The Middle Ground
Hi people :) I've been posting my fic on another forum for a while now and I've decided to post here to see what you guys think. Some of the chapters may be a tad short (especially this one) as the character limit on the other forum forbode sizeable posts, but hopefully they'll be enough to keep you satisfied.
The story itself is set mainly in the Kanto/Sevii Islands/Orange Archipelago areas and is told from different perspectives from time to time. The time period is about two years after the events of generation I/III/ORAS and about a year before II/IV and all that comes after. Hopefully along the way it'll provide sufficient explanations as to some of the changes between generations.
Hope you enjoy, and I welcome any form of feedback; good or bad, there's nothing better than hearing back from a reader!
The Story So Far:
Ceridian Arc - The Journey Begins
PROLOGUE: And On That Farm He Had A Miltank
CHAPTER 1 - Mounts And Moon Stones
CHAPTER 2 - Call Me Joy
CHAPTER 3 - Don't Tell Mum
CHAPTER 4 - Spiders, Poffins And Bunk Beds
CHAPTER 5 - Two Sides To Every Story (A/B)
CHAPTER 6 - The Snag
CHAPTER 7 - T-T-T-Telephone
CHAPTER 8 - Training Daze
CHAPTER 9 - A Forrest Full Of Trouble
CHAPTER 10 - The Sun and the Moon and the Starlit Sky (A/B)
CHAPTER 11 - There’s No Place Like Home
CHAPTER 12 - Felina and the Bird
CHAPTER 13 - The Sensational Ceruleans
CHAPTER 14 - Double Age, Double Team, Double Skill...
CHAPTER 15 - A Misty Daisy-Chain of Events (Parts 1+2)
CHAPTER 16 - ...Double Trouble (A/B Parts 1+2)
Arc 2 (Possible spoilers in the titles)
Arc 3 (Possible spoilers in the titles)
PROLOGUE: And On That Farm He Had A Miltank
Soaring in the bright sky, I can see the city laid out like a map below me. Freedom - this is what it feels like! But then, I am violently pulled to the surface. I feel the ground shake as if there are explosions all around me and I look to my feet and see an expanding pool of red. It's getting larger and larger as it begins to swirl into a vortex that pulls me under. I can feel myself being swallowed and can hear a woman's scream and a man's maniacal laughter as I reach to the black sky for help.
Then, a lone pokemon flutters down, unaffected by the vortex; its eyes cleverly darkened by its feathers to look larger. It stops and tilts its head as if confused when suddenly it leans right into my face and screams:
‘Hoothoot! Hoothoot! Hoothoot!’
The bell that accompanied the hooting goes right through me. Each chime feeling like someone is playing my brain like a drum kit - badly.
My alarm clock - the one thing I hate the most. Pokemon – the one thing I love the most.
Pokemon farming on the other hand was what I had to make do with, and I remembered all too well that that was the case as I blindly swung my arm onto my bedside table, looking for that clock.
That bloody clock that drags me out of the world where I can fly on the back of a mythical dragon with the wind in my hair, dive into the depths of the deepest ocean or battle my fiercest foes and drag me out into… this – the life of a farm boy.
The monotony of doing the same old routine every day for seventeen years really took its toll; get up, milk the Miltank, feed the Mareep, comb the Flaafy, water the crops, put all the pokemon back and then off to bed again. I’d ask my mum if I could go travelling someday and her response was always the same seven words, “No. We need you on the farm”. But I knew for a fact that she didn’t need me there; she just wanted me there.
Growing up I’d always watch as pokemon trainers ventured out of Mount Moon and headed past the farm for Cerulean City. I was so envious that I’d even tried to run away with a Miltank once to challenge the Cerulean City Gym leader, but I realised on the way that I had no control over the Miltank whatsoever so I hastily ran home - my mum being none the wiser.
I just wanted an excuse to get away from it all.
I tried to push these thoughts out of my mind as I got up because, after all, I was a farmer – that was my life. So I groggily put on my glasses, denim farming gear and headed down the creaky staircase into the living room. Looking over to the kitchen I could see the remnants of one of my dad’s attempts at a fried breakfast and immediately turned my nose up at the prospect of a meal, opting to head out and start work instead.
As soon as I stepped out the door all I could see was a brown blanket of Spearow covering the crop field. My heart filled with dread wondering how long they’d been there as I ran towards the birds waving my arms shouting “Get away! Go on!” The Spearow frantically took off in all different directions and I had to shield my eyes to stop them flying into them.
Thankfully they hadn’t chewed much of the crop – It was bad enough that the Cerulean Cave on the other side of the hill collapsed the year before destroying most of our crops and the scarecrow, we couldn't afford another disaster.
I spent most of the morning clearing up the damage while my dad kept an eye on the Miltank, glancing over every so often to check on my progress. They always kept a close eye on me; Mum and Dad were never too far away which everyone said was because I was ‘the baby’ of the family but I didn’t buy it. I just thought they wanted to keep me at the farm so I could keep it going when they were old and decrepit.
"Alex!" My mum suddenly shouted out to me from the cabin, holding up a pile of post in her hand. "You’ve got a letter from Felina!"
‘What could she want?'I thought to myself as I returned to the house.
My big sister; the famous Professor Ivy of the Orange Islands. The pride and Joy of the family – I could never live up to her; always hearing, ‘You should be more like Felina’ from my Dad.
Felina hated her name, she would never let anyone call her it (apart from Mum who was adamant that it was a pretty name) so everyone just used our surname – it suited her. Well… better than Felina anyway.
"Open it, open it, open it!" My mum said, practically giddy.
I tore open the envelope addressed to me and read the letter aloud:
‘Dear Alex, Mum and Dad
I’m doing fine here on Valencia, it’s just been very busy at the minute so I haven’t had time to write, sorry about that. I’m conducting some important research at the moment on the physiological development of a certain pokemon and I have something that I need you to look after. I had it delivered to the Pokemart in Pewter City and I told them that Alex is going to pick it up, hope that’s okay. How is everyone at home? You better not have re-decorated my old room again!
"That’s it." I said quite hastily. "I best go get packing then."
"That was an odd letter, even for Felina." Mum remarked with a peculiar look on her face. "-But if you’re going then make sure you take clean pants and socks!"
"I will mum!" I said running up the stairs.
Unbeknownst to her there was more to the letter. Felina knew that our parents would never open our mail and so at the bottom it read:
'Ps: Alex – pack for more than a hike to Pewter City.'
Filled with excitement I crammed as much as I could into a small bag so as not to arouse suspicion – not forgetting the essentials like my Poketch and map, before getting changed out of my work gear. I put on my comfiest pair or trainers, my new chinos and my green and white jacket on top of my long-sleeved yellow top, finished off with my favourite green scarf.
When I went back downstairs, Dad was sat on his chair resting his back and I gave him a quick hug goodbye and then opened the front door, looking out to the dirt path that lead up to Mount Moon. It was going to be weird travelling somewhere on my own for a change, not having someone watching every little move I made. As I stood in the doorframe and my mum came up behind me and embraced me tightly but somehow gently at the same time, simply whispering in my ear, "Be careful out there."
I reassured her that I would and said “See you in a few days.” Knowing that it was probably an outright lie. It was at this moment that my excitement turned to sadness, almost guilt that I’d be leaving her for so long when she thinks I’d be gone for just a few days. So I returned her hug and took it all in until I was ready to go.
"Bye mum." I said as I walked out the door and strolled onto the path, determined to not look back as I knew she’d be standing there.
"Next stop: Pewter City." I said to myself, leaving a trail of dust in my wake.
"It’s not an adventure – but it’s a start."
Chapter 1 – Mounts and Moon Stones
At first, all I could think about while walking down the road to Mount Moon was what my sister could possibly have in store for me. Why would I need to pack for longer than a few days? Why take me to Pewter City and not into Cerulean?
These thoughts soon faded out of my mind when I arrived upon the entrance to Mount Moon; a large, rocky archway leading to a dense cavern of nasty twists and turns that could get someone lost very easily. I’d never been inside by myself before – always too afraid to get lost, so I’d take a shortcut through the trees. Mount Moon itself was surrounded, much like Viridian City, by dense forests, home to all manner of pokemon.
I Stared up at the structure and chickened out yet again, turning towards the trees for the route I knew when all of a sudden I heard a voice calling out, “Hey! You!”
“Me?” I asked, turning around once again to see it was boy, a few years older than me, running at full speed towards me. He had scruffy blonde hair, was dressed head to foot in red and carried a green rucksack on his back.
He stopped right in front of me, gasping for air. I could straight away tell that he was worried about something from his expression. “Please, -gasp- you have to help me."
“Sure, what’s wrong?” I asked.
“-gasp- It’s my sister. –gasp- She was supposed to meet me at the Cerulean Pokemon Center an hour ago! She was coming here from Pewter City, – I-I came ahead but she said she was going to be right behind me – Did you come from Mount Moon?!”
“No.” I said “I was just going to Pewter through the woods, do you need help looking for her?”
“Oh please if you would. Now come on we’ve gotta go check inside Mount Moon!” He said running off into the cave shouting “Aprilll!!”
“-Wait!” I cried, as I ran in and tackled him to the floor just as a flock of Zubat screeched and flew out the entrance.
The boy looked stunned as I got up and put out my hand to him.
“Whoa..” he said in shock, “Thanks!”
“You have to be more careful around here – especially at night; all kinds of pokemon wander around.” I said as I pulled him to his feet. “What’s your name?” I asked.
“Adam.” He said quickly trying to run off again. I grabbed his arm.
“Hold on a minute –“
“-NO BUTS! Now First things first; my name is Alex and I don’t think your sister will be in here somehow.”
“Because loads of Pokemon trainers come through here every day, and I think if one of them saw a girl who was lost they would help her!”
“Well then where could she be?!”
“There’s another, lesser known route going around the outside of Mount Moon through the forest. It’s actually a lot quicker – she probably went that way. Look, follow me.”
I led Adam into the woods opposite and we both called out to April as loud as we could. “Argh! She can’t hear us!" Adam said in frustration.
He then threw a pokeball from his pocket into the air and a bright flash of light shot out and formed a pokemon covered in scruffy white fur.
“Key Key!” It shouted.
“Wooooow, what is that?”
“Its my Mankey. Now Mankey,” he said kneeling down, “I want you to go find April. Can you do that?”
“Key!” Mankey cried, launching itself to the trees.
“Now I think we should split up” He said
“Yeah,” I nodded, “we’ll cover more ground that way.”
As night closed in it became harder and harder to clamber through the forest.
“Oof!” I cried as I fell to the ground.
I looked behind me to see that I had tripped on a bush. 'How can I find this April girl if I can’t even see where I’m going?' I thought to myself, rising to my feet.
'I don’t even know what she looks like! …Maybe we shouldn’t have split –' I immediately froze as I noticed something creepy crawling up my t-shirt.
“-Ah-ahh- AHHHHHHHHHHH!!” I screeched as I ran away as fast as I could, all the while frantically brushing my chest.
After running out of breath, I relaxed against a tree. “Ugh – I hate spiders.”
In the distance I could hear Adam’s cries echoing into the darkness, but as I listened something else caught my ear. A chorus of “Clefairy, Clefairy” was coming from all directions. I looked above me towards a strange, yet gentle light, and perched on a branch was a pair of Clefairy swinging their legs and singing away carefreely. I looked to the next tree and there sat two more, as well as the next and every tree in my sight.
'Amazing.' I thought to myself as I gazed in awe. Suddenly – the singing stopped. Then they all raised and arm and seemed to be pointing straight on through the row of trees. “Do you want me to go that way?” I asked, hoping they'd understand.
A Clefairy stood up and nodded with a smile. Before I could ask them if they’d seen April they all vanished into the trees.
I decided I had nothing to lose and ran in the direction they had pointed out to me, and in the distance I could see a light – the same light the Clefairy gave off, but bigger.
As I neared the light I could hear a Clefairy chant – the same chant I heard before, only… it was louder.
In front of me now was a bush; whatever the Clefairy were leading me to it was behind here. I peered through an opening to see masses of Clefairy singing and dancing in a perfect circle, as if to be performing a ritual. They pranced in perfect harmony; twirling as they gracefully jumped into the air.
Adam’s Mankey seemed to be joining in and having plenty of fun; but dancing out of place and clapping its hands at the completely wrong times, which seemed to make the whole thing seem much less majestic.
'Why isn’t Mankey more concerned about April?' I thought to myself.'He might know something.'
“Mankey!” I whispered. But he seemed not to hear me, so I tried again. “Mankey!” I whispered slightly louder.
All of a sudden the Clefairy froze simultaneously, and faced my direction. I quickly ducked back into the bush hoping they hadn’t seen me. The piter-patter of tiny footsteps scurrying away then came from behind the bush.
'Are they coming for me? No… they’re going away from me.'
I then peered through the bush again to see an open mass of forest covered in rocks, with no Pokemon in sight – even Mankey had ran away. I rose to my feet and stepped out to look around, just what had the Clefairy been dancing around?
And as soon as that thought entered my mind, I saw something – someone! Lying on the floor. Lifeless.
I ran over to the person – it was a girl, about my age too. She was covered in scratches, blood and bruises. Her pink and white clothes torn up and stained, and her brown hair strewn wildly across her face.
“April? April is that you?” I asked, crouching down to her.
“Oh God... ADAM!!” I called out assuming it was her. “I FOUND HER, ADAM!!”
'Oh he’s probably gone too far away already, now what’ll I do?' I thought.
I’d bought no medical supplies; this wasn’t the kind of thing I thought I’d run into – I was afraid to touch her in case of causing more harm.
“…hel…ni..ran…d..m.” Came a mutter from the girl.
“What? What was that?”
She repeated the same muffled sound again and again.
“Sorry I don’t understand.. hold on – I’ll be right back!” I said to her as I stood up. “ADAM!!”
I ruffled through my bag knowing I'd packed it somewhere. “Aha!”
From my bag took out my Phone and dialled 9-9-9.
“H..lo?” came a voice on the other end.
“Officer Jenny! I need help – I found a girl in the woods around Mount… – Officer Jenny?”
“Officer Jenny I can’t— You’re breaking up!”
“No!” I shouted as I looked at my phone, only to be met with the 'no signal' message.
Suddenly I heard a noise from the bushes around me. I hurried back over to the girl, “Are you okay?” I asked.
The bushes all around me started rustling more ferouciously. Violenter and violenter it got, until something stepped out. It was a small, rabbit-like pokemon. A male Nidoran.
“Nidooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” it howled out into the echoing woods.
“That can’t be good..” I said nervously.
Suddenly more and more Nidoran, of both genders, stepped out of the bushes surrounding me.
“Heh heh.. niice pokemon.” I said as I slowly backed against a pile of rocks, that were half the size of me, next to the girl.
Then, from behind me, I heard a sudden rustle and then a figure appeared by my side.
“Adam!” I gasped.
“Where is she?! Where’s April?” he said frantically.
“She’s right here.” I said pointing downwards, “but I think we might have a bigger problem at the moment..." As I changed the direction of my finger to in front of us.
“Oh no..” Adam said as many Nidorino and Nidorina appeared to join the ranks of the pokemon and started growling in a hostile manner.
Adam slowly lent down and picked up his badly injured sister.
“You’re going to be all right April, I promise.” He said with a smile.
“Ad….am” April muttered.
The group of pokemon began to draw nearer and nearer, as if telling us to leave their territory, or face certain death.
“Okay Alex, we need to back away –“
“-Adam watch out!” I said as a Nidorino started to charge in his direction.
Adam quickly turned full-circle and started running as fast as he could, although at the rate he was running that Nidorino would surely catch up to him.
“Ha! Take that!” I said as I began throwing rocks from the pile behind me at the charging Pokemon.
The first rock flew through the air and hit the Nidorino on the head, and it seemed to stop, stunned. I grabbed some rocks, and quickly ran past it, throwing more as I went.
“Alex- No! Don’t throw them! They’re moon…stones.”
“Why what’s so bad about that?” I asked as I caught up to him.
But Adam’s warning had come too late as the Nidorino was encased in a blinding white light and grew larger and larger until a new pokemon stood in its place.
“NIDOKIING!” It roared.
“Run Alex, run!” Adam shouted as the Nidoking began charging at us.
We ran as fast as we could, dodging trees along our way. Adam was really fast, even considering he was carrying another person, and Nidoking was right behind me; it raised one of its arms and threw it to the ground with such power but it luckily missed me by not even an inch.
I hadn’t noticed but the Clefairy were once again in the trees, dangling their legs, and singing their song – Mankey along with them.
“What’re they doing?” Adam panted, running out of breath.
As I looked up I could see them waving their arms and one finger back and forth, again and again with a chorus of “Clefairy, Clefairy.”
All of a sudden their hands all began to glow as they stopped chanting, and an orange light began to gather. Nidoking stopped to gaze at the light, until the light transformed into a shining pillar of orange light, which struck Nidoking with full-force.
The ground shook as Nikoking fell to the floor unconscious.
“What... was that?” I asked as a gazed in awe.
“I think.. that was a Hyper beam!” Adam stated.
“But from where?”
The Clefairy chorus faded away and the Clefairy disappeared from sight.
“Key-key!” Mankey cried as he swung through the trees, jumped down beside me and looked up to me.
“Mankey?” I asked.
“Key!” Mankey cried as he jumped towards and opening in the trees.
“Hey Adam, we need to get April to the Hospital! ..Adam?”
I turned around and Adam had disappeared in the direction of lights from a sea of buildings.
Pewter City… It’d never looked better.
Just a note, red text burns the eyes. I suggest you keep the text neutral, as long as you provide the wording so that we know who's talking.
Also use Italics for thoughts.
Ah sorry, I'm colourblind. Thought the text would be easier to read for others but i guess not. I'll stick to standard black from now on then :) Thanks for reading!
Chapter 2 – Call Me Joy
“Adam, wait!” I cried as I chased after him down a grassy hill and into the city. Unsurprisingly, Adam wasn’t wasting anytime in looking for a hospital for his sister.
Despite the immense amount of lights that came from the city’s windows, the streets we’re surprisingly dark and empty; almost dead. My chest pounded; every breath was beginning to hurt me a little bit more. I followed Adam around corner after corner, each time he was getting further and further away.
'I can’t stop.' I thought to myself. 'I’ll lose them.'
The further I ran into the city, the darker the lights became. That was until My legs gave way and I fell to the floor; for some reason i could feel all my energy being drained out of me. I reached out and tried to call out "Ad…am” but what exited my mouth was nothing more than a mere whisper as the city’s darkness seemed to engulf me.
I awoke to the loud sound of a helicopter flying low overhead and to a woman’s voice.
“Hello? C’mon, Wake up!” The voice said.
As I opened my eyes, and a face began to form I recognised.
“Officer…. Jenny?” I said bewildered and slightly dazed.
“That’s right.” She said with a wink. “Are you okay?”
“I think so… I must’ve just fell over. What’re you doing here?”
“Well I was making my rounds when I received a call from someone who sounded in distress. I traced the caller and It came from this direction, and that was when I found you collapsed on the floor.” She said as she pulled me to my feet.
Jenny’s expression changed dramatically. “You’re not okay – you have blood all over you! Get me nurse Joy now!” She yelled at one of her subordinates by her squadbike.
“But.. I’m not cut.” I said as I looked to the floor where I was lying to see a trail of blood stretching ahead of me. “It isn’t mine..” I said as the memory of what’d happened came flooding back to me.
“It’s not your blood? What’ve you been doing?!” Jenny asked, as her voice became slightly more hostile.
“I’ve got no time to explain, my friend was injured and – I have to follow that trail of blood!”
“I understand, Get on!” she said as she hopped onto her squad bike.
“Thank you so much!” I said as I jumped on the back.
Jenny sped straight off, following the blood street by street.
“There’s no way your friend would make it to the hospital losing this much blood, it’s all the way on the other side of town! He probably went to the pokecentre instead. Here, I know a shortcut!”
Jenny made a sharp turn into an alleyway, “Whoaaa!” I screamed as Jenny knocked down trash cans, flattened boxes and scared away feeding ratata as she went. This woman wasn’t head of the police for nothing! Her steering was amazing.
Moments later we arrived outside a building covered in reds and whites which seemed to be as clean as a whistle. This was definitely a Pokemon Centre.
“You head inside!”
“Thanks officer Jenny!” I said as I ran inside without looking back.
I dashed across the yellow-tiled floor for the reception desk, but there was no one there, but behind the desk something caught my eye. Through the clear glass wall I could see three Chanseys and a Belissey fussing over something on a table in the next room. It was then I caught a glimpse of the pink and white clothing I’d seen earlier.
'April!' I thought to myself with relief. 'So they did get here… but where's Adam?'
"Can I help you?” Came a kind and gentle voice from behind me.
I turned around to see a woman dressed in a nurses uniform with tied-up pink hair, looking up at me from a sofa behind me.
“Nurse, please. Did you see the boy that came in with that girl in there?”
“Do you mean this boy?” the nurse moved to reveal Adam’s face behind her, lying on the sofa. “Truthfully they never really came in here. One of my Chanseys found this young man collapsed outside clutching this girl in his arms, and of course we brought them in here for treatment.”
“He’d collapsed?! Are they going to be okay?” I asked, nervous of what the answer would be.
“Yes and his ankle was bleeding quite badly, but I’ve bandaged it up and he’ll make a full recovery. As for the young lady.. She’s still being examined I’m afraid. Do you know them well?” She said as I began to sit down.
“Truthfully... we only met today, and I’ve not even had a proper conversation with either of them. But for some strange reason I feel like I know them. Like I’ve known them for a long time in fact. Does that make sense?”
“Yes it does.” she said with a smile which warmed my heart. “I have some work to do, but ill be right back, okay?”
“Okay, thank you nurse” I said.
“Please, call me Joy.”
I gazed around the Pokemon Centre. It was nothing like I’d imagined it to be. I expected it to be bustling with trainers 24/7, but it was completely empty! We always had someone come out to us if one of the pokemon on the farm needed treatment, so I’d never been inside a real one myself before, and this time it wasn’t even for a pokemon!
The electic doors slid as Officer Jenny then walked in from outside.
“Officer Jenny? I thought you’d be going back on duty?” I asked.
“Oh there’s no need at this hour, and I couldn’t miss out on what happens now could I?” She said with a wink. “I also need to ask nurse Joy a few questions.” she said as she walked over to the counter where nurse Joy was sorting out some medical forms.
“h..p…r…l…no..huzzeh?” Adam began mumbling.
“Adam?” I asked. “Adam, can you hear me?”
“..pr..noo! –gasp-“ Adam mumbled as he suddenly woke up.
“Alex?” He asked as if not quite awake yet.
“Hi Adam. You’re in a Pokemon Centre… you collapsed outside.”
“April? Where’s April?” He asked as he tried to sit up.
“Shes being looked at in that room over there, don’t worry, she’ll be -”
“-I want to see her.” He said trying to stand up.
“Wait Adam, no! Don’t walk on your leg!” I said trying to sit him back down to his seat but he just pushed me aside.
“April!” He yelled, getting Nurse Joy’s attention as she looked up.
Adam hobbled over to the front desk where Joy and Jenny were.
“Please can I see April?” He asked.
“I’m afraid she’s still being examined, please sir, try not to put any of your weight onto your leg, it will –“
“-I want to see her, April!!” He yelled even louder, slamming his hand on the desk.
“Sir please!” Officer Jenny added as she tried to restrain him.
“Adam, calm down! What’s wrong, she’s in the best place –“
“Calm down?! She’s the only family I’ve got left in the world, and shes lying in a hospital bed and you want me to be calm?!” Adam yelled as his voice began to quiver. “I can’t do anything to help her, how am I supposed to be calm about that, Alex?!”
Adam began shaking and tears began trickling down his face as he collapsed onto the floor sobbing.
Jenny, Joy and I looked at each other before we leant down to help. We helped him back over to the sofa as he sniffed and wimpered, where he lay down and eventually fell asleep.
I sat on a chair next to Adam staring out into the night When officer Jenny pulled up a chair next to me.
“Are you okay Alex?” She asked me.
“Yeah.. its just that trail of blood – it was from Adam’s Ankle. I was so worried about that Nidoking swinging for me I never even stopped to think that it might hit Adam. It was my fault Adam’s leg got cut open, it was me who made the Nidorino evolve, and it was me who took so long to find April. I wasn’t even looking that hard. Its just… they would’ve been a lot better off without me.” I said feeling far too guilty to look her in the face.
“That’s not true. You were the one who found her weren’t you?”
“-She would probably be dead by now if it wasn’t for you. You saved her life.”
“Well I wouldn’t say that much, it was really Adam who ran all the way here with her.”
“But he wouldn’t have been able to do that without you.”
I started to blush and quickly changed the subject.
“So, why is there no one around here? Its like a ghost town.” I asked, hiding my face.
“Oh that’d be the Ceridian Curfew. Noones allowed out past ten.”
“There’s a curfew? Whys that?”
“Lately there’s been a string of attacks and muggings from Cerulean to Viridian all occurring at night time, we don’t know yet if it’s a pokemon or a humans doing, but pokemon trainers in Viridian are having their pokemon stolen too. Its gotten to the point now that we can’t allow people on the streets at night until we catch them.”
“Wow.. that’s bad.” I replied.
“Yeah you were lucky you weren’t attacked while you were passed out!” Jenny said with a laugh.
All of a sudden Nurse Joy yells to a Blissey, “Her heart rate is soaring! Get in here!”
I immeadiately rose to my feet and ran to the glass screen.
“What’s going on?!” I Asked frantically.
“Its April.. I think she’s waking up!”
Chapter 3 – Don’t Tell Mum
“Adam, wake up!” I cried as I shook him from his sleep.
“Huh? What’s up?”Adam replied.
“April’s waking up!”
“Really?!” Adam said excitedly as he threw off a blanket that a Chansey had put over him earlier.
Adam ran over to the door of the clear-glass room just as nurse Joy walked through the other way. Adam stopped in his tracks and peered up at her expectantly.
“April has woken up and should now make a full recovery. Her wounds weren’t nearly as serious as we first thought, but she still needs to take it easy for a few days.” Nurse Joy said with a smile.
“May I see her?” Adam asked politely.
“Of course, go right ahead.”
“Thank you nurse Joy!” Adam said as he ran past Joy into the glass room.
I immediately set out to follow Adam but something stopped me.
“Aren’t you going inside Alex?” Jenny asked me.
I shook my head as I explained that I didn’t want to impose anymore than I already had. After all – we were still strangers.
I leant down to pick up the blanket that’d fallen onto the floor as I looked into the glass room to see April stirring with Adam by her side. He let out a warm smile to which she must've recognised as she sat up as fast as the wind and clung herself to Adam; to which he embraced her back. I couldn’t help but let out a smile as I walked back to sit down on my chair.
“Isn’t that sweet?” Jenny said in a mushy voice. “They must be so close, to cry like that.”
“Oh?” I looked across once again to see them both trembling in each other’s arms.
“They must be..” I said as something tapped my hip.
I looked down to see a friendly face – a pokemon centre Chansey was holding out its arms to me, as if waiting for me to give it something.
“Chan-chansey.” It said sweetly.
“Hi.” I said, unsure of what it wanted.
I looked around.
“Oh do you want this Blanket back?”
“Chansey!” she cried with a smile. As I handed the crumpled mess that was the blanket to her.
The Chansey slowly waddled away and seemed to be in a world of its own.
“Chansey where are you going with that blanket?” Nurse Joy asked.
The Chansey kept on walking.
“I’m sorry that Chansey might as well be in the Orange Islands sometimes...” Joy said with a giggle as she looked back at her paperwork.
Suddenly I’d remembered, 'The Orange Islands! –Ivy!' I thought. It had suddenly come back to me - why I’d come to Pewter in the first place.
A ray of sunlight then caught my eye – 'How long has it been morning?' I thought.
I glanced back into the clear glass room and saw April and Adam chatting away to each other as he laid April down in bed to rest. “I’m no use to them right now – they have each other.” I said comfortably.
“Nurse Joy?” I asked.
“Yes Alex?” She replied.
“Is the pokemart open yet?”
“Yes, It’s opened an hour ago when the curfew ended, why do you ask?”
“Because I have a package to pick up!”
As the sun rose over the trees, the famous pewter aura began to appear more and more vividly in front of me. The streets were starting to fill with people who had places to go, and not slowly either. But just… where was the pokemart?
It was a right and two lefts from the pokemon center… or was it a left and two rights?
'Damn. Why do I get lost so easily?' I thought to myself.
Suddenly someone barged past me and I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder.
“OW!” we both cried as we stumbled across each other.
It was a girl a bit taller than me, with fiery red hair wearing a pokemart apron.
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t see you there!” she shouted as she walked away in a hurry.
'She was wearing a pokemart apron… I have to follow her!' I thought.
I picked up my pace as I got hot on her tail dodging through the ever-growing crowds. I followed her street after street, corner after corner and I swear she went back on herself once and then as I turned the next corner I was confronted by an angry yet slightly scared redhead.
“WHAT?!” she yelled in my face as I instinctively jumped back and fell to the floor. “Why are you stalking me, huh?!”
“I wasn't –“ I said as I tried to dignify myself.
“-I’m worried enough about being late for work without creeps like you following me!”
“Wait – creep?!”
“-Yeah, Creep! Now stop it or I’ll get the police on you!” she threatened as she walked off.
I looked around to see people staring at me as I lowered my head and sulked into the next street only to see a pokemart standing right in front of me.
“Pssh.. figures.” I said under my breath as I approached the entrance. “Well.. this should be fun.”
The automatic doors opened in front of me as I poked my head through to check for signs of my ‘stalkee’. From what I could make out, there was only one other customer and a few shelf-stackers. The coast seemed clear…
I snuck up to the front desk as a girl with a blue-haired bob watched my every move from behind a shelf, and looked around for a package but couldn’t see anything even resembling one.
A door opened from behind the counter and a woman stepped out.
“Oh, hello sir, can I help… -- YOU!” she said with a menacing look on her face as she realised who I was. It was the redhead I had run into earlier. “Come back for seconds have you?!”
“No –no! - Let me explain!”
“Explain to my pokemon - Houndoom!” she called out as she pressed the silent alarm.
Suddenly a dog with devil-like horns came bursting out from the back room and jumped over the counter and pushed me straight to the floor.
“Woah, whoa, whoa whoa!” I cried as I went crashing to the floor.
“Robin, what’s going on?” asked the blue-haired shop girl who was watching me earlier.
“Oh I just caught this weirdo like, following me and TOTALLY checking me out earlier and now he’s found where I work!” replied the redheaded Robin.
“-I am NOT a pervert!” I cried angrily. “All I wanted to do was find the pokemart and you were in the uniform so I followed you here after you ran into me earlier!”
“Doom!” Houndoom barked in my face as I braced myself.
“Oh I bet you like, loved that!” the blue-haired girl jeered.
“HA! Puh- lease, how hard is it to find a pokemart? There are signs for them all over town!” Robin said.
“There… are?” I said as the electric doors opened and I noticed a familiar black heels..
“What is it this time girls?” Officer Jenny said with a sigh.
“This CREEP, has totally been like, stalking me ALL day!” Robin said.
“-Its true!” the blue-haired girl added.
“…are you sure this time?” Jenny asked as she walked over to me.
“It is NOT true! Officer Jenny, please help me!” I said as Houndoom growled at me inches from my face.
“Wait, I know that voice.” Jenny said under her breath. “Houndoom! Off him!”
This woman’s command over pokemon was amazing.
“Ugh, thank you.” I said after Houndoom stepped off of me.
“Alex?” Jenny asked with a slight look of shock. “What’re you doing here?” she said as she held out her hand and pulled me up.
“Well I only followed this girl here because she was wearing a pokemart apron and I was lost; I wasn’t stalking anyone.” I said as I looked at Robin to try and make my point hit home.
“It’s okay Alex, these girls are have a bit of an overactive imagination - They had 6 stalkers just last week!”
I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh. “So am I off the Hook?”
“Well, I think I know you’re not the type somehow.” Jenny said with a wink.
“Whoa…” Said the blue-haired girl in awe.
“I know…” Replied Robin.
“Did you see the way he manipulated a police woman like that?”
“Well there’s a package I really need from here. Any chance I could pick it up now?” I asked Robin with a big, but awkward smile.
“Sure, they’re kept in the back. I’ll go get it. Alex wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, that’s it.” I said.
“Is that the package from your sister?” Jenny asked me.
“Yeah, it seems like it’s taken me forever to get it though.”
“I’ll bet, with the night you’ve had” Jenny giggled.
“Here we arrre!” Robin came out holding a bulky brown envelope and handed it to me.
I could feel the anxiety filling up inside me as I took the parcel from Robin.
“Well Alex? Open it!” Jenny retorted.
“Well… here goes.”
My hands were trembling as I held the brown package with my finger poised to tear it open. ‘What is so daunting about opening a simple package?’ I thought.
Jenny looked at me and then her bike outside.
“Come on Alex.” Jenny began. “I’ll take you somewhere more private. You look like you need it.” She said smiling.
‘Private..’ I thought. “Sounds good.” I said as we walked outside.
“See you around girls, and next time, don’t be quick to call me - A girl’s gotta rest you know.” She said with a wink, putting on a pair of snazzy sunglasses.
We pulled up outside the pokecenter I’d left only a few hours ago, and all I could taste in my mouth was Jenny’s hair that’d been blown in my face the whole way here. I wanted to tell her that she should go home and wash, but… that might’ve offended her a little bit.
“‘There’s a bench over there. That looks peaceful enough.” Jenny said.
She’d pointed to a bench attached to the outside of the Pokémon centre in a green garden surrounded by trees and carefully placed flowers.
I walked over, feeling the grass under my feet and sat down. I couldn’t wait any longer – it had to be done. I grabbed the package and ripped the brown paper with all my might to see… a red box, some tiny, round balls, a few phials of liquid and a letter marked; ‘read me’.
‘She wants me to look after this?’ I thought. Confused as to what my sister had given me.
I picked up the letter and read to myself:
I’m glad you made it to Pewter City in one piece, but you’ve probably guessed that I didn’t send you to get this package just so you could go back home.
I’ve sent you this because I know how much you love pokemon, and I want you to have the chance of doing what all those other children did six years ago – I want you to have an adventure.
I’ve packed some starting trainer essentials for your journey; a few pokeballs, medicines (You did bring a big enough bag, right?), and a Pokedex. This will tell you the information on almost any Pokémon you will meet, and should prove very useful to you.
