I suppose I should be thankful that the sun was setting outside; otherwise, when I left the exit tunnel of Johto's Dark Cave, I'd have been blinded by the sudden light. I only had to blink a bit as I stumbled into the orange evening glow, the shadow cast by Sprout Tower in the northwest landing over the forest nearby.
"Good...God," I panted, exhausted. My backpack weighed a ton, stuffed with a tent, canteen and other supplies I'd packed earlier today. "We're finally free, you guys." I motioned to my friends to exit the tunnels at last.
"Uuuughhhh..." a female voice moaned from behind me. I felt tiny tremors as Dragonair beat her tail against the rough earth "My ears are still ringing. That was so, so unpleasant." My dragoness Pokemon passed me on the dusty trail out of Dark Cave, the aptly-named tunnel system to the east of Violet City.
I held my hands to my temples; i'd temporarily drowned out the dull ringing to announce our arrival out of the caves, but Dragonair's mentioning it had reminded me of the annoyance. "So. Many. Zubats," I groaned, wincing at the thought. "All using Supersonic, just to confuse us."
"I understand being territorial, but, that was just unnecessary." Dragonair had resorted to pouting, curling up a helical bundle of blue and white scales. The sunset caught and reflected a bit off of her nose, which made me smile at the little glow that reminded me of her fiery breath.
Fiery? "Oh no, Cyndaquil!" I turned around and ducked into the cave, realizing my little Fire-type ferret hadn't come out yet. "C'mon little buddy, you've gotta pull yourself together. Just a few more steps!" The poor guy was shivering, stuck against a knob in the rocky cave wall. His flickering spines lit up the area around him, so i'd gotten a good handle on how to hold him safely to get him out of the cave. Alas, if only it were this easy every time. My Cyndaquil, well--he's a bit of a special case. More than just jittery, but i'm not sure how to diagnose whatever it is gets into him. Let me just say the end result is usually me getting burned.
I reached around him, pulling him out of the rut in the cave wall and pointing his snout towards the sunset outside. "C'mon, go, you little weirdo," I prompted. I have no clue how well he responds to human speech, outside of a few battle commands and his name. But my words seemed to do the trick, and Cyndaquil scampered outside.
"Whew," I sighed, slapping my hands on my thighs to clap off the dust of the cave as I stood up. I strode outside once again, the air fresh and flowing with a nightly breeze carrying the sun away.
The weather had been nice recently, so I'd decided to set off once again on a journey to obtain more Gym Badges throughout my home region of Johto. Winter had been the perfect time to develop such a sense of cabin fever that I was practically dying to leave on a new adventure. Dragonair of course sympathized with me, but since she's rather against anything having to do with cold weather it took a little while (and more than a few "special dinners") to convince her to want to leave Cherrygrove City.
Mary, my mom, was looking forward to having the house all to herself and her Pokemon. "Do you have any idea how long it's been since you won that badge from me, Andrew?" She'd chided me earlier in the day.
"Yeah, mom," I groaned. "It's really almost been a year. I don't know, i'm sorry, there's just...I keep finding reasons to stay at home." I was wrapping up a sleeping bag in the bundles on my backpack, throwing a few extras into the pack for the long haul. I'd not really bought food for the trip, since i'd be so near to Violet City, anyways. But nevertheless, my supplies were already making this thing weight a ton.
"Oh well, at least the wait has brought a few advantages with it." Mary had just finished off a cup of tea and was throwing some dishes in the sink, rinsing them quickly before her return to her job at the Violet City gym. "For example, getting more experience in Pokemon battling here at home."
"I guess that's true," I admitted. "Though," I had to add, "It's not like all of those battles have gone too well."
"Eh, Dragon Pokemon are very unique and strong, but from what I know their weakness is well known," Mary explained. "Besides, a bunch of your battles came in Autumn and Winter. Ice-Types, her natural foil, are really common at those times." Mary turned and walked into the other room, keeping busy even as she kept conversation. Good ol' Mom. <3
"Oh, um, sorry if I embarrassed you, dear," I heard her say from the other room. She must've bumped into Dragonair, who I bet had been listening to our conversation from the other room.
"It's fine, j-just a bit frustrating!" Dragonair floated across the floor over to me, her thick, coiled body kind of filling up the floorspace in the kitchen. "Yes, Andrew, let's try to avoid anything that can freeze or otherwise ice me over, alright?"
