Chapter Six brings with it a puppy, a blob, and a worm!
WARNING: Contains two instances of strong swearing.
/ Chapter Six /
"Random Encounters of the Pokemon Kind"
Littleroot Town, Hoenn ~ 11:30 AM
“Hazel!” the voice of Professor Birch drifted down to the two teenagers from the raised window of his office. “OK, kids, come back right up. I’ve got something for you.”
In a few minutes, the two had returned to his office. Birch had set down a small red device on the desk. He picked it up and handed it to Hazel. She examined it, finding it like a small tablet in appearance. It had a joystick, four buttons, and a directional pad.
“This,” Birch said, pointing to the device, “is a Pokemon Index, an electronic encyclopaedia. It stores data on Pokemon on the PokeDex Project servers. When you encounter a Pokemon, you can use the PokeDex to access the cloud and download the information for future use.”
“I know these,” Hazel said. “Professor Oak invented them, right?”
Birch winced. “Yes, he did, but the design and software is now open-source, so the PokeDex project has gone international since then, with his approval. Anyway, we give them out to trainers who seem especially dedicated and promising. Here: this one is for you.” He handed it over to Hazel, and she felt around until she found a small on/off button. Pressing it caused the screen to light up and present an interface not unlike a proper tablet’s. A login screen appeared, giving her two options: ‘new trainer’ or ‘registered trainer’.
“It’s a touchscreen device as well,” explained Birch, “so touch the option you want and press a button. Anything should do.
Hazel selected ‘new trainer’ and pressed a button. A form loaded on screen, asking her to enter information, causing her to sigh. “Do I have to fill this out now?”
“Actually, you can do it at a Pokemon Centre in a town or city if you prefer. The advantage to that is you can get your trainer card in a day instead of waiting forever for the League to mail it to you,” Birch answered.
“OK, so when can I start?” Hazel asked impatiently.
“Right away,” Birch said. “Head over to Oldale Town to register yourself as a Pokemon Trainer, and then you’re all set to start your journey!”
Hazel walked out. As she exited the lab, Rikuya tapped her shoulder. She turned, noticing he was now wearing the white knit cap - it covered his head and made him look like he had spiky white hair. Rikuya handed her a backpack and a card, which read: 'A new journey’s dawn / And here is a gift for you / So do you like it?’
Hazel examined the backpack, finding that it contained five empty PokeBalls, a wallet (also empty) and a MagnetLock PokeBelt™ (‘for quick-access to your balls, anytime!’). She looked up to find his expectant gaze.
“Thanks,” she said. “But I’m not big on bad haiku - oh, you mean the PokeBalls? Oh, thanks, they’re cool.”
“Anyway,” Hazel continued. “I was wondering if maybe you’d, uh, help me out a bit here?”
He nodded, curious.
“Yeah, I’m gonna be on my way to Oldale now, and, uh, you seem like a really good trainer. So, could you, like, uh, teach me the basics? Like, how to catch Pokemon, and stuff?” The brunette’s tone was a little embarrassed - the sound of teenage pride being slowly punctured.
Rikuya looked slightly disappointed, but nodded anyway. He led her out to the backyard and climbed over the fence and onto a small path, where he waited for her to join him. From there, they trekked along for awhile in the suburbs until they reached a small ledge. Rikuya clambered over and led Hazel down. The two stood in the shaded woods, waiting for a wild Pokemon to come along. They were generally found in the tall grass - the kind they were currently in front of - but sometimes, it could take awhile before anything showed up.
Hazel could imagine Rikuya’s tone if he was speaking. The key to every aspect of training, he’d say - delivering three-time World Champion Greyson Ashley’s famous speech on winning his second World Cup - is patience. You need patience to wait for the right Pokemon to come along. You need patience to time the throw of the PokeBall just right. You need patience to train it to its full potential. You need patience in battle to identify your opponent’s weaknesses. And, last and most importantly - you need patience to listen to this speech. No, seriously. It’s freakin’ long.
At that very moment, a small black and grey puppy tumbled out of the long grass. Immediately, it rolled to its feet, raised its hackles and snarled. In one swift, fluid movement, Rikuya reached for his PokeBall and hit the switch as he extended his arm, causing an elegant flow of light. The beam shaped itself into the familiar form of Geko the Treecko, who dropped into a low, sneaky-looking fighting stance as he materialised.