And last but not least, your very own starter Pokémon. Now it’s important that you remember that this Pokémon, and any Pokémon you take with you on your journey, are not like farm Pokémon. You can’t just simply wash and clean them every day; you have to show them love and respect if you wish them to show you the same in return. This is a rule every good trainer should know.
Now I believe that your starter pokemon will help you understand the different possibilities pokemon have to offer. There is however, a snag. Something is not as it seems, but I want you to figure it out as a new trainer and then phone me from a pokemon center to tell me.
As for your journey, do not be scared about where to go - you’re already in a town with a Pokemon League Gym! Head there after some training and give it all you’ve got! I’ll be cheering you on.
I know you loathed mum making you stay on the farm, but don’t blame her for it – Get out there and explore all Kanto has to offer.
Good luck and all my love,
Suddenly everything went black.
“Guess whooo?” Quizzed a girl’s voice.
“Er…” I paused.
And as hands were taken away from my eyes I could see a face pressed up against mine.
“Ahh!” I screamed as I jumped and dropped my things.
It was a girl, a familiar girl; my age. Straight, shoulder-length, brown hair; A treated scratch from the left side of her nose to halfway down her cheek; A bit of bruising on her right eye - But still looked happier than anything. Then I hit me – “April!” I exclaimed. “You’re alright!”
“That she is Alex.” Came a voice from behind me as I saw a blonde and red blur jump from behind me into the space next to me on the bench. It was Adam – looking happy and calm. The first time I’d seen him like it. “Thanks to you.” He said with a smile.
“Oh! You dropped your things.” April said as she bent down to collect my stuff from the package I’d dropped. “Sorry about that.” She said as she handed them to me.
“That’s alright, don’t worry about it.” I said.
“So you’re a pokemon trainer?” Adam asked. “I didn’t know that.”
“Actually I’ve only just become one today. My sister sent me this letter - look.” I replied as I handed Adam the letter. “Wait… I don’t even know what Pokémon I have!” I said, not knowing how I could forget something like that.
I looked at my new pokeballs blankly. “Which one is it?” April asked.
“I…don’t know.” I replied.
“Just feel it.” Adam said. “Feel it inside you and pick one. That’s all it takes.”
‘Feel it, eh?’ I thought.
I concentrated as hard as I could, picked a ball up and threw it into the air.
“Come on out, whatever you are!” I said proudly as the pokeball opened a brilliant red light formed a small, brown, fox-like creature.
“Eevo?” It said as it sat there tilting it’s head.
“It’s a- It’s a- … what is it, exactly?” I asked.
“Eeek!!!” April screamed “What wrong with its face?!”
The fox sat there with a small pair of beady eyes and a smile that stretched eerily far along it’s face.
“Erm… Alex? Use your pokedex.” Adam said.
“Oh, the red box?” I said as I picked up the pokedex and pointed it at the pokemon. A bell sound rang and a blue light lit up on the Pokedex.
‘TheRe iS no DatA.’ It said in a jagged, electronic voice.
“What do you mean there is no data?! I thought this thing was supposed to have information on every pokemon?” I said frustratedly.
The light lit up again. ‘EevEe; The eVoluTiOn PokEMOn. EeVee HaS thE PoTENTial To evolve InTo Seven DIFFereNT Types OF PoKeMoN.’
“Well I suppose that’s what the letter means about the ‘different possibilities Pokémon have to offer’.” Adam concluded.
“And this picture here; Eevee’s are meant to have a different coloured tip to it’s tail. Yours doesn’t. Weird..” April pointed out.
As weird as this all was - I didn’t care. I had my own pokemon, and to me, it was the best one I’d ever seen.
I knelt down and patted my legs and eevee came running up to me and I hugged him as hard as I could, stroking his soft fur as I did it.
“Hey Alex? What does this mean?” Adam asked as he pointed to something in the letter.
I got up, carrying Eevee in my arms and read the letter; there was a bit I’d missed:
‘Good luck and all my love,
‘Ps: Don’t tell mum.’
Short and sweet chapter for you guys now :)
Chapter 4 – Spiders, Poffins and Bunk Beds.
After thoroughly reading Ivy’s letter, we decided to walk around town for a while. Adam, being a more experienced Pokémon trainer than me, explained to me all the basic buildings a Pokémon trainer should know about. The Pokemart and the Pokecenter I’d already been to. But then there were the gyms, contest halls, and poffin houses to boot!
“What’s a... poffin?” I asked Adam.
“It’s a special type of Pokémon food, here – try feeding it to Eevee.” Adam said as he took a strange shaped case from his backpack. He pushed a button as a small, pink cube appeared from within and he placed it in my hand.
“Is this it?” I asked.
“It doesn’t look like much, but it’s got everything a pokemon needs.”
As small as it was, it did look quite appetizing - I was tempted to eat it myself. I didn’t really want to wake Eevee up. It’d been quite content just sleeping in my arms since I first met it earlier; I couldn’t bring myself to put it back into its pokeball.
I gently stroked its head as its brown ears perked up and beady eyes slowly began to open.
“Eevo?” I said as it’s button nose began sniffing as I moved my hand closer to it.
“I think it likes it” I said just as Eevee opened its humungous mouth and engulfed my whole hand.
“Ahh!” We all cried out, as Eevee quickly retreated to the floor and its mouth returned to its cheeky grin.
“What… was that?” April asked in shock placing one foot back.
Everyone was looking at Eevee in dismay while my hand was covered in sticky saliva. Eevee just scratched its ears with its back feet and began staring back at us blankly while tilting its head, not understanding what was going on.
“Well I think it liked the poffin at least…” Adam remarked.
“Yeah… and I’m glad my hand’s still here.” I replied as April giggled.
After walking around town some more, we decided to go back to the Pokémon centre for the night. As we were shown to our rooms by Nurse Joy, April seemed to be staying quite a few steps in front of Eevee who was walking by my side. I simply just couldn’t get over the fact that Eevee was so friendly to me so quickly.
“Here we are.” Nurse Joy said with her trademark smile. “Please enjoy your stay.” She said as she opened the wooden door, which was surprisingly older-looking than the rest of the pokecenter.
The room was pretty basic with a wardrobe, two bunk beds and a window that was covered by a bush outside, obstructing the moonlight. April ran straight in claiming the top bunk, while Adam just laid his bag on the bottom as if to mark his territory. I had a whole bunk-bed to myself, but I decided on the bottom, just for easiness’ sake as Eevee jumped on the bunk looking for the perfect spot to lie down.
We stayed up talking for alot of the night, but Adam seemed more interested with Ivy’s letter.
“Mum..?” Adam muttered to himself. “Wait. Professor Ivy is your sister?”
“Yeah, but I don’t really see her much. She’s always busy with some research or another. Why do you ask?” I replied.
“Adam got his first Pokémon from professor Ivy – we used to live in the Orange Islands too, but –“
“Well I didn’t really like the Orange league’s style.” Adam butted in front of April. “So I decided to explore Kanto and April tagged along with me.”
“Oh I didn’t know that.” I said with a smile, pretending not to notice the blatent lie. “So is Mankey your starter Pokemon?”
“No, no. Mankey was my first Pokémon I caught from the wild. Professor Ivy gave me a different Pokémon - see for yourself.” Adam said as he reached for a pokeball beside his bed and opened it. The red light began to form a strange shape on the floor and a red Pokémon with black stripes appeared.
“Ariados!” It cried.
“Alex, I’d like you to meet –“
“-S-s-s-spider!!” I screamed as I scrambled to the safety top bunk and hid under my cover.
“Not a fan, huh?” Adam chortled.
Ariados began slowly crawling up the wooden walls towards me. I couldn’t stop myself from shaking.
“I agree with Alex.” April added. “Spiders are just gross.”
“Ariados is NOT gross.” Adam said in disgust as he swung his head away from us and withdrew his Pokémon.
I let out a much needed sigh of relief and released my grip on the covers before restarting conversation.
'I hate spiders..' I thought.
“So… do you have any badges?” I asked Adam.
Adam went on to explain that he had three badges from Lt. Surge in Viridian City, Misty in Cerulean and Flint from Pewter City. He and April told me some brilliant stories about each of them and an excitement filled up inside of me as I looked at Eevee curled up on the bottom bunk, barely able to wait to be able to forms memories of my own.
I had to ask them where they were heading to next, knowing that it would probably be somewhere other than where I needed to go, but I just didn’t want them to leave.
“Well I figured the best place for me to go would probably be Celadon City, to try for the Rainbow badge. We’re going to set off in the morning, so we can make good time.” Adam said as April lowered her head onto her pillow, almost as if she was as sad as I was.
“Well then we should probably get some sleep for that early start tomorrow.” I said, not wanting Adam to cotton on that I wanted them to stay.
“Good idea.” Adam agreed.
We all said our goodnights as I climbed down to the bottom bunk and tucked myself in next to Eevee and closed my eyes.
I woke up shivering with scattered moonlight from outside shining onto my face.
'When did it get so cold?' I thought looking at Eevee. It seemed unaffected, whereas I could also hear shivering coming from Aprils bunk.
I began to hear small footsteps coming from the corridor outside and our door slowly creaked open, and in waddled a familiar face. It was a Chansey with a medical hat carrying a blanket in one hand and a candle in the other – the same Chansey from the night before, I was sure of it. Chansey waddled up to me and held out a blanket to me.
“Chansey.” She whispered kindly to me, as if telling me to take it to keep warm.
“Thank you very much.” I whispered back to her as I took the blanket and wrapped myself in it.
“Chan- Chansey.” She said turning on her heels and walking out the room quite content with herself, shutting the creaky door behind her.
I looked around to see if we’d woken anyone but they were both still asleep, and I really wasn’t that cold anymore. April’s shivering however, became louder. She seemed to be suffering quite badly from the sudden temperature drop.
I couldn’t stand to see her like it so I carefully climbed the ladder beside Adam as not to wake him and gently placed the blanket over April. I could see she appreciated it as a smile of contentment stretched across her face while she slept.
And like the Chansey, I went to bed very much satisfied with myself. Waiting for dawn.
Chapter 5 – Two Sides To Every Story (A)
Sunlight - A welcome contrast to the chill of moonlight, beamed down upon my face as morning set in. Adam and April had already gotten up and ready, and were eating the breakfast the pokecentre staff had brought round; ‘If a Pokemon trainer is ready to go at this time in the morning every day, then I’ve got some serious training to do…’ I thought, rubbing my eyes.
Before we went our separate ways, Adam had agreed to show me to the Pewter city gym. I had fully expected the gym to be near the centre of town, and for it to be a tall and proud building filled with a long line of trainers each just as eager as the next to take on the mighty gym leader for a Boulder Badge. April warned me that the Pewter gym was nothing special, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to believe her.
“Well, here it is.” Adam said, stretching his arm out towards a building made of solid stone. “The Pewter city Rock-type Gym. Cool, right?”
“Y-yeah..” I said in awe as a lump formed in my throat. In front of me stood an ominous looking building that looked as if it had been forged by raw power; as if boulder upon boulder had been tempered together to create this structure that was held together by the four giant steel girders that encased it. To be honest I was a little intimidated by it.
It was nothing like I’d imagined, no tall building, no line of trainers, this place was desolate - You could hear Pidgeys chirping from the surrounding trees. It wasn’t even near the centre of town, nowhere near the tourist spot I thought it’d be.
“Cool? It’s just a big rock! Cerulean Gym had much more grace and elegance.” April exclaimed as she clasped her hands and drifted off into her own little world.
“Please. Gyms are about pokemon battles, not how they look.” Adam sighed as he knocked April on the head, knocking her out of her daydream.
“Ow!” April said rubbing her head and looking at Adam as if warning him of some impending pain that would befall him if he touched her again. Adam seemed to know what the look meant as he took a step back away from her and she then directed her gaze at me and her expression completely changed to serene. “You see Alex, every Gym is designed around what type of pokemon the gym leader specializes in, so the gym leader really has full control over what the gym looks like. In this case I’d say Flint wasn’t one with a very creative edge to him…”
“Should I go in?” I asked, staring at the building in front of me.
“You haven’t even had a battle yet!” Adam sighed. “You go in there now, and you’re bound to lose straight away. What you need to do is to train with Eevee. Bond a little and get some experience and you’ll be ready in no time.” Adam said putting his thumb up.
“Hey, I have an idea! Why don’t you two battle?” April said excitedly.
“Hey that’s a-“ I began
“—We really should be going if we want to make good time.” Adam said as he turned to me.
“Oh, okay…” April said lowering her head as we began to walk to the town’s exit.
As we neared the exit, a fork in the road appeared. It seemed like we had less and less to talk about until there was almost silence. And then Adam stopped in his tracks.
“So.. I guess this is goodbye then.” I said, feigning a smile, holding out my hand.
“Yeah, I guess it is.” Adam replied as we shook hands. “Take care of yourself, and good luck on your journey. I’m sure I’ll see you and Eevee in the Pokemon League someday; losing against me of course.” He said chuckling.
“Yeah I’m sure.” I said. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve taught me, I hope I can help you someday.”
“You already have.” He said, looking over at April.
And before I knew it, April and I were hugging and I could feel something wet climbing across from her check to mine - she was crying.
“Thank you.” She whispered in my ear as we embraced. It felt like we’d grown so close in such a short space of time but they had to go their own way – and I understood that.
When we let go, Adam turned around and started walking away signalling April to follow. As she did, I could hear them shouting a final goodbye to me as I waved them off, each of us taking the different roads ahead of us.
Looking down at Eevee, we were finally about to start our journey together as we began walking the dirt path ahead.
Training wasn’t going to be easy, but first we had to find a Pokemon to fight. As we were walking along an under maintained dirt path that was riddled with weeds, I was studying Eevee’s moves on my PokeDex. There was tackle, sand attack, quick attack and bite, but which was the most effective?
“Eevo!” Eevee began to snarl.
I turned around to find Eevee taking an attacking stance with its tail pointing on end, growling at a rustling bush.
Was this a pokemon? Only one way to find out… “Eevee tackle the bush!” I commanded out loud on instinct.
Eevee nodded and ran towards the bush and turned on its side as it slammed through the bush with all the force it possessed. Now all I had to do was wait for the Pokémon to appear; I stood with my PokeDex poised, ready to analyse any potential attacker… but there was nothing.. not even a sound.
“Eevee?” I called out.
Suddenly I heard something slam to the floor and a huge cloud of dust arose from behind the bush. I shielded my eyes with my arm as the dirt cloud encased me and again I heard the sound of an impact. And then again! I had to take a look, so I began to slowly open my eyes and a shadow appeared through the dirt cloud hurtling towards me.
“Shrew!” It cried as I felt its claws press against my chest and it jumped up, pushing me to the floor and knocking my PokeDex out of my hands.
I lifted my head to see a small Pokémon with sharp claws and beady eyes looking down on me, blocking out the sunlight. Suddenly I heard a bell sound and the blue light illuminated the PokeDex.
‘Sandshrew; the mouse Pokemon. Sandshrew despise water, and live in holes they dig in dry places. It protects itself by curling into a ball and hiding its unprotected belly.’ The PokeDex said, a lot smoother than it did before as Eevee reappeared from the bushes, looking much more irritated.
“Eevo!” It snarled darting towards the Sandshrew behind me as I scrambled out of the way and back onto my feet.
I struggled to remember Eevee’s moveset before yelling without thinking, “Eevee use bite!”
Eevee suddenly began bearing sharp fangs from its gigantic mouth, the fangs were much too big to belong to a Pokémon of its size, and I’d never seen them before!
Sandshrew stood unphased until just at the last second it curled itself up into a ball and Eevee sucked its overwhelming fangs into the pokemon. I shut my eyes facing away, not bearing to look until I slowly opened them to see the Sandshrew-ball just motionless with Eevee and its giant fangs not even penetrating it! ‘Surely fangs of that size could penetrate anything!’ I thought.
I could see Eevee wrinkling it’s face trying to penetrate the skin but not even making an indent.
“Eevee – stop!” I cried out. “Come back here!” I demanded pointing to the ground below me.
Eevee withdrew its fangs and gently plodded along the ground towards me. I leant down to inspect its mouth and the teeth were gone – they were normal sized for something of its size again… but the mouth was as big as ever though. Eevee looked at me oddly and I stretched its mouth from one direction to the next. It just seemed stretchy and it fascinated me, ‘Is this the snag Ivy spoke about?’ I thought.
Eevee began to pull away as I got too involved, and looked back at the Sandshrew-ball. I looked up too, surprised that it was still there – I’d expected it to flee but it was just rolling back and forth in its ball.
“Well.. if we can’t hurt it… should we throw a pokeball at it?” I asked, looking at Eevee. “Yeah, just like they did on Tv.” I said as I reached into my pocket pulling out a pokeball.
‘Okay so I press the middle button like this...’ I thought, remembering the step-by-step guide as the small red and white ball grew three times its size. ‘Get into position…’ As I put one foot in front of me and drew my arm back, trying to get a good shot; and then suddenly Adam’s words popped into my head: “Feel it. Concentrate and connect with the Pokémon, and it’ll work.”
I paused for a moment, looking at Sandshrew. And then I remembered:
‘Step 3 -- Throw!’
I woke up with so many thoughts running through my head… each so different and yet the same, it was hard to concentrate on just one.
I had to get out of bed; 'Maybe some early morning training will get my mind off of things.' I thought, pushing the covers off of me. I quickly got dressed and slowly opened the creaky door in front of me to be greeted by a blinding beam of sunlight pouring through the window across the wooden hall, causing me to face back into our room while my eyes recovered from the torture. April began to stir, but Alex, even with this new warm beam of light on him, remained asleep.
Suddenly an immense sound travelled through the air, making April immediately scream and sit up from the shock. It was a gong being played over and over and over again by a parade of Chanseys marching through the hall, closely followed by a Blissey wheeling a food cart handing breakfast out to all the lodgers.
Now April was up, training could wait as I had someone to talk to. “Geez, they sure know how to wake people up, don’t they?” I said smirking, shutting the door.
“Not him.” April said as she looked over at Alex and began to chuckle.
“Wow. Talk about a deep sleeper.” I replied as I began to laugh myself, not able to look her in the eye.
After a couple of minutes, April was dressed and Blissey had made it to our room and handed out breakfast to each of us, leaving Alex’s by his bed.
He still wasn’t up, but Eevee’s nose began to twitch as the smell of hot food wafted up onto the bed. It slowly got up, stretched, jumped onto the floor next to it, stared at it for a few seconds before engulfing the whole thing with that huge mouth of its. April and I stopped eating and stared in awe as it spat the plate out on the floor and just jumped back onto the bed and curled back up to sleep.
“Okay… that was messed up.” April said, putting her plate down not wanting anymore, but nothing could ever stop me from eating.
Alex then woke up and stared down at his plate and said “Hey, where’s mine?”
April and I looked at each other before she got up and smiled at him saying, “Here it is – I was keeping it warm for you” Before handing her plate to him.
“You need to eat too you know.” I whispered to her when she sat back down again.
“Yeah, and I will later.” She whispered back.
“Well, here it is.” I said, stretching my arm out towards the gray structure in front of me. “The Pewter City Rock-type Gym. Cool, right?”
“Y-yeah…” Alex said staring up at the building. I could tell that he was a little daunted by the whole thing – he was more scared than excited; really the opposite to me.
“Cool? It’s just a big rock! Cerulean Gym had much more grace and elegance.” April piped up as she clasped her hands and drifted off into her own little world.
“Please. Gyms are about Pokémon battles, not how they look.” I sighed as I hit her on the head, trying to knock some sense into her.
April cried out in pain but I knew I didn’t hurt her. All of a sudden she got that look in her eye and I took a step back just in-case she decided to go crazy again. Instead of doing that she turned to Alex and said, “You see Alex; every Gym is designed around what type of Pokémon the gym leader specializes in, so the gym leader really has full control over what the gym looks like. In this case I’d say Flint wasn’t one with a very creative edge to him…”
“Sh-should I go in?” Alex asked.
I could tell he hadn’t even listened to a word April just said.
“You haven’t even had a battle yet!” I cried out to him, sighing at his naivety before taking a breath. “You go in there now and you’re bound to lose straight away. What you need to do is to train with Eevee. Bond a little and get some experience and you’ll be ready in no time. I said, putting my thumb up as to not come down too hard on him.
“Hey, I have an idea! Why don’t you two battle?” April said excitedly.
But then the thoughts began to re-enter my head. The only way I could think to get rid of them was to press-on - to become stronger. I needed to get to Celadon quickly; I couldn’t waste my time with battles that I knew I would win.
“Hey that’s a –“Alex begun.
“—We really should be going if we want to make good time.” Was all I could think to say.
“Oh, okay…” April said lowering her head.
As we neared the fork in the road at the exit of the city, conversation really took a nosedive until no one said anything. I stopped just before we were due to split off and faced Alex with April trailing behind.
“So… I guess this is goodbye then.” Alex said smiling while holding out his hand.
“Yeah I guess it is.” I replied, meeting his hand and shaking it. “Take care of yourself, and good luck on your journey. I’m sure I’ll see you and Eevee in the Pokemon League someday; losing against me of course.” I said while laughing.
“Yeah I’m sure.” Alex replied. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve taught me, I hope I can help you someday.”
Suddenly, my heart felt heavy, more than it had these past few days. I’d never thanked him for finding April, I hadn’t even spoken about it to her yet. All I could manage was, “You already have.” As I looked towards my sister.
Alex smiled, going a bit red and looking at the floor. April suddenly ran at him and started hugging him. He must’ve not been expecting it because he stumbled almost falling over. April was in tears in his arms - she really was sad to be leaving him behind; and I could tell that he felt the same way.
When she eventually let go of him I turned on my heels and began walking down a dirt path, signalling to April to follow before we both waved a final goodbye to Alex and his Eevee.
Walking along the path I was holding out my map, trying to figure out the quickest route to Celadon while April trailed behind me.
We hadn’t even spoken a word since we left Pewter City – I had to keep looking behind me to check if she was still there. But something was sticking in my mind; it was eating away at me from the inside. For some reason every step I took, felt like a step away from April.
‘I couldn’t. Or could I?’ I thought. ‘I shouldn’t. Or should I?’
I stopped in my tracks looking at April as she carried on slowly walking up to me. The bruising on her eye had just about faded but there was still a faint scarring where she’d been scratched across the face by the Nidoran.
April stopped in her tracks as well, just before she caught up to me.
I couldn’t take it anymore – I had to tell her.
“-I want you to go with Alex!”
“-I want to go with Alex!” We both blurted outloud simultaneously.
“-What?! Why?” We cried again.
I stopped, not knowing what to say; I just looked at April. She was trembling and said, "Well… ever since that day back home, you haven’t been the same... you ignore a lot of the things I say and you butt in front of people when you don’t want to do something. You know, I wanted to be a Pokémon trainer just like my big brother, but you wouldn’t let me - You said it was ‘too dangerous’ and then you dragged me on your journey around Kanto. And then I find someone who I make friends with and you just leave him. I just want… some freedom. To be myself, to be free – to be a trainer. You know?”
There was silence for a minute before I began speaking.
“This is because… I... -I couldn’t protect you, isn’t it?” I said welling up.
“Noo… it’s not that at all.” April said, seeing how upset I was.
“I let you get attacked, and all because I wanted to get ahead to Celadon to get my next Badge. I… I left you.” I whimpered, shedding a tear.
Ever since her attack, I hadn’t been able to look her in the eye; it felt like if I did, all the panic, all the sadness and all the pain would come back to haunt me. I wanted to tell her… that it was my fault, that all I could think about now was getting more badges so I could protect her, because at the moment – I couldn’t.
But I felt like Alex could. I didn’t tell either of them, but last night I saw Alex put his blanket over April so she wouldn’t go cold, and April giving Alex her food this morning so he wouldn’t go hungry. They took care of each other and I knew they’d be safe together.
“That’s why… I want you to travel with Alex. You can go on your own journey now, and maybe even become better than me.” I said lifting my head up and looking into her eyes; smiling.
Her sky blue eyes were welled up with tears, the same as mine. But I could tell there was a happiness behind them as we hugged each other.
“It’s not your fault... but thank you.” She said as we let go of each other and she began to run back up the dirt path we came along.
Suddenly something dawned on me.
“April!” I cried out as I threw a pokeball up in the air and a brilliant red light revealed Mankey hopping up and down.
April turned around to face me once again.
“Now Mankey, I want you to go with April from now on. I need you to protect her when she needs you, have you got that?”
“Key-key!” Mankey cried running over to April enthusiastically.
“Now go get-em-all!” I yelled out to her while throwing Mankey’s pokeball to her.
“I will!” April cried back, catching the ball with one hand.
“I will…” She said to herself.
And… after half an hour of walking with her newfound Pokémon, April saw a familiar face striking a very unfamiliar pose…
Chapter 6 – The Snag
The pokeball flew through the air in a flurry of red and white, hitting the curled up Sandshrew and trapping it inside the ball. It rolled back and forth, much like Sandshrew did; the middle button flashing red.
“Did we catch it?” I asked, looking down at Eevee.
Then, the pokeball was motionless and the flashing stopped. I’d done it. I’d caught a Pokémon…
“Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah!!” I cried as I laughed joyfully, picking up Eevee and swinging it round in my arms. “We did it Eevee!”
Eevee let out a cry of joy much like my own, but as I walked over to claim our prize –- it was gone! I had to double take just to make sure, but it was defiantly gone.
“Maybe… it went back into the smaller pokeball? Quick Eevee, let’s check the ground... maybe it fell down a hole or something.” I puzzled as I got onto my hands and knees and scoured the ground for clues. But the more I searched the ground, the more dust I was spreading in my face, making it harder to see.
All of a sudden the sunlight disappeared.
‘Is that… a shadow?’ I thought, looking up and shielding my eyes from the sunlight.
Atop the luscious green bank was a girl with a Mankey climbing up onto her shoulder. As my eyes got used to the brightness I could see that it wasn’t any girl – It was April!
“You know, you really should keep an eye on your Pokémon!” April said smiling as Mankey dropped the pokeball into her hand.
“You know you shouldn’t really be going around stealing other people’s Pokémon.” I said smiling back. “What’re you doing here? Where’s Adam?”
“Adam… said that I could go on my own Pokémon journey. He said that I should travel with you since we’re both only beginning as trainers. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, of course!” I said a little bit too enthusiastically; but I couldn’t help it, I was just so happy to have someone to travel with again.
For a while April and I sat and talked whilst sitting on the bank. It was such a lovely day, the bushes were flowering, and the daisies were blooming in the grass all around us, and the sky was just the right shade of blue.
Mankey was occupying himself, swinging from a branch of the tree we were sitting under, while Eevee lay sleeping in the shade. Every so often a breeze would blow past and would knock Mankey out of the tree but he would just yell abuse at it and then climb right back up to where he was.
“You know… you were lucky to catch Sandshrew so easily.” April said as she rolled Sandshrew’s pokeball back and forth on the grass. “When Adam caught Mankey he had to try so hard that he almost gave up. I think Pokemon usually need to be worn out before you can capture them.”
“Yeah I’ve heard that too… maybe Sandshrew just wanted to be caught.” I said, confident in my ability to befriend Pokémon. “Actually I haven’t actually properly introduced myself to him yet. Can I let him out?”
“Oh I’m sorry.” April said, blushing. “I didn’t realise I’d be hogging it for so long, here.”
April handed me the pokeball and I threw it into the air. “Sandshrew, come on out!” I cried as the Pokémon appeared in a dazzling white light in front of me.
“Shrew?” It said tilting its head looking straight at me.
“Hi!” I said as I waved to my newfound pokefriend.
“Shreeeeeeeew..” Sandshrew said walking up to me on all fours.
The pokemon began sniffing me; my leg, my head, my arm, my hand – all over before finally perching itself in front of me, giving me a vague expression.
“Sandshrew, my name is Alex and this is April sitting next to me. And down here is Eevee and up there in the tree is Mankey. I’m sure we’ll all be friends in no time.”
Eevee woke up from its sleep and glanced over at Sandshrew. “Eevo?” it cried questioningly as it rose to its feet. Eevee perched itself opposite from Sandshrew and the pair just looked at each other.
“Are they… having a staring contest?” April asked.
“I dunno.” I replied
“Shrew.” Sandshrew cried, whilst scratching the ground take a chunk out of the grass.
“Vo.” Eevee cried, repeating the same action.
Sandshrew looked amused by Eevee’s repetition of his movement.
“Shreeew, Shrewww!” Sandshrew cried more jollily than before as it grabbed its two back feet with its front claws and began rocking itself back and forth.
“Haha, I think Sandshrew wants to play.” I said as Eevee again tried to copy the pokemon but couldn’t reach its back paws to do so.
Sandshrew began laughing uncontrollably and it rolled backwards a little too far and rolled all the way to the bottom of the bank and onto the dirt path.
Mankey clapped joyfully while hanging himself from the tree by its tail while Eevee had a smug look of satisfaction in its eyes. I gasped and ran to see if Sandshrew was okay but as soon as I got to the bottom of the bank Sandshrew was rolling back up the hill in its ‘sandshrew-ball’ and began to circle Eevee.
“Is he okay?” April asked.
“Yeah…” I said just as I remembered the PokeDex entry. “Sandshrew is protected when it curls itself into a ball.” I said with a sigh of relief as I sat back down onto the grass again.
Eevee began snarling while its fur stood on end, as if being hunted – I could tell it felt threatened. Suddenly Sandshrew stopped rolling around and presented itself in front of Eevee again and began digging a hole, faster than anything I’d seen dig before; within seconds he was gone! And with a glint of determination in his eye Eevee began digging as well, but at a tremendous speed. Sandshrew was made to dig, but how were Eevee’s tiny paws digging so fast?
“They’re both… gone!” April pronounced as we both scrambled over to the holes. They were not very wide but they were deep enough that we couldn’t see the bottom. We both paused to see if we could hear them still digging but there was nothing.
“Eevee? Saaaaandshreew?” I cried down the holes.
“What if they’re in China?!” April gasped, with a look of pure horror on her face.
All of a sudden something yellow came shooting up the hole and hit me straight in the face, knocking me over. “Oww…” I cried, wincing in pain. Before I’d realised it was Sandshrew, it’s rolled up into a ball and rolled away down the bank and along the dirt path.
“Sandshrew come back here!!” I yelled after getting up.
“Er.. I don’t think he’s listening.” April said.
“Well thanks for stating the obvious.” I said before running after him.
I chased Sandshrew down the long dirt road, almost losing track of him a few times because of the dust cloud he was leaving in his wake.
“Fine, if you won’t come back I’ll bring you back!” I yelled as I tried to recall him into his pokeball, but I couldn’t get a clear shot as the red beam missed him time and time again.
“-huff puff- Argh, Where are you going Sandshrew?!”
“Shrewo!” It cried back at me, almost in disgust, disappearing into a group of bushes.
I climbed through the bushes, getting scratched by the masses of green to end up in a dark, and eerie place. I could hear a continuous dripping echoing around me but I didn’t need to hear that to know I was in a damp place... I could feel it. The terrain had become rocky and the only light I could see was the refracted sunlight through the bushes from behind me; I was in a hidden cave.
“Sandshrew… You in here?” I whispered as to hopefully not awaken any cave creatures. And then I suddenly heard movement coming from behind a corner and a flickering orange light appeared on the wall. It seemed almost… warm, and was drawing me in. I pushed myself against the cave wall and slowly peeked around the corner to see… nothing.
And then all of a sudden I felt something tugging at my trousers. I looked down to see a tiny red dragon with a flame on its head. “Ahh!” I cried. “What’re you?!”
“It can’t be too much further - Reach Mankey, reach!” April cried while holding her ground.
April was attempting to rescue Eevee from the hole it’d dug itself into by using Mankey as an extension of her own arm.
“Don’t worry Eevee, you’ll be out in no time!”
“Key- key!!” Mankey cried.
“You got it?” April asked as Mankey nodded in response. “Okay, here… we … go!” April said again as she planted her feet in the ground and began pulling as hard as she could on Mankey’s leg, but something was stuck, and no one was budging. “Oh no you don’t!” She said as she pulled the Pokémon free and they flew through the air, all landing with their faces in the grass.
April groaned as she pulled herself up. “Is everyone oka – huh?” She asked puzzled, wiping the mud off of her face. In front of her stood her Mankey, and a familiar yellow sand-mouse. “Sandshrew? But if you’re here… then who’s Alex chasing?”
‘TheRe iS no DatA.’
“C’mon you stupid thing, work!” I said whilst hitting my pokedex.
The little fire dragon seemed to be clinging to me, frightened, but to be honest I had no idea what it was. It was red in colour and stood on its back legs and had a cream underbelly; it also had a long tail and flames emanating from its head. I wanted to pet it and tell it that it would be alright but I didn’t want to burn myself on what seemed to be a withering flame.
‘TheRe iS no DatA.’ It said again.
“Argh, you call yourself an encyclopaedia?!” I yelled in frustration, remembering when it had done the same thing previously.
The pokemon began shaking whilst clinging to my leg; its eyes shut tightly.
“Why are you so scared, little guy? Have you seen a Sandshrew around here?” I asked but the pokemon seemed to just cling to me tighter. “Are you lost?” I asked as I carefully knelt down, taking my rucksack off of my back. Here, it’s not so bad, see?” I said taking some of the poffins out of my bag I’d been given yesterday.
“Charo?” It said as it opened its eyes to see the pink pokemon food I held in my hand. “Go on, take it.” I said smiling as it gobbled it all up. As it did, its flame from the top of its head brushed against me but it didn’t burn, it just felt warm, and kind.
“Char, Char!” It cried, seeming slightly happier.
Suddenly hearing the pokemon cry, the blue light illuminated on the pokedex and a bell sound rang. ‘ChaRMAndEr, thE lIZarD poKemOn. A fLAmE bUrns oN the Tip of itS tAIL fRom BirtH. it IS sIAd That a CHarmAnDEr dIeS If iTs flaMe ever Goes 0uT.’ Came a jagged, mechanical voice.
The drips coming from all around the cave suddenly seemed louder and more pronounced. Kind of… ominous even.
“Wait... you don’t have a flame on your tail - you should be dead! …We should get you out of here, it’s not safe for you.” I said to Charmander. “Do you trust me?”
“Chaaro!” It cried whilst nodding.
I smiled as I picked the little pokemon up and carried it in my arms, its head warm against my chest. The powerful refracted light from outside made us both squint as I clambered through the bushes, grazing my arms, but protecting Charmander from harm.
Arriving outside again was a great feeling, I hadn’t been in there long, but I’d never been good with small spaces.
“Are you okay?” I asked, putting the Charmander down.
“Char! Charo!” It cried, full of life.
