PDA

View Full Version : [Pokémon] An Apple a Day (pg 13)


delongbi
March 17th, 2008, 08:55 PM
Genre: Adventure/ Eventual Romance

Summary: 1 Psychic Trainer + 1 Criminal Mastermind + 1 Psychotic Killer + 1 Apple = 1 Great Story (hopefully)



Ok, I am very, very new to all of this. Though I have been reading fanfics for a while, I never created or posted my own before this. In fact, I joined this place so I could post my own story and get feedback on it. I'm very sorry if I ask stupid questions and do not always know what I am doing! I just started writing this, and plan to continue, though I'm not sure how often I will have time to write new chapters. Please, I want lots of feedback! Thanks- and here is the start of my story.

Well, actually I have a stupid question before I post my first chapter- Am I allowed to post this story on other forums/ websites as well?

Oh, and I do not own or create pokemon. (Do I need this disclaimer?)


Ok, now here really is the prologue + 1st chapter

Already Up

Prologue: Doused
Chapter 1: Welcome to My Life
Chapter 2: Typically Atypical
Chapter 3: And Then There Were Six
Chapter 4: Legend by Legendary
Chapter 5: Eevees... 'Nuff Said
Chapter 6: Misadventures
Chapter 6.5: Break It Down Now, Y'all
Chapter 7: Clash
Chapter 8: Reminiscence
Chapter 9: Peepin Pond
Chapter 10: Bonding
Chapter 11: Watch and Watch Out
Chapter 12: Rare Encounters
Chapter 13: Fire Away!
Chapter 14: Visions of the Passed/Past
Chapter 15: Erin's Revenge
Chapter 16: Rock & Roll Disaster
Chapter 17: Mis-Taken
Chapter 18: Emotional Complex
Chapter 19: (Act One) Missing Links
Chapter 20: (Act Two) Sweet 'n' Sour Minus the Sweet
Chapter 21: (Act Three) Di-Vine Dancing
Chapter 22: Mysteries
Chapter 23: Cackle Attack
Chapter 24: Ridiculous to the Max
Chapter 25: Establishing Chaos
Chapter 26: Chaos Established
Chapter 27: Worthwhile
Chapter 28: No Goodbyes
Chapter 29: The Search is On
Chapter 30: Invisible Forces
Chapter 31: Power Exchange
Chapter 32: Bon Voyage
Chapter 33: That Ship has Sailed
Chapter 34: Smells Like Change
Chapter 35: Mendol Muddle
Chapter 36: Styx and Stones Can Break My Bones, But Words Can Never...mind
Chapter 37: Identification, Please
Chapter 38: Stuck in a Bind
Chapter 39: Lost Revelations
Chapter 40: (Act One) To Travel
Chapter 41: (Act Two) Through
Chapter 42: (Act Three) Time
Chapter 43: Break Away
Chapter 44: Fighting the Irr-ash-inal

Written (or being written) But Not Up
Chapter 45: Venomous
Chapter 46: Preparations



Prologue: Doused

** Dark thunderclouds hovered over the usually serene town of Melonbi. A pale young girl, about seven years old, stumbled through the light drizzle, frantically trying to get to her house before the storm. In her rush, she was unaware of the dark figure raging in an intense battle ahead of her until she, quite literally, collided with him, and knocked them both into the sticky mud.

For a second, the man in the dark uniform was stunned. Then, angrily lifting his mud soaked body from the ground, he shouted, "Hey! Brat, watch where you're going!"

"S-s-sorry Mr." The young girl trembled. "I didn't mean—"

"Charizard, quickly, finish it before it starts to rain too hard," the man yelled, pushing the girl aside and returning his attention to the battle. "I'll grab the psychic-proof net, just keep that fire going!"

The man scrambled toward his backpack, about twenty yards from where he had been previously standing. The young fallen girl peered after him and then glanced at the large red monster spurting fire from its mouth. It was clearly exhausted, and the rain was not helping this fire Pokemon. The girl could tell it had undergone an intense battle and curiously looked for the opponent. She caught sight of a small figure in the flames protecting itself with a weak psychic barrier, too weak to move itself from the blaze. The girl felt pity for both creatures, one being commanded to attack under such harsh conditions, the other just trying to protect itself. She wished to help both, but knew she could not possibly help the attacker, for it already had an owner. The girl glanced back at the man. He had reached his equipment and was now fiddling with something, though the girl could not see what through the thick rain.

Suddenly, the girl heard a sharp gasp and then a thud. The girl snapped her head away from the strange man to see the giant dragon Pokemon fainted in the mud next to a smaller, pinkish brown Pokemon. Throwing a nervous glance back at the man, the mud-covered girl staggered toward the two fallen creatures. The small pink Pokemon had not yet fainted and was shivering helplessly in the mud. The girl could now see that the brown on the creature was just disgusting wet dirt and burnt fur. Scooping the pink Pokemon into her arms, the girl frowned sadly at the giant fire Pokemon, wishing there was something she could do. She then saw that the man was running back towards her and the Pokemon. Taking one last glance at the Charizard, the girl turned and fled, cradling the pink Pokemon in her arms. Panting, the girl finally reached her small house. As she climbed through the door, she thought she could hear a scream of agony in the distance. The girl shuddered and went inside. **




Chapter 1: Welcome to My Life

Bright light streamed into my eyes as someone pulled up the blue curtain that had previously blocked out the morning sun, and my consciousness.

<Rise and shine, my friend,> said a slightly sarcastic voice... in my head.

I rolled over and plunged my head, face-down, into my pillow, contemplating my dream. That had to be the thousandth time I had the dream; it has haunted me from the day it actually occurred six years ago. I, of course, was the young terrified girl in the dream, and the Pokemon, well that was—

<Come on, get up! Today's our big day!>

—yes, that was the psychic Pokemon, Mew.

"Okay, okay, I'll be up in a minute Apple," I muffled through my pillow.

Apple was what I named the young Mew I rescued that stormy day because her burnt fur matched the color of the apple trees that grew in my backyard. I wish I could say we had been friends from the day we met, but that would be lying.

When I had first brought Apple home that rainy afternoon, I was scared my mother would not let me keep the wild Pokemon in the house. Ever since my dad left….well, she hasn’t quite been herself.

My mother was always a clean lady, but after my dad abandoned us, she would not tolerate a speck of dirt anywhere. She took to cleaning whenever she became nervous or stressed. She would certainly not tolerate a wild dirty creature that might mess up her precious house.

Thus, I was forced to nurse Apple back to health by stealing old burn heals and half-used potions from my mother's medicine cabinet. She hadn’t thrown out the leftover Pokemon medicine from the days my father lived with us and trained Pokemon.

I kept the small pink creature in a box under my bed. The Mew seemed to dislike me at first. It glared up at me with those violet distrustful eyes when I fed it medicine. A few times I found the box empty, but the Mew always returned more sickly-looking after these instances. The Pokemon was too weak to go far, and had nowhere else to turn for help.

By the time Apple was back to full health, I had earned the Pokemon’s trust. We became friends and played together. The first time the Mew spoke psychically to me, I nearly fainted in shock. It took me a while to get used to having the Pokemon in my head.

I eventually decided it was safe to tell my mom about my pink friend, but when I tried to show her, Mew was nowhere to be found. Similar occurrences happened when I tried to show Mew to my friends. At the time, I did not understand why Mew did not want to be seen. Apple had to explain that an angry man was trying to capture it and it was trying to stay hidden from this person.

<You see,> the small creature told me. <I am a very rare Pokemon containing power I don't even know how to use yet! I was born only two years ago, from the ashes of my father Mew. I don’t have enough power to be able to defend myself from the angry man.>

"What do'ya mean ashes?" I questioned, confused.

<When a Mew is 5,000 years old, it dies, and from its ashes, rises a new Mew,> the pink creature explained.

"If you're only two years old, how do you even know that?!" I asked, bewildered.

The Mew shrugged. <I guess I was born knowing that. But that's not the point. The point is I can't be seen by anyone because they might want to capture me for my power, or worse, they know the angry man! I'm not strong enough to protect myself! I need to hide myself from the world!>

I asked Mew, "Well, why don't you just put on a disguise to hide? That’s what all the people do in the movies."

And that was how Apple learned how to transform into different Pokemon.

After that, Apple came with me to school everyday, and I had a Pokemon just like every other kid. As I mentioned, my mother dislikes Pokemon for their dirtiness. So, though every other kid in school had a creature as a friend, I did not have one until Apple came along, and even Apple did not qualify for some of my classmates. For one, I did not actually have a Pokeball for Apple because Apple refused to be held captive in such a devise, and I refused to capture it. Why would you want your friend kept cramped in a small uncomfortable space anyway?

Apple also did not qualify to some...well, to put it nicely, irritating companions because Apple never came to school in the same form... so the other kids in school never thought Apple was the same Pokemon. One day Apple would pretend to be a Rattata, and the next it would be a Spearow. Apple always picked small, common Pokemon so it would not draw attention to itself.

Anyway, these fellow classmates liked to pick on me before I had a Pokemon, and they continued to do so when seemingly different Pokemon came with me to school every day. One boy and girl in particular, Reece Annnoyingface and Carly Iwantoslapyou (ok, so that’s not their real last names, but they fit really well!), called me some rude, and sometimes unusual, names.

"Poke-lacker!"

"Wildgirl!"

"Crazy-lady!"

"Swicheroo-magoo!"

Like I said, some of the names they came up with were... creative. Well this name-calling business went on for quite some time, and I really did not mind because I ignored them… for the most part. Every once in a while my anger overcame my rational mind and I ended up tackling Carly or Reece to the floor and getting detention. But, that only happened once every other week... or day.

I REALLY only started minding the name-calling when my mom found out about these names, which eventually lead to her discovery of seemingly random Pokemon following me to school. Disliking wild Pokemon, my mother insisted that I stop allowing these Pokemon to follow me. Well, I did not want to be split from my friend, so Apple and I came up with two solutions. We either-

A) had to make Reece and Carly tell my mom that they made the whole thing up and that Pokemon really didn't follow me to school every day (yeah right) or

B) Apple had to pick a form, and I had to convince my mom to let me keep and train a Pokemon.

Since choice A really was not possible, I had to persuade my mom to allow a Pokemon to stay in our house and come to school with me everyday. This task was not actually as hard as I initially believed it to be, for after I mentioned that the dirty wild Pokemon would continue to follow me until I had a trained Pokemon to protect me (so I lied just a little bit), she happily allowed me to keep one Pokemon.

Now the only question was what Pokemon Apple would take the form of. I left that up to Apple; after all, it was Apple's body. Apple, in the end, decided to take the form of Eevee because Eevee could evolve (well, pretend to evolve) into many different types, and therefore Apple had many options. As the Acceber region’s mascot, Eevees also happened to be a common starting Pokemon so it wasn't unusual.

Thus, from that day forth, Apple, as an Eevee, came to school with me, and played with me, and once in a while, battled with me (it is forbidden to battle at school, but I don't believe that such rules apply to people like Reece and Carly), waiting for that special day to come, the day Apple and I could leave school and home behind and go on out own journey. That day is—

<Today! Wake up sometime today! Come on, get up already!>

bobandbill
March 17th, 2008, 11:01 PM
Welcome to the world of fanfiction! don't worry about being new to fanfiction - everyone was at some stage, and incidently, usually when they start out. ;) Yeah, I'll shut up now.

Well, actually I have a stupid question before I post my first chapter- Am I allowed to post this story on other forums/ websites as well?

Yes - put your story wherever you want. It's only not allowed to post it sometimes if it's a fanfiction in a competition, I guess, and then only if specified.

Anyway, onto the story. It's quite good actually, and a different spin on Legendary Pokemon, as a baby Pokemon. I have read one other such story, but it's still a nice concept, and the way you've gone about it is interesting.

The description is quite good here - nice and strong. The prologue was quite enthralling, and well-written. A good introduction there - showed lots of promise and was generally solid. The 1st chapter was also good, including the relavation that it was a Mew (although I had somewhat half-guessed it was so), and the prespective of school from Anita was good and enjoyable. At times the ideas that Anita is trying to convey happen a tad too quickly, and there is the occassional mistake, but overall it was good.

Taking one last glance at the Charizard, the girl turned and fled, cradling the pink pokemon in her arms. Panting, the girl finally reached her small house. As she climbed through the door, she thought she could hear a scream of agony in the distance. The girl shuttered and went inside. **
Shuddered?
Also, if the man had been so intent on getting Mew, would have liked to have seen a chase scene - did seem that she got away far too easily there. The '**' could have been separated form the prologue a bit more as well - formatting issue but, and minor.

At the time, I did not understand why mew did not want to be seen, but it explained to me that many people were trying to capture it and it was trying to stay hidden from these people.

As I mentioned, my mom does not like pokemon very much, especially wild ones, which is why, though every other kid in school had a creature as a friend, I did not have one until Apple came along, and even Apple did not qualify for some of my classmates. For one, I did not actually have a pokeball for Apple because Apple refused to be held captive in such a devise, and I refused to capture it. Why would you want your friend kept cramped in a small unconforable space anyway?
Uncomfortable. Also, an issue with the italiced sentence - it is too long. Occassionally you threaten to do a 'run-on' sentence every so often, with sentences feeling just a tad longer than what it should be. That one was probably the 'worst' of it - not that long, but still far too often. Gives the feeling that Anita is mixing thoughts up and merging the two, or wants to keep going with the sentence. Try shorter sentences instead of extending them with commas, but don't go too extreme and only have short sentences as well.

Also, break up paragraphs - the last one is far too big, and as such isn't the easiest thing in the eyes. Break that up into shorter paragraphs - a simple idea or two per one. There are a few sentences that could be shortend a tad as well there, if you look.

Apple also did not qualify to some...well, to put it nicely, irritating companions

I liked that. :)
One boy and girl in particular, Reece Annnoyingface and Carly Iwantoslapyou
And that. :) The occassional buit of humor is nice and fits in well.

Another thing to add - sometimes you need to capitlise more things. Ie.e Pokemon at times was uncapitlised, and Mew, being the name (like Apple), and of a Pokemon (like Charizard), should be capitlised. Pokeballs as well.

Overall, however, it's quite a good piece of writing - nice concept, good plot and the description (particularly in the prologue) is great. A little rough at the edges in places, but a lot of promise, and rather enjoyable to read. Take your time in continuing this fic, and keep the things I've mentioned in mind, and it should only get better. I look forward to reading more and apply my nitpicky ways upon this more. :)

killin_kobra
March 19th, 2008, 05:59 PM
I loved this story. I would like to make a preposition. Could I put you story on my site? Its located here [link removed] Okay. see ya

Astinus
March 19th, 2008, 06:36 PM
killin_kobra, it's nice that you want to share other people's fanfics and put them on one site, but you're pretty much spamming and advertising. Next time you just post to ask for a fanfic for your site, you'll get a warning. PM these people if you want.

And I'm editing out your website URL, since it's considered advertising.

Link your site in your signature. Actually add some padding to your reviews.

delongbi
March 19th, 2008, 10:52 PM
Thanks for bobandbill the review! I tried to fix most of the errors.

Here is chapter 2!


Chapter 2: Typically Atypical

I had reached the limit of Apple's patience. The Mew disguised as an Eevee used its telekinetic powers to pick me out of my soft bed and toss me onto the ground.

<Drat, I was aiming for the stairs. Oh well, at least you're up!> Apple's excited tone clashed with my usual sleepy thoughts. It made my head hurt.

I groaned and slowly picked up my battered body from the floor. After much of Apple's excessive encouragement, I eventually got dressed and soon found myself staring out the window at the beautiful country of Acceber. My town, Melonbi, was just the small northern tip of the large island. Even from this window, I could see beyond the grassy plains of Melonbi Town to the distant townhouses of Azul City and their reflections in Peepin Pond. It was a beautiful sight. The lush green grass glittered under the bright blue sky, making the scene brilliant in color. If one looked closely, small shimmers of movement could be seen in the taller, golden grass from Pokemon bustling about on this gorgeous day.

I peered closer at the window to inspect my own reflection. My usually straight, dark brown hair was slightly crumpled from my uneasy sleep, so I flipped it back into a ponytail. I stared once more into the clear glass, only to be stared back at by the reflection of my violet eyes. Apple had told me that purple eyes were a sign of a psychic, but if I had any psychic powers, they had yet to reveal themselves. Then again, Apple may have thought this because its eyes were purple as well. Even when Apple transformed into other Pokemon, its eyes contained a slightly violet hue.

"Alright, I'm ready to go." I sighed and turned away from the window. I grabbed my pack of supplies, and my elated Eevee jumped into my arms as I stumbled down the stairs.

"Happy birthday, honey!" my mother exclaimed when I reached the bottom step. After a moment of hesitation from seeing the Eevee in my arms, she thrust her arms around me and Apple.

I was taken by surprise. My mom usually refused to even look at Apple, and to touch the cute little Pokemon was unthinkable. I started, "Mom, what has—"

"Sweetie, I'm s-s-s-so proud of you," she spattered tearfully. "Though I initiall-ly didn't want you to g-go on this quest for P-P-Pokemon..." She stopped, shuddered and took a deep breath, "Now you are thirteen, old enough to make your own d-decisions, and decide what-what is b-best for yours-s-self."

At this point, my mom broke down crying, and I hugged her, trying to provide some comfort. "Don't worry mom, I'll be fine," I told her with a confident tone, but she continued sobbing. "Mom," I tried again. "in the old days, children left home to start on their journeys when they were ten years old. They've changed the laws recently, but the point is they were fine, and I'm three years older than they were! I will be okay. You don't have to stress over it."

My mother chuckled sorrowfully, "I guess it is kind of silly for me to-to-to... I don’t want to lose you after…" My mom stopped, took a deep breath and locked her cerulean eyes with mine. "Take care of yourself, I'll miss you." My mom prepared to bear-hug me again, and disliking its first hugging experience, Apple jumped out of my arms just in time.

After releasing me from her grasp, my mother hurriedly fished for something in her pocket.

"These are for you," my mother quietly murmured, pressing five Pokeballs into my hand. For a second, I stared at her hand, shocked that she would give me such a present. Then I quickly recovered, pocketed the Pokeballs, and pulled her into yet another hug.

"Thanks mom. I'll miss you too," I whispered. "But really, don't worry; I'll be back in no time." Then I turned away from my sobbing parent and headed for the door.

<That was touching,> Apple said smugly while following me through the door.

I didn't reply. Instead, climbed down the pearl-white front porch stairs and mounted my bike. Taking only one quick glance back, I started pedaling south toward Azul City. As I rode away from my home, I could hear my mom shouting goodbyes, and of course, that little psychic voice—

<Hey, wait for me!>

I pedaled faster.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By late afternoon, I had finally forgiven Apple for its sarcasm and let the little Pokemon into the stupid-looking basket attached to the front of my well-worn bike.

<This thing makes me look like I'm some sort of oversized, poorly wrapped traveling gift basket,> Apple complained.

"Well, you would still be chasing the bike looking like a crazy rampant bunny if I hadn't let you back on the bike," I shot back in a raspy voice and then inhaled sharply. I was tired from a long day of non-stop cycling.

<Humph...> the violet-eyed Eevee growled, turning in its oversized gift basket to face the faraway city. Despite traveling most of the day through the great grassy plains, we were not even halfway to Azul City. We had encountered very few wild Pokemon, only a few scampering Rattatas trying to avoid getting run over by my strange looking bike and the crazed Eevee in close pursuit.

<Can we stop soon?> Apple whined. <It's dinner time and I'm hungry.>

I sighed, irritated, and glanced around the flat grassland looking for a place to stop. The sun was starting to set, turning the sky a pale blue. The loss of light made it harder to see into the distance, though I could make out a large mansion on the horizon. The great mansion was too far away for us to stop at for the night, but I spotted a lone tall oak only a few hundred yards away.

"There. See that tree? We'll stay over there for the night," I panted.

I hurriedly pedaled toward the oak tree, my feet pounding from the long day's journey. The pedaling only got harder as I neared the tree. The long, stringy grass seemed to become longer and stringier, constantly trying to tangle my feet in its wispy grasp. Finally reaching the tree, I stumbled off the bike and fell to the ground as my knees buckled in exhaustion.

"Man, I had no idea cycling was this tiring," I mumbled, massaging my legs.

<Come on, I'm hungry! Let's eat dinner!> Apple demanded, nosing the pack.

I reached over the disguised Mew and snatched two loaves of bread, two granola bars, and two apples from the bag.

<Aww, is this all we get for dinner?! I already miss your mom's specially baked potatoes and grilled steak...> Apple squawked. The fluffy Pokemon eyed me slyly, trying to push me to lose my temper.

"Mom wouldn't let you have that stuff! You've never even tried it!" I exclaimed, ignoring Apple's poor attempt to anger me.

<That's what you think.> Apple smirked.

After the meal, I decided we needed to do some training. Apple was so very pleased with this idea.

<WHAT? I just chased your bike for half a day and now you want me to train!!> the Pokemon angrily hollered.

"We have to start some time, and you need to learn to battle in this form and your true form," I replied, rubbing my head.

<Fine, but if I have to train my powers, then you have to train yours.>

"I don't have any powers!!"

<If you have purple eyes, you have psychic powers! Don't you read any books? Every person with purple eyes is a psychic!>

"Whatever. I'll do your training if it makes you do yours," I retorted.

For the next half an hour, I had Apple work on simple techniques like tackle, bite, sand-attack, and quick-attack. By the time we finished with this training, the area looked like thirty Tauros had trampled the area. Broken rocks were sprawled around bent grass and small chips of bark. Satisfied, we moved on to a more complicated move – dig.

<Eww. I don't wanna get my paws dirty!> the Eevee protested.

I sighed. "This move will come in handy if you want to surprise your foes. You should want to learn it."

<I like learning new moves as long as they don't involve me getting covered in dirt.> The Eevee glared.

"You’ve never had a problem with dirt before! You’re just tired. If you do this, we'll be done with my training for the day. I'll have you train as a Mew some other time."

Apple finally complied, and after forty-five minutes of rigorous practice, seemed to have the move down.

<It's not so bad after you get over the 'I'm trapped underground in a tunnel that has the potential to fall at any second’ part,> Apple said sarcastically, still trying to shake the mud from its coat. <And anyway, now it’s your turn to train.>

I rolled my eyes. "What do I have to do?"

<Just sit and relax—>

"I'd love to," I interrupted. I laid my head back against the tree, closed my eyes, and pretended to sleep.

<I wasn't finished! Take deep breaths and listen to the world around you. What do you hear?>

"Your voice," I snorted, peeking an eye open.

<Not funny, Miss Smartypants, but you have a point. Stop trying to listen to me, and listen to that patch of grass over there.> The Eevee pointed a paw toward a small spot of shaking grass.

I closed my eyes again, and after deeply inhaling, tried to listen to the bit of grass. I thought I heard a faint, <Honey, you're late for dinner again! How many times do I have to tell you—>

I opened my eyes in shock and shook my head. The voice must have been my imagination.

<So, did you here anything?> Apple questioned, smirking.

"No," I replied defiantly.

Apple was still smirking. <I think we've had enough training for today. Let's go to bed.>

With that, Apple trotted over to the great oak and curled up beside me. I gazed in wonder at the peculiar Pokemon for a minute, then closed my eyes and was asleep before my head fell back against the tree.

bobandbill
March 19th, 2008, 11:21 PM
Well, what timing - I came just when you released this chapter. Although, a word - don't use chapter releases too quickly - wait at least a few days, although a week is usually better, unless you are just bring a chapter to speed from another forum (like I am ;) )

Anyway, it was good, but sometimes a bit lacking later on in description, which in turn had the pacing of the story moving a little bit too fast. You're description is really good - the description of the region was great, and introduced fantastically. Use more of that description - stick to your strengths. In turn, the pacing of the story will slow down a tad. Made the second half of the story feel bare as it was missing what the first half had, so watch out for that, and when changing things up like that, make a smother transition from lots of description to little descripting, taking some away as you go.

Wouldn't have minded seeing more evnts or so in the second half - for instance, more in the pedalling. She rode on her bike for half a day - think something interesting might have happened, or some of the scenery noted so we get more of an idea on the region, or where she is going. In stories with new regions, it's important to tell the reader what places look like, which you did we in the beginning of this chapter, but could be improved upon throughout the story.

The mew psychiced me out of bed (Apple can use psychic in Eevee form) and tossed me onto the ground.
'psychiced' seems too uncomforatble, don't make up words. Also, don't tell us fact in the middle of a sentence via brackets - instead incorprate this int he story, from Anita's point of view, not the narrators. It feels that you are 'breaking the forth wall', only not in a 'funny' sense, and is a bit inconsistant.


After much of Apple's excessive encouragement, I eventually got myself dressed and soon found myself staring out the window at the beautiful country of Acceber.

Two myself's - repetition, change one of them. Again, good description of the town and region - but maybe have the name and 'type of town' tag separated (i.e. Melonbi Town, not MelonbiTown).
<It's not so bad after you get over the 'I'm dirty and trapped underground in a tunnel that is going to fall' part,>
Missing a, and I suggest cave in instead of fall. Nice somment from Apple however. :)
Interesting meditation as well, I found. :)

Stiil good however - just use more description, slow things down, and keep up the good work!

delongbi
March 20th, 2008, 04:47 PM
You're right, the chapter was rushed and I did not spend as much time as I should have editing it. I tried to tweak it a bit, though I know it still lacks some description. I'll spend more time on future chapters, thanks for the advise again, especially on the how often to release chapters bit.

Alli
March 20th, 2008, 05:12 PM
It's a nice concept...and everyone beats me to all the grammar criticism. X.x

The <'s and >'s are...odd.

And chapter two seems a bit rushed.

delongbi
March 26th, 2008, 10:52 PM
Okeeday, here is chapter 3, a lot longer than I thought it would be.

APs are coming, so it might be a while until the next chapter.

The * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * means there is a change in narrator.

Here we go.


Chapter 3: And Then There Were Six

“Master, we have finished,” a voice said behind me.

I had been impassively staring at the blank basement wall. Now, I turned my swiveling chair to face the speaker behind the desk, though I could barely see him through the dim light.

“It has only taken, what, six years,” I replied sarcastically. “My father would not be pleased.”

“Your father is no longer here,” the speaker retorted, smirking nastily.

That was true enough. My father had died of a heart attack four years ago, leaving me in control. Yet, as this assistant demonstrated, there were many who still refused to give me the same respect they had once given my father.

Instead of becoming offended, I calmly responded, “So, how did you manage to finally complete this horribly overwhelming task?”

“Well, as you know, for the past few years we have been developing ways to track rare Pokemon. We have recently discovered that all Pokemon emit certain auras specific to their particular species. These auras can be tracked by gathering the DNA of the particular species, and we have been rather successful in tracking numerous Pokemon. However, until now we have been unable to track one specific, important Pokemon, for this Pokemon contains DNA of every other Pokemon known to man." The man paused to catch his breath.

“Yes, I know about this mysterious, what do we call it, Pokemon ‘X’,” I muttered.

Ignoring me, the assistant continued, “Three weeks ago, one of our researchers finally located a strand of DNA specific only to Pokemon ‘X’ by intensely studying the DNA of Pokemon ‘X’ collected by your father six years ago. Over the past few weeks, we have been installing a device to trace this DNA, and now we finally have a machine that tracks Pokemon ‘X’.”

“So now we can track Mew,” I murmured, turning back to face the wall in my swivel chair. “Let the hunting begin.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Something was not right. The air felt strange, as if it had changed during the night, but my garbled morning mind could not yet comprehend the exact difference. Eyes still tightly shut, I sniffed the sweet-smelling air as it lightly tickled my face but quickly sneezed twice. I knew what was wrong. The air was wet.

Finally opening my eyes, I groaned. It was raining, and my clothes were already damp. I peered next to me and found Apple was also just waking up to this lovely morning.

<Oh pooh, I'm wet.> The Eevee pouted as it began changing its form.

I stared blankly at the creature as its long ears shortened into pink stubs and its tail grew long and whip-like. As soon as Apple had transformed into its original form, it began changing again. This time its tail became blue and flat, and its head widened into a football shape with purple antennas sprouting from the sides.

Finally snapping out of my brief space-out, I glared angrily at Apple, who had finished transforming into a silly-looking Wooper. "What are you doing? Someone could have seen!"

The Mew sniffed and rolled its eyes. <We're in the middle of nowhere and its dumping rain. We are obviously going to encounter other human life forms.>

"You never know," I defensively replied, "Plus, you'll have to transform back before we get to that mansion."

<What, are we planning on stopping there?>

"Nooo, I want to travel in this weather," I retaliated, voice thick with sarcasm.

<You don't like the rain?> Apple smiled smugly. <I think it's rather nice.>

"Not all of us can transform into oddly-shaped wingless ducks that resemble platypuses with their faces smashed in," I grumbled, getting to my feet. I squinted into the distance and could barely make out the outline of the large mansion a mile or two away. Sighing, I picked up my bike and winced as I thought of the horrible discomfort my already tired legs were about to undergo.

"We had better get going," I told Apple as I glanced down at the rapid-forming mud. "If we don't leave soon, the ground will be too muddy for us to bike through."

<Can we at least eat breakfast first?> Apple pleaded.

I quickly rummaged through my pack until I found the last two pieces of bread. After stuffing a portion into Apple's wide mouth and garbling down the other piece, I pushed Apple into the bike-basket, mounted the vehicle, and took off at a rather slow pace.

The sticky mud attacked the bicycle wheels from all sides, constantly forcing the bike's speed to decrease. The mud only got worse as the light rain became a strong downpour, and within ten minutes, Apple and I were forced to dismount the bicycle and continue by foot. Though we were now less than a mile away from the mansion, the large house remained almost invisible to our eyes, hidden behind a curtain of rain.

As we wearily drudged through the heavy raindrops, I reminded Apple that it needed to change back into its Eevee form before we reached the mansion.

<Why should I change? This form is much more suitable for the weather,> the Mew argued.

"The people of Melonbi Town believe that I left with an Eevee as my starting Pokemon. If I were to encounter someone from Melonbi Town, or even someone who was friends with a Melonbi citizen, news would spread that I was not traveling with the Eevee I had started with, and people would become curious or even suspicious.

You once told me that there are people who are after your power. You used to be so fearful that someone would track you down… If you want to stay hidden, you have to appear in only one form, otherwise people may come to investigate," I tiredly reasoned. I had to make Apple understand the danger of morphing into different Pokemon.

<Pshht.> Apple blew off my warning. <I doubt the people who tried to capture me are even looking for me anymore. It’s been years! They probably gave up long ago.>

"Yeah right! The man I found trying to capture you did not look like the giving-in type. The only reason he did not chase me after I ran away holding you was because of the heavy rain. By the time he found his Charizard lying on the ground, the heavy rain would have prevented him from seeing the direction I had run." I paused, reflecting on that terrifying memory, but then shook my head and continued, "Nevertheless, even if that man gave up, there are others who want that kind of power. There are always others."

<Like that team that has been on the news recently for stealing strong Pokemon?>

I looked at Apple in surprise. Apple had preferred to run around outside while my mom and I watched the evening news, so I didn't think Apple knew about the Glop'emm Organization. Members of that team had recently been on the news; a few members had been caught trying to steal a rare shiny Ninetales from the gym leader of a town southeast of Azul City called Tinted Town. Frowning slightly, I murmured, "Yes, like that team."

Glancing toward the mansion, I realized we were only a few hundred yards away from the grand, looming house. I could now see there was a dangerous-looking black fence surrounding the house. Through the downpour, I could also make out a twisted road that was weaved through the fence and ended suddenly at the hideous entrance to the gaudy mansion. I stopped suddenly, realizing how close to the dark house we really were. Turning my head to glare at Apple, I insisted, "Change back now, before we reach the mansion."

<Ok, ok, I will.> Apple scowled and changed once again into a floating pink creature and then back into a wet white and brown Eevee.

We continued dragging our feet, or in Apple's case, paws, through the brown slush toward the house until Apple suddenly stopped. <Did you hear that?> Apple questioned, eyes darting and ears twitching.

"Hear what?" I glanced around, but could not see or hear what Apple was referring to.

<This way,> the Eevee replied in an excited tone. It pranced away, angled in slightly different direction than the one we had previously been traveling. I quickly followed the leaping Pokemon through the intense water drops, halting only when I heard a low growl coming from the ground ahead.

"Apple," I nervously whispered. "What was that?" I peered toward the Mew, only to find the quick Pokemon had continued jumping forward. Following hurriedly, I squinted through the rain, trying to locate the source of the growl. I could barely make out two entities on the ground just ahead. One, probably the source of the growl, was a Pokemon, though I could not tell what type, and the other was a box that seemed, strangely enough, to be whimpering.

As I cautiously approached, I realized the growling creature looked startlingly like Apple; the creature was an Eevee.

Unlike Apple, its fur coat was tattered and drenched with mud, as if it had not been groomed in days. The creature was in an attacking position, its eyes flashing angrily at us. Peering past the Eevee, I saw it was standing in front of the strange box, as if it was guarding it. I inched closer to the Eevee and the curious box, and the Eevee's growl became a fierce bark. Suddenly, the creature pounced at me. I quickly dodged and backed away, stumbling over Apple, who had crept behind my legs to watch the scene.

"Apple, tell it we mean no harm!" I exclaimed, still backing away from the wild Eevee.

<I already tried. It's no use, it seems to distrust humans and Pokemon alike.>

"Well, do you at least know what's wrong with it?" I asked tensely.

<Yeah, it—> Apple paused thoughtfully, and then continued, <I know, but I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to find out yourself.>

"WHAT?? This is not the time for silly games!!! I can't speak Pokemon languages! There is no way for me to convey the message 'Hello, I see you are distressed. May I ask what is wrong?’" I yelled angrily at Apple.

Apple grinned. <Oh, yes you can. You can use telepathy.>

"ARE YOU MAD?!? For the last time, I DON'T HAVE ANY PSYCHIC POWERS!!" I screamed, causing both Apple and the other Eevee to flinch.

<Relax, relax,> Apple said soothingly. <It's really not hard. Remember how you listened to the patch of grass last night? This is almost the same, but instead of reaching out with your mind and listening, you need to reach out with you're mind and think a message.>

I opened my mouth to scream at Apple once more but closed it after deciding it would not help the situation. Slowly, I closed my eyes and tried to reach out my mind toward the creature.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

<That was out loud.> Apple rolled its eyes, and then suggested, <Try again.>

This time, I first listened to the Eevee with my mind, though I did not hear any thoughts. Then, I thought <What's wrong?>

<What do you care, human?> came a nasty reply.

Startled, I opened my eyes. Apple was smirking. <Told you so.>

After throwing a glare at Apple, I closed my eyes again and projected toward the Eevee. <You're clearly hurt. I can help you!>

<And why should I trust you?> the wild Eevee snarled.

<If I wanted to attack you, I already would have. I have no reason to want to harm you!> I paused to see the Eevee's reaction. When I saw none, I continued, <Right now we are just wasting time I could be spending getting you to a Pokemon Center!>

<Fine, but—> the wild Eevee was cut off as it fell to the mud fainted from exhaustion. Its breathing became shallow and its body twitched in its fainted state.

Apple curiously sniffed the Eevee as I peered into the box. I gasped in surprise at what I saw. Inside, there were four rather small baby Eevees, all appearing fragile and underfed. They shivered in their knocked out state, making the box quiver as I picked it up in my hands.

"So this is why that Eevee was so protective of this box," I muttered. Then I called out to Apple, "We need to get help for these guys fast! Let's take them to the mansion."

I clambered over to Apple and the wild Eevee, and added as an afterthought, "Anything else I should know about these Eevees?"

<All five of them are siblings. This one, > Apple nodded toward the fierce Eevee lying on the ground. < is a male about two years old. The other four in the box are from the same litter and are only about four months old. Two are female and two are male.>

"How did you know that?" I asked as I gently picked up the oldest Eevee in my free arm and placed him in my bicycle basket.

<I can smell it.> The Mew shrugged. <Oh, and one more thing; these Eevees were abandoned by their trainer a few days ago. That's why the oldest one was so mistrustful.>

"And you can smell that information as well?" I asked doubtingly. With one arm around the box and the other dragging my bicycle, I started once again to rapidly walk toward the mansion.

Apple trotted up beside me. <No, I found that out by telepathically asking the Eevee before you arrived.> The wet Eevee smirked. <By the way, your telepathic skills are not all too shabby for a beginner, though there is no need for you to close your eyes when you communicate.>

I shot an angry look at Apple and refused to speak for the following five minutes it took to reach the gloomy front gate of the mansion.

Leaning my bike against the dark creepy fence, I gathered the fainted wild Eevee in my free arm and pushed through the menacing gate. A chill ran down my spine as I approached the tall rounded doors of the mansion. The bronze knockers on the doors were in the shape of roaring Arcanines that seemed to have abnormally long fangs. I examined the door for a doorbell. Upon spotting it, I asked Apple to ring it with its telekinesis as my hands were full.

DONG

DONG

DONG

The doorbell rang forebodingly. I patiently waited as the rain continued to patter down on my head. Apple shuffled its feet anxiously and pointed its ears forward, moving into an alert stance. The grand doors slowly creaked open and I heard a voice say, "How may I help you?"

Peering through the open doors, I found myself facing a well dressed butler. In one hand he held a tray with what resembled a cup of tea on it, and he had used his free hand to open the door. Behind the man was a great golden hall. Glittering crystals sparkled around small lights that were attached to the large walls, and a great twinkling chandelier fell from the ceiling. A large wooden staircase that possessed a golden railing made the vivid scene even more dramatic as it spiraled through the center of the hall.

I gaped at the amazing sight. Then, remembering the Eevees, I started to speak, "These Pokemon need—"

Something on the staircase caught my eye. For a second time, I gaped in astonishment.

"Carly?" I gasped, forgetting the butler entirely.

The figure on the staircase turned toward the door.

"Carly, what are..." my voice trailed off as I suddenly came to a horrible realization. This house belonged to—

"This is my house pea-brain!" Carly called from the staircase. The girl then marched down the rest of the staircase and hollered, "John, I'll handle this. Go serve my mother her tea!"

"Yes, ma'am," the butler replied as he scurried away.

I stared in shock at the approaching girl. She had brilliant blond hair that matched the color of the surrounding corridor. Her eyes were a dark grey, contrasting sharply with her light hair. However, the potentially beautiful effect was ruined by the permanent sneer the girl wore glued to her face.

"What the hell do you want?!?" the girl barked.

Snapping back to reality, I hastily replied, "Hey Carly, good to see you too."

"I asked WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?" the girl yelled.

Backing away slightly, I nervously replied, "I know we haven't been the best of friends, but I found these Pokemon..." I stopped talking after I glanced at Carly's face and found it flushing a deep red, her eyes filled with intense hatred. She was staring directly at the hurt Eevee in my arms.

"How dare you... you... get them out of here..." Carly's voice shook with fury.

"Carly, these Pokemon are hurt! I'm sure you have some potions! Please, they need help!" I pleaded.

The angry girl ignored my plea and instead looked coldly at me. "Why did you bring them back?"

I looked at her, bewildered. "What are you talking about?"

"Last week," Carly sniffed and paused dramatically. "these Eevees... destroyed my life!"

I rolled my eyes at the drama queen. "What could five Eevees have possibly done to destroy your life? Did they eat your make-up or something?"

"No, even worse! They chewed up my very best ball gown dress!" Carly cried. I looked into her face and saw her eyes were actually full of tears. This insane girl was serious.

I was too astounded to speak so Carly continued, "Well, even though my Auntie gave them to me as an early birthday present, I couldn't have any wild creatures ruining my outfits." Carly shuddered and then added, "Those Eevees were way too vicious to stay so I left them outside my gate two days ago. Now, you bring the devils back to-"

"You're the person who abandoned and nearly starved these Eevees!" I yelled angrily, "You kicked them out of the house because they ate a dress?!?"

"I was going to wear it—" Carly started.

"I DON'T CARE! I am holding five hurt Eevees that need help! Will you help them?!" I screamed.

"Them..." Carly sneered. "They deserve the pain." The cruel girl then abruptly turned and slammed the door. This was probably a smart move, for if the girl had stood in front of me for one more second, I may have tackled her to the ground. I looked down at Apple, and found it was shaking in anger.

<Let... me... tear... her ... to ... pieces,> the Mew growled.

"I would let you if it were legal." I sighed and looked down at the shivering Eevees. "Well, we've got to get these guys to a Pokemon Center as soon as possible. We'd better hurry."

As we battled the wind and the rain to get to my bike, an idea came to me. "Apple, can you transform into Chansey? You could use Softboiled to heal these Eevees."

Apple shook its head, <I can't. In order for me to transform into a Pokemon, I have to have met one of their kind, and I have not yet encountered a Chansey.>

"Oh well." I exhaled wearily as we exited the dreary gates.

<Umm, Anita, how are you going to carry all of these Eevees to the Pokemon Center? There’s no way they’re all going to fit on the bike.>

I smiled grimly and pulled out the five Pokeballs my mom had given me. "I may not like it, and they may not like it, but it's the only way I can get them to the Pokemon Center quickly. If they wish, I'll release them once they have healed."

I then threw the five Pokeballs at the five Eevees. There was no struggle, as all five Pokemon were badly injured, and the Pokeballs quickly blinked red, signaling the Eevees had been captured. I gathered the shrunken Pokeballs into my pocket as Apple leaped into the bicycle basket. Then, after untangling my bike from the shadowy fence, I hopped on the two-wheeled vehicle.

"Let the pedaling begin," I declared, trying to force my bike to move through the mud.

Apple gave a quick psychic boost to the bike to free it from the mud. Glaring at the mansion we were quickly leaving behind, the Mew finally sighed. <Here we go again.>

bobandbill
March 27th, 2008, 12:06 AM
Much better. More description throughout the chapter - nice to see, and the level of it was still high. You do description of people very well in particular - Carly's was great. It was interesting that the mansion was hers - unexpected. You did well in making her an unlikable character. :) Throwing Eevee out for ruining a gown though - is she crazy? Eevee are viewed as the 'prize' rare Pokemon!
Certainly interesting with the finding of the Eevees as well - does raise a few eyebrows in the whole 'is Anita a Mary-stu' character - she doesn't appear to be, but do be careful with the handling of her, as characters with a Mew that find Eevees are going to be viewed as such if you're not careful in keeping the character realistic.

Interesting scene at the beginning as well, revealing more about the plot as well. I also liked how you answered some other questions - such as how Anita escaped the man in the prologue, as well as why Apple couldn't transform into a Chansey.

No major errors to be seen, however quite a few small ones - proof read a bit more prior to releasing (I've been guilty of not doing the sorts before...)

However, until now we have been unable to track one specific, important pokemon, for this pokemon contains DNA of every other pokemon known to man,“
Despite the small-ness of quotation marks on these forums and default font, I saw that this quotation mark is around the wrong way.
“Yes, I know about this mysterious, what do we call it, pokemon ‘X’,” I muttered.
Capitlised Pokemon in every instance. Also, do question why it is called 'X' only to be called Mew anyway before the scene's end, especially as it seems a bit obvious what Pokemon they were talking about, considering the fic is centred around Mew and the part about the DNA...

Eyes still shut tight

Not nesserary, but maybe 'eyes stile tightly shut'?
<I already tried. It's no use, it seems to distrust humans and pokemon alike.>
It's, not its, and if Mew could discern why it is mistructful, maybe Mew could also see tell its gender? Minor and nitpicky however...

"Not all of us can transform into oddly-shaped wingless ducks that resemble platypuses with their faces smashed in," I grumbled, getting to my feet.
YES!
That was an awesome line. Great 'description' of a Wooper (you spelt it 'Whooper' however...) - including the part concerning the face. Similar to my thoughts on Quagsire. :)

By the time he found his Charizard lying on the ground, the vision-impairing rain would have prevented him from seeing the direction I had run in,"
As I mentioned, liked that you explained this, but 'vision-impairing' seems too technical, coming from Anita - doesn't really fit in.

There is no way for me to convey the message‘Hello, I see you are distressed.

Missing space in between message and 'Hello.

<If I wanted to attack you, I already would have. I have no reason to want to harm you, and right now we are just wasting time I could be spending getting you to a Pokemon Center!>
Seems rushed - missing a word or two there, or just a full stop or something to that effect I suppose.

"I would let you if it were legal," I sighed and looked down at the shivering Eevees. "Well, we've got to get these guys to a Pokemon Center as soon as possible.
Full stop seems better than a comma after 'shivering Eevees'. probably the same deal for the 'were legal' part in that case - full stop over comma - two separate sentences.

BTW, doubt that you should 'filter' 'hell' by writing it as 'h*ll' - seems unnesserary and actually seems to attract attention to the word, considering it is mild.

Overall, quite good, I must say. I'm impressed by your writing and description. Characters are enjoyable as well, and the events are interesting. Keep it up!

delongbi
April 28th, 2008, 05:22 PM
Alright, sorry no new chapter. I'm busy w/ AP Physics... Anyway, in the meantime I made a map of Acceber (ironically in physics class) to help people understand the story. Sorry if it's hard to read, but I don't really know how to make it any bigger.

I put the map in my signiture... I think. I also put it in an album... I'll attatch it as a picture as soon as I figure out how, lol.

delongbi
May 7th, 2008, 06:03 PM
Right. Well, I have a link to the map and a new chapter! Yay!

However, apparently I need 15 posts to put a link here, so I'll go put up some posts and then put up the link.


And here is the new chapter, I think it is my longest.


Oh and ------------------------ means change in time.




Chapter 4: Legend by Legendary

My legs felt like they had been trampled by a herd of Ponytas, sat on by a Snorlax, and then swallowed and spat back up by a Swalot. After an hour of hard riding through the mud, I desperately yearned for a break. However, I knew there was no way I could stop. The Eevees needed to get medical attention as soon as possible, and even though Azul City was now clearly visible through the light drizzle, it would probably take me another two hours to get into the city by bike. I winced at the thought... two hours of throbbing legs...

<Hey Anita, we should use this time to continue your telepathy practice,> Apple interrupted my depressing thoughts.

“Let me think about that.” I paused dramatically. "No." I didn't need my body and my mind suffering.

<You don't think about it, you just think it!>

"Nope, sorry, can't do it."

<If you won't practice, then I'll... well I'll...> Apple stopped, unable to think of some horrifying threat to make me practice. <I'll stop talking to you for the rest of your life.>

"Sounds like a good plan to me," I retorted.

<Come on, you were speaking just fine to that Eevee a few hours ago! It's just as easy to use telepathy right now!>

"That was a high pressure situation. I had to use telepathy to help the poor little guy."

<Well this is a high pressure situation, too!> Apple whined jokingly. <You're not going to be able to talk to your best friend for the rest of your life!>

Still cycling, I closed my eyes and thought, <Fine.>

Apple smiled triumphantly, but then scowled. <You don't need to close your eyes when you speak mind to mind! I already told you!>

<It helps me concentrate,> I retorted with closed eyes.

<Well, you're supposed to be concentrating on riding the bike as well as using telepathy. You need your eyes!>

<There's nobody around here, so I can't crash into anyone.>

<Well, actually...> Apple's thoughts seemed to drift, but then the Mew suddenly started sputtering angrily, <This is why they should teach common sense in school! Students learn all about algebra and Pokemon types but then go outside and bike around with their eyes closed and without a helmet. You don't need to be a psychic to know they're going to cra—>

<What are you talking about? There is nobody else around! I am not going to—>

CRASH

<Never mind,> I sulkily replied as the impact of the crash flipped me over the top of my bike. I landed face up in the mud, my backside completely submerged in the slimy dirt. Lifting myself from the squishy ground, I saw my bike had hit a girl about my height whose features were hard to make out, as she was now covered in mud as well.

"Umm, are you okay? Sorry about that... I guess I wasn't watching where I was going," I embarrassedly tried to explain to the girl.

<How could you watch where you were going with you're eyes closed?> Apple smirked. Apple seemed to have jumped off of the bike seconds before the crash and avoided the mud pit.

"It’s fine; I was just about to head back to Azul City anyway." The girl got up and offered me her hand. "What are you doing out here?"

"Well, I was trying to get to a Pokemon Center... I found some hurt Eevees that need help," I explained. After using her hand to pull myself up, I continued, "I'm Anita by the way."

"Erin," the girl firmly shook my hand, "I'm an assistant Pokemon researcher investigating the effects of different climates on specific Pokemon. Rattata in this area, for instance, tend to have longer legs than Rattatas in other areas of Acceber. Their legs are probably more suitable for getting through mud than the legs of other Rattatas..."

I stared at the girl, stunned at her outburst, but the girl continued to chat about her research, oblivious to my reaction.

"Anyway," The girl snapped out of scientific mode and quickly threw a glance at my bike and then back to me. "I can get you to Azul City quicker than that bike could if you wanna a ride." Erin pulled out a Pokeball. "Come on out Griffy!"

A bright red light flashed and suddenly a yellow and brown creature with four legs and freaky looking tail was standing in front of me. "Giiraaaf," the Girafarig neighed. <Pleased to make your acquaintance.>

I threw a confused glance at Apple. <How does it know I can speak mind to mind?>

<You have purple eyes,> Apple snickered. I glared at the Eevee. <Ok, ok, fine. It doesn't know you can speak mind to mind. All psychic Pokemon can communicate with anyone using telepathy, not just psychics.>

"Umm, are you okay?" Erin waved a hand in front of my face.

"Err, sorry, I guess I zone out a lot." I looked to see her reaction to my lame excuse, but she was already hopping onto her Girafarig.

"Hey, are you coming?" the girl coated with mud called from her Girafarig. The Girafarig was scrunching his nose in distaste of the mud his trainer continued to drip on him.

"Yeah!" I sprinted through the mud toward Erin and her Pokemon, who had managed to clamber out of the mud pit.

<Oh, Aaaniiitaaa!> Apple sang from the edge of the mud pit. <Aren't you forgetting something?>

Forgetting something? What could I be forgetting? I had my Pokeballs, my pack, and ... no bike.

I stopped running— an easy task when there is mud sloshing around your ankles. "Uhh, Erin? I can't come with you. I need my bike, and there's no way your Girafarig can carry a bike and us. Why don't I give you the hurt Eevees and you can get them to the Pokemon Center?"

Even though her face was covered in mud, I could tell Erin was staring at me as if I had just said the stupidest thing in the world. "There’s no need for that. Why don't you just use a shbinker?"

I stared blankly at the girl. "What's a shbinker?"

"You know... a bike shrinker. A shbinker." Erin pleadingly looked for some recognition of this strange sounding word, but I was still thoroughly confused.

I shook my head, "I've never heard of it." I watched the girl quickly shuffle through her pack and pull out a strange dark green box slightly smaller than her hand with a white button on its side. I glanced at Apple questioningly, but found it was curiously watching Erin.

"Watch," Erin commanded as she pointed the green box at my bike. She pressed the white button, and after a sudden green flash, my dirty bike disappeared. Erin explained, "This is a shbinker. It uses the same shrink technology as Pokeballs, but it will only shrink bicycles. I really can't believe you have never heard of them. Every trainer I know has one."

I smiled sheepishly as I climbed out of the mud pit next to Erin and Griffy, feeling relieved to finally be on hard, solid land. "Well, I just became a trainer yesterday so I am still learning... though I have never seen any of those shbinkers in the local stores. Then again, trainers rarely visit Melonbi because it has no gym so I guess there’s no reason for shbinkers to be sold."

Erin pressed the green box into my hand. "You can keep this; I have another one. Now, hop onto Griffy and let’s get going!"

<Careful of my tail, miss,> Griffy politely warned as I climbed beside Erin. <It bites.>

"Come on, Apple!" I called to the Eevee. Apple had been curiously approaching Griffy's backside, sniffing toward his evil looking tail.

<I wouldn't do that if I were you. My tail has a mind of its own,> Griffy warned once more.

Ignoring the warning, Apple inched a little too close to the tail and...

<Yooooowwweeeeee!>

Griffy's tail bit Apple on the ear. Apple pulled away, angry. Strangely, I thought I heard a voice coming from Griffy's back end say, <Delicious.>

<What was that for?> Apple spat angrily at the Girafarig.

Griffy turned its head toward Apple, <I tried to warn you. I can’t control my tail; it literally has a mind of its own.>

Curious, I listened psychically to the Girafarig’s tail and surprisingly heard, <Ha, ha! Victory is mine! I am now one step closer to taking over the world! I have started by eating this Eevee's ear! Next I will eat the world, and soon I will control all! Ha, ha, ha, ha...>

Apple must have heard the tail as well, for it declared, <Griffy, your tail is insane.>

<Yes, I know that, thus my warning. Now get on my back before it tries to eat the rest of you.>

Carefully avoiding Griffy's tail, Apple leapt into my arms.

Though Erin could not have heard the dialog between Apple and Griffy’s tail, she clearly understood the gist of what was going on. "You have a quite splendid Eevee there." The girl smiled amusedly at Apple over her shoulder. She then turned back toward her Girafarig, "Alright, Griffy we're ready! Now, use your agility to get us to Azul City's Pokemon Center!"

My stomach churned as the Girafarig accelerated to speeds I had thought only Ponytas and Rapidashes could run at. I nervously clung to the Girafarig’s fur to keep from falling off and saw out of the corner of my eye the short sparkling grass speeding by. Apple seemed to be getting queasy. Its paws were dug deeply into Griffy's fur, and it was shivering slightly. Erin, however, was unaffected by this speed. She once again started to animatedly chatter about her research, oblivious to the distress of the other riders.

"So I told you I'm a Pokemon Researcher, right? I work for Professor Blubber of Cape Caution. You know where that is, don't you? It’s at the northeast corner of Acceber, but I suppose you know that. Although you didn't know what a shbinker was. That was strange. Anyway, I just absolutely love my research! Pokemon are such interesting creatures, don't you think? I mean, who would ever think that such cute looking creatures could be so dangerous. Look at a Vulpix. They are soooo adorable but capable of destroying an entire forest with their fire! And Pikachu..."

Erin continued on about cute Pokemon, but I tuned her out and watched as Azul City got nearer. We were already at the outskirts of the city and were passing by some small homely looking cabins. I could now clearly see the city's grand buildings, which somehow gleamed despite the lack of sun. Azul City was one of Acceber's biggest cities and had some of the biggest shopping centers in the country. Though I had never left Melonbi, I had friends who had gone to Azul City for occasional vacations, and they always came back describing their vivid shopping experience. I personally thought shopping was overrated, though I could never tell my friends this. They would certainly drag me to the nearest mall, believing I must not be shopping enough to remember the truly amazing sensation of buying crud I don’t need.

Apple, who seemed to have turned a pale shade of green, interrupted my thoughts. <Are we almost there? I think I'm going to puke...>

<Just hold on a few more minutes,> I replied, trying not to reveal my own discomfort.

"Hello? Anita, did you hear me?" Erin peered at me over her shoulder. "I was just discussing your Eevee. I've never seen an Eevee with eyes like that. They actually match your eyes. Where ever did you find it?"

Still clinging for my life, I managed to mutter, "Near my house in Melonbi."

Erin still seemed completely oblivious to my tenseness. "Very interesting. Hmm... and is it male or female? Does it have a nickname?"

"Its name is Apple and... ummm..." I actually did not know Apple's gender. As a Mew it was genderless, but as an Eevee...

<You can tell her I'm a female... and ask her if we're almost there 'cause I think I'm going to barf soon,> Apple spoke queasily to me.

"...and she's a female. I think she's also feeling nauseous, so are we almost there?" I continued.

"Don't worry; it'll only be a few more minutes. Look, we're almost in the actual city. The Pokemon Center is just beyond those buildings." Erin nodded toward the tall buildings ahead. We had finally reached civilization. Cute shops and restaurants lined the road we were now traveling on. In this outskirt of the city the road was fairly empty so Griffy could continue running at a high speed. However, I could see Griffy was going to have a harder time maneuvering the streets of ahead, as they were flooded with busy shoppers, tourists, and businessmen.

<Hey, Apple?> I looked down at the Mew. I had a curious question.

<What?> Apple replied, irritated.

<Are you actually a female in that form? I mean physically... inside and out?>

<Yes. If you took a piece of my fur and examined the DNA, it would match that of a female Eevee.>

<Could you be a male Eevee if you wanted to be?>

<Now I could. Before I had only seen a female Eevee, so I could only transform into a female.>

<Apple?>

<WHAT?>

<You're a strange creature.>

<Thanks,> Apple snickered. <Now will you stop bothering me and let me focus on not puking?>

Griffy soon reached the mass of people, and sure enough, we were forced to slow down. People threw us irritated glances as we rapidly weaved through the crowd and cut people off.

One particular salesman who we accidentally knocked over started swearing loudly at us and sent out a nasty looking Cacnea to teach us a lesson with pin missile. Luckily, Griffy was able to throw up a reflective barrier and get away, though not without first trampling a juggler and ruining his skit. After much shoving, we finally made it to the Pokemon Center.

As we dismounted Griffy, Apple leapt from the Girafarig and raced toward the Pokemon Center. Erin returned Griffy, and we quickly followed the erratic Eevee. When Apple reached the Pokemon Center entrance, it promptly barfed right in front of the glass doors. Apple then turned and pranced back toward us.

<I was going to try to make it to the nurse before I barfed, but oh well. I feel much better now anyway!> Apple happily jumped into my arms.

A girl walked out of the Pokemon Center and stepped in the puke. She looked down at her feet, squealed, and stomped away disgusted.

Erin glanced nervously at Apple. "Are you sure that Eevee is the one that's not sick?"

I laughed as we hurried through the Pokemon Center's entrance, carefully avoiding Apple's... present.

The Pokemon Center was plain on the inside. Clean glass windows lined the transparent entrance and made the building feel more spacious than it actually was. Pictures of similar looking red-headed ladies hung from the pure white walls and beneath these pictures were blue, plushy couches. To the left there was a beige carpeted staircase leading to the second floor where Pokemon trainers could stay over night. Directly across from the Pokemon Center's entrance was a counter, and behind the counter stood a pink Chansey and a red-haired lady that looked remarkably like the women pictured on the walls. Erin and I walked straight up to the red-haired lady.

"Hello, welcome to Azul City's Pokemon Center. I'm Nurse Joy. How may I help you?" the red-haired lady politely asked.

I pulled the five Eevee-filled Pokeballs from my pocket and placed them on the counter. "I found these Eevees badly hurt. Do you think you can help them?"

Nurse Joy nodded and picked up the Pokeballs, "I'll get these Pokemon cared for immediately. Hold on a minute." The nurse took the Pokeballs to a room in back and returned empty-handed a few minutes later. Apple and I exchanged nervous glances, but Nurse Joy smiled soothingly. "Don't worry; your Eevees are going to be fine. They just need to spend the night here, eat lots of food, and rest for a day or so. The eldest one should be completely fine by morning, but it may take longer for the other four to completely recover."

I sighed in relief, "Thank you so much Nurse Joy! I'll be back tomorrow morning." I turned to leave, but then realized I had nowhere to go. "Umm, do you have any available rooms left here?" I asked the nurse.

Nurse Joy shook her head. "I'm sorry, but as far as I know, all of the rooms are taken."

"Hey, you can stay in my room if you want!" Erin offered, "My roomie left yesterday to stay at her cousin's house or something."

Uh-oh. Did I really want to stay with this rather… rambunctious girl? But, I had nowhere else to stay…

Plastering a fake smile on my face, I gave Erin an energetic "Thanks!" My stomach rumbled loudly. I had forgotten we had not stopped for lunch.

"No prob." Erin glanced at my stomach as it made another strange noise. "Let's go eat a late lunch, shower, and then—" Erin gasped. I looked behind me to see if someone had passed out or something, but my attention returned to Erin as she excitedly squealed, "Oh boy! And then we can go shopping! Have you ever gone shopping in Azul City? We're going to have so much fun! First..." Erin grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the glass doors, still jabbering on. I was having Deja Vu; Erin was wearing the exact same overjoyed smile my school friends wore when they forced me to shop with them.

I sighed. <Apple, are you coming?>

Apple lightly padded after Erin and me through the Pokemon Center doors. <She better not snore.>

------------------------------------------

After many hours of being dragged through about a hundred different stores, forced into over three hundred outfits, and much "Oh, you should totally get that! What do you think of this?" I finally convinced Erin to return to the Pokemon Center. Apple and I wearily waited for Erin to find her keys to unlock her room.

"And could you believe that woman? Honestly, nobody would look good in that skirt. Ahh, here we go." Erin pulled her keys from the purse and stuck a particularly large key into the keyhole.

<You know, I don't think I've ever met a fashionable nerd before. She has a strange personality,> I thought toward Apple. I was getting better at this telepathy thing.

<Brilliant analysis. You're finally catching on,> Apple retorted sarcastically and rolled her eyes. As Erin pressed lightly on the key after turning it, the door opened up to a small homely room. There were two twin beds on opposite sides of the closet-sized room, and above one bed was a window that overlooked the Pokemon Center entrance below. Besides the window and a wooden door across from the window, the walls were bare. The door across from the window led to a small tiled bathroom that smelled of newly bought soap. An open book lay on the fluffy pillow of the twin bed closest to the door. I put my pack down on the other bed near the window and sat down.

"So, I've told you a whole lot about me," Erin started as she too sat down on the bed. "But what about you? I know you're a trainer, but that's about it. What do you want to do with your life?"

What did I want to do? What was my goal? Such a deep question from, ironically, such a shallow person. The obvious answer was, of course, to defeat all of the gym leaders and maybe participate in the Pokemon League Tournament like every other trainer. That, however, was not what drove me to become a trainer. Apple was the true reason. I glanced at the Mew and remembered it trembling under the Charizard's fire. I wanted Apple to be able to defend herself so she would not have to fear living in her true form. She could come out of hiding if she grew stronger; thus I must train her. If the Eevees accept, I will train them as well. Then they too wouldn't have to fear those who were cruel. Yes, I wanted to battle gym leaders to test the strength of Apple and the Eevees, not to prepare for some stupid tournament, and maybe one day they would have nothing to fear.

"Hello? Did you even hear me?" Erin asked in an annoyed tone.

"Err, I guess I just want to beat the gym leaders," I lied weakly.

<Liar,> Apple commented.

<Obviously,> I retorted.

<She knows it too.> Apple nodded toward Erin.

Erin narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "Whatever you say. There's a gym leader in town you know; her name is Abalina and she uses grass Pokemon. I can show you where the gym is... well, sorta is... tomorrow if you want…

“Anyway, I'm going to go shower. I'm sweaty from running around so much to shop." With that, she got up, picked out some clothes from her pack, and went into the bathroom. This was her second shower of the day; the first being right after lunch to get the mud off of her body. Erin was remarkably pretty when she was not covered in mud. She had thick strawberry-orange hair, brown eyes, and sun freckles across her nose. She always wore the latest fashions, and though many boys attempted to flirt with her, she gave not one of them a single glance.

I sighed and stared out the window to switch thoughts. It was late, but I could still see people wandering through the streets finishing up some last minute shopping. Stores in Azul City closed very late, and most of the buildings still twinkled with light, indicating they were indeed still open. Apple leapt onto my bed and laid down beside me, resting her head on my knee. I stroked her ears, pondering thoughts of purpose and my life in general.

<Apple, why can I use telepathy with Pokemon?> I questioned.

Apple peeped open an eye. <That requires a long explanation.>

<If Erin takes as long of a shower as she did this afternoon, then we have a long time.>

<Hmm. I’ll consider.> Apple closed her eye.

<APPLE!!> I yelled in frustration.

<Fine, fine. I’ll tell you. I suppose I must begin with the legend of the beginning...>

<Beginning of what?>

<Of everything. Don't interrupt.> Apple obnoxiously rolled her eyes, took a deep breath, and began, <In the beginning, there was only the Creator. The Creator, obviously, created the world, the sun, the moon, the universe, and two beings to occupy this universe. These two beings have come to be known as Arceus and the Great Dragon. For a time, these two creatures roamed the universe together, exploring every nook of the Creator's work and enjoying life. But soon, Arceus and the Great Dragon grew restless and lonely. The Creator saw this, and granted them each, for a time, the power to create.>

<And what does this have to do with my question?> I interrupted.

<I thought you wanted your question answered so I was answering it. Sorry, next time you ask a question I’ll go with my first instinct and ignore you,> Apple snickered.

<Alright, I’m sorry. I won’t interrupt again. Please continue.> I tried to reply in a serious tone, but did not quite pull it off.

Apple stretched and smiled smugly. <I’ll continue on two conditions. One, no interrupting, and two, I get to give you some more psychic lessons tomorrow and you have to listen.>

<Deal.>

<Well then,> Apple began again. <As I was saying, the Creator gave the Great Dragon and Arceus the power to create.

<Now, Arceus believed that the qualities of intelligence and power would allow creatures to live peacefully together and work out problems in a fair, smart manner. Thus, Arceus created Pokemon. He granted each species of Pokemon intelligence and specific powers similar to his own. Yet, to made sure there was a balance of power among Pokemon, Arceus created types, each with weaknesses and strengths, so no single Pokemon, no matter how strong, could become all powerful.

<The Great Dragon, on the other hand, believed that granting creatures intelligence and power would only create problems. He wished to create organisms that enjoyed life and did not have to worry about the dilemmas of the world. Thus, the Great Dragon created animals. Animals had instincts to survive, but lacked intelligence so they were never preoccupied with morals or laws.

<Arceus and the Great Dragon were satisfied with their work. For a time they enjoyed seeing their creations thrive and grow. But, as you should know by now, peace never lasts.>

Apple paused to let the information sink in… or perhaps to tempt me to interrupt again. I fought the urge and managed to remain silent.

Apple resumed, <Soon the Great Dragon saw that many Pokemon were using their superior intelligence to kill and consume animals for food instead of other Pokemon, and he grew angry. Arceus argued that the Great Dragon's creatures, with little intelligence and power, were simply inferior to Pokemon and thus they were prone to die out. This of course, made the Great Dragon even angrier, and soon there was a bitter fight between the two.

<The Creator saw that a compromise was needed to cease the fight. He told Arceus and the Great Dragon that all creatures deserved to live, even those that were unintelligent and not powerful. He demanded that the two of them work together to create a creature that would be able to prevent Pokemon from wiping out the animals while allowing both animals and Pokemon to continue living peacefully. Neither the Dragon nor Arceus liked the situation, but they dared not argue with the Creator so they got to work.

<The Great Dragon insisted, of course, that this creature be an animal, for animals had the disadvantage. Arceus wished the creatures to be both intelligent and powerful, but the Great Dragon countered that the creature would just be another Pokemon if it were both intelligent and powerful. In the end, the two compromised by creating a creature that was an intelligent animal, but lacked power, also known as the human being.>

<You still haven’t answered my question. What does this—> I cut off Apple, still irked that she did not seem to be even attempting to answer my question.

<Hush. I’m not finished! Remember our deal!> Apple glared at me, and then continued, <As I was saying, Arceus and the Great Dragon created human beings so that both animals and Pokemon could live together peacefully. Arceus, however, believed that if humans lacked power, they would never be able to relate to or understand Pokemon. Being paranoid, Arceus thought that without this power eventually the Pokemon would be wiped out, not the animals. Without telling the Great Dragon, Arceus added a bit of its own power to the human gene pool so that one in maybe 10,000 humans would have a power similar to that of a Pokemon. Because so few humans had power, the Great Dragon did not discover Arceus's doings until much later, and by then the Creator had taken back the power of creation.

<To further ensure that life would be balanced between animals and Pokemon, eight humans were chosen to rule each region, and a handful of legendary Pokemon were commanded to guard these regions. Kanto, for instance, is guarded by Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, while Joto is guarded by Entei, Raikou, Suicune, Lugia, and Ho-oh. Hoen is guarded by the Regis, Kyogre, Groudon, and Rayquaza, and Sinnoh is guarded by Dialga, Palkia, Uxie, Azelf, and Mespirit.

<Acceber, however, is a different case. You see, Acceber was a bit of an experiment. Perhaps the Creator wished to test the ability of Pokemon and humans to work together or maybe there simply were not enough legendary Pokemon to guard every region. Whatever the case, Acceber was the only region specific legendary Pokemon were not assigned to guard. Instead, eight non-legendary Pokemon were chosen to guard Acceber from danger and rule along side the eight humans. These eight Pokemon were the eight members of the Eevee family; Eevee, Flareon, Vaporeon, Jolteon, Espeon, Umbreon, Glaceon, and Leafeon.

<To this day, the eight members of the Eevee family rule and guard Acceber alongside eight humans. The humans are nowadays called gym leaders. In every region, the gym leaders meet to discuss laws and protection of all living creatures. In Acceber, along with the eight gym leaders, the eight Eevee forms help make decisions.

<Since the creation of Pokeball technology, it has become traditional that the eight leaders of each region raise, train, and battle with Pokemon. Younger trainers battle their leaders to test their strength, and the leaders give out badges as symbols of honor.

<Now, as I mentioned before, Arceus put power in the human gene pool. This power is often referred to as the "gift." Like the powers of Pokemon, it can come in many different forms- seventeen to be exact. Each form of power corresponds with a Pokemon type and can have various levels of strength. A human with a weak gift will work better with the specific type of Pokemon his or her power corresponds with, but a human with a strong gift can actually have powers similar to Pokemon. For instance, a strongly gifted flying type human may have control of the wind, a water type may have control over water, a bug type may be a particularly skilled climber, and so on.

<Generally, gym leaders have some variation of the gift and I believe in Acceber all eight gym leaders are indeed gifted. However, gym leaders are not the only humans with the gift; there are others. Supposedly in times of danger, a gifted human will gather the guardians of the land, and together, Pokemon and human will overcome the threat...

<Anyway, you are one of the few strongly gifted humans, and your gift type is psychic… Congrats,> Apple concluded sarcastically.

<But I thought you said this was a legend...> I began doubtfully.

<The legends are true.>

<How do you know?>

<You can use telepathy.>

For a time Apple and I stared out the dark window. I heard the faucet squeak as Erin turned off the shower.

Apple interrupted the silence. <You have other powers, you know.>

<What do you mean?>

<You have other psychic powers besides telepathy. You are strongly gifted...>

<What kind of powers?>

<Well, we'll just have to find out tomorrow.> Apple smirked. She lifted her head from my knee and curled up at the end of my bed. I continued to stare out the window for a minute, but then quickly changed into my pajamas and climbed under the covers.

Confusing thoughts clouded my mind. If I was “gifted” then why hadn’t anyone told me? Did most people know of these so called gifts? And the guardians of Acceber were all members of the Eevee family? Why did Apple tell me of creation and guardians anyway? She could have just told me that a select few humans have powers…

After a minute or so my brain hurt from so many questions. I closed my eyes and tried to empty my mind.

I had fallen asleep by the time Erin inadvertently slammed the door on her way out of the bathroom.

delongbi
May 7th, 2008, 06:49 PM
Ok... Here is the link to the map of Acceber:

http://i287.photobucket.com/albums/ll134/delongbi/Acceber/Acceber.jpg

Enjoy!

bobandbill
May 7th, 2008, 11:50 PM
Yay, you're back again. Good to see another chapter come out - oh, and nice map, BTW.

Well, more plot development here - and good that Anita made it in the end, even with a little it of help. Am still wondering about her as a character as well though - now she appears to be a 'chosen' one, so to speak, with magical powers... just be careful with the Mary Sue tag that is hanging and waiting if you are not careful with her.

Otherwise good - some nice moments, and an interesting 'creation' theroy as well there. However in that bit you misspelt 'Johto' (not Joto), and I wonder if Orre has any 'protectors'... which might explain why it is mostly desert. :) Description is still solid and the pacing was ok as well.

My legs felt like they had been trampled by a herd of Ponytas, sat on by a Snorlax, and then swallowed and spit back up by a Swalot.
Interesting beginning, but it be 'spat' back up (the past tense).

Students learn all about algebra and Pokemon types but then go outside and bike around with their eyes closed and without a helmet. Wise words from Apple indeed, as we saw soon after. :)
<Careful of my tail, miss,> Griffy politely warned as I climbed beside Erin, <It bites.>
Ah, yess, nice use of the tail as well. Including the following:
<Ha, ha! Victory is mine! I am now one step closer to taking over the world! I have started by eating this Eevee's ear! Next I will eat the world, and soon I will control all! Ha, ha, ha, ha...> Nice... 'touch' there. :) One wonders how he will control the world after he has eaten it though. :)

I was having Deja Vu; Erin was wearing the exact same overjoyed smile my school friends wore when they forced me to shop with them.
I don't think Deja Vu needs capitalising.
Of the bolded part - o-O. :)
Arceus added a bit of its own power to the human gene pool so that one in maybe 10,000 humans would have a power similar to that of a Pokemon.
The 'one in 10000' part seems a bit unnesserary - maybe just 'an occassional human,from time to time, would have power...'.
I had fallen asleep by the time Erin inadvertently slammed the door on her way out of the bathroom. Nice way to end a chapter. :)
Also - don't think you need to join up the place name and the tag (e.g. Olivine City, over OlivineCity - have a space - same for 'Pokemon Center').

Much cleaner than before, your chapter, which is good to see. Also a nice explanation for how one can fit a bike into a bag as well - recently thought up a similar idea myself in fact, oddly enough. Guess smart people think alike. ;)

Keep it up!

The Beast
May 8th, 2008, 11:55 AM
Hey instead of the errors you have, you have a really great plot for this story, it will be a hitter.

delongbi
July 9th, 2008, 08:10 PM
Well, it has been a real long time since I posted a chapter, and I really don't have a good excuse, so here is the next chapter. I believe it's the longest one yet. Enjoy! And thanx bobandbill for the reviews.


Chapter 5: Eevees… ‘Nuff Said

A cluster of green dots blinked on the screen, but they were not just any dots. They were the key to our success. To my success.

I glanced shiftily at the door as the Master walked into the room... not that I truly considered him a Master. The boy glared at me as he entered, calculating. He was, as the saying goes, one smart cookie. That snotty teen had to be in order to have kept his position as Master for the past four years. This, however, did not change the fact that he was ten years younger than me and certainly a less capable leader than I could be... would be...

But nevertheless, this boy was the Master, the leader of Team Glop'emm. He had been since his father, the previous leader of Team Glop'emm, died of a“heart attack.”

I smirked.

Heart attack, yeah right.

The death of the previous Master was not due to any natural cause; it was due to my brilliant plan. It had taken me years to develop and perfect a scheme that would ultimately end in the murder of our leader, but I did it. His death had to look natural so no one could possibly suspect me, the dedicated assistant, of murder. I was not going to spend the rest of my life in jail, as many members of Team Glop'emm have for other more petty crimes. I paid dearly to acquire the poisonous dart that triggered a heart attack when inserted in just the right part of the chest. Without going into too many details, after sneaking my way into the Master's house past all kinds of security, I killed the man with the dart in his sleep. Simple, but brilliant.

I palmed the Pokeball of my Hypno. The scheme would not have been possible without my beloved Pokemon. She had inserted the dart perfectly into the man's chest with her psychic and then had removed the dart when the man died so nobody could find evidence of a murder. The dart was so thin it did not even make a wound. The camera watching the man never picked up the thin dart moving silently through the shadows to kill the man. It was a perfect murder. A perfect plan... almost.

Now, don't be thinking that I am a ruthless, thoughtless homicidal killer. I do not kill without reason. This is in fact the only murder I have ever performed, and I had a very good reason to murder him. There are some people in this world who are destined to be in control, to have power. I have no doubt that I am one of these people, and thus, I wanted to, needed to, and am fated to become the leader of Team Glop'emm. Any person who prevented me from fulfilling my destiny, such as the current leader of Team Glop'emm, had to be eliminated. Then I would take over. This is where my plan backfired.

I worked my way up in Team Glop'emm, from a lowly grunt to the Master's right hand man. Each Master chooses his successor and writes it in a will that can only be opened after the Master dies or retires. I thought as the leader of Team Glop'emm's most trusted assistant that I would surely be named the successor. However, the Master surprised me, for his will named his son, this cold boy standing in front of me, the next Master of Team Glop'emm.

The reason for this choice still mystifies me. I had been so sure that I would be the successor. I had all the right qualities. I had acted so perfectly. That boy...

I clenched my fists. He had ruined my plans of becoming the leader. He would pay. One day.

The cold boy turned his head to me and looked at me with those luminous, frozen eyes.

After a second of awkward silence, the boy spoke tauntingly, almost in a whisper: "Please explain."

I was confused for a moment until I realized he was referring to the flashing green dots on the screen.

"I thought you knew everything," I retorted snobbishly.

The boy waited unemotionally. This must be very important to him, otherwise he would have replied with a threat to demote me or punish me for my rudeness. I decided to explain. Despite my disgust with this horrid boy, he still was the Master. Though I do not treat him with respect, he saw my supposed dedication to his father, and my dedication to the team now. I have no doubt that he has named me his successor, and I plan to keep it that way. Rude as I may be, he knows that nobody else in Team Glop'emm has the craftiness, experience, and dedication needed to be an effective leader.

To become leader, I just needed to find a way to eliminate him. I could not use the same method I had used on his father. It could not work on this boy. He was... special.

The boy cleared his throat, still waiting.

"Master," I started with a derogatory tone, "The device picked up signals of Pokemon X in Acceber for a brief time yesterday. The area the signals came from is represented by the green dots on the screen."

The boy narrowed his eyes toward the screen, "In between Melonbi Town and Azul City? Isn't that where my father found this same Pokemon?"

"Yes, sir," I replied in a genuinely serious voice. "Well, nearly. However, we have a strange issue. The signals were only up picked twice for a few seconds — once at 10:33 a.m. and once at 11:54 a.m."

The boy turned toward me. "And do you know why these signals were not received for a long, continuous time?" The boy asked the question as if he already knew the answer.

"We have some theories–"

The young Master interjected. Clearly, his question was supposed to be rhetorical. "The signals were only picked up for a short amount of time because Pokemon X was only there, in its true form, for a short amount of time. It either transformed into another Pokemon, or teleported to another region."

I rolled my eyes. "If that is the case, then I don't see how this machine can possibly help tracking Pokemon X. As soon as we locate Pokemon X, it will have teleported or transformed."

The boy thought a moment. "We will see about that. Are there any residencies near the area Pokemon X appeared in?"

"One. An old mansion. The rich Goldenthrills live there."

The boy smirked, "Send one of our members in Azul City to the area. I think we must go pay the Goldenthrills a visit."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"GOOOOOOOODMOOOOOORNIING ANITA!"

I leaped out of bed at the sudden wake-up call.

"Where's the fire?" I asked stupidly.

"There's no fire, silly," Erin said, grinning madly. "Come on, get up. I want to show you where the gym is, and then I have to pay a visit to the Azul City Research facility."

Why the heck did she have to wake me up? I looked at the clock sitting on the nightstand beside me. It was freakin' 7:30 in the morning. I growled at Erin and slammed the door on my way into the bathroom.

As I was brushing my teeth I heard a whine from the other side, "Huuuuurrrrry up!"

I slammed my toothbrush down. That was the last straw.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I knew it was coming the moment we woke up. Anita was angry. She’d already found Erin's talkativeness annoying, and you didn't have to be a psychic to know Anita hated being woken up early. Though, I suppose being a psychic did help predict the exact time of Anita's temper outbursts. And boy was she going to burst.

I stretched my paws out over Anita's blanket and looked shiftily at Erin, who was calmly picking out her clothes for the day from a shrinkable wardrobe. Now Erin was a strange character. In front of Anita, she acted like a flippant, annoying girl who had a tendency to start ranting about herself. However, when Anita was not around, she was more calm and more collected. It was as if she was testing Anita...

Of course, I could simply read her mind to find out her objective, but that would be rude. I certainly would not want anyone else reading my every thought, so I do not read minds unless I'm in a dire situation.

I did sense, however, that the girl did not have ill intentions. If she did, I would have informed Anita, but as her intentions were not bad, it was much more fun to watch Erin scheme and Anita lose her temper.

Erin turned toward me and grinned. Unlike many humans, she acknowledged that Pokemon had human intelligence (or rather, humans had Pokemon intelligence because Pokemon came before humans) and treated them like equals. Though she had not communicated with me, and believed that I could not directly communicate with her, she knew that I knew of her odd behavior.

She mouthed, "This is going to be fun!" and then smiled sweetly toward the bathroom door and hollered in a whiny voice, "Huuuuurryyy Up!"

I felt Anita's temper go overboard. Her anger and annoyance were so strong that any psychic Pokemon within a mile radius would surely sense the emotion.

I covered my ears with my paws to muffle the explosion. It didn't help.

WHAM

Anita slammed the bathroom door open, her face practically purple with anger.

"IF YOU DO NOT SHUT YOUR FREAKIN’ ANNOYING MOUTH UP I WILL PERSONALLY STUFF A GRIMER IN YOUR MOUTH AND GLUE IT SHUT SO YOU CAN NEVER UTTER ANOTHER WORD FROM THAT UGLY PIE HOLE!"

Yeesh, she went just a tad overboard. I was tempted to tell her so, but thought better of it. Though I suppose it was good she now had enough control not to throw things. Before.... well, let's just say it was bad.

I guess it was also good her psychic powers had not fully developed yet. Though there are a few exceptions, for the most part the gift's growth corresponds with puberty. As a human goes through puberty, their gift becomes stronger and more developed. Luckily, Anita was still in the beginning stages of puberty; her menstruation cycle had started only a few months ago and her chest had a ways to go. Had she been older and lost her temper as she just did, she surely would have caused much damage to the area.

Sighing in relief that no real damage had been done, I curiously turned to watch Erin's reaction. She looked terrified until Anita once again slammed the bathroom door shut. Then she burst out in a fit of silent laughter.

I watched Erin noiselessly as she recovered and began scribbling something on a piece of paper. Bored, I turned around and gazed out the window at a flock of Pidgeys clustered around an elderly woman under the dim glow of the morning sun. By the time I turned back to Erin, she was dressed, fashionably of course, and was on her way out the door. She pointed to the note, flung the door open, and was gone.

The corners of my mouth twitched. She sure had style.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Bye Erin. Have a nice day!" Nurse Joy called to me as I rapidly left the Pokemon Center. With the wind whipping at my lab coat, I turned left and began my walk down Rainbow Street. It was a mile to the Research Facility.

I smiled as my heels continued to clank against the sidewalk. My thoughts returned to the girl, who was probably still fuming in the bathroom. After analyzing and testing the girl's behavior, I decided she was a strong candidate.

For the past few weeks, I had been looking for someone to travel with me back to my lab in Cape Caution. Of course, I could have easily gone back by myself, but I wished to collect data on some of the Pokemon species on my return trip. This would cause me to move more slowly and leave me more susceptible to danger.

A few years ago, I would have had less to worry about. In the past few years, an organization called Team Glop'emm has become more active. There were rumors that they had members watching every city, waiting for the perfect opportunity to steal money, Pokemon, and valuables.

I knew that though I had decent battling skills, I would not be able to defend myself against strong opponents, whether they were wild Pokemon, Team Glop'emm members, or other dangerous people. I'm a pretty fourteen year old girl, after all. There are dangerous people in the world just waiting for the opportunity to take advantage of me, if you get my drift. Thus, I needed to find someone to travel with.

Of course, I couldn't travel with just anyone. I had standards, just as I did with everything in life. It is my belief that a person should set rules for themselves, and then keep to those rules. It keeps life organized and makes decisions easier. One of my standards, for instance, is to dress to impress. Nobody has ever caught me wearing anything unfashionable, and I plan to keep it that way.

In this situation, I was looking to travel with a person who

a.) would not annoy me. So many people are whiners or overly talkative nowadays (I am not really usually as crazily talkative as I pretended to be around Anita... though sometimes...), and I cannot stand them. Anita, despite her clear dislike for shopping, did not complain, and she was pretty much the opposite of talkative.

b.) would not flirt with me. This actually falls under the first standard. Boys who flirt with me because of how I look are annoying, and because most boys try to flirt with me, traveling with a boy was pretty much out of the question.

c.) could tolerate many situations. Anita did not flip out when she was covered in mud, like some girls do, and for the most part was able to deal with my obnoxiousness. (She lasted a whole day, even if she blew up this morning.) She’s the kind of person who would not go crazy if we ended up a sticky situation.

d.) could hold their own ground in a battle. This one needs to be tested, but Anita is a trainer, so she should be able to battle. I plan to watch her battle with the gym leader.

e.) was traveling in the direction of Cape Caution. Cape Caution has a gym, so Anita has to go there eventually.

f.) would not bore me. I want to travel with someone who is exciting. Anita's temper, for one, is very amusing. Secondly, she acts so strangely sometimes and has revealed so little of herself that I find her quite mysterious. Surely by traveling with her I could discover whatever caused her to act in this manner.


I grinned. Anita was a very good candidate. Plus, she needed my help. She was, after all, another young girl traveling on her own and needed as much protection from the dangers of the world as I did. I also got the feeling that deep down she was lonely. She was not traveling with any other humans, and she had decided to room with me. She could have slept on the couch of the Pokemon Center if she had not wanted companions; yet, she had chosen to share a room. She may not have even known it, but she yearned for human company, and I could provide just that.

There was also the bonus of those Eevees she had. It was recently discovered that certain environments cause Eevees to evolve. This was directly linked to my research on the impact of the environment on Pokemon!

I smiled again, and sped up my walk. I was excited to find such a perfect candidate. Now all that was left, besides watching the gym battle, was to inform my peers at the Research Facility that I was finally going to depart and to pack up supplies for the trip.

A young man at the corner thought I was smiling at him. He began to approach me, "Hello there—"

I quickly crossed the street to avoid talking to the man. Honestly, I can't stand men. I straightened my face in hopes that no others would accost me if I looked serious and businesslike. The lab coat I was wearing added to my attempt to look serious; if only I had glasses...

I strode onwards, containing my excitement for the journey to come.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Anita,

Went to the lab, will be back in the afternoon to show you the gym.

Your pal,
Erin

P.S. For a quiet person, you sure have a loud temper.

I had felt resentful when I left the bathroom, and a trickle of anger returned when I read the note. This girl was beyond annoying. She was a pea-headed chatterbox that had no off button and was completely oblivious to the world around her. Her emotions changed faster than anyone I had ever been in contact with. One moment she looked terrified, the next she was telling me she was my "pal". An actor couldn't have done better...

I crumpled up the piece of paper and tossed it in the trashcan. Then I froze.

An actor. No way. Could she be...faking... was that even possible? It would certainly explain her odd temperament. But why? I clenched my fists. If that girl was faking... That would mean she was intentionally provoking me with her droning, her whining, her obviousness. I would kick her *ss!!!

And if she wasn’t faking? Then she was just stupid and emotional and not someone I would want to hang around. Either way, I didn't like her.

<Aren't you being a little judgmental?> Apple commented.

I glared. "No."

<You were fine with her yesterday.>

"Today is new day."

<I think you are just cranky 'cause you were woken up. That combined with teenage hormones equals anger management issues.>

"I DON'T HAVE ANGER MANAGEMENT ISSUES!"

<Right, and I'm not a Mew.>

"UGHH. I'm going," I put on my pack and slammed the door on my way out of the room before Apple could get out. Of course, as I was striding away, I heard the door open again. Apple could psychically open the door.

Apple caught up to me when I reached the stairs.

<You know, she could have done worse. She could have decided to wake you up even earlier.>

<Instead she decided to wake me up at 7:30. That's not early at all,> I sarcastically remarked. I spoke psychically. It would look weird having a one-sided conversation with my Eevee. <She decided... It's like she planned to annoy me.>

I looked at Apple, who promptly looked away.

<She did plan it! That little.... And then she just left!> I added angrily, <Why did she even wake me up if she was just going to leave?! Grr. She was just trying to provoke me!!!>

<You could have gone back to sleep after she left.> Apple pointed out sheepishly.

<You know I can't fall back asleep after I'm woken up in the morning! That pooh-head!>

<You could have tried,> Apple weakly argued, but then decided it was not worth arguing about. She changed the subject. <Where are we going anyway?>

By this time, we had reached the Pokemon Center counter where surprisingly Nurse Joy was already up, even though the rest of the Pokemon Center lobby was empty. Instead of answering Apple, I turned to the pink-haired lady. "Good morning," I said tersely, still annoyed with everything and everyone. "I would like the Eevees I gave you yesterday back."

"That is fine. The eldest has fully recovered, but you must remember the other four will be in no condition to battle for the next two or three weeks. They are still young and being starved out in the wilderness hit them quite hard. They need lots of love, rest, and food to recover."

"I know, I know," I replied in an agitated tone.

"You understand this is very important to their—"

"I KNOW!" I yelled. Then I realized who I was yelling at. "Sorry. I've had a bad morning."

"Right," Nurse Joy looked at me nervously and then put the five Pokeballs in my hands. "Well, I'm trusting you with these."

There was awkward silence as I took the Pokeballs. Nurse Joy was slightly intimidated by my yelling.

"Thanks." I nodded curtly, and then left the building. Apple must have sensed my continued agitation because she did not speak to me as I walked down the block. When we reached the corner, I took out the Pokeball of the oldest Eevee and released him from his Pokeball.

<What are you doing?> Apple finally asked.

<I need to see if he wants to travel with us,> I replied.

<But you already caught him.>

<I will release him and his siblings if he wishes.>

In the meantime, the released Eevee was adjusting to the area. He glanced at the buildings, and then turned intently toward me. Even though his fur had been groomed, he still managed to maintain a slightly rugged look, with random pieces of fur standing up. He stared at me intensely, not quite angry, but certainly suspicious. <Where are they?> he demanded.

I pulled out the other four Pokeballs, and showed the Eevee. He narrowed his eyes at me but said nothing.

<They are in here. They need food and care, and are in no condition to battle for the next few weeks.> I tried to sound friendly.

<So I have heard. The pink lady informed me after I was healed.>

Silence.

<What do you want to do?> I finally asked.

<What can I do?> the Eevee bitterly replied. <My family is hurt. We will not be able to fend for ourselves in the wild.>

<Would you and siblings like to travel with Apple and me?> I gestured toward Apple, who was peering at the Eevee curiously from behind my legs, unsure if it would attack.

<No,> the Eevee responded frankly.

More silence. I was about to press the release button...

<But we will anyway. As much as I dislike humans, my family is in no condition to return to the wilderness. You have already proven that you will take care of my family by bringing them to the Pokemon Center to be healed. For now, I will trust you.>

I smiled at the Eevee who responded with a glare.

The Eevee growled, <However, one wrong move, and I swear by Mew—> Apple chuckled and the Eevee turned his gaze to her. <I swear that I will personally rip your throat to pieces.>

Apple stopped laughing and stared intently back at the Eevee.

I clapped my hands, trying to break the tension, <Alright then, welcome to the team! Do you have a name?>

<No.>

<Eevees, and most Pokemon for that matter, tell each other apart through scents,> Apple informed me.

<Well then, since I now have six Eevees, I must name you so I do not get confused. I will call you Fiery. Any issues with that name?> I told the Eevee.

Fiery turned away. <No.>

<Do you prefer to be in a Pokeball or outside of it?> I was not about to keep a Pokemon in a Pokeball if it did not wish to be held there, especially not a fiery Eevee. Fiery, it seemed, did not like to mess around.

<Outside for now, but keep the little ones in. No need to put them in any more danger than they already are in.> the Eevee decided as he suspiciously eyed a lone Growlithe carrying the morning newspaper across the street. It ran between the legs of the few early risers walking in the opposite direction.

<What's that supposed to mean?> Apple piped, finally deciding it was safe to talk to the Eevee.

<Exactly what I said, moron.>

<Alright, let's be nice to each other now,> I tried. I got two glares in response. I sighed. <I'm Anita, by the way, and as you know this is Apple.>

<How do you do?> Apple snickered, shyness nowhere to be found now.

Fiery growled, but chose to ignore Apple, <How can you speak to me anyway? Only Pokemon can communicate with each other telepathically.>

Before I could answer, Apple responded, <She's a psychic, so she can speak to Pokemon too. It’s obvious really. Look at her eyes.>

<Whatever,> Fiery said coolly. I crossed the street and started down the next block. Apple and Fiery followed.

<So, where are we going now?> Apple asked, again.

<To find the gym,> I replied.

Apple complained, <But we haven't even battled a single person away from home yet! We'll get our *sses whooped!>

I didn’t respond.

<I think you're being arrogant. We need to train! Plus, we don't even know where the gym is. We should wait for Erin to show us.>

<I don't want or need Erin's help.>

<Who's Erin?> Fiery inquired.

<You'll see.>

<Unfortunately,> I added.

-----------------------------------------------------------

After wandering around town for an hour, stopping for a quick breakfast, and then wandering around some more, we still had not found the gym.

"It has to be here somewhere," I muttered thoroughly irritated.

<Well, it would help if you asked someone for directions,> Apple commented.

<I don't need anybody else's help.>

<Well that's stupid. Of course you do!> Apple countered.

<Yeah, otherwise you'll end up where we are now,> Fiery remarked.

<And where is that?>

I shouldn’t have asked.

<Right where we started.>

I looked up. We were indeed right in front of the Pokemon Center. I groaned.

<You know,> Apple started. <I think there was a gym sign in the park we passed five minutes ago.>

<There wasn't a—> Apple shoved Fiery with a paw. <I mean, of course. How could you miss it?>

<And I smelled hotdogs,> Apple added hopefully.

Fiery looked at Apple in disgust. <Do you know what those things are made of?>

<Dog sweat?>

Fiery and I exchanged mystified glances and followed Apple, who was sprinting ahead toward the park. Obviously she just wanted a hotdog, but hey, there was nowhere better to look.

Of course, when we reached the park, there was no gym sign, though there was a hotdog stand. The park was large and green, covered in different trees, grasses, and flowers. There was a single gravel path that twisted down the center of the park. A large cluster of trees created a miniature forest a few yards away on one side of the path, and the other side was a spacious field of different types of grasses. The hotdog stand was a ways down the path, though one could smell it from a mile away. There were some people walking with their Pokemon down the path, and a few wild bug Pokemon scurried about the trees and grass. I sighed. The gym was not here.

Apple was leaping between patches of flowers, while Fiery simply stood.

<HOTDOG!!> Apple shrieked when she noticed the hotdog stand was visible. <Let's go get hotdogs!>

I sighed again, "You can have a hotdog for lunch. For now, I guess we should train 'cause we can't find the gym."

Apple sulked, <But lunch isn't for another three hours!>

"The faster we start, the faster we can eat lunch. Now, before we start, I think I should meet the other four Eevees. Here there shouldn't be too much danger, and they shouldn't be able to get into too much trouble."

Fiery snorted, <Yeah, right. They'll find trouble anywhere.>

We moved to an open area of some yards away from the path. I pulled out the four Pokeballs. Four red lights flashed as the Eevees were released.

The four young Eevees clustered together and stared up at me will big adorable eyes. Their fur was rather dull compared to Apple's and Fiery's and like Fiery, they still had a slightly scraggly look. The Eevees were still rather small, about the size of rabbits, but they were not done growing yet. Their skinny legs and bony bodies revealed their long lack of nutrition, but at least they were no longer wet and whimpering. I remembered Apple telling me they were all about four months old, meaning they hatched about four months ago. They were considered to be from the same litter because they all hatched around the same time from the same mother and father.

The Eevees seemed intimidated at the sight of me. Their ears were folded back and they retreated slowly. Fiery trotted over to the Eevees and rubbed noses with them to comfort them. <Don't worry guys, they won't hurt you. That girl is our trainer now, and she will care for us, and if she doesn't…> Fiery glared at me. <then we will tear her to pieces.>

I put on my friendliest smile and spoke to them psychically: <Hello, I'm Anita, and this is Apple.> I gestured to Apple, who had decided to start chasing her tail. <Welcome to the family.>

For a few seconds, the miniature Eevees stared at Apple, who promptly stopped chasing her tail and lightly skipped over to the new Eevees to greet them. The Eevees then turned their gaze to me and stared in amazement.

<She can talk in our heads!> the one farthest to the left squealed. Its ears straightened and it ran over to sniff my hand. The other three followed cautiously.

<I thought humans couldn't talk to Pokemon. Only Pokemon can talk to Pokemon,> another Eevee commented after much sniffing.

Apple, who was sitting with Fiery watching the scene, answered proudly, <She's a psychic, so she can talk to humans and Pokemon!>

The four Eevees looked up again and simultaneously said, <WOOOOOOOOOW!>

Then, suddenly, the greeting was over, and the first Eevee that spoke bounded away to chase frogs. The second Eevee scanned the area, saw a puddle, and promptly jumped into it, splashing water on itself as well as the surrounding grass. One of the other Eevees ignored the rest and went over to flowerbed, where it laid down. The last, and smallest of the bunch, quietly walked under a sunflower near Fiery and Apple.

<Well, I suppose I must name all of you,> I informed the group. Each Eevee looked up from its activity, and Apple and Fiery watched curiously.

<Which ones are boys, and which are girls?> I silently asked Apple.

<The one playing with the frog and the one in the puddle are males. The others are females,> Apple replied without revealing to the other Eevees that we had communicated.

