Chapter Two: A True Motive
The uniformed man approached the decently camouflaged door, reaching forward to open it. Suddenly, something hit his chin hard. The man flew off the ground, and landed on his rear, cursing all the while. Angrily, the man got up, looking at the Banette, which seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It agilely swooped around the room, taunting the man. In anger, the man commanded his Houndour, “Use Flamethrower to burn that thing!”
From the Houndour’s mouth erupted flames that engulfed numerous bookshelves, as the Banette swooped around quickly to avoid the attack. The man, enraged, started throwing books that were on fire, still unsuccessful in hitting the Banette. Suddenly, the Houndour dashed forward when Banette was in range, and chomped down with a successful Crunch attack. The Banette didn’t cry in pain, or even flinch for that matter. It simply vanished.
“So, it was a simple Substitute, huh?” the man spat, standing solemnly while the flames incinerated the library around him. He knew he had lost. Were these kids really that smart?
Meanwhile, in a small, subterranean sewer, Banette was leading Alex and me along a small walkway next to a shallow, smelly stream of sewer water. I could barely see the shine of small, beady eyes in the inky darkness of the tunnel. Suddenly, Banette knelt down, as if in pain.
“Banette, what’s wrong?” I asked. Banette stood up wearily, and shook its head. Something was wrong, I figured. But, Banette continued, followed by me then Alex.
“Aiyeeh!” Alex suddenly shrieked. He held me suddenly, but then let go after he looked at her awkwardly. Seriously Alex, I thought, grow up.
“What, now?” I asked apathetically, hearing my own voice echo down the corridor. Alex had his back to me, inching his way toward me, seeming to almost shiver.
“S-something ran over my foot,” he said, attempting to keep his cool.
I rolled my eyes, “It was probably just a Rattata or something.”
At that moment, Banette leapt and turned toward us, with its eyes glowing violently in the dark air. It vanished in the veil of darkness, leaving us behind. I froze in fear as I heard a commotion going on all around me in the darkness. There were deep thuds, and occasionally a shriek. This time, it was fear. I slowly reached to my pocket when the noise ended. I fingered my way through lint and spare change to find a cellphone, which I carefully pulled out of my pocket. I flipped it open, allowing the light to pierce the darkness. I could see Banette holding the moist wall, panting. It looked up at me, when something suddenly hit it. The thing was too fast for me to spot with my dim cellphone light. Then, I had an idea. Carefully again, as I heard the skirmish echoing in the thin corridor, reached to my shoulder, feeling for Sentret. I whispered, “Use Foresight.”
Sentret shouted a furious battle cry as its eyes lit up brilliantly. Without banishing the darkness, Banette lit up, as did another Pokemon. The Pokemon flapped its blue, jagged wings as it glared at me with its slitted eyes. I knew this was a Golbat; I had seen one of them before. The Golbat swooped toward Sentret and me, when a pulse of purplish substance blasted it in mid-dive. The Golbat fell to the ground, flailing about wildly before Banette shot another Shadow Ball at it, knocking it out. Suddenly, I heard a rather long exhale coming from Alex.
“Were you seriously holding your breath that whole time?” I asked.
“I might’ve been,” Alex answered. Though I couldn’t see his face in the darkness, I assume he was giving me that stupid smile of his. Though he was my best friend, I could admit that he was fairly annoying, especially when he was unwanted.
Banette slowly and wearily got up from a kneeling position, and continued to lead Alex and me. Finally, we came across this small room in the tunnel that contained a ladder, which went up into a vertical, narrow passageway. Banette floated up into the narrow squeeze, with both of us close behind. Eventually, we reached the top, and Banette opened up a manhole cover. We crawled out of a hole in the side of a lone hill on the bank of a river. The small river was isolated from the city. It was a beautiful area that I never knew existed. Trees surrounded the small, peaceful area, and bird Pokemon fluttered about carelessly in the branches of the dense trees that surrounded it. The clear, shallow river flowed slowly through the area, with a few Barboach darting around in it.
