Arzure lures the faerie of the forest out into civilization to take him trick or treating and help show that the world is not as hostile as the young espeon believes.
The First Trick or Treat
“Arzure?” Calex met his raboot friend at their usual meeting spot at the edge of his forest. The six-year-old orange espeon floated in the air, naked of any clothing as always as he stared at his friend in complete confusion. “You… Seem to have something um… I don’t know how to say this… Are you wearing another pokemon’s pelt? Except…” The espeon floated around the raboot getting a good look. “It’s not real? Why are you wearing a fake pelt?”
“It’s a costume.” The blue and black raboot resisted the urge to laugh. The ‘pelt’ Calex was referring too was the nickit hood and cloak he was currently wearing. “For Halloween. Do you not know what Halloween is?”
“Halloween?” The espeon sat down with his legs folded while still floating in the air. “You mean tonight? Are you talking about Hallow’s Eve, the night when the boundaries between the material and spiritual world are at their weakest?”
“Wait what?” Arzure was caught off guard briefly. Mostly because there was a very real chance that Calex was referring to a real event. After all, ever since meeting the ‘faerie of the forest’ Arzure had been forced to reevaluate some of his world views. It would seem quite a bit of folklore had some degree of truth behind it. “That’s a thing? But wait, if spirits visit wouldn’t they just be ghost type pokemon?”
“Not exactly.” Calex shrugged. “I’ll admit I don’t really understand what makes one a spirit and what makes one a ghost pokemon. But they’re definitely two different things. Spirits don’t take the form of any known ghost pokemon, and they don’t belong in this world whereas ghost pokemon do. Sort of. Usually if you have one wondering around on this is means something very bad happened. Often, they seek revenge for a past tragedy. That’s why Hallow’s Eve is a day to keep your guard up. You never know who might secretly be a spirit coming to claim their revenge. You might not have even have wronged them. They just might seek vengeance against an entire town, everyone of a certain age group or gender, or a pokemon type or-“
“That’s enough I get the idea.” Arzure shivered. The idea that vengeful ghosts were a real thing wasn’t something he wanted to think about right now. “But, I guess Halloween is the same thing… But it’s more a holiday where children dress up in costumes, go around and collect candy?”
“Wait, you mean those small, sweet things you’ve brought me from time to time?” Calex’s eyes lit up as he flew in a circle around the taller raboot. “How do we find this candy, do we follow a map? Solve a riddle?”
“You just dress up in a costume and go door to door.” Arzure explained. “Which is why I’m wearing this. It’s called trick or treating. You ring the doorbell, someone answers, you ask trick or treat, and they give you candy.”
“Trick or treat?” The espeon’s eyes lit up with mischief. “So what happens if they choose trick? Am I allowed to use my powers then or-“
“NO!” Arzure quickly shut that down. Last thing he needed was Calex to start turning everyone they met into little kids tonight. “You don’t actually play any tricks on them.”
“Then why even ask trick or treat?” The espeon tilted his head.
“Tradition I guess?” Arzure rubbed the back of his head. “I don’t know the entire thing. But no tricks, you just get candy.”
“Seems weird to give a choice that’s not a choice… But you’re saying I can get free candy… So what do I do first?” Calex licked his lips thinking of the treats to come. It gave Arzure cause for concern. The espeon lived by himself in the forest. There would be no adults around to make him act responsibly and not devour all the candy in one night. The idea of the forest faerie on the mother of all sugar rushes was frightening, then there was the matter of how sick he’d be after. Or… Would he? Did Calex even get sick? There was so much about the magical espeon that Arzure didn’t know.
“Slow down, first you need a costume. You can’t go as yourself.” Arzure explained. “It’s part of the tradition.”
“So it’s like a disguise.” Calex rubbed his chin. “You disguised yourself as another pokemon. I can do the same thing but what…” He thought. “AH! I know just the thing… And you gave me the stuff for it not too long ago!” With that remark the espeon turned and flew straight back towards the heart of the forest as fast as he could. Arzure knew better than to even attempt to catch up.
