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It was early morning; the sun had yet to rise. As usual, I was already up thinking.
For that is what a Master does; he thinks— he is the brilliance behind the team.
Today, I happened to be contemplating the obvious.
The too obvious.
Often times the most obvious solutions are overlooked for the very reason they are obvious.
In this situation, I calculated a 53% chance of the obvious being true.
1. Mew teleported elsewhere or transformed and ran off.
2. Mew was one of Miss Parkwood’s or Miss Kendle’s Pokemon.
3. Mew was Miss Kendle.
4. Mew was Miss Parkwood.
1, 2, and 3 were all very viable situations. Very viable.
The fourth hypothesis was more than viable.
It was probable.
Which made me suspicious.
Yet, the data lined up perfectly.
The first piece of supporting data was that Miss Parkwood traveled the same exact path Mew traveled. This, of course, applied to the other options as well.
A more interesting bit of information was that, according to Miss Goldenthrill, Miss Parkwood moved to Melonbi Town in the summer before the two girls were in second grade, approximately six years ago. My father found Mew just outside of Melonbi Town six years ago, and no member of Team Glop’emm has glimpsed the Pokemon since. Coincidence? Unlikely.
Miss Goldenthrill also provided some unusual information about Miss Parkwood’s childhood. Apparently, Miss Parkwood was unusually comfortable with wild Pokemon at an early age. Before she had her own Pokemon, herds of wild Pokemon would follow her to and from school. This is not the case with normal human children.
Furthermore, the girl had psychic powers.
The silly girl may as well have been screaming, “I am Mew!”
But would Mew really be so unsubtle? According to the obvious… it seemed so.
However, the data needed to be confirmed. I had to verify everything possible before jumping to conclusions.
Much of the information had been obtained by watching the video tape of one of our member’s grunts speaking with Miss Goldenthrill. There was no known reason for her to lie, but I would still have to get her information verified.
I would also need more information about Mew. Research on this rare Pokemon was the reason I left my headquarters in the first place. Others could not be trusted with information on one of the most powerful creatures in the world. I would start my research in libraries throughout Acceber… I would have to confirm the legends.
The most important legend I would have to confirm was that Mew kept its psychic powers when it transformed. If my research revealed that this was not the case, I would need a new hypothesis.
And there was also the legend that all psychics and psychic Pokemon have purple eyes. Again, Miss Parkwood fit this criterion.
However, this legendary rumor was actually proven false by several researchers a couple of years ago.
They found that 20% of all purple-eyed Pokemon and humans were not psychics, though many were descendants of psychic humans or Pokemon. This piece of evidence could not be relied upon. It was interesting that one of Miss Parkwood’s Eevees had slightly violet eyes. Although Pokemon with unusual coloring were not all that uncommon…
I breathed the cool morning air in deeply. My brain raced forward, foreseeing where this research would eventually take me.
In the end, there would be only one way to confirm my hypothesis.
I quietly pulled a Pokeball from my belt and let loose the Pokemon within. A bird Pokemon with large dark wings and a white feathery chest appeared before me.
I pulled out a pen and a pad of paper. I scribbled the note quickly and tied it to my Honchkrow.
Chief Assistant, Mr. Arkle,
I need you to pull all of our top scientists out of their current projects. Order them to begin researching Ditto and to create a device based on this research that will force a Pokemon to transform. Not evolve—transform as Ditto and Pokemon X can. I need this device ASAP. My Honchkrow will stay to oversee that you and the scientists do as I ordered.
I held the note up to the Honchkrow, and watched as the bird’s eyes darted from line to line, reading. I folded up the letter and tied it to Honchkrow’s held out claw.
“Deliver this to my assistant, the one I left in charge,” I commanded. “Make sure he and the scientists do as ordered.”
Honchkrow nodded, and flapped off into the dawn.
I closed my eyes.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Good morning, Miss Goldenthrill.”
“Humph,” I grumpily replied while stumbling into my chair behind the desk. The man sat before me in one of my private rooms for the second time this week. This was where I originally discussed Anita with him.
What in the world could he possibly want at 6:00 in the morning? If John hadn’t already let the man in the house, I would have ignored the man’s request to speak with me. Beauty sleep was much more important.
I crossed my arms and frowned at the man. “What do you want?”
The man fumbled with his laptop until he finally go it open. He placed it in front of me.
A man appeared on the screen. His face was halfway in the shadows, but I could see his semi-long straight brown hair and dark eyes. He also looked like he had a 5:00 shadow, but it was hard to tell in this light. He had to be in his twenties.
“Miss Goldenthrill, I am glad we finally have the chance to talk.” The man seemed to try to smile warmly, but failed. “I have a proposition.”
I sneered, “What could you possibly want with me?”
“How would you like to start your Pokemon journey early?”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
<So explain this to me again,> I requested as Apple and I quietly made our way through the dimly lit woods.
Apple sighed. <You can only read his thoughts if he wants you to. See, the mind is actually in the brain. Your powers do not affect any physical part of a person or Pokemon that is dark type. Thus, you cannot see into his mind or even sense where he is. However, when a person projects his or her thoughts, the thoughts are literally flung outside of the body. Therefore, you can pick up this boy’s thoughts if he projects them.>
<But he hasn’t done that yet. Even when he is speaking, he does not automatically project his words like most Pokemon and humans do.>
<Right,> Apple answered.
<Which makes him even more suspicious.>
<I don’t know,> I said exasperatedly. <Something’s up with him though.>
Apple nodded. <I don’t like the idea of traveling with him.>
<We’re going to have to be careful to not let any of your… weirdness slip.>
Apple frowned slightly. <So are we going to be doing this often? Sneaking off in the morning to practice our psychic powers?>
<Yeah, I think we should make a habit of it. But just to be clear, Apple, this is to practice your psychic powers, not mine. You’re not a complete expert you know! You’re barely eight years old and need to practice as much as I do.>
Apple snorted. <Well, I’m much better than you!>
<Which is why you can’t be practicing in public. Erin already knows I’m a newbie to this whole psychic thing and can barely make a simple barrier. If you started using your psychic powers in public, I’d have to claim they were mine, which is obviously not the case.>
Apple rolled her eyes and huffed, <I know, I know. But really, I don’t need the practice. You do!>
It was my turn to roll my eyes. <Sure. You’re so obviously perfect; you’re much too good for practice.>
Apple smiled smugly. <That’s right.> The Eevee eyed me shiftily and then glanced at our surroundings. <I think we’re far enough away from camp now.>
Suddenly, my body felt lighter. It took me a second to figure out what was going on.
Unfortunately in that second, I was flung twenty feet into the air.
Let me tell you, floating midair is an unnerving sensation. It feels like you’re stuck in the middle of one of those glass floors, only you’re not sure if the glass floor is strong enough to hold your weight. You could fall at any second.
I tilted my head to glare at the Eevee several feet below me. <What do you think you’re doing?>
Apple yawned lazily. <Practicing.>
<Put me down, Apple!>
<Hey, you’re the one who said I needed the practice.>
I started spinning slowly in the air.
<Apple,> I growled.
The Eevee grinned. <I could be doing worse, you know.>
I was being held upside down.
<I could transform back into my real self and have better control.>
<Apple!> I gasped.
<Geeze, it was just a joke. I would never transform in public.>
<We’re not in public.>
<Ah. In that case, I can see why you’re worried.>
<Apple, seriously. You cannot transform, especially with that boy around. Neither of us can sense when he’s approaching.>
<I was joking. It is regretful though. I have so much more control as Mew. I could make you float, stop you from blinking, uproot a tree, and move Lemon Lake all at once as a Mew. As an Eevee, I can barely control you and move a pebble telekinetically at the same time.>
<Which is why you need to practice.>
<I thought you wanted me to stop!>
Apple’s ears pricked like mini radars. Suddenly, I was plummeting to the earth.
I was stopped inches above the ground so suddenly that my breath was knocked from me. Apple released me from her psychic grip.
Apple’s ears were twitching this way and that, extremely alert.
<Sorry. We have—>
“Company would be nice; don’t you think?” A voice spoke behind me.
I whirled around.
Between two thick trees not ten feet away, Liam stood watching me.
How much had he seen?
<Don’t worry. He just arrived,> Apple assured me.
“What are you doing here?” I snarled.
“I woke up, saw your sleeping bag empty, and heard some rustling in the bushes. Naturally, I wanted to see what you were up to. It was very easy to follow your trail.” Liam’s eyes flickered to Apple and then back to me. “The real question is, what are you doing here?”
“I was practicing my psychic gift. I didn’t want to wake up anyone.” I glared at Liam when I said “anyone” to emphasize I did not want him here.
Liam ignored my implication, and continued, “What were you practicing?”
“I was… err—”
“Dodging. Apple was throwing… or actually kicking… things at me, and I had to move out of the way,” I lied. I kept eye contact even though my heart was pounding and my breath came up short.
<You suck at lying—>
Something hit the back of my head. “Ow!” I exclaimed.
<—so I have to make this a convincing show.>
I turned to see Apple smirking at me. She shoved her leg forward and kicked another pebble at me. I ducked.
<You better close your eyes so the boy knows you are actually using your psychic powers to dodge, not your eyes.>
Another pebble hit my leg.
<Umm, Apple? How am I going to dodge like this? I can’t actually dodge with my eyes closed!>
I could imagine the grin on Apple’s face as she said, <You’re going to actually have to use your gift.>
I doubled over as something hit my stomach.
<Oooh, sorry about that one.>
<Apple, I don’t know how to do this!!>
<Easy, just do the same thing you’ve done for everything else. How do you use telepathy? You reach out with your mind and sense a living being and then project your thoughts. This should be easier. You’re just reaching out with your mind to sense where something is.>
“I can see you need the practice,” I heard the boy sneer.
I cursed him under my breath.
I reached my mind out to where Apple was and automatically jumped into her mind.
I felt her kick something else in my direction so I jumped to the left. The rock skimmed my right arm.
<You’re cheating. Get out!> I was shoved from Apple’s mind.
I felt suspended in nothingness and noticed that I could kind of “see” what was around me.
Except the boy, of course.
I was naturally drawn to Apple, but I did not allow myself to go toward her mind again.
