Venusaur is our newest victim of Pokémon Horror, our series that mines horror from the wonderful pocket monsters from Japan. This week we pull from the Pokédex the third member of the Bulbasaur line.
National Pokédex #003 – Venusaur
The third Pokémon in the series’ “national Pokédex” is the third evolutionary stage of the humble little Bulbasaur, following Ivysaur. Venusaur made its first appearance way back in 1996’s Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green titles. Venusaur graced the cover of the Japanese-exclusive Green version.
Our Pokédex entry for this week comes from one of the latest games in the series, Pokémon Shield:
A bewitching aroma wafts from its flower. The fragrance becalms those engaged in a battle.
A mood-altering flower? I wonder where we’re headed this week…
“The Lotus Eater”
“Way, way back in the day, back when the Kanto region first became settled, there was a certain… uh, delicacy.”
The old man leaned back on the couch, propping himself upright on an elbow as he took a long drag from the pipe. Long, trailing wisps of chemical smoke danced from the glowing embers.
“These days, they’re all protected, you see? Back in the wild days, when we came down from Sinnoh, there were so many more of these things out there. New ones, never seen-” The old man coughed a deep, raspy cough. Flecks of spit phlegm sailed through the air onto a glass table. “The thing is, there were never many of the big ones, those Venusaur.”
He shifted again, trying to find a comfortable position. The pipe fell from between his fingers and embers hit the couch, he swore under his breath as he slapped them away.
“It turned out that these things… their diet changes the chemicals generated by the flower. I’m not a scientist, but-” He shrugged, lighting the pipe and taking another hit. His face glowed slightly in the darkened room.
“Something about a chemical reaction in the stomach combined with the flower… if it ingests just the right thing, the leaves, they change. Tastes different. Like the essence becomes the thing. They’re predators, you know. They will slurp up a Weedle and somehow it just makes the flower pop the right essence – suddenly the Weedles get lured in.”
He took another drag and his suddenly sharpened gaze fixed on the journalist. “It’s like it washes the brain of the critter.”
“Do you know how these things get so big?” His eyes went wide, and in the darkness of the basement, his wrinkles seemed much more diminished. “They eat everything and anything. It didn’t take long for a person to get snatched up by one, wandering in the woods in a strange new land. Probably some dumb settler the first time, I take it.”
He leaned back a bit, his voice grew lower, as a curtain pulled over his words. “Sure enough, those giant flower monsters… the flower made this… pheromone. It didn’t take long for the boss to put two and two together. Soon he had us throwing in people into the Venusaur dens – people who owed him money, nosey guys, you know the type. The type you’re writing about, Rocket and the like”
“One way or another, those people paid their debts. Turns out the chemicals aren’t enough to brainwash a person, at least not in the way it hits a Weedle. They did have their benefits, though. The flowers would get harvested and hit people just right. Not like this fake stuff right now. I remember the pure stuff.”
He lied back down on the couch, drifting off to sleep. His words were slurred, now. “One way or another, the boss would get his money out of them. It was a tidy operation… person in – drug out.”
The pipe rolled out of his hand onto the floor, landing next to a paper wrapper, slightly opened. Ground-up leaves spilled out of the thin, waxy package, stamped with a crudely drawn Venusaur. The journalist picked up the pipe and set it on the table.
He stepped out of the den and into the night air of Celadon City.
Voodoo Priestess returns next week with the iconic and fiery Charmander. See you next time.