Long Road to Ruin (M)
(Author's note: Before I start, I'd like to say thank you to everyone in the Pokecommunity forums for being so nice and welcoming! I do truly appreciate it. This will be the first story I'm going to start updating here. It's a journey fic with an OT named Lily, but I do really adore Journey fics when they're well written. I do also hope you'll enjoy my trainer fic too. ^^
Also, don't be worried. I've rated it M for possible violent confrontations in later chapters. Better safe than sorry!
Anyways, onward to the story!)
E-mail to: Professor Samuel Oak ([email protected])
From: Professor Joan Willow ([email protected])
I regret that I couldn't tell you this in person, or over the phone, but I won't be able to attend your lecture on Pokemon History this week. It's a real shame, as I find your lectures at the Kanto University to be extremely informative and eye opening, however, considering some unforseen circumstances involving my niece and ex sister-in-law, I don't believe I'll be able to make it. It seems that Lily has discovered a Pokemon egg, and has decided to take care of it, in spite of her mother's hate for trainers since my brother's death. You would remember about that, wouldn't you? Needless to say, I've insisted that she come stay with me, and continue taking care of the egg. Next time around, please invite me again, and I'm sure I'll actually come, but for now, please give my seat to our colleague, Professor Elm. He seems to enjoy your lectures more than me, even though I do enjoy listening to you talk.
P.S. Maybe, next week, after I get Lily settled in here, I can meet you over coffee at that place in Celadon you like so much. It may be a long flight from Eiko to Kanto, but, in order to see you, a couple of hours riding on my Pidgeot's back is nothing. I'll pay and everything.
Ah, finally! Professor Willow settled back into her computer chair before pressing send. After writing and rewriting the email to make it seem professional, the middle aged woman was positively exhausted. The lights in the lab had been dimmed, and Joan suddenly realized the lack of lighting other than the bright computer screen was what caused her pounding headache. She rubbed at her eyes with the palms of her hands before replacing black, square glasses onto the bridge of her nose.
Before she could stand, the woman's greying-purple hair was licked out of her face by a Gastly. With an expletive and some angry shouting, the professor managed to pull herself together and glare at the floating ball of mist, whose tongue was still hanging out of its mouth. The Pokemon looked extremely pleased with itself, and even attempted to near Joan again.
"Gah, Obake! NO!" The woman scolded, wiping the ghostly saliva from her bangs. "I certainly hope you can behave, like the good Ghost-type I know you are, or else you'll be put back in your Pokeball before I have to leave, and I won't take you with me at all."
The Gastly, in turn to being scolded, made a whimpering sound and floated into the shadows of the room while Professor Willow glared after it. After she had figured Obake was going to leave her alone, Joan rose from her chair and looked at her watch. The SS Anne would be docking in Typhoon Bay in a little less than two hours. That was enough time to take a shower, look presentable, and fly there.
Or, it was enough time to walk there from her lab in Forecast City.
"Obake, should we walk, or should we fly?" Joan asked the misbehaving Pokemon.
In order to give the Professor its answer, Obake floated through the front door of the lab a couple of times before floating around the Professor's head. Joan contemplated for a moment, and then nodded.
"Yes, I believe you're right. Let me get my bag. We'll walk."
The ghost Pokemon seemed exceptionally thrilled by this, and started floating in big circles all around the main room of the lab. Though, after a few moments of its foolish dancing about, it followed Joan into her room and mimicked sitting on her bed, watching her intently as she packed potions, revives, and berries in her purse, and pulled her hair back into a ponytail. Obake made a discontented growling noise as it "sat" there.
"Oh, do calm down, you impatient ball of mist," she said. "I'm almost done. We have to get there as quickly as possible so Lily doesn't get lost in Typhoon City. It is a rather big place..."
The impatient ball of mist, as the professor so bluntly put it, floated next to its Pokeball and waited for Joan to grab it. The woman grabbed the red and white ball in between her fingers and stared at the battered Pokemon holder. My, how the years had beaten and bruised it. The Pokemon that it often contained had been held it it for what felt like decades.
"How long has it been now, Obake? Twenty years? Thirty? I've lost count. You and I have been together for so long. I hope you and I will be together for a very long time into the future as well. I'm not exactly sure what I'd do without you, you mischevious little thing."
