Sometimes, Chrome wondered why he even bothered leaving the house. Walking down Route 602, he tried to recall all of the events that actually led him on his way to a journey. Though some things would move him towards the idea, he just couldn't be entirely sure what exactly sparked the idea of him journeying cities away from home. One thing was for sure, it wasn't Professor Nemo's or her crazy requests. So why did he find himself carrying out yet another one?
MARIE: Wow, Chrome, I didn't know you worked for Professor Nemo!
CHROME: I don't so much as work for her as much as she's just owing me a lot of favors.
MARIE: Well, that's a good thing too, isn't it? I mean, a woman of her standing could be very helpful.
CHROME: [thinking] So why am I still the one helping her?
Chrome didn't necessarily hate the jobs she tasked him with. He just figured he could be doing a lot more favorable stuff with his time.
MARIE: How do you know her anyways?
CHROME: She's friends with my mom. They shop together and whatnot.
MARIE: Oh! I wonder if I can shop with them one day! I mean, I am your friend now. So I should be acquainted by association! I wonder if she wear-
Marie's excitement at the prospect of being best friends with Prof. Nemo almost entirely caused Chrome to forget a very important question.
CHROME: Hey Marie, how do you know Professor Nemo?
MARIE: What do you mean? She's a critically acclaimed professor.
CHROME: Huh? She is?
MARIE: Yeah! She's one of the leading professors in Pokemon research. I'm normally not interested in the science and politics, but she's pretty widespread in her popularity.
CHROME: That's pretty amazing. But I wonder why she decides to live in NomNom Town.
MARIE: Most Professors live in small towns to escape major media attention. She's probably the same. [looks up] Hey, is this place?
Chrome wondered how Marie could ask that question. Besides being the only house for some miles, the house had a fair share of generators. To add, some of the trees around it were singed. It this house was anything short of a laboratory, he wouldn't think about walking in anytime soon.
CHROME: It looks like it.
The two teens approached the house very cautiously. Chrome touched the doorknob to find it rather hot. The burn knocked him back to Marie, who prevented him from falling.
MARIE: Maybe we should knock.
CHROME: I wish I would've thought of that.
Marie gave a soft knock while Chrome held his hand in agony.
????: Just a moment!
The door opened to a skinny man that could be described as middle-aged. He wore a labcoat akin to the one that Prof. Nemo. His gray hairs were sparse, but fairly noticeable. His glasses were thin-framed. His voice was just deep enough to be a man's, but still fairly high pitched as to question his age. Though, his appearance left no question to his age.
????: You must be the two young teens that Shelia said were coming.
CHROME: Uh, yeah, that's us, I guess.
????: Nice to meet you. My name is Professor Elm.
As Prof. Elm extended his hand, Chrome noticed that he wore an oven mitt.
The man could have at least put a warning sign up.
CHROME: I'm Chrome and this is Marie.
MARIE: Pleasure to meet you.
ELM: The pleasure is all mine. Now about the reason you're here.
CHROME: It wouldn't happen to have anything to do with the burned trees, would it?
ELM: Well, actually, it does.
Chrome was afraid he would say that.
ELM: Like Professor Nemo, I specialize in Pokemon and Pokemon training. In trying to find out all the different variables, we seek to pair different Pokemon with different natures to different trainers. This way, we can find out more about Pokemon evolution and what triggers it.
ELM: Surely, you know about Pokemon evolution?
CHROME: I haven't really been observing Pokemon culture until a few days ago.
ELM: Wow. I guess I'm so used to being around trainers and professors that I forget that there are actually some people in the world that don't know much about Pokemon.
CHROME: Yeah, that's me.
ELM: Well, it's better to see it for yourself than to explain it.
CHROME: I suppose so. But what does that have to do with the burned trees?
ELM: Well, simply this.
Prof. Elm pulled from his pocket a single Pokeball and released from it a small creature with squinted eyes. Its backside gave off heat.
ELM: Like Professor Nemo, I start trainers on their journeys into the Pokemon world. In my native region, this is but one of the Pokemon that I would normally hand to a trainer. Although, it's pretty rare here. He's a Cyndaquil.
Before Prof. Elm even finished his explanation, Chrome checked the information on his Pokedex. A fire mouse of sorts. Interesting.
MARIE: Wow, it's so cute!
As Marie approached it, Cyndaquil's back lit with flames. The flames became wild and uncontrolable very quickly. Marie fell back in shock.