I started with the furriest and boldest of the young Eevees, the one that had dared to speak first and was now playing with a frog. <I will name you Allo.>

The Eevee cocked its head at me. <Why's that?>

I shrugged. <It was the first thing that came to mind.>

<Then your mind is weird.>

The Eevee splashing around in the puddle turned to Allo. <Your face is weird!>

I turned to the wet Eevee. <I think you shall be Splash.>

The wet Eevee rolled his eyes and mocked his brother. <Why's that?>

<Great, another smart-alec,> I stated dryly.

<I thought you said my name was Splash, not Alec,> Splash snorted. Then he literally snorted water and started coughing and laughing simultaneously. Oy vey.

I turned my gaze to the Eevee in the flowerbed. Her coat was less ragged than the others and she laid in such a way that her fur seemed to glisten despite its dulled color. She had somehow managed to put a red flower behind her ear and was now licking her paws. When she saw I was looking at her, she sat up and appeared to be attempting to pose, as if this action would help me come up with a name for her.

<I will name you Vanilla.> I finally decided.

Vanilla eyed me carelessly and then concluded, <That seems fitting. A beautiful name for a beautiful creature like me.> The Eevee then laid back down and continued cleaning her paws. Splash snorted again, this time at Vanilla's response, and Vanilla glared.

I finally looked over to the smallest Eevee under the sunflower. She would not meet my gaze. <I will call you Sunflower,> I calmly told her. She nodded and moved closer to Fiery.

<Alright then!> I looked at the four Eevees. <You four stay out of trouble while Fiery, Apple, and I train. Don't leave this clearing.>

<Why don't we get to train too?> Splash complained. <I wanna battle!!!>

<Nurse Joy told me you guys need recovery time.> After a second thought, I added strictly, <Under no circumstances will you four battle in the next two weeks. After that, we'll see.>

<But I feel fine!!!> Splash whined.

<Your coat is still dull,> Allo pointed out.

<Well so is yours,> the wet Eevee retorted.

<Exactly, all of us need time to grow healthy. Don't you feel like you tire a little too quickly?> The two female Eevees nodded in agreement with Allo.

<No,> Splash said defiantly.

<I personally think battling is overrated,> Vanilla randomly stated.

Splash snickered, <You think anything that might get your precious fur dirty is overrated.>

Fiery sighed, <Won't you guys ever get along?>

<NO!>

Apple turned to me, <Are we gonna start soon or what? I want a hotdog!>

<Ok, Fiery, Apple, come over here. You four, no battling and stay out of trouble.> I walked with Apple and Fiery to the other side of the clearing where the young Eevees were still in sight, but not in the way of training.

I looked down at Fiery. <I haven't really seen you battle yet, so why don't you and Apple battle each other so I can see your skills?>

Fiery glared up at me. <You're expecting me to battle for you?>

I looked at him in surprise. I had thought he would want to train and battle, <Well, I kinda just assumed... I mean trainers work with their Pokemon in battle to learn and grow stronger, and I thought you would want to become stronger... I won't force you if you don't want to.>

Fiery's continued to stare. <Let me make this clear. I will battle for you, but not because you are now my trainer.> Fiery looked over at his siblings, now huddled together playing some sort of leaping game. <I will battle so I can be strong enough to protect my family.> He turned to Apple and said fiercely, <I will not fail them again. Let's do this.>

Apple shrugged, and the two Eevees distanced themselves to prepare for battle. I was a bit disturbed, but like Apple, I shrugged it off. I spoke: <This will be a one on one battle with no commands from the trainer.> To Apple, I added privately, <Remember, no using psychic powers. We have not told them yet, and we also don't want any people to see.>

<Begin!>

<Ladies first,> Fiery snickered.

<Only if you insist,> Apple countered, and began racing toward Fiery in a quick attack.

Fiery eyed Apple carefully, and at the last second dodged out of the way using his own quick attack. He then changed directions and slid to a stop, making the dirt on the ground sputter into Apple's face. Apple spun around confused.

<What's wrong? Can't catch what you can't see?> Fiery ran at Apple.

<Oh, shut up with that classic line! Everyone uses it, and its not true 'cause I will catch you!> Apple spat. Despite my command not to use her psychic powers, I could tell Apple was indeed using her powers to locate Fiery while she couldn't see because she responded by dodging Fiery's tackle, twisting, and biting his tail.

Fiery howled in pain, but I noticed his tail was lighting up.

<Just kidding,> he taunted as his iron-hard tail hit a helplessly close Apple on the head. He then followed up by aiming another tackle at her, but Apple ducked and kicked Fiery up with her hind legs as he flew over her.

By the time he landed, Apple was nowhere in sight. Fiery twirled about until he noticed a hole, <Uh-oh.>

Apple popped up underneath Fiery, sending him flying. Fiery crumpled to the ground as he landed. He shakily got to his feet, and his tail once more began to glow.

Now it was Apple’s turn to utter an, <Uh-oh> and duck out of sight with another dig attack. However, Fiery was not about to fall for the same trick twice. He scanned the ground and found a nearby rock, which he rushed on top of. Apple was unable to pop up directly beneath Fiery, giving Fiery the opportunity to tackle Apple to the ground.

Panting, Apple pounced on Fiery in response, and the two Eevees rolled over each other in the dirt. A bite here, a tail whip there. Their paws and tails were intertwined, and they were rolling so quickly, it was hard to tell which Eevee was which.

<Take that, and that!> Apple squealed, biting Fiery's ears.

<Oh yeah, well take this!> Fiery suddenly rolled over so that he towered over Apple, causing Apple to be stuck in a very awkward belly-up position. He held her four paws down with his own, and his tail was lit up over him, ready to strike should she manage to escape.

He smirked. <Game over.>

Apple struggled for a few seconds, but she was unable to throw Fiery off of her. She then stopped struggling, and smirked right back at him.

<Fine, you win.>

And then she gave a lick across the face that rivaled a Haunter’s in sliminess.

Fiery jumped off of her, <Ewwwwww!> He ran around until he finally stumbled into the puddle Splash had been playing in. He threw his head in the water and pawed at it in an attempt to get Apple grossness off of him. When he was finally satisfied he glared at her. <You're despicable.>

Apple stuck out her tongue in response, causing Fiery to jump back in fear of another lick.

<Do it again! Do it again!>

I turned to see four young Eevees yelping excitedly at the strange series of events they had just witnessed.

Splash ran up to Apple, <You’re sooooo cool! Can you teach me how to lick like that?!>

Apple smiled triumphantly at that comment, and then whined to me, <Can I PU-LEAZE have a hotdog now?>

<Just a little more training, you two,> I started, choosing to ignore Apple. <Fiery, how do you know Iron Tail?>

Fiery shrugged, <We all do.> He nodded toward the younger Eevees. <Our father was an Aagron.>

I nodded, <Can you try and teach Apple? I’ll watch you two and keep an eye on the other four.>

<While you’re at it, you should practice clearing your mind and listening like we did before,> Apple added privately. <I haven’t forgotten our deal.>

I sighed and sat down under a tree as Fiery began to show Apple the technique needed to turn her tail as hard as iron. Splash, Allo, Sunflower, and Vanilla were huddled together watching Apple and Fiery a few yards away.

I inhaled deeply, closed my eyes, and relaxed my body.

“HELLO THERE!”

I jumped up so fast, I accidentally hit my head on a low branch and started cursing.

“Err, sorry miss. I noticed your two Eevees train’in while I was a-walkin’ n’ I was a-wonderin’ if ya wanted to enter ‘n my contest.”

I quit my cursing, and, rubbing my head, I turned to face the source of my pain. “What do you want?”

I was facing a short man wearing a top hat. He had a short gray beard, was plump, and had a squeaky voice.

“Wanna enter me contest? It’s free n’ there’s prize money.”

I considered, “Alright. When is it?”

“Starts 1:00 in front o’ the hotdog stand. There’ll be sixteen compet-etors, n’ each battle’s one on one,” the man answered and handed me a sheet of paper with a few other names scrawled on it. “Sign here.”

I signed. It would be a good test of Apple and Fiery’s skills.

“Thanks much,” the man said as he tilted his top hat and walked away.

I looked at Fiery and Apple to find Fiery still teaching Apple the basics of Iron Tail. They had been so caught up in training that they had not noticed the strange little man.

I looked at the four young Eevees to find… they weren’t there.

Crap.

I quickly scanned the clearing, but the Eevees were nowhere in sight.

Crap.

Fiery would kill me. Literally.

Did I mention crap?

delongbi
January 3rd, 2009, 11:03 PM
Alright, first of all, I am very sorry this chapter took so long. I had to do some thinking on whether to continue this story. I have decided I will finish it, no matter how long it takes. I will update as much as possible.

So here is my next chapter. It is super long.

Wow. I take that back. This is super super long! It exceeded the characters!!!

Special thanks to my cousin!



Chapter 6: Misadventures

Dresses.

I love them.

Short or long. Glittery or plain. Colorful or gray.

Whatever the case, I love them.

I love them as much as I love myself.

They are a shadow of the wearer, revealing to the world the wearer’s mood.

Her style.

Her spirit.

They are beautiful.

But one was the most beautiful.

And most important.

This was the dress that was going to win me the pageant.

Win me my dream.

My dream of becoming a model.

My dream of wearing and showing the beauty of dresses to the world over and over again.

My fallen dream.

They did it. They tore away the dress’s beauty. They tore my dream to pieces. They would—

DONG

DONG

DONG

I spun away from the mirror I had been staring at, still holding the tattered dress against my body, as if I could magically heal its wounds.

“It would have been perfect,” I whispered to the little red fox lying peacefully on a vermillion cushion next to my bed.

The Vulpix opened its sparkling golden eyes and nodded in agreement. The well groomed fox not only matched the room’s color, but its elegance. Everything, from the mosaic border of the mirror to the intricate design of the translucent lamp shade created an aura of flowing beauty. Sunlight danced through glittery shades onto the soft gold-colored comforter of a bed fit for a queen. The sparkling crimson stone walls reflected bits of light onto a beige carpet, as if blood-rubies had been dribbled about the entire room.

Even the tattered dress seemed to fit in with the design of the room. The ripped cloth twirled itself into curls, like the golden hair of a goddess. Ribbons once perfectly placed streamed from the dress wild in every direction. Yet, despite this wildness, the ruins of the dress managed to maintain a certain dark beauty. The wild ribbons glimmered red, black, and gold— a faded sun, a fallen star.

I sighed and slumped onto the plush bed. I would call a friend to blow off some steam or at least find someone to gossip with in order to make my problems seem less problematic, but my friends and classmates had all left on their journey. They were all on their way to becoming trainers, researches, coordinators, or whatever the h*ll they were in the mood for. They had all turned thirteen.

I sulked.

Why did I have to be the youngest person in my grade? While everyone else left on their journey, I was stuck in my house for another two July weeks until my birthday.

Even Reece had abandoned me! Though what the heck he would be doing… I snickered. He thought he was going to be a trainer, but I would bet money he had already changed his mind. He was much too lazy to ever work hard and too greedy to be able to keep his hands to himself. Maybe he had already gotten himself thrown in jail. Then I would be able to catch up with him in Azul City.

Maybe he had seen Anita. I growled. Even that rotten goody-two-shoe had left. Left with those vicious little f—

DONG

DONG

DONG

Wasn’t that good-for-nothing butler going to answer the door? Ugh.

I stomped out of the room, closely followed by Flora, the sleepy Vulpix. I peered over the fine wooden railing into the main hall. Past the spiral staircase, I could see the butler, John, scurrying to open the door.

I turned away and started back to my room. I honestly could care less who was at our door as long as that irksome doorbell stopped ringing.

I heard the door creak open and a stranger’s voice say, “Good afternoon. May I speak with the lady of this house?”

This got my attention. Who would want to speak with my mother? We rarely got visitors, and those who did stop by were not visiting to see my pompous mother.

I twirled around and looked back over the railing to the door. An important looking man in a black suit and a briefcase was standing in the doorway. Who was this guy?

“Please wait—.” John began.

“John, let me speak to this man. You know how mother hates to be disturbed for miniscule matters,” I called down to the butler. I hurried to the staircase and then descended. When I reached the door, John gave me a slight bow and scampered off to the kitchen.

I turned to the man in the door. Up close he looked nervous, as if he felt out of place. “What do you want?”

“Miss Goldenthrill,” the man started. “I am from… err… from an organization that tracks Pokemon, and our machine reported some strange data from this area. Did you happen to see anything unusual around your house yesterday? Any odd people or Pokemon?”

Yesterday… that was when…

I suddenly grinned.

This had the sweet scent of revenge all over it.

I invited the man inside.

“Let me tell you about Anita Parkwood.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Okay, I could handle this.

I took a deep breath and turned to Apple and Fiery who were still absorbed in practicing Iron Tail.

<Umm, I have to go to the bathroom. I’m going to go and bring the other four with me,> I nervously told the two Pokemon.

Fiery didn’t even answer. He nodded and then demonstrated to Apple how to smash a rock with his tail.

Though Apple appeared to be avidly watching Fiery, she smirked slightly and answered only to me, <You lost them, didn’t you?>

<Ugh. I’m going to go find them before Fiery finds out. Keep him busy, will you?>

<Fine, but buy me a hotdog on your way back.>

<Alright.> I tried my best to walk at a normal pace away from the practice area.

The second I was out of their hearing range I raced through the undergrowth, looking frantically in every direction. The Eevees couldn’t have gone too far.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It had been fun watching Apple and my big brother battle, but then they started practicing, and who wants to watch that? Boring!

“Let’s go exploring!” I had told my fellow siblings. To a human, it would have sounded like “Eeeveee eee,” unless the human was a psychic who could understand the thoughts behind the words, which my trainer was. So cool.

Too bad she wasn’t listening at the moment.

“Whatever,” Vanilla answered.

“I’m not sure that’s the best idea.” Allo looked hesitantly at our new trainer.

“They won’t even notice we’re gone.” I looked over at Anita, who had just slammed her head on a tree branch, and I chuckled. “Come on!”

I jumped through a bush and began my stroll through the forest shrubs.

Allo sighed and followed. “I have to make sure you guys don’t get in too much trouble.”

“We’re already in trouble,” Vanilla stated, carefully stepping around the bush I had jumped through.

“Good point. Okay then, I have to make sure you guys don’t get yourselves killed.” Allo turned around suddenly. “You coming?”

I stopped too. I had forgotten about Sunflower because, no offence, she wasn’t very exciting.

“…” Sunflower had replied as she looked fearfully at Anita, but she finally padded after us.

So now we were all wandering somewhere in the woods! Whoooo! There was so much stuff to look at and sniff! I ran from tree to tree inspecting everything.

“Calm down Splash! You’re going insane!” Allo tiredly insisted.

“He’s always insane,” Vanilla declared. I turned, planning to retort something like, “I’m insanely awesome,” but then saw that Vanilla had stopped to sniff a suspicious looking mushroom.

Hehe…that was not a mushroom!

“OWWWW!” Vanilla squealed.

A Paras clenched her nose with one of its pincers.

When she saw what was on her face, she freaked and ran in frantic circles.

“GET IT OFF OF ME!!”

“That’s for invading my private bubble!” a new voice yelled. I assumed it was the Paras.

“Hold still!” Allo called. “I’ll get it.”

“AHHH!” Vanilla didn’t seem to hear him.

Allo ran at Vanilla and miraculously managed to bite the Paras.

“Hey! Buddy, this does not involve you,” the Paras said to Allo, still gripping Vanilla’s nose. “This is between me and the bubble invader, so butt out!”

Allo suddenly let go of the Paras and collapsed. I could see he hadn’t fainted though. He was snoring.

“HELP ME!!!” Vanilla was still running in circles.

She tried shaking her head, but the Paras still tightly held her snout. Vanilla was so dizzy from trying to get the Pokemon off that she ran into a tree and collapsed.

The Paras let go of her and scolded, “I hope you learned your lesson.” He then scurried off.

The episode terrified Sunflower so much she almost fainted.

And I watched the whole thing laughing my butt off.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I opened the door to my room.

Nobody was inside.

Not that I really expected Anita to have waited, but I was kind of hoping.

Oh well.

I set down my pack and fell onto my bed. I had just finished packing up all of my stuff at the lab and informing everyone that I was leaving. Everything I needed was safely shrunken and packed away in my bag. Shrinking technology these days was really amazing; I could carry a full wardrobe, research equipment, and Pokemon supplies in a small lightweight bag.

Now I was left with two options.

I could go looking for Anita. I’m sure Griffy could easily find her.

Or I could get a manicure. Manicures were half-price every Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Betsy’s Beauty Salon.

Today just happened to be Thursday.

I looked at my watch. It was 12:40. I knew a shortcut through the park that could get me to the salon in time for a half-price manicure.

Wow. This was a real tough decision.

I picked up my pack and headed toward the park.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I opened an eye.

That was a mistake. There was a giant killer fluffball hovering over me. It looked like a cushion with teeth.

I closed my eye and then opened it again, hoping the image would disappear.

Unfortunately, now there were three giant killer fluffballs hovering over me.

I blinked again.

This time my eyes focused. My three siblings were all looking down at me. Siblings, giant killer fluff balls… same difference.

I slowly got up. I looked around at the surrounding woods. Where was I?

“What happened?” I asked, struggling with my memories.

“A Paras put you to sleep,” someone replied. “Luckily, Sunflower here found a special berry to wake you up. You were out for, like, twenty minutes.”

I looked at the speaker and my memory came flooding back. “How’d you get rid of the Paras?”

“It ran off.” Vanilla scowled and then added: “No thanks to any of you!” She glared at Splash.

Splash ignored her and scampered off into a bush, uninterested now that the excitement of my awakening was over.

I turned to Sunflower and smiled warmly at my sister. “Thanks.”

Sunflower blushed but didn’t answer. She never did. She was brilliant, but extremely shy. She never talked to strangers and rarely even spoke to us.

I called out to Splash, “Don’t you think we should go back now?” I knew what the answer would be, but I could still hope…

Vanilla apparently had no hope. She scoffed at me.

Splash, of course, replied with a “No!”

I sighed and followed after Splash. I could leave him… I’m sure my sisters would follow me… but without me, Splash would get himself into even more trouble. It had happened before. It was safer to simply follow him.

“Hey guys! Come look at this!” Splash’s voice wavered in excitement. I followed his voice to a patch of bushes and found my crazed brother running in circles around a rugged sign next to a hole in the ground. Vanilla and Sunflower trailed behind me.

“Look!” Splash squealed again. He seemed rather pleased with himself.

I sniffed the sign curiously and then turned my nose to the hole in the ground. Sweet natural aromas wafted from below the ground.

Vanilla sniffed too, and was apparently soothed by the sweet smell as well. “Maybe we should go down,” she said.

“Yes!” Splash rushed toward the hole.

I grabbed his tail a second before he jumped. “We don’t know what’s down there!” I warned.

Splash was not deterred, and continued to fight my bite on his tail.

“Help, anyone?” I mumbled through clenched teeth. Vanilla joined my struggle to prevent Splash from jumping. We managed to get him under control.

I thought a moment and then glanced up at the sign. I could not read it. Neither could Splash or Vanilla for that matter; Fiery had not taught us, and I wasn’t even sure he could actually read. I shifted my eyes to Sunflower. I suspected she had taught herself how to read because I had seen her looking at a newspaper back in the big golden place we had been kicked out of.

“Can you read it?” I asked her.

She only half-nodded and half-shrugged in response. I waited.

“I can read the letters,” she finally whispered, “but I don’t know the word.”

“Well, what is it?” Splash asked impatiently and then tried to jump through the hole again. Vanilla caught him.

Sunflower mumbled, “It says…. G…..Y…. and what’s that W doing upside-down…. Oh…. That’s an M.”

“What?”

“G. Y. M,” she said more definitively.

“What does that mean?” I asked more to myself than anyone.

“Well, it spells out G-gggg-ggg-yeeee-ggg-yeeum,” Sunflower sounded out. “Gyeum,” she concluded.

“Sounds like geese mixed with yum to me. Maybe there’s yummy geese down there,” Splash suggested.

“And maybe my tail will fly off my butt to spread peace and happiness throughout the land,” I added, frustrated.

“And farts,” Vanilla inserted. I glared.

“It could happen.” We all stared at Splash. “What?”

Sunflower yawned, and I noticed how shaky and tired she looked. “We need to go back,” I announced, nodding toward Sunflower.

“But—” Splash started.

I growled deeply, and he thought better of arguing. “This way.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Tra-la-la, tra-traa-la-la, tra-le-la-le-la.

I hummed to myself as Griffy stepped through the undergrowth as quickly as possible without falling. My shortcut to Betsy’s went right through the woods in the park. Even though Griffy could not run without falling in here, it was still shorter than going around.

Griffy suddenly stopped. Four small rugged Eevees scampered in front of us.

What the…?

I cursed silently. Why was my life suddenly haunted by Eevees? Eevees were not even supposed to be found in the wild in this area. First Anita has one, then she tells me she has five others that are hurt…

Wait a second. Anita probably picked up her five other Eevees in the morning. What if…?

“Griffy, stop those Eevees with psychic!” I yelled.

I examined the scraggly Pokemon. They definitely looked malnourished, but not starving.

“What do you think, Griffy? Are these Anita’s Pokemon?”

<Most definitely. Their thoughts have revealed they are searching for Anita.>

I bit my lip. I really did not want to talk to Anita just yet. She would definitely still be mad. Plus, manicures were half off…

But these Pokemon were more important. I sighed. “Let’s go find Anita.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Crud, crap, cruddy crap, crappy crud crap,” I whispered to myself as I glanced at my watch. It was already 1:05. I was missing the tournament, I still couldn’t find the Eevees, and surely Fiery had figured out that I did not just leave to take a dump by now. I had tried listening for them psychically, but I was too worried to concentrate. The bushes suddenly rumbled.

“Erin!” I exclaimed in surprise as she and Griffy leapt out of the bushes. Then I remember what she had done to me this morning. I growled, “Erin.”

Erin grinned madly and winked at me. “Hey there.”

I’m sure my face was turning purple with anger, but before I could start shouting, Erin said in a mock serious voice, “I felt so bad about this morning that I decided I had to make it up to you.” She gave me a sad, puppy-dog look. “So I brought you a present. Griffy?”

I noticed Griffy’s eyes were glowing. Behind the Girafarig floated Sunflower, Splash, Vanilla, and Allo. They struggled against the psychic, but were unharmed. I forgot Erin, ran to the Eevees, and pulled them into a hug as Griffy released the psychic. My worries gone, I was able to open my mind to their thoughts.

Splash squirmed. <Geez, woman. We don’t even know you.>

Though I did truly care for the Pokemons’ well being, truth be told, I was more worried about Fiery killing me than them getting hurt in the wild.

<Hey, cut it out. You are going to ruin my fur,> Vanilla complained. I let them go and reluctantly turned to Erin.

“I guess I owe you one,” I grumbled.

Erin smirked. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

I looked at my watch again. I really did not want to ask Erin, but…

“Hey, Erin? Do you think you could give me a ride back to the path? I am late for a battle tournament I entered and I need to find Fiery and Apple.”

Erin’s eyes flashed. “You’re entering a battle tournament?"

I nodded.

“Hop right on,” Erin invited.

I turned back to the Eevees, who were looking at me in with big adorable eyes. “Alright, we will discuss your actions later. Just don’t tell Fiery about this or we’ll all be in trouble. For now, return.” They disappeared in a flash of red light.

As we raced through though the undergrowth, I plotted the story I was going to tell Fiery. By the time I had pointed out the clearing Apple and Fiery were in, I had thought of a very simple explanation.

“I met Erin in the woods and I became rather distracted as we discussed the happenings of this morning,” I explained to Fiery when we finally reached the clearing. Fiery looked confused and turned to Apple for a clearer explanation. I had forgotten that Fiery had not witnessed my argument with Erin this morning.

Apple shrugged. <She and Erin roomed together and had a loud quarrel. Well, Anita was loud anyway.>

I inwardly sighed in relief. Apple had not told Fiery about his siblings getting lost.

“Alright, let’s go!” There might be a chance that I would still be able to participate in the tournament, even if it had already started. I hurriedly pulled out a Pokeball to return Fiery.

<Wait,> Fiery demanded. <Where are my brothers and sisters?>

I pulled out their four Pokeballs to show him. Fiery nodded in acceptance, and I returned him to his Pokeball.

<But I still want a hotdog!> Apple whined. <And you owe me big time, Anita.>

<I’ll get you one on the way there. Now come on!>

Apple jumped into my arms, and we took off on Griffy.

<Ugh. I forgot how sick this makes me feel,> Apple moaned.

I told Erin and Griffy to stop at the hotdog stand. As soon as we dismounted and Erin returned Griffy to his Pokeball, Apple bellowed, <HOTDOG, HERE I COME!!> She raced to the hotdog stand, all traces of motion sickness gone.

I ran after the Eevee. “Apple, NO!” I yelled when I saw what she was going to do. I was too late. Apple pounced at a wide-eyed hotdog salesman and demanded a hot dog. The poor man stumbled backward in surprise, knocking over his stand and spilling hotdogs everywhere. Apple immediately started devouring the spilled meat filled buns.

I quickly reached Apple, but not before she had consumed four of the hotdogs. I scooped her up into my arms to keep her from continuing.

<Enough!> I scowled.

She licked her lips, grinning.

I helped the salesman up with the arm not holding Apple, frantically repeating, “I’m so sorry!”

The disgruntled salesman stared blankly at his fallen stand. He didn’t say anything until I reluctantly offered to pay for the damage, and then he finally muttered, “It’s fine.”

Erin caught up to us just as I was handing the salesman the majority of the money I had saved up in the past few years for my journey. She tapped my shoulder. “Hey, don’t you want to go see if you can still participate in the tournament?” She pointed beyond the fallen hotdog stand to a wide field where I could see three battles going on.

“Oh yeah!” I glanced toward the field. I had been so flustered about the fallen hotdog stand that all thoughts of the tournament had left my mind. I hastily handed the salesman a few more dollars for two out of three hotdogs that had not fallen out of the stand. I tossed one hotdog to Erin, muttered another apology to the salesman, and rushed toward the tournament while gobbling my own hotdog.

The salesman behind us was left bewildered. For a moment, he stood in the midst of the sprawled hotdogs and stared at the large wad of cash in his hand—more cash than he would have made in the next six months. The man glanced around shiftily.

Finding no witnesses, the man whistled and walked away.

delongbi
January 3rd, 2009, 11:06 PM
Chapter 6.5: Break It Down Now, Y’all

“You’re in luck, m’dear,” the contest man with a top hat told me when I finally found him amongst the battlers. It had taken me a good fifteen minutes. “I only managed to-a-find fif-a-teen trainers, ‘n without you, it had been four-a-teen. If you’d a been here, there would’a been a bye round for a someone else. But now a that you’re here, you can be the one with the bye ‘n battle ‘n the next round. We’ll be done ‘n the next few minutes.” He nodded to the only two trainers left battling. One was using a Spearow, and the other a Sentret. They both looked really tired so the battle would end shortly.

“Thank you, sir,” I replied to the tournament man. He tilted his top hat and turned to chat with one of the winners of the past round. I turned to join Apple and Erin, who were sitting on a small hillside nearby.

“We better feed everyone lunch,” I said, sitting down next to Erin. Erin nodded as I reached into my pack and pulled out a bunch of Pokemon food containers. I released my five other Eevees. Erin released Griffy and two other Pokemon I had not known she possessed.

One was a small bird with blue wings. It screeched, “Low- tail-low,” which meant, as I heard in its thoughts, <Hello world! I am here!>

I smiled when I saw the other Pokemon. It was, in fact, one of those oddly-shaped wingless ducks that resembles a platypus with its face smashed in (if I remember my description correctly). Like all Whoopers I had ever seen, it had a silly smile plastered on its face.

What was surprising about this Whooper, however, was its initial thought.

<I hate the world.>

<Whoa,> I thought to Apple. <Did you hear that?>

<Duh.>

<You don’t seem surprised.>

Apple shrugged. <Don’t judge a Pokemon by looks. Pokemon don’t always have the same expressions as humans. That Whooper is like a clown. She may smiling on the outside, but that doesn’t mean she’s happy.>

“Hello! Anita, you’re dazing out again!” I snapped my attention back to Erin. “This is Tweal,” Erin said as she pointed to the Tailow. “And this is Wella.” She gestured the Whooper.

I relayed my name and my Pokemon’s names to the newly met Pokemon and added silently to my six, <Please do not tell Erin or her Pokemon of my ability to speak with you. I don’t know how she will react, and I don’t know how trustworthy she is.>

<Your secret is safe with us!> Allo declared proudly.

<Only if you give us food,> Splash added, eyeing the Pokemon cans.

Fiery glared at everyone, and Wella waddled over to the angry Eevee thinking, <I think we’ll get along.>

Erin and I passed out the food, and I turned to watch the last few seconds of the battle between the Sentret and Spearow. I was interrupted when Erin spoke.

“So, miss anger-management, where did you meet your Pokemon? I met Wella in some marshes a month or two ago, and I caught Tweal on the way to this city. Griffy I’ve known for a while. We’ve been friends for, like, forever and—”

“You can cut the act, Erin,” I snapped. “I know you’re faking.”

“Faking what?” Erin asked in a sugary voice.

“You being a nitwit!”

A mock frown replaced Erin’s sweet smile. “How am I a nitwit?”

“You talk a lot. And annoy the crap out of me.”

Erin pouted. “Are you implying that I am faking talking and annoying you? I don’t see how that’s possible as I’m doing it right now.”

I sighed, exasperated. “Ugh, no. That’s not what I mean! You’re not really a naturally chatty, obnoxious person. You just act that way—”

“If I act that way, then that must be how I am.”

“But you arguing like this just proves my point! Ugh! Forget it. It’s not worth it!” I retorted. I could feel the anger bubbling in my stomach again so I turned back to the battle and found it had ended, the Spearow the victor. “Erin, watch my Eevees,” I ordered curtly as I grabbed Apple around the stomach and stalked away from Erin toward the tournament manager.

<Hey! I wasn’t done eating!>

<You have had more than enough food today,> I replied sourly.

<You know, she’s right about the anger management thing. You should see someone—> Apple must have seen my thoughts turn violent because she stopped midsentence. <Geeze, I was just kidding. If anything, you should take your anger out in this battle.>

I nodded. We reached the manager, who was already splitting up the seven winners of the previous round into battling pairs.

“Alright. N’ you over there,” The tournament guy pointed to a small, scrawny kid. “You’re with this young-a lady who got a bye ‘n the last round.”

“But it’s not fair! She shouldn’t be allowed in—” the kid started to complain, but the tournament manager cut him off.

“I make the rules ‘ere, lil’ fellow. You’ll be battling this lassie.”

My lingering irritation prevented me from fully feeling the gratitude I owed the manager, but I managed to give him a feeble smile. Then I turned to scowl at the scrawny boy, who looked like he was ten (though that couldn’t be the case). We walked to an open area and waited for the manager’s whistle to begin the battle.

I decided to attempt politeness, despite my mood. “What’s your name? I’m Anita.”

The boy sneered, “Peter.”

Awkward silence.

The whistle sounded before either of us could say another word.

“Go, Apple!”

“Go, Buggy!”

<Ooh. What a creative name,> Apple snickered sarcastically as the boy released a Caterpie from its Pokeball.

<Apple, focus! Remember your training, and remember not to use any attacks that an Eevee shouldn’t know. No psychic!>

“Apple, quick attack!” I shouted.

“Buggy, tack—”

Peter shouted too late. Buggy had already fainted and the battle was already over.

Apple stared in surprise for a second and then started celebrating by running around in circles.

<Yippie!!! We won our first real battle! Oh yeah! Go us!>

<Apple, you realize we only beat a Caterpie.>

Apple stopped and considered a moment. <A win is still a win.> She shrugged and continued her celebration.

I smiled my first genuine smile of the day, shook Peter’s hand, and then returned to where Erin was seated to watch the remaining battlers. My other Pokemon were cheering— well, mostly Splash was cheering. The others were smiling, or in Fiery’s case, grimacing, as they finished the last of their food. Apple joined them, receiving looks of admiration from the younger Eevees until Fiery snapped, <It was a Caterpie, for goodness sake!>

“I wonder what the boy beat to make it to the second round,” Erin remarked.

Probably a Magikarp, I thought but did not answer.

When Erin continued to babble, I was able to ignore her by focusing on the three remaining battles and my upcoming opponents. I watched a Bidoof exchange attacks with an Oddish and a tough looking Quilava knock a female Nidoran to the ground. The Spearow I had seen earlier was easily beating a Rattata by attacking and then taking flight.

I suddenly felt something budge near my leg. I looked down and found Splash staring up at me with wide eyes.

<Can I please battle? Please?> the little Eevee pleaded.

I sighed. <No, Splash. I am going to use Fiery this round, and you are not going to battle until you are fully recovered.>

<But—>

<No.>

I ended the discussion by turning to Fiery. <Ready?>

Fiery nodded.

<What!? I don’t get to battle?> Apple whined.

<I need to train all of my Pokemon,> I reminded Apple.

Apple scowled.

The three battles finally finished (with the Quilava, Spearow, and Bidoof the victors), and the manager assigned me to battle the girl with the Spearow. It was probably her only Pokemon because she had not used any other creatures in any of her battles thus far.

“Alright, C’mon Fiery!” I shouted as the whistle signaled the start of the battle.

“Let’s go, Arrow!” the girl yelled as she sent out her Spearow.

I ordered a quick attack, but the Spearow dodged into the air.

“Arrow, peck!”

The Spearow hit Fiery before I could order a retaliation. Fiery fell down, but quickly got back up snarling.

When Fiery saw the Spearow was already out of reach in the air, he called, <Hey, bird-brain, get your little bird-butt down here and fight me!>

The Spearow responded by taking a dump on Fiery’s head.

<Did you just **** on me!?> Fiery howled. The Spearow dove in for another peck attack, but I was prepared this time.

“Iron-tail!”

Fiery lit up his tail and flung it over his body just as the Spearow made contact. Both Pokemon were sent flying.

“Fiery, tackle him while he’s still on the ground!”

“Arrow, take flight!”

Fiery hit the Spearow before it could take off.

“Alright, finish it Fiery!”

Fiery’s tail lit up again, but just as he was about to smash it into the Spearow, the bird-Pokemon managed to flap off of the ground. Fiery’s tail slashed uselessly through the air.

My opponent commanded a fury-attack, and I quickly instructed Fiery to try another iron-tail. The Spearow, however, attacked in the second it took for Fiery’s tail to light up, and then once again fluttered just beyond Fiery’s reach.

<Err, we need to think of a way to get that Pokemon out of the air,> I thought to Fiery. <We’ll never win if it keeps up this strike and run tactic. Do you know any long range attacks?>

<No,> Fiery growled sourly, as he attempted to dodge another peck attack. He was too tired to move quickly and was hit.

“Let’s finish with a whirlwind!”

The Spearow started to flap its wings rapidly and the wind picked up. I suddenly had an idea.

“Fiery, stand still!”

Fiery narrowed his eyes at me but did nothing, as I had requested. The wind swirled around him.

<Hold onto the ground until I tell you to let go,> I requested. <Then, launch yourself into the air toward the Sparrow using an iron tail to push off the ground.>

Fiery nodded. The winds picked up. Dust twirled in the whirlwind.

<Now!>

Fiery slammed his lit-up tail into the ground and went flying up the whirlwind. The wind increased his velocity as he shot toward the Spearow. The Spearow stopped flapping, unsure of how to respond. Just before Fiery hit, the Pokemon uttered its first words of the battle, <Fiddle-Farfetch’d-sticks.>

Both Pokemon plummeted toward the ground, but Fiery used a quick attack against the Spearow to decrease his own speed and increase the Spearow’s just before hitting the ground. The Spearow did not get up again.

“Anita n’ her Eevee are de’ victors!” announced the tournament manager. I looked around and realized that everyone had been watching our battle. The fight between the boy with the Quilava and the other kid with the Bidoof must not have lasted long.

I ran over to Fiery and scooped him into a hug. <You were amazing!>

Fiery tried to look angry at me, but a small smirk gave away his satisfaction.

I shook hands with the girl I had just battled and started walking toward Erin and my other Pokemon. Then it dawned on me that I did not get a break this time because my battle had taken longer than the other one. I hurried to Erin, and plopped a tired Fiery down in her lap. The younger Eevees ran to congratulate their brother, who was nearly falling asleep, and I silently cursed myself for not buying potions.

Erin gave me a thumbs up and winked at me when I yelled a frantic, “Thank you!” I gathered Apple in my arms and hurried back to the open battling area.

As I rushed back to the field, I studied Apple a moment. She had not said a word to me since the battle. I was surprised to see she was frowning slightly and had a gloomy look in her eyes. When I reached out with my mind to hear her thoughts, I was even more surprised to be forcefully shoved out.

“Apple, are you ok?” I whispered as I reached the grass clearing. Several spectators had gathered and were chatting excitedly.

Apple only nodded.

“Right-y-o folks!” the tournament manager proclaimed. Apparently, he decided that there were enough people watching and this final battle was important enough for him to announce into a microphone. “Here we have a ‘lil lady named Anita Parkwood n’ one o her Eevees. N’ she’s against this blond lad called Jake Veneer n’ his Quilava. I think we’re in for a good battle! Now, let’s get this battle started before the sun starts a-settin’!”

I looked up and realized that the sun was no longer beating down with midafternoon intensity. I refocused my attention on my opponent and was startled to find his face quite striking. He had a sharp jaw, brilliant blue eyes, and had arranged his sun-bleached dirty-blond hair into small spikes that stuck up in random directions.

A whistle blew.

Oh, right, I had a battle to win.

I tried to talk to Apple psychically as she leapt out of my arms to the battle field, but she was still blocking me. I was starting to get nervous. I had never battled with Apple without being able to communicate with her silently. A flicker of irritation crossed my mind as I wondered what her reasoning was.

“Quill, go!” Jake yelled as he released his Quilava in a flash of red.

“Apple, c’mon!” I half yelled, half pleaded.

Apple picked up on the double meaning of the phrase.

She shook her head.

And for the first time since I had met Apple, I felt disconnected. Alone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Emotional.

A word I would never use to describe myself.

Except that was exactly what I was at the moment.

I winced and nodded as Anita asked me if I was okay, but I continued to block her out. She could not see me like this! I had never lost my cool with her! I was always her playful, friendly, smart-*ss Pokemon! I was observant and knowledgeable; I didn’t waste my time on petty feelings!

But now, now I was feeling more than I ever had in my life and each feeling seemed to create another and all the feelings were all jumbled around and overwhelming me and—

I took a deep breath. Okay, maybe if I could sort out the feelings I could control them.

The first feeling was the pang I felt when I watched Fiery battle and be hugged by Anita. It was… what do humans call it? Jealousy. I was jealous of Fiery for being stronger than me, for beating me, and for defeating a tough Spearow that I don’t think I could have overcome. I was jealous of the attention and care Anita gave him.

Which leads me to the next feeling: shame. I was ashamed for feeling jealous of the attention Anita gave Fiery because I knew that she cared about me just as much as she cared about Fiery. It’s just that I had never had to share Anita with anyone before.

This whole situation was completely embarrassing. I was embarrassed for feeling jealous, for feeling this petty emotion when I was supposed to be the one who always kept her cool. I was embarrassed to be a legend in hiding, a legend experiencing stupid feelings.

A weak legend.

Most of all, I was feeling sorry for myself. Sorry that I was a weak Pokemon. Sorry that Anita got stuck with pitiful me— a legendary Pokemon who couldn’t hold her own against a crappy wet Charizard or a dumb, average Eevee. Sorry that I had to hide from the world I was so weak. Sorry that my weakness caused me to experience stupid emotions that made me even weaker. Sorry that I was a disappointment.

I felt Anita try to reach my mind again, momentarily distracting me from the downward spiral of my thoughts. My organization of emotions technique was failing. I still had so many feelings.

I couldn’t deal with it. I had to distract myself. I looked around desperately and spotted Erin. I opened my mind to listen to her thoughts. She was thinking about how attractive a human male with blond spiky hair was for a moment, but then she reconsidered. She was suddenly contemplating the uselessness of males in general and how it was pointless to imagine any of them attractive. The distraction was a sufficient one, for I started wondering why she thought that way and who the boy was.

Then I noticed she was staring at someone. That someone was the boy she was trying not to think about, and he was standing across from me and Anita in a stance that suggested he was ready for a battle.

A whistle blew.

That’s it!

The battle!

The perfect solution and the perfect distraction. I had to win this battle! If I won, I would prove to myself and everyone that I was not weak! I would prove there was no need for me to be jealous of Fiery! Not only that, but for the time being, the battle would distract me from my emotions.

But I could not let Anita into my head yet. Not until I was sufficiently engrossed in the battle.

I leapt from Anita’s arms and blocked Anita from my head again. A wave of shame swept over me. I felt awful for keeping Anita from reading my thoughts. We had shared our thoughts and feelings for so long that not being connected felt like we were missing part of ourselves.

However, I still could not allow Anita to see my thoughts and feelings in such a weak state. It would only cause her more worry and me more shame. No, I would wait.

The spiky boy sent out his Quilava.

“C’mon, Apple,” Anita said in a voice that probably sounded like a normal way to start the battle to most people. To me however, it sounded like she was asking me to let her into my mind. I shook my head “no”. I was not yet ready.

The battle began.

The Quilava grinned at me with razor sharp teeth. “Hey, little kitty,” he taunted just before racing at me in a quick attack.

Kitty? Excuse me; I was most certainly not a kitty! Did the long ears mean anything to anyone?

“Use your quick attack too, Apple!” I heard Anita command.

I was faster than the Quilava. I dodged around him, and then hit him from behind. The Quilava swiftly turned to tackle me, but I was already speeding away.

A pattern began. Anita was using the hit and run tactic the Spearow had used against us. I hit the Quilava when I could, but made it my priority to dodge his attacks. I felt something was not right though. The Quilava continued to smirk at me the whole time, even when I managed to hit him. It was like he and his trainer were just waiting for something. I was tempted to read his mind, but I knew Anita would not approve.

As the battle wore on, I grew more confident. Even though the Quilava’s smirk unnerved me, I felt that if the Pokemon was able to beat me, he would have already done so. Finally, I felt good enough to reconnect with Anita.

<Apple! What happened? Are you ok?!?!> Anita’s thoughts were so loud I nearly jumped.

I did not allow myself to think about the questions she asked. I concentrated on the battle. <Anita, focus on the battle. I think they might be up to something,> I relayed while dodging another tackle.

<Me too. That boy has just been smiling the whole time at me.>

<What I think is really weird is that he hasn’t used a single fire attack yet.> I narrowed my eyes at my opponent. <Can I please read his mind?>

<No. We cannot risk discovery. You have to act like a normal Eevee, and plus isn’t that kind of like cheating?>

I snorted and tackled Quilava again. <Using what you have isn’t cheating.>

Before Anita could retort, black smoke filled the area. I automatically used to my psychic powers to locate the Quilava and give him a bite attack.

<NO! Apple, you can’t use your psychic like that!!! What if—> I ignored my trainer and held onto the Quilava as tight as I could.

I had finally taken the stupid smirk off the Quilava’s face.

“Quill, shake it off!” I heard the Quilava’s trainer yell.

The Quilava thrashed, and I was finally thrown off.

To my amusement, Anita was frantically thinking of ways to stop me from using my psychic powers.

“Apple, use dig!”

I grimaced for less than a moment. I hated that attack. However, I wouldn’t disobey Anita. I dug underground, and then realized that Anita had indeed stopped me from using my psychic powers. Pokemon performing a dig attack used the vibrations in the ground to figure out where an opposing Pokemon was located. Of course, I could use my psychic powers anyway, but the point is nobody would know either way.

I located the Quilava, and attacked him from underneath. “Hey, little weasel,” I snickered. The Quilava went flying, as the attack was super effective.

“Finally!” the opposing trainer exclaimed. “Quill, finish it! Flame wheel!”

Even though the Quilava was weak from my attacks, he was grinning madly. The flames around his body were so hot they glowed blue.

My eyes widened as I my mind pieced together what our opponent’s strategy was. The Quilava had been conserving his fire, slowly making it hotter and hotter within his body. He waited until he was weakest to release it because his ability, blaze, made his fire attacks strongest when he was weakest.

The heat he had been building up combined with his blaze ability would wipe out almost anything.

****.

The blue flames raced toward me.

<Apple, jump in the hole!>

It was too late.

The flames engulfed me, just like they did when I had fought the Charizard.

Once again, I failed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“How’s she doing?” Erin asked as she walked in the room.

I looked to the Eevee sleeping on my lap. Immediately after the battle I had rushed to the Pokemon center to get her and Fiery healed. Nurse Joy had said they would both be fine, but had requested I let Apple sleep for a bit. I was now sitting in Erin’s room with all of my Pokemon except Apple in their Pokeballs. The younger Eevees needed their rest too, but they seemed unable to get it outside their balls.

“She’s fine,” I told Erin, “The nurse just requested that she rest.”

Erin paused a moment.

“I have a note for you.” Erin took a piece of paper out of her pocket, and handed it to me.

I looked at the crumpled paper suspiciously and then read it.


Dear Challenger,

Though you may not have known it, by being in the final four of the tournament you have the opportunity to attempt a battle against me, the gym leader of Azul City. If you can find my gym by noon tomorrow, I will accept your challenge. My gym is located no more than half of a mile away from the spot you battled on today. Being in the final four and finding my gym by noon are the only conditions you must meet in order to challenge me. If you cannot find my gym by noon tomorrow, do not bother looking further. You will have another opportunity to find my gym if you make it to the final four when the next tournament is held.

I hope to see you soon.

Best Regards,
Abalina Sycamore



I looked at Erin again and said, “Thanks.” Then I went back to watching Apple sleep in my lap.

Erin seemed to not know what to do. “Umm,” she started awkwardly. “Well, I wanted to let you know a few things. First of all, I guess I don’t have to show you where the gym is because you already found it. Or rather, you found where to start. Most people don’t know it, but the tournaments held in this park are what the gym leader uses to stop weak trainers from battling her every other second. She changes the location of her gym door before every tournament to stop such nuisances from bothering her. ”

Erin opened her mouth to say more, but then abruptly closed it. She played with her hair nervously, and then seemed to make a decision.

“Secondly,” she continued. “I think you’re a really great trainer. I know this is corny, but you shouldn’t let a loss like this get to you. And I want to ask you… no, I demand that you allow me to travel with you, at least until you reach Cape Caution. You owe me, remember?”

I said nothing and then nodded. As much as I really did not want to travel with her, I did owe her for finding my Eevees and for helping me thus far.

“Thirdly.” Erin grinned. “What kind of pizza do you like?”


--------------------------------


CONTINUED ---->

delongbi
January 3rd, 2009, 11:08 PM
After an hour, Erin left to pick up the mushroom pizza she had ordered for us. I was left to stare out the bedroom window and contemplate the battle against the Quilava.

Strangely enough, the fact that I had lost did not bother me. From the start of this journey (was it only two days ago?!), I knew that there would be times that I lost battles, and I had made a pact with myself to not become too upset after losing. Instead, I would try to learn from my mistakes and then move on.

What really bothered me was that Apple had blocked me out of her head. I tried not to focus on it during the battle because it would distract me, but now I wanted to know why Apple had hindered our communication.

Apple stirred in my lap, ruffling the bedcovers. I immediately reached to her mind. <Apple?>

Apple stiffened.

<Apple, are—> Apple shoved me out of her mind again. She started shaking.

“Apple what’s wrong!?” I held her up so I could see if she was physically hurt.

Apple shook and whimpered.

I didn’t know what to do.

Apple was still blocking me so I couldn’t get to her mind, and she wouldn’t reach out to mine. I panicked.

With all my strength and willpower I drove myself into my Pokemon’s mind. Suddenly I was flooded with so many confusing emotions, it was overwhelming.

Whoa. Is this what Apple was feeling?

To my shock, the strongest feeling was one of self-worthlessness. How could Apple think she was so insignificant? At first, all I could do was share the pain and emotions with the Mew. I had never delved so deep into someone’s mind before. I had never even gone further than listen to what a Pokemon wanted to communicate, which isn’t even the full extent of a being’s thoughts. Occasionally, I sensed an emotion from Apple, but it had to be particularly strong for me to “hear” it.

Eventually, I figured I should try communicating with my mind as Apple had showed me to do. The only problem was that it felt like I was actually in Apple’s mind so I didn’t know if it would work the same way.

<APPLE!> I tried to get Apple’s attention, but her mind was so chaotic there was no way to tell if she heard me.

Well, I had gotten this far into Apple’s mind. Could I go farther? Was there even more than this? I pushed my way inward and suddenly found myself surrounded by fire. The orange flames licked at my feet but had no affect.

Where in the world was I? I saw a pink blob in the fire resembling Apple as I had found her when she was beaten by the Charizard.

<Apple?>

The pink blob looked at me with wild, frightened eyes. Then there was a flicker of recognition, and suddenly the flames got higher. The pink blob shivered.

<APPLE! Stop this! It’s all in your head!>

The words did not seem to affect the pink blob.

I searched her emotions for more clues.

Self-loathing. Shame. Embarrassment. Weakness. Jealousy.

All building upon each other. I searched for the stimulant of such emotions. These emotions were what Apple was hiding from me before the battle so it could not have been the battle that solely caused this flood of emotion.

I almost laughed when I found the main instigator. It was a jealousy of Fiery. Of course, years of hiding from the world, the battle, and feeling weak all added fuel, but jealousy was the spark.

<APPLE! THIS IS NONSENSE! YOU ARE NOT WEAK!>

Nothing changed.

<APPLE, I CAN UNDERSTAND YOUR JEALOUSY OF FIERY. IT’S A NORMAL PART OF LIFE, AND AT SOME POINT WE ALL GET THAT FEELING. IT IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OR EMBARRASSED ABOUT!>

Nothing. I got desperate and turned to bullshitting sentiments that never work.

<YOU ARE TAKING THIS JEALOUSY THE WRONG WAY. MAKE IT A DRIVE TO BETTER YOURSELF!>

Still nothing. Oh crap, what if she was dying?

<APPLE, YOU’RE MY BEST FRIEND! WE’VE BEEN THROUGH EVERYTHING TOGETHER SO DON’T YOU DARE ABANDON ME NOW! I NEED YOU!>

I spoke from my heart, and the last three words seemed to get through. The flames melted into the ground and the pink blob seemed to evaporate. I was left alone in empty space.

<Thank you, Anita.>

I sighed in relief, and pulled myself into my own body.

Apple squirmed in my lap and began to cry. I joined her.

When we were finally reduced to just sniffles, Apple looked into my eyes and whimpered, <I’m sorry… for everything.>

I just hugged her.

The room was darkened as the evening light faded.

Apple giggled weakly. <I suppose I owe you an explanation, and you still owe me a lesson. What do you say we combine the two?>

<Sure, but I already understand why you shut me out. You were hiding your feelings. Still, no matter what you are feeling, don’t ever do that again! Look what it has driven us to!>

Apple shifted uncomfortably from my lap to the bedcovers. <Aren’t you upset and disappointed in me for having these feelings?>

<Apple, where did you get that silly notion!? Of course I’m not disappointed! Everyone has feelings, and we can’t control them sometimes.> I thought back to all the times I had lost my temper. <I know that better than anyone.>

Apple threw a halfhearted grin at me when she saw what I was thinking. <I happen to disagree with that, but I don’t want to argue about it now. Anyway, why I blocked you is not the explanation I was talking about. It is how I blocked you out and how you got into my mind that I need to explain to you.>

I sighed as I finally realized what Apple meant by giving me a lesson. Well, it was bound to happen sometime.

<As you discovered today, the mind is like an onion; there are several layers. Telepathy penetrates the outermost level. Actually, not even that. Telepathy is more like the area around the onion, the tiny particles of the onion that are most concentrated around the onion and form a scent. Telepathy is receiving thoughts that someone is trying to project. That is why you can understand all Pokemon; when they speak, they are also projecting their thoughts.

<The next layer you can penetrate is emotion. This is why you can see exactly what others are feeling, and this is why I chose to block you. I knew you would see all of my disgusting emotions.> Apple looked down sadly.

<Err, Apple, you’re wrong there. I barely have ever gone past the first level. Occasionally I’ll feel what you are feeling, but only if it’s really strong, and I only feel it for a second or two. I probably wouldn’t have known your feelings even if you weren’t blocking me out.>

Apple looked at me in surprise. <Really? I assumed… Well, it’s just one more thing we’ll have to practice. Anyway, underneath emotions are thoughts you do not wish to speak, and beneath that are memories. Deeper than memories, well it’s hard to say exactly what is there, but it sure is something. That is where you were in me today.

<Now to the whole blocking business. It’s possible to make barriers in your mind to keep people out, and it’s actually rather simple. You just imagine a strong protective bubble around your mind to keep everything else out. It would be like putting an onion in a plastic bag. Its scent stays in the bag and all the other scents stay out. You got into my mind today by drilling a hole through my bag right to the center of my onion.

<There is one type of barrier, you should know, that cannot be broken through. You know how I explained gifts before, right? Well, if you have a dark type gift, everything psychic does not affect you. Thus, psychics cannot get into their actual mind. It is like their onions are always encased in diamonds—>

I cut Apple off. <Back up a bit. I think I understand the idea of picking up other’s thoughts, but then how am I able to project my own. If my thoughts are just wafting around my mind, how can I direct them at you or my other Pokemon?>

<Well, unlike normal people and Pokemon, you can control where your thoughts go. Let’s go back to pretending your thoughts are an onion’s scent. If you put a fan in front of the onion, you can direct where the scent goes. That is what you can do. You can direct your thoughts to where thoughts of non-psychics are located so even non-psychics can see your thoughts. You’re really good at this part because you’ve been doing this for years!>

I was taken aback. <Years? You just taught me!>

<Na, you’ve been doing it to me since we met. Its how I knew you were a psychic!>

<I always knew that purple eye stuff was a bunch of bologna,> I thought to myself.

<Hey! I heard that! And anyway, I wasn’t done explaining so shush up!> She paused to make sure I wasn’t going to say anything. I complied. <Of course, the first time we talked psychically, I was the one reaching my mind out. After that though, you may have assumed I was always listening to your thoughts, but really, you reached your mind out to me. You never tried it with anyone else because you never believed they would hear you.>

<And you didn’t tell me this before because…>

Apple shrugged. <You didn’t need to know.>

<But now I do?> I asked doubtfully.

<Now you do,> Apple confirmed. <Wow, all this talking has made me feel better.>

<Oh yes,> I said sarcastically. <Discussing the intricate details of powers I don’t want to believe in always cheers me up!> I decided to change the subject before Apple could force me into another lesson. <So are you up for a gym battle tomorrow?> I reached my mind out to Apple, and felt what she was feeling. I felt her uncertainty, her self-worthlessness, and her shame. It was not as strong as before, her self doubt lingered, as it must have for years past.

Apple locked eyes with me, and I knew that she knew that I could feel what she was feeling.

Apple smiled wickedly, and then scoffed sarcastically, <Of course! What in the world would give you the impression that I wasn’t ready?>

I snorted.

We sat there grinning at each other, and at that moment, we understood each other better than ever before.

Apple’s grin widened and so did mine.

I knew exactly what Apple was thinking without reading her mind.

Apple knew exactly what I was thinking without reading my mind.

So it was no surprise when at the same time, we bellowed,

<WHERE IS OUR PIZZA?!>

delongbi
January 17th, 2009, 03:19 PM
So, for anyone actually reading this, I present chapter 7. Special thanks to my cousin, .5Cantelope.



Chapter 7: Clash

“Anita Parkwood…” I muttered to myself. “If Miss Goldenthrill’s information is accurate, the time this girl was outside the Goldenthrill mansion and the time Pokemon X appeared coincide exactly.” It seemed like too much of a coincidence to me. I turned to my assistant, his face hidden by the dark shading of the room. “Tell me, is it possible that the girl made up her account in order to get revenge on Miss Parkwood?”

“I have already considered that, sir.” The assistant flashed a grin. “In fact, it is highly likely that she told us of Miss Parkwood to get revenge. However, our sources in Azul City did, in fact, reveal that Miss Parkwood entered the city with another girl less than an hour later. Thus, it seems likely that Miss Goldenthrill was not lying about Miss Parkwood stopping at her house.”

I considered the situation for a moment. I finally asked, “Who was this other girl? The one Miss Parkwood entered the city with?”

“Erin Kendle,” came my assistant’s ready reply. “She is a research assistant in one of the labs in Azul City and is known to leave the city often in order to obtain information about the local Pokemon.”

“And this Erin Kendle was not with Miss Parkwood at Miss Goldenthrill’s house?”

“Assuming Miss Goldenthrill did not lie, that is correct,” my assistant confirmed.

“Well, it seems we need to take Anita Parkwood, and possibly Erin Kendle, in for questioning.”

“Shall I order their capture?”

I thought for a moment. “No.”

My assistant was shocked. “What! Why not?” He narrowed his eyes in an accusatory manner.

His reaction did not surprise me. Usually, when we wanted information from a person the normal procedure was to kidnap the person and force the information out of them.

“Let’s consider the situation.” I spoke carefully and quietly, thus ensuing that my assistant was paying attention and I would not need to repeat myself. “We know that Pokemon X appeared twice. Both appearances were in between Melonbi Town and Miss Goldenthrill’s mansion, and the second appearance was closer to the mansion. We also know that around the same time, Anita Parkwood was traveling from Melonbi Town to Azul City, and she stopped at the mansion. I would say there is a 90% chance that she at least saw Pokemon X. However, it seems strange for both Pokemon X and Miss Parkwood to be traveling the same path at the same time. Thus, I believe there is a 60% chance that either Miss Parkwood was following Pokemon X or Pokemon X was following Miss Parkwood. We also have to consider the possibility that Pokemon X is traveling with this girl, though admittedly, that seems rather unlikely.”

“What is your point?” I could here a slight tone of derision in his voice. Disrespect was so… annoying.

I rolled my eyes as if I thought he should have figured it out already. Of course, I was really only rolling my eyes in retaliation to his disrespect. “I believe we can learn more by investigating this girl further. Torturing her may get some results, but watching her can probably give us more information, as well as possibly the opportunity to capture Pokemon X.”

“Oh, I see your brilliant scheme now!” my assistant said sarcastically. “Watching this girl will magically lead to the capture of the legendary, mysterious Pokemon X!”

I replied calmly, “Pokemon X appeared to this girl twice. It will likely happen again.”

“Right.” He was obviously not convinced. For the moment, though, he played along. “Even if we assume that watching the girl is the right way to go about the situation, how can we accomplish that without being detected? She’s bound to notice someone following her.”

I grinned. I had a plan. “Don’t worry about that. It will all be taken care of.”

“What does that mean?” my assistant sneered.

“It means you will not have to do a thing. I have already set up everything.”

“And are you going to tell me, exactly what you have set up?”

“No.”

My assistant growled.

“I will, however, tell you what you need to know and what you need to do. First of all, I am leaving for the next month or two, and you will be in charge while I am away.”

My assistant smiled brilliantly at that, as I knew he would. I hated to entrust him with so much power, but I had more important matters to attend to...

It finally dawned on my assistant that I had told him I was leaving. “Wait…Master.“ He said the word with contempt. “Where are you going?”

“My exact whereabouts are not important. I will be doing some research that pertains to Pokemon X. I will give you a phone you can use to reach me if there is an emergency or if you have found any more information about Pokemon X. Otherwise, I will call periodically to check up on the organization.

“You are to continue running this organization as it has been run for years. You will find, steal, and sell rare Pokemon for money, and continue hunting for and gathering information about Pokemon X… without stalking Miss Parkwood. I will have someone most trustworthy doing that.”

A little too fast, my assistant asked, “Who?”

I smirked. I had learned long ago that he saw anyone I thought was trustworthy as a rival. “A relative of mine. He will be able to contact me and you if he discovers anything or succeeds in capturing Pokemon X. You are not to interfere with him or his methods of gaining information. You and the rest of Team Glop’emm shall pretend that we never found anything suspicious about Anita Parkwood and go back to the usual business. None of our agents, aside from my… detective, shall spy on Miss Parkwood; at this point, we cannot risk being discovered.”

“And what if your special detective fails?” my assistant questioned edgily.

“He will not.”

My assistant growled louder, “But what if?”

Of course my assistant disliked my ingenious plan. He would have no influence over information discovered about Pokemon X or the actual capturing of Pokemon X. I was tempted to become angry with my assistant for questioning my plan, but if I lost my cool with the assistant, respect and dignity would be lost as well.

I quickly came up with a way to appease my assistant. I calmly responded, “If in five weeks from today my detective has not come up with any new information, you may order her capture.”

My assistant narrowed his eyes at me. “Does that mean you will not be back by then?”

“I do not know,” I answered honestly.

My assistant was lost in thought for a second. Finally, he asked, “When are you leaving?”

“Now.” I rose from my desk, and pulled my hood up over my head. I turned back to my assistant. “Do not inform the rest of the team of my departure until three hours after I leave the building. Do not attempt to follow me or find me when I am gone. I will not hesitate to use physical force, even on my own team members.” I pulled a walkie-talkie-like device out of my pocket and handed it to my assistant. “Press the green button to contact me, and press the red button to contact the detective. Do not press either button unless there is an emergency or you find more information about Pokemon X. If our machine finds Pokemon X again, call my detective immediately, and then inform me.” I turned to exit the room.

My assistant grumbled something about never even fully seeing my face. I smiled widely at that. My precaution of always meeting others in shaded light or wearing a hood was finally going to pay off. Even if my assistant saw me in broad day light, he would not recognize me. The last time I had shown my face to anybody on Team Glop’emm was before my father died. I had changed a lot since then.

My hand was on the door knob when my assistant said, “Wait!”

I paused.

“What about your other responsibilities?”

“Close it down,” I answered curtly. Then an idea hit me. “Actually, put up a sign saying that the prelim has been changed to finding me.” I grinned. The other gym leaders would not be able to replace me or punish me for leaving, and no challenger was actually going to find me because I had never showed my face in public.

Before my assistant could stall my departure any longer, I left the room. After navigating the twists and turns of the building and ignoring the stares of grunts as I passed by, I finally opened a door to the outside world.

I breathed in the fresh air, and pulled out a Pokeball.

For the first time in my life, I was free. Free of responsibility, free to leave Drape Town, free to be on my own.

Good-bye old life.

Hello world.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I kicked a shrub and shouted, “THIS IS SO STUPID!”

<And that’s number 57.>

I turned and kicked another shrub near Apple so hard that the shrub was uprooted and hit Apple in the face.

<58.>

I looked at my watch. It was 11:30. We had started searching for the gym at 7:00 this morning. Four and a half hours!! It was only in the past hour that I had resorted to kicking shrubs out of frustration, and Apple had boredly started counting them.

“You’ve knocked over so many shrubs people are going to think a Tauros rampaged through here,” Erin commented. My roommate had been no help whatsoever. She just followed me through these godforsaken woods and ignored me every time I asked her to help me find the gym.

Apple had been even less of a help than Erin.

<Why can’t you locate it with your psychic powers?> I had asked her.

<Because you can use your own psychic abilities to locate the gym,> Apple replied.

<I don’t know how!>

<So I can teach you.>

I had naturally refused Apple’s offer, and thus had spent the morning searching through the entire park for the seemingly nonexistent gym.

I collapsed onto a boulder and curled up into a ball. “What am I going to do?” I muttered to myself.

<The psychic deal is still available.>

I ignored Apple. Erin patted me on the back. “I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere, and if not, you can enter the tournament next Thursday while I get a half off manicure.”

Ah, maybe that was why she wasn’t helping me. Stupid manicure.

I randomly wondered if any of the other final four trainers had found the gym. I ran into the Spearow girl just as I entered the park this morning but had not seen any of the others. Maybe they had already found the gym.

How did they do it? How could I do it?

I had avoided asking my other Eevees for help because the younger ones were a magnet for trouble, and I thought Fiery would probably refuse. Now, however, it was getting late, and I had nothing to lose. I released the five siblings from their Pokeballs.

Allo yawned and stretched.

<I rather like being in my Pokeball,> Vanilla declared. <It is good for my beauty rest.>

<It’s not too bad,> Splash added. <but the real world is much more exciting.>

“Alright, everybody,” I interrupted the conversation. “I would like your help in finding the gym in these woods. I’m not entirely sure what the gym looks like, but because there are no buildings in here, I assume it must be underground. So we might be looking for a hole in the ground or a door…” I stopped talking when I noticed the four youngest Eevees were staring at me intently. “What?”

Surprisingly, Sunflower was the first to respond. Quietly, she murmured, <Anita, how do you spell gym?>

I looked at her, confused. <G-Y-M,> I answered. <Why?>

<We know where it is.>

Splash was so excited he started running in circles. <Come on, we’ll show you!>

The four young Eevees bounded into the forest. The rest of us followed.

<Slow down!> Fiery ordered. The young Eevees ignored him.

“Where are they going?” Erin panted as we ran after the Eevees.

I had to keep reminding myself that she couldn’t hear and didn’t know about my conversations with my Pokemon. “I’m not sure, but maybe they already know where the gym is.”

Suddenly, the young Eevees stopped. I nearly toppled over them, but I managed to catch a tree branch and stop myself. There was a hole I would have fallen into just beyond where the Eevees were standing, and next to the hole was a wooden sign that read “GYM.”

<Wow. I should have asked for your help soon—> I started, but was cut off by Fiery.

<When did you have time to find this hole?> he growled.

Oh, crap. This was a bad way for him to find out about me losing the four Eevees.

Before I could even begin to think up an explanation, Splash answered, <We found it when we went exploring yesterday!>

Allo and I exchanged horrified glances. Vanilla didn’t look disturbed by Splash’s revelation, but Sunflower was watching with wide terrified eyes.

“Umm, Anita, we found the gym. Why aren’t we going in?” Erin asked. I had a feeling that if I returned everyone to their Pokeballs now, Fiery would be even more upset with me. I shushed Erin.

<And when did you have time to go exploring?> Fiery was glowering.

Splash answered easily, <When you were training yesterday, we got bored and ran off for a bit.>

Vanilla’s calm disposition shifted suddenly. <You mean you got bored yesterday, Allo didn’t want you to hurt yourself so he followed, and Sunflower and I had to follow you two or be left alone,> she said angrily.

<You didn’t seem to have a problem leaving Anita and Fiery yesterday,> Splash sneered.

<ENOUGH!> Fiery yelled. <I’m ashamed of all of you!> He turned to Splash, <I don’t care how bored you are, you are not to just leave without telling anyone, especially now, when you are supposed to be resting!>

For once, Splash did not retort.

Fiery looked at Allo, Vanilla, and Sunflower. <You three should have stopped your brother from leaving. You should know better than to go along with his risky plans! All of you could have been hurt!>

Allo looked especially shamefaced while staring at his paws.

Fiery turned to me. He snarled, <And you promised to look after them.> I backed away slowly, scared shitless of an attack, but Fiery just sighed. <But you did find them, and for that I am grateful.>

I decided not to mention that Erin had actually found them.

“Anita, it’s getting kinda late. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think you should get in the gym if you want to challenge Abalina,” Erin said. She continued to watch the Eevees with a puzzled look on her face. Of course, all she could hear was “Ee-vee-vee” and such, but from their tone she seemed to understand there was some problem. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Err.” I put the best confused look on my face. “I don’t know. Sounds like an argument to me. They’re all related, except Apple, so maybe its some sort of family dispute.”

Erin narrowed her eyes at me. “How do you know they are related?”

Crud, Apple had told me that.

<Uh, oh. She’s starting to get suspicious.> Apple smirked.

<No, duh,> I snapped at Apple. Then to Erin, I feebly answered, “Nurse Joy told me when I picked them up.”

Erin looked like she as going to say something more so to change the subject I hastily announced, “I’m going down now.”

<I thought you wanted to win,> Apple snickered.

Splash added, <Bu-bump-chhhh.>

To Fiery, I silently apologized, <I’m sorry for not keeping track of your brothers and sisters. It won’t happen again.>

Fiery nodded.

<Will you still battle?> I silently prayed for a “yes”.

Fiery hesitated and then nodded. I sighed in relief, and then pulled out four Pokeballs.

<I can’t have you four causing trouble.>

After returning the four young Eevees, I peered into the hole. A soothing aroma seemed to flow out of the hole, and there was a ladder to the dark bottom. Without hesitating, I started climbing down the ladder.

Apple jumped onto my shoulder. Fiery didn’t seem to know what to do until Apple pointed to my other shoulder with a paw and said, <Come on!>

I grumbled to myself about the extra weight as I descended.

<Ugh, do you smell that?> Apple pawed at her nose.

I took a whiff and nearly fell off the ladder. The smell was so overpoweringly sweet it made me feel sick and I had to breathe through only my mouth to keep from fainting.

When I reached the bottom, I saw a faint light to my right so I started walking toward it.

“Hey, Anita, where are you?” Erin called when she reached the bottom. I heard her take a breath and then cough. “Eww. This place is creepy and stinky.”

“I’m walking toward that faint light,” I responded. We silently walked down what seemed to be a tunnel. I soon realized that the faint light was actually light reflecting off of a cave wall. This light was coming from around a corner we could not see from the ladder.

I turned the corner and suddenly found myself bombarded with light. Only after a minute of blinking could I actually see again.

“Wow,” I stated, dumbfounded by the beautiful sight. Wild green grass filled most of the ground, except for the few violet flowers and large trees scattered about the terrain. There was a small pond to my left filled with lilies and algae. Around the pond Oddish evolutions and Sunfloras sat, danced, and played. Well, that explained the smell.

I wondered where the bright light was coming from so I looked up. Lights as bright as the sun filled the ceiling, making my eyes water and forcing me to look away.

Finally, I noticed two figures directly in front of me, not fifty yards away. A tall, beautiful lady was shaking a blond boy’s hand. She looked up, saw me, and grinned. The boy looked at me too, and I realized he was the boy with the Quilava that I had battled yesterday. They both started walking toward me.

“Hey, nice battle yesterday,” the boy said, smirking, as he finally reached me.

“Yes, it was,” I replied politely.

<Not for me it wasn’t!> Apple chirped to me.

“It seems we never got to formally introduce ourselves. I am Jake,” he announced, a little too dramatically in my opinion. “Jake Veneer.”

“Anita Parkwood.”

He took my hand and seemed about to shake it, but at the last second he pulled it toward his lips. I quickly yanked my hand away in disgust. Jake just snickered at me, annoyed, and moved on to greet Erin, who had stepped beside me.

“And who might you be?” he asked in his charming voice.

Erin blushed. “Erin Kendle.” I was surprised she said no more. She was usually on top of the whole social chatter thing.

Jake took her hand and kissed it, not at all unnerved by my rejection earlier.

“Jake Veneer, very pleased to meet you.”

I nearly gagged in disgust. Erin’s blush became more prominent.

Jake let go of Erin’s hand and bowed toward Erin and the lady. “Well, ladies,” he turned to me and seemed to take a second to think of a word to call me. “And Anita, I will be seeing you.”

He smiled at Erin, scowled at me, and disappeared down the hall we had just entered from.

Erin and I were left with the lady, who I assumed must be the gym leader. She had long brown hair that flowed freely to her waist and forest green eyes. A circle of daffodils lay atop her head like a crown. The ring of flowers would have looked childish on anyone else, but they made her appear queen-like. She wore a simple light green dress that matched the surroundings as well as her eyes.

She smiled warmly at me. “Hello, Anita. I am Abalina Sycamore, the gym leader of Azul City. I have been expecting you.”

She held out her hand and I shook it, though her saying I was expected unnerved me.

Abalina turned to Erin. “And you must be a friend of Anita’s, correct?”

Erin nodded.

Abalina shook her hand and then turned back to me. “Well, now down to business. But first, Anita, do you trust Erin?”

I immediately shook my head. Erin looked taken aback, but come on. Could she really expect me to trust her after knowing her for only two days?

“Well, that is a bit of an issue,” Abalina stated. Then she shrugged. “But it’s not my issue. So Anita, I hope Erin here does turn out to be trustworthy, otherwise your life could quickly turn miserable after this.”

I was puzzled. <Apple, any input?>

<Nope. No idea what she’s talking about. I could read her thoughts, but I don’t like intruding if I don’t sense ill intent.>

<Whatever. I’m sure she’ll tell us soon enough.>

“First of all, welcome to the Azul City gym. As the first gym leader you will battle, it is my duty to explain most of the gym and league policies in Acceber.

“The Pokemon league is held annually every January in Orquid City. To participate, five out of eight Acceber badges must be obtained in the year before the tournament, and badges from previous years are not accepted. Obtaining all eight badges will let you skip out of the prelims in the Pokemon league.
Each gym has its own set of rules and prelims. The gym leader will only give out badges to those he or she feels is worthy, and this usually involves beating the gym leader in a battle.

“I am sure you knew all of this, but I am required to tell you anyway. Now, however, we get to the part that you probably don’t know.” Abalina hesitated a moment and glanced at Erin. “Anita, I know you are gifted.”

My eyes widened in surprise, but I said nothing.

<Ahh, this is what she was talking about.> Apple giggled, though I did not see what was funny about the situation.

“Did you already know this?” she asked.

I nodded.

Abalina continued, “You’re power type is psychic and your strength is still unknown, though it is growing. I know all of this because all eight gym leaders of Acceber are gifted as well, and one of the eight is a psychic. She is often able to foresee events, especially those pertaining to others with the gift, and she predicted your arrival here.”

Erin was utterly confused. She started to ask, “What do you mean by gifts?” However, Abalina stopped her.

“Anita can explain this to you later. Anyway, Anita, you need to know this because it is the gym leaders’ duty to train gifted children and make sure they learn to control their powers. We do not actually teach you; you’ll have to learn from a psychic Pokemon or someone with the psychic gift. However, we will challenge your powers as well as your Pokemon. Because you have the advantage of the gift, your prelims and battles may be different and more challenging than other trainers’.

“This gym will be the exception. Because you just found out about this today, I will not test you beyond the normal battle between gym leader and trainer. Other gym leaders, however, may test you by having you battle alongside your Pokemon or perform some other difficult task.

“Basically, along with training your Pokemon, you have to train your own powers. The gym leaders decided to implement these regulations to prevent accidents caused by teenagers unable to control their powers as well as end the great advantage gifted children tended to have in being able to gain gym badges.”

<Apple, did you know about this?> I asked, still trying to comprehend all Abalina had told me.

Apple shrugged. <Not really, but I probably could have guessed. It makes sense.>

Erin looked like she was thinking hard. I was curious about what and was about to read her thoughts when Abalina slapped something onto my arm.

“During our battle you have to wear this,” she commanded.

I stared at the black band on my wrist. It was made of a material I had never felt before, and it felt a strangely out of place on my hand.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s called a dark band. It’s made of the same chemical substance dark Pokemon have throughout their body. By touching it, you will not be able to use your psychic power.”

I wrinkled m nose in distaste at the band, and tried to talk to Apple. I found, however, that I could not touch her mind like I usually could.

<Don’t worry,> Apple said.

<Wait, how am I talking to you?> I asked.

<She only stopped your psychic powers from working, silly. I can still reach my mind out to talk and listen to you, though it is a bit harder with that band on your arm. It actually feels like I’m trying to talk to a dark type Pokemon. I can only hear the thoughts you want me to hear.>

<Wait, I thought you told me that psychics couldn’t get into dark Pokemons’ minds.>

<I did, but—>

Abalina started talking to me again, obviously unaware that Apple was communicating with me. “So, are you ready?”

<We’ll talk about this later,> I told Apple. <For now, we must pretend we cannot communicate without me actually speaking. Got it?>

Apple nodded.

“I’m ready,” I said confidently.

“Then come over here.” Abalina lead me to the open field I had first seen her and Jake on. She then backed away from me and declared, “This will be a two-on-two single battle. You may use one Pokemon at a time, and no Pokemon can be switched out of battle. Are you ready to begin?”

“Wait, how do I know you will not use your powers?” I asked suspiciously.

Abalina chuckled. “I would say my powers are much more visible than yours.” She tilted her head to the left and then nodded toward something. I followed her gaze, and to my surprise saw a tree sprouting and growing before my eyes. Erin gasped. Abalina continued, “Also, I’m gym leader here so I make the rules. I don’t have any physical item that will stop my powers with me right now so you will just have to trust that I will not use my power. If Erin here witnesses otherwise, I will declare the battle invalid.”

Erin looked too bewildered to understand anything she witnessed, in my opinion, but I didn’t object.

“What would stop your powers?” I asked curiously. “What do you use to stop the gifts of other gifted challengers from working?”

Abalina chuckled again. “Well, aren’t you a curious one. For now, it is none of your business; we have a battle, remember?”

I felt my face get hot with embarrassment. “Oh, yeah,” I mumbled.

Abalina pulled out a Pokeball and tossed it in the air. “Sunkern, I choose you.”

“Apple, you’re up.”

Apple jumped onto the field, whining, <Why do I have to go first?>

I grinned. <I want to start off strong.>

That made Apple shut up. I knew her doubts lingered from yesterday.

<Now no more psychic talk,> I insisted. “Apple, quick attack!”

“Sunkern, growth!”

Apple struck the Sunkern hard, and the kernel Pokemon took damage, but then grew bigger.

“Bite it, Apple!”

Apple bit down on the Sunkern, but it kept growing until it was too big for Apple to clamp her teeth onto.



CONTINUED----->

delongbi
January 17th, 2009, 03:21 PM
Now a giant Sunkern loomed over Apple.

I gulped, and thought that Apple was probably doing the same.

“Ingrain,” Abalina commanded calmly.

The giant Sunkern suddenly sprouted roots and dug into the ground. Apple performed a rapid set of quick attacks, but they did little harm to the Sunkern.

“Absorb!”

Apple suddenly fell to the ground, as the Sunkern sucked its life.

“Apple, we’ve got to finish this ASAP! The longer the battle drags on, the stronger that Sunkern gets!”

Apple nodded in agreement and tried to tackle it, but the Sunkern once again was not damaged very much. It was constantly recovering through its roots and the energy it was absorbing from Apple.

I was pretty desperate by this point. Even though I knew Apple had not practiced enough, I ordered an Iron tail.

Apple’s tail flickered and she swung it at the Sunkern, but she ended up hurting herself more than her opponent.

“Apple, come on! You can do this! Try again, and aim for the roots!”

More energy was stolen from Apple, but the Eevee looked at the giant Sunkern fiercely. Her tail suddenly glowed bright, and she spun around, cutting off all of the Sunkern’s roots.

“Now finish it!”

Apple kept her tail lit up and flipped through the air, landing squarely on the giant Sunkern.

<Oh, yeah!> Apple squealed and did a celebration dance atop her opponent.

The Sunkern was knocked out.

The oversized Pokemon was returned, and in its place a Leafeon appeared. Abalina looked irked.

“Razor leaf!”

Leaves flew at Apple from all directions. The Eevee tried to dodge with a quick attack, but most of the leaves hit anyway.

Apple fell down in exhaustion.

“You got this, Apple!” I cheered.

Apple tried to get up but was knocked back by the Leafeon. This time, Apple did not get back up. I ran onto the field and scooped the Eevee into my arms. She was completely knocked out, but was otherwise fine. I patted her on the head, handed her to Erin, and then returned to my battle post.

I ordered Fiery onto the field.

The Leafeon once again spun razor-sharp leaves at my Pokemon. Fiery, however, was not worn from battle, and thus was able to dodge out of the way. I smirked at Abalina. “You won’t beat me the same way twice!” I called.

Abalina was unfazed. She smiled slightly at me. “Or maybe I will.”

Her Leafeon hurled leaves, and Fiery dodged once again. This time though the leaves turned around and boomeranged right back at Fiery.

Abalina grinned at me. “Magical leaf never misses.”

“Iron tail!” I ordered.

Fiery used his iron-hard tail to slice the leaves chasing him to bits. He continued past the leaves and launched toward Leafeon.

“Quick, leaf blade!”

There was a loud clang as Fiery’s tail met Leafeon’s. Leafeon twisted away and tried again. Again, their tails met with a clang.

Both Pokemon continued to strike with their tails. It was like watching a sword fight. Leafeon’s weapon was quicker and sharper than Fiery’s, but Fiery’s was thicker and stronger. With a silent vow not to order any other attacks, Abalina and I watched the two Pokemon twirl and lunge.

As the battle prolonged, I began to notice signs of endurance failures on both Pokemon. Their tails moved slower and their blows were less powerful. This seemed to hinder Leafeon more than Fiery, as the Leafeon’s main advantage of speed was taken away.

The test of endurance continued until finally, Leafeon faltered under Fiery’s strike. The Pokemon fell backwards, and Fiery struck again with his powerful tail. The Leafeon was too tired to block and too slow to dodge.

Fiery was the only Pokemon left standing on the battlefield.

Holy crud.

We won.

Fiery’s fur was dirty and sticking up in places from the battle, but I didn’t care as my bursting pride caused me to cuddle Fiery in a tight hug.

I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my hand, causing me to release Fiery. I squealed, “Oww!”

Fiery had bitten me.

I suppose hugging him was not the smartest idea.

I looked down at the ragged Pokemon, and he was grinning.

Erin hugged me and did a little dance. Even Apple, who had woken up toward the end of the battle but was still exhausted, smiled weakly.

Abalina gave me a gracious smile, though her eyes revealed a tad of annoyance. She took off the dark band (thank goodness) and handed me a badge.

“It’s been a long time since I have given out more than one badge in a day,” she commented. “But congratulations. You now have the Maple Badge.”

“Did Jake get the other badge?” I asked curiously.

Abalina nodded and then sighed. “At least I beat one person today… I think I will train more before I hold another tournament.”

I stared at the badge in my hand. It was shaped like a red, spiky maple leaf.

Wow, my first badge.

Fiery eyed my hand slyly.

Suddenly, my badge was swiped out of my hand.

Fiery held it proudly between his teeth.

He closed his mouth, smirking.

And swallowed.

Aww, so much for my first badge.

--------------------------------------------------

<No more eating badges.> I scolded Fiery several hours later.

Nurse Joy had healed my Pokemon and assured me that my badge would … come out Fiery’s other end without any harm to Fiery. She had been correct. I now was washing and rewashing the badge as Fiery and Apple watched.

Apple giggled. She had been in a significantly better mood since she beat the Sunkern.

Fiery scowled. <If you saw the look on Anita’s face, you would have done the same. She was completely engrossed with the thing!>

Apple thought for a moment. <You know, I think you’re right.>

I rolled my eyes.

When I was finally satisfied with the badge’s cleanliness, I left the bathroom and sat down on my bed. The moon’s light glittered across my bed and barely reached Erin’s. Erin was reading a magazine with a reading light under her covers. She had been abnormally quiet the whole afternoon. I was surprised but glad she was not bugging me as I thought she would about the psychic thing. Of course, she could just be waiting for an opportune moment…

Just then Erin began speaking. “Anita, about you being psychic?” She looked at me expectantly.

Oh, the irony.

“Good night, Erin.” I completely ignored her question and lay down. Apple jumped beside me.

<I’d rather sleep in my Pokeball,> Fiery said. He trotted over to my bag, found his Pokeball, and pressed the center button. He was gone in a flash of red.

“Hello!? Are you going to explain?”

I rolled over to face the window. “Nope.”

“Anita!” Erin started to whine.

“GOODNIGHT!”

All was quiet.

I fell asleep to Apple silently chanting, <Anger management, anger management.>

delongbi
January 24th, 2009, 10:11 PM
Chapter 8: Reminiscence

The sea suited me.

I watched the dark waves crash against the beach.

The gloomy water reminded me of another time.

A time before Team Glop’emm and Masters.

A time that I lived on the other shore.


A toddler clutched his father’s hand as they made their way through the crowd. The boy was amazed by the plentiful colors that surrounded him. It seemed that everywhere he looked merchants were showing off Pokemon dolls, balloons, mats, and a wide variety of furniture.

A woman accosted the father. “May I show you this table, sir? It—”

The father ignored the woman and kept walking. He kept scanning the crowd, as if he were looking for someone.

“Daddy, when can we go to the beach?” the boy whined.

“We need to go find Mommy and Auntie to tell them where we are going while they shop,” the father replied. He wished his wife had left her PokeTech on.

The father finally spotted the women he was looking for just beyond the market place fence, stepping into a store.

Despite the mass of people around them and the bright overhead sun, the air chilled the boy. He moved closer to his father as they escaped the lively market place and followed the women inside the store.

The store was named “The Submerged Swamp” and had obviously at one time been someone’s house. Upon entering, the boy was astounded by the vast number of pretty trinkets lying in every nook of the room.

“Don’t touch anything because you might break it,” the father warned. He held onto his son’s hand and carefully made his way around the random ornaments to where he could see his wife was standing; she was talking with his sister-in-law and the apparent owner of the store.

As the father moved toward his wife, a small T.V. caught his eye. It was a noticeably new television, and it seemed out of place in this cluttered store.

On the T.V., a news woman stood in front of an image of Hoenn.

“A drastic change in weather has occurred in the past hour in several Hoenn regions,” the women announced. She gestured to the map behind her. “Sootopolis City seems to be experiencing the worst of this disturbing weather, and all Sootopolis citizens are advised to evacuate the city. Lilycove City and Dewford Town are also experiencing mild flooding. The cause of these storms has not yet been identified, although—“

“Hello, there.” The father was distracted from the television by a woman hugging his waist. “I didn’t expect to see you here. You said you were going to spend the day at home relaxing and catching up on some well-earned sleep.”

The man raised his eyebrows at his wife and chuckled. “That was the plan, but I was convinced otherwise by a devious child.” He nodded toward the boy, who despite his father’s warning was reaching to touch a glass knick-knack.

“So, what’s the plan now?” the wife pulled away from her husband to pick up their four-year-old son.

“We’re heading out to the beach. It’s a nice day; a bit of a chill, but not a cloud in the sky here.” The man then added hesitantly, “Though that doesn’t seem to be the case in other parts of Hoenn. Did you see the news?”

The wife nodded. “It is horrible,” she agreed.

The sister-in-law approached the couple. “Sue, what do you think of this vase for my kitchen?” she asked the wife, holding a neon green vase up in one hand and another young boy with the other.

“It’s too brightly colored to fit in. Do they have it in any darker shades?” Sue, the wife, answered.

“I’ll go check with the owner,” the sister-in-law replied.

The dark haired boy she was clinging to complained, “Why can’t I just go home?” but she ignored the plea and dragged the boy with her.

“Maria brought her boy?” the father questioned in a surprised tone.

Sue laughed. “Yeah. Apparently, Don is at a Corporate event right now in Rustburo, and she didn’t want to bother you with another kid to watch. I told her she was being ridiculous, but you know how stubborn she gets.”

“I can’t believe my own brother didn’t tell me he was going out of town! We could have helped Maria out… Well, now that I’m here, why don’t I just take both kids to the beach?” the father suggested. “You two will be able to finish your shopping faster, and there will be no opportunity for our rambunctious nephew to break something.”

“Great! Now you just need to convince Maria—“

CRASH

Sue and her husband could hear a stream of apologies spout from Maria’s mouth. “Oh, I am so sorry. Here, let me get that. Really, sorry. I’ll pay for it, of course. Wait here for a second, and then I’ll help clean up this glass.”

Maria came from around the corner, now holding her son. She looked at her brother-in-law with pleading eyes.

Before she could say anything, the man held out his hands for her son and said, “I’m taking the boys to the beach.”

Maria smiled gratefully, handed over her son, and rushed back to help the store owner to clean up the broken glass.

Sue kissed her husband on the cheek and placed their son in his free arm. She patted the two boys on the head. “You two be safe. What do you do if a stranger offers you candy?”

“Run away screaming,” the two cousins replied in unison.

The mother smiled and began walking toward the back of the store where Maria was cleaning up glass. “We’ll meet you boys on the beach once we’re done here,” she called over her shoulder.

The husband watched his wife round the corner. He heard the store manager say, “Seriously, don’t worry about it. Let me show you the vases we have in the basement…”

The man walked out of the store holding his son and nephew. The two boys were giggling madly as they played peek-a-boo, their green eyes shining with excitement.

A few blocks away from the beach, the father put the boys on the ground, mumbling, “You two are getting too heavy to carry anymore.”

The boys sprinted ahead to the sand while the man sighed and jogged after them.

By the time the man reached the beach, the two boys were already splashing happily in the calm water.

The man sat down on a beach chair under an umbrella and pulled out a book. There was nobody else on the beach, but this was to be expected when there were big market sales. Plus, though it was sunny, the air was cool. It was definitely not beach weather, but the boys didn’t seem to care.

The man read for a bit and then gazed over his book at the two boys. From his seat it was hard to tell which boy was which. He smiled. When strangers saw the boys together, they often thought the two were twins. Both had unkempt hair, green eyes, and differed in age by only six months.

He watched the boys play until he finally dosed off.

“Let’s go searching for shells!” one of the boys suggested excitedly.

“Yeah! Oh, but not too far or Daddy will get upset,” the other boy said.

“No he won’t. He’s asleep, silly!” The dark-haired boy started skipping down the shore.

“Wait for me!” The other boy ran after his cousin.

Several minutes later, the man awoke with a start. Something wasn’t right. The sun was still shining brightly, but the air was too still. The man looked around for his son and his nephew, but neither was in sight.

The man rose in a hurry and quickly flipped his head side to side, looking down the shore. He noticed clouds were approaching rapidly.

There was also something weird about the ocean. The man squinted into the distant horizon. It looked like the horizon was getting taller for some reason…

The man froze in fright. His eyes widened.

He turned and frantically ran down the shore, calling “Landon Mendol! Liam Mendol! Get back here this instant!”

No reply.

“Liam! Landon! Where are you?”

Nothing.

The man saw the ocean grow even more out of the corner of his eye. Did the rest of Slateport City know? Should he go warn everyone? No, the boys were more important. “LANDON! LIAM!” he cried.

He spotted something a couple hundred meters away. Was it his son?

He pumped his legs faster than he ever had in his life. The mountain made of ocean rushed toward shore.

He could now make up the object he had spotted. It was his son. The boy stood staring at the ocean.

The man finally reached his son and pulled him into his arms.

“My son,” he murmured, kissing the boy’s head. Then he asked, “Where is your cousin?”

The boy shrugged. “He wanted to keep looking for shells, but I wanted to come back. So I turned around.”

The man looked down the shore. He couldn’t see the other boy; not a glimpse of his nephew’s dark hair against the pale beach. The man turned to the ocean.

“Daddy, what’s that?” The boy pointed to the ever-rising ocean. The giant wave was much too close.

The man estimated it would hit in less than two minutes. Not enough time to warn the city.

Now he had to make a decision.

His nephew or his son.

He knew what his decision would be in the end. He could not risk his son’s life.

He could only hope that his nephew would get lucky.

“I’m sorry,” the man murmured. He pulled out a Pokeball and released a Sharpedo.

Holding tightly to his beloved son, the man clambered onto the shark Pokemon.

“Alright, Sheedo, ride into that wave.”

As the man departed from the beach, he imagined his dark haired nephew watching from a ways down shore. Guilt churned his stomach. He ignored the feeling.

The man and the boy rode toward the City’s doom.


The sea suited me.

It reminded me of the day the Tsunami hit Slateport City.

The day of the battle between Kyogre and Groudon.

The day my cousin disappeared.

The day my father saved me.

The day my mother drowned.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“So, you’re a psychic?” I repeated for about the thousandth time.

What a surprise; no reply.

Anita and I had been walking the entire morning and half the afternoon, and she had still not said a single word to me.

Unbelievable!

We were traveling southwest toward Tinted Town, which was a bit out of the way for me, but there was a gym leader there for Anita to battle.

At this point I was considering abandoning her. If she was going to ignore me the rest of our travel time together, then I was going to be bored out of my mind! Ugh.

I wished we could bicycle through these parts to make the time go faster. Unfortunately, there were too many trees and wild Pokemon. We could ride Griffy, but he would get tired if he had to carry the two of us for more than a few miles.

So we were stuck walking, and I was stuck being ignored.

Her two strongest Eevees did not appear to mind the silence. They trotted beside us and attacked wild Pokemon that crossed our path to gain battling experience. Strangely, Anita had not commanded them once. Maybe that had to do with the whole psychic thing….

I really wish she would explain it to me.

Huh, when I consider the questions I’ve been asking all morning, they all had to do with her being a psychic or whatever the heck she is. Maybe if I asked something that has nothing to do with that whole business, she’d answer, as any procrastinator would to keep me from asking worse questions.

“Why don’t you keep your Pokemon in Pokeballs?” I asked, actually curious.

Anita didn’t answer for a whole minute. I was about to return to my pouty plotting when she answered, “They don’t like their Pokeballs. I only keep the other Eevees in their Pokeballs because they are too young to be left unsupervised and I can’t have them wandering off.”

One of her Eevees, the one with ragged hair, growled at her.

“That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard,” I told the girl, thinking of my own Pokemon. They never minded their Pokeballs. Well, it didn’t seem like it, as far as I could tell. Then again I wasn’t a psychic…

Ooh, I had a great question for her.

“How do you know they don’t like their Pokeballs?” I asked. Hehe. She was caught in a trap now.

Anita seemed to know this too. She whipped her head forward and went back to pretending I didn’t exist.

“It’s not because you’re a psychic, huh?” I taunted.

I was ignored again, but mostly because the ragged Eevee (ugh, why couldn’t I remember his name?) had Anita’s attention.

For some reason, the Eevee seemed upset with Anita. They were having an intense staring contest… I think. I’m not really sure what Anita is doing half the time; she’s very strange.

Suddenly, the Eevee pounced at her. I was too shocked to react and Anita fell backward.

The ragged Eevee disappeared in a flash of light.

I glanced at her hands, expecting to see the Eevee’s Pokeball. However, there was none.

Was this another one of those psychic tricks?

Then I spotted her Pokeballs hanging from her belt. She couldn’t have had time to snatch and put back that Pokeball so quickly…

I remembered the ragged Eevee letting itself into the Pokeball before bed yesterday. Everything fell into place.

I started cracking up.

“You were just tackled by your Eevee because you wouldn’t let him back into his Pokeball,” I choked through my laughter. “Talk about irony.”

Anita glared at me, her face bight red.

I grinned widely- mostly because Anita’s face might as well have been an announcement that she really could communicate with her Pokemon psychically.

I’m sure the last thing Anita wanted right now was me to start rambling. So I did just that.

“You know, Pokeballs are specifically created to feel spacious and comfortable on the inside. Plus, Pokeballs exist for a good reason. Wanna know why? So, a couple thousand years ago someone decided it would be a good idea to get protection. You know, from opponent families, tribes, clans, or whatever other dangers there were back then. Anyway, some person recruited Pokemon to do their protection, and soon everyone was feeding, providing shelter for, and befriending these creatures in order to gain their security. It was a mutual agreement between Pokemon and human: food and shelter for protection. Eventually, the world became a safer place with no rival tribes straining for survival - Pokemon became more of a sport than a need. Then shrinking technology was invented. Before that, there was usually only one or two Pokemon for one person because it was hard to keep track of more than that, but with the invention of the Pokeball, a person could carry many Pokemon at one time. So many, in fact, that a rule had to be made limiting a person to carrying 6 Pokeballs—“

“SHUT UP!” Anita yelled. Ah, just the reaction I loved and expected. Now that Anita was sufficiently annoyed, phase one of my evil plan was complete.

“So, wanna tell me about your psychic powers?”

“NO!”

“Well, then I’ll just have to continue talking—“

“WILL YOU JUST SHUT IT!?” Ooh, she was really getting mad now. Her face was practically purple.

I smiled playfully and retorted in a sugary voice, “Only if you tell me about your gift.”

Anita snorted. “Yeah, my gift of attracting annoying…people.” Her eyes flickered to her Eevee, Apple.

A wild Nidoran popped out of the rustling grass. Anita watched Apple defeat the Pokemon in silence.

“So..?” I led.

Anita sighed and muttered, “If it will get me some peace and quiet… fine.”

I cheered but held my tongue.

“What do you want to know?”

“Well, what’s ‘The Gift’?”

“It’s basically where a person has some sort of Pokemon power.”

I nodded. That would explain Abalina…

“So you have the powers of a psychic Pokemon?”

“Yes,” Anita confirmed.

“What can you do? I know you can read minds, but can you go deeper, like memories?”

The brown haired girl shrugged. “I can mostly just listen to thoughts.”

“And that includes Pokemon?”

“Yup.” Well, that clarified a lot.

I tried to act like I was having a normal conversation on a normal topic. “So, how’d you learn to do that stuff?”

“Apple taught me,” Anita said seemingly automatically. Her hand suddenly flew over her mouth as if she had said something dangerous.

“I thought Apple was a normal type Pokemon. How could she teach a psychic?”

“Um… Apple used to have a friend Natu who was being taught by a Xatu,” Anita said sheepishly. “She ended up learning all of the techniques as her friend learned them, even though she couldn’t actually perform them.”

Anita blushed and wouldn’t meet my eyes. Was this something I wasn’t supposed to know? Or maybe she was lying… though there was no apparent reason for that.