“I’ve never been here before,” Alex admitted out loud. I looked at him, just waiting for him to say something stupid. “I’ll bet there’s hidden treasure, here.” Yup, there it is. Maybe there was a hidden treasure in that empty head of Alex’s called a brain. Maybe I was being a bit harsh to him, but it’s not like he could read my mind anyway.
Alex leaned back on the small, grassy hill. He looked modestly at me. Instantly I knew he was restraining from saying something. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Instead, we both looked away from each other awkwardly.
“Now what?” finally came out of Alex’s mouth. To be honest, I was thankful that he opened his mouth for once, only because it broke the silence.
“We need to save Cenard,” I answered after a brief moment. Banette looked at me, and I covered my mouth. Stupidly. “Er, I meant, see what. . . he’s up. . . to.”
“Yeah, I bet those three Houndour just tore him apart,” Alex said out loud. I drew back a fist, and punched Alex. I stood up, and looked down upon him.
“Don’t say something like that, you idiot! You’ll make Banette worry,” I scolded. Alex retreated into his shirt like a turtle.
“Okay. . .” he muttered.
I sighed, and sat back down facing Banette. Banette looked sadly down at the grass as it blew in the wind. I felt bad for poor thing. It was then when I knew an action needed to be taken.
“This has gone on long enough. We need to get to the bottom of this,” I said, standing up and holding a fist into the air.
“Put that fist away, it’s dangerous,” Alex said. I almost punched him again, but closed my eyes in frustration, smiling in aggravation. I’m pretty sure he was just testing me. I turned to him.
“Get up, we’re going,” I commanded sternly. Alex shot to his feet. I must have intimidated him or something. Of course that was what it was, my fist was still in the air. He followed me as I went to the edge of the clearing. I pushed some of the vines that draped out of the trees out of my way, and stepped out. We approached what seemed to be a boat launch, with a large dock in a lake and many fishermen sitting lazily about the field, grouped together at picnic tables. I walked up to the first table closest to the spot.
“You guys stuck, too?” one fisherman asked. He was digging through his tackle box out of boredom.
“Stuck?” I asked. Alex jumped up.
“Yeah, I bet the FBI wouldn’t let them into town, so they’re all stuck here,” he said in a smart tone.
“Alex, would you just – “ I started.
“Actually, that’s exactly what happened,” the fisherman said. I could only sigh. Alex’s inconsistency was getting to me, but maybe I was just a bit picky. “I bet if you could get across the water, you could sneak back into town. But, it might be hard because you’d have to get through the mayor’s office-building,” the fisherman explained, pointing across the lake.
I thanked the fisherman for the help, and went to sit on the dock. Alex sat next to me, our feet dangling next to each other. A yellow, sparkling Magikarp leapt out of the water sloppily, upsetting our reflection in the water. The Magikarp shined brilliantly, and dove back into the water with a pack of ordinary, orange Magikarp.
“This kinda seems like the first time we met,” Alex said as we both stared out to the water. I looked at him in puzzlement. “What, don’t tell me you forgot!” Of course I didn’t forget, but it was just a weird time to bring it up.
I could remember the time, though. It was a few years ago, and I was maybe ten years old. I came to this exact fishing spot with my father. It was all day that we were here, and only one other family was there, and it was Alex’s family. Of course, we didn’t know each other at this point, so we kept our distance. My father saw a friend of his, so he went to talk. While I waited for him, I was fishing out of boredom. I didn’t expect to hook anything; or rather, I didn’t want to hook anything. I always though fish Pokemon were disgusting and slimy. To my dismay, my fishing pole tugged, and I couldn’t help but shriek. I reeled the Pokemon in, and it was a yellow-hued Magikarp. I stood there, the Magikarp flailing about wildly in the end of the line. I remember Alex coming over to me, and told me to just hold the Magikarp still. Within moments, he removed the Magikarp off of the hook, and was holding it.