“Oh, that’s a relief… but it’s strange that your flame is on your head, but then again my Eevee isn’t exactly a 'normal pokemon'. I guess pokemon must vary as much as humans do.” I chuckled. “I should be getting back to where I came from, and so should you. I have a friend who’s missing and who we’re very worried about and I’m sure someone is about you too. Well, it was nice meeting you, you are the second new friend I’ve made today. See ya!” I said as I turned around and ran back towards where we were sitting earlier, hoping Sandshrew had gone back.
As I neared the tree we were sitting under earlier, I heard a scream, “Ahhhh!! Sandshrew no!”
“April?!” I cried out as I ran up the bank towards them.
Sandshrew was being tossed aside violently by a tall, brown Pokémon with a pair of gigantic, spiked, white horns as April and Mankey looked on, just feet away.
“Sandshrew!” I cried out.
“Stay away Pinsir!” April yelled angrily, but I could tell she was frightened by the tremor in her voice. “I’m warning you!” She said as the Pokemon took a step forward, bearing its fangs from its vertical mouth. “Okay I warned you – Mankey use fury swipes!”
Mankey ran up to the Pokémon, revealing its knifelike claws as they shimmered in the sunlight, and jumped into the air in front of Pinsir, slashing away with jet-like speed.
Pinsir seemed unaffected by this and saw its opportunity to grab Mankey by his right leg and swing him in a perfect circle in the air, gaining momentum and threw him ferociously into the ground below, knocking him out.
“Mankey!!” We both cried in unison as I ran to fetch the injured pokemon.
Pinsir roared out its name causing me to stop in my tracks in front of April.
“Alex, look at its eyes! It’s been confused!”
Pinsir’s eyes were an unnatural shade of blue, and it seemed to be blinded by a confused rage, getting rid of anything in its path, unfortunately – that was us.
Pinsir began walking towards us and we both backed away in response.
“Piiiin…” It said as its mouth began to glow with an orange aura.
“Oh no..” I said as I had seen this attack before and turned around to cover April as we both shut our eyes, preparing for the worst.
“Piiiinsir!!” The pokemon cried with a husky voice as the attack was unleashed. A powerful breeze blew past us taking some dirt and a few fallen leaves with it but… there was no impact… no pain.
I opened my eyes as I turned around to see a small red pokemon laying on the floor – Charmander had taken the full force of the hyper beam!
“Charmander, no!” I cried as I looked on in horror.
Then the badly injured little pokemon began to move, it was slowly rising to its feet.
“Charr…o.” It cried, its voice quivering.
Suddenly, the pokemon was enveloped in a tremendous bright white light and began to grow and change into a different shape.
“It’s… evolving!!” April gasped.
The pokemon grew taller and taller, and wider and ever wider, until a towering green reptilian pokemon appeared.
“Tyranitar?! B-but Charmander doesn’t evolve into a Tyranitar… does it?” April cried in confusion.
Tyranitar looked down at the now heavy-breathing Pinsir that was now half its size and let out an almighty roar that seemed to shake the very ground we were standing on and probably could’ve been heard from miles away.
Pinsir’s eyes returned to a natural brown as it immediately snapped out of confusion and began to realise what pokemon was standing in front of it and ran back through the trees.
Tyranitar again roared but it seemed half-hearted as it began breathing heavily.
“T-T-Tyranitar?” I called out as it began to lie on the grass below. “I-it’s me, remember?”
Tyranitar turned its head to face me. I could see in its eyes that it was in pain, but through the pain they seemed familiar…
“…Eevee?” I asked. “Is… that you?”
Tyranitar let out a whine as I reached out and touched its head, stroking it gently.
“It is you in there, isn’t it?” I said with a smile as it rubbed its head against my body. “But... you’re hurt, how am I going to get you to the Pokémon centre like this?” I said as panic began to set in.
Suddenly, Tyranitar was again engulfed in the brilliant white light and shrank to a fraction of its former size into a gooey, almost gel-like pink Pokémon.
“Dit…to” the Pokémon said, struggling to speak.
“That’s a Ditto!” April cried.
“A what??” I asked.
“There’s no time to explain, we have to get to the pokemon centre fast! It’s not far, c’mon!”
Just a short filler here :)
Chapter 7 – T-T-T-Telephone
As darkness drew in, I couldn’t help but stare at the rain as it trickled down the glass of the Pokémon Center window. The fluffy towel I had wrapped around me had lost the warmth it had had when we arrived, but was heavier from all the rain it absorbed off of me. I didn’t care that I was now the one getting wet from the towel, I needed something to make me feel safe, to make me feel like everything was going to be alright again.
April was preoccupied watching Mankey through a glass pane in the recovery room, but I couldn’t bring myself to even look at my Pokémon. I’d never thought about how scary battling would be, and how Pokémon actually get hurt from us battling with them, it seemed almost… barbaric.
“You know, you two are the most frequent visitors I’ve had in a while.” A familiar pink haired lady said as she walked into the room carrying a clipboard in her hand. It was Nurse Joy, but neither of us responded as she laughed, albeit slightly awkwardly, at her own joke.
“I can always tell who beginning trainers are – they’re always the most scared worried about their Pokémon.” She said as she placed her warm hand on my shoulder. “Some show it more than others…” She said as she looked over to April, “but you can always tell. Pokemon are powerful creatures that are used to battling; be it with a seasoned trainer or by itself in the wild. They always have a way to recover from battles, if they didn’t then we wouldn’t do it, would we?”
“So… are they going to be okay?” I asked as my eyes met hers.
“They just need to rest for a few hours and they’ll be as good as new. So… no worrying, okay?” She said with a smile.
I nodded in response feeling less guilty for what’d happened.
“Can we go in to see them?” April asked.
“Yes, be my guest.” Joy said as she walked out of the room continuing her rounds.
April and I both took the chance to walk into the recovery room and sat next to our Pokémon. Joy was right; they looked almost as good as new and seemed to be almost serene in their sleep. Ditto’s small beady, black eyes began to open and as I reached over to pick it up. Ditto began to look around itself, not knowing where it was, and looking very confused.
“So, you were hiding around as an Eevee all along, huh?”
“To..” It cried as it looked downwards, looking quite sad with itself.
“Oh, no no don’t feel bad!” I said, trying not to damage the Pokémon’s feelings. “It just took me by surprise is all. After all, you did fool me, and you fooled the PokeDex, so I think that makes you a pretty amazing Pokémon to be honest.”
Ditto seemed to cheer up as it snuggled up in my arms; it felt like I’d make my first real Poké- friend all over again.
“You just turn it on like this… position the camera like this… and then you dial the number like this…” April said as she taught me how to use the video phone in the Pokemon Center lobby.
Suddenly a picture appeared on the screen. It was a lab... an empty lab.
“Er… hello?” I asked.
“Hellooooo? Anyone there??” April continued.
“Wait, wait. What’s that? Is someone there? Oh dear… I’ll be right with youuu!” Came a voice as I heard as the sound of metal hitting the floor and glass smashing burst through the speaker. The screen became blue for a brief moment as something dived passed it and then it covered the bottom half of the screen completely. “Hello? H-h-hello? Professor Rowan, now really not a good time, I told you yesterday –“
“Ivy – sit down for once in your life pleaaaaaase.” I pleaded as my sister took a step back and came into view on the screen.
She looked how she always had; a thigh-length lab coat that was undone as always (why she ever bothered wearing it was beyond me), a red strapless top and a short black skirt. Her dark blue shoulder-length hair, along with everything else about her had always apparently been seen as part of how beautiful she is (although personally I always thought she looked a mess). She would never sit still as her research always came first – even over sleep sometimes. She had always been a klutz too; she couldn’t get from one side of the room to another without something breaking.
“Aleeex!” Ivy said smiling ear to ear. It’d been a long time since we’d seen each other’s faces. “It’s been a while, did you get my package?”
“Yeah I did, and look at how many friends I’ve made because of it!” I said as I turned the camera around to face April and all of our pokemon.
The pokemon all cried out their names in greeting, followed by a “Hi Professor!” And a very enthusiastic wave from April.
“April, is that you?” Ivy asked.
After a long catch up, Ivy explained that she was surprised how Ditto had grown fond of me so quickly, and that Ditto only reveal their real identities to trainers they trust. I told her how it all happened.
“Wow, that was quite an ordeal you’ve all been through; and I can tell now that you’ll make a great pokemon trainer. And a Tyranitar – Wow I can’t believe it transformed into something so big, so easily! Have you seen anything else like it? W-What else has it transformed into?!”
“…What’s with her?” April whispered in my ear.
“She gets like this sometimes whenever something pops up that she’s interested in. But she’s at her worst when it’s something to do with Pokemon physiology; that’s her specialist field - she’s the best around.”
“- Did it retain its original pigment, I mean, was it an exact replica?”
“You’re doing it again.”
“Oh, right. Sorry.” She said as she nervously scratched her head. “But something you should know about Ditto’s transform ability is that if it is transforming into a pokemon from memory, the pokemon will have some… differences. Like when it was an Eevee for example, it was missing the tinge on the tip of its tail and had retained Ditto’s beady eyes and mouth.”
“Oh, like when it was a Charmander and it had a flame on its head instead of its tail right?”
“Precisely. So, have you challenged the Gym yet?”
“Actually… I haven’t even battled properly yet.”
Ivy just looked at the camera with a blank expression. “Well.. I suppose it’s never too late to start. Why don’t you two battle? April you have Mankey now don’t you? It’d be a good way of training for the Gym.”
“That’s… not a bad idea. What do you say April?”
“Well it’s up to Mankey really.” She said looking over to the pokemon.
“Well I think that’s a yes!”
Chapter 8 – Training Daze
After a night of rest for all of us, April and I decided upon battling at the battle court opposite the gym. The rocky terrain would help prepare me for the battle, and being in the presence of the gym would help settle my nerves.
When we got there I could see that some of the lines had faded and there were holes all over the court from overuse. The court stood on what seemed to be a giant piece of slate that was moulded to the ground. It seemed it’d been here a while and nature had accepted it as its own as grass and various weeds trailed along it.
“Wow.” I said in awe of the sheer power needed to put holes and cracks into stone.
“Well… Shall we get this thing started? Oh wait we need a referee...” April remembered.
April put her hand up above her eyes to shield from the sunlight that had pillared through the canopy of branches above us and began to look around.
“Hmm.. lets see…” She said pivoting on the spot. “Trees; no. Bushes; no. A winding path that leads into the distance; no. The gym... - Aha!”
“Yeah, we can get someone from the gym to referee for us – they must always have one incase someone challenges them, right?”
“Yeaah I suppose, but do we really need –“ Before I could finish April was already at the gym door going inside.
“Well… I guess we do.” I said as I let out a sigh.
As I waited for her to come back I noticed how strangely dark it was. It was turning into a bright sunny day but all the greenery around the arena obscured it. As the trees blew in the wind, I could see the beautiful crisp, green leaves swaying from side to side, but the branches themselves didn’t even budge. Suddenly my imagination got carried away with me as the humungous branches above me became sharp wooden claws that reached out to grab me, edging closer and closer towards my face.
It was only the sound of the stone gym door opening again that snapped me out of it as April exited the building holding someone’s arm. As she came closer I could see that she wasn’t as much holding someone as dragging them.
“We’re only over here, see?” She said to her prisoner who was fairly shorter than her. “Okay I found us a ref!” April said as she smiled at her achievement.
I looked down to see someone who was a few years younger than both of us, with short spiky brown hair wearing a light green shirt with a dark green stripe running horizontally across it. He looked quite confused at what was happening to him.
“H-hi.” He said. “I told your friend that I’m not really a proper referee but she wouldn’t listen. I’ve been in a few battles though, so I can give it a good shot.”
“Oh thanks, are you sure?” I said smiling at him.
“Well I’m out here now so I may as well!” The little referee said, almost excited to be part of the battle.
“Yaaaaaaay! Great, so Alex which side do you wanna take?” April asked.
“Huh?” I asked not knowing what she was on about.
“Oh, right. At the start of a battle, each trainer picks a side to stand on, and a coin is flipped to decide who goes first. If you’re standing to the left of the referee, you are heads; to the right, and you’re tails. Understand?” April explained, being patient with me as always.
“Oh right, well I knew that, it just… slipped my mind. I’ll take the right.” I said, trying not to seem too much of a noob in front of the boy who was younger than me.
“Suuure.” April mocked as we all made our way to our positions.
“Oh wait, does anyone have a coin?” The little referee asked. “I didn’t get a chance to grab one before I was dragged out against my will…”
“Hmph!” April cried while looking away from him.
“Oh, I’ve got an app for that on my poketch!” I said, eager to show off my snazzy watch I got for my birthday last year.
“That’ll work!” The boy cried as he ran over to me and looked at the screen.
I pressed the screen and a simulated coin spun on its side. I watched as the coin changed from a magikarp to a pokeball, back and forth many times until it finally lay with a single side facing upwards; a magikarp.
“April to begin!” The boy cried as he returned to his position. “This will be a one on two battle, the person who’s Pokemon is first unable to battle will be able to use Sandshrew.”
“Ooookay!” April cried as she enlarged her pokeball. “Mankey, come on out!” The pokeball rose high into the air and in a flash of brilliant light, Mankey appeared on the battlefield, bouncing from one foot to the other.
“Alright then, I choose you – Ditto!” I said as the pink gelatinous Pokémon appeared opposite Mankey.
‘Wow… cool catchphrase – I should use that.’ I thought.
“Readyyyyy – Begin!” The little ref cried.
“Okay Mankey, Karate Chop - let’s go!” April cried out.
“Ditto Transform into a Dragonite!” I said, thinking this would ensure that I would come out the victor.
The pokemon turned around to me looking confused as Mankey approached from behind and cut through the very air with its arm and thrust it against Ditto sending him flying to my feet.
Ditto began crying out in pain as April called her pokemon back to the other side of the arena.
“Don’t you remember? Ditto can’t transform into a pokemon if it hasn’t seen one before! Try using what’s in front of you!” April yelled across the battlefield.
I nodded and looked down at Ditto as it rose back up.
“Fury Swipes Mankey!”
“Ditto, transform into Mankey!”
Mankey began running towards Ditto as it glowed a tremendous white and grew two arms and two legs along with a tail almost instantly – It was identical to Mankey! Right down to which way its fur was facing. It began admiring its new form but Mankey had other plans as he started clawing at it vigourously without hesitation.
“Ditto - no!” I cried out before looking down at my PokeDex for answers. “Low kick him!”
Through the ongoing pain Ditto swiftly darted it’s leg across Mankey’s, leaving gravity to do the rest.
“Great job! Now scratch him while he’s down!”
“-Dodge it Mankey!”
Ditto began bearing sharp claws as it swiped downwards cutting off a few strands of fur as Mankey rolled back just in time to avoid the impact.
“Karate chop followed by low kick!” Cried April.
“-Do the same!”
Mankey again thrust its forearm towards Ditto as it did the same thing. The two arms met in midair As Mankey swiped it’s foot under Ditto. Ditto backflipped over it and swung its leg under Mankey’s once it had landed.
Mankey did the same thing as Ditto and backflipped.
“Wow Ditto’s quite the mover – but he’ll give in soon enough! Keep Karate chopping him Mankey!”
Mankey acted out the trainer’s orders as Ditto blocked the attacks with its own arms. Ditto took one swift strike after another until I had an idea.
“Ditto use Leer!”
Ditto began staring into Mankey’s eyes with a fierce look in its eye and Mankey stopped handing out Karate Chops and took a few steps back, intimidated by the pokemon that looked just like it.
“Now’s your chance – fury swipes!” I cried.
Ditto again began bearing its claws and jumped forward onto Mankey, pushing him to the floor, slashing at it time and again without fail. Mankey cried out in pain as the claws cut into him.
“Mankey get him off of you!” April cried as mankey used its feet to kick Ditto into the air.
“This might be my first battle, but I’ve seen before what this Pokemon can do! Focus energy now!” She cried as Ditto landed on its feet near mine.
Mankey began tensing itself as small yellow orbs began flowing in and out of him as he stood on the spot.
“Okay Ditto, we can win this! Low kick him then Karate chop while he’s down!”
Ditto began running at the stationary Mankey as April muttered two words: “Seismic. Toss.”
As Ditto swung its furry leg around to meet Mankey’s, Mankey grabbed it as quick as a flash, and swung it in a circle in the air gaining momentum and with all its might threw Ditto into the slate floor, creating another hole to be awed at by another trainer.
A dust cloud shrouded where the two pokemon were standing and I waited anxiously for what seemed like hours before it cleared.
The little ref’s arm rose to the air pointing to April.
“Ditto is unable to battle, Mankey is the winner!”
“Yaaay!” April cried as she jumped up and down on the spot clapping her hands.
“Ditto no…” Was all I could manage as I pointed the pokeball towards my knocked out pokemon and it withdrew into it. “You did great,” I said stroking the pokeball. “Get a good rest.”
“Key-key!” I heard as I looked over to see April laughing and cuddling Mankey.
“Well Alex, I guess this means your next pokemon is Sandshrew.” The little ref said to me, handing me a pokeball.
“Thanks.” I said as I stared at the pokeball. “And I think… I know how to win.”
“Alright Sandshrew, get ready for battle!” I cried as I released the tough–skinned yellow Pokémon from its red and white home.
Mankey was already back in position ready to battle, standing opposite from Sandshrew.
“Aaaaaaaand Begin!” The little ref shouted out.
“—Fury Swipes!” April commanded, not wasting any time.
“Use Sand- Attack and Dodge!” I commanded in response.
Sandshrew quickly edged to the side of the arena and used the dirt to create a cloud of dust that blocked Mankey’s vision. Despite not being able to see, Mankey began clawing away at the air in front of it.
“Great job! Okay Sandshrew, let’s try a poison sting while he’s blinded!”
Sandshrew took this opportunity not to attack back, but to roll around behind him and tap him on the shoulder. As Mankey clawed back in retaliation, Sandshrew jumped out of the way as if toying with him. Seeming very amused by the whole thing, Sandshrew again moved back and began to rock itself back and forwards on its back while holding its back paws with the front.
“Sandshrew, what’re you doing?” I asked. “This is battle time, not playtime! Poison Sting attack!”
April s******ed as Mankey regained his sight.
“Scratch him Mankey!”
Mankey did exactly what he was told as he turned around and clawed Sandshrew right on his soft-skinned stomach. Sandshrew cried out in pain, falling to the ground from its rocking state.
“Sandshrew!” I cried out as the little pokemon hastily returned to its feet and ran towards me, clinging to my leg. A sudden realisation struck me; ‘what if Sandshrew is just a young pokemon? Was it right of me to send him into battle if he just wanted to play?’
“Alex, does this mean you forfeit the match?” The little referee asked.
“Gimme a sec…” I said, contemplating what to do next.
I knelt down, taking my rucksack off and removing a small phial of light blue liquid with a spray top.
“It’s okay,” I said stroking his head. “I can make it all better.”
I sprayed the claw marks on Sandshrew’s belly, and within moments they simply faded away. I was amazed, and I could tell it had worked as the young Pokémon loosened his grip on my leg.
“Shrew- Sandshrew!” He cried out as he looked up at me.
“You don’t have to battle if you don’t want to.” I said in a soft voice.
Sandshrew looked to the floor as if contemplating the idea before looking back up at me and calling out his name. I could see a glint of determination in his eye I hadn’t seen before as he turned on his feet and retook his place on the battlefield.
“O-kay! We’re ready to go!”
“Mankey, Karate Chop followed by scratch attack!”
“-Get out the way!” I shouted out, not being able to think how to counter the move as Mankey began his charge.
Sandshrew looked to its left and right, looking for a way to get out of the way and jumped to a hole in the slate and began digging as fast as it could.
Mankey arrived at the hole and looked baffled as to where the pokemon had disappeared to. He took a few steps back, jumping and facing the other way while doing it, just incase he decided to sneak up on him. I began to get nervous – I was the trainer and I didn’t even know where Sandshrew was.
Suddenly from behind Mankey, Sandshrew leapt into the air from beneath some rubble and let loose a barrage of enchanting, shining stars, hitting Mankey one after another. As the stars smashed into Mankey, they seemed to evaporate into the air in a rainbow of clear, crisp colours.
Mankey fell to the floor, feeling the cold slate against his body.
“Yeaaaah! Well done Sandshrew!” I cried out joyfully.
“…What move was that?!” April asked, baffled.
“I dunno.” I said as I got my ever-handy PokeDex out and pointed it at the scene.
‘Swift. A normal type move in which stars of energy are hurled at the opponent; a common move taught by a move tutor.’
“Mankey is –“ The little ref began.
April sighed as she reached for her pokeball; ready to withdraw Mankey. However, Mankey had risen to his feet, battered and bruised from the last attack and began to stare at an out of breath Sandshrew with a demonic look in his eyes.
“…Mankey?” April asked with a hint of uncertainty in her voice.
“KEEEEY!!” Mankey cried out in a gruff, angered tone as he began charging at Sandshrew.
“S-Sandshrew run!” I cried out, sensing something wasn’t right.
The little pokemon began running away on all fours but Mankey was gaining on him, fast.
Suddenly a memory came flying back to me of Ditto running from me as I called out; “Curl into ball – you’ll get more speed that way!”
Sandshrew responded by tucking his head between his legs and sure enough began moving at a breakneck pace around the arena, Mankey still closely following in an angry rage.
“W-what’s wrong with him? I’ve never seen him act this way before!” April shouted across the arena.
Suddenly I heard a small chime and I looked down to see the PokeDex screen lit up.
‘Although Mankey is usually calm, it does have a bad temper. Once Mankey begins to Thrash, stopping it is impossible.’
“Impossible?! – Well he can’t hurt anyone if he’s in his pokeball – return Mankey!” April cried out as she pointed her pokeball at the Pokémon, it shooting a red light. She tried this two or three times before she actually hit him, but even then the red light began to engulf him but turned a dark shade of blue and ricocheted off of him.
“Noo, why isn’t it working!?” April cried, hitting her pokeball.
“Alex, you’re going to have to stop it!” The young referee called out from across the arena. “Attack him with your pokemon!”
“But how? All of my pokemon are either knocked out or being chased!”
“-There must be a way!”The little ref cried out with some certainty.
I looked over at the two pokemon circling the arena, an angry monkey chasing a ball. And then an idea struck me.
“Sandshrew, I need you to turn back on yourself and ram all of your weight into Mankey!”
Sandshrew suddenly, without question, skidded to a stop and sped back on itself, ramming its full weight into Mankey pushing it back across the cold, slate surface.
“Rollout…” The young boy whispered under his breath as he smiled.
Mankey lay lifeless on the ground as April ran over to it. Sandshrew uncurled itself from the ball and fell backwards from exhaustion.
“Saaandshreew..” he sighed, spreading himself out on the ground.
“Haha, you were amazing Sandshrew.” I said as I squeezed him in my arms, feeling immsensly proud of my pokemon and myself after our first battle.
“Mankey is unable to battle! - Sandshrew is the winner!!”
“Yeah, yeah..” April said grouchily, withdrawing her pokemon.
“You hear that? We won.” I said smiling ear to ear. “Now have a good rest, you deserve it.”
As Sandshrew disappeared into the warm, red light, I saw April’s pink and white hat and a flurry of brown hair appear at my side.
“Great match.” She said holding out her hand to me.
“Right back at cha.” I said as we shook.
“Hey, thanks for refereeing our match by the way." I said as I turned to the teenage boy in next to me.
“Hey, no problem!” He replied as he gave me a thumbs up.
“Anything we can do for you?”
“Well actually… you can give me a battle.”
“Uhh…” I mumbled, not expecting him to ask that.
“Huh? You’re a trainer?” April butted in, saying what I was thinking.
“Yep, and you’re just the person I want to battle against, Alex!”
“Wow, really?” I asked as I began to like the boy more. “So what’s your name?”
“Forrest.” He said with a smile.
“Where do I know that name…?” April began to ponder.
“Ah, nice to meet you Forrest.” I said shaking his hand. “So, when and where do you want to do this?”
“How about tomorrow morning so your pokemon can rest up, and then the place will be inside the gym – I want to fight you at your best!”
“Huh? Inside the Gym?”
“That’s right, as Pewter City Gym Leader, I officially challenge you to a battle Alex!”
“What?! Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?!”
Chapter 9 – A Forrest Full Of Trouble
“I can’t believe you DRAGGED a GYM LEADER out of his OWN GYM!” I said as April and I burst out in laughter, strolling through the streets of Pewter City.
As dusk arrived, the city began to show a certain noble beauty it didn’t appear to have during the daylight hours; the cold, unwelcoming stone-grey of the buildings changed to a warm and comforting shade of amber. It seemed to be a magical time of day; the Pidgeys were making their final returns to the comfort of their nests for the day as the Hoothoots began to stir from theirs. It was strange, I suddenly felt so at home in this urban jungle, and yet, it was so different from the country life I was leading not too long ago.
Suddenly a voice began to echo through the city, projected through a network of microphones that seemed to be attached to all of the major buildings.
“Attention citizens of Pewter City. The Ceridian Curfew will be coming into effect shortly, please return to your houses and places of residence. This is for your own safety, the police force and I thank you for your cooperation. I repeat –“
“I didn’t know there was a curfew… why do you think they put it in place?” April asked me.
I had completely forgotten about the curfew Jenny had informed me about. I felt more scared than I did before, knowing that who or whatever it was that was causing this curfew preyed on Pokémon trainers; and that I was now one of them.
“I know, but we should get back to the Pokémon centre first; it’s not safe for us here.” I said as I lead the way back.
After explaining the situation to April in our room, the thought of it and everything else completely left my mind, except for one thing; my gym battle.
‘Am I really ready for this?’ I thought. I wanted to train outside, after all we hadn’t had much practice, but they were resting from today’s battle with April. They’d need all their strength for a Gym battle, or would they?
‘Forrest is much younger than me, would he really be that tough?’ I thought again. ‘He will be if I’m not ready, and I’m older than him but have less experience with Pokémon, does age really matter? What about types? Can I win with the Pokémon I have?’ Too many thoughts rushed through my head, I needed to calm down.
Despite all my serious thinking I was still swinging my legs off of the edge of my creaky bed. I turned to April on the other side of the room. She was laying across her bed, with her head in her hands staring out of the window. The refracted moonlight was illuminating her face and her flowing brown hair, it was even shining in her eyes but she didn’t seem to care. She seemed like she was in another world, or staring deep into a distant memory; I almost felt bad breaking her from it to ask her a question.
“Huunh?” She mumbled as she turned to face me, her eyes glistening as she readjusted to the real world.
“Gym leaders specialize in a specific type of Pokemon don’t they? Does Forrest use Rock-types?”
“Well that’s the thing, I don’t know. When Adam fought at the Gym, a man named Flint was the gym leader, and he was a rock-type trainer. But I do remember hearing that there was some kind of squabble after we left about who should be the rightful gym leader, and a new one was appointed. I just didn’t realise it would be someone like him.”
“Well that’s useful… I have a gym battle tomorrow and no way of preparing a strategy.” I said as I lay backwards, my head hitting the pillow.
“But it bugs me because I’ve defiantly heard Forrest’s name before…” April said as she turned over doing the same thing I did.
“No ‘Don’t worry about it, you’ll do great!’ or ‘Noone’s a match for Ditto and Sandshrew!’ then? Just the mystery of a name…” I said fishing for support.
April looked up at me smiling, “You know you’ll do well anyway.”
I glanced over to her and raised my eyebrows with a smile on my face.
April sighed and rolled her eyes before saying, “Don’t worry about it, you’ll do great! Noone’s a match for Ditto and Sandshrew!”
“Well that sounded enthusiastic…”
It was here. The inescapable feeling; the pit in my stomach –judgement day.
The Gym doors stood in front of us, daunting as ever; everything seemed silent as April nudged me to open them. As I did the sunlight that shone through the rustling trees seemed to completely illuminate the inside, purifying the darkness.
I wondered if anybody could work in such a dark place, but it was nearly noon so people must’ve been at work by now.
“Where do you think Forrest is?” I asked, looking around the arena.
“Erm.. Over there!” April said as she pointed to two figures sitting in the stands.
Walking inside, every step could be heard vividly as its echo ricocheted throughout the large room. Every single thing could see seemed to be etched from stone; the floors, walls, ceilings and even the stands. The attention to detail that must’ve been paid was amazing.
As we reached the other side of the room we could see that Forrest was talking to an older man who looked remarkably similar, the same spiky brown hair, jaw line and distinctive eyes.
“Hey guys, thanks for coming!” Forrest said as he looked up.
“No problem, you ready for our battle?” I asked.
“Yeah sure, just gimme a sec to get ready. Dad, have you got my pokemon from upstairs?” He asked as he turned to the man next to him.
“Yep, just pick which ones you want to use.” The man said as he held his hand out with four minimized pokeballs in.
“You have… two pokemon right Alex? So is a two on two battle okay with you?”
“Yeah su –“
“- Wait a minute… you’re Flint aren’t you!” April deduced.
“Why yes I am. Have we… met before?” Flint asked.
“Yeah my brother battled you not too long ago, his name was Adam.”
“Ah yes, a remarkable trainer. He will do well taking on the Gym Challenge.”
“Wait, If you’re his father then –Aha! I knew I’d seen him before. Forrest was sitting in on Adam’s battle with you.”
“Yes, Forrest was always keen to learn new things about pokemon and battling, whenever I had a new challenger, he’d always be eager to watch just incase trainers would use any new pokemon he’d never seen before. His love of pokemon was what made him the best candidate to be the Gym Leader.” Flint explained as he tussled Forrest’s hair.
“Well the truth is, the Gym hasn’t been having much business lately which is why I’ve been challenging trainers instead of them challenging me. But every time I do they always seem to lose. But you Alex, I think you’ll give me a run for my money.”
“Well I don’t know about that…” I said as I ran my hand through my hair as I went slightly red.
“Sure you do, it’ll be a match to remember.” April said whilst smiling at me.
Suddenly I felt full of adrenaline; I was pumped for the battle.
“So, shall we get this show on the road? I’ll be refereeing this match so everyone, positions please!” Flint said as he rose to his feet.
I quickly claimed the right-hand side of the arena while April took her place in the stands, eager to find the perfect viewing spot for the match.
“Now, this will be a two-on-two battle, with no substitutions.” Flint declared as he flipped a coin into the air.
I personally couldn’t see the benefit in starting first, I’d much prefer to see what pokemon my opponent sends out before I decide on mine. Flint caught the coin smoothly in midair and somehow made it look cool while declaring; “It’s tails! – Alex to start!”
“…Crud.” I whispered under my breath.
‘Why didn’t I ask him what type of pokemon he uses?!’ I thought in my head as I tried to figure out logically which Pokémon I should send into the fray.
“Well, here goes nothing! Come ooon out!” I cried as a gelatinous pink Pokémon appeared on the stone floor. Ditto seemed the most logical choice – Ditto could mimic whatever came its way and could find a way of exploiting the Pokémon’s own weaknesses.
“Well in that case…” Forrest contemplated. “I choose Geodude!”
Forrest’s pokeball seemed to leap from his hand into the arena to release a small Pokémon, similar to a rock with arms.
“Duuuuuuude!” The Geodude cried.
“Okay, Ditto, transform into Geodude!”
“-Geodude, Rock throw!” Forrest cried out.
Ditto was enveloped in a bright white light as its shape began to drastically change into the spitting image of Geodude. Meanwhile Geodude hopped over to one of the many boulders littered around the arena and picked it up almost effortlessly.
Looking down at my PokeDex I could see that I didn’t have too many options for offensive moves – Geodude was clearly a defensive Pokémon. Ditto wouldn’t survive the weight of a boulder being thrown on it, I had to act quickly.
“Ditto use magnitude!”
“Dude-o!” It cried in response while beginning to tense itself.
“Geodude throw it now!” Forrest commanded knowing what was about to happen, but it was too late.
The ground under us began to shake violently as Geodude lost its balance and fell face-first to the floor, dropping the boulder in front of it, it smashing into many smaller pieces with a thunderous roar.
“Yeaaaaaaaaaah! Go Alex! You’re doing great!” I heard April cheer from the stands. I turned to see her cheering me on with Mankey sitting on her lap.
“—Tackle!” Forrest yelled as I turned around to see Geodude hurling himself into Ditto.
Ditto skidded across the adamantine surface and subsequently appeared to slightly struggle as it raised itself back upright. The tackle had hit hard.
“You always need to keep focused on the battle at hand; otherwise you may give your opponent an advantage.” Forrest said with an underhanded grin.
I clenched my fist, annoyed that I’d gotten Ditto hurt so recklessly. I needed to start thinking more tactically.
“Rock Polish Ditto!” I commanded after consulting my PokeDex.
“-Tackle him again Geodude!”
Ditto briefly flashed a ceramic silver colour. “Yes, that’s great! – Now dodge him!”
Geodude again thrusted its full weight at Ditto, but Ditto hopped to the side quicker than I’d ever seen it move before and Geodude crashed to the floor.
I let out a brief cry of joy before Forrest called out another order; “Mega punch!”
“-Catch his fist Ditto!”
Geodude’s fist became engulfed in an amber glow as his arm stretched out towards Ditto. Ditto’s speed had increased dramatically but if the timing was wrong the whole thing wouldn’t work.
“Grab it now and spin him!!” I yelled as Ditto grabbed Geodude’s fist and used the force of the attack to spin him around as Geodude was raised further and further from the ground. “Now throw him Ditto!” Ditto did exactly as I asked and simply released Geodude at the right time near a boulder and let momentum do the rest.
“No, Geodude!” Forrest cried.
Geodude was hurled into a boulder as debris filled the arena, but didn’t quite seem ready to give up just yet.
“Okay then, let’s finish this with a Rock Blast!”
“Dude-o!” Ditto cried as it hopped over to a pile of debris from the boulder that Geodude dropped earlier and began launching barrages of rock upon rock at Geodude until there was nothing left to throw.
The onslaught had created a dust cloud that slowly began to clear as everyone in the arena leaned slightly forward, eager to see the result.
Flint’s right arm was raised as the dust settled; “Geodude is unable to battle – the round goes to Alex the challenger!”
“Yeeeeah!!” April I cried out in Unison.
Ditto cried out its name joyfully as it jumped into my arms, reverting to its gelatinous form.
“Ditto you were amazing out there!” I said as I hugged it and withdrew it to its pokeball with April’s chorus still ringing in the background.
“Wow, well done Alex that was impressive but the battle’s not over yet!” Forrest said as he withdrew his fainted pokemon into its capsule home.
“Round two! Would trainers please choose their pokemon!”
“You know what my other pokemon is; Go get ‘em Sandshrew!” I said as I released the little sand-mouse onto the battlefield.