This was actually not hard. It was almost the same thing I had done when I checked for other life forms near the pond, only now I was attempting to locate nonliving objects.
I suddenly “saw” a twig flying toward me. I ducked out of the way.
It was easy after that. I was able to dodge everything Apple kicked my way.
Until there were two things coming at once.
One was coming from a different direction.
I dodged the one coming from Apple, but was hit by the strange round object flying at me from behind.
I turned around and opened my eyes.
The boy was frowning at me, closer than he had been before.
As I glanced down at the ground, I noticed a Pokeball beside me.
“Why did you throw a Pokeball at me?” I asked.
Liam smirked. “You’re going to have to be prepared for anything in a real battle. Even things flying at you from different directions.”
I felt Apple suddenly become smug. She must be planning something.
“And what makes you an expert on battling? You’re a researcher,” I snickered.
I sensed something coming at my head from behind me so I ducked.
The Pokeball launched over my head directly toward Liam.
The boy seemed to twist out of the way, but abruptly his arm reached out and snatched the ball out of the air.
It was very cool.
<Aww, man,> Apple whined sourly. <I wanted to hit him in the face.>
Liam lightly tossed the Pokeball in the air and caught it again while smirking at me. “Believe it or not, I was once a trainer. A gifted trainer. I know what the gym leaders will throw at you.”
I grimaced at his pun. And at him. Both were horrible.
“I can help you train better than your Eevee can. I have two arms, and probably better aim.”
<Yeah, right. My aim is perfect,> Apple interjected.
“Plus, you’re going to need to be able to dodge more than twigs and pebbles.”
<He’s right. Remember what Abalina said? You could have to battle alongside your Pokemon, which means you may have to dodge all sorts of attacks.>
<So what am I supposed to do?>
<Let him help, I guess. Might as well make the most of the situation.>
“Fine,” I said, answering them both at once.
Liam immediately ran toward me and lashed his left leg out.
I stumbled backwards.
I was surprised; I hadn’t actually expected him to attack me… to try to hit a girl.
Well, no time to think about that. I had other issues.
<Uh, Apple, I have a problem. I have no way of predicting where he is going to hit.>
<That is a problem.>
Liam’s arm was racing toward my face.
I moved to the side, but he still managed to hit my shoulder. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, but I would definitely have a bruise later.
“You know, I can’t sense where you will strike,” I panted, ducking a wild punch.
“I know. You will not always be able to rely on your psychic powers,” Liam answered calmly. He did not seem to be exerting much effort.
I jumped over a leg Liam attempted to trip me with. Then I ducked because I sensed Apple aiming a quick attack at my back.
Apple hit Liam instead. For once, he looked shocked.
<That felt good.> Apple did a little victory dance. <I know I agreed to let him help you, but don’t think he can give you a few bruises without getting a few himself.>
“You will not always be able to rely on your uncanny ability to dodge what’s coming your way,” I mocked the dark-haired kid.
Liam had gotten over his shock quickly. He stuck out a leg and twirled, causing me to fall over.
“It’s called reflexes,” the boy said. He stood up and offered me his hand.
I gave him a dirty look and got up myself.
He kicked at me again, and this time I dodged.
We continued for about an hour until I was thoroughly exhausted.
As we crept back to our camp, I thought to Apple, <How did he get so good at fighting?>
<He says he was a trainer. If that’s the case, then he’d have to figure out a way to beat the gym leaders, just like you. Unlike you though, his actual power is not very useful, unless he’s fighting a psychic. He probably learned to fight to make up for lacking a useful power.>
<What abilities does a person with the dark type gift have, besides being unaffected by psychics?> I asked curiously.
<I’m not entirely sure. I know they can see perfectly in the dark, and tend to have more energy at night. I think they are also good at hiding.>
We were silent until we reached camp.
“Thanks for helping,” I mumbled grudgingly to Liam.
He didn’t reply.
“I said thanks.” I spoke more loudly.
Liam turned to look at me. “So?”
“So you’re supposed to say, ‘you’re welcome’.”
He didn’t say anything else.
<Rude, much?> I commented, irked.
I looked around our sleeping grounds for Erin. Her sleeping bag was empty, but I spotted her crouched over sketching something by the edge of the clearing. I was surprised she was already up.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
She looked up at us. “Oh, you guys are finally back! I was drawing a picture of this sleeping Weedle I found.” She waved her notebook at us. “So how was your bonding time?”
“Bonding time?” I looked at her like she was insane… or more insane than usual.
“Or maybe it was make-out time?” She suggested, raising her eyebrows at me. “You guys were in the woods for a while.”
I gagged. Liam snickered.
“Are you kidding me?!” I exclaimed. This girl must be on drugs.
<I would have smelled that,> Apple stated dryly.
I suddenly realized the scene from Erin’s point of view.
“Wait a second. You woke up to find both of our sleeping bags empty this morning, correct?”
“Yeah,” Erin answered.
“And you didn’t come searching for us?”
“No. Should I have?”
“Did it ever occur to you that I could have been kidnapped, or murdered, or taken advantage of by this stranger?” I gestured to Liam who frowned at me.
“Did that actually happen?” Erin questioned. She started packing up her sleeping bag and her few other possessions. I did the same.
“Then I don’t see what the problem is.”
“Erin, if the situation was reversed, if I woke up to find two sleeping bags empty, I would have immediately come looking for you!”
“There would obviously be no problem and you would be stupid for worrying,” Erin replied.
“How can you say that? HOW CAN YOU BE SO TRUSTING OF A COMPLETE STRANGER?!”
“How can you be so sexist and judgmental? You don’t even know him.” Erin looked at me coldly.
I was about to yell at her again when Apple put in, <Anita, you’re losing your temper again.>
<I DON’T CARE!>
Apple winced. <You’re going to have to at least try to stop doing that. Soon your powers will get out of control under extreme distress or emotion. You have to practice being in control at all times.>
So instead of screaming, I fumed quietly as we finished packing.
I stormed off after quickly feeding my Pokemon and eating a granola bar.
“Anita, that’s the wrong direction.”
I stormed the other way.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It had taken four battles against random trainers dispersed about the route and a lot of walking to calm Anita down. After eight hours of traveling, we were finally at the Tinted Town Pokemon Center. Anita had not said a word to Erin or Liam the whole journey, though Erin and Liam had spent most of the time happily chatting about their past research projects.
Or in Liam’s case, perhaps his phony research projects. For all I knew, he was making the whole thing up.
Oh, how I wish I could simply see what he was thinking.
Anita’s argument with Erin about whether Liam could be trusted would not be resolved unless Liam did something particularly disturbing. He’d have to do something to prove he couldn’t be trusted.
But I did not think that was going to happen.
I did not trust the kid, but for whatever reason, he clearly wanted to travel with the group. He wouldn’t do something that would get him kicked out.
When I wasn’t battling or trying to help Anita practice making barriers despite the fact that she always failed on our journey to this town, I was thinking about Anita and Erin’s argument and watching Liam.
I thought Erin had a valid point. However, because I could not read Liam’s mind, I thought Anita was correct in not trusting Liam. I guess my perspective is kind of skewed though.
Liam did not react to any of Anita’s accusations. It was very strange. He just looked at her kind of funny, like he was confused by her actions.
I suddenly felt Anita’s temper prickle again.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ONLY HAVE ONE ROOM AVAILABLE?!” Anita angrily yelled at Nurse Joy. I rolled my eyes; she was blowing up all over the place these days.
“Well, we get many trainers passing through this town to battle the gym leader, visit our famous museum of Pokemon history, and participate in contests,” Nurse Joy replied.
“Anita, relax. We can all share a room. There’s no difference between sleeping ten feet away from him inside and sleeping ten feet away from him outside.” Erin put a hand on Anita’s shoulder.
Anita shrugged her off and glared at her.
<Anita, calm down. Nothing will happen.>
<Except being killed in our sleep.>
Nurse Joy showed us our room and then asked Liam to help her move a cot into the small sleeping space. The room was smaller than our room in Azul City, but it had more space because there was a bunk bed instead of two twin beds. Of course, putting a cot in the room defeated the purpose…
“Let’s go do something fun,” Erin suggested after everyone had put their bags on a bed. Anita had chosen the top bunk, Liam the cot, which left Erin with the bottom bunk.
“I want to go battle the gym leader,” Anita said.
Of course she did. <Right, that’s a great idea. In your state of mind, maybe you’ll get yourself killed before Liam can do it,> I joked morbidly.
Anita gave me a death stare.
“Nope, we’re going swimming!” Erin announced. She gestured to the single window at the back of the room. “It must be nearly seventy-five degrees, which is warmer than it’s been in a while!” The girl started searching through her bag for a swim suit.
I smiled. Relaxing by the pool would be nice. Maybe they had hotdogs…
“I don’t swim,” Anita and Liam said simultaneously. They looked at each other in surprise.
Wow, they finally agreed on something.
“Too, bad,” Erin said cheerfully, pulling out a white bikini from her bag. She ran into the bathroom, the door slamming behind her in her excitement.
Anita frowned. “Do you have a bathing suit?” she asked Liam.
He shook his head.
“Me neither. Think we could convince Erin that we are going to the library to have more ‘bonding time’?” She finger quoted ‘bonding time’.
Liam rolled his eyes.
<I don’t think Erin will be taking no for an answer,> I told Anita. <She’s way too excited to let this pass.>
Erin burst out of the bathroom in a blue tank top and light grey mini skirt. Her bathing suit was on underneath.
“C’mon, guys!” The overexcited girl grabbed Anita and Liam’s arms, forcing them to follow.
I trotted after them.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I jumped in the water. The coolness tingled on my skin; it felt amazing.
I did an underwater flip and came up for a breath.
Anita and Liam were still sitting in their lounge chairs. Anita was reading a book and Liam was looking around the pool with those unnerving green eyes.
Anita was still in her capris and t-shirt. I had made her buy a cute purple bikini, which she had on underneath her clothes after my insistence, but she refused to strip down to her bikini and get in the water, claiming it was “too cold.” Excuses, excuses.
Liam, on the other hand, had simply grabbed the first pair of trunks he found in the store to appease me. He refused to even touch the water, but gave no excuse. He sat in his trunks, observing everything going on at the pool.