Joan pressed the button on the capsule, and Obake stuck its tongue out as he was pulled into it with a flash of red energy. The professor placed the ball in her pocket and headed for the front door of the lab, then stopped for a moment of thought.
"Even now, going for a walk anywhere with Pokemon makes me so happy," she remarked to herself quietly. "I must be going crazy!"
With a small chuckle, she pushed the door of the lab open and stepped out into the streets of Forecast City. Cool autumn air blew into Joan's lungs and she wondered how long she'd been inside of the lab. Days, weeks, months even? It didn't matter now though. She was out, and she was walking.
"Here we go."
I like the interactions between Willow and her Gastly most of all thus far in this story. The Gastly is quite cute in its behaviour and lively as well, although I feel you could have gone without stating it when it was introduced:
The fic premise does seem differently handled here (given it's an OT fic and all), so I am curious to see what you do with it down the track. Fics that give some more attention to the professor aren't too common to begin with and including the info in the email isn't a bad idea either, heh. Wonder what is in the egg?
A few mistakes, but nothing major really. Just watch out for those things. Good luck with the rest of your fic!
Continuing on, I think so far those interactions have been my favorite to write(Even in respect to the draft of the second chapter, where Lily is interacting with the newly hatched Pokemon)! A happy Gastly is a peppy Gastly. xD hmm... In retrospect, that really is pointing out the obvious, isn't it? In the future, I'll do my best to avoid obvious description.
Thanks for critiquing! I really appreciate it. ^^
(AN: I was going to make this longer, and split it back to Professor Willow's PoV before the end of the chapter, then remembered that that's usually frowned upon. Here's Part 2!)
Lily stood on the deck of the SS Anne, the sea air blowing her already messy lavender pigtails all over the place. They were nearing Typhoon Bay, and while the ten year old wouldn't admit to it, she was very nervous. She'd sat inside her cabin for the whole trip, caring for the egg that she had found near her home in Hoenn. Its nest had been attacked by some Taillow, and Lily scrambled for the only unbroken egg she could see. In the lights of these circumstances, her mother had decided she'd be better off moving to Eiko with her aunt.
Now, it wasn't that Lily disagreed with her mother, but she did believe this whole situation was terribly unfair. She had friends in Petalburg and Rustboro, and she had to leave them without even saying goodbye. That fact alone tore a hole in the young girl's heart. Maybe she could call them from her aunt's house and explain why she'd missed going to Sarah's house that week.
"Right, guys. I've been shipped halfway across the Earth," Lily chimed to herself.
A female Ralts poked her head out of Lily's jacket, taking in the sights of the water Pokemon flying and swimming in the ocean below. This was the product of the egg that Lily had saved on her way home from school a couple of months before. The egg had hatched on the boat, and Lily couldn't have been more pleased. She loved a challenge, and this young psychic type would certainly pose a formidable one.
The Ralts tucked back into Lily's jacket, and she peered down at it. "Maybe we should put you in your Pokeball, hmm?"
It was a funny thing for Lily to ask, simply because she had never actually made the Pokemon stay in its Pokeball. After it first hatched, she felt like it was none of her business whether or not the Pokemon stayed in the capsule, and figured that maybe she could get the Ralts to like her more if she spent more time with it. Wasn't that something Professor Oak had said on that radio show? Be nice to Pokemon, and spend time with them, and they'll be nice to you? Yes, something like that, she supposed.
An older gentleman, who had been watching Lily for some time now, approached her, examining her intently. It seemed he had noticed she had a rather new Pokemon with her. Ralts poked Lily's arm from inside of the jacket, warning her of the incoming of the stranger. Lily twisted her neck to see the man approaching her, and an ominous feeling washed over her.
"Hello, little one. I don't recall seeing you earlier," he said, tipping his hat.
The girl looked up at him and cocked an eyebrow. She was, and for good reason, wary of strangers. Her mother made sure to drill that into her before putting her on the boat. It seemed her mother knew everything she had ever done wrong, and would completely rip the girl open the first chance she got. Well, maybe she could ignore her mother's advice, just this once.
"I've been in my cabin the whole time, sir," Lily said, pulling the Ralts close to her. "Haven't really had a reason to leave it."