“Next up for me is Crobat!” Forrest declared as he threw a rather aged pokeball into the air.
“Round two – Begin!!”
‘Crobat, the bat pokemon and the evolved form of Golbat. With its two additional wings, Crobat is able to fly much faster than Golbat; however this limits Crobat’s ability to rest. Like its previous evolutions Crobat uses echo location to find its foe.’ The PokeDex dictated to me.
Suddenly my head was filled with hundreds of possible battle tactics; one after another they hit me, like I was being smothered in an avalanche of ideas.
“I hope you’re ready for this Alex! Crobat- Wing attack!!” Forrest bellowed across the battlefield with sneaky glint in his eye, as if he had an ace up his sleeve.
But before I could even tell Sandshrew to dodge, Crobat had knocked him to the floor with one of its powerful wings, disorienting not only the pokemon, but myself as well. The Pokedex wasn’t lying, Crobat’s speed was nothing to be scoffed at - It appeared as no more than a blur in the corner of my eye as it sharply turned back towards its trainer.
“Sandshrew, you okay?” I called out to the little Pokémon as he reassuringly sprung to his feet. “Good, okay Poi-“
“—Astonish!” Forrest cried out as Crobat cried out an eerie noise that sounded as if someone was screaming while scraping their nails slowly down a blackboard – it shook me to my bones.
Sandshrew seemed frozen in his tracks with a look of terror in his eyes. As I took my hands away from my ears I could hear Forrest yell out an order for yet another move; “Air cutter!”
“Sandshrew, Defence Curl!”
Sandshrew remained motionless with a blank look upon his face.
“Defence Curl!” I cried again but to no avail as Crobat unleashed a barrage of shining scythe-like shapes as it cut through the very air above him. It reminded me of a plane bombing a city below, it was brutal, but the timing was just right.
Sandshrew was cut again and again as he was impacted by the scythes. One after another they came, battering him and the battlefield around him – I couldn’t stand to watch, why wouldn’t he listen to me and protect himself?
After I could no longer hear the pounding of air cutter against the rock covered floor, I brought myself to face the arena once again. Sandshrew was on the floor in a heap, but still with life in him as he tried to raise himself up again; his arms trembling as he did so.
“Sandshrew you don’t have to fight anymore!” I cried out, not wanting to see the Pokémon suffer through another onslaught. “Just lay still and the battle will be over.”
Sandshrew fell to the floor as Flint looked on, trying to figure out whether to call it or not. Sandshrew again began to raise itself upright, calling his name with a deep sense of determination until he stood proudly, if not a little shakily, ready to take on Crobat again.
“I’m impressed with your little Sandshrew Alex. Even after suffering through Astonish and flinching right into an Air Cutter attack, he’s still standing. He cares for you a great deal to withstand all of that and get back up again.”
Although Forrest’s words made me feel as though Sandshrew and I had really bonded, I couldn’t stop thinking about my next move and how we could get around Crobat’s speed. And then I noticed that Sandshrew was standing around many pieces of rubble from a rock that was smashed earlier in the battle and a single idea flowed through my head – it had to work.
“This bond and love that trainer and Pokémon share is, in essence, what a good team is made up of. Some Pokémon can even evolve from this bond, like Crobat fo-“
“--Sandshrew use Rapid Spin on the spot!” I cried out, eager to set my plan into motion.
Sandshrew twisted itself around and then propelled itself in the opposite direction, spinning so fast, I couldn’t make out his actual body shape. The rocks directly below him were propelled in many different directions at tremendous speeds, ricocheting off of walls, the ceiling and the floor causing the clashing of rock against rock to echo throughout the arena. Everyone began to cover their faces in protection of not being able to tell exactly where these pieces of rock were.
Crobat began to squint his eyes in pain as the noise overwhelmed his sensitive hearing as he flew erratically in the air.
“That’s great Sandshrew, keep it up!” I cried as we finally had the upper hand.
Forrest stood opposite, seemingly lost for words and not quite knowing what to do.
Crobat looked as if he couldn’t take any more as his erratic flying eventually had him crashing to the floor.
I couldn’t help but smile as I let out my next command; “Okay Sandshrew, now’s our chance – Use Rollout on Crobat!”
Sandshrew thrust a claw slightly into the rock and stylishly skidded to a stop before curling into a ball that showed just the yellow hide of the Pokémon and propelling himself towards Crobat.
“Crobat, no! Fly away – fly away!!” Forrest yelled trying to get through to his Pokémon, but it was no use; Crobat had landed on its hind wings and couldn’t lift itself off of the rocky ground below.
Sandshrew had picked up enormous speed and rolled straight into Crobat’s face – both Pokémon were instantly thrown in opposite directions; One bounced away unharmed, the other felt the cold brunt of the stone gym in which it resided.
“You always need to keep focused on the battle at hand; otherwise you may give your opponent an advantage.” I said as I caught Forrest’s eye and winked at him.
Three sets of eyes all gave Flint their full attention as he raised a cerulean blue flag and declared; “Crobat is unable to battle, victory goes to Alex the challenger and Sandshrew from Cerulean City!”
I couldn’t believe it, was this really true?
“…We won.” I muttered under my breath. “Sandshrew we did it!!” I yelled at the top of my voice as I grabbed my pokemon and threw him in the air before catching him again. He was happily chuckling and was as pleased as I was.
“I couldn’t have done it without you, you know…” I said as I tickled his belly in my arms.
I suddenly was almost knocked over and deafened simultaneously as April decided to grab me and started to swing me in a strange kind of dance whilst letting out a high pitched squeal of glee - I figured it was an Orange Isles thing.
After our celebratory dance was over Forrest and Flint approached us holding a very official looking wooden box. It was varnished to give it a sleek sheen and had an open copper latch.
“Alex that was, without a doubt, the best match I’ve had in a long time. I can honestly say that no one deserves this more than you. I’m proud to present to you the first Boulder Badge I have ever given out.” Forrest said as he pulled open the lid of the box to reveal a polished, brand new octagonal badge that looked somewhat like a valuable gem nestled in a bed of grey silk.
I stared intently at it, its brilliance enchanting me until April nudged me with her elbow whispering; “Well go on, take it” in my ear.
I picked it up in my hands as gently as I could as to not damage it – I didn’t even want a mark on my new badge.
I looked up again to see Flint proudly put his hand on Forrest’s shoulder as I looked over to April.
“You just want to scream don’t you?”
“Yes… yes I do.”
“Go for it.” She said uttering a little chuckle.
“YEEEEESS!!! - I GOT A BOULDER BADGE!!!”
Chapter 10 – The Sun and the Moon and the Starlit Sky (A)
Growly landed back on the waving grass the same way she had left it; without a scratch on her, while Weepinbell seemed to shrivel from the barrage of fiery attacks he had endured.
“Weepinbell is unable to battle! – The match goes to Growlithe and Adam the challenger from Valencia Island!” The announcer declared.
“Yeaaaah!! I got a Rainbow Badge!!” I said, holding my badge high in the air with pride, its eight colours shining its namesake across my face as I did so.
“Well done Adam, you’ve really become one with your Pokémon, that’s such a good thing to see.” Erika said as she wiped Weepinbell’s wounds with a herbal remedy on a cloth. Weepinbell’s head was rested upon Erika’s floral kimono; it was the exact same shade of green as the thriving grass she and her Pokémon were sitting on. As she smiled at me, her face caught the sunlight that shone through the glass roof, she had a genuine kindness and beauty that you could tell was much more than skin-deep, I’d never told her that before.
“Thank you.” I said with a smile, “That stuff’s really working on Weepinbell, what is it?” I asked as Growly circled my feet, eager to play.
“Oh, this?” She said looking down at her pokemon, his wounds almost fully gone. “It’s just a herbal remedy we make here at the gym, we use berries, perfumes and various plants – it’s really easy to make, and it could very much save someone one day, you should remember it.
“…Bell?” Weepinbell cried as he opened his eyes to be greeted by Erika’s warm smile.
Weepinbell suddenly jumped to life and began bouncing across the grass calling its name, chasing a nearby Oddish as Erika began to chuckle with glee.
“So how many badges do you have now Adam?” She asked me.
“I’m halfway towards getting us to the Pokémon league - Just four more to go!” I said as I sat down beside her.
“Ah, good for you! But don’t get too confident now.” She said as she started to stroke behind Growly’s ear, making her leg twitch. “You never know how tough your next opponent is going to be.
“Yeah I know, but one day no one will be a match for my Pokémon - right Growly?” I said as I looked over to her, too content with being stroked to respond.
“Well… clearly that day isn’t today.”
There was a strange silence in the air before I finally said, “So I love what you’ve done with the gym. It looks better than ever.”
Looking around the giant greenhouse I could see dozens of families enjoying picnics, children running around and playing and Pokémon enjoying the fruits of nature all on top of a gorgeous field of grass that was decorated with flower arrangements, berry trees, and hedges cut into the shape of various grass Pokémon. Centre to all of this though was a two tier fountain that carried the clearest, freshest water I’d ever seen to various channels that led to surrounding flower beds of different colours that, if seen from above, would be almost identical to a rainbow badge.
“Thank you so much and doesn’t it? After the fire the townspeople and everyone at the gym dedicated themselves to build a better, safer gym that could be a haven to people and Pokémon all year round. And thanks to them, we finally have it. ...So what about you, have you found somewhere like that yet, for April and yourself? Speaking of which, where is April, I thought you two had decided to travel together?”
“I’ve been searching, but I’m looking for something else. April’s… taking her own path with a new friend she met. I think it’s her way of dealing with things… or maybe she’s just finally moved on with her life. To be honest, I thought it’d changed her, but now we’re apart I think it was me that changed.”
“You do seem… quieter than you used to be.” She said as she looked up at me, into my eyes which made me both smile and blush. “But I know that deep down you’re still the same person inside.”
Erika could always cheer me up and make me smile. She was the person I could tell all of my troubles to without worrying that I’d be judged or rejected. We’d always felt at home together, even though whenever we were together, one of us was on foreign soil.
As I looked into Erika’s eyes I could feel time passing by around us; we could often just sit together and not say a word, and then both feel like we’d had the most deep and meaningful conversation ever.
“You know…” She said as she clasped my hand, “whenever I feel troubled, I always find it helps to just lie on the grass and watch the clouds pass by.”
I said that I’d give it a shot as we both lay back, the grass brushing against our cheeks as the clear blue sky came into view, dotted with puffs of white.
“Ah, you’re right; this is relaxing.” I said as I stared up at the clouds in the sky, trying to find familiar shapes in each one. Despite being in near-enough the centre of the city, not a single urban noise could be heard; birds chirping, the laughter of children, everything I needed was here.
As we both gazed into the never-ending sky and were bathed in the warm glow of the sun, I edged my hand closer to Erika’s until before I knew it, I was holding it – and she was holding mine too!
And then it hit me, I think I had found my haven – everything I needed was here.. except for April and the fact that –
“- Erika, Erika!” a group of young children cried as they ran over to us, interrupting my train of thought.
“What is it?” She replied as she sat up.
“Come and play with us pleeaaase??” a rather scruffy-haired girl asked.
“Ohhh, well if you insist!” She said playing along with them. “But you’re not playing very well if I can see you now, are you? One… two… three..” She said as the children ran away to hide in a fit of giggles.
“Well I’ve got some very important children-catching to do as you can see.” She smiled as she rose to her feet, brushing her kimono down.
“And I’ve got some very important badge-collecting to do – but I’ll be back, just you see!”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Erika said as she kissed my cheek and turn away on her heel to walk away.
“Oh and Adam?” she said turning back to face me.
“Y-yeah?” I replied, recovering from a sudden burst of euphoria.
“What you’re looking for… It might not be what you expect, and you might not like it.”
After bidding farewell to Pewter City, we’d decided that our next stop would be Cerulean. Saying goodbye to Pewter was harder than I had expected it to be; bidding farewell to so many new friends, I felt as if I’d been there a long time after so much had happened, and to tell the truth, I’d kind of miss it.
It was a sunny day along Route Three, at least that was what the trainers seemed to call it; the path that led up to Mount Moon and beyond. Spring was definitely upon us as the soft, pink cherry blossoms from the mountain trees delicately flowed through the air in front of us carrying not only the scent of spring, but the seeds for new life to flourish.
“Aaaahh- Achoo!!” April cried from behind me.
“You okay?” I asked as I turned to face her.
“Sorry… Hay-fever.” April said as she wiped her bunged-up nose.
“You don’t have to be sorry; you didn’t get any on my badge.” I chuckled.
“Haha you and that badge! You haven’t stopped about it since we left Pewter!”
“Yeaah I know, but I’m just so proud of it.” I said, grinning ear to ear, gazing down at it as it
shimmered in the afternoon sun.
“But the thing is, when I battle with my Pokémon, it’s like I’m a different person. I think quicker, I’m more confident and I can’t think about anything else besides the battle.”
“Adam used to say the same thing... I think it’s the adrenaline that does it.” April said stepping over a protruding tree root.
“Adrenaline, huh?” I said as I jumped up a small ledge, away from the beaten track that’d been walked countless times before.
I turned around to offer April help climbing up but I was met with a cold stare. April’s eyes were wide, her pupils miniscule; looking in my direction, but not at me, at the forest behind me.
“We’re going through… there?” April murmured, her gaze not shifting.
“Do you not want to?” I asked, sliding down the ledge as I did so. “It’s alot quicker than going through Mount Moon - we can be in Cerulean by tonight.”
And then it hit me – why didn’t this occur to me earlier? This was the forest where we met. The forest where she was attacked – of course she’d be petrified of the place.
“Although… I have always wanted to see the inside of Mount Moon.” I said, trying to feign a convincing and supportive smile.
“…Really?” April asked as she finally averted her gaze to me; her legs trembling.
“Of course, would I lie to you?”
Of course, I was lying, but it was a white lie. A lie I told to make her feel better, but it would be a lie that helped me to learn a deep secret kept in her heart.
“No… no you wouldn’t.” April said, sounding like she really believed me.
“So, Shall we?”
Mount Moon was meant to be a simple step on the road to Cerulean that every Pokémon trainer takes; no one seemed to mention how much of a maze it was. Chamber after chamber seemed to intertwine and entering in one end and exiting through another began to feel more like it was a challenge that you had to overcome.
The cave itself was very dark much like any other, hiding time itself from those within its walls. April took out a torch from her rucksack and switched it on to reveal a dense cavern with a wavering stream running through.
“So… which way should we go?” April asked as she looked around aimlessly.
“I don’t know... Maybe if we follow this stream we’ll be able to find an exit – it’s got to go somewhere right?”
After following the stream for what seemed like hours, a strange sound echoed around us. It sounded like a very deep but at the same time a very relaxed roar.
“…What was that?” I asked, knowing full well that April wouldn’t know the answer.
“I don’t know but it sounded like it came from… wait a minute. We’ve already been in this cavern, I’m sure of it!”
I looked around to see the same rocky outlines that I’d seen all day, how could she tell which cavern was which? - They all looked the same!
“Great. So we’ve been going in circles this whole time? Where do we go now?”
“Towards the noise.” April said as she started walking away.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. You want to go towards the scary noise?” I said running in front of her.
“Yeah, think about it. Pokémon need to eat, right?”
“Well they probably need to go outside Mount Moon to find it. So if we go towards the Pokémon, we’ll probably find an exit. Didn’t you think it was strange that we haven’t seen one Pokémon since we’ve been here?”
“Oh. Well.. I… erm - Towards the noise!” I cried as I turned on my feet and lead the way.
As we walked further the noise became louder and lasted longer.
“Hey, what’s that?” April asked, seeing light emanating from around the corner.
As we entered yet another cavern, we were met with pillars of moonlight that shone through three rather large holes in the cavern’s ceiling. As the moonlight shone through onto the rocky walls and floor, the rocks themselves began to irradiate a minty green glow.
Suddenly the roar echoed throughout the caves again, causing April and I to cover our ears.
“Did that… sound like a yawn to you?” I asked looking at April.
“Yeah…” She said as she scanned the immediate area.
“Hey what’s that?” April asked pointing to the corner where a pink and white Pokémon stood out from the green of the walls.
As we got close we could see that the small Pokémon was walking continuously into a wall, even though it wasn’t getting anywhere.
“Slow….” It said as it sat down, staring at the wall.
“What’s it doing?” April asked.
“I dunno…” I said as I reached for my PokeDex.
‘Slowpoke, the dopey pokemon. Slowpoke is always lost in thought; its specialty is fishing with its tail, although when it is doing this, its mind often wanders. Every springtime, masses of Slowpoke journey to beaches to evolve.’
“Oh it must be lost, the poor thing…”April said as she picked it up.
“For a Pokémon that’s ‘lost in thought’ all the time, he doesn’t seem that with it.”
“But it soooo cuuuute!” April said as she pushed the Slowpoke’s face against hers. “I’ve decided! I’m taking him to a beach to evolve!”
“The next beach is a long way away..”
“Well I could always capture him...” April said, pouting her bottom lip, and widening her ocean blue eyes eyes. “…Pleease?”
April didn’t have any Pokeballs of her own besides Mankey’s, so she needed one of the ones I’d been given from Ivy - I couldn’t really say no to her.
“Okay, okay.” I said as I handed her a pokeball.
“Do you want to come with me?” April asked the pokemon as she gently tapped it with the sphere of red and white and it disappeared inside.
April held the pokeball in her hands as she watched it sway back and forth. The center button flickered a faded red until it the ball stopped moving entirely.
“Hey April, you’ve just caught your first Pokémon!”
“Yeah I did, didn’t I?” April said as she let out a loud yawn.
“You wanna set up camp?” She asked.
“Yeah, okay.” I cried as a yawn took me by suprise, and I forgot to cover my mouth.
"Well... That's a nice view."
As the moonlight beamed down on us, we looked through the holes in the cave to see the starlit sky above. Much like the sky, every inch of the cave around us seemed to shimmer from the power of the moon.
We both lay, wrapped up tightly in our sleeping bags. April was snuggled up closely to her new Pokémon, silently staring upwards while I tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable on the cold, rocky floor; eventually giving up.
While April stared at the sky, I was enchanted by the cave’s radiance.
“You know...” I began, turning to face her. “They say Mount Moon is where some Pokémon arrived from outer space on comets…”
April didn’t respond to my comment in the slightest. In fact, she hadn’t even acknowledged that I’d said anything at all.
“Maybe this place is a giant comet… that could be why it glows like this at night.” I said again, but still to no response.
“Well that’s what I think anyway.” I said as I turned onto my back, resting my head on my folded arms behind me.
It was too quiet… April always seemed to have something to say, but at nights she would barely make a sound. She would just… stare. There had to be a reason.
“April, are you okay?” I asked.
She remained silent.
“You like to stare at the moon, huh? I’ve seen you do it for a while now; I like to look up at the sky too.”
A single tear suddenly began rolling down the side of April’s face.
“My parents used to tell me; ‘If you miss someone who is far away, remember to look up at the moon. Because we all share the same moon in the same sky, and no matter how far away someone is, they will see it too.’ So every night I look up at that moon and I see my parents, and for a brief moment it makes me happy…”
“Why only for a brief moment?”
“Because then I remember that they’re not here – the Rockets made sure of that.”
“Team Rocket? - The criminals?! What did they do to them?”
“T-team Rocket they…” April began but stopped to compose herself. “Adam and me… We’re not from Valencia Island; we lived on Cleopatra Island until the Rockets attacked. They burnt down the town without any warning, looking for something… a clue to where someone was.
The night the flames spread throughout town Adam helped me into the woods to hide and just as he was about to go back for mum and dad we saw two Rockets drag them from our house while a third looked on with a sick look of pleasure on her face. She asked them where someone named Giovanni was and they didn’t know. The woman looked down at them as she told her Arbok to constrict itself around them, making them scream out in pain while she asked the question again. Mum and dad pleaded with her, saying that they didn’t know but the woman didn’t believe them and… and… Arbok bit my mum.
It was just like she was going to sleep… Daddy was screaming and trying to get free and we wanted to get up and help him but we had to keep quiet and stay hidden. The woman asked him once more, but he just didn’t care and yelled at her saying everything that we wanted to. The redhead looked down at him and chuckled, calling him pathetic. Adam must’ve known what was about to happen as he pulled me to my feet as he made us rush into the woods. I struggled to run back to see or even try and help but then all I heard was the redheaded woman yell; ‘Constrict!’ and then Daddy let out a cry of sheer pain the echoed through the forest.
It was… horrible.” April murmured; her eyes filled with tears. Her eyes showed a sadness that far outweighed anything that I’d seen, and I could tell that this must’ve been the first time she’d ever confided in anyone.
I was blown away. I didn’t know what to say. What could I say? Apart from:
“April… I’m so sorry.”
“We just kept running until we couldn’t anymore and eventually we found the dock and stowed away in the first ferry we found. We fell asleep among all the cargo and when we woke up we were surrounded by police and a woman in a lab coat. We were in pretty bad shape and were taken to rest at the woman’s lab. When we were better she offered us jobs as her assistants for a while, and we stayed with her for a year and a half until we had the money to come to Kanto, to find Team Rocket.”
“But April… didn’t team rocket disband about a year and a half ago? They’re not around anymore – it was on the news.”
“That’s what they say… but somehow I just know that they’re still out there, and I’m gonna find them.”
“Well then, I’ll help too!” I declared, feeling determined to do anything I could to help.
“Really?” April asked.
“Yep, I’ll give it my best!”
“Thank you Alex.” April said as she leant over to hug me.
“No problem.” I said, hugging her back.
“You wanna hear something funny?” April said in my ear.
“The woman with the lab was Professor Ivy – your sister. That’s why when I found out who you were I just… felt so close to you already and I knew I had to go with you when the time came.” April said as she pulled away and looked me straight in the eye.
“So you knew each other before… is that how Adam got his first Pokémon?”
“Yeah, it was a present just before we came to Kanto, Adam didn’t let me have one, saying that battling was too dangerous. He was really over-protective ever since it all happened, and I think he’ll be better off on his own for a while...”
“I hope so…”
“Well anyway, I think we should probably go to sleep.” April said as she leaned over and kissed my forehead, her lips warm and gentle to my skin.
“…Goodnight April.” I said, laying down suddenly feeling warm in the moonlight.
“And Alex… Thank you for lying to me.”
Out Of Context: Thanks for reading, please let me know what you guys think :)
Chapter 11 – There’s No Place Like Home
“You’re not going to wiiin!” I jeered back to April as I speedily sprinted down a series of luscious green hills.
After exiting out of the darkness of Mount Moon to the rather harsh sunlight of Route Four, April challenged me and my Pokémon to a race against her and her Pokémon.
Each team had to have all of its respective members at the bottom of the hill to claim victory. While Sandshrew and Ditto had a clear lead on everyone, with Ditto imitating Sandshrew’s Sandshrew-ball, Mankey was close behind swinging itself through the trees. Next up was me, with April hot on my tail, and then lastly, trailing behind was Slowpoke who seemed oblivious to the whole scenario.
“Wanna bet?” April cried, increasing her speed so we were neck and neck.
“Aha, even if you beat me, –huff- Slowpoke’s still ages behind - he’ll never catch up!” I said, looking over to the finish line to see three Pokémon already there and then pointing behind me to make my point.
But suddenly I lost focus and consequently my footing as I fell and began rolling uncontrollably down the hill, picking up tremendous speed.
‘This could actually work out benefitting me...’ I thought until I crashed into a giant rock protruding from the ground, knocking me unconscious for a brief moment, right before the finish line.
As I came to in a crumpled mess, I saw the white tip of Slowpoke’s tail just passing the rock that stopped my roll to victory before hearing the happy cries of April and her Pokémon.
“You know what they say…” April said as she perched herself on top of the rock. “Slow and steady wins the race!”
“You’re telling me…” I said, holding my aching head.
My vision began to readjust as I rose to my feet with the help of April, but after I did so, something caught my eye.
A few familiar fields, the smell of straw in the air and a rickety old barn; how could I have forgotten? – I was home… but something wasn’t right.
“This farm… It’s my home.” I said.
“Really? How come you didn’t say that we had to go past it? You’re not supposed to go back there are you?”
“Well I’d completely forgotten that we had to go past it to get to Cerulean, but I dunno… something’s not right. I've been gone for over a week now; I would've expected at least a barrage of phone calls asking where I am, I just... need to see if they're okay.” I said as I began walking towards the gate.
April did a quick run to catch up to me; “But the professor said-“
“-Ivy said not to tell mum, and I have no intention of even speaking to her; I’ll only be quick, I doubt anyone will see me.” I said, my ears still ringing from hitting the rock.
As we walked into the farm with our Pokémon following us, I looked around from the old barn, to the field, to the house; each one was as empty as the next and none had even the faintest sign of life.
“Something is wrong, there should be Miltank in the field, Mareep around the barn and at least one person tending to the crops, but there’s nothing!”
“Doesn't it seem… darker to you?” April asked.
“Huh? …Yeah it does.” I said as we looked around us to see that the sunlight had disappeared from around us and the farm had a shadow cast over it.
“Alex, look up there.” April said, pointing to a large cloud in the sky that seemed to be blocking out the sun.
“It’s not moving with the wind… but everything else is.”
“That’s not possible is it?” April asked.
I looked around for some kind of answer, anything that would tell me what was going on until I saw something that made my heart drop.
“Oh no…” I said under my breath.
“..Is it?” April asked again.
“Mum?!” I cried as I ran over to a woman who was strewn across the floor. She had been hidden from view by a fence and her head and tied up brown hair were damp from a tipped over bucket next to her.
“Mum? Mum!? What happened?” I yelled, not knowing what to do.
April stood behind me, she looked frozen with fear. “I-Is she okay?”
“I-I don’t know, how do I know?!” I cried, my eyes beginning to well up.
“Look-Look her chest is moving!”
“You’re right!” I cried as my heart steadied a bit. “Mum, wake up!” I said as I began to gently shake her.
“Do you hear that?” April asked.
“Hear what? I can’t hear anything, why won’t she wake up April?” I cried as I suddenly heard the sound of grass being flattened by things falling to the ground.
“April?!” I asked again and I turned around to see April and our Pokémon strewn across the ground just as my mother was.
“Not you too! C’mon everyone, get up!” I cried, not knowing what was going on around me.
April, Ditto, Slowpoke, Sandshrew and my mum had all collapsed onto the ground, but not one of them even stirred as I tried to get them to regain consciousness.
“…Please?” I muttered while my eyes began to glisten as tears filled them to the brim, ready to pour down my cheeks in a heartbeat.
Suddenly the tree next to the barn began shaking vigorously making newly grown leaves fall to the ground much before their time.
Was this it? Was this the thing that was going to make me catatonic like all the others?
I looked up as the tree stopped shaking and a patch of white fur poked over the top of the branches and then swung downwards towards the trunk. I instinctively shut my eyes, but began to reopen them after a few seconds as I felt no immediate presence around me.
As I did so I saw a familiar face dangling from the tree by his tail.
“Mankey!! – You’re okay!” I cried, running over to the pokemon.
“Key-Key!” He cried, as he swung himself off of the tree and onto my shoulder.
As I tussled his fur, I began to think.
‘Why is it that Mankey and I remain unharmed while the others dropped to the ground like flies?’
I didn’t have much time to dwell on it however, as Mankey jumped off of my shoulder and started to run off towards the far side of the barn.
“Mankey wait! Where are you going?!” I yelled, running after him, leaving the others behind.
Mankey was definitely showing me something important, but as I ran past the opened door of the barn, I had to double-take as something caught my eye.
I took a few steps back and went inside barn; all of the Mareep were in the same state on the floor as the others were, but that wasn’t what caught my eye. In the middle of all of the Mareep was a scruffy pile of brown that looked to be made up of a feathery substance.
‘This is definitely not part of the barn…’ I thought as I slowly reached out my hand to touch it.
As my hand touched a light brown portion of the pile, it seemed to twitch and before I knew it, the pile transformed into several Hoothoot and Noctowl flying away in all different directions. I immediately dropped to the floor and covered my head only to become covered in feathers; so much so that a Noctowl would probably mistake me for one of its own.
I uncovered my head and began brushing myself down as I returned to my feet and saw that something had been under the pile of pokemon. And that something had been someone – my dad!
“Dad… You as well?” I said to myself, kneeling back down beside him. My dad was the typical farmer type – big boots, checkered shirt, jeans and light brown hair. He wasn’t frail by any means, but he was getting on a bit and wasn’t as strong as he would make himself out to be.
I looked up to the roof of the barn and saw the Hoothoot and Noctowl perched on the beams looking down at us and a realization hit me.
“You were… keeping him warm weren’t you?” I said to them.
A single Noctowl tilted its head as if to agree.
“Thank you…” I said as Mankey appeared at the door screaming; “Man! Mankey!”
I quickly rose to my feet again as I rushed to the door. “I’ll be back soon, dad!”
As I ran back outside, I saw the cloud in the sky from earlier but it seemed to have doubled in size. I stopped in my tracks, gob smacked.
‘What is happening?’ I thought as I continued following Mankey around the barn, hoping that he had an answer.
Once we got to the back of the barn, Mankey stood still and began pointing at a stack of old wooden boxes and barrels.
“Mankey, there’s nothing here - we don’t have time for this!” I said as I turned around, not believing him.
“KEY!” Mankey insisted, still pointing.
I figured that Mankey must’ve seen something to insist like that so I hoisted myself up onto one of the big boxes and saw that there was something behind it.
“What are they?..” I asked as I reached for my PokeDex.
‘Swablu, the cotton bird Pokémon. This Pokémon that has wings like cottony clouds which it uses to clean any unclean surface including people of which it is not afraid of. After enduring winter, in which little food is available, Swablu flocks move closer to towns in the spring.’
The tiny Swablu had sky blue bodies with two long feathers upon their heads with two lengthy wings that looked like cotton buds. However one had a bruised and bent wing, whereas the other looked fine but was clearly concerned for the injured one as it lovingly nestled its beak up against it.
“Oh no… Hey there little guy.” I said, carefully reaching over to pick up the injured Swablu. “I’m gonna help you out.”
I reached into my backpack as I lay the injured Swablu on my lap, to get a phial of red liquid. I dabbed some of it on a spare piece of cloth and gently rubbed the little Pokémon’s wing with it.
The second Swablu flew up from behind me and landed on my head and began nestling itself there.
I simply said; “Well… Okay.” And carried on.
The injured Swablu cried out as I rubbed the cloth but I knew that I was doing some good so I carried on until it looked slightly better and became slightly whiter.
“You know your wings do look alot like... clouds.” I said to the Swablu as I returned my things to my backpack.
Suddenly the sky became much darker as the ominous cloud looked as if it was about to crash into the farm. I could hear a faint eerie noise, but I couldn’t work out what it was.
“Oh no…” I said, putting two and two together and running around the barn to hide inside, carrying the two Swablu with me.
The cloud seemed to be reaching out to the ground in front of us as just before I got to the barn, a giant blue behemoth appeared in front of me from it, crashing to the floor, making me lose my balance and fall to the ground.
As I fell to the ground, so did my PokeDex; making the screen light up and the bell chime.
‘Altaria; the humming Pokémon, and the evolved form of Swablu. As Altaria fly across the sky they resemble small clouds and are known for their beautiful high-pitched song. They are very protective of their young and are capable of unleashing intensely hot fireballs from their mouths if provoked.’
My arms quivered in fear as I held the injured Swablu in my arms, staring up at the intimidating presence of the Altaria. Its four front claws along with its back ones were firmly rooted to the ground as its long neck stretched out towards me placing its face inches away from my own. The Altaria hissed through its gleaming white beak as its eyes stared straight into my own, unnerving me to my core.
Suddenly the ominous cloud looming above us seemed to burst into a flurry of Swablu that began to circle overhead while others perched themselves on telephone lines, on top of the barn, the house, all around me as if to tell me there would be no escape should I run.
With the disappearance of the ‘cloud’, the sun again began to shine on the farm and was welcomed against my skin, but it was nothing against Altaria’s fiery breath that I could feel floating around my cheeks.
The Altaria looked up towards the Swablu flock as if to issue an order and immediately after they began to sway oddly from side to side in unison chirping something that I couldn’t quite make out. The Altaria looked back at me as if it was confused and wanted something.
So, without making any sudden movements I slowly moved my hands over to pick up the injured Swablu from my lap, but as I wasn’t looking I accidently touched its injured wing making it cry out in pain, which subsequently caused Altaria to let out an ear-shattering roar that made my ears pop.
The ringing that had plagued my ears since I hit my head had stopped – I could hear again! The sounds of the fields of corn swaying in breeze, and a strange melodic chirping from the Swablu, it seemed almost… peaceful. But I wasn’t about to celebrate as I again reached for the injured Swablu in my lap and gently picked it up in my arms and held it forward as a peace offering.
“I-I didn’t hurt it… I found it like this and… and…” I said as my eyes suddenly became heavy and kept shutting as I was speaking, forcing me to open them again. “I help…” I continued, but only for my eyes to completely shut and before I knew it; I was asleep after falling forwards to the floor.
As I began to wake up I experienced a strange, yet warm feeling of every muscle in my body relaxing; my eyelids no longer felt as if they were weighed down by a Snorlax and my drowsiness had vanished entirely. I didn’t want to open my eyes to break free from this state of serenity until I heard cries of “Swablu, Swablu!” followed by a sharp prodding of something tapping my head and memories of the scenario I was in the middle of came flooding back to me.
I opened my eyes to find that I was coated in a pure white aura that seemed to be flowing outwards from the uninjured Swablu perched on my head and waved over my body like a soft sheet of silk.
As I began to make sense of the environment around me again, I could hear Mankey and the Injured Swablu frantically crying and chirping their respective names along with the rest of the flock towards the Altaria who seemed less hostile than before. It seemed as if they were pleading with the Altaria see the truth.
Whilst I rose to my feet, Altaria bent its long neck downwards so it’s head was level with the Swablu’s and gently nuzzled its beak against it, almost as a sign of apology.
I walked towards them, but as the grass crunched under me, Altaria’s gaze sharply averted in my direction, and I was unsure of how to go on. So I began to talk to see if it would understand me, people always said Pokémon understand human speech.
“Please… your friend, the little Swablu… I found him already injured with his friend behind my barn, so I bandaged him up and helped him; but my friends, they’re all still asleep, so please can you help them for me?”
Altaria lifted its head up and its expression completely changed from hostility to compassion, the brown of its eyes seemed to become less intense and its eyebrows lifted.
