Ash, Iris and Cilan had reached the city in sight of ash’s next gym badge and its famous Castelia Cones. They met up with Burgh- the Castelia city gym leader, who they had met in Pinwheel Forest- to find that there was something wrong with the bug Pokemon and so they decided to investigate.
After their scrimmage in the sewer with a Venipede stuck in a pipe and a swarm of Venipede stampeding through, they surfaced the manhole to see the city in distress.
Venipede were everywhere! Swarming through the city, crawling up buildings, groups were even tipping over cars! Something was seriously wrong.
Ash opened his mouth to say something but before he could even utter a word, an earsplitting scream filled the city.
“What in the world was that?!” Iris exclaimed, both her and Axew shaken up by the sudden loud noise.
As if to answer her question, a black blur followed by a dust cloud zoomed in front of them and choked them with the dust. “Let’s get out of this town! DISGUSTING BUGS! EVERYWHERE!!!” The voice cried and a Ducklett was seen flying after the person, trying desperately to catch up to its trainer.
“What’s HER problem?!” Iris coughed and glared after the mysterious person’s retreating figure.
“It seems as if she has a bit of a bug phobia.” Cilan stated.
“What a kid,” Iris huffed. “What’s so scary about bugs anyway?”
“I bet that she would say the same thing about your fear of ice Pokemon.” Cilan chuckled.
“Come on! We must find Nurse Joy!” Burgh interrupted them.
“Ash! Stop spacing out! We need to go!” Iris yelled to Ash, who was staring after the girl’s retreating figure, in thought again.
“Huh? R-right, let’s go!” He ran after the group as they left for the Pokemon center.
Misty slammed the door of the Pokemon center behind her and leaned against the door, breathing heavily. Ducklett collapsed on her shoulder, panting with its tongue sticking out.
“I was in such a rush to get to Castelia City,” she panted, “and now I just want to leave already.” She heard something outside and turned to look through the clear doors, seeing a group of people outside, one of them being Tripp.
Tripp and the other gathered trainers used fire attacks to drive back the bugs. Misty leaped up with a fist pump. “Yeah! Drive out those hideous things!” But all their attacks seemed to do was make the Venipede even more angry, creeping Misty out more with their rattling noises. “I am NOT leaving this Pokemon centre until they get rid of those disgusting things!” The Pokemon’s attacks suddenly stopped and Misty looked to see a group of people run up. Misty froze before glaring at the bugs. “You just love to spite me don’t you?!” She yelled aloud with a pout.
The group that had run up included Ash among them but, as much as she wanted to see him, she wasn’t going out there now. “Great…” She muttered and watched Ash converse with Tripp before the group ran off again.
Misty sighed and went over to the couches in the centre and plopped down. “How long am I going to have to wait here?!”
(Team plasma stuff…)
“Pokemon will be slaves at the hands of man! They will be forced to build the very buildings that took their homes away. Pokemon need nature to survive, they need to be in their homes, not inside a ball until we call upon them. Man thinks they control everything, including these wonderful creatures that deserve to have freedom as much as any of us. Liberate your Pokemon and work towards making the world a better place for them. Thank you for your time.”
The crowd cleared out, muttering again and Misty hoped to Mew that no one was going to release their Pokemon again- and that Team Plasma would become as annoying to them as they were becoming to her. “Who do they think they are?! They’re splitting up strong relationships between people and Pokemon! That Sandile was NOT suffering! Misty huffed but stopped as a voice murmured something next to her.
“These Pokemon are suffering because of Humans, they are angry because they are in pain from Human disturbances and we are retaliating without understanding.” A man with long green hair and a black and white cap looking out the window said.
He turned to face Misty and stared at her with his deep green eyes. “I heard that you hate bug Pokemon, they terrify you.”
“How did you-” Misty started to ask but was interrupted.
“But although you hate them, do you think that they or any being deserves to suffer? They do have feelings as well as you and I.”
With his enticing eyes and deep words, Misty couldn’t help but agree with him. “No creature deserves to suffer, but some Pokemon have formed such a strong bond with their trainers that being liberated is the last thing that they want.”
“What about the Pokemon’s family?” He challenged softly, but with as much effect as if he were yelling the words. “Their family member is taken away from them and the Pokeball tames the Pokemon, making it tolerate the human who captured it. Have you ever wondered why Pokemon resist capture in the wild? They don’t want to be captured, taken away from their family.
“They don’t want to be liberated because they have spent so much time with their captor that they begin to replace their family figures with them. Humans cannot fulfill a Pokemon’s motherly need, not fully.”
Misty was speechless, how could she argue these points? It really made her rethink being a trainer.
He went on by petting Azurill on the head. “This little one, did you catch it in the wild as a baby or…?”
“I hatched it from an egg.” Misty answered.
“I see…” He paused and looked at the Azurill with a thoughtful expression. “Your Azurill thinks you are its mother.”