"Is that so?" the man asked. He quirked an eyebrow and removed his hat before continuing, revealing a shock of greying-purple hair. "I'd assumed all young trainers would be battling on the way to a different region."
"Well, actually, sir, I'm not a trainer. And besides that, Ralts doesn't know any offensive moves yet..."
A chuckle escaped the man. "You're not? What a shame. I'm sure you could do wonderful things as one."
Lily was about to respond when the man swept away, his navy-blue trenchcoat trailing behind him. She watched as he nodded at a couple of people who looked at her, then followed him. 'How curious,' she thought. 'He must be a bigshot trainer or something!'
The only problem with that theory was she didn't recognize the man. While he seemed terribly familiar, Lily couldn't put her finger on it.
"Only one way to find out, Ralts."
Lily pulled the Pokemon back into its Pokeball and ran after the purple haired man. The door he had gone through was unlocked, luckily for the girl. She pushed the heavy steel door open, and revealed the long hallway to the first class cabins. At the farthest end, the man stood, unmoving. He was talking with the two figures, who kept replying "Yes, Sir!" and "No, Sir!" before heading back down the hallway in Lily's direction.
The girl did her best not to look nervous as the man and woman walked past her to the door. They only shot a slight glance at her, then continued on their way. Lily wasn't sure if she should be suspicious of that or not, but she continued on her way as well.
The end of the hallway came too quickly for Lily's liking. The temperature kept dropping steadily until she came across the last room on the right. This was where she'd seen the man enter. A pleasant warmth emanated through the door, and the sound of an Arcanine's bark hit Lily's eardrums. This caused her to stumble back, half from the loud noise, half from surprise. She had never seen anyone other than a policeman with a Growlithe, let alone an Arcanine. Wonder and amazment flooded the girl's mind as the door was pushed open and the Arcanine held back by the same man from earlier.
"What a surprise. Why did I have a feeling you would follow me?"
Lily shrugged softly, and the man stepped aside to let her into the cabin. The Arcanine let out a soft whimper, and went to curl up in a corner.
"Well, come in, child. I can't in good conscience leave you out here by yourself."
The cabin had a warm glow emanating from the corner where the Arcanine slept. Lily had sat herself on the bed, and the man, whose name was revealed to be Maxwell, sat in an armchair, reclining backwards. His trench coat was laid across the bed, and he was puffing on a cigarette. They had started talking almost two hours ago, and despite being extremely hungry and tired, Lily just couldn't stop asking questions. To her, it seemed like this man may very well have known everything and she just wanted to know more.
"Mister Maxwell, why do some trainers only have one type of Pokemon, then?" Lily asked.
She truly was curious about why certain trainers acted like that. In school she'd learned that having a multitude of types could very easily overwhelm any opponent a trainer might face, but that most gym leaders often only used one type. The thought of only using one type where they could possibly all be disadvantaged confounded her. Why would someone put themselves, purposefully or not, at a possible disadvantage? It just plain didn't make sense!
"Well, dear, the answer to your question is simple. My mentor used all ground-type Pokemon, and was rather fond of having a pet Pokemon as well. As you can see, Rex is curled up in that corner, however I am most skilled with using Psychic-types. My team often contains an Alakazam, a Hypno, a Wobbuffet, and an Espeon. Regardless of what other Pokemon I have in my party, Rex will always have a place. You could say, though, that the matter is of personal preference or nature, but I say it's simply because certain Pokemon gravitate to certain people. They're far from stupid creatures you know, Lily. That isn't to say, however, that they can't and won't be taken advantage of. Even the strongest and smartest Pokemon may very well be confused and tricked. Even Alakazam, with their amazingly high IQ--"
As Maxwell droned on, the girl's gaze floated to the window. As much as she wanted to know the full answer, the sight of Typhoon City from so close was almost literally breathtaking. It had to be bigger than even Lilycove! There was the World Contest Hall, and the Global Trade Station, and a department store. What a beautiful town. Lily was so enraptured that she continued staring until Maxwell snapped his fingers close to her face.
"Dear, I do believe you were off somewhere else for a moment," he said, taking a lazy drag from his cigarette. "If you ask a question, I'd appreciate you paying attention to the answer. It's common courtesy, you know."