‘Has it worked?’ I thought as Altaria suddenly opened its wings to show its full wingspan in all its glory. And with that, my PokeDex lit up again from the floor and uttered:
‘If an Altaria bonds with a person, it will gently envelop the friend with its soft wings.’
I cautiously stepped forward, still skeptical of how quickly this blue behemoth had become friendly, but as I drew closer, Altaria closed its enormous wings and pulled me in. At first I squirmed but Altaria’s wings didn’t just look like clouds they felt as soft as you’d think clouds would be against my skin. My face was immediately warmed by the heat emanating from its furry chest and the metronomic beat of its heart was relaxing as I hugged the Pokémon back.
As I hugged Altaria I felt its chest begin to gently vibrate against me as its gentle soprano voice began to echo throughout the farm, humming something that sounded similar to Ave Maria. Soon after the Swablu all began to join in creating a very rich harmony. As the cloudy Pokémon sang their song, a flowing white aura began stretching out from each one of them, similar to the one I’d seen not too long ago, covering the ground as far as I could see. It was almost too bright to look at.
The same feeling of serenity and purity rushed over me as the song came to an end and the light dissipated. Suddenly I heard sounds of stirring from different directions followed by mooing from the Miltank and cries of “Mareeeeep!” from inside the barn. As I was released from the hug by the Altaria, I could see that behind it, my Mum, April and the Pokémon all began to stir.
“Thank you.” I said as I smiled up to Altaria who, in response, gave a short bow to me before picking up the injured Swablu and beginning to flap its wings, creating a very powerful gust that almost unraveled my scarf, before hoisting itself into the air.
I ran towards April and my mother as the Altaria let out an elegant cry that caused the Sawblu flock to take off into the air and join it before flying further into the sky up and over me. I waved goodbye as they neared the distance and I heard the injured Swablu cry out one last time as if to say goodbye.
I leant down in the middle of April and my mum and putting their heads on my lap as April’s eyes began to open.
“Hey there you.” I said as I smiled down at her.
“Hi… Why are there bird-clouds in the sky?”
Chapter 12 – Felina and the Bird
The usual floorboards creaked as we stumbled through the front door into the living room, April helping my mum to a chair whilst I helped my dad. The smell of home hit me as I sat my waking dad onto a dining chair; the smell of polished mahogany and oak drifted around the room coupled with the smells of countless meals my mum had cooked on the old, black stove.
I took a second to take it all in and then signaled to April that we should start tiptoeing out so we wouldn’t be seen. I stepped with such precision, dodging every floorboard I knew made even the slightest creak when stood upon that it felt like an art form. April on the other hand, didn’t have a clue.
She reached the front door and started to open it but was met with a ghastly cry from the hinges. We both gasped, fearing my parents had been woken, but thankfully, were still near enough where we’d left them. April decided not to open it any wider than she had to as she squeezed through the narrow gap almost perfectly, doing a celebratory jump on the grass outside.
There was no way I was going to fit through a gap that size but I had to try. I breathed as far in as I could and approached the gap, turning sideways I took the smallest steps I could to fit through. My heart beat grew faster and faster, either from the danger or the lack of oxygen and then it skipped a beat entirely when I heard; “Alexander James Ivy! Where have you been?!”
I fell to the floor from the shock.
It was my mum; short but intimidating, with a friendly smile or a scornful frown depending on her mood. She was wearing her usual orange bandanna that was a nice compliment to the soft shade of brown in her hair that matched her farming dress.
“H-h-hi Mum…” I said, already scared by the bulging vein on her forehead.
“Two days you should’ve been gone! – Two! Your father and I were worried sick – not even a phone call! What were you doing all this time?”My mum cried, her voice coarse from just waking up.
“Well you see I.. uh. I got the package from Ivy and… she made me do some errands for her, you know, things around Pewter City.”
“That’s not what she said in the letter… Oh when I get a hold of her…”Mum said as she walked off towards the phone.
Thoughts rushed through my head thinking how I was going to get out of this one… and back onto my journey. I looked behind me through the now open door to see April hiding behind a small bush pointing to her hat for some reason; she was quite well hidden, the only giveaway was the white in her hat. I mouthed ‘wait here’ to her as I got up and walked over the room, past my dad who looked kind of scared and had barely made a sound since he’d woken up, to where the phone was ringing.
“When did we get a videophone?” I asked, curious as to where it had appeared from.
“It was going to be a surprise for when you got back.” Mum replied as Ivy’s Lab came into view followed by a wave of blue covering the screen.
Mum began to hit the side of the screen convinced something was wrong.
“H-hello?” Came a voice through the microphone.
“Ivy… move back.” I said bluntly, knowing the girl all too well.
“Oh.. sorry.” Ivy said as she took a step back so we could see her, her face covered in dirt and leaves of sorts.
“Felina Rose Ivy, There you are!”
“...Mum?!” Ivy cried out as she saw the two of us together.
Ivy had always hated her forename, she'd never let anyone call her by it... except Mum.
“Why did you lie to us in the letter? You said he’d be gone for two days! Didn’t you think to tell us what he was doing?” Mum said as I took a step back and mimed ‘no’ to Ivy while waving my hand near my neck.
Ivy glanced over to me before averting her gaze back to mum and slyly replied “…What he was doing?”
“You sent him on errands around Pewter City for weeks and didn’t tell us – didn’t you think we’d worry?”
Ivy didn’t reply, instead simply breathed a deep sigh. I was worried what would happen next.
“Well?” Mum persisted.
“Yes. I did. I knew you’d worry, because that’s what you do – worry and keep everything the same, how you like it. I did Alex a favour – he wasn’t running errands for me, he was doing what he’s always wanted to do - he’s now a Pokemon Trainer!”
“I gave him his first pokemon and he’s started off on his journey.”
“But Felina, you know how dangerous it is out there! Kids his age shouldn’t be journeying around out there like that.”
“Mum, kids almost half his age do it! And I know you’re having trouble accepting it but it’s what he wants to do. He’s made you happy all these years staying on the farm when you know full-well he isn’t needed, can’t you make him happy by letting him go?”
Mum looked down at the floor for a moment but I could tell she was really looking into herself, she looked up with eyes filled with sadness and asked; “Is this what you want to do?”
Looking at her almost made me want to stay but I couldn’t lie.
“Yes, it really is.” I said as my mum gently pulled me towards her and hugged me, with my dad looking on, still sat on the dining chair.
After I finished hugging my mum, she began talking to Ivy again while I slowly walked over to Dad.
“I’m sorry dad, you’re going to have to wait a while until I get a ‘proper’ job and be more like Ivy, but this is what I want to do.”
He sat with his legs spead, looked me straight in the eyes and said ”Why are you sorry?”
“Because you always said that I should ‘be more like your sister’.”
“I didn’t mean that Alex, I wanted you to be more like Ivy by getting out there and doing something you love. I would never stop you from doing whatever it is that you wanted to. And if you ever need anything, anything at all, just give us a ring because we're never too far away.”
“Thanks dad.” I said turning around to face the door, hiding the fact that I was welling up.
Seeing the open door reminded me that April was still outside, so I walked up to it and waved to her to come inside. She looked hesitant but still came.
“Mum, Dad, I’d like to introduce you to my friend April. We’re travelling together now.” I said as sh poked her head through the doorway.
“It’s n-nice to meet you…” April said, holding out her hand.
“Likewise young lady.” My dad said with a smile as his hand met hers.
“Ohh it’s so nice that Alex has made a friend.” My mum said rushing over to hug her.
“Did you leave her out there this whole time?” My mum said as she lightly slapped me on the back of the head.
“Ow! Well in case you didn’t notice I was trying to sneak out…” I said as I rubbed my head better.
“Well it seems that April is better at that than you and you live here!” Dad said as we all began to laugh.
“So," Mum began, sitting down on the sofa, "tell us about your journey so far.”
After a lengthy catch-up with Mum, Dad, April and Ivy on the videophone, I decided we should probably leave fairly soon as I was eager to get to Cerulean to get my next badge.
“Can’t you just stay for tonight?” Mum asked, concerned about the lateness of the hour.
“No, no. I know the way to Cerulean, we’ll be there by midnight I’m sure.”
“Alright, well at least let me clean you up a bit first.” She said as she vigourously rubbed my cheeks with her thumb.
“It looks like you still have some fluff in your hair from what happened earlier…”
“Yeah I tried to point that out to you –“
“-AHH!! It’s got feet!” Mum screamed.
“Swablu?! I thought you’d flown off with your friends.” I cried after running to the mirror as a little head poked out from the clump of cloudy white fur that sat upon my head.
Swablu raised her head and calmly chirped her name before burying it back into her fur.
“…What was that about?” April asked.
“I dunno.” I said back. “She seemed a bit… grouchy.”
“Maybe Swablu fell asleep of something and didn’t fly off with the rest of them?”
“I don’t think so… Swablu was the one that used recover to wake me up when I fell asleep. Well in anycase she can’t stay on my head forever.” I said reaching up to lift the bird off.
I scooped Swablu’s relatively small body under my hands, but as I lifted I felt a sharp pain on my head.
“-What is it?” April asked, concerned.
I slowly began to lift Swablu up a few centimetres above my head, and as I did so I could feel something tugging against my scalp.
“Ahh - It’s latched onto my hair!” I cried as April began to laugh.
“It’s not funny you know.” I said as I tried to gently tug at the strands around Swablu’s claws. For a tiny bird it had a brilliant grip as I couldn't free a single strand of hair.
I began to panic as I couldn’t free myself from Swablu’s grip. After throwing a few ideas around with my family, my mum proposed that I simply cut off what it was holding on to. I refused.
Regardless, we tried standing outside amongst the stars and giving Swablu the chance to fly away freely and yet still, it did not budge.
“Well I’m out of ideas..” My dad said, sitting down on a bench outside the house, his stomach on show from the unflattering position he was sat in.
“You could feed it…” My mum proposed as she leant on an old fence post.
“I already tried that. She didn’t like any of the poffins I had.”
Everyone then seemed to let a simultaneous sigh of bewilderment and exhaustion. As I glanced over to April I saw something light up in her eyes, almost as if something had clicked into place.
“You could always catch it.” April stated. “You’ve still got three pokeballs left from the professor don’t you?”
“I suppose.” I said as I rummaged through my backpack to find my three unused pokeballs rolling around at the bottom.
“Well here goes nothing…” I muttered, taking a pokeball in my hand and tapping Swablu with it.
Swablu became enveloped in a red aura and was transported inside, the pokeball swaying vigourously.
“Ah finally I can itch my-“ I began until the pokeball burst open with a dark blue glow, and Swablu reappeared, latched to my hair; “…head.”
“Hmm… I have an idea.” April said, walking further outside before turning to face me.
“I hope it’s better than your last one.” I said becoming a bit frustrated.
April took a pokeball from her belt and threw it into the air and released Slowpoke from its white and red bed.
“Okay Slowpoke – confusion let’s go!”
“What?!” I cried as Slowpoke’s empty eyes suddenly became darker than black while Swablu became encased in a dark purple glow that seemed to make all of its hairs stand on end and its grip lessen.
“Haha, yes Slowpoke well done!” April cried, feeling empowered by her new pokemon’s power as Swablu fell to the floor.
“Now Alex, you take over!” April cried over to me as I scrambled to get a hold of a pokeball on my belt.
“Go Sandshrew!” I cried, releasing the little sand-mouse into the fray.
Swablu rose to its feet, looking dazed but determined to reclaim its spot as it began flapping its wings.
“Quick, sand-attack!” I cried as Sandshrew drew its sharp claws and scraped them across the ground, throwing dirt into Swablu’s face, as it flew traight past me and struggled to land properly.
“Now Sandshrew, use rollout to finish this off!” I cried.
Sandshrew began running to pick up speed and then smoothly began rolling in a ball leaving a trail of dust in his wake. Swablu seemed to noticed the incoming attack but didn’t react quick enough as the attack connected and Swablu was thrown forwards by the impact.
“Now Alex!” April cried as I threw my pokeball through the air.
It hit the Swablu and seemed to swallow the fallen pokemon inside as it gently rocked back and forth, the middle button flashing as it did so until the ball stood still, calmed by the chime that rang signalling a capture.
“Weh-hey!” We caught a new friend Sandshrew!” I said as I ran over and picked him and the pokeball up alongside cheers from April and Mum and Dad.
“Thanks guys.” I said, my cheeks turning a rosy shade of red.
“You’ll make a great pokemon trainer Alex. I can tell.” My mum said as she patted my head.
“Go get ‘em son.” Added my dad, patting me on the shoulder while I released Swablu from its pokeball.
Swablu looked around as April and I released all of our pokemon.
“Swablu this is everyone, everyone – Swablu. She’s our newest friend.”
All of the pokemon said their names as if to extend a greeting. Swablu shyly reciprocated before flying into the air and landing on my head, curling up into her fur.
“Well... that solved the problem.”
“I’m sorry Boss, it couldn’t be helped. There were… complications.”
“I hope they were dealt with accordingly. Anything to report regarding stage one?”
“Regrettably not Boss, we have no conclusive leads to report as of yet. Are you positive this will work?”
“Fear not Ariana, I have a plan.”
Chapter 13 – The Sensational Ceruleans
After deciding to stay the night at the farm, the morning sun shone brightly as April and I strolled passed the border to Cerulean city; a rushing river that spans the outskirts and, although not many visitors know, runs underneath.
“So pokemon have abilities as well as attacks?” I asked as we walked under a tree where a Pidgeotto was feeding some newly hatched Pidgeys.
“Yeah, although they can’t be used in the same ways as attacks; they’re passive and are always active.”
“Is that what Ivy meant when she said that Mankey’s ‘Fighting Spirit’ kept him awake?”
“Yeah, now you’ve got it.” April said as she smiled and asked to see my pokedex from my pocket.
“See look, ’Fighting Spirit’ as well as an ability called ‘Insomnia’ prevent the user from being put to sleep in mid-battle." April read off of the rectangular device’s screen.
“Ooooh…” I said, taking the pokedex back and scrolling through all of our respective pokemon to see how these newfound abilities could add a whole new layer to battling.
After strolling along the blue cobbles for a while, a voice bellowed through the air from the various microphones dotted on the edges of the buildings throughout the city, breaking the silence; “Come one, come all to the opening night of the Sensational Sisters’ brand new aqua ballet! And best of all, tonight’s show is completely free to watch! Just come on down to the gym and get your ticket right now!"
“Aqua ballet?” I asked as i looked towards April to see her gasping and clasping her hands together, her eyes lit up like streetlights.
“Oh Alex, pleeeeease can we go? Please please, I love the aqua ballet! It’s only two streets away I think!”
“Erm… sure?” I said, barely finishing speaking before she grabbed my arm and began running up the cobbled road.
As our shoes clapped against the pathway, I noticed several fountains dotted along the streets; showing the city’s appreciation of water.
We arrived at a clearing dotted with various trees and bushes, with a large dome-shaped building settled in the middle. The building itself looked to have a ground floor with striped pillars of blue and white, similar to barbers’ poles holding up a blue and yellow domed roof. Waves were painted along the edge of the dome, each exactly the same size as the next apart from one twice the size with a breathtaking picture of a Dewgong proudly perched on top.
As April and I took our places in the already forming queue, everyone was abuzz talking about how excited they were and I kept catching the words‘water flowers’ and ‘Sensational Sisters.’
“So April, who are the Sensational Sisters anyway?”
“They’re four amazing sisters that perform together. They were really popular and sold out every performance but split up a while ago because they used to argue all the time.”
“So, why do they use the gym?”
“Because they’re the gym leaders, silly.” April said as we moved forwards with the queue.
“All of them?!” I replied in shock.
“Well it used to be all of the sisters, then it was just Misty after the sisters stopped performing, but now they’re back together I don’t know who it is.”
April said as we reached the front of the queue.
After getting our tickets we were directed through the front doors into a long hallway that led around the circumference of the building. It felt as if we were in an aquarium as every few steps there were windows peering deep into the building’s middle that was full of water where many water pokemon were frolicking and coming right up to the glass, enjoying the attention without a care in the world.
Upon reaching the end of the corridor we were met with what seemed like a million steps to climb before we reached the top where I was overwhelmed at the size of the stadium we were now in. The stadium itself was a very dark shade of blue with a small arena painted on the sandy floor at the bottom. Stretching up from the sand were rows upon rows of seats for spectators to sit in, it was easily the biggest arena I’d ever seen.
“So we’re on 48 F and G..” April said as we counted the rows looking for our seats.
“Wait, we have to go up? We’ll never see anything!” I said, eager to look for any hints about the Sisters’ battling styles from their performance.
After we found our seats, I released my pokemon from their Pokeballs to watch the show, telling them to look out for anything that could be useful in our gym battle.
As the stadium filled up the lights lowered and a loud whirring of machinery came from below us. Ditto began to cower on my lap at the noise so I pulled him nearer to comfort him.
Lights began to shine from the show floor upwards as four giant sheets of glass were ascending out of the floor to about two rows above us. The glass sheets sealed together to create a rectangular shape as two cylindrical tubes extended out from the walls and connected to the glass, one on each of the smaller sides. Immediately after connecting, water began gushing forth from the cylinders into what was now clearly a tank.
Suddenly a voice boomed through the stadium; “Ladies and gentlemen, Today, we, the Sensational Sisters would like to welcome you to Aqualandia, the most totally gorgeous underwater paradise there ever was, and therein, in the castle that sat high upon a dune…” The announcer began as a portion of the domed roof slid across to reveal a stained-glass window. As the midday sunlight shone through it, the light reflected in the tank to create a backdrop that could be seen from all angles of an underwater castle. “…Misty the mermaid, swam aimlessly, knowing not the fate of her lost love, prince Trigong.”
Just as her name was mentioned, what seemed like a ginger mermaid swam through the tubes elegantly as the crowd began to cheer at the first sight of one of the sisters.
I had never seen Misty in person before; she swam as if she was meant to live in the water, her alban locks flowing freely behind her, adorned with ornaments shaped like starfish and shells.
The ballet went on to tell the story of how two lovers were separated, as the prince is transformed into a Dewgong and cast away by three plotting sea witches played by Misty’s three older, but just as beautiful sisters; Daisy, Violet and Lily.
During a dramatic fight scene where the background had been changed by another stained-glass window, 'Prince Trigong' fought with oldest sister using just its tail as the other Sisters lept high into the air above the tank spewing glistening water over the audience who just simply cried out for more. Sandshrew retreated to the space under my jacket, afraid of the water. I guessed I wouldn’t be using him for the gym battle.
I turned to April to see her eyes glued to the show in front of us, captivated and glistening with awe. I was more interested in how trained the Dewgong must be to perform acrobatics like that, and wondered if it had the same skill in battle.
As the witches were defeated in a flurry of underwater twists and turns, it seemed Prince Trigong would stay a Dewgong forever until a wandering pokemon shaped like a heart deemed their love pure enough and with its magical powers, transformed the prince into his true, mirmidian form.
“And so, the lost lovers were reunited one more, and they totally lived happily ever after!” The slightly bimbo-esque sounding narrator called out.“On behalf of all of us Sensational sisters…” Began the blonde sister Daisy, as she stepped out onto a raised diving board. “…We’d like to thank you for coming and we hope you enjoyed the show!” She continued as Misty, Violet and Lily swam upwards out of the water and all executed perfect synchronized 180 spins to land on the board next to Daisy while confetti rained down on the crowd who roared with endless applause and cheers.
“Wow, that was actually… pretty good!” I said as we walked down the stairs, the hallway now crowded with people discussing the show on their way to the exit.
“Haha, I’m so glad you liked it!” April replied.
“And I think I got some really good insight into how their pokemon will battle too.”
“Oh yeah, you need to challenge them to a gym battle –gasp- this means we’ll get to meet them!” April cried, excited at the prospect of meeting who seemed like her idols.
“Well yeah, but I don’t know how we’re ever gonna get up and close enough to them to ask, what with all these people around…”
“Hmm… Okay I have an idea – come with me.” April said, grabbing my arm yet again with that look in her eyes as she pulled me through a door labeled ‘staff only’.
The corridor now in front of us was a stark contrast to the one we had just been in. It was narrow and empty, but as the corridor was essentially the gap between the water tanks, it gave the illusion of a much wider space. Soon after we arrived in a dark, but open space and I felt the floor change density as I walked. I looked down to see my shoe covered in wet sand and an outline in luminous paint of what was clearly a battle court.
“Erm… April? I don’t think we should be in here…”
”Oh relax, we’ll be fine as long as we don’t get cau-“
“-sigh- too late…”
Chapter 14 – Double Age, Double Team, Double Skill...
“Hey you! What’re you doing here? – Can’t you read?!” came a strong female voice from behind us. It was Misty, the youngest sister marching towards us, her dripping ginger hair tied up in a single ponytail that hung to the left of her head while a crimson towel hung around her shoulders catching any lingering water from her head.
"ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh it’s her!"
“Erm, well, you see I…” I stammered, not quite being able to find the words; a little bit intimidated by the anger in Misty’s intense green eyes.
“-What he means to say is that he is here to challenge the gym leader!”
“Well you shouldn’t have just… really?” Misty replied, completely changing her tone of voice.
“Yes… Is that okay?” I replied again, curious at Misty’s shock.
“Oh no, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that with the curfew we haven’t had many challengers lately… at all.”
“Why’s that?” April asked.
“Well traditionally we use the gym for Aqua ballet in the day and hold gym battles in the evenings, but with whatever it is out there only attacking pokemon trainers, they tend to stay clear of the place.”
“Well I’m still up for a battle - we didn’t come all this way not to! …If that’s okay with you of course.”
"Ah that’s brilliant, of course you can battle me!” Misty cried with joy.
“As if.” Came a familiar voice from behind us. “In accordance with the new rules ‘the challenger may choose which sister he or she wishes to battle’. It’s not automatically you, you know.”
"ohmygosh it’s another one!"
It was Daisy, the oldest of Misty’s sisters who, for just a minute, would’ve sounded quite intelligent if it hadn’t been for her bimboish accent. Her blonde hair didn’t help her cause either, but despite that she was very pretty. She was a fair bit taller than Misty and in her long golden hair sat a pure white lily just above her ear.
“Oh please, you three don’t even like battling – you used to give badges away!” Misty protested.
“I do too like battling, and that was once when I couldn’t pay the pool boy.”
“-No you don’t!”
“Wow, you were right – they do argue alot..” I whispered to April.
“Yeah I wish I had the ability soundproof right now…” April replied as we both chuckled.
Suddenly a blue haired woman and a pink haired woman stepped in between the arguing sisters with their arms folded.
“You two said you’d stop fighting once we’d made Misty a Sensational Sister, so can you please both button it?! The Shellder in the tanks have all withdrawn into their shells because of the racket coming out of your mouths!” The blue-haired woman shouted.
‘This one actually seems intelligent.’ I thought.
“Yeah and I can’t like, focus to put my make-up back on!” the short, pink-haired one added.
‘That one does not.' I thought again.
“Sorry guys…” Misty said whilst Daisy scoffed at the notion that it had anything to do with her.
The three older sisters all looked remarkably similar, barring hair colour, and their faces were clear and smooth; a contrast to Misty’s pale, freckled cheeks.
“First things first, before you decide which one of us you want to battle, you need to get yourselves registered at the manor.” Said Violet, the blue-haired sister.
“Registered?" I asked.
“Yeah, some Officer Julie or whatever told me a few weeks ago that because of the threat to trainers, all trainers who wish to battle the gym leader must report to the manor and register themselves and their pokemon with the official there.” Daisy said.
“Oh yeah there was a letter delivered this morning; we’ve got to pick up our new batches of badges from them now so I may as well go with you guys.” Misty said as she quickly began to shimmy us in the direction of the exit... throwing her towel perfectly onto a wall hook as we went.
“Hey – wait up!” Daisy’s voice came from behind us followed by the echoes of her shoes clicking against the hard floor. “Don’t you think you’re leaving me here!”
Leaving from what seemed like a private exit, we wove around a series of streets, where all the time the gym seemed visible atop the hill the town was built on. Cerulean city wasn’t a city in the typical sense; there were no skyscrapers, the streets were not crammed full of business types in suits but instead there were many types of friendly pokemon roaming about in search of food.
Swablu flew in the air beside me as we walked while the rest of the pokemon were out walking along with us. Since we’d arrived at the city, Swablu had become much more friendly with the other pokemon although Ditto had been playing tricks by transforming into Sandshrew and confusing the cloudy pokemon.
Whilst walking, we introduced ourselves properly and we got to know the sisters a little bit, albeit it was mostly through April asking questions or spouting out random facts about them.
After a short while we arrived at Cerulean Manor; a beautiful, brick-crafted building that looked brand new, surrounded by a well upkept garden. A barred metal fence surrounded the outskirts of building accompanied by a ten-foot tall gate.
“Well, this must be it…” Misty said as we approached the gate.
“May I help you?” Came an old but firm voice as an elderly man appeared at the gate as if from nowhere.
He was dressed in a smart, black suit and white gloves, a similar colour to his receding white hair.
“We would like to see the official please.” I said, hoping he was some form of butler.
“As you wish sir, right this way.” The man said as he pulled back the large gate effortlessly.
On entering the grounds we were led through a magnificent garden with many different tiers of flowers all merged together. The flowers themselves were all black in colour with tulips seeming to be dotted everywhere around the grounds.
We were led across the garden to a spot just outside the main entrance where an elderly lady was standing admiring a patch of flowers.
“Madam Lisa?” The butler said as the lady turned around.
“Madam this is –“
“-Oh the gym leaders!” She cried, barging between April and I to get closer to Daisy and Misty. “You must be here for the badges.”
“Yes, how did you know?” Misty said.
“I’m the league official dear, it’s my job to know.” She replied. The old lady spoke strongly for a person of her age and although obviously was fairly well off, wore relatively simple clothing. Her greying brown hair was tied up neatly with a clip and she walked confidently without a walking stick.
“Well, I suppose I should introduce myself; My name is Lisa and this is my good friend Sebastian. Who are your friends?” Lisa said again, turning towards us and acknowledging our existence as Sebastian bowed.
“Hi, my name’s April and this is Alex.”
“Nice to meet you.” I said. “We’re here to be registered.”
“Registered? Oh yes, we haven’t had anyone come by yet. Well Sebastian, why don’t we get this started?”
“Right away madam, if you’d all like to follow me.” Sebastian said in a very serene tone.
Sebastian led us through two large wooden doors into a gleaming tiled entrance room with a staircase that led up and along the wall with smooth golden handrails that matched the colour and elegance of the chandelier hanging atop the room.
After walking through the room we came upon two more large doors, each made of solid oak and handcrafted to depict two pokemon trainers and their pokemon locked in an epic battle atop a mountain.
As the doors opened we saw a large room with many cabinets positioned around the edges and a ruby-red rug covering most of the floor. Lisa walked up to a chest of drawers and pulled out something from within.
“Here you go dearie.” Lisa said as she handed Daisy a small wooden box with a glass lid. Inside lay sixteen brand new badges, each shaped like a single droplet of water.
“Wow… thank you, they’re like, gorgeous.” Daisy said.
“It was my pleasure, I polished them myself.” Lisa smiled before continuing, “Well, let’s get you kids registered. Sebastian – If you would?”
We turned around to see Sebastian pulling at the rug to uncover a battle arena painted onto the floor.
“An arena?” I asked, puzzled.
“You want to battle us?!” April cried.
“Yep, that’s how we do it here dearie. Now, since there’s two of you, what do you say to a double battle hmm?”
“A double battle huh?” I said as April and I looked at each other. “I say… you’re on.”
"Haha, excellent! Why don't you two take your positions over there while we prepare to start."
April agreed, looking keen to get going as we turned around.
“Pssst. April, what’s a double battle?” I whispered in her ear, wondering if I was about to regret what I’d just signed myself up for.
“What? You don’t know and you just agreed to it?!” April whispered a little angrily as we walked over to the far side of the arena to take our places.
“Yeah well I have kind of an idea… but just tell me anyway.”
April let out a deep sigh from within her before talking.
“Basically, it is a battle either between two teams of trainers who each use a pokemon, or two individual trainers who both use two pokemon in battle against each other. The same rules generally apply to double battles; the first team to have no usable pokemon left loses.”
“Oh that’s pretty easy then. What pokemon are you going to use?” I asked, confident that the battle wouldn’t be too hard.
“Well I think I might go with –“
“You there - Younger gym leader! Make yourself useful and referee will you?” Lisa interrupted, shouting across the room to the two sisters who were squabbling yet again in the corner.
“My name is Misty.” She said as she walked over to the middle of the arena where Sebastian was holding a shining metal tray with two flags laying upon it, one red and one blue. Misty swiftly snatched the flags in her hands and took her position at the midpoint of the ring.
“This will be a two on two tag battle betwee-“ Misty began.
“Wait a minute! Sebastian – get over here!” Lisa cried, sounding more impatient by the minute.
“Apologies Madam.” He said, slowly taking his place beside her.
“Now, this will be a two on two tag battle, between the teams of Alex and April and Lisa and Sebastian.” Misty announced, flipping a copper coin high into the air. Misty caught the coin on the face of her right hand with her left and revealed that it was placed on heads.
“Yes, that’s us!” April cried, standing to the left of the referee.
“Trainers, release your pokemon.”
“Okay Slowpoke, let’s go!” April cried, releasing her newest pokemon in a brilliant flash of white. I followed suit by releasing Swablu from her pokeball after putting her away earlier feeling that a bird sitting on my head wouldn’t be up to standard in a classy mansion.
Lisa and Sebastian silently released their pokemon as instructed from oddly coloured Pokeballs. The two pokemon that now stood in front of us were unlike anything I had seen before.
The first pokemon was small, black skinned with two small oval markings between its eyes and on its chest and stood upright on its hind legs. Covering one of its two pointed ears was a single large fiery red feather with similar ones extending from the tip of its tail.
The second, send out by Lisa was a large and rather unnerving brown pokemon. It’s eyes shone a luminous dirty yellow and its teeth, although white, were jagged dangerous to the touch. On the tips of its arms were three small branches with a large leaf on the end of each, while its wild, untamed white hair hung behind it, looking eerily like a mass of discarded spider webs.
“Watch out for the one on the left.” April whispered to me. “It’s a Sneasel; they’re really fast, if we take our eyes off of it for a second we could lose.”
“What about the one on the right?” I asked.
“I dunno, I’ve never seen one before.” April replied as I reached for my little red machine of knowledge and held it up.
‘Shiftry; the wicked pokemon, and the final form of Seedot. Shiftry’s large fans can cause winds of up to a hundred feet a second, which they use to blow unwanted visitors away.’ Came an artificial voice from the machine.
“So we have a slow pokemon up against a fast one and a flying type up against one that can control the wind. Great.” I whispered to April.
“Don’t worry, there’s always a way to win.” April said as she smiled warmly to me, giving me the confidence boost I needed..
“Now, Begin!” Misty cried from the sidelines, holding both flags high into the air.
After thinking about my options I cried; “Okay Swablu, fly up into the air and start with a fury attack on Shiftry!”
“Water gun Sneasel, Slowpoke!” April cried as a jet of water burst from the pink pokemon’s mouth, spiraling towards Sneasel.
“Dodge it and use quick attack.” Sebastian uttered in the calmest possible tone. Sneasel did exactly as its trainer commanded and stepped to the side instantaneously before running towards Slowpoke and hitting it with the back of its arm so fast that the attack connected before water gun had hit the wall.
With a few flaps of her wings, Swablu was airbourne and already speeding towards shiftry, her beak glowing white as she neared ever closer.
“Okay Shiftry,” Lisa began. “Let’s get this going with Razor wind!”
Shiftry raised it’s large, leafed arms, turned them vertically and began spinning on the spot creating a gust of wind that threw Swablu back slightly, but before she could regain her balance, Shiftry had released three turquoise crescents that sliced through the very air itself before darting into Swablu one by one, sending her spiraling back to the ground.
Swablu and Slowpoke both rose to their feet as the two opposing pokemon took a step back towards their trainers. April and I quickly exchanged a few words deciding to each go for the other pokemon.
“Let’s try confusion on Shiftry, Slowpoke!”
“Astonish and then peck!” I cried, pointing at Sneasel.
Swablu flew at Sneasel creating a high pitched cry that rose higher and higher until it was ear-shatteringly painful, but Sneasel seemed unaffected as it moved nearer Shiftry at the last second, dodging Swablu’s peck and making her skid across the floor. Slowpoke remained motionless with a blank look upon its face.
“Slowpoke! What are you doing?!” April cried out in confusion.
“Sneasel – Icy wind.” Sebastian muttered.
“Combine it with Razor leaf!” Lisa bellowed, getting more into the match with every second that passed.
Sneasel stood in front of Shiftry and took in a deep breath before exhaling a bitter, icy wind towards Slowpoke. Shiftry lifted its arms as if to be aiming before swinging them both similataneously in front it sending razor-sharp leaves spinning through the icy wind in front of it.
“Slowpoke, get out of the way!” April cried as Slowpoke’s eyes began to glow a dark purple and as it cried its name, sent a wave of energy hurtling back before being pummeled by the combo attack. The purple wave smashed powerfully into the opposing pokemon who stammered backwards, but didn’t seem all that phased by the attack.
“No!” April cried. “Slowpoke, can you get up?!”
Slowpoke struggled to its feet, looking more tired than ever – and that was saying something, whilst Swablu landed next to him, panting frantically as her little blue-feathered chest raced.
Misty whispered something in Daisy’s ear as Lisa began to talk across the room.
“The key to winning a tag battle is to play as a team, at the moment the two of you are trying to fight separate battles at once – you need to work together to win.”
Those two words echoed in my head; ‘work together’. How could we work together? What moves would work? I was trying to put attacks together in my head, but nothing seemed to work.
As I looked to April for inspiration, I was met with a face I wasn’t expecting to be there – It was Daisy.
“Hey guys,” Daisy whispered. “Misty says that for Astonish to work you have to like, make the opponent jump, so they can’t see it coming. You just need to find a way to do that. Okay, that’s all – bye.” And with that, Daisy walked back over to Misty’s side.
Suddenly, an idea came to me.
“April – when I say now, tell Slowpoke to use water gun on Sneasel, okay?”
“Y-yeah but why?”
“You’ll see.” I said, smiling back at her.
“Okay Swablu, use Mist and then Astonish!” I cried as Swablu’s cloudy wings became a deep, dark shade of blue.
“Faint attack, Sneasel.” Sebastian commanded as Sneasel ran at Swablu on all-fours.
“-Fly up high!” I yelled as Swablu rose, higher and higher into the two-story room, her wings beginning to look like they were growing, but in fact, a cold, dense mist was spewing out from within them. And within seconds, the room was full of it.
