This is Insyte's backstory. Not counting Rush's bonus story, it's chronologically the first story in the Exile Series in which Slick appears. If you dig deep enough into the forums, you'll find the original version from 2010. Anyway, this version started in 2013, when someone on FF.net provided a brutally honest review of the original. Since I'd already revamped the series continuity starting with aRiE, I decided to rewrite Shadowed Path, as the original had a rather underwhelming climax. Of course, I didn't know how long this rewrite would take...
Chapter 1: Fire is Light
An Espeon and an Umbreon padded through the empty streets of Celadon, their paws weary and exhausted. They looked at each other sorrowfully, and then glanced towards the base of the pedastal in the sleeping city's plaza.
There, they had laid a young infant Eevee, its eyes still closed, the ears still curled down over its face. The Umbreon trembled with hesitation as he looked down at the quivering bundle of fur that was his son, his rose-red eyes clouded in grief. "Are you sure this is the right thing to do, Solus?" whispered the Umbreon. "Is it right to fight destiny?"
Solus closed her eyes as she secured the makeshift collar on the Eevee's neck. "It's the only thing that we can do, Lunus," said the Espeon wearily, her head low. "The Vulcanites... they will tear him apart if they find him. And we must not forget the warnings from the sky... When he becomes fire, he will turn upon us. He must never go through such things..."
"I... I don't know if this is the right choice anymore," said Lunus, his golden rings flickering. "We can't hide from destiny forever. Sooner or later, the two of us will will have to answer for what we've done tonight..."
"Kip kip, mud-mud kip," said the Mudkip, shaking his head with mock disappointment as he followed his trainer out of the diner and onto the cobblestone street, glancing back inside to a girl with a yellow skirt and a white blouse. "Mud mud. Kip kip kip, mud mud, kip kip mud, mud kip!"
Shrugging, fourteen-year-old Slick zipped up his jacket and scanned the darkened street for the oncoming headlights of approaching cars. "I don't think exchanging numbers would've been a good idea, Rush," said the trainer, glancing down to his Pokemon with a small smile. "I mean, her dad was standing right there, watching us."
Though he'd only been a trainer for a year, Slick felt he was getting the hang of talking to his Mudkip. In eight years of school, no one had ever bothered to mention that Pokemon had just as much complexity in language as humans, if not more.
The Mudkip grinned as they crossed the street, trotting down the sidewalk towards the hotel where Slick was staying. "Kipkip kipmud kip kip, mud mud kip!" said Rush brightly, opening his mouth wide as if to spit a stream of water. "Mud mud kip! Kip mud, kip mud ki-i-ip." The Mudkip tugged at his cheeks, giving his best 'love-face' imitation.
The evening breeze was cool on Slick's face, a refreshing change from summer, but not quite winter. "Seriously, though, her dad might've been with one of the gangs around here," said the trainer as they reached a street corner, crouching down so that Rush could hop up into his arms. "Besides, it's getting late, and I doubt we'd run into each other again."
From the corner of Slick's elbow, the Mudkip stared at the city's casino standing on the far corner of the intersection, neon lights flashing in the dark like a swarm of Volbeats. "Mud mud kip?" asked Rush, his voice growing quiet, glancing up at his trainer as they passed black graffiti on the wall. "Kip kip, kip mud mud, mud kip kip."
Slick glanced down at the ground. "I'm sure my dad'll pay off the gambling debts before anyone comes for him," said the boy softly, hugging the Mudkip close as they crossed the street and continued past the Game Corner. "Well, I guess the gangs did back off a lot..."
Up ahead in the city plaza, surrounded by park benches and wandering citizens with cigarettes, stood the bronze statues of a Trainer and his Pokemon, gazing down over the people of Celadon City. "Kip kip!" exclaimed Rush, perking up, tugging at Slick's sleeve insistently. "Kip kip, mud mud kip?"
Colored with muted metal dyes, the human statue had a red vest over a white T-shirt and standard-issue blue jeans. A baseball cap was pulled low over the trainer's eyes, a secretive smile on his face. Behind the trainer stood a Venusaur, a Blastoise, and a Charizard, all immortalized in bronze, and in the trainer's arms sat a Pikachu with proud, gleaming eyes.
"Yeah, it's him, all right," said Slick softly as he approched the statue. Squatting down, he examined the pedastal's inscription. "'In commemoration of Kanto's youngest Champion, Red Backfield and his Pokemon, who disbanded the crime syndicate Team Rocket and saved our streets from decay...'"
Slick smiled weakly. "He really is the youngest Champion, isn't he," said the trainer, glancing down at the ground. "Wasn't he... eleven when he entered the Hall of Fame? I guess he didn't need to finish school before getting his Pokemon..."
There was an awkward silence; then, Slick forced a chuckle. "Skills are skills, I guess," said the trainer, rising to his feet. "Maybe, some day, they'll make a statue of us!" The Mudkip grinned and closed his eyes as Slick's hand patted him, scratching him gently just behind the fin.
Rush and Slick exchanged glances as a pitiful whimper came from the other side of the statue, a soft, quivering whimper. At the base of the pedastal lay a miserable Eevee pup, rocking back and forth from side to side, eyes glistening with tears that soaked into its torn fur. There was a crude cardboard strip around his neck, like a handmade collar.