"Oh, I apologize, Mister Maxwell! Typhoon City is just so close, and my aunt will be waiting for me there. I might ask her to officialize my Trainer's card, and to give me a PokeDex..."
Maxwell's eyes lit up like a Charmander's tail. "Ah yes, Professor Willow. So, it seems I've swayed you, hmm?"
"Oh, yes sir!" the girl nodded fervently. "I think Ralts and I would make a great team, if we tried really, really hard!"
"Wonderful, Child. Wonderful. I do hope you'll find it to be an enlightening experience!"
Slowly, Lily pulled Ralts's red and white orb out of her pocket, staring at it intently. Was she truly sure that she and this unruly and unsocial Pokemon could make a good team? Would they really be able to win? It was said that the gyms and the Elite Four of Eiko were the most difficult and organized of all the known regions. Doubt floated over her, and her eyes flickered over to Rex, the large Arcanine still sleeping in the corner, his chin rested on his paws.
"How did you and Rex get to be such good friends?" Lily asked. "How did you get him to trust you and love you?"
"That's a completely different story all together," he responded, checking his watch. "And I don't believe we have time for that story today. The boat is about to dock. Go back to your cabin and get your bag; I'm sure your aunt would hate to be left waiting!"
"Thank you, Mister Maxwell," Lily sighed. "I'm glad we got to talk."
"As am I, Child. I love imparting my wisdom onto children. Now you had better get going!"
With an upset look on her face, Lily stood, left the room, and proceeded back down the hallway.
How ridiculous. There had to be plenty of time to hear that story! Maybe Lily was being ever so slightly immature about the whole situation, but she hated feeling like something was being hidden from her, whether it was as small as a crumb, or as large as a lie.
Ralts was let out of its Pokeball, and did its best to keep pace with Lily. The Pokemon let out tiny little cries as it kept tripping on the slightly uneven tiles, and eventually the wood of the deck. Even though Lily was in a hurry, and determined, she stopped and turned around to help the small creature. This time though, it had refused to get back up.
"Should I carry you, Ralts?"
It shook its head but held out one of its hands. Lily suddenly understood, and softly held its white stubby hand as Ralts pulled itself up. It coughed for dramatic effect, and looked upwards at its trainer with a small smile, almost as if it was saying thank you.
"I'll slow down, okay? I'm sorry."
The Ralts nodded, and Lily smiled. Maybe they could be a good team after all.
(AN: Took a whole year to finish chapter three... Writer's block is a killer. Anyway, here's chapter 3, I know it's kinda short, but oh well!)
The streets of Typhoon city were crowded beyond bursting, and Lily was having a tough time fighting through the groups of people. She had Ralts tight in her arms to make sure it didn't get hurt. The small Pokemon objected to being babied, but Lily just didn't want it to get hurt.
When the crowd finally broke, Lily headed for a café where she saw some people crowded around a television.
"Wow! Look at how well he commands his Pokemon!"
"Isn't he amazing?"
The trainer on the screen was known as Red, and right now his Pikachu was winning against an Alakazam! Before being a big shot trainer, Red was also known for taking down the criminal organization Team Rocket at age ten. Lily marveled for a moment when she noticed the man from the boat, Maxwell, was the one battling the hotshot trainer.
With one more flash of lightning, the Alakazam fainted. Without remorse, he pulled the Pokemon back into its pokeball and sent out Arcanine.
"Rex, go! We can win this!"
It was at this point that someone tapped Lily on the shoulder, causing her to flip around. She was met by a taller trainer, about fifteen, with dark black hair and a Houndour at his side. He pressed his glasses up on his nose and smiled.
"Oh, uh, sorry if I've startled you, but you're not Lily Willow, are you?"
The girl paused for a moment, the Ralts looking up at the boy curiously. She used her free hand to swipe a lavender pigtail over her shoulder and nodded.
"Yes I am. Who are you?"
"Alex," he said, extending his hand. "I'm sorry for asking, except for the fact I help Professor Willow with field work, and she asked me to keep an eye out for you."