“Well, maybe Griffy could teach you a thing or two,” I said casually, as if this psychic thing did not bother me a bit. In fact, though I was slightly unnerved by the situation, I was mostly curious. I wanted to know the extent of her powers, exactly how she used them and what she could do…

Get ahold of yourself. You are a Pokemon researcher, not a human scientist, I reminded myself.

Another part of me argued, Well, she has Pokemon abilities…

Anita rolled her violet eyes at me… or maybe my thoughts.

I’d have to see if there was a way to keep Anita out of my head. The idea of her reading my every thought was rather uncomfortable. My head was supposed to be private!

Anita’s attention suddenly turned to Apple, who was trotting beside us.

I grinned. Even if she did have psychic powers, she was awful at hiding who she was communicating with psychically. This sure was going to be an interesting journey.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

<Come on, Anita! Now is the perfect time!> Apple whined.

<I don’t want Erin investigating me any more! She’s too perceptive! She is already suspicious of you!> I replied.

Apple scoffed, <Well, that’s your own fault, you blabber mouth. A friend Natu? C’mon.>

<Well, if Fiery hadn’t decided he wanted to go back in his Pokeball just to prove me wrong, she would have never figured out I could use telepathy!>

<Yeah, because Abalina didn’t already give that away,> Apple said sarcastically.

<She didn’t say any specifics!>

<Whatever, you know Erin would have figured it out eventually. You suck at lying, and your body language always gives away who you are using telepathy with.>

<That’s not true!>

<Then why is Erin already suspicious?>

Apple had me there. <Fine,> I muttered.

<Hey!> Apple narrowed her eyes at me. <You’ve been distracting me!>

<From what?> I asked innocently… not.

<From my original suggestion. You should practice your psychic abilities now.>

<No!>

<Why not?>

<I already told you. Erin is suspicious!>

<Suspicious! She KNOWS you are a psychic!>

<Not of that, of you. She already suspects something is up with you.>

<Which is why I recommended you ask Erin if you could use Griffy to practice right now.>

<I can practice without Griffy’s help!>

<Yeah, you could. But if you want to learn something new, you should ask for Griffy’s help.>

<I don’t want to learn anything new,> I explained.

<Didn’t you hear Abalina? You can’t go into these gym leaders unprepared or you’ll get your *ss handed to you! You have to learn to use all of your powers if you want to gain gym badges!>

Why is it that everyone but me seemed interested in my powers? Sure, they were kind of cool, but they seemed to be causing more trouble than they were worth.

Apple suddenly smiled widely with her miniature fangs.

<What?>

<If you had been listening to Erin’s thoughts, you would already know.>

I hadn’t been listening to Erin’s thoughts because I wanted to respect her privacy… somewhat. Mostly, I just didn’t care what she was thinking.

Now that I was paying attention to her thoughts, I could feel her dying curiosity about what Apple and I were discussing.

“What are you two talking about?” Erin suddenly blurted out.

“Nothing.”

Apple started growling at me, and then looked directly at Erin with wide eyes.

“Why won’t you—” Erin glared at me, and started again, “You know what—” The girl pulled out a Pokeball and pressed the release button. “Griffy, can you tell me what that Apple and Anita are discussing telepathically?”

Griffy was confused for a moment, but then Erin showed him what she already knew about my psychic abilities. <Why certainly, Erin.>

I heard his tail say, <We can use this situation to our advantage if we build a giant vacuum to suck up all of the mind energy in the world. Wahahahaha!>

Yeah, that tail had serious issues.

<Will you ask Erin to allow you to teach Anita some psychic stuff right now while we are walking?> Apple asked Griffy.

I groaned as Griffy relayed the message to Erin.

“Sure! I think that’s a great idea!”

“I don’t,” I mumbled.

<Well, then. Anita, you’re outvoted so it’s lesson time!>

<Since when are we taking votes?!>

<Since I decided you should have a lesson now.>

<But you didn’t even vote!>

<All in favor, raise your hand, paw, or hoof,> Apple said and Griffy relayed to Erin.

Erin’s hand shot up, as did Apple’s paw. Griffy shrugged and raised a hoof saying, <I’ll vote as my trainer does.>

Griffy’s tail rose. <If you turn into a pineapple, we win.>

Apple and I stared.

I finally shrugged. <Bleh. You guys stink.>

<I beg your pardon, strange Eevee, but what shall I teach your trainer?> Griffy politely inquired.

<Well, we just worked on telepathy, and I was thinking of starting telekinesis next. How about you teach her the basics?>

<Very well.>

Erin squealed with excitement when Griffy told her what the lesson plan for today was.

<Miss Anita, are you ready to begin?>

If I didn’t give in, I would never hear the end of it. <Fine,> I answered sourly.

<Psychic powers are based on the ability to project your mind elsewhere. The weakest form of projecting your mind is telepathy. The next level of mind projection is creating barriers.>

<Like Reflect and Light Screen?> I asked.

<That’s correct, Miss. Like telepathy, the greater the distance you try to create a barrier from, the harder it becomes. This is why many Pokemon simply make a barrier directly in front of them during a battle, rather than when their opponent is halfway across the field. Very few Pokemon can do more than that, though there are a few exceptions, such as Mr. Mime.>

I nodded.

<Creating a barrier is very similar to projecting your mind into another’s. You pour a small bit of your mind out of your body with such force that it freezes the air. Listen to my mind as I use Reflect.>

I tried to enter Griffy’s mind, but I found it harder to enter this foreign mind than Apple’s. It was also hard to concentrate on Griffy while walking. Eventually, Griffy had me ride on his back, but even then it was several minutes before I was deeper than the emotion level.

Erin watched us the whole time with a look of fascination. At one point, I thought I even saw her take out her notebook to scribble something down.

When I was finally in Griffy’s mind, he illustrated Reflect. First he stretched a strand of his mind forward toward Apple and said <Moving your mind slowly like this is telepathy.> He retracted his mind, and then shot several strands forward in front of Apple very quickly. Apple walked into the solid barrier and fell down.

This sent me into a fit of laughter, and I was unable to maintain a connection with Griffy.

<Hey!> Apple exclaimed. <That was uncalled for!>

<Your blue frog-squashing watermelon is uncalled for!> Griffy’s tail yelled back.

I sat up on Griffy’s back and rubbed my head, slightly dazed.

<Ready to try, Miss?>

I definitely didn’t feel ready, but it wasn’t like I ever would. I tried to focus my mind on the air in front of Apple.

<Why me?> Apple complained.

I ignored her and continued concentrating.

Nothing happened.

“Um, what’s going on?” Erin asked, probably hoping for some interesting data she could analyze.

I tried again.

And again.

And again.

Nothing.

No matter how hard I concentrated, nothing happened.

<She needs to really want it,> Apple finally said. <She needs to want it to the point of needing it; otherwise her mind will not gain enough force.>

I sighed. If that was the case, I would never get it because I really didn’t want it. It was everyone else who was forcing this upon me. Even though I knew I would need my powers against gym leaders, I couldn’t get myself to care enough.

I certainly wanted to beat the gym leaders, but psychic powers still did not appeal to me. The actual abilities were pretty cool and useful, I suppose, but they were not worth the complications they had caused. I didn’t want to be gawked at, to be treated like an outcast. I had had enough of that in school…

After half an hour of trying, I gave up. <I’m just not ready for this,> I told Apple and Griffy.

Erin sighed sadly and returned Griffy to his Pokeball.

I enjoyed the half a minute we walked in silence, and then Erin started talking again.

“So, what is your favorite kind of ice cream?” she asked.

“Why are you asking me?”

“I needed an ice breaker.”

“Because there is so much tension here,” I retorted sarcastically.

Awkward silence.

“Touché,” I muttered.

“Well, can you think of a better one?”

I shrugged.

“C’mon, I need multi-word answers here. How about, how has your life been thus far?”

I reflected a moment. “Pretty sucky.”

“And why so?” I thought it was rude of her to be so nosy.

“Huh, let’s see,” I retorted scathingly. “My father left my mom and me when I was six, my mom hates Pokemon, I was picked on at school, my two best friends left on their Pokemon journey a whole year before I did…

“I’m sorry,” Erin replied simply. She apparently hadn’t recognized the “leave me alone or else” tone because she then asked, “Wanna expand on any of that?”

“No,” I replied curtly.

“Okay then. How about boyfriends?”

I rolled my eyes at her. Was there an end to her shallowness?

<Technically, yes, assuming she is a shallow person,> Apple added to my thoughts.

<Butt out,> I grumbled to Apple. Then to answer Erin, I said, “Kinda.”

“What kinda answer is that? I want specifics!”

I sighed in exasperation. I turned my head toward the sky for a moment, and noticed some clouds rolling in from overseas. Great, more rain was just what I needed. I decided that answering Erin might appease her so I finally started talking about my one almost boyfriend…

“He invited me to the school dance, and brought me—

“A rose.”

My best friend, Mia, giggled. “Awe, that’s so cute! What are you going to do with it?”

Mia stuck her face over the sink to get closer to the bathroom mirror while she applied a thin layer of lip gloss to her lips.

I shrugged. “Dunno. Maybe I’ll just stick it in my purse or something…”

Mia gasped, “You can’t do that! Give that to me!” She snatched the red rose from my hand and twirled me around to face the bathroom mirror. I felt pressure on the back of my head as she fiddled with my pulled back hair to make the rose fit. “There, that’s perfect! Look, the color even matches the dress we picked out for you!”

I rolled my eyes. She had done all the dress-picking. I had just followed her wordlessly, praying for the shopping to end before I dropped dead of boredom. “Whatever, can we go now? Matt probably thinks we’re sick we’ve been in here so long.”

Mia fixed one last invisible strand of her blonde curly hair and then turned to the bathroom door. “You’re so lucky! My date abandoned me as soon as he saw the chicken wings! Yours has stuck with you thus far through the night, and he even gave you a rose after your first dance together!”

“He has been really nice,” I agreed. “I just wish we could bring our Pokemon. We always have more fun with them around.”

Mia opened the bathroom door for me. Matt, of course, was waiting just outside. Mia winked at me, and then scurried toward a table of boys to drag her date onto the dance floor.

The music changed to a slow song, and the DJ announced, “Alright, kids, last song of the night! Make it a good one!”

Matt held his hand out questioningly. I took it and we walked to the dance floor.

Slow dancing with Matt was slightly awkward. Though I was comfortable resting my hands on his shoulders, he held my waist as far away from him as possible, as if he was overstepping some boundary.

I was content to watch his cute round face as we stepped to the tune, but he tried to look everywhere but me. When our eyes met, we both looked away, blushing.

Carly spotted us across the dance floor, and gracefully pulled her date, Reece, toward us. “I always knew you two losers would end up together,” she snickered.

I felt heat rise to my face.

Reece flicked his eyes from my face down to my shoes and then back again. “Yes, you could do much better, Anita,” he taunted.

I grabbed Matt’s hand and tore away from the dance floor, too angry to speak.

Matt and I left the dance and walked toward our homes through the cool, moon-lit night in silence. I missed Matt’s normal friendly chatter.

For years Matt and Mia had been my two best friends, but when Matt asked me to the dance, things got weird between the three of us. Mia scurried away whenever she saw Matt, and my relationship with Matt was just plain awkward.

We finally reached my house. I didn’t worry about Matt walking home alone; he lived next door. I turned to say goodnight when I suddenly felt Matt’s lips on mine.

It certainly was not what I expected… more wet than anything.

“G’night, Anita,”

“—were the last words I heard him say. The next day he left to go on his Pokemon journey without even saying goodbye.”

Erin whistled.

I grimaced.

“So, do you still, you know, like him?”

“I’m not sure I ever liked him in the first place,” I replied. Then to change the subject, I asked, “What about you? Any boyfriends?”

“A couple,” Erin answered.

“What kinda answer is that?” I mocked, “I want specifics!”

Erin was silent.

I was genuinely shocked. “Are you seriously not going to talk about it?”

Erin nodded and looked away.

I tried to read her mind, but she was just thinking about grey clouds.

A rain drop hit my head. I looked up and noticed the clouds I had seen earlier were now directly over us. Lightning flashed through the sky, and was followed by crashing thunder.

<A downpour is coming,> Apple warned. <There is a small ledge just ahead we can take cover in if we hurry.>

I relayed Apple’s warning (without mentioning that it was Apple’s prediction) to Erin, and we ran for cover through the drizzle. We reached to ledge just as the drizzle turned into a downpour. Erin, Apple, and I sat huddled in silence, watching the rain.

After an hour of squatting under the ledge, the rain had still not ceased. I sighed when Erin said, “Well, looks like we’re going to be stuck here for a bit. We should take advantage of the opportunity by continuing to get to know each other better!”

Boy, would this be a long afternoon…evening…night. I suddenly realized how long the rain could keep me here…

under a rock…

in the cold…

….with Erin.

“So, you never answered my first question: what’s your favorite type of ice cream?”

Buoysel
January 30th, 2009, 09:40 PM
HAHA that's a great way to end a chapter. I am not a fan of physic types, however you portray them in a way that make me very curious about them, and would one could really do.

I understand the title now, and I think that you are comming up with great nicknames, just don't evolve "Firey" in to a Flareon.

Now for the lines I want to point out: Apple lightly padded after Erin and me through the Pokemon Center doors. <She better not snore.>
Proper English would be “I”.
<I think you are just cranky 'cause you were woken up. That combined with teenage hormones equals anger management issues.> ROTFLMAO!!
<So I have heard. The pink lady informed me after I was healed.>

Silence.

<What do you want to do?> I finally asked.

<What can I do?> the Eevee bitterly replied. <My family is hurt. We will not be able to fend for ourselves in the wild.>

<Would you and siblings like to travel with Apple and me?> I gestured toward Apple, who was peering at the Eevee curiously from behind my legs, unsure if it would attack. Silence should be replaced with description of silence, such as “after a brief awkward silence, <What do you…>, or "I broke the silence after a few tense moments."
And when you refer to yourself in a sentence such as that, you use “I” instead of “me”.[quote] Probably a Magikarp. Misspelled.


Now back to the praise.

I find the tid bit about the typhoon interesting, and I really like Apple's character. I didn't think that s/he would obey a human, especially being a Mew. The mental brake down of Apple was classic, how often does a Pokemon become filled with self pitty in a story. I really like that part, it makes Apple seeme almost human.

Oh, and Griffy reminds me of the overbaringly happy computer on the space ship from "Hitchhickers Guide to the Galexay."

delongbi
February 22nd, 2009, 04:58 PM
This chapter is a bit more inappropriate than the others. Definetely pg-13...

Aww, it's just 100 words over the limit, so 2 posts. Sorry, 1st post is short b/c I didn't want to split the chapter at a weird part.




Chapter 9: Peepin Pond

I stared at the walkie-talkie.

A child’s toy really.

And yet this mere toy would enact my brilliant plan.

I pressed the green button.

“Yes, Master?” my assistant answered.

I spoke quietly into the toy. “The detective has been dispatched. My plan has begun. Remember my warnings.”

“Of course, Master.”

“Nothing more. Master out.” I ended the transmission and grinned.

If my calculations on Miss Parkwood’s location were correct, she would soon be meeting someone quite special.

Now things would really start to get interesting.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ladies and gentleman, the Master has left the building.

I smiled widely. The past twenty-four hours had easily been the happiest hours of my life. By some stroke of luck, or perhaps G-d’s will, it was finally my turn to shine. I was in charge of Team Glop’emm. I was in control.

And yet… there was still work to be done.

For though I was in command now, as long as the young Master lived, my position was not permanent.

Furthermore, the Master had succeeded in disappearing, and this would be the perfect opportunity to eliminate the brat if I could find a way to identify him. I had seen his luminescent eyes a thousand times, and I could probably estimate how tall he was, but that would not be enough to recognize the snotty teen if I ever saw him in broad daylight.

I fiddled with my Pokeballs, thinking.

I had searched through everything he left behind for any clue; the desk I now sat at, his private quarters, the library, and the labs. I found nothing.

All I had was the little information the boy had told me, and my own experience with the boy and his father.

But if I could kill the previous Master without getting caught, I could certainly find the man’s teenage son.

BZZZT

I looked down at the Master’s desk… no, my desk… and saw the talkie the boy had given me vibrating.

Speak of the devil.

I pressed the green button.

“Yes, Master?” I answered tiredly.

“The detective has been dispatched. My plan has begun. Remember my warnings,” the boy replied coldly.

Whoopee, I thought sarcastically, though I responded with an “Of course, Master.”

“Nothing more. Master out.”

How tiresome that boy could be.

Even if the boy wasn’t the Master, I would want to eliminate the child because of how he flaunted his arrogant attitude.

The boy simply had to be destroyed. I sighed as I racked my brilliant brain for vital details that could help me identify the teen.

Mendol.

That was one detail I had— the name Mendol. That was the name written on the gym door. It was the name the boy’s father went by, and the name the boy was called. Master Mendol. The father had become a gym leader before he joined Team Glop’emm. Thus, when the name was engraved, there would have been no reason for him to hide his identity.

The name was a possible lead. It couldn’t hurt to check it out.

Then there was this detective, the man the boy had sent after Anita Parkwood. He had said the detective was a relative. The boy was probably lying, but either way, it would be useful to have someone watching the detective. Maybe this “relative” would let something slip.

Plus, I needed to make sure I was getting all the information the Master was getting about Pokemon X. If I could figure out a way to find and capture it before he did…

I smiled wickedly.

Well, then it would be a lot easier to take him down.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I ran a hand through my dark hair as I stared at the walkie-talkie. It was silent now.

I had my mission.

I was in position.

Now all I could do was wait.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *



CONTINUED --->

delongbi
February 22nd, 2009, 04:59 PM
The first four times I woke up, it was still raining.

The fifth time, the sun was blazing into my eyes.

I blinked, and looked around me, confused. Erin was laying a little ways away, still fast asleep under the protection of the ledge. I was barely under the ledge, and my clothes were still damp. The air was a lot warmer than it had been before. I looked around for Apple, and finally spotted her bathing in the sunlight.

After stretching, I looked at my watch.

3:41 p.m.

That couldn’t be right.

I shook my head and blinked a couple of times.

3:41 p.m.

I jumped up and ran into the sunlight. The sun was high in the sky, and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.

<Apple,> I growled.

<Nya?> Apple answered groggily. Her body remained motionless, sprawled in the sunlight.

<Why didn’t you wake me up when it stopped raining?>

Apple finally got up and yawned. <I thought I deserved some rest.>

<You realize if we had left as soon as it stopped raining, we could have reached Tinted Town before the sun went down. Now that we’ve wasted most of the day, we’ll have to camp out again.>

<Na,> Apple argued, <It didn’t stop raining till noon. No way would we have reached Tinted Town. We would have to camp out anyway.>

<Maybe, but now we’re going to have to start setting up for camp in just two or three hours before it starts getting dark! We’re not going to make any progress. The day was completely wasted!>

<Whatever.>

I walked over to Erin and shook her with a foot. “Wake up!”

Erin sat up quickly, her hair a complete mess. “Huh?” She blinked. “Whoa. How long did we sleep?”

“It’s already mid-afternoon! We have to get going!”

Erin stretched. “What about breakfast?”

“Ugh. Come on!” I grabbed her arm and started exasperatedly marching through the lightly wooded area. Apple followed.

So we walked… and walked… and walked….

Did I mention we kept walking?

“Huh. There are more trees here,” I noted dully after half an hour of— you guessed it— walking. We had eaten as we traveled.

Erin nodded. “It’s because there is more water here. About half a mile to our left is Peepin Pond, and four miles to our right is Lemon Lake.”

“And how far until we reach Tinted Town?”

“You really don’t want to know. Too far.”

I frowned and grumbled to myself. Then suddenly, I remembered Fiery was still in his Pokeball. “Oh!” I exclaimed as I released him. “Sorry, I forgot about you.”

<Darn, I was hoping you wouldn’t remember,> Apple pouted.

<Under normal circumstances, I would be offended that you forgot me. However, I already told you, I like my Pokeball!> Fiery growled.

<I think you only like it because I said Pokemon don’t like being confined in them,> I replied.

<Yeah, no normal Pokemon would like being stuck in that thing!> Apple added.

<Have you ever considered the possibility that you’re the abnormal one, Apple?>

<No.> Apple smirked.

Fiery chose to ignore Apple. <Anita, just because Apple does not like her Pokeball does not mean all Pokemon dislike Pokeballs. Some of us actually enjoy resting and being away from you crazies.>

<Well, you need the exercise,> I argued. I already knew I had lost; I was just being stubborn. Abruptly, I realized Fiery and Apple had stopped walking.

<What’s up?>

Apple and Fiery were staring into the sky.

Erin stopped behind the Eevees. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m not—” I stopped speaking as I followed the Eevees’ gazes.

SPLAT

All was suddenly dark.

And wet.

Three different laughs came from beyond the wet darkness.

<Whew, I feel much better,> an unfamiliar voice said.

I wiped the wetness from my eyes and saw a large Fearow flapping away above me.

It occurred to me what the wet goo covering me was.

“EWWWWWWW!!!” I yelled.

Fiery snorted. <Now you know how I feel!>

“This is so not funny!” I gave the three giggling hyenas my fiercest glare.

It was ruined when a bit of… crap… fell from my hair to my nose.

<It wouldn’t have happened if you had listened psychically or had better normal hearing,> Apple commented.

“It’s supposed to be good luck when a bird poops on you,” Erin remarked.

“Yeah right,” I grumbled. “So far, today might qualify in the top ten worst days of my life.” I unsuccessfully tried to wipe the crud from my face; it just ended up smearing.

And now my hands were covered in **** too. Great.

Apple joked to Fiery, <I bet it was related to the Spearow you battled.>

“Which way is Peepin Pond?” I asked. I spat as… you really don’t want to know.

Erin pointed.

“I’m going to go wash up. Erin, can you take my pack if it’s not already disgusting? I don’t want to drip on it…”

“I’m not touching that thing if there is a single drop of crap on it,” Erin answered. She inspected my pack carefully before removing it from my back. “We’ll start setting up camp here. No way will we have time to keep moving by the time you’re done.”

<What a waste of a day,> I thought to myself…

… or not. <Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be,> Apple replied.

<You stink,> Fiery put in while wrinkling his nose.

“I’ll be by the pond—” I said to Erin.

<Hopefully in it,> Apple interjected, though only I could hear.

“Make sure you give these two some daunting task.” I waved to the Eevees.

“Don’t worry. They’ll be fetching firewood!” Erin replied.

<Oooh. So daunting. I couldn’t possibly handle that,> Apple snickered.

Fiery chuckled.

I left.

The walk to the pond was quiet, and I probably would have enjoyed it if it weren’t for the awful stench and disgusting goop on my face.

The trees became denser as I neared the pond, and the shade sent a shiver down my back.

The first thing I did when I reached the pond was splash the pond’s warm water on my face to scrub the crap off. As I squatted by the pond, I made a mental note to buy soap when I reached Tinted Town.

When my face was wiped off and I could finally see clearly, my reflection in the pond revealed that I was covered in even more poo than I had imagined.

And I have a big imagination.

Not only was my hair streaked with brown and white, but so was the top of my long-sleeve t-shirt. Even my pants had some crap on them; I must have accidently put my hands on them when I squatted down.

I glanced to my left and right to make sure the pond was abandoned.

Seeing no other signs of life, I sighed and carefully stripped off my pants, shirt, and shoes.

While leaning over the pond, I dipped the shirt in the water and began scrubbing it with my hands.

A soft cool breeze sent a chill down my spine.

“That’s a nice look for you.”

I fell into the water, surprised by the voice.

The pond was shallow. I swerved around and squatted so only my head was above the water, while I clutched my shirt tightly to my chest.

My heartbeat quickened when I saw the speaker.

“Reece,” I hissed.

“Ah, Anita, it’s been a while,” Reece said casually, leaning against a tree.

<Apple? Fiery? Erin? Anyone!?> I called out psychically.

I held my breath hopefully.

No answer. I was out of range.

Reece strolled toward the pond smirking nastily. I backed into the pond’s reeds nervously, my feet getting tangled in the roots.

Reece stopped by my pants. He nonchalantly bent down and picked them up, seemingly inspecting them.

“Back off my pants you pervert!” I called.

Reece’s amber eyes met mine. “Anita, I thought you were going to be a Pokemon trainer.”

“I am! Back off!”

Reece smiled and put the pants down. “So where are your Pokeballs?”

“Nearby,” I answered hastily, fear accelerating through my veins.

“Is that so?”

<APPLE!?> I strained.

Still no answer.

Holy crap, I was alone.

The creeper took a step closer to the pond.

“Stay back, or I’ll…” my mind came up blank.

“Or you’ll what?” Reece spoke softly. “Scream? No one will hear.”

He lifted his foot slightly.

I was frozen with fright. Reece chuckled and started to take another step.

That perv had to stay the hell away from me! I automatically thrust my mind at the hated boy.

“Ow! What the—” Reece looked around blankly for the source of his pain. He tried to step forward again…

And hit an invisible wall. Again.

“Huh? What—”

“I said, back off Reece!” I hollered fiercely. I sent another psychic pulse to my barrier. Reece was repelled backwards.

Now, Reece’s eyes were widened with fear. “Anita—” he started.

“AWAY!”

He flew back again. The pervert carefully treaded backwards while watching me. Then he turned and fled through the thin layer of trees.

I sank back in the reeds as relief flooded through me, still clutching the poop-stained shirt to my chest. Slowly, my fear trickled away into the pond. For fifteen minutes, I watched from the reeds to make sure the boy didn’t come back. I sent my mind out to make sure there was truly nobody there.

When I finally felt it was safe, I began lifting myself from the water plants. I scanned the shore just to double check…

There was someone by the edge of the pond! I quickly ducked back into the reeds.

How hadn’t I sensed this person?

I sent my mind out again, but found nothing.

I peeked through the reeds.

A dark haired young man was crouched by the pond. The setting sun made it difficult to make out any exact details, but I could see he was scooping up the pond’s clear water and drinking it.

How long had he been there?

Suddenly, the young man looked straight at me. The fact that I could see his eyes shocked me. They were green and luminescent, shining like the moon.

“I can see you in there,” the kid said quietly, his voice sending chills up my spine.

Okay, today definitely qualified as the worst day of my life.

The strange adolescent got up and started walking down shore towards where my pants were laying. He watched me the entire time.

“What are you doing?” he asked, stopping just before my pants.

My fear had returned. My heart had to be going a hundred miles an hour.

“Get away,” I warned, mustering up my mind. I was exhausted, but fear powered me.

The boy began to take another step.

I threw a barrier in front of him.

He walked right through it.

The young man suddenly looked down. He had stepped on my pants.

“Oh…” he said. He stared at my pants and then called vaguely, “C’mon. Even I know better than to do that!”

What the heck?

The teen spun on the spot and stalked into the woods.

I determined waiting was a bad idea. I quickly scrubbed my hair as best I could and got out of the water. I decided washing my pants wasn’t worth the risk of yet another person finding me in only my bra and underwear.

Because I was wet, my pants and shirt clung to my body. The air was a lot cooler now, but all I cared about was getting away from the stupid pond.

As soon as I began marching away from the pond, I called out to Apple with my mind.

It was another five minutes of walking before I finally contacted her.

<Apple!>

<Anita, what took you so long? I was about to come looking for you. Why didn’t you contact me earlier?>

<I was out of range,> I muttered, and then I showed her what had just occurred.

<Congratulations on making a barrier!> Apple replied when I was finished.

I rolled my eyes. Should have known I’d get that response.

<And…> Apple continued. <Well, erm, then you’re not going to be very happy when you get here.> She showed me an image of Erin talking to the dark haired boy I had just seen by a fire.

<Oh, she is so dead.> I could see a dim light up ahead. <I’ll be at the camp in less than five minutes.>

<You know what that guy is?> Apple asked suddenly.

<No.>

<C’mon, you should know this.>

<Well, I don’t.>

<He’s gifted. He has a dark type gift!>

Oh, wow. That was obvious now that I thought about it.

I finally burst through a bush into the firelight.

I must have been a sight because Erin yelped. The strange young man, however, didn’t seem phased at all.

“Oh, Anita. You nearly gave me a heart attack! This here is—”

“GET OUT!” I yelled.

“Anita, he’s just—“

“OUT!” I barked.

Erin sighed and reached into her pack. The kid didn’t move.

“I don’t know how you got so soaked, but go put these on.” Erin handed me dry pants and a shirt she had pulled out of her bag. “Then maybe we can have an actual discussion.”

I put on the clothes behind a tree and heard Erin mutter, “I am so sorry. She’s—”

I tuned out the rest. I didn’t want to hear.

<I think you may be overreacting,> Apple said calmly.

<But he’s a perv!>

<From what you showed me, I’m not—> I angrily shoved Apple from my mind.

I came out from behind the tree and laid my disgusting clothes out to dry. I sat down by the fire across from Erin and the perv.

“He can’t stay,” I said unwaveringly.

“Anita, he’s just—”

“HE’S A PERV!”

I looked straight at the dark haired young man. Now that I could see him properly, he looked about my age, maybe a bit older. His bright eyes gazed at me from under his spiky jet black hair.

“I am not. You are simply stupid,” he replied stoically.

“What!? I was nearly naked and you kept walking toward me!” I yelled.

“Whoa!” Erin scooted away from the boy.

“Oh, excuse me,” the kid started sarcastically. “First off, I had no idea you didn’t have clothes on. Before today, I believed nobody would be stupid enough to do such a thing.”

“I was pooped on by a bird! What else was I supposed to do?!”

“Oh, so that’s what happened?” The boy smirked. “Still, it’s a pretty popular pond; you’re lucky there wasn’t anyone fishing.”

“Yeah, real lucky!” I groaned, irritated. “How was I supposed to know Peepin Pond was popular?!”

“You are in Acceber. Everyone knows.”

Erin nodded. She was siding with him! What?!

“Even if you didn’t know, who would undress by a pond named Peepin Pond? As in, people peep. Really, how stupid can you get?”

I didn’t have a reply.

I blushed, took in a deep breath, and turned to Erin. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Erin shrugged. “I assumed you knew! It is a pretty common vacation spot. Plus, I didn’t actually think you would undress in the wilderness. Eww.”

I took another breathe and then asked, “What do you want?” I met the boy’s odd gaze again.

Erin answered for the kid. “Before you so rudely interrupted, we were just discussing the possibility of traveling together—”

“NO!” I yelled stubbornly. What in the world was she thinking? What happened to not giving half a thought about a guy? We didn’t even know this person, and I couldn’t read his intentions. He could be dangerous.

“Will you let me finish? He’s a Pokemon researcher like me and is very interested in my area of study.”

Erin caught the boy’s eye and grinned.

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at the boy. <I don’t like this one bit,> I told Apple.

<I don’t like him either. There’s no way of telling what his true purpose is.>

“Since we share interests, I believe it would be beneficial to travel together,” the young man added. Then he continued, “As a researcher, I am also intrigued by the evolution Pokemon, Eevee. Erin, here, told me you have quite a few of those.”

<Oh, sure. This guy just happens to be interested in exactly what Erin is researching and the Pokemon I have. Why does he want to travel with us so much?> I wondered to Apple.

<He can’t know what I am. Maybe he knows you’re gifted,> Apple thought.

<Whatever the case, he can’t travel with us. I’ll tell Erin of the situation psychically.>

<Careful, you’ve never actually spoken to her through your head. You don’t know how she’ll react,> Apple warned.

I reached out to Erin psychically. <Erin, there is—>

Erin snapped her head to me, her eyes flashing with anger. “Anita, is that you?”

I spoke aloud, “What are you talking about?” but psychically said, <Yes.>

“GET OUT OF MY HEAD, ANITA!”

<Well, if he didn’t know you were gifted before, he knows now,> Apple groaned.

<Erin, I’m not even listening to your thoughts. I just need to tell—>

“STOP! If you have something to say, say it out loud,” Erin snarled at me. Wow, and she said I had a temper.

The kid was watching me, as if he was analyzing my every move.

“You’re gifted,” he said coolly. It wasn’t a question.

“Yes,” I answered.

I turned back to Erin. “Now what I’m try—”

“Psychic?”

I looked at the boy irritably. “Yes.” He gazed thoughtfully at the fire.

“Erin,” I said curtly. “This kid, like me, is gifted.”

“So what?” Erin frowned at me. “You just don’t want to be shown up!” Erin accused.

Geeze, why was she getting all uptight about this one boy?

<Must be that time of month.> Apple rolled her eyes.

“He’s a dark type.” I glanced at the boy to see his reaction. He had none.

“And?” Erin led.

“And therefore I can’t read his thoughts, making him dangerous to us.”

<Actually, technically you can read the thoughts he wants you to hear,> Apple put in.

<What?> I looked quizzically at Apple. <Ugh, never mind. I’ll ask later.>

“Just because you think he is dangerous doesn’t mean he is dangerous to us,” Erin answered. She glanced at the boy and muttered, “You’ll have to give me some tips on keeping her out of my head.”

“Erin, be serious for a moment!”

Erin stood up. “I am serious. If he wants to travel with us, let him travel with us. If you can’t read his mind to discover his intentions, sucks to be you. I can’t read anybody’s mind; for all I know, you could be planning to steal my Pokemon.”

What was she really thinking? Why was she so trusting?

I carefully crept into her mind.

<—just hates him because he caught her doing something stupid. There’s really nothing wrong with him at all. And he seems validly interested in my research without one hint of flirting! It will be nice to have someone to bounce research theories off of. Plus, Anita needs someone to put her in her place, balance all that psychic crap out so it doesn’t get to her head. Huh, I wonder why she stopped talking—>

I jumped out of her mind before she could become suspicious.

<I still think it’s that time of month.>

<This is really a pointless argument. Can we eat dinner now?> Fiery requested.

“How long?” I asked.

“Huh?” came Erin’s reply.

I looked at the boy. “Supposing we allow you to stay, how long will you be traveling with us?” Erin threw me a dirty glare.

The boy shrugged carelessly. “Until I find a more interesting topic of research.”

<I really don’t like his attitude,> I told Apple. <But Erin already has her mind made up. I could always leave them if things get too horrible… though the company is kinda nice, as much as I don’t want to admit it.>

Fiery spoke up. <I have an idea. Why don’t you challenge him to a battle? He wins, he can stay. You win, he leaves.>

I grinned. <I like it.>

“Alright then,” I started. Erin smiled— she thought I had given up. I looked at the boy squarely and gave him my best challenging gaze. “I’ll battle you. You win, you can stay. I win, you leave.”

Erin frowned.

The corners of the boy’s mouth rose. “No.”

“Then you forfeit. You can leave now.”

“No, I decline the challenge.”

“What, scared you’re going to lose?” I taunted.

The boy seemed amused. “No. I won’t accept your challenge because I know I would win.”

Great, another cocky smart-*ss to put up with.

I glared into the boy’s green eyes. “Listen up. I am only putting up with you because at the moment Erin sees some imaginary good in you, and I owe her. If you slip up even once, do something suspicious, or cause harm to any of my friends, you are dead meat. Got it creepy-eyes?”

Fiery was shocked. <Did Anita just call Erin a friend?>

Apple nodded. <She did. Knew this was coming.>

The boy snickered, “Ooh. I’m real scared now.” Then as an afterthought, he added, “And I wouldn’t be accusing other people of having weird eyes. Yours are purple.” The boy gazed into my eyes for a moment, making me shift uncomfortably.

Erin clapped happily. “Well, now that that’s settled. Let’s get some dinner!” She started shuffling through her bag for food.

The boy got up and walked around the fire until he was in front of me. He held out his hand.

“We never got to introduce ourselves properly—

“I’m Liam.

“Liam Mendol.”

delongbi
March 8th, 2009, 06:09 PM
Chapter 10: Bonding


It was early morning; the sun had yet to rise. As usual, I was already up thinking.

For that is what a Master does; he thinks— he is the brilliance behind the team.

Today, I happened to be contemplating the obvious.

The too obvious.

Often times the most obvious solutions are overlooked for the very reason they are obvious.

In this situation, I calculated a 53% chance of the obvious being true.

The possibilities:

1. Mew teleported elsewhere or transformed and ran off.
2. Mew was one of Miss Parkwood’s or Miss Kendle’s Pokemon.
3. Mew was Miss Kendle.
4. Mew was Miss Parkwood.

1, 2, and 3 were all very viable situations. Very viable.

The fourth hypothesis was more than viable.

It was probable.

Which made me suspicious.

Yet, the data lined up perfectly.

The first piece of supporting data was that Miss Parkwood traveled the same exact path Mew traveled. This, of course, applied to the other options as well.

A more interesting bit of information was that, according to Miss Goldenthrill, Miss Parkwood moved to Melonbi Town in the summer before the two girls were in second grade, approximately six years ago. My father found Mew just outside of Melonbi Town six years ago, and no member of Team Glop’emm has glimpsed the Pokemon since. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Miss Goldenthrill also provided some unusual information about Miss Parkwood’s childhood. Apparently, Miss Parkwood was unusually comfortable with wild Pokemon at an early age. Before she had her own Pokemon, herds of wild Pokemon would follow her to and from school. This is not the case with normal human children.

Furthermore, the girl had psychic powers.

The silly girl may as well have been screaming, “I am Mew!”

But would Mew really be so unsubtle? According to the obvious… it seemed so.

However, the data needed to be confirmed. I had to verify everything possible before jumping to conclusions.

Much of the information had been obtained by watching the video tape of one of our member’s grunts speaking with Miss Goldenthrill. There was no known reason for her to lie, but I would still have to get her information verified.

I would also need more information about Mew. Research on this rare Pokemon was the reason I left my headquarters in the first place. Others could not be trusted with information on one of the most powerful creatures in the world. I would start my research in libraries throughout Acceber… I would have to confirm the legends.

The most important legend I would have to confirm was that Mew kept its psychic powers when it transformed. If my research revealed that this was not the case, I would need a new hypothesis.

And there was also the legend that all psychics and psychic Pokemon have purple eyes. Again, Miss Parkwood fit this criterion.

However, this legendary rumor was actually proven false by several researchers a couple of years ago.
They found that 20% of all purple-eyed Pokemon and humans were not psychics, though many were descendants of psychic humans or Pokemon. This piece of evidence could not be relied upon. It was interesting that one of Miss Parkwood’s Eevees had slightly violet eyes. Although Pokemon with unusual coloring were not all that uncommon…

I breathed the cool morning air in deeply. My brain raced forward, foreseeing where this research would eventually take me.

In the end, there would be only one way to confirm my hypothesis.

I quietly pulled a Pokeball from my belt and let loose the Pokemon within. A bird Pokemon with large dark wings and a white feathery chest appeared before me.

I pulled out a pen and a pad of paper. I scribbled the note quickly and tied it to my Honchkrow.


Chief Assistant, Mr. Arkle,

I need you to pull all of our top scientists out of their current projects. Order them to begin researching Ditto and to create a device based on this research that will force a Pokemon to transform. Not evolve—transform as Ditto and Pokemon X can. I need this device ASAP. My Honchkrow will stay to oversee that you and the scientists do as I ordered.

-Master


I held the note up to the Honchkrow, and watched as the bird’s eyes darted from line to line, reading. I folded up the letter and tied it to Honchkrow’s held out claw.

“Deliver this to my assistant, the one I left in charge,” I commanded. “Make sure he and the scientists do as ordered.”

Honchkrow nodded, and flapped off into the dawn.

I closed my eyes.

And planned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Good morning, Miss Goldenthrill.”

“Humph,” I grumpily replied while stumbling into my chair behind the desk. The man sat before me in one of my private rooms for the second time this week. This was where I originally discussed Anita with him.

What in the world could he possibly want at 6:00 in the morning? If John hadn’t already let the man in the house, I would have ignored the man’s request to speak with me. Beauty sleep was much more important.

I crossed my arms and frowned at the man. “What do you want?”

The man fumbled with his laptop until he finally go it open. He placed it in front of me.

A man appeared on the screen. His face was halfway in the shadows, but I could see his semi-long straight brown hair and dark eyes. He also looked like he had a 5:00 shadow, but it was hard to tell in this light. He had to be in his twenties.

“Miss Goldenthrill, I am glad we finally have the chance to talk.” The man seemed to try to smile warmly, but failed. “I have a proposition.”

I sneered, “What could you possibly want with me?”

“How would you like to start your Pokemon journey early?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

<So explain this to me again,> I requested as Apple and I quietly made our way through the dimly lit woods.

Apple sighed. <You can only read his thoughts if he wants you to. See, the mind is actually in the brain. Your powers do not affect any physical part of a person or Pokemon that is dark type. Thus, you cannot see into his mind or even sense where he is. However, when a person projects his or her thoughts, the thoughts are literally flung outside of the body. Therefore, you can pick up this boy’s thoughts if he projects them.>

<But he hasn’t done that yet. Even when he is speaking, he does not automatically project his words like most Pokemon and humans do.>

<Right,> Apple answered.

<Which makes him even more suspicious.>

<Of what?>

<I don’t know,> I said exasperatedly. <Something’s up with him though.>

Apple nodded. <I don’t like the idea of traveling with him.>

<We’re going to have to be careful to not let any of your… weirdness slip.>

Apple frowned slightly. <So are we going to be doing this often? Sneaking off in the morning to practice our psychic powers?>

<Yeah, I think we should make a habit of it. But just to be clear, Apple, this is to practice your psychic powers, not mine. You’re not a complete expert you know! You’re barely eight years old and need to practice as much as I do.>

Apple snorted. <Well, I’m much better than you!>

<Which is why you can’t be practicing in public. Erin already knows I’m a newbie to this whole psychic thing and can barely make a simple barrier. If you started using your psychic powers in public, I’d have to claim they were mine, which is obviously not the case.>

Apple rolled her eyes and huffed, <I know, I know. But really, I don’t need the practice. You do!>

It was my turn to roll my eyes. <Sure. You’re so obviously perfect; you’re much too good for practice.>

Apple smiled smugly. <That’s right.> The Eevee eyed me shiftily and then glanced at our surroundings. <I think we’re far enough away from camp now.>

Suddenly, my body felt lighter. It took me a second to figure out what was going on.

Unfortunately in that second, I was flung twenty feet into the air.

Let me tell you, floating midair is an unnerving sensation. It feels like you’re stuck in the middle of one of those glass floors, only you’re not sure if the glass floor is strong enough to hold your weight. You could fall at any second.

I tilted my head to glare at the Eevee several feet below me. <What do you think you’re doing?>

Apple yawned lazily. <Practicing.>

<Put me down, Apple!>

<Hey, you’re the one who said I needed the practice.>

I started spinning slowly in the air.

<Apple,> I growled.

The Eevee grinned. <I could be doing worse, you know.>

I was being held upside down.

<Yeah, right.>

<I could transform back into my real self and have better control.>

<Apple!> I gasped.

<Geeze, it was just a joke. I would never transform in public.>

<We’re not in public.>

<Ah. In that case, I can see why you’re worried.>

<Apple, seriously. You cannot transform, especially with that boy around. Neither of us can sense when he’s approaching.>

<I was joking. It is regretful though. I have so much more control as Mew. I could make you float, stop you from blinking, uproot a tree, and move Lemon Lake all at once as a Mew. As an Eevee, I can barely control you and move a pebble telekinetically at the same time.>

<Which is why you need to practice.>

<I thought you wanted me to stop!>

I groaned.

Apple’s ears pricked like mini radars. Suddenly, I was plummeting to the earth.

<APPLE!>

I was stopped inches above the ground so suddenly that my breath was knocked from me. Apple released me from her psychic grip.

Apple’s ears were twitching this way and that, extremely alert.

<Sorry. We have—>

“Company would be nice; don’t you think?” A voice spoke behind me.

I whirled around.

Between two thick trees not ten feet away, Liam stood watching me.

How much had he seen?

<Don’t worry. He just arrived,> Apple assured me.

“What are you doing here?” I snarled.

“I woke up, saw your sleeping bag empty, and heard some rustling in the bushes. Naturally, I wanted to see what you were up to. It was very easy to follow your trail.” Liam’s eyes flickered to Apple and then back to me. “The real question is, what are you doing here?”

“I was practicing my psychic gift. I didn’t want to wake up anyone.” I glared at Liam when I said “anyone” to emphasize I did not want him here.

Liam ignored my implication, and continued, “What were you practicing?”

“I was… err—”

<Dodging.>

“Dodging. Apple was throwing… or actually kicking… things at me, and I had to move out of the way,” I lied. I kept eye contact even though my heart was pounding and my breath came up short.

<You suck at lying—>

Something hit the back of my head. “Ow!” I exclaimed.

<—so I have to make this a convincing show.>

I turned to see Apple smirking at me. She shoved her leg forward and kicked another pebble at me. I ducked.

<You better close your eyes so the boy knows you are actually using your psychic powers to dodge, not your eyes.>

I complied.

Another pebble hit my leg.

<Umm, Apple? How am I going to dodge like this? I can’t actually dodge with my eyes closed!>

I could imagine the grin on Apple’s face as she said, <You’re going to actually have to use your gift.>

I doubled over as something hit my stomach.

<Oooh, sorry about that one.>

<Apple, I don’t know how to do this!!>

<Easy, just do the same thing you’ve done for everything else. How do you use telepathy? You reach out with your mind and sense a living being and then project your thoughts. This should be easier. You’re just reaching out with your mind to sense where something is.>

“I can see you need the practice,” I heard the boy sneer.

I cursed him under my breath.

I reached my mind out to where Apple was and automatically jumped into her mind.

I felt her kick something else in my direction so I jumped to the left. The rock skimmed my right arm.

<You’re cheating. Get out!> I was shoved from Apple’s mind.

I felt suspended in nothingness and noticed that I could kind of “see” what was around me.

Except the boy, of course.

I was naturally drawn to Apple, but I did not allow myself to go toward her mind again.

This was actually not hard. It was almost the same thing I had done when I checked for other life forms near the pond, only now I was attempting to locate nonliving objects.

I suddenly “saw” a twig flying toward me. I ducked out of the way.

It was easy after that. I was able to dodge everything Apple kicked my way.

Until there were two things coming at once.

One was coming from a different direction.

I dodged the one coming from Apple, but was hit by the strange round object flying at me from behind.

I turned around and opened my eyes.

The boy was frowning at me, closer than he had been before.

As I glanced down at the ground, I noticed a Pokeball beside me.

“Why did you throw a Pokeball at me?” I asked.

Liam smirked. “You’re going to have to be prepared for anything in a real battle. Even things flying at you from different directions.”

I felt Apple suddenly become smug. She must be planning something.

“And what makes you an expert on battling? You’re a researcher,” I snickered.

I sensed something coming at my head from behind me so I ducked.

The Pokeball launched over my head directly toward Liam.

The boy seemed to twist out of the way, but abruptly his arm reached out and snatched the ball out of the air.

It was very cool.

<Aww, man,> Apple whined sourly. <I wanted to hit him in the face.>

Liam lightly tossed the Pokeball in the air and caught it again while smirking at me. “Believe it or not, I was once a trainer. A gifted trainer. I know what the gym leaders will throw at you.”

I grimaced at his pun. And at him. Both were horrible.

“I can help you train better than your Eevee can. I have two arms, and probably better aim.”

<Yeah, right. My aim is perfect,> Apple interjected.

“Plus, you’re going to need to be able to dodge more than twigs and pebbles.”

<He’s right. Remember what Abalina said? You could have to battle alongside your Pokemon, which means you may have to dodge all sorts of attacks.>

<So what am I supposed to do?>

<Let him help, I guess. Might as well make the most of the situation.>

“Fine,” I said, answering them both at once.

Liam immediately ran toward me and lashed his left leg out.

I stumbled backwards.

I was surprised; I hadn’t actually expected him to attack me… to try to hit a girl.

Well, no time to think about that. I had other issues.

<Uh, Apple, I have a problem. I have no way of predicting where he is going to hit.>

<That is a problem.>

Liam’s arm was racing toward my face.

Crap.

I moved to the side, but he still managed to hit my shoulder. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, but I would definitely have a bruise later.

“You know, I can’t sense where you will strike,” I panted, ducking a wild punch.

“I know. You will not always be able to rely on your psychic powers,” Liam answered calmly. He did not seem to be exerting much effort.

I jumped over a leg Liam attempted to trip me with. Then I ducked because I sensed Apple aiming a quick attack at my back.

Apple hit Liam instead. For once, he looked shocked.

<That felt good.> Apple did a little victory dance. <I know I agreed to let him help you, but don’t think he can give you a few bruises without getting a few himself.>

“You will not always be able to rely on your uncanny ability to dodge what’s coming your way,” I mocked the dark-haired kid.

Liam had gotten over his shock quickly. He stuck out a leg and twirled, causing me to fall over.

“It’s called reflexes,” the boy said. He stood up and offered me his hand.

I gave him a dirty look and got up myself.

He kicked at me again, and this time I dodged.

------------------------------

We continued for about an hour until I was thoroughly exhausted.

As we crept back to our camp, I thought to Apple, <How did he get so good at fighting?>

<He says he was a trainer. If that’s the case, then he’d have to figure out a way to beat the gym leaders, just like you. Unlike you though, his actual power is not very useful, unless he’s fighting a psychic. He probably learned to fight to make up for lacking a useful power.>

<What abilities does a person with the dark type gift have, besides being unaffected by psychics?> I asked curiously.

<I’m not entirely sure. I know they can see perfectly in the dark, and tend to have more energy at night. I think they are also good at hiding.>

We were silent until we reached camp.

“Thanks for helping,” I mumbled grudgingly to Liam.

He didn’t reply.

“I said thanks.” I spoke more loudly.

Liam turned to look at me. “So?”

“So you’re supposed to say, ‘you’re welcome’.”

“Oh.”

He didn’t say anything else.

<Rude, much?> I commented, irked.

I looked around our sleeping grounds for Erin. Her sleeping bag was empty, but I spotted her crouched over sketching something by the edge of the clearing. I was surprised she was already up.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

She looked up at us. “Oh, you guys are finally back! I was drawing a picture of this sleeping Weedle I found.” She waved her notebook at us. “So how was your bonding time?”

“Bonding time?” I looked at her like she was insane… or more insane than usual.

“Or maybe it was make-out time?” She suggested, raising her eyebrows at me. “You guys were in the woods for a while.”

I gagged. Liam snickered.

“Are you kidding me?!” I exclaimed. This girl must be on drugs.

<I would have smelled that,> Apple stated dryly.

I suddenly realized the scene from Erin’s point of view.

“Wait a second. You woke up to find both of our sleeping bags empty this morning, correct?”

“Yeah,” Erin answered.

“And you didn’t come searching for us?”

“No. Should I have?”

“Did it ever occur to you that I could have been kidnapped, or murdered, or taken advantage of by this stranger?” I gestured to Liam who frowned at me.

“Nope.”

“Erin!”

“Did that actually happen?” Erin questioned. She started packing up her sleeping bag and her few other possessions. I did the same.

“Well, no—”

“Then I don’t see what the problem is.”

“Erin, if the situation was reversed, if I woke up to find two sleeping bags empty, I would have immediately come looking for you!”

“There would obviously be no problem and you would be stupid for worrying,” Erin replied.

“How can you say that? HOW CAN YOU BE SO TRUSTING OF A COMPLETE STRANGER?!”

“How can you be so sexist and judgmental? You don’t even know him.” Erin looked at me coldly.

I was about to yell at her again when Apple put in, <Anita, you’re losing your temper again.>

<I DON’T CARE!>

Apple winced. <You’re going to have to at least try to stop doing that. Soon your powers will get out of control under extreme distress or emotion. You have to practice being in control at all times.>

So instead of screaming, I fumed quietly as we finished packing.

I stormed off after quickly feeding my Pokemon and eating a granola bar.

“Anita, that’s the wrong direction.”

I stormed the other way.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

CONTINUED --->

delongbi
March 8th, 2009, 06:10 PM
It had taken four battles against random trainers dispersed about the route and a lot of walking to calm Anita down. After eight hours of traveling, we were finally at the Tinted Town Pokemon Center. Anita had not said a word to Erin or Liam the whole journey, though Erin and Liam had spent most of the time happily chatting about their past research projects.

Or in Liam’s case, perhaps his phony research projects. For all I knew, he was making the whole thing up.

Oh, how I wish I could simply see what he was thinking.

Anita’s argument with Erin about whether Liam could be trusted would not be resolved unless Liam did something particularly disturbing. He’d have to do something to prove he couldn’t be trusted.

But I did not think that was going to happen.

I did not trust the kid, but for whatever reason, he clearly wanted to travel with the group. He wouldn’t do something that would get him kicked out.

When I wasn’t battling or trying to help Anita practice making barriers despite the fact that she always failed on our journey to this town, I was thinking about Anita and Erin’s argument and watching Liam.

I thought Erin had a valid point. However, because I could not read Liam’s mind, I thought Anita was correct in not trusting Liam. I guess my perspective is kind of skewed though.

Liam did not react to any of Anita’s accusations. It was very strange. He just looked at her kind of funny, like he was confused by her actions.

I suddenly felt Anita’s temper prickle again.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ONLY HAVE ONE ROOM AVAILABLE?!” Anita angrily yelled at Nurse Joy. I rolled my eyes; she was blowing up all over the place these days.

“Well, we get many trainers passing through this town to battle the gym leader, visit our famous museum of Pokemon history, and participate in contests,” Nurse Joy replied.

“Anita, relax. We can all share a room. There’s no difference between sleeping ten feet away from him inside and sleeping ten feet away from him outside.” Erin put a hand on Anita’s shoulder.

Anita shrugged her off and glared at her.

<Anita, calm down. Nothing will happen.>

<Except being killed in our sleep.>

I sighed.

Nurse Joy showed us our room and then asked Liam to help her move a cot into the small sleeping space. The room was smaller than our room in Azul City, but it had more space because there was a bunk bed instead of two twin beds. Of course, putting a cot in the room defeated the purpose…

“Let’s go do something fun,” Erin suggested after everyone had put their bags on a bed. Anita had chosen the top bunk, Liam the cot, which left Erin with the bottom bunk.

“I want to go battle the gym leader,” Anita said.

Of course she did. <Right, that’s a great idea. In your state of mind, maybe you’ll get yourself killed before Liam can do it,> I joked morbidly.

Anita gave me a death stare.

“Nope, we’re going swimming!” Erin announced. She gestured to the single window at the back of the room. “It must be nearly seventy-five degrees, which is warmer than it’s been in a while!” The girl started searching through her bag for a swim suit.

I smiled. Relaxing by the pool would be nice. Maybe they had hotdogs…

“I don’t swim,” Anita and Liam said simultaneously. They looked at each other in surprise.

Wow, they finally agreed on something.

“Too, bad,” Erin said cheerfully, pulling out a white bikini from her bag. She ran into the bathroom, the door slamming behind her in her excitement.

Anita frowned. “Do you have a bathing suit?” she asked Liam.

He shook his head.

“Me neither. Think we could convince Erin that we are going to the library to have more ‘bonding time’?” She finger quoted ‘bonding time’.

Liam rolled his eyes.

<I don’t think Erin will be taking no for an answer,> I told Anita. <She’s way too excited to let this pass.>

Erin burst out of the bathroom in a blue tank top and light grey mini skirt. Her bathing suit was on underneath.

“C’mon, guys!” The overexcited girl grabbed Anita and Liam’s arms, forcing them to follow.

I trotted after them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I jumped in the water. The coolness tingled on my skin; it felt amazing.

I did an underwater flip and came up for a breath.

Anita and Liam were still sitting in their lounge chairs. Anita was reading a book and Liam was looking around the pool with those unnerving green eyes.

Anita was still in her capris and t-shirt. I had made her buy a cute purple bikini, which she had on underneath her clothes after my insistence, but she refused to strip down to her bikini and get in the water, claiming it was “too cold.” Excuses, excuses.

Liam, on the other hand, had simply grabbed the first pair of trunks he found in the store to appease me. He refused to even touch the water, but gave no excuse. He sat in his trunks, observing everything going on at the pool.

My eyes lingered on Liam for a bit. On a scale from one to ten, ten being gorgeous-hot and one being gross, he was about a six. He was very lean, and it looked like he had some muscle, but whatever chance he had at being hot was ruined by his insanely pale skin. It looked like he hadn’t ever sat in the sun. Maybe he would gain a bit of color today.

I suddenly caught Liam’s eye. I waved and called, “Come on in! The water’s great!”

Liam rolled his eyes. Anita peered at me over her book and scowled.

I sank under water. When I came up again, I watched our Pokemon.

This pool belonged to the Pokemon Center so it was of course for people and Pokemon.

Wella, my Whooper, was floating on her back a little ways away from me. Tweal was playing with one of Anita’s younger Eevees, and Griffy was using psychic to entertain the other three young Pokemon. Apple snoozed by Anita’s feet, and Fiery was watching the younger Eevees. He always seemed so protective.

Liam had not let any of his Pokemon out.

It was so annoying that nobody, besides Wella, was coming in the water with me. They were such party poopers. I would play with Wella, but she generally liked being left alone.

An idea suddenly came to me.

<Griffy!> I called, knowing he would hear.

<Yes, Erin?>

<Could you tell all the Pokemon to gather here by the edge of the pool?>

<Of course.>

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I tagged Tweal then scurried away. He was it!

Tweal flapped after me as I ran under the lounge chairs.

A couple of people gave me dirty looks, but for the most part, the lounge chairs were empty. There were not many other people or Pokemon at the pool.

I nearly tripped a blonde boy just entering the pool. When I looked up at him, I realized I had seen him before. Anita had battled him in the last town.

I wanted to battle.

<Excuse me, Erin is planning something. She wants us by the pool edge,> Griffy said in my head.

Sounds exciting! Almost as exciting as a battle would be!

I twisted around, nearly tripping the boy again, and ran to the pool edge while Tweal flew after me.

Everyone else was already there.

“Alright guys, here’s the plan.” Erin smiled deviously.

I liked that smile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reading was soothing.

It was just what I needed today.

I had made a deal with Erin that I would buy a bathing suit if we went to a book store for a few minutes.

So I bought the first thing Erin liked and then found a book that looked interesting, called The Gift: More Than a Myth. It was by someone named Tamara Lilac and was apparently criticized by a number of researchers. The author claimed that everything written was true, but critics claimed it was fiction. I found it in the fiction section of the book store.

I was finishing the introduction when I noticed something suspicious.

My chair was inching toward the pool.

I looked at Liam. We turned around to see what was moving us forward.

Nothing was there.

Maybe I was imagining things.

I went back to reading.

Wait, where was Apple?

She had been sitting by my feet minutes ago. I jerked up. Where were all the Pokemon?

As I turned around again, I felt my chair speed ahead.

Behind me, I saw Griffy concentrating on our chairs. I also saw eight Pokemon lifting our chairs.

Crud.

I chucked my book at Griffy as I fell—

SPLASH

—into the water.

I came up for a breath.

“ERIN!” I yelled. “What was that for?! I’m in my clothes!”

Erin shrugged. “You guys were being so boring.”

I turned to see all of my Pokemon laughing at me.

<That was awesome!> Splash squealed. He tried to jump in the water, but Vanilla grabbed his tail.

<You can’t swim, idiot,> she said.

<Oh yeah.> Splash pouted.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Liam glaring at Erin from the pool edge. He climbed out of the water so fast that, if I wasn’t in the water, I would have thought it was poisonous.

I heard slow clapping.

I swiveled my head to see who was applauding my downfall.

I should have known.

Jake Veneer stood there, smirking, in a bathing suit.

For a moment, I seriously considered drowning myself.

<Crap! He definitely scores ten out of ten on the hot guy scale!> I heard Erin scream. I winced. I hadn’t even been trying to hear her thoughts.

This was one thing I just didn’t get about Erin. There was a very good looking man lying by the concession stand, but she didn’t give him one glance. What about Jake Veneer turned her head over heels?

“That was very clever, Erin,” Jake complimented.

Erin beamed.

Oh, please.

He looked at me and snickered.

How I wished I could move things with my mind at that moment. I would make him fall on his face into the water.

<I could do that for you,> Apple suggested.

<Thanks, but no thanks,> I replied. <You’ve dumped more than enough people into the water today.>

I dragged myself out of the water and went over to the towel stand, where I took about ten towels.

When I turned back to where our lounge chairs were (Griffy must have returned them with a psychic to their original places), I saw Jake flirting with Erin in the water. He said a little too loudly, “I’m here just for the rest of the day because I’ve already beaten the gym leader.” His taunting eyes flickered to meet mine for a millisecond.

I turned my attention to Liam, who was glaring at Erin. I almost felt sorry for him. His glare was going completely unnoticed. I shoved two towels at him, sighed, and started taking off my wet clothes.

When I was finished, Erin and Jake were standing in front of me.

Jake was holding what looked like a mini-basket ball.

“So, Anita, Erin and I want to face you and this new kid in a game of water basketball,” Jake challenged. He gestured to the basketball hoop on the shallow side of the pool.

I answered, “You’re on,” at the same time Liam answered, “No thanks.”

I turned my glare from Jake to Liam.

“What, are you chicken?” Jake flapped his arms and made squawking noises.

Liam’s fists clenched. However, he calmly retorted, “No. I don’t want to waste my time playing against an arrogant snot like you.”

“Oh, I’m insulted,” Jake mocked. His eyes flashed. “I saw the way you got out of the water. I think you’re scared. Scared of a little wa-wa.” He flicked his wet hands at Liam so little water droplets hit the kid’s face. Liam flinched visibly.

<Whoa. What’s up with him?> I thought to Apple.

<I think… I think he might actually be scared of water. Weird.>

Liam got up angrily. “Fine.”

He stalked to the shallow end of the pool and hopped in, shuddering.

Jake smirked. Erin looked a bit worried, but she shrugged it off.

I glared at Jake and followed Liam.

When we were all in the water, Erin declared, “Griffy’s referee. First team to thirteen wins. If you score, the other team gets the ball. Any questions?”

In the silence, I heard Griffy’s tail say, <You must favor the team that dresses like a banana peel on a Wednesday.>

“Alright, then. Let’s get started.” Erin glanced at me. “Anita, no cheating.”

Jake looked at me curiously, “How would she cheat?”

“She’s a—” Erin started.

<SHUT UP, ERIN!> I yelled at her. I did not need Jake finding out I was a psychic.

“Anita, get o—” Erin began to shout at me.

<I’ll get out of your head as long as you don’t say anything to Jake,> I interrupted.

Erin nodded. “Let’s go.”

She passed the ball to Jake, who shrugged and leapt over Liam to dunk it in the basket.

<Wow, Apple, now I know what it’s like to want to use my powers to get an advantage over an opponent. I see what you mean about it not really being cheating… especially against Jake…>

Apple chuckled, and the other Eevees looked at her funny, except for Splash.

Liam had the ball now. He threw it over Jake’s head to me. I swiveled around Erin, and passed it back to Liam who was already by the basket. Liam got a lay-up.

And so the game went on.

My favorite part was when I blocked one of Jake’s shots, and the ball hit him in the face.

When Jake and Erin won the first game by two points, we played again.

Midway through our second game, a strangely familiar looking man bent down near our basket.

“Excuse me,” he said as Erin intercepted my pass to Liam. I clambered after her to stop her from getting to the basket.

The man kept talking. “I’m selling hot—”

Jake got the ball and shoved it into the basket. He fell backwards, which created a huge splash.

The man was thoroughly soaked, as was his tray of whatever he was selling.

“—never mind.”

Apple had been racing toward the man until he was covered in water. Then her ears dropped and she went to pout by Fiery. She glared at Jake.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the man toss out his food tray and march away muttering angrily to himself.

Liam and I won the second game.

By the end of the third game, it was getting dark. We were all laughing (or in Liam’s case, smiling), and had stopped counting long ago.

I was starting to believe that Jake might not be evil, that Erin might not be annoying, and that Liam might have the ability to act normal when it was suddenly time to go.

Jake playfully kissed Erin’s hand and bowed. “Good-bye my fair lady.”

In his mind, I felt him debating actually kissing Erin. I cleared my throat loudly to remind him who was still here.

He gave me a dirty glance.

Jake stood up straight, turned to Liam, and nodded.

Then he turned to me and stuck up his middle finger.

Nice one.

He could go to hell.

Erin stared after the twit as he stalked away.

“He’s such a sweet boy,” I said dryly.

Erin, not catching my obvious sarcasm said, “I know. He’s amazing.”

I caught Liam’s eye.

We both stifled a laugh.

Who knew?

There was one thing we could bond on after all.

delongbi
March 29th, 2009, 12:20 PM
Chapter 11: Watch and Watch Out

I sat down on the mat across from Tamara and her Espeon.

Leafeon walked in nervous circles around me.

I was the first, besides Tamara, to arrive. I sighed. It would probably take another fifteen minutes for everyone to gather.

Tamara and her Espeon both sat perfectly still with their eyes closed. It was best not to disturb them when they were meditating.

For a moment, I observed the room our meeting was to take place in. The austere room was shaped in a circle and had bare white walls with no windows. The plain door to my right was the only way to enter the room. Eight light blue mats lay on the wooden floor in a circle, only two of which were currently occupied.

The room was much too dull and lifeless, in my opinion. I wished for there to be at least one window, and maybe a cute potted plant…

I decided to meditate with Tamara.

I closed my eyes and whiffed the homely smell of wood. Sadly, the wood was dead.

I felt below the wood and took pleasure in the richness of the dirt. I silently shared my enjoyment of the dirt with the grass rooted just outside the room. I swayed in the wind with the blades and felt the warm kisses of the sun—

The door slammed.

My eyes flew open as I was jolted away from the grass blades.

Kyle looked at me apologetically as he entered the room. His Vaporeon, Tonsil, followed him in. He and Tonsil silently sat beside me.

I glanced at Tamara, but the older woman was still meditating.

Kyle shrugged and smiled at me, his deep blue eyes kindly questioning “How are you?”

I smiled back to indicate I was fine.

The door quietly creaked open as Nai and her Glaceon, Whisper, entered the bleak room. As always, she was frowning slightly and her grey eyes were cold and distant. She sat down next to Tamara and Whisper sat on her lap.

The sight of her next to Tamara made me chuckle. One looked angry and the other peaceful. It was amusing because the grey streaks in their hair made them look alike, though Tamara’s grey was due to age and Nai’s was probably because of her gift.

Nai glared at me when I chuckled. I swear the room temperature dropped five degrees.

It was ten minutes before anyone else entered the room. I was with the grass outside again when I heard a booming laugh. I checked my watch; they were late.

The door hurled open and in walked a cackling old man and an obnoxiously loud red head, Sparky and Aden respectively. Sparky’s Jolteon, Sparkles, and Aden’s Flareon, Eon, also entered.

“HELLO ALL!” Aden announced loudly. Sparky continued to laugh madly. Electricity made his grey hair stand straight up and every once in a while a spark would ripple across his body. These sparks were what earned him the nickname Sparky; his original name was Sam.

Tamara finally opened her eyes and scowled at the two gym leaders.

Aden smiled wickedly at Tamara and sat down next to Nai. Sparky sat in between Aden and me so I scooted my mat closer to Kyle, not wanting to accidently be shocked.

“So, what did you call this emergency meeting for?” Aden asked Tamara.

I rolled my eyes. As if he did not already know.

“We’ll discuss it once everyone arrives,” Tamara answered stiffly.

“But not everyone will be arriving!” Sparky yelled and then continued to chuckle under his breath. The old man scared me a bit.

Aden happily thumped Sparky on the back but then shook out his hand when he was shocked. Nai sneered at the two of them and then spoke: “Crazy has one thing right. One of our members will obviously not be coming. Why don’t we just start and get this horrid thing over with?”

“We have to at least wait for the twins to arrive,” Kyle reminded her.

“And how do you know both of them will be coming?” Nai asked spitefully.

“Tamara put out two mats,” I said a matter-of-factly. Tamara smiled at me. Nai glared again.

Aden snorted. “Those two are always late. We could be here another hour before they show up!”

Just then, the twins, Dustin and Tali, entered the room, each holding an Eevee. Technically only Dustin was a gym leader, but because he did nearly everything with Tali, she was often included in our monthly meetings.

The twins, at age seventeen, were the second youngest current gym leaders of Acceber. The youngest was the reason this meeting had been called.

Dustin looked around the room, snickered, and sat down. Tali smiled mildly at me and then sat next to her brother. Their Eevees, Ray and Cassie, grinned at the other Eevee evolutions around the room. My Leafeon finally stopped pacing and sat by my knees.

For one moment the room was completely silent. Even Sparky had stopped laughing.

Then Tamara cleared her throat and spoke: “Before we get to the main issue of this emergency meeting, we must go through the traditional updates.

“In the past month, over one thousand different trainers have attempted to challenge at least one of us. Currently, there are a total of approximately fifteen thousand active trainers in Acceber. There are two new gifted trainers. One is Florence Traken, who has a weak rock gift. The other is Anita Parkwood, who has a strong psychic gift.

“Now for individual gym updates. Nai?”

“Only one individual has visited my gym this month. He lost, but I believe he will be attempting to beat me again soon, as he has not left my town,” Nai answered.

Tamara nodded.

“Well, I haven’t been successful as Nai here,” Aden started. “Of course, I don’t live on top of a mountain nobody can reach.” Nai threw him a nasty glare. “I’ve had… oh, about twenty kids beat me this past month. Just two days ago, a kid named Jake Veneer whooped my butt.”

Wow. I knew the boy was good, but that was fast. He had beaten two gym leaders in half of a week.

“Exactly twenty-seven children earned a badge from me,” Sparky cackled. “Twenty-four of them had a ground type Pokemon though.”

“Let’s not make excuses,” Tamara said dryly. “Find a way to win despite your weakness. I do.”

The old man laughed. “All of Acceber is scared shitless of you, though.”

“And they’re not scared of you?” I murmured to Kyle.

It was my turn to speak. “I have been beaten by eighteen challengers this month. One of these challengers was Jake Veneer.” I nodded to Aden. “Another was the gifted child, Anita Parkwood. I expect she’ll be challenging one of you two—” I gestured to Sparky and Aden. “—relatively soon.”

“Thirty challengers beat me this month. Especially noteworthy was Megan Dorin and Matthew Rowbean,” Kyle pronounced clearly.

Tali did not say anything but looked expectantly at her brother.

“We’ve lost thirteen times this month,” Dustin said. He frowned.

I sighed. He despised losing.

“I was beaten by four,” Tamara stated. She looked at Kyle. “Megan Dorin was indeed noteworthy.”

Dustin snickered.

Kyle calmly asked him, “Is something funny?”

“Just that you two found Megan to be some amazing trainer. Tali and I beat her and her friend easily.”

“If you do not have any constructive criticism, say nothing at all,” Tamara snapped.

“Someone’s a sore loser,” Dustin taunted.

Tamara glowered.

This could not be going anywhere good. I gave Dustin a reproachful look and interrupted their argument before things got out of control. “Can we get back to important matters?”

Tamara blinked. “Of course.” She looked around at the Pokemon and thought to all of us, <Is there anything the Pokemon would like to add before we move on?>

The Pokemon shook their heads. That was usual. The Pokemon tended to only get involved when absolutely necessary. For the most part, they were just not interested in the politics that came with being a gym leader.

“Obviously there is one of us missing,” Tamara began. “For the record, not one person beat him this month.”

Dustin rolled his eyes and mocked, “For the record, nobody has ever beaten a Mendol.” He gazed at Tamara slyly. “Not even you.”

I stared harshly at Dustin. He was always causing trouble, but I had hoped he would tone down today. Luckily Tamara was taking it well. She ignored him.

Sparky’s laughter grew louder.

Kyle cleared his throat. All eyes turned to him. “How do we know he is missing?”

“Let’s see,” Nai answered severely. “Maybe it’s that nobody has seen or heard from him for the past four days.”

Kyle shrugged. “He was never very sociable.”

“I called him about every other day just to make sure he was alive. I can check up on any of you at any second, but not him,” Tamara added. Dustin looked irked. He hated the fact that Tamara could watch any of us at any time. It didn’t bother me much; in fact, I felt safer. Tamara continued, “Four days ago, the boy left a note on the gym door indicating that finding him was the new prelim for the gym. Since then, I have not been able to contact him.”

“Has anybody else been able to contact him?” I asked. I looked pointedly at Dustin, as he was the only person I had ever seen the Mendol boy act semi-friendly toward.

Tamara looked around the room into the eyes of each individual. I knew she was sensing if we were hiding any information.

She looked into Dustin’s golden brown eyes.

He sneered at her.

She looked harsher, and suddenly Dustin’s expression became angry. “Stay out, Tamara,” he warned.

“You spoke with him,” Tamara said quietly.

“OUT!” Dustin yelled at her. “I can block you.”

The air was still, full of silent tension.

Both Tamara and Dustin were concentrating intensely.

“STOP IT!” Tali yelled with such force that my eardrums hurt. She was the reason we always met in rooms without windows. Her gift gave her power over sound, and if she lost control of her emotions, windows often shattered.

Tamara, apparently, was shocked out of Dustin’s mind with Tali’s yell. She kept shaking her head.

“Keep out of my brother’s head,” Tali growled.

Tamara’s eyes flickered to Tali for a moment and then returned to Dustin. “Would you like to inform us what he told you before he disappeared?”

“Not really,” Dustin snickered.

“I wouldn’t be pushing my luck, boy,” Aden threatened. “You’re in a room full of gifted gym leaders and their best Pokemon.”

Dustin shrugged. “He only told me he had research to do and that he would be leaving for a bit. He said if anyone actually found him, he would accept their challenge.”

Tamara must have sensed that he was not lying because she said nothing.

“Well, that bit of information was sure worth getting all worked up about,” Nai put in sarcastically.

“Like anyone will actually find the lad,” Sparky said, chuckling. “We are the only people who have actually seen his face.”

“So what do we think he’s actually doing?” I questioned, curiously wondering.

Dustin answered dryly, “Maybe research, like he said he was.”

“Why would he need to do research?” I watched Dustin inquisitively.

Dustin shrugged.

“Oh, c’mon you guys!” Nai exclaimed. “It probably has to do with Team Glop’emm!”

Aden’s face darkened, as did Tamara’s.

There was silence.

Nai looked around. “I know you have all heard the rumors. Master Mendol. Who else could it be?”

“There are plenty of Mendols in Acceber,” Tamara answered carefully.

“Really? When was the last time you checked?” Nai asked icily.

Tamara was silent.

“We cannot make assumptions based on rumors,” I added logically. “We do not have actual proof.”

Kyle, Dustin, and Tali nodded in agreement.

“Plus, it does not really matter where he went,” Kyle started practically. “The fact is, he’s gone. We just need to decide what we are going to do about it.”

Silence.

We all looked around the room, waiting for someone to talk.

Finally Nai said bitterly, “What can we do about it? He technically has not violated any rules. We cannot replace him because he did not officially give up his gym and has not officially gone missing. Technically, it’s just part of his prelim.”

“For all we know, he could have just gotten tired of answering Tamara’s phone calls,” Kyle joked.

Yeah right.

“So we do nothing,” Dustin decided.

“No,” Tamara argued. “We watch. If one of us finds him, we immediately contact the others.”

All but Dustin and Tali nodded in agreement.

The Pokemon, except Dustin and Tali’s Eevees, nodded as well.

“Fine. Dismissed.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I sat silently on the uncomfortable cot and thoughtfully watched the girl on the top bunk sleep.

Moonlight crept through the window and glimmered just above the girl’s head. Her usually straight brown hair was strung out wildly across her pillow, sharply contrasting her cream colored face. The rest of the girl’s body disappeared beneath the pearl white bedcovering.

The girl looked completely at ease in her sleep.

Completely normal.

Could this girl really be one of the most powerful Pokemon known to man?

I sighed and quietly reached into my bag, carefully pulling out a grey walkie-talkie.

There was not even a squeak of the old cot or a creak of the door as I slithered from the room.

I had a call to make.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The walkie-talkie vibrated.

I overcame the impulse to chuck the toy out the window and answered the childish device.

“Yes?”

“It’s the Master,” came the irritating voice through the radio. Of course it was. The detective had yet to contact me and I was starting to believe the two twerp relatives were hiding information from me. All the more reason to get Carly on the detective’s trail as soon as possible…

“You received my message?” the boy inquired.

“Yes, Master,” I replied with disdain.

“And our top researchers are currently experimenting with Ditto?”

“Just as you requested, sir.” His dratted bird hadn’t left me alone until I had made his request an order.

“Excellent. I need the device as soon as possible.” The master paused, almost hesitantly. “Also, I would like to speak with Rita Teal.”

I snarled under my breath. I was supposed to be the one left in charge. I was supposed to be the only person allowed to talk to the Master through this device. It was my power. Why would he need to speak with Rita? She was the team’s top researcher, but he could tell her anything through me. Anger rose in my throat.

“I need to talk to her,” the Master continued smoothly, “to arrange some experiments I have just discussed with our detective.”

I was seething, but I tried to keep my voice steady. “When would you like to speak with her?”

“Now.”

I considered calling her to my office. She would have the advantage then. She would have the ability to spread lies of the master’s trust in her or horrid rumors about me. No, it would be better if I went to her. Other researchers would witness the conversation, and perhaps this would create jealousy. I could use their jealousy to my advantage.

“This will be a few minutes,” I informed the Master icily. I rose from my leather chair, and walked out my door to the elevator.

The Team Glop’emm headquarters building consisted of several floors, most of which were opened to the public. The building was supposedly used for the gym leader’s research, which was ironically true at the moment, as the gym leader was also the leader of Team Glop’emm.

When the empty elevator arrived, I pressed B5.

The building looked to be four stories from the outside. Floors one and two were open to the public and we held several displays on some of our minor research on these levels. Floors three and four were closed for “privacy reasons.” They were actually mostly used for meetings and some high ranking team members’ private offices. My office and the Master’s office were both on floor four.

There were seven basement levels, five of these levels filled with labs. Only levels six and seven were strictly closed to the public. The other levels could be seen upon request, for the most part.

The elevator door opened and I walked into a blue-tiled hall way. I entered the first lab on my right and scanned the room for the woman I was looking for.

Even though it was early morning, there were several scientists about the room working with complex looking machines. A couple of the machines had glass boxes in which Dittos were being held. A cluster of scientists near the back of the room were observing a Ditto transform into different objects, animals, and Pokemon. I easily spotted Rita walking toward this cluster.

I cleared my throat. The lab became silent as everyone turned to look at me.

For a moment I savored the respect they were showing. Then I said, holding out the walkie-talkie, “Rita, you have a phone call.”

There was almost complete silence as Rita changed directions and approached me. Only the soft buzzing of the machines and the clack of Rita’s heels against the cold floor could be heard.

Rita waved a hand and the other scientists returned to their work. Or they at least pretended to. Many eyes continued to flicker between the walkie-talkie and Rita.

With a large concentration of people in this building, news spread fast. It was no secret that this talkie was the only device used to contact the Master.

And up until this point, it had only been used by me.

Rita grinned widely as I bitterly handed her the phone. The top scientist of Team Glop’emm was a very bizarre character. The woman was a few years younger than me, but only an inch shorter with her high heels. For reasons unknown to me, she kept her hair died a solid Wobbuffet blue and wore multicolored Pokeball earrings. The woman could be found in one of the labs at nearly any hour of the day. Along with overseeing every one of Team Glop’emm’s research projects, she often developed her own projects and experiments. She was also rumored to be an excellent battler.

“Yes?” she said into the walkie-talkie. I strained to hear what the Master was telling her, but only managed to hear the words, “experiment” and “Pokeball.”

Rita seemed to absentmindedly walk across the room to one of the glass cages and let out one of the Dittos. She held a blue Pokeblock out to the Ditto. “If you transform into me, you can have this,” she told the Pokemon. Immediately the Ditto transformed. Now there were two Ritas standing side by side. Rita gave the Ditto-Rita the Pokeblock, and the Pokemon gobbled it up.

“Yes,” the real Rita murmured. “The Ditto still likes the Pokeblock.” Rita then stuck her hand in her pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. She threw the Pokeball at her duplicate.

The Pokeball bounced off of the Ditto.

“The Pokeball does not affect Ditto in this form, Master. The Ditto has entirely human genes at the moment.” Rita paused. “No, you are right. There has to be some DNA in the Pokemon somewhere that allows Ditto to transform back. It cannot be completely human.” Rita nodded to the Ditto and the Pokemon transformed back to its original form. Rita scooped the pink blob up and lifted it into the cage. The scientist then took out a piece of paper and began scribbling notes.

Five minutes later, Rita looked her writing over. “Yes, I’ll be sure to do these. I’ll inform Jam—” The Master must have cut her off. “Fine. I will. Here’s Jamie.”

I took the phone from Rita’s gloved hand and held it up to my ear as I walked out of the lab. “I am having Rita perform a series of experiments for me. She will send the results to me via Honchrow.”

I grimaced. The Master trusted me less than I expected. “Of course.”

“Master out.”

I scratched my chin aloofly as I waited for the elevator. Clearly, the Master was purposefully keeping information from me. I had believed putting me in charge was a sign of his absolute trust. I angrily grinded my teeth. This put a slight damper on my plans. I would have to figure out what he was hiding. I reviewed the scene I had just witnessed.

Rita had thrown a Pokeball at a Ditto transformed into a human.

Of course.

He suspected the girl was Mew.

But what was the point of withholding that information?

He’s paranoid, I reminded myself. Or… or maybe he does not want you getting to Mew first.

Whatever the case, I had clearly overestimated the amount of trust he put in me.

I eyed the room with the Mew tracking device in it and grinned.

Well, if he was not telling me everything…

I didn’t have to tell him anything.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


CONTINUED -->

delongbi
March 29th, 2009, 12:22 PM
I put the walkie-talkie down and breathed in the cool early-morning air.

I wondered how my assistant was taking my talk with Miss Teal. He often became angry when I did not confine solely in him. It was actually quite amusing.

But nevertheless dangerous. It was too bad I had no other means of contacting Miss Teal without revealing my location. Then my assistant would know nothing of the experiments I wanted her to perform. The less he knew about Mew, the better.

I watched the setting full moon.

My gift made it nearly impossible to sleep on nights like this.

So instead, I sat alone, contacting my assistant and remembering.

My memories were the reason I was here.

I hated my memories.

They made me emotional.

They made me weak.

Yet the more I tried to forget, the more I remembered.


The warm sun shone high in the sky.

Over Slateport City’s graveyard.

A man and his son walked silently through the graveyard’s entrance.

Despite the warm weather, both were wearing black.

A breeze whistled quietly over the grass.

The recently well-trodden grass.

Many of the older graves toward the back of the graveyard were strewn about, as if they had been displaced from their original location.

There were several new graves near the graveyard’s entrance.

All were in perfect condition.

The man and the boy stopped at the twenty-third grave on the right.

The man sat down on his knees. He pulled a single white flower from inside his jacket and placed it in front of the grave.

The grave read:


Sue Mendol



April 13, 1971 - July 2, 2003



Wife, mother, and friend.



A light of the dark.


Tears rolled down the man’s cheeks.

The son watched his father weep with distant eyes.

“Why?” The man murmured. “Why why why why why?”

The boy frowned, intelligence glinting in his eyes.

“Mom and Auntie are dead. They are gone forever?” The boy asked as if there was some misunderstanding, as if there was hope that this reality was fantastical.

The father turned to his son and enveloped him in a hug. “Yes, they are gone.”

The boy’s frown deepened. “But then where’s L—“

“Shh.” The father held his son closer. “Your cousin is still missing.”

“So he’s not dead?” The boy looked hopefully up at his dad.

“We’re not sure,” the man replied hesitantly. “There is a very good chance that he is.”

“But we don’t know yet?”

“Not yet.”

“When will we know?”

“I don’t know.”

The father patted the son comfortingly on the back, but then broke down crying.

The son sat in his father’s arms staring at his mother’s grave coldly.

“Sue.” The father spoke quietly. “Sue, I have failed you.” The man’s breathe quickened. “I couldn’t protect you. And now you’re gone.”

A desperate moan escaped the man’s lips. His body quivered.

The boy stared ahead.

“I couldn’t save you. I couldn’t save Maria. I couldn’t even save— No. Gone. Everyone.” The man waved his hands wildly. “All these people are dead! Why?” The man laughed hysterically. “Because some legendaries decided they wanted to battle!?”

The man’s chest heaved.

The boy stared ahead.

“They got their battle alright. It took just one wave to decimate half the loved ones in this city. Just one wave.” The man closed his eyes and tried to calm his uneven breathe.

“One f*cking wave,” he shouted angrily. “F*cking legendaries with their f*cking powers. F*ck them!” The man was sweating. “They ought to be killed. Too much f*cking power. That’s what they have. Too much. Not good for society. Too much f*cking power and too much f*cking destruction.”

The boy stared ahead. His bright eyes never wavered from his mother’s grave.

“I ought to kill them,” the man murmured frantically. “No. No no no no no. I can’t. I won’t. I failed you, Sue, but I will not fail our son. No. We will leave. Leave this horrid f*cking country with its f*cking legendaries.”

Tears flew freely off from the man’s face into his son’s hair.

The boy stared ahead.

“We’ll go somewhere safe. Somewhere without legendaries.” The man grinned wildly. “How about it son? Want to leave this dump?”

The boy finally turned to his father.

“Yes, Papa. Yes.”


I clenched my fists.

F*cking memories.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I woke up with a start.

Light poured into my eyes.

I jolted into a sitting position. The clock on my PokeTech said 5:00 a.m.

Phew. I had dreamed that I overslept and lost the opportunity to battle the gym leader.

Beams of moonlight fell through the window onto my covers.

Ahh. That was what had woken me.

I lied down on my side to try to fall back asleep.

The cot across the room from me was empty.

I closed my eyes.

The cot was empty.

I jolted up and rubbed my eyes.

Where was Liam?

I cautiously crept down from the top bunk, careful not to wake Apple or Erin.

I slipped out of the room.

The hallway was dark and empty, as was the staircase leading to the main floor.

I shivered as a gust of cool air brushed my skin.

Wait. Cool air? Someone must have just entered or exited the Pokemon Center.

I warily stepped down the stairs to investigate.

I ran into someone on the final step.

My wrist jerked away from my body.

I tried to shake the grip off but failed.

I turned to glare at whoever had grabbed my arm.

Luminous green eyes shone into mine.

“Hey!” I exclaimed.

“Sorry,” Liam said, releasing my arm. He actually sounded sincere. “Reflexes.”

The boy must have been swiftly walking toward the staircase. It was hard for me to take my eyes away from his strange ones. They glowed in the dark like a cat’s.

“What are you doing up?” I hissed.

“I could ask you the same question.”

I waited expectantly, glaring harshly.

“Fine. I couldn’t sleep. It’s very difficult for me to sleep on nights when there is a full moon,” Liam answered. “I went for a walk.”

My gaze softened.

“Oh,” was all I could say.

“And you came to catch me molesting a girl or doing something horrible?” The boy snickered coldly.

I was taken aback.

“Are you going to go back to sleep?” Liam questioned intensely.

Did he want me to?

“No,” I replied defiantly.

His eyes glared at me harshly.

He really wanted me in bed.

Ooh, that sounded so wrong. I did not mean it that way. Good thing Apple was not up to read my mind.

“Fine. Then you’re training.” He grabbed my hand again and strutted toward the exit. “We’ll work on your barriers too.”

I made a mental note to be more compliant in the future.

Me and my big mouth.

-------------------------------

CLOSED

“COME ON!” I yelled. “What gym closes on a Tuesday?”

Liam grinned knowingly.

Weirdo.

Erin shrugged. “Maybe there’s a shoe sale.”

“The gym leader’s a guy,” I answered flatly.

“So?”

I rolled my eyes. So did Erin. “I’m just kidding.”

I sighed. “Well, we have the whole day free. What should we do?”

“Shop!” was Erin’s immediate response.

“No!” Liam and I answered.

Erin sulked.

<I hear there’s a good museum in town,> Apple suggested.

I relayed the suggestion.

“I heard that too! I also heard they have a new, cool special display on Mew! We should definitely go check it out.”

Liam, Apple, and I all chuckled.

Apple and I stopped abruptly and looked at Liam.

Why was he laughing?

Liam’s face turned stoic. “What?”

I shrugged.

“We’re going now!” Erin declared, ruining our awkward moment.

Ruining any moment, for that matter.

Typical.

---------------------------

The museum had a number of odds and ends. There were quite a few fossils and several rare stones. I was tempted to take the fire, electric, and water stones on display. They were hard to get and I would be able to evolve the Eevees with them. I resisted despite the encouragement from Apple.

<Aww. They were pretty and useful. Pretty useful. Could’a taken them no problem,> Apple whined.

<Except the I-get-thrown-in-jail part. That would be a slight problem,> I replied sarcastically.

We reached the Mew exhibit.

Mew contains the DNA of every Pokemon, I read.

No, duh. Hadn’t heard that one before.

I walked over to wear Erin was looking at actual pictures taken of Mew.

<Are any of those you?> I asked curiously.

<Hmm.> Apple examined the pictures. <Most of them are from other regions. Ahh. That one on the end is me.>

I looked at the picture. It was a picture of several houses on fire. In the bottom left corner there was a pile of ash. A Mew stuck its head out of the ash.

<That’s from when I was just born,> Apple said proudly.

<Err, did you cause the fire?>

<Not purposefully!>

I turned to the right and saw Liam examining a different wall. I walked over to see what he was looking at.

Mew die and are reborn every 5,000 years. Legends of the phoenix actually originate from this Pokemon. After a Mew has lived for 5,000 years, the Pokemon undergoes a process in which it releases all of its excess psychic energy, causing an explosion. The new Mew is born from the old Mew’s ashes after the explosion.

The latest rumored Mew explosion occurred just a few years ago in Acceber’s own Vintage Village. If it did indeed occur, it would be the first time a legendary Pokemon was ever sighted in Acceber. There were only ten witnesses, seven of whom were not able to confirm that they actually saw Mew.

<Is this all true?> I asked Apple.

<What? The whole blow-up then reborn thing? Of course! They got the place—Vintage Village—right, too.>

<Why did you decide to blow up in Vintage Village? Shouldn’t you have gone to a more secluded area?>

<I wasn’t the one who decided to go there. I wasn’t alive for the decision; my father picked the area. I have no idea why he chose Vintage Village of all places.>

Liam was watching me intently.

<He is seriously a creeper,> I commented to Apple.

<Yeah he is. He kind of reminds me of the man who chased me just after I was born.>

<Right. You told me about that. I’m amazed you got away.>

<I did, but he kept finding me. I wasn’t safe until I finally met you. Haven’t seen the man since.>

I smiled down at Apple.

My stomach growled.

Liam was suddenly next to me.

“Here, want a piece of candy?” he asked.

I looked at him dubiously. Was he trying to poison me?

He offered it again. “Here, I insist. It will calm your stomach.” He shoved the candy into my hand.

What the h*ll?

I narrowed my eyes at the boy and held my hand with the candy in it towards Apple.

<Is it poisonous?> I asked.

Apple sniffed. <Nope. Smells yummy.>

<Are you positive nothing is wrong with it?>

<Yup.>

Liam was still watching me. “Go ahead; aren’t you hungry?”

I slowly unwrapped the candy and then took a bite.

It was a good sign when I didn’t die.

It was a bad sign when I spit the candy out onto Liam’s shoe.

“Ew. What was in that thing!? It tasted like roasted barf-covered bananas!” I exclaimed.

Liam shrugged.

Apple gobbled the chewed remains from Liam’s shoe.

Erin walked over and grimaced at Apple, apparently having witnessed what had just taken place.

When Apple finished, Liam casually returned to his examination of the Mew exhibit.

Erin and I exchanged looks of disgust.

Apple licked her lips.

<Delicious.>

This group had serious issues.

delongbi
April 11th, 2009, 09:08 PM
For no real reason, I really like this chapter. Also, I'm going with a friend's advice and trying out a cliff-hanger. Here we go, enjoy! And thanks for reading!

Chapter 12: Rare Encounters

The warm waft of coffee filled my nostrils as I stared out the window at the hoards of people moving through the bustling street. It was much quieter in here than it was on the street. I picked up my pink cell phone and dialed.

I tapped my nails against the table as I waited for someone to answer my call.

“My dear, to what do I owe this pleasant surprise?”

I snickered silently. This man on the line was full of such bullsh*t.

“As you said, Mr. Arkle, I was supposed to call you if I found any information.”

“Ah. And what information might that be? You cannot have already met up with Anita; neither of you could have reached Nelcorn City in just two days.”

I leaned back in my chair and glanced at the teen sitting across the table from me.

“No, Mr. Arkle. I ran into a friend when I went to stalk up on supplies in Azul City, and we were talking in a coffee shop when he mentioned some interesting information about Anita.” I smiled widely.

“Who is this friend, exactly?”

I stared into the amber eyes of the teen.

“Reece Dracuta.”

“Who?” The voice asked through the phone.

“Reece. He’s a friend of mine from elementary school.”

“And how did the topic of Anita Parkwood come up in your conversation?”

“I started to tell him how all my dreams were coming true; how if I completed this mission involving Anita I would be—”

“You told him about tracking Anita!?”

“Well, duh—”

“You g-ddamn idiot! This mission was supposed to between you and me. Not another soul is supposed to know about it. Now I’m going to have to—”

“Don’t worry. Reece can be trusted. He hates Anita as much as I do, and he wants to come with me on my mission.”

“Fine. If you tell one more person, I swear I will have you murdered. What information did you find?”

“A couple of days ago, Reece was by Peepin Pond and he saw Anita in the water…err… taking a bath.” I held a hand over the phone and hissed, “Pervert!”at Reece. He shrugged and grinned. “Anyway, he tried to walk over to the pond to greet Anita and he hit an invisible barrier. Then Anita shouted at him and he was flung away from the pond. Reece swears he saw no Pokemon and Anita never commanded one anyway.”

“She has the gift…” The voice trailed in the phone.

“The what?”

“She’s a psychic. That explains— Never mind. As I promised, you, as well as Reece, shall be rewarded for this information.”

“You’ll get me into Acceber’s beauty pageant!!” I screamed in excitement. Other customers in the coffee shop scowled at me. Reece snickered.

“No. That’s only if you complete the mission.” I growled angrily, but kept listening. “I would give you money, but we both know you have no need for that. Thus, I would like to offer both you and Reece one Pokemon each.”

“Any Pokemon?”

“I can get you nearly any non-legendary Pokemon. We have quite a selection. It will have to be a pre-evolved Pokemon because you may have trouble controlling a very strong Pokemon without badges.”

“Reece, if you could have any non-legendary, pre-evolved Pokemon, what would it be?” I asked Reece casually.

“Bagon.”

“Reece wants a Bagon, and I’ll have a Dratini.”

“Excellent choices. I’ll have them delivered to you personally by my Yanmega. Do not hesitate to call if you find more information. Goodbye, Carly.”

The line went dead.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I walked slowly through the silent hall of basement number seven toward the single door at the end of the hall. I placed my hand on the door. After a quick scan of my DNA, the door opened.

Only a select few members of Team Glop’emm that were permitted through this door. As far as I knew, only I, the Master and Rita Teal were allowed to access this room.

I breathed in deeply and grinned. I was one of the few trusted.

I had access to any and every Pokemon Team Glop’emm had captured or stolen.

The dragon aisle was to my right. I walked toward that isle. Each isle was filled with thousands of Pokeballs. In each Pokeball, of course, was a Pokemon. Before the Pokemon arrived in this room, its memory was wiped through several intense cycles of psychic waves from psychic Pokemon, such as my Hypno.

I passed the aisle filled with Pokeballs containing dark Pokemon. Dark Pokemon were the one exception to the mind wipes. However, there was rarely a demand for such Pokemon as there were so few of them, and those we did sell were dealt with by the Master. With the Master’s affinity for dark Pokemon, these Pokemon were really not an issue.

I reached the dragon aisle. The Pokemon were sorted by type and then alphabetical order. The shelves containing Dratini and Bagon were relatively easy to find, as these letters are near the start of the alphabet. I chose the least experienced of the Dratini and Bagon for my spies. No need to waste the good Pokemon on such fools, though successful fools.

The information they had given me was golden; it was the jackpot. Who would have guessed that Anita Parkwood was psychically gifted? It had to be fate that this piece of information stumbled into my hands.

It explained everything. Of course the Master suspected Anita of being Mew. It was completely obvious that this had to be the case.

And of course he would not want Anita being taken in and tortured. He wanted Mew for himself. He did not want to risk anyone getting the power before he did. He needed Anita to stay away from Team Glop’emm so there was no chance that the most cunning and powerful people could capture Mew before he captured the legendary.

Plus, to capture Mew, he needed her to transform back into a Pokemon. That explained the device he needed to be made and the Pokeball Rita threw at the Ditto. He wanted to capture her safely away from Team Glop’emm.

Wow. He must really trust that relative-detective-whoever-it-was of his. He trusted that sneak more than his assistant! Grr…

He had threatened the rest of Team Glop’emm to stay away from the detective and the girl.

If only I had the power to override that threat…

If only I could overthrow the Master…

I stared at the Pokeballs in my hands.

I smiled widely.

Perhaps there was a way.

Now that the Master was gone, the team’s income money was not being wasted on hundreds of useless research projects.

We had a surplus of money.

And a surplus of Pokemon.

That I was currently in charge of.