My eyes lingered on Liam for a bit. On a scale from one to ten, ten being gorgeous-hot and one being gross, he was about a six. He was very lean, and it looked like he had some muscle, but whatever chance he had at being hot was ruined by his insanely pale skin. It looked like he hadn’t ever sat in the sun. Maybe he would gain a bit of color today.
I suddenly caught Liam’s eye. I waved and called, “Come on in! The water’s great!”
Liam rolled his eyes. Anita peered at me over her book and scowled.
I sank under water. When I came up again, I watched our Pokemon.
This pool belonged to the Pokemon Center so it was of course for people and Pokemon.
Wella, my Whooper, was floating on her back a little ways away from me. Tweal was playing with one of Anita’s younger Eevees, and Griffy was using psychic to entertain the other three young Pokemon. Apple snoozed by Anita’s feet, and Fiery was watching the younger Eevees. He always seemed so protective.
Liam had not let any of his Pokemon out.
It was so annoying that nobody, besides Wella, was coming in the water with me. They were such party poopers. I would play with Wella, but she generally liked being left alone.
An idea suddenly came to me.
<Griffy!> I called, knowing he would hear.
<Could you tell all the Pokemon to gather here by the edge of the pool?>
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I tagged Tweal then scurried away. He was it!
Tweal flapped after me as I ran under the lounge chairs.
A couple of people gave me dirty looks, but for the most part, the lounge chairs were empty. There were not many other people or Pokemon at the pool.
I nearly tripped a blonde boy just entering the pool. When I looked up at him, I realized I had seen him before. Anita had battled him in the last town.
I wanted to battle.
<Excuse me, Erin is planning something. She wants us by the pool edge,> Griffy said in my head.
Sounds exciting! Almost as exciting as a battle would be!
I twisted around, nearly tripping the boy again, and ran to the pool edge while Tweal flew after me.
Everyone else was already there.
“Alright guys, here’s the plan.” Erin smiled deviously.
I liked that smile.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Reading was soothing.
It was just what I needed today.
I had made a deal with Erin that I would buy a bathing suit if we went to a book store for a few minutes.
So I bought the first thing Erin liked and then found a book that looked interesting, called The Gift: More Than a Myth. It was by someone named Tamara Lilac and was apparently criticized by a number of researchers. The author claimed that everything written was true, but critics claimed it was fiction. I found it in the fiction section of the book store.
I was finishing the introduction when I noticed something suspicious.
My chair was inching toward the pool.
I looked at Liam. We turned around to see what was moving us forward.
Nothing was there.
Maybe I was imagining things.
I went back to reading.
Wait, where was Apple?
She had been sitting by my feet minutes ago. I jerked up. Where were all the Pokemon?
As I turned around again, I felt my chair speed ahead.
Behind me, I saw Griffy concentrating on our chairs. I also saw eight Pokemon lifting our chairs.
I chucked my book at Griffy as I fell—
—into the water.
I came up for a breath.
“ERIN!” I yelled. “What was that for?! I’m in my clothes!”
Erin shrugged. “You guys were being so boring.”
I turned to see all of my Pokemon laughing at me.
<That was awesome!> Splash squealed. He tried to jump in the water, but Vanilla grabbed his tail.
<You can’t swim, idiot,> she said.
<Oh yeah.> Splash pouted.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Liam glaring at Erin from the pool edge. He climbed out of the water so fast that, if I wasn’t in the water, I would have thought it was poisonous.
I heard slow clapping.
I swiveled my head to see who was applauding my downfall.
I should have known.
Jake Veneer stood there, smirking, in a bathing suit.
For a moment, I seriously considered drowning myself.
<Crap! He definitely scores ten out of ten on the hot guy scale!> I heard Erin scream. I winced. I hadn’t even been trying to hear her thoughts.
This was one thing I just didn’t get about Erin. There was a very good looking man lying by the concession stand, but she didn’t give him one glance. What about Jake Veneer turned her head over heels?
“That was very clever, Erin,” Jake complimented.
He looked at me and snickered.
How I wished I could move things with my mind at that moment. I would make him fall on his face into the water.
<I could do that for you,> Apple suggested.
<Thanks, but no thanks,> I replied. <You’ve dumped more than enough people into the water today.>
I dragged myself out of the water and went over to the towel stand, where I took about ten towels.
When I turned back to where our lounge chairs were (Griffy must have returned them with a psychic to their original places), I saw Jake flirting with Erin in the water. He said a little too loudly, “I’m here just for the rest of the day because I’ve already beaten the gym leader.” His taunting eyes flickered to meet mine for a millisecond.
I turned my attention to Liam, who was glaring at Erin. I almost felt sorry for him. His glare was going completely unnoticed. I shoved two towels at him, sighed, and started taking off my wet clothes.
When I was finished, Erin and Jake were standing in front of me.
Jake was holding what looked like a mini-basket ball.
“So, Anita, Erin and I want to face you and this new kid in a game of water basketball,” Jake challenged. He gestured to the basketball hoop on the shallow side of the pool.
I answered, “You’re on,” at the same time Liam answered, “No thanks.”
I turned my glare from Jake to Liam.
“What, are you chicken?” Jake flapped his arms and made squawking noises.
Liam’s fists clenched. However, he calmly retorted, “No. I don’t want to waste my time playing against an arrogant snot like you.”
“Oh, I’m insulted,” Jake mocked. His eyes flashed. “I saw the way you got out of the water. I think you’re scared. Scared of a little wa-wa.” He flicked his wet hands at Liam so little water droplets hit the kid’s face. Liam flinched visibly.
<Whoa. What’s up with him?> I thought to Apple.
<I think… I think he might actually be scared of water. Weird.>
Liam got up angrily. “Fine.”
He stalked to the shallow end of the pool and hopped in, shuddering.
Jake smirked. Erin looked a bit worried, but she shrugged it off.
I glared at Jake and followed Liam.
When we were all in the water, Erin declared, “Griffy’s referee. First team to thirteen wins. If you score, the other team gets the ball. Any questions?”
In the silence, I heard Griffy’s tail say, <You must favor the team that dresses like a banana peel on a Wednesday.>
“Alright, then. Let’s get started.” Erin glanced at me. “Anita, no cheating.”
Jake looked at me curiously, “How would she cheat?”
“She’s a—” Erin started.
<SHUT UP, ERIN!> I yelled at her. I did not need Jake finding out I was a psychic.
“Anita, get o—” Erin began to shout at me.
<I’ll get out of your head as long as you don’t say anything to Jake,> I interrupted.
Erin nodded. “Let’s go.”
She passed the ball to Jake, who shrugged and leapt over Liam to dunk it in the basket.
<Wow, Apple, now I know what it’s like to want to use my powers to get an advantage over an opponent. I see what you mean about it not really being cheating… especially against Jake…>
Apple chuckled, and the other Eevees looked at her funny, except for Splash.
Liam had the ball now. He threw it over Jake’s head to me. I swiveled around Erin, and passed it back to Liam who was already by the basket. Liam got a lay-up.
And so the game went on.
My favorite part was when I blocked one of Jake’s shots, and the ball hit him in the face.
When Jake and Erin won the first game by two points, we played again.
Midway through our second game, a strangely familiar looking man bent down near our basket.
“Excuse me,” he said as Erin intercepted my pass to Liam. I clambered after her to stop her from getting to the basket.
The man kept talking. “I’m selling hot—”
Jake got the ball and shoved it into the basket. He fell backwards, which created a huge splash.
The man was thoroughly soaked, as was his tray of whatever he was selling.
Apple had been racing toward the man until he was covered in water. Then her ears dropped and she went to pout by Fiery. She glared at Jake.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the man toss out his food tray and march away muttering angrily to himself.
Liam and I won the second game.
By the end of the third game, it was getting dark. We were all laughing (or in Liam’s case, smiling), and had stopped counting long ago.
I was starting to believe that Jake might not be evil, that Erin might not be annoying, and that Liam might have the ability to act normal when it was suddenly time to go.
Jake playfully kissed Erin’s hand and bowed. “Good-bye my fair lady.”
In his mind, I felt him debating actually kissing Erin. I cleared my throat loudly to remind him who was still here.
He gave me a dirty glance.
Jake stood up straight, turned to Liam, and nodded.
Then he turned to me and stuck up his middle finger.
He could go to hell.
Erin stared after the twit as he stalked away.
“He’s such a sweet boy,” I said dryly.
Erin, not catching my obvious sarcasm said, “I know. He’s amazing.”
I caught Liam’s eye.
We both stifled a laugh.
There was one thing we could bond on after all.
Chapter 11: Watch and Watch Out
I sat down on the mat across from Tamara and her Espeon.
Leafeon walked in nervous circles around me.
I was the first, besides Tamara, to arrive. I sighed. It would probably take another fifteen minutes for everyone to gather.
Tamara and her Espeon both sat perfectly still with their eyes closed. It was best not to disturb them when they were meditating.
For a moment, I observed the room our meeting was to take place in. The austere room was shaped in a circle and had bare white walls with no windows. The plain door to my right was the only way to enter the room. Eight light blue mats lay on the wooden floor in a circle, only two of which were currently occupied.
The room was much too dull and lifeless, in my opinion. I wished for there to be at least one window, and maybe a cute potted plant…
I decided to meditate with Tamara.
I closed my eyes and whiffed the homely smell of wood. Sadly, the wood was dead.
I felt below the wood and took pleasure in the richness of the dirt. I silently shared my enjoyment of the dirt with the grass rooted just outside the room. I swayed in the wind with the blades and felt the warm kisses of the sun—
The door slammed.
My eyes flew open as I was jolted away from the grass blades.
Kyle looked at me apologetically as he entered the room. His Vaporeon, Tonsil, followed him in. He and Tonsil silently sat beside me.
I glanced at Tamara, but the older woman was still meditating.
Kyle shrugged and smiled at me, his deep blue eyes kindly questioning “How are you?”
I smiled back to indicate I was fine.
The door quietly creaked open as Nai and her Glaceon, Whisper, entered the bleak room. As always, she was frowning slightly and her grey eyes were cold and distant. She sat down next to Tamara and Whisper sat on her lap.
The sight of her next to Tamara made me chuckle. One looked angry and the other peaceful. It was amusing because the grey streaks in their hair made them look alike, though Tamara’s grey was due to age and Nai’s was probably because of her gift.
