The Middle Ground
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February 5th, 2011 (1:59 PM). Edited July 26th, 2011 by FlaafyFTW.
Researcher of Orange Lore
Sorry to anyone who has been following this story, I lost my memory stick with everything I had written on it but thankfully it showed up earlier in the week. I promise not to keep you waiting so long for the next chapter!
Chapter 21 – And You Are? (Part 2)
After passing through a small corridor I clambered up the metal steps, my legs weak and not belonging to me after being bound and malnourished for so long.
Outside, fresh air swiftly filled my lungs, the salt in the air making it bittersweet. It was a dark, starry night and the boat was docked at the base of an L-shaped Island on which a large, dilapidated factory dominated most of the terrain to the immediate right. The factory was surrounded by woodland and to the left of it, lights dotted the distance like fireflies, revealing the location of a small island town.
“In there.” Came a voice from behind me. It was the man in the trench coat, staring up at the factory, his coat blowing in the wind.
“What is?” I asked, still wary of this stranger. But at that point, he was the only ally I had.
That name struck a nerve with me, a name that I’d never had to place a face to but had been trying to for the last six days. “Who is he?” I asked.
“A freelance scientist who used to work for the Rockets before their so-called ‘disbanding’. He’s been here ever since-“ The man stopped talking suddenly and pushed me up against a small cliff behind him, covering my mouth, he strength surprising me more than the action.
Struggling slightly after being caught off guard I silenced myself when I heard voices overhead shortly followed by the echoing sound of scraping metal, presumably the door of the factory sliding open before slamming shut again.
The man I decided to call Trench released me from his grip and I took a deep breath, giving him a dirty look even though I knew why he did what he did. Trench helped me up before turning on his heel and dashing up the hill, silently as ever.
I hot-footed it up the dirt path towards the factory. Atop the hill, the grass was overgrown and was littered with large rocks. Trench was squatting behind one, right beside a smashed window pane. to someone who wasn’t looking, he would have been virtually invisible.
Trench was completely fixated on what was happening inside the factory walls, his gaze not even flinching when I squatted next to him. Until now I hadn’t seen his eyes; a very light shade of blue that was almost turquoise in the moonlight. And for some reason - they unsettled me.
Looking inside, the factory was mostly deserted apart from a few old cages lying scattered here and there. In the shadows a man in a tattered lab coat with erratic blue hair was tinkering with a laptop, turning away from it upon hearing the sound of footsteps marching towards him.
“You people just won’t leave me alone will you?” He said, cockily folding his arms only to be pushed against the wall with Proton’s hand wrapped around his neck.
In the light the scientist seemed to be in his early thirties but his wild hair and eccentricity made him appear much older.
“Tell us where it is Gideon.” Proton demanded as he flexed his fingers and tightened his grip around the eccentric man’s neck.
Gideon let out a nervous laugh. “Hehheheheh! What could you possibly mean? You took everything from this warehouse months ago – Years if I’m not mistaken...”
“But not what
took from the Dotted Hole.”
“Oh ho ho! That Sapphire? It was a passing fancy – useless in fact! Gideon couldn’t even get a buyer.”
Proton smirked. “Well, I’m sorry to break it to you Gideon but if you thought that gem was useless then you’re not as great of a scientist as you think you are.”
Gideon’s expression completely changed; his eyes became enraged and anger spread across his face. I could tell by Proton’s smug expression that he’d produced the reaction he was hoping for.
“Well it matters not anyway, Gideon doesn’t have it.”
“What?!” Proton yelled chillingly. “Where is it?!”
“Hmph. Here’s the deal; tell Gideon why your trinket is so important... And Gideon will tell you what he did with it. Simple, no? Even a buffoon such as yourself should be able to understand that.”
Proton angrily pulled the scientist closer and raised a fist.
“Stop.” Came a voice from across the room. “Let me deal with him.”
Proton immediately released his grip as a hooded figure walked, no... hobbled across the room. In the dark it was hard to make out the actual size of the person, let alone a face. The voice was deep and twisted, disguised somehow.
“Where is it?”
“Gideon told you-“
“-Tell me!!” The figure bellowed, hitting the mad scientist and drawing blood across his cheek, making him fall to his knees.
”All right, all right!” He cried, wincing in pain. “I’ll show you.”
“Good. Now if you give us what we want then we’ll let you in on our little project. So tell us; where are we going?”
Gideon grit his teeth and stared up at the cloaked figure with menace and intrigue. “Knot Island.”
With that Proton and his grunts picked up the scientist and exited from the rear entrance.
“Knot Island... how far is that?” I asked Trench, rising to my feet.
“Not far.” He replied repeating the action.
“Perfect – we’ve got them!” I cried. “Can you take me to the police?”
“No? Fine.” I sighed. “I’ll find them myself.”
“No.” He said again, grabbing my arm as I began to walk away. “You have to come with me.”
I turned back to face him and pulled my arm from his grip. “These people destroyed my home and now I know where they’re going and can put a stop to them, so the only place I’m going is the police station. I don’t have to go anywhere with you.” I said, starting into the forest when a pair of deep, red eyes and white teeth appeared as if from nowhere in front of me. It was the black Pokémon from earlier growling deeply, crouching and ready to pounce.
“Are you sure I can’t change your mind?” Trench said, appearing behind me.
“No.” I said. “You think you can threaten me to get what you want? Forget it. I’m done submitting to threats and I’m done letting
hurt any more people.”
