challenge. The Firestarter never backs down.” “... Very well. In fact, if you want to help, I could use it right now.” Willow perked up grinning. “Alrighty! What do I do first?” Wilson gave a perfectly innocent smile before offering her a shovel. “... What’s this for?” “I’m digging a new mud pit for the tepig evolutionary line. You can help me with it!” “U-Um I was thinking like… Training some of the other pokemon with mine. O-Or playing with the babies.” “Well the little tepigs love playing in the dirt.” Wilson smirked. “Now chop chop. Time is food around here.” He pointed to where it was as she shrugged, heading off to do her task grumbling a bit. Heh…We’ll see if she actually wants to come back. Grandfather had me mucking out stalls for ponyta and rapidash when I was a lad! Willow waited until Wilson had his back turned before an idea came to her. She grinned to herself as she grabbed one of her pokeballs. “Let’s go arcanine!” She called throwing an ultra ball high into the air as the firey wolf formed from the light. “Use dig! Make a nice deep hole!” Arcanine gave a gleeful look. Finally something to dig up besides the neighbor’s rose bush! Wilson jumped seeing a large amount of dirt flying as Willow laughed to herself. “YES! HAHA! KEEP AT IT BOY!” “What in the name of Arceus?” He wondered aloud. The meganium who was laying near him shook her head before four little chikorita jumped on her back. “True I should’ve stayed close by. I’ll be back.” He hurried over dodging dirt… Seeing a deep enough pool to house a fully grown venusaur and torterra comfortably. “WILLOW WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” “Hey Wil!” She called up waving. “I’m digging!” “T-That’s deep enough!” He called down making an X shape with his arms. “Stop!” “Arcanine that’s enough!” She called her pokemon back mid-digging spree. “Well?” Wilson rubbed his forehead looking at it. It was large… But it was… oddly perfect. “... Okay… You win. It’s fine. Thank you.” “And I can dig more-” “NO!” She might be a valuable asset… If my lab survives her Arcanine!