Nai glared at me when I chuckled. I swear the room temperature dropped five degrees.
It was ten minutes before anyone else entered the room. I was with the grass outside again when I heard a booming laugh. I checked my watch; they were late.
The door hurled open and in walked a cackling old man and an obnoxiously loud red head, Sparky and Aden respectively. Sparky’s Jolteon, Sparkles, and Aden’s Flareon, Eon, also entered.
“HELLO ALL!” Aden announced loudly. Sparky continued to laugh madly. Electricity made his grey hair stand straight up and every once in a while a spark would ripple across his body. These sparks were what earned him the nickname Sparky; his original name was Sam.
Tamara finally opened her eyes and scowled at the two gym leaders.
Aden smiled wickedly at Tamara and sat down next to Nai. Sparky sat in between Aden and me so I scooted my mat closer to Kyle, not wanting to accidently be shocked.
“So, what did you call this emergency meeting for?” Aden asked Tamara.
I rolled my eyes. As if he did not already know.
“We’ll discuss it once everyone arrives,” Tamara answered stiffly.
“But not everyone will be arriving!” Sparky yelled and then continued to chuckle under his breath. The old man scared me a bit.
Aden happily thumped Sparky on the back but then shook out his hand when he was shocked. Nai sneered at the two of them and then spoke: “Crazy has one thing right. One of our members will obviously not be coming. Why don’t we just start and get this horrid thing over with?”
“We have to at least wait for the twins to arrive,” Kyle reminded her.
“And how do you know both of them will be coming?” Nai asked spitefully.
“Tamara put out two mats,” I said a matter-of-factly. Tamara smiled at me. Nai glared again.
Aden snorted. “Those two are always late. We could be here another hour before they show up!”
Just then, the twins, Dustin and Tali, entered the room, each holding an Eevee. Technically only Dustin was a gym leader, but because he did nearly everything with Tali, she was often included in our monthly meetings.
The twins, at age seventeen, were the second youngest current gym leaders of Acceber. The youngest was the reason this meeting had been called.
Dustin looked around the room, snickered, and sat down. Tali smiled mildly at me and then sat next to her brother. Their Eevees, Ray and Cassie, grinned at the other Eevee evolutions around the room. My Leafeon finally stopped pacing and sat by my knees.
For one moment the room was completely silent. Even Sparky had stopped laughing.
Then Tamara cleared her throat and spoke: “Before we get to the main issue of this emergency meeting, we must go through the traditional updates.
“In the past month, over one thousand different trainers have attempted to challenge at least one of us. Currently, there are a total of approximately fifteen thousand active trainers in Acceber. There are two new gifted trainers. One is Florence Traken, who has a weak rock gift. The other is Anita Parkwood, who has a strong psychic gift.
“Now for individual gym updates. Nai?”
“Only one individual has visited my gym this month. He lost, but I believe he will be attempting to beat me again soon, as he has not left my town,” Nai answered.
“Well, I haven’t been successful as Nai here,” Aden started. “Of course, I don’t live on top of a mountain nobody can reach.” Nai threw him a nasty glare. “I’ve had… oh, about twenty kids beat me this past month. Just two days ago, a kid named Jake Veneer whooped my butt.”
Wow. I knew the boy was good, but that was fast. He had beaten two gym leaders in half of a week.
“Exactly twenty-seven children earned a badge from me,” Sparky cackled. “Twenty-four of them had a ground type Pokemon though.”
“Let’s not make excuses,” Tamara said dryly. “Find a way to win despite your weakness. I do.”
The old man laughed. “All of Acceber is scared shitless of you, though.”
“And they’re not scared of you?” I murmured to Kyle.
It was my turn to speak. “I have been beaten by eighteen challengers this month. One of these challengers was Jake Veneer.” I nodded to Aden. “Another was the gifted child, Anita Parkwood. I expect she’ll be challenging one of you two—” I gestured to Sparky and Aden. “—relatively soon.”
“Thirty challengers beat me this month. Especially noteworthy was Megan Dorin and Matthew Rowbean,” Kyle pronounced clearly.
Tali did not say anything but looked expectantly at her brother.
“We’ve lost thirteen times this month,” Dustin said. He frowned.
I sighed. He despised losing.
“I was beaten by four,” Tamara stated. She looked at Kyle. “Megan Dorin was indeed noteworthy.”
Kyle calmly asked him, “Is something funny?”
“Just that you two found Megan to be some amazing trainer. Tali and I beat her and her friend easily.”
“If you do not have any constructive criticism, say nothing at all,” Tamara snapped.
“Someone’s a sore loser,” Dustin taunted.
This could not be going anywhere good. I gave Dustin a reproachful look and interrupted their argument before things got out of control. “Can we get back to important matters?”
Tamara blinked. “Of course.” She looked around at the Pokemon and thought to all of us, <Is there anything the Pokemon would like to add before we move on?>
The Pokemon shook their heads. That was usual. The Pokemon tended to only get involved when absolutely necessary. For the most part, they were just not interested in the politics that came with being a gym leader.
“Obviously there is one of us missing,” Tamara began. “For the record, not one person beat him this month.”
Dustin rolled his eyes and mocked, “For the record, nobody has ever beaten a Mendol.” He gazed at Tamara slyly. “Not even you.”
I stared harshly at Dustin. He was always causing trouble, but I had hoped he would tone down today. Luckily Tamara was taking it well. She ignored him.
Sparky’s laughter grew louder.
Kyle cleared his throat. All eyes turned to him. “How do we know he is missing?”
“Let’s see,” Nai answered severely. “Maybe it’s that nobody has seen or heard from him for the past four days.”
Kyle shrugged. “He was never very sociable.”
“I called him about every other day just to make sure he was alive. I can check up on any of you at any second, but not him,” Tamara added. Dustin looked irked. He hated the fact that Tamara could watch any of us at any time. It didn’t bother me much; in fact, I felt safer. Tamara continued, “Four days ago, the boy left a note on the gym door indicating that finding him was the new prelim for the gym. Since then, I have not been able to contact him.”
“Has anybody else been able to contact him?” I asked. I looked pointedly at Dustin, as he was the only person I had ever seen the Mendol boy act semi-friendly toward.
Tamara looked around the room into the eyes of each individual. I knew she was sensing if we were hiding any information.
She looked into Dustin’s golden brown eyes.
He sneered at her.
She looked harsher, and suddenly Dustin’s expression became angry. “Stay out, Tamara,” he warned.
“You spoke with him,” Tamara said quietly.
“OUT!” Dustin yelled at her. “I can block you.”
The air was still, full of silent tension.
Both Tamara and Dustin were concentrating intensely.
“STOP IT!” Tali yelled with such force that my eardrums hurt. She was the reason we always met in rooms without windows. Her gift gave her power over sound, and if she lost control of her emotions, windows often shattered.
Tamara, apparently, was shocked out of Dustin’s mind with Tali’s yell. She kept shaking her head.
“Keep out of my brother’s head,” Tali growled.
Tamara’s eyes flickered to Tali for a moment and then returned to Dustin. “Would you like to inform us what he told you before he disappeared?”
“Not really,” Dustin snickered.
“I wouldn’t be pushing my luck, boy,” Aden threatened. “You’re in a room full of gifted gym leaders and their best Pokemon.”
Dustin shrugged. “He only told me he had research to do and that he would be leaving for a bit. He said if anyone actually found him, he would accept their challenge.”
Tamara must have sensed that he was not lying because she said nothing.
“Well, that bit of information was sure worth getting all worked up about,” Nai put in sarcastically.
“Like anyone will actually find the lad,” Sparky said, chuckling. “We are the only people who have actually seen his face.”
“So what do we think he’s actually doing?” I questioned, curiously wondering.
Dustin answered dryly, “Maybe research, like he said he was.”
“Why would he need to do research?” I watched Dustin inquisitively.
“Oh, c’mon you guys!” Nai exclaimed. “It probably has to do with Team Glop’emm!”
Aden’s face darkened, as did Tamara’s.
There was silence.
Nai looked around. “I know you have all heard the rumors. Master Mendol. Who else could it be?”
“There are plenty of Mendols in Acceber,” Tamara answered carefully.
“Really? When was the last time you checked?” Nai asked icily.
Tamara was silent.
“We cannot make assumptions based on rumors,” I added logically. “We do not have actual proof.”
Kyle, Dustin, and Tali nodded in agreement.
“Plus, it does not really matter where he went,” Kyle started practically. “The fact is, he’s gone. We just need to decide what we are going to do about it.”
We all looked around the room, waiting for someone to talk.
Finally Nai said bitterly, “What can we do about it? He technically has not violated any rules. We cannot replace him because he did not officially give up his gym and has not officially gone missing. Technically, it’s just part of his prelim.”
“For all we know, he could have just gotten tired of answering Tamara’s phone calls,” Kyle joked.
“So we do nothing,” Dustin decided.
“No,” Tamara argued. “We watch. If one of us finds him, we immediately contact the others.”
All but Dustin and Tali nodded in agreement.
The Pokemon, except Dustin and Tali’s Eevees, nodded as well.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I sat silently on the uncomfortable cot and thoughtfully watched the girl on the top bunk sleep.
Moonlight crept through the window and glimmered just above the girl’s head. Her usually straight brown hair was strung out wildly across her pillow, sharply contrasting her cream colored face. The rest of the girl’s body disappeared beneath the pearl white bedcovering.
The girl looked completely at ease in her sleep.
Could this girl really be one of the most powerful Pokemon known to man?
I sighed and quietly reached into my bag, carefully pulling out a grey walkie-talkie.
There was not even a squeak of the old cot or a creak of the door as I slithered from the room.
I had a call to make.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The walkie-talkie vibrated.
I overcame the impulse to chuck the toy out the window and answered the childish device.
“It’s the Master,” came the irritating voice through the radio. Of course it was. The detective had yet to contact me and I was starting to believe the two twerp relatives were hiding information from me. All the more reason to get Carly on the detective’s trail as soon as possible…
“You received my message?” the boy inquired.
“Yes, Master,” I replied with disdain.
“And our top researchers are currently experimenting with Ditto?”
“Just as you requested, sir.” His dratted bird hadn’t left me alone until I had made his request an order.