"I wonder what happened to him," whispered Slick. He took a Poke Ball from his belt, a finger resting on the silver button at the line where the two halves of the capsule met, then held back. "Rush, come here... Can you figure out what's going on, what he's doing here?"
The Mudkip nodded and began to examine the Eevee, but every time he touched his fur, the little Pokemon trembled and sobbed harder. Each time he tried to ask the Eevee a question, it turned its little head away. "Kip, kip-kip," said Rush, looking back up at Slick helplessly. "Kip mud. Mud-mud kip, kip kip?"
Nodding, Slick removed the cardboard collar, exposing a raw patch of skin at the back of the Eevee's neck, red and missing bits of fur. "Well crap," muttered Slick, glancing around the plaza. Whose Eevee was this? He looked at the cardboard strip to check for a makeshift tag, but found nothing. "Right... what asshole did this? I swear, if I find him, I'm gonna"
At once, Rush reached up and slapped Slick with a paw. "Kip kip!" said the Mudkip indignantly, pointing at the Eevee again, then making a slicing motion across his throat. "Kip kip mud, mud KIP kip!"
Slick sighed again and rubbed his temples. "This is getting strange," said the Trainer, shaking his head. "Still...he looks... sad and lonely... and like... I just..." He bent down and scooped the Eevee cub up into his arms. "Okay, you're right. We'll get him to a Pokemon Center." Rush smiled weakly, and the three left the plaza, hurrying towards the familiar red-and-white building at the far end of the street.
The two passed through the Pokemon Center's automatic glass doors and approached the sattendant at the counter with the infant Eevee. "Um, excuse me," said Slick nervously, setting the Eevee down on the counter. "I've got an Eevee here, and he looks bad. I don't know whose it is."
The attendant blinked. "Another one?" said the attendant, standing up and taking the Eevee from the counter. she took the Eevee over to the large healing machine against the wall, setting the infant down on one of the six glass tiles of the machine. "That's the seventeenth stray we've had all week. I'll get him some milk and tend to his wounds. Hold tight."
Nodding, Slick settled down in a chair at a glass table with Rush, staring down at his own reflection. "I'm starting to think that Celadon City's gotten overcrowded," said the attendent as she started up the healing machine. "You have to admit... there's cities in almost every corner of the earth these days..."
After some time had passed, there was a series of chimes emanating from the healing machine, a fanfare of flashing lights, and the Eevee's body glowed a brillaint white. As the healing light engulfed the Eevee's body, the attendant examined the computer connected to the healing machine. "It appears that this is a wild Eevee," said the nurse, studying the screen. "By Indigo League standards, he's level 5."
Blinking, Slick glanced up as the attendant took the Eevee from the healing machine and placed it on the counter. Eevees were almost impossible to find in the wild. "Since they're an endangered species, I'm afraid I'll have to register you with the Kanto Board of Wildlife Conservation if you want to keep him," said the attendant. "Otherwise, he'll be tagged and released into the wild, away from the city."
Slick hesitated as Rush hopped up onto the counter to look at the Eevee. "I can... take him with me?" said the boy, incredulous, staring at the peacefully sleeping infant Pokemon. There was something about this Eevee which endeared itself to Slick, almost begging to follow him on his journey. Its fur rippled with the pulsating lifeblood coursing deep within its body, the ears flicking in desperation even as its nose twitched with eagerness. Mystic voices echoed in Slick's ears, their words jumbled together and incomprehensible.
Slick blinked and stepped back, his senses overwhelmed. He took a slow, deep breath to clear his head, then grinned at the attendant. "I'll... I"ll take him with me," said Slick, taking his Trainer ID card from his wallet and handing it to the attendent. "Here you go."
The attendent nodded and took the ID card from Slick, handing him a form to fill out. Glancing to the cardboard collar sticking out from Rush's mouth, Slick studied the inscription for a moment, then grinned and jotted down a name for the Eevee.
The attendant turned to the terminal and swiped the card through a slot on the side of the computer, Slick's profile slowly loading on her screen. "Aurton 'Slick' Silversky, ID #39613, age 14, graduated from Viridian Union School," said the attendant, glancing at Slick. "Is that all correct?"
"Last name used to be Sierpinski, actually," said the Trainer as he finished signing the paper. "Great-grandparents came from another country, name spellings accidentally got tweaked in immigration stations. Customs tried to correct the spelling, and 'Silversky' stuck."
She smirked slightly as she looked over the Eevee's name. "But you grew up from around here, I take it," said the nurse. Hitting the enter key, she whisked the contract over to the file cabinets, then returned to shake the Trainer's hand. "And that's it! You're all set. Take good care of the Eevee, okay?"
Slick nodded and picked up the Eevee from the counter. "Thanks," said Slick, smiling as he gazed down upon the young cub in his arms, who began to sob harder at the human's touch. "There, there," mumured the Trainer as he carried the Eevee away and out into the evening air. "It's all right... you're safe now..."
From his master's shoulder, Rush watched Slick comfort the Eevee as they made their way down the street towards the motel. Looking pleased, he let go of the cardboard strip that had been on the Eevee's neck, letting it fall to the asphalt, the Unown glyphs just barely visible in the glow of traffic lights: "Twithraewen fyrleoht insyte faldem."