Ralts continued squirming while Lily and Alex conversed until Lily sighed with a smile and put it down to play with Houndour. The doglike Pokemon nuzzled at the Ralts, letting out a growl of approval. Lily looked down and saw Houndour shoot a small burst of fire out of its mouth, and Ralts responded by using a move Lily didn't know, causing flames to dance around for a moment and disappear.
"Woah, cool," Alex said, leaning down to the Ralts, scratching Houndour on the head. "I didn't know Ralts could learn Will O' Wisp."
"I didn't think they could either. How cool is that?"
Lily picked up Ralts again and smiled at him. She was proud, although a bit confused. It didn't matter though, she knew everything would work out.
From behind her, a loud roar was heard through the TV, and the announcer started speaking so quickly he was almost inaudible.
"Eiko's champion remains undefeated! Maxwell has won the battle with his Arcanine, Rex! Tune in soon for an interview with Red, Eiko Channel 4's Jon Starick signing out."
The last transition of the camera was the Arcanine, wind blowing through its fur, making it look even more majestic and powerful than it already did. The show cut to a commercial about the large Oak City shopping mall, and Lily turned back to Alex, a small smile on her face.
"When do you think we'll see my aunt?" she asked.
"She'll be along soon enough. In the meantime, would you like to get something to eat?"
Lily nodded and Alex beckoned for her and his Houndour to follow him down the street.
"C'mon Cerberus! We have to get going."
The Houndour bounced to Alex's side, and walked alongside him, keeping pace and not moving too far forward or too far back. Before too long, they came across another Café and Alex sat down in one of the seats outside. Lily sat across from him, letting Ralts sit on her lap so it could reach the table too. Alex fiddled around with his bag and released two more Pokémon, a Vulpix and a Crobat.
"Time for lunch guys!"
"Cro, Crobat cro!"
A waitress was soon with them, and Lily got a ham and cheese sandwich with an orange soda, and a bowl of berry medley for Ralts. Alex got a bowl of ramen and some PokemonChow for the other three Pokémon. Ralts constantly offered berries to the other Pokémon while they all ate, but only Houndour took anything.
"I think they're friends," Lily said to Alex with a smile.
As they were finishing their meal, Professor Willow and Obake appeared across the street. Alex jumped up and waved at her, yelling her name to get her attention.
"Professor, over here!"
With a brisk pace, Professor Willow was over by the table, and Lily was hugging her as tightly as she could. Ralts had fallen to the ground in the excitement, but was helped up by Houndour. When Lily broke the embrace, she picked up the Pokemon and, cradling it, showed it to her aunt.
"Look Aunt Joan!"
"Hello little one," she smiled, touching her finger to the tip of the Ralts's arm.
"It seems very healthy, Lily; You're doing a wonderful job. And, Alexander?"
"You do have the field report I asked you to complete, don't you?" Her face suddenly became very stern. "I'd hate to have to wait another week for it."
The trainer was suddenly flying through his backpack, spare Pokeballs and healing items falling to the ground. After a moment of searching, he produced a portfolio and handed it to the professor with a grin.
"Double the pages you asked for, with illustrations."
The smirk on his face grew as Professor Willow flipped through the sheets, then nodded.
"Acceptable, I suppose," she said jokingly. "Just next time make sure it gets to me on time. And if you see Meridia, tell her to come by the lab."
The professor turned to Lily now, a smile on her face. She adjusted her ponytail as Lily placed Ralts on the ground. Alexander recalled his Pokémon, all except for Houndour, who nuzzked Ralts with her muzzle.
"Now Lily, we should probably get going. You can come too, if you'd like, Alex."
"Of course Professor."
Lily picked up Ralts and placed it in her bag, so it could look at where they were going, and not trip over everything.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"Home, of course," the lavender haired woman stated. "We have some things to go over, basic legal matters you know. Your trainer card, for one, if you do plan on being a trainer."
"Of course I do!"
"You didn't seems so sure when we were on the phone together dear, are you sure?"
Lily nodded and Alex smiled, patting her on the back.
"Cool! We can travel together now, can't we, Lily?"
"Sounds like fun!"
Professor Willow laughed. "You need help to remember to finish your research anyway."
With a waving motion, the professor beckoned for the two children to follow her. After Alex finished picking all of his items back up, they set off down the streets of Typhoon City, headed for Forecast City.
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