“And I’ve raised it like a mother would.” Misty stated proudly. “The same as I did for Togepi. Humans may keep their Pokemon but if they want to leave, most people will let them go. But the parting is hard on both. And when the Pokemon wants to be outside of the Pokeball, I don’t force them to stay in it, I let them travel with me.”
He still looked thoughtful as he looked at her Pokemon. “I can hear your Pokemon speaking. It seems they support your thoughts. But is that support from fear, friendship, or truth? Your Pokemon tell me they don’t want to be free…”
Misty raised an eyebrow. “You can hear them speaking?” She asked in a tone of disbelief.
“Yes. And your Pokemon say that you are a special trainer as well. Different than most… Who are you?” He asked.
“Misty, gym leader of the Cerulean Gym.” She said automatically before wondering if she should really give that information out to this person. But she felt as if she could confide in him for some reason. This person who seemed to know her Pokemon better than she did. “And you are?”
Before he could answer, the Team Plasma member who spoke earlier walked up to them. “Lord N, shall we make our way to Nimbasa now?”
Misty blinked. Lord N?! She thought in confusion.
He looked out the window and nodded to the member. “Yes, it seems that the Venipede are starting to clear out. Let us go.” He looked at Misty. “Perhaps our paths will cross again Misty of Cerulean.” He said before leaving with the Plasma member outside of the center.
Misty stood there for a minute in a daze as she played through the conversation in her head again.
The Venipede looked to have cleared out and so Misty was able to walk outside and breathe easy. “Whew! They finally got rid of those bugs! The city looks so much nicer when it’s not covered with them.” Misty stretched and looked between two buildings to see that the sun was low on the horizon and would set soon. “There went my day…” Misty grumbled as she started to walk around. How was she supposed to find Ash now? This city was huge! Maybe he’s at the gym. She thought and started walking around in search of the gym but it seemed as though she were going in circles.
“Alright, every big city has a core. If we find that, maybe there will be a map or something. I just have to make sure I can get back to the Pokemon centre before dark or I’ll really be lost.” She spoke to herself and looked between buildings to try and navigate herself to the center of the city.
“Oh come on!” Misty yelled as she came to the center of the city. “They were supposed to get them OUT of the city! Not move them to the center where most people like to go!” The Venipede had been relocated to the center of the city until the problem could be figured out as to why they were so angry. Just to spite Misty again, the map of the city was standing right in the middle of the flurry with the largest Venipede on top of it. The Venipede suddenly glared at her and started making the rattling sound again.
“Okay! Okay! I’m going!” She cried, turned tail, and ran. But before she could get too far, she ran into someone again. “Ouch, I really need to break this habit…” Misty muttered as she sat on the ground from falling back. She looked to see the one she had ran into was a Team Plasma member.
He got up and glared down at her. “Watch where you’re going you brat!” He spat.
She stood up. “You don’t have to be such a jerk about it! I’m sorry okay?!” She spat back with just as much venom as he used.
“Azuu Azuu!” Azurill yelled with its trainer.
“Ducklett!” Ducklett flew onto her head, spread out its wings in an intimidating way and cawed at him loudly.
He looked at the Pokemon and then back at Misty. “Have you heard our speeches about Liberating Pokemon?” He asked in a voice obviously straining to sound more polite.
“Yeah and I’m not interested!” She growled.
“Why you selfish brat! You’re using these Pokemon for your own selfish needs and refuse to open your eyes! Consider their feelings for once!” He snarled at her.
She stared at him like he was a pathetic idiot. “You know, your ways of persuasion won’t get you very far. And I am considering their feelings! They’re not interested either!” She tried to walk past him. “Anyways, you Team Plasma people are really getting on my nerves! I need to get back to the Pokemon centre before it gets too late.”
“You little- Fine! If you won’t liberate your Pokemon, I’ll just have to do it for you!” The guy said before running in front of Misty and yanking Azurill out of her arms. He took off running, holding the crying Pokemon.
“Azurill!” Misty screamed and ran after the Team Plasma guy. “Give it back! Ducklett, get Azurill back!” She ordered and Ducklett flew after him squawking angrily and pecked his head repeatedly.
“Yeah! That’s the way Ducklett!” Misty cheered as she still pursued him.
“You’re not getting this Pokemon b- OUCH! Stop it you stupid bird! Take care of it Purrloin!” The man sent out Purrloin.
Misty couldn’t help but smirk at the irony. “So the great liberator has a Pokemon of his own?”
“We need them until we have convinced others to liberate theirs.”
Misty kept a raised brow. “Yeah right.”
“Purrloin! Use slash on this Ducklett! OW!”
Purrloin leaped up and landed on its trainer’s shoulder before leaping up to use slash on Ducklett. Ducklett dodged though, making Purrloin’s slash hit its trainer’s head instead and slice open the cloth covering it.