Hazel took out her PokeDex and turned it on. She found an option that said ‘SCAN’ - on touching it, a 3D model of the very same puppy appeared besides its PokeDex entry page.
“Poochyena, the Bite Pokemon,” the PokeDex read in a mechanical female tone. “Known for being savage and tenacious, it will chase after anything it considers prey. It is omnivorous, and its species is named for its innate characteristic to bite anything that moves.”
Meanwhile, the battle was already in full swing. The Poochyena charged straight into Geko, who slipped out of the way and struck Poochyena from behind. The puppy snapped at Geko, charging again, but the nimble lizard avoided the attack once more. As though he’d finally decided to take the battle seriously, the Treecko suddenly launched a relentless combination of attacking, dodging, and counter-attacking. The way Geko moved seemed to match a rhythm. Every time he slipped just outside Poochyena’s reach, his body flowed aside, rather than simply moving out of the way. Even his punches were graceful, as though he was a ballet dancer turned world boxing champion.
Now Hazel understood why Rikuya didn’t need to command Geko. The Treecko moved with its foe, obeying Newton’s Third Law perfectly by matching strike for counter, breaking Poochyena’s defence effortlessly. Even as she looked on, Geko evaded Poochyena’s wild charge and swept its hind leg out from right under it. He followed it up with a punch to the side of the face, timed so as to send the puppy reeling, but carefully controlled in order to keep Poochyena just within his reach.
Geko executed an uppercut, striking Poochyena’s throat. His opponent whined from the sudden brutality of the move, stumbling, and suddenly there was a PokeBall flying through the air. It sucked the exhausted canine into it, causing an abrupt silence to replace the growls and whines. The PokeBall dropped to the ground, wobbling. Hazel could imagine Poochyena inside, slamming the non-existent doors of its otherworldly prison. It quivered for a few more seconds before clicking, signifying a successful capture.
Rikuya walked over and picked up the PokeBall. He then proceeded to brandish a card at Hazel (he must have written it during the fight). It read: ‘And that’s how you catch a wild Pokemon! Any questions?’
“Nope,” Hazel said. “Oh, wait, I got one. Which way is Oldale Town?”
Hoenn International Airport, Mossdeep City, Hoenn
The Man in Black and the Woman in White strode out of the airport, ignoring the stares their odd attire drew from others. They walked to the parking lot, where a small white Volkswagen (keeping in with the monochrome theme) awaited them. Inside sat a driver, as expected.
What they did not expect was for him to be a Pokemon.
What they expected even less was for him to be a talking Pokemon.
“‘Allo there, mate,” said the large purple blob on the front seat in what sounded like a thick Australian accent. As they watched, stupefied, he - or maybe she, or, the most likely option, it - grew slightly larger in size, until it seemed to widen into a more humanoid shape. It looked like a large misshapen lump of molten purple wax, with two indented pinpricks for eyes and a vaguely curved gash below that caused its features to resemble a popular Internet emoticon, the ‘smiley’. The odd Pokemon extended an arm to its ‘head’ and bowed, giving the impression that it had just removed a non-existent top hat. “I’m Rudi, an’ I will be your shoffer for the duration of your stay.”
“First of all, it’s not ‘shoffer’, it’s ‘chauffeur’,” said the Man in Black, when he had regained his ability of speech. “Second, what kind of name is Rudi? And third, why the hell is our driver a Ditto?”
The Ditto’s face twisted, its eyes forming sideways V-shapes and its mouth curling into a small circle, conveying a sense of annoyance. “First of all, I did say ‘shoffer’. Not ‘chauffeur’. Same thing. Second, it wasn’t my f*ckin’ decision, a’right? And third, why not?”
“First of all -” The Man in Black’s reply suddenly ground to a halt as he realised something incredible. “Wait. You’re talking.”
The Ditto’s offended face remained. “Well, of course I’m f*ckin’ talkin’. I’m a Ditto, aren’t I?”
“That doesn’t explain why you’re talking,” the Man replied. He turned to his companion. “And why aren’t you saying anything?!”
The Woman, mildly amused at this exchange, let out a giggle. “Well, I was the one who asked for him, wasn’t I?” She walked over by the Ditto. “Meet Rudi Irving Washington, one of our best Pokemon agents in the field. He’s been an invaluable asset to us since we obtained him from the Goldenrod Day-Care Centre in 2009.”
“He’s four years old!” spluttered the Man, now having a fit of apoplexy.