“Wow, you caught an oddly-colored Magikarp! It could be worth something,” I remember him saying.
“I don’t care what it is, just get it away from me!” I shrieked. I looked up when I heard a splashing sound, seeing Alex without the Magikarp. “Didn’t you just say that it was worth something?” I asked when I realized he let it go.
“Yeah, but it was your catch. I wouldn’t take credit for someone else’s hard work,” Alex said. It was from that point on that we became good friends. We figured out that we were in the same grade in school, and that we even lived only a few blocks away from each other.
“Say, now that I think about it, isn’t that the same Magikarp from that day?” Alex asked suddenly, breaking me out of my flashback. I looked at it, remembering the yellow, sparkling pattern on it. I sighed, remembering those simple moments of my life. Little did I know how much things were about to change; or rather, little did I know how much things had already changed.
“I don’t remember. It could be,” I lied. It felt weird remembering such a small thing, but the truth was that I didn’t want to let Alex know that I remembered every moment of the first time I was with him. Of course, I was probably blushing.
“Listen, I have an idea,” Alex said, suddenly changing the subject. He pointed to the water. “Okay, we can get to the other side of the lake by using a water Pokemon, right?” Alex asked. Of course we could. The problem was, I left all my Pokemon but Sentret at home, not like any of them knew how to swim anyway.
“Sure,” I said, listening to his plan. This was sure to be entertaining.
“Well, I’m going to use my Mantyke to swim over there and sneak into the office-building, where I’ll be all spy-like and go through undetected. I’ll knock out those guards at the tunnel, and let you and everyone else through,” Alex explained. I stopped listening at ‘sneak into’.
“I have a better idea. How about we don’t sneak in, and don’t die,” I said rhetorically. Alex’s mood seemed to dwindle.
“You come up with an idea, then,” he said.
“Okay. How about this: we go back into the sewers. I’m sure there’s an alternate path – “ I started.
“EW, NO! I’m NOT going back into that Rattata-infested sewer!” Alex screeched as he flailed about to add to the effect. Suddenly, he lost his balance, and fell off of the dock and into the water. I was relieved that his complaining ended.
“Okay, fine,” I said smiling, unable to hold in my laughter of him falling into the water.
“So, we’ll go with my plan?” Alex asked, crawling back onto the dock as if nothing had happened. I wondered how his spiked hair remained so after he just fell into the water.
“I guess so,” I muttered. I could tell he was satisfied by the way he gave me his stupid smile that I could only roll my eyes to. Alex reached to his waist, grabbing a Pokeball and sending out a Pokemon into the water.
“Let’s go, Mantyke!” Alex commanded. In the water splashed a large, flat-shaped, blue Pokemon with a blank, happy stare. I was creeped out by the blank stare that the thing was giving me, but then it lifted its apparent head, smiling at me with a much more lively face. I sighed, thankful that it didn’t really look so. . . blank. There was an issue about riding this thing across the lake; it was only big enough for one of us.
“I’ll go, so you aren’t put into danger,” Alex said confidently. I could laugh at that.
“Listen, Alex, I know you’re heroic and all, but you’re a bit incompetent. I’ll go,” I said. He opened his mouth to say something, but I had already put my shoes into my backpack and hopped onto the Mantyke. The Mantyke cheered happily as I got on. I don’t think Sentret was as happy, though, as it clawed my shoulder trying not to fall into the water. Without waiting for Alex to argue, I grabbed the antennas that were on Mantyke’s head, and headed off across the water. I felt the water flow between my toes as Mantyke carried me across the water. It was then that I felt an odd presence. I turned to my right to see Banette floating a few inches above the water next to me. It seems that Banette wanted to help me rescue Cenard. I figured Banette would be of some help in case I got into a jam, since all of Cenard’s Pokemon were well trained and powerful.