“Excellent. I need the device as soon as possible.” The master paused, almost hesitantly. “Also, I would like to speak with Rita Teal.”
I snarled under my breath. I was supposed to be the one left in charge. I was supposed to be the only person allowed to talk to the Master through this device. It was my power. Why would he need to speak with Rita? She was the team’s top researcher, but he could tell her anything through me. Anger rose in my throat.
“I need to talk to her,” the Master continued smoothly, “to arrange some experiments I have just discussed with our detective.”
I was seething, but I tried to keep my voice steady. “When would you like to speak with her?”
I considered calling her to my office. She would have the advantage then. She would have the ability to spread lies of the master’s trust in her or horrid rumors about me. No, it would be better if I went to her. Other researchers would witness the conversation, and perhaps this would create jealousy. I could use their jealousy to my advantage.
“This will be a few minutes,” I informed the Master icily. I rose from my leather chair, and walked out my door to the elevator.
The Team Glop’emm headquarters building consisted of several floors, most of which were opened to the public. The building was supposedly used for the gym leader’s research, which was ironically true at the moment, as the gym leader was also the leader of Team Glop’emm.
When the empty elevator arrived, I pressed B5.
The building looked to be four stories from the outside. Floors one and two were open to the public and we held several displays on some of our minor research on these levels. Floors three and four were closed for “privacy reasons.” They were actually mostly used for meetings and some high ranking team members’ private offices. My office and the Master’s office were both on floor four.
There were seven basement levels, five of these levels filled with labs. Only levels six and seven were strictly closed to the public. The other levels could be seen upon request, for the most part.
The elevator door opened and I walked into a blue-tiled hall way. I entered the first lab on my right and scanned the room for the woman I was looking for.
Even though it was early morning, there were several scientists about the room working with complex looking machines. A couple of the machines had glass boxes in which Dittos were being held. A cluster of scientists near the back of the room were observing a Ditto transform into different objects, animals, and Pokemon. I easily spotted Rita walking toward this cluster.
I cleared my throat. The lab became silent as everyone turned to look at me.
For a moment I savored the respect they were showing. Then I said, holding out the walkie-talkie, “Rita, you have a phone call.”
There was almost complete silence as Rita changed directions and approached me. Only the soft buzzing of the machines and the clack of Rita’s heels against the cold floor could be heard.
Rita waved a hand and the other scientists returned to their work. Or they at least pretended to. Many eyes continued to flicker between the walkie-talkie and Rita.
With a large concentration of people in this building, news spread fast. It was no secret that this talkie was the only device used to contact the Master.
And up until this point, it had only been used by me.
Rita grinned widely as I bitterly handed her the phone. The top scientist of Team Glop’emm was a very bizarre character. The woman was a few years younger than me, but only an inch shorter with her high heels. For reasons unknown to me, she kept her hair died a solid Wobbuffet blue and wore multicolored Pokeball earrings. The woman could be found in one of the labs at nearly any hour of the day. Along with overseeing every one of Team Glop’emm’s research projects, she often developed her own projects and experiments. She was also rumored to be an excellent battler.
“Yes?” she said into the walkie-talkie. I strained to hear what the Master was telling her, but only managed to hear the words, “experiment” and “Pokeball.”
Rita seemed to absentmindedly walk across the room to one of the glass cages and let out one of the Dittos. She held a blue Pokeblock out to the Ditto. “If you transform into me, you can have this,” she told the Pokemon. Immediately the Ditto transformed. Now there were two Ritas standing side by side. Rita gave the Ditto-Rita the Pokeblock, and the Pokemon gobbled it up.
“Yes,” the real Rita murmured. “The Ditto still likes the Pokeblock.” Rita then stuck her hand in her pocket and pulled out a Pokeball. She threw the Pokeball at her duplicate.
The Pokeball bounced off of the Ditto.
“The Pokeball does not affect Ditto in this form, Master. The Ditto has entirely human genes at the moment.” Rita paused. “No, you are right. There has to be some DNA in the Pokemon somewhere that allows Ditto to transform back. It cannot be completely human.” Rita nodded to the Ditto and the Pokemon transformed back to its original form. Rita scooped the pink blob up and lifted it into the cage. The scientist then took out a piece of paper and began scribbling notes.
Five minutes later, Rita looked her writing over. “Yes, I’ll be sure to do these. I’ll inform Jam—” The Master must have cut her off. “Fine. I will. Here’s Jamie.”
I took the phone from Rita’s gloved hand and held it up to my ear as I walked out of the lab. “I am having Rita perform a series of experiments for me. She will send the results to me via Honchrow.”
I grimaced. The Master trusted me less than I expected. “Of course.”
I scratched my chin aloofly as I waited for the elevator. Clearly, the Master was purposefully keeping information from me. I had believed putting me in charge was a sign of his absolute trust. I angrily grinded my teeth. This put a slight damper on my plans. I would have to figure out what he was hiding. I reviewed the scene I had just witnessed.
Rita had thrown a Pokeball at a Ditto transformed into a human.
He suspected the girl was Mew.
But what was the point of withholding that information?
He’s paranoid, I reminded myself. Or… or maybe he does not want you getting to Mew first.
Whatever the case, I had clearly overestimated the amount of trust he put in me.
I eyed the room with the Mew tracking device in it and grinned.
Well, if he was not telling me everything…
I didn’t have to tell him anything.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I put the walkie-talkie down and breathed in the cool early-morning air.
I wondered how my assistant was taking my talk with Miss Teal. He often became angry when I did not confine solely in him. It was actually quite amusing.
But nevertheless dangerous. It was too bad I had no other means of contacting Miss Teal without revealing my location. Then my assistant would know nothing of the experiments I wanted her to perform. The less he knew about Mew, the better.
I watched the setting full moon.
My gift made it nearly impossible to sleep on nights like this.
So instead, I sat alone, contacting my assistant and remembering.
My memories were the reason I was here.
I hated my memories.
They made me emotional.
They made me weak.
Yet the more I tried to forget, the more I remembered.
The warm sun shone high in the sky.
Over Slateport City’s graveyard.
A man and his son walked silently through the graveyard’s entrance.
Despite the warm weather, both were wearing black.
A breeze whistled quietly over the grass.
The recently well-trodden grass.
Many of the older graves toward the back of the graveyard were strewn about, as if they had been displaced from their original location.
There were several new graves near the graveyard’s entrance.
All were in perfect condition.
The man and the boy stopped at the twenty-third grave on the right.
The man sat down on his knees. He pulled a single white flower from inside his jacket and placed it in front of the grave.
The grave read:
April 13, 1971 - July 2, 2003
Wife, mother, and friend.
A light of the dark.
Tears rolled down the man’s cheeks.
The son watched his father weep with distant eyes.
“Why?” The man murmured. “Why why why why why?”
The boy frowned, intelligence glinting in his eyes.
“Mom and Auntie are dead. They are gone forever?” The boy asked as if there was some misunderstanding, as if there was hope that this reality was fantastical.
The father turned to his son and enveloped him in a hug. “Yes, they are gone.”
The boy’s frown deepened. “But then where’s L—“
“Shh.” The father held his son closer. “Your cousin is still missing.”
“So he’s not dead?” The boy looked hopefully up at his dad.
“We’re not sure,” the man replied hesitantly. “There is a very good chance that he is.”
“But we don’t know yet?”
“When will we know?”
“I don’t know.”
The father patted the son comfortingly on the back, but then broke down crying.
The son sat in his father’s arms staring at his mother’s grave coldly.
“Sue.” The father spoke quietly. “Sue, I have failed you.” The man’s breathe quickened. “I couldn’t protect you. And now you’re gone.”
A desperate moan escaped the man’s lips. His body quivered.
The boy stared ahead.
“I couldn’t save you. I couldn’t save Maria. I couldn’t even save— No. Gone. Everyone.” The man waved his hands wildly. “All these people are dead! Why?” The man laughed hysterically. “Because some legendaries decided they wanted to battle!?”
The man’s chest heaved.
The boy stared ahead.
“They got their battle alright. It took just one wave to decimate half the loved ones in this city. Just one wave.” The man closed his eyes and tried to calm his uneven breathe.
“One f*cking wave,” he shouted angrily. “F*cking legendaries with their f*cking powers. F*ck them!” The man was sweating. “They ought to be killed. Too much f*cking power. That’s what they have. Too much. Not good for society. Too much f*cking power and too much f*cking destruction.”
The boy stared ahead. His bright eyes never wavered from his mother’s grave.
“I ought to kill them,” the man murmured frantically. “No. No no no no no. I can’t. I won’t. I failed you, Sue, but I will not fail our son. No. We will leave. Leave this horrid f*cking country with its f*cking legendaries.”
Tears flew freely off from the man’s face into his son’s hair.
The boy stared ahead.
“We’ll go somewhere safe. Somewhere without legendaries.” The man grinned wildly. “How about it son? Want to leave this dump?”
The boy finally turned to his father.
“Yes, Papa. Yes.”
I clenched my fists.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I woke up with a start.
Light poured into my eyes.
I jolted into a sitting position. The clock on my PokeTech said 5:00 a.m.
Phew. I had dreamed that I overslept and lost the opportunity to battle the gym leader.
Beams of moonlight fell through the window onto my covers.
Ahh. That was what had woken me.
I lied down on my side to try to fall back asleep.
The cot across the room from me was empty.
I closed my eyes.
The cot was empty.
I jolted up and rubbed my eyes.
Where was Liam?
I cautiously crept down from the top bunk, careful not to wake Apple or Erin.
I slipped out of the room.
The hallway was dark and empty, as was the staircase leading to the main floor.
I shivered as a gust of cool air brushed my skin.
Wait. Cool air? Someone must have just entered or exited the Pokemon Center.
I warily stepped down the stairs to investigate.
I ran into someone on the final step.
My wrist jerked away from my body.
I tried to shake the grip off but failed.
I turned to glare at whoever had grabbed my arm.
Luminous green eyes shone into mine.
“Hey!” I exclaimed.
“Sorry,” Liam said, releasing my arm. He actually sounded sincere. “Reflexes.”
The boy must have been swiftly walking toward the staircase. It was hard for me to take my eyes away from his strange ones. They glowed in the dark like a cat’s.
“What are you doing up?” I hissed.