Eventually the espeon returned, holding a round piece of paper in his hand and a tape roll in the other.
“What’s that?” Arzure asked.
“I have been practicing these arts and crafts things you told me about.” Calex replied. “It’s a good way to pass the time when nothing is happening in the forest. So I made a costume real quick.” He held up the small round paper revealing that it was colored in gold with a few lines. It looked like the coin on a meowth’s head. The espeon then used the tape to tape the coin over his forehead gem. “And now, everyone will think I’m a normal meowth.”
“Maybe.” Again Arzure had to resist the urge to laugh. He doubted that the paper coin was going to be enough to make people not notice the forked tail, the extra tufts of fur near his ears, or the fact that he was constantly levitating in the air. But the goal wasn’t a disguise anyway and he saw no reason to ruin the espeon’s fun. “In that case, let’s get going. I brought a spare bucket for you.”
“Going?” Calex landed on the ground. He began to run his hands through his ponytail nervously. “Like… Going outside the forest going?”
“You’ve been outside the forest before now.” Arzure pointed out.
“But it’s Hallow’s Eve.” Calex protested. “Spirits could break through and the forest might need protecting… Or your town might be overtaken by spirits. Or… Or… Any number of things could go wrong!”
“Look, it’s alright.” Arzure placed a hand on Calex’s shoulder. He knew being away from the forest made the espeon uncomfortable. He was trying to help him work on that. The fact he had gotten him out for short periods of time was a sign he was making progress, but the espeon was still nervous. “You can sense if anything goes wrong in the forest while you’re away from it, right?”
“Right…” Calex muttered.
“And the town isn’t far away if any nasty spirits show up you can fly back right away.” Arzure assured him. “As for other things that can go wrong, I’ll be with you the entire time. Nothing in town is going to get you.”
“Y-you promise?” Calex looked up at Arzure with eyes desperate for reassurance. It was strange. In terms of raw firepower, Calex was easily the most powerful pokemon in the town. His psychic abilities were unrivaled even by adult professionals in the league. And then there was his magic. If anything, people should be scared of Calex, but the espeon always acted terrified of going into town.
“I promise. I’ll be with you every step of the way.” Arzure held out a hand and grabbed Calex’s. “And I brought you this.” With his other hand he was holding two buckets in the shapes of cauldrons. “Before tonight is over we’ll fill these up completely.”
“Completely?” Calex’s eyes went wide as he floated back into the air.
“They’ll probably overflow and be piled on top.” Arzure grinned. “So many treats just waiting to be had.”
“Hmmmmm.” Calex appeared deep in thought. “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s go!” He flew in a circle around Arzure and then out past the line of trees that marked the start of the forest. He was out of the woods that was a good sign.
“Alright, alright just wait up!” Arzure laughed as he chased after Calex.
Eventually they made it to the river that separated the path to Calex’s forest from the town. There was no natural bridge. In past times, Arzure had used a rope tied to separate points on either side of the river to cross it. After witnessing this a few times Calex had requested they bring him a lot of rope. He had weaved the ropes together, and now there was a bridge made over interwoven rope. It was attached to a sturdy rock on the town side of the river and to the ladder of a slide on the abandoned playground on Calex’s side. The rock could easily be pushed up and down near the river shore to hide the entire bridge underwater or raise it up so they could cross. Since Arzure had to raise it earlier to cross the bridge was still up. However, he didn’t get a chance to walk across it because as soon as they reached the river he found himself lifted up off his feet by Calex’s psychic powers and placed down on the other side.
“Okay… Where do we go first?” Calex asked.
“Let’s start by getting back to my neighborhood and we’ll go door to door.” Arzure replied.
“Right!” Calex replied happily as he floated next to Arzure and they headed to their first house.