It wasn’t long before I reached the opposite side of the lake. I was just outside Skiolet City, the only thing being in my way was the office building. I couldn’t go around the building, because there was a large, concrete wall that surrounded the city. Mantyke took me to the dock, and I crawled off of Mantyke. Without warning, Mantyke jumped out of the water, and glided around me in a circle. I guess it wanted to join me or something. So, after getting my shoes out of my backpack and onto my feet, I approached the back door to the modern-looking office building. I grabbed the handle of the glass door, but when I pulled on it, the door wouldn’t move. Of course it just had to be locked. After a while of thinking, I almost gave up. Then, seeing my shadow on the ground inside the building through the glass door gave me a great idea.
“Banette, do you think you could use Shadow Sneak on me, and use my shadow to unlock the door?” I asked Banette. Banette looked up at me out of a melancholy trance, and nodded solemnly. Banette’s arms lifted unconsciously, as if being controlled by a marionette. Then, my shadow on the ground inside of the building stood up and unlocked the door. Afterward, my shadow sunk and turned into the two-dimensional figure again. I creaked the door open, thankful that there was no one in this room.
I walked into the dark, dimly lit room, almost slipping on the tiled floor. It must’ve been waxed or something, since I slipped again immediately after recovering. I leaned on the desk to the back of the room (or front, considering I entered through the back), wondering which hallway on either side of the desk I should take. I inspected each of the hallways. The one to the right went up a set of stairs and a sign that said “Room 150”, and the one to the left went straight, not up or down. I figured that if I wanted to get back to Skiolet, the left way would be the best way to go. Slowly, I crept through the hallway, with Banette and Mantyke behind me. Sentret was sitting on top of Mantyke as it floated.
I exited the hallway into another room full of people. These people were all dressed in formal clothing; all of the women had on black collar shirts and knee-length skirts, and all of the men had on work suits. One woman saw me.
“Little girl, how did you get in here? You can’t be in here, I’ll escort you outside,” she said. She motioned me to follow her, going toward the door on the opposite side of the room. I didn’t care much, as that was the way I wanted to go. She opened the door, letting me and the three Pokemon out into the cloudiness of day. I instantly shivered, as the cold wind pierced my damp hoody. I had to look around to see where exactly I was. It was obvious that I was on the complete opposite side of the city of my home. Figures.
I figured that I needed to get Alex back into town anyway, since he completely refused to take the sewers. I walked out onto the sidewalk, looking to my right. The road bent straight after a while. I knew it turned back around toward the lake, since I had seen this road multiple times, wondering where it went. Well, I guess I found out. I started on my way down the road, when Mantyke swooped behind my legs, knocking my knees out from under me. I fell backward, landing on Mantyke as it glided down the street at the same speed my bicycle would have provided. Sentret looked at me happily as I landed right next to it on Mantyke’s back. Banette was floating along next to us.
Within minutes, we came to the road with the bridge. Many cars were lined up behind a gate just before the bridge. Obviously, all of them were abandoned. However, I was surprised that there was no one operating the gate, or even guarding it. I hopped off of Mantyke as it approached the gate. I walked over to the control room and tried the door. Unexpectedly, the door creaked open, allowing me access to the gate’s and bridge’s controls. I looked around at the overly-confusing controls, finally finding the gate’s open switch. I pressed it, but the button wouldn’t go down. I then slammed my fist down on the button, but it still didn’t go. Next to the button I observed a small slit, perfect to fit a key. And as my luck would have permitted, the key was nowhere to be found. Guess I would have to climb over the gate to get to Alex. What a pointless trip across the lake. I walked out of the control room, realizing that I could just call Alex with my cellphone.
I pulled my phone out and called Alex. It simply beeped, and stated, “All residents of Skiolet City have no access outside the city.” This is ridiculous. I was four feet from being outside of the city, with the only thing being in my way a gate. That I couldn’t open. I assumed that the only thing to do was to climb. I inspected the large, metal gate, which seemed easy enough to scale. The problem was that I hated heights. It was the only worse thing than fish.