“I could ask you the same question.”
I waited expectantly, glaring harshly.
“Fine. I couldn’t sleep. It’s very difficult for me to sleep on nights when there is a full moon,” Liam answered. “I went for a walk.”
My gaze softened.
“Oh,” was all I could say.
“And you came to catch me molesting a girl or doing something horrible?” The boy snickered coldly.
I was taken aback.
“Are you going to go back to sleep?” Liam questioned intensely.
Did he want me to?
“No,” I replied defiantly.
His eyes glared at me harshly.
He really wanted me in bed.
Ooh, that sounded so wrong. I did not mean it that way. Good thing Apple was not up to read my mind.
“Fine. Then you’re training.” He grabbed my hand again and strutted toward the exit. “We’ll work on your barriers too.”
I made a mental note to be more compliant in the future.
Me and my big mouth.
“COME ON!” I yelled. “What gym closes on a Tuesday?”
Liam grinned knowingly.
Erin shrugged. “Maybe there’s a shoe sale.”
“The gym leader’s a guy,” I answered flatly.
I rolled my eyes. So did Erin. “I’m just kidding.”
I sighed. “Well, we have the whole day free. What should we do?”
“Shop!” was Erin’s immediate response.
“No!” Liam and I answered.
<I hear there’s a good museum in town,> Apple suggested.
I relayed the suggestion.
“I heard that too! I also heard they have a new, cool special display on Mew! We should definitely go check it out.”
Liam, Apple, and I all chuckled.
Apple and I stopped abruptly and looked at Liam.
Why was he laughing?
Liam’s face turned stoic. “What?”
“We’re going now!” Erin declared, ruining our awkward moment.
Ruining any moment, for that matter.
The museum had a number of odds and ends. There were quite a few fossils and several rare stones. I was tempted to take the fire, electric, and water stones on display. They were hard to get and I would be able to evolve the Eevees with them. I resisted despite the encouragement from Apple.
<Aww. They were pretty and useful. Pretty useful. Could’a taken them no problem,> Apple whined.
<Except the I-get-thrown-in-jail part. That would be a slight problem,> I replied sarcastically.
We reached the Mew exhibit.
Mew contains the DNA of every Pokemon, I read.
No, duh. Hadn’t heard that one before.
I walked over to wear Erin was looking at actual pictures taken of Mew.
<Are any of those you?> I asked curiously.
<Hmm.> Apple examined the pictures. <Most of them are from other regions. Ahh. That one on the end is me.>
I looked at the picture. It was a picture of several houses on fire. In the bottom left corner there was a pile of ash. A Mew stuck its head out of the ash.
<That’s from when I was just born,> Apple said proudly.
<Err, did you cause the fire?>
I turned to the right and saw Liam examining a different wall. I walked over to see what he was looking at.
Mew die and are reborn every 5,000 years. Legends of the phoenix actually originate from this Pokemon. After a Mew has lived for 5,000 years, the Pokemon undergoes a process in which it releases all of its excess psychic energy, causing an explosion. The new Mew is born from the old Mew’s ashes after the explosion.
The latest rumored Mew explosion occurred just a few years ago in Acceber’s own Vintage Village. If it did indeed occur, it would be the first time a legendary Pokemon was ever sighted in Acceber. There were only ten witnesses, seven of whom were not able to confirm that they actually saw Mew.
<Is this all true?> I asked Apple.
<What? The whole blow-up then reborn thing? Of course! They got the place—Vintage Village—right, too.>
<Why did you decide to blow up in Vintage Village? Shouldn’t you have gone to a more secluded area?>
<I wasn’t the one who decided to go there. I wasn’t alive for the decision; my father picked the area. I have no idea why he chose Vintage Village of all places.>
Liam was watching me intently.
<He is seriously a creeper,> I commented to Apple.
<Yeah he is. He kind of reminds me of the man who chased me just after I was born.>
<Right. You told me about that. I’m amazed you got away.>
<I did, but he kept finding me. I wasn’t safe until I finally met you. Haven’t seen the man since.>
I smiled down at Apple.
My stomach growled.
Liam was suddenly next to me.
“Here, want a piece of candy?” he asked.
I looked at him dubiously. Was he trying to poison me?
He offered it again. “Here, I insist. It will calm your stomach.” He shoved the candy into my hand.
What the h*ll?
I narrowed my eyes at the boy and held my hand with the candy in it towards Apple.
<Is it poisonous?> I asked.
Apple sniffed. <Nope. Smells yummy.>
<Are you positive nothing is wrong with it?>
Liam was still watching me. “Go ahead; aren’t you hungry?”
I slowly unwrapped the candy and then took a bite.
It was a good sign when I didn’t die.
It was a bad sign when I spit the candy out onto Liam’s shoe.
“Ew. What was in that thing!? It tasted like roasted barf-covered bananas!” I exclaimed.
Apple gobbled the chewed remains from Liam’s shoe.
Erin walked over and grimaced at Apple, apparently having witnessed what had just taken place.
When Apple finished, Liam casually returned to his examination of the Mew exhibit.
Erin and I exchanged looks of disgust.
Apple licked her lips.
This group had serious issues.
For no real reason, I really like this chapter. Also, I'm going with a friend's advice and trying out a cliff-hanger. Here we go, enjoy! And thanks for reading!
Chapter 12: Rare Encounters
The warm waft of coffee filled my nostrils as I stared out the window at the hoards of people moving through the bustling street. It was much quieter in here than it was on the street. I picked up my pink cell phone and dialed.
I tapped my nails against the table as I waited for someone to answer my call.
“My dear, to what do I owe this pleasant surprise?”
I snickered silently. This man on the line was full of such bullsh*t.
“As you said, Mr. Arkle, I was supposed to call you if I found any information.”
“Ah. And what information might that be? You cannot have already met up with Anita; neither of you could have reached Nelcorn City in just two days.”
I leaned back in my chair and glanced at the teen sitting across the table from me.
“No, Mr. Arkle. I ran into a friend when I went to stalk up on supplies in Azul City, and we were talking in a coffee shop when he mentioned some interesting information about Anita.” I smiled widely.
“Who is this friend, exactly?”
I stared into the amber eyes of the teen.
“Who?” The voice asked through the phone.
“Reece. He’s a friend of mine from elementary school.”
“And how did the topic of Anita Parkwood come up in your conversation?”
“I started to tell him how all my dreams were coming true; how if I completed this mission involving Anita I would be—”
“You told him about tracking Anita!?”
“You g-ddamn idiot! This mission was supposed to between you and me. Not another soul is supposed to know about it. Now I’m going to have to—”
“Don’t worry. Reece can be trusted. He hates Anita as much as I do, and he wants to come with me on my mission.”
“Fine. If you tell one more person, I swear I will have you murdered. What information did you find?”
“A couple of days ago, Reece was by Peepin Pond and he saw Anita in the water…err… taking a bath.” I held a hand over the phone and hissed, “Pervert!”at Reece. He shrugged and grinned. “Anyway, he tried to walk over to the pond to greet Anita and he hit an invisible barrier. Then Anita shouted at him and he was flung away from the pond. Reece swears he saw no Pokemon and Anita never commanded one anyway.”
“She has the gift…” The voice trailed in the phone.
“She’s a psychic. That explains— Never mind. As I promised, you, as well as Reece, shall be rewarded for this information.”
“You’ll get me into Acceber’s beauty pageant!!” I screamed in excitement. Other customers in the coffee shop scowled at me. Reece snickered.
“No. That’s only if you complete the mission.” I growled angrily, but kept listening. “I would give you money, but we both know you have no need for that. Thus, I would like to offer both you and Reece one Pokemon each.”
“I can get you nearly any non-legendary Pokemon. We have quite a selection. It will have to be a pre-evolved Pokemon because you may have trouble controlling a very strong Pokemon without badges.”
“Reece, if you could have any non-legendary, pre-evolved Pokemon, what would it be?” I asked Reece casually.
“Reece wants a Bagon, and I’ll have a Dratini.”
“Excellent choices. I’ll have them delivered to you personally by my Yanmega. Do not hesitate to call if you find more information. Goodbye, Carly.”
The line went dead.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I walked slowly through the silent hall of basement number seven toward the single door at the end of the hall. I placed my hand on the door. After a quick scan of my DNA, the door opened.
Only a select few members of Team Glop’emm that were permitted through this door. As far as I knew, only I, the Master and Rita Teal were allowed to access this room.
I breathed in deeply and grinned. I was one of the few trusted.
I had access to any and every Pokemon Team Glop’emm had captured or stolen.
The dragon aisle was to my right. I walked toward that isle. Each isle was filled with thousands of Pokeballs. In each Pokeball, of course, was a Pokemon. Before the Pokemon arrived in this room, its memory was wiped through several intense cycles of psychic waves from psychic Pokemon, such as my Hypno.
I passed the aisle filled with Pokeballs containing dark Pokemon. Dark Pokemon were the one exception to the mind wipes. However, there was rarely a demand for such Pokemon as there were so few of them, and those we did sell were dealt with by the Master. With the Master’s affinity for dark Pokemon, these Pokemon were really not an issue.
I reached the dragon aisle. The Pokemon were sorted by type and then alphabetical order. The shelves containing Dratini and Bagon were relatively easy to find, as these letters are near the start of the alphabet. I chose the least experienced of the Dratini and Bagon for my spies. No need to waste the good Pokemon on such fools, though successful fools.
The information they had given me was golden; it was the jackpot. Who would have guessed that Anita Parkwood was psychically gifted? It had to be fate that this piece of information stumbled into my hands.
It explained everything. Of course the Master suspected Anita of being Mew. It was completely obvious that this had to be the case.
And of course he would not want Anita being taken in and tortured. He wanted Mew for himself. He did not want to risk anyone getting the power before he did. He needed Anita to stay away from Team Glop’emm so there was no chance that the most cunning and powerful people could capture Mew before he captured the legendary.
Plus, to capture Mew, he needed her to transform back into a Pokemon. That explained the device he needed to be made and the Pokeball Rita threw at the Ditto. He wanted to capture her safely away from Team Glop’emm.
Wow. He must really trust that relative-detective-whoever-it-was of his. He trusted that sneak more than his assistant! Grr…
He had threatened the rest of Team Glop’emm to stay away from the detective and the girl.