If I could bribe Carly and Reece with a few Pokemon…

How many Glop’emm members could I win over with a pocket of gold and a handful of rare Pokemon?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I woke up hating the world.

This happened to me sometimes.

I was unhappy, and I didn’t know why.

I had everything. I was a psychic, I had friends who cared for me, and I was going on an adventure.

So why did my life suck so much?

Why was I unhappy?

<Hormones,> Apple answered in response my thoughts. <I mean, you’re not always angry. You just have mood swings sometimes.>

I shook my head.

<Come on, Anita, stop moping! I want to go battle the gym leader!>

I sighed, got out of bed, and changed into my regular clothes.

Erin burst out of the bathroom attached to our room surrounded by the steam of her hot shower.

“Where’s Liam? I want our breakfast now!”

<Me too!>

I rolled my eyes. After Liam and I had practiced again a bit this morning, Erin had woken up and demanded that Liam pick up breakfast from the pancake restaurant a few blocks away from the Pokemon Center. I had gone back to sleep.

Liam had been gone for nearly an hour now. What could he possibly be doing?

<Maybe he’s looking for or making that delicious candy you spit out yesterday,> Apple suggested.

Just then, there was a knock on the door.

Erin answered it, and Liam walked in holding several delicious smelling bags.

Of course, Apple immediately tackled Liam to the ground, any wariness towards the boy completely forgotten.

<FOOD!>

“What took so long?” I asked sharply.

Liam got up and took out our breakfast. Well, what breakfast Apple had left for us.

<You should just be grateful he brought food!> Apple commented, her mouth bulging from her attempt to swallow about ten pancakes at once.

Liam’s eyes pierced mine. The rest of his face remained unchanged.

“There was a long line.”

Erin and I sat on Erin’s bed and Liam sat on his cot as we ate breakfast. Erin chattered on about some nonsense, I pouted, Apple timed how long Erin could go without a breath, and Liam ignored us all.

The usual.

Finally, Erin asked, “So, Anita, do you think you’re ready for today?”

I nodded absentmindedly.

Erin smiled and squealed, “I can’t wait to watch! Liam and I will be cheering for you!”

Liam shifted… almost uncomfortably. “I will not be watching. I have some… research to do at the library here.”

“What research?” Erin asked curiously.

“None of your business,” Liam answered harshly.

Maybe I wasn’t the only one in a bad mood today. Then again, Liam was always in a bad mood.

Erin looked offended.

I shrugged. Maybe if I beat the gym leader today I would be able to somehow force Erin to leave town without meeting up with Liam.

After we ate a rather quiet breakfast, Erin and I released the rest of our Pokemon so they could eat as well. Liam sat and watched.

I asked him, “Why don’t you ever let your Pokemon out to eat? Actually, why don’t you ever let them out? Do you even have Pokemon?”

“Of course I have Pokemon,” Liam sneered. “When inside their Pokeballs for a prolonged period of time, Pokemon have no need for food to survive.”

“Don’t you want them to be happy and free!? To enjoy their lives!?” I retorted.

“They are perfectly content.”

“But are they happy?”

“Nobody can ever be truly happy.”

“I’m happy,” Erin and Splash objected at the same time, though no other human could understand Splash.

“Let me rephrase that. No intelligent being can be truly happy.

“Ouch,” I interjected with a grin on my face. This was just the conversation I needed to put me in a more cheerful mood. Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to convince Erin to ditch Liam.

“Hey!” Erin’s voice changed from the usual high and whiny to serious. “I’ve written several research papers for Acceber’s world reknown Scientific Daily. I was also the valedictorian of my class and I won the academic actress of the year award from my after-school acting class.”

“So what if you are book smart? If you have no ability to take and use that information on a deeper level, it does not matter. You’re too… shallow to qualify as intelligent.”

Erin looked like she was about to start yelling but I cut in. “You haven’t known Erin for long enough to judge her. She may look shallower than a child’s pool, but it’s a façade. She’s really a profound and clever person.”

Erin beamed at me. Liam snickered.

Erin grabbed our Pokeballs, returned our Pokemon, took my hand, and sprung to the door. “C’mon, Anita!” she yelled, angrily stalking from the room.

Erin calmed down a bit once we left the Pokemon Center.

“Anita… thanks for standing up for me.”

“No prob.”

“But I have a question for you: What did I do to make you understand I’m not shallow?”

For a moment, I considered telling her that she was one tricky b*tch. Then I thought better of it. “Well, once I realized you were purposefully talking a lot, I knew you were more than you appeared to be. It also helped that I was a psychic. Mostly though, it was that despite your obnoxiousness, I know you care about me and your Pokemon. You’re not self-centered.”

“Hmm…” Erin murmured thoughtfully.

“Why do you care so much about what he thinks?”

“Grr… I always make a good impression. Always! I thought I did a good job when I first met Liam. We discussed our research for hours!”

“Erin, you should really forget about it. In fact, forget about him! I’m all for ditching him after the gym. He’s the self-centered, shallow, *sshole!”

Erin rolled her eyes.

“I’m not kidding!”

Erin sighed. “Believe me, I know. But we can’t just abandon him! He’s not a bad person. I just need to think of a way to prove… well, I’m me, I guess.”

“I think you’re taking this whole thing too seriously. You should forget it.”

“I’ll think of something,” the red-head mumbled.

<She’s as stubborn as I am,> I noted to Apple.

<Yup! Can’t wait to see what she comes up with,> Apple answered cheerfully.

We stopped walking down the narrow street. On our right, only a block away from the Pokemon Center, was the gym in plain sight. The building, like the road and the sidewalk, was made of red brick. Above the doors, there was an indent in the wall of bricks that held a small flame.

The most important feature of the gym, however, was the sign that read OPEN on the giant metal front doors.

Apple, Erin, and I ran up to the doors. As I slowly cracked the door open, I heard a booming laugh. If I didn’t know better, I would have classified the laugh as borderline evil.

The room I entered was pitch black.

Or at least it was until a bright spotlight blinded me.

I blinked several times, but couldn’t force my eyes to focus.

“Muwahahaha,” a loud voice boomed from somewhere in the darkness. “Welcome, Anita Parkwood, to Tinted Town’s gym of fiery doom! I have been expecting you. Muwhahahah!”

<Oh boy, this guy is a freak,> I said to Apple.

“Please give the Pokemon that you will not be battling with to your friend. You may not use these Pokemon in your prelim today, but they, along with your friend, may watch from a distance from behind a thick layer of heat-resistant protective glass. After your friend has your Pokemon, she must exit the room.”

A red exit sign lit up to my left. I handed the Pokeballs of the four youngest Eevees to Erin and she walked toward the exit sign. After I heard a door close, the loud voice spoke again.

“Your prelim today must be completed alone. Release the two Pokemon you will be battling with… should you actually pass my prelim—a doubtful occurrence! Muwahahaha!”

A blue square illuminated in front of me as I released Fiery from his Pokeball.

“Ah, Eevees. Expected. Well, Eevees, step onto the blue square.”

<How can he tell what Pokemon you are?> I asked Apple curiously as I sensed her trotting toward the blue square.

<This gym leader is gifted with fire and heat. He can sense the temperature of people, Pokemon, and objects… almost as if he can see in infrared.>

<What will happen when you touch the blue square?>

Apple and Fiery touched the square.

My question was never answered.

They had disappeared.

I panicked and reached out to them with my mind. “What did you do with them!?” I yelled. I could vaguely feel they were still alive so they couldn’t have gone too far. However, it was too much of a strain for me to attempt to communicate with them. They were just beyond my psychic range.

“Muwahahaha! I have transported them to me for safe-keeping! Or rather, unsafe-keeping!”

A screen appeared just above my head. This whole being kept in the dark thing was starting to get on my nerves. I got the feeling that the gym leader only did it for effect…

Fiery and Apple appeared on the screen. They were in a metal cage being held over a bowl of bubbling lava. How the gym leader managed to keep the lava from burning through the bowl is beyond me. I squinted to see their expressions. Fiery looked angry and kept trying to break the cage open with iron tail. Apple was just rolling her eyes… maybe at the whole situation. Her expression calmed me. If she was not worried, then they probably weren’t in any real danger. Probably. Maybe she had read the gym leader’s mind and knew something I didn’t know.

“Is this really necessary?” I asked mildly. For goodness sake, this was supposed to be a gym. Threatening my Pokemon with death seemed a little extreme.

“Of course it is!” A red-headed man appeared on the screen. “I have not had the chance to formally introduce myself. I am Aden Flarrent, master of fire and leader of the Tinted Town gym.”

“Congratulations,” I said dryly. As an afterthought I added, “Is it even legal to hold my Pokemon hostage?”

“Well, seeing as the gym leaders make the laws in the first place— yes.”

“My Pokemon could die!”

“So could you. So could I, for that matter. You don’t see me complaining about my mortality though.”

I opened my mouth to retort, but Aden held up a hand to silence me. “I would prefer it if you held your questions and comments until the end of my prattle. Let me explain your prelim for this gym.” Aden paused. “Tell me, Anita, have you ever played a Mario game?”

What the hell?

“Err… I had a Gameboy Color that I could play Mario on… but what the heck does that have to do with anything?”

Aden chuckled loudly. “Let me show you.”

Suddenly, bright lights blinded me. I blinked for about a minute before I could finally see straight. Then I had to blink several more times to verify the reality of what I was seeing.

Large stone bricks were stacked everywhere. The wall to my right, the ceiling, and the floor were all stone. The wall to my left was entirely glass, except for a metal door directly next to me. Beyond the glass there were wooden stands. Erin waved to me from her seat; she was the only person in the stands.

I could see now that the screen above me was hanging from the stone ceiling. Aden was smiling brilliantly on the screen. Beyond the screen there was what looked like… a Mario level. To be precise, it looked like one of those Mario castle levels from my Gameboy game. Fireballs hurled in every direction and there were several twirling sticks of fire. At times there were gaps in the floor, and I did not doubt that between these gaps was hot lava or fire, just like in the games.

I strained my eyes to see if this hall of stone and fire ever ended, and I swore I could make out a brown bridge at the end of the tunnel.

My eyes stared at the scene in amazement.

Another booming laugh came from the screen.

“Welcome to the Tinted Town Gym.”

No doubt about it. This guy was insane.

“The prelim is very simple. You just have to make it to the end of this tunnel and defeat Bowser. Then I will release your Pokemon and you may battle me.”

I shook my head. “Did you just say defeat Bowser?”

The camera shifted so I was looking at a Torkoal. “This is my Torkoal, Bowser.”

“I have to battle him!?” I exclaimed. I didn’t have my Pokemon; how was I supposed to do that?

“I never said battle. I said defeat. There is, of course, the standard button on the end of the bridge that will cause the bridge to collapse and Bowser to fall.”

“Are you mentally stable?” I asked seriously.

“Stability is a funny thing…”

“You can’t have put other trainers through this! Nobody would pass!”

“Of course not. You, however, are a gifted trainer. I can put you through whatever I want—including this brilliant setup.”

I shook my head in disbelief.

“Oh, I didn’t mention: there’s a time limit,” Aden casually said on the screen. “Your Eevees are being lowered toward the lava bowl about six inches every minute. I’d say that gives you about ten minutes before—“

“They’ll be fried!!” I interrupted.

“Nah. Just severely burned. Actually, in your case, they might evolve. It’s been known to happen.”

That should have been a relief. Should have. But Apple was not really an Eevee, and thus, Apple could not really evolve. So if I did not reach them in the next ten minutes…

Apple would not only be burned…

She could be exposed.

“Time’s a-ticking.”

delongbi
May 25th, 2009, 08:42 PM
Sorry it has been such a long time! Now that APs and some family stuff are finally done with, I should have more time to write. Buoysel, try not to kill me because of this chapter...

Chapter 13: Fire Away!

I looked over the list.


1. Pokeball- failed to catch transformed Ditto

2. Pokeblock- transformed Ditto ate with delight; should be noted, however, that different Pokemon like different flavors

3. Pokeflute- did not wake transformed Ditto from sleep

4. Battle- is a better fighter than most humans, still loves to fight as a human

5. Physical touch- interestingly, the transformed Ditto does not react normally to human touch. The Ditto often takes touch as a signal to battle. Also, when touched by another human for an extended period of time, the Ditto becomes uncomfortable.

6. Language- the transformed Ditto cannot speak in English; we are currently attempting to see if it is possible to teach the Pokemon


I leaned my head back against the thick tree. The results of the tests thus far were fairly inconclusive.

“Honch!”

I looked up at my Honchrow, who hovered, awaiting orders. I nodded to the Pokemon. “Go back.”

I closed my eyes. The one other test I could use was Miss Parkwood’s background. Perhaps I could find a hole in her story…

As my eyes darted across the list one more time, I smiled to myself.

My detective was the only person in the entire world I would entrust with such a job.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A ball of fire randomly swung towards me. I ducked and felt a rush of heat fly across my back. I winced as the heat continued, and then screamed when the pain became too unbearable. I rolled onto my back.

The stone floor was nice and cool. I stood up and touched my back. The blistering pain made me grimace. I felt my hair, and when it was not as soft as usual, I held up the ends so I could see them.

They were black and burnt. My hair had caught on fire. That must have been what had scorched my back. Quickly, I flipped my hair into a ponytail.

I ran forward. Another fireball came at me but I dodged to the left and was unharmed. I silently thanked Arceus for Liam. Without his practice I would have been dead in the first thirty seconds of this prelim.

I came upon the first stick of twirling fire tied to the ceiling. As it spun, I looked below it and realized the flames did not ever touch the floor. The tip of the stick came short of the floor by about a foot every time it twirled around. I got onto by belly and inched my way forward like a beat up Seviper. Each time the fire came inches away from my back I held my breath.

Just as I was beyond the reach of the twirling sticks of fire, I looked up to see yet another fireball hurling my way… less than two feet away. I closed my eyes.

I tried to summon a barrier.

I really did.

But since the pond, despite working with Apple, Griffy, and Liam, I had not been able to create even one barrier.

I prepared for the pain I was about to endure.

It never came.

I opened an eye and saw that the fireball was gone.

<You’re welcome.>

I looked around, confused. <Apple?>

<Yeah?>

<Did you stop the fire?>

<Duh.>

<I told you not to use your powers! Someone is going to find out!>

I could imagine Apple snorting. <This is the thanks I get for saving your life!>

<Apple, stop! I’m serious.>

<Relax, Anita. It looks like you summoned a barrier. Nobody will suspect it was really me. Plus, if you don’t get your butt down here soon, I will be exposed anyway!>

<So you realized it, too?>

<What, do you think I’m a moron? Actually, don’t answer that.>

I got up and looked to my next obstacle. It happened to be a gap in the floor I would have to find a way over. I walked to the edge of the stone and peered over the ledge.

Heat flashed against my face as a fireball rose from the lava below and then dropped back down. Again, I would have been severely scorched if a barrier had not appeared in front of my face.

<Anta! You need to be more careful; it’s exhausting trying to create barriers from this distance.>

<Thanks, Apple.> I paused. <Wait a second. How can I even talk to you?>

<This distance may be out of your range, but it’s not out of mine! Now get a move on!>

I took a step back from the lava and waited. The fireball rose from the lava again. As soon as it started going down, I took a running start.

I really shouldn’t have looked down.

But I did.

I leapt. Fire flashed before my eyes. I looked to the stone on the other side and realized I wasn’t going to make it.

No. I had to.

I fell. I reached out for the stone with my arms, and I barely missed the stone.

Suddenly, I felt an unnatural force push me forward. I gasped as my breath was knocked away, but I caught on to the stone ledge.

<Anita, I just told you to be careful!> I could hear strain in Apple’s voice, from both worry and tiredness.

The heat beat against the soles of my feet. I struggled to pull myself up over the ledge with my arms and made a mental note to do push-ups every day before bed. Finally, I found an invisible crook to stick my foot into and maneuver my body over the ledge.

For a moment, I panted on my hands and knees. I looked at my PokeTech. It had been five minutes.

Crap.

I turned my face forward and could clearly see the bridge now. It was still a ways away though. If I was going to survive and move quickly, I needed to be more attentive.

I closed my eyes and listened.

I “saw” a fireball coming my way and easily ducked under it.

I approached another stick of twirling fire, but this time, instead of wasting my time squirming my way beneath it, I waited for just the right moment between twirls and ran through it.

Another ledge was ahead of me.

This time I was already running, and my eyes were closed; no chance of looking down.

I jumped and made across.

Ahead of me was a giant green tube taking up the entire hallway. If I remembered correctly, giant green Venus Flytraps came out of those tubes in the games. They sometimes spit fireballs.

A Carnivine rose out of the tube.

I didn’t think it could spit fire…

But I sure was not about to stick around to find out.

The giant plant lashed out at me as I reached the tube. I pretended it was Liam’s leg attempting to trip me. I jumped up and landed on the Pokemon’s head.

I wish I could say I then used the Carnivine’s head as a springboard and to gracefully jump over the hole following the tube.

I wish.

Instead, I fell off of the Pokemon, bruised my head, and tumbled to the ledge.

The Carnivine was stunned for the moment from me hitting its head. I wearily picked myself up and stared across the ledge. On the other side, there was a twirling fire stick on the ground, and then, finally, the bridge. Apple and Fiery were now hanging less than a foot above the lava bowl on the other side of the bridge.

First things first, I needed to get across the ledge. I didn’t want to tire Apple out any more if I did not have to; she still had a battle after all of this. Because of the green tube, there was no room for me to take a running start.

How the heck was I going to get across?

I looked at the Carnivine that was starting to recover. Maybe…

<Hey you! Carnivine! I bet you can’t catch me!> I challenged.

The Carnivine glared angrily. <You little twit! You’ll be my dinner!> The grass Pokemon lunged at me. I stood on the very edge of the ledge and the Carnivine couldn’t reach. <Man, if I was not tied to the stupid tube, you would be dead meat!>

I stuck out my tongue and taunted, <Nya, nya, nya, nyaaa, nyaaa! You stink! You’re a lemon-headed stupid looking, plant with vines that couldn’t hurt a fly! And you’re supposed to eat flies! Ha ha!>

The Carnivine licked its lips. <People are actually my favorite snack. And these vines are good for something—> The Carnivine threw its vines at me. <—catching you!>

If this Carnivine could laugh evilly like Aden could, I’m sure it would be right now.

This, however, had been what I was waiting for. I jumped up onto the tube beside the Carnivine so the vines would not hit me.

Carnivine vines are long and very powerful. When they miss, they go a long distance and take a few seconds to retract. This Carnivine’s vines happened to reach all the way across the ledge, nearly to the final twirling stick of fire. I took the opportunity and ran across the vines to get across the ledge.

Immediately, the vines started to curl up and retract quicker. When the end tips of the vine reached my feet and started grabbing for my ankles, I jumped as far as possible and then broke into a dead sprint.

A vine caught my leg. I reached with my mind ahead of me and sensed a gap in the twirling fire. I twisted my leg and tumbled through the gap.

The vine attempted to grab my leg again, but it was hit by the fire.

For a moment, I watched the vine wither in agony and then retract.

I shakily rose to my feet. Apple and Fiery were just inches above the bowl of fire.

Bowser, the Torkoal across from me, threw a fire ball at me. I sprinted forward and jumped over the ball. I reached the Torkoal and took a giant leap over the turtle Pokemon.

As if in slow motion, I watched Bowser open his mouth beneath me and let loose a flamethrower attack. A circular barrier appeared under me, and the flame was bounced back at the attacker.

I landed on the button.

The bridge’s support snapped and Bowser fell to the lava below.

Beside me, the metal cage was just touching the lava. Fiery and Apple were both doing what looked like a potty dance to avoid getting burned. I rapidly opened the cage to release them.

We all fell to the ground and sighed in relief.

<Thanks, Apple,> I said while patting both Eevees on the head. Fiery didn’t even seem to mind.

<It’s a lot easier when you are right next to me. Really though, you should learn to make barriers yourself.>

<I’m trying!>

<I know, I know.>

“Muwahahaha!” I rolled my eyes and smirked when I saw Apple doing the same.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bridge rebuild itself. I did a double take. There the bridge was, like it had never been destroyed.

Beside the bridge I saw Bowser climbing up over the ledge. <That was fun!> I heard the overexcited turtle shout as he jumped off the ledge into the lava again.

“Congratulations, Anita Parkwood, on making it past the prelims.”

I snapped my head around to find Aden standing directly in front of me. He was wearing a very attractive amber vest and jeans, and somehow his hair seemed redder in person. His mud-brown eyes glinted with laughter as he held his hand out to help me up. I took it and his strong arm pulled me up easily.

I glanced back at the bridge. “How did you—”

“Rebuild it?” Aden finished. He pulled out a remote control and pressed a button. The bridge collapsed, or rather, it folded downward so it looked like the bridge collapsed. Aden pressed another button and the bridge rebuilt itself. “Very simply, actually. So how did you like the prelim? Was it fun?” There was not a drop of sarcasm in his voice.

I scratched my head, not sure how to answer. “Err…”

Aden thumped me on the back, ignoring my awkwardness. “I knew you would like it. It’s just too bad I’m only aloud to use this setup for gifted children…”

“Too bad…” I echoed.

“Well, I guess we should get down to business. Because you passed my prelim, you have to battle me. Muwahahaha!”

“Why do you always do that?” I asked.

“Do what?” Aden replied.

“Try to laugh evilly.”

“Doesn’t it make everything more dramatic? Don’t you fear me more because I can laugh like that?”

I shook my head. “No.”

Aden snapped his fingers. “Damn. I have a friend that can pull a fear-instilling laugh perfectly. I thought I’d give it a go. Oh well…”

“So the battle…” I reminded the gym leader.

“Right. Well, my battle is a bit different because you are gifted. Essentially, you and I will both act as Pokemon.”

“What?”

“This is a three-on-three battle. I choose two Pokemon and you choose two Pokemon. In addition, since we have Pokemon powers, we act as Pokemon and battle as well. Unlike usual battles, all three members of each team will be fighting at the same time and any member of one team may attack any member of the opposing team. It is unlikely that you will be able to command your Pokemon because you will be battling beside them. The first team to knock all three members of the opposing team out wins the battle.”

“So basically, this is like a double battle… only it’s really a triple battle?” I asked, realizing soon after how stupid I sounded.

Aden nodded. “We will be battling on the bridge. You will be using your two Eevees, and I will be using—” Aden released two Pokemon from two of the Pokeballs tied to his belt. “—Eon, my Flareon, and Nip, my Growlithe.” Aden raised his voice and spoke down the hallway. “My other Pokemon should evacuate the area to avoid interference.”

<Hey! I’m still tied here!> I heard Aden’s Carnivine call.

I almost decided not to inform Aden. Almost. But it would be awful if the Carnivine did manage to get loose and try to eat me during the battle. Thus, I repeated the message to Aden, who pressed another button on his remote control.

A shiny Ninetales I hadn’t seen, Bowser, and the Carnivine all exited through another door in the glass wall. Aden led me to the side of the bridge and then suggested, “You should leave anything you do not want ruined by the side of the bridge.”

Aden took off his belt of Pokeballs and his vest so he was left bare-chested. For a moment, I couldn’t help looking at his tanned six-pack.

I gulped.

He was strong.

I put down my pack, and after a moment, I decided to take off my t-shirt so I was just a tank top and shorts.

I slowly walked across the bridge, trying to calm myself with deep breaths. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and I couldn’t help thinking, What if I screw everything up?

<You’ll be fine! You just handled that obstacle course by yourself!> Apple said in an attempt to comfort me.

<I wouldn’t have made it without your psychic powers!>

<Well, I can still use my psychic powers to help you, so we are all good.>

When we reached the end of the bridge, I turned around to face Aden. We stood in silence for a moment. Then Aden declared, “Begin.”

Immediately Eon, Nip, and Aden threw flames at us. Yes, I included Aden. He apparently had a powerful fire gift and could create and throw fire with his hands.

I watched in shock. A psychic barrier rose in front of me.

<Move, Anita! You need to fight and protect yourself. At this rate, I’ll use up all of my energy protecting you!> Apple hissed. I jumped to the side and Apple released the barrier. Both Apple and Fiery launched themselves at Eon and Nip. Aden decided to join Nip to take on Fiery. I watched uselessly as Fiery attempted to dodge the Growlithe’s bites and Aden’s punches along with the fire they both could control.

Apple, in the meantime, was exchanging tackles with Eon.

<Anita, go do something!>

<What can I do?!>

<You’ve been practicing with Liam! Go help Fiery. Or come help me. Just. Do. Something.> Apple growled while using sand attack. Eon was temporarily blinded and Apple took the opportunity to help Fiery by hitting Aden with a quick attack.

I noticed that Fiery was not as harmed as I thought he would be from taking on two. I approached Fiery and Nip.

I felt very awkward. Even though Nip was battling Fiery, I did not want to attack the Pokemon. I had fought with humans… but Pokemon seemed almost sacred to me. They never seemed to be the ones causing the problems of this world, only innocent bystanders. To go up and kick Nip just seemed so wrong.

Fiery saw me watching him out of the corner of his eye.

<Thanks, Anita, for stopping all of the fire attacks,> he said as a barrier appeared between him and Nip’s ember attack. Apple, on the other hand, took a hit from Eon.

Guilt flooded my mind.

Apple was doing everything for me… because I was too pathetic to do anything.

Pain rushed through my body as something hit my back.

“Hehe. Do you think I’d let you miss out on all this fun?” A booming voice said above me. “I’m surprised you did not see that one coming; you’ve blocked nearly everything else.”

I reached out with my mind and felt Aden throw another punch at me. I rolled to my right and he missed.

I heard Fiery yowl in pain.

Apple must be getting tired. I reached out and felt the minds of my opponents. None of them were wearing out quickly. I leapt into Aden’s mind and through his eyes, I watched him prepared to throw fire at me.

I saw the fire was about to come from the palms of his hands. With my own body, I kicked his arms up so they fired fire away uselessly. I sensed his surprise.

Because I was in his mind, I could always see what he was doing next. I always dodged.

The only problem was he didn’t seem to be getting tired.

Every once in a while, I checked up on Apple and Fiery. In a moment when Fiery seemed about to falter from wheel of fire coming towards him, Apple knocked him out of the way with a quick attack. Apple then began fighting Nip, while Fiery took on Eon.

Apple was holding her own against Nip.

Fiery, on the other hand, was nearly exhausted. He was taking more and more hits, as Apple was too drained to continue creating psychic barriers.

I ducked under one of Aden’s kicks. He was extremely strong, but he was slower than Liam. Besides the first hit, he hadn’t hit me once.

An agonizing scream pierced the air. Fiery had been struck by Eon’s fire fang.

I ran towards Fiery to help. Apple attempted to reach him too, but she was blocked by Nip’s extreme speed.

Fiery lay weakly on the ground. Aden’s Flareon stood above him with a triumphant look on his face. A small ball of fire began to build in the Flareon’s mouth.

<STOP!> I yelled. Eon was momentarily distracted. He looked at me, and a moment later, I hit the ground.

My foot was on fire; it felt like a thousand needles were being stuck into my lower leg. I jumped into Eon’s mind and could taste my own blood.

He was biting me.

I lifted my leg up and pain shot up my entire body. I then slammed my leg onto the ground. I felt Eon wince in pain and he released my leg.

Darkness tickled the corners of my eyesight. My body wanted to faint, but I couldn’t abandon my Pokemon. I felt Eon prepare to bite me again, and I felt Aden begin to launch his fire at Fiery.

Many things happened at once.

I mustered up all of my energy and hurled myself toward Fiery, who was still lying on the bridge a few yards away. Then I forced my mind out in front of us.

Eon missed me and hit the ground hard.

Both Fiery and I would have been cooked by Aden’s flames if I hadn’t managed to create a barrier in front of us.

The force of Aden’s fire, however, created holes in the bridge’s railing on either side of my barrier. I heard the splash of rocks tumbling to the lava below.

Aden’s fire did not cease. He kept up a continuous stream, and I tried to hold my barrier. I kept being forced backwards.

Aden summoned a giant pulse of energy and sent the fire down his continuous stream. I was hurled backwards over the edge of the bridge.

Fiery and I fell towards the lava, but I managed to catch hold of the bridge’s ledge. I tried to catch Fiery.

I failed.

<FIERY!> I called desperately as the Eevee plummeted towards the lava.

I put every last bit of energy I had into forming a barrier below Fiery to hold him.

I’m not sure if I succeeded, but even if I did, it was only for a few seconds. I was just too tired… I was a failure to my Pokemon.

I considered just letting go.

I didn’t think Aden would let me die, but I’m sure I would be knocked out. Then this battle would be over…

WHAM

I looked above me and saw Apple growling at Aden, who was knocked on his butt.

<Get up, Anita!>

<I can’t….> I said weakly.

<C’mon, Anita, don’t give up now! I knocked out Nip!>

I tried to pull myself up. I felt Apple debate with herself silently and then give me a small psychic boost. I was up on the bridge again, but Apple had collapsed. <Apple!>

Eon and Aden were both on the ground, but getting up. Aden was grinning.

“Alright, Eon,” Aden said, turning to his Flareon. “Let’s finish this.”

I closed my eyes and tried to summon my psychic powers. So did Apple.

Flames rushed toward us. Neither Apple nor I had managed to summon the strength to create a barrier.

I prepared for pain.

But it never came.

I opened my eyes and saw a Flareon standing in front of us, smiling widely. The fire had no effect on the Pokemon. For a moment I was confused. How were there two Flareons? And why was one protecting us?

<Miss me?>

I gasped. <Fiery?>

Fiery, the newly evolved Flareon, nodded. I grinned. Beside me, Apple smiled weakly.

<Let’s go!> Fiery launched himself at Aden. I limped toward Eon; the bite on my leg was still painful. Eon easily dodged around me and aimed a flamethrower at Apple. Apple’s eyes widened with fear.

But Fiery was there again.

He stood above her, protecting her from the flames. The flames gave him strength.

I felt Apple’s final strength leave her as she used helping hand to transfer her energy to Fiery. Fiery glowed with energy.

He launched himself at Eon.

Something hit the back of my head.

Darkness overcame me.

-----------------------------

Fire splintered through my body. I winced.

“I think she’s awake,” I heard someone whisper.

I opened an eye. White surrounded me.

“Hey, Anita, how are you feeling?”

I tried to speak but my voice stuck in my throat.

I blinked several times until I could see Erin standing above me. “That was a sweet battle, you know.”

“What happened?” I mumbled.

When I turned my head, splintering pain ran down my back. On the bed next to me, a Flareon stood protectively over a sleeping Eevee.

The Flareon noticed I was up.

He grinned.

<We won.>

I passed out.

Buoysel
May 26th, 2009, 06:41 PM
Why would I kill you.

But I do have a couple of things to point out.

But first the good. I actually really like the chapter. I especially like the part where Anita did not want to hurt a Pokemon, made her seem more human.

But:

1. If a Flareon was biting me, lift my leg up and slamming it down would probably cause more pain and injury to me then it would to the Pokemon, because the slamming of the weight of the aPokemon would cause flesh to be torn. How ever, one's reaction to pain is to swing a limb at the cause. So even though Anita did not want to hurt Eon, she would do it out of reaction, not becuase she wanted too.

2. This evolution only confirms my theory, all of your Eevee's are named as to what they are going to evolve. Except Apple, cuase there is already a leafon (flower) so what are you going to have her evolve into? (I hope gues a Umbreon)

Orange text FTW (I think, if I can remember, I start posting orange.)

delongbi
June 25th, 2009, 10:20 PM
Thanks, Buoysel for the review! I never knew that about the reaction thing, thanks. Hehe, Anita will be in much more pain than Eon from the bite... Good luck with the guessing evolution thing =P

My goal is to be updating here every one to two weeks this summer. I'd like to be halfway done with this by the end of the summer. However, I can't promise anything. I tend to only update about once a month.

Chapter 14: Visions of the Passed/Past


Tick. Tick. Tick.

Time.

Something that there was just too little of.

Air swished around me as I streamed ahead rapidly.

A deep aching rumbled through my entire body.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

My body shuddered involuntarily from head to tail. I continued my journey through the clouds, my whip-like tail propelling me forward.

Tick.

I begged my internal clock to slow. I begged time to slow. What I would give to be a Celebi…

Tick.

The ocean below glittered like ice in sunlight. Little ships were sprinkled about.

The land was behind me. Far behind.

As were my old problems.

Tick.

Never again would I clash with the clone.

Never again would I endure such a struggle for power.

Power was simply not worth it.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

My new self would be safe… if only I could make it.

The old land behind.

The new land ahead.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Another deep rumble.

The only problem—

Tick. Tick. Tick-tickity-tick. Tick. Tickity-tick.

Time was almost…

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

… a melody whistling through my ears. Soft notes caressed my fuzzy brain.

I was in two places.

A pair of eyes blinked open and I saw my own body relaxing in white bedcovers.

I yawned, or rather, the body I was in yawned.

A wave of surprise suddenly sent a shiver down the body’s spine. <Hey! What are you doing in here?!>

Oh.

I was in Apple’s body.

<I honestly have no idea,> I replied.

Apple yawned again. <I just had the strangest dream…>

<Hey, me too!>

<I was flying above a big ocean—> Apple started.

<There was a melodious clock—> I said at the same time.

We both paused.

<You had it too?!> we yelled at once.

<Yes!> we answered, again together.

To make the situation less awkward, I stopped talking. <That was some serious déjà vu,> Apple commented.

<This has happened to you before?>

<Kind of. Well, not the part where I wake up with you in my head too, but the actual dream… It just felt so real, realer than my usual dreams. Almost like a vision…>

A pause.

<Is that possible?> I asked.

<Maybe. I don’t know…>

I came to a sudden realization. <Hey! The shape of the land, remember? The land that we were flying towards in the dream—that was Acceber!>

<Duh.> I felt her eyes roll.

<Well, sorry! Not all of us have the gift of your brilliance, Miss I-attack-anything-with-food.>

<Only if it’s good food. Now, will you kindly return to your own body so I can rest in peace?>

<You’re not dead yet,> I countered.

<Your lame puns are killing me.>

I was pushed from Apple’s mind back into my own.

As I opened my actual eyes and shifted my legs, I groaned in pain. I felt awful. My head hurt and there were too many bruises below my skin for me to find any one in particular extremely painful. The worst was my right leg, which was bandaged. Every time I moved it, a sharp sting rushed from my toes to my torso. When I didn’t move, it just ached.

“Hey, you’re finally awake!”

I moaned at the voice… at Erin’s voice. “Go away.”

“You think I’m going to leave after waiting a day and a half for you to wake up?”

“Please…” I mumbled.

Erin abruptly changed the subject. “How do you feel?”

“Awful.”

“Yeah, you were battered pretty badly, but at least you won! You should have seen Fiery! After you were down, he went crazy. He knocked out that other Flareon in just one hit, and then the gym leader never landed a punch or kick on him! He was like BAM and—”

“Eevee, Ee!” <Shut up!> Apple barked at Erin.

<Hey, you read my thoughts perfectly.>

<Well, I am psychic,> Apple answered. I turned my head. To my right, Apple was snuggling next to a snoozing Fiery on a white hospital bed identical to the one I was laying on. To my left, Erin was sitting in a chair and had clearly understood Apple’s message because her mouth was clamped shut. Next to Erin, much to my surprise, was another figure.

Liam.

“What are you doing here!?” I asked accusingly.

“He’s here to support you! He’s been really sweet, and he rushed back here after the battle. He was even playing a flute for you when you were asleep,” Erin answered.

<Yeah, and I had to tackle the kid to make him stop playing that stupid instrument. I couldn’t get an ounce of sleep when he was playing; you, on the other hand, slept through the entire thing,> Apple complained.

“Why are you defending him? Didn’t he call you stupid the other day? Are you over your argument so soon?!” I asked almost desperately. My hope of abandoning Liam was fading away too quickly.

“Nope, I still think she’s a shallow idiot,” Liam stated as he folded his arms across his chest.

Erin glared at him for a second. “I’ll have his mind changed by the end of the day,” she said stubbornly.

“Now I really need some painkillers,” I grumbled.

“Oh, the nurse told us to come get her if you got up!” Erin announced as she jumped to her feet. “I’ll be right back…” She ran out the door.

I turned to Apple and watched as she rested her head on Fiery’s paw. <Since when have you and Fiery become so close? Are you two dating or something?>

Apple snorted, causing Fiery to twitch in his sleep. <You think Pokemon date?>

<…No…>

Apple grinned evilly. <What Fiery won’t know won’t hurt him. He’s so big, warm, and fluffy now; it’s really comfy to curl right up next to him.>

<He’ll kill you if he finds you practically on top of him when he wakes up.>

<He can try,> Apple snickered.

<Whatever, it’s your problem. Just don’t seduce him or anything…>

<Are you trying to imply something?!> Apple snapped.

<Nope. I don’t know what you are talking about,> I replied too innocently.

<Why you little—> I blocked Apple’s thoughts when she started swearing at me. I looked over at Liam, who was staring at me again.

“So… tell me something about yourself,” I began, attempting to pull an Erin icebreaker.

“Everything is none of your business,” Liam responded sharply. The teen narrowed his eyes at me. “How about you tell me something about your life.”

I rolled my eyes. “Like?”

“Like your childhood.”

“And why do you want to discuss my childhood?”

Liam shrugged. “I don’t.”

“Then why are you asking?!” I practically yelled.

“To prove a point. Neither of us is willing to give private information to each other.” Liam grinned knowingly.

If I was not stuck in this bed I would have punched him for his smugness… or tried to punch him. I probably would have ended up falling on my face. For the sake of disagreement, I replied, “Not true.”

Liam’s grin widened. “Then prove it. Tell me a childhood story.”

“Fine!” I closed my eyes and recalled…

A typical salt-scented breeze swept through a typical alley on a typical evening in Goldenrod City.

A small girl with a lightly freckled nose and cropped brown hair crouched just outside the alley, leaning towards a fallen garbage can. In the girl’s hand was a piece of bread.

“Don’t be afraid,” the girl whispered as she held out her hand.

There was a whimper from the garbage can. The girl inched closer.

“Hey, watch out!” a teenage boy on a bicycle suddenly cried. The boy struggled to get his bike under control as it swerved toward the small girl. The girl’s violet eyes widened as she watched the bike hurtle towards her, and she let out a surprised shriek.

The biker thrust his bike to the side with all his might to avoid hitting the girl. Despite his best efforts, the bike tipped over and careened toward the girl while he was thrust in the opposite direction.

As the bike collided with the girl, she tumbled forward into the garbage can. There was a fierce growl and the garbage can rolled slightly. Then the ear-shattering scream of a six-year-old girl in pain.

A Poochyena leapt from the garbage can with a blood-stained piece of bread in its mouth. The hound didn’t pause before scrambling into the dark alley. The girl continued to yell from the garbage can.

The teenage boy shakily picked himself off the ground and stumbled towards the garbage can. He thrust his arms into the fallen garbage can and swept up the crying girl. The girl shrieked even louder as the teen put her on the ground. The girl was covered in grime and her arm was smeared with blood.

“What’s your name?” the teenage boy asked kindly as he scanned the area for anyone who might be able to help. It was a quiet Tuesday evening. Only a few ragged-looking beggars and one hurrying business man were currently on the street. The boy turned back to look at the girl to find she was already running down the street, still sobbing.

“I want Mommy!” the girl cried as she turned onto another street.

The teen looked at his watch. He was late; he couldn’t afford to waste any more time getting to his job or he would be fired. The boy sighed, picked up his bike, and rode down the road. When he reached the corner, he glanced down the next road and saw the girl standing on the small porch of a run-down dwelling. With another sigh, the boy continued to pedal forward, trying to forget the girl. He succeeded before he reached work.

The girl, in the meantime, paced the porch of the too-narrow house while trying to muffle her sobs. The raised voices on the other side of the wall made the girl afraid to enter.

“Gav, you can’t keep doing this to us! We’ve been here for nearly a year now and Anita’s just started first grade! It’s time to settle down!”

“Ellen, honey—”

“Don’t you Ellen, honey me Gavin Arnold Parkwood! We talked about this. You told me this would be the last time— that you would find a steady paying job!”

“Ellen, look what they’re offering me! We can’t afford to turn it down! This will be our last move. We’ll go to Acceber, I’ll do my flashy trainer stuff to get the money, and then we’ll get steady jobs.”

There was a pause in the conversation. The girl too paused her pacing, trying to decide if it was safe to knock yet. Her arm was really starting to hurt. Soon she would have to go in even if they were still yelling. Red blood trickled down her arm onto the white porch, forever staining it.

“Gav, you know I love you, but we can’t keep doing this. Promise me this will be the last time. Promise me you’ll put your trainer career on hold, at least as long as our daughter is growing up.”

“Ellen Samuel Parkwood, I swear—”

There was a quiet knock on the door. The small girl had decided it was safe to enter now that the loud voices were gone.

Ellen opened the door and gasped. “Anita! What happened to you? You said you were going around the corner to play at Kati’s house! Come here, come here! Let’s get you in the bath!” Ellen scooped the muck-covered girl into her arms.

“It hurts Mommy,” the little girl, Anita, said as she pointed to her arm. “It hurts more than a normal boo-boo. It hurts like eighty boo-boos.”

“Oh my! Tell me, what happened?” Ellen anxiously repeated as she dumped Anita into the bathtub and turned on the water.

“A doggy bit me when I fell in the trash can—Ow!” Anita exclaimed as her mother started to scrub her bleeding arm.

“Gav, this is worse than I thought! Call the hospital! She’s bleeding all over!”

The girl’s head was dizzy. Her arm felt hotter than fire.

Her eyes fluttered shut as confusing memories of black dogs and different towns swirled through her head…

I opened my eyes.

“Then what?” Liam asked… almost as if he cared. He was curious, at the least.

I snickered. “The rest is obvious. I went to the hospital, and they gave me stitches. It took my arm a lot longer than they expected to heal; I still have a scar. Then we moved to Acceber. Four months after we moved to Melonbi Town my dad got another offer in Cerulean City. My mom wouldn’t move. They split up. My dad still writes occasionally, but I haven’t actually seen him since he left. He’s a true traveling Pokemon trainer at heart… never could settle down. My mom didn’t take his absence well. She refused to even look at Pokemon for months after he left, and she still has some funny quirks.”

Liam nodded absentmindedly.

“So what about you?” I asked.

“What?”

“It’s your turn. Tell me something about yourself.”

“I already told you it was none of your business.”

“That’s no fair! I gave you a childhood story so you should give me one!”

Liam shrugged.

I leaned my head back against my pillow. “Ugh, why are you so secretive? Do you work for the government or something?” I glanced slyly at Liam only to find he had averted his eyes. He looked at his shoes.

“I just don’t like to talk about my past,” Liam answered solemnly.

“You don’t have one happy memory you are willing to tell me?”

Liam didn’t reply.

“What about when you got your first Pokemon?”

Liam hesitated for a moment. He finally answered, “Fine. I’ll tell you. My grandpa, like me, had a dark gift. He told my parents and my cousin’s parents that he would give his grandchildren their first Pokemon when we first showed signs of having the dark gift.”

“What if you didn’t have the gift?” I interrupted.

Liam gave me a cold look. I wasn’t the least bit deterred. “I wouldn’t know. I’m sure my parents would have eventually given me a Pokemon anyway.” Liam seemed to look past me. “It was a Sunday evening…

A family of three walked up a graveled path toward an old mansion. Gargoyles resembling Pokemon long deceased stared down at the family from the mansion’s crumbling roof. Thick, pressing dew hung in the air.

“Dad, I don’t want to go to Grandpa’s!” a little boy whined.

“Hush. We do this every Sunday, Liam. You can play with your cousin,” the father replied.

“But dad, Grandpa Willy’s weird! He’s always doing weird stuff!”

The father sighed and looked to his wife for help. She only raised her eyebrows and said, “It’s your family.”

“You’re the one who married into it. It’s not my fault I’m related, but you chose to become a part of it.” The man smiled good-naturedly at his wife.

The wife grinned. “Did I make a mistake?”

The man leaned towards his wife and gave her a quick peck on the lips. He paused, as if considering the value of the kiss. “I don’t think so,” he muttered into his wife’s ear.

The child looked away in disgust.

The family reached the large, wooden front door. Mysterious shapes and shadows were engraved upon the grand entrance. Not bothering to knock, the father opened the door and called, “Da! We’re here!”

The main hall the family entered was dull and simple—an empty area of wooden walls and floorboards. An elderly man with scraggly white hair and a walking cane appeared from around a dusty corner. “Come in, come in,” he said. “We’re just eating appetizers. Ah, Liam, my boy, come give your granda a hug!”

Liam wrinkled his nose at the old-person smell that filled the room. However, he complied and walked across the stiff wooden floorboards to hug his grandfather. Somewhere in the house an old clock chimed, indicating that it was six-o-clock.

“Liam, what do you say you play with Tal a bit before dinner?” The old man patted the head of his grandchild. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a Pokeball.

Liam looked pleadingly at his parents. When they didn’t respond, he said, “But grandpa, I don’t want to play with Tal. I always play with him! Can’t I play with Landon instead?”

The grandfather chuckled. “Landon can be there too, of course. We’ll all go to the other room to play.” The old man gave the boy a gentle nudge toward the living room.

The family entered a carpeted room. The brown couch facing the stone fireplace was well worn, as were the antique pictures scattered about the wooden walls. At a small table in the corner of the room sat another family of three— two adults and one boy who looked strikingly similar to Liam. On the boy’s lap sat a tiny Houndour.

“Landon!” Liam yelped when he saw his cousin.

Landon looked up and smiled. He picked up his Houndour and ran to greet Liam.

“Now hold on a second, boys,” their grandfather said. “Liam has to play with Tal before you two can run off.” The old man fingered his Pokeball and in a flash of red, an Alakazam appeared.

Landon promptly sat down on the torn couch. Liam grumbled about Landon not having to play with Tal anymore. Three Sundays ago Tal’s tricks stopped working on the lucky boy and grandpa gave him his Houndour.

“Are you ready, Liam?” the grandfather asked.

Liam frowned but nodded. He tried to prepare his stomach for the awful feeling.

“Tal, use psychic,” the grandfather demanded. The Alakzam’s eyes grew purple in concentration. Liam closed his eyes and waited, dreading what he was to come. The feeling of toes leaving dusty, plush carpet; the feeling of helpless weightlessness; the feeling of no control…

The feeling never came.

Liam opened his eyes. His mother and father were smiling proudly. The grandfather raised a hand to stop Liam from running to embrace them. He narrowed his rust-colored eyes at the boy.

“Tal, mind reader.”

Liam’s heart sunk. He hated when Tal used that trick even more than psychic. It felt like he was being invaded, like his mind wasn’t safe.

Liam felt wisps of a presence in his mind. It was different— not as overwhelming as usual. Then the presence was gone.

The grandfather frowned slightly. “Well, he definitely has the gift. Mind you, Tal can still delve into some of his memories so it’s not as developed as Landon’s, at least not yet.”

“Dad, you know that the gift will develop as Liam develops. Testing how strong his gift is right now is pointless,” Liam’s uncle stated.

The grandfather sighed. “Of course, of course. Well, as promised, I’ll give Liam his first Pokemon.” He patted Liam on the head and then knelt down to Liam’s height. “How would you like a new friend?”

Liam’s green eyes shone brilliantly. “Like Landon’s Buster?”

The grandfather chuckled at the Houndour’s name. “A little different.” The old man shakily pulled out a Pokeball and pressed the white release button.

An adorable dust-colored puppy appeared in front of the boy. Liam stared in amazement.

The grandfather handed Liam the Pokeball. “This Poochyena is yours now. You can name her whatever you would like.”

Liam looked up at his grandfather. “Does this mean I don’t have to play with Tal any more?”

The grandfather nodded.

Liam smiled and knelt to the scraggily Poochyena. He rubbed the pup behind her soft ears.

“I’ll call you No-Tal. Notal.”

The Poochyena licked the boy’s face.

“It’s nice to meet you too.”

“I had just turned four. My grandfather died just two weeks later.”

“What about the rest of your family?”

Liam’s frozen eyes felt as if they would burn through my skull. “None of your business.”

I rolled my eyes and daringly questioned, “Aren’t we past this ‘not your business’ thing?”

<I would stop asking. He looks like he might kill you,> Apple suggested. <Interesting story, though…>

Liam just continued to stare at me, sending a shiver down my spine. I looked away and muttered, “Guess not.”

Suddenly the door slammed open.

Fiery woke up with a bark.

“Oops. Sorry about that,” Erin said, not looking the least bit sorry.

Fiery growled at her for a moment. Then he realized Apple was curled up next to him. <What the...?> His growl immediately changed directions. <What do you think you’re doing?> he demanded.

Apple yawned. <Snuggling.>

<Why I oughta…> Fiery’s tail lit up and he whipped it down at Apple.

Apple casually flicked her tail forward as it too lit up. Her tail easily stopped Fiery’s. She yawned again. <I know that attack now, too.>

The nurse entered the room after Erin. “Excuse me! There is not to be any fighting in the hospital!” she scolded. She turned to me. “If your Pokemon cannot behave themselves, then kindly return them to their Pokeballs.”

Apple unlit her tail and closed her eyes. Fiery growled under his breath, but he too unlit his tail. He walked to the other end of the bed and settled down.

The nurse glanced down at her clipboard and then turned her attention to me. “Aside from a severely bruised ankle and several deep cuts, you are perfectly fine. You’re free to leave the hospital, but your foot will have to be wrapped for the next week to prevent further injury. I’ll also give you some pills for the pain.” She put her clipboard down. “Let me show you how to bind your foot.” She nodded to Erin. “You watch, too.”

After we observed how to wrap my foot up, Erin and the nurse helped me out of bed. The nurse filled a small container of purple pills for my pain while I practiced walking. When I was finally comfortable enough to walk without a limp, the nurse dismissed us and told us to check out at the front desk within the next hour.

Erin, Liam, Fiery, Apple, and I left the room and walked toward the exit. Surprisingly, a small evil smirk danced across Erin’s face. I peeked into her mind.

<Liam won’t know what hit him—> was all I heard before a bellow interrupted my mindreading.

“THEY DID WHAT?!?”

Erin, Liam, and I all exchanged glances. We knew whose voice that was…

“WHY DIDN’T ANYBODY TELL ME?”

Aden.

We rushed toward the room around the corner the voice was coming from. Aden was lying in a hospital bed… yelling at a nurse.

The nurse sighed. “This is the very reaction we were trying to prevent. Your body is not healthy yet, and we don’t want you overexerting yourself. Believe me, Officer Jenny is hot on the case.”

“What happened?” Erin asked curiously as she entered the room. I followed. Liam was nowhere to be found. Funny, I thought he was right behind me.

“Oh, hello there you two. I was just discussing why nobody bothered to tell me my city was robbed yesterday.”

<Discussing? Yeah right… more like bellowing,> Apple commented.

“What was taken?” I asked.

“Most of the new exhibit on Mew at our city’s museum along with a couple of rare gem stones. It was Team Glop’emm; we caught their uniforms on tape though their faces were covered,” the nurse explained, exasperated. “By the way, visiting hours are three to six; you aren’t even supposed to be here.”

Aden ignored the nurse and continued, “Team Glop’emm has been fairly active in this city within the past year. I think they might have a base here. If I were allowed out of this dratted bed I would be hunting them down—”

“I already told you not to worry, sir. Officer Jenny can handle it. Now if you two will kindly leave…” The nurse pushed us out the doorway. I waved to Aden who grinned at me.

“You have a pretty fierce Flareon!” he called. “Did a real number on me, that one! Take care and good luck, Anita! Oh, and your friend, Erin, has your badge!”

“Out,” the nurse ordered. She pointed down the hall to exit.

We scurried down the hall until the nurse stopped glaring after us and turned down a different corridor. Erin suddenly pulled me to a small niche and looked around suspiciously.

“What are you doing? Do you think—” I started.

Erin shushed me and said, “I need you to find Liam and then go to the northern outskirts of Tinted Town. I’ll meet you there. This is yours.” Erin handed me a golden-red badge in the shape of a small flame. “It’s called the Blaze Badge. Now see ya!” Erin started to walk away, but I grabbed her arm.

“Wait! What are you doing?”

“A few errands…”

“Does this have to do with finding those robbers? I want to come, too!”

Erin gave me a funny look. “No, of course not. You should leave Team Glop’emm to Officer Jenny—its best not to get involved. I’m going to be getting back at Liam… Now don’t say a word to him!” Erin hissed. She then glanced down the hall and was gone in an instant.

I blinked. <Where do you think Liam went?> I asked Fiery and Apple.

Fiery sniffed the air and sneezed. He trotted down the hall towards the exit and sniffed again. Apple and I followed as he veered to the right just before the door leading to the check out counter. He stopped in front of a door.

<Figures,> Apple snickered. <Bathroom.>

Just then Liam walked out of the bathroom.

“Why didn’t you tell us where you were going?” I asked accusingly.

“What, now I have to ask every time I need to take a dump?” Liam retorted.

I folded my arms and started walking to the door to the checkout counter.

“Where’s Erin?”

“She had some ‘errands’ to do,” I answered. “She said she’d meet up with us in the northern outskirts of the town. Humph…” I paused just before the door, a new plan formulating. “Hey, do you want to see if we can help look for the Glop’emm robbers?”

<Anita, I don’t think that’s a good idea—> Apple started.

“Why would you want to do that?” Liam scoffed. “You think you’re going to be able to do a better job than Officer Jenny?”

“Well, I can use my gift—”

<No,> Apple cut me off. <Anita, you’re already hurt. The robbers have nothing to do with you! It’s just plain stupid to get involved. Do you want Team Glop’emm hunting you down? And what if they discover something about me?>

Apple had pulled the putting-your-Pokemon-in-danger card. How evil… but she was right, unfortunately.

<Since when do you care so much about who knows about you? You would transform back into Mew right here if I weren’t around.>

Apple smirked. <That’s right—I don’t care, but you do. So you won’t put me in danger.>

I grinded my teeth, annoyed.

“What did she say?” Liam asked.

“She agrees with you,” I muttered.

“Good. Then you’re overruled.” Liam held the door open for me. He was looking rather pleased with himself for no apparent reason.

<I hope Erin gets him really good,> I growled to Apple. <Wipe that stupid smirk off his face…>

<Oh, believe me, she will. Didn’t you read her mind?>

<No.>

Apple grinned. <Just you wait. The fun is about to begin.>

delongbi
July 12th, 2009, 08:13 PM
This is one of my favorite chapters I have written thus far. Hope you like it!

Chapter 15: Erin’s Revenge

Pop.

Ring.

Scratch.

Shuffle, shuffle.

Pop.

Ring.

Pop.

Ah, the sounds of a secretary’s workspace.

The shuffling of the carelessly turned magazine page. The scratching of butt, numb with overuse. The ringing of the ignored phone.

And, of course, the eternal popping of overchewed gum.

The girl at the hospital checkout counter was no exception. She sat in a well-worn chair reading a popular Persons magazine and chewing a large wad of pink bubble gum. Her dark hair was tossed in a sloppy bun with bits falling freely over her lightly freckled face. As we approached the counter, she looked up from her magazine. Her eyes, covered with a thick layer of mascara, flickered from me to Liam before blatantly returning to the magazine.

I waited in front of the counter for about half a minute before giving the girl a weak, “Ahem.”

The girl made a big fuss of smoothly folding her magazine and placing it on the counter before turning her attention to us. “What do you want?”

“I’m checking out.”

The girl blew and popped another bubble. “Name?”

“Anita Parkwood.”

The girl rolled her chair to a computer and began typing. The phone rang.

Probably attempting to prolong our time wasted at the counter, the girl decided to actually answer the phone. I sighed wearily and listened to Liam mutter curses at the girl under his breath.

The girl unemotionally stared at me as she listened to the person on the other end of the line. Her eyes flickered to Liam for a minute. I got the feeling whoever was on the other line was speaking about us.

After a minute the girl put the phone down and continued typing. “Anita Parkwood, you’re good,” she stated simply. Then she turned to Liam, who had begun to turn away. “You— kid with the messy black hair.” Liam turned around. “You’re on bathroom duty.”

Liam took about ten seconds to process what she had just said. “What did you say?” he asked darkly, giving her his cold stare.

“You heard me, kid: bathroom duty.”

“And why exactly, may I ask, would I be put on bathroom duty?” Liam questioned scathingly. “Do I look like I work here?”

The girl picked up her magazine and leafed through it. “Don’t know what you look like, kid.”

“You didn’t answer me,” Liam growled.

“You’re on bathroom duty cuz my manager said you were on bathroom duty. Just got the phone call that some dark-haired kid with green eyes clogged up the toilet and that if the kid came to my desk, I was to tell him to get his scrawny butt in the bathroom to unclog the toilet.”

“I didn’t clog the toilet, though!” Liam exclaimed. I looked at him in surprise— this was the most emotion I had ever seen him show… and over a toilet, nonetheless.

The girl shrugged and blew another bubble.

I grinned at Liam, who shot me an angry glare in response. <This is too awesome,> I told Apple and Fiery.

“Can I speak with your manager?” Liam asked, his voice surprisingly calm.

“Nope.”

“Don’t you have janitors in your facility?”

“Yup.”

“Then why doesn’t one of them clean the toilet?”

“Don’t know.”

“Can I please talk to your manager?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“Don’t feel like picking up the phone. I’m too busy.”

“I didn’t clog the toilet.”

“Not my problem.”

“That’s it.” Liam angrily started to reach for the phone.

“I’ll call security,” the girl threatened.

“Fine. I’m not going to deal with this; I’m leaving.” Liam started to turn away.

The girl turned the page of her magazine. “Security will just drag you back. They’ve also been notified that you are to clean the clogged toilet.”

Liam froze. He turned back to the girl. “Give me the phone,” he said slowly.

“Or what?” the girl snickered.

“I’ll…” Liam glared. Apparently he couldn’t come up with a good threat.

“I suggest you run along to the bathroom now. The toilet is not going to clean itself.”

Liam shoved a stack of fliers sitting on the counter at the girl. Instead of flying everywhere, they mostly stuck together and landed in a pile on the floor. Liam stormed off towards the bathroom. I sat down in a waiting chair and when I glanced at the girl I swear I saw a small smirk flicker across her face. I shook my head and looked at the girl again. She sat unemotionally, looking bored. I must be imagining things…

Fiery hopped onto the chair next to me and started to curl up. Then Apple hopped onto the same chair. <Get off!> Fiery exclaimed as he shoved Apple off the chair. <Haven’t you heard of personal space?>

<Personal space only applies to a person!> Apple retorted.

<Fine, haven’t you heard of Eevee space?>

<Nope, but there was a movie called Eevees in Space that came out a few years ago. Plus, wouldn’t it be Eeveeal space?> Apple giggled. <Hehe. Eeveeal sounds kinda like Ovule.>

<Save me!> Fiery jumped onto my lap and nudged his Pokeball attached to my belt. He disappeared in a flash of red.

While Apple was still giggling quietly, I closed my eyes, deciding to put this time to good use by meditating.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Idiot!” I hissed through the walkie-talkie.

The moron, my assistant, did not reply. He did not even attempt to justify his own stupidity.

“Did I not specifically order you to stay away from Anita Parkwood? Did I not insist that you leave all of the research on Pokemon X to me? Were these demands too difficult for your midget-sized head to understand?”

There was no reply, again.

“Answer me,” I commanded coldly.

“No, Master.”

“Then why is it all over the news that Team Glop’emm broke into a museum in Tinted Town? Why did my detective just call me to inform me that Team Glop’emm struck while Anita Parkwood was in Tinted Town? And most importantly, why did you feel the need to steal the information on Pokemon X displayed in the museum?”

My assistant hesitated before speaking. “I was trying to help you, sir. I thought more information on Pokemon X would be useful to you. As for Anita Parkwood, I did not realize you wanted all of our normal operations to shut down if she was within twenty miles.”

“You shithead. The information was open to the public. My detective called me a few days ago to supply me with the information on display. There was no need for you to steal it! Now there is a chance that the authorities will get suspicious. They might figure out that I am aft—we are after Pokemon X!”

“I apologize. It will not happen again,” my assistant said lamely.

“No it will not. G-ddamn you. One more act of stupidity and I’ll figure out a way to complete my research from Drape Town. Stay away from Anita Parkwood. Stay away from anything that has to do with Pokemon X. Understand?”

“Yes, Master.”

I shut off the connection. That fool; it was a mistake to leave him in charge. To steal something that was open to the public… how brainless. If only my research was complete, I could return to Drape Town to resume my command over Team Glop’emm. Unfortunately, I was not even close to finished.

The various libraries and ancient book stores I had visited thus far provided me with little to no new information. I had found virtually nothing about Mew transforming into other Pokemon.

I sighed and stared at the bare wall—a habit of mine. At least I was getting results from the tests Rita and I had arranged.

Mew… such a peculiar Pokemon.

I stared ahead and recalled the first time I had seen the creature…

A boy and his father stood before the docking railway. A salty breeze swept over them as they silently observed the massive ship they were about to board. Small waves lapped against the side of the boat splashing upward to nearly where the boy and his father stood.

“Vel, wait! Vel! Velkan!” A voice called. The father turned at the sound of his name and peered past the dock to the street. His eyes settled upon a man rushing toward the dock. “You forgot the picture! You forgot it!” the man yelled. The man had a black mustache and hazel determined eyes.

The father and the boy watched as the man rushed towards them. When the man finally reached the two, he had to bend over to catch his breath.

Velkan frowned at the man. “Don, my brother…” he muttered under his breath. For a moment, he looked upon his brother spitefully, as if the man had done something terribly wrong. The father quickly recovered a calm expression.

“The—picture—here—” Don panted. He reached into his pack and pulled out a small, framed picture the size of his hand and handed the picture to Velkan.

The father’s frown deepened. He and the boy stared at the picture.

Six smiling faces stared back.

Two dead.

One missing.

Two running.

One hoping.

What a family.

Tears welled in the boy’s eyes as the father pocketed the photo.

“Are you sure about this?” Don asked, looking sadly beyond his relatives to the grand ship.

Velkan, the father, nodded absentmindedly. “We need a new start. It’s been over a year and a half. We’ve waited long enough,” he replied grimly. “You’re sure you don’t wish to join us?”

Don sighed. “I’ll keep waiting.”

The ship’s horn sounded.

The father glanced at the ship and then nodded to his bother. “Arceus be with you.”

“Arceus be with my son.”

Velkan winced. “I hope so.” He grabbed his own son’s hand.

The ship’s horn sounded again.

The boy and his father turned and walked up the rusted docking railway. Wingulls cooed atop the ship as they boarded.

The boy watched his uncle leave stoically.

The ship began to move.

The boy looked up.

A glint of pink streaked the sky—disappearing towards the future.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After thirty minutes, Liam finally stalked out of the bathroom carrying a wet toilet plunger. He strode towards the checkout counter and placed the toilet plunger plunger-side up in front of the secretary. He then swiveled around and marched out the front doors.

I could hear the distinct sound of bubblegum popping as I jogged after Liam.

-----------------------------

“Please?” Anita whined for the millionth time.

“No!” <No!> Liam and I chorused.

“But it’s right around the corner! Can’t we just check it out… Maybe try to figure out what Team Glop’emm is doing…”

I rolled my eyes. This had been our discussion since after lunch. We were now walking down the old, brick roads of Tinted Town. The town was fairly small with lots of adorable stores and great restaurants. Many of the shops looked old and worn, but not quite run-down; it actually gave the town a comfortable feel.

Liam sighed. “What they are after is always the same. They’re pretty forthright with their goals. Don’t you know what Glop’emm stands for?”

“No.”

“G-L-O-P-‘E-M-M. Get Lots Of Pokemon ‘En Make Money. Glop’emm.”

“I never knew it was an acronym…” Anita trailed.

<Me neither,> I piped.

“…How’d you find out?”

Liam shrugged and snickered. “I hear things,” I heard the boy mumble sarcastically under his breath.

“What was that?”

“Never mind.”

I looked up at Liam’s expression curiously, only to find his face was blank with his usual stoicism. They walked in silence for a couple of minutes. I got bored so I began weaving between the legs of people walking in the opposite direction for fun…

…until I tripped a bulky, mean-looking man. After the man started swearing profusely at us and threatened to beat up Liam (Anita and I laughed our butts off when he blamed Liam for being tripped), Anita decided it would be better if she carried me.

I was sulking in Anita’s arms when Liam randomly asked, “Why don’t you talk to your mother?”

Anita and I stared. <Whoa. Did he actually initiate a conversation? Something’s up,> I said suspiciously.

<Something’s always up when it comes to Liam,> Anita retorted.

Liam’s eyes flickered between me and Anita. “You know it is slightly disturbing when both of you stare at me with violet… or almost violet eyes,” he commented dryly.

Anita smirked. “We’re just surprised you are actually trying to be social.”

“I’m not trying to be social.”

“Then why start a conversation?”

“Will you just answer my question?” Liam asked irritably.

Anita shrugged.

I knew she did not really feel like explaining her mother’s intense dislike for Pokemon. Anita loved her mother, but her mother would not want to know or talk about her journey very much. Anita had only called once thus far—the day before we met Liam, just to check up.

<He does have a bit of a valid point. I mean, you were in the hospital. Shouldn’t you tell her?>

<She’ll just want me to come home, and I don’t want to. The less she knows, the better,> Anita replied to me. She still didn’t say anything to Liam, pretty much just to annoy him.

“What kind of answer is that?” Liam narrowed his eyes at Anita accusingly.

Anita snorted. “The kind you always give me.”

“Why don’t you want to discuss your mother?”

“Well, that is none of your business,” Anita mocked.

“I’ll bet she’s fictional.”

Anita looked at him weirdly. “Um… that’s not really possible.”

“Sure it is,” Liam replied cheerfully. He looked at Anita slyly and added, “I’m onto your secret.” It was a bit awkward because I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic.

Anita chuckled nervously. <Is he joking or just plain insane?>

<It’s hard to tell.> How I wished I could peek into his mind. But alas, Liam was one strange cookie…

Speaking of cookies…

I sniffed the air. <Bakery!> I yelled to Anita. <Two blocks straight ahead, half a block to the right! Huge chocolate chip cookies with—>

<Hush up. We are not going to a bakery. We just ate!>

I suddenly stopped, sensing a large crowd directly down the street on my right. A sudden premonition of excitement and revenge flashed through my mind. It involved flying hot dogs.

At that point, of course, I had no option but to leap out of Anita’s arms and sprint full speed down the road on my right.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Apple! Wait up!” I called to the crazed Eevee.

I grabbed Liam’s hand and started to run after her. “C’mon!”

Liam jerked his hand back to fold his arms across his chest. He continued to walk at a leisurely pace. I scowled at him and took off after Apple.

When Apple reached the large crowd of people, she stopped running and slipped through their legs. Seconds later, I reached the crowd. <Apple!> I called out to her. She didn’t answer.

I skimmed the crowd to find a space I could slip through to reach the front, but failed to find anything. Liam finally arrived at the scene and stood beside me. I grumbled and started shoving people aside. “Excuse me! Sorry! Was that your foot? Whoops. Hey, don’t you dare flick me off…” ensued for five minutes until I managed to spot a fluffy brown and white tail in the very front of the hoard of people.

<Apple!> I exclaimed when I finally pushed my way to the front next to Apple.

Apple looked up at me, grinning. <Hey, Anita. What’s up?>

I started to scold her. <Why in the world you run off like that? You could have—>

<Just watch the show,> Apple interrupted.

Startled, I looked at the scene in front of me, the scene that the crowd was gathered around. A girl with brown eyes and curly brown hair in a colorful dress was juggling flaming torches. Behind her was a clear tub of water about the size of a queen-sized bed. Above the water was a tightrope, some twenty feet in the air. A ladder led up to a platform on both sides of the tightrope, and beside the ladder closest to the girl was a small table. A Kirlia stood watching the girl with brown hair while leaning against the tub of water. In the tub of water, there was a Wooper swimming.

Someone jostled me and I was shoved to the right. “Hey! Watch it!” I yelped. I turned to apologize to whoever I had bumped into only to find myself looking at the cold, green eyes of Liam. “Err… Sorry,” I said awkwardly before returning my attention to the street show.

The girl had put down the flaming torches and was now announcing: “For this next act I’m going to need a volunteer!” The girl skimmed the crowd. “You, in the front! With the dark hair and polo shirt!” The girl pointed at Liam. “Yes, you. Come here!”

Liam frowned, but stepped forward carefully. The crowd whooped.

The girl nodded to Kirlia, and the Pokemon began climbing a ladder up to the tightrope. The girl whispered something to Liam and then shoved him in the direction of the other ladder on the opposite side of the tub of water. Liam eyed the tub of water and then folded his arms in a refusing manner. The crowd booed. Someone cried out “Chicken! C’mon, get up there!” Flung from somewhere in the crowd, a red tomato soared through the air and hit Liam square in the head.

Liam’s eyes flashed angrily. He shook his head, causing tomato bits to fly everywhere, and he began climbing the ladder.

In the meantime, the Kirlia was dancing about the tightrope. She (at least, I thought the Kirlia was a female) did a few flips and maintained perfect balance. The girl with curly hair, who was apparently the hostess of this street show, signaled the Kirlia with her arms. She then bent under the table and pulled out three brown objects.

I squinted at the objects.

Hotdogs.

Of course.

I looked down and found Apple drooling. Strangely enough, she stayed put and did not tackle the girl to the ground as expected. I would have asked her why if not for fear of giving her ideas…

The girl tossed the hotdogs up to the Kirlia, who promptly began to juggle them on the tightrope. She performed several tricks, juggling the hotdogs behind her and even while jumping. Then the Kirlia threw one hotdog to the Wooper, one to Liam, and one into the crowd.

The Wooper jumped into the air and gobbled the first hotdog before returning to the water with a flip. Liam, now on a platform, caught his hotdog with his mouth, but spit it out in disgust. The hotdog fell towards the water and the Wooper devoured his hotdog as well.

As for the hotdog thrown into the crowd…

<Mine!> Apple yelled with a determined look in her eyes. She pounced into my arms.

Using my body as a springboard, Apple leapt into the air.

Of course, she snatched that third hotdog out of the air and landed safely in front of the cheering crowd.

And, of course, I tumbled back into some guy with a Mohawk and tattoos, meekly muttering “I’m sorry.”

After a round of applause, Apple returned to my side, grinning wider than that fat cat from Alice in Wonderland. The hostess held up a hand to halt the applause.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, our final act. Our kind volunteer will jump into the arms of Kirlia!”

The Kirlia, still balanced on the tightrope, motioned for Liam to jump from the platform to her. Liam looked down for a moment at the water. He closed his eyes, squatted, and then jumped towards the Kirlia. The crowd was silent as Liam landed on Kirlia’s arms and Kirlia began to raise Liam over her head…

Kirlia wobbled.

The girl with brown, curly hair frowned.

Suddenly, Liam was tumbling towards the water.

As soon as Liam left the Kirlia’s arms, the Pokemon managed to regain balance. She seemed slightly upset.

A water geyser rose from the tub and stopped Liam’s fall. The crowd broke into applause, believing this was all part of the show. I was not so sure.

The Wooper slowly lowered its watergun to bring Liam safely to the pool.

Apple was still smiling giddily. <Aren’t you glad I dragged you to the show?>

I chuckled. <Well, I did get to see Liam get soaked. I guess so. Was it just me though, or did the Kirlia mess up and drop Liam?>

<Well, duh,> Apple responded. I looked at her in surprise. <Kirlia balance like that using their psychic powers. The moment Liam touched Kirlia, her psychic powers were cancelled. Thus, she couldn’t maintain balance. She also tried to stop Liam from falling with her psychic, which obviously wouldn’t work either.>

<You knew all of this, but didn’t stop Liam from going up there?>

Apple shrugged. <Hey, there was water beneath him. And I knew he wasn’t going to die or anything… I had a vision beforehand…>

<People with the dark gift can show up in psychic visions?> I asked curiously.

<Not exactly. He was kind of omitted from the vision… but I knew he had to be there because you were there. No one was upset in the vision so I knew nobody would die and nothing bad would happen…>

“Ahem.”

I looked up to find Liam standing in front of me, thoroughly soaked. His wet black hair was unusually disheveled, falling into his face. Good thing it was currently sunny and about seventy-five degrees or he would be freezing. I smiled sweetly at him. “Hey, Liam,” I said casually.

Liam walked past me and stalked through the dispersing crowd. Several people were walking the other direction to give the girl with curly hair compliments and tips.

I smirked after Liam. <I suppose we should follow him,> I mentioned off-handedly.

<We could leave him,> Apple suggested.

<Yeah, but then I wouldn’t be able to make fun of him. There’d be no fun in that.>

<I suppose you’re right. Let’s go!>

We happily trotted after the angry, wet boy.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Wait till Erin hears about your performance!” Anita cackled.

I rolled my eyes at the irritating girl. This was the girl I was investigating. The girl believed to be a powerful, legendary Pokemon.

The girl was suspicious in a hundred different ways. Her powers, her background, her mother…

Even her naïve, bipolar, annoying personality. Well, that’s how Mew was rumored to be, anyway.

I closed my eyes, willing myself to relax. Today had been rough.

We stood outside an ice cream shop on the northern outskirts of Tinted Town. Supposedly, Erin had said she would meet us around here. Supposedly.

I shuddered slightly at the cool air; I was still damp, unfortunately. That obnoxious, curly-headed brunette was lucky I was on a mission and lacked time to avenge my embarrassment.

“Well, I’m going to go get ice cream! Want some?” Anita asked me cheerfully. For some reason, today she had been unusually happy. Maybe it had something to do with me having a g-d-awful day.

“No,” I flatly refused.

Anita shrugged and skipped into the shop, closely followed by her Eevee.

I sighed and leaned against a brick wall of a closed clothing store. I silently watched people wander up and down the street.

An attractive girl with long straight black hair caught my eye. She was wearing four inch heels and a skimpy black dress that hugged her body and ended just above her knees. She had long legs. It took me approximately two and a half seconds to realize those long legs were walking towards me.

My eyes were naturally lured to her chest where there was a tad too much cleavage showing. I couldn’t help staring for a moment. Hey, I’m a guy.

I closed my eyes. Geeze, she looked like something out of a stripper club. Now was not the time to be distracted by women, I tried to remind myself.

I opened my eyes and found myself staring down the girl’s top. Yeah, she was that close. Heat rose to my face and I quickly looked up.

Up close, I could see the girl had dark eyes, surrounded by dark eye shadow.

“Hey, there,” the girl said silkily.

I gulped and flattened myself against the wall.

I had an urge to shove her away and stalk off. She had no business doing this to me! On the other hand, if she wanted to…

The girl moved forward. My mind blanked. “I just happened to see a fine man standing here all lonely and handsome, and I thought: It’s my lucky day,” the girl murmured. Her breath was minty and calm. Mine was sour and fast.

The girl put one hand on my shirt and one hand on the wall behind me.

My pants tightened. ****.

The girl leaned in, her lips hovering over mine.

I closed my eyes. I could feel her warm breath on my nose.

“Gotcha,” she whispered.

The girl twirled away from me and began screeching madly with laugher. Stunned, I slowly slid down the wall, urging myself to breathe.

The girl pulled off a wig to reveal reddish-golden hair.

Double ****.

Erin.

I heard another squeal of laughter. I looked up and saw Anita had joined Erin. I put my head between my knees in shame.

“Erin, is that really you? That was amazing!” Anita squeaked.

I peeked up. Even Anita’s Eevee was grinning.

Erin readjusted her dress so it wasn’t so… ****ty.

She strutted over to me, eyes glinting with laugher. “So, did you have an enjoyable day?”

I snickered.

“What, is poor wittle-Wiam tired of awl Erin’s tricks?” Erin said in a baby-voice. I nearly gagged. Her voice returned to normal. “What, didn’t enjoy cleaning a toilet? How about plunging into water?”

I looked up at her. How did she… awe, f—

“You… it… you…” I stuttered.

Behind Erin, Anita looked confused. Erin smirked. “You know, it’s amazing what you can do with a wig and a bit of make-up. The bonus was I got to use this hair twice! Once for the check-out desk girl and once for this one!”

“Just wonderful…” I muttered darkly.

“Wait. So you were the check-out girl?” Anita started. Erin opened her mouth to reply, but Anita continued before she could say anything. “And the street show girl?”

Erin nodded.

Anita whirled around. “And you knew!?” she barked at Apple.

The Eevee shrugged.

Erin held out her hand to help me up. I took it. “So, do you still think I’m shallow?”

Yup, I wanted to say. You’re even shallower than I originally believed because you went this berserk over what a person thinks of you.

Unfortunately, that answer would have probably earned me another horrible day.

So instead, I gave her my second best answer. “Nope. You’re not shallow.” Erin grinned at me. Then I added, “But you are a *****.”

Anita chuckled. Erin scowled at her and gave her a death glare.

Anita ignored her and continued to smile. “What? You are.”

delongbi
July 19th, 2009, 08:21 PM
Chapter 16: Rock & Roll Disaster


My eyes skimmed over the file.

Marcus Ingblot

Age: 19

Join Date: 1/7/12

Pokemon: Gloom, Pelipper, Hippowdon

Characteristics: Not Recorded

Successes: Stolen Pikachu from Orquid City, Orquid City kidnapping/hostage squad

Failures: Smith hostage incident

I sighed and pushed the file aside. Just another inferior Glop’emm grunt. Scratch that—another corruptible, inferior Glop’emm grunt.

The thought brought a smile to my lips.

If only the Master knew… I would love to see the look of fury upon his face, his cool calculating eyes finally out of control, filled with anger.

My smile widened as I recalled the Master’s little tantrum yesterday. It was the first time in over two years I had witnessed the boy lose his temper.

It was wonderful. Not only had I obtained information about Pokemon X the Master wished to keep hidden from me, but I had caused an unexpected outburst.

His anger sang of sweet victory.

My victory.

And if he knew of my little scheme…

His helpless anger would be enough to make my eyes prick with tears of joy.

But alas, he could not know of my ploy yet. For at this moment, his anger would not be so helpless.

And that is what I planned to change.

I pressed the buzzer. “Marcus Ingblot, please enter.”

I folded my hands atop my desk and silently went over the planned bribe as I waited. Marcus was number seventeen.

Seventeenth of over one thousand Team Glop’emm members.

Seventeenth in my plan to take over Team Glop’emm.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“But Carly, I don’t want to go shopping,” Reece whined playfully.

Idiot.

“Ugh, I don’t want to go shopping with you either. But we have to find something to wear that will proficiently hide these cameras,” I retorted. Shopping with Reece was like shopping with a rock. He was unresponsive to every outfit I tried on, usually muttering how “it would look better off on my bedroom floor,” and he had to be practically dragged by the ear from shop to shop. In fact, shopping with a rock would be easier because at least rocks didn’t argue.

“Yeah, yeah. The cameras he sent to us with our new Pokemon. I don’t get why he wants us to wear them when we meet Anita. Is he checking her out or something?”

I rolled my eyes as I pulled him into a scarf shop.

“Seriously, why does he want us to wear the cameras?”

“I don’t know,” I answered coldly as I tried on a vermillion scarf. Maybe if I folded the scarf like this, the camera could rest hidden just beneath my shoulder… “How’s this look?” I asked. I found a mirror and examined my beauty, highlighted by the scarf.

Reece shrugged.

I frowned at him and stomped off to the register.

Walking outside again, Reece said, “We need a plan or something. You know, to make it not obvious that we were supposed to find and talk to Anita and her friends.”

“Alright then, do something useful and come up with an idea while I find you something to wear,” I snapped. I peered into a store window and examined the different collar styles for men. I wished we were in Zahavah or even Azul City, where there were thousands of stylish shops. Here in Nelcorn City, my choices were pretty limited. A tawny shirt with a flared collar would emphasize Reece’s eyes, I mused silently. Not that I could probably find that around here…

Reece was silent for a minute and followed me into the store.

“How about a party?”

I had been eyeing a navy zip-up jacket. I turned to Reece. “What?”

“A party?” Reece asked again. His voice went a bit high, like he was scared of me or something. Whatever.

I smiled at him sweetly. “I do love parties.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I took a step. “Ouch,” I complained.

I took another step. “Ouch,” I complained again.

Unfortunately, my complaints were ignored. All two hundred and thirteen of them, thus far.

We were currently walking on a rocky hill next to Mint Mountain, or so Liam told me. After I had led the group in a wide circle earlier this morning, nobody would let me hold the map. In fact, since I had led the group astray, nobody had spoken more than two words to me.

And those two words had been uttered by Fiery an hour ago after my forty-third complaint.

They were: <Shut up!>

Erin and Liam had been arguing for the past half an hour. Something about whether albino Sneasel actually existed… In the meantime, most of my and Erin’s Pokemon had been let out of their Pokeballs for exercise (and because it would be hard to cause excessive trouble on a rocky hill in the middle of nowhere). Erin’s Taillow, Tweal, was happily doing air tricks above us. Allo, Sunflower, and Vanilla were taking turns riding on Griffy’s back. Vanilla kept trying to take longer turns so her fur wouldn’t get covered in the dusty dirt that covered the hill. Apple and Splash were attempting to jump from boulder to boulder without touching the ground. They were taking the game very seriously; once, Apple had jumped onto Liam’s head to avoid making contact with the ground. Liam had thrown me several dirty looks while I snickered at his well-ruffled hair after the episode. Fiery, of course, was muttering to himself and keeping a watchful eye on his younger siblings. Erin kept Wella in her Pokeball because there was no water and Wella would not be able to keep up waddling.

Thus, I was left to complain about my aching body while nobody listened.

Early this morning, Liam had woken me up to practice fighting. When I laughed at him, he aimed a kick at my stomach. That got me moving. Now, not only did one leg hurt from the Flareon bite, but both legs (and actually, my whole body) hurt from this morning’s practice.

Remind me why I was traveling with these wackos?

I couldn’t even make the time go faster by riding my bike. This area was way too rocky.

Bored, I watched Apple jump on top of a particularly large boulder. A slightly evil idea flickered across my mind… so I immediately implemented it.

I took a small breath and then rapidly shoved my mind in front of Apple just as she was about to jump to another rock. Apple ran into my barrier and fell back onto the boulder.

I chuckled.

Apple glared at me, and suddenly something caught my foot.

I didn’t have to look down to know Apple had tripped me using her psychic powers. Reaching out with my mind again, I felt something strange. There were multiple minds near Apple, though I could see no other people or Pokemon near the Eevee besides Splash.

Curious, I entered one of the unexplained minds. Immediately I was bombarded with anger. The mind opened its eyes and spotted Apple jumping onto another rock. It was watching Apple with fury from a low angle, as if it was a boulder…

I snapped back to my body and peered behind Apple.

The large boulder had eyes. Angry eyes. In fact, the large boulder and several smaller rocks had angry eyes.

Geodudes and a Graveler.

“Uh… guys?”

Nobody even bothered to glance at me.

<Guys!> I yelled in everyone’s (except Liam’s) minds. Everyone turned to me. Oh, now they pay attention.

I nodded to the angry rocks with eyes behind me.

<Cool!> Splash yelped as he started leaping towards the large Graveler. I immediately returned him to his Pokeball, and then as a second thought returned the other three younger Eevees. Erin also returned Tweal.

The rock Pokemon stared at us and grunted angrily.

“Let’s try to back away slowly,” I muttered. “I’m going to see if I can figure out why they’re upset.” I entered the large Graveler’s mind and tentatively asked, <Hello?>

Anger was slowly flooding the Pokemon’s mind. Images flashed through his head—of us entering his territory, waking him from his nap, and someone currently invading his mind…

Hehe, my bad.

I was about to try explaining how we didn’t know, when the world started spinning.

Literally.

Ground-sky-ground-

Aw, crap.

The Graveler was rolling towards us. Quickly returning to my own body, I ordered, “Fiery, iron tail!”

Fiery leapt into action and twirled his bright tail at the Graveler.

Unfortunately, because the Graveler was spinning, the attack did barely any damage…

….and the Graveler kept rolling towards us…

…and Fiery had been flattened like a pancake….

…and the Geodudes and Graveler became even more upset because we attacked…

…and this was generally a really bad situation, thus deserving a run-on sentence.

“Anita, that was very stupid,” Liam commented dryly.

“Ya think?” I growled. I mustered as much of my psychic energy as I could and thrust it in front of the Graveler. I felt Griffy add some of his power as well.

The Graveler hit the psychic barrier with a large crash. The barrier shuddered but held against the rock Pokemon.

Quickly, I returned the knocked-out Fiery to his Pokeball.

The Geodudes’ grunts turned into a sort of chant, and the large Graveler that had hit the barrier pulled his fist back. It began to glow.

I scrambled backward to where Erin, Liam, and Erin’s Pokemon were attempting to back away slowly. When Erin spotted the Graveler’s glowing fist, she blanched.

“He’s using brick breaker,” Liam said nonchalantly.

“What does—” I started.

The Graveler threw his fist into the psychic wall. It shattered.

“Oh…” I trailed. Internally, I yelled to Apple, <Do something!>

<Ixney on the owerspey! Griffy would be able to sense it was me using psychic powers if I used them to build a barrier or psychic…>

<Okay, okay! Hey, how did you not know you were jumping on Geodudes, not rocks? I sensed it.>

<Oh, I knew. That’s what made the game so fun!>

<Apple, your stupid game might get us killed!>

<Hey, you’re the one who created the barrier that disrupted the Graveler’s sleep. I fail to see how any of that is my fault—>

“Um, now would be a good time to run,” Erin pointed out, interrupting our argument. Right. There were angry Geodudes in a semi-circle around us. Just in front of the Geodudes, a Graveler grunted loudly and stomped his arms against the ground.

We took Erin’s suggestion.

Several seconds later, I heard what sounded like an avalanche of rock Pokemon tumbling after us.

I gasped as a sharp pain shot up my wrapped foot, causing me to stumble. I tried to continue forward with a one-legged skip; my wrapped foot just wouldn’t move fast enough.

Erin noticed. “Griffy, pick up Anita!”

Something knocked under my legs, and suddenly I was on Griffy’s back.

<Thanks,> I told the Girafarig.

<It is no problem, Miss,> Griffy replied while his tail declared, <The cloud of doom will not rain on your feet.>

I glanced back and saw the Geodudes and Graveler were still in hot pursuit. We were going downhill and despite our small head start, they were gaining on us.

Erin yelled something to me, but I couldn’t hear her over the rumble of rolling rock Pokemon.

<Erin,> I said to Erin and Griffy. For once, the girl did not start freaking out because I was speaking telepathically. <Can Griffy carry all three of us and Apple?>

I felt Erin bite her lip. <It’s pushing it, but I suppose it’s worth a shot.>

<How about it, Griffy?>

<I can handle it, Miss.>

Apple, who had been running beside Griffy, jumped into my lap.

Griffy cantered over to Liam.

After taking a quick look behind us, Liam hopped onto Griffy in one swift motion.

He scooted closer to me to make room for Erin, who was soon also on Griffy’s rump attempting to prevent Griffy’s tail from biting her.

There was so little room that Liam had to wrap his arms around my waist and Erin had to wrap her arms around his waist to keep from falling off. Awkward much?

Now that we were all aboard, Griffy broke into a gallop. “Alright, Griffy, use agility!” Erin called over the loud rumble of the rocks.

Griffy put his head down and prepared to surge forward…

But he never did.

“Griffy, I said use agility!” Erin yelled in a panic. Griffy looked like he was struggling and failing to use the attack.

I tried to contact Griffy telepathically, but found that I could not.

Two and two clicked. Aw, ****, I knew what was happening.

I turned to Liam. “You suck, you know that?”

Liam gave me his distinct, all-too-familiar frown.

“Anita, this is not the time to be insulting—” Erin scolded.

“Liam’s dark gift is preventing our psychic powers from working. Griffy can’t use agility because Liam is touching him,” I explained.

“Liam, you do suck,” Erin agreed.

We all looked behind us. The Geodudes were only about ten yards from Griffy’s tail. They were still gaining because we couldn’t pick up speed. From Griffy’s heavy breathing I could tell he was already getting tired.

“Now what?” Erin asked helplessly.

“I vote we chuck Liam off.”

Erin kicked me.

“Fine. You could pull out Wella and spray water at them,” I suggested.

“Right. Because one Wooper would hold off all thirty or so rock Pokemon trying to squash us,” Erin replied sarcastically.

Liam sighed and pulled out a Pokeball.

A giant Pokemon appeared in a red beam. Sand began to whip around the area, limiting my sight, but not before I got a good look at the Pokemon that Liam had released.

It made my jaw drop.

Liam rolled his eyes. “Tyranitar, keep up that sandstorm and follow with an iron tail.”

Sand now flooded the air. I couldn’t see more than two feet ahead of me. Then again, neither could the Geodudes and Graveler.

While Fiery’s iron tail did very little damage, the Tyranitar’s tail was big and strong enough to send several Geodudes and the Graveler flying.

Or at least that’s what it sounded like from the loud CRACK followed by several thumps.

Less than a minute later, Liam returned his Tyranitar. The sandstorm, however, remained for several minutes as Griffy galloped forward.

“How—you—Pokemon—” I stuttered.

Liam snickered, “Told you you’d lose if you battled me.”

I angrily elbowed him in the stomach, causing him to be shoved backwards into Erin. Erin yelped in response and was pushed towards Griffy’s tail. Consequently, Griffy’s tail took the opportunity to bite into Erin’s shirt and tug her off of Griffy. Of course, chaos ensued, not helped by the dying sandstorm.

“What was that about?!” Erin demanded of Liam once we all dismounted to find where she had fallen.

Apple, who had been unusually quiet the whole ride, mumbled <Excuse me> before wandering a few yards away to puke.

Liam scowled and jerked his thumb at me. “She started it.”

“You’re the one who pulled a really strong Pokemon out of your butt! You could have saved us long before we were chased for a couple of miles by rampant rocks!” I yelled at him.

Apple paused from her puking for a moment. <Out of his butt? Really now?>

<Shut it.>

<Better out than in, I always say. Speaking of which—> Apple returned to… well, you know.

Liam folded his arms and snidely remarked, “Shouldn’t you be thanking me?”

I marched up to the irritating jerk and poked my finger at his chest. “Shouldn’t you be explaining yourself! What’s your problem?!”

Liam opened his mouth and said, “None—”

I threw my arms up in frustration. “—of my business,” I finished for him. “I know. I’ve heard. But you know what? IT IS MY BUSINESS! WE’RE ALL FREAKIN TRAVELING TOGETHER!”

“Anita,” Erin said softly.

I whirled around. “And don’t you start siding with him! You—”

“I wasn’t going to!” Erin hollered crossly. “Will both of you just quit it?!” She jabbed her finger in my direction. “You need to control your temper, and you—” Erin’s finger swiveled to Liam. “Anita’s right. We do deserve some answers!”

Liam looked from me to Erin, and then turned around on the spot. He started to stalk away from us…

…only to run into something?

Or someone. The dust storm was finally settling so we could see again. Liam had walked directly into a tall figure. Behind the figure was a large building surrounded by a tall stone wall.

“I thought I heard voices over here,” the tall figure said. I could see now that the figure was a man with short black hair and a mustache. “How did you kids get out here? You very well know the campus rules!” The man grabbed Liam by the arm. “Now come along.”

Erin and I exchanged looks of confusion. She returned Griffy to his Pokeball while Apple trotted to my side.

Liam, meanwhile, yanked his arm out of the man’s grasp. He looked like he was about to pull one of his fighting moves on the man so I sternly said, “Liam, don’t.” Strangely enough, he actually listened. A puzzled look crossed his face, though.

“Excuse me,” I said politely. “Where exactly are you trying to take us?”

“Now don’t play dumb with me, girl. You know you’re outside the Standard Trainer Academy Boarding School boundaries.” The man took Liam’s arm and pulled him towards the stone wall. I realized that there was an open doorway in part of the wall.

I looked at Erin and she shrugged. We followed the man.

Apple sighed. <He thinks you guys are students.>

Well that certainly explained things! “Sir, we’re not students; we’re trainers.”

The man snorted. He shoved Liam through the open doorway, and before Erin, Apple, and I could react, he had pulled us through as well. A door slammed behind us.

“Like I haven’t heard that one before.”

evertime
July 20th, 2009, 06:32 PM
i loved the union alalogy!

cant wait for more!!!!!!

delongbi
July 24th, 2009, 08:35 PM
Hello! I was so excited about finishing chapters 19-21, that I decided I had to post another chapter. So, here you go.

Evertime- Erm, what analogy? And, wait no longer ;)



Chapter 17: Mis-Taken

I was Master of Team Glop’emm.

I was Master of dark Pokemon.

I was Master of my emotions.

My memories…

Those remained unmastered.

There was a baseball field, a playground, and a swing set at the Vintage Village Elementary School. During the recess hour, the well-kept baseball field and playground were populated by several children while the rusted, old swing set usually remained unoccupied.

Except today.

Today, a six-year-old boy with hair the color of the midnight sky and eyes brighter and greener than the moon sat on a decaying swing.

Usually, the boy could be found on the outskirts of the baseball field or on the edge of the playground. The boy always watched the other children play, though he refrained from participating in their games. Aside from the occasional bully, the other children ignored the strange boy. A few months ago, some children had kindly reached out and talked to the boy; the boy had coldly rejected them.

On this day, nobody noticed the absence of the quiet boy mingling where the grass met the woodchips—with one exception: a girl with raven-colored hair and eyes just as dark.

She had watched the lonely boy before, but never dared approach him. Now, however, the boy looked so miserable that her pity overcame her fear. She skipped over to the boy and sat down next to him on another worn swing.

“Hi! My name’s Lillian Isabelle Penelope Smith,” the girl said, wiggling her legs to get the swing moving slightly. “But you can call me Lily. What’s your name?”

“Go away,” the boy replied stiffly, staring into the sky.

The girl’s stomach went sour and her throat clenched. She knew the boy did this to everyone, but she couldn’t help feeling hurt.

Tears slowly trickled down the girl’s face. She pumped her legs, forcing the swing to move. Then she slumped over, letting gravity take control. The wind brushed her cheeks, drying her tears as they fell.

The boy watched her for a moment and then turned back to the sky. “Sorry,” he mumbled.

The girl smiled bitterly and slowly let her swing come to a stop. “I understand. You’re sad and lonely.”

“I’m neither sad nor lonely,” the boy replied harshly.

“Then what are you? Why aren’t you on the edge of the playground, where you always are? Something’s wrong,” the girl said, almost accusingly.

“I’m thinking. Nobody noticed anyway.”

“I noticed.” The girl paused to blow her nose in the sleeve of her shirt. “What are you thinking about?” she asked more kindly.

The boy hesitated, but decided to tell the truth. “Death.”

“Oh.” Then the girl spoke in almost a whisper: “My grandpa died last year. I miss him. He used to read me stories…”

“I’m sorry,” the boy responded solemnly.

The two children sat in comfortable silence for a time.

Finally, the boy confided, “My mom drowned two years ago. I miss her too.”

The girl nodded.

The unusual sound of nearby crumpling woodchips sounded in the boy’s ears. He looked up.

A large kid with taunting eyes and wind-whipped hair approached. Apparently, the occasional bully had tired of whatever game had previously been occupying his time.

“Hey, Cat, who’s the new puss?”

The boy refused to acknowledge the bully. ‘Cat’ was the name the bullies had given the boy—his eyes glowed like a cat’s.

The girl wound her fingers nervously.

“I asked you a question, Cat.”

Still no reply.

The large kid turned to the girl. “So are you the Cat’s girlfriend? You’re a freak, just like he is.”

The girl looked down at her shoes, her face and eyes red with tears.

“Stop it,” the boy demanded, staring down the bully. “She didn’t do anything.”

“Ooh, your mom did teach you to talk!” the bully exclaimed in mock excitement. “Did she teach you to be chiv-al-ruz too? Standing up for little ladies? She must be a dumb—”

WHAM

The black-haired boy jumped from the swing and tackled the bully. Despite the size disadvantage, the large kid fell on his back.

“DON’T TALK ABOUT MY MOM!” the boy shouted, punching the larger kid in the nose. Blood flowed freely. The bully made a grab for the boy, but the boy darted back. He aimed a sharp kick at the bully’s stomach.

With an “Oof,” the bully rolled into a ball.

Ding-ding.

The bell rang, signaling an end to recess. The boy and girl quickly left the swing set and the fallen bully. They walked inside towards their classroom while adults checked the outside to ensure that no kids tried to stay behind.

“That was brave,” the girl whispered. Even though other students were chatting, the hallway seemed abnormally quiet.

The boy shook his head, but didn’t say anything. He walked with the girl all the way to her assigned desk when they reached their small classroom. As he hurried to his own desk, he expected to be called down to the office at any moment.

The moment never came.

Neither did the bully.

The only time the matter came up in class was when one of the bully’s friends raised his hand and asked, “Where’s Tommy?”

The teacher calmly replied, “He fell during recess. He’s going to be alright though. I’m sure he’ll be back tomorrow.”

The boy was surprised, but glad. Apparently, the bully was not a tattletale.

The minutes ticked by. Not soon enough, school was over.

The boy gathered his lunchbox and wandered over to the girl’s desk. He waited silently while she packed her bag. Together, the two children strolled out of school.