“YOWCH!!! Attack the Ducklett, not me!” He yowled in pain. “Use Shadow Ball.”
Purrloin shot out the ball and it struck Ducklett.
“Quick, use fury swipes before it recovers!”
Purrloin leaped off of its trainer’s head and slashed Ducklett rapidly.
“Ducklett, no! Fight back with wing attack!”
But Purrloin leaped out of the way of its wing and spun around to strike Ducklett with tail slap, knocking it to the ground.
“Ducklett, get up! I know you can do it!” Misty encouraged.
“Duck…” Ducklett tried to lift its head with much difficulty.
The man started to walk away. “It’s a good thing that I’m freeing this Pokemon from you. You don’t deserve to be a trainer anyways.” He laughed and started to run again, Purrloin following.
“Oh no you don’t.” Misty growled, her anger flaring. She ran after the man again, picking up Ducklett as she went and starting to reach for a Pokeball. “Time for reinforcement. Go-”
Before she could throw the Pokeball the man ordered Purrloin to use flash. The unprepared Misty tried to shut her eyes against it but the harsh light still broke through, blinding her. “Argh! Azurill! Azurill, where are you?!” She stumbled around in a blind daze and called out, receiving no reply. When her eyes finally snapped out of being blind, she looked around desperately to see that the Team Plasma member had made a getaway.
“Where did he go?!” Misty asked aloud in a panic. “Azurill! Where are you?!” She started running to where he might have gone but found no trace of him. She started traveling down winding paths and just taking every direction she could, not caring how lost she was probably getting. She even asked some people if they had seen an Azurill anywhere but no one had.
Misty kept looking, even when the sun had gone down, lead by the lights coming from windows and streetlights, but still found nothing. Her hope of finding Azurill started to fade and numbed her with shock and pain. How could she lose her baby? It must be so scared with that man… What if he released it into an unfamiliar place and it got lost… Or hurt?! Misty clamped her eyes shut and hung her head. “Azurill, I’m so sorry. Please be alright!” Tears started to form in her eyes.
She had just been blindly walking and so Ducklett had to watch where they were going. “Ducklett!” It cawed at her.
Misty’s head snapped up, hoping that Ducklett spotted Azurill. But all that lay in front of her was the Pokemon Centre. She sighed sadly. “Alright Ducklett. I guess searching at night is doing no good. We’ll search again early in the morning.” She reluctantly made her way to the Pokemon centre to turn in for the night, but sleep did not come easy for Misty.
“AZURILL! NO!” Misty screamed, sitting up in bed abruptly.
Ducklett had fallen on the floor with shock at the outburst. “Duck…” It groaned.
Misty leaped out of bed and ran out of the room, leaving Ducklett to get up and fly after her.
She checked with Nurse Joy to see if an Azurill had been seen before exiting the centre to continue her search in the city.
“When I see that guy, I’ll be sure to let my mallet have a couple wacks at him before toasting him with Gyarados.” She growled as she looked from side to side with a glare so deadly that it would scare a ghost Pokemon. “Azurill!” She continued to call again.
As she was searching, she passed by an alleyway. She back tracked her steps and concealed herself partially behind the wall and peaked into the alley.
Inside the alley, three people dressed in outfits much like her’s- despite their sunglasses- were crouched in front of a computer. The outfits of these people weren’t the reason that Misty had become so curious, but the fact that these people looked familiar. As she took a closer look at them, she instantly knew who they were. She strained to hear what was being said.
“I received a tip that Team Plasma may be in the city, keep an eye out and find out what they’re doing there. Also take care to eavesdrop on the conversations of the citizens, they may provide some crucial information as well. Report your findings to me.” The man on the screen ordered them.
“Yes sir, if there is any information on them here, we will find it.” The woman with very long magenta hair replied.
With that, the computer screen went black.
The man sitting next to her- one with blue hair- looked at her with an expression Misty couldn’t read due to the sunglasses covering all of their eyes. “This city is huge, how do you propose we find any information on Team Plasma?”
The talking meowth- Misty’s dead giveaway of this being Team Rocket- looked at them both and said, “just like ‘da boss said. We listen to ‘dem.”
“Alright, let’s go then.” Jessie said and they all stood up to leave the alley.
Misty thought for a moment and a crazy idea came to her mind. Team Rocket was looking for any leads on Team Plasma, and she was looking for the one who had stolen her Azurill. Perhaps if she tricked Team Rocket into helping her, she could get Azurill back. And if they’re still stalking Ash- and haven’t gotten a life yet- then I could find him too. What’s the worse that could happen? It’s just these clowns. Making that snap decision, she leaped out into the open and called out, “I hear you’re looking for Team Plasma! Well I have information for you!”
She waited as the three turned to face her and started to have doubts if her plan was actually a good idea.