If only I had the power to override that threat…
If only I could overthrow the Master…
I stared at the Pokeballs in my hands.
I smiled widely.
Perhaps there was a way.
Now that the Master was gone, the team’s income money was not being wasted on hundreds of useless research projects.
We had a surplus of money.
And a surplus of Pokemon.
That I was currently in charge of.
If I could bribe Carly and Reece with a few Pokemon…
How many Glop’emm members could I win over with a pocket of gold and a handful of rare Pokemon?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I woke up hating the world.
This happened to me sometimes.
I was unhappy, and I didn’t know why.
I had everything. I was a psychic, I had friends who cared for me, and I was going on an adventure.
So why did my life suck so much?
Why was I unhappy?
<Hormones,> Apple answered in response my thoughts. <I mean, you’re not always angry. You just have mood swings sometimes.>
I shook my head.
<Come on, Anita, stop moping! I want to go battle the gym leader!>
I sighed, got out of bed, and changed into my regular clothes.
Erin burst out of the bathroom attached to our room surrounded by the steam of her hot shower.
“Where’s Liam? I want our breakfast now!”
I rolled my eyes. After Liam and I had practiced again a bit this morning, Erin had woken up and demanded that Liam pick up breakfast from the pancake restaurant a few blocks away from the Pokemon Center. I had gone back to sleep.
Liam had been gone for nearly an hour now. What could he possibly be doing?
<Maybe he’s looking for or making that delicious candy you spit out yesterday,> Apple suggested.
Just then, there was a knock on the door.
Erin answered it, and Liam walked in holding several delicious smelling bags.
Of course, Apple immediately tackled Liam to the ground, any wariness towards the boy completely forgotten.
“What took so long?” I asked sharply.
Liam got up and took out our breakfast. Well, what breakfast Apple had left for us.
<You should just be grateful he brought food!> Apple commented, her mouth bulging from her attempt to swallow about ten pancakes at once.
Liam’s eyes pierced mine. The rest of his face remained unchanged.
“There was a long line.”
Erin and I sat on Erin’s bed and Liam sat on his cot as we ate breakfast. Erin chattered on about some nonsense, I pouted, Apple timed how long Erin could go without a breath, and Liam ignored us all.
Finally, Erin asked, “So, Anita, do you think you’re ready for today?”
I nodded absentmindedly.
Erin smiled and squealed, “I can’t wait to watch! Liam and I will be cheering for you!”
Liam shifted… almost uncomfortably. “I will not be watching. I have some… research to do at the library here.”
“What research?” Erin asked curiously.
“None of your business,” Liam answered harshly.
Maybe I wasn’t the only one in a bad mood today. Then again, Liam was always in a bad mood.
Erin looked offended.
I shrugged. Maybe if I beat the gym leader today I would be able to somehow force Erin to leave town without meeting up with Liam.
After we ate a rather quiet breakfast, Erin and I released the rest of our Pokemon so they could eat as well. Liam sat and watched.
I asked him, “Why don’t you ever let your Pokemon out to eat? Actually, why don’t you ever let them out? Do you even have Pokemon?”
“Of course I have Pokemon,” Liam sneered. “When inside their Pokeballs for a prolonged period of time, Pokemon have no need for food to survive.”
“Don’t you want them to be happy and free!? To enjoy their lives!?” I retorted.
“They are perfectly content.”
“But are they happy?”
“Nobody can ever be truly happy.”
“I’m happy,” Erin and Splash objected at the same time, though no other human could understand Splash.
“Let me rephrase that. No intelligent being can be truly happy.
“Ouch,” I interjected with a grin on my face. This was just the conversation I needed to put me in a more cheerful mood. Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to convince Erin to ditch Liam.
“Hey!” Erin’s voice changed from the usual high and whiny to serious. “I’ve written several research papers for Acceber’s world reknown Scientific Daily. I was also the valedictorian of my class and I won the academic actress of the year award from my after-school acting class.”
“So what if you are book smart? If you have no ability to take and use that information on a deeper level, it does not matter. You’re too… shallow to qualify as intelligent.”
Erin looked like she was about to start yelling but I cut in. “You haven’t known Erin for long enough to judge her. She may look shallower than a child’s pool, but it’s a façade. She’s really a profound and clever person.”
Erin beamed at me. Liam snickered.
Erin grabbed our Pokeballs, returned our Pokemon, took my hand, and sprung to the door. “C’mon, Anita!” she yelled, angrily stalking from the room.
Erin calmed down a bit once we left the Pokemon Center.
“Anita… thanks for standing up for me.”
“But I have a question for you: What did I do to make you understand I’m not shallow?”
For a moment, I considered telling her that she was one tricky b*tch. Then I thought better of it. “Well, once I realized you were purposefully talking a lot, I knew you were more than you appeared to be. It also helped that I was a psychic. Mostly though, it was that despite your obnoxiousness, I know you care about me and your Pokemon. You’re not self-centered.”
“Hmm…” Erin murmured thoughtfully.
“Why do you care so much about what he thinks?”
“Grr… I always make a good impression. Always! I thought I did a good job when I first met Liam. We discussed our research for hours!”
“Erin, you should really forget about it. In fact, forget about him! I’m all for ditching him after the gym. He’s the self-centered, shallow, *sshole!”
Erin rolled her eyes.
“I’m not kidding!”
Erin sighed. “Believe me, I know. But we can’t just abandon him! He’s not a bad person. I just need to think of a way to prove… well, I’m me, I guess.”
“I think you’re taking this whole thing too seriously. You should forget it.”
“I’ll think of something,” the red-head mumbled.
<She’s as stubborn as I am,> I noted to Apple.
<Yup! Can’t wait to see what she comes up with,> Apple answered cheerfully.
We stopped walking down the narrow street. On our right, only a block away from the Pokemon Center, was the gym in plain sight. The building, like the road and the sidewalk, was made of red brick. Above the doors, there was an indent in the wall of bricks that held a small flame.
The most important feature of the gym, however, was the sign that read OPEN on the giant metal front doors.
Apple, Erin, and I ran up to the doors. As I slowly cracked the door open, I heard a booming laugh. If I didn’t know better, I would have classified the laugh as borderline evil.
The room I entered was pitch black.
Or at least it was until a bright spotlight blinded me.
I blinked several times, but couldn’t force my eyes to focus.
“Muwahahaha,” a loud voice boomed from somewhere in the darkness. “Welcome, Anita Parkwood, to Tinted Town’s gym of fiery doom! I have been expecting you. Muwhahahah!”
<Oh boy, this guy is a freak,> I said to Apple.
“Please give the Pokemon that you will not be battling with to your friend. You may not use these Pokemon in your prelim today, but they, along with your friend, may watch from a distance from behind a thick layer of heat-resistant protective glass. After your friend has your Pokemon, she must exit the room.”
A red exit sign lit up to my left. I handed the Pokeballs of the four youngest Eevees to Erin and she walked toward the exit sign. After I heard a door close, the loud voice spoke again.
“Your prelim today must be completed alone. Release the two Pokemon you will be battling with… should you actually pass my prelim—a doubtful occurrence! Muwahahaha!”
A blue square illuminated in front of me as I released Fiery from his Pokeball.
“Ah, Eevees. Expected. Well, Eevees, step onto the blue square.”
<How can he tell what Pokemon you are?> I asked Apple curiously as I sensed her trotting toward the blue square.
<This gym leader is gifted with fire and heat. He can sense the temperature of people, Pokemon, and objects… almost as if he can see in infrared.>
<What will happen when you touch the blue square?>
Apple and Fiery touched the square.
My question was never answered.
They had disappeared.
I panicked and reached out to them with my mind. “What did you do with them!?” I yelled. I could vaguely feel they were still alive so they couldn’t have gone too far. However, it was too much of a strain for me to attempt to communicate with them. They were just beyond my psychic range.
“Muwahahaha! I have transported them to me for safe-keeping! Or rather, unsafe-keeping!”
A screen appeared just above my head. This whole being kept in the dark thing was starting to get on my nerves. I got the feeling that the gym leader only did it for effect…
Fiery and Apple appeared on the screen. They were in a metal cage being held over a bowl of bubbling lava. How the gym leader managed to keep the lava from burning through the bowl is beyond me. I squinted to see their expressions. Fiery looked angry and kept trying to break the cage open with iron tail. Apple was just rolling her eyes… maybe at the whole situation. Her expression calmed me. If she was not worried, then they probably weren’t in any real danger. Probably. Maybe she had read the gym leader’s mind and knew something I didn’t know.
“Is this really necessary?” I asked mildly. For goodness sake, this was supposed to be a gym. Threatening my Pokemon with death seemed a little extreme.
“Of course it is!” A red-headed man appeared on the screen. “I have not had the chance to formally introduce myself. I am Aden Flarrent, master of fire and leader of the Tinted Town gym.”
“Congratulations,” I said dryly. As an afterthought I added, “Is it even legal to hold my Pokemon hostage?”
“Well, seeing as the gym leaders make the laws in the first place— yes.”
“My Pokemon could die!”
“So could you. So could I, for that matter. You don’t see me complaining about my mortality though.”
I opened my mouth to retort, but Aden held up a hand to silence me. “I would prefer it if you held your questions and comments until the end of my prattle. Let me explain your prelim for this gym.” Aden paused. “Tell me, Anita, have you ever played a Mario game?”
What the hell?
“Err… I had a Gameboy Color that I could play Mario on… but what the heck does that have to do with anything?”
Aden chuckled loudly. “Let me show you.”
Suddenly, bright lights blinded me. I blinked for about a minute before I could finally see straight. Then I had to blink several more times to verify the reality of what I was seeing.
Large stone bricks were stacked everywhere. The wall to my right, the ceiling, and the floor were all stone. The wall to my left was entirely glass, except for a metal door directly next to me. Beyond the glass there were wooden stands. Erin waved to me from her seat; she was the only person in the stands.
I could see now that the screen above me was hanging from the stone ceiling. Aden was smiling brilliantly on the screen. Beyond the screen there was what looked like… a Mario level. To be precise, it looked like one of those Mario castle levels from my Gameboy game. Fireballs hurled in every direction and there were several twirling sticks of fire. At times there were gaps in the floor, and I did not doubt that between these gaps was hot lava or fire, just like in the games.