Once outside, the girl started toward the playground. “Wait,” the boy said. “Isn’t your mom or dad here to pick you up?”

The girl shook her head. “My parents work far away near the mountain, and I live near the mountain, too. It’s really hard for them to pick me up and drop me off at home before six.”

“What do you do till then?”

The girl shrugged.

The boy held out his hand and smiled slightly. “C’mon. My dad can take you home. Maybe we can get ice cream!” The boy led her to his car, a small black convertible with the top up.

“How was school?” the boy’s father asked as the boy entered the car.

“Dad, can we go get ice cream with Lily?” The father smiled. This was the first time the boy had ever made plans with another child since they moved to Vintage Village.

“Of course.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“This is all your fault,” Erin hissed to me quietly. “If you hadn’t yelled so loudly…”

“And you gave me that ‘Don’t hurt the poor, confused man look’ before!” Liam whispered. “I would have kicked his ass!”

“I thought he would actually listen to us! I thought someone would listen to us!” I hissed back at them.

“Ahem!” The teacher cleared his throat loudly and stared at us. That’s right. I said teacher. The man (I think he was a security guard) had escorted us into the building and told us to get back to class. When he wouldn’t listen to our objections, we decided we’d just leave after class and walked into a random classroom.

So now, we were sitting in a large room with about one hundred other students. The teacher was lecturing and writing some nonsense on the blackboard. He, apparently, had too many students to realize that we did not go to this darned school.

Apple sat in my lap and watched the teacher intently. I think she was actually paying attention…

<Anita, I had another vision.>

…or not.

<I think I’m getting them because we’re near Mint Mountain…it’s about—well, I better show you.>

Apple opened her mind, allowing me to view what she was viewing, to think what she was thinking, to remember what she was remembering—

A dark cave.

Tickety, tickety, tickety…

My heart was racing, skipping an occasional beat.

Pounding because time was up.

I took in a deep breath and shut my eyes. With my last reserves, I reached around my cave to ensure my safety…

Or rather, the safety of my child.

“Yes, we’ve detected strange psychic readings around Mint Mountain in the past few days. My team and I are checking it out…” a voice said from directly below my large cave’s entrance.

Too close! Too late…

My eyes flew open.

No! I would not allow my child to be endangered! I could hold it off until I found a new haven. With a psychic pulse, I propelled myself out of my cave.

Pain shot up my spine. My body convulsed.

I was falling.

My energy was drained. I had not enough to levitate, not enough to save myself, not enough to save my child.

I plummeted through a purple cloud. Little purple townhouses rushed towards me.

Everything was purple.

I closed my eyes.

The purple remained but a second.

Red and blue burst through the air.

I gasped, causing Erin and Liam to give me funny looks. <That’s not what’s going to happen to you, is it?!>

<Not any time soon. No, I’m afraid, that is what has already happened to me… Those, I believe, were the dying moments of my father Mew.>

<I’m sorry.>

<Don’t be. If it weren’t for those moments, I probably would have never met you.> Apple retreated back to her own mind.

I shook my head, attempting to drive the images from my mind. It was too painful… Slowly, I breathed in. I imagined a picture of the vision I had just seen, and I imagined shoving that picture to the back of a very messy file cabinet. I slammed the cabinet shut, and breathed out.

That, my friends, is what I did with painful things.

Pretending I had never seen Apple’s vision, I looked around the room and saw that a few other kids had Pokemon beside them or on their lap. There was a Zigzagoon, a Mankey, and a Delibird that I could see.

I watched Erin and Liam for a moment. Liam was staring off into space and Erin was doodling hearts on a piece of scrap paper.

Curiously, I peeped into her mind.

—his hot rugged breath filled my nose. So delicious and warm. I leaned in for more, and received not just his breath, but the eccentric tingle of his lips on mine. His arm wrapped around my waist—

I leapt out of her mind and gagged. This, I reminded myself with a mixture of guilt and disgust, is why I shouldn’t go drifting into other peoples’ minds, unless absolutely necessary.

Minutes ticked by slowly. Eventually, I became so bored, I actually turned my attention to the teacher. I noticed the teacher was placing a stapled packet upside down on everyone’s desks. I peered past the teacher to the board as the man distributed the papers to my row; it read Quiz.

“Alright, class,” the teacher said as he returned to the front of the room. “Remember, Kadabra will catch you if you try to cheat. So don’t. Now make like the Browns and turn it over!”

There was a loud shuffling of papers throughout the room as the students turned their papers over. Liam, Erin, and I did the same.

“What are the Browns?” I asked Liam quietly. Liam was glancing over the test.

“They’re a fantasy football team,” Liam replied.

“Fantasy football?”

“It’s the most popular Gameboy game,” Liam explained. “The player picks teams based off of certain skills and then plays a game utilizing these skills. The game involves attempting to make a team throw and pass an oddly shaped ball to score points. Practice can improve a team’s skill. It is actually a bit like a Pokemon battle, with all the strategy and recognition of weaknesses involved in the game… Anyway, the Browns are notorious for being the worst team a player can choose to play with on the game. ‘Turn it over’ refers to giving the possession of the ball to the opposing team.”

“Huh,” was all I could say. These researchers and their rants…

“Ahem.”

Liam and I looked up to find the teacher standing in front of us. His hazel eyes were filled with a smug happiness, as if he found joy in catching students misbehaving.

“I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation, but you two have an appointment with the dean.” He spoke like he thought he was actually funny. “Now!” he added with a warm fuzzy smile. The kind of smile that made me wish a pot would drop from the ceiling and knock the man out cold.

Liam shrugged and got up from his desk. I followed suit. We wound our way back to the wooden door we had entered through.

“Oh, and zeros for both of you!” the teacher called after us as we reached the exit. Like that was a big threat to us.

I looked back at Erin, who seemed at a loss of what to do. <Get yourself kicked out of class,> I suggested.

Taking my advice to heart, Erin stood up and punched the teacher in the stomach.

Erin’s greatest moment, in my opinion.

The teacher doubled over while the other students began chuckling and murmuring. Pointing to the door, he muttered, “Dean’s office.”

Erin didn’t hear because she was already with us at the door.

Liam delayed a moment while he watched the teacher. “I’ve never seen you resort to physical violence. Why’d you do it?” Liam questioned.

Erin stuck her thumb in my direction. “She’s the one who told me to get thrown out of class.” Erin changed the subject as we left the classroom. “So, anyone know where the dean’s office is?” she asked jokingly.

“I’m pretty sure it’s not on the campus,” I answered, walking towards a door below an EXIT sign.

There was a white flash of light in front of us. The assistant Kadabra appeared.

<I will be escorting you to the dean’s office.>

We all sighed and followed the Kadabra.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“So you see, sir, we really aren’t students here,” Anita finished explaining to the dean. She had recounted our adventure with the Geodudes and Gravelers, which explained how we came to this remote school. Apparently, most people did not travel the way we came through the hills. I had a good idea why.

The dean stoked his tiny goatee thoughtfully. The man was ugly and unfashionable, wearing extremely high waisted Cauchy pants and an orange striped shirt.

The dean poked his keyboard and sighed. “Well, you kids have valid Ids and you aren’t in the school’s system…”

Anita and I looked at him hopefully. Please, I begged silently, let us out of this hell-hole…

The dean cleared his throat. “Clearly, you three are not students. However, I think it would be beneficial for students to learn from you—actual trainers—”

“Actually, Liam and I are researchers,” I interrupted.

The dean eyed me, agitated. “Nonetheless,” he continued. “It would be beneficial for our students to interact with you. Plus, due to… bad behavior… I believe you three owe me. Why don’t you stay a night or two? I’ll have someone get your rooms ready for you.” He said this all in a tone that made it seem like we had no choice.

This is why I always hated school. They’re always filled with controlling adults who think they know everything. Like that teacher… he was such a jerk to Anita and Liam. When he acted like a kid himself, I wasn’t going to treat him any differently than I treated other boys I deemed nasty.

I peered at the faces of my fellow travel buddies to gauge their reaction.

Liam, as usual, looked like he didn’t care, and Anita looked a bit worried. I think she wanted to leave, but wasn’t quite sure how to ask. When she turned her attention to Apple, I knew she was discussing something telepathically.

“What if we don’t want to stay?” I asked the question Anita wouldn’t.

“Kadabra!” The dean called. The annoying psychic Pokemon appeared out of nowhere. “See to it that these kids don’t leave the campus.” He took a last look at us. “You three are dismissed for now. Enjoy your stay. Kadabra will show you where the mess hall is for dinner.”

As we walked out, Anita glared at me. Well, if she’d known this would happen, she should have spoken up.

As we entered the mess hall through plastic double doors, strange fumes filled my nose. It smelled like cinnamon, grease, pineapple, and maybe meatloaf?

I took one look at the food and lost my appetite. “I’ll go find us a table,” I said. Neither Anita nor Liam looked surprised, though they both got into the food line.

I wandered about until I found a group of nice-looking kids about our age. “Are these seats taken?” I asked a girl with dark skin and sun-bleached hair and a freckled boy with orange-tinted hair.

They shook their heads. “Are you new here?” the girl asked. “I’m Tara, by the way, and this is Max.”

“I’m Erin, and no, I’m not a student…” By the time I was finished explaining our situation, Liam and Anita had already sat down. Anita had taken a plate of food for her bizarre Eevee as well.

“Most faculty members don’t approve of Pokemon eating human food,” Max said, nodding to a group of teachers staring Apple down from across the room. “They say it’s a waste. I’ve gotten detention before for doing it.”

Anita shrugged.

“It’s not like they can actually do anything about it,” I pointed out. “They can’t really give us detention.”

Just as I spoke, Apple’s plate of food started floating away. Our Kadabra “escort” was deeply concentrating on the plate.

“Eev!” Apple complained. Anita turned around and saw the problem. She stared at the plate for a moment and clenched the fork she was holding tighter. Just as the plate was nearing the Kadabra, her eyes glowed for less than a second and she smiled.

The plate flipped over, spilling its contents all over the Kadabra.

We all giggled while the authorities threw mean glances our way.

“Attention students, attention students!” We heard the dean’s voice ring over the PA system. “There has been a change in the schedule. All students are to report to the arena and sit in their assigned row. Also, I would like to see the following people in my office immediately: Brandon Vilcove, Tara Kain, Aaron Arnold, Liam Mendol, Anita Parkwood, Erin Kendle.”

“Looks like we were called to the office,” Tara commented dryly. “Wonder what cockamamie scheme he has this time…”

“You mean it’s not because we’re in trouble?” Anita asked in surprise.

Tara raised her eyebrows. “I’m one of the school’s top students. So are Aaron and Brandon. We don’t get in trouble.”

---------------------------

The dean clapped his hands. “This is simply marvelous! A chance to show the good of the Standard Trainer Academy Boarding School and prove the academy is a more effective way of teaching kids that becoming a trainer at age thirteen!”

Anita and Tara both rolled their eyes.

“Anyone else notice the school’s acronym spells STABS?” I asked.

The dean ignored me. “Kadabra, make sure you get all of it on tape. We can use it for a promotional video.”

“Kadab,” the Kadabra agreed.

A video camera floated beside the dean as he hustled us out of his office down a flight of steps to the arena’s entrance.

“Alright, kids. You six will be battling each other.” The dean turned to look at the floating camera. “Kadabra, turn the camera on!”

The Kadabra nodded and a green button flashed on the camera.

“Here in Pokemon Academy’s own arena we have three experienced trainers battling our own students—” The dean spoke to the camera until I interrupted.

“Excuse me! Liam and I are researchers,” I exclaimed. “Not trainers! And it’s hardly fair that you’re having us battle your top students!”

“Kadabra, remind me to edit that out later.” The dean blatantly ignored me. He smiled at the camera and continued, “The battles will be one on one. Brandon versus Liam, Anita versus Tara, and Erin versus Aaron.”

Liam stepped in between the camera and the dean. “We did not agree to any of this nonsense.”

The dean shrugged.

Anita stepped beside Liam. “I agree. If any of us do not wish to battle, we shouldn’t have to. I, for one, would like to battle, but Erin, for instance, might not want to. You can’t force her.”

Actually, I suspected Liam was the one who didn’t want to battle, but whatever…

The dean frowned.

Anita’s eyes flickered between the dean and the Kadabra. She saw I was watching her.

<Kadabra noticed we were eager to leave by picking up some of our thoughts,> Anita said. I grimaced at her voice in my head. I hated when she did this. It was like my mind was invaded… <Not that he needed to read our minds to know that—>

“Anita,” I said sharply. She stopped speaking.

The dean smiled smugly. “How about if you win two of three battles, I won’t attempt to stop you from leaving after. You won’t be followed by your escort.” The dean gestured to Kadabra.

“We could leave now if we wanted to,” Anita replied challengingly. She narrowed her eyes.

“Not with Kadabra on your tail!” the dean answered cheerfully.

Anita opened her mouth, but closed it after a stern look from Liam. Apparently, Liam wasn’t keen on other people knowing their abilities.

The dean checked his watch. “Time’s being wasted!” He opened the arena doors and herded the six of us forward.

We were standing on the far side of the arena stage. The floor was made of dirt and the ceiling was open to the stars. It looked like about a thousand people were in the stadium. Bright lights illuminated the area. An announcer’s voice boomed, “First up is Brandon Vilcove versus Liam Mendol. It is a one-on-one battle. Participants, please report to your sides.”

Liam and Brandon walked in opposite directions and then stood facing each other on either side of the field. The audience was murmuring quietly. I sat down next to Anita in a plastic chair provided by the dean.

Liam crossed his arms.

In the very center of the stadium, the dean held a red flag up. As he pulled the flag downwards, he yelled, “Begin!”

Brandon released a Wartortle.

Liam stood still, his arms stilled crossed.

Anita started yelling at him frantically, telling him he had better battle or she would “feed him to the Geodudes without his balls! Both types of balls!”

Funny, I thought. She had said earlier we shouldn’t be forced to battle. Then again, that was before the dean had sort of made a deal with us…

“If you do not release a Pokemon, you will be disqualified and Brandon will be declared the winner!” The dean said to Liam gleefully.

Liam rolled his eyes.

Ten seconds later, the announcer declared. “The challenger has failed to release a Pokemon within the time limit! Brandon Vilcove is the winner!”

Brandon looked baffled, but he returned his Wartortle and walked off of the field.

Liam smiled and strode over to a still yelling Anita. He silently withstood her insults until she finally yelled, “Now we’ll be stuck here for at least another night!”

Liam’s smile widened. “Not if you win.”

“Will Tara Kain and Anita Parkwood please take their positions on the playing field,” the announcer requested.

Anita gave Liam a final glare before marching out onto the field. Her Eevee skipped after her.

Tara already was in position; she had a confident air about her. The dean waved his red flag, signaling the start of the battle.

Anita nodded to Apple and the Eevee assumed a fighting stance.

“Kit, go!” Tara ordered. In a flash, a beautifully-coated Delcatty appeared. “Sing!” Tara yelled while Anita ordered a “Dig!”

I covered my ears as the Delcatty’s voice blared throughout the stadium. Apple popped up beneath the Delcatty, abruptly cutting off his voice. The Delcatty proceeded to attempt to hit Apple with his paws, but Apple dodged with a spin.

The battle went on.

Bored, I turned my attention to my opponent, Aaron.

He was a well dressed boy, wearing a loosely collared shirt. His dark, curly hair fell about his face. Next to him an older boy, Brandon, whispered something in his ear.

Aaron’s eyes flickered from the battle to me. I smiled, and he returned the favor.

I watched the battle again.

Apple was now lightheartedly flirting with Kit. The Delcatty’s cute charm ability seemed to have finally affected Apple, but I wasn’t so sure it made a difference. Anita was yelling at Apple in frustration and while Apple ignored Anita’s commands, she continued to playfully dodge Kit’s attacks to the point Kit couldn’t lay a hit on her.

This was so stupid. We were battling these kids because the dean wanted publicity… because the dean wanted the dean wanted us to stay… because the dean wanted yada-yada-yada.

I wasn’t a student here. I didn’t give a flying **** about what the dean wanted.

I wanted to kick his rude ass.

Aaron caught my eye again. I grinned and walked over to him. Before he could say a word, I said, “I’m not going to battle you.”

Aaron’s smile faded. “I was looking forward to it.”

“Sorry, I’d rather kick the dean’s butt though,” I replied.

Aaron grinned. “Now that’s something I’ll look forward to even more.”

“Delcatty is unable to battle! Anita Parkwood is the winner!” the spokesman announced.

I looked at the field and saw Apple jumping around Anita.

Tara returned her Delcatty, frowning. She stiffly congratulated Anita and walked back to us. Apparently, she didn’t lose well.

“Next up, it’s Aaron against Erin!” The announcer chuckled lamely at the play on words. “Aaron Arnold versus Erin Kendle!”

I boldly stepped forward and yelled, “If it’s alright with you, Mr. Dean, I’d rather battle you than Aaron.”

The crowd hushed.

Scratching his head nervously, the dean stared at me. He obviously didn’t know how to react.

“You don’t think you can take me?” I challenged.

“Of course not,” the dean replied quickly. “I mean, of course I can beat you. I just… Aaron, is this okay with you?”

Aaron shrugged and nodded.

“It seems there had been a change in match-ups! Our very own dean, Mr. Johnkloven will be battling Erin Kendle!”

The crowd roared.

The dean strode across the field to his position as I walked to mine. Aaron took over the role as referee. He waved the red flag about his head and then thrust it downwards, giving us the signal to begin.

“Kadabra!” the dean called. Our stupid “escort” Kadabra teleported to his side. I noticed Brandon had picked up the video camera. He was zooming in on his own toe.

“Griffy, go!” I released Griffy from his Pokeball. <All we have to do is get a physical hit in. Kadabras have crap physical defense,> I thought, knowing Griffy would hear.

“Agility,” I yelled, remembering Kadabras were extremely fast.

Kadabra’s eyes were already glowing with a psychic. Griffy had started to pick up speed, but was stopped abruptly by the Kadabra’s attack.

“Light Screen!” I ordered. Although I couldn’t see it, a barrier must have formed between Griffy and the Kadabra because Griffy could move again.

“Keep it up!” I hoped to force the Kadabra towards Griffy by blocking his psychic attacks. The dean took the bait.

“Fire punch!” He commanded.

“Let it hit!” Griffy stood still and prepared for the punch. The Kadabra’s fist glowed as he rushed at Griffy. “Once he hits you, finish this with a stomp!”

Kadabra hit Griffy on the side. Griffy reared and stomped down hard on the Kadabra. The Pokemon visibly flinched.

“Bite!” I demanded, irked that the stomp didn’t finish off the Kadabra.

Griffy turned around and jumped backwards. His tail lunged at the Kadabra and bit down hard on his long ear.

Our Kadabra “escort” was knocked out cold.

The dean stood still, a stunned look on his face. The students all whistled and hooted loudly.

I approached the dean and held out my hand. He took it, eyeing me oddly, like I was an endangered bird or something.

“So long, control freak!” I said before spinning around to join Anita and Liam.

Anita high fived me and Liam gave me a quirky smile. I peered past them to Brandon, Tara, and Aaron. Aaron gave me a thumbs-up.

A teacher accosted us as we walked toward the arena entrance.

Before he could say a word, Anita sharply replied to his thought: “We’ll escort ourselves out. Thanks anyway.”

delongbi
August 9th, 2009, 10:32 PM
Evertime- Oh, you mean onion, lol.

Anyway, new chapter, and now I'm a chapter behind so I'll have to post again sometime this week.

Chapter 18: Emotional Complex

My memories were revisiting me for very simple, logical reasons.

For the past four years, I had been trapped in Drape Town. I had to work to gain the trust of Glop’emm members— I focused solely on making Team Glop’emm successful while I awaited the DNA tracking device.

Then the opportunity arose to travel. It was necessary, of course. My research could not be done in Drape Town and no other human could be trusted to do it.

Such a drastic change of scenery would obviously reawaken memories I had buried long ago.

Simple.

A boy, a girl, and the boy’s father drove in a convertible away from an ice cream shop.

The girl and the boy were happily licking their fingers after eating ice cream, arguing over which flavor was better while the boy’s father drove the routine route to the girl’s house. “I called your mother, Lily,” the father said, a hint of worry in his voice. “Nobody answered so I left a message.”

The girl replied, “Don’t worry. They don’t usually answer at work.”

“I know.” The father frowned, but kept driving. The mountains grew. As the car arrived on the girl’s street, the father came to an unexpected stop. “What’s that?”

The two children peered through the front windshield.

A pink object was falling from the sky over the scattered houses.

Abruptly, there was an explosion.

Blue fire burst through the air where the pink object was before. Several houses and buildings collapsed, while others caught fire—red flames meeting blue.

Nothing happened to the car, though several nearby houses were up in flames.

The father picked up his phone. Sirens could be heard in the distance. He dropped the phone; help was already on the way.

Pulling the car around, the father sped back down the road.

The girl burst into tears while the boy tried to comfort her by patting her shoulder.

“Mom and dad… they were near that… they—I want my mom and dad,” the girl cried.

“Hush. We can’t go into the fire,” the father replied. There was a sharp edge to his voice. A mile down the road, the father pulled into the police station. He swiftly opened the back door and yanked the girl from the car. “Come on.”

“Bye—” The door slammed shut.

“Bye, Lily,” the boy replied softly.

Five minutes later the father returned. “She’ll be alright,” the father assured his son. “The police will handle it.”

“We could’ve… She could’ve stayed with us a little longer…” The boy stared out the window as they pulled out of the police station. He noticed they were driving back towards the fire.

The father ignored his son’s comment. “It had to be a psychic pulse,” he explained. “I had dark material twined into this convertible when it was being built. It was unaffected by the explosion.”

“Are we going to find Lily’s parents?” the boy asked, unable to think of any other explanation for his father’s actions.

“No,” the father replied harshly. “The police will handle that, too. If that pulse was what I think it was, I have to capture and destroy the Pokemon that created it.”

The boy noticed his father was shaking.

“Damn them!” the father burst out suddenly. Ahead, the road was blocked by a wall of bright blue flames. “Hold on!” The car jerked forward, zooming into the flames.

“Stop!” the boy screamed. He shut his eyes tightly, expecting to feel pain any second.

Surprisingly, the car easily passed through the wall, the blue flames licking at the window. The inside of the car heated up slightly, but in the next moment, the car was on the other side of the wall. The father pounded on the brakes and the car skid to a stop.

The father and the boy panted in the car for a moment. The father turned around. “Are you okay?”

The boy nodded.

The father searched the boy’s eyes. They were wide and round—but mostly green.

“First they destroyed our city… our people—your mother, your aunt. Now they destroy this town and hundreds of other innocent people—families are split apart.”

Lily, the boy thought.

“Legendary Pokemon are too dangerous, too hurtful, too random… Nobody seems to understand this. I came here to escape—so you would be safe.” The man shook his head sorrowfully.

The boy looked away, out the window and into the flames.

“But you’re not. Nobody is. I have to destroy the cause of this destruction... for your safety, for everyone’s safety.”

Tears welled in the boy’s eyes.

The father began to climb out of the car.

“Dad, I’m coming, too. You’ll be hurt by the psychic without me.” The father began to shake his head. “Dad… I don’t want to lose anymore.” More quietly, the boy added, “I don’t want to lose you.” The boy looked fiercely at his father.

Father and son stared at each other for a moment. The father sighed and opened the car’s passenger door. The boy took his father’s hand and stepped out of the car.

The air was hot and dry, but breathable. Blue fire did not create smoke.

The blue wall of fire surrounded the area. Everything else, besides the convertible, was ash. In the center of the ring of blue fire was a large mound of ash.

And purple eyes, peeking through the ash.

They blinked.

The father pulled out a Pokeball and without uttering a word, his Houndoom appeared.

The eyes moved up in the ash.

“Crunch.”

The Houndoom lunged toward the pile. In a split second, the eyes burst from the heap of ash. The Houndoom missed its target and circled the creature from below. The eyes belonged to a grayish-pink body, now floating in the air. It was the size of maybe a loaf of bread, though its tail was twice that length. The creature had short, stubby arms and thick, rabbit-like legs.

The father smiled grimly. “Mew. What I suspected.”

The Pokemon looked confused, like it was lost. It continued to float in the air.

“Flamethrower,” the father commanded.

Flames spouted from the Houndoom’s mouth. The Mew floated above the attack and then curiously stuck its tail into the Houndoom’s fire.

A screech of pain flew from the Mew’s mouth. It circled the blue fire wall once, causing the blue fire to fade.

The red continued to burn.

In the blink of an eye, the Mew was gone.

“Do you know the scent?” the father asked his Houndoom. The dog Pokemon nodded.

“Mew won’t be far from here, at least not yet—the apple won’t fall far from the tree. We’ll track down this apple. We’ll find it. We’ll destroy it—for the good of Acceber.”

Simple.

So why didn’t it ever feel that way?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I kicked my leg out.

Liam caught and twisted it so I fell awkwardly on my stomach onto the hard, dry ground.

I tried to get up, but couldn’t. Liam must have been sitting on my legs. I threw my right arm backwards in an attempt to hit that irksome kid. Of course, he caught that too, folded my elbow, and pulled painfully upwards. I winced—just when my leg was feeling better he had to go injure some other body part…

“I give up,” I muttered between breaths.

“Find a way out of this,” Liam demanded.

If he was any normal person, I could have created a barrier and my current problem would disappear. But nooo; he had to be super special with his dumb dark gift.

“Ow!” I cried out as Liam pulled my arm back farther. “Are you trying to break my arm?”

The pressure on my arms and legs ceased.

“Get up,” Liam ordered.

I remained face down on the ground for a second longer before forcing myself up. I shook my arm a bit in an attempt to make its soreness dissipate. My attempt failed miserably.

“I’ve taught you all the basics,” Liam said. He paused, not sure how to continue. Yeah, he sure taught me the basics—he had basically killed me with his practices! Yesterday, I had spent nearly the whole day practicing a simple punch while we were traveling. Yes, people stared at me like I was a lunatic. Luckily, there were very few people in the area. The day before… well, the day before we were chased to a screwy school by rampant Geodudes—but before that we had worked on kicks.

“The basics are all you need,” Liam finally continued. “Now you have to work on implementing these basic skills in a useful, original manner.”

“And how will that help me beat you?” I asked, irritated.

“If you act in an unexpected manner, your opponent will be unable to foresee your attacks and you will have the advantage,” Liam lectured. “Also, you very well know that I am not your opponent—”

“Really then? Who else am I going to be fighting without my powers?”

Liam smirked. “I never said you could not use your gift.”

I started to complain that my gift didn’t freakin affect him, but he chose that moment to lunge at me.

I dodged to the left, but he was already correcting his movements so his next attack would hit. I expected him to throw a left-handed punch my way, but instead found myself falling from a quick twirl of his right foot.

The air was knocked from me. I looked up in time to see Liam’s leg coming down hard. I scrambled out of the way.

This was so stupid. He had obviously been doing this his whole life. How could I be expected to do something to catch him off guard? I had been training for what, a week?

Liam aimed another punch at me. I wearily jumped to the side, only to be hit in my abdomen anyway. I wish I could stop his punches like he could mine; I simply wasn’t strong enough.

Before I had time to consider my next move, both of my arms were twisted behind my back. For a moment, I struggled. When my efforts once again proved futile, I slumped over.

Liam let go. “Get up.”

Just as I was picking myself up, Liam lunged toward me again. I dropped back to the ground as Liam passed over me, his foot barely not crushing my fingers.

I got up, wishing my gift would affect him. This was all too painful…

Wait. My powers did not affect him, but they did affect me.

Maybe…

Liam was coming at me with a spinning kick. I ducked down and rapidly created a slanted barrier behind me. As Liam’s foot passed over me, I used the barrier as a springboard to launch myself forward faster than Liam believed possible. I ended up losing control of the punch I was planning and tackled him to the ground. Still, it was the first time I had actually landed a hit on him.

A second later, I found myself painfully rolled on my shoulder, my arms pinned tight to my back and my legs once again useless.

“Are you through?” I asked. Liam shoved my back. I growled under my breath and peered over my shoulder at Liam. He was scowling.

“Hey, I managed to hit you!” I exclaimed defensively.

Liam smirked. “I congratulate you,” he replied mockingly. Then he proceeded to twist my arms painfully. Seriously, I think he was taking this practice too far.

I gasped. “Do you take pleasure in my pain?”

Liam’s eyes glinted for a moment before he released me.

I rubbed my shoulder as I got up. Liam watched me thoughtfully.

“Well?”

Liam’s eyebrows furrowed. Ah, he had thought my question was rhetorical. Well, it most certainly was not!

“No,” Liam answered slowly. “I don’t believe I do.” His dark hair fell into his face as he looked away.

Not knowing what to make of his response, I replied jokingly, “Oh, good. I was beginning to suspect you weren’t human.” I started walking back towards camp as the sun began to rise. Liam fell in pace beside me.

He smiled slightly. “What do you think being human is all about?”

“What are you, a philosopher?”

He didn’t respond.

I considered the question. “I guess it’s about living life to its full potential—about experiencing and feeling and thinking everything you can in the time you’re given.” I hesitated before asking, “What about you?”

“Obtaining a goal. You’d know about that; you’re a trainer after all.”

I frowned while Liam smirked at me. I thought his philosophy was missing pieces, but I couldn’t come up with a good argument. Silence filled the rest of the walk.

Upon reaching camp, Apple stretched and trotted happily over to me, having just woken up. As I scanned the camp, I noticed the lump of Erin’s sleeping bag was still full—of Erin.

I lightly shook her bag. “Erin, get up! Time to move out.”

“No thanks, Anita. I don’t want the muffin,” Erin replied, her voice muffled by the sleeping bag. I nudged her again, only to get a loud snore.

Irked, I slid into Erin’s mind.

The air smelled of sugar cookies and blueberry muffins. Erin, Liam, Anita, and Jake sat in a small corner of a small bakery.

Anita was offering Erin a blueberry muffin.

I smiled. This would be fun.

Suddenly, the muffin Anita was offering Erin grew until it was human-size. It also grew a tail—a tail that strangely resembled Griffy’s.

The muffin’s tail’s voice boomed: “YOU DO NOT ACCEPT ME?!? THEN I DO NOT ACCEPT YOU AS MY EATER! I WILL BECOME THE EATER! MUWAHAHAHAHA!”

The tail opened its mouth and leaned toward Erin.

“Ahhh!” Erin leapt up from her sleeping bag with a start. Upon seeing no killer muffin, she sighed in relief.

Liam, who had begun packing, looked up at us, startled.

I couldn’t stop cracking up.

Apple looked at me in wonder. <That was brilliant. I’ve been teaching you well.>

Because I was laughing, Erin immediately suspected I had something to do with her interesting dream. “ANITA!” she yelled. “That was not funny!”

I shrugged. “It got you up.”

Erin grumbled inaudibly and started stuffing her sleeping bag into her pack (where it was, of course, shrunk to a more portable size).

“What did you do?” Liam asked, careful to not sound too curious. As I shrunk down a few pots, he took out our map.

“I stuck a giant killer muffin with Griffy’s tail in her dream,” I answered casually.

“Right…”

When everything was packed up, we gathered around the map.

Liam pointed to a spot slightly northwest of Mint Mountain. “We’re right here.” He moved his hand. “This is Nelcorn City. We went astray back with the Geodudes, but now we are nearly back to the more traveled route from Azul to Nelcorn. The path from this point forward will be flat, though we will likely encounter people. We can ride our bikes.”

I sighed and pulled out my shbinker. Liam and Erin followed suit. I mounted my rusted-over purple bike while Apple jumped into its large basket. Erin and Liam mounted their shiny magenta and dark olive-green bikes, respectively.

And we were off.

Although the wrappings on my leg hadn’t hindered me much during practice this morning, riding my bike felt awkward. I could not bend my ankle as usual.

To take my mind away from the discomfort, I watched our surroundings. Behind us, the terrain was rocky and dry. As we pedaled forward, however, the surroundings became more fruitful. There was short grass, and even an occasional tree.

<Hey, Anita?> Apple interrupted the calm, quiet atmosphere of an early morning bike ride.

<What?> I asked stiffly.

<You, your powers, and your emotions are all growing. All at once.>

<That’s nice.>

<They’re all connected. You’ve got to start learning control not only over your powers, but your emotions. Otherwise, things will start exploding. Besides you, I mean. Really—> I tuned Apple out; there was no point in listening to what I already knew.

I focused my mind—I needed to practice. At first, I just “listened” with my mind to the Pokemon in the surrounding grass. Then, I moved on to what I wanted to work on: barriers.

Today, I had been able to create a barrier for myself to use against Liam. I had created a slanted barrier, something I had not thought to do before. It opened up all sorts of possibilities, the biggest being: could I create a barrier in different shapes?

I imagined a bent barrier, almost like two flat barriers stuck together at a one-hundred twenty degree angle. I pushed my mind rapidly in front of me, attempting to create the barrier on the ground, in front of my bike.

My bike slowed as it rode up an invisible barrier, bumped slightly as it got to the top, and quickly rolled down the other side of the ramp-barrier.

I smiled.

This would be a fun ride.

------------------------

By mid-afternoon we were back to the main route. In the morning, I had practiced creating barriers until my head hurt. Then after lunch, I had battled several of the plentiful trainers in the area and had now taken to avoiding eye contact with said trainers because Apple was exhausted. She was currently fast asleep in her basket. I had battled a bit with Fiery but had not wanted to push him too hard because he was still recovering from the Graveler that had flattened him. We had still not gotten to a Pokemon Center, and in the meantime I only had given him one potion.

According to Liam’s calculations (which, for the record, always seemed to be accurate), we had an hour more of traveling before we reached Nelcorn City. This news had not seemed so bad to me, but it had caused Erin to sigh unhappily.

You did not need to be a psychic to know she was bored out of her mind.

“I know, let’s play a game!” she exclaimed in this final cycling hour.

Liam grunted and I rolled my eyes.

“Alright, I’ll take that as a yes!” She really needed to work on her interpretations of our actions. “How about truth or dare?”

“NO!” Liam and I both shouted at once. We gave each other questioning looks.

Erin ignored us. “Okay, fine. I spy?”

“No, thanks,” Liam replied, while I said, “Bor-ring!”

“Twenty questions?” Erin asked hopefully.

Liam shrugged, and I answered, “Whatever.”

“Okay, I have one. Ask away!”

I peeked into Erin’s mind.

“Is it a toaster oven?” I asked.

Erin’s eyes widened. “How’d you—Anita, you cheater!”

I smirked.

“That’s no fair! Ugh—”

“I have one,” Liam interrupted.

I scrunched my nose. I wouldn’t be able to peek into Liam’s mind… bleh.

“Alright… Is it living?” I asked.

“Sometimes.”

“Is it bigger than a condom?” Erin asked.

I turned to Erin. “What kind of question is that?”

“Sometimes,” Liam replied. “And you have seventeen more.”

“How does that count?!”

“Sixteen. This is twenty questions. You get to ask only twenty questions.”

“Grr…” I growled.

“Can it fly like an ea-gle?” Erin sang.

“Sometimes.”

“Is it human?” I asked.

“Sometimes.”

“Can you say anything other than ‘sometimes?!?’” I demanded.

“Yes. Thirteen left.”

“Does it have eyeballs?” Erin asked.

“Usually.”

“Are there any present?” I asked.

“That depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“Perspective,” Liam answered.

While I sat silently, thinking this clue over, Erin asked, “Does it jiggle like jello?”

“Not usually…”

“Will you stop asking stupid questions!?” I yelled at Erin.

“You’re the one wasting questions by shouting useless questions at me and Liam!” Erin shot back.

“Point taken,” I grumbled.

“You have eight more,” Liam stated.

“Is it a thought?” Erin asked.

“No.”

“Can you think of it?” I queried.

“Yes.”

“Can it come in many shapes, colors, and sizes?” I asked, finally getting an idea.

“Yes.”

“Is it a Ditto?” Erin immediately assumed.

“No.”

I smiled. I thought I knew the answer, but there were two possibilities I could think of. “Do you have it?” I questioned.

Liam hesitated. “I’m not sure.”

I frowned. Not the answer I was expecting. Last question…

“Is it… a friend?”

“Obviously.”

evertime
August 10th, 2009, 08:30 AM
Good luck writing!
Liams caracter has become more intresting.....

delongbi
August 16th, 2009, 07:55 AM
Sorry this next chapter is short... it works best if you think of it as a three parter.

Chapter 19: (Act One) Missing Links


As we rode through the afternoon, Erin and Liam continued to play twenty questions—Erin kicked me out of the game when it was her turn to think of something. In the meantime, I could not rid myself of a nagging feeling.

Over and over, I replayed that second game of twenty questions in my head.

Mew or friend?

Mew or friend?

All of his answers matched both. Maybe he meant both…

<Anita, you are being paranoid,> Apple thought drowsily, just waking up from her nap. <Why in Arceus’s name would he think of Mew? And if he did, so what?>

<He could be after Mew! It could be the reason he’s following us! Remember, when I asked, “Do you have it?” he replied, “I’m not sure.” He’s not sure because he hasn’t confirmed you are Mew!>

<Get a hold of yourself! There is absolutely no reason for him to suspect I am Mew! And even if he did, why would he reveal any of this in a stupid game of twenty questions?!>

<Maybe to get us to react,> I answered weakly.

Apple shook her head. <Way too paranoid… if, in fact, he is searching for Mew—which he is not—he has absolutely no way to prove that I am Mew. We’ll be fine as long as we keep acting normal as we always have been.>

<Normal… yeah, right.>

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I tiredly stirred my coffee, taking a whiff of the bitter, caffeinated drink. The Pokemon Center’s couch pulled me into its lush, blue pillows as I collapsed backwards, exhausted from the day’s preparations. Next to me, Reece casually flipped through the battle section of the Nelcorn News.

“Reece, they’re not here yet,” I said tensely.

Reece shrugged.

“What if they don’t come in time?” I hissed. “Did you think of that when you planned the party? What if we planned it all for nothing and they don’t even stop in Nelcorn!?”

“Then I guess we will be enjoying a party without them. Honestly, Carly, who cares?”

“I CARE!” I yelled. Nurse Joy gave me a scolding look from behind the counter. I ignored her. “I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime, and you’re asking me why I care? If I do this, I can become a model—I can do what I’ve always dreamed of!”

Reece looked up from the newspaper and sighed. “I’m sorry. Seriously, they’ll be here. I know it,” Reece said solemnly, for once in his life. When I did not respond, he continued, “Look, we have everything set up perfectly. We’ll be fine. If we don’t catch them in this town, we’ll find them in the next.”

I took a sip of my coffee, trying to relax. “What if they don’t come to the party? What if they never attend parties? What then?”

“Everyone comes to parties. They’ll be there.”

“But Anita hates parties.”

Reece folded his arms. “Carly, we’ve been through this. The party includes a battle tournament. Yes, Anita hates parties. However, she will want to come for our battle tournament. We’re giving away a crap load of money to the winner, and what trainer does not need money?”

Just then, the Pokemon Center doors whooshed open. A girl with straight brown hair and purple eyes stomped through the door followed by a black-haired boy, a pretty red-haired girl, and an Eevee. Reece quickly picked up the newspaper and pretended to be reading while I turned my head to the dark window, careful to not let the group see my face.

The company did not notice us as they approached Nurse Joy’s counter, requested two rooms, and asked if there was a bike shop in town.

Five minutes later, the group disappeared up the stairs, no doubt retiring for the night.

Reece smirked at me. “Told you it’d work out.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Sir, we really can’t afford that!” I exclaimed.

“I’m sorry,” the manager replied. “But with a flat wheel, a set of brakes that need to be replaced, and several necessary tune-ups, that’s the best price I can give you.”

I sighed. This is a lesson for all Pokemon trainers: never almost run over a Rattata with a bike.

I had been so absorbed in my own thoughts that I had not noticed the small Pokemon munching on a piece of grain directly in my path—that is, I did not notice it until it was a yard away from my front wheel. To avoid hitting the Rattata, I swerved my bike… right into Erin’s. We both careened to the ground causing Liam to crash, bike and all, right in to us.

My poor bike couldn’t survive the collision. Its brakes literally fell off and parts of its metal were twisted in awkward directions. Liam’s and Erin’s bikes were newer and more durable; they only received a series of scratches.

Then, just when we thought the worst was over, an angry Raticate attacked us. Apparently, she thought we were trying to kill her child (which I guess we almost did). Apple and I managed to calm her down, but not before she had taken a bite out of Liam’s bike wheel.

Now, because we were down to one working bike, we had located the Nelcorn City Bike Shop. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to fix the bikes—we had to save nearly all of what we had for Pokemon supplies and basic necessities, like food.

“What if you were to fix just one of the bikes? How much would that cost?” I asked desperately.

“Half the price I gave you before.”

“But that’s still too much!”

“Look, I’m sorry, but replacing bike parts is expensive,” the manager replied.

“Thanks,” I grumbled as I spun around and shuffled out of the store.

“Now what?” I asked dejectedly outside the bike shop.

“Looks like we’ll be walking,” Liam commented dryly.

“We’re not leaving ‘till tomorrow anyway,” Erin insisted.

I frowned. “I thought we voted. We’re leaving tonight.”

“You two are so boring!” Erin complained. “You’d rather be traveling by foot than attending a party every teenager in a mile’s radius is going to be at?!”

“Duh,” I answered. I assumed Liam would annunciate some similar form of agreement; he had voted with me earlier against the party. I looked at him expectantly.

“Our current dilemma changes everything.” Liam pulled a flyer out of his pocket—one of the billions around town stating the party information. He pointed to the bottom of the paper. “There is a tournament for prize money. We need money to fix our bikes. Therefore, we should attend the party so we may participate in said tournament.”

I crossed my arms. “No. We already voted! We’re leaving tonight.”

“C’mon, Anita. You know you’d love to battle,” Erin whined. “Who votes we leave tonight?”

I raised my hand. I looked down at Apple; she didn’t even raise her paw.

<What?> she asked sheepishly. <I like parties!>

<Traitor.>

“Alright, who votes we go to the party?”

Liam and Erin each raised a hand. Apple raised a paw.

“We already voted!” I repeated. “We voted to leave, remember? Two against one.” I glared at Liam.

“Who votes we can overturn old votes?” Erin asked. Both she and Liam raised her hand. Again, Apple lifted a paw.

“Oh, come on!”

Erin tugged my arm. “Let’s go. We have lots of shopping to do before tonight!”

“Shopping! We don’t even have enough money for new bike parts!”

“Who said we were going to buy anything?”

I groaned.

-----------------------

“What color eye shadow do you want?” Erin asked, spreading my numerous choices in front of me on her wooden nightstand.

“Neon green,” I replied without even glancing at my options.

Erin examined her different eye shadows. “I don’t have that…”

“No, duh.”

“A little cooperation would be nice!” Erin cried out. “How about a light lavender? It would match your tank top.”

“I’m not wearing eye shadow, Erin.” The mascara was bad enough…

Erin started at me with the eye shadow anyway. I thrust my mind forward, creating a barrier at her feet. Just as I intended, she toppled forward, smearing the eye shadow across the floor.

“Anita! That was one of my favorites…”

“Well, I told you I didn’t want any!”

<Will you two stop bickering and come brush me?> Apple demanded.

I rolled my eyes but complied.

Erin looked me over thoughtfully. “I like that grey mini-skirt on you. You can keep it.

“Just what I’ve always wanted,” I replied sarcastically.

Erin ignored me and turned to examine her own reflection in the mirror. She was wearing high black boots and a magenta dress that ended above her knees. Dark eye shadow above her eyes and straightened hair—she was, in a word: hot.

I, on the other hand, was wearing a simple tank top, skirt, and sandals. I had just wanted to wear my normal capris and tee-shirt, but Erin had flipped out on me. She had immediately pulled out her shrinkable wardrobe (which was filled with G-d knows how much clothing) and tossed clothes at me. After two hours of constant arguing (I would not wear that revealing red shirt… or those enormous heels…or, well, you get the picture), we finally settled on my current outfit.

Erin turned around. “I’m ready to go,” she announced.

Apple jumped off of my lap as I finished brushing her tail. She shook her soft coat. <I’m ready, too!> I rose, brushing the Eevee fur off of me.

“Now all that’s left is Liam,” Erin muttered to herself. She stuck her hand into her gigantic wardrobe and pulled out a black suit and tie. “This’ll do…”

“Um, Erin, why do you have guy’s clothing in your closet?” I asked tentatively, not sure I actually wanted to know the answer.

Erin shrugged. “I’ve got to be prepared for everything. Now, where did I put the wardrobe shrinker?”

As Erin searched for the shrinker device, I picked up a party flyer and read it over again.


Attention Teenagers!
You are invited to party at the Phanpy Party Center (PPC)!
Who: Any teenager between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. You must have an ID to be admitted.
When: 7:00 p.m. July 16, 2013
Where: The PPC, of course!
What: Dancing, fun, and battle tournament!
Dress: Semi-formal
Please Note: Due to the large number of young trainers that will be present at the PPC, Pokeballs will be strictly forbidden within the PPC. By taking this precaution, the PPC hopes to avoid stolen Pokemon and unauthorized battling. Trainers entering the tournament may bring one Pokemon outside of its Pokeball into the PPC. Pokemon must be small enough to carry. Trainers will be checked at the door. Any trainer who violates PPC’s rules will be detained. To obtain a complete list of PPC rules or if you have any questions, please call 1-800-PAR-TEEE.



“What Pokemon are you going to bring?” I asked Erin curiously.

“Tweal. Are you coming, or what?” I looked up. Erin was holding the door open and the gigantic wardrobe was not in sight. Apple and I followed Erin out of the room.

“You know, Liam never told us about his Pokemon…” I said as we stood before his door.

Erin bit her lip. “I know. We’ll ask him now—” She knocked on his door and held up the black suit. “—after he changes into this, of course.”

A teenager wearing black jeans and a black loosely buttoned shirt opened the door. His hair was brushed just enough so it didn’t look messy, but kept its slight wildness.

I blinked. Geez, that was Liam?

Erin’s jaw dropped. “Guess you don’t need this,” she mumbled. “You look…uh…good.”

Liam nodded, a small smile playing on his lips.

I coughed slightly to get their attention. “We need to talk.”

Liam opened the door wider, inviting us in. The room was a lot cleaner than the one Erin and I were sharing. Erin and I sat down on the extra bed while Liam sat on his.

“We need to know why you don’t use your Pokemon, how you have a Tyranitar, and why you did not tell us,” I bluntly said.

Liam’s expression returned to its usual stoicism. “I’d prefer not to talk about it.”

“Well, Erin and I would prefer that you tell us. We don’t feel like we can trust you without this information.”

Liam looked away, hesitating before saying, “There was an accident a long time ago… I used to be a trainer… I was a very good trainer.”

Well, that explained the Tyranitar.

“Then, my Pokemon…” Liam continued. “They… they nearly killed a good friend of mine… It was an accident, of course…”

Liam stopped to take a breath. Alright, maybe I really shouldn’t have asked.

“My Pokemon… I loved them but… I couldn’t remain a trainer… I couldn’t bear seeing them, letting them out of their Pokeballs—I wouldn’t let them out of their Pokeballs, not unless it was absolutely necessary…”

“Wow.” Erin whispered.

Liam looked me in the eye. Solemnly, he said, “I explained the situation to them. I loved them… but I couldn’t be around them. I offered to release them… The Pokemon I have left are the ones who refused…”

Erin got up and sat down next to Liam, patting his shoulder. “I’m so sorry.” She gave me the “this is all your fault” glare. Hey! She agreed to do this, too.

“Yeah, sorry” I murmured, not sure if I was more annoyed with myself, Erin, Liam, or this whole situation. “Umm… you know the tournament?” I continued uncomfortably. “Well, we really need that money… so we should all bring a Pokemon. If you’re not comfortable bringing your own Pokemon, maybe you could barrow one of mine?” My voice went kind of high and awkward at the end.

Liam smiled slightly. “Sure.”

<I object!> Apple said.

<Why?>

<Well, who do you think is going to be paired up with him? You think Fiery will listen to him?>

<Let’s find out.> I pulled out Fiery’s Pokeball and Fiery appeared out of the red light. <Fiery, would you battle for Liam?>

<Is Liam my trainer?>

<No, but—>

<Is Liam a blood relative?>

<I sure hope not—>

<Do I care about Liam?>

<Not that I’m aware—>

<Then why the hell would I battle for him!?!>

<Told you so,> Apple snickered.

I sighed. <Apple, will you battle for Liam?>

<I don’t wanna.>

<Apple, come on! Please? We need all the chances we can to win that money!>

<If we win the money, can you use some of the money to buy me a jumbo hotdog?>

I rolled my eyes. <Fine.>

<Then we have a deal.> Apple trotted over to Liam, sniffed his foot, and plopped down next to him.

“Apple will battle with you,” I told Liam. “Fiery, you’re with me.”

<Joy.>

“Alright, ready to go?” I asked. I looked at my watch. “The party already started.”

Liam and Erin got up.

<Well this has been an interesting evening,> Apple commented. <I can’t imagine there could be too much more excitement.>

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

evertime
August 16th, 2009, 08:45 AM
YAY A MINI CHAPTER! kEEP UP THE APPLENESS.
(YES I THINK ITS A WORD)

Buoysel
August 16th, 2009, 09:07 AM
That was a small chapter, and you just handed Liam what hes been wanting all this time, I wonder how this will work out.

Ooh look. I cought a spelling error. I'm so freaking excited. lmao

a set of breaks that need to

The correct spelling would be brakes. I have no idea what breaks are.


YAY A MINI CHAPTER! kEEP UP THE APPLENESS.
(YES I THINK ITS A WORD)

First and for-most, I am not a Mod, and I am not trying to min-mod, I am just trying to be a nice guy and keep people out of trouble:

But, you post did not offer any constructive criticism, please read the rules in this section before you post again.

delongbi
August 16th, 2009, 09:02 PM
Thanks Buoysel (sorry, I can't type your other name so, you are still Buoysel) for the error! I actually had to fix chapter 18 too because I did the same thing there.


YAY A MINI CHAPTER! kEEP UP THE APPLENESS.
(YES I THINK ITS A WORD)

But, you post did not offer any constructive criticism, please read the rules in this section before you post again.



Yeah, he is right. I appreciate the support, but your posts thus far have not offered any advice or commented on my actual writing. Feel free to post such support on my visitor message wall, but only post in this thread to offer your input.

oldenmw
September 13th, 2009, 05:27 PM
Amazing story. No errors i could spot, although i wasn't looking for them :P. Good work, and im excited to see what the next one will hold.

delongbi
September 16th, 2009, 08:21 PM
So that's really weird. Safari will not keep the underlines, bold, and italics when copy and pasted from word, but Firefox will! Yay Firefox! Anyway, sorry it's been a month. I just started college so I've been pretty busy. But, here ya'll go! Enjoy! It's nice to see some new readers! :)



Chapter 20: (Act Two) Sweet ‘n’ Sour Minus the Sweet

The Phanpy Party Center was huge. It was literally the biggest building in the city on the largest property I had ever seen. The building looked more like a country club than a party center; the architecture was Roman style, with white columns and stone walls. Several large gardens and wide grass fields surrounded the building, and around the whole huge property was a pointy iron fence. We had to wait in line with other trainers to make it to the front gate in order to get through said fence.

Behind us, two trainers were discussing battle strategies of water Pokemon, and in front of us a girl and guy would not shut up about who was better at battling. The girl had blond curly hair and the boy had a buzz cut…

And why was I observing this? The line was moving too freakin slow!

So, back to the blond curly hair…

Wait, I knew that blond curly hair!

<I was wondering when you would notice,> Apple snickered from by my feet.

“Mia?”

The blond girl turned around.

“Mia!” I exclaimed, before enveloping her in a huge hug.

“Anita! Wow, the last place I expected to run in to you would be a line for a party. What are you doing here? Who dressed you? And who is your friend?” Mia fluttered her eyes at Liam.

“I can see you haven’t changed,” I said with a laugh. “This is Erin—she dressed me—and that’s Liam.” I gestured to our Pokemon. “You know Apple. The Flareon is Fiery and the Taillow on Erin’s shoulder is Tweal. We’re here for the battle tournament.”

“And the party!” Erin piped.

“We were passing through town… Guys, this is Mia, my childhood friend. Why are you here?” I asked curiously.

“The only person who would consider refusing a free party is you, my dear friend, but I know that’s not what you meant. We’re in Nelcorn because there’s a huge contest here next week.” She turned to Erin and Liam. “Nice to meet you, by the way. I’m Mia, this is Andrew, my Chikorita named Lola, and Andrew’s Snorunt named Snorkoal.”

“So how have you been since I last spoke to you?” I asked. Generally, we tried to call each other once or twice a month to keep in touch. The last time I had talked to her was the day before my birthday.

“Same old thing. I haven’t won any more ribbons in the past couple of weeks, but hopefully that will change by the end of next week. Look at you, though! Already have a Flareon! How many gyms have you beaten?”

“Two, but those weren’t very exciting compared to what else has happened to me. I have such insane stories to tell! You know Carly and Reece? Well, I’ve managed to already run into both of them!”

“How the heck…?”

“Well, I found Carly’s house by accident…” In the next several minutes, I recounted my encounters with Carly and Reece, excluding parts about my gift. I wouldn’t mind telling Mia, but there were too many other people nearby for our conversation to be private.

I had finished by the time we reached the front gate. We were scanned with a machine by two security guards to ensure we did not have any type of Pokeballs. All of us made it through, although some guy behind us was stopped.

We walked up the stone path that led from the gate to the entrance. In the vast fields on either side of the path there were a few Pokemon and trainers practicing attacks. When we reached the main doors of the PPC, we could hear loud music playing, muffled by the party center’s walls.

As we walked though the grand entrance, we were greeted by two lovely teenagers.

At least, they were lovely upon first glance…

…before I recognized them.

Fiery and Apple realized the same thing I did at about the same time. Immediately, they lunged at the female teenager. The girl screamed, “Thunderwave!” and a bolt of electricity spun from near her feet.

I threw up a barrier between the girl and us. <Stop!> I yelled at Fiery, Apple, and the Pokemon who had used thunderwave, which I now identified as a Dratini. Both Fiery and Apple hit my barrier with a thud and the thunderwave deflected harmlessly into the air. <Don’t do anything stupid,> I reminded them. I picked up Fiery and Liam, to my surprise, picked up Apple. I hoped I would be able to follow my own advice. We literally could not afford to be kicked out this early.

“What the hell are you doing here?!” I yelled.

“Yeah, really,” Mia muttered. “Speak of the devil…”

“This is my party,” the girl replied. She didn’t seem at all phased by the barrier I had created. In fact, nobody did. When I replayed the incident in my head, I realized it must have looked like the thunderwave actually hit. Apple and Fiery were standing so still, if I didn’t know better, I would have believed it myself.

“Your party?” I said in disbelief.

“I paid for it, distributed the flyers, and arranged it in celebration of my birthday tomorrow. So yes, it is my party.”

“Erm… who are these people?” Erin asked.

I pointed to the blond girl, dressed in a lovely red dress with a fashionable scarf around her neck. “This is Carly Goldenthrill, the ***** who threw Allo, Sunflower, Vanilla, Splash, and Fiery out on the curb.” I turned my gaze to the boy dressed in a brown shirt and cache pants. “And this is Reece Dracuta, the pervert from Peepin Pond.”

“A pleasure to meet you both,” Liam said. I moved my glare to Liam. He only shrugged. In Liam’s arms, Apple squirmed, trying to escape.

<Stop it,> I ordered.

<I can’t use my psychic powers like this,> Apple complained. <You have to reach out to me to talk with me!>

<You’re not supposed to be using your powers, remember? We’re on ultra-high alert because of Liam,> I reminded Apple.

<Liam’s really starting to annoy me… do I have to listen to him in battle?>

<Unfortunately… look, I really should be paying attention to the argument Mia is having with Carly… It sounds like some excellent insults are being exchanged…>

<Fine, leave me. You know, it’s awfully quiet in my head when I can’t listen to other creatures’ thoughts…>

I rolled my eyes.

“****! You’re the ****! Look who is with Reece, Miss ****ty ****!” Mia scoffed. Yeah, she’s never been the best at insults…

Noticing Carly’s Dratini and Reece’s Bagon by their sides, I interrupted the argument and asked, “How did you two manage to capture such rare Pokemon?”

Carly flicked her hair back. “A birthday present from my mother. Bagon was ugly so I gave it to Reece.” Reece smiled smugly.

I exchanged disgusted looks with Mia and Erin before inquiring, “How are you here if your birthday is tomorrow?”

“Why all the sudden questions?” Carly snapped. “I can get anything I want. My mom pulled a few strings and poof, I’m able to start my journey early.” Carly’s head twirled to Liam. Strangely enough, Reece had been watching Liam for the last several minutes. It was also strange that Reece had not said a word yet, not even a comment about my ass… “Who’s your friend?” Carly asked suddenly.

“I have a lot of friends,” I retorted.

“I’m Andrew,” Andrew said, though he clearly knew he was not being asked about. I chuckled.

“C’mon, let’s go,” Mia said, marching to the right, away from Carly and Reece. I started to follow her…

“No, who are you?” Carly asked, grabbing Liam’s shirt.

Apple growled and Liam yanked his shirt back.

“Liam Mendol,” he answered coldly.

“Dating anyone?” Carly asked flirtatiously.

“Actually, I’m engaged to this Eevee,” Liam replied in a dead-serious voice. He spun around and stalked after us.

I couldn’t help giggling at the look of revulsion on Apple’s face.

We didn’t look back, but I sensed that Carly and Reece were attempting to follow us. Creepers. I put up a barrier between us to stop them. When I heard a light thud, I knew I had succeeded. “Can we leave now?” I asked Erin and Liam once we were they were out of earshot.

“Not if you want that money.”

“You know what’s weird?” Mia started. “They didn’t demand we leave the party. I thought for sure that was what Carly was going to do. It’s what I would have done if she showed up at my party.”

“It was also queer that Reece didn’t say a word,” I added.

“Maybe they’re changing for the better?” Andrew suggested.

Mia and I laughed. “I’d believe Mew was sitting in front of me this instant before I’d believe that,” Mia joked.

I half-snorted and Liam smiled at Mia. Nobody else seemed to find the remark amusing…

“Come on, let’s go sign up for the battle tournament,” I finally insisted. “It starts in fifteen minutes.”

“But there’s music! Couldn’t we dance for a bit?” Erin pleaded.

“No way, the line to sign up is way too long,” Mia pointed out. Thank goodness. “Hey, Anita, you should probably run your two Pokemon over to one of those spare healing machines to get rid of their paralysis.” I had told Mia that Liam was a researcher with weak Pokemon so he was borrowing my Eevee for the tournament. A little white lie… much like the one I was going to tell about healing my “paralyzed” Pokemon.

“Yeah… I’ll get right on that.”

----------------------------

So far my evening was absolutely spectacular! Not.

Yes, I was in the semi-finals, but…

Well, I guess I should start from the beginning of the tournament.

Approximately two hundred teenagers were participating in the tournament. In order to cut that number to an even one hundred twenty eight, there were several pre-tournament battles. Because I had two badges, I was one of the lucky few who got to skip this preliminary round. Erin was not so lucky. She and Tweal faced a Shinx and lost very quickly. Right off the bat, it was up to Liam and me to win the money to fix our bikes. Liam wasn’t even using his own Pokemon… great.

The rest of us all made it into the actual tournament (by rest of us, I mean Mia and Andrew). Sadly, I noticed Reece and Carly made it as well.

The first two rounds were pretty easy for everyone. Fiery and I beat a Bellsprout and a Meowth, Liam and Apple beat a… actually, there’s really no point in listing all of these. All of us made it to the third round, where there were thirty-two contestants left. In this round, Mia faced Andrew. Mia and her Chikorita lost pretty much because a grass Pokemon can’t do **** against a pure ice type. Other than that, not much excitement in the third round.

Then the fourth round. Guess who I ran into just before the fourth round?

Nope, not Carly and Reece. (We had been adamantly avoiding them. If they got too close, I’d just put up a barrier.)

Someone who we seemed to run into all too often—

Jake Veneer.

I found him flirting with Erin, of course.

“Anita, look who’s here!” Erin exclaimed.

“Did you miss me?” Jake grinned. “I’m on my way back from Cape Caution, where I already earned my third badge,” he bragged.

I grimaced while Erin squealed, “Oh, that’s so impressive!” I glared at Erin.

She gave me a smile and a wink.

“So, are you participating in the tournament?” Erin asked.

“Of course I am, my dear. I’m in this next round.”

“Where’s your Pokemon, then?” I folded my arms.

“She prefers to stay under ground,” Jake easily answered. He held out his arm. “I’m up soon. Would you like to accompany me?” he asked Erin.

“I’d love to!” Erin took his arm.

“You’re welcome to take my other arm, Anita,” Jake offered in a sugary voice. Gag.

I turned away in disgust…

I still have a sour taste in my mouth.

Because fate had decided I hadn’t had enough torture this past evening, I faced Reece in that fourth round. Though he was extremely easy to beat, I found his smug smile and lazy stare incredibly annoying and uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he was going for, but I obviously did not stick around to after the battle to find out.

Andrew lost in that fourth round to some guy with a Masquerain. The referee of his battle was a bit… off. Before the battle he was trying to sell some trainers concessions, even though this was a party so there was free food inside just around the corner. His face looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint where I had seen him previously…

Before I could ponder the referee any further, it was the next round. Summary of round number five: Jake beat Carly. Yesssssss! (insert Carly’s eliminated dance here) Wait a second. That means Jake is still in. Aww…

…which brings me back to my current situation: the semi-finals.

There were only four of us left: me, Liam, Jake, and the guy with the Masquerain, whose name was apparently Fred.

There were only three ways this could go:
1. Me vs. Jake and Fred vs. Liam
2. Liam vs. Jake and Me vs. Fred
3. Me vs. Liam and Jake vs. Fred

Options one and two would have been wonderful—these options would have opened up the possibility of both Liam and I making it to the final round, thus ensuing we would receive the bike money no matter how the final battle ended. Because options one and two were, in my opinion, more preferable, we obviously got stuck with option three.

Yup, Fiery and I had to battle Liam and Apple in the semi-finals.

<He’s not even your trainer! How the heck did you two make it this far?> I asked Apple as we stood across from each other on the grassy battlefield.

Apple smirked at me, revealing her tiny fangs. <I’m just that awesome.>

I rolled my eyes.

<We’ll see how awesome you are in a minute,> Fiery growled. Apple stuck out her tongue.

<Yeah, once that ref gets back here,> I added. I quickly scanned the area to see if there was any sign of our recently disappeared referee. The battle between Fred and Jake, I noticed, had already commenced. Jake’s Diglett hid underground as the Masquerain fired bubbles at it…

I turned my gaze to Liam. He was glaring towards the party center building. I followed his line of sight, and low and behold, our referee! I squinted… hmm, it was the same referee from Andrew’s battle with Fred earlier. The man was pocketing a handful of money, and his concessions were nowhere that I could see.

The referee briskly walked towards Liam and me. Once he was in place, he raised his flag and shouted “Begin!”

In a split second, all of Apple’s attacks flashed through my head. I remembered Liam’s words from the previous day… If you act in an unexpected manner, your opponent will be unable to foresee your attacks and you will have the advantage. Because I had trained Apple, she would surly be predictable, giving me the advantage. I expected her to use dig against Fiery, as it would be considerably more effective than any of her other attacks.

“Quick attack!” I shouted.

For a moment, Liam said nothing. He watched as Fiery rushed towards Apple. Then just before Apple hit, he ordered, “Attract.”

I almost laughed. How dumb could he get? Apple didn’t know that attack…

“This is too easy. Come on Fiery, Iron Tail to finish it!”

But Fiery didn’t respond. He was gaping at Apple, watching her as if she was some sort of deity.

Ugh. <Apple, I’ll get you for this!> I called. Apple smiled widely and then nuzzled Fiery lovingly.

“Dig,” Liam demanded. To his surprise, Apple ignored him and playfully nipped at Fiery’s tail. She giggled as Fiery teasingly snapped back. “You are not the one attracted! Dig!” Liam ordered once more.

Again, Apple ignored him. She might not be attracted to Fiery through an attack, but she was nonetheless attracted.

“Fiery, snap out of it!” I yelled, out loud and psychically. Bite!”

Fiery shook his head and stared for a moment at the Eevee attempting to cuddle with him. Then, reality seemed to hit and he sharply bit down on Apple’s tail…

Or where Apple’s tail was moments before she slipped past Fiery, licked his cheek, and then dove into the ground.

“Ember into the hole!” I called. Fiery did not respond once again. He looked longingly at the hole, like a lovesick fox… which I guess he actually was. I muttered angrily to myself and attempted to slip into Fiery’s mind—

—only to be shoved out. <Fair is fair!> Apple said. <If I’m not using my powers, you shouldn’t be using yours!>

<You just used yours to stop me, you little dim-wit! And you only pull that “fair” card when you’d have the advantage! It’s inconsistent with the whole fairness policy!>

<And you’re miss, “oh, I’d feel guilty if I ever read someone’s mind in a battle. It’d be cheating.” Well, what do you call what you were about to do?> Apple yelled. She burst out of the ground and hit Fiery squarely in the chest.

A twinge of guilt churned in my stomach. <Hypocritical, I suppose…> Apple tackled Fiery to the ground again. “Fiery, snap out of it!” I yelled uselessly. I hated this… not being able to help my Pokemon.

<Fiery, use iron tail!> I called. Apple was too busy using iron tail herself to stop me from entering Fiery’s head. Sudden realization dawned in Fiery’s eyes; he managed to block Apple’s tail with his own. Apple jumped back, out of physical attacking range.

Did I feel guilty about using my powers? Yes. Was I sorry? Not a bit.

Fiery was breathing heavily; I’d have to do something to finish this fast.

“Ember!” I ordered.

“Dig.”

This was my one chance. “Fiery, get to that hole and fire down it!” But it was too late—Apple popped beneath Fiery just as he reached the hole.

Fiery collapsed. Apple poised herself nearby, ready to attack should Fiery get up. “Fiery, you can do this,” I hollered hoarsely.

Unfortunately, Fiery didn’t get up.

“The winner is Liam Mendol and his Eevee!” the referee declared.

I quickly strode onto the field to pick up Fiery. Apple ran up to me to do her victory dance. <I beat my trainer! I beat Fiery! I’m that awesome! Na, na, na, naaa, naaa.>

<Don’t get full of yourself.>

<I’m not. I’m full of victory!>

I scooped up Fiery in my arms as Liam approached me. He held out his hand. “Good battle.”

Rolling my eyes, I shook his hand. “I suppose I can’t be too mad. You’ve won with my Pokemon, after all.”

<He did command me, you know. Maybe he’s a better trainer.> Liam smirked, as if he knew what Apple had said.

<You’re not supposed to say that! You’re my Pokemon!>

Apple shrugged.

“The next round will commence in ten minutes!” a referee announced. I looked over my shoulder and found Jake shaking Fred’s hand. Fred’s Masquerain lay fainted in his arms.

Liam and I started heading inside for the automatic Pokemon healing machines.

“I do have one question…” I started. Liam looked at me expectantly. “How did you know Apple knew Attract, when I didn’t even know Apple knew that attack?”

Liam pulled a red device out of his pocket and handed it to me. I flipped it open and gasped, “Is this a Pokedex?”

Liam nodded. Pokedexes were extremely rare and even more expensive. A Pokedex could scan a Pokemon to reveal attacks learned and general skill level as well as having several other features. I’d have expected someone like Carly to have one… “Where did you get it?”

“My father gave it to me a long time ago, when I was still a trainer.”

Deciding not to pursue that tangent further, I asked Apple, <How did you learn Attract anyway?>

<I picked up some tips from that Delcatty I fought. It’s really an easy skill to learn… Liam helped me perfect it today in earlier battles.>

Great. I had an Eevee that already abused her psychic powers. Now, she suddenly had the power to attract half of the Pokemon population.

That did not seem like a good combination.

We reached the automatic healers. They were cone shaped, with automatic sliding doors. I placed Fiery inside the open doors of one, and Apple hopped into another. The doors closed, and seconds later, both Apple and Fiery leapt out of the healers.

Apple wasted no time. <I beat you, I beat you!> She sung at Fiery.

<Don’t get full of yourself,> Fiery growled. I smiled at the familiar words. <I’ll take you on again anytime.>

<You still have one battle to win,> I reminded Apple as Liam started back towards the doors that led to the outside field in back. I followed… <Are you coming?> I asked Fiery.

Fiery shook his head. <If you need me I’ll be sulking in the front garden.> He began to trot away.

<You’re not going to watch?> Apple asked, a touch of disappointment in her voice.

<I don’t enjoy watching selfish braggarts,> Fiery sneered.

Apple sadly watched him go. <You shouldn’t have—> I scolded.

<I know,> Apple interrupted before shaking her head and trailing Liam. Her ears and tail drooped slightly as she padded across the cold tile floor.

Her sweet victory gone sour.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Annoying twit. That girl was stalling our plans with her stupid barriers. I couldn’t get within a hundred yards of her!

And he had realized it too. He was avoiding me by staying close to her. Unfortunate really—he was losing a chance to be with a beautiful, wonderful girl.

Whatever. It did not matter. For we had a back up plan…

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lights twinkled brightly above the field, blurring out the stars and the waning moon. I stood across from the referee—one of many partiers watching the final battle.

The last battle—the ultimate battle—the crucial battle.

The battle to end all battles!

The battle to win the tournament money so we could repair our bikes.

Very dramatic, right?

Liam and Jake faced each other across the field. Jake was wearing his usual smirk while Liam’s expression remained unreadable.

I did my best to ignore the tinge of jealousy I felt for Liam. I wanted to be battling…

The referee—no not the bizarre one; he seemed to have disappeared—shouted, “Begin!”

So it did.

<Aw, ****, the Diglett’s a girl,> was Apple’s first thought.

“Dig!” commanded both Liam and Jake. Both Pokemon disappeared under ground.

“Go Jake! You got this!” a girl yelled beside me.

I turned to tell her to shut the hell up—“Erin?!”

“Oh, hey Anita,” Erin said before shouting again, “C’mon Jake!” Jake caught Erin’s eye and grinned.

“Erin, we need the bike money! And that’s my Eevee! You have to root for Liam!”

“But Jake is cuter…” Erin stuck out her tongue at me and continued cheering for Jake.

I rolled my eyes. Apple suddenly was tossed out of the hole she had gone down. She may be able to use the attack dig, but Digletts were naturally stronger and quicker under ground (thus their name). Liam seemed to understand this—he was smiling slightly. In fact, I had a suspicion that he only had Apple use dig to test the Diglett’s speed—

“Go Jake!” Ugh, this was annoying. Hmm, maybe…

I hopped into Erin’s mind chanting, <Go Liam, Go Liam, Go Liam, Go Liam…>

“Go Liam! Go Liam!” Erin shouted. Her hands rushed to her mouth. “Did I actually say that?” she hissed. “Anita, get out of my— Go Liam! Go Li—Anita, I’m gonna kill you!”

Erin somewhat subdued, I watched the battle through her eyes. “Apple, do what I say—iron tail that rock!” Liam ordered. Jake’s Diglett raced toward her in an attempted slash, but Apple dodged to the right just in time.

<How is breaking a rock going to help me? I’ve got to beat this Diglett, not the rock!> I heard Apple think. I couldn’t help but agree with her.

“For the last time Apple, use your tail to break apart that rock!” There was a sharp edge to Liam’s voice. Apple was thrown backwards as she was hit by another dig attack. “Get to that rock!”

Another hit.

“Apple, Digletts have poor eyesight,” Liam explained as Apple tiredly sidestepped the Diglett popping out of the ground. “They ‘see’ through vibrations in the ground. In order to win this battle, you must break the rock into shards, and then kick these shards to make vibrations elsewhere. This will make it appear to the Diglett that you are elsewhere, and allow you to predict the locations the Diglett will appear.”

<Why didn’t you say so—> The Diglett knocked Apple to the ground. And out.

Liam muttered, “Too late,” spun on the spot, and angrily kicked the grass…

I left Erin’s body and blinked. Whoa, Erin’s face was way too close.

“Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Erin said angrily.

“Or what?” I taunted playfully. Erin raiser her hand and swiped at me. If it weren’t for Liam’s practice I would have never been able to move out of the way in time. “Alright, alright! I’m sorry! I won’t do it, I swear!”

Erin turned and melted into the crowd. Right, the crowd. People swarmed around me onto the field, cheering for Jake. I couldn’t even see Jake any more… or Liam and Apple, for that matter.

I did hear Jake yell, “Come on! Let’s go get this party started!” I was nearly swept off my feet by the crowd. I had to create a small barrier around me to prevent getting herded inside with everyone else.

<Apple!> I called out. I couldn’t locate her; there were too many people and thoughts flooding my senses. <Apple!> I tried again. It was no use. I prayed she hadn’t been trampled.

I sighed and rigidly watched my watch as the crowd cleared out. It took seven minutes and twenty six seconds… not that I was counting.

I looked at the area I on the field I thought Apple had fallen. She was no where to be found. I figured as much—Liam probably took her to be healed. I had just been hoping I wouldn’t actually have to go back into the party.

I calmed my mind and focused on Apple. It was strange—I thought I felt her in the midst of the party center, but I couldn’t seem to speak telepathically with her. I stopped trying and watched the wind tickle the tips of the grass blades for a moment, summoning my courage.

I turned around and held my head up high, attempting not to cringe as I followed the crowd into the booming music… the restless dancing… the sweaty bodies…

My personal hell.

delongbi
October 25th, 2009, 04:19 PM
Another month, another chapter, or that's my goal. We'll see! Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing this.

Chapter 21: (Act Three) The Di-Vine Dance

Blaring music, dimmed lights, another victory, and several hot girls dancing beside me—this was the life! I skimmed the giggling group of girls surrounding me for one in particular, one redhead among these blonds and brunettes.

Ah, there she was—not amid my crowd, but in a small cluster of her own, one adjacent to mine. No matter, I would go to her.

I pushed through the several girls, excusing myself gracefully. When one girl with a particularly strong grip latched onto my shoulder, I twirled her away into another lucky gentleman’s arms.

Erin, said beautiful redhead, was laughing and appeared to be having a dance off with a blonde girl I had seen in the battle tournament. The blonde girl performed a series of complex jumps through her Chikorita’s vines. She then snatched the vines and spun them, causing her Chikorita to roll through the air and land on her shoulder. The blonde gave Erin a “beat that” look.

Erin smirked and nodded to her Taillow. The bird hopped to the ground and Erin began with a series of unusual dance moves—all of which her Taillow imitated perfectly. When Erin folded her arms and square stepped, the Taillow folded his wings and square stepped. It was quite amusing to watch the Taillow imitate everything Erin did exactly.

Erin ended with a double back flip (causing several nearby dancers to back away/move out of the way in surprise) up to the blond girl and then whirled the girl into a waltz position.

The Taillow did the same, only ending up in a waltz position with the Chikorita.

Both girls burst out laughing.

I strode up to the pair of hyenas and slipped my hand between theirs. The laughing came to an abrupt stop.

“May I intercede?” I asked. Erin looked up and blushed. Upon seeing Erin’s expression, the blonde girl winked and disappeared into the crowd of dancers toward the wall. Erin’s Taillow whistled a cat-call before flapping off after the blonde.

I took Erin’s light hand and twirled her closer to me. When I heard her breath catch, I smirked slightly. “That was quite a dance,” I complemented. “Do you and your Taillow practice regularly?”

Erin looked up at me with those lovely hot-chocolate-like eyes. “Yeah…I—uh… I mean no.”

“No?” I asked. This was unlike Erin’s usual quick and witty response… interesting. I touched Erin’s other arm and trailed my finders up to her hand.

Erin stared at her hands for a moment before firmly repeating, “No.” We moved slowly together despite the upbeat music. She closed her eyes for a moment and when she opened them, she was smiling widely.

“Then how, may I ask, was your performance so perfect?”

Though I didn’t believe it possible, her smile grew. “What can I say, I’m astounding.”

So cheeky Erin was back after all. I rolled my eyes and spun her again, considering the Taillow. “Mirror
Move?” I guessed.

“You caught me,” Erin replied, literally falling into my arms. She blushed and quickly spun away. “Tweal’s father was a Pidgeot.”

I was about to comment on the strange nature of her Taillow’s name when Erin peered over my shoulder and said, “Oh look, there’s Liam.” I turned my head and saw the pesky kid leaning against the wall, talking to the blonde girl Erin had been dancing with before. Actually, I think the two were flirting from the way the girl kept laughing and moving closer to the kid. “Why isn’t he dancing?” Erin mused.

Irked, I replied, “Who cares?”

Erin ignored me. “This is totally unacceptable! That boy must dance! He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on!” She pulled away from me and made her way toward the irritating teen.

I felt like I was the one missing out.

Seriously, what was with that kid? Why was Erin so interested in him? Perhaps, she liked… no I didn’t want to consider that. Perhaps, she wanted to make me jealous. Yes, jealousy… well, two could play at that game.

I turned around to locate one of the girls I had danced with earlier, only to come face to face with a frantic looking Anita Parkwood.

This situation could not be more perfect.

“Jake, have you seen—”

I leaned in—

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

—and kissed me.

So much for being a psychic. I certainly didn’t see this one coming.

The instant his lips touched mine, all thoughts and worries about finding Apple fled my mind. I had kissed once before, but it was nothing like this.

If I had known he was going to kiss me, I would have slapped him. This is Jake Veneer we’re talking about. The evil, annoying… sexy, delicious… G-d help me.

He had one arm wrapped around my waist and another hand cupping my chin. His lips were soft and gentle, paralyzing my body and shutting down my brain. All I wanted was to get closer to him…

Was he enjoying this as much as I was?

There were just too many feelings—so much yearning to close the distance between our minds, emotions, souls. I couldn’t help myself; I slid into his mind…

He watched Erin. He was enjoying himself; in fact, he seemed surprised that he was enjoying this more than his several other kisses… but it was almost all physical. Not nearly as much emotion as I was feeling…

He watched Erin. This was for her… he wanted to be kissing—

I abruptly shoved him away, disgusted.

“You…you… What have you done?” Anger flooded my mind. I was vaguely aware that a nearby light fixture exploded into a billion glass shards.

About to completely maul Jake Veneer, I was stopped suddenly by a shocking sight.

Erin was making out with Liam.

Mia, who had just been talking with Liam, looked like she might puke. Feelings of betrayal radiated from her; she stomped away angrily.

I watched in complete disbelief. And I thought our traveling group was already messed up…

Erin finally took a step back, but instead of smiling at Liam, she grinned evilly at Jake, snickered, and marched in the opposite direction of Mia. I noticed the restrooms were in that direction.

Remembering I still had to kill Jake, I turned around—only to find he had already disappeared.

Leaving me and Liam.

For a second we watched each other with a mixture of confusion and astonishment, trying to understand what had happened in the past five minutes. I’m not sure we ever would.

Distantly, I heard the DJ say, “And now a slow dance, dedicated to our birthday girl, Carly Goldenthrill…”

I blinked, feeling like I was forgetting something.

“Apple!” I exclaimed. Right, I was looking for Apple. She did not seem to be with Liam… “Liam, have you—” I started before realizing Liam’s attention was not on me.

“Anita, will you dance with me?” Liam asked, his eyes darting across the crowd to his left.

“What?!”

“You heard me; will you dance with me?”

“Why would I do that? I think you’ve had enough girls for the day—”

Carly appeared out of the crowd of people to Liam’s left, her eyes focused on him. “Because,” Liam quickly replied. “Otherwise I’ll have to dance with Carly and you’ll have to dance with Reece.” He nodded to the right. Reece’s tall figure could be seen pushing past teenagers in this direction.

“Oh, Liam,” Carly sang. “It’s my birthday! Will you dance with me?”

Liam smiled frostily. “Sorry, I already have a dance partner.” He slung one arm around my waist and used his free arm to place my hand on his shoulder. I took a step closer to him so I could easily put both arms around his neck (to strangle him if necessary, of course).

Carly frowned and stomped away to Reece.

“Has it been like this all night?” I asked, amused.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Liam muttered darkly. “Actually, the only time I’ve been able to avoid her completely is when I’m with you.” He raised an inquisitive eyebrow.

“Psychic barriers,” I reminded him. “Though right now, I can’t exactly do that.”

“Believe me; nobody is sorrier than I am.” He peered around. “She’s not around anyway.”

“Probably sulking…” I suddenly stopped swaying with the music, remembering my missing Pokemon. “Liam, where’s Apple? Did you take her to be healed?”

“No, I did not see her after the battle. I assumed you picked her up.”

“Shit,” I said, starting to pull away.

And that’s when the music stopped and the lights went out. Several people screamed.

Double ****.

Something flung me forward, into something hard. I tried to reach out with my psychic powers to figure out what all these “somethings” were, but I found that I couldn’t. A thick rope seemed to bind me to the hard thing in front of me. My arms were tied around it, and I was helpless to stop whatever was holding me.

I managed to tilt my head upwards, and yelped in surprise when I found a pair of glowing green eyes staring down at me.

“Liam?” I asked.

“Yes,” a voice above me replied.

“I’m tied to you.”

“So I’ve noticed.”

“What’s going on?” I asked hesitantly. It was oddly comforting to have somebody to talk to in the midst of all this panic.

“I suspect we are being abducted. We can conclude that our abductees know of your psychic powers, as they most likely tied us together to stop your gift from working,” Liam answered robotically, as if he was reading it out of a text book.

“Can you see what’s happening?” I asked. Shrieks filled the air. Somewhere off to my right a couple of trainers were ordering their Pokemon to attack. I let out a yelp of fear when my feet came off of the ground.

“Obviously. We are currently tied together by thick green vines, and I believe there are a few others who have been tied by these vines. The vines are numerous and strong enough to lift us into the air, making me suspect the vines belong to a Tangela. A few trainers are attacking the vines, but I believe they are encountering problems because their vision is impaired. The rest of the teenagers are panicking.”

“A Tangela?” I asked. I knew one person with a Tangela…

There was a flash of fire somewhere below me. The vines did not explode into flames as I expected. “That was Protect…” Liam muttered.

“Are these people idiots? If they use a fire attack, the whole place could burn down.” I could tell we were being moved through the air from my hair rustling into my face.

“We’re moving towards a doorway,” Liam informed me.

“Lovely,” I replied. I started to struggle, seeing if I could wiggle my way out of these vines.

“Ow!” Liam yelped. “Stop it! Are you trying to strangle me?”

“Well, you figure out a way out of this!”

“I’ve concluded that there is no way out, and therefore have decided to save energy by not moving.”

“So you’re giving up?”

“No, I’m waiting for a more opportune time—you need to duck,” Liam warned.

“How the hell am I supposed to—” something hit the back of my head. The world spun. I saw about forty green eyes. “Crap, that hurt,” I said, dazed.

“The Tangela… miscalculated how high that doorway was.”

“No ****.”

The screams began to fade behind us. I supposed we were being reeled in to wherever the Tangela was. My stomach plummeted, indicating we were going downwards.

A few dark minutes later, we finally stopped moving. I felt my feet touch the ground.

The lights flickered on. Unused to the light, I had to blink several times before I could properly see. When my eyesight returned, the first thing I saw was a blur of bleached hair and amber eyes. “Reece,” I hissed. “I knew you had a Tangela…”

Reece shrugged. He bent down out of my sight. I looked around. We were in some sort of storage room, probably in the party center’s basement. There were several cardboard boxes along the white walls, and the ceiling was cracked. A small wooden doorway was in the corner of wall I was facing. It was hard to see much more because Liam was in the way…

“Anita! Liam!” I heard Erin’s voice behind me.

“Hey Erin, how’s it going?” I asked sarcastically. Liam rolled his eyes. “Who else is here?”

“Jake’s tied up in the back corner. His mouth is covered with a vine though. Other than that, it’s just us, Erin, Tweal, Apple, and Reece.”

“Apple’s in here!?”

“Yes, but she is knocked out on the floor.” So that’s what happened to her…

“Tweal’s tied up, too?”

“Yes.”

“Can you see what Reece is doing?”

“I’m snapping Tangela’s vines and tying them so he doesn’t have to hold you,” Reece answered. I felt my shoe being taken off.

“What the hell are you doing?!”

“Ensuring that you will not be able to use your powers.” I felt my bare foot touch Liam’s bare foot and shivered at the awkwardness. Reece was tying them together. Highly unnecessary, if you ask me. My hands were already tied around his neck.

“What do you want with us, Reece?”

Reece did not respond. He was apparently done tying us up and moved away, probably to Erin. The wooden door in the corner of the room opened.

Carly stepped through.

Figures.

“I knew Reece was too stupid to figure all of this out on his own!” I mock exclaimed.

Carly ignored me and walked out of my line of sight. “Excellent work.”

THUMP

“You *****! Don’t touch my hair! Do you know how long it took me to style it like this?! Fu—mmmhmmmmmmmm. Mmmh. Mhhhm!”

“Carly touched Erin’s hair. Erin fell over in an attempt to bite Carly. A vine is now covering Erin’s mouth,” Liam explained before I could ask.

“What do you want, Carly? People are going to notice we’re missing. They’ll call the police!”

“By then, we will be long gone.”

“Why did you take Apple before the rest of us?” I asked to see if that was indeed what had occurred.

“I assumed you would come looking for her. You were supposed to come down here yourself, but apparently you don’t care about your Pokemon enough,” Carly snickered. “We were forced to resort to more disruptive plans…”

Anger broiled in my blood. “What do you want?” I repeated. “Our Pokemon? Money?” My eyes flickered to Reece. “A blow job?”

“Nothing,” Carly said.

“Nothing?” I asked in disbelief. “So you just decided to tie us up for fun?”

“Pretty much.”

I felt a yank at the back of my head. “Ow! What was that for?”

“Too many questions.” Carly walked back into my sight. She placed a hand on Liam’s head and ran it lovingly through his hair. “Can’t avoid me now, can you?”

Liam narrowed his eyes and with precise aim, spat in her face.

“Nice one,” I commented cheerfully. Carly used the sleeve of her dress to wipe her face, disgusted. I smirked. “Hey, Carly, if there is one upside to this situation, it’s that I get Liam here all to myself.” I leaned my head on Liam’s shoulder to enforce the point. “Too bad you—”

Carly snapped her fingers and my mouth was covered with a vine instantly. Ah well, I knew I had it coming. Carly put her face close to mine. “I’ve always wanted to do this.” I saw her raise her hand and I immediately closed my eyes. I winced as her hand connected with my face.

I saw stars again.

“Our work here is done,” I heard Carly say. “Come on Reece, let’s go.” I watched the two leave the room, Reece holding his Tangela. We unfortunately were all still tied up by the Tangela’s snapped-off vines, and Liam was the only one who could talk.

A few moments after the door slammed shut, Liam said, “Jump.” He tried to jump, but because I didn’t we ended up falling to the ground with a loud thump. Of course, my back landed on the hard floor. Liam, on top of me, was at least cushioned by my body.

I glared at him.

For whatever reason he started kicking the ground. “Make as much movement as possible,” Liam ordered. I had no idea what he was trying to do, but Erin complied and started thumping the ground with her legs. Jake, I noticed, was too tied up to move any part of his body.

About five minutes later, something suddenly burst out of the ground.

“Diglett!”

“Diglett, slash these vines,” Liam ordered. The Diglett obeyed, releasing Jake first, of course, because Jake was her trainer.

Finally, we were all free of the vines. I scooped Apple off of the ground as Jake explained, “—so then they tied me up when I was calling out for Diglett.” He looked at Liam. “Man, if you knew to call Diglett by thumping around, why didn’t you do it sooner?”

“They had a grass Pokemon,” Liam answered coldly. “Calling Diglett while it was around would have been pointless.”

Erin tried opening the door. She had been extremely quiet, and avoided even looking at Jake. Jake pretended that nothing was wrong. “It’s locked,” Erin announced.

“Slash,” Jake ordered his Diglett. The door… well, it fell away in chunks. We climbed through the doorway. In front of us was a long spiral staircase, but to the left there was an elevator. I pressed the up button.

“What I don’t get is why they captured us in the first place,” I muttered as we clambered into the elevator. I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind, trying to see if I could locate Carly or Reece. I couldn’t find either. I did, however, find—

<Fiery!>

<So you are alive. The police are looking for you.>

Through Fiery’s eyes, I saw he was sitting in the large ball room the dance had been held in the party center. All of the lights were on, and the room was mostly empty. Napkins, cups, dead vines, and even a few shoes were strewn about the room. A couple of police were inspecting the area. One of the officers had a Machamp that was holding up a large metal gate—

The elevator door opened, and down the hall, I could see the Machamp. As we passed under the gate the Pokemon was holding up, I heard a nearby policeman mutter, “I don’t understand why this gate came down…”

Mia and Andrew were waiting by Fiery, looking worried. When they spotted us, they ran over exclaiming, “Are you okay?! What happened?!”

Officer Jenny, her turquoise hair bobbing, walked over to us and grimly said, “I think we’d all like to hear that.” Several police officers gathered around us.

I explained everything, leaving out the bit about my powers. When I was finished, one police officer said, “But that’s impossible. Carly Goldenthrill was the first person to call the police. Several people said they saw her run out of the building for help.”

“Are you sure it was Carly?” Officer Jenny asked.

“Yes, it was,” I replied.

“Maybe she didn’t see correctly?” one of the police officers suggested.

“We saw her, too,” Erin answered. “It was definitely Carly Goldenthrill.”

There was a murmur among the police officers. “There have been rumors of Team Glop’emm using hypnosis…” a policeman said. “Could it be?”

Angry that the police were so unwilling to listen, I yelled, “We weren’t hypnotized!”

“How could you know?” the policeman retorted.

Because one of us isn’t affected by any form of psychic energy, I wanted to scream. Another light fixture exploded.

Liam grabbed my arm. I glared at him and tried to tug away. He held steady and glared right back at me. “Control. Your. Emotions,” he hissed, before releasing my arm.

Officer Jenny put a hand on my shoulder and said, “That’s enough.” She frowned at the police officer muttering about hypnosis. “It is extremely unlikely that these children have been hypnotized. There little proof of anything at the moment, except that there was indeed a Tangela in this room. We will continue investigating, but now it is time for these children to return to the Pokemon Center.”

Officer Jenny lightly pushed us toward the door.

We took the cue and left.

-----------------------------

The Pokemon Center was crowded, but because Apple only needed a simple heal, we were able to get back to our rooms fairly quickly. I left Apple with Nurse Joy and had to pick her up in about ten minutes.

As we walked down the austere hall back to our rooms, I made a request. “I think we should leave tonight.”

“Are you insane?” Mia asked. “Do you know what time it is?!”

Erin yawned. “Anita, it’s one in the morning. Isn’t it reasonable to just stay the night?”

In Erin’s and Liam’s minds, I said, <I’d like to see if I am able to locate Carly and Reece.>

Liam nodded slowly. “I’m with Anita.”

Erin scowled. “Fine, I’ll go pack.” She turned to Mia and gave her a quick hug. “It was nice meeting you,” she said. Then, in barely a whisper, she spoke: “And I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” Her voice was so quiet I may have been hearing it telepathically.

Mia nodded.

Erin shook hands with Andrew, ignored Jake was standing with us, and backed into our room to pack.

Liam simply nodded to everyone, giving a particularly long look to Jake. They seemed to have developed a mutual respect for one another. Liam turned and exited into his room, next to mine and Erin’s.

Mia and I hugged, promising we’d keep in touch and she and Andrew went off to bed (not together, to their separate rooms, people).

Which left Jake.

Jake sighed. “Anita, I need to talk to you.”

I jumped into his mind before he could say anything. <…feel bad about having to break it to her, but its best not to have any confusion in the future. I don’t enjoy breaking hearts…>

I snapped back into my own head and glared at the twit. He was so arrogant he believed that just because he kissed me, I like-liked him! I mean, he was a good kisser, but that does not make him a decent person! Ugh—he deserved this—

I thrust my fist forward in a well-practiced punch.

CRUNCH

I think that was his nose! Ooh, that had to hurt.

To add insult to injury, I declared, “Jake Veneer, you are an arrogant ass. Remember, that is what I have always and will always think of you, moron!”

I slammed the door in his face, feeling pretty good about myself.

Erin spotted my grin. “What are you so happy about?”

“I think I may have broken Jake’s nose.”

Erin smiled. “That is something to be happy about.”

----------------------------

“Here’s your Eevee. Have a good evening,” Nurse Joy said tiredly. Apple jumped into my arms. There were less trainers waiting to get their Pokemon healed in the Pokemon Center’s lobby when we exited the building. We quietly walked down the street.

<Where is everyone else?> was Apple’s first question.

<Depending on who you are referring to, either in the Pokemon Center or in a Pokeball. Either way, they’re probably sleeping,> I replied.

<Where are we going?> Why was Apple so inquisitive this late... oh wait, she was just knocked out for about five hours. That’d do it.

<We’re going to find Carly and Reece.>

<Why would you want to find those fruitcakes?> Apple asked.

<To eat them alive.>

<Good point. Fruitcakes are quite delicious.> Apple paused. <I think I must be missing something.>

<A few brain cells?> I suggested.

<So you finally admit I have a brain!> Apple exclaimed. <Thinking of which, can I have a peek into yours? I need to catch up…>

<If you must.>

<Thanks.> Apple sniffed the air. <I have one last question.>

<Ask away,> I replied dryly.

<Is there a reason I smell like an overgrown, tangled weed?!>

delongbi
December 14th, 2009, 11:01 PM
Chapter 22: Mysteries

I held the door open for the two teenagers as they walked into my office. While they sat down in their prepared chairs, I took my time locking the door and pulling down the black office window blinds. Finally, I slowly strutted across my room, pulled out my cushioned chair, and sat down across from the teenagers. I folded my hands atop the desk.

For a moment, I mused over the vast differences between the two teenagers. The blonde girl fidgeted with excitement, watching me eagerly. The boy, on the other hand, looked rather bored as he stared at a covered window. It was a wonder they were able to work so well together.

“You two have done exceedingly well,” I said. “You shall be rewarded as promised.”

The girl smiled brightly.

“New Blue, the world renowned clothing store, is having a nationally televised catwalk in Cereal City a month from now. I happen to have close ties to the president of New Blue.” Team Glop’emm had bought out the company, after all. We used the numerous stores to locate potential customers of our stolen Pokemon. “I have arranged for you, Carly Goldenthrill, to be a model for this catwalk.”

Carly squealed in delight.

“However, you will need to report to Cereal City immediately for preparations. I will, once again, have Gallade teleport you.” Carly nodded happily, and I turned to the boy, frowning. “Is there anything you would like? Perhaps a spot in the catwalk as well?”

The boy smiled greedily. “Can I keep the Gallade?”

My frown deepened. This particular Gallade was one of the team’s most successful Pokemon. He understood the concept of working for the greater good of the whole team and thus took orders from any team member if requested, no questions asked.

Well, sacrifices had to be made, and these two had done an exceptional job. This way, I could wiggle in my own condition as well… “Very well, you may keep Gallade… under one circumstance. Should I require a favor in the future, you and Carly are obliged to assist me as needed.” For now, there was no reason to continue using these two teens—I had what I wanted.

“Deal,” Reece answered immediately. Carly frowned at him, as if he should have asked for her approval.

I smiled and reached into my pocket. “This is Gallade’s Pokeball. You are dismissed.” Once again, I held the door for the teenagers as they exited my office, relocking the door as soon as they had departed. I opened my laptop and settled back into my chair.

Carly and Reece had indeed provided beyond the basic information I had been seeking. For one, they had given me a very good idea of the strength of both gifted children’s powers. I rewatched the clip of one of the very first scenes from the party, slowing the video as Carly yelled, “Thunderwave!” I carefully observed as the Eevee and Flareon leapt toward the electric bolt. Just before the two Pokemon were struck by the attack, they fell to the ground. I paused the video. If one looked carefully, a slight deflection of the electric bolt could be seen.

Anita Parkwood certainly had a strong gift, if she was indeed a child. It was only to be expected if the Master was correct in his assumption of her being Mew. This was just the first of several occurrences throughout the night in which she had illustrated her ability to create barriers. The fact that she was able to keep Carly and Reece away from her for practically the entire evening further manifested that she could sense their presence, perhaps even view their thoughts…

I froze. What if she could read their minds? How limited was that ability? Had she discovered my existence? I considered her reactions through the rest of the evening and breathed again. No, I decided. She appeared too confused. Unless she was a brilliant actress, it seemed unlikely that she knew of me. Of course, if she was Mew, she would have to be a brilliant actress. I would just have to hope that if she did know, she would say nothing to the Mendol boy. In the future, I would be more careful.

I fast forwarded the video until I came across another scene involving the Master’s so-called detective, Liam Mendol.

He certainly could be related to the Master—he had the same unnerving green eyes. Interestingly, he was also using the Master’s last name, though why he would do anything so obvious was beyond me. The detective seemed an inch or two taller than I remembered the Master. It was impossible to consider any other similarities as I had never actually seen the Master in the light.