"Heh, it's a deal," I laughed, then bent down to help her tighten her "saddlebags." They were a two-pouch leather harness that Dragonair could wear around her midsection to carry some supplies. Thought not as big as my backpack, her bags were a gift from Mary so of course she wanted to wear them. Not to mention that she wanted to pull her own weight on our trip, too; and besides, their color was sleek and stylish, too!
"Though even if we do get a little chilly, that's why we're bringing Cyndaquil." I fastened her saddlebags then stood back up, checking out my blue beauty. She was smiling, craning her neck to look around at her new accessory from all sides. "I look like a mailwoman!" Dragonair exclaimed. "Though I don't know if the post office would accept me, they usually just use Spearow to deliver letters."
"You're a bit bigger than a bird Pokemon, Dragonair. Maybe they'll have you moving packages or boxes around?" I suggested.
"Yeah," she giggled, "especially since I have my nice, insulated internal storage-space to use as well."
I blushed a bit at that one. "Pfffft, now you're taking things to far. There's no way they'd go along with you swallowing special deliveries, no matter how cushioned they'd be in there." Which, speaking from personal experience, they'd be really well protected from being shaken or broken--but they'd arrive tremendously sticky and gooey, for obvious reasons.
"Well speaking of "going along," i'm all set to go. Are you ready, Andrew?"
I checked my backpack one more time, satisfied with my stable load of supplies. "Everything's here!" I confirmed.
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's head out!"
Cyndaquil finally recovered from his confusion at the hands of the Zubat horde. With a little encouragement he shot a few Embers from his back spines and lit up a pile of logs I'd gathered. Dragonair was still rubbing her temples with her tail long after the sun had gone down. I was tending the fire, cooking up hot dogs (i'll admit, i'm a terrible cook regardless of circumstances) for our dinner. Cyndaquil and I split a few, while Dragonair...she got her own package full.
Over our dinner, Dragonair kept looking around with this anxious look on her face, but each time she saw me she'd settle down and relax.
"What's up, Dragonair?" I asked her after watching her repeat that process for the fourth time.
"Huh? Oh, sorry. It's just that, I'm confused." Dragonair uncurled a little and leaned over to me, like she was about to whisper a secret. "I thought you wanted to earn another Gym Badge. That would take us west through Violet City, right?"
I swallowed a mouthful of hot dog before answering. "Yeah, so?"
"Well, we're obviously on the opposite path. We're heading east, and you never really explained why."
"Well, it's pretty silly, but...I'm actually looking for a new Pokémon over here."
"Huh?!?" Dragonair was obviously surprised. "Already? What, are two not enough?"
That made me laugh, a bit sarcastically though. "No! It's not like that, silly. It's actually something kind of funny." I dug into my backpack pocket for the little red tablet device that would explain what I was up to: the Pokédex. "See, check this out. According to the Pokédex, somewhere in this area I can find this Pokémon." The display on the screen showed a curious looking mammal, almost like a teddy bear.
"Ohhh, a Teddiursa!" Dragonair exclaimed. "I've really wanted to try one of those for a long time. Could I try catching it my way, before you throw a Pokéball?"
I had to laugh there. "Only if you wanna terrify the poor creature! They're really shy and docile, so swallowing one--even YOUR way--would probably scare it to death." I rubbed her neck gently; I understood her desire as protector and a predator to try and take a new friend her own way. All the same, it'd be best not to upset the ecosystem too much with introducing Vore to some of these wild Pokémon!
"And anyways," I continued, "I won't be catching Teddiursa as a new member of our team. I wanna find one to give to Mariah someday soon." The last thing I'd heard, she'd been raising a Sentret along with her Arcanine over in Goldenrod City, where she was living while attending school. "If we can catch one and make it there in time, it might make a good anniversary present."
"Aw, well then that's nice of you." Dragonair smiled, but paused as she looked into the distance. "But if that's true, why didn't we turn around when we didn't find one?"
I paused for a moment, not sure how to answer. "Well, the obvious answer is that we're all tired out...but really, there's more to it." I bit off another chunk of my hot dog, then continued. "See, back behind you--to the north, about 2 or 3 miles--is the base of Mt. Silver. About halfway up that mountain--that's the Blackthorn Plateau."
Dragonair was silent; I could tell from the look in her eyes that she was thinking hard about this place, the atmosphere here at the foot of a mountain. "Then somewhere up there--out in the night sky, that's where I come from." I knew the moment must have felt hard for her but I didn't say anything. I just thought she'd love the atmosphere.