I put my right foot out in front of me to continue into the woods thinking of the last time someone gave me an ultimatum only to go back on their word. When my foot touched the ground I felt something gab my forearm and say “Then I’m sorry.” And before I could react properly, my arms had been pulled up behind my back and as I turned to try and fight him, I slipped and twisted my left ankle.
I cried out in pain and cursed violently at him.
“Now walk.” He said, pushing me forwards.
Once the two women calmed down they began pondering how Slowking happened on his extreme intelligence, throwing theories back and forth, completely excluding April and me.
“His migrains.” Nurse Joy said, pacing around Slowking, her arms half folded with one arm held stroking her chin. “Has he ever had one before?”
“Just the once I think, straight after he evolved...” April replied, still squatting beside the table her pokemon was perched upon.
“Then this shell could be the source of it all.” Joy said as she placed her fingers underneath the shell and began prising it off his head. “Perhaps it’s digging into his-“
The nurse stopped mid sentence, staggering back, a look of shock plastered across her face. April and I exchanged confused glances.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“The shell… It has eyes - It’s alive!”
April and I quickly exchanged glances again before rising to our feet and inspecting it for ourselves. The shell, greyish in colour, was in fact alive and had a large pair of white, cold eyes staring straight at us. Also, on closer inspection, the base of the shell had sharp white fangs protruding from it that were digging into Slowking’s head.
“April, just how did you say he evolved?” Ivy piped up from the computer screen.
April and I explained that a purple pokemon managed to latch itself onto Slowpoke’s head and how it began to evolve straight after.
“-Of course!” Ivy cried, coming to a revelation.
“What? What is it?” Nurse Joy asked, as interested as we were.
“The evolution from Slowpoke to Slowking usually happens when a special chemical found within an item known as a King’s Rock is exposed to their skin and seeps into their bloodstream. However, it’s recently been discovered that the same chemical is present in a certain purple shelled pokemon named Shellder-“
“-Which could explain the evolution!” I said, finishing Ivy’s sentence for her.
“Wait, but if that’s the case then shouldn’t there be a heck of a lot more Slowking running around?” April asked, finding a flaw in Ivy’s logic.
“Well it’s possible that the amount of fat in a Slowpoke’s tail stops the chemical from ever reaching the bloodstream, causing a branched evolution into Slowbro.”
“That may be all well and good,” Nurse Joy began, walking forward, “but it still doesn’t explain why he can actually speak.”
“Could it be the poison?” I asked, throwing an idea into the foreground.
“What do you mean?” April asked, stroking Slowking’s arm with a look of worry in her eyes.
“Well Ivy,” I began, again turning towards the computer, “you said that the chemical can’t get through the fat in Slowpoke’s tail so maybe the poison couldn’t either, but now the Shellder is attached to his head maybe its making him smarter somehow.”
“His migrains…” April muttered, putting two and two together. “He only spoke after he had one on the beach – they must be making him smarter!”
“That… actually makes sense. I’ll have to do some tests but you two could’ve actually made your first scientific discovery!”
Chuffed, I decided to give credit where credit was due. “I suppose I’ll have to give you a mention when I announce it to the world…”
for your generosity.” Ivy replied with just a hint of sarcasm.
“But professor… this poison, it can’t hurt him can it?” April asked, looking up from beside her pokemon looking quite concerned.
Ivy lowered her head for a few seconds in thought before raising it again to speak. “I can’t say for certain, but it doesn’t seem to do any permanent damage... He may just have to live with a small migraine every now and again.”
April looked down at her pokemon and smiled. “Well at least he’s okay. Oh my god - he. He needs a name.”
“Why don’t you let him pick?” I suggested, making me think about the egg in my bag Mr Fuji gave to me.
“Yeah, good idea. So Slowking, what do you want to be called?”
Slowking looked up to the various humans gathered around the table and pointed to himself. April nodded her head and the pokemon said, “Slowking called Slowking.” Sounding confused as to why we’d even ask such a question. “Slowking is tired.”
“Oh... okay. Do you want to go back into your pokeball?” His owner asked in response to the blunt statement.
Slowking nodded and so April produced the red and white ball allowing Slowking to disappear inside via a beam of ruby light. Even though April saw fit to give her pokemon a name now he was capable of speech, he was still a pokemon after all – and he needed his pokeball to rest.
Suddenly the sound of a horn echoed throughout the room.
“What was that?” I asked, taking the egg from my bag.
“That must be the SS Anne” Nurse Joy said checking her watch, “On time as usual.”
Suddenly April’s face lit up and she began to follow Nurse Joy into the reception area. I explained to Ivy that I’d be right back and followed the two girls through the door.
In reception, the port was visible through the glass wall and a very large ship had just docked, lighting up the night sky in the distance.
“Oh my gosh that’s really it.” April said under her breath, just loud enough for me to hear.
Confused, I asked the question, “Am I missing something here? What’s so special about this boat?”
“’This boat’ - Do you live under a rock? It’s the most famous ship in the world and it only stops at each port once a year for one night only. I’ve always wanted to see it!” She cried, practically giddy.
April turned and headed for the front door, picking up her drawstring shoulder bag as she went.
“Aren’t you coming?”
“No thanks.” I laughed, failing to see why a ship could possibly be so interesting. “But I’m gonna go have a look at the gym later and try and schedule a match with the leader.”
“So I’ll meet you back here later?” April said almost rhetorically as she walked out the sliding doors not even waiting for an answer.
“Sure - have fun boat spotting! …Weirdo.”
Catch 'em, catch 'em, gotta catch 'em all; gotta catch 'em all - Pokemon!
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