“In Ditto years, tha’s nearly twenty-four,” Rudi said helpfully. “Look on the bright side, mate; I’ll only be alive for anothah four years. Oh, wait. Tha’s not the bright side.” His face now formed a ‘D:’ emoticon.
“Now you’ve made him sad,” the Woman said, her tone irritated. “We can’t have a sad Ditto for a driver.”
“We can’t have a Ditto for a driver, period!” exclaimed her male counterpart.
Rudi made the annoyed face again. “‘Course you can. Just watch, mate.” And with that, he began to morph. It was not pretty to watch: his ‘eyes’ melted away and his entire body contorted. His entire body inflated like a giant swollen bruise, and the purple colour swirled away like paint on water. Protrusions extended from his body, bursting out like tentacles. Slowly but surely, he was transforming into a man.
“Alright, Finn,” said Hazel, a little unsure. “C’mon out.”
The Mudkip burst out in front of her, glaring at its opponent. The small red worm glared back, its tiny eyes determined. The small spines down its side quivered a little in the breeze, and the two large yellow stingers at its tail stood erect, as did the one on its head. Behind it stood a boy around twelve years old, wearing a blue shirt and a hat. For some reason, he wielded a butterfly net as well.
“Finn, this is Calvin,” Hazel explained, “and that’s his worm.”
“Wurmple,” Calvin corrected.
“Whatever. So, Calvin wants to have a practice Pokemon battle for when he gets his training license.”
“I sent my form in for the third time yesterday!” shouted the child enthusiastically. “They’re going to accept it! You’ll see!”
Hazel rolled her eyes. “Riiight. Let’s just get this battle started already.”
“OK!” Calvin said brightly. “Wurmple, start with String Shot!” The insect fired a line of silk from the stinger, and the string slid over the ground with a wet splat.
Alright, that’s probably going to slow Finn down a bit, Hazel reasoned. It’s too sticky to go for a direct attack, so I’ll begin with a special move.
“Hey!” complained her opponent. “This is battling, not chess! Wurmple, Tackle!”
“Aw, c’mon,” Hazel grumbled, turning her attention back to the fight. Wurmple scurried over to Finn and bashed its little body against the amphibian, who seemed relatively unhurt. “Right then, Finn, use Growl. That should scare it off for a bit.”
The Mudkip chittered in a guttural tone that reminded Hazel of a certain platypus, causing Wurmple to back away nervously. Satisfied, Hazel ordered, “Great, now wait for -”
Finn ignored her, charging instantly. He slammed sideways into Wurmple, and the bug let out an odd, pained noise as it was hit. Relentless, Finn continued assaulting his opponent with Tackle. Hazel contrasted the Mudkip’s battle style with that of Rikuya’s Treecko. Geko was careful and delicate, battling like a dancer, whereas Finn was all brute strength. He took every advantage he found, foregoing timing and precision in favour of raw power. It took exactly three Tackles to knock out Wurmple.
Calvin stared, a little disbelieving. “You knocked Wurmple out ...” he whispered.
“Yeah, well, it wasn’t exactly the Terminator we were up against,” Hazel pointed out drily.
“MOMMY! SHE MADE ME LOSE!” Calvin burst into tears.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Hazel held out her hand. “Fork over the dirt, kid.”
“... What?” The preteen sniffled, looking up at Hazel.
“Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Hoenn. Just because I’m not from around here doesn’t mean I’m stupid. ‘As per the new laws of battling’,” Hazel recited, “‘in case one party experiences loss or forfeiture, the other party is legally entitled to ask for a sum of money in case they carry a PokeDex that can calculate the correct sum based on Bernhard’s Equation’ -”
“OK, OK!” whined Calvin. “I’ll pay you. Here!” He handed her a couple of dollar bills, which she proceeded to stash in her new wallet.
“Well, that was fun,” Hazel commented, walking away from the still-sobbing child and back onto the path that lead to Oldale Town. “But you know, you really should obey my commands in battle, Zuzu.”
Finn made an annoyed sound.
The bad haiku was written by me; I’ve had no experience whatsoever with writing haikus, so, yeah, that sucks.
If you’ve seen Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey Jr movie), the Geko vs Poochyena scene is totally like the fight scenes in that one. That scene was easily my favourite in the whole chapter.
Many thanks to the following for proofreading this chapter for me:
-Shadow Lucario 50