“Wave your arms to get rid of this mist Shiftry!” Lisa ordered as the pokemon did as it was told.
Shiftry began waving its arms frantically as the mist was too dense to simply blow away.
Sneasel was surrounded by the mist and couldn’t see a thing, but was checking every angle it could for the slightest sign of movement. Not a sound was made, all it could hear was the sound of its own breath, getting faster and faster the longer it was there.
Isolated, the pokemon stood still. Suddenly an ear-splitting cry filled the arena from behind it and Sneasel stood, stunned and petrified to the spot.
“Now!” I cried as April ordered Slowpoke to use water gun and the spiralling jet of water hit dead on target, sending Sneasel flying backwards into a pillar.
“Yes! We did it!” April cried as we high-fived.
“Ugh, enough of this!” Lisa cried, seeming much angrier than before.“Shiftry use whirlwind!”
Shiftry held its arms out to its sides and began turning on the spot creating a massive gust of wind and created a small tornado around the pokemon blowing the mist away and forcing the windows open.
Swablu was blown backwards by the wind and grabbed onto Slowpoke’s scruff with her claws trying her hardest not to let go. April and I stood our ground.
“Let’s take this up a notch – Sebastian, you know what to do.” Lisa shouted through the howl of the wind,` giving a glaring look.
“Yes Madam. Sneasel, use Ice shard.” He commanded as Sneasel arose from the floor back into the fray.
“Shiftry – Leaf Storm!”
Shiftry sharply stopped spinning, causing the wind to subside and the pokemon began to shake violently, looking at the floor as many different leaves appeared from within, glowing a luminous green and hovering in midair.
Shiftry looked up at our pokemon with its menacing look and uttered the words; “Shif-try.” As the leaves began hurtling towards them coupled with innumerable amounts of ice shards.
“Get out of the way!” We cried, but it was too late.
They were overwhelmed in a barrage of attacks until they lay on the ground, not having the strength to move.
Misty stood on the referee’s podium gobsmacked. Daisy was the first to come to her senses as she nudged her with her elbow.
“Erm… Swablu and Slowpoke are unable to battle…. The victory goes to Sebastian and Lisa.” Misty said, meagerly holding up a red flag, signifying their win.
“We… lost.” I said, slightly bewildered at my first loss.
April and I ran over to our pokemon, hoping they were okay. Searching all over them for serious wounds.
“That was a bit brutal.” Misty said, still standing on her podium.
“Well that’s how you win dear.” Lisa said as she walked over to us as we returned our pokemon to their Pokeballs.
“You were amazing.” I said, stroking the pokeball. “Get some rest.”
“I think you two did a very good job and are suited to the gym challenge; you will grow and one day become great trainers. I officially grant you registered trainer status and you will now be able to enter the pokemon league when you have received a total of eight badges from certified gyms.” Lisa said as Sebastian appeared carrying a rather official looking document.
“Now I just need to take a few details from you. Dearie, why don’t you go first?” She asked April as she extended her arm, guiding her towards Sebastian.
“Sure.” April said as I turned around to see the sisters arguing yet again.
“Are you okay Alex?” April asked.
“Yeah… Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I replied, gazing over to April and then back at the sisters.
“Yes… I think I am.” April said as a smile spread across her face. “Can you excuse us for a minute?” April said as she turned to Lisa and Sebastian before we walked over to a raging redhead and a bickering
“He’s going to battle me!”
“-GUYS!” We both cried.
“What?!” They replied angrily.
“Guess what?” I asked.
“We challenge you both to a tag battle.”
Teeny cliffhanger for you guys :D
Chapter 15 – A Misty Daisy-Chain of Events (Part 1)
After registering our pokemon and leaving their details with the official, our first stop was the pokemon center.
The sun was setting across Cerulean City’s skyline casting a further shadow down the hillside settlement. The pokecentre’s red roof was bathed in an orange glow whilst blue lights flickered up against the glass walls. As we neared the entrance we noticed a police bicycle parked outside and heard an uproar from within. Through the glass we could see a crowd of angry trainers with pokemon crowded together, crying out at a figure in a blue hat.
The roar of the crowd became louder and louder as walked through the sliding automatic doors, their words all mixing together so much that I couldn’t understand a single word.
“This is madness…” Misty said in awe as we walked over to the counter.
The pokecenter was abundant with people; to our left stood a large crowd of people gathered around someone, where to the right other trainers were sat round in circles on the floor talking, playing games or just sitting silently, not that you could tell through the noise.
“Chansey, just give out one pillow to each person – let’s try and make them go around!” Nurse Joy cried across the room to one of the many Chanseys running back and forth handing out blankets and pillows to trainers. “Oh yes, h-hello there, can I help you?” She asked after turning to face us. Her hair was erratic and frizzy, nothing like the neat pink bow Pewter city’s nurse Joy had hers tied in.
“Yes please, we were wondering if you could take a look at our pokemon for us? They’ve just had a bit of a rough battle.” I asked as April and I both placed a pokeball on the counter.
“Oh yes of course, just excuse us for a moment.” Nurse Joy said seeming a bit lost and frantic.
Suddenly the crowd grew even louder as a woman dressed in heels, a blue short skirt and jacket, wearing a matching police hat stepped up onto a table – it was Cerulean City’s officer Jenny.
"Pokemon trainers please! Calm down, you can’t all stay here – there just isn’t enough room for all of you. Now if some of you looked around I’m sure you can find some alternative accommodation before the cur –“ Officer Jenny cried.
“-You want us to go out there?! After there was another attack today? - Forget about it!” A man in the crowd shouted out as others cried out in agreement.
“That incident is still under investigation – there is currently no evidence to suggest it was related to the attacks on Pokemon trainers.”
“Oh please! We’re not safe out there anymore – you know it and we know it and that’s why we’ll stay here where it’s safe!” A female trainer cried.
“-We’re doing everything we can at the moment to try and stop –“
“-Well then you should be out there catching whoever or whatever it is doing this and not be wasting time in here!” Another voice cried out from the crowd.
Daisy and Misty looked at each other and silently agreed on something as they turned to us.
“Someone has to do something – they can’t talk to her like that!” April protested before turning to notice that Misty was no longer beside them.
“-Watch it!” “-Hey!” People cried as Misty pushed her way through the crowd, not caring who was in front of her until she clambered up onto the table next to Officer Jenny.
“Listen up everyone!” Misty yelled out as cries of “Look – it’s the gym leader!” came flooding out.
“I am Misty, youngest of the Sensational Sisters and one of the Gym Leaders of Cerulean City. You can’t treat Officer Jenny like this – she is doing everything she can to help you and so is Nurse Joy! Now there may not be enough space here but at the gym we have plenty of it and you are welcome to spend the night there.”
“But what about the attacks?” the same female trainer cried again.
“All of the attacks have happened to trainers who are travelling alone, if we all stick together and no one falls behind we’ll all be okay.”
There were mumbles amongst the crowd as they seemed divided as to what to do.
“Well anyone who wishes to take up the offer can follow me and my sister to the gym.” Misty said as she began to step down from the table but was stopped in her tracks by someone gently grabbing her arm.
“Thank you.” Officer Jenny said, seeming relieved at the mob dying down.
“No problem, It’s my town too – we’ve both got a job to protect it.”
“Okay, If everyone can like, gather over here we can get going!” Daisy cried, standing at the exit as trainers began gathering their things and withdrawing their pokemon into their Pokeballs.
“Well it looks like we’re going on ahead of you.” Misty smiled. “We’ll get the gym set up and it’ll be ready for you when you get there. Just make sure you come together okay?”
“We will, don’t worry.” April replied as Misty hurried a few extra trainers out of the door to catch up with the group.
With three quarters of the mob now on their way to the gym, the pokemon centre was now much less crowded as Chanseys could now set up makeshift beds on the remaining chairs and the floor.
I stood, worried, thinking about Swablu and where we went wrong in our last battle. My train of thought changed when I started thinking about how we could better ourselves In our next battle. I looked over to April for any inspiration but April was gazing off into the distance, biting the nail on her thumb out of nerves, something I’d never seen her do before.
“He’ll be okay you know..” I said, putting my hand on Aprils shoulder.
“I’ve never been in a battle like that before. He just took so much of a beating, I hope he’s okay.”
“He will be, don’t worry.” I said as I pulled in to hug her. She was warm and a she gripped me tightly and it was obvious that she needed the hug.
“E-excuse me?” Nurse Joy asked, seeming somewhat calmer as we both turned our attention to her.
“Your pokemons’ injuries looked worse than they were; they just had a few cuts and scrapes and are all better now.” Nurse Joy said as she handed us a tray with two dips in where our Pokeballs sat.
On hearing the news April immeadiatly grabbed her pokeball and released Slowpoke in a flash of white that mirrored the tone of the clean, tiled floor. April began checking Slowpoke all over for cuts and bruises but found none whatsoever before grabbing him so tightly that for a moment, I didn’t think she’d ever let go.
“Thank you so much Nurse Joy.” April said in appreciation as I did the same.
“Anytime, that’s what we’re here for.” The nurse said before turning around to look at a chart.
“Sorry I let you take a battering like that Swablu…” I said after releasing the tiny bird onto my arm. “This time we’ll be prepared and we’ll win for sure.”
Swablu seemed determined and encouraged as she flapped her wings and nestled herself back onto the comfort of my hair.
“There aren’t any stars out tonight.” April said bluntly as we walked up the hill with Slowpoke and Mankey following us, the bright streetlights guiding the way through the darkness.
“Yeah I know…” I said, not even looking to the sky but fixed upon the cobbled path we walked upon.
April gazed over to me with a smug look on her face.
“I know that look – you’re thinking about the gym battle aren’t you?”
I glanced over to meet her eyes and we both knew she was right but I didn’t want to give her satisfaction. I just needed to think of something; anything else to use as an excuse but she was right – it was all I could think about.
I let out a sigh before beginning, “Well, they had a Dewgong –“
“- Haha, I knew it!” April cried with a smile spread wide across her face.“Okay then, let’s hear it.”
“Well I was saying that the only two pokemon that really featured in the ballet were Dewgong and Luvdisc, so I think that they might be their battling pokemon too.”
“That makes sense but how can we be sure? You saw their gym, they have tanks full of other pokemon; they could use any one of them.”
“That’s true but how can we make any kind of battle plan with that? I suppose they are all water types…” I thought out loud looking behind us at April’s Pokemon. “Speaking of water types – where is Slowpoke?”
April looked around to find just Mankey looking back at her. “Slowpoke? Slowpoke!” She cried out looking around in every direction until she spotted him sitting beside a nearby pond with his tail in the water.
“What are you doing wandering off like that?!” April cried after running over to him.
Slowpoke quietly said its name whilst lowering its head. Suddenly his tail started thrashing violently and it rose above the surface, splashing water over us as a red-scaled fish bit onto the end of Slowpoke’s tail before releasing its grip and falling back into the pond from where it came.
“What was that?” I asked leaning in closer to see a few drops of a yellow liquid seeping from the end of Slowpoke’s tail.
“Were you… fishing?” April asked her pokemon, stroking his soft head while I inspected the substance with my pokedex.
The blue light lit up and the sound of a bell chimed as the device began to talk. ‘Slowpoke are skilled fishermen and have unusual tails which drip a sweet-tasting sappy substance. This substance is attractive to many species of fish, and can be used as a lure.’
“Hey… that gives me an idea.” I said as the streetlights around us began to flicker simultaneously.
“Alex.” April began, picking Slowpoke up in her arms. “We should get to the gym... now.”
“Why… did we run all the way here again?” I asked, gasping for breath as we ran through the doors to the gym.
“I don’t know… I just felt… really unsafe all of a sudden.” April gasped, leaning against a wall.
“I think you’re letting this curfew thing get to you.” I said, looking around, surprised to see no one else nearby.
The gym’s long corridor seemed more enchanting at night time as the absence of the sun dimmed the space but the lights placed at the bottom of the tanks that lined the walls cast glowing wavy lines onto the walls opposite, reflecting every movement in the water. It gave the corridor a magical feeling, but at the same time reminded me of the gym’s representative element.
A creak echoed down the hallway as a door labeled ‘staff only’ opened to reveal a pink-haired woman; it was Lily.
“Pssst, guys – come this way!” She cried before disappearing back through the door.
We followed as directed through the door and came to a large metal spiral staircase. As April and I started climbing, Lily was already out of sight. We looked above us but couldn’t see where the staircase ended, it just seemed to carry on forever.
“Don’t you people ever use lifts?!” April cried out in frustration.
When an exit was finally in sight we could begin to hear cheers from above us. Once we reached the top Lily was waiting for us by a metal door.
“Now, when you like, get out there, Violet will introduce Misty and then the battle can begin. You stand where you would in a Single battle but you’ll both stand next to each other. Any questions?” She asked, flicking her hair back.
April and I looked at each other and I replied, “No.. just what is that cheering?”
“That is the sound of the pokemon trainers we brought from the pokecenter silly. You didn’t expect to have a gym battle without a crowd did you?” She smiled back.
A pit formed in my stomach; I’d never battled in front of anyone before, I could feel my legs beginning to shake and a million ‘what if’s’ came to mind. ‘What if we lose horrendously? What if we get booed? What if I get stage fright?’
Suddenly a voice boomed from behind the door.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for your challengers; Alex from Cerulean City and April from Valencia Island!”
“Here you go.” Lily said as she opened the metal door. “Good luck!”
April and I stepped out of the door into the stadium we were in before, except we were extrememly high up – we were on top of the giant tank the ballet was performed in! Cheers filled the room from the trainers that filled the top few rows calling out our names. April was loving every minute as she waved to everyone and had many small jumps for joy. I was shaking walking over to our position with the spotlight bearing down upon us.
“Now ladies and Gentlemen, your resident gym leaders; Daisy and Misty of Cerulean City!” Violet called out, only now realizing that she was announcing from a giant float, floating on the water’s surface.
The two sisters appeared as if from nowhere, rising up to the arena on a scissor lift as Misty waved and Daisy blew kisses at the crowd.
Violet leaped from the edge of the float to the referee’s box on the sidelines.
“Now Ladies and gentlemen, this battle takes place in a special water arena. Now, pokemon may swim or use one of the three floats to move around.” Violet announced while pushing a button on a remote control causing the large float to divide into three smaller, circular floats that spead across the arena. “Also, as there is a large amount of water, trainers have specially designed scissor lifts to help them move around the tank to get a better view of the ensueing battle.”
April looked down at the control panel in front of her as we both now realized what it was for. "Oh so they didn't have to walk all the way up then!" April cried with a disgruntled look on her face.
"Now, this will be a four-on-four tag battle with no substitutions. As a long-standing rule in this gym, the challenger, and in this case, challengers, get to make the first move. Now, If trainers would like to release their pokemon."
“Okay Politoed, let’s show them what we can do!”
“Luverin, Come oooon out!” Misty and Daisy cried respectively as they both released their pokemon onto one of the floats in a flash of white and a flash of blue.
In front of us stood a pink pokemon shaped like a heart with a small crown sat in between its beady eyes and a large green frog with a spiral pattern on its stomach and a single curly strand of hair on it’s forehead. Politoed seemed excited and began clapping its hands and dancing about.
After a quick talk April and I decided that our first pokemon would be Swablu and Mankey.
After releasing our pokemon, Swablu looked back to me for reassurance. For a moment it made me not want to send her into battle but I knew deep down she wanted to give it her all.
“And let's get this show on the road folks!” Violet cried with the crowd behind her.
“Fury attack!” April and I commanded as Swablu took to the air and Mankey lept forwards across the floats.
“Luverin use Attract!”
“Bounce then bubblebeam Politoed!"
Politoed began bouncing higher and higher with each bounce and just as Mankey lunged his claws at him he jumped high into the air over Mankey to the middle float watching Mankey fall over and took a deep breath before exhaling a flurry of bubbles that exploded on contact with Mankey, pushing him back even further to the water’s edge.
Luverin span on the spot before producing a sparkling pink mist from her mouth that seemed to shoot through the air towards Swablu and Mankey.
Acting on instinct I cried out, “Swablu – Safeguard!”
Swablu continued soaring through the air and through the mist whlst crying out in a high note as a shining white sphere enveloped her and Mankey, protecting them both from the effects of attract. Swablu then began attacking Luverin with her beak continuously before Daisy ordered her pokemon to retreat to the water. As the crowd began to cry out a chant of "Swablu, Swablu!"
“Politoed use bubblebeam again to push Mankey into the water!” Misty cried trying to get one up.
April gasped before crying out “No! Mankey can’t swim!”
Politoed unleashed another flurry of bubbles but Mankey couldn’t regain his balance on the edge of the float and the first bubble that exploded upon impact caused him to fall into the blue tank.
“No!” April cried as Mankey began flailing in the water trying desperately to swim.
“Swablu quick – pick Mankey up!” I cried, hoping to rescue our teammate.
“Luverin use water pulse!” Daisy cried.
Swablu swiftly flew nearer to Mankey as Luverin closed her eyes and began making ripples through the water, in a pulsating fashion similar to a heartbeat, getting stronger and stronger with each beat until she opened her eyes and released a concentrated form of the pulsation in the form of a glowing violet ring.
The ring sped through the water, closing in on Mankey until just at the last second Swablu swooped down and grabbed Mankey’s arm with her talons before lifting him out of the water and on to the nearest float.
The crowd broke out into a thunderous barrage of applause and cheers as April sighed in relief before deciding to concentrate her efforts onto Politoed.
“Okay Mankey, let’s show them what’s what! Low Kick Politoed followed by a Karate Chop!”
“Okay Swablu let’s go too – Fury Attack again!"
As our team closed in on Politoed, Misty cried out, “Dodge and use Doubleslap!”
Mankey straight away leapt without hesitation to the next float where Politoed was waiting. Mankey powerfully brushed his leg under Politoed’s but the frog pokemon jumped to the side and powerfully began slapping Mankey across his face, causing his Karate chop to miss.
With Politoed’s back now turned to Swablu, she began to dive but as she was enraged, her fury attack turned into something else as she slammed her full body into his back with all her might causing Politoed to fall forwards and Swablu to roll onto the float in front of her.
Misty looked stunned as we both called out to our pokemon.
“Alex, Swablu just learnt Take Down!” April cried. “It’s a really powerful move but it hurts the user a bit too.”
“Daisy! Why didn’t you do anything!?” Misty yelled at her sister.
“What could I have done?!” Daisy cried back.
“You could’ve helped us or attacked or something!”
“Fine, you want me to help? Luverin – Whirlpool!”
”-Swablu, get into the air!” I cried as she rose to her feet and then to the air.
“Mankey! Low Kick Politoed into the water!” April cried sensing an opportunity.
Mankey kicked his opponent while he was down and Politoed slid into the water.
“Yes!” April cried as Luverin circled the arena underwater at an immense speed creating a swiriling vortex that began to move the floats along with it.
“I wouldn’t celebrate just yet.” Misty cried through a microphone, "Politoed is a water pokemon, so naturally he can cope with a whirlpool!”
I looked over to see Politoed leisurely swimming using the backstroke around the vortex. April had her attention more focused on Mankey as he had nowhere to go as the vortex became more violent, lashing water onto the audience who cried out for more and causing the three floats to crash together and spin uncontrollably.
“Swablu, Take Down on Politoed!”
Swablu began to swoop in on her target, edging ever closer, ready to put her all into the attack until Misty cried out, “Water gun!” and Politoed sent a jet of water crashing into her, causing her to tumble to the floats.
Around and around the two pokemon spun, suddenly coming to an abrupt stop as Politoed and Luverin both jumped back onto the float, one standing opposite the other with our pokemon inbetween who were both extremely dizzy and disoriented.
“Water gun!” The sisters both cried.
“-Get out of the way!” I yelled, knowing it was futile.
Luverin and Politoed both unleashed a powerful Water Gun that impacted Swablu and Mankey, slamming them both against each other seemingly knocking them both out.
“And what a spectacular show of teamwork from our gym leaders, knocking not one but – wait!” Violet announced as the crowd gasped. “Ladies and Gentlemen, you know what this is! It seems like we have an evolution on our hands!”
Chapter 15 – A Misty Daisy-Chain of Events (Part 2)
The crowd gasped as Mankey began to glow a brilliant white, similar to the light produced by Ditto when it transforms. As his body started to grow and change shape, I could see clearly that he was slightly taller and definitely bulkier. Without his tail, his fur had grown and become more wild and scruffy and his hands had changed from individual claws to hands shaped like boxing gloves.
“M-mankey?” April stuttered, slightly bewildered at her Pokémon’s transformation.
“Aaape!” The new Pokémon cried out as I withdrew Swablu back into the safety of her pokeball. Just as I reached for my next Pokémon, I brushed past my pokedex in my pocket and realized that April could do with the help so I opened it and passed the little red box to her as the bell chime sounded.
‘Primeape, the pig monkey pokemon and the evolved form of Mankey. When Primeape become furious, their blood circulation is boosted. In turn, its muscles are made even stronger however it becomes a lot harder to calm the Pokémon down.’
“And what a transformation – April’s Mankey has evolved into a fearsome Primeape! But can this new Pokémon work together with his next partner?”
Sensing my cue, I threw a Pokeball from my belt high into the air releasing my starter into the arena. It had felt like forever since I’d used Ditto in a battle but now was my chance to make up for it.
“Okay Ditto, let’s give them a taste of their own medicine and transform into a Luvdisc like Luverin!”
Ditto did as I asked, shining brightly and morphing itself into the shape of a heart – a perfect replica of its opponent to the amazement of the audience.
“Okay Politoed, let’s show them something new – mega punch!” Misty cried.
“Get back into the water Luverin!”
“-Go after her Ditto!” Daisy and I shouted respectively.
Politoed’s fist clenched together and began glowing a luminous red as he began running towards Primeape.
April blurted out the first thing that came to mind which happened to be,“Ermermerm –Fury Swipes!”
Instead of charging straight at Politoed, Primeape stood rigid like a mountain, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. As the frog pokemon edged nearer, Primeape threw both his arms forwards in an effort to scratch but, due to his evolution he had no claws to scratch with and performed an entirely new move altogether. Primeape’s hands became an ominous shade of black as both of his hands struck Politoed head on; making his opponent fall backwards before landing his attack as a black X lingered in the air from where Primeape’s arms had been swung.
“That wasn’t fury swipes…” April said as she looked to the PokeDex for answers.
“Wow! And with that magnificent Cross Chop, Primeape has rendered Politoed unable to battle!” Violet announced through the microphone, just overpowering the now bellowing crowd. “What will Misty do now?”
Ditto had given chase into the water, but seemed to be struggling to swim in a straight line.
“C’mon Ditto!” I cried until I realized that I had barely trained Ditto at all in how to cope with his different transformations.
Daisy let out a little chuckle at Ditto’s expense before crying out, “Aqua jet it Luverin!”
Luverin began rotating itself, similar to turning the key on a wind-up doll gathering pressure inside of itself before launching itself through the water, crashing into and past Ditto.
“Ditto no!” I cried out, wondering what I could do.
“-Again!” Daisy cried as Luverin circled Ditto, only to repeat the action.
I lowered the scissor lift I was standing on to see into the watery depths of the arena itself when an idea struck me.
“Ditto! Watch how Luverin moves in the water, she alternates moving the halves of her body!” I bellowed, hoping my words would reach it through the thick glass.
“Once more!” Daisy cried again as Ditto tried to alternate the parts of its body. “One, two, one two...” I began counting along with it while it began making some progress.
Luverin stopped turning and jetted off through the water towards Ditto who suddenly jetted off itself as it swam away from the attack unharmed and Luverin crashed into the glass behind, right where I was standing.
Misty lovingly stroked her pokeball after returning her fainted pokemon.“Great work April, but now it’s Corsola’s turn!” She said as she opened a pokeball, releasing a pink pokemon with blots of white on her underbelly and feet. She had several stalagmites protruding from her body and head and resembled a lump of Coral.
“And Misty has released Corsola onto the floats while Luverin seems to be having a tough time of it below the surface!” Violet cried with the crowd chanting in the background, all seeming divided in who they were rooting for.
“Now Corsola, start off with a Spike Cannon!” Misty cried as her Pokémon became fully encased in a shade of deep blue whilst her stalagmites all turned to point to Primeape.
“Dodge Primeape!” April cried as thin blue needles of energy gathered around Corsola and started catapulting themselves through the air towards Primeape.
Primeape darted to the side and then back the way he came but the needles weren’t showing any signs of running out and he couldn’t keep this up forever as he was already tired.
“C’mon Ditto let’s give her some back!" I cried. “You know what to do.”
Ditto began spinning itself in continuous circles whilst Luverin was dazed from her earlier impact. Ditto then harnessed the kinetic energy it had gathered to force itself forward in a glistening Aqua Jet, colliding with its enemy and knocking her out.
“Yes Ditto you did it!” I cried, pressing my face to the glass of the arena whilst April cried “Charge at Corsola and Cross Chop through the needles and then low kick her!”
“Keep going Corsola!” Misty cried as her sister gasped at her loss and withdrew her pokemon.
"Ohhh you big bully!" She cried.
Primeape began running at the barrage of needles which he disposed of with the darkness surrounding his hands only to be met with a new batch that pelted into him pushing him slightly off course.
“Tackle him now!” Misty cried, as Corsola thrust her full body weight against him, making sure he was to hit the float taking severe damage before trying to get back up again. But he couldn't.
“And that brings each trainer down to just one pokemon each! It’s all even here folks - this is anyone’s match!”
“Primeape!” April cried upon seeing her newly evolved pokemon faint before her eyes. From her sachel she took out Primeape’s Pokeball and withdrew him through a beam of ruby red offering soothing words as she did so. Whether they were for Primeape or for her, they seemed to put April at ease.
“Well I hope you’re ready for this!” Daisy began. “Let’s go Dewgong!”
“Oh, we’re ready all right.” April cried, clutching a different Pokeball and moving the scissor lift to the level of the top of the tank. “Slowpoke – here we go!”
A white sea lion pokemon appeared on one of the three
floats that were still clumped together in the middle of the arena; he had two large fins and a beautiful shining coat along his streamlined body.
Slowpoke appeared opposite, seeming half asleep as always as Ditto reappeared, floating on the surface of the water.
“Corsola, use Rock Blast!”
“-Get into the water Dewgong!”
Dewgong slowly dragged his body across the float with his front fins as Corsola began shaking violently, producing several Pokeball-sized rocks from within that began floating beside her coated in a deep purple glow.
“Slowpoke, use water to deflect the rocks!”
“-Chase after Dewgong and use take down!” I cried, trying to move the scissor lift back down to see the underwater arena but was stopped by April grabbing my arm.
Dewgong dived from one of the floats into the water as Corsola began throttling rocks across the arena at a tremendous speed in quick succession. Slowpoke sprayed a jet of water from his mouth that pushed the first rock off of its course and again with the second, making it hurtle out of the arena towards the crowd.
“Keep going Slowpoke! – Alex let go!” She cried as I managed to get ahold of the lift’s controls and began making it descend.
Ditto sped through the water, the tip of its nose glowing a bright white as Dewgong stared at his opponent – facing it head on.
“Wait for it…” Daisy said patiently. “Dodge!”
Dewgong began swimming towards Ditto and at the last second performed a backwards somersault in the water, evading Ditto’s attack entirely.
“No!” I cried, letting go of the controls. April seized the opportunity to regain the controls and rose us to the surface.
Slowpoke’s Water Gun was deflecting the small rocks but each time he did so, they seemed to get ever nearer to him. Sensing this, he stopped producing the jets and braced himself for the impact of the last few rocks.
“Aurora Beam!” Daisy shouted out to her companion as he again faced his opponent; this time producing a small multicoloured beam from his horn that seemed to lock on to Ditto as several rings appeared around it, each a unique colour that travelled down the beam, crashing against Ditto one by one.
“-No!” We both cried before turning to each other and bellowing: “That was your fault!!”
“And that was a double barrage of attacks the challengers endured; they’ll need to work as a team if they’re going to overcome this obstacle!” Violet announced from the sidelines whilst April and I continued to argue.
Suddenly, my mind processed what Violet had said; ‘work together’ and I remembered Lisa’s words from earlier: ‘In a double battle you need to work together to overcome the other team, at the moment you are fighting two separate battles.’
“-And anyway, who are YOU to say that you have control over the lift all the t-“
“-Work together…” I mumbled.
“What did you say?!” April yelled, bringing me back into the real world.
“We need to work together to win this, don’t you see? If we fight we’ll never win.”
“Oh… but how can we do that? Dewgong can dodge any attack in the water and Corsola is just a powerhouse.”
I looked over to the arena for ideas when I spotted my reflection in the glass of the tank. The tank; the Aqua Ballet.
“April, I think I know what we have to do! Do you remember in the Aqua Ballet, Dewgong performed all sorts of acrobatics in the water, but he was the only one that didn’t jump out of the surface – and you saw how hard it was for him to just pull himself into the water – we need to get him onto those floats!”
“What about Corsola? She’ll just draw our attention again while Dewgong gets back into the water…”
“That’s true.. She has to have some kind of weakness.”
Then, April noticed Corsola’s tiny feet and, being made of rock, it would make sense that she wouldn’t be able to swim. We quickly devised a plan and set it into action, hoping it would work.
“Ditto, jump onto the float next to Slowpoke!” I cried, as it did as I said, waiting for the other team to make the next move.
“Ganging up on us are you? Corsola, use Water Gun!” Misty cried as Corsola began to inhale deeply.
April and I saw our opportunity and told our pokemon to jump together onto the opposite edge of Corsola’s float. They both landed on the float just as Corsola started to release her Water Gun, making her fly into the air spraying a now erratic stream of water all around her.
“Daisy – help!” Misty cried out to her sister.
“Right – Dewgong use ice beam on Corsola’s water gun!”
Dewgong resurfaced and emitted an icy blue beam of energy from his mouth that began freezing the stream of water Corsola had produced that ran all around her, creating a makeshift slide underneath her. Corsola skidded along the icy slide, her expression telling the audience that she was enjoying every moment of it, heading for the floats as Dewgong continued to freeze the rest of the Water Gun.
“Alex, you’ve got to do something!” April cried as she turned to me to think of an idea that would save our plan from falling apart.
“We have to stop that Ice Beam!” I cried. “Ditto, use agility followed by Take Down on Dewgong!”
Ditto dove back into the depths of the water and began speeding up quicker than I’ve ever seen a pokemon move in my life; it looked as if one second it was swimming on one side of the arena, the next on the other. Dewgong seemed to be too preoccupied to notice that Ditto was actually heading for him and felt the full might of the pokemon crash into him, stopping his ice beam as he cried out in pain.
Corsola’s ice ramp dissipated and she fell just shy of the float and sunk straight to the sandy bottom of the arena.
The two sisters both cried out for their pokemon whilst Ditto returned to the float.
“Okay Slowpoke, let’s go fishing!” April cried as slowpoke lowered his tail into the water.
“Get ready to use Swift when I say so Ditto!”
At the bottom of the arena Corsola was desperately trying to swim, jumping as high as she could and shaking her little legs as hard as she could, but there was just no luck.
“Fine then Corsola, if we can’t swim – then we’ll float to the top! Let’s try Hidden Power!” Misty cried through the glass, trying to move the scissor lift lower.
Corsola shut her eyes and became imbued in a brown glow. She then slowly began to elevate through the water, ascending towards the surface.
“You think Dewgong will fall for that fishing-rod of a tail?` Please, he has more sense than that. Now Dewgong, charge into the bottom of that float and knock them over!” Daisy cried, trying to push the lift back up.
“Daisy –no!” Misty cried but Daisy interrupted.
“-Be quiet, I know what I’m doing!” The blonde sister yelled, pushing her sister aside to gain control of the panel.
Dewgong charged for the float, but unbeknownst to his trainer, Slowpoke’s tail was seeping a sweet substance that no pokemon can resist.
Dewgong came to an abrupt halt just under the collection of floats and began looking around.
“Yes, he’s tasted it!” April whispered to me excitedly.
“Dewgong?! What’s wrong?” Daisy cried out, confused.
The sealion pokemon had found the source of the sweet substance; a big, fat juicy tail just waiting to be eaten, sitting right on the top of the water, just for him.
“Wait for it…” I said calmly as Ditto looked toward me for reassurance.
Dewgong couldn’t resist any longer and bit Slowpoke’s tail who, as instructed, heaved his opponent from the water as I cried “Now Ditto!” for it to open it’s mouth wide and produce a dazzling flurry of stars, each one unique with their own shape and size that fizzled into a scathing, but beautiful, dust after impact.
Dewgong fell onto it’s back, and slowly began to try and roll itself back into the water, but with not much energy left it was a feeble attempt.
Slowpoke suddenly cried out in pain and began panicking, his eyes glowing a deep purple as he did so. Now realizing Dewgong was the one who had bitten his tail, his confusion was unleashed upon him. The pokemon was lifted high into the air and spun vigorously around in circles until he became a blur to my eyes. Suddenly he stopped, and plummeted downwards, through the water and collided with Corsola, lnocking them both to the seabed-like floor, spreading sand in every direction as they landed, creating a cloud that no one could see through.
The crowd grew silent. Everyone was on the edge of their seats. Both teams lowered our lifts to the very bottom. There was a cough amongst the crowd. A bead of sweat dropped from my head. The dust had settled.
The crowd roared in thunderous applause as both Dewgong and Corsola lay on the sandy arena, unable to battle any longer.
“Ladies and Gentlemen – Our Gym Leaders have been bested!” Violet announced to the crowd as April and I looked at each other in disbelief before jumping to each other’s arms.
All four trainers withdrew their pokemon lovingly into their Pokeballs whilst Misty and Daisy began arguing yet again.
“That was your fault!” “-No! Yours!” “-Yours!”
“Now Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to present our winners with their well-deserved badges!” Violet yelled, pressing a button on a remote control, making a metal sheet cover the top of the tank, making it safe to walk on.
We all gathered in the middle and lined up as Lily walked over to us from the door we entered from carrying the box Lisa had given Daisy earlier.
“Now as Cerulean City Gym Leaders we would officially like to present both of you with a Cascade Badge to commemorate your victory!” Violet cried in her usual, upbeat tone.
Lily opened the box as Daisy and Misty both stepped up to take a badge from within. They then turned to us as we held out our hands and placed the badge within.
Misty presented my second badge – the Cascade Badge. It was shaped like a single droplet of water and coloured a translucent blue.
“Well Done Alex, you really earned this. We need to battle again someday, just one on one.” She said giving a cheeky wink as she turned around and presented us both to the crowd for one final cheer.