I grabbed a metal bar, and pulled myself up. I grabbed another bar, and put my foot onto the one I previously grabbed. I stood up, and continued this process until I was well up the gate. But, once the wind blew, I could feel how high I was. Stupidly, I looked down, and slammed my eyes shut when I saw how high I was. I must’ve only been about twenty feet up, but it seems a lot higher when you’re actually up there. Holding on with a death grip with my left hand, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket with my right hand. I desperately hoped that my phone would work from this high up. I could see Sentret, Mantyke, and Banette watching me interestedly.
Damn. I still couldn’t get service. Out of rage, I went to go push my phone back into my pocket, when I missed the pocket entirely, letting the phone fall all the way down to the ground. It hit the road, shattering into a couple of pieces. Once again, there’s my luck for you.
I looked up to the top of the gate, cursing when I realized I was only about halfway up. Even if I could make it all the way up, crawling over the gate and climbing back down would be a bigger issue. I just had to give up. Through the rain and wind, I admitted defeat to my fear of heights with tears welling up in my eyes. Slowly and carefully, I made my way back down, but I immediately slipped, falling down toward the road. This is surely the end for me.
I heard a thud after I got done falling, but I didn’t feel any pain or see any ‘bright light.’ I sat up to see that I was on the ground. I looked around, completely confused as to what happened. I looked underneath myself to see what I landed on. Mantyke. I shot up, worried that I had hurt the Mantyke.
“Ohmigosh, are you okay Mantyke?” I asked urgently. Mantyke lifted its face off of the ground, its eyes swirly and dazzled from my impact. It nodded lazily, and dropped its face back onto the concrete. I attempted to lift Mantyke up, but lifting a hundred and fifty pounds of Pokemon is quite a task. I gave up after a few moments, sitting down and looking to the sky. Since I couldn’t get to Alex, I suppose he was fine where he was. I kind of assumed he was annoying some fishermen with his adventure stories. And that annoying smile of his.
After a while, I saw Mantyke slowly getting up, its energy regained. There was nothing to be worried about; I’m sure Pokemon could take hits harder than I could deliver with no issue. I stood up, and walked over to Mantyke. Sentret tried to help it up, but it was of no help. Mantyke, though, managed to get itself into the air, and circled around me happily. I guess it was okay now. I noticed Banette skulking next to one of the cars. It must’ve really missed Cenard.
I wanted to go save Cenard, but I had no clue where he could be right now. I decided to return to the Hitmonshop. Thankfully to Mantyke’s Swift Swim ability, it didn’t take long to get there in the rain, even if Mantyke did make a few wrong turns.
I saw Girard standing in the shop through the hole in the wall. Helping him sweep up the debris were his Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan. Hitmonchan was sweeping next to Girard, and Hitmonlee was moving some of the larger bricks that were scattered on the ground. I hopped off of Mantyke and entered the coffee shop, Mantyke following me with Banette and Sentret on its back.
“So, did you figure anything out?” Girard asked me. I looked down as he noticed the Banette on Mantyke’s back. “Hey, that Banette. . .”
Yes, it was Cenard’s. No, I didn’t know where Cenard was. I would’ve told him, but I couldn’t hold back the tears for some reason. Then and there, out of nowhere, I missed my mother. I strained to hold my tears back, but I couldn’t. I had been attacked by FBI agents, separated from my parents, Cenard, and Alex, and not to mention that my bike was completely obliterated.
“Cenard stopped by a while ago, asking me to tell you where he was headed in case you had Banette,” Girard said in puzzlement, trying to disregard my crying. I felt so stupid crying in front of him, but I just couldn’t help it.
“Wait, what?” I asked.
“Yeah, he said he was going to the City Hall,” Girard answered. I sniveled a bit, and stopped crying.
“You mean. . . he’s okay?” I asked.