“Okay, remember, when someone answers the door you just say trick or treat, then you get the candy.” Arzure reminded Calex as they stood (well Arzure stood, Calex floated) on the front porch of a house. “That’s al there is to it.”
“Okay!” Calex nodded eagerly as Arzure rang the doorbell. After a couple of a seconds the door was answered.
“What do we have here?” An elderly kangaskhan asked as she looked between the two kids.
“Trick or tr-“ Calex froze in the air before finishing the statement as he saw the adult pokemon. He made a scared squeaking noise and flew straight behind Arzure to hide. Every now and then he’d slowly peak out from behind the raboot’s back, see the adult pokemon was still there and go back to hiding.
“It’s his first time trick or treating and he’s a little shy.” Arzure did his best to cover for Calex’s strange behaviors. Thankfully, due to Calex being so young it wasn’t that hard. “He’s not used to talking to strangers, so I’m keeping an eye on him tonight for his parents.” Arzure supposed this was true. He had no idea who or what Calex’s parents were, but he was sure they’d appreciate him helping the espeon out.
“I see…” The kangaskhan gave a gentle smile. “If it’s his first time maybe we should make it extra special. Let me see your buckets.” Arzure eagerly held his out, while Calex continued to hide behind him.
“Calex, you need to offer her the bucket if you want her to put candy in it.” Arzure replied.
“…Okay.” Calex replied in a whimper. He didn’t come out from hiding but his bucket floated out. The kangaskhan poured a generous amount of candy bars into both buckets. She didn’t react to the floating bucket with much surprise. Psychic types weren’t exactly uncommon.
“Well hope you two have a good night.” She gave another smile before shutting the door.
“A-a-arzure.” Calex hissed. “You didn’t tell me there were going to be big pokemon.”
“I kind of thought it was implied.” Arzure gave a heavy sigh. ‘Big Pokemon’ was Calex speak for adults. He had no idea what the espeon had been through, but something had left the kid absolutely terrified of adult pokemon. “But I’ve told you, most adults aren’t bad. She didn’t do anything to hurt you and gave you cady. Everything is fine.”
“What if the candy is poisoned?” Calex asked.
“Why would it be?” Arzure paused and then decided it was best to show. “Look.” He took one of the candies, unwrapped it and ate it. “See, I’m fine, no poison.” He wrapped his arms around the espeon. He could feel the young child shaking. “It’s okay, no one wants to hurt you.”
“O-okay…” Calex replied. He still sounded nervous but Arzure could feel him stop shaking.
“Alright so next house, try not to hide behind me. Just say the words, they’ll give you the candy and won’t do anything to hurt you. Just try it and see.” Arzure did his best to give a reassuring smile as he guided Calex to the next house.
“T-t-t-trick or treat.” Calex spoke in high pitched voice that was barely louder than a whisper as a lopunny answered the door.
“This is his first time.” Arzure spoke up automatically to explain the espeon’s nervousness. At least Calex wasn’t hiding this time. But he was floating so close to Arzure’s that the raboot could feel his ear fluff poking at him.
“I see… And what are you two supposed to be?” The lopunny tried to give her own reassuring smile.
“I’m a nickit!” Arzure said proudly. “And Calex here… You want to tell her?”
“I’m… Um…” Calex looked up at the lopunny. “A meowth.”
“He made his costume himself.” Arzure added.
“I see.” The lopunny studied the espeon noticing his ‘costume’ was just a piece of paper taped to his head. “Well, I hope you two get a lot of candy tonight and that his first time goes well.” With that she filled both their buckets before closing the door again.
“See?” Arzure gestured. “No one is going to hurt you. They just want to see you have fun and enjoy the night.”
“Do they?” Calex tilted his head. “But that’s not what I remember big pokemon doing. I mean… What they did… I…” Calex placed a paw over his head.
“It’s okay, you don’t need to think about it.” Arzure quickly grabbed Calex’s shoulder to reassure him. The last few times Calex had tried to remember whatever traumatic event had left him like this well… It always ended in loud screaming and random objects being thrown through the air. “Whoever those people were, they were evil and nothing like normal people. So you don’t have to think about it. Just focus on filling that candy bucket.”