I no longer felt uneasy around all of these people, it actually felt good to have a crowd around you for support. So for that last moment, I soaked up all the applause I could.
“Are you sure you won’t stay the night? We still have plenty of blankets left over to give out.” Misty said, seeming almost saddened that we were leaving.
Her other three sisters were all busy taking care of their temporary guests to say goodbye and we didn’t want to cause a fuss so we stood by the back door, waiting to leave.
“No, we’ll be okay thanks.” I smiled back.
“Besides, these guys really need to rest at the pokecentre after that battle.” April added pointing at her pokeballs.
“Well as long as I can’t persuade you, just remember to be careful out there.”
After saying our goodbyes we walked outside into the dimly lit streets, headed for the pokemon centre. April couldn’t get over earning her first badge, and me my second.
Suddenly our mood dampened as the darkness outside seemed to be almost condensed in a kind of misty form ahead of us. We stopped to see it was coming from around the corner. Suddenly a loud, terrifying scream pierced our ears – someone was in trouble!
Chapter 16 – ...Double Trouble (Part 1)
Lavender Town. A town off of the beaten track but still a place visited by many trainers to pay respects to fallen pokemon. The town itself is relatively miniscule in size yet visible from miles around due to the landmark that dominates the horizon – Pokemon Tower; the resting place of pokemon.
Upon arriving in the town, I noticed it has a rather bleak tone. This could’ve been because of the fact that throughout the day the town is covered shadow, either from its landmark or from a small mountain to the north Trainers refer to as The Rock Tunnel.
While visiting the tower to pay my respects, I noticed many more visitors than I had expected gathered in the reception floor and around the outside of the building. The tone was bleaker still in here, with walls and floors made out of dark, polished stone that looked almost like marble and fire torches, scattered around the area to provide light.
A steady flow of visitors streamed up and down the stairs, but what I noticed was that almost everyone who had descended stopped briefly to exchange a few words with a somber-looking old man who stood near the exit. I approached the mourners who were almost queuing to speak to the old man to see why he was such a focal point.
The old man’s appearance didn’t reflect his age, up close he seemed younger, as his forehead was clear and unwrinkled. His white mustache and the white receding hair on the sides of his head gave his true seniority away. With every person he conversed with his expressions seemed genuine; empathy was obviously something he did well.
The couple who stood in front of me were next to speak with the man. The woman was sobbing into a handkerchief and didn’t speak a word but the man thanked the older man for his upkeep of their pokemon’s grave and named the man as Mr. Fuji before moving on.
“I see you were not here to visit a specific grave my boy.” Mr Fuji said quite accurately. “I would like to then thank you for paying your respects, what is your name?”
“My name is Adam Moon sir.” I said, trying to not disrespect a man who is obviously respected locally.
“You needn’t call me sir Adam, and I’m gla-“ Mr Fuji began before being interrupted by an elderly woman from behind a desk next to us.
“-Fuji, your Grandson is on the line – he says it’s urgent.” She said before he excused himself and took the call.
He turned from somber to distressed rather quickly as he answered the phone, I couldn’t hear the conversation but Fuji made his excuses and left. Feeling my business was also taken care of, I followed suit.
Outside, from what I could tell, it was nearing dusk as I began walking south, getting ready to move onto my next destination, Fuchsia City, when I spotted Mr. Fuji ahead of me, but something wasn’t right. I couldn’t make it out properly, but I was sure he was being followed.
Something was definitely following him, lurking in the shadows. For a moment I thought it could’ve been a pokemon, but on my next glance I could tell that it was definitely human. After following the pair down a few darkened streets, Fuji stood at the entrance of a house, presumably his, before the figure lunged out of the darkness and pushed him inside.
I carefully ran over to the wall of the house and squatted against it. The simple wooden door had been forced open, leaving the entrance hallway a complete mess. I quickly glanced inside to see the bottom half of Fuji’s legs disappear around a corner into a room as if he was being dragged there.
I could hear at least four different voices mumbling before I heard a cry of “Grandpa!” from another person inside. I wanted to get closer but I daren’t move inside anymore. Instead I moved around to the back of the house, climbing over a fence to do so and found a window to the room I suspected they were in.
I carefully peered into it to see Mr Fuji on his feet being held by two men in black uniforms. Those uniforms; I would recognize them anywhere… Team Rocket - the people who destroyed my home. Fuji had been beaten badly and had bloody pouring from his nose. I looked around to see another Rocket members standing next to a man of about twenty who was bound to a wooden dining chair, with several small spider pokemon crawling all over him.
“No sudden movements Fuji – I assure you they’re quite poisonous.” Came a voice from a fourth Rocket member who entered the room. This one was different from the rest of them. He wore a beret over some green hair that was arched around his face. His boots and sleeves were white with a single yellow or green line ringing around each, he was obviously the one in charge.
“You people again?! Come back to kill some more innocents have you?” Fuji cried as he stopped resisting the grip of the two Rockets.
“Oh no.” The leader began slyly. “We’re here for something much more valuable and practical than that. You’ve been holding out on us, haven’t you Fuji-boy?” The man said, slapping Fuji’s face gently, mocking him with every movement he made.
“What do you mean? There is nothing of any value whatsoever in this town and you know it. Now get out of my house!” Fuji cried again, raising his voice.
“Now, now, no need to be rude to your guests is there? Your buddy Bill certainly wasn’t. He told us eeeeeverything we wanted to know, and we know it’s here.”
Fuji’s face dropped. Something the man had said definitely hit home.
“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about…” Fuji replied, looking at the ground, his voice trembling.
“STOP LYING!” The man bellowed, slapping Fuji’s face so hard that it echoed outside.
“-Grandpa!” His grandson cried, only for the grunt next to him to gag him.
“Now,” The man in charge began, putting his face right up against Fuji’s, “Do you know where it is?” He said clamly.
Fuji looked up from the ground with anger in his eyes before uttering the single word; “Yes.”
“Good. Now you’re going to take us to it like a good little boy.” The man said, turning around. Condescending him with every word.
Fuji took a moment to wipe the blood from his nose before asking; “And if I don’t?”
The man chuckled.
“Then we’ll kill your grandson and blow a gaping hole in your oh-so-precious Pokemon Tower. Then you’ll feel the full wrath of Team Rocket. So… do we understand each other?”
Fuji’s fists tightened before he took a breath.
We raced around the corner to find a thick, black darkness blanketing the ground ahead. However when we approached it, it seemed to dissipate into thin air. There was no one around around but the scream had to have come from somewhere.
We walked forwards, desperate to try and find the source of the scream, the darkness retracting as we went. The darkness seemed to be denser on a spot just a few meters away from me. I carefully walked over to it and it revealed an unconscious body; a girl. Her hair was strewn over her face and her body had fallen into a crumpled mess, her clothes slashed in several places.
I knelt down and called over to April who came rushing over as I rested her head on my lap whilst she began to stir. Suddenly her eyes opened and she began screaming hysterically and frantically crawled away from us and backed into a bush.
“Whoa whoa, we’re not here to hurt you!” I cried trying to calm the girl down.
She was breathing heavily, gasping for breath, looking around as if she didn’t know where she was. Her ginger hair was still strewn across her face, when her breathing suddenly lightened and she began to stare at me oddly which, in turn, caused me to do the same to her.
“S-Stalker?” The girl muttered before leaping into my arms, and gripping me tightly.
“Robin.” I said; that single word had jogged my memory as I began to hug her back.
Robin hugged me seeming like she would never let go. I could feel every nail on her hand digging into my back which in itself frightened me when it made me think of what she must’ve been through to make her this scared.
“You… know her?” April asked me, confused at the whole scenario.
“Yeah. We met in Pewter City when you were in the hospital, her and her friend worked in the pokemart-“
“-Courtney!” Robin cried, letting go of me and looking around frantically amongst the darkness.
“Robin what’s wrong?” I asked.
“It’s Courtney – she was with me! Where is she?!” She said as we calmed her down and joined in the search; a search that would’ve led us nowhere if it hadn’t of been for the rain that suddenly began to fall.
The water began to fall from the sky, every drop cleansing the darkness, revealing the ground below.
“There’s no one here!” I cried, peering through the rain.
“Wait – look over there!” April yelled, pointing into the distance.
Through the sheet of rain, I could see a cloaked figure in the distance dragging a blue-haired girl into a backstreet.
“Robin – that’s her isn’t it?!”
“Yes it is!” Robin cried beginning to take off as I followed her.
“-Wait! Wasn’t that… Sebastian?” April said, not moving from the spot she was stood.
“What?! – I don’t know I… I didn’t see… are you sure?” I asked, stopping in my tracks and walking back over to her.
“Yes, I’m sure it was!” April cried, looking straight at me. I could tell by her eyes that she was definitely convinced that what she saw was correct. To tell the truth, I was unsure at best; I wasn’t focusing on the abductor but Sebastian was an old man; hardly capable of abducting anyone.
Robin called over to us, the sound of the heavy rain drowning out most of her voice, beckoning us over. She was peering around the corner to the backstreet the pair had disappeared into and could see nothing. We joined her and gained the courage to turn the corner and look around but they were definitely gone without a trace.
“How is this possible?!” April cried out. “They should be here – we just saw them.”
I looked around for clues but as it was now the middle of the night and it was just too dark to see anything; and that’s when something clicked in my head, proving to myself that it must’ve been Sebastian we saw.
“Shadow Sneak.” I muttered. “He must’ve used his Sneasel’s Shadow Sneak to get back so quickly without being seen. Remember? He used that move in the mansion; we didn’t see him move – that must be it!”
“Then we need to get to the Manor quickly before anything happens to her. These backstreets look like they’ll get us there faster.” April cried again looking downhill.
We quickly headed down the hillside city, April leading the way with Robin and I following close behind. Robin’s hands were still shaking, her nerves clearly showing. But I had to ask:
“Robin… What happened to you? Why were you here?”
She clasped her hands, seeing that I was looking at them before speaking.
“Me and Courtney, we got fired from the Pokemart and came here looking for work. We just got here and were looking for somewhere to go when It starts to get dark, like darker than it already was, and Courtney fainted – she just fell over like that. So I screamed and ran away, looking for help when it just kept getting darker and darker, like it was surrounding me, until I fell over too. It was horrible; like I’d been trapped in a dark room and was never able to get out. Then I woke up to you and all my clothes were ripped and my pokemon were all gone.”
“Robin… I know what you’re going through.” I said sympathetically.
“-How would you know?!” She blurted out at me.
“Because… I think it happened to me too.” I said bluntly.
April stopped and turned around to face me, shocked by what she had heard. I told them of how Adam had ran ahead of me when we first arrived at Pewter City to get her to safety. I was tired from running so much and felt the darkness close in around me and I then lost consciousness.
“But when I woke up I was fine; no scratches, no anything.”
“But when you first arrived – wasn’t that before you got your first pokemon?” April questioned.
“Yeah… maybe that’s why I was left unharmed.”
“-Is this the place they took Courtney? …The gate’s open.” Robin piped up from behind us.
We turned around to see Cerulean Manor, appearing much more ominous than it did in the daylight hours. The large barred gate was left slightly ajar, someone had been there recently.
We carefully slipped through, trying not to make any unnecessary noise and we walked along the several flower beds for cover. Robin pointed to the only obvious source of light emanating from the house, a small side-window that presumably led to the basement, shining light on a batch of tulips next to it.
We closed in on the window and looked inside, hidden amongst the foliage. Inside was a room with a large computer spread along the metal plated walls. The concrete floor was rough and the sound of heels walking along it could be heard – it was a blonde woman with hair curling in a spiral to her shoulders. She wore a white and red cap with a black shirt and a white skirt. She wore knee-high white boots and arm-length white gloves with a single yellow ring running around them.
The woman began using the computer as another figure appeared; it was Sebastian.
“Dry yourself off, I can hear you dripping from here.” The woman said sternly, with a hint of familiarity in her voice.
“Yeah I’m gettin’ to it, I just had to tie that girl up, gimme a break.” Sebastian said, his voice sounding much younger than it did before.
The woman turned around and for a second looked surprised by the person standing in front of her.
“What the hell are you doing going out dressed like that?! What if someone saw you?!”
“Relax..” ‘Sebastian’ said, seeming much calmer than the woman. “There’s a curfew on remember?”
“Still. I don’t know how you can stand being in that thing, it makes me feel… old.”
“Well I like it; it keeps me warm.”
“Did you get anything from the girl?” The woman asked, her eyes piercing his.
“Nah, she’s still unconscious. I managed to pick up some pokemon though, hers and this other brat’s.”
“You mean there was two of them? Why didn’t you-“
“-What do you expect me to do? Carry two people back by myself? I’m not a Machamp you know.”
The woman scoffed and turned back to the computer mumbling ‘idiot’ under her breath.
“No luck on your end either then?” The man asked shimmying up to the woman.
“-If I had, would I be on here now?!” The woman bellowed at the man.
“Geez, no need to get so testy. I’ll just go and put the pokemon with the rest.” The man said as he walked away.
“And Petrel – hurry up and get something out of that girl, if we don’t get something soon the boss is going to get real angry!”
“I know Domino, I know.”
Chapter 16 – ...Double Trouble (Part 2)
“You people make me sick; abusing Pokémon for your own selfish ends. They’re meant to be treated with love and respect, not treated like items to be sold and then thrown away. Didn’t you people learn your lesson two years ago? You cannot carry on without consequence!” Fuji cried as he was being led up a hill just to the north of Lavender Town. His hands were tied behind his back and the Team Rocket member in charge was following close beside him with a single grunt following behind. The other two had been left to guard Fuji’s Grandson.
I followed close enough to hear what they were saying, but far enough away that I wouldn’t be spotted. The path we walked up was littered with large rocks to hide behind, but in the cover of night they were not really needed.
“You need get some respect, get some morals, get some –“
“-Shut it you!” The grunt cried, tightening the grip on Fuji’s restraints.
“Now, which way is it?” The superior Rocket asked Fuji, invading his personal space, using his wide, intimidating gaze to ensure he gained the truth.
Fuji hesitated before averting his gaze to a small gap between two sides of a large rock formation, blocked by a sizeable boulder. “Move that.”
“Do it.” The senior Rocket commanded to his Grunt.
“Yes Proton Sir!”
“You better not be lying Fuji-boy, because if you are…” Proton said, holding up a small device, presumably a remote detonator as the grunt pulled the edge of the boulder outwards, making enough room to get through. Whatever these people were going after it had to be worth hiding.
“Sir, there’s nothing here.” The grunt said. “Just a load of useless rocks.”
“What?!” Proton cried, walking over to examine the crevasse. Sure enough, the small space was littered with many fist-sized, grey and black rocks.
“What are you trying to pull Fuji? You said it would be here!” Proton cried holding up the detonator.
“It is. And if you untie me I’ll show you where.” Fuji said calmly, meeting Proton’s gaze with a stern one of his own.
Proton quickly gave it some thought before nodding to the Grunt. The Grunt produced a small pocket-knife and sliced through the rope binding Fuji’s hands. Fuji stretched outwards in front of him, letting the blood flow to his fingertips again.
Fuji slowly walked over and rummaged through the rocks carefully examining each one in turn until he found what he was looking for and rose to his feet.
“Give it to me.” Proton demanded, walking over to him holding out his hand.
I felt that I should intervene and stop the Rockets getting hold of that item. There was only two of them and my pokemon had grown so much – our badges were proof of that, I was sure we could at least make them back off… for now. But waiting for the right opportunity was crucial.
Fuji looked at the item in his hand and sighed before placing it in Proton’s grip.
“This is a rock.” Proton stated looking at the black mass of sediment in his hand.
“No. It’s a specially designed capsule made by Bill to keep it away from the likes of you. Turn it over.” Fuji said, sounding disgusted at himself as he spoke.
Proton turned the black ‘rock’ around to reveal a small silver spot that shimmered in what little light there was. Fuji pressed his thumb against the spot, causing it to turn a shade of green before it clicked and a gap began to appear as it opened in a similar fashion to a Pokeball.
“Take it. You won’t achieve anything - It’s useless on its own.” Fuji said, not bringing himself to look at his abductor.
Proton looked inside it and took out a shimmering rock that shone a brilliant shade of green.
“Sir.. Is that –“
“-The Emerald. So it is true.” Proton muttered.
“You’ve got what you wanted – now leave.” Fuji said, looking up.
“Ahh yes, we will. You of course are free to go; you should hurry back to your grandson.” Proton said with a smirk.
Fuji slowly turned, presumably thinking about Proton’s choice of words and began walking down the hill towards me when suddenly there was an ear-splitting sound of an explosion coming from behind me. I looked behind to see a fiery cloud of yellow that was soon engulfed by blanket of thick, black smoke. The explosion had taken a large chunk out of the side of Pokemon Tower, simply erasing several floors of the building I was just in, throwing bricks and debris all around the surrounding area.
I turned back and saw a look of pure horror in Fuji’s eyes, both of them reflecting bright yellow of the burning flames in front of him.
Fuji’s shock turned to anger he rotated 180 degrees and marched towards Proton who was still holding the detonator in his hand. His finger still pressed to the button.
“You said you wouldn’t do it if I helped you!!” Fuji bellowed, his voice straining as he spoke showing a glimpse of the fury inside of him.
Proton looked down at the old man in front of him and smirked with a disgusting look of smug satisfaction and simply said. “I lied.”
Fuji, about to burst suddenly swung his fist for Proton who dropped the detonator from his hand and grabbed Fuji’s arm in mid-swing.
“Ariados – Spider Web!” I cried, throwing my Pokeball into air, not being able to stand the Rockets’ attitude to living things.
Ariados appeared in a bright flash of light and shot out a thick piece of web towards a startled Grunt, that separated in midair to form a web that pushed the Grunt against the wall sticking him there before he had a chance to move.
Proton acted instinctively and twisted Fuji around by his arm and pulled him against him.
“Don’t come any closer boy or this man will be next on the list of the dead.” He threatened as I stopped in my tracks, Ariados next to me letting out a deep hiss.
“…Adam?!” Fuji cried, recognizing me from earlier.
“Get out of here before you get killed!”
“No. I’m not letting them leave with that emerald. Do you know how many people you just killed?!” I yelled at Proton letting my anger get the best of me.
“Plenty. Just enough to get the message across – Don’t. Get in the way. Of Team Rocket.”
Suddenly I heard a noise from behind me. I looked to see the Grunt cutting his way through the web with a knife to free himself.
“Exeggutor – Hypnosis!” Proton cried, pushing Fuji to the floor, utilizing the opportunity that my back was turned.
I turned back around to see several yellow rings of energy fly through midair and hit Ariados and me. It felt as if someone had made all of my joints stiffen and then numb as my legs turned to jelly and I collapsed upon Ariados, straining to keep my eyes open.
Fuji tried to get up and strike Proton once again but he saw it coming and hit Fuji on the head, knocking him out and to the floor.
Proton walked over to the grunt and pulled off the remaining web, releasing him from he wall in one swift motion.
“Thank you Sir. What should I do with these two?” The grunt said, wiping his uniform down.
“Leave the old man. Tie the boy up – we’re taking him with us.”
“And where is that Sir?” The Grunt asked as my eyelids closed.
“Chrono Island. We need to pay Gideon a visit.”
I lost consciousness.
I was drawn aback, shocked by what we’d witnessed, deceived by the people inside. The people inside, not only were they not who I thought they were, they were criminals; the people behind all the attacks - the attack on Robin. Whoever they were, I wasn’t about to let them get away with it.
“April… Who are these people?” I asked, looking over to her.
April was squatted in the mud, her face and hair drenched in the pouring rain. Her eyes were wide, her gaze fixed, something was wrong.
”April… what’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing… Don’t worry.” She said, only averting her gaze after finishing the sentence.
“Stalker, did you hear that?” Robin asked from behind me. “They have Courtney – she’s in there all by herself, we’ve got to find her.”
I joined Robin in looking for a way in, but, if opened, a window anywhere near the basement would alert them that someone was here because of the noise of the pouring rain. April rose to her feet, still with the same look painted across her face but began helping us search for a way inside.
We eventually came back around to the front of the house where Robin spotted that the pair of large front doors were ajar. Sebastian, or rather Petrel, had forgotten to shut it entirely giving us the perfect chance to sneak inside.
Robin’s initial nerves seemed to have been calmed as she was the first to sneak inside. I protested that I should go first; having been inside before and that she should follow with April behind. After quietly protesting, she saw that it would be a much safer idea. April however, seemed much more nervous all of a sudden and stood, frozen stiff at the door.
“April, what’s wrong?” I whispered, walking back through the wooden doors to her.
She looked around her, up to the top floor of the mansion and then to me.“This place… these people. I don’t know if I can…”
I took April’s shaking hand looked into her eyes; she was obviously terrified of something.
“Robin’s friend Courtney, she needs our help.” I said calmly. “So we’re going in there to try and get her out. You can help too. You can go get Officer Jenny or someone from the police to come over and help. Can you do that?” I asked.
April lowered her head and looked as if she was thinking about it.
“No.” She said, pulling her hands from mine. “I want to help here.”
“Atta girl.” I said, sneaking back inside.
Inside, the golden chandelier hanging from the ceiling was switched off, there was virtually no light besides the moonlight from outside in the room. I carefully looked around to see which direction to go in. The large oak doors that led to the battle arena dominated most of one of the walls whilst the grand staircase dominated two of the others. It was then I spotted a small door I hadn’t seen before on my last visit, I carefully walked across the tiled floor to it, careful not to make any noise as I went and slowly opened it to find only a solid brick wall behind.
“Stalker look!” Robin whispered, a few steps up the grand staircase behind me.
Robin pointed to the top where, after disappearing around a corner, the staircase simply stopped, not attached to anything.
“It just looks like an ordinary staircase from down here.” April whispered back.
“What is this place…” I muttered.
On having nowhere else to go, we had to enter the room we battled in earlier. Even though I didn’t remember any rooms coming off of it, it was the only place left to go.
I pushed the large doors open carefully, only slightly at first to check there was no one in the room before opening it just so much that we could all fit through. Inside, the room was just how it was this morning, Cupboards and chests of drawers lining the walls and a large rug set over the arena.
The room was also dark, but moonlight shone through a window high up near the ceiling onto the carpet illuminating a part of the rug, showing us the way to go. Along it there was a trail of wet footprints leading up to the corner of the room where a cabinet was moved away from the wall.
Looking through the space behind it, we could see a stone passage with steps leading downwards into the basement. Deciding that we should go down one by one so that if we were noticed, we would not all be caught.
I went first, stepping on each step as lightly as I could as even the slightest noise would echo throughout the passage. Eventually I reached the bottom where I was met with a door straight ahead of me and a corridor to my left leading into a large, open room, presumably the room we saw through the window.
Needing a place to hide, I looked at the space underneath the out of place wooden door amongst the stone to see only darkness. Rather than risking entering the lit room at the end corridor, I decided that the darkness was a much safer bet of not running into the kidnappers.
I opened the door and went inside; from a quick glance of the unlit room I could see no one else inside and so signaled to the girls to come down the stairs. They each did carefully as to not raise any attention to ourselves first Robin and then April. As April reached halfway we could hear someone coming out from the room at the end of the corridor. April began to panic but we beckoned to her to come towards us and she did, running down the steps and closing the door behind her.
The three of us backed against the wall inside, trying to be as quiet as possible, April’s breath was heavy from running so she put her hands to her face, trying to stop herself. The footsteps became louder and louder, edging closer until they were outside the door.
I could feel my heart beating through my chest as if I was going to burst from it. If we were found then that would be it for us; after the gym battle, April had no pokemon able to fight and I only had Sandshrew. With Robin’s pokemon hidden away somewhere we would stand no chance of winning a fight.
Slowly the footsteps began again, except this time they were getting further away, whoever it was was going up the steps.
Suddenly we heard a noise, something was rustling on the other side of the room making April jump backwards against a table, causing Pokeballs to fall down around her. April turned around to find a box filled with Pokeballs sitting on the table.
Meanwhile Robin moved towards the noise, squinting as she did so as something stood out from the darkness. It was blue hair in a familiar bob.
“Courtney!” Robin cried rushing over to her friend who was tied up and gagged, lying on the floor.
“Alex look – it’s the stolen pokemon!” April cried, picking up the Pokeballs she knocked over.
Robin untied Courtney and took the gag from her mouth. Courtney’s face was wet with tears with a look of horror painted across it. She jumped into Robin’s arms and gripped her tightly in a similar fashion to how Robin had gripped me earlier.
It was then I noticed that there was also someone else tied up behind Courtney; a man with brown hair wearing a blue shirt. I ran over to untie him. He was badly beaten with cuts and bruises all over his body, I was scared of taking off his gag incase I hurt him but it had to be done. The man gasped for air as I took it off and he clung to my arm.
“Thank you so much.” The man gasped.
What’s your name?” I asked. “Can you walk?”
The man pulled himself to his feet using my bodyweight as a balance.
“Yeah… I think I can, and the name’s Bill.”
Suddenly we heard footsteps rushing down the stairs outside along the passage as everyone held their breath.
“D, someone’s here!” We heard Petrel cry as it echoed through the hallway.
“What?!” Domino yelled back.
“I went back upstairs to shut the door and there’s sets of wet footprints all over the rug. Someone besides me has come in from outside.”
“You mean you left the door open? So people could just waltz inside?! Idiot!” She cried as the sound of a slap to the face could be heard down the hall.
“Nevermind. We’ve got what we need from Bill anyway, anything else will come from the others.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Protocol.” Domino replied bluntly.
There was a short silence before Petrel began speaking. “…Are you sure?”
“We’ve been found out Petrel, word will get out and this whole charade is going to crumble one way or the other.”
“What about the intruders?” Petrel asked as the sound of keys clicking on a keyboard could be heard.
“If they’re stupid enough to still be here then they can burn with the other two. We’ve got ten minutes, now let’s go.”
Everyone in the room began to panic. We could of made a run for it but with Courtney near hysterical and Bill injured we wouldn’t be able to keep at a fast enough pace to get away. But just as I thought that I heard footsteps run along the corridor and up the steps away from us, if they were leaving then that was our que to do the same.
April picked up the large box of Pokeballs and I helped Bill to walk whilst Courtney clung tightly to Robin. Once again I led the way; I opened the door back to the corridor to see who I guessed to be Petrel about to ascend the steps. The man stopped and looked towards us, seeming to look at us each individually with his black eyes, they seemed kinder than I’d expected a criminal’s to be.
After stopping to glance he was quickly off up the stairs, his flat purple Mohawk becoming the only thing we could see through the dark.
Thinking we’d been granted a break we quickly made for the exit. Not met with any resistance we all ran as fast as we could until we ran out of the large front doors, back into the garden and the pouring rain.
After quickly descending the two stone steps onto the grass, something darted through the air and rooted itself into the ground just in front of me to which I quickly jumped backwards. It was a black tulip, but something wasn’t quite right about it. Suddenly it flashed red several times within a single second and created a small explosion in front of me, making Bill and I fall to the ground.
April called out to us but as I looked up I saw Domino standing beside a black helicopter with another tulip in her hand.
“I should’ve known it’d be you two brats again!” Domino cried across the garden angrily. “Do you like my tulips?” she asked, her voice changing to a much more sadistic tone.
The helicopter’s blades began to spin, creating what felt like an instant hurricane all around us.
“D. The chopper’s ready.” Petrel cried, running around to machine to an open door, loading a crate inside.
“Pity you came outside, now you’re going to have to learn the hard way!” Domino cried through the storm with a smile on her face.
I looked back to the others behind me who hadn’t moved as I rose to my feet, helping Bill up again.
“Everyone go, find officer Jenny – get some help!” I cried as Robin and Courtney needed ran across the garden, not needing telling twice.
“Alex!” April protested taking a few steps forward.
“I’m the only one with a pokemon left that’s able to fight these people and if I can just delay them until the police get here then these attacks can stop.” I said, something inside of me coming alive, something that was determined to stop these people.
“But those people… they’re-“
“-Can you get Bill to safety too?” I said, almost thrusting him onto her.“Now go!”
April began running away, looking back several times as I reached for a pokeball on my belt.
I gripped Sandshrew’s Pokeball in my hand; my only pokemon that wasn’t physically exhausted from the gym battle.
Domino looked straight at me and let out a loud maniacal laugh. “Are you honestly going to try and fight using your pathetic pokemon? Were you not here earlier?!”
I clenched the Pokeball harder, trying to contain the anger that was building up inside of me.
“Teach him a lesson Petrel, he needs to learn not to get in the way of Team Rocket.” Domino continued as she went inside the cockpit.
The helicopter slowly began to lift off of the ground and I threw the Pokeball through the air, releasing Sandshrew just as another flash of light appeared in front of me making Sneasel appear opposite. Sandshrew winced at being outside in the rain, something I’d never made him do before.
Petrel sighed before saying, “And I’m supposed to be the nice guy…”
Suddenly two pairs of long, razor sharp claws that looked more like blades appeared from under the fur of Sneasel’s arms. Something that wasn’t there before.
“Sandshrew – Rollout!”
Sandshrew curled up into a ball and began to speed off as Sneasel disappeared in a flash and reappeared in front of Sandshrew, slashing him throwing him backwards onto his back, exposing his weak point, his soft stomach.
“-No!” I cried.
Sneasel jumped on topof Sandshrew as he squirmed to get away. Sneasel retracted his claws and began brutally battering Sandshrew all over with its fists at a lightening fast speed. Sandshrew couldn’t take the beating and lost consciousness.
Sneasel smiled as it drew its razor claws once more, eager to get started. Sneasel began slashing away at Sandshrew again and again without restraint, almost
“Stop!” I cried, looking at the pokemon and then at the trainer, neither showing any intention to do so.
“I said stop!!!!!” I Yelled, running over to the pokemon and pushing it off of my own. It wasn’t a pokemon – it was a monster.
“We’re done here.” Petrel said jumping onto the hovering Helicopter and withdrawing his pokemon.
“I hope you enjoy my lovely garden!” I heard Domino cry as they flew off into the night sky.
I collapsed in front of Sandshrew, not able to contain myself I burst into a neverending flow of tears, every drop of rain feeling like it came from me. I clutched my pokemon’s lifeless body hoping it wasn’t real but this pain tearing my heart apart was not an illusion, it was very real.
Suddenly the garden around me began glowing flashing red, near matching the blood-stained grass as every tulip began lighting up, exploding causing a chain reaction of explosions spreading through the garden around us enveloping the house and then myself, knocking me unconscious.
Silph Arc - Tragedy and Kidnap:
Chapter 17 – The Mourning After
April and Alex sat in the back of a car as it drove along a bumpy road. Alex rested his head upon his hand and leant his head against the window, watching as the world went past it. April occasionally looked towards him wanting to start a conversation but when she couldn’t find the words turned back around.
Houses started to flash by, the sign of nearing civilisation. Some were different colours to others and stood out from the rest, but to Alex they were all the same; dull, lifeless and bland. Only shades of black, white and grey seemed to exist to him now. He had learnt that the world can be a cruel and vicious place, something April had learnt two years ago. April was concerned for him and had been through something similar to him, if not worse, and he knew that, but he couldn’t bring himself to speak to her; not yet anyway.
He looked down to the darkened pokeball he clutched in his hand, a searing pain spreading across the right side of his neck as he did so. After a day of being unconscious in the hospital he had woken up to learn that he had been badly burnt from the explosion across the side of his neck and that the pain would last for a while, eventually leaving a scar. It was bandaged now; he was waiting for it to heal and for the pain to eventually go away.
The doctors thought he had been lucky, but as soon as he was discharged he headed for the pokemon center to find out that Sandshrew had had no such luck. Sandshrew’s body was withdrawn into his pokeball and sealed permanently, turning the red half darker to almost a jet black colour.
The police offered a ride to Lavender Town, a place to bury fallen pokemon, and they had accepted. People tried speaking to Alex several times before he left Cerulean City; Bill, Robin, Courtney, all wanting to thank him or otherwise but he didn’t listen, he didn’t want to listen.
The road ahead turned to a dirt road as a landmark came into view, a jagged tower that seemed unfinished, but was too old to be a new build. The scenery became increasingly rocky as the squad car drove up to and under a large piece of doming rock that seemed almost like a tunnel.
Nearing in on the town it was obvious something had happened there. Lavender was barely big enough to be called a town with houses set sparsely apart with the large tower set in the middle. It seemed the top third of the tower had fallen leaving the rest crumbling and damaged with debris all over the small town, bricks, windows, graves everywhere.
Stationary next to the tower however was a large mechanical crane with a wrecking ball attached. It was empty but there were sounds of yelling from many people that got louder and louder as the car neared.
April thanked the driver as the pair got out of the vehicle and into the large crowd of people that were the source of the yelling. There were men in high-vis construction jackets holding people back who tried to enter or get near to the tower. There was an elderly man who seemed to be leading the mob. He was bald with left arm in a sling and a few cuts spread across his head.
“You cannot do this! It’s not right, can’t you see?” He yelled to the men.
“I’m sorry sir but we have our orders; this building is dangerous and unstable, what was left of the rest of the top of the tower fell yesterday and who knows how much damage was done to the inner structure. It’s amazing this building is still standing if I am honest.” The worker in the light blue high-vis jacket said, guarding the entrance, obviously the most senior member there.
“But the graves! All of the pokemon laid to rest there – would you demolish a cemetery?!”
“I’m sorry Mr. Fuji, there’s just nothing I can do, now can you please all just move back to behind the barricades and we can get this over with!” The man shouted waving his arms as if to say to his colleagues to push the crowd backwards.
As the crowd was being pushed backwards Mr. Fuji grabbed the man in charge’s arm tightly with his right arm. “Listen you! All of this happened to me because I tried to protect this tower and I’m willing to go through so much more if it calls for it, but I’m asking you; please don’t do this.”
The man looked straight at Fuji with compassion at first and then with a stern sense of duty. “This is my job. Now please move away Sir.” The man said grabbing Fuji’s hand and forcefully removing it from his arm.
It was at this point the crowd had reached April who had been watching the events unfold since she had gotten out of the car. She looked around for Alex for support but he simply wasn’t there. She searched through the numerous amounts of heads all around her until she spotted a head bobbing along in front of her, in front of the crowd and in front of the demolition workers, heading for the tower’s entrance.
Alex, after using Fuji’s plea to the most senior worker to slip through the human wall, stopped just outside the main entrance and turned around and sat, cross-legged on the rocky floor facing everyone else and held his arms out to the side.
Seeing this April dropped to her hands and knees and began crawling through spaces between legs in the crowd and eventually passed the demolition worker to reach Alex. April sat next to him and locked arms, holding out her other one to her side.