"Well...If the stories Mary's told us about how we arrived at our home are true, we're both from up there. And as much as I'd love to try and visit...that city is really, really high up." I brushed off crumbs from my meal and poked at the fire, patiently waiting for it to get a second wind. "We don't have the right climbing material to get up there from this road. There's another way, though--and I promise we'll be taking that road, someday."
"Really?" Dragonair said, her eyes still fixed on the dark, barely-visible silhouette of the mountain behind her.
"Of course," I said, hugging her neck. "Besides--there's a Gym in that town!"
"Oh, lord," Dragonair shrugged away from my one-armed hug, rolling her eyes. "Well you won't get too far in a Gym battle if you keep that kind of sarcasm up with your Pokémon."
"Hehe, I kid, I kid," I insisted. "Well, enough's enough for one night. It's not too late but I'm gonna go ahead and set up my sleeping bag now. Sky's pretty enough out tonight, that should keep me entertained."
"Oh don't mind me," Dragonair mused. "I've got some grooming to do, anyways." Dragonair reached out with her tail and patted Cyndaquil on the back. "Come along, then, little one. I doubt Andrew still needs a night light." Cyndaquil perked up and followed along the trail of Dragonair's smooth, blue tail.
What I didn't know was that Dragonair was still mulling some of the things I'd said for all the wrong reasons.
Dragonair had already peeled away some old scales and fluffed out her feathery ears. Her nightly vigil was now set, her green eyes gazing all around as a serene sentry over her trainer and friend. Only, a thought still stuck in her mind, about how Andrew had wanted her to avoid trying to swallow up any of the wild Pokémon she found in the wild.
She wasn't intending to harm any of them, though by Nature it was perfectly acceptable for her to do so. Ultimately, she wanted a taste of a new species, yes, but her belly was about as safe a den any Pokémon could reside in. She was still thinking about this when she noticed Cyndaquil shivering from the slight breezes.
"Oh, you," she teased. "You've always been the little one in our little group, Cyndaquil. You don't speak much, not even to me...I wonder what's going on in that little head of yours." Dragonair lowered her head to meet Cyndaquil's little squinting eyes. "Or more like what's going on in your body; you don't communicate, but you obviously look tired and cold. Worn out from today? That cave was driving me up a wall, personally."
Dragonair's stare stayed curious and compassionate, though at the edge of a smile an idea started to come to her. "You know...I've never actually tried this with you. Andrew always worried I'd scare you too much, but you know i'm gentle...don't you?" Cyndaquil only squeaked back in response, still shivering with chills in the night air.
Dragonair's warm smile parted as she licked her lips. "Alright, then--I'll show Andrew just how gentle I can be. And of course...I'll show you too, my dear little friend." Dragonair started to stretch open her jaws, her warm breath echoing out of a pinkish maw. It was certainly a cave, but much cozier than the dark, disorienting one Cyndaquil had traversed earlier.
Dragonair spoke softly to her Fire-type friend. "Relax, I won't hurt you. I can give you a special place to warm up, understand?" She gently coaxed him forward with her tail, presing his paws into her tongue. Oh, how his flavor amazed her! Trying a new meal always fascinated Dragonair--it was a weakness of hers. She flicked out her tongue as a moving, muscly carpet beneath Cyndaquil, and pulled him inside her mouth.
Not quite understanding but still curious, Cyndaquil stepped forward, gingerly treading into Dragonair's throat already. "Quia?" He cooed, startled when his own cries echoed inside Dragonair's body. But the bouncing sounds soon ended, and he kept crawling forward into the warm, reddish tunnel to her tummy.
Dragonair was ecstatic. She savored the feeling of her small friend slowly slipping into her esophagus,treating her as much like a little jungle gym as a friend. But as she felt his small form slide further inside, she realized something she hadn't considered. At her size, Dragonair is almost three-and-a-quarter feet wide, circumference wise. That's wide enough to swallow a grown adult (er, me) comfortably, with a little bit of a bulge in her belly in the end. But Cyndaquil, standing at his tallest, was about a foot and a half!
Gradually, the desire to gulp her little prey down filled Dragonair, tickling her at the edge of her throat and making her pulse begin to race. But she couldn't merely swallow Cyndaquil; if she did, her muscles inside would close around him, possibly scaring him or worse. She'd swallowed small animals and Pokémon before, yes, but none with plumes of flaming quills prone to pop out of their backs at the slightest change!