I watched the scene play out. On the right side of the screen, the Mendol boy was mingling on the outskirts of a crowd watching a battle. The left side of the screen was filled by Gallade, pretending to be some trainer’s wandering Pokemon.

“Psychic,” Reece ordered. I could not see Reece, as the camera was attached to his body.

Gallade’s eyes glowed in concentration. I watched the Mendol boy. Nothing happened. Three more times Gallade tried, but the boy remained unaffected.

I smiled. This had confirmed the boy to have the same powers as the Master—

A stab of pain wretched through my gut. Why were these children granted such power? If I had that kind of power…

I shook my head to rid myself of pointless yearnings.

I fast forwarded again—this time to the final scenes of the evening. I watched as Carly implemented her ingenious plan of using Mendol’s gift against him in order to carry out my other request…

I opened the desk drawer and pulled out four small covered vials, each containing a single hair.

I smiled. Carly had even thought to obtain the hair of Jake Veneer, who appeared extremely well acquainted with the three persons I had originally requested a hair from.

I closed the laptop and picked up the vials. It was time to put the hair to good use. I silently strode out of my office to the elevator, pressing B5.

As I swiftly left the elevator, I brushed past Rita Teal, her Pokeball earings jiggling wildly from the slight impact. Rita sent a silent scowl my way before the elevator doors closed.

I walked down the tiled hall and turned into the bare room with the DNA tracking device, my finger print scanned at the door.

Carefully, I took the vials from my pocket and uncorked each one. Using tweezers, I plucked the four hairs from their vials and placed them in four of the DNA tracking device’s slots.

The Mendol boy’s hair was the last I fed into the machine. I examined the dark hair, wishing I could somehow obtain the DNA of the Master or his deceased father so I could run a comparative analysis to demonstrate the detective’s relation to the Master. Unfortunately, the Master was sure to clear the system of any information on his family’s DNA records in order to avoid being tracked. I sighed and dropped the final hair into the machine’s slot.

There was a whirring sound, and then a cluster of multi-colored dots appeared on the screen. Before I could smile in victory, the irritable walkie-talkie was buzzing on my hip.

“Master, I presume,” I said into the walkie, answering its buzz.

“Never presume.” The Master’s cold voice rang through the walkie.

“Of course.” I briefly wondered if I would ever actually speak with the mysterious detective. He had yet to call me, or I him.

“How is business?” the Master inquired.

“The usual,” I answered easily.

“Excellent. Is there any new information regarding Pokemon X?”

I looked at the dots on the tracking device’s screen and smirked to myself. “Nothing, Master.”

The annoying boy paused before requesting, “Tell me, Mr. Arkle, what do you know of Carly Goldenthrill and Reece Dracuta?”

“Of the former, I only know that she gave us much valuable information regarding Anita Parkwood. I have never heard of Reece Dracuta,” I replied innocently. “Why do you ask?”

“My detective—nevermind. It was nothing,” the Master retorted. Then, composing his voice, he calmly continued, “No further information, Master out.”

I put down the walkie-talkie next to the slots and stared at the blinking dots. I would not be losing track of Liam Mendol, the oh-so-spectacular detective, nor Anita Parkwood, the supposed legendary, any time soon.

I grinned.

For now, that was satisfying.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I pocketed the walkie-talkie, deep in disconcerted thought.

How did they know?

How did Carly Goldenthrill and Reece Dracuta learn of the dark gift?

So few humans knew of the gift in the first place…

Mr. Dracuta, certainly, knew of Miss Parkwood’s powers since the Peepin Pond incident, but who could have explained to him the occurrence in full? Perhaps they had done research and grown curious… but from the characteristics displayed by Mr. Dracuta and Miss Goldenthrill, this seemed highly improbable.

I was the only person who originally knew of the detective’s gift. Miss Parkwood and Miss Kendle, of course, soon discovered it, but they had neither the nature nor the time to inform Miss Goldenthrill and Mr. Dracuta—

Stop.

I forced my brain to discontinue the endless circles of thought. Regarding this matter, I obviously did not have enough information to make an accurate assessment.

No harm had yet come from this disclosed secret. It would be unwise to forget the matter entirely, but foolish to dwell on a matter of such minimal importance.

At this instant, it was vital for me to continue my research. Research that had failed to uncover any new information—yet.

My father had known the necessary information.

He, however, had passed on before giving it to me. He had not kept any written record of the information, nor revealed the information to anyone that I was aware of.

Thus, I had to find this most crucial information.

I had searched many of Acceber’s great libraries, only to come up with nothing.

I would continue to search—

For without this information, finding and capturing Mew would be quite futile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Isn’t hitchhiking illegal?” Erin whispered.

“Does it actually matter to you?” I retorted in a voice just as quiet.

“Well, no…”

A breeze swept past us, filling our nostrils with a stench of moldy socks and decomposing biscuits. We sat in a small alley behind several trashcans watching two workers unload a large grocery store supply truck of hundreds of boxes.

Yes, we had stooped to this level.

“Hitchhiking was outlawed in 1964 due to a series of unfortunate accidents as well as low ratio of cars to trainers in Acceber—” Liam started to explain.

“If I wanted to know that, I would have paid attention in history class,” I snapped.

Liam just gave me his best all-knowing, I’m-better-than-you smirk.

<Do you think they’ll unload all of the food?> Apple asked randomly. <Maybe just leave a crate or two behind…?>

“Anita, look!” Erin exclaimed. “That was the last box! You’ve got to do it now!”

One of the workers was now pulling down the truck’s flexible back door to close the vehicle. I summoned my energy and shot forward with my mind, creating a thin barrier beneath the closing door.

I flinched as the door slammed down, but my barrier held. The worker walked back around the truck towards the store, oblivious to the inch gap between the door and the floor of the truck.

“C’mon!” Erin sprinted towards the truck. Liam and I carefully followed her, me double-checking the area for people with my mind and Liam with his eyes. When we reached the truck, Erin was tugging at the door impatiently. “You guys are so slow!” she complained. “Ugh. This is too heavy. Liam, why don’t you give it a try?”

“No!” I yelled, but it was too late. Liam touched the door—

—and nothing happened.

Liam easily lifted up the door.

Confused, I asked, “Didn’t my barrier stop working on the door?”

“Anita, though you seem to believe yourself more knowledgeable than the rest of the world, you, in fact, are lacking in the most basic knowledge: common sense. Obviously, your barrier failed when I touched the door,” Liam snickered. He slowed his speech. “However, because I was holding the door with my hand,” He mockingly wiggled his hand in my face. “I was able to lift the door. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir Liam. I understand,” I replied sarcastically. I flashed him a smile. “What I don’t understand, Sir Liam, is how you came to be full of such crap. You think I’m conceited? Take a look in the mirror!”

Liam shook his head, half-smiling, like he knew something I did not. He stepped gracefully into the truck, and Erin clambered after him, slamming the door shut behind her (which promptly locked).

“Erin, turn on the flashlight,” I demanded, still annoyed.

I heard a ruffling as Erin searched for the flashlight in her bag. “Aha!” A light flickered on, and I got a good glimpse of the dull, empty vehicle before the light flickered back out.

There were a few scratching noises followed by a final bang.

I could only assume the worst.

“The flashlight is broken,” I stated.

“Yup,” Erin answered.

“You were trying to turn it back on.”

“Yup.”

“But you failed and threw it against the wall in frustration, thus destroying any chance we had of fixing the flashlight.”

“Well, I guess…”

The only light came from Liam’s eyes. They followed me as I felt my way to the side of the truck and slumped down. “This is great,” I said bitterly.

<No, it’s not! There’s no food in here!> Apple interrupted.

“Our PokeTechs have built in lights,” Erin suggested.

“No, no. I’d rather just sit here in the dark and wallow in self-pity,” I replied icily.

“Not conceited at all,” Liam murmured.

“Do you have anything better to do?” I shot at the pair of green eyes.

“Actually, yes. We can discuss where Carly and Reece disappeared to and why they captured us in the first place,” Liam answered.

Erin groaned. “Not this again! We’ve been over this about twenty gazillion times! Can’t we just forget the whole thing?”

“Aw, but then you wouldn’t remember your passionate kiss with little Liam,” I snickered.

Even though it was dark, I could practically feel the heat radiating from her face. “Liam knows that was done out of… spite. It doesn’t change our relationship—right Liam?”

“I try not to involve myself in the ridiculous workings of hormone-driven female teenagers. Can we get back to the topic I wish to discuss?”

“Teleportation,” I grumbled.

“That would be the first thing you think of,” Liam harshly accused. “We do not know whether they even have a Pokemon that knows teleport.”

I shrugged. “It’s the fastest way I know of to get out of place without leaving a trail. It’d also explain how they got the Tangela inside with the PPC’s one-Pokemon rule.”

“They might have just driven off in a truck or car! I mean, look at what we’re doing!” Erin exclaimed. As if on cue, the truck’s engines rumbled. We started to move.

“I guess it’s possible…” I trailed.

“…but highly improbable,” Liam finished. “As I said before, there are very few vehicles in Acceber. Pokemon often make that technology superfluous.”

“So they could have left on a Pokemon,” Erin suggested.

“Which brings us back to the point that they do not have any Pokemon that can perform such tasks,” Liam said.

“That we know of,” I chipped in.

<Does anyone else feel like this discussion is pointless and that there is no benefit to continuing with it?>

<That is generally what the word pointless implies,> I replied dryly. <Liam’s the one started it. File a complaint to him!>

<Obviously I can’t exactly do that.>

<Right. I’m the psychic one. Whatever.> I interrupted one of Erin’s rants by clearing my throat. “Apple thinks this conversation is pointless and would like us to shut up so she can take a nap because we kept her up all night searching for Carly and Reece.”

<I didn’t say that!> Apple objected.

<But you agree.>

<Well… yeah.>

Erin yawned. “I’m with Apple.” I heard a bit of shuffling. “This isn’t too bad. I can probably fall…” A loud snore erupted from Erin’s nose.

Yup, that’s how quick Erin was conked out.

Liam rolled his eyes.

<Now that you mention it, I could do with a nap…>

“Goodnight,” I said to both Liam and Apple.

Liam’s eyes flickered to me before closing, obliterating all light in the truck. I too shut my eyes and drifted through dreams of moonlit darkness.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I woke up when the dancing lollipops started to chase me, relieved that my dream was not reality. The complete darkness disoriented me as I sat up. I could not tell what time it was, but I had deduced the truck was no longer moving from the lack of a rumbling sound beneath me.

“Anita, Liam, wake up!” I called as I stood up to stretch my sore back.

“I’m already up,” Anita answered stiffly.

Liam’s glowing eyes opened, making the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up—those eyes were awfully disturbing.

“I think we’ve arrived,” I stated.

Liam walked across the truck. There was a soft clicking noise as he unlocked the door and flung it open. I cringed as the bright light streamed into my face.

Eventually, my sight returned enough to follow Liam out of the truck. Anita followed me carrying Apple, who continued to nap in Anita’s arms.

I looked around, expecting to see my comfortable home town of Cape Caution. It would be good to see my family, my old lab, Professor Blubber…

Unfortunately, all I saw was a bunch of thick trees and a tiny dirt road. “This isn’t Cape Caution,” I stated dumbly. I looked accusingly at Liam. “You said the truck was headed for Cape Caution!”

Liam looked thoughtful. “According to the schedule, it was.” He closed the truck door and started walking towards the front of the truck. I looked to Anita to exchange out usual annoyed glance when Liam started acting weird, but her expression was oddly blank. Liam returned. “The driver is not in the truck.”

“Maybe he had to pee?” I suggested.

“We should look for him,” Anita said.

“When he could be peeing?!” I exclaimed. “No thanks!”

“We’ll wait a few moments. If he does not return we will go looking,” Liam decided.

He did not come. So maybe he was taking a dump…

“Anita, can you sense him anywhere?” I asked.

Anita did not answer. Instead, she walked past me into a more wooded area.

“Yes?” Could she just give me a definitive answer?

Anita nodded slightly, hopefully to answer me, and kept walking. Liam and I followed.

After about three minutes of silent, dreadfully boring walking, a huge run-down mansion appeared among the trees. “We should go inside,” Anita said.

What was with her? She must have woken up on the wrong side of the truck… or something along those lines.

“I’m not sure we should,” I replied. “He might be a drug dealer, and this is where he stores the drugs.”

“We should go inside,” Anita repeated.

I looked at Liam; he, too, seemed to think Anita was acting particularly strange and was staring at her in contemplation.

Just then, several things happened at once.

There was a loud roar of an engine from behind us, and some nearby animal or Pokemon squealed in fear. I tripped in surprise on top of Anita, causing Apple to wake up growling. Hurriedly, I picked myself up. As usual, due to Anita’s ideas we were in trouble—the truck was leaving! I tried to scramble towards the truck, only to be stopped by Liam grabbing my arm.

“It is too late,” Liam said.

“Liam, you piece of poop! We have to catch that truck!” I yelled as I uselessly struggled forward.

After two minutes, I gave up because the truck was long gone, I was tired, and for whatever reason, Apple was still growling.

“Liam’s right. It is silly to chase the truck,” Anita said eerily. Was she on drugs? She seemed fine before she fell asleep…

“Eevee eeeeee! Eevee, eeveevee! Eevee!” Apple barked at Anita.

“Why’s Apple so mad?” I asked.

“She’s upset because…” Anita paused. “She is hungry. There was no food in the truck.”

“Figures,” I muttered, but Apple continued to growl.

“Let’s go inside,” Anita said, smiling brightly now. “It will be fun.” She started off for the sinister mansion again.

I mouthed, “What the hell is she smoking?” to Liam before following.

Liam shrugged. “It is logical. We have no idea where we are and have nowhere else to turn.”

The house ahead of us became creepier and creepier as we neared it. A thick fog seemed to linger at our feet, and our crackling shoes seemed to disturb the pressured silence of the woods.

When we reached the wooden, spider-web covered porch, it took every ounce of my courage not to take a hint from my first instinct and bolt. Apple, apparently, had the same instinct. She growled even louder. “Are you sure about this?” I asked.

Anita continued to smile, and she absentmindedly picked up Apple. For a moment, I thought the Eevee would bite her, but the Pokemon settled for a continuous deep growl. Occasionally Apple would throw glances at me and Liam, almost a pleading look in her eyes.

Liam knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. I silently counted sixty seconds and then snapped my fingers. “Oh well! Nobody’s home! Let’s get going.”

Liam did not move and Anita only moved closer to the house. Not very encouraging signs… What was wrong with their instincts?

Anita twisted the bronze door handle of the plain wooden door, and the door, unfortunately, swung open. Now I felt like I was in a horror movie. Seriously, insert foreboding music here.

Anita and Liam both entered the house, which I thought was pretty intrusive. I hesitated. Sadly, there was no way I was going to stay on this freaky porch alone so I had no choice but to follow.

The inside of the house was just as covered in spider-webs as the outside. A thick layer of dust covered the floor of the room we entered into, along with several antique chairs and picture frames. What I found most unnerving were the footprints in the dust scattered about the room. The prints were so far apart… It looked like someone hopping on one foot had easily leapt ten feet.

Liam bent down to examine one of these peculiar footprints, leaving a footprint trail of his own in the dust. Anita, in the meantime, strode directly through the room to the next door. “This way,” she said.

Liam looked up at her and then at me. I shrugged and started forward. Abruptly, the hairs on my arms rose. A dark purple mist surrounded me, gently brushing my sides, and making my breath come up short.

Alright, this was way creepy. I tried to lower the pace of my racing heart and raspy breaths, but failed. Air rushed past my face, then a sharp, tickly feeling—something was nibbling my ear!

I screamed like I would if my shrinkable wardrobe ever caught on fire.

I heard a faint, echoing laughter, and then it was gone, leaving me scared out of my wits and panting heavily.

Liam was staring at me, his brow furrowed. Anita also watched me, holding Apple tightly despite the Eevee’s thrashing. “What was that?” I gasped. “Did it happen to you, too?”

Liam and Anita both shook their heads. “Eevee! Eevee!” Apple exclaimed, nodding.

Not knowing what to make of the scene, and not wanting any further problems, I reached to my belt to release Griffy. My hand slapped my butt. I tried again—

Nothing there.

Where were my Pokeballs!?!?

“My Pokemon are missing!” I shouted.

Liam’s eyes flickered darkly to my belt, then to Anita’s, and finally to his own. His hand brushed over his own belt. “My Pokemon are still here,” he said slowly.

“Mine are gone,” Anita said without even checking.

I waved my hands wildly at Liam. My Pokeballs were missing and we were just standing here! “Do something!” I yelled. “You still have Pokemon!”

Liam frowned. “They are of no use in this situation.”

“I think I know what happened to them,” Anita said, her face no longer smiling. “Follow me.” She stepped into the next room, and flickered on the lights, which I would not have thought to look for in a house like this.

The room I followed Anita into shocked me. It was a spotless kitchen. Beautiful wooden cabinets gleamed in their dark glaze, the white tiled floor sparkled as if untouched, and the steel refrigerator had not one fingerprint.

Liam peered into what might have been a closet and then opened the refrigerator wide. There was food.

“Come on.” Anita gestured to the next room, and we followed obligingly. The next rooms were the same as the kitchen, clean and perfect. We walked down as twisted hall, viewing a bathroom, some type of lounge, and a staircase.

Finally, we came to a set of wooden doors engraved with several swirls. I swear, for a second, purple air seeped out around the doors, but I blinked and no trace of purple remained.

Anita led us through the doors into a room that appeared to be a library. Books were stacked as high as the ceiling on long wooden shelves. A single chandelier hung from the ceiling, lighting the room along with the grand window across the entire back of the room. In the center of the room, there were several cushioned couches.

Above these couches floated a Gengar and a Misdreavus, the latter watching me with a wide grin.

The Gengar, I observed, was looking at the couch. I turned my attention to the plush piece of furniture, and to my surprise, found myself looking into the silver eyes of a young boy.

A shiver ran down my back.

The pale boy smiled. “I’m so glad you guys came!”

I looked at Liam, who was expressionless as usual, and Anita, who appeared completely baffled. She put her hand on her head as she asked, “Where are we?”

“Four miles southwest of Cape Caution,” the boy answered, tilting his head so his blond hair—so light it was almost white—fell away from his face.

Anita looked even more confused and she turned her attention to Apple, who was now quiet and well behaved. They appeared to be having some sort of deep telekinetic conversation. “I must be dreaming,” I thought I heard Anita mutter.

I turned to the blonde boy. “Who are you? Where are your parents? What’s with the creepy house and ghost Pokemon? Did you take our Pokemon? Where are they?!” I demanded.

The Misdreavus playfully flipped through the air and whisked around my head.

“She’s taken a liking to you,” the boy commented sadly. Then he reached toward the Gengar. “This is Scary—”

“You betcha,” I muttered.

“—my friend and family. He’s taken care of me and played with me for a while. My name is Melvin, but I like Mel better. This is my home.” He gestured around him.

“Where are our Pokemon?” I repeated.

Mel glanced at me embarrassedly, before saying, “They’re safe.”

I wanted to kick the kid in the face, but that might qualify as child abuse… I think. I’m still considered a child at age fourteen so that might change the charges or something. In any case, I then asked, “Why are we here?” because he seemed to have stolen our Pokemon. I figured he must want something in return.

The boy frowned. “I was lonely. I’ve been begging Scary forever to let me play with actual people—it gets boring playing with ghosts all the time—but he wouldn’t disobey my father. I don’t know where my father went… Scary and I were running out of food and then Scary saw the food truck passing by so he pulled it over. There wasn’t any food, but there was you three! That was even better! Now you can stay here and play with me!”

“We’re here because you needed someone to play with?” I asked in disbelief.

The boy smiled widely. “Yup! Aren’t you excited?”

I grimaced. “Look, kid, I’m sorry you’re lonely, but I’m not playing with you until you give me my Pokemon back.” I glanced at Liam and Anita to judge their reactions. Liam watched the boy intently, his eyes narrowed, but Anita was oblivious to the world, apparently still engrossed in her conversation with Apple.

The boy frowned and stuck his chin out stubbornly. “No. I’m not giving them back until you play with me.”

“Play what?” Liam interrupted.

“Everything!” the boy exclaimed.

Liam looked thoughtfully at the boy. “How about we make a deal. We will play any game you wish, but afterward, you will give Anita and Erin their Pokemon back.”

“How about they only get their Pokemon back if you guys win. If I win, you get to stay and play more with me!”

How did this child know how to make deals? Seriously, how old was this kid?

“Deal,” Liam answered, not even bothering to check with me and Anita. Did he understand his little bet affected all of us, not just his self-absorbed butt? “What game?”

The boy grinned. “Hide-n-go-seek. I hide, and if you can find me in fifteen minutes, you win.”

Alright, maybe Liam made a good choice. This would be too easy. “What do we count to?” I asked.

“Counting…” the boy chuckled. “That’s a good one. There’s no need to be so generous.”

Then he disappeared.

Well, that couldn’t be any good.

delongbi
December 21st, 2009, 08:48 AM
Chapter 23: Cackle Attack

The boy was gone. Poof. The Gengar disappeared, too, though the Misdreavus remained floating by my side.

Anita looked around the room past Apple. She seemed to have just returned to the real world. “Erin, Liam—” She spoke rapidly. “He’s—” Anita calmed. “He’s somewhere in the house,” she said quietly. “I read his mind before he disappeared.”

Apple started growling again.

Suddenly, as everything in this house seemed to happen suddenly, the Gengar appeared out of thin air, holding a small metal cage, his eyes glowing. Apple was lifted into the air above the chandelier and put into the cage, which remained floating by the Gengar.

Apple yowled, but there was nothing we could do. Liam was too far away from Apple to stop the psychic attack.

“Anita, stop him!” I yelled. She was a psychic, too, after all.

Anita frowned. “I can’t.” She giggled slightly—or coughed—it was hard to tell. “We’d better start looking.”

Liam watched Scary and Apple (who was still howling) suspiciously. “You could use your Pokemon,” I suggested to Liam, trying not to sound accusing. I didn’t want to cause him any personal pain, but in situations like this, sacrifices sometimes had to be made.

“This is not an emergency,” Liam replied stoically.

Do not smack Liam, I thought. Do not smack Liam. Slightly more composed, I asked, “What do you call our situation then?”

Liam paused. “A complication.”

I turned to Anita for moral support, but she was already heading for the library door. “You’re going to leave Apple?” I asked her.

“We must find Mel. We only have fifteen minutes.” She left the room. I sighed and bent over to look under the couch. There was nothing—not even a layer of dust.

When I came back up, Liam was sitting on the couch, watching Apple. “What are you doing? We only have fifteen minutes!” I exclaimed.

“I’m thinking.”

“About how screwed over we are? The boy freakin disappeared in front of out eyes!”

“Exactly. We are clearly missing some piece of vital information.” He glanced at me. “I believe Apple knows. I think she has been trying to get Anita to believe something important. This theory would explain both Apple’s and Anita’s strange behavior… Apple, is this so?”

Apple nodded and then shook her head.

“Well, that was helpful,” I snickered.

Liam closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “A disappearing boy…. It could be an illusion, another ghost Pokemon, teleport, magic…”

“Magic?” I raised my eyebrows. That was the last word I would have expected Liam to use in a serious tone.

“Magic is all that is unexplained. The unexplained remains magic until it is understood.”

I rolled my eyes. “Magic is when people wave sticks and stuff happens.”

“No, that’s baseball.” Liam opened his eyes and rose.

“Did you have an epiphany?” I asked hopefully.

“No. I must know what Apple was telling Anita. Perhaps…” Liam shook his head. I got the feeling he was not telling me everything but decided not to pursue the matter. I had learned that Liam liked to do everything himself. If he needed some information or suggestion, he would ask.

We jogged back through the twisted hallways until we arrived in the kitchen. We found Anita looking through a cabinet under the stainless steel sink. How much time did we have left? I did not wear a watch. Maybe eight minutes…

“Anita, we need to know what Apple is growling about,” Liam said.

Anita looked up from her search. “It was nothing. Apple is still hungry.”

“I didn’t think Apple got this upset over food… usually,” I commented.

Anita smiled. “Then you don’t know Apple.”

Liam narrowed his eyes. “Anita, we need to know what is really occurring.”

Anita’s eyes darted around the room. “Nothing is going on,” she answered hastily. Then she got up and quickly walked toward the door leading to the dusty room.

Liam blocked her way. She attempted to dodge around him, but he grabbed her arm.

Anita suddenly froze, staring right at Liam.

I hurried over. “Are you okay?” I asked worriedly. When there was no response, I waved my hand in front of her blank face. “Anita?”

“Help me…” she uttered.

Liam released his grip in shock. Anita stumbled backwards and fled into another tiled room adjacent to the kitchen. She slammed the door.

I made to follow her, but Liam ordered, “Stop!”

“She’s going to get away!” I shouted.

Liam shook his head. “It is a dead end. I saw when we walked through here earlier.”

I frowned. “Aren’t we going to follow her?”

“Yes… but I have to explain what I believe is occurring, without Anita hearing—”

“Why?” I interrupted.

Liam held up his hand, flashing me an annoyed glance to indicate he was not finished speaking. “I believe the boy is gifted—ghost type.”

I blinked a few times. “But the odds of that…”

“I know. The odds are against us, but still, consider. Apple has been acting exceedingly peculiar; Apple knows. Apple and Anita communicate regularly through telepathy so she would be the first to realize the problem. In addition, just now…” Liam paused. “You understand how Anita’s powers do not affect me, correct?”

I nodded.

“Gift types work exactly like Pokemon types. Consider a ghost type gift. A person with such a gift would likely be able to turn invisible, fade through walls, and possess others… and what would a ghost type be effective against?”

I gasped. “Psychic.”

Liam nodded. “As the boy is still young, it is unlikely that his power is strong. I doubt he could possess a normal person for very long, if at all. Anita, however, would be easily possessed.”

“Suppose you’re right. How could you unpossess Anita and find the boy?”

“Remember when I touched Anita? That’s what confirmed my suspicions. By making physical contact with her, I cancelled her powers out, making her more difficult to possess. She managed to mutter a plea…”

“So if you just touch her for a longer time…”

Liam nodded. “That’s the theory.”

“Well, what are we standing here for?!” I twisted the doorknob, revealing a small laundry room.

The room was empty.

I opened a cabinet. Then another. And another—soon every nook Anita could have been hiding in was visible, and she still hadn’t been found.

“And you did not chase her because…” I glared at Liam.

“I did not believe the boy was powerful enough to turn invisible or fade through walls while possessing Anita. Clearly, I was mistaken.”

“Genius,” I muttered. “Maybe you’re wrong. The boy could just be a ghost or a ghost Pokemon or something.”

“Perhaps, but how would you explain the footprints?”

I shrugged nonchalantly, not wishing to reveal that I secretly thought he made a good point, and tapped my long nails on the slick counter in thought.

Liam watched the purple cloud of smoke that had been following me. When a pair of eyes appeared in the smoke, he asked, “Will you assist us in finding Melvin?”

There was a ghostly chuckle as the cloud faded.

I smiled suddenly.

We didn’t have to find Melvin; we could make him come to us.

“Ugh, this game is soooo boring!” I exclaimed. “We should just give up! Don’t you think?”

Liam simply stared at me in frustration.

I winked.

“Sure,” Liam said warily.

I spoke louder. “I wish Mel would just come out of his hiding spot already. It is so silly to keep playing this boring game when I know so many games that are much more fun. We’re wasting valuable time!”

I whirled around as the door swung open and—voila—Anita stood in the doorway.

“Are y—we really giving up?” she asked.

Liam lunged and grabbed her arm, twisting her around so he could grasp both arms behind her back to prevent escape.

“Wha—” Anita started. “Let go!” she demanded.

“Nope,” Liam answered, smirking. “We found you, Melvin.”

Anita glared at Liam. “Let go! Melvin’s in the library! I came to tell you…”

“Give it up Melvin. I know you cannot stay in that body much longer.”

“Seriously, check the other room,” Anita sputtered.

Liam changed strategies. “Anita, will you take your body back already?”

“I am in my own body, moron!”

“You can do it, Anita!” I cheered. She frowned in response.

“I guess I overestimated your strength,” Liam taunted.

Anita’s head snapped around angrily, and she attempted to elbow Liam in the gut. This failed, of course. Anita slumped over, her face blank. Liam loosened his grip.

“That’s right. Keep fighting,” Liam cooed. Yes, I mean he cooed. It was such a bizarre sound coming from Liam’s mouth that despite our situation I started laughing.

Suddenly, Anita’s eyes snapped open. She twisted out of Liam’s grasp and sprinted forward. After about a second of hesitant shock, Liam and I both ran after her. Liam was faster, and soon I could only just see a swish of black shirt as I raced down the twisted halls.

The library doors were sprawled open, and Liam was once again restraining Anita. “Look at the couch,” Anita managed to gasp. Liam and I looked.

There was Melvin.

Liam hastily released Anita and took a step back.

“Oh…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What the hell was his problem?

Stupid Liam…

“So tell us how you got rid of Melvin,” Erin said.

I struggled wildly to no avail until Apple told me I might be able to regain my body by creating a barrier in my mind and slowly expanding it. I tried, failed, so Apple ended up doing it for me. Good explanation right? Ehh, once again, stupid Liam…

“I made a barrier in my mind. It was a lot harder and less effective on a ghost type, but Melvin’s powers aren’t as developed as mine,” I grumbled. It had been harder (for Apple) to create a barrier to stop the Gengar from helping Melvin. I think the fact that the Pokemon is half poison is the only reason the barrier actually held…

I sat on one of the ridiculously over-plushed couches in the creepy library, silently fuming at Liam because my voice was hoarse from yelling. Melvin was still lying unconscious on a couch directly across from the one I was sitting on. Liam sat next to Melvin, barely touching the boy’s skin in an attempt to suppress the boy’s powers should he wake up. While I continued to glare angrily at him, he returned a cool, bored gaze.

Liam is stupid. I just couldn’t get away from that, could I?

Inadvertently, all this glaring and staring caused us to begin a tacit staring contest. Seconds ticked by… I heard a nearby shuffle. Probably Erin—she was searching the house for a ladder. When my eyes began to water, Liam smirked slightly. Tears streamed down my face, but I refused to blink—

<ANITA!>

My concentration broke. Surprised, I looked up at Apple, who was still stuck in the floating cage above my head, as the Gengar had once again, disappeared. A knot of guilt tightened in my stomach. I was supposed to be psychically searching for the Gengar…

<It took you long enough. Do you know how long I’ve been trying to get your attention while you and Mr. Intensity have been goggling at each other?!>

<Hey, he started it! And I wasn’t going to just give in!>

<Then congrats on taking competitive to a ridiculous level. Anyway, I found Scary Face!>

<Erm, scary face is an attack. One I suppose you could use often.>

<No, I meant the Gengar.> I rolled my eyes at Apple. <He’s floating right above Melvin, actually, invisible.>

<Then why don’t you, the amazing psychic Eevee, tell him to release you. Or better yet, why don’t you just psychically get yourself out of the cage.>

<Uh, maybe ‘cause you’re the only one who knows about the whole psychic thing?>

I scowled and said sarcastically, <I know, I know. It just gets annoying, you know. Always rescuing people, saving the day, doing hero stuff.>

<Snot head!>

<Scary face!> Before Apple could retort, I focused my attention on the Gengar, knowing Apple wouldn’t disturb me. I sensed the Pokemon hovering, but instinctively shied away. I tried again. <Yo, Scary?> I felt the Gengar turn toward me in surprise. <Hey, you can hear me! Will you please release Apple? And can we have our Pokeballs back?>

<I will not help those who hurt Melvin.>

<Are you kidding me? The kid got himself hurt!>

<Even if that were the case, I would not take any action without Melvin’s permission.>

I broke off the connection with Scary, annoyed. Liam raised a questioning eyebrow at me, but before I could say anything, Erin burst through the doors, screaming loudly. “What the hell! Will you stop bothering me!!! Go away!” There was nothing behind her. She swatted the air uselessly.

I watched incredulously and Apple burst into laughter.

A purple mist seemed to seep through the floor around Erin’s feet. “Eeep!” she screeched, before jumping away and sprinting toward the couches.

Liam stood up, probably to move out of the way, but Erin had other ideas. She jumped into the arms of a wide-eyed Liam, who promptly dropped her on her butt. Erin jumped back up, rubbing her sore butt and flicking her eyes around the room intently.

Curiously, I stretched out my powers, and sensed another Pokemon. <Hello?>

<Jello?> a voice replied.

<Um, who are you?>

<Dumb, poo far too!>

<Right then.>

<Fright ten!> A whispery voice cackled softly, and a cool breeze pricked my neck. I froze standing completely still as the breeze enwrapped my body, and then left. <Boo!> It took me a moment to realize that the sound was not a short “Boo”—the type meant for scaring—but a long “Boo,” an irked “Boo.” <The girl over there reacts much more funnier.>

I winced at the bad grammar, and looked about for the source of my chills. <I’m sorry—> I started talking, but the creature continued, <Now she’s went to the bad-tasting boy. I don’t like the tasting-bad boy, but I want to haunt her.> A purple smoke appeared and materialized into the Misdreavus we had seen by Melvin earlier.

<That is a dilemma,> I agreed, coming up with a way to take advantage of the situation. <I know! If you get the Eevee out of the cage above me, I’ll get the girl you like away from the yucky boy!>

<Don’t, Missy,> Scary said sharply. <She’s not your master.>

Missy, apparently the Misdreavus, let out another chilled laugh before swooping towards Apple’s cage. <Mel isn’t neither. And neither are you. Neither is a funny word. Sounds like I need-fur or need-her or need-to-purr…> Missy stared at me a moment. <You better hold up your end of the deal, or it’s you I be haunting.>

The lock on the cage popped open, and Apple was dumped out. I dived forward, catching Apple as I skidded across the floor.

<Wow, you sacrificed Erin’s sanity for me! I feel loved!> Apple exclaimed.

<Sanity?>

<Ghosts are known from time to time to drive people completely berserk. What do you expect when someone’s constantly invading your mind?>

<I think I know the feeling,> I retorted dryly.

<Hey!>

Knowing I should feel guilty about this, I frantically called as I dusted my pants off, “Hey Erin, come look at this!”

Erin, thinking something was wrong, hurried over. Ha! See, Erin’s not the only one with mad acting skills!

<Don’t push it,> Apple commented.

The Misdreavus immediately enwrapped Erin in a purple mist and both disappeared, Erin’s high pitched squeal clashing with the Missy’s cackle. <Um, should I be worried?> I asked mildly.

Apple shrugged as I slumped back on a couch. Not a great sign.

Liam looked at me. “Should I even ask?”

I shook my head.

“Yeah, they’ll come back eventually,” Mel said. Wait, Mel said?!

Melvin, was sitting up, probably woken by the excessive noise. “You, little boy, have some explaining to do,” I scolded. The boy struggled against Liam’s grip for a few seconds and then sat still. One of his fingers disappeared, and for a second I thought the rest of his body would follow, but the finger reappeared quickly.

“You’re not going anywhere until you tell us what your problem is and where our Pokemon are,” I told the boy. “Care to get started?”

“Why can’t I disappear?” the boy asked, his upper lip trembling.

“Liam’s weird that way. Now get on with it, kid,” I demanded.

“Stop being so mean!” Mel cried and then burst into tears.

Aw, ****.

<Nice going, Anita.>

<You couldn’t have done any better,> I snapped.

<You couldn’t have done any worse.>

“Scary, get me out of here!” Mel yelped while Liam shot an angry glare at me.

Before Scary could even move, I created a psychic barrier around the ghost, which was quickly enforced by Apple. Liam’s glare turned into a curious gaze.

“Half poison,” I reminded him.

“Who-who, are y-you?” the boy stuttered.

I opened my mouth to object to his question when he hadn’t even answered ours, but my mouth wouldn’t move.

<Anita, do us all a favor and be nice.>

I took a deep breath and Apple unfroze my jaw. I looked down at Melvin, his face all damp and cute…

“Stop crying,” I demanded.

<ANITA! NICE!>

“Please, stop crying,” I repeated.

<Anita…>

Ugh, this was the type of thing Erin could probably deal with. Why did Erin have to disappear now of all times? Of course, her disappearance was my fault…

I struggled to smile at the boy. “I’m sorry,” I said unenthusiastically.

<You’re grimacing. Think happy thoughts.>

Kicking Liam’s ass, the day Erin tortured Liam, Melvin not existing, peanut butter cookies… I flashed a smile. “We can help you and Scary” get lost.

<Geez, you’re in a violent mood today,> Apple commented. <Looks like, as usual, I’ll have to do all the dirty work to save your butt.> Apple leapt onto the couch next to Mel and licked his face. The boy patted Apple and let out a sound that sounded like a sick cat purring. <That was a giggle.>

I sighed and sat back down on the couch. Let Apple do her magic, or whatever. After a few minutes, when the boy calmed down, I spoke again. “Melvin, we’d really like to know where our Pokemon are, and what is going on. The Eevee you’re petting, Apple, wants to know, too. Will you help us?”

Mel looked hesitantly at Apple and then looked up at me with huge teary, grey eyes. “Do you promise not to leave me?”

“Of course not,” I replied uncomfortably.

“Then if you let Scary out of the bubble, he can get your other Pokemon.” I tried to probe Mel’s mind, but found it impossible to penetrate. Liam and I watched Melvin sharply as Scary was released and given orders to retrieve the Pokeballs. Scary disappeared.

“Tell us about yourself, Mel,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere (in other words, stop the boy from having a mental break-down).

“I’m eight years old, I like playing games, and I have ten fingers. When I grow up I want to be a profusional ghost.”

<I think he meant professional,> Apple suggested.

<Yes, wealthy ghosts are hard to come by.>

<So are professional ghosts…>

“Like Scary?” I asked Mel.

The boy nodded seriously.

“So why are you alone in this house? Where are your parents?”

“This is my home!” the Mel exclaimed. “And Scary is my parent. He takes care of me, and feeds me, and sometimes finds me friends like you guys.”

“What about before Scary?” I pressed. “Did anyone take care of you before Scary?”

Mel looked at the ground. “No.”

<He’s lying.>

“Mel, we’re trying to help you. We have to know.”

“Papa ran away,” he whispered. “He was scared. Of me. He’s not my parent.”

“Oh…”

<You are really bad at this emotional comfort stuff. Why don’t you give the boy a hug?>

<He might try to take over my body again! Maybe this is part of an evil scheme to get back inside me!>

<Or maybe Mel’s a scared little boy who needs a hug. I’ll know if something goes wrong and Liam is touching him so it should be okay.>

<Alright…> I moved next to Melvin, and gave him a hug, awkwardly patting his back.

Abruptly, Scary, Erin, and Missy all faded into reality. Or rather, Scary, holding Erin and Missy by the scruffs of their necks, faded into reality. Erin struggled wildly, and Missy continued to cackle. <I found these two where the Pokeballs were being stored.> Scary lifted Erin higher into the air. <This one somehow convinced this one—> Scar lifted Missy. <that it would be extremely fun to steal back the Pokeballs.> Scary dropped both of the offenders. Missy, of course, continued to float.

Erin, however, hit the couch hard. She rolled into a sitting position. “Hey, guys. I’m just dropping by…” Three Pokeballs hit her head and she collapsed back down onto the couch.

<Lame puns should always be punished with violence.> Apple nodded approvingly at Scary.

Once I had my Pokeballs all safely clipped to my pants, I asked, “Alright, ready to go?”

Liam and Erin exchanged glances. “Anita, we still don’t really know where we are,” Liam explained.

“And there’s Melvin. Does he have actual parents? We can’t just leave him,” Erin added.

“You promised to stay with me!” Mel yelled accusingly.

“I… er… didn’t mean… umm. Of course, we’re staying with you,” I hastily told Mel.

“Why don’t we bring Mel with us?” Erin suggested. “He knows how to get to Cape Caution, probably.”

“No!” I shouted. When I got shocked looks I spoke normally. “I mean. Well, no, I do mean no. We can’t take care of a kid.” I wrinkled my nose. “He seems like a hassle.”

“I can take care of myself,” Mel replied indignantly. “I don’t wanna go.”

Erin crouched down next to Melvin. “Mel, you can’t keep living like this. You need a safe home, and an education, and someone who can help you use your powers better, and someone to take care of you.”

“But I’m a ghost. I don’t need an education and Scary can do the rest.”

“You’re a human with ghost powers, Mel. You need to be around humans. Come with us. It’ll be fun—we’ll play games with you and you can meet our Pokemon.”

“But—”

<Mel, I think they are right,> Scary added.

Uh oh, it looked like the miniature fountain was going to start spouting tears again. “But, you’ll come, too. Right, Scary?”

Scary nodded.

Immediately the boy brightened. “Well, okay then.”

Everyone started getting up to go. “Now, wait a second! I still don’t want—” I objected.

“Anita, shut it. He’s coming with us,” Erin said.

“But—”

“I think you two will get along. Both of you appear to have the maturity of eight-year-olds,” Liam added.

I scowled. “And you have the maturity of an eighty-year-old.”

“Nu-uh,” Erin argued. “He’s not super mature! He spat at Carly, remember?”

“I never said eighty-year-olds were super mature. My grandpa Phil, for one, is eighty-three years old and still making prank phone calls to his hall mates in his nursing home,” I recalled.

“I’d love to meet—Ahhh!” Erin jumped up and yelped. When she landed, she spun towards Liam. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?! Don’t you dare touch my ass!”

Liam held up his hands. “I did not touch you.”

Mel tugged my sleeve. “What is a prank phone call? And what’s hell? And ass?”

<You guys are going to be a brilliant influence on Mel,> Apple said dryly.

“Ow!” Erin yelped again. She looked around at everyone shiftily, daring anyone to speak.

Silence.

A cricket.

Mel picking his nose.

<Wahahahahahahaha…>

delongbi
January 4th, 2010, 05:56 PM
Chapter 24: Ridiculous to the Max

“Aden, this is ridiculous.”

I squinted at the picture. “His right eye is definitely brown,” I masterfully observed, lifting the picture closer to my face to get a better look. I was brilliant at this sort of thing.

SWISH

“Hey! Give that back! We need that for the wanted posters you are going to make!”

Officer Jenny crumpled the picture in her hand. “With all due respect, sir, we are not going to find the robbers by putting up wanted signs of security tape snapshots. The pictures are too blurry, and the robbers had their faces covered. Plus, they were with Team Glop’emm. If we cannot even find their base, how are we going to find the individuals?”

“One of them has brown eyes,” I replied definitively.

“Aden, the snapshots are in black and white.”

“But…” Unfortunately, even I, the great me, could not defeat that logic.

“We have not been able to find any traces…” Jen blabbered away. No new information, blah de-blah. I could be out there searching for those scoundrels myself! Or hanging up wanted signs. Maybe someone in town had seen….

“That’s it!” I yelled. Jen yelped and tripped backwards over an office stool. My awesome booming voice tended to have that affect on people.

“What now?” The officer gave me an annoyed glare as she dusted her pants off. But no way was I going to wait and explain. I had a brilliant idea! Muwahahahaha! It needed immediate implementation! Now where was that phone? I shuffled some papers around Jen’s desk until- aha! – I found the phone.

“I’ve already thought of that, Aden.” Tamara answered the phone before it even rang... as well as my thoughts before I spoke. But it was impossible. She couldn’t have thought of my brilliant idea already! It was so… brilliant!

“There is no way you came up with the idea of making wanted signs for our favorite missing person without reading my mind!” I accused.

I heard a sigh. “Actually, Nai came to me with the idea the day our gym leader went missing. She thought that even though we had no photographs of him, I should be able to project his image into an artist’s mind, who would then be able to create an image. In theory, she should be right… even if he does have dark powers, I should be able to project a simple image of him into another’s mind. I tried. I failed. Aden, I do not understand why, but I cannot do it. I did not wish to disclose this information to the others, as I would be creating a false sense of insecurity.”

“You sound fairly insecure,” I said seriously. “Is there anything else wrong, you know, with your powers?”

“Nothing at all. It is a small matter, Aden, do not worry. And I would be grateful if you told nobody else of this conversation.”

“Alright…” Tamara had already hung up the phone. Bleh, psychics.

I turned around, only to find Officer Jenny an inch away from me. “What was that about?!” she shouted.

“Apparently, nobody likes my wanted poster idea,” I mumbled.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

…according to ancient Pekanian legend “blue fire fell from the sky…leaving only ash.” This could be a reference to Mew’s supposed regenerative lifecycle, rumored to occur every five thousand years. This destructive blue fire, however, seems to have been witnessed twice in the past hundred years— the already discussed Cherrigrove City and Vintage Village incidents. Several questions arise from the short period between these incidents. Is Mew’s lifecycle as long as the legends suggest? Does Mew actually have a phoenix-like lifecycle?

I slammed the musty book shut, dust visibly swirling around the page corners.

This research was useless.

They asked all the wrong questions.

“Again.”

A small boy with dark hair and lean features aimed a punch at his father’s stomach. The father stopped the boy’s hand before the blow could hit.

“What did I tell you about flailing about?” the father scolded.

The boy looked at the rough grass beneath his torn shoes.

“Answer me. Where does power come from?”

“From the base, father. From my legs.”

“Look at me.” The father put a gentle hand under his son’s chin. Green eyes connected. “Power is always built up. To make even the slightest inefficient and unbalanced movement is to lose power. Do you understand?”

The boy nodded.

“No, you don’t. But one day you will. Again.” The boy thrust his arm forward, faster this time. The father let his son’s fist connect with his stomach, wincing slightly. The boy lost balance and fell over, cradling his wrist from the impact. “Better—“

The father looked over his shoulder, as if someone had called his name. “Tal may have found something a mile into Apoosh Forest. Let’s go.”

The man took off running after giving an expectant look to his son. The boy knew he had to keep up.

For every one of his father’s strides, the boy took three. Still he pushed forward.

The trees became thicker, and the boy stumbled on a root. The father did not slow. “Why do we do this?” the father asked.

“To train,” the boy replied by rote.

“Train?” the father repeated.

“Train to be like a Pokemon. To be successful, a trainer must be able to think and fight as if the trainer was in the Pokemon’s position.”

“Excellent. At least your mind is sharp.”

An Alakazam appeared before the man, its legs shaking slightly. The man and boy slowed down. “This better not be a false alarm—not another Grumpig like last time.” The Alakazam shook his head and pointed into the dark woods. “Very well.” The Pokemon disappeared in a flash of red. In its place stood a Houndoom.

As the dog sniffed the air, the boy smiled. “Houndoooooom!” The Houndoom ran into the woods, closely followed by the father and son.

Not ten minutes later, the Houndoom growled and circled a large berry tree. The father looked up. A pink Pokemon cradling a delicious-looking Oran berry rested in the topmost branches.

The boy’s stomach growled as the Pokemon took an enormous bite into the berry, spraying berry juice across its face and the tree bark. A drop landed in the boy’s hair.

“Charmeleon, now!” the father yelled, releasing a Charmeleon. The fire Pokemon leapt into the tree, quickly bounding up the branches, as the father flung what looked like an over-sized black and yellow Pokeball.

Just as the Charmeleon and the ball reached the upper branches of the tree, they froze. The pink Pokemon gave the father a pleading look, but almost seemed to be looking beyond the father. <Why?> It quickly floated above the tree tops out of sight.

“Tal, which direction?” the father demanded, releasing the Alakazam once more. The psychic Pokemon’s spoons bent in concentration and pointed deeper into the woods. A sweet scent of pine and dew grew stronger as the father, son, and Pokemon pursued the pink creature.

The Alakazam stopped. <It’s gone.>

“Gone? That’s not possible!” the father exclaimed.

<I can no longer sense its presence.>

“You mean it teleported? It could not do that before!”

<Maybe. However, I should still be able to sense its existence. I cannot feel the creature.>

The father pulled out three Pokeballs. “I pushed you too hard, Tal. We’ll try again later.” After all of the Pokemon were returned to their Pokeballs, the father kicked the ground in frustration.

“Father?” the boy asked timidly.

Composing himself, the father replied, “Yes?”

The moss-covered trees were calm—not a branch wavered. The air was light and peaceful.

“That Pokemon destroyed our village and Lily’s parents?”

“Yes.”

The boy hesitated. “Then why are you trying to capture it? Why not kill it?”

“That Pokemon is not like normal Pokemon. Mew is legendary. It is dangerous and immortal.”

“So how can you kill it?”

The father smiled down at his son. “That’s my son, always asking the right question.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

<868,013, your barrier is weak,> Lieutenant 868 yelled.

I poured more psychic energy into my barrier. It was not fair. The others were older and more experienced and stronger…

<868,013—age is no excuse! 868,012, show 013 how weak that barrier is!> Another Mew appeared next to me. I was not surprised. That had happened a lot this past week.

The Mew’s fist lit up. I prepared for the worst—and felt my head explode into several million shards as 012’s fist shattered my barrier.

<013, you are not a theater major! Stop the drama! Have I taught you nothing this past week? Get back up! You have very little time remaining—let’s practice your teleportation.>

Feebly, I floated a foot off of the ground. 012 towered over me. A blur of pink whipped towards me at a speed I could not possibly block.

I closed my eyes and prepared for the blow that would never hit.

Green light, like a forest—

I woke up panting.

It was dawn. The sun peeped over the horizon, as if welcoming me back into the physical world. I took several deep breaths to calm myself and purge the distinct smell of my dream from my system.

I did not want to believe it. It was not possible. Not so soon… But the visions kept coming, even after we left Mint Mountain. I worked hard to clear my mind every day before Anita woke up so I wouldn’t worry her, but it was getting harder.

The last time I had so many visions…

But no. This must be something else.

I would not allow myself to disappear now, of all times.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The glittering sunlight shone brightly upon our fur, comforting us in a chewable-squishy-fuzzy-slippers kind of comfort.

At least that’s how Apple described it, and she’s the coolest so she’d know.

Now though, Apple was busy with our trainer so it was up to me to make fun and be cool. “Attention!”

“So the Mudkip replied…” Vanilla chattered to Allo.

“No, a truck sounds like Vrorom-rooom! Not Vrooom-um!” Tweal argued with Missy.

“Ehem!” I cleared my throat. “I said ATTENTION!”

Everyone was quiet. Normally, I didn’t like quiet, but this was a good quiet. Maybe a fuzzy-slipper quiet. “Now, you all know why we are gathered here…”

“Actually, we don’t, Splash,” Vanilla interrupted. “We were all happily munching away on our nutty nibbles—” Missy made a puking noise. “—when you decided we had to have a super-special meeting. I’m not quite sure why any of us actually agreed to come.”

“Fun!” Tweal chirped.

“Well, Tweal is right. Today is a very important day. A day for fun. Today, ladies, gentleman, ghosts, Eevees, birds, and nutty nibbles smeared across Allo’s face, is July eighteenth.”

“And…?” Vanilla asked.

“Today, we battle!”

Allo sighed. “I figured it was something like this—”

“No! It is nothing like that! We are not gathered here for a simple announcement! We are gathered here in celebration! We are gathered here for—”

“Fun!” Tweal chirped again.

“Exactly! Now who’s with me?!”

“But, we still don’t know what—”

“Me!” Tweal exclaimed.

“Me!” Missy whispered.

I gave Sunflower a threatening growl when Allo turned to consult Vanilla. “Me…” Sunflower said.

Vanilla started to walk away. “Oooh, Vanilla’s afraid to have a little fun!” I taunted.

“Am not!” Vanilla snapped. “I just don’t like your idea of fun.”

“Splash, I think I’m with Vanilla on this. What exactly are you planning?”

“Well, I’m glad you asked. In celebration of today, we are going to play a game!”

“What kind of game?” Allo asked tentatively.

“Make believe!”

“Where does he get this stuff from?” Allo asked Vanilla in disbelief.

“My artificial intelligence!” I replied. Duh! “Whoever can pretend they are something or someone else the longest wins the game!”

“Can we choose anything to pretend to be?” Tweal asked.

“Yup! I’m going to be a cactus!”

“Then I’ll be Splash,” Vanilla snickered. “Look at me! I have maximum energy and minimum intelligence! I leap before I think. Actually, I do everything before I think and never get around to the actual thinking part!”

“Ooh, Vanilla you’re brilliant! We can pretend to be members of our group. I take it back, I wanna be Anita!”

“Me got dibs on Erin!” Missy cackled.

“If you’re not going to be a cactus, can I be a cactus?” Tweal asked.

“There once a friend anew—a Gastly haunting cactus …” Missy stared off in reminiscence.

“What are you going to be, Sunflower?” I asked.

“I’m not sure this is the best game, especially for Sun—” Allo started.

“I’ll be Mel,” Sunflower said quietly. Of course she wanted to be the boring one of the group.

“That was a good decision,” Allo said encouragingly. Then he sighed. “I wish I could disappear right now, too… I’m going to pretend you’re all normal.”

“That’s actually going to be a challenge,” Vanilla commented. I would have retorted, but I heard the trot of one of my favorite Eevees in the whole group!

“Hey, my fellow Eeps! What is up?” Apple bounded next to Allo. “After Anita and everyone cleans up lunch, you guys are going to train! How does that sound?”

“Awesome!” I replied enthusiastically.

At the same time, Allo asked, “Eeps?”

“People are called peeps, so I figure Eevees are called Eeps!” Apple explained. I think Apple must have a Ph.D. in life because she’s so smart. I want her smarts one day!

“We’re celebrating by make believing!” I proudly declared. “I’m Anita, Missy’s Erin, Vanilla’s me, Sunflower’s Mel, Allo’s pretending we’re normal, and Tweal is a cactus!”

Apple smiled widely. “I am soooo Liam.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“There is no reason for the Electrike to migrate with all the rain Cape Caution’s had this summer,” Liam stated.

“It’s not about reason. The Electrike migrate away from Cape Caution every summer,” Erin argued.

I sighed and unzipped Erin’s bag to find our pot shrinker. They had been arguing all through lunch. Mel had become so bored he threw his unfinished lunch at the two of them, and when that failed he had resorted to French braiding the tall golden grass around our camp.

“They only migrate because there is not usually enough water up here to sustain the whole pack.”

“Enough! I’ll prove you wrong!” Erin declared. “Anita, Liam and I are going to what would be the Electrike habitat if it was winter. It’s about two miles west of here. Can you watch Tweal? He likes to be around Splash.”

Mel jumped up. “Can I come too?!”

Liam, who had been examining his Pokedex, shot Erin an irked look. Erin smiled at Mel. “If you want to, Mel, of course you can come! Anita’s going to be training her Pokemon here…”

I glared at Erin, who replied with an innocent blink.

“Nevermind! I’m going to stay here and help Anita train!” Mel exclaimed.

“But Mel, don’t you think it would be more fun to look at the Electrike with Erin? They have such cool sparks and—” I tried to get Mel to leave.

“I’ve seen Electrike before, but I’ve never seen Pokemon training! And I want to be a profusional ghost Pokemon so I need to learn all I can!”

“Professional,” Erin muttered. Before I could say anything else, Erin called over Griffy. “You two have fun! Hop on, Liam!” Liam nimbly climbed onto Griffy’s back behind Erin, and Griffy took off into the tall grass.

Well, this was just perfect. I finally fished the pot shrinker out of Erin’s bag and used it to store our dishes. Then, I turned around to tell Mel to stay out of my way, only to find the area surrounding me void of little annoying boys.

That should be a good thing, right? Not when the little annoying boy can turn invisible…

“Boo!” I jumped up in surprise, and beside me, Erin shrieked. Wait, Erin wasn’t here. So who…?

Missy, apparently, could do a perfect imitation of Erin’s scream. She winked at me and disappeared. Mel was rolling on the ground laughing, Scary smiled beside him, and even Sunflower, who was sitting by Mel’s feet, seemed to be grinning.

“So happy to provide amusement,” I mumbled before stomping away towards my other Pokemon. “Fiery, come on!” Fiery had been lazily relaxing in the sun. He opened an eye to glare at me, and then shut it.

Before I could ask again, Splash jumped on top of him. <Get up! Get up! Let’s go battle! Come on!>

Fiery leapt up immediately and started sniffing Splash… wait… no, it couldn’t be… but… but… how? I looked around the field. Splash and Apple were tackling each other a hundred meters away. Splash hadn’t tackled Fiery. It had been… Vanilla?

Vanilla sprinted towards me, followed by a rather shocked Fiery.

Stunned, I watched as Vanilla ran past me to where Tweal and Allo were sitting, and started running in circles.

<Is something wrong?> I called out to Tweal and Allo as I approached them.

<…> Tweal was silent.

<Nope, everything is absolutely normal,> Allo answered.

Maybe Vanilla was really excited to battle? She never had been before… Well, no time to worry about that now. I had practicing to do. “Everyone come over here!” I yelled.

Apple tackled Splash to the ground one more time before both she and Splash frowned slightly and walked towards me. Weird, usually they were a little more enthusiastic.

Once everyone was gathered, I began my pep-talk. “Alright, so for most of you, this is your first time training. If the training’s too tough for you, say something, and I promise to psychically shoot you back to Mint Mountain. No wusses or crybabies—” I glared at Mel. “—allowed. I thought we’d start with a quick round robin to illustrate the most basic move, tackle. Fiery, demonstrate tackle on that rock.”

I pointed, and Fiery ran at the rock, headbutting it so it flew a good forty meters through the air.

<What did you think of the pep-talk?> I asked Apple as Fiery illustrated the attack.

<It was amazing, of course, because I made it!> Apple replied. I turned around to see if she was making a joke I just did not understand, only to realize that several members of the group were missing.

“Where’s Sunflower, Mel, Scary, and Missy?” I asked.

Allo shrugged, Tweal did not answer, Splash replied, “I don’t know,” Apple replied, “I don’t care,” and Vanilla had a paw stuck up her nose.

Trying extremely hard to ignore all of the bizarreness so I could concentrate on finding Sunflower and the others (but mostly Sunflower), I ordered, “The five of you practice tackling each other. Fiery, can you look for Sunflower? I’m going to try to find Mel psychically. Hopefully, they are all together.”

With that, I sat down and closed my eyes. Immediately, I was drawn to the minds of the five Pokemon closest to me, but I avoided the temptation and reached out further. I started reaching only in the direction away from Fiery, but soon realized I was able to “see” many directions at once if I wanted to. It felt like I was zooming out of a picture so I could see more and more.

My mind stretched outward, but like a muscle, there came a point where I felt I could not stretch even an inch more. I settled for scrutinizing every inch of the area I could see, maybe half a mile radius. At the very northern tip of my view, I felt strangely repelled. My power dipped slightly, as if there was an invisible barrier.

I flashed an image in Fiery’s mind. <Try here.> Fiery, who had been heading north-west, changed directions slightly. <Tell me if you find anything.>

I returned to my body. “Alright you guys, I need to know exactly what happened to Sun—”

Allo, Apple, Splash, and Vanilla all lay crumpled on their sides, as if badly beaten in a battle. Tweal was the only Pokemon still standing tall.

<Tweal, what happened?>

<…>

<Tweal?!>

<… Cacti will triumph over all…>

“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a scale of one to a hundred, Anita’s temper broke the thermometer. She immediately tried to force her way into my mind. Wincing slightly, I held her back. To keep her from doing anything destructive, I said, <Don’t worry, Sunflower and Mel are fine!>

<Even I, the great and mighty Anita, could not defeat a cactus,> Splash declared, trying to answer the real Anita’s question. <Every time we tackled it, we were hit by spikes!>

Anita crept back into her own mind and glared at me. <Whatever is going on, I’m sure it’s your fault,> she told me. “Splash,” Anita said, a little too sweetly, “you are not me.”

<Of course I am,> Splash insisted. <Look, I can make a psychic barrier!> Splash waved his paws in an attempt to look mystical and then pretended to run into an invisible barrier.

<Apple, what is going on?>

<None of your business.>

<Apple,> Anita growled. She pressured my mind again. I still resisted. She then changed her focus and tried to get into the others’ minds. Just for kicks, I held her back from their minds, too. Liam would do that too, right? He likes to bother Anita… I mean who doesn’t?

“Alright, Vanilla and/or Allo, would you care to inform me why my Pokemon have become idiotic?”

<Of course, my idol, Anita!> Vanilla answered. <I came up with the most amazing idea to play make believe! Now we’re all pretending to be other people and Pokemon and thingies! I’m Splash so I’m hyper and stupid!>

Anita slumped onto the ground. “You have all had me worried because you’re playing a freakin game?!”

<Obviously,> I drawled. <Took you long enough to figure out.>

“Apple, snap out of it. This is ridiculous! Who are you supposed to be, anyway? Vanilla is Splash, Splash is me, Tweal is a cactus…? And I think Missy might have been Erin…” Sudden understanding crossed Anita’s face. “You must be Liam.”

“Don’t forget Sunflower is Mel!” Vanilla piped.

“I’m going to go curl up by those bushes and pretend this isn’t happening,” Anita said despairingly.

<Welcome to the club,> Allo muttered.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Scary, is this far enough to not be disturbed?” Mel asked Scary.

I peeked out of Mel’s arms and saw Scary nodding. Both Scary and Mel floated to the ground, and I let out a sigh of relief. The floating made me extremely uncomfortable.

“Boo!” Missy popped out at me and Mel. While Mel did not even flinch, I plunged my head down into Mel’s chest. Missy then did another very good imitation of Erin’s scream and continued to laugh madly. I knew I shouldn’t be afraid, that Missy was just joking, but I could not help being frightened. I did not like surprises…

“Alright, Sunflower, Scary here tells me that you want to learn to be a ghost so we’re going to teach you! Okay?”

I nodded and Mel set me down on the ground. To be quite honest, I knew there was no chance of me ever becoming a ghost until I died, which I hoped would not happen any time soon. I really only did this to get away from my insane brother. His games were dangerous.

“First of all, Sunflower, ghosts are scary. Watch—”

Scary grinned evilly and seemed to grow in size. I cowered by Mel’s feet.

“Now you try!” Mel exclaimed.

I looked at the boy pleadingly. I could not be terrifying—only terrified!

“You can do it! Growl at me!”

I tried. I screwed up my face and barked.

“Hehehehehe!” Missy cackled. “That quite hilarity.”

Mel started laughing, too, but managed to turn it into a coughing fit. My ears drooped. I couldn’t do this.

“Sunflower, try to imagine I’m Splash. Growl at me!” Mel suggested.

But he was not Splash, and if he was, I could never growl at him. Still… he was not Splash and if I pretended I had the guts to stand up to a pretend Splash, maybe it would sound something like—

GRRRRRROR!

Missy let out an Erin scream.

“Sunflower, that was great!” Mel exclaimed. He patted me on the head. “Now we can work on turning invisible.”

I licked Mel’s hand. He was such a nice person, but he was a child, and children did not understand the laws of physics… of course, I was a child, too.

“Mel, Sunflower is not like us; she will never be able to turn invisible at will,” Scary said to Mel. Scary disappeared into Mel’s body for a few seconds and then returned. It must have been their way of communicating because Mel looked downcast for a moment.

“Scary says you can’t learn that…” Mel suddenly smiled. “But he did show me something I might be able to teach you!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The campfire’s heat was relaxing. The soft grass I sat on was relaxing. Erin and Liam’s constant bickering… kinda ruined the whole relaxing atmosphere I was going for.

“The Electrike only moved a mile south, Erin. That does not qualify as migration,” Liam argued.

“Does too!” Erin countered. “Doesn’t it, Anita?”

I shrugged.

Not satisfied with my answer, Erin accusingly asked, “What did you accomplish here, anyway, while Liam and I were off making amazing scientific discoveries?”

“Anita couldn’t control her Pokemon and ended up not accomplishing anything!” Mel blurted out.

I glared at the evil boy. “In fact, Allo and I had a very productive day. Allo mastered several attacks.”

Allo puffed out his chest proudly.

“And your other Pokemon…?” Erin asked.

I didn’t answer.

“Scary told me the whole situation! See,” Mel explained, “what happened was Splash decided he wanted to make believe. So he gathered everyone and he was Anita and Vanilla was him and Missy was you and Apple was Liam and Tweal was a cactus and Allo pretended everything was alright and Sunflower was me. So I decided to train Sunflower myself but then Fiery found us and was furious and brought us back to Anita. And—”

“Who won?” Erin interrupted.

“Won?” Mel asked. “Make believe isn’t a winning-losing game.”

<Whoever pretends the longest wins,> Apple explained. Only nobody could hear her and I certainly was not going to be the communication link in this conversation.

<Excuse me, but Apple claims that whoever pretends the longest wins this strange game,> Griffy said. Darn that Girafarig.

“And?” Erin asked expectantly.

Apple spoke and Griffy relayed, <Allo lost when he tackled Tweal and pretended to be hurt because he was supposed to be pretending that nobody was pretending. Tweal eventually fell over from standing up straight and Vanilla fell in a puddle and started flipping out about her dirtiness so they both lost. Then Splash and I got bored so we played leapfrog instead of make believe. That leaves—”

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!” Missy uttered a high pitch Erin scream, making me jump back from the fire.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a dark ball of energy collided with Missy. The Misdreavus fell over, knocked out.

We all turned our heads towards the source of the attack.

Sunflower smiled. <I win.>

BUG♥CATCHER★BREEZE
January 8th, 2010, 10:24 AM
Dark thunderclouds hovered over the usually serene town of Melonbi. A pale young girl, about seven years old, stumbled through the light drizzle, frantically trying to get to her house before the storm. In her rush, she was unaware of the dark figure raging in an intense battle ahead of her until she, quite literally, collided with him, and knocked them both into the sticky mud.

Ooooh. I like this! What an intriguing beginning (what is it with me and the word intriguing…). A dark and stormy night. Or day. Well, you didn’t specify. But I assume it’s dark as a storm’s looming overhead. Maybe you should of said when it was happening. It just seemed odd you didn’t mention the time of day.
I love how the first paragraph flows. It seems a little short, but it works quite well, as it supposed to be a quick, frantic beginning, right? That said, ‘intense battle’ seems a little thrown in. I mean, it just seems almost too causally thrown in, as if it was humorous. Oh, an ‘intense battle’! :o

The words you chose captured the scene quite well: ‘frantically’, ‘stumbled’, ‘raging’. I always write quite a lot on beginnings. I just consider them really important. You’re off to a great start.

For a second, the man in the dark uniform was stunned. Then, angrily lifting his mud soaked body from the ground, he shouted, "Hey! Brat, watch where you're going!"

"S-s-sorry [/B]Mister![/B] [as she wasn‘t cut off from saying his surname (which is doesn‘t know anyway) it would make more sense for it to be ‘mister’]" The young girl trembled. "I didn't mean- [probably should be a little ‘en dash‘ instead of a longer ‘em dash‘, but maybe I’m just being pedantic here]"

Stunned seemed a little weak there. With all the ‘for a second’ lead up and all, I would of expected a far more exciting verb. Maybe you should of keep the sentence more shorter, make it just like the action it’s portraying, and keep ‘stunned’ in. Or make the sentence a tad more dramatic and longer. It just seems sort boring when I read it out compared to the rest of the paragraph.

The young fallen girl peered after him and then glanced at the large red monster spurting fire from its mouth. It was clearly exhausted, and the rain was not helping this fire Pokemon. The girl could tell it had undergone an intense battle and curiously looked for the opponent. She caught sight of a small figure in the flames protecting itself with a weak psychic barrier, too weak to move itself from the blaze.

The girl felt pity for both creatures, one being commanded to attack under such harsh conditions, the other just trying to protect itself. She wished to help both, but knew she could not possibly help the attacker, for it already had an owner. The girl glanced back at the man. He had reached his equipment and was now fiddling with something, though the girl could not see what through the thick rain.

Yet again, just commenting on word choices; ‘peering’ and ‘curiously’ just make me picture a wide-eyed, inquisitive seven year old.
I think the sentences about the girl’s pity would work better separated, but maybe that’s just me. Speaking of that sentence, how much pity does she feel? Is she a bit blasé about the whole thing. Is she completely confused, unable to comprehend what’s happening. Is she filled with anguish in the whole situation? I felt she didn’t feel much pity at all, as if it was just slotted in as an afterthought. I do like that you mentioned the girl cares about both creatures? That shows a little about her personality, her character. She seems to have a child-like, unprejudiced view. Even though the Charizard is clearly hurting an innocent creature, she still feels (some) compassion.

Suddenly, the girl heard a sharp gasp and then a thud. The girl snapped her head away from the strange man to see the giant dragon Pokemon fainted [have you considered ‘collapsed’? instead? It’s just that ‘fainted’ sounds just like a normal, garden Pokémon battle, and doesn’t seem to capture how horrifying this battle is.] in the mud next to a smaller, pinkish brown Pokemon. Throwing a nervous glance back at the man, the mud-covered girl staggered toward the two fallen creatures. The small pink Pokemon had not yet fainted and was shivering helplessly in the mud. The girl could now see that the brown on the creature was just disgusting wet dirt and burnt fur. Scooping the pink Pokemon into her arms, the girl frowned sadly at the giant fire Pokemon, wishing there was something she could do. She then saw that the man was running back towards her and the Pokemon. Taking one last glance at the Charizard, the girl turned and fled, cradling the pink Pokemon in her arms. Panting, the girl finally reached her small house. As she climbed through the door, she thought she could hear a scream of agony in the distance. The girl shuddered and went inside.

I think this would work slightly better spilt up a little, because it I actually had to take a second look to realise what was going on:

Suddenly, the girl heard a sharp gasp and then a thud. The girl snapped her head away from the strange man to see the giant dragon Pokemon fainted in the mud next to a smaller, pinkish brown Pokemon. Throwing a nervous glance back at the man, the mud-covered girl staggered toward the two fallen creatures. The small pink Pokemon had not yet fainted and was shivering helplessly in the mud. The girl could now see that the brown on the creature was just disgusting wet dirt and burnt fur.

[to pause and digest the previous paragraph.]

She scooped the pink Pokemon into her arms and the girl frowned sadly at the giant fire Pokemon, wishing there was something she could do. She then saw that the man was running back towards her and the Pokemon. Taking one last glance at the Charizard, the girl turned and fled, cradling the pink Pokemon in her arms. Panting, the girl finally reached her small house. As she climbed through the door, she thought she could hear a scream of agony in the distance. The girl shuddered and went inside.

It would have been nice for you to mention what was running though the girl‘s head at this point? Did he pity overcome her fear and make her act on impulse. Just I was as shocked as the man. I was half wondering what she was scooping?!

There’s not much I can criticize in this paragraph, because word and grammar-wise, it’s pretty good. I like how you didn’t lose the sense of drama too much, as you kept using descriptive words like ‘cradling’ and ‘panting’. I know I’m yakking on a bit about your word choices, but I’m just saying, keep up the good work!

Now onto chapter 1!

Chapter 1: Welcome to My Life

Bright light streamed into my eyes as someone pulled up the blue curtain that had previously blocked out the morning sun, and my consciousness.

The words in this sentence seem very oddly shuffled!

The sun’s bright morning light streamed into my eyes. Some one had pulled the blue curtains over, also pulling me into consciousness.

Would convey the exact thing.

<Rise and shine, my friend,> said a slightly sarcastic voice... in my head.

I rolled over and plunged my head, face-down, into my pillow, contemplating my dream. That had to be the thousandth time I had the dream; it has haunted me from the day it actually occurred six years ago. I, of course, was the young terrified girl in the dream, and the Pokemon, well that was—

<Come on, get up! Today's our big day!>.

God, you’re very causal about a voice in the protagonist’s head(!) Of course, the protagonist is causal about it (as it‘s just Mew) herself. In that case, I would play the humour up a bit differently. The ellipsis makes me think: “dun dun dun!”, rather than a pause there.

<Rise and shine, my friend,> said the usual, slightly sarcastic voice that was regularly in my head.

So… the prologue was a recurring dream the protagonist had of a past event.

—yes, that was the psychic Pokemon, Mew.

"Okay, okay, I'll be up in a minute Apple," I muffled through my pillow.

Apple was what I named the young Mew I rescued that stormy day because her burnt fur matched the color of the apple trees that grew in my backyard. I wish I could say we had been friends from the day we met, but that would be lying.

mother…since my dad left….well, she hasn’t quite been herself.

she would not tolerate a speck of dirt anywhere. She took to cleaning whenever she became nervous or stressed. She would certainly not tolerate a wild dirty creature that might mess up her precious house.

Thus, I was forced to nurse Apple back to health by stealing old burn heals and half-used potions from my mother's medicine cabinet. She hadn’t thrown out the leftover Pokemon medicine from the days my father…trained Pokemon.

I kept the small pink creature in a box under my bed. The Mew seemed to dislike me at first. It glared up at me with those violet distrustful eyes when I fed it medicine. A few times I found the box empty, but the Mew always returned more sickly-looking after these instances. The Pokemon was too weak to go far, and had nowhere else to turn for help.

By the time Apple was back to full health, I had earned the Pokemon’s trust. We became friends and played together. The first time the Mew spoke psychically to me, I nearly fainted in shock. It took me a while to get used to having the Pokemon in my head.

It’s interesting that the mother has OCD, but doesn’t throw away the memories of the husband that jilted her. I like this little snippet in the heroine’s background.

The second last paragraph there was one of the better ones so far in this chapter. It shows a little about their relationship. That Mew owes her almost. It’s just interesting…

I eventually decided it was safe to tell my mom about my pink friend, but when I tried to show her, Mew was nowhere to be found. Similar occurrences happened when I tried to show Mew to my friends. At the time, I did not understand why Mew did not want to be seen. Apple had to explain that an angry man was trying to capture it and it was trying to stay hidden from this person.

<You see,> the small creature told me. <I am a very rare Pokemon containing power I don't even know how to use yet! I was born only two years ago, from the ashes of my father Mew. I don’t have enough power to be able to defend myself from the angry man.>

"What do'ya mean ashes?" I questioned, confused.

<When a Mew is 5,000 years old, it dies, and from its ashes, rises a new Mew,> the pink creature explained.

"If you're only two years old, how do you even know that?!" I asked, bewildered.

The Mew shrugged. <I guess I was born knowing that. But that's not the point. The point is I can't be seen by anyone because they might want to capture me for my power, or worse, they know the angry man! I'm not strong enough to protect myself! I need to hide myself from the world!>
[/quote]

Yes, it weird that Mew knows that in 4,998 years she will turn to ash. But then she’s a mysterious, legendary creature.

I asked Mew, "Well, why don't you just put on a disguise to hide? That’s what all the people do in the movies."

And that was how Apple learned how to transform into different Pokemon.

After that, Apple came with me to school everyday, and I had a Pokemon just like every other kid. As I mentioned, my mother dislikes Pokemon for their dirtiness. So, though every other kid in school had a creature as a friend, I did not have one until Apple came along, and even Apple did not qualify for some of my classmates. For one, I did not actually have a Pokeball for Apple because Apple refused to be held captive in such a devise, and I refused to capture it. Why would you want your friend kept cramped in a small uncomfortable space anyway?

Apple also did not qualify to some...well, to put it nicely, irritating companions because Apple never came to school in the same form... so the other kids in school never thought Apple was the same Pokemon. One day Apple would pretend to be a Rattata, and the next it would be a Spearow. Apple always picked small, common Pokemon so it would not draw attention to itself.

Anyway, these fellow classmates liked to pick on me before I had a Pokemon, and they continued to do so when seemingly different Pokemon came with me to school every day. One boy and girl in particular, Reece Annnoyingface and Carly Iwantoslapyou (ok, so that’s not their real last names, but they fit really well!), called me some rude, and sometimes unusual, names.



Hmmm, hmmm. There isn’t much I can say. It isn’t an “oh-wow that’s amazing paragraph”, but that said, you’re getting into your stride here. I can feel the heroine’s own voice and personality shine through at this point. She comments that true friends wouldn’t keep their friends in Poké Balls and the way she tries to be polite: “to put it nicely, irritating companions”. Of course, the unusual surnames too! XD

my mother insisted that I stop allowing these Pokemon to follow me…I had to persuade my mom to allow a Pokemon to stay in our house and come to school with me everyday… I mentioned that the dirty wild Pokemon would continue to follow me until I had a trained Pokemon to protect me (so I lied just a little bit)…As the Acceber region’s mascot, Eevees also happened to be a common starting Pokemon so it wasn't unusual

Just commenting on how you justified some of the harder to believe plot points. Good job on those, I thought you would just leave them there. Also, you mentioned the region (I was wondering when that would come up!)


the day Apple and I could leave school and home behind and go on out own journey.

That day is—

<Today! Wake up sometime today! Come on, get up already!>

Lovely ending to the chapter. A nice, cute bit of humour.

I have to praise your characterisation so far, even though I’ve just realised I don’t know the protagonist’s name. Nonetheless, having a Mew can risk the story straying in Suedom, though you seem okay for now. You do need a little more description, but you got away with it in that chapter as it wasn’t a Pokémon battle or journey, just an introduction into what’s going on. Obviously, you mightn’t get away with it later.

I’ve noticed you have wrote a lot more chapters (your last post puts it at twenty-four) since the first one. Don’t rush them! Spend as long as you need. I would post a review of all of them, but understandably, I don’t have enough time on my hands! I plan to catch up and read them all, though.

Good luck. It’s great to see people getting on a metaphorical fanfic ladder, joining in and writing!

delongbi
February 1st, 2010, 08:06 AM
Bug Catcher Breeze (sorry, I don't know how to add the cool little heart and star, lol), thank you so much for reviewing! I really appreciate the depth you put into the review, and I will be sure to address your suggestions when I revisit those first few chapters. Seriously, thank you- you don't know how nice it feels to finally get a review here. I hope you do get around to reading the rest. As for rushing the story, well, I started it almost two years ago and have been posting just about every month. That is a pace I plan to continue with because it allows me enough time to write and revise while keeping on a set schedule.

Anyway, next chapter:

Chapter 25: Establishing Chaos

The roof gleamed black and reflective, like a shiny new Mercedes in the sun. Layers upon layers of beautiful dusty stone held up the roof, giant cracks running along the stone layers like battle scars. I wanted to reach out and touch—

“Anita, you’re staring at it again,” Erin said dryly.

“Mmmhm…” I answered. Soon I would be there…

Erin turned to Liam. “I think we’ve lost her. Maybe when we reach the lab and it’s out of sight we’ll be able to have an actual conversation…”

My head snapped around. “We’re not going to the gym first?! Of course we’re going to the gym first! We have to go to the gym first!!”

“You’re a moron,” Liam stated.

I would have glared, but there were more important matters to attend to—going to the gym NOW, for instance.

Erin sighed. “Anita, we talked about this ten minutes ago. You mumbled in agreement to everything we said! And I quote, ‘So, Anita, we’ll go to Professor Blubber’s lab today and tomorrow you can challenge the gym leader?’ ‘Sure, Erin, sound’s good.’”

<Did I actually say that?> I asked Apple.

<You mumbled something in response. I suppose it could be interpreted that way. Mumble is a difficult language to translate, it’s so often mixed up with murmur and mutter…>

“You also said, and I quote, ‘Mel deserves a piggyback ride. I think I’ll give him one because he’s such an amazing ghost!’” Mel grinned at me happily.

“Shut up, you can float if you want.”

“If everyone is through quoting Anita, I think you’d like to notice that we are currently traveling in the wrong direction. Erin, you said we wanted to turn back there.” Liam pointed out. Darn him, why did he always ruin my plans. It was too late to shove my elbow into his gut to get him to close his pie hole…

<You couldn’t hit him if you tried. Plus, they were obviously going to notice sooner or later that they were heading to the gym. But congratulations on making it a whole twenty feet in the wrong direction! I was convinced you would only make it ten.>

“Anita, come on!” Everyone had already turned around. Erin grabbed my hand, but I stood in place.

“Can’t we go to the gym first? Pleeeaase?” Yes, I resorted to begging.

Erin rolled her eyes. “Be serious. Let’s go.”

“Why don’t we take a vote,” I stubbornly replied. “All in favor of going to the gym first?” I raised my hand, and so did Mel. I smiled—finally there was someone else on my side! Erin crossed her arms and gave me her stop-it-because-I’m-done-playing look. “Look, I’ve gotta beat the gym as quickly as possible otherwise Jake is going to be ahead of me forever and he’s annoying and you don’t like him either so WHY don’t you agree with me?”

“This is not about Jake. I have data and samples I collected that need to get to the lab as soon as possible—”

“Here’s an idea,” Liam interrupted. “You go battle at the gym. We’ll deliver the samples.” He sharply turned on the ball of his foot and strode down the path toward the lab.

Erin looked at me questioningly. <Is she seriously not coming?> she thought hesitantly before giving me one last fleeting look and scurrying after Liam. I watched her go.

I didn’t mean to split us up…

<Then stop being so pea-headed and go after them!>

I turned around and walked towards the gym. I took bigger steps because the walk was uphill. Mel had to take twice as many to keep up.

<Anita, why are you doing this?> Apple asked.

I didn’t answer. If Erin and Liam did not want to watch my gym battle, that was fine by me. If they had more important things to be doing—

<They DO have more important things to do! Snap out of it, Anita! You know Erin and Liam… well, at least Erin… support you in everything you do! It’s about time you returned the favor!>

I had to avert my gaze from the gym as the sun glinted too brightly off of the roof. I was reminded of Liam’s stare—the way he always made me want to avert my eyes… but I would never give him the satisfaction…

<So this is about not giving Liam the satisfaction?! Satisfaction of what? Humans and their ridiculous emotions… At least I’ll get a good battle out of this.>

We reached the gym. Now I could see that the gym sat on the very tip of Cape Caution. Beyond the gym there was a cliff and then the endless ocean, sparkling in the sunlight. I angrily put my hand on the large metal doorknob, intending to slam the door open—only to be shocked, literally.

I yelped in surprise and quickly pulled my hand back. The door creaked open on its own accord, and I tentatively peaked inside. The room was pitch black.

“Cool!” Mel exclaimed and rushed inside before I could utter a warning, “Wait!” It was almost better to have Scary outside of his Pokeball at times like this. I had been ecstatic when I discovered Scary even had a Pokeball…

<Yeah, but Scary would only keep Mel from getting hurt, not from causing trouble. Stupid ghost helps Mel create problems,> Apple commented.

<You don’t seem to have any qualms when you’re the one causing problems,> I said sourly. <You just don’t like getting a taste of your own medicine.>

I walked in after the boy, and the door slammed shut behind me. I reached my mind out to sense for life-forms and felt Apple doing the same beside me. I could barely sense a wispy Mel because there was a life so bright—

BZZZZT

Knives cut every inch of my body—not just my skin—but my gut, my lungs, my heart. My knees buckled. I could only think of the pain I was currently enduring—

And then it was gone. My breath came heavily and my mind was sluggish. Where was I? I heard a cackle, and for a moment, I thought Missy was playing an elaborate joke. Then I realized that Missy haunted Erin and Erin was not here and that cackle sounded nothing like Missy’s—

Hehehe…

There it was again—it was too deep to be Missy’s, but it caused the hairs on my neck to prickle up in fear in a similar manner. Not the same, though. This cackle made the hairs stand up and stay up—the fear was not leaving any time soon.

A too-bright light was ahead of me. I couldn’t look at it—it was like the sun’s reflection on the roof—I was spinning—

“Welcome to the Cape Caution Gym,” a shrill voice seemed to scream. I covered my ears, but I could still hear the voice. “Please choose three Pokemon for battle and one for the prelim.”

A gym… brilliant light… the light reflecting off of the gym’s roof… knives… Pokemon… I couldn’t make sense of the images. My head felt heavy. I felt something tug at my belt…

<ANITA!> Ouch, too loud, too loud… There was more pressure on my head but it was better than the loudness. Cool roundness was in my hand.

“Good, you have chosen.” The voice was laughing. Maybe I was funny… now there were lots of dazzling sparkles… “Let the prelim begin.”

And all was dark.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“How do you see memories?” I asked Liam, breaking our silence.

“Excuse me?” Liam finally broke his angry stride. By angry stride, I mean in each step he used just a tad too much force, causing bits of dust to come up around his feet.

“You know—what point of view do you see your memories from? See, some people imagine themselves in their memories so the view is more third person, but other people remember their memories exactly how they were, which is obviously first person. Maybe some people do a combination. Like, they see recent memories from first person, but old memories from third person. Haven’t you ever had an old memory you kinda remember, but not really? Or a memory you’re only reminded of when someone else mentions it so it’s muddled and you sort of make up stuff to fill in the blanks? Which could be like third person…”

Usually by this time in a rant, the other person interrupts me out of annoyance. Unless that person is Anita, who often just dazes out. I looked at Liam expectantly. He was incredibly patient, I guess. Or evil and antisocial, if he wasn’t planning to answer.

We walked in silence for another two minutes.

Evil and antisocial and patient.

What a horrible combination.

“Are you going to answer me?”

Liam smirked. “Why would I when it’s so much more fun not to?”

“Oh, and is that why you never answer any of our personal questions? Because it’s more fun not to?!”

“Sometimes.”

I jumped in front of Liam and pointed accusingly. Now I was walking backwards. “And when you do answer, you’re always exceedingly vague…or you just avoid the question altogether!”

Liam rolled his eyes.

I stopped walking, forcing Liam to stop as well. “Listen, buddy, you’re not the only one with a less than perfect past! But that does not give you the right to mope around and not answer questions that have nothing to do with the past!”

Liam watched emotionlessly through my lecture. Then, he asked, “Are you going to move?”

I crossed my arms. “Not until you answer.”

“Your question did have to do with the past.”

I threw up my arms in frustration, swerved around, and continued walking. “Not directly! Ugh, fine. What’s your favorite color?”

“Magenta,” Liam immediately answered.

I nodded. “Good, I’ll remember that for your birthday.”

“You don’t even know when my birthday is.”

“When is it?”

“Why would I tell you when you’re going to get me something magenta?” Liam gave me one of his rare, genuine half smiles.

I grinned and yelled, “I got you to smile!” In an instant, Liam was back to being Mr. Empty-face. I skipped around in circles bellowing, “I made Liam smile!” until Liam made a very inappropriate threat involving a dirty shoe we spotted on the side of the road, his broken bicycle, and my ass.

I was still laughing at Liam when a cold shiver ran up my spine. I stopped laughing abruptly, and Liam turned questioning eyes my way.

Ugh, not again…

I was sick of this Misdreavus. Why couldn’t Mel just have a Pokeball for her?

“Mehehehe,” Missy cackled. This had gone on too long—it was time to take care of this matter myself.

I waited for the unnerving cool breeze on the back of my neck that I knew would follow. Then—

“Griffy, crunch, behind me!” I released Griffy. There was no way Missy could move fast enough to avoid the attack and no way Missy could defend herself—ghost attacks would not affect Griffy.

Griffy’s tail bit down into what looked like was air, until Missy became visible in the tail’s mouth.

Before the Misdreavus could react, I threw an empty Pokeball at the Pokemon.

Missy’s eyes were wide in shock as she was sucked into the little ball. The Pokeball shook once… twice… and then was still. I smirked as I picked up the Pokeball.

“Who’s laughing now?” I whispered to the Pokeball before clipping it to my belt.

Liam snickered and started towards the lab again. Now laughing like Missy, I ran after the thoroughly annoyed teen.

It was not long before the red roof shingles of Cape Caution’s research laboratory were in view. Just as I expected, I heard Professor Blubber’s loud, bubbling voice before we even arrived at the lab. “Erin! Welcome back! How is my favorite assistant?”

Professor Blubber, messy grey hair and all, stood in front of the lab, his arms wide open in welcome.

I ran forward to hug the Professor—he was more than just my employer; he was a good friend of the family, practically an uncle. “I’m great, Professor!” I stepped back and gestured to Liam, who had caught up. “This is my friend, Liam. He researches Pokemon, too!”

Professor Blubber held out his hand and Liam took it. “It’s nice to meet you! Who do you do research for?”

I watched Liam curiously. At age thirteen, kids who wanted to become Pokemon researchers usually contacted a professor. If the professor saw fit, he or she would hire the kid to collect data from around Acceber or do lab experiments or fill out paperwork—basically whatever the professor needed. Liam had mentioned the lady he worked for when we first met, but I couldn’t remember her name…

“Professor Teal,” Liam answered. He shifted ever so slightly uneasily. As much as I wanted to trust Liam, there were times I almost understood Anita’s original absurd paranoia about him. Sometimes his body language indicated he might not be completely truthful… weird.

“Why, what a coincidence! I just heard from dear Rita for the first time in ages—that woman does keep herself busy. She seems to know more about Pokemon behavior than the rest of Acceber’s professors combined. She told me she was starting to dab into genetics—I’m not surprised. That woman is brilliant, and genetics is the newest, greatest research area. She asked me to do a bit of research for her myself, actually. I’ll show you once we get inside. Where is she these days? Rita never had a lab of her own; she was always moving about, going wherever her research took her.”

Liam shrugged. “Like you said, sir, she moves around a lot. Last I heard, she was in Cereal City.”

“No need to be so formal, lad. Just call me Professor Blubber, or Chris. ‘Sir’ makes me sound like a grandpa or something.” Professor Blubber chuckled and ruffled Liam’s hair. Liam grimaced and shook his head out when the professor wasn’t looking. I stifled a giggle. “So what sort of research does Rita have you doing?”

“A bit of DNA collecting, sometimes. Professor Teal wanted me to discover Acceber for myself. She instructed me to observe Pokemon behavior and how behavior alters in different environments. There’s not a lot of data to report; I’m sure she sent me on a journey to gain experience.” Another one of Liam’s characteristics that bothered me was how he often spoke fairly formally—especially when he was answering personal questions.

Professor Blubber nodded. “I’m honestly surprised to hear she’s sponsoring an assistant. Rita was always so absorbed in her work… and busy… and hard to keep up with. It was as if she was not in tune with the rest of the world. She must have a lot of confidence in you if she’s made you an assistant researcher.” The professor beamed at Liam for a moment. “You must have brains, boy.”

I snorted, and Professor Blubber grinned at me, his eyes twinkling. “Well, why are we still standing here? Come on inside!”

I sighed with contentment as Professor Blubber led us into the lab, burying my misgivings about Liam. The metallic-cheesy smell made me nostalgic of the days a few years ago I would come to the lab to watch the professor work. Of course, watching the professor was not my only incentive for coming to the lab.

I smiled as Professor Blubber waved us through the first room on the right.

As always, Professor Blubber took his guests to the kitchen first. The blue-tiled kitchen was just as spotless as when I had left. I sat down on the third wooden stool from the left—the seat I had always taken as a child—and ran my hand over the cold, smooth granite counter. The professor gestured for Liam to sit down and left the room.

“Where’s he going?” Liam asked.

“To bring us some of his home-made cheese and crackers. It’s seriously the best cheese ever, but Professor Blubber refuses to sell it. He says all cheese is meant to be eaten fresh, and selling it in packages would ruin his ‘cheese ethic’. He always gives a sample to visitors of the lab, though. When I was younger, I pretty much came here just for the amazing cheese.”

Liam sniffed. “That explains the weird smell.”

Professor Blubber returned with a tray of yellow cheese and square crackers. I immediately started shoveling down the food. I had gone without the professor’s cheese for too long! Liam picked up a very small piece of cheese and tentatively took a bite. I waited for the moment of enlightenment—

One chew.

Two chews.

And, there it is! Liam’s mouth twitched slightly upward. He reached for another piece.

Professor Blubber had also been watching Liam hungrily. He loved watching peoples’ reactions to his cheese, almost as much as he loved eating the cheese. In fact, I sometimes worry he eats too much cheese—his belly matches his name.

“So, Erin, tell me what you’ve done since you left.” Professor Blubber said as he reached for a piece of cheese. “And then let me see those samples and your observation journal!”

How long ago was it that I left Cape Caution? A year? I counted backwards—no it had been seventeen months, but it seemed like yesterday I was waving goodbye to Professor Blubber and my family with my best friend, Zach—

I froze, not believing I had actually allowed myself to think of my ******* ex-best friend.

I shook my head and launched into the research-related details of my journey. Some of it, Professor Blubber already knew—I called him at least once every two months.

When we were done snacking and I had handed over the samples, Professor Blubber insisted on giving Liam a tour of the lab.

“It’s not very big,” Professor Blubber was saying after showing Liam a few empty workspaces and his personal office. “But it works for me. Look here.” Professor Blubber opened another dull wooden door.

We followed Professor Blubber through the doorway. Inside the room, there were two closed off habitats. On my left behind glass grew large plants, similar to those I had seen by Apoosh Forest not eight months earlier. The habitat was exceedingly bright above the plants, but shaded below.

The habitat to my right was nearly opposite the one on my left. Snow blew across a dim mini-tundra (it could only be as big as the twenty square foot habitat). The snow in this habitat was higher than my waist, and below the snow, I saw there was a burrow. I leaned in closer, and noticed there was an Eevee lying in the burrow.

“Here I’ve tried to simulate the environments that cause Eevee to evolve into Leafeon and Glaceon. My most recent project is to figure out what in the environment, exactly, causes them to evolve. So far, I have not even been able to get these Eevees to evolve in my simulated environments…”

Liam and I examined the forest habitat. When I looked closely, I could see an Eevee sleeping in the shadows.

“How long have they been in the habitats?” I asked Professor Blubber curiously.

“Over two-months. I talked to Abalina Sycamore and Niomi Shivicle, the grass and ice gym leaders, respectively, about how they obtained Leafeon and Glaceon. They claimed the evolutions were due to the places they were at the time of evolution, but I cannot seem to prove that the environment causes the evolution.”

I thought about Anita’s Eevees and considered how Fiery had evolved. It had been exposed to lava…

I repeated my thoughts to Professor Blubber. He stroked his short grey mustache. “Hmm… I think I will have to look into this further. Maybe set up another habitat… In any case, come along! I have to show Liam what his mentor has requested me to work on.” The professor led us out of the room and down the windowless hall to a workspace that was not empty.

Like the other workspaces, there were two large grey lab tables on each side of the room. The back wall had three large windows, sunlight lighting up the room so the electric lights were unnecessary. I blushed when I noticed a large burn-mark on one of the lab tables. That mark was from the time I had become a little too curious about how much heat a lab table could withstand… It was one of the few times I remember Professor Blubber angry…

On the non-burnt lab table, there was a… large fish skeleton? There was no sign that the fish had been dissected. There were no guts, no blood, no skin, no flesh—just a clean fish skeleton.

“Jilly, cut it out,” Professor Blubber snapped. “What did I tell you about playing dead?”

The fish skeleton shrunk down until it was a blob of pink—a Ditto. “Liam, Erin, meet Jilly, a Ditto given to me by Rita.”

Jilly squeaked a hello. “Ditt!”

Liam narrowed his eyes at Jilly and frowned. Professor Blubber went on explaining. “Professor Teal sent me Jilly a couple of days ago. Apparently, Rita is looking for a way to differentiate a transformed Ditto from a Pokemon. She explained that she wanted to test a Ditto’s reaction in different environments compared with the actual Pokemon. I only had the two Eevee environments set up at the time so those are the only two Jilly has been tested in.”

“And the results?” Liam asked.

I was somewhat surprised—Liam had not asked about anything else on the tour. Then I reminded myself that Liam was an assistant researcher, too. Of course, he was just as inquisitive as me—just quieter.

“In both cases, I had Jilly transform into an Eevee. In the forest environment, after Jilly settled in, the Ditto mostly did exactly what the Eevee did. In the arctic environment, it was fairly similar, only Jilly tended to stay in the burrow more than the Eevee. My conclusion was that Jilly behaved differently because it was unused to the cold environment. I imagine if we had left Jilly in there for a few more days, the Ditto would have become accustomed to the cold. Ditto are a very adaptive species of Pokemon; I believe that’s what makes them so hard to find. If there was an easy way to tell Ditto from the original Pokemon, I’m sure they would not be so rare.”

“You know, I bet we could get more information if we had Anita talk to Jilly,” I suggested. “Or—” I was about to recommend just using Griffy, but Liam interrupted me.

“No! We don’t need Anita’s input,” Liam said sharply.

“Geeze, are you still upset about that squabble we had? I mean, sure, I think Anita was being a little selfish, but she is a trainer.”

“Who’s Anita?” Professor Blubber interrupted.

“She’s a girl who’s traveling with us. We wanted her to come here first, but she decided to go battle the gym leader.”

“Then how would we get more information if Anita talked to Jilly?” Professor Blubber asked.

“Well, she’s—”

“Very good with Pokemon, Professor. She also has several Eevees.” Liam glared at me. I did not understand—Professor Blubber was trustworthy! He wouldn’t do anything if he knew Anita was psychic! Liam was such a paranoid piece of poo…

“Well, I’d be very glad to meet her! I do hope she’s careful. Our gym leader here in Cape Caution is… rather bizarre.”

“At best,” I added. “I always thought he was insane. Wasn’t he almost impeached a couple years ago?”

“Then he promised to provide free electricity for the town while he was still gym leader. Nobody has challenged him since. He’s a strange fellow, not very sociable.”

I nodded in agreement, and Professor Blubber motioned us out of the workspace. Liam did not take his eyes off of Jilly until Professor Blubber closed the door behind us. We walked back to the kitchen and sat down around the granite counter again.

Professor Blubber looked at me thoughtfully. “So, Erin, what are your plans?”