Seeing this, the crowd decided to join in as some dropped to their feet whilst others pushed back at the workers and over powered them. Each person sat next to another, locking arms all around the tower, eventually reaching back to Alex’s other arm.
Suddenly Alex spoke the first words he had said since being handed Sandshrew’s pokeball.
“My name is Alex and I lost my Sandshrew.”
The workers began to get back up on their feet as April pondered for a moment before speaking.
“My name is April and I lost a Sandshrew too.”
This caused a chain reaction as everyone spoke in turn, carrying on around the circle, each person listening to every single statement of loss.
“My name is Nathan and I lost my Venomoth.”
“My name is Jessica and I lost Swirly, my Poliwhirl.”
The workers gathered round, unsure of what action to take next. Fuji then walked across to them.
“This is a miniscule portion of how many people are grieving for lost pokemon, this is a tiny portion of the people that care for this place, just like me, and we will not move until those graves are taken care of.” Fuji said, standing strong in front of us.
The man in the blue high-vis paused for a moment, assessing the situation.
“…name is Nicole and I lost my Skarmory.”
The man then took a sizable radio from his belt and spoke into it. “Sir, we may have a problem, you may need to sort this one yourself.”
“Thanks Dan, I’ll be right there.” The voice on the other end came through.
The men looked to the skies for something as gradually the sound of spinning blades could be heard. Soon after that a white helicopter came into view and began its decent to land many metres away from the trainers all gathered around the tower.
As it came into land, flashes of the Rocket’s helicopter flashed through Alex’s peripheral vision. Alex concentrated and pushed them aside, wanting to move on, not to dwell on it.
Dan, the senior worker, ran over to the helicopter, crouching through the gusts the blades created and slid the door open. A man in a black suit stepped out and walked over towards them. He had a pale face to match his white shirt and his facial features were very defined. He had spiked up blue hair and a stern gaze.
“Mr Cyrus, Sir. This is the problem.”
The man glanced around assessing the situation.
“And who might you be?” Fuji asked, presenting himself in front of the businessman.
“Well Sir, my name is Cyrus and I am the CEO of the country’s biggest construction and development firm. I make it my business to personally oversee every demolition I contract… I assume you speak for these people?” Cyrus replied, tightening his tie.
“Yes Sir, I believe I do.”
“Very well. Follow me if you would.” Cyrus said turning around, not even checking to see if Fuji was following.
Fuji took a moment to look around at the scene, looking at every face individually before moving on reminding him of his cause. April and Alex were the last faces his eyes came to, and as their eyes met his April gave a quick nod of approval, deeply trusting the man she’d only known for a few minutes, whilst Alex simply went back to looking at the ground.
“Absolutely not!” Fuji cried out in anger, slamming his fist onto the wooden picnic bench they sat upon.
“I can’t stop the demolition, the building is too unstable for public use and a firm in Johto has already bought the rights to the site. There’s nothing I can do.”
Fuji let out a deep sigh as a crispy brown leaf floated down onto his hand.
Fuji looked around at the park that they were sitting in. It was surrounded by trees with numerous fresh leaves on, ready to take in sunlight.
“Do you see this leaf?” He asked.
“It fell from the tree much earlier than it should have. This leaf barely got a chance to live and now, just like that; it’s gone. Imagine that leaf is a pokemon, and it had its life cut short, you wouldn’t just leave it lying around here would you? Now look at all the other leaves still up there, enjoying the sun, enjoying life. Any one of them could fall at any given time and eventually, they’re all going to fall. Now if you had a garden you’d gather all of the leaves and put them together somewhere. Pokemon need a place like that too, and people need a place to lay those pokemon to rest; we can’t just leave them lying around like a piece of rubbish.”
Cyrus looked up to the treetops that surrounded them before looking down to his fists.
After a long moments silence Cyrus eventually began speaking.
“All right. You have made a valid argument. Let us say that I were to commission a memorial building that would house many, many more graves than the tower? Would you call off your protesters?”
Fuji thought on Cyrus’ choice of words before making the next move.
“And you’ll move all of the graves left inside of the Tower into this new ‘memorial building’?”
Cyrus sighed before agreeing.
“So we have reached an agreement then?” The businessman asked, holding out his hand.
“I do believe we have.” Fuji said with a smile, extending his good arm to shake hands with Cyrus. “Thank you.” He said with sincerity in his voice that Cyrus felt.
“Please come back later tonight, we’re holding a candlelight vigil for all those that perished as a result of the attack on the Tower. I would be honoured if you would join us.”
“I would be honoured.”
As night fell, more and more people had gathered in the centre of Lavender Town, each holding a candle or a lighter in their hands. Many people were weeping, some sobbing uncontrollably. The destruction of the tower had not only affected pokemon, but people too.
With the help of a man, Mr Fuji mounted a large piece of debris and stood above everyone, ready to address them.
“Thank you all for coming, and I am sorry you’ve had to. Pokemon Tower has been, for as long as I remember, one of this country’s great landmarks and has served as the final resting place for many, many Pokémon. But tonight we are not here to mourn pokemon or the Tower, but to mourn all those lost in the blast, be it in the explosion or as a result of the falling debris.
This accident was the result of criminals; terrorists out to benefit themselves and cause pain and anguish to others. Now we all feel a sense of loss here, but hopefully, thanks to the generosity of Mr Cyrus and his company, we can have a small part of that loss filled in, as a new building is being created to house graves for departed pokemon and to serve as a memorial to all those who lost their lives.
Now something like this will not happen again, and do you know how I know? Because of all of you. There was a young man whose name escapes me, who tried as hard as he could to stop these people achieving their end, but only just failed, but when this building was threatened yet again a few days later; all of you, led by this young man were adamant not to let anything else happen to it.
So tonight I ask you to remember these people, remember these people so it will never happen again. Thank you.”
Fuji looked at the faces in the crowd before he stepped down. Everyone’s eyes glistened with tears, reflecting the light of the moon and the stars back at him. April and Alex were in the front row, listening to every word he had spoken and after being helped off of the debris, slowly walked over to them.
“Thank you for coming.” Fuji said.
“We wanted to, really. That was a beautiful speech.” April said softly.
“Why thank you young lady, but would you both like to come with me? There’s something I would like to show you.” Fuji asked.
“S-sure…” April said as Fuji directed her in the direction they should walk. Alex followed April, still clutching Sandshrew’s pokeball in his hands.
“-Mr Fuji!” Came a voice from within the crowd.
A man gently pushed his way through the crowd of mourners until he appeared in front of them, it was Cyrus the businessman.
“Mr. Cyrus, I’m glad you could make it.”
“Thank you for extending me an invite. I’d just like to say I am truly sorry for what happened here. Emotions are… truly a burden one must carry.”
“They are indeed, but where would we be without them?” Fuji says, forcing a small smile.
“Well if you’ll excuse us there was somewhere I was meaning to go.”
“O-of course.” Cyrus said before parting ways, seemingly deep in thought.
After walking down a few dimly lit streets, the trio arrived at a small house with a simple wooden door. Fuji let them inside and led the pair down the hallway to a room at the end. Walking down the corridor they passed a room where a man was lying in a bed. He was pale and looked like he had lost quite a lot of weight. April stopped and looked inside with a concerned look upon her face.
“Please… do not worry about him.” Fuji said leaning against the doorframe of the room at the end of the corridor.
“What’s wrong with him?” April asked.
“Spinarak poisoning, but he’s passed the worst of it.”
“It could’ve been a lot worse so I’m thankful for that. But would you like to come in here?”
April and Alex walked into the seemingly large room at the end of the corridor. There were many shelves crammed with books, bags of wild plants, and small bugs. The room was also littered with many different bags of pokemon food, complete with Poffins, pokeblocks and all mannar of other things. The room was a lot messier than the rest of the nearly spotless house. In the corner was a small playpen meant for children, but had obviously been used to house small pokemon as there were scratches and markings all around it.
A pair of large French doors also took up part of the wall leading outside to where the shapes of numerous animal pens could be made out.
“What is this place?” April asked, looking around at the various photos mounted on the wall.
“A shelter for abandoned or orphaned pokemon. A place for domesticated pokemon who have nowhere else to go.”
Fuji paused for a moment to see Alex still standing in the doorway. Fuji walked up to him and placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Alex, I would like, in light of your actions today, for your Sandshrew to be the first pokemon laid to rest in the new House of Memories.”
Alex’s gaze shifted from the pokeball to Fuji.
“That way everyone will know how much Sandshrew meant to you and will get the rest he deserves. …Is that okay?”
Alex nodded as Fuji moved his hand to the pokeball and gently took it from Alex’s loosened grasp. Fuji placed the darkened pokeball onto a small pedestal atop a fireplace before moving to a large cupboard next to it. A shining, warm light appeared from within as the aged man opened its large doors. From inside he took something and closed the doors once more before turning towards Alex.
He was holding a light blue egg, fairly large that seemed to pulse a small light from within it every couple of seconds.
“Here, I want you to have it. It belonged to a trainer who was killed when he was hit with debris falling from the explosion. I’m sure he would’ve wanted someone to have it who would treat it with the same love and respect he would of.”
Alex stared at the egg for a few seconds before reaching out to take it. The egg was warm to his skin and could feel the pulsating light without looking at the egg, it felt almost like a heartbeat.
“Now please, rest here for the night and continue on with your journey tomorrow; you’ve done more than enough around these parts.” Fuji said with a kind smile on his face.
Alex began clearing his throat; it’d been a long time since he had spoken. April looked on, silently stunned at hearing him try to speak after almost a week of silence.
“Thank you… for everything.” I said.
Chapter 18 – Trials and Transformations
Moving on from Lavender Town after a sound night’s sleep, we arrived on Route Twelve, otherwise known to the rest of the world as Silence Bridge. As long as Silence Bridge is, it doesn’t look particularly grand; in fact, it’s a simple bridge built of wooden logs suspended a few metres above the water’s surface, resembling a small dock.
It was quite a shock after leaving the mountainous area of Cerulean City and Lavender Town, to suddenly find myself on the seafront.
The salty sea breeze drifted across our faces as we looked outwards to the ocean, stretching on endlessly with each wave shimmering in the light of the near-midday sun. Wingull circled the skies, looking out for what could potentially be their next meal whilst the fish below daren’t go near the surface, fearing for their fate.
The bridge itself struck me as odd and I couldn’t work out why until I noticed it had no railings. Dotted along the edges instead were many, many avid fisherman all sat as still as stone, not even speaking to one another to pass the time.
April hadn’t spoken too much since we’d left Lavender but I think she was just being cautious about speaking to me but had since started up a conversation about the egg.
The egg had kept me warm all night, it was a nice feeling and helped me drift off into a comfortable sleep, something which I hadn’t been able to do in a while. The shell itself was many different shades of blue and purple. The blues were more dominant and swirled around the egg clashing together, almost as if several paint brushes had all randomly swiped at the surface. The deeper patches of blue however were seemingly translucent and a pulsating yellow could be seen flowing within.
“So what do you think is inside? They say you can tell a lot about what pokemon is in an egg from the shell. I bet it’s a water type... or an ice – maybe even psychic!”
“I… I dunno.” I said, looking down at it.
“I hope it’s pretty. I mean, it’s a baby so it’s gotta be cute right?” April said, imagining all the possibilities as she walked beside me.
“Well I just hope it-“ I began but stopped as the egg wobbled in my hands and I stopped in my tracks.
April carried on for a few paces before turning around. “What’s wrong?” She asked.
“The egg… it moved.”
“Are you serious? Is it hatching?!” April cried rushing over and getting on her knees, inspecting the egg.
For a few seconds there was just silence until the egg suddenly jolted slightly forward.
“It did it again!” I cried.
April began rubbing the shell.
“Come on little pokemon, you can do it!” she cried, the excitement painted across her face.
I couldn’t believe it, the egg was hatching already, but I couldn’t see or hear anything that sounded like hatching. Although I could hear some breathing. Something was inhaling rapidly. I looked downwards towards April just as…
“Ahhhh… achoooo!” The egg sneezed all over April’s face, covering her in gunk and causing her to scream, forcing me to burst out laughing uncontrollably.
The ‘egg’ in my hand suddenly became smaller and more rubbery – it was Ditto!
“Eww, Ditto I’m going to kill you!!” April yelled as she lunged for my pokemon.
I quickly moved to the side as she ran at me, causing her to bump into the back of a fisherman sitting on the bridge and fall to the floor.
“Oi!” bellowed the fisherman, scaring me so much that I stopped laughing prettymuch instantly.
“Oh I’m sorry…” April said apologetically, clambering back to her feet.
“Watch where you’re going – and keep the noise down! You’re scaring the fish!” He cried with a face like thunder before turning around.
April looked at me and sighed; her make-up was smudged from where she’d wiped off Ditto’s sneeze and I had to really try to contain myself so I wouldn’t burst into laughter again.
“Hey look, there’s an island over there, doesn’t look like we’ll disturb anyone there.” I said pointing south to where the bridge hits land briefly before becoming bridge again. April however, was already walking before I had finished my sentence.
“I guess that’s why they call it Silence Bridge…” I said under my breath.
“Wait a minute! Ditto, where is the real egg?!” I cried looking straight at the pokemon in my arms as we arrived on a small piece of land. Thoughts rushed through my mind; had I left it at Mr Fuji’s house? Did I leave it behind when I stopped to tie my shoelaces? Or did Ditto’s overwhelming appetite get the best of him?
April had somehow drifted behind us on our walk and as I was freaking out, made her presence known by clearing her throat quite loudly. I turned around to see her standing pointing in my direction, but she wasn’t pointing at me but at my white satchel bag. I looked downwards and breathed a sigh of relief to see the egg safely packed into it and padded with some old clothes. How could I have forgotten? I had packed it away in there this morning.
“Awwwh, I think Ditto is feeling a little left out.” April said brushing her hair.
I sat down on the grass with my legs crossed and stared at my starter pokemon. “I guess I have been neglecting you these past few weeks huh?” I guessed it was just the excitement of all of the trainer stuff alongside catching new pokemon, Ditto kind of got pushed to the back of the queue.
Ditto looked up at me with his beady black eyes and I remembered a promise I’d made to him back in the Cerulean gym battle.
“Want to try some training? I did promise you after all.” I asked him.
“To!” He cried as if to say yes.
“All right then!” I cried, jumping to my feet and looking around at the landscape to see what we could use, eventually coming to the biggest, and most obvious thing – the water.
“First thing’s first; swimming. Now, we’ve done it before but that was one way as a Luvdisc. The majority of water pokemon use fins to swim around, so that’s what we’re going to practice today. Without that skill, we’re going to be at a disadvantage.” I said, walking to the water’s edge, Ditto right beside me.
We looked into the shimmering water past our reflections to see a small Magikarp feeding off of some fungi in the shallows.
“Aha! Perfect. Okay Ditto, Transform into that Magikarp!” I cried.
Ditto nodded and became encased in an opaque white aura where he stretched and became twice his length, growing fins, antennae and gills before the aura faded and revealed a now red, scaly skinned fish bouncing aimlessly on its side. I pushed the Ditto-karp into the water, making the other Magikarp flee off into the distance.
April had made herself and her pokemon comfy on the grass and she took the chance to reapply her make-up. Slowpoke was lazily lying at April’s feet asleep with a bubble blowing out of his nose whilst Primeape threw some punches at thin air.
“Now the trick to moving is to alternate the movement of your body as you did with Luvdisc but use your fins for direction and extra power.” I said as Ditto started to manoeuvre his way around the water fairly quickly and easily. The little pokemon seemed surprised at how fast he could swim around the water and started to get almost cocky, performing loopdeloops and all manner of acrobatics against the incoming force of the waves.
Finding swimming a lot easier to master than I thought, I challenged Ditto to try flying by transforming into a Wingull. Launching himself high above the water’s surface he once again became encased in the white aura and became a thin, white seagull pokemon with a single blue line spread across both wings and its tail.
Ditto-gull tried to steady himself against the sea breeze that was blowing inland but found it hard to stay in the air, eventually being blown backwards and landing hard on the grass of the island. This one wasn’t going to be as easy.
I ran over to the spot where Ditto had landed but he was already back on his feet, determined to carry on. I began to think about ways that I could help with flying but who was I to talk about something I had no idea how to do?
“Why don’t you try using Swablu to teach him?” April suggested, now sat watching us on the swaying grass whilst cuddling Slowpoke like a child with a stuffed toy watching a movie.
“Of course!” I cried reaching to my head before realising that Swablu wasn’t perched on there, and hadn’t been for quite some time. Instead, I reached to my belt and threw her pokeball high into the air releasing her. Swablu floated softly on the breeze before perching herself on a nearby rock.
“Okay Swablu, we need your help!” I cried, only for her to turn her head up at me in disgust.
“Swablu… please?” I asked again in a softer tone.
She didn’t move a muscle; her beak was held high and she stood rigid in the wind as the breeze wafted through her cotton-like wings.
I knew what she wanted, Swablu was a proud bird and had been inside her pokeball for almost a week now without being let outside once. I sighed before I came out with the apology she craved.
“Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have neglected you, especially at a time like this. It was wrong of me….” She glanced at me before averting her gaze once more; she only really wanted one thing. “And… I’ll let you sit on my head again.”
Swablu chirped with glee and took off of the rock and landed gently back onto my head. “Okay, so I need you to teach Ditto the basics of flying; take-off, landing, the whole package.”
As the hours went on Ditto was learning quite fast. They had practiced their take offs before learning landings which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea and had moved on to working on their actual flying.
It was at that moment I had realised the amount of time and effort Ditto’s training would take up. When he was an Eevee, all I had to worry about was which evolution we’d eventually pick. Now, we have to work together to master mimicking the abilities of as many types of pokemon that we can. But the fact was, it truly didn’t bother me too much.
Since Ditto was having trouble flying on his own Swablu had taken to clutching him in her talons, making him copy every movement she made. She had her wings spread wide and was rhythmically flapping them to keep her height maintained, Ditto was naturally doing the same and then something magical happened – he was flying on his own!
I don’t think he noticed until April and I started cheering for him. Swablu had let go in midflight and Ditto had kept on going, which reminded me of how my dad taught me to ride my bike.
Ditto realised and tried not to celebrate before he’d made it back safely and so he gently tilted his wings and turned in the opposite direction, heading back to us. But Ditto had underguessed his landing and hit the ground rolling sending spikes of grass flying up in the air.
Our cheers turned to gasps as we ran over to him to find him back in his normal gelatinous form laughing and crying out his name out of joy.
“I think we need to work on your landing.” I said before joining in with Ditto’s infectious laughter.
Suddenly I heard a loud rustling in the bushes next to me and quickly turned my head causing pain to seer through my neck from my burn as images of the Rocket’s helicopter, the explosion and Sandshrew flashed past my eyes.
I gritted my teeth to help with the pain and pushed the images out of my head.
‘That’s over and I’m moving on.’ I thought to myself. ‘But the Rockets… They’re going to pay.’
Chapter 19 – A Slow Goodbye
After deciding to head west where the path split in front of us, we were well on our way toward our new destination; Vermillion City. We slowly walked barefoot along the shoreline that had appeared once again before us, the tiny grains of sand sticking in the spaces between our toes before being washed away by the ebbing sea.
The sun was shining brightly in a cloudless sky which had made a change from the rain that had poured down on us the day before. In the distance we could just begin to make out the outline of a city, a big one at that with vessels of all shapes and sizes going to and from its equally big harbour.
Scattered along the beach were plastic cups, napkins and every so often a person, each one looking out to the horizon.
“What do you think happened here?” I asked April as I looked at the litter along the beach.
“Looks like some kind of festival or celebration or something. Let’s ask them.” April replied before walking over to two people, a man and a woman in their twenties who were taking down a large red banner from a set of poles.
“Hello there!” The man cried from a few steps up a ladder. “You folks here for the festival? I’m afraid you missed it by a couple of days.”
“Festival?” I asked.
“The Migration Festival. Every year Slowpoke migrate from across Kanto to this beach to evolve in the summer, and then journey back home for the winter. So we hold a festival to celebrate and people come from all over, it’s a lot of fun!” The woman said as she reached for a litter picker and began clearing up.
“There was a Slowpoke festival and I missed it? But I promised him I’d take him to the beach to evolve!” April protested.
“Well, if you want, you can still give it a shot.” The man said as he descended the ladder. “But I wouldn’t keep your hopes up.”
“What do you mean?”
“You see those people over there, sitting by the shore? They’ve been here since the festival started and haven’t gotten anywhere. I don’t think you’ll fare any better than them if I’m honest.”
“-Danny that’s not fair and you know it.” The woman said, giving a scornful look to her friend. “I’m sorry, he’s just annoyed because he didn’t win the contest, pay him no mind.”
“It’s okay.” April said, looking a bit disheartened nonetheless. “So how does it happen exactly? The evolution I mean.”
“Well, each Slowpoke has a unique tasting sap that it uses to lure potential catches when fishing. This sap will attract one of the many Shellder that live in the waters of this beach and it will latch onto the Slowpoke’s tail. The poison it then injects with its bite reacts with the sap of the Slowpoke and triggers evolution.”
“Cool.” I said, quite amazed at the process.
“So… Is that it? I still have a chance?” April asked, not quite so phased.
The woman laughed before replying. “That’s it.”
April giggled and thanked the woman before running to the shoreline and releasing Slowpoke from inside his pokeball.
“Alright! C’mon Slowpoke, let’s go fishing, you’ll be evolved in no time.”
“…Slow?” Slowpoke said as he looked up at April questioningly.
April waited five seconds for her pokemon’s brain to process what she had said and watched as he slowly dipped his tail into the water.
“You’re doing it wrong.” Came a voice from our left. It was a boy of about ten years old sat with his knees pressed to his chin and his arms folded around his legs, staring out to sea. His short, brown hair was waving in the wind as his feet slowly sunk into the sand.
“Your Slowpoke, he needs to go further out.” The boy said, turning his head to face us.
“And why does he need to do that?”
“’Cos that’s where the Shellders are at.” The boy said as a head of a Slowpoke with scruffy fur appeared from beneath the water’s surface a few meters out. The boy lifted his head and asked; “Still nothing?”
“Slow…” The pokemon cried sadly.
“Well keep trying, this is our year – I just know it!” The boy encouragingly cried back as his pokemon submerged itself and he once again rested his head upon his knees.
April kneeled down to her Slowpoke and told him to follow the other one, hoping for him to be lead to where he needed to go, and slowly but surely he did as he was asked and disappeared unto the blue ocean.
“You seem to know a lot about this.” I said, deciding to sit next to the boy.
“I guess… but me knowing a lot doesn’t really help us much.”
“What do you mean?” April asked, sitting on the sand the other side of the boy.
“Well the Slowpokes have to do this all by themselves without any help from us. So me knowing stuff isn’t too helpful y’know? Its just scary not knowing what’s happening.”
“I didn’t think about it like that…” April said quietly, adopting the same pose as the boy.
“So if this is ‘your year’, then you’ve been here more than once?” I asked, trying to keep the conversation flowing.
“Yeah. Me and my mum used to come every year until my baby brother was born.”
“Every year huh? You trying to win that contest?”
“Nah, that thing’s dumb; people win a prize for having the Slowbro with the prettiest shell each year. I don’t want a pretty shell.”
“What do you want?” April asked.
“I wanna be a pokemon trainer. If Slowpoke can evolve then I know I can do it!”
April chuckled and looked at the boy. “You remind me of my brother. What’s your name?”
“Jake.” The boy said before asking us the same question. We introduced ourselves and talked for about an hour and a half before realising how much time had passed.
“Is it supposed to take this long?” April sighed, her concern for Slowpoke growing.
“I wouldn’t worry too much; Slowpokes can stay underwater for ages without coming back up –“
And suddenly Jake was interrupted when a Slowpoke’s head breached the surface. April and Jake both gasped and rose to their feet as the pokemon came ashore. It stood on its hind legs and had a harder skinned stomach and sure enough, latched to the pokemon’s tail was a spiral-shelled creature. This wasn’t a Slowpoke anymore.
‘Slowbro; the hermit crab Pokemon and the evolved form of Slowpoke. The Shellder attached to its tail feeds on the host’s leftover scraps and if the Shellder is thrown off, Slowbro will once again become a regular Slowpoke.’ Came the mechanical voice from my Pokedex which instead of being in my pocket was in April’s hands.
“How do you do that?” I asked, baffled.
April and Jake looked at each other, ignoring my question as they had a bigger problem to deal with.
“Whose is it?!” they both cried.
April and Jake both addressed the Slowbro, trying to get an idea of who the Pokémon recognised as his owner, but as they soon realised, they both called the pokemon by its species name. Slowbro clearly hadn’t become any cleverer upon evolution as he stared blankly ahead of him, stopping only to shake himself dry. After he did, it had become clear to April that this wasn’t her pokemon; the scruffy haired Slowbro was Jake’s.
The ecstatic ten year old ran over to his pokemon just as something else was emerging out of the water; a familiar fat, pink head and chubby body plodded back onto the shoreline from the same spot Slowbro had emerged. But something wasn’t right.
His eyes were wide, much wider than they usually were with a look of pain painted across his face.
“SLOOOOOW!!” He howled and with one quick motion flung his tail from beneath the water into the air, sending something purple flying upwards. It disappeared into the bright light of the afternoon sun and reappeared seconds later, crying out its name and falling to the ground at an alarming rate. The three of us braced ourselves not knowing where it was going to land until we uncovered our eyes, hearing nothing sounding anything like an impact and saw that the purple item – a purple pokemon, had landed and using its mouth, latched itself onto Slowpoke’s head.”…Poke?”
“Slowpoke?!” April cried again as her pokemon began to glow a brilliant white. He grew about an inch in all directions and a webbing formed outwards around his neck whilst the shell that latched to his head grew to large horns from each side of its base and several small spikes from the tip.
The light faded and a different creature appeared before us to the one we expected.
“Did… did he just?” I stammered.
“That’s a –“
‘Slowking, the royal pokemon and the evolved form of Slowpoke. It has incredible intellect and intuition and in whatever the situation, it remains calm and collected.’ The pokedex said in its mechanical voice, still held by April.
Slowking looked at his immediate surroundings before pushing himself upright onto his back feet. His lower underbelly was scaled, much like Slowbro’s and his tail was missing the white patch it once had. The webbing around his neck was patched red and white whilst the shell on his head had turned a light grey and held a red gem in its centre.
Slowking put his arms behind his back and let out a loud, echoing yawn, sounding almost like a roar before clutching his head and wincing in pain. April ran over to her pokemon checking every inch of him for anything that could be hurting him but found nothing.
“What? What is it?” April asked confused.
“Uh… Guys?” Jake said from behind us.
I turned around to see a group of about 12 Slowpoke walking past us as if from nowhere and stopped by Slowking, every single one of them had their gaze fixed on him.
“What’s happening?” I asked, saying exactly what I was thinking as the Slowpoke all lowered their heads simultaneously in a bowing motion.
“Slowking?” He said, tilting his head to the left.
“-Slowpoke.” His followers repeated, tilting their heads.
“They must think he’s their leader… “
“What’s the PokeDex say April?” I asked, keen to know more.
April stared at Slowking, watching him move around oddly and then watching the Slowpoke mimic him, not hearing my voice until I asked again.
“Oh right, sorry.” She said, holding up the pokedex again.
‘Because Slowking is much more intelligent than Slowpoke or Slowbro, wild Slowking must lead colonies of wild Slowpoke and Slowbro and make decisions in times of crisis.’
April looked up from the PokeDex screen as a single tear trickled down the side of her cheek.
“April? What’s wrong?”
“Slowking… he’s got to go... hasn’t he?”
“With them. Didn’t you hear it? They need him.”
Slowking stopped playing with the crowd of Slowpoke and turned to look up at his trainer.
“But April, he’s your pokemon, you caught –“
“-I didn’t catch him! Don’t you remember?!” April cried out, tears now streaming from her eyes. “I promised him I’d take him to the beach to evolve and so he got inside the pokeball. He only came with us because of that… he doesn’t want to be with me.”
“April…. How can you even say that?”
“-Because it’s true! Now I’ve taken him here he doesn’t need to be with me anymore, but these Slowpoke… they need him.”
April knelt down next to her pokemon and looked into his eyes for a moment without saying anything. Jake and I looked on whilst she began rummaging through her bag, eventually taking out a pokeball.
“I kept my promise.” She said softly, stroking Slowking’s face with her hand.
Slowking said his name questioningly as April stopped stroking his face and opened his pokeball, pressing a small switch on the inside of the capsule sending a jagged blue line of energy at Slowking that surrounded him briefly before dispersing into the air.
“Now… you’re free.” April sniffed, shutting the pokeball. “You can be with your own kind now.”
Slowking turned toward the crowd of Slowpoke and stared at them for a moment before turning back to April and shook his head from side to side.
April stopped blubbering in shock. “But… look at them, they need you.”
Slowking again turned to the crowd of pokemon and began saying his name repeatedly, apparently talking to them looking like a true king.
The Slowpokes’ faces remained emotionless as Slowking turned to April.
Slowking turned his head to the crowd of Slowpoke who were turning around and walking back the way they came.
“Slowking… Stay… April.” The pokemon said, touching the middle button on the pokeball in April’s hand and disappearing inside it.
“Did he just… speak?” I asked as the button that flashed red on the pokeball turned to a cool white.
Wow, I can't believe it's been a month since I've posted. It's certainly been a busy one and I apologize for not keeping my activity up, but on the brighter side - Happy New Year!
This chapter is a small introduction to Naoko and her friend Dillan, it will hopefully give you a glimpse into their personalities as they will be making a reappearance in the future. As always, thanks for reading. :)
Chapter 20 – Naoko
Lanette was right. The SS Anne was breathtaking; the halls, the galley, the decks, even the toilets oozed class and elegance. The floors were buffed, the cutlery shone and the bedsheets didn’t have a single crease. Everything was, well... ship shape.
The other passengers however were not so perfect – they just thought they were. Most of them appeared wealthy, easily able to afford a trip on the luxury liner ten times over without a second thought. The rest were culture and nature enthusiasts keen to sample tastes of the different parts of the world they docked at.
I could tell that they all thought I didn’t belong amongst them – and they were right. To them, I was just some ‘jungle girl’ from Fortree City who they could look down their noses at.
The crew on the other hand were the only people who spoke a word to me, we had something in common after all; the other passengers treated us like dirt. Although, unlike them, I wasn’t about to purposely stay out of their way as most of the crew did.
After following the direction of the masses, I eventually arrived in the Grand Hall; a befittingly large room adorned with gold mouldings, pure white walls and an expertly painted ceiling depicting the vessel powering through a mighty storm (Ironic considering how the original ship met its end).
A domed skylight let the setting sunlight in, turning the white walls and red curtains a warm shade of orange. Centred directly below this was the buffet, so naturally this was the room I was staying in.
People were dotted in small groups here and there, mingling and making small talk to pass the time whilst a string band played music to suit the mood. Many sets of eyes gave me piercing looks as I filled up my plate, the passersby only taking one or two pieces of food. When I was done I quickly slid the plate under the draping tablecloth.
“-What are you doing?!” Came a sharp whisper as someone pulled me up by my arm. “You know pokemon aren’t allowed out of their pokeballs on board.”
I turned to see the face I knew would be in front of me. “Relax Dillan, these people are way too busy talking mindless rubbish with each other to notice a few pokemon under the table.” I said calmly, brushing him off as I reached for an oyster.
“Yeah but if someone else sees them then I’ll get the boot for sure.” He whispered again, taking the oyster from my hand and placing back onto the buffet before picking up a tray of empty champagne glasses and walking behind the nearby bar.
Dillan and I were quite similar; dark skin, curly black hair and powerful green eyes. Actually, I was quite surprised that we weren’t related – the only real difference between us was that he was a guy.
“You know I was going to eat that.” I protested.
“Look, we’re almost at port and with the barbaric way you shove food down your throat you’ll just leave me with more cleaning up to do.”
I scoffed at the notion as Dillan let out a small chuckle whilst cleaning the glasses he had picked up. Looking back at him I noticed the landmass he mentioned out of the large window behind him; the next port of call after leaving Hoenn – Kanto.
“And anyway-“ He continued before coming to a sudden stop, staring peculiarly at me.
“Naoko… look.” He said slowly, pointing behind me to where a patch of yellow disappeared behind a blanket of elegant dresses.
I gulped before turning and looking underneath the buffet table to find nothing except a full plate of food. Crawling forward I poked my head out of the other side of the tablecloth to see where they had all run off to.
“Oh no.” Dillan said bluntly.
“What is it?” I asked, dreading the answer.
“I think I found your Marill.” He said, nodding in the direction of a lady’s large dress. The multi-layered red gown had a small spherical blue orb protruding from underneath.
“Lulu!” I whispered sharply after my heart skipped several beats. “Get back here!”
“Can’t you just withdraw them into their pokeballs?” Dillan asked, kneeling behind me.
“No, the beam doesn’t work through solid objects.” I sighed.
Suddenly, as another crew member emerged from a nearby door, two yellow pokemon seized the opportunity to run from under the dress into the staff only zone, closely chased after by Lulu.
“I take it those were yours as well?” Dillan sighed.
“Puzzle and Meena, my Plusle and Minun. They have a habit of… exploring.”
“-And you let them out of their balls?!” He hissed.
“Well it’s a bit late for that now isn’t it. Right now we need to focus on how we get in there.”
Dillan rose to his feet and tightened his gloves. “I believe that’s where I come in.”
After passing through the door thanks to Dillan’s key card, we were met with a split pathway. One lead to a kitchen and the other down a set of metal steps blocked by a chain with a sign labelled ‘No Entry’.
Inside the large kitchen to our right were countless crew members dressed exactly as Dillan was; pristine white gloves and waistcoats positioned neatly over a smart grey shirt and tie that heralded the SS Anne crest atop the knot. Every person seemed to be rushing about, each getting on with an individual task.
After thinking it over I explained to Dillan that it didn’t make much sense for them to run to the kitchen in search of food as I had already put a large plate of food underneath the tablecloth.
“So that means they went blow deck.” Dillan concluded.
“What’s down there?”
“Dunno. The only people allowed down there are the Captain and his first mate. Anyone else gets the boot if they’re caught snooping around.”
“Well that settles it then.” I said, climbing underneath the chain.
“Where are you going? Didn’t you hear what I just said?”
“Yep, but I’m not part of the crew am I? Now are you in or are you out?”
“Well…” Dillan pondered until spotting a CCTV camera pointing right at him. “I guess I’m in.”
“Great, now hurry up before someone catches on!” I cried, beginning my descent.
Dillan sighed. “I’m so fired.”
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