B-but...he was so far down her neck already. Cyndaquil was pawing at her inner walls, his own lightly glowing embers illuminating her esophagus. She'd never felt so humbled to be explored in such a gentle way, but the pressure wrought by her natural instinct was overwhelming. Reluctantly, Dragonair closed her eyes and ~Gulp! swallowed Cyndaquil whole!
Sure enough, the little fire ferret squeaked out "Quia-Quaaaaa!" as the slippery, strong walls suddenly wrapped around him in a warm, squishy hug. He panicked and curled into a ball, his flaming spines emerging and lighting up the lining of Dragonair's digestive system a fiery pink color. The natural motion of her muscles carried him to a larger, more open chamber: her stomach. Cyndaquil tumbled into her tummy, flames still flaring up and making the same orange and pink glow of sunset he'd seen earlier--just, inside Dragonair's stomach!
"Ow ow ow ow ow OW!" Dragonair panted, pained from the inside. She'd never felt such heat inside her belly! Though she had a natural resistance to flames, her stomach wasn't exactly fireproof. "Andrewwwwww!" Dragonair called in desperation, floating across the ground as she returned to the dying campfire.
"Huh?" I must've dozed off, with all the wonderful atmosphere of the outdoors surrounding me. I fumbled with my watch, noting the time. Well, at least I was only out for a half an hour or so. I looked up from my wrist just in time to see a wriggling, ailing Dragonair charging towards me. "Dragonair?"
"Andrewwwwwwwwwwww!" Dragonair pouted, her eyes tearing up a little. "I need you!"
"Whoa whoa whoa, slow down! What's happened? What's going on? Wha--" I was about to ask more questions when I noticed a soft glow lighting up the area. And it wasn't the campfire.
I looked down, already guessing at what i'd see. Sure enough, about halfway down Dragonair's long body, a patch of her blueish back was glowing with a burning, flickering shadow skirting across the scales. I looked down at the whitish underside of her belly to see the orange, flickering glow of a fiery friend.
"You know," I said, looking into my companion's green eyes and blushing cheeks, "I'm not even surprised by you anymore."
Embarrassed but still burning up inside, Dragonair sheepishly said "A l-little help, pl-lease?"
I sighed, slipping out of my sleeping bag. Eh, that thing was stuffy anyways. I already knew what I had to do; we couldn't risk hurting Cyndaquil by dousing the flames with fast gulps of water. I'd have to help him settle down to set his fire out. And that meant doing so face-to=face.
I shook myself a little to wake up, but then chuckled. "Why bother? I'm gonna fall asleep again anyways. I smiled, which confused my still-aching Dragonair a bit, then slid my hand between her lips and rubbed her tongue. It was soft, warm and bumpy with a bit of saliva still keeping her mouth wet (she'd gulped down a LOT, i'd assumed, to help with her "heartburn.") I looked into Dragonair's eyes again, reassuring her.
"It's ok, I bet you were just doing what you thought was right."
"Y-you're not mad?" Dragonair winced.
"Nah, just worried you two may get hurt. C'mon, let's fix this already." I tickled the roof of her mouth, easing her into opening up for me. Her warm, reddish tissues were pulsating a bit, her whole body trembling with the trauma in her tummy going on. I reached a hand back, letting her esophagus start to take hold of me. She wrapped her tail around me, guiding me into her inviting maw. I closed my eyes and gulped, praying quickly that I wouldn't get burned either. With a warm, slimy squeeze, Dragonair tilted her head back and swallowed!
It may not seem like much, but Route 45 in Johto is a rather fascinating hiking trail. Connecting all the way down with a small route to Cherrygrove City, this hilly climb can actually lead the adventurous trainer all the way up to the dominion of the dragons. You may even see some Dragon-type Pokémon in the grass and waterfalls that follow the route down the mountain.
But on one particular Spring night, a hiker heading for the hills could've stumbled upon a rather curious sight. An enormous, beautiful example of the Pokemon Dragonair, curled up in a close, weaving figure-eight form, sleeping away. If one dared to get closer, perhaps they'd notice a bulging, stretched spot along the Dragonair's stomach, slightly moving and churning in a cradling embrace around whatever was inside.
But unless you were me, you'd never get to know that inside the sticky, squishy confines of Dragonair's belly, a young man was fast asleep, his clothes slick and slimy but warm, with a little Cyndaquil snuggled in his arms.