Plans for what? “Err, what?”

“Well, you’ve been traveling around Acceber for over a year now. After a year, I usually have my assistants stay here and train with me.”

****. I had known this was coming… I just had not wanted to think about it. My original plan had been to simply travel with Anita back to Cape Caution. It would be the last of my journey days…

The problem was, I’d had more fun in the past two weeks than I’d had during the whole rest of my journey. I’d been excited to finally stop traveling, even if it meant having to deal with my parents in Cape Caution… but that was before I met Anita and Liam. Liam and Anita were much more entertaining than Zach—

What the hell was wrong with me? I’d thought of he-who-must-not-be-thought-of twice in the past day! I shook my head, dispersing the thought.

Desperately not wanting to discuss this with the professor, I abruptly changed the topic. “Professor, we have a strange problem. Do you know of a haunted house a few miles southwest of Cape Caution?”

Professor Blubber frowned, probably in part because he did not understand how this related to me as his assistant researcher. “No, I do not.”

“Well, we found this boy who—” Liam was glaring at me again. Not the gifted thing again! “We found an abandoned ghost boy—” I winced when Liam kicked me under the table. His kicks hurt. “And brought him with us. We couldn’t just leave him in the empty house! But—”

“Did you say ghost boy? What—” Professor Blubber.

Liam interrupted. “She meant ghostly boy. He is very pale and thin from malnourishment—like a ghost.”

Now it was my turn to glare at Liam. “No—” Liam kicked me again, and I nearly fell off the chair. My eyes were watering. The pain was not worth it… “Anyway, this boy needs a home. Do you know of who we should talk to about it?”

Professor Blubber scratched his chin. “Unfortunately, there’s not an orphanage here. I’m sure I could have him sent to a very prestigious school near Mint Mountain—”

“NO!” I yelled. That place was hell. Professor Blubber gave me an odd look. “I mean, I don’t think he would like that school. Is there any other option?”

“Well, the closest orphanage is in Vintage Village. They’ve gotten great support since that huge fire. I would also ask Nurse…” Professor Blubber paused for a moment. “Your mother.”

Aw, crap. Another topic I had been hoping to avoid.

“Speaking of which, have you talked to her yet? She was very worried about you—usually complains you do not call enough. She’s always asking her new apprentice—that boy you left Cape Caution with—to try calling you.”

I blanched. “New apprentice?”

“You know, that boy that always wears a Pokemon League cap with brown hair, hazel eyes? His name is Sam… no that’s not it. Maybe Jack…?”

“Zach,” I whispered. No, this could NOT be happening…

“Yeah, Zach, that was his name!” Professor Blubber exclaimed.

I determinedly forced myself to relax. “Professor, would it be possible for me and my friends to stay at your house?”

Professor Blubber sighed. “Erin, I know you and your mother have your differences, but she cares about you a lot. For your own sake, I am going to have to decline. Family is too important. In fact,” Professor Blubber looked at his watch. “why don’t you go to the Pokemon Center now so your mother can see you. I have to finish up a few things here…”

“But, Professor, Liam and I can help you here, in the lab! What do you need done?” I asked frantically.

Professor Blubber gave me the I’m-an-adult-so-I-know-better-than-you smile. I hate those. “Actually, there is something that I need.” He fished his hand around in his large lab coat pocket, finally pulling out a Pokeball. “This newly caught Bellsprout needs to be healed. I’m trusting you to get it to the Pokemon Center. You won’t let me down, will you?”

In a last ditch effort, I said, “But Anita will not know where we are! We have to stay here until she finishes the gym battle!”

Professor Blubber laughed. “You think she’ll come back here after she battles Sparky?” The professor snorted. “More likely, she’ll go straight to the emergency room. And where is that, my dear stubborn assistant?”

“The Pokemon Center…” I mumbled.

“Exactly! Now run along!”

**** my life.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“What the **** is wrong with you?!” I yelled into the phone. The perfectly aligned paperclips on my desk vibrated with my voice. I pounded my hand on the desk, knocking all of the paperclips to the floor, partially because the paperclip vibrations were annoying, but mostly because I was talking to a ****ing moron who couldn’t do a ****ing thing right.

“I’m…I’m sorry Mr. Arkle, but…” The imbecile on the other end of the line lowered his voice. “I got caught.”

“No ****ing kidding!”

There was the barest murmur through the phone. “You didn’t swear so much when you hired me…”

“Because you hadn’t ****ed up and I wasn’t ****ing angry!”

“So… when will you get me out? When can I try again?”

“I cannot believe I assigned a moron like you to this task. Not only did you fail to get the information I need, but you called me from jail expecting me to ‘get you out’. Sorry sweetie, but there are no ****ing second chances in Team Glop’emm, and certainly no bailouts. You fail, you lose.” I slammed the phone into the receiver.

Dear Arceus, G-d, Creator, what idiots were they letting into Team Glop’emm these days?

I squeezed the arms of my leather chair in frustration and stared at the electric clock that sat on my desk, next to the ‘Acting Master: Jamie Arkle’ sign. Twenty minutes until my next meeting.

My decision was made before I even rose from the chair. There was a saying: If you want something done right, do it yourself. I never believed it. I still don’t believe it. If you want something done right, yell at and fire (or kill) every moron that does it wrong. Eventually, you’ll stumble upon a moron that can do it right.

Unfortunately, I did not have time for that.

Thus, I’d have to settle with the first saying.

I quickly locked my office and slipped into the elevator, pressing the ground button.

After navigating the maze of windowless halls, I finally reached the outside world. It was a cloudless, windless day. I took a glance back at our facility. From the outside, the austere grey building looked like another typical office building.

Wasting no time, I began my swift trek down the road to the City Hall.

The street was fairly crowded, with a few hundred inept businessmen doing their best to take as long of a lunch break as possible. When I passed a series of overrated restaurants, the shrill voices of upset children and their mothers rang in my ears. I sped my walking.

As I took a short cut through the park, I saw Rita Teal’s despicable blue hair bobbing with the irksome chirping of Pidgeys. What the hell was she doing here? She sat on a park bench, now completely within my view, grinning like a mad woman and throwing bread to the loud Pidgeys. I caught her eye, and was unsuccessful in wiping away her smile.

We then both continued on as if we did not know or care about the other’s existence.

When I ruled Team Glop’emm, that freak would be the first to go.

The City Hall was just outside of the park. The building was round, like a tire, with minor offices in the outer rings and important offices in the middle. I, of course, was headed towards neither. My long fingers gently caressed the two Pokeballs I was preparing use.

I entered the building through the main entrance. The pretty secretary at the front desk looked up at me, startled by my quick entry.

“Good day, sir. Can I see some form of identification?” she asked.

“No,” I snickered. I pressed the release button on the Pokeballs I had been holding. “Magnemite, Hypno, make sure I am not caught.”

“Just who—” the idiot woman was cut off as Hypno swung her pendulum. I turned and strutted down the hall.

By now, the woman was probably drooling in her sleep. Magnemite and Hypno were accustomed to break-ins. Magnemite would disrupt the cameras and other electronic security, while Hypno ensured nobody saw me, or at least remembered seeing me.

The basement door was easy to find. Unfortunately, it was locked with the DNA technology Rita Teal had installed. Oh, the irony.

<Hypno,> I called, knowing she would hear my thoughts. <I need the thumbprint of a knocked out security guard.>

Not twenty seconds later, an unconscious security guard was floating towards me. I took his thumb and pressed it to the DNA scanner. “Access denied,” a cool automated voice said. I was tempted to have Hypno shatter the door to pieces. But, no, I wanted my presence to go undetected.

There was one person in the building who I was sure would have access to this door. <Fetch the mayor,> I ordered before mentally cursing the Master. If it were not for that snooty teen, Hypno would be able to psychically open the door. Being the paranoid bastard he was, he ensured all doors locked with DNA scanners were twined with dark material so they could not be psychically tampered with.

As demanded, Hypno brought me the mayor in a sleepy trance, and as expected, the door swung open.

I carefully stepped down into the dark basement, feeling the wall for a light switch. When I reached the bottom, my hand felt the switch, and one dull bulb flickered to life. The basement was huge, running under almost the entire building. Several storage boxes and cleaning items were strewn about, as if someone had thrown them from the top of the staircase.

I quickly flicked my eyes across the garbage, looking for what I came here for—

The computer.

I found it leaning against a wall, like an old man.

This particular computer was the private database of Drape Town. Because it held personal information—like tax money paid—of all the individuals in Drape Town, it was on a different server than any other computer. It also did not have Internet, making it virtually unhackable, without physically being at the computer.

Which I now fortunately was.

I took out another Pokeball and spoke as the red release light flashed. “Porygon2, I want you to find all information regarding the Mendol family or the current gym leader, especially past residencies.”

The cyber Pokemon appeared before me, and then seemed to be shrunk into the USB port. I strummed my fingers across the keyboard as the computer whirred, impatient for the results.

After five minutes, the screen blinked. Porygon2 appeared on the screen, cocking its head at me. Next to the virtual Pokemon words appeared:

Zero Results Found

delongbi
March 5th, 2010, 02:18 PM
Whoo! Finally made it to the third page. Isn't weird how little things like that make posting so much more exciting?

Anywho...

Chapter 26: Chaos Established

It was amazing how quickly Ditto was able to adapt. In only a matter of seconds, Sticky was pecking at the tossed bread just like the other Pidgeys. If a Ditto could become acclimated this quickly, a Pokemon that could transform and read minds would likely show zero signs of transformation.

Professor Blubber’s research had illustrated that in extreme environments, there was a difference in behavior before the Ditto fully adjusted. Unfortunately, the Anita Parkwood façade had existed in Acceber for about six years, more than enough time for Mew to settle in as a human.

I grinned. Luckily, with the discovery I had made just hours ago, none of this mattered. As it turned out, my request for Professor Blubber’s help had been completely unnecessary. Now it was just a matter of finding an opportune time to contact the Master. Exchanging letters via flying Pokemon was not a safe enough method of communication for this important information. I would have to get a hold of Jamie’s walkie…

As if fate had been reading my mind, I looked up and there Mr. Arkle was, glaring at me as he strode quickly by my bench. I broke the eye contact first and leaned back on the bench, my eyes closed. “Sticky, get a good look at his belt,” I murmured, barely moving my lips.

When I was positive Jamie was well out of hearing range, I opened my eyes. “Sticky, did you see the grey walkie-talkie on his belt?”

The transformed Ditto shook its head. Perfect. I pulled out a Pokeball. “Twix, let’s go!” Twix, my faithful Pidgeot, cooed and extended her wings as she was released. I climbed onto her back. “To the lab, quickly,” I ordered.

With just one powerful flap, we were lifted off the ground and speeding past the Drape Town locals. Wind whipped my dyed-blue hair from my face as I looked back to ensure Sticky was following us.

Twix gracefully landed in front of Team Glop’emm’s headquarters and I returned both Sticky and Twix to their Pokeballs. I practically jogged through the twisted corridors to the elevator and then to the Master’s office.

Glancing about to make sure nobody saw me, I pressed my thumb to the DNA scanner next to the office door. The scanner allowed me to enter, of course. I had programmed it.

The office was somehow bleaker than when the Master had occupied it. The black blinds were completely closed, and the desk seemed a little too organized. There was no sign of the walkie-talkie atop the desk.

I pulled out two Pokeballs and pressed the release button. Two pink blobs appeared. “Sticky, I want you to transform into Magnemite. Remember, like Mr. Arkle’s? Mess with all the bugs in this room so it seems like I was never here. Spud,” I called to the other Ditto. “I probably need you over here.”

While Sticky transformed into Magnemite, I tiptoed around the desk, careful not to bump the plush chair, and tested the top left drawer. As expected, it was locked.

“Spud, you know what to do.”

Spud slid to my side and stuck a gooey strand into the keyhole. An instant later, the drawer clicked open.

I patted Spud on what seemed to be his head—it was always hard to tell when he was a blob—and peered into the drawer. There were several pencils, notecards, and staples, but no walkie. We tried three more drawers before I finally spotted the little communication device.

Before picking up the walkie, I rummaged in my lab coat pocket for a rubber glove to avoid fingerprints. I lifted the walkie-talkie out of the drawer and pressed the green button.

There was a dull buzzing sound, and then—

“Yes?”

“Master, it’s Rita.”

There was silence. For a moment I thought he might have hung up. “Odd. I was going to call you.” His voice was tense.

“For what?” I asked.

“I have just been informed that you contacted Professor Blubber to assist in a research project that was supposed to remain only within Team Glop’emm’s labs.” The Master’s tone was icy.

My mouth was dry. “Master, I thought the Professor’s input would be useful. The Professor and I have known each other for years. I did not explain the whole project—”

“Was it?”

“Pardon?”

The Master asked more harshly. “Was the Professor’s input useful?”

“Well, a bit—”

“It is a simple question. Answer with a yes or no.”

“No.”

“Next time you get a brainless urge to involve those outside of Team Glop’emm in a research project, you will contact me.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now,” the Master continued, “why did you call?”

“I have news.” I found it hard to speak in a cohesive manner and wondered if others had similar problems when they spoke with the teen. I forced my mouth to work. “I have been working with one of my Dittos for over a week now to learn English, and have been extremely successful. The Pokemon already has the vocabulary of a six-year-old child. Also, as you requested, I had a few of my assistants investigate the Parkwood family. Every person interrogated reported that Anita seemed to have a strange bond with wild Pokemon when she was younger. Just as you suspected, the Parkwood family arrived in Melonbi Town just months before your father battled Pokemon X on the outskirts of Melonbi Town.”

“Is this all you had to report? A letter would have sufficed—”

“No, Master.” My hand flew to my mouth. I had just interrupted the Master. My worst nightmares were about to come true—I would be fired and then I would have not money for research and then—

“I’m waiting.”

I blinked and breathed out slightly in relief. “Earlier today, I was comparing the DNA brain samples of a Ditto transformed into a Rattata to those of a Rattata. Specifically, I was comparing hippocampus DNA. The hippocampus is—”

“—where long term memory is stored. I know this, Rita.”

“Of course. When a Ditto transforms, its memories remain the same. Thus, the hippocampus cannot shift as much as the rest of the body during transformation.”

“All Pokemon have a hippocampus that is relatively the same shape,” the Master stated.

“Yes. If it was just normal long-term memory the Ditto had to preserve, I would have likely never found a major difference in DNA.” I knew after I said that sentence, the Master would stop interrupting me. “Ditto and Pokemon X are both able to mimic the DNA of any Pokemon they see. When a Ditto sees a Pokemon, it’s body automatically creates and stores a copy of the Pokemon’s DNA. I can only assume Pokeamon X’s body works the same way. When transformed into a Pokemon, Ditto must preserve its own DNA in order to have the ability to return to its original form. Neither Ditto nor Pokemon X can transform directly from one Pokemon to another without returning to its original form. Thus, when in its original form, the different Pokemon DNA must be actually embedded into the original body. But I stray from my point… I figured that some part of the hippocampus DNA had to be different in the Ditto because the Ditto must have a way to recall its entire original genome instantly. Today, I found that difference.”

“Rita, you are brilliant.”

Coming from the master, that was quite a complement.

“Now that we know what part of the brain stimulates transformation, it should be fairly simple to create a device that forces transformation. A week from today, perhaps…” I trailed. Then I remembered what one of my assistants had proved yesterday, leading to my discovery today. “There is another difference you should know between a transformed Ditto and a Pokemon—Ditto cannot evolve when transformed. In a transformed Ditto, the part of the hippocampus that safely holds its original genome replaces the part of the hippocampus most Pokemon have containing the DNA of any evolutions.”

“Interesting…” There was silence for almost half of a minute. “Ensure that Jamie does not discover this conversation. Master out.”

I replaced the walkie-talkie in the drawer and carefully left the room, returning my Dittos to their Pokeballs. My heart thumped unevenly in excitement as I rode the elevator down to my laboratory.

I lived for this—

For the mind-boggling buzz after a new discovery.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

<Anita! Anita! It’s time to get up! It’s been time to get up for the past… I don’t know, but it was a long time! Anita!>

Something wet dragged across my face.

I opened my eyes, and nearly jumped in surprise when I found Splash hovering over my face. The Eevee’s ears drooped just above my nose. <Finally!> Splash exclaimed, his ears swiftly shooting up in joy, causing me to sneeze.

I sat up. “What… what happened? Where…?” I was stunned into silence as I took in my surroundings. Splash and I were sitting in some sort of glass sphere. Two thick bands of metal ran through the glass, splitting the sphere into four sections.

I looked down through the glass section Splash and I were occupying, and noted that the sphere seemed to sink into the white floor, like it was on top of a giant pillow. I looked out the other glass sections of the sphere, only to find more white. Apparently, the sphere was in a quite creepy blank room.

When I did not see any holes in the sphere, I randomly wondered how long it would take for us to suffocate.

I turned to Splash and asked again, <What happened?>

<Well, when I was let out of my Pokeball, you were asleep and an old sparkly guy—> Images of a bright, laughing silhouette flashed through my mind. Right, I was in a gym. So this must be the…<—was here. And he did this funny electricity thing—like a Pikachu—to put this giant Pokeball together.>

I waited for Splash to keep explaining, but he seemed to be finished. <What do you mean, we’re in a giant Pokeball…?> I questioned.

<Well, we’re in a giant sphere so it must be a Pokeball! ‘Cause what else is a sphere? Well, actually, oranges, and basketballs, and suns, and—>

<Enough! So is there anything else I should be aware of about our situation? For instance, knowing how to beat this prelim would be nice…>

<Nope!> Splash answered happily. As he crouched down, he noticed his breath was causing the glass beneath him to smog up. Thus, he simply had to press his nose up against the glass several times to make random shapes—or beautiful art. Splash and I were of different opinions.

I rolled my eyes and got to my feet. Well, maybe getting out of this sphere was the prelim. I pressed my hand against the metal—

BZZZT

I yelped in pain and pulled my hand back from the metal band. Splash was distracted from the smiley face he was making. <Oh yeah, the shiny stuff is electric!>

I glared. <And you were going to tell me this when?>

Splash shrugged. <You’re the psychic. I thought you’d know!>

Annoyed, I growled, <Is there anything else I should know, that I might not know if I wasn’t a psychic?!>

<Err, how about using a double negative confuses people?>

I had been awake, for what, maybe two minutes and I was already tempted to bang my head against the glass so I was knocked out again. Or maybe electrocuting myself would be more efficient…

Splash wasn’t finished. <And, there was that message the sparkly guy told me to tell you…>

I stared at Splash in disbelief.

<He said to win, all you had to do was sharpen the pencil!>

If I stared at Splash before in disbelief, I don’t know what my face looked like when I stared at Splash now…

<…Sharpen a pencil?!>

<Yup!> Splash pointed a paw. <Look!>

I peered through the glass to where he was pointing. There, on the ground, was a classic wooden number two pencil lying next to an electric pencil sharpener.

<So I just have to get the pencil into the sharpener?>

Splash was getting distracted again—inspecting his paw prints on the glass.

I sighed. If Apple had taught me telekinesis already, this would be easy. Hmm, there was the possibility that Apple was near enough to help… I reached out with my mind but felt no one but Splash in my range.

Okay, so I would have to do this myself. I could try to use telekinesis.

I focused on the pencil and slowly became aware of each particle making up the entire entity. I could feel every wooden grain surrounding the thin column of graphite. I was one with the pencil. Oh, yeah. A dream come true.

But nothing happened.

The pencil would not budge.

When Splash got so bored he started playing with my hair, I decided it was time for a different approach.

My mind shot forward to create a barrier under the pencil… only to be stopped by the rather solid floor. Apple says barriers can be made inside of solids, but I had yet to figure out how that worked.

My head was knocked forward, forcing me back to my body. <Ow, Splash, cut it out! I’m trying to concentrate!>

<Lemme help, lemme help!>

<This is kinda a psychic thing, Splash,> I explained. With that, I tried again.

And again.

After several failed attempts, I made a barrier next to the pencil, but I couldn’t get the barrier to move, which would have allowed me to push the pencil. Frustrated, I slammed my fist down, and was shocked yet again.

<Ouch!> I shook my hand out.

The sphere moved a little from the force of my punch. <Ooh, look how squishy the ground is!> Splash exclaimed. He moved our giant trap-ball-thing a little more and was immensely amused when the sphere sunk into the floor.

<Splash, you’re brilliant!> I created a curvy barrier a little ways away from the pencil and pressed more barriers on top. The force of the barriers caused the floor around the barriers to sink, and the pencil rolled down onto the curved barrier. I dissipated the weight barriers so my curved barrier and the pencil sprung upwards. Just as gravity was about to pull the pencil back to the ground, I caught it with yet another barrier.

<That was awesome! You got the pencil to float!> My concentration nearly snapped.

<Splash, still concentrating here! Hush up!> I ordered. Now I just had to figure out how to get the pencil into—

<Why did you need to bounce the pencil to make it float?> Ugh, Splash was going to ruin everything! When I attempted to block him from my mind, I nearly destroyed my barrier. It was hard to block out just one being— I could either block out nothing of everything. <Couldn’t you just move it with you’re mind? Maybe—>

<SPLASH!> I lost concentration and the pencil fell. <Now look what you’ve done! I need to concentrate! That means you NOT talking!>

Splash’s ears flicked back, and I immediately regretted what I’d said. I reached out to comfort him, but he flinched away.

<Splash… Look, I’m sorry.> I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind. I showed Splash how I was trying to move the pencil to the pencil sharpener and how I made barriers, emphasizing the concentration needed to be successful.

I also saw Splash’s yearning to help and his disappointment when I continually shut him down. I expected Splash’s mind to be unorganized and random. However, I found Splash had a rather logical perspective.

The images of my barriers I had shown Splash continued to flash through his mind as he attempted to make sense of the memories. Only seconds later, Splash showed me an image of the pencil sharpener on a tilted barrier and the pencil sliding down a barrier-made slide into the pencil sharpener.

Without leaving Splash’s mind, I attempted his set up. I easily bounced the pencil sharpener into position. The pencil, however, ended up facing the wrong way so I had to create a barrier slide that curved around into the sharpener.

<Ready?> I asked Splash. We weren’t watching the setup with our eyes; I was feeling it with my mind and showing the images to Splash automatically, as our minds were still entwined.

Splash’s setup worked perfectly. The pencil easily slid into the sharpener.

I opened my eyes and found Splash already in my arms, licking my face. I lifted the Eevee and spun around.

“Yes! We did it!” I cheered.

<And it was all my idea,> Splash added smugly.

“Yes it was.” I paused.

Silence.

“Shouldn’t we be let out of here now?”

Splash and I peered through the glass at the pencil sharpener. The pencil was in the sharpener…

<It’s not plugged in.>

WHAT THE HELL!? WHO FREAKIN MAKES THE PRELIM SHARPENING A PENCIL, ANYWAY? THE GYM LEADER COULD AT LEAST MAKE SURE HIS STUPID ELECTRIC PENCIL SHARPENER WAS PLUGGED IN TO AN ELECTRICAL OUTLET. BUT NOOOO, THE MORON HAD TO STICK US IN AN EMPTY ROOM IN A GERBIL BALL! WHEN I GOT OUT OF HERE, I WAS GOING TO GIVE HIM A PIECE—

<ANITA!>

Splash was staring past me. I followed his gaze.

The pencil sharpener was blown to bits.

“…Oops…”

<I think you killed the pencil. Actually, it was more like a violent murder.> It took me a few seconds to locate the pencil among the pencil sharpener debris. It was not a pretty sight. The top of the pencil had been blown off somewhere. I doubted it was still a full piece. The piece of pencil that was left was jaggedly cut across the top, wood shards sticking out at awkward angles.

HHIISSSS

The gerbil ball opened up, and I gratefully breathed in the fresh air.

“Not exactly what I had in mind, my young pinecone, but I suppose the pencil is sharp now,” a voice cackled.

I turned around. <Did he just call me a pinecone?> I asked Splash.

<You are kinda like a Pineco,> Splash commented. <With the whole exploding at random times…>

Before me stood a wrinkly man in jeans and a dark jacket made of a bizarre material (was it rubber?). The man’s peculiar stormy eyes had the eccentricity and excitement of a five-year-old, but what really unnerved me was the way his grey hair stood up from the random sparks that seemed to be radiating from his head.

“Well, don’t just stand there gaping,” the old man said. He held out his hand, grinning madly. “I’m Sparky, the gym leader of Cape Caution.”

“Nice to meet you,” I answered, carefully not taking the man’s hand. I had the feeling it would have been a rather shocking experience. Then I remembered I had a reprimanding sermon to deliver to this particular wacko. “What the HELL was that prelim about?” I yelled. “Sharpening a pencil? What does that have to do with electricity?! What does that teach me?! That electric pencil sharpeners are freakin’ unreliable?! Do I get one of those ridiculous plastic pencil sharpeners when I beat you!? You must be a twisted old drunk and lonely man! A real fu—”

“Tsk, tsk. Watch your language, my young pinecone, for there are innocent ears listening.” Sparky laughed, sending a wave of sparks through his hair. “Come now. We must fetch the Pokemon you intend to use in battle.” The gym leader swerved and walked impossibly fast—for an old man—out of a door I had not noticed. Where had that come from?

I walked after the gym leader. Splash hesitated, lightly leapt through the debris, and picked up the half exploded pencil between his canines before following me. We walked down a dull narrow hallway and stopped at a room that was an exact replica of the prelim room, minus the giant gerbil ball. Three Pokeballs and one perturbed Apple lay in the middle of the room.

Apple immediately leapt into my arms. <Are you okay?>

I nodded, and we quickly exchanged memories. I showed Apple the prelim, and Apple showed me how Sparky had put an incredibly strong shock through my body—I caught a whiff of Apple’s guilt from not creating a protective barrier fast enough. Sparky, apparently, had then told me to choose three Pokemon for battle and one for the prelim. Realizing my mind was not functional enough to make a decision, Apple had psychically made me pick up Splash’s Pokeball while she grabbed two others. Then Sparky had taken her to this room and me to a room her psychic would not affect…

I grinned at Apple, touched by how much worry there was in her mind. There were several instances she had considered breaking out of the room psychically to find me, even though it would have exposed her. <Thank goodness you didn’t,> I said lightly.

<I kept reminding myself it was just a prelim, which, considering you last prelim, did not help very much…>

<So who’d you choose for battle?> I asked curiously.

<Who you would have chosen—me, Fiery, and Allo.>

<So there are advantages to having an over intrusive Eevee constantly in my mind…>

<I know you wouldn’t have chosen Splash for the prelim. Probably Sunflower… But you don’t know your Pokemon as well as I do.>

Opening my mind up to Splash as well, I said, <Splash was wonderful. I couldn’t have done it without him.> Splash gave me a toothy smile, still holding the pencil like it was a trophy, before I picked up his Pokeball and pressed the return button.

Picking up my other Pokeballs, I asked Sparky, “Where to now?”

Sparky cackled for probably a full minute before answering, “Down, of course.”

Then I was falling.

<I officially dub this gym leader more insane than Aden,> was my first thought to Apple. My second thought was something like, <I’m too young to plunge to my death!>

We stopped plummeting due to the barrier I created; it was like a glass floor. I looked up. The floor of the room we had been standing in—the ceiling of this room—was closing back up. I was reminded of Aden’s remote control bridge. When I looked down, I found myself looking at a floor made of dirt only three or four yards away. The walls of the room were made of stone, with some spots giving off extremely bright light.

<Nice barrier!> Apple exclaimed.

I noticed that Sparky had landed on what looked like a large waterbed and narrowed my eyes suspiciously. He must be used to randomly making trainers fall into his stadium. I released my barrier and landed nimbly on the dirt floor.

I was pretty proud of myself for making it look graceful.

<Ow!> Apple yelled at me. <You could have warned me you were about to do that, you know! Now my tail hurts!>

<You’re supposed to be psychic.>

<And you’re supposed to be my thoughtful and considerate trainer! There is obviously a huge gap between reality and what is expected—> Apple started.

<Well, I expect you to shut up!>

Apple smugly retorted, <But, see, that’s not the reality! I have some very important information, which you will just have to listen to if you want to win. While you were injuring my precious tail, I was trying to get into Sparky’s mind. And it kinda hurt.>

<Yes, generally falling hurts whatever body part—>

<No, I mean entering his mind. It was physically painful, and confusing, and…>

<Shocking?> I suggested.

<Exactly!>

<Somehow, I’m not surprised.>

“Finally!”

I looked away from Apple. Mel was standing in front of me, hands on his hips.

“Do you know how long I was waiting?! It’s a good thing Sparky is the coolest person ever, otherwise I’d be pretty upset about having to wait so long for you two to battle! At first, when I wanted to help speed up your task-thing, Sparky was mean ‘cause he wouldn’t let me go. But then he started showing me the coolest stuff, and we played this game where I had to dodge his electric bolts—”

I think my eyes nearly popped out of my head. “He WHAT?!”

“I was never hit! I turned invisible or went through the wall.”

I turned to Sparky, who was smiling mildly. “Are you INSANE? Mel is a kid! He’s not even a challenger! And you’re just casually throwing electric bolts that, oh, might kill him! How the hell are you a gym leader?!”

“Young pinecone, in this gym you will use three Pokemon. It will be a single battle, with no switching. You may not physically come in contact with your opponent’s Pokemon, your Pokemon, or your opponent, but you may assist your Pokemon in any other way.”

“Are you ignoring me!?”

Sparky cackled, “Of course not. I’m answering your question.” In a flash of red, an Electrode appeared.

“Mel, do not interfere, and stay out of the way,” I ordered.

“Well, duh! What part of I can’t wait to see you two battle did you not understand?” Mel replied, before disappearing.

“Go, Apple!”

There was a single intense moment that nothing happened. Apple stared at the Electrode, the Electrode stared back.

Then sparks flew, literally.

Apple and I both threw up psychic barriers. The electric bolts were not just coming from the Electrode, but from Sparky as well, and they were aimed at both me and Apple.

“Rollout!” I heard Sparky yell. The Electrode stopped shooting sparks. Sparky, unfortunately did not. I had to continuously keep pulsing energy into my barrier, which was now a large dome encompassing me, Apple, and the Electrode to keep from being electrocuted by Sparky. Apple fed me some of her power to strengthen my barrier.

<Dig,> I ordered. Apple disappeared below the ground and the Electrode missed.

“Spark Anita.” The sound was faint, and the barrier was getting to be too much for me. I knew the Electode’s bolts were heading right towards me…

Apple put a barrier up in front of me. <I’ll deal with the Electrode. You just keep Sparky from turning us all into fried chicken.>

Apple popped out of the ground, but the Electrode was already out of the way. Bright lights and sparks were everywhere. I winced when the weight on my barrier increased.

<Stay with it, Anita!> Apple called as she dodged another rollout. Her tail lit up, and she managed to bat the Electrode away.

The Electrode grinned and sent another thunderbolt our way.

<Apple, you’ve got to keep trying dig. It’s the only attack that will really hurt!> Apple dug underground as she put up another barrier to protect me from the Electrode’s thunderbolt.

My barrier faltered. Bright lights, stabbing pain, my ears screamed at me—

Panting, I managed to throw the barrier back up. Sparks whispered in my ears to give in to the pain, to let the knives attack. My mind whirled. All I knew was to keep up the barrier.

I saw strange images. A large Pokeball rolling into a hole, a purple sky, a laughing old man mouthing something.

<Anita—>

The ground exploded. I was thrown backwards into the wall, along with mounds of dirt and a few sharp pebbles. The wall shuddered with me and the thousands of tiny needles that seemed to be poking into my back. I fell to the ground, groaning.

I thought for sure I would black out.

Somehow I didn’t.

Panting, I called, <Apple?>

No reply. I lifted my heavy head and squinted into the giant crater that now made up the center of the stadium, thanks to what I assumed had the Electrode’s explosion. I did not see Apple or the Electrode so I crawled forward a bit to get a closer look—

The earth gave way below me and I tumbled down into the crater, dirt getting caught in my fingernails as I uselessly tried to stop my fall.

I wouldn’t have seen Apple if I hadn’t slid right over, she was so covered in grime. I lifted her into my arms. <Apple?>

She was knocked out. I took a deep breath, summoned my powers, and slid into her mind. I was surprised by how easily my powers came, despite the huge strain I had just undergone. Everything was dark in Apple’s mind so I sank to a deeper level. Everything was still dark. <Apple?> I tentatively called again.

Apple, in her Mew form, appeared in front of me, with a surprised look on her face. <What are you doing here? I’ve fainted.>

<I wanted to make sure you’re okay. That was a major explosion.>

<Don’t you have a battle to get back to?>

<Well, yeah,> I said sheepishly.

<Then get moving!>

I jolted back into my body and blinked as my eyes adjusted.

“Will you send out your next Pokemon, already!?” Sparky yelled. I looked up. Sparky was grinning down at me from the edge of the crater, with a Pokeball in his hand. My barrier must have kept the damage from Electrode’s explosion inside the barrier because Sparky appeared completely unharmed, as did the walls and ceiling of the stadium.

I picked up Apple and trudged my way up the steep slope, out of the crater. My legs burned with each step. Once, I slipped slightly and almost slid all the way back down. I caught Sparky’s eye, which was still filled with a wild excitement, and I wondered if I had drained the gym leader’s powers at all.

When I reached the top, I laid Apple down behind me. Too bad Sparky had confiscated my pack—there was some medicine I could have given Apple in there. I pulled out another Pokeball.

“Go, Allo!”

Sparky laughed and released a Jolteon.

I prepared my mind for Sparky’s onslaught, well aware that without Apple, I probably would not be able to withstand the pressure for more than thirty seconds at best.

Sparky laughed. For some reason I got the feeling he was laughing at me. “Thundershock,” he ordered. I was surprised when he did not try to electrocute me. Perhaps I had drained some of his energy…

My main advantage in this battle would be telepathy; Sparky would not be able to predict my moves. <Dodge, then quick attack, Allo.>

Allo managed to avoid getting shocked, and ran at the Jolteon. Faster than I could see, the Jolteon was gone.

<Behind you!> I yelled. I threw up a barrier to stop the Jolteon’s pin missile from hitting Allo.

<Allo, you’ve got to move faster!>

<I’m trying, I’m trying!>

“Sparkles, quick attack to get in close! Then let’s shock them!”

Sparkles—which was apparently the Jolteon’s name—was on Allo, faster than I could throw my mind forward. <Sand attack!> I called, in hopes of dissipating the speed advantage.

It was too late. Allo was knocked out with the single thunderbolt/quick attack combo I failed to block.

I murmured a “Nice try,” as Allo was returned to his Pokeball. I released Fiery.

Immediately, Sparky had Sparkles fire off a few thunderbolts, all of which Fiery was able to dodge or I was able to block with a barrier. I knew it wouldn’t last. This time when Sparkles closed in for a physical attack, I’d be ready. Fiery would be ready.

<Fiery, heat up your body temperature,> I ordered. <Get ready to use ember.>

You know in Star Wars or Star Trek or Star Whatever how the starships look when they go from normal space-time to faster than light travel? Well, that’s what it looked like when Sparkles started running in a quick attack.

Like right now. “Quick attack and thunderbolt, Sparkles!” Sparky chuckled, “No dodging that!”

The Jolteon was sparking as it took off towards Fiery. Fiery would be electrocuted before he could pull off an ember… unless—

<Iron-tail. Use iron-tail, but hold onto that ember!>

Fiery’s attack was a moment too late. Sparkles used thunderbolt while in contact with Fiery, but Fiery was able to maneuver the Jolteon away before he was seriously hurt. Fiery’s tail slammed Sparkles to the ground.

<Ember, now!>

Standing above Sparkles, Fiery breathed fire down onto the Jolteon. Sparkles’ fur caught on fire.

Sparkles attempted to use another thunderbolt, but Fiery was far away enough from Sparkles for me to create a barrier between the two Pokemon. Sparkles used the distraction to scramble away from Fiery, back towards Sparky.

<Fiery, keep it up! Get after it and use ember!>

Fiery sprinted toward the Jolteon at full speed. There was a moment that I thought Sparkles would just stand there, and let the attack hit. The Jolteon was burnt and had been hit by Fiery’s iron tail. There was no way the Pokemon could move as quickly as before, but I had expected him to at least try to escape—

Sparkles disappeared before Fiery hit. What my eyes could not see, my mind could feel. <Fiery, quick attack, on your left!>

I did not understand. Sparkles should be hurt—how was that Jolteon still moving so quickly?

Fiery and Sparkles collided, as did Fiery’s flames and Sparkles’ sparks. Both Pokemon were forced backwards. Fiery was panting hard… but Sparkles was hardly panting. I narrowed my eyes.

<Fiery, I need to figure out why your attacks don’t seem to be affecting Sparkles. Keep dodging—I’m going to enter their minds.>

Fiery nodded and ducked under a random thunderbolt.

Apple had warned me about Sparky so I would enter Sparkles’ mind instead. I easily listened to the Jolteon’s thoughts, but the Pokemon, unfortunately, seemed completely absorbed in the battle. For the most part, Sparkles did not even think—he only carried out the commands of his trainer. Occasionally a random thought about a new way to dodge one of Fiery’s ember attacks or how to more effectively execute a thunderbolt would wander across Sparkles’ mind.

I found I had a lot of trouble delving any deeper into Sparkles’ mind. I did not have a connection with Sparkles like I had with Apple, or even with my other Pokemon. Eventually, I decided it would be far easier and faster to try Sparky’s mind, despite Apple’s warning.

Sparky felt brighter than any creature I had come across before. Tentatively, I touched a thin strand of my power to Sparky’s mind. Immediately, I doubled over in pain. The knives and needles had returned, trying to wheedle me into letting go of the connection, stopping the pain. But no, there was something I had… had to figure out? Maybe… if only I could remember what it was…

My vision blurred, becoming a swirl of bright lights.

Lightning flashed across the sky… a Jolteon running… a thundershock coming from the Jolteon in a dusty room… a Flareon and Jolteon colliding… electric bolts racing towards an injured Jolteon… a smiling Jolteon… electric bolts racing towards a girl with purple eyes…

Purple eyes—I had purple eyes! I broke the connection and the pain receded, leaving only a massive headache. I reviewed the images that had briefly flashed through my mind when I touched Sparky’s mind.

Duh. I couldn’t believe it was so obvious.

<Sparky’s healing Sparkles with his powers,> I explained to Fiery. <That’s why he hasn’t been attacking my directly! He’s been too busy feeding his electricity to Sparkles. Jolteons are able to absorb electricity and use the absorbed electricity to recover… my teacher called it volt absorb back in elementary school…>

Fiery used his tail to bat away Sparkles when the Jolteon tried another physical attack. <So what are you going to do about it?>

<I’m going to cut off Sparky. It will probably take all of my concentration so you might be on your own. Just keep with the iron-tail and ember!>

I sent out my mind and created a dome-shaped barrier around Sparky. Instantly, there was a great pressure on my mind. I focused on the flawless surface of my barrier, on its durability, on its shape…

I couldn’t help losing concentration for swift milliseconds because of the battle. I saw Fiery smash down his lit up tail—aiming for Sparkles but denting only the ground. Later, I noticed Fiery’s tired stance. I was pleased to see Sparkles wincing a bit, too.

The pressure on my barrier continued to build. My brain hurt. Images fizzed and then went fuzzy—

Sparky broke through.

My first reaction was to throw up a barrier around myself so I was protected from Sparky’s electric bolts.

My second reaction was too slow. The moment I put up a barrier around myself, I realized Fiery had been left unguarded. Unfortunately, in that moment, both Sparky and Sparkles chose to attack Fiery.

Fiery was knocked out.

My stomach churned, revolted by the turn of events.

Yes, the pun was intended.

I bent over and puked up my pride with the partially digested tomato-tuna sandwich I had for lunch.

delongbi
April 4th, 2010, 09:39 PM
Thank you to my readers for reading! A warning: in the next chapter (chapter 28) the plot really starts to pick up. If you have trouble remembering memories, it is highly advisable to reread the Master's, Liam's, Apple's, and anyone else's thoughts/memories from the short sections usually at the beginning of chapters. Happy April!



Chapter 27: Worthwhile

“Erin, wait! You forgot your Pokeball!” Zach yelled.

I didn’t slow my pace.

“Erin!” I felt a hand on my shoulder and tried to shrug it off. Zach grabbed my hand.

“Let go.”

“You can’t leave without your Pokemon.” Zach placed Griffy’s Pokeball in my free hand. “Wanna tell me what’s up? I thought I was invited over for a goodbye dinner, but as I’m ringing the doorbell, your mother starts babbling about how you forgot Griffy and that she didn’t want to go after you because you were in one of those ‘moods’…”

“Yes, my mother still considers herself a teenager… immature,” I mumbled.

“Are you going to tell me why you’re in a sour mood when it’s your freaking birthday and you get to start your journey?”

I sighed and sat down in the frost-covered grass, not caring that my pants would get wet and my butt would freeze. I was surprised when Zach sat down next to me. “I’m tired of my family,” I said.

“Well, you’re leaving now, right? So you won’t have to deal with them anymore.”

“You don’t understand. Every time I talk… not even—it’s every time my mom looks at me, she compares me to Melanie. ‘Why don’t you clean your room? Melanie always cleans her room!’ ‘’You should hang out with your girlfriends more often. Melanie invites girls over all the time.’ ‘You were spectacular in Oliver, dear! Remember when Melanie…’ It’s like I’m not a person; I’m just Melanie’s shadow. And then my dad nods in agreement and my sister just sits there, smiling like a moron.” I looked Zach straight in the eye. “Do you know what my dream job is?”

“What?”

“To be an actress. But I can’t.”

“That’s not true. Of course you can!”

“No, I can’t. Because Melanie is an actress, a rising star or whatnot. And even if I was as good as her—even if I was better—I’d only be known because I’m Melanie’s kid sister. I’d never be recognized for my talent.”

“You know that’s not true.”

“Obviously I don’t,” I snarled. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be on this journey in the first place. I’d go to high school and take extra drama classes and then try to get acknowledged by some famous fat producer.”

“You could still do that.”

“I don’t want to. I want to do something worthwhile. I want to do research.”

Zach cracked his knuckles in frustration. “So you want to become an actress but you don’t want to so instead you’re going to become a researcher? And I still don’t understand why you’re so upset because you’re leaving now!”

I felt the tears coming so I got up and started running.

“Erin! Erin, wait!” Zach caught up with me quickly, pulling my arm back to stop me. When I nearly tripped from the tug, Zach held me until I regained my balance. “Look, Erin, I don’t understand. I don’t know if I can. But I do know that you’re an amazing girl and my best friend. Look, this might be a bad time, but I was going to ask you at dinner. My birthday’s in three weeks… and well, I was wondering, if maybe you’d want to wait so we could travel together. If you don’t want to stay here because of your family, maybe we could meet up in Azul City or Tinted Town. Erin, I…umm, I really like you. Really, really.”

Now the tears were really flowing. I smiled weakly at Zach, sniffled, and then gave him a hug. He didn’t move or complain as I drenched his shoulder in snot.

Finally, I took Zach’s hand and we walked back to my house together…

“I never knew you were so vain,” Liam said. “You have been staring off at the mirror for twenty minutes. There is only so much to look at.”

“Hold the mirror still!” I hissed, mentally cursing myself for thinking of him again. Now that I was back in my hometown, the reminders were everywhere. I leaned into the mirror and lifted my eyelid in order to apply the black eyeliner.

Liam sighed. “Don’t you think this is a little extreme?”

“You don’t know my family,” I said darkly.

Liam laughed mockingly. “There is no possible way your family is more screwed up than mine.”

I smiled sweetly. “Care to share more?”

“No.”

“Good, then shut up, agree with my complaints, and grab my black wig on top of the wardrobe.” Liam reached behind him to my shrinkable wardrobe with one hand while balancing the large mirror in the other. I examined my reflection in the mirror, wondering if I looked different enough to fool my mother. My eyes were tinted blue with colored contacts, and I had applied a ridiculous looking red lipstick to my lips. The field of grass and the Pokemon Center in the backdrop of my image almost made me giggle; I was not used to changing my appearance and setting up my wardrobe outside.

Liam handed me the wig, and in one swift motion I gathered all of my hair beneath the wig. “How do I look?” I asked.

“Like a Jynx,” Liam replied sourly. He was frowning at my hair. Ha, I bet he was remembering the last time I had worn this… Ah, fun times.

Just to see him squirm, I lowered my voice and whispered, “Do I kiss like one, too?”

“I didn’t fall asleep so no, you do not.” Hmm, not his best comeback. Liam looked away and started packing up my wardrobe. Though I’m sure he’d never admit it, I swear I saw his cheeks tint ever so slightly pink. Score!

After everything was shrunk back to pocket size, we approached the Pokemon Center. I took a moment to put on my best poker face before striding through the doors, looking straight at the counter. The business look always managed to hide my nerves.

I approached the… nurse, careful not to make eye contact. “Hello, I’d like to have this Pokemon healed.” I put the Bellsprout’s Pokeball on the counter.

No answer.

I peeked upwards. Big mistake. “ERIN, HONEY, YOU’RE HOME!”

So much for this disguise…

My mother enveloped me in a hug, which was painful because she was hugging across a counter. “Erin, I missed you so much! How are you? Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home? Are you acting again? Is that why you are wearing that wig? Do you have a performance here? You should take off the wig, dear, I like your red-blonde much better. And your brown eyes—take out those contacts. How long are you staying? You’re done traveling, right? Did you tell your father or Melanie or Professor Blubber or…” I was surprised my mom actually stopped spewing words. Any guesses on where I picked up the ability to rant for hours?

“It’s good to see you, too, Mom,” I said, pulling away. “How’d you know it was me?” I asked as I pulled off the wig and popped out my contacts—they were itchy and unfortunately, now unnecessary.

“I bought you that zip-up, dear.”

Liam broke into a short coughing fit, I’m sure to cover up a snicker. I made a mental note to smack him later.

When I turned to my mother, I found her staring at Liam, who had quickly recovered and was returning the icy stare.

“Honey, who is this?”

“This is—” and then he walked through the door behind the counter.

“Nurse Joy, is everything alright? I heard you yelling and—” The boy-who-must-not-be-thought-of stopped midsentence. He blinked. “Erin?”

I gave them my best plastic smile. “Mother, Zach,” I practically choked out the name. “this is Liam.” I took a step back and hung my arms around Liam’s neck. “My boyfriend.”

CRASH

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

—went the world when lightning zapped the ocean and water exploded around me, soaking my skin and my bones and it was cold and the world shook and there had to be pain but I couldn’t feel it because I didn’t know me or if me or I existed or—

<Anita!>

—my name. Me. I. I’m me. But who does that make the lightning—

There was a strange pale boy standing in front of me with his hands on his small hips and his huge grey eyes full of some emotion. Fear? Concern?

Perhaps lightning. It was hard to tell.

<Oh, there you are. What are you doing all shriveled up in the corner? I’m leaving now ‘cause we’re here so you’ve got to take over, got it?>

­—the explosion. Dirt impaling my skin, no more painful than the sparks. Cold like icy water droplets running through my veins as horrendous images of blood-matted fur and twisted bones and dead Eevees flooded my mind—

The boy turned around and walked away.

—don’t go please never leave don’t never please never never never—

The world shook.

I was forced to open my eyes.

A freckled nose was much too close. “Anita! You’re awake!” the mouth beneath the nose yelped.

“See, I told you she was fine,” another voice said. The voice of the pale boy.

“You consider crashing through the Pokemon Center doors riding some poor man’s concession cart covered in dirt and blood, wearing that horrifically torn outfit fine?!” The freckled nose moved away. I blinked and after a moment, came to the conclusion that the nose belonged to Erin.

“Umm… well, she wasn’t exactly… I mean… she wasn’t the one in control when she rode in here on the cart. She was really weak and almost unconscious after the battle so I… err…”

“So you asked a man to borrow his cart and wheeled this unfortunate girl all the way to the Pokemon Center? That’s so kind.” I managed to lift my head slightly and saw a red haired woman speaking.

“Sure, let’s go with that.”

I blinked a few more times to clear my vision. The white nurse cap on the red-haired woman’s head was tilted at an odd angle, almost falling off when the woman moved her head. The scene felt familiar.

“Listen up, pipsqueak,” Erin said, grabbing the pale boy’s collar. “What did we tell you about taking over—mmmph!”

A hand snaked around Erin’s shoulder and covered her mouth. My eyes traced from the hand up a lanky arm to a shoulder, neck, settling on a head of disorderly black hair. “Now, sweetie, why don’t you leave Mel alone. He was helping Anita. Overtaking a cart was perfectly reasonable in his situation.” Liam. Mel. Erin. Lightning. Furious lightning. Fiery lightning. Fiery! Apple!

My mind was suddenly overwhelmed. “Apple!” I tried to send out my mind, but had trouble focusing.

“Don’t worry, dear. Everything is going to be all right,” the red-haired woman said. Nurse Joy. I shook my head. Why didn’t I remember that before? “Apple and your other Pokemon are being tended to as we speak. My assistant, Zachary, is taking care of it. Now we just have to focus on getting you cleaned up and waiting for the shock you are experiencing to pass.”

I stood still as Nurse Joy started rubbing my left arm with a damp washcloth and some other liquid that stung. “This is the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Honestly, the nerve of that gym leader… I can’t understand why the city council won’t even consider impeachment…”

I watched Erin and Liam, now standing a ways away, in a heated whispering argument. Mel had moved to the couch and was picking his nose, examining the boogers, and with a bizarre fascination, turning his boogers invisible before flicking them behind the couch.

“How long have they been together?” The speaker wasn’t Nurse Joy.

I turned my head and found myself looking at a teenager with curly brown hair covered by a worn baseball hat. He smiled. “I’m Zach, by the way.”

“Anita.”

“I know. So how long?”

Maybe it was my garbled mind. I did not understand his question. “What?”

“How long have Erin and Liam been together?”

What a strange question to ask. When did we meet? By the lake. When I was pooped on. And half naked. That still beats out being electrocuted and then waking up confused as hell. “Two weeks? We met Liam by Peepin Pond…”

“So they’ve been a couple less than two weeks?”

My brain went into overdrive. I started laughing so hard my knees shook.

“Oh, dear.” Nurse Joy led me to a couch across from Mel.

“What’s so funny?”

“Erin, Liam…” I choked. I couldn’t get the rest of the words out.

“Oh, great. Now she’s crying. Do I have to go in and fish her out of moping land again?” Mel asked loudly.

Zach scrunched his eyebrows in Mel’s direction. “I think she’s laughing.”

“Why’s Anita laughing?” Through my blurred vision, I saw Erin and Liam walk next to the couch Mel was sitting on. The scene seemed fuzzy—dream-like. It had to be a dream. Erin and Liam a couple? I briefly wondered if I could do anything I wanted now that I realized I was dreaming. Maybe I could fly to Jupiter. Or spin around in circles without getting dizzy. Or punch Liam. If only I could stop laughing…

Zach shrugged. “I just asked a question.”

“He asked how long you two were together.” Mel said. Zach’s face turned red and he looked at the tip of Nurse Joy’s nurse hat.

“She’s delusional, might not remember—”

“She’s still in a state of shock, temporarily unable—”

Erin and Liam spoke at the same time, both stopping abruptly when each realized the other one was speaking.

I was having trouble breathing and my stomach hurt. Noises were getting stuck in my throat. “Kids,” Nurse Joy said sternly. “Why don’t you go wait outside while I handle Anita and get my stuff together. When Janice arrives for the night shift, all of you can come have dinner with Erin and our family. In fact, Erin, honey, why don’t you take Zachary and these other two boys back to our house now. If you get the water boiling, I’ll make pasta.” The nurse turned to me. “Dear, how about you lie down here for a couple of minutes.” She propped my legs on one end of the couch, and my body adjusted accordingly. My breath came in quick rasps. I closed my eyes.

----------------------------

The room was dimly lit and unfamiliar, smelling like musty oranges. I rubbed my eyes, and pushed the Pikachu covers off of my body. There was an identical bed to the one I was sitting on directly across the room, on the other side of the half shaded window. A dull orange rug lay below the window, in front of a nightstand. It looked like a massive blanket woven of Cheetos.

I walked across the Cheeto rug towards the door, but stopped to examine the large wooden dresser next to the door. Atop the desk, I found various peculiar objects; there was a broken Pokeball, a stuffed Teddiursa doll missing its tail, a dusty trophy, a few pairs of folded underwear, a book titled Drama and Irony, bits of folded paper, and piles and piles of unorganized pictures.

I picked up a pile of pictures. A young Erin and a smiling boy with brown curly hair lick ice cream that melts too quickly out of their cones. Flip. Erin sits on top of the Pokemon Center counter, holding a Pokeball. Flip. Two adults I assume to be Erin’s parents sit on a beach with Erin and a darker haired girl. Flip. Erin and the dark haired girl laugh.

I put the pictures down, opened the door, and walked out the door into a narrow hallway.

“Anita, you’re up! I was just coming to get you!” I nearly walked into Erin as I turned the hallway corner. “Dinner’s nearly ready. Welcome to my house, by the way. You were lying in my room.”

“Err…” I scratched my head. “What happened? I remember the battle… and losing… and then I had this bizarre dream where I rode on this insane cart and then you and Liam were a couple… Where are my Pokemon? Are they okay?”

Erin nodded. “Your Pokemon are fine—we left them all at the Pokemon Center for the night.”

“Okay, I’ll go now.”

Erin frowned. “Didn’t you just hear me? They are recovering in the Pokemon Center for the night. There is nothing you can do.”

“I’m still going.”

“At least eat dinner here, first. My mom and I cooked up some pasta and home-made red-sauce from home-grown tomatoes.”

“Alright.” I moved forward slightly to indicate I was ready to go down the stairs to the kitchen, but Erin blocked my path.

“Umm… so about your dream…”

The floor creaked as I shifted my weight.

Erin continued, “It wasn’t exactly a dream. Mel, apparently, took over your body to get you to the Pokemon Center and ended up hijacking a concession cart… and… umm… I kinda told everyone that Liam is my boyfriend.”

I reached out my mind to hers because I obviously did not understand what was running through her head at the moment. An image of the boy with curly brown hair from the photograph and from my not-so-unreal-dream flashed in my mind. Zach.

<Ah… so this is because of Zach?>

“Anita, you know I HATE it when you do that! Get out!”

I rolled my eyes. And didn’t oblige. A small thread of energy continued to bob near Erin’s head, alerting me of any of her strong emotions or ideas or memories.

“How did you get Liam to go along with it?” I asked.

“I didn’t give him a choice.”

How very Erin-like. “So… when should I buy your wedding gift?”

Erin pushed me jokingly. “I don’t actually like him that way. He is NOT my type. But just go with it while we’re here, kay?” Erin gave me a big eyed, wide smile.

I grinned. “It’ll be hilarious.” I ducked under her arm and started down the carpeted stairs. Just before I reached the bottom, I thought to her, <So who is your type?>

I spun around the stair railing into the kitchen, satisfied with the uncomfortable vibes I was getting from Erin, along with brief images of Jake telling a joke, Zach and Erin kissing, and discussing the molecular make-up of antidotes with Liam.

“Well, you’re looking better,” Nurse Joy said as I entered the room.

“Um, Nurse Joy, I don’t think I’m sick enough to have you follow me all the way to Erin’s house.”

Nurse Joy laughed. “I’m Amelia Kendle, Erin’s mother. I’m only Nurse Joy when I’m at work.”

Heat prickled at my neck. “Oh, sorry. It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Kendle.” Now that I looked closer, I could see the resemblance in Nurse Joy’s facial structure and light freckles.

“Come sit down, dear.” Erin’s mother led me through the small, homey kitchen to a dining room with a wooden floor and an antique wooden table. The patterned green tablecloth on top of the table clashed with the maroon seat cushions on the wooden chairs around the table. Liam, Zach, Mel, the girl with beautiful long brown hair I had seen in Erin’s picture, and a slightly balding man I also recognized from Erin’s picture were already sitting around the table. “This is my husband, Anthony and my daughter, Melanie. Where’s Erin?”

“She’s—”

“Here, mom!” Erin entered the room and plopped down in a seat between Melanie and Liam. I sat down across from her, next to Zach and Mel.

Erin’s mother proceeded to chatter about how happy she was Erin had returned as the pasta, red-sauce, and broccoli dishes were passed around the table. Mel helped himself to several scoops of pasta, but grimaced at the broccoli. When Mrs. Kendle insisted he eat the green vegetable, Mel turned the vegetable intangible as soon as Erin’s mother looked the other way so it fell through the table to the floor.

Erin and Liam continued to play the happy couple, with Erin giggling between quick glances at Liam. Liam smiled slightly, which was impressive, considering it was Liam. Melanie shot annoyed looks at the two, and Zach glared angrily at Liam. I was getting murderous vibes from that boy.

“Oh, Erin, this is so wonderful,” Mrs. Kendle said. “I have my baby back home.”

“Well, mom, it’s only for a couple of days, until Anita beats the gym leader,” Erin answered.

For some reason, this caused a stronger emotional wave from Zach. I was split between wanting to listen to this conversation and wanting to hop into Zach’s mind. Reading Zach would probably take all of my concentration because I didn’t know him well. Thus, I settled for listening to this conversation.

“But Professor Blubber told me once you returned you would be working for him in the lab…”

“No,” Erin said smoothly. “I think he wants me to keep travelling. He’s doing a lot of research on the Eevee evolutions and observing Anita’s Eevees could prove to be exceptionally helpful.”

“Now I’m not going to have any children at home! Did you hear, Erin? Melanie has found herself a job with Timothy Conundrum—she’s going to be playing a supporting role in his next film, Untalented. And I talked with Timothy personally…”

Clearly, I had made the wrong decision in listening to this conversation. I was going to slip into Zach’s mind, but instinctively was attracted to Erin’s mind. I saw flashes of Erin’s mother jabbering about Melanie, one of Melanie’s performances when she was Cinderella, Erin’s performance in Pinocchio…

Finally, her mind settled on a memory of her recantation of the funny scene that followed her performance in Pinocchio.

“So after the play, the girl came up to me and was like ‘You were so amazing!’ Then she blushed and asked if I’d like to go with her to the movies some time so I took off my wig. It took her about five seconds to realize I was a girl, blush even more, and stammer something about it being ‘too good to be true…’” I said, setting my paper bag lunch out on the cafeteria table.

Zach laughed. “It must be fun pretending to be different people. How do you do it if you get a role you’ve never experienced before?”

“Research.”

Zach snorted. “Like you’d ever do research.”

“I so do research! I people watch. If I have the role of a basketball player, I’ll go to the basketball’s practice and watch a game or two.”

“That doesn’t count as research!”

I shrugged.

“Have you ever done it just to mess with people?”

“Duh! Once I earned twenty bucks in tips pretending to be a waitress at Olivine Garden until the manager figured out I didn’t actually work there.”

“Have you done it to me?”

I winked. “Of course.”

“Hey, Zach. Did you pick up your transcript yet?” Evan sat down next to me, smoothing out a piece of paper he had just placed on the cafeteria table. “I’m ranked number three again.”

“Number four,” Zach mumbled.

“Ha. You’ve only got one more semester to beat me.”

I rolled my eyes. “I don’t get why you guys make such a big deal out of the rankings. I mean, as long as you pass, and your parents allow you to, you can leave on a journey as soon as you turn thirteen.”

“Just ‘cause you’re not even in the top twenty doesn’t mean you have to down on all of us who actually have brains and care about school,” Zach replied.

I stuck out my tongue at him.

“I talked to Amy—that goody-two-shoes is number two,” Evan said. “Who do you think number one is?”

“Maybe Alec?” Zach suggested. “Wasn’t he ahead of us at some point?”

“Yeah, but then he practically failed battle strategy last year.”

I stood up, gathering my unopened lunch bag in my hands. “I just remembered—I forgot to do the math homework. See you guys later.”

Zach nodded to me and I swiftly walked out of the cafeteria. Instead of turning to the left, towards my locker, I turned to the right, towards the administration office.

“Hi, Erin. Are you here to pick up your transcript?” the secretary asked as I entered. I nodded, and she shuffled through a pile of envelopes. “Ah, here you go.” She handed me an envelope.

“Thanks.”

I exited the office and walked back towards my locker. When I was a good twenty feet away from the administration office, I tore the envelope, transcript and all, into several small pieces of white paper. I found the nearest garbage can and watched as the shredded paper fluttered down onto moldy pieces of pizza and empty plastic wrappers.

For good measure, when I saw the tiny piece that read, “Class Rank:” I spat a large wad of saliva at it, entirely covering the words that followed—

“Number One.”

“—ranked trainer in Acceber. Anita, think you could beat her?” Zach asked.

“Huh?”

“Earth to Anita,” Mel said. “Zach has asked you a question.”

“Do you think you could beat Vivian Duntweedam, the number one ranked trainer in Acceber?” Zach repeated.

“Um, sure,” I said.

“You don’t sound too convinced.”

“Well I am. Go team. Win. Whooo.” The conversation continued without me. Despite Erin’s attempt to seem cool and unaffected by Zach, her eyes would occasionally start to flicker towards him. She would consciously stop her eyes from moving, and force them to look at Liam instead. I curiously delved back into Erin’s mind…

I loved the way he held me on these cool September nights, the way we curled up together in our pajamas in one sleeping bag by the dying fire. I especially loved these sweet, long kisses…

I pulled away. “What do you want?” I asked Zach.

Zach’s eyebrow’s furrowed. “How do you know I want something?”

“Dude, we never kiss for over ten seconds.”

“Well, I was thinking… I know you’ve got to go to Globert City for your research thingy, but Zahavah City’s not too far out of the way, and I’d really like to challenge the gym leader…”

“Zach, this is pretty important. I’m supposed to make the delivery by next Wednesday.”

“How important could it be if he’s having an assistant do it?”

“Professor Blubber is busy. He cannot be everywhere at once, and this delivery could help with a major breakthrough…”

Zach snorted.

“Oh, like being a trainer is much more worthwhile.”

“It’s worthwhile to me. You, on the other hand, are doing something you don’t fully believe in.”

“That’s not true…”

“Yeah, you’re right. Sorry I brought it up.”

“It’d be okay if we stopped in Zahavah for a few nights. I’ll call Professor Blubber and tell him I can’t make it by Wednesday…”

Zach briefly touched his lips to mine. “Thanks.”

I turned over, facing away from Zach and the remaining weak fire embers. “Good—”

“—night.” Erin stood up. “I’m tired and I’m going to bed.”

“It’s only eight o’clock,” Melanie said.

Erin shrugged.

“Anita’s going to be sharing your room,” Mrs. Kendle said.

“You boys will be staying in the guest room,” Mr. Kendle added. “As always, Zach, you are welcome to stay.”

“I’m tired, too.” I said, picking up my plate and silverware. Erin and I brought our dishes to the sink and then headed upstairs. Once we were in Erin’s room, Erin quietly shut the door behind her.

“Anita, there’s something I need to tell… show you. Could you… do the mind thing?”

I nodded.

After a moment, Erin asked, “Well, what are you waiting for?”

<For you to start showing.>

<I didn’t even notice you were here!>

<Err, just arrived.> No need for Erin to know that I could roam her mind undetected.

Erin began, <We were traveling from Zahavah City, where Zach had just earned a badge…>

“No, Zach, I don’t want to cut my two week observation of the Pokemon within Apoosh Forest short so you can go lose to the unbeatable gym leader,” I said.

“Have some faith—I’ve beaten three other gyms.”

“He doesn’t lose. His father never lost either. How would you be any different? But this conversation is not about whether or not you can beat a gym leader; it’s about facing this gym leader in the first place. We did it your way last time. Now its your turn to compromise.”

“This is different. If I don’t get another two badges in the next two months, I can’t compete in Acceber’s Pokemon League.”

“Oh, yeah, so you should definitely focus defeating the undefeated gym leader. Real time saver right there.”

“Well, we’ll be by Drape Town anyway…”

“Have you ever considered, Zach, that my observation has a time limit as well? I have to observe in that forest between a half-moon to a full moon.”

“Yeah, but it’s just observation. You can make something up—”

“You *******! Did you ever consider that this might be important? Actually, I can answer for you—no! You’ve never thought about how your travel plans might affect my research. Not once. ‘Sure, it’s okay if Erin doesn’t deliver the package on time.’ ‘Oh, the library is closed for the week? Too bad. If there was a gym in this town, then we could have stayed longer.’”

“I didn’t think it was so important to you…”

I laughed. “You didn’t think it was important to me? Wake up and smell the roses, Zach. The roses with thick, spiky, sharp stems. I love what I do. I’ve loved researching from the start. But you couldn’t possibly contemplate me loving something other than you.”

“But… but you aren’t good at it. You never really like science class. I mean—”

“How the hell would you know what I’m good at? You’ve never bothered to find out—”

“I know you’re good at acting—”

“Yes, I’m so good at acting, I managed to make a show out of my entire life, with Erin and lover boy in the spotlight. So happy together. So perfect for each other. ****, I don’t know what was wrong with me. Zach, do you know my favorite color is cerulean? Do you know I ride Griffy for hours and hours after every time we argue? Do you even know that I was the valedictorian of our class?”

Zach took a deep breath. “Erin, I’m sorry. Maybe… maybe I can go to Drape Town alone, while you do your thing in Apoosh Forest.”

I smiled grimly. “Yes, I think its best we split up.” I abruptly turned on my heel and began walking away from Zach.

“Wait! I didn’t mean forever!”

I stopped and slowly turned to face Zach. “Well, I did.”

“Please, Erin. We like each other, remember? We kiss and share ice cream and enjoy each other’s company. Don’t you think it will be worth your while—”

“I help make important discoveries that eventually will benefit both humans and Pokemon. I help people, and that is worthwhile. What do you do? You train Pokemon to fight. Who do you help? Maybe your self-esteem? You have no right to tell me what is worth my while.” I released Griffy from his Pokeball and climbed onto his back. “I won’t be seeing you,” I said coldly before riding away.

It was a long time before I stopped and cried myself to sleep.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “Erin, I’m so sorry. Today, the splitting up thing… it was stupid, I was mad at Liam… I’m sorry.”

Erin shook her head. “I’m not mad.”

I hesitated. “If that’s the way you feel, then why are you traveling with us? Why are you traveling with me?”

“At first, I just wanted some company and protection on my journey back here. I’ve always traveled with other people. It’s not really safe otherwise… but, Anita, it’s weird because now I want to keep traveling with you and Liam. I’ve never wanted that before. I used to look forward to working here with Professor Blubber. Now, I just want to move on to the next city with you two. You guys… you respect me for who I am, and listen to me, and even though I’ve only known you two for a couple of weeks, you’re the best friends I’ve ever had.”

I turned around and walked across the Cheeto rug to the window. I slid my hands under a notch, lifted to open the window, and clumsily climbed outside onto the roof.

“What are you doing?” Erin asked.

“I’m sneaking out to the Pokemon Center to be with my Pokemon.”

Erin stood awkwardly. “Oh…”

“Well, are you coming?”

A grin spread across Erin’s face. “Yeah.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I leaned back on the couch and closed my eyes in a weak attempt to fall asleep quickly.

“Liam?”

I cracked an eye open. Zach was sitting up in a sleeping bag on the floor, looking at me with a determined gaze.

“Hmn…” I answered indecisively.

Zach nervously wrung his hands. “How’s Erin?”

“How should I know? She’s not in the room now. She seemed just peachy earlier, though.”

“I meant… look, I only stayed over to tell you this: If you hurt her, I’ll beat your ass into the ground and pummel your head until you die.”

“Right.” Good luck with that. I closed my eyes again.

After a couple of minutes of silence, Zach said, “Well, this is awkward.”

“No,” Mel said, laughing on the guest bed. “It would be awkward if we were all sharing a bed.”

Really great image to fall asleep to.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I handed Professor Blubber the Bellsprout’s Pokeball.

“Thank you, Erin,” Professor Blubber said, placing the Pokeball an empty lab table. “How are your folks? How was catching up with them last night?”

“Great, Professor.” I took a long breath through my nose. “Professor… I wanted to ask you something.”

“Go ahead.”

“I was wondering if it’d be okay if I continued traveling with Liam and Anita instead of staying here.” I gestured to a window, where Anita could be seen ordering one of her Eevees to use quick attack. “You met Anita for a couple of minutes, and saw how good she was with her Eevees. I think I could really learn a lot by observing her Pokemon and hopefully watching them evolve.”

Professor Blubber stared out the window for a moment. “Erin, I’m sorry, but I can’t let you do that. I don’t have anyone here to help me anymore, and I really need the help. I also don’t have the money to continue sponsoring your journey at the moment. Plus, I promised your mother…”

I nodded. “Alright then.”

“So you’ll stay?”

I shook my head. “No, I quit.”

“Erin—”

“Please, Professor, I’m going to do this. It’s what I want. But could you not tell my mom until after I leave?”

Professor Blubber hesitated and then nodded. I hugged his belly (my arms could not reach all the way around) and then exited the laboratory through the front door. I walked around the outside of the lab to the back, where I leaned against the brick wall and watched Anita train her Pokemon.

“No, Splash,” I heard Anita say. “I will not race you. I’m not as fast as the electric Pokemon you’ll be facing—”

“Hey.”

I looked over my shoulder and found Zach approaching. My heartbeat quickened, but I kept my face blank and nodded coolly.

“So, you’re traveling with a trainer again,” he said.

I nodded again and watched as Apple illustrated to the other Eevees the proper running motions of a quick attack.

“I’m training under your mother to become a Pokemon nurse.”

“Good for you.” The Eevees raced across the grass field, quickly fading from my sight. About ten seconds later, they returned, with Splash in the lead.

“I like it. I’ve finally found something I think is worthwhile.”

Splash tackled Anita to the ground. Anita laughed as the other Eevees piled on top of her and she playfully pushed them away. I smiled.

“So did I.”

solovino
April 5th, 2010, 09:17 PM
Hey delongbi. I found this fanfic not too long ago and have had a relatively good time reading it. It is a pretty interesting take on a Pokémon Journey / adventure and you have done a pretty shifty and surprising work with the cliches. Like, the whole Super Mario gym thing was jawdropping (that's the part I am reading now). Bowser the Torkoal, oh gods.

Now, something that I specifically like is something that you do with your writing style, I'm not sure exactly what but while reading different scenes of the fic, it's like you make me forget that Fiery and Apple are Eevees (or an Eevee and a Mew, as you see fit). With Fiery, the initial description of his features as well as the way he behaves when around the cubs and how he interacts with Anita overall sometimes gives the sensation of a Pokémon more strongly associated with pack behaviour, like maybe a Houndour or a Growlithe (maybe because of the name as well). With Apple this doesn't work that much because of her psychic abilities, but the description of her actions and directness gives an impression closer to a Zigzagoon or something like that in the times that it is not noted (again) that she is not an Eevee (or Mew). It's a bit complicated, but I like it. It doesn't seem to extend to the other Pokémon in the story though so it's either an aftereffect of their characterization or that I am mad. Go figure... oh and long paragraph attempting to justify a review is long. :D

OK, just wanted you to know you have another fan. Keep entertaining us!

delongbi
April 6th, 2010, 03:31 AM
Hey, solovino! I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying it!

Super Mario gym thing was jawdropping

Lol, that was a really fun chapter to write. In all honesty, I find writing (and often reading) battles/gyms pretty tedious so when I do have to write them, I try to make them as creative and exciting as possible.

it's like you make me forget that Fiery and Apple are Eevees.

Fiery and Apple are more developed as characters than the other Eevees, which could explain part of it. Also with this story it is pretty necessary for Pokemon to have personalities.

OK, just wanted you to know you have another fan. Keep entertaining us!

THANK YOU!!!! Seriously! I will. Enjoy the rest of your reading!

Caliban
April 6th, 2010, 03:15 PM
Hello. Good story, I've been reading it for quite a while now.
Fiery and Apple are more developed as characters than the other Eevees
Isn't Fiery a Flareon now...? Or did I get muddled up again? XD;

I like what you've done with Erin; Liam (lol, my name too) was right, she did come across as a bit shallow at first, but you've given her a lot more depth now.
Lol'd at the way that Nurse Joy isn't Nurse Joy outside of the Pokemon Center, nice touch there.
Sparky was seriously scary though. I wonder what strategy you'll have Anita use to defeat him, hmm?

Anyway, like solovino, mainly dropping in to say that there's yet another person reading and enjoying this. ;D

delongbi
April 6th, 2010, 06:57 PM
Isn't Fiery a Flareon now...?

Lol, yes he is. I think Solovino isn't quite caught up yet. He was just reading the Aden's gym. Errr, and Solovino, if you read that, sorry for the giveaway.

I like what you've done with Erin

Yeah, lots of necessary development this past chapter.

Liam (lol, my name too)

:D

I wonder what strategy you'll have Anita use to defeat him

Yeah, her situation's a bit bleak at the moment. We'll see...

dropping in to say that there's yet another person reading and enjoying this

Again, THANK YOU! For a time I was beginning to believe that a magical fairy came to raise the views every time I posted a chapter. It's really, really awesome to hear from you guys!

Chives Yo
April 9th, 2010, 09:39 AM
Hi. I just finished chapter 27 and I love the story so far. I really love your characters and how they're all fairly unique and interesting.

The only complaint I really have is how, when you switch from one point of view to the other, it is sometimes unclear who's speaking/thinking/narrating until quite a way into the section, which makes it a little confusing.

Keep it up. ^^

Chives

delongbi
April 9th, 2010, 02:37 PM
I just finished chapter 27 and I love the story so far

Yay, I'm glad you like it!

when you switch from one point of view to the other, it is sometimes unclear who's speaking

Thank you! I'll try to work on that! It's sometimes hard for me to see that type of confusion because as the writer, I obviously know who's point of view I'm writing from. I'll try to be more conscious of it!!

Thanks for reviewing, Chives!

delongbi
May 2nd, 2010, 07:59 PM
Alright, next chapter! This begins my attempt to write/post a chapter a week for the summer! We'll see how that goes (especially since I just bought gold, oy). Thank you guys so much for reading and/or reviewing! You guys keep me motivated!

Chapter 28: No Goodbyes

“Rita, I’m leaving you in charge.” My stomach physically hurt from uttering those words.

“Don’t get me wrong, Jamie—”

“That’s Sir Arkle to you,” I corrected.

“You’re not a knight,” Rita snickered. “Anyway, Jamie, though your departure makes my heart overflow with syrupy happiness, what exactly are you going to tell the Master?”

“The same thing I told you,” I said curtly. “There was a family emergency—”

“I didn’t even know you had family. I was fairly certain pigs gave birth—”

“And you fell out of a pigeon’s uterus. Go **** yourself.” I slammed my suitcase shut. “I’ll be back by the end of the week. Do anything to damage my career—”

“As a suck-up—”

“And I will personally shave the skin off your body and feed it to your precious pigeons.” I walked out of the office, leaving the witch with everything I had worked so hard to obtain. I almost regretted my efforts to keep competent Team Glop’emm members out of the Master’s most trustworthy circle. Almost. Any person with power and competence had the potential to be named the next Team Glop’emm Master, and thus be detrimental to my career.

I yearned for a trustworthy trainer to do this grunt work for me. Trustworthiness, however, was a hard trait to come across in Team Glop’emm. I’ve had much experience in the matter.

When I finally arrived outside, I pulled out a Pokeball. In a flash of red my Togekiss appeared.

“Skampi, to Globert City,” I ordered as I climbed over Skampi’s unusually large wings. Drape town quickly faded below us, until only the stubborn City Hall was visible. The despised City Hall…

As the City Hall failed to provide me with information about the Mendol family, I was forced to find another means of gaining this knowledge. The only people who possibly knew Master Mendol Senior better than me were the little Mendol twit himself, the gym leaders, and Harvey Darcleye.

Harvey Darcleye was the least dangerous of the bunch and likely knew the most. After all, he had been the gym leader of Drape town before the Mendols arrived…

The Sneasel slashed at the Butterfree with a claw, but the butterfly Pokemon swooped away just in the nick of time. The Butterfree sent a few whirlwinds at the Sneasel, but the Sneasel took the opportunity to use an ice attack. The ice shards got caught in the whirlwind and hit the Butterfree—

“Yo, Jamie!”

The sudden voice nearly made me fall out of the tree I was sitting in. I looked down at the moron who had startled me.

“Jamie, you’ve gotta come see—Ryan and Drake are decking each other over some blonde chick. What’re you doing up there?”

“I’m on an assignment.”

“Spying on the gym leader through a window? Dude, the battles are open to the public.”

“I’m not supposed to be seen.” I did not tell the idiot that I was actually waiting for after the gym battle, when the gym leader was supposed to meet with a new potential gym leader after the match under this very tree. Gym leaders were a nasty business for Team Glop’emm, always foiling plans and sending about half the crew to jail. Whenever a new one came around, the bosses always wanted to know what the team would be dealing with next.

“Yeah, well, I saw you so you might want to go higher.”

The moron had a point. I climbed into higher branches.

“Jamie, I was kidding. Ger your ass down here to see the fight!”

“I’m on duty.”

“**** duty! You love this stuff! Man, ever since you joined that gang you haven’t been the same. You too cool to hang with us now? Is that it?!”

“You were never cool to begin with,” I said, losing my patience. The Butterfree had fainted and the gym leader was shaking a teenager’s hand.

The moron raised his hands in defeat. “Whatever, Jamie. Just don’t come crying back to us when that gang kicks your ass out on the curb.” The guy turned and walked away, disappearing among Drape Town’s busy citizens walking up and down Main Street.

Forty minutes later, the sun was starting to set and the damn tree was making my legs uncomfortable. Just as I was adjusting my position, the gym leader walked out of the gym, turned a corner, and approached the tree. I noticed the gym leader walked with a slight limp, supported on one side by an Umbreon whose eyes glowed eerily. A man with dark hair approached the tree from the opposite direction. I froze.

When the two men and the Umbreon arrived under the tree, the gym leader held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Mendol.”

The man with dark hair took the gym leader’s hand. “Mr. Darcleye, the pleasure is mine.”

“To what do I owe this delightful encounter?” the gym leader asked.

“I heard you were retiring.”

“I’m sorry, you were misinformed.”

“I heard you were retiring once you found a replacement,” Mendol said.

“Where?”

Mendol shrugged, and the gym leader eyed the man warily. “Psychic,” Darcleye ordered. The Umbreon’s eyes glowed purple and Mr. Mendol was shoved against the gym’s brick wall. “You are not gifted.”

Mendol pulled out a Pokeball. “I am gifted in other ways.” A Houndoom appeared as Mendol pressed the release button. “Crunch.”

The Hondoom rushed at the Umbreon. The Umbreon disappeared and reappeared behind the Houndoom in a faint attack. Just as the Umbreon hit, the Houndoom twisted around and spewed a blast of fire in the Umbreon’s face.

“Toxic!” Darcleye yelled.

“Sludge Bomb,” Mendol retaliated.

Both Pokemon, still physically intertwined, were covered with a purple, oozing liquid. The Houndoom bit down hard on the Umbreon’s back, only to be roughly pushed away.

“Wait,” Darcleye called as the Pokemon faced each other, about to attack once more.

Mendol nodded to his Houndoom to do the same.

The two Pokemon stared at each other, watching the poison seep through the veins of their opponents. After several minutes, both Pokemon were struggling to stand.

Finally, the Umbreon fell.

Darcleye pulled out a Pokeball and released his Sneasel. Mendol took a step back to prepare for the attack. “Go fetch,” Darcleye ordered the Sneasel. Surprisingly, the Sneasel fled from the battle toward the street. I saw him enter the gym from my window view. “You have a lot to learn,” Darcleye told Mendol as he picked up his Umbreon.

Mendol did not say anything. He returned his Houndoom to a Pokeball.

The Sneasel returned with a Pokemon egg between its claws. Darcleye took the egg and held it out to Mendol.

Mendol took the egg. “What is this?” he asked.

“An Eevee egg. Your training starts tomorrow at eight-o-clock. Goodnight.” Darcleye returned the Sneasel and limped away from the tree with the Umbreon in his arms, walking into the lamp-lit street.

Mendol smirked as Darcleye vanished down the street.

He then looked up into the tree, directly at me. His smirk widened.

“Call me,” he mouthed, holding his hand like a phone up to his ear. Then he departed into the darkness.

I smiled as I climbed down from the tree, knowing I had some interesting news to tell my boss.

And probably a promotion.

The air was smoggy and smelled of gasoline. I forced my eyes open as Skampi descended into Globert City despite the ashy particles that made my eyes sting. The air was more breathable on the ground. I returned Skampi to his Pokeball and walked two blocks, carefully avoiding the Grimers oozing along the sidewalk. I kicked a Koffing out of the way when it rolled in front of my feet.

I found the small, grimy house I was looking for. It was slightly bigger than the tree house I had played in as a child and eventually set fire to. This house looked already burnt-out—it was less homey than a pile of rubble, and was in fact located next to a dump.

I wrapped on the door.

“Go away!” a gruff voice shouted through the door. “I already told you, I have no idea where the boy is!”

“Sir, I’m not a reporter,” I called.

“Eh? So you’re just another curious citizen.” A lock clicked and the door opened. Harvey Darcleye, grey hair, large nose, walking cane and all stood in the doorway. “I still have got nothing to say to you. I’ll tell you what I told the gym leaders’ people, the reporters, and all the other folk who decided bothering me was worth coming through the g-d-forsaken city for—I don’t know ****. I have not spoken with either Mendol since the day they took over my gym.” The man tried to slam the door, but I put my hand out and stopped the door from shutting.

“I’m a graduate student at Zahavah University, sir. And I’m researching you, not—”

“Bullshit. What, do you think I’m an idiot? First of all, if you were just doing research you would have tried calling me. Granted, I unhooked my phone, but I still get messages, and I’ve got nothing from you. Second of all, you’re not carrying anything but Pokeballs—not even a pad of paper. Thirdly, you are not wearing the protective mask all university students are required to wear before entering Globert City.”

“Maybe I don’t like the masks.”

“And maybe you’re not a graduate student. Let’s see… you can’t be from our beloved gym leaders because I’ve already given them all I know, you aren’t a reporter or a student, you’re certainly not a curious citizen because Globert City doesn’t have curious citizens, which leaves… Team Glop’emm.” Harvey Darcleye raised a white eyebrow at me.

I snickered.

The old man opened the door wider. “Well, do come in.” Harvey led me into a surprisingly clean room comprised of a small kitchen, a bed, and a couch. He nodded to an Umbreon lying on the couch. “Try any funny business and she’ll tear you to shreds.” Harvey seated himself next to the Umbreon and pointed out a stool for me to sit on. “So Team Glop’emm’s missing their leader, too?”

“Not quite. Tell me what you know about the Mendols.”

“Getting right to the point, are we? Well, frankly, the more people looking for the idiot boy, the better. A disgrace to my former gym… The Mendols, well, they came to Drape Town back, oh, seven years ago. The father was a real battle protégé—never knew the son much, but heard he was as well. Not much more to be known. Black hair, greenish eyes, good with dark Pokemon—”

“Gifted?”

“The son was, father wasn’t. But you already knew that, otherwise you wouldn’t have known to ask about the gift. What, are you testing to see how much I know?” As an afterthought, Harvey snapped, “Or how much I’m willing to tell?”

“How do you know the boy is the leader of Team Glop’emm?”

“Oh, his father told me outright as soon as he was gym leader. Said he was going to use the team for good. I wasn’t working for the government any more so I didn’t feel the need to run to the other leaders. I figured he wouldn’t last long—leaders of Glop’emm never do—so when he died I figured the position was probably passed on. I figured right, apparently.”

“Use the team for good?”

“What’d you think he joined the team for? Money? Power? He already had all of that as a gym leader, youngster. No, he said he’d use the team’s resources for something that would benefit all of humanity—and, before you ask, he never did give me the details and I never asked. Moved to a cottage by the ocean until the man went and died and my house was bombarded with reporters—then I moved here to avoid all of that. I think it’s time to pack up again…”

“Did they have any relatives?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Where did they come from, before Drape Town?”

Harvey scratched his head. “Vintage Villiage, if I recall correctly. Didn’t talk about the past much…”

I got up. The man had given me all the answers I needed.

“Hey, where are you going? You’re not going to ask me where I think he might be? What Pokemon he’ll be using? If he visited?”

“Did he?”

“No.”

I opened the front door. “You’re not trying to find him, are you?” Harvey called after me. The door slammed shut, but I still heard his voice. “You’re trying to make sure he’ll stay gone!”

I touched Hypno’s Pokeball. With the information Harvey knew, I should kill him. But he was gifted. He might be hard to kill and there was a chance the gym leaders would check on him. I glanced through a small window and saw Harvey watching me. “Good luck,” he mouthed.

I smiled coldly and walked away from the door.

Needless murder just wasn’t my thing.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

<Anita, I don’t think you’re ready for this,> Apple said, playfully rolling in the pile of Pikachu covers on top of my bed. <You still can’t make a barrier move with your mind—you keep treating it like just one barrier when you really have to imagine it as several barriers, one disappearing as another one is made in almost the same spot as the first—>

I pulled on my shoes. <I’ll be okay.>

<And you utilize the dispersed energy from each disappearing barrier—>

<Apple! I know what to expect this time, and we spent the last two days improving speed. I swear, a Suicune couldn’t move as fast as Splash’s quick attack—>

<But you still can’t move barriers—>

<I don’t need to. I just have to hold back Sparky, and I’ve gotten a bit better at splitting my focus—>

<But—>

<Enough! Ready or not, I’m challenging that gym again today.> I clipped my Pokeballs onto my belt, touched Erin’s Cheeto rug for good luck, and left Erin’s bedroom with Apple trailing behind me.

I found Erin lying across her living room couch reading a book. I softly stepped across the carpet until I was close enough to see the words over her shoulder. “Whatcha reading?” I asked after glancing over the first phrase on the page. “There once was a boy who will went…”

Erin sat up quickly, startled. “It’s a book of poems. They were my favorite when I was younger.” She hastily closed the book and crammed it into her backpack.

“You ready to go?” I asked. “Where’s Mel?”

<Hmm, no wonder it’s been quiet—I haven’t seen him all morning,> Apple noted.

“My mom walked him and Liam to Professor Blubber’s lab on her way to work before you got up.”

“Why are they going to the lab?”

“Apparently, Professor Blubber asked Liam to help him out with something,” Erin said harshly. “Guess I wasn’t qualified.”

“Erin, you know he’s just probably trying to avoid any awkwardness between you guys. I mean, you’re family friends and all.” Trying to lift Erin’s mood, I added, “So why’d Mel go?”

Erin snorted. “I bet he abandoned the lab and went to the gym again. Liam wouldn’t care, even if Sparky’s insane. For some reason Mel seems to have grown attached to Mister-Violent-and-Wacked-Out-Electric-Crazy-Man.”

“Two peas in a pod…” I muttered.

“No, they’re more like two grenades in a box that someone is shaking and has the potential to explode at any second.”

“Huh. Shall we go blow up?”

Erin got up from the couch. “Let’s.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The moment Mrs. Kendle was out of sight, Mel gave me a salute and disappeared. “Off to see Sparky, see ya later!”

That was fine by me.

I quietly opened the front door of Professor Blubber’s laboratory. The hall was dark, aside from a dim light spilling out an open door of an experiment room at the end of the hall. Silently, I approached Professor Blubber’s office door and tested the handle. It was unlocked.

I slipped inside.

I did not bother turning on the lights—I could see every object perfectly in the dark. There were several papers, research documents, and letters piled messily on his desk. I skimmed the documents and found that most of them pertained to the Eevee experiment. The letters I examined more carefully, but I failed to find the particular correspondence I was seeking.

I tried to open the desk drawers, but discovered they were all locked. Where would Professor Blubber keep an extra key? I eyed the shelves that held a crank Pokeball, a tool kit, and several roles of tape, among other peculiar objects. A lot of the objects were dusty… Except…

I peered closer at the tape. There was a roll that wasn’t quite as dusty. I pulled the tape roll off the shelf when I noticed a slight bulge in its side. I peeled back a strip of tape, and found the spare key under the tape.

As expected, the key unlocked the drawers. The first two drawers contained data from every experiment ever performed in the laboratory. The third drawer held files on all of Professor Blubber’s correspondents. Perfect.

I found Rita Teal’s file, glanced over her bio, and perused the letter she had recently sent Professor Blubber. There was nothing in the letter Professor Blubber had not told me. I flipped to the next letter—

There was a quiet clicking, rubber soles against a tiled floor. Someone was approaching. I rapidly put the file back together and returned it to the drawer, careful not to shove it more than necessary so it did not appear to be tampered with. I closed the drawer and put the key back under the tape—

The doorknob started to move. I tensed my biceps, quads, and calves, calculating my next movement. A millisecond later, I was in the air above the desk. I snatched a random book from the shelf and landed in the visitor’s chair on the other side of the desk just as the door opened.

The lights flickered on.

I fluttered my eyes groggily and winced at the light, pretending to have just woken up.

“Liam?”

“Huh, oh hey, Professor Blubber.”

“What are you doing in my office, in the dark?” the professor asked sharply.

I feigned embarrassment and ran a hand through my hair. “Well, I came by a little while ago to ask you—but I saw you were busy with something that looked important. The office door was unlocked so I grabbed a book—” I waved the random book opened to the first page I had grabbed off of the shelf. “—and was planning on waiting until you were finished. Only, it’s early and I was tired so I ended up turning the lights off for a quick snooze.”

Professor Blubber narrowed his eyes. “What’s the name of the book?”

“Mysteries of Nature,” I replied without looking at the book. “It’s a book of poems.”

“You did not behave this foolishly when I met you two days ago,” Professor Blubber said bluntly, walking into the room and sitting down across from me at his desk.

There was nothing to do but look at the professor innocently. Professor Blubber sighed and scrutinized his desk for a moment. I noticed his eyes flicker to the key in the tape, and then back to me.

We stared at each other for a moment, but when the professor did not say anything, I turned my attention to the poetry book. The preface was a short poem, entitled The Boy Who Will Went.

There once was a boy who will went,
To greatest despair he was sent,
But never could it be
If not for me,
The boy’s time would be ill spent.

So dear reader you see,
If you happen to be he,
When all rules are bent
Leap through that vent
And remember me, I plea!

“Are you going to tell me why you’re in my office?”

“Why do you have a poetry book in your office, Professor?”

“It’s written by a colleague of mine, Professor Seth Hastings.”

I flipped through the book. “A researcher wrote this? These poems are extremely vague. Shouldn’t they be about nature?”

“Yes, well, Professor Hastings has, in recent years, become a rather vague person. He was never at the top of his field—always seemed to have his head in the clouds. But then he just snapped. Now, he’s… a raving lunatic. The words that come out of his mouth just don’t make sense. He published this book and sent a few copies to me.” Professor Blubber checked his bookshelf. “Hmm, I could have sworn I still had another copy.” He glared at me.

“Don’t imply that I took the book. There’s nowhere for me to have put it. What did you say Professor Hasting’s field was?”

“I didn’t. Ancient Pokemon.”

“Is there any way to contact Professor Hastings?”

“I’m not the one to ask—haven’t heard from him in years. I’m pretty sure he lives in Winsk City now, so he might be hard to reach.”

“Nobody lives there.”

“Nai, the gym leader, does.”

“Yes, but she’s a gym leader with ice Pokemon. That place is completely cut off from the world.”

Professor Blubber looked irritated again. “Are you ever going to tell me what you are doing in my office?”

I closed the poetry book. “Oh, right. Well, Mel and Erin went to watch Anita get her ass kicked by Sparky. I don’t particularly enjoy watching Anita’s Pokemon battles and I thought that I might be able to help out here.”

Professor Blubber blinked. “Well… we just recieved a shipment of new supplies. You file and organize them.”

“I’d love to, Professor.”

We rose from our seats. On the way out of the office, I swear I heard Professor Blubber mumble, “Lying, manipulative twit.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Miss Anita Parkwood,

Please walk around the gym.

Love,
The All Awesome Sparky and Mini Awesome Mel

Erin, Apple, and I stared on the note on the gym door. “I can’t believe he signed it love,” Erin muttered.

“We should be really careful,” I said. “Sparky probably set up a ridiculous man-eating-robot or something.” As we cautiously walked around the gym, I sent my mind out to avoid surprises.

<AHHH!> Apple suddenly yelled. I thrust a barrier around her.

<What’s wrong?! What happened? Are you okay?!> I looked for the source of Apple’s pain, but didn’t see anything. Erin watched Apple and me in confusion.

<It’s terrible!> Apple lifted up a paw. <I stepped in goose poop. Hmm, or maybe it’s Swellow poop. I’ve always had trouble telling the difference…>

<Apple! I thought you were hurt or under attack or something! Don’t scare me like that!>

Apple shrugged and dragged her paw across the grass as she walked in an attempt to get rid of the gunk that covered her paw. Irked, I picked up my pace. Apple had to give up on her paw and half-run, half-trot to keep up.

We reached the backyard without further incident. In fact, we found Mel and Sparky peacefully sitting across from each other several meters away from the cliff that overhung the Palute Sea. Sparky was chuckling at something Mel said. Mel spotted us first.

“Ugh, they’re here! And we forgot to set up all the cool traps we were designing! There was this one with invisible lightning and a trap door—”

“—and a mechanical arm—” Sparky added.

“—and this cool laser water evaporating thing—”

“—and several evil laughs—”

“—and a crazy old man and an annoying kid getting their butts handed to them,” I interrupted.

A look of confusion crossed Mel’s face. “I don’t get how that would work,” he said. Sparky grinned madly.

I turned my attention to him. “What, no immediate electrocution? You’re starting to slack.”

<Anita, don’t suggest that,> Apple said.

“Please pick one Pokemon for the prelim and three for the later battle.”

“Hey, I already beat your prelim!” I complained.

Sparky shrugged. “You lost.”

I grimaced and unclipped three Pokeballs—Splash, Vanilla, and Fiery. During the speed training, Splash was the fastest, followed closely by Apple and then Fiery. However, after practice, when Splash covered himself in mud and started chasing Vanilla, he was never able to catch her. Despite Splash’s and Vanilla’s lack of experience, I needed to use my fastest Pokemon in battle to keep up with Sparky. I would use Fiery for the prelim.

I released Fiery and handed Sparky his Pokeball, along with Splash’s and Vanilla’s. Apple trotted near Sparky, but ensured that there was at least a two-meter gap between her and the gym leader. “Mel, take Anita’s other Pokeballs and backpack and head inside. Go with this other young lady down the staircase I showed you earlier. I’m going down a different way and I’ll meet you at the bottom.”

Mel nodded and did as requested. Erin mouthed, “Good luck!” before following Mel around the gym.

<I thought I wasn’t battling,> Fiery grumbled.

<Prelim,> I replied.

“Come here.” Sparky motioned to follow him as he approached the cliff edge. Fiery and I took a few steps forward and then stopped. Sparky’s smile widened and a spark danced across his teeth and then up his hair. “Closer.”

I reluctantly took two more steps. Call it fear, common sense, instinct, or whatever—approaching a lunatic with the power to control electricity standing on a cliff edge just did not seem like the best idea.

“Come right here.” Sparky gestured to the area next to him. Sparky waited until both Fiery and I were right next to him before cackling, “There’s a cavern at the bottom of this cliff. If you follow the cavern far enough, you will find the battle area where I’ll be waiting. Your prelim is to get to the battle area.”

I peered over the cliff and watched the sparkling ocean crash against the rocks.

Then, suddenly, sharp knives jabbed at my skin—my heart—my lungs. My mouth was open but I couldn’t scream.

My feet weren’t touching the ground any more. The ocean rushed toward me—

<ANITA! FIERY!>

And then I abruptly stopped plummeting. An invisible force held me above the rocks. I noticed Fiery was beside me, watching the ocean below. Water sprayed up from the rocks, but we were still too high for it to reach us.

I felt a surge of anger from Apple above us, and automatically thrust my mind into hers. She was running forward, sizing up Sparky and looking for a good place to bit him. <Stop!> I yelled. Through Apple’s eyes, I saw that Sparky held a long string of lightning between his hands.

Apple continued running at him.

<STOP!> I yelled again, putting a psychic force behind my words. Surprisingly, Apple actually halted.

<He pushed you and Fiery OFF OF A CLIFF!>

<It’s the prelim. Apple, save your energy for the battle. Then, I promise, you can bite him all you would like. Thank you for saving us. Now follow Sparky wherever he’s going to take you.>

<No.>

<Apple, we don’t have time for this. We’re both wasting psychic energy. We need all the energy we can get to fight Sparky.>

Apple’s will wavered slightly. That would have to be enough. It was difficult to endure a connection for such a long time over a great distance. I retreated to my own mind.

Fiery was still watching the ocean.

<It’s okay,> I told him. <I won’t let you fall.>

I surveyed our distance from the ocean below us, and approximated it to be about the height of twelve Pokemon Centers.

I sighed and mentally prepared myself for the strain I was about to put my mind through. I forced my mind forward to create a barrier about a yard below the barrier we currently stood on, only a little farther away from the cliff. I jumped and landed on the barrier.

<Fiery, come on.>

Fiery didn’t move. He could not take his gaze off of the ocean.