ELM: See, that's the problem. He's a bit timid and gets extremely nervous whenever someone draws to close to him. Since he's never accustomed to any trainer, it makes it impossible to give him away. Likewise, he's been causing a problem for me too. The last time I tried to give him up, he burned down my entire lab in New Bark Town. In fact, it's still in the rebuilding phase.
CHROME: That sucks.
MARIE: Sucks to the max.
ELM: [leans over his desk] Tell me about it. Even here, I figured I would just give him a little time outside of his Pokeball and he nearly started a forest fire.
CHROME: He's pretty powerful.
Chrome paused for a moment after the statement in order to put two and two together. Letting out a deep sigh, he braced himself for the obvious.
CHROME: Professor Nemo wouldn't have happened to tell you about me having some sort of ability to fix this, would she?
ELM: As a matter of fact, she did.
Chrome held his head down in disappointment. He was afraid that was the case. The last thing he would want is a widespread reputation about being a natural Pokemon flute.
ELM: She said that you had a gift when it came to calming down Pokemon. I figured that maybe you could help with Cyndaquil.
MARIE: Wow, you can do that?
CHROME: I suppose so. It's how Pichu and I met.
Pichu sounded off loudly. Chrome didn't notice that he released himself from his Pokeball. That was going to grow to be a very bad habit. He could tell.
ELM: So, can you help me?
CHROME: Well, it shouldn't be a problem, I guess.
Chrome cautiously approached the flaming Cyndaquil. The last time he attempted to do something like this, it resulted in a mild shock throughout his body. Chrome didn't want to think about the damage comparison when it came to flames. As Cyndaquil saw him approaching, his flames grew brighter.
CHROME: Hey there, buddy. I'm not one to hurt you.
Chrome tried to approach as gently as possible. Thinking back on it, he could have at least asked Prof. Elm for some oven mitts. He was too close to Cyndaquil to consider asking for them now. As he came within inches of the nervous Pokemon, Chrome noticed that Cyndaquil began to lower his flames. Chrome thought to himself, with no pun intended, that Cyndaquil was warming up to him. As Chrome's fingertips came to Cyndaquil's head, the flames died down entirely. Soon, Chrome found himself petting a gentle Cyndaquil.
Chrome wasn't exactly comfortable in this situation, however. Recalling the previous experience, the storm always came after the calm. After moments of holding his hand awkwardly on Cyndaquil, Chrome established that it probably wasn't going to happen this time. He let out a sigh of relief.
MARIE: Wow, Chrome! That was pretty cool!
ELM: I must say, I am impressed. You almost make it too easy.
????: I'd be inclined to agree.
Chrome, Elm and Marie turned around to see three muscular men crowding the door they walked in through. They carried a very thuggish appearance, even wearing matching bandannas. That indicated that they were likely in some gang.
ELM: Who are you people?
GRUNT #1: I guess you can call us treasure hunters. We're often looking for rare things. And it looks like we found us a jewel.
Chrome analyzed their appearance. They didn't have an ounce of green on them, so they were likely not apart of the Green Team. After noting that, he decided that the best course of action was to try to avoid a fight that would damage the house. Unfortunately, as he thoguht that, he could feel heat emit from Cyndaquil. His nervousness turned into full-on fear. The flames on his back nearly engulfed his body along with Chrome's hand.
Chrome jumped back from Cyndaquil and turned around to see Prof. Elm attempting to wrestle the intruders. He was tossed aside handily as the lead grunt released his Pokemon.
GRUNT #1: Staryu, use Water Gun.
Briefly after coming out of the Pokeball, the Staryu would act on the command given to him. It sprayed a powerful stream of water at the Cyndaquil, extinguishing its flame and knocking it back to the wall. These men took no care in how they treated the Pokemon, letting the Staryu continue in dousing the young Cyndaquil.
On impulse, Chrome jumped in front of the Cyndaquil and shielded him from water. He held out for as long as he could until Marie released Shifter to take the brunt of the attack. As a grass-type Pokemon, he was unaffected by the copious amount of water.
Soon enough, Pichu jumped to Chrome's shoulder, ready for a fight.
GRUNT #1: What's this? Are you kids resisting?
Marie looked to Chrome for confirmation of their next move. Like him, she was reacting purely on instinct. Chrome didn't know much about the guys that attacked them or Pokemon in general, but he didn't like the way they handled things. They were willing to injury Cyndaquil in order to apprehend it, rather than earn its trust. That alone was enough to establish that they had no business taking it.
CHROME: Pichu, get ready!
Pichu, to say the least, was ecstatic.