“O-okay…” Calex lowered his paw, and Arzure realized crisis averted. He had avoided triggering another PTSD episode for the espeon.
“Now come on, still got so many houses to hit.” Arzure gestured down the street. “Every single house with the lights on wants to give you candy.”
“Every one?” Calex’s voice seemed full of wonder at that. The little kid did have quite the sweet tooth. Trick or treating might just be the perfect event to draw the little espeon out into the world. As nervous as he was, he wasn’t about to risk losing his chance for free sweets.
“Trick or treat.” Calex managed to speak without stuttering at the next house when a hitmonchan answered the door.
“You two related somehow?” The hitmonchan asked noticing the age and species difference between the two pokemon.
“No, I’m just here to keep an eye on him.” Arzure explained. “It’s his first-time trick or treating.”
“I see.” With that remark the hitmonchan gave them an extra helping before closing the door.
“Calex I think you might be a goldmine.” Arzure chucked as they walked away from the house and back down to the sidewalk. Only three houses in and the buckets were already starting to get heavy
“I am?” Calex looked confused. “But I don’t have any ability to create gold.”
“It’s an expression.” Sometimes Arzure had to remind himself that Calex lived in the woods away from all civilization. He didn’t know idioms. “What I mean is I’m getting way more candy because of bringing you with me.”
“You are?” Calex gave Arzure a strange look. “This is… Abnormal?”
“Yup.” Arzure replied. “Usually I get one or two pieces per house, maybe three tops. Not just an entire handful. I still fill the bucket by the end of the night… But the rate we’re going we might need new buckets.”
“Why are they giving more this time then?” Calex asked.
“Because it’s your first time, and you’re nervous, and they want to make it special for you.” Arzure explained. “Most pokemon, adult or child are good people. They see a nervous child so they do what they can to help. They’re all complete strangers but doing what they can to try to make you happy so that your first night trick or treating is a happy memory.”
“But… What do they benefit from it?” Calex asked. “Big pokemon never do anything unless it somehow helps them.”
“They don’t get anything.” Arzure replied. “Other than maybe the satisfaction of having made some kid’s night. We’re the one who get the candy, and we don’t even have to give anything in return. And we do this every year.”
“So… the big pokemon just once a year give out candy without asking anything in return?” Calex sounded unsure, but Arzure could tell he had grown less nervous. Meeting three ‘big pokemon’ in a row who had shown him nothing but kindness certainly helped too challenge the espeon’s view. It was nice to see. Azure couldn’t imagine what Calex had been through to make him so distrusting. All he knew was that if he ever met the people responsible, they were going to get a fiery kick to the face. But, ever since meeting him in the woods and growing up again in the other world he and his friends had been making every effort they could to get Calex to come out into the world. There had been mixed successes previously. They had managed to entertain the espeon but it was always clear that he was uncomfortable in the town.
Plus he had always disappeared the second an adult showed up. It made it really hard for Arzure to prove he existed to other people. Honestly, he had given up on that for now and instead settled for just trying to be a good friend. And tonight, he was pretty sure he had done that. Calex wasn’t disappearing the second an adult pokemon showed up, but managed to even talk to two of them. And who knew how many more he’d talk to before the night was over. Arzure doubted one night of treats was all it would take to undo whatever damage had been done, but it was a huge step in the right direction.
“Come on.” Arzure rubbed Calex’s head fur playfully. “We’ve got a lot more houses to hit before the night is over.”
“O-okay.” Calex nodded. He was still a little nervous, but he wasn’t backing down from it. A huge improvement indeed.
Now the only problem was how to stop Calex from trying to eat all his candy in one night. But that was a problem for after trick or treating was over. For now, there was no time to waste if they wanted to get as much candy as possible. And so the two were off to ring more doorbells and receive more treats.