I reached up to the original barrier and pulled Fiery into my arms. He was warm and fairly heavy, but I held on to him anyway.

I continued the make a barrier, hop, make a barrier, hop pattern for a while. After a while, my legs began to ache so I made the leaps smaller. Eventually, I was just walking down an invisible spiral staircase.

Once, Fiery squirmed in my arms, and my concentration broke. We fell, but I managed to regain my concentration and create a new barrier in less than two seconds.

When we reached the cavern right above the rocks, I took a few steps in so Fiery would not get splashed with water, dropped Fiery on the ground, and slumped against the wall. My brain hurt like a muscle that had been pushed to its limit, but I felt surprisingly good. I had managed to get us to the cavern without allowing Fiery to get wet and with very few mistakes.

It was weird. For the first time, I had confidence in my psychic powers.

Fiery put a paw on my leg. I looked into his red-tinted eyes and he leaned forward to lick my face. I was too tired to reach my mind out to hear what was saying, but I smiled and patted his head.

We sat in silence for several minutes until I finally got to my feet. We walked into the cavern. I wanted to check on Apple and Erin and Mel, but I lacked the strength to even create a connection with Fiery. It was not long before I could see a bright light.

Fiery and I entered what appeared to be a battle arena. The floor, walls, and ceiling were all made of dirt and stone. There were no light bulbs. I squinted at the walls, trying to figure out where the light was coming from. When I remembered our previous battle, I realized the other arena had been illuminated the same way.

A deep laugh echoed around the arena. “It’s called bright powder,” Sparky said. I finally noticed him casually standing by a wall on the other side of the arena. “Run a current through it and it lights up.” Sparky pointed to my left. “Behind that door are your Pokemon.”

I turned around and saw the door. Aside from a small bronze handle, it looked like part of the wall. I swung the door open.

I stood motionless. A pebble tumbled somewhere in the cavern. Slowly, I turned to face Sparky. “Where—”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“—is this stupid place anyway?” I asked, forcing my tired legs down yet another four steps. “And Sparky said he’d meet us at the bottom. How’d he get there? Why couldn’t we go the same way? When will these stairs end?!”

Mel seemed unaffected by the never-ending staircase. He continued leaping down excitedly, impatiently waiting for me to catch up at every turn. “Sparky’s way is a hundred foot drop through the ground. He thought you’d be uncomfortable using it. He does something funky with controlling electricity for it to work.”

“He cares about my well-being. I’m flattered,” I said sarcastically.

“He’s not like everyone thinks he is. Like your mom. She talks really bad about him. But he isn’t really like that—he’s like me!”

“That doesn’t help his case.”

BANG

“What was that?” I asked.

“The battle must have started! And we’re missing it! Come on, go faster!”

“My legs won’t move any faster, Mel. They feel like they’re going to fall off.”

Mel grabbed my hand. “Come on!” Suddenly, my feet weren’t on the ground any more. I couldn’t feel my legs—I couldn’t feel anything.

Mel pulled me down a few stairs. “What—stop! Mel, let go!”

And then I was in the ground. It was so bizarre having dirt and rocks and an occasional Diglet pass right through my body that I did not think to scream. I wondered what would happen if I became tangible again while passing through the dirt.

There was another loud bang and then a louder crash. Mel pulled us towards the sound.

We came upon a cavern with a bright light at the end of it. I heard Anita’s voice yelling something, but the echoes distorted the sound and I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Mel made us solid again and ran towards the light. I sprinted after him.

Mel stopped abruptly at the arena’s entrance. I gazed past him. The walls of the arena appeared to glimmer, giving off random light. I suspected the dirt was partially composed of bright powder and would have taken a sample to test later if it had not been for the intense scene in front of me.

An invisible force held Sparky five meters off of the ground against the wall to the left of where Mel and I stood. I was astonished that despite his situation, he continued to cackle. Beneath Sparky, a Jolteon, Flaffy, and Electabuzz were helplessly pinned to the wall as well. In the back left corner of the room, Vanilla and Splash cowered behind Fiery, who sat like a statue.

Everyone had their eyes on the center of the arena, where Anita stood. The air around her was strange, wavering slightly. Her hands were clenched into fists and her face taut.

It was her eyes, though, that really scared me shitless.

Her eyes glowed a bright purple and seemed to pierce right through Sparky, who she was staring at intently. Sparky’s head was slammed into the wall. “Where is she?” Anita said icily.

Sparky didn’t answer. For the first time, I saw his mad grin falter.

“What the hell did you do with Apple?”

delongbi
November 8th, 2010, 06:27 AM
So it's been a while. Sorry guys, I kinda fell off the face of the planet. Anywho, to anyone who's still reading this:

Chapter 29: The Search is On

Next

Click.

Results 21-30 of about 154,000.

Click.

The familiar picture appeared on the screen. A collapsing Pokemon Center. Blue flames. A teenage girl crying. The caption read, Cherrygrove City fire kills three. Emily Johnson mourns the loss of her brother, Matthew Johnson. That was a slight change. Every other website had commented on the unusual circumstances of the fire, not the people involved. Legendary Fire? was a popular article title, as was Cherrygrove Police Failure.

I was not even certain of what to look for. The blue fires of Cherrygrove City and Vintage Village were my only leads as to how my father had known. Interestingly, the fires occurred within a hundred years of each other. Was this the information my father had?

It would imply that multiple Mews existed or the 5,000-year legend was, in fact, just a legend.

I scrolled down the page. There was another picture of the teenage girl. She was crying in the arms of a police officer while another officer carried a crate of rescued—but somewhat charred—objects. A doll in the crate caught my eye.

I closed the web page.

The doll had possessed a zipper mouth.

Banette. A Pokemon with a fetish for neglected dolls with the ability to produce blue fire using will-o-wisp.

Another dead end.

My father had known. He had known before he became he became a gym leader—before he became the Master—before he died, leaving me in the position as Master, as gym leader, as the only person capable of finishing what my father had started.

Except he did not leave me the most vital information. How to destroy Mew. Four years in Drape Town spent searching through records, files, journals, family heirlooms—and not a clue.

He had known. He had to have known… right?

“That was sloppy, Velcan!” Harvey Darcleye called from across the gym.

In the center of the gym, a Sneasel stood above a Charmeleon pointing, pointing a bright, sharp claw at the fire Pokemon’s throat.

“We’re not through!” a thin man with disheveled black hair yelled back. Suddenly, Charmeleon started to glow. The Sneasel took a step back.

A boy in the stands watched in confusion.

“Charizard!” The newly evolved Charizard flexed its wings, turned to the Sneasel, and released a stream of flames from its mouth. Harvey pulled out Sneasel’s Pokeball and returned the Pokemon.

Velcan grinned. “See, we—”

“You won’t be able to evolve your Pokemon every battle,” Harvey interrupted.

“And your Sneasel won’t be able to paralyze my Pokemon every battle. Each battle is different. We just use what we have to our advantage,” Velcan answered.

Harvey gave Velcan a crinkly smile. “Well said.”

Velcan turned to the boy in the stands. “Ready to go?”

The boy nodded and began the descent to the arena. “Mr. Darcleye?” he asked.

“Yes?” Harvey answered.

“Why didn’t you attack while Charmeleon was evolving?”

Harvey frowned and glanced at Velcan before answering. “It’s an unspoken rule.”

“Why?”

Harvey carefully answered, “A Pokemon can get seriously hurt if it is hit while evolving.”

“Then wouldn’t it be best to—”

“That’s enough,” Velcan interrupted. “A Pokemon that is attacked during evolution can undergo permanent damage. Not attacking during evolution is a truce between all trainers.”

“Velcan,” Harvey spoke quietly. “Where are you sending this boy to school? How old is he? Seven? He should have learned this by now. Especially with his sharp mind—”

“I’m homeschooling him.”

“Are you sure that’s for the best? Have you actually been—”

“Ask him the attacks of any Pokemon.”

“No, I didn’t mean—”

“We haven’t covered official battle rules yet,” Velcan said.

“Mendol!” Harvey yelled. “It’s rude to interrupt. And not attacking during evolution is not an official rule.” Velcan opened his mouth to speak again, but Harvey held up a hand. “I don’t doubt that you have taught your boy well. I am just concerned with his well-being. What does he do during the day when you’re not home? A kid his age should be making friends in school.”

“My Alakazam gives him lessons.” Velcan lowered his voice. “He’s been through a lot. We both have. Now is just not the best time for him to be attending school.”

“I’m not trying to tell you how to raise your kid. Just want to make sure you know what you’re doing.”

Velcan smiled bleakly. “I do.” The boy had reached the bottom of the stairs. Velcan took his hand. “Let’s go.”

At the doorstep of the gym, Velcan pulled a thin black cloak from his bag and handed it to his son. The boy routinely pulled it over his head, keeping the hood up. In the dim light, only his green eyes could be seen beneath the hood.

The pair walked only a block before turning off of the street and approaching what appeared to be a dark, empty office building. Upon entering the building, however, it was apparent that the building was anything but empty. Hallways were filled with diffused light and several busy-looking trainers, researchers, and other subordinates. Offices along the outer walls had thick blinds to keep even the weakest light from seeping into the outside world.

Velcan and the boy entered an elevator and were met by a tall, redheaded man wearing a black overcoat. The man nodded, “Mendol.”

“Gibson,” Velcan replied, smiling slightly. “How was your assignment? I heard the Master sent you to Sinnoh…”

“What I did is classified information.”

Velcan raised an eyebrow. “Oh, right. You’ve been gone a while. I know all about your failed dealings with Team Galactic. See, the Master promoted me because she values competence.”

Gibson struggled to keep a straight face. “I was sent to Sinnoh because I’m the only person able to handle such a delicate situation—”

“Really? I hear she just wanted to get rid of you. Was tired of you, in fact.”

“Tired?” Gibson echoed, looking slightly dazed. He stared at the elevator doors as if he was trying to burn a hole through them.

“What were her exact words? Something like ‘Too clingy. Can’t get over the one night.’ I was under the impression she thought you couldn’t handle her screw and split tactic.”

“Screw and…”

“You know, new guy every week. I hear Arkle was the lucky boy this week.” Velcan winked at Gibson. “Hope I’m next.” The elevator opened to the fourth floor and Velcan and the boy stepped out. Despite being the top floor, the redheaded man did not move. Velcan waved a cheery goodbye to the stunned man as the elevator doors closed.

Velcan dropped his false smile and let out a long breath. He took the boy’s hand. “Time to see the Master.”

After walking down two twisted halls full of several wooden doors, Velcan and the boy stood in front of one such door. The door opened by itself to a room even less lit than the hallway.

“Mendol…” A woman said from the shadows. As the father and son entered, the woman added with distaste, “And Mini-Mendol…”

“Master.” Velcan pulled out a cloth bag and placed it on the woman’s desk. “That is Devon Corporation’s latest recording technology.”

“You completed your assignment rather quickly. May I ask how…?”

“I have connections.”

“And the gym leader?”

“Continues to not look for, think about, or even consider Team Glop’emm.”

“Well, Mendol, your performance for the team has been… incredible. Never have I been inclined to promote a charming man so rapidly.” The woman licked her lips and ran a hand through her hair. “If only you would leave the boy—even for a moment…”

Velcan’s eyes darted to the corner of the room, where a Kirlia stood against the wall. He squeezed his son’s hand tighter. “I have my reasons. One day, my son may be of use to the team.”

“Of course, of course.”

“Master? There’s something you should know.”

“Yes?”

“Gibson… he—”

“What about Gibson?” The Master said uneasily.

“It’s just, I overheard him talking to some of the guys. He was comparing you to some woman named Jupiter… talking about performances. He said you liked to come off all dominant, but…”

“Mendol, your next assignment is on your desk. Please leave.”

Velcan nodded and pulled his son from the room. As they exited, the boy heard the Master mutter, “Should start calling him Meddle… perhaps for the best, though…”

Velcan and the boy walked down the hall and entered another office, this one empty. Velcan flipped the lights on and sat down behind a large desk, placing the boy on his lap.

“So, you see what I did?” Velcan asked.

“You made them angry at each other,” the boy answered.

“Do you know why?”

“We need resources.”

“That’s why we want to be in control of the gym and of Team Glop’emm. I’m talking about tactics.”

“You want to split them up.”

Velcan ruffled his son’s hair. “Right. Divide and conquer. That’s important to remember.” Velcan glanced past the boy to a framed scripture on the wall. “Always divide…”

“Dad, I don’t like the Master. She’s creepy.”

“I don’t like her either. But she won’t be around much longer.”

“You’re going to kill her?” the boy asked in alarm.

“No, of course not. Then how would we be better than the legendaries, hmm?” Velcan patted his son’s back comfortingly. “Jamie and I are going to get the Master to leave of her own accord.”

“Because she’ll be divided?”

“Right.”

“I don’t like this cloak,” the boy randomly said. “It gets in my eyes.”

Velcan turned the boy around. “Listen to me. You must never go out without the cloak. Never. We cannot trust these people. Not the Master, not Miss Teal, not even Jamie. Okay? These people can be useful, but we can never know for sure what they are thinking—”

“Unless we have a psychic Pokemon.”

“You are proof that even psychic Pokemon can be mistaken. What we do is dangerous. Just promise me you will never let your guard down.”

“I promise.”

Velcan smiled. “Alright, then let’s get to work. We have a legendary to find.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Anita,” I said carefully. “Put Sparky down. I’m sure there’s a valid explanation.”

Anita ignored me. Sparky was shoved against the wall again. I noticed his arms and head were bleeding a little.

“Anita! Stop! He’s an old man! You’re going to kill him!” I looked helplessly at Mel. His eyes were wide in terror. An idea came to mind… “Mel,” I whispered. “Take over—”

Mel shook his head violently.

“You have to—”

Anita turned to face us. “Don’t even think about it,” she hissed.

I wrapped my arms around Mel to comfort him. “A-An-Anita,” Mel stuttered. “R-read his m-mind. You can t-tell wh-what happened.”

Anita’s strange bright eyes watched us. There was a moment I thought she would use her powers on us, but then Anita released Sparky from her psychic hold. She closed her eyes and took a long breath. “I can’t feel her.”

I wasn’t sure if it was safe to approach her and Sparky yet, but Sparky looked like he needed help. Anita was completely motionless, still standing in the center of the battlefield. It was a sort of calm and a definite improvement. I decided to risk her wrath and check on Sparky. Mel didn’t leave my side.

Sparky looked like an overturned rag doll among the various chunks of dirt and rock displaced from Anita’s… tantrum. I bent over to examine the man. He had a gash in the back of his head and several scratches and bruises along his arms, but it didn’t look life threatening. I reached to feel his forehead, but when a spark sizzled over his skin, I thought better of the idea.

Sparky moaned something incoherent and rolled over.

“What?” I asked, sending a quick glance at Anita. She was still motionless.

“Pokemon,” he murmured. “Electric…” He tilted his head slightly to the wall he had been shoved against. I looked up. His Pokemon were still bound to the wall.

“Anita,” I started. “Sparky’s—”

The Pokemon were dropped to the ground before I finished. Anita didn’t move.

I found Sparky’s Pokeballs and returned his Pokemon. Sparky moaned again. “No. Electric. Need electric.” His voice was hoarse.

I turned to Mel, who I still had my arms around. “Can you get him to a Pokemon Center? You did it with Anita before, right?”

“I… I don’t know if I’ll get electrocuted out. Anita did before. But I’ll try.” Mel disappeared. A few moments later, Sparky was getting up. Through Sparky, Mel spoke: “I can do it. I’ll get him to your mom.” Then Sparky disappeared.

I wasn’t sure how to react to Anita. Should I try to comfort her? Leave her alone? I didn’t want to set her off again. I briefly considered releasing Griffy to try to hold her, but thought that might make her angrier. Plus, I wasn’t so sure Griffy could handle her in this state. I’d seen her do psychic tricks before, but this was new. And scary.

I decided my best course of action was to wait for Anita to say something. Maybe if I got lucky she’d fall asleep standing up.

“I can’t feel her,” Anita whispered again. “I can’t feel Apple.” Anita opened her eyes and looked at me painfully. Her eyes lacked the glow they had when she had been using her gift on Sparky.

After a brief internal struggle, I tentatively moved forward to give Anita a hug. Anita didn’t return the hug, but she didn’t stop me either. When I pulled back, I saw she was looking at Fiery, Vanilla, and Splash. I don’t know what thoughts were exchanged, but Fiery nodded solemnly before Anita returned her Pokemon to their Pokeballs.

“Why don’t we get going,” I suggested.

“I have to find Apple.”

“You said you couldn’t feel her psychically, right? So she’s certainly not here.”

“I can’t feel her anywhere. Not as far as I can reach out. Not in the whole town of Cape Caution.”

“Ok, but there are ways of getting around your powers, right? Like the room you told me Sparky had set up. We can go check there—”

“Liam,” Anita said definitively. “Liam took Apple.” Her eyes started to glow again.

“Now, let’s not jump to conclusions. There’s no reason—”

“There’s plenty reason—he’s a suspicious son-of-a-*****, never telling us anything—why he wanted to travel with us—why he doesn’t use Pokemon but carries them around—”

“He told us an accident—”

“Bullshit.” A rock crumbled somewhere in the arena. “He doesn’t want me reading the minds of his Pokemon. He knows I’ll find out what he’s really after—”

I did not like the direction this was going. Attempting to distract Anita enough to prevent her from blowing anything up, I said, “You couldn’t read their minds. He has dark type—”

“Yes, we know he carries around one dark type. Funny how that’s the only one he’s used. I’m a psychic but I don’t carry around all psychic type Pokemon.”

“You don’t carry around any psychic type,” I pointed out.

Anita stared at me for a second, the glow in her eyes flickering. “Right.” She turned around and strode across the arena.

“Uh, Anita, I think the stairs are over—” My throat went dry when I saw Anita’s eyes and facial expression.

“There’s a better way,” she said coldly. “Over here.” Anita walked around a rock crag that had appeared from a distance to be a smooth wall. I had a bad feeling about the whole situation, but I was not going to let Anita out of my sight so I followed her.

We walked silently through a small dark passage before coming to a dead end. “Anita,” I said softly. “We can—”

“This goes all the way up to the gym.” I looked upwards and saw we appeared to be standing at the bottom of a large hole. I couldn’t see the top.

“Yeah, but how—”

“Sparky had an electric wire and motor.”

“We don’t have electricity—”

“Shut up. I can get us up.” Anita’s eyes glowed again. I opened my mouth several times, wanting to comfort her or tell her to stop taking her anger out on me or convince her to calm down.

I managed to utter a series of, “Mmmhs.”

After five minutes of chickening out, I finally said, “Anita, let’s go use the stairs. It’s okay if you can’t get us up this way.” Frankly, I was relieved.

“I can do it. I did it before. With Sparky.” Anita breathed sharply and punched a wall. “Damn it, I can do it! I have to do it!” she yelled in frustration.

“Look, you were angry before and now you’re having trouble concentrating—”

“I’M STILL ANGRY! APPLE WAS ****ING TAKEN AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE SHE IS!”

Suddenly, I was hurled upward. Rocks and dirt rushed past me as my hair whipped painfully against my face and shoulders. I closed my eyes until my stomach started to drop. Then I peeked them open and realized the rocks were moving in the opposite direction.

I was plummeting. Anita was falling with me—I hadn’t realized she was with me before. Her face was twisted with concentration.

I don’t know how I did it, but I did. Somehow, my brain processed all of this information fast enough for me to grab Griffy’s Pokeball and yell, “Psychic, Griffy!”

We stopped falling. I looked down. We were about ten meters from the bottom. <Griffy, do you have enough power to bring us up?> I asked.

<I believe so, Miss.>

We started to rise slowly. I turned to Anita to tell her that thanks to Griffy we would not, in fact, plunge to our deaths, but when our eyes caught she looked determinedly away.

I glimpsed a tear rolling down her dirty cheek.

Gently, I put a hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off.

By the time we reached the top of the hole, Anita’s eyes were dry. Griffy collapsed next to the hole, panting with exhaustion. I ran a hand across his fur and muttered, “Thank you,” before returning him to his Pokeball.

The room we had ended up in was dark and musty smelling. I looked around and found Anita already running towards the exit. “Wait!”

Anita didn’t pause as she bounded up the stairs in the corner of the room.

I quickly got to my feet and ran after her. Luckily, she was not far ahead, and I always managed to glimpse the direction she was turning just before she actually turned down a white hall. It was not long before we reached the outside. Anita was not bothering with the dirt path; she cut directly across the grass in the direction of the lab.

I followed in her path, breathing hard, propelling my legs, and thanking the Great Dragon I had worn tennis shoes instead of heels. Not that I couldn’t run in heels. I just can’t run as fast in heels—Zach once timed me—

This was not the time to be spacing out. Anita was going to try to strangle Liam and Liam would probably end up breaking her arms and legs in the process.

The biggest problem at the moment, though: I wasn’t gaining on Anita.

I had longer legs and longer strides and we were running down hill, but I just couldn’t seem to get any closer to her. The results of Liam’s training, I supposed. Ironic.

I almost reached for Griffy’s Pokeball before I remembered he was drained from his psychic exertion. Anita was only two hundred meters away from the laboratory, and I was still two hundred meters behind her. Professor Blubber was going to flip if any of his equipment was damaged…

Suddenly, I stopped running. I was an idiot. I reached into my backpack, pulled out my PokeTech, and pressed a few buttons. A few seconds later, Professor Blubber appeared on the small screen.

“Professor! Get Liam out of the lab, now!”

“Why—”

“No time! Just do it!”

Behind the Professor, I saw Liam carrying a box of supplies. Professor Blubber turned around. “Erin says you need to leave the lab.”

Liam rolled his eyes.

“Liam, Anita’s going to arrive at the door in about fifteen seconds to tear your throat out! You need to leave!”

“I can handle Anita,” Liam snickered.

“Yeah, well, whether or not that’s the case, the lab cannot! Get out!”

Anita reached the door. Even though it was probably unlocked, she psychically cracked it down the middle. I both witnessed the crash and heard it through the PokeTech. Professor Blubber blanched. “Go out the back window,” he ordered.

Liam frowned, hesitating. “Why is she—”

“Liam’s outside on the side of the building!” Professor Blubber yelled. Anita immediately backtracked out the front door. When Professor Blubber noticed Liam was not moving, he scooped Liam up wedding style.

“Hey! What—”

“I think you need to get out of here away from that girl. You’re a strong lad, right?” He lightly tossed Liam out the window. Now I could see Liam in real life—not on the PokeTech screen. I could also see Anita turning the corner of the laboratory. “Well what are you doing? Run!” Professor Blubber turned back to me on the PokeTech screen. “Jesus, Erin, you didn’t tell me the girl could do martial arts. Now I have a door to replace. What did Liam do to her? He is faster than her, right?”

“Um, Professor, Anita doesn’t really do martial arts. Unless you count the stuff Liam taught her. Liam’s the one with all the martial arts.”

“So… the door?”

“Well, she’s a psychic,” I answered, distracted. Anita had reached Liam. She was attempting to punch him. I started to jog down the hill towards the lab.

“Where is she?!” Anita yelled.

I glanced back at the screen. I hadn’t thought the Professor could get any whiter. “She’s a what? Erin, you just let me hand over a boy to a clearly unstable psychic? As in, like Tamara Lilac psychic? She blew up a door, Erin!”

“That’s why she couldn’t be in the lab. For whatever reason, her powers don’t affect Liam. Trust me, he’ll be okay.”

Just then, several mounds of dirt exploded around Liam.

“Um, I gotta go.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

As soon as my foot made contact with the ground, I tensed my calf and quickly rebounded in another direction. Logically, my best tactic would be to keep on the move because even though Anita’s gift was directly ineffective against me—

Dirt and rocks burst upwards from the spot I had been in milliseconds earlier.

—she could exploit the environment.

For a moment, I was tempted to let Anita continue on her rampage. It had been a long time since I had a decent fight. I missed the adrenaline rush, the surprise of a good opponent, the manipulation of chaos to control—

But there were more important matters. Why I was being attacked, for instance.

More dirt exploded between Anita and me. Instead of avoiding it again, I leapt directly through it and grabbed Anita’s hand, effectively ending the fight.

“Liam! You’re okay!”

I turned my head slightly and saw Erin running towards us. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Anita shift her body in an attempt to kick me. I simply lifted a leg to avoid being hit.

“You seemed more worried about the laboratory than about my well-being,” I said, returning my attention to Anita. She continued to twist her hand in a poor attempt to force me to release her wrist.

“What did you do?” Anita said hoarsely, finally letting her hand rest. She glared at me. Her face was smeared with dirt and—were those tears?

“You know, I was about to ask the same question,” I said.

“Anita thinks—” Erin started.

“No, I KNOW you took Apple!” Anita yelled.

“Apple’s missing,” Erin explained. “Anita can’t sense her so we thought…”

Apple was gone. My heart skipped a beat. We had been so focused on Anita. Sure, we considered the others, always keeping in mind alternative possibilities, but Anita—perhaps we had been too focused—maybe…

“So do you have her?” Erin asked.

“Who?”

“APPLE, YOU MORON!” Anita yelled in frustration.

“No.”

“No?” Erin asked.

“No, I did not take Apple. Why the hell would I take Apple?” Why would Mew assume I took Apple? Why would Anita assume I took Apple? Sure, I got the impression that she did not particularly like me, but…

Suppose Apple was Mew. What if Anita knew? What if she somehow knew that I was looking for Mew? Of course, I would be the first person she would suspect when Mew goes missing.

“I c-can’t feel Apple anywhere.” Anita was really crying now. Suddenly, a bizarre pang of guilt for restraining her wormed its way into my chest. I frowned. “S-sorry. M-my gift doesn’t work on you s-so I thought m-maybe you took A-Apple.”

Or maybe she did not know. Maybe Apple was not Mew. Maybe Anita was not Mew. There were too many possibilities…

I needed to get away to use the walkie. There was a sure way to confirm whether Apple was Mew…

“Where’s your bag?” Erin asked.

“In the lab.” I narrowed my eyes at the girl. “You think I took Apple, too?”

Erin shrugged. “Anita’s paranoid… but she’s right. You’re really the only one we know who could pull something like this off.”

“I feel so trusted.”

“If you didn’t do it, then you have nothing to worry about,” Erin said as she walked away from us. “I’ll just get your bag and we’ll take a peek.” She rounded the corner of the lab.

Anita slumped down to sit on the ground, and as I was still holding her wrist, I was forced to sit down as well. She sniffled. I watched tears roll down her face and lightly hit the grass.

“You should stop crying,” I said.

“Why? Because it’s pointless, and useless, and won’t find Apple?” Anita said sourly. “I know that.”

“Well, I was going to say it is weird, but that works, too.”

“What would you do if one of your Pokemon—right, you don’t like Pokemon—what if someone you care about—do you actually care about anyone?” Anita put her head on her knees. “I guess it’s pointless to talk to someone like you.”

“I’d do anything for the people I love.”

Two dark-haired boys playing in the sand, splashing each other with salt water, wet sand sticking to small feet as they slide in shallow water—

“You sure know how to show it.”

“I don’t love you.”

“I wasn’t talking about me, dumb-ass. You don’t seem to care about anything or anyone—”

“Says the crying, self-involved girl who can’t keep her emotions in check and has an inability to focus on anything that doesn’t directly relate to herself or her precious Pokemon.”

Anita turned her head away. “Y-you’re wrong.”

“So are you,” I snapped.

“I’m back!” Erin said, returning with my bag. She dropped the bag in front of Anita. “Want to do the honors?”

Anita picked up the bag. I thought she would open the bag up and begin unshrinking everything. I was overestimating her intelligence.

Anita hurled the bag as hard as she could at the ground. There were several cracks followed by flashes of light as the shrinkable containers in my bag broke, releasing their contents all at once. I was grateful to have the walkie-talkie and Pokeballs in my pocket at the moment, not smashed in my bag.

“Thank you for that temper tantrum,” I said.

Erin and Anita examined my possessions, now prominently on display across the grass. There was my broken bicycle, three piles of neatly folded clothes, a half-empty first aid kit, two loaves of bread wrapped in plastic, peanut-butter, a few notebooks and writing utensils, my PokeTech, and my Pokedex.

“Where’s your toothbrush?” Erin blurted out.

“At your house, still.”

A breeze swept by, causing one of my notebooks to flutter open and a pile of shirts to topple over.

“Anita, he doesn’t have Apple. Let’s go to the police station and talk to Officer Jenny.”

Anita’s face was blank and she started to get up. I stopped her for a moment. “Are you in control?” I asked.

Anita nodded.

I released her wrist. Her eyes glowed briefly and then returned to their normal violet.

“Maybe you should hold on to Anita, just in case,” Erin said hesitantly.

I raised my eyebrows at Erin. “I’m not coming with you. Next time you want my help, consider not smashing my belongings first. It’s polite.”

Erin shifted her weight uncomfortably. “She’ll pay you back.”

“Good.”

“Liam, she’s really hurt now. With Apple missing…”

I crossed my arms. “Okay.”

Erin sighed and took Anita’s hand. “Let’s go.”

I waited until they were out of sight to pull out the walkie-talkie.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I held up the final flash card.

“Grill.”

“No, Sticky. Girl. Repeat after me, girl.”

“Grill.”

My Ditto, Sticky, was sprawled in a plastic chair across from me, its body a perfect replica of mine. We were in an isolated experiment room practicing Sticky’s English. “Come on, Sticky, this is no time for games. This is the last card. Pull your cheeks in a little bit. Girl.”

“Grill.”

“Excuse me, Professor Teal.”

One of my many research assistants peeked his head through the door. His eyes flickered between me and Sticky, confused as to which of us was the real Rita. “Yes?” I answered.

“Another prototype is ready for testing.”

“Bring it in.”

The assistant entered the room holding a metal cube the size of shoebox with two metal rods sticking out of one face. I took the box from him.

“Now, Sticky, this might hurt a little bit.”

“Heart?”

“Pain. Remember pain?”

“Yes, pain. Not no brain. Sound hard make. Know pain.”

I flicked a switch on the device and held it out to Sticky. Sticky willingly lifted its hand to touch the two metal rods. A blue spark flickered onto her palm.

“Ow.”

I returned the device to the assistant, shaking my head. “It still doesn’t untransform her. It needs more work. Have you been working with Tal? The Alakazam’s psychic will make it easier to manipulate the electric pulses.”

“Yes, Ma’am. We’ll get right on it.”

“I’ll be there in just a minute to have a better look. I need to clean up here.”

The assistant gave me a funny salute and exited the room quickly. I sighed. It was a little disturbing how terrified several of the grunts were of authority figures on Team Glop’emm. Though I suppose with Jamie and the Master in charge, it was to be expected.

I gathered up my notebook and several stacks of flash cards.

“Help?” Sticky asked.

I looked at the Ditto. “What?”

“I help?”

“You’d like to help?”

Sticky nodded. I handed her two stacks of flash cards and we exited the room.

“I you now,” Sticky said as we walked down the tiled hallway.

“Yes, Sticky, you are transformed into me right now.”

“Yes. Not no brain. I w-won’t me.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand, Sticky.”

“I you. Not me. I won’t me.” Sticky grimaced and made a strange face, widening her mouth. “I want me.”

“Sticky, you don’t have your own human form—” I was cut off by a buzzing on my hip. It was the walkie-talkie Jamie had so kindly left behind for me.

“Master?” I answered.

“Er, no. This is Liam, the Master’s detective.”

“Oh. I didn’t realize there were three walkie-talkies…” I said.

“Is this Professor Teal? Isn’t Mr. Arkle supposed to have the other walkie? May I speak with him?”

“Yes, this is Rita. Yes, Jamie is supposed to have the other walkie. Jamie, however, left the other day for some supposed family emergency.”

“Did he tell the Master?”

“He said he would. Can I help with whatever it is you are calling about?”

“Do you have access to the Pokemon tracking device?”

“Of course.”

“Have there been any sightings of Pokemon X in the past twelve hours? I have reason to believe Pokemon X transformed a few hours ago in or around Cape Caution. I wanted to confirm this before contacting the Master—you know how he dislikes false alarms.”

“I do not believe Pokemon X has been sighted. If it had been, I would have been informed, and the Master would have been contacted immediately. I will go double check.” I quickly walked into the experiment room with the tracking device in it, sat down, and ran a history search on Mew. “No, Pokemon X has not been located since the third of July.”

There was silence on the other end.

“Are you alright?” I asked.

“Yes. Disappointed. Thank you.”

“No problem.” I hung up the walkie and swiveled around in my chair. Where Sticky had just been standing, a young girl with blonde hair now stood. “Sticky?” I asked tentatively.

“I not you.”

“No, you’re not. Who are you? I don’t think I have seen the girl you transformed into before.”

“You can’t. She nerve. She nerv-ner-nev-never. She never. I me.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I me. I make me. I me.”

I felt the blood drain out of my face. My hands shook. “Y-you’re telling me you made her. You created what you transformed into?”

Sticky smiled happily. “I girl.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

My lungs were being crushed. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t flick my tail, twitch my ears, or wiggle my pink claws. Not a muscle.

<I know you can do better,> 868,012 said coldly, pressing the psychic barrier even harder. 868,012 is what most of my kind called him. I preferred, “Father.”

<Someone’s been too busy being a little trainer’s pet furball to build up a strong psychic,> a voice taunted.

I pushed my mind, forcing air into my lungs, but I wasn’t strong enough to push the barrier crushing me away. It was pointless, anyway—this training. There would never be a time when traveling with Anita that it would be safe enough for me to resume my form as a Mew. I counted the years in my head—I was fairly certain I had spent more time as transformed Pokemon than I had as a Mew.

Suddenly, I was released from the psychic grip. <Meditation break for an hour,> Father Mew said. <You’re not focusing.>

I didn’t move, allowing all my sore muscles to relax. I tried to drift into oblivion…

<You’re never going to get back at this rate. Never going to complete your training,> the voice taunted again.

<Shut up,> I said.

<You miss her. Want to know what she’s doing right now? She’s crying over you. Poor little girl doesn’t have her best friend, doesn’t know what happened to her best friend because her best friend didn’t warn her—>

<I didn’t know.>

<Sure. You had the dreams. You knew. You didn’t want it to be true. And now look, you’ve yet again brought about chaos.>

<You could bring me back before that. Before Anita misses me.>

<I could.>

<You will,> I demanded.

<I could, but then there’d be no fun, hmm?>

<You’re sick.>

<No, I’m actually feeling quite well. You’re the one who’s looking beat.>

<I’ll transform into you. I’ll go back to the right time myself,> I threatened.

I felt something stroke my cheek. I opened my eyes and sent a psychic pulse above me.

A green little fairy, with pseudo-innocent eyes and nearly invisible wings flipped through the air, laughing. <No, my sweet, delectable Apple, you won’t.> I blinked and the fairy was suddenly next to my ear. <And would you like to know why you won’t.> I thrust out another psychic pulse.

<Why?>

Celebi did another flip in the air. <Because someone’s tracking you in your time. If you transform into your true self for even a moment, you’re dead meat… or rather, dead fruit.>

<You’re bluffing.>

Celebi winked. <Maybe. Want to test that theory?>

Buoysel
November 8th, 2010, 08:48 PM
I liked this chapter, my only advice is that the last section would have gone really good as the first section of the next chapter, would leave the readers with a huge cliffhanger.

delongbi
December 30th, 2010, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the review, Buoysel. I kinda like cliffhangers (as long as they're eventually resolved) so...

But, here is another chapter. Enjoy! As always, comments, complaints, and critiques are all welcome.


Chapter 30: Invisible Forces

I was clueless.

Me. The Master. The ****ing brilliant fourteen-year-old gym leader protégé. I had been contemplating the same nonsense for four years, following even the smallest leads—my father’s notes, files, books, keyboard strokes—anything that might show me what he knew about destroying a legendary—and here I was back at square one.

The best option remaining was to recheck the evidence. Look for what could have been overlooked.

Press the rewind button.

Watch carefully.

“Father, I think it’s going to hatch soon!” a cloaked boy yelped, bouncing in a cushioned black chair behind a plain wooden desk. The boy’s black cloak blended in with the dark chair, making the boy and the chair appear as one disfigured entity. In the center of the desk lay an egg cupped in a heated stand. The boy had one hand supporting his weight on the desk, and the other held lightly against the egg. “I felt a kick!”

The boy’s father paced across the room and checked his watch. “We have to go now. The Master is meeting Gibson in her office in five minutes. Come.” The father approached the door.

The boy fell back into the chair, letting the shift in weight roll the chair backwards slightly.

“Come,” the father repeated.

“Father, I think someone should stay. I read it’s important for hatched Pokemon to see another living creature—”

“This is important, too. You need to witness—”

“But I already know what’s going to happen!”

“Come, now. Regardless of whether you know the end result, it is vital for you to see every step of the process. I am going to be the gym leader and the Master. If something were to happen to me… These demonstrations—how easily people can be manipulated—it needs to be ingrained into your very core. You need to be... safe.”

The boy hesitated only a second before following his father out the door. The two swiftly walked down the hall.

“You’re wearing my favorite shirt,” the boy said.

The father smiled. “Because you twined it yourself?”

“Because it keeps you safe.”

The father knocked on a wooden door.

“Enter, Mendol,” a voice called. “You have three and a half minutes.”

The man and boy entered the dimly lit room. The Master sat a desk in the shadows, her Kirlia in its usual protective stance in the room’s corner. “Please forgive my forwardness, Ma’am, but I have reason to suspect you might be in danger.”

“What kind—”

“The kind that requires self-defense,” the man continued. “Look, this will only take a minute to show you. It’s just a basic move that will allow you enough time to get help—I… I heard Gibson threaten—I’d just feel much safer when you meet with him—I know you’ve been fighting—”

“Show me.”

“I need someone to demonstrate with. My son is too small.”

The Master rose from behind the desk. “You may demonstrate on me. Quickly. I have a schedule to keep.”

The boy took a few steps back, closer to the Kirlia. The boy’s fingers hung so they barely touched the Kirlia’s dress.

Facing the Master’s cloaked figure, the father placed his hands on the figure’s waist.

The door burst open.

For a moment Gibson stood, a still silhouette in the doorway. For a moment, nobody moved.

The boy never knew whether Gibson charged at his father or the Master. Whatever the case, the boy’s father quickly stepped in front of Gibson, caught him around the wrist, and used the tall man’s forward motion to send Gibson sprawling over the father’s shoulder. The boy scuttled away from Kirlia to his father’s side.

On the ground, Gibson moaned, “Arkle… and Mendol… Diane, how could you? You *****—how many others?”

The Master slowly raised her hand to her head and pulled her cloak off. A small woman with four-inch heels and wrinkles at the corners of her eyes stood above Gibson. “There. I’m exposed. More naked than I’ve been every time I’ve crept under your covers late at night. Now do you understand my complete trust? Now, can I earn yours?” There were tears in the Master’s eyes, fogging her glasses. The Master turned to the father. She handed him the cloak. “Mendol, I declare you the next Master. The paperwork is in the team’s safe. The key is in my desk and the password is G-I-B-S-O-N. Don’t try to contact me.”

The Master swiveled toward the door and rushed out.


The father grinned and bent down so his head was level with Gibson’s. “You’re fired,” he whispered.

Later, the boy and his father returned to the father’s office laughing. The boy tugged on the doorknob, eager to return to the egg.

As the duo entered the office, they spotted the egg. Cracked. Bits of egg splattered the walls, the blinds, the father’s framed scripture—

A cracked egg lay atop the desk, the pieces bloody, mingled with flesh and broken bones.

Of an unborn, dead Eevee.

Their laughter died quicker than an Eevee’s head can snap.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“It’s disrespectful to point, Mel,” Erin snapped, putting her delicious looking tuna sandwich down on her plate. I wanted a tuna sandwich. Mrs. Kendle gave me peanut butter and jelly. When I asked her for tuna she smiled at me and told me that I had a tuna sandwich on my plate.

I’m not stupid. I think she is. My sandwich wasn’t tuna.

Scary told me that Mrs. Kendle thought I wouldn’t like tuna so she was trying to trick me. I think that made her even stupider.

Oh, well Mrs. Kendle left for work anyway.

“I’m pointing at the ceiling, not at anyone. You can’t disrespect the ceiling,” I said, continuing to point at the nearest light bulb.

“That’s right. You can’t disrespect the ceiling.”

I scrunched my eyebrows at Erin. “I don’t get it. You agree with me?”

Erin rolled her eyes and mumbled, “Oh, never mind.”

My game was more important than Erin’s disrespect. She didn’t know what she was talking about.

They probably didn’t get why I was pointing because they were boring and couldn’t see Scary. It was ironic that they never figured all the times Scary was out of his Pokeball, but invisible.

<Whatever.> Ironic and fun! Scary and I played all sorts of games. Sometimes we made Erin’s hair stick up after she used her foamy hair cream; sometimes we untied everyone’s shoelaces within a hundred meters, sometimes Scary snuck up behind strangers to give them the chills…

But now we were playing a game Scary called “a nice game.” It was a game that was helpful to people—the opposite of our normal games. Nice games were usually boring and I’d only play them if Scary gave me candy, but this nice game was different. It was awesome!

What happens is I point to a light bulb and that’s where Scary floats. That light bulb becomes the base. Scary has to protect the base and all the other light bulbs from dangerous psychic waves from the Evil Anita Empire that was upstairs. He uses his own psychic to predict the Evil Empire’s attack and then from the base he sends out an invisible dark pulse at just the right moment to protect every light bulb.

The challenge was I changed which light bulb I was pointing to whenever I felt like it so Scary had to keep moving and it was hard for him to keep a constant lookout over all the light bulbs.

I moved my finger to point at a light bulb across the room. Scary moved to where I pointed.

I grinned when there was an explosion to my right. Little glass pieces fell onto Liam’s turkey sandwich and the surrounding plate and table.

<Haha, you missed one!> I said, knowing Scary would hear my thoughts. Usually I had to be all ghosty inside a person or a Pokemon to exchange thoughts, but Scary knew how to use psychic—like the Evil Empire—so he could hear inside anyone’s head.

Erin slammed the water glass she had been holding onto the table. A little bit splashed out. “That’s it. We have to do something. That’s the twelfth in a day and a half. She can’t keep exploding light bulbs.”

My water glass exploded, making my peanut butter and jelly sandwich soggy. I smiled. Now I couldn’t eat it. “And drinking glasses,” I added. “Erin, can I eat the rest of your sandwich?”

Erin pushed her plate to me. “My Griffy’s training excuse isn’t going to last much longer with my parents,” she said.

I stopped pointing at the ceiling because I needed both hands to eat. I looked at Erin as I took a big bite. She was sending nasty eyes at Liam.

Liam poked at his peas, trying to get as many as possible stuck to each fork finger. When he finally noticed Erin’s mean look, he said, “What?”

“You could be stopping her,” Erin replied.


Liam snickered. “Sorry. I only hold her hand twenty-three hours a day. I apologize for wanting to eat.”

“We have to get her to eat something. We have to get her to do something,” Erin said.

“Shove a bagel down her throat.”

“Force isn’t the way—”

“And letting her have a destructive temper tantrum is?” Liam paused. “She owes me several shrinkers.”

Erin sighed. “Shouldn’t she get tired or something? Don’t her powers run out?”

“Yeah, every time she’s fainted and been out for a few hours,” Liam answered. “But as you have seen, she wakes up with more energy and then releases it in angry bursts. She’s constantly exhausted and angry.”

“So what do we do?”

“Find Apple. Or a dark band so she doesn’t need constant vigilance.”

“The police are looking. Anita’s psychically looking when she’s not unconscious or sulking.”

Scary let out another dark pulse to stop Anita’s psychic from reaching the light bulbs and the table. “I think she just needs focus,” I said.

“Nobody asked you,” Liam muttered.

They were dumb. Well, no, they were good at thinking and all. Liam was smart with battling and types of Pokemon and Erin was creative and had a brain—but they got an idea and only saw that idea. They were too focused.

“Whenever Scary wants to keep me from doing something dangerous, he gives me candy or plays a game with me,” I explained. “Like one time when I was six, I wanted to jump through wild rose bushes so Scary said he had hidden a chocolate bar—”

“I don’t think candy is the solution to this one…” Erin said.

“Anita just needs something to do,” I suggested.

“Like?” Liam asked.

An image of Anita putting a psychic barrier around Sparky popped into my head. “Like battle Sparky again.”

Erin frowned. “Mel, I think she really hurt him—”

“No! He was a-okay! When I took him to the Pokemon Center it turned out all he needed was electricity—he’s like his Jolteon—and now he’s fine and ready—”

“Still, she’s really dangerous right now—”

“I cannot believe I am saying this, but I think Mel might be right,” Liam interrupted. “Battling Sparky would give her a temporary focus. It would probably drain her powers for a good deal longer than the couple of hours she’s been knocked out…”

“I don’t think Sparky can handle—”

“He’s a gym leader,” Liam said.

“He’s also an old man.”

“He can kick butt!” I added.

Erin hesitated. “Okay, suppose Sparky can handle Anita and he agrees to do this. How the hell are we going to get Anita to battle him? She won’t even leave my room.”

“I doubt she’ll leave for anything but information that might assist in locating Apple,” Liam said.

“Then we should give her that,” I suggested.

“We can’t just make something up. She’s already so upset—that’d be cruel,” Erin said. “Plus, when she found out we were lying, she’d murder us…”

Liam folded his arms and leaned back in his chair.


I had a solution. “Scary and I give people make-believes all the time. We can give one to Anita. Then she wouldn’t get mad at anyone.”

Erin scratched her head. “What are you talking—”

“He means visions. He wants to give Anita a fake vision,” Liam clarified.

“Oh—wait, he can do that? And I didn’t think Anita usually got visions…?”

I nodded.

“The amount and clarity of visions depend on a psychic’s amount of power,” Liam explained. “Most psychics don’t have enough power to ever receive them. In fact, most psychic Pokemon don’t have enough power to receive visions. I don’t know whether Anita has ever received a vision, but it is certainly possible, especially with regard to Apple because there’s a strong bond—”

“Okay we get it,” Erin snapped. “So what exactly, is Anita going to see?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The room was dusty and sparkly and I could feel the dirt mingle with the sweat covering my body and turn to mud. In one hand, I held a metallic lightning bolt the size of a thimble. In the other hand I held a bag of dust.

Neither brought me happiness. Neither made me feel anything at all.

Then, suddenly, something changed.

A spark. Not literal. In my gut or heart or brain.

It wasn’t hope.

It just was.

I felt her return. She was alive. She was here.

I jolted awake, got tangled in covers, and fell out of Erin’s bed onto the orange carpet. I scrambled up to grab one of Erin’s ponytail holders from her nightstand and quickly pulled my hair back. I didn’t glance at the mirror, not wanting to see the dark circles that were forming under my eyes.

Apple would return.

My whole body ached as I leapt down the stairs. I was not sure if the lack of nutrition or the lack of sleep or the lack of movement caused this, but none of it mattered.

Apple would return.

I practically collided with Erin, who was nervously shifting at the bottom of the stairs.

“I’m going to battle Sparky,” I said.

“Anita, you need to eat—” Erin started.

“I’m going to battle Sparky now,” I said. “Griffy can take me there fastest.”

Erin nodded but did not move. Mel walked through the doorway carrying a sandwich on a plastic plate. “I’ll let you borrow Griffy if you eat this sandwich,” Erin replied.

For a second, I considered using my newly found telekinesis to take Griffy’s Pokeball.

I snatched the sandwich from Mel’s plate and stuffed half of it in my mouth. Four swallows later, Erin handed me Griffy’s Pokeball.

Apple would return.

I would make sure that Apple would return.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Aw, we missed the prelim,” I complained as Erin and I became solid. Erin sat down on a dusty rock against the wall, no letting go of my hand. I wanted to take my hand back because Erin was a girl and she might have a girly disease and I didn’t want anyone to think she was my girlfriend, but I didn’t want to make her upset. Plus, I could turn us ghosty if an attack came our way.

“I still don’t think this is a good idea. What if Anita’s too… you know? This whole thing. It’s probably going to blow up in our faces. Literally.” Erin hissed.

“Anita’ll be tired and knocked out—” I started.

“Shhhh! She’ll hear you!”

“Look.” I pointed to the arena in front of us. Anita’s eyes glowed like shiny turnips in moonlight, and there was a purple bubble around Sparky. In the center of the arena, Splash tackled Sparky’s Electrode, who seemed to be held still against its will. “She’s not paying attention to us.”

Erin grumbled something and tried to kick a pile of dust by my foot. She ended up falling on the ground. I laughed. “With all of Sparky’s stupid underground surprise gyms, you’d think at least one would have bleachers,” Erin snickered. I pulled Erin back onto the rock and we both sat down.

The battle was turning kind of bad. Lots of ground was exploding, but the psychic bubble around Sparky kept flickering. Another psychic bubble around the Electrode was also flickering. It was like a bubbly purple firefly fest. I had a hard time seeing because Sparky was throwing lightning bolts that made the weird dust in the ground light up.

“Can I let Scary out of his Pokeball now?” I asked.

“No. I’ve already told you, Sparky said it’s against gym leader policy. There can be no possible interference from spectators,” Erin snapped. She then groaned as the Electrode hit Splash with a spark.

“I wish Liam were here,” I said. “You’re usually too busy annoying or arguing with him to be sad.”

“Yeah, well, he’s concocting something for when this plan fails so much that Arceaus will award us with giant F stickers.”

“You’re no fun when you’re a worry Wartortle,” I said.

Erin didn’t answer. Splash fell to the ground and fainted from one of Sparky’s lightning bolts.

I liked Sparky. He treated me like I was me and not some baby. Plus he could shoot lightning from his hands and could usually sense where I was even when I was invisible through electric pellets… or something. He was better at sensing ghosts than Anita.

When I squinted, Sparky looked like my dad with crazy hair.

“Come on, dad! You’re so slow!” A toddler with blond, nearly white, hair tugged at the hand of a short plump man wearing glasses. The two were trudging uphill through a lightly wooded field.

“Mel,” the man panted. “I’m not cut out for this sort of exercise. One mile, fine. We’ve had to have walked three by now!”

The pale boy crinkled his nose. “We’d already be there if you weren’t so slow. Scary and I only take—” Mel looked at his watch and pretended to read. “Four hundred minutes.”

Mel’s father started to chuckle, but it quickly turned into a cough. “Four hundred minutes is a long time,” he finally managed to say.

Mel crossed his arms. “I said three hundred.”

“That’s still a long time.


“I said three hundred hours!”

“That’s an even longer—”

“It was just really short, okay!” Mel said angrily. “We’re almost there.”

“I can’t imagine what could possibly worth seeing…” the father murmered.

The trees became more scattered and the wind picked up. The man squinted ahead, but the wind teared his eyes and he was forced to look at the dirt ground.

Suddenly, Mel jumped up and ran around his father. “We’re here!” Mel and his father had arrived at a cliff. The sound of the Palute Sea crashing against the rocks entwined with the coos of circling Winguls created a sort of ensemble the boy enjoyed immensely. He listened for a moment, and then— “Dad, watch what I can do!”

Mel jumped off the cliff.

I shook my head. Sometimes I wish I could turn my brain untouchable so it would fall out of my body.

A couple of nights ago Liam, Erin’s creepy friend Zach, and I were talking at night about stuff we couldn’t live without. Zach said medicine. I thought that made sense.

Liam said memory.

“Ta-da! See, dad, I can float!” Mel exclaimed.

Mel’s father continued to look over the cliff. “Mel? Melvin?” he murmured. His right hand twitched.

“Helll-oooo! Dad, I’m right behind you! Stop looking so scared!”

The father’s hand slid over a Pokeball. In a flash of red, a Gengar appeared. “Scary,” the father said, crouching into a sitting position. “My… Mel fell. Off. Off the cliff. He fell. Please, go get him. Find him.”

Scary looked at the father, smiled, and pointed past the father’s head. The father turned around. “What?” he asked.

Scary continued to smile.

“Dad, silly, I’m right here!” Mel yelled.

The father snapped his head around. “God-damn it, Scary. MY SON JUST JUMPED OFF A CLIFF AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS PLAY MADE-YOU-LOOK JOKES!”

Scary quickly started shaking his head and frantically pointed at Mel.

“You are USELESS! Go… do something. Get the police. Find my dead son’s body. Do…” The father brought his knees close to his body and hung his head over them. “Go.”

Scary’s eyes flickered from Mel to his father. The Gengar disappeared.

“Dad?” Mel asked tentatively. The boy reached forward to touch his father’s shoulder. His hand went through the body. “Dad, why can’t you see me? I didn’t mean for this… I usually stop floating and turn all visible again. I don’t know why… dad?”

The father squeezed his face into his legs and sobbed.

Liam’s stupid. I could live without memory.

I couldn’t live without Scary.

Fiery’s tail lit up and crashed down onto Sparky’s Electrode. The Electrode started to glow. A purple psychic shield appeared around Fiery. I grabbed Erin’s hand. We turned intangible as the Electrode exploded, sending dirt and rocks everywhere.

When the dirt settled, it looked like Anita’s shield hadn’t held. Both Fiery and the Electrode were knocked out.

Sparky released a Flaffy. To my surprise, Anita released Sunflower and immediately created another bubble around the Eevee. As the Flaffy started shooting off thunderbolts, Sunflower created what looked like a purple ball of fur, but was really a shadow ball. I smiled, proud of the little Eevee. When Sunflower released the shadow ball, Anita did not have to pull back the shield. The ball went right through the purple shield and hit the Flaffy’s stomach.

Scary taught me how to control my ghost powers, just like I taught Sunflower. It took a lot of time though. Way too much time.

“Alright, Alakazam, you’re sure you can’t sense any life?” a man wearing a navy blue uniform asked, gesturing towards a cliff. The Alakazam nodded.

A Gengar appeared behind the Alakazam and threw a shadow ball at the Pokemon. “Hey!” the uniformed man shouted. “Knock that out! I only tolerated your presence earlier because Alakazam claimed you wanted to learn how to use the attack psychic. I will not have you assaulting my Pokemon—” The man paused and stared at the Alakazam. “So this Gengar claims that the boy, Melvin, can change back and forth between ghost and human, but for right now, he appears to be stuck in ghost form. Can you sense this ghost boy? Kind of? Some sort of presence? Right, I know psychic types have issues with ghosts. Honestly, I think the Gengar has probably been traumatized by the loss of his trainer’s son—” The man was forced to duck another shadow ball thrown by the Gengar. “Gengar… or Scary, as my Alakazam calls you. I believe you. I believe that you can see and communicate with the boy’s ghost. But that’s all it is. A ghost. No, the body was never found, but the body is more than likely crushed into indistinguishable pieces by the ocean and washed ashore elsewhere. Scary, it’s up to you to help the boy move on.”

“Anderson?” someone called.

The uniformed man looked past his Alakazam. “Look, Bert is coming now. I have to give him the unfortunate news…” Scary threw yet another shadow ball at the uniformed man. The man shook his head. “I’m sorry, Scary, but I cannot tell Bert about your ghost boy. It will just bring about completely false hope and a lot more pain. I can’t do that to the poor man. It’s been over six months. He needs to move on.”

A gauntly man with graying hair and glasses approached Anderson. “So?” the man asked.

“I’m sorry, Bert,” Anderson replied. “Alakazam did not sense the body. The ocean has probably destroyed it by now.”

“GENGAR! Gang!” The Gengar made evil faces at Anderson.

Bert frowned. “Scary, how’d you get out of your Pokeball? I’m sorry, Anderson, he’s been like this ever since… Anyway, thank you for trying…”

Anderson patted Bert on the back. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

A ghost boy floated over the scene, crying waterless tears that would be neither seen nor heard.

Nor felt.

Flaffy fainted. The bombardment of shadow balls prevented the Pokemon from ever getting close enough to Sunflower to use Brick Break, which would have made Anita’s barrier go poof. The barrier stopped both Sparky’s and Flaffy’s electricity from reaching Sunflower. It seemed like a super strategy to me.

Sparkles, my favorite of Sparky’s Pokemon, was released into the arena. The Jolteon smirked at Sunflower and immediately dodged one of her shadow balls. Anita would need a new strategy. Or maybe she could just blow stuff up like she did with the lightbulbs.

I looked from Sparky to Anita. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to win. Anita was nice. Sort of. And Sparky was, well awesome and cool and funny. Anita winning would mean I’d have to leave Sparky. Okay, so part of me really wanted Sparky to win. Most of me. It was like there was this little Combee inside my head though, buzzing with a pollen-sized bit of hope that Anita would win. I think it was because of the dream I gave her. I felt bad… and even though I know it was made up, I wanted it to come true.

To lose someone that close. It made the world fade from reality. I knew what that was like.

“You are released. Free,” a silhouette said standing with one foot in the mansion and one foot on the porch. Sunlight beamed into the mansion around the man’s figure.

Scary shook his head and made to follow the man.

The man sighed. “You are not coming with me. I… I have to try… try to move on and get better. With all your strange gesturing and anger and visions your give me—Scary, you remind me of M-Mel and the cliff—I can’t—I’m sorry.”

Scary turned invisible.

“I know you’re still there. I’m serious. I’ll fight you if I have to,” the man said. He reached into his pocket and pulled a Pokeball. Scary reappeared. The man pulled out another Pokeball and placed it next to the door. “That is—was your Pokeball. I… I didn’t know what to do with it so it’s yours.”

Scary turned to the invisible boy floating next to him and gestured for the boy to follow his father out the door.

The man at the door shook his head. “There you go again. Goodbye.” The door closed. Scary pushed the boy forward.

The boy hesitated. “Scary… I can’t… you’re the only one who sees me.”

Scary pointed to the door.

The boy shook his head. “No. I’m staying. Dad doesn’t… he doesn’t want me around.”

Scary shook his head and grabbed the ghost boy’s hand in an attempt to pull him through the door.

“No!” The boy struggled. “I won’t go! I love Daddy, but he’s gone and he’s been gone! I… I haven’t hugged him in a lot of time, and… and now I don’t need to. But you… without you I’m—

“I’m just a ghost.”

Anita was struggling. She couldn’t seem to hold both a barrier around Sparky and Sunflower, especially with Sparky fighting against the barrier with his, well, sparkage. The floor lit up from the weird dust when Sparkles used thunderbolt.

The barrier around Sparky disappeared like a popped balloon. Our plan must have been working—Anita was finally losing all that pent up energy. Sparky took the opportunity to heal what little damage Sparkles had taken by sending more lightning bolts at the Jolteon.

“Hey, where’d Sunflower go?” Erin asked.

“Huh?”

“Sunflower. She just disappeared.” Oh great, not again. Anita would collapse into an energy sucking ball of unhappy yuckiness if another one of her Pokemon disappeared. Anita didn’t look upset, though—well, not any more upset than she had been before.

I looked back at the battlefield. The ground and walls continued to light up as Sparky and Sparkles released seemingly random electric sparks. It was very strange. There were no holes in the ground that I could see so I didn’t think Sunflower was using dig.

Suddenly, Sparkles started yelping in pain. Sparky sent more electricity at the Jolteon, but it did not seem to have an effect. In fact, Sparkles started yowling louder and running in circles.

Sparky was being annoying. He was supposed to be crazy super master of all trickery, but he seemed as clueless as me. I bet Anita was doing mind tricks on Sparkles or something.

Anita pulled an Obi-wan and easily deflected one of Sparky’s attacks away from her face with a flick of her hand. With lightning flashing, Sparkles’ continuous howling, and Sparky shouting commands, the room was very loud and bright.

Just as that thought crossed my mind, the brightness and loudness suddenly ceased.

When the quickly dimming dust settled, I was able to see Sparkles sprawled across the dirt ground, thoroughly knocked out. To the left of the Jolteon, there was a giant ball of…

Wait. The ball moved and then disappeared. Dust wafted downward, as if it were falling from a broken snow globe.

“Eeveachooo!”

Beneath the falling dust, Sunflower sneezed. She shook out her body in an attempt to keep the dust from settling into her fur. How did…? “I don’t get it,” I said. “What happened?”

“I think…” Erin started. “I’m pretty sure Anita created a barrier around Sunflower and somehow managed to get this brightpowder—” Erin scooped up a handful of dust from the ground. “—stuck in or to the barrier. Then when all that electricity was being shot around—”

“The ball lit up like a… ball of light and blended in with the rest of the brightness,” I finished.

“Right. And when Sparky’s Jolteon was getting hurt by Sunflower, Sparky could not see what was causing the pain and tried to feed Sparkles electricity in order to heal the Jolteon. Only that didn’t work because his sparks lit up the area around Sparkles causing Sunflower’s bright barrier to blend right in.”

“Okay, great. She won,” I said as Sparky approached Anita. Sparky handed her a badge, and then bent down to the ground. As Erin had done, he scooped up a handful of dust. He put the dust in a small bag that looked like the lollipop part of an upside-down lollipop. Sparky then placed the bag in Anita’s other hand. “So now what?”

“Well, I was kind of hoping she’d be out cold,” Erin replied.

Anita had not yet reacted to the situation. She had not congratulated Sunflower, nor acknowledged the badge in her palm. Her head began to tilt away from Sparky, towards a staircase that I was pretty sure led to a back door.

Slowly, Anita mouthed the words, “She’s here.”

delongbi
January 31st, 2011, 10:56 PM
Next chapter!



Chapter 31: Power Exchange

“Are you ready?”

Above the clouds, a boy and his father rode atop a tireless Charizard. The father peered over his shoulder at his son, awaiting a response. He swatted his black wind-whipped hair out of his eyes.

The boy stared ahead, following the Charizard’s gaze. The hood of the boy’s dark cloak flapped to the beat of the Charizard’s wings.

“Answer me,” the father demanded.

The boy smiled slightly, as if he was enjoying a pleasant view despite the fact that it was cloudy and nearing dusk.

The father closed his eyes slightly and turned his head back into the wind. His Charizard began to descend. Behind the father, the son clenched his fists in order to physically stop himself from shivering.

“Tal can track Mew up to about a hundred yards without the assistance of the other twenty-some Team Glop’emm psychic Pokemon we’ve been using to track Mew at a distance,” the father explained. “Tal’s going to need to direct all of his power into tracing Mew’s energy. Charizard, here, will be prepared to take off after Mew at a moment’s notice. All we have to do is attack and beat down the pink twit. Are you ready?”

“Father,” the boy said quietly. He spoke just loud enough to be heard over the wind. “This is our eleventh operation and third occasion we have pursued Mew’s psychic imprint to the northeast area of Mint Mountain. You have meticulously explained the plan each journey. I am well prepared to find and shut down yet another spoon-bending Abra support group. You have even prepared me for the distinct possibility of a telekinetic toilet-cleansing Slowbro operation—”

“I didn’t ask for mockery. Are you ready?” the father interrupted. The Charizard slowed the beat of its wings and clumsily landed a third of the way up a large rocky slope. The boy easily slid down one of the Charizard’s wings, landing lightly on a crooked boulder. The father followed less gracefully. “We will both attack Mew at once. Have you prepared your Pokemon?”

The boy remained expressionless as he stated, “I did not bring my Pokemon.” Only a slight tilt of the boy’s head away from his father revealed that the boy might be fighting a smirk.

“Then you’ll use one of mine,” the father said, climbing across several stones and dropping out of sight behind them.

The boy frowned. This was not the reaction he had wanted. After carefully maneuvering his body around the mountainside’s crackling crevices, the boy arrived beside his father in front of a large cavern. The father had already released both Tal and his Houndoom from their Pokeballs. The Houndoom watched the cavern’s entrance with ears pointed forward and legs tense, prepared for action.

“Tal and Charizard will wait here,” the father said. He held a Pokeball out to his son. “Most of my Pokemon would not willingly submit to your command in battle. They are too powerful.”

“They consider themselves more knowledgeable and experienced than me in battle,” the boy corrected. He glared at the Pokeball. “I won’t battle.”

“You don’t have a choice.”

“Yes, I do.”

The father sighed. “Why are you choosing now of all times to be rebellious?”

The son crossed his arms.

“I hate it when you do this—hide your real emotions behind an empty smile, try to get me to lose my temper. I know your game.”

“You taught me well.”

“This is not the time or place. Just take the Pokeball.” The father held the Pokeball towards his son.

The son did not respond.

The father shrugged and took a step back. “Well, I have to command Houndoom. I’m going to release her and tell her to do her best, but if no one gives her orders—” The father shrugged again. “—she might end up like the Eevee she replaced, with her insides spread about the cave.”

The boy stood still, his eyes widening in appall. The boy quickly recovered his emotional slip, rearranging his expression to look bored.

“What, did something I say get to you?”

“It’s not something to joke about,” the boy said quietly. “You just… replaced… the Eevee with another from Team Glop’emm’s collection and nobody noticed. Darcleye explains his Umbreon’s hatred for the new Eevee as mother-daughter rivalry. And you act so casually towards the situation, like the baby Eevee guts on your desk were your office’s typical decorum, like… like it doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t matter,” the father said. “The Eevee is dead. I did what was necessary. Now there’s this one.” He pressed the release button on the Pokeball in his hand. “We have a job to do.”

The boy watched the Eevee materialize. He allowed himself one glowering look at the Pokemon before silently following his father and his father’s Houndoom. The Eevee ignored the boy, choosing to trot ahead beside the Houndoom.

The cave was dank and smelled of molded fruit. Waving a flashlight along the ground, the boy spotted Cornn berry peels among the cracks. If the boy had not been had perfect vision in the dark, everything would have appeared brown and shadowy, as the only sources of light came from Charizard’s tail at the cave entrance and the two flashlights carried by the father and son.

The boy had taken less than twenty steps into the cave when a pair of purple glowing eyes appeared directly in front of the group. Immediately, the father yelled out, “Crunch!” and his Houndoom lunged.

The boy pointed his flashlight at the purple eyes, lighting up a floating pink body attached to the creature. Mew somehow looked different than the boy remembered. Maybe it was bigger.

Mew dodged the crunch attack and then stared at the father for a moment. The boy suspected that Mew was trying to use psychic on his father and was failing because of his father’s dark twined shirt. Mew created a psychic barrier to protect itself from Houndoom’s flames.

Houndoom lunged again, and again, Mew floated out of reach. “Help me!” the father called, chancing a glance at his son. The boy crossed his arms and sat down on a stone.

Mew’s fist lit up and connected with the Houndoom’s stomach the next time the Houndoom attempted a Crunch attack. The Houndoom crashed against the wall, but shakily rose. “Dark pulse,” the father commanded. A dark stream of energy from the Houndoom’s mouth went through Mew’s protective barrier and hit Mew’s side. Mew retreated slightly.

In the midst of the fighting, the Eevee growled. She looked from the father’s face back to the son’s face, waiting and wishing for an order. When the boy smiled at her in a no-way-in-hell-am-I-going-to-tell-you-to-attack manner, the Eevee decided to take matters into her own hands by charging at Mew.

The boy realized what would happen. He leapt off the rock towards the Eevee. Mew had already stopped the Eevee from charging. The Eevee floated in a purple aura, struggling against Mew’s psychic. As Mew telekinetically flung the Eevee backwards at the sharp rocks along the cave walls, the Eevee let out a cry of pain.

The boy pushed off hard against the ground and caught the Eevee, stopping the psychic propulsion and preventing the Eevee from further injury. The Eevee looked up at the boy’s eyes and twitched her nose.

Suddenly, the Eevee started to glow white. The boy had seen evolution before, but holding an evolving Pokemon—feeling the Eevee’s body narrow and the fur grow shorter—was a completely different experience. It sent chills down his back.

A few seconds later, the boy was holding an Umbreon. The boy’s attention was brought back to the battle when a nearby rock exploded. The boy turned away from the explosion to prevent the rock shards from hitting Umbreon despite the cuts they created on his own shirt and skin.

Houndoom released another stream of dark energy from his mouth, but this time, Mew countered the energy with an identical stream of energy from its own mouth. Stray spurts of energy exploded more rocks.

The father’s eyes widened as Mew’s dark energy overpowered the Houndoom’s. The explosion flipped Houndoom onto the father. The Umbreon struggled to get out of the boy’s grasp, but the boy held tight, preventing the Pokemon from attacking. Mew raced out of the cave.

The father scrambled out from under his Houndoom, scraping his hands against the rocks in the process. He ran out of the cave and jumped atop his Charizard. The boy walked slowly after him.

“Go! Go, damn it! Why aren’t you taking off?” the father yelled. Charizard pointed a claw at Tal and whipped his tail around impatiently. The boy could see that Tal was concentrating with all of his strength; the spoons he held bent in opposite directions. “Tal, what the hell is taking you so long!?”

“Father, Tal will not be able to track Mew,” the boy said. He climbed onto Charizard behind his father, taking care to not accidently crush the Umbreon in his arm.

“I don’t want to hear another word out of you—I ought to teach you a lesson—”

“You’ve taught enough lessons for today,” the boy interrupted. “How do you think Mew got away?”

The father was silent. His leg trembled slightly.

“You taught it how to use dark pulse. It can now emit dark energy and prevent any psychic Pokemon from tracking it.”

The father’s fists clenched and unclenched quickly. The father was motionless for a moment—then he nodded curtly and returned both Tal and the Umbreon to their respective Pokeballs.

As Charizard flapped its wings and took a short running start, the boy commented, “It’ll be a challenge tracking Mew now. Are you ready?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I heard him before he approached. He was loud, and he was not alone.

I swiveled my tail in anticipation. I could run… well, float. These big feet were no good at running… But the man would find me again—the man always followed. It was better that I faced him when I was prepared, at least according to my Mew predecessors.

I was strong. I was legendary.

I sensed his Pokemon. There was the Charizard and the Alakazam outside of the cave, preparing for if the man failed. The man’s pessimism gave me a little confidence.

Approaching with the man was a young Eevee. Her mind was overwhelmed with curiosity and fear of the dark cave, strategies of previously fought battles, and a strange bitterness that reminded me of the unripe Cornn berries I ate for breakfast.

Of course, I could assume the man’s Houndoom approached as well, even though I could not sense it.

I tried to sense the man’s thoughts, but failed. I knew the man was there—his Pokemon were thinking of him and interacting with him—but it was as if the man had gained the powers of a dark Pokemon. Perhaps the man was touching his Houndoom’s fur.

Suddenly, the man yelled, “Crunch!”

I was temporarily blinded by a bright light, but I floated upwards, hoping to dodge the Houndoom’s attack anyway. I was lucky; the Houndoom missed. Next time I would have to be quicker, smarter—

<Stronger, 868,013,> Father Mew demanded. I blinked. <How do you expect to continue the Mew lineage with this pathetic psychic? I know Abras that use their energy more efficiently.>

<Hear, that? You’re pathetic,> Celebi taunted.

I sent another psychic blast at Father Mew. He created a barrier and sent it back at me. I dodged. <You’re not even trying!> Father Mew yelled. <You cannot leave until you give this your all. Again!>

Again, I created a ball of psychic energy and sent it at Father Mew. What else could I do? Celebi giggled and casually flew backwards to sit on a giant boulder.

I was sick of this. It was useless—

—to reach out my mind, feel the structure of every nook in the cave. I had planned on collapsing portions of the cave on the man—give him a concussion, maybe—but now I couldn’t sense him. The only being I could sense in the cave was the Eevee. I squinted into the dark, trying to rely on my eyesight. I made a rock fall on what I thought was a silhouette—

Flames came at me. I put up a barrier. The brief light allowed me to glimpse the silhouette, which turned out to be an odd rock formation. I also saw the Houndoom begin to lunge, and I managed to dodge.

“Help me!” the man called. I noticed two dim beams of light, but kept my focus on the Houndoom. The next time the Houndoom lunged, I punched the Pokemon in the stomach hard, aiming to throw the dog where I suspected the beams of light were coming from. The man either moved or I missed—Houndoom hit the rocks. I focused on the rocks; they trembled.

“Dark pulse!” the man yelled. A beam of energy hit my side, and I recoiled at the pain. The Houndoom fired another beam, forcing me to dodge.

Suddenly, I saw a white fur ball running at me. The Eevee had finally decided to take some action. Maybe if I telekinetically held the Eevee in front of me the man would stop attacking… Then again, what if he didn’t care? He’d already proven himself ruthless.

I stopped the Eevee with my mind, wincing when another dark pulse hit my tail. I could test the man—move the Eevee out of the way if it was about to be attacked—

And then the Eevee was gone. I couldn’t sense her. There was a bright light—

Searing pain ran through my stomach. Blistering bubbles nipped at my arms, tail, back. The Houndoom stood over me baring his teeth, resembling a beloved pet of the grim reaper.

It was then that I decided Houndoom was a fitting name. Very—

Fine. If he wanted me to give it my all…

My stubby arms began to extend, my snout narrowed and elongated, my tail shrunk—and then my transformation was suddenly halted. Something was preventing me from taking shape of a Houndoom. For a millisecond, I panicked, believing I might be stuck in midmorph. I returned to my Mew form wary, but slightly relieved.

Father Mew made a “Tsk” noise with his throat. <Can’t have you using any of those flashy tricks. This is a test of your psychic prowess.> It occurred to me that he had just used his psychic to prevent me from transforming. It also quickly became apparent that he continued to hold my body rigidly against the ground with his mind as I struggled to move my limbs. Between the Mew’s paws gathered psychic energy. The energy ball flew at me and—

—exploded a rock above the Houndoom, causing the Houndoom to misfire dark energy into the cavern wall I lay against. A hole in the wall sizzled. If only my energy could do that…

I watched the Houndoom prepare to fire another dark pulse by taking a guttural breath. It didn’t look hard—Pokemon always had a way of making attacks look easy. I watched the energy leave the Houndoom’s mouth. Instinctively, I took a breath.

I opened my eyes and found a strange beam of dark energy leaving my mouth. It deflected the Houndoom’s energy beam slightly and exploded a rock.

I could use dark pulse. Whoa. I could learn that attack?

As Father Mew threw the energy at my helpless body, I grinned. I had picked up a few tricks from my murderous stalker through my early years. I widened my mouth, sending a dark pulse at the oncoming energy ball. The pulse easily split the ball into two harmless blobs and continued forward to strike Father Mew in his chest. <You’re the one who told me to give it my all,> I said.

I flew forward, transforming as I flipped through the air. Long ears. Soft paws. Snow-tipped, fluffy tail—a thick tail growing brighter and stronger.

A tail perfect for striking down a neurotic, pig-headed elder Mew.

Father Mew fell to the ground and I gently landed beside him. I stretched my legs and shook out my body, smiling. I had missed this body. “Eevee,” I growled, just to hear my voice. I turned to Celebi. <Take me back,> I insisted.

<Before or after Anita is sent to an asylum?>

<Take me back to the moment I left,> I demanded.

<It’ll cost you.> Celebi fluttered off of the boulder to the fallen Mew.

<Take whatever.>

Celebi patted Father Mew’s head. <What’s left of this poor fellow’s power and all of yours.> Celebi smiled sweetly and looked at me with wide blue eyes.

I did not hesitate. <Fine.>

Celebi closed her eyes. A misty light floated from Father Mew’s body to Celebi’s fingertips. Celebi then turned to me. I suddenly felt weak and slightly nauseous. My eyesight blurred.

As I fired another dark beam, more accurate this time, I thought of the implications. What if I could use this newfound attack to hide my strong psychic? I wouldn’t have to fight this man—he wouldn’t be able to find me!

I heard an “Oof,” and I blinked—the Houndoom must have been pushed onto his master.

<Sayanara!> I yelled gleefully as I sped out of the cave.

For the first time since my birth, I felt free.

A smirking green angel floated toward me and dug small fingers into my fur. The world spun and my body was painfully compressed—

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. I opened my eyes, only to feel a sharp painful sting. I managed to glimpse blue before tightly shutting my eyes. My limbs thrashed wildly, but seemed to move slowly.

When I opened my mouth to yelp, salty water rushed in. Panicked, I attempted to give myself a psychic boost out of the water. Only when my attempt failed did I remember that I currently lacked power. I struggled and somehow managed to break the surface.

As I gulped as much air as my lungs would allow, Celebi flew in front of me.

<We had a deal,> I thought.

Celebi giggled. <But placing you at this moment is so much more painful for you, so much more fun for me, and perplexes several others. Ta ta!> Celebi disappeared in a flash of green.

Freedom is overrated.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Why’d Anita just run off?” I asked nobody in particular. I thought Anita would celebrate or collapse in exhaustion after the battle. Instead she had dramatically said, “She’s here,” and ran out of the room. Maybe she had finally lost her mind.

Sparky shrugged and bent over to feed his Jolteon a revive. “Probably wanted to make a grand exit. I would have had sparklers, but to each his own.”

“Um,” Mel started. He looked at me with wide eyes. “Erin, that’s exactly what happened in the dream I gave Anita.”

“Anita ran off?”

“No… yes… no. She didn’t run off because I didn’t get to that part. Anita just got her badge and the dust and then had a feeling that Apple was alive… or at least that’s what happened in the dream I gave her… but this was just like that. The bag of dust wiggled just the same way…”

“Whoa, wait. What happened was the exactly the same as the vision you gave Anita?” I asked.

Mel nodded.

The room was silent. I nervously laughed. “So, you want to give me a vision next time?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I felt her. Just like in my vision. I stood outside Sparky’s gym and looked out toward the ocean, where I felt Apple’s presence. The sun was starting to set, and the water was rough. I couldn’t see Apple with my eyes.

I sent out my mind. <APPLE!>

There was no response. A flicker of familiarity appeared in my mind, not two hundred meters away from the cliff’s edge.

I jumped off the cliff, creating a slanted psychic barrier below me. I elongated the barrier as I slid down, allowing it to fade away behind me. My head felt like it was being ripped in two from the exertion. I had to reach Apple. That was all that mattered.

“What the…” I hear Erin call from the cliff edge. She must have followed me out of the gym. “What the hell is she doing? Anita!”

It was definitely Apple I felt. A hundred meters to go. I thought I saw a brown speck in the vast blue waves. <Apple?>

“Anita, I wanna slide, too!” Mel yelled.

My insides seemed to tighten. Why couldn’t I see Apple? She had to be all right. She was alive. I felt her. Fifty meters to go.

Faintly, I heard, <A…Anita?>

<APPLE!!!> I leaned back on my psychic slide to gain more speed. Apple was alive! Apple was alive. I ignored the questions of her disappearance attempting to push themselves into my brain. I didn’t care. As long as Apple was alive and okay and—

My body immediately tensed up as my skin came in contact with the freezing water. I kept my eyes shut and held my breath underwater while kicking towards where I sensed Apple. My hands came in contact with something wet and soft, but not slimy like seaweed. I kicked upwards until I surfaced above the water.

“Apple!” I gasped, opening my eyes. My hand was in Apple’s fur. Apple was visibly shaking from the cold and struggling to keep her head above the surface. I pulled her to my chest and tightened my arms around her, silently willing her to never leave me again.

I didn’t know what to say so I pushed my overwhelming emotions at her, and dove into her mind. Her mind was faint—it felt like there was something in her mind that I should be seeing but was fading away. <Anita… glad… see you… but too… much.>

I pulled out of her mind immediately. The wet Eevee looked nearly unconscious. I had to get her to the Pokemon Center. I made a barrier with my mind and clambered on to it, my fingers barely sticking enough to allow me to pull Apple and myself up.

I had rested only a moment when the barrier failed and we fell through to the water. I was suddenly very angry with myself. I could do this. I was strong enough. I had to be strong enough. I created another barrier, but this time I didn’t even make it on to the barrier before it disappeared.

Focus, Anita. I tried to forget that I was holding Apple and that Apple’s mind was barely audible and that I hadn’t had a proper conversation with Apple…

“Wooper!” A Wooper appeared in front of me.

“Anita, grab on!” Erin yelled from above me. I grabbed the Pokemon’s foot, doubtful that Wella would have the strength to pull me.

I was proven wrong when my arm was suddenly strained from Wella’s acceleration. I tightened my grip around Apple and turned my head so I wouldn’t swallow salt water. I felt Apple’s exhaustion and began to feel fatigued myself. The waves appeared to melt into the darkening sky as my eyes unfocused.

My consciousness was pulled from my body.

It was dark. I looked down, but was unsurprised when I didn’t see a body.

<Stop trying to force yourself into my mind.> Apple’s voice echoed around me. I couldn’t see her. <Anita, trust me on this: leave.>

<I’m not trying to get into your mind,> I replied. <I’m just happy to see you.>

<Please, leave,> Apple said.

<I don’t know how.> Blue light crackled briefly across the darkness. Despite my lack of a body, there seemed to be a strange unstable weightlessness about me, like I might fall at any moment.

<I can’t hold you back much longer,> Apple replied. <I’m not supposed to tell. Please don’t make me tell. Please.>

<Tell what?>

Suddenly, the darkness shattered. I was in a valley of green grass, lightly sprinkled with blooming cherry trees. I had a body again and could feel the small breeze against my ankles and through my loosely fitting clothing. The cherry trees barely cast shadows, as it was midday. I stood on a slope. Up the slope, to my left, I was shocked to see a large group of Celebi murmuring amongst themselves in a large huddle.

I turned my gaze to my right. In the center of the valley, there were several Mews lined up in straight rows facing me. In front of each Mew was a large boulder. The only exception was one Mew that floated between me and the rows of Mews, facing them.

The boulderless Mew raised a hand. The boulders all rose. Each Mew was completely focused on the telekinetically floating boulder in front of them.

<What is this?> I asked. <Apple?>

<The one in the third row, second from the end is me,> Apple replied. A Mew appeared next to me.

<Apple?>

The Mew nodded and its tail floated limply to the ground. I threw my arms around the Mew for a moment and then took a step back.

<What’s going on? Where is this? Where am I?>

Apple looked at me with resignation. <You were never supposed to see this.> She waved a three-fingered hand towards the Mews that continued to concentrate on their boulders. <It’s our most tightly guarded secret. Any person knowing puts us all in serious danger.>

I felt betrayed. I didn’t keep anything from Apple. I thought she hadn’t kept anything from me.

<Anita! It’s not like that… It’s…> Apple blinked her eyes slowly. <I’m going to explain everything. You’ve already seen too much anyway… Arceus help me if this gets either of us killed.> Apple floated down to the ground, wrapping her tail in a circle around her. I sat down next to her. <You already know that every five thousand years I— a Mew— bursts into flames, releasing excess psychic energy, and a new Mew is reborn from the Father Mew’s ashes.

<But that’s not the only way to force my kind into the rebirth fire stage. Basically, anything that should cause us to die forces us into rebirth. Because of our strong healing ability, we rarely even approach this point. You can stab us, beat us up, cut us up, and we’ll still heal.> Apple shuttered. <Like when you found me. I was so weak, but I couldn’t die.

<In the past, there’s only been two ways Mews have been forced into rebirth before they reached five thousand years old. Decapitation is one. That only happened once, though. Generally, we can psychically stop whatever’s about to cause the decapitation. The other method is being stabbed through the head with something imbued with the dark type—an object or part of a Pokemon. We are unable to heal that type of wound to the brain.

<In order to stay alive—not burst into flames—we need training to protect ourselves. When first born, there is nobody to teach us how to fight. Our lifecycle makes it so there is only one Mew in the world.> Apple turned her head around to look at the group of Celebi behind her. <So to learn, we have to time travel.>

The scene presented before me suddenly made much more sense. <Celebi take you back in time to learn from previous Mews.>

<The Celebi. There’s only one.> Apple nodded to the group of Celebi. <She’s just from multiple time periods. Yes, she takes us back in time, once to learn the basics in a group like this, and once to learn more advanced techniques—> The scene suddenly changed. There were two Mews bouncing into each other over and over again in the air above a grass field, each surrounded by a purple psychic bubble. A Celebi sat nearby on a ledge, cleaning her wings. <like this. We each have a one-on-one battling session with our predecessor—our Father Mew. The Father Mew isn’t supposed to let us leave until we have fully mastered our powers.>

<So what’s with all the secrecy?>

<Obviously, knowing what makes a Mew go into the rebirth stage is dangerous information for me and anyone who wants to cause the type of destruction rebirth creates.>

<But I would never—>

<There are ways of extracting information from you, Anita. Torture, hypnosis, ghosts, and strong psychics. But it’s more than that. See, we are entirely dependent on Celebi.>

<So?> I picked at the grass and thought it was odd that I could actually feel the thin blades between my fingers.

Apple looked at the sky. <It’s a little known fact that Celebi can generate less psychic power than a Drowsee. Mew, on the other hand, can generate about a hundred thousand times more psychic energy than the typical Alakazam.> There was an explosion in the sky as the two Mews fired blasts of psychic energy at each other. Apple continued, <Time traveling takes a lot of power. We need to time travel and we can supply the psychic power, but only Celebi has the ability to use psychic power to time travel. We have a pact with Celebi—we give Celebi power in exchange for time travel.>

<Again, I ask, so?>

<So, Celebi is kind of resentful towards my kind because she can’t time travel without us. Typically, when she takes our power we provide enough energy for about one and a half time travels. Thus, when she takes one of us back in time to meet our predecessor and then forward in time to return to the present, she gains enough power for about one time travel. We only go back in time to train twice in our lives, which basically means that Celebi only gets one full time travel—there and back—other than taking us back for training, every five thousand years.

<Celebi resents us because we limit her power. But seriously, what other choice do we have? I sure don’t want some little green fairy messing with the time stream every two minutes. Anyway, the rest of the world perceives Celebi as this little all-powerful legendary Pokemon, and Celebi doesn’t change this perception because it wouldn’t be beneficial for her survival. My kind can’t let anyone know that Celebi depends on our power because someone might try to find a way to provide Celebi with that power without using Mew as a source. You even knowing about our agreement with Celebi is a risk to the agreement.>

I was annoyed. <You didn’t have to tell me all of that.> I sure hadn’t asked her to. <You could have just left it at the pact with Celebi thing.>

<Anita, if you’re going to know something, I’d rather you know the full story—not just pieces. If you only knew pieces, you’d likely go looking for answers elsewhere and reveal pieces to other people who might be able to piece together the big picture better than you can.>

<Okay, okay. But you know I won’t tell anyone.>

<Not intentionally.>

I ignored Apple’s comment. <So you disappeared because you went back in time to learn from your Father Mew, right? Why didn’t Celebi just bring you back to the exact time you disappeared?>

<Celebi and I don’t exactly get along. At all. She’s a bit of a manipulative *****. She knows my kind will still supply power for her, even if she brings us back a little late.>

<Why can’t you just transform into Celebi and use your own power for time travel?>

<Oh, I can. Most Mews aren’t like me—they actually develop the ability to transform much later in their life, not until after a hundred years or so. Thus, Celebi is necessary for most young Mews needing training from our predecessors.>

<But why didn’t you in particular transform and come back to the right time after your training?> I asked.

Apple’s tail twitched. She watched her memory-Celebi flap towards the sky, performing flips and corkscrews through the air. <Something Celebi told me. That I was being tracked. That if I transformed, someone who was looking for me would find me.>

<She could have been lying.>

<No, duh. But even so… she might not be. And that would be a big risk for a couple of missed days.>

<Well, we’ll look into it. Apple, I missed you so much. I had a vision about you returning. It came true.> I showed Apple the vision.

Apple frowned. <Very strange. I… I think Celebi did that purposefully. I think where and when she took me was based off of your vision. Maybe...>

<I’m just glad you’re back,> I said, wrapping an arm around Apple’s pink shoulder.

Apple leaned into me. <Me, too.>

The scene began to fade away into darkness, but my mind mingled with Apple’s for much longer, simply enjoying her existence.

Dragonite Ernston
February 1st, 2011, 05:21 PM
I've actually been following this from Chapter 1, but for lack of presence here, I've never actually given a review.

I have to say that you do an amazing job of exposing and developing Liam and Anita's characters. They, you know, stay consistent throughout. Liam keeps hounding Anita about her combat skills, is unforgiving about Twenty Questions, and keeps acting annoyed around her. Anita, on the other hand, was dragged into all this, and acts the part. (And is situated the part, too. Everything seems to be going against her.)

Personally, now that it's been a while since I actually read part of the story, I've forgotten what the main goal of the plot is, besides just being a journey fic. I do remember that Liam was trying to discover the mystery of Mew, and Anita was just trying to get through the gyms.

Also, the change in perspectives is a bit shaky. Sometimes it's clear, and sometimes it's unclear, about who's actually speaking, because it's always in first person.

Overall, though, it's still enjoyable, even if seeing Anita being tortured so much does make me feel really bad for her.

delongbi
February 2nd, 2011, 11:49 AM
Dragonite Ernston- Thanks for the review. I'm glad you're enjoying the fic so far. Yes, I've been told the change in perspectives can be confusing. I usually try to give a few clues at the beginning of a section, but I should probably try to make it more obvious. Would you (or anyone) recommend putting the name/perspective at the beginning of each section? Or would that lose something? For some reason, I've always been very hesitant to do this...

Also, about the main goal thing, would it be helpful if I gave a brief "So far..." and list the character's objectives at the moment/ important things to remember at the beginning of chapters? This could also help clue readers in to the specific perspectives.

Seriously, thanks for the feedback!

Dragonite Ernston
February 3rd, 2011, 07:01 PM
Dragonite Ernston- Thanks for the review. I'm glad you're enjoying the fic so far. Yes, I've been told the change in perspectives can be confusing. I usually try to give a few clues at the beginning of a section, but I should probably try to make it more obvious. Would you (or anyone) recommend putting the name/perspective at the beginning of each section? Or would that lose something? For some reason, I've always been very hesitant to do this...

I wouldn't advise doing that, actually, because inserting a change like that is disruptive to the flow of the text (not the story, the text!) and is too much like a heading. I mean, I do that for all of my first-person perspectives, but it's kind of iffy, I'll admit.

But then we have a dilemma.

Buoysel
February 3rd, 2011, 10:20 PM
I think if you put the name where you change POVs for instance in stead of just putting

*************

You could put

*****Apple******

Its not supper annoyingly conflicting with the story, and it removes the confusion.

delongbi
March 3rd, 2011, 09:33 AM
Alright guys. I know it gets confusing because I don't update often so...

Previously in An Apple A Day
Anita Parkwood's set out on a journey with Apple, a Mew transformed into an Eevee for hiding purposes, in Acceber. Anita is gifted with psychic powers, which Apple has been teaching her to use. She's collected threebadges thus far and is traveling with Erin, an ex-research assistant; Mel, a boy with a ghost gift; and Liam, who is also a supposed research assistant.

Unbeknownst to Anita, the Master of Team Glop'emm/Gym Leader of Drape Town is attempting to find and destroy Mew. The Master (Master Mendol) had a horrific childhood in which most of his life was destroyed by legendary Pokemon, which has caused him to hunt down legendary Pokemon. The Master sent his relative--Liam Mendol--as a detective to watch Anita, because he suspects her to be Mew while the Master researches how to destroy Mew. The gym leaders are currently keeping an eye out for the Master, as they suspect him to be the leader of Team Glop'emm-though they have no evidence.

Team Glop'emm is currently developing a device that will be able to untransform Mew, the research for which is lead by Rita Teal, Team Glop'emm's head researcher. The Master left Jamie Arkle in charge, though Jamie appears to have intentions that differ from the Master's and plans to take over Team Glop'emm. Jamie has momentarily left Team Glop'emm (leaving Rita in charge) to find out more about the Master in order to destroy/find him. Jamie recently visited with the ex-gym leader of Drape Town where he found that the Master and his father previously lived in Vintage Village. Jamie travels places usually by riding his Togekiss.

A kind of side note: In her research to create a device that untransforms Mew, Rita has been working with several Dittos, one of which (Sticky) has been able to transform into a girl she thought of, not one the Ditto has seen. Sticky has also been fairly successful in learning English (this is evidence that Anita could be Mew).

ANYWAY, in the meantime, before Anita's gym battle with Sparky Storm, Apple disappeared. It turns out that because there can only exist one Mew at a time (every 5,000 years, Mew explodes and a new Mew is born from the ashes of the old), Mew and Celebi have the following deal: usually twice in Mew's life, Celebi will bring Mew back in time to train with older Mews. The first time is to learn psychic basics with a whole group of Mews from other time periods. The second time is more advanced one-on-one training. Celebi, however, lacks the power needed for time travel so takes Mew's powers. Thus, Mew provides the power to time travel (plus a little more so Celebi can time travel once or twice without Mew) and Celebi brings Mew back in time. All of this happened to Apple at an unfortunate time. Anita freaked out and her psychic powers got out of control. Now, however, Apple's back in the right time period so all should be well... right?

Next time I'll summarize all of the Master's flashbacks as it is more vital to the next chapter.



Chapter 32: Bon Voyage

“Do you think she’ll be mad when we tell her we’ve spent all the money she won from Sparky?”

“Who cares?”

“I care! I don’t want to be psychically blown to munchable Erin bits!”

“Liam, Erin, look! She’s waking up!”

My head throbbed as I opened my eyes. There was something heavy on my stomach. I looked down and smiled when I saw Apple, curled up and sleeping on top of me.

“Anita! How do you feel?” Erin asked. I looked around the room. I was lying in the bed of a typical Pokemon Center guest room, with plain walls, a wooden door, and a small window. Erin, Liam, and Mel sat on a twin bed across the room, facing me. “My mom put you in this room when we brought you here yesterday. She said all you and Apple needed was rest,” Erin explained.

I nodded and when I sat up, carefully moving Apple to my lap, I noticed I was wearing baggy hospital clothing. “I have a headache, but I think I’m okay.”

“You looked really bad yesterday. When Wella and Griffy got you and Apple back to the top of the cliff, I thought you weren’t breathing.”

“Well, I’m fine,” I said. Erin frowned at me. I reached my mind out to see what she was thinking—and found I couldn’t. Liam’s hand was a bit neat Erin’s, but they weren’t touching. I tried again. Nothing. I tried to sense my surroundings, but failed to perform even such a simple psychic task. Maybe I wasn’t fine.

“So what happened to Apple?” Liam asked bluntly.

“Liam!” Erin slapped his shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” Liam said sarcastically. “I’d like to know the reason behind all the unpleasantness I’ve recently experienced, including—but not limited to—being blamed for Apple’s disappearance, being attacked by you, and my shrinkers being destroyed.”

I took a breath and spoke the story I’d started preparing yesterday. “Apple used dig in the underground room Sparky had put my Pokemon in, and some of the dark material that prevented me from sensing the room got stuck to Apple’s back paw. Apparently, she didn’t notice the material until yesterday. Anyway, she fell into a cavern half-filled with water. She tried to dig her way out, but she stopped when parts of the cavern started to collapse from her digging—the cave was already eroding from the water. Then the cave started to flood. She was hungry and wanted to get out so she took a chance and swam out of the cave. She felt something dragging her back paw and finally realized why I hadn’t found her…”

Erin gazed at Apple. “Poor thing.”

“Why didn’t your other Eevees know what had happened to her? They were all in the same room, right?” Liam asked.

****. Leave it to Liam to find a hole in my story. “Vanilla and Splash were in their Pokeballs,” I lied. Hopefully, he wouldn’t check with Sparky.

“Um, yeah. So my mom said you’d be better by tomorrow,” Erin said, nervously tugging at the bottom of her white blouse.

“We’ve already determined that I’m fine.” I concentrated on Erin, willing my mind into hers. Why wouldn’t she spit out whatever she wanted to say? And why couldn’t I read her mind?!

“So now that you’re done with the gym, we thought we’d leave tomorrow.”

“Ok.” I looked at Erin expectantly.

Mel turned his head from Erin to Liam. Erin was biting her lip. Liam looked bored. Mel threw his hands up and waved them at Erin and Liam. “You have NO idea what I’ve had to deal with without you!” Mel said. “These people are so stupid! What they’re trying to say is that they used all the money you won from Sparky to buy ship tickets and a suitcase for Liam’s stuff, and later today as long as you’re okay we’re all taking the ship to Vintage Village.”

“Oh.”

“Anita, I’m so sorry. We wouldn’t have done it, but we thought you’d want to leave and the ship tickets were going fast. And then Liam was insisting on new shrinkers only they were all too expensive—”

“Erin, its okay. That makes sense.”

Erin stared at me for a second and then let out a half-hearted chuckle. “Of course. I mean, I wasn’t expecting otherwise.” She glanced at the door. “I’m… I’m just going to go tell my mom you’re awake.” Erin quickly left the room, leaving the door not fully closed behind her.

“What’s with her?”

“I think she was expecting you to explode at her,” Mel said. “You’ve been kinda… uptight… lately.”

“Apple was missing.”

Liam let out a dismissive sniff.

“What?”

Liam sat down in a waiting room chair, folding his arms. “You say that like it’s an excuse.”

“But—”

“I’m not saying what happened to you and Apple wasn’t bad, but you really wreaked havoc on the rest of us. You cannot expect everything, especially how we treat you, to go back to the way it was before.”

There was a knock on the door. Because the door wasn’t fully closed, it opened. Zach was standing in the doorway. “I’m not interrupting anything, am I? I just wanted to let you know Mrs. Ken—I mean, Nurse Joy will be with you in a minute.” He stepped inside the room and started writing on a clipboard. “So, Liam, did you and Erin have a falling out or something?”

Liam and I exchanged looks of what-the-hell-is-this-kid-doing. I co