Girard looked at me funnily, and answered, “I don’t know what’s going on now, but yeah, he seemed perfectly fine. Other than his clothes, they were a bit roughed up.” I turned around, running out of the coffee shop. “Wait!” Girard shouted after me, but I kept going. Suddenly, a brown figure shot out in front of me before I could get to Mantyke.
It was a brown Pokemon, and I realized after a split second that it was upside down. It flipped over to its three feet, and looked at me with its beady, black eyes. Agilely, it jumped around me, narrowly missing me with its large, single horn that was on its head.
“Hitmontop, be careful with that spike!” Girard shouted from behind me. I recognized this Hitmontop as being his. “Dakota, why don’t you take my Hitmontop for a while. It might be helpful to you. Now, go see what my brother is up to,” Girard said.
I hopped on Mantyke, with Banette and Sentret on either side of me. As we glided down the street, Hitmontop surprisingly kept up by spinning on its head. After a bit of directing, we all made it to City Hall. Surrounding the building was a gigantic maze of tall bushes that spanned outward a long way. I stepped off of Mantyke and approached the bushes, investigating them. I could tell that it would take me hours to navigate this maze.
I pushed my arm into a part of the wall of bushes, but they were so overgrown that I could barely get my hand in them. So much for cheating. Then, I got another idea.
“Alright, Mantyke, do you think you could fly over this wall?” I asked. Mantyke looked at the tall bushes uneasily, but nodded confidently. So, I hopped on Mantyke with Sentret on my shoulder, and we backed up to get a running start. Or, a flying start in Mantyke’s case. When we gained some speed, Mantyke pulled its head back, lifting into the air. We kept going up and up at a very low angle. Either we were going to over this wall or through it. I was hoping it would be the former.
Finally, the wall came at us, and we barely managed to make it over. After we passed over the bushes, which were a few feet thick, Mantyke lost all of its speed in midair, and we started to drift slowly back to the ground. From out of nowhere, a large, black thing swooped through the air and slammed into us, rejecting our flight. Mantyke and I spiraled backward and out of control, hitting the ground where we started. Banette, Sentret, and Hitmontop watched us in an odd manner.
“Okay, looks like we’ll have to go through this maze the right way,” I explained to the Pokemon. I entered the narrow labyrinth, with the all the Pokemon behind me except for Sentret, which was on my shoulder. We pressed on into the maze, unable to tell where we were going. It even took us forever to find our first dead end.
But, it was when we hit that dead end when everything became perfectly clear. From out of the dead end’s wall emerged a tall, cyclopean Pokemon. Its single, red eye darted around wildly as it walked toward us with its giant, stubby legs. I could tell right away that it was a Dusclops. It was then that I knew this was a test. How cliché.
Before the zombie-like Dusclops finally made its way to me, Banette stood in its way. Without hesitation, the Dusclops reached its two white hands forward, and grabbed Banette by the arms. Banette’s zipper mouth wrenched open, firing a Shadow Ball right in the Dusclops’s face. The Dusclops dropped Banette and staggered backward, but then fired a similar attack from its two hands. The other Shadow Ball collided into Banette, knocking it onto its back. Banette slowly got up, and motioned to me to escape while we could. Sentret, Mantyke, Hitmontop and I ran out of the dead end while Banette was keeping the Dusclops busy.
Despite Banette’s sacrifice, we soon came to another dead-end. Again, before I turned around, a Pokemon dropped in from the sky, cornering us. This Pokemon was a frog-like one that when it croaked, the bulbous, pink sac on its chin expanded. It raised its clawed fist at us, and hunkered down, ready to lunge. Fortunately for Mantyke, Sentret and I, Hitmontop happened to be behind the Pokemon, which was a Toxicroak. Hitmontop tore quickly at the Toxicroak while spinning on its head, ramming into and kicking it three times in succession. The Toxicroak fell backward into the bushes, and Hitmontop held it down as it motioned to us with a nod to head the opposite way. Things kept getting clearer and clearer. Something told me I was going to lose Mantyke next. . .