I strained my eyes to see if this hall of stone and fire ever ended, and I swore I could make out a brown bridge at the end of the tunnel.
My eyes stared at the scene in amazement.
Another booming laugh came from the screen.
“Welcome to the Tinted Town Gym.”
No doubt about it. This guy was insane.
“The prelim is very simple. You just have to make it to the end of this tunnel and defeat Bowser. Then I will release your Pokemon and you may battle me.”
I shook my head. “Did you just say defeat Bowser?”
The camera shifted so I was looking at a Torkoal. “This is my Torkoal, Bowser.”
“I have to battle him!?” I exclaimed. I didn’t have my Pokemon; how was I supposed to do that?
“I never said battle. I said defeat. There is, of course, the standard button on the end of the bridge that will cause the bridge to collapse and Bowser to fall.”
“Are you mentally stable?” I asked seriously.
“Stability is a funny thing…”
“You can’t have put other trainers through this! Nobody would pass!”
“Of course not. You, however, are a gifted trainer. I can put you through whatever I want—including this brilliant setup.”
I shook my head in disbelief.
“Oh, I didn’t mention: there’s a time limit,” Aden casually said on the screen. “Your Eevees are being lowered toward the lava bowl about six inches every minute. I’d say that gives you about ten minutes before—“
“They’ll be fried!!” I interrupted.
“Nah. Just severely burned. Actually, in your case, they might evolve. It’s been known to happen.”
That should have been a relief. Should have. But Apple was not really an Eevee, and thus, Apple could not really evolve. So if I did not reach them in the next ten minutes…
Apple would not only be burned…
She could be exposed.
Sorry it has been such a long time! Now that APs and some family stuff are finally done with, I should have more time to write. Buoysel, try not to kill me because of this chapter...
Chapter 13: Fire Away!
I looked over the list.
1. Pokeball- failed to catch transformed Ditto
2. Pokeblock- transformed Ditto ate with delight; should be noted, however, that different Pokemon like different flavors
3. Pokeflute- did not wake transformed Ditto from sleep
4. Battle- is a better fighter than most humans, still loves to fight as a human
5. Physical touch- interestingly, the transformed Ditto does not react normally to human touch. The Ditto often takes touch as a signal to battle. Also, when touched by another human for an extended period of time, the Ditto becomes uncomfortable.
6. Language- the transformed Ditto cannot speak in English; we are currently attempting to see if it is possible to teach the Pokemon
I leaned my head back against the thick tree. The results of the tests thus far were fairly inconclusive.
I looked up at my Honchrow, who hovered, awaiting orders. I nodded to the Pokemon. “Go back.”
I closed my eyes. The one other test I could use was Miss Parkwood’s background. Perhaps I could find a hole in her story…
As my eyes darted across the list one more time, I smiled to myself.
My detective was the only person in the entire world I would entrust with such a job.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A ball of fire randomly swung towards me. I ducked and felt a rush of heat fly across my back. I winced as the heat continued, and then screamed when the pain became too unbearable. I rolled onto my back.
The stone floor was nice and cool. I stood up and touched my back. The blistering pain made me grimace. I felt my hair, and when it was not as soft as usual, I held up the ends so I could see them.
They were black and burnt. My hair had caught on fire. That must have been what had scorched my back. Quickly, I flipped my hair into a ponytail.
I ran forward. Another fireball came at me but I dodged to the left and was unharmed. I silently thanked Arceus for Liam. Without his practice I would have been dead in the first thirty seconds of this prelim.
I came upon the first stick of twirling fire tied to the ceiling. As it spun, I looked below it and realized the flames did not ever touch the floor. The tip of the stick came short of the floor by about a foot every time it twirled around. I got onto by belly and inched my way forward like a beat up Seviper. Each time the fire came inches away from my back I held my breath.
Just as I was beyond the reach of the twirling sticks of fire, I looked up to see yet another fireball hurling my way… less than two feet away. I closed my eyes.
I tried to summon a barrier.
I really did.
But since the pond, despite working with Apple, Griffy, and Liam, I had not been able to create even one barrier.
I prepared for the pain I was about to endure.
It never came.
I opened an eye and saw that the fireball was gone.
I looked around, confused. <Apple?>
<Did you stop the fire?>
<I told you not to use your powers! Someone is going to find out!>
I could imagine Apple snorting. <This is the thanks I get for saving your life!>
<Apple, stop! I’m serious.>
<Relax, Anita. It looks like you summoned a barrier. Nobody will suspect it was really me. Plus, if you don’t get your butt down here soon, I will be exposed anyway!>
<So you realized it, too?>
<What, do you think I’m a moron? Actually, don’t answer that.>
I got up and looked to my next obstacle. It happened to be a gap in the floor I would have to find a way over. I walked to the edge of the stone and peered over the ledge.
Heat flashed against my face as a fireball rose from the lava below and then dropped back down. Again, I would have been severely scorched if a barrier had not appeared in front of my face.
<Anta! You need to be more careful; it’s exhausting trying to create barriers from this distance.>
<Thanks, Apple.> I paused. <Wait a second. How can I even talk to you?>
<This distance may be out of your range, but it’s not out of mine! Now get a move on!>
I took a step back from the lava and waited. The fireball rose from the lava again. As soon as it started going down, I took a running start.
I really shouldn’t have looked down.
But I did.
I leapt. Fire flashed before my eyes. I looked to the stone on the other side and realized I wasn’t going to make it.
No. I had to.
I fell. I reached out for the stone with my arms, and I barely missed the stone.
Suddenly, I felt an unnatural force push me forward. I gasped as my breath was knocked away, but I caught on to the stone ledge.
<Anita, I just told you to be careful!> I could hear strain in Apple’s voice, from both worry and tiredness.
The heat beat against the soles of my feet. I struggled to pull myself up over the ledge with my arms and made a mental note to do push-ups every day before bed. Finally, I found an invisible crook to stick my foot into and maneuver my body over the ledge.
For a moment, I panted on my hands and knees. I looked at my PokeTech. It had been five minutes.
I turned my face forward and could clearly see the bridge now. It was still a ways away though. If I was going to survive and move quickly, I needed to be more attentive.
I closed my eyes and listened.
I “saw” a fireball coming my way and easily ducked under it.
I approached another stick of twirling fire, but this time, instead of wasting my time squirming my way beneath it, I waited for just the right moment between twirls and ran through it.
Another ledge was ahead of me.
This time I was already running, and my eyes were closed; no chance of looking down.
I jumped and made across.
Ahead of me was a giant green tube taking up the entire hallway. If I remembered correctly, giant green Venus Flytraps came out of those tubes in the games. They sometimes spit fireballs.
A Carnivine rose out of the tube.
I didn’t think it could spit fire…
But I sure was not about to stick around to find out.
The giant plant lashed out at me as I reached the tube. I pretended it was Liam’s leg attempting to trip me. I jumped up and landed on the Pokemon’s head.
I wish I could say I then used the Carnivine’s head as a springboard and to gracefully jump over the hole following the tube.
Instead, I fell off of the Pokemon, bruised my head, and tumbled to the ledge.
The Carnivine was stunned for the moment from me hitting its head. I wearily picked myself up and stared across the ledge. On the other side, there was a twirling fire stick on the ground, and then, finally, the bridge. Apple and Fiery were now hanging less than a foot above the lava bowl on the other side of the bridge.
First things first, I needed to get across the ledge. I didn’t want to tire Apple out any more if I did not have to; she still had a battle after all of this. Because of the green tube, there was no room for me to take a running start.
How the heck was I going to get across?
I looked at the Carnivine that was starting to recover. Maybe…
<Hey you! Carnivine! I bet you can’t catch me!> I challenged.
The Carnivine glared angrily. <You little twit! You’ll be my dinner!> The grass Pokemon lunged at me. I stood on the very edge of the ledge and the Carnivine couldn’t reach. <Man, if I was not tied to the stupid tube, you would be dead meat!>
I stuck out my tongue and taunted, <Nya, nya, nya, nyaaa, nyaaa! You stink! You’re a lemon-headed stupid looking, plant with vines that couldn’t hurt a fly! And you’re supposed to eat flies! Ha ha!>
The Carnivine licked its lips. <People are actually my favorite snack. And these vines are good for something—> The Carnivine threw its vines at me. <—catching you!>
If this Carnivine could laugh evilly like Aden could, I’m sure it would be right now.
This, however, had been what I was waiting for. I jumped up onto the tube beside the Carnivine so the vines would not hit me.
Carnivine vines are long and very powerful. When they miss, they go a long distance and take a few seconds to retract. This Carnivine’s vines happened to reach all the way across the ledge, nearly to the final twirling stick of fire. I took the opportunity and ran across the vines to get across the ledge.
Immediately, the vines started to curl up and retract quicker. When the end tips of the vine reached my feet and started grabbing for my ankles, I jumped as far as possible and then broke into a dead sprint.
A vine caught my leg. I reached with my mind ahead of me and sensed a gap in the twirling fire. I twisted my leg and tumbled through the gap.
The vine attempted to grab my leg again, but it was hit by the fire.
For a moment, I watched the vine wither in agony and then retract.
I shakily rose to my feet. Apple and Fiery were just inches above the bowl of fire.
Bowser, the Torkoal across from me, threw a fire ball at me. I sprinted forward and jumped over the ball. I reached the Torkoal and took a giant leap over the turtle Pokemon.
As if in slow motion, I watched Bowser open his mouth beneath me and let loose a flamethrower attack. A circular barrier appeared under me, and the flame was bounced back at the attacker.
I landed on the button.
The bridge’s support snapped and Bowser fell to the lava below.
Beside me, the metal cage was just touching the lava. Fiery and Apple were both doing what looked like a potty dance to avoid getting burned. I rapidly opened the cage to release them.
We all fell to the ground and sighed in relief.
<Thanks, Apple,> I said while patting both Eevees on the head. Fiery didn’t even seem to mind.
<It’s a lot easier when you are right next to me. Really though, you should learn to make barriers yourself.>
<I know, I know.>
“Muwahahaha!” I rolled my eyes and smirked when I saw Apple doing the same.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bridge rebuild itself. I did a double take. There the bridge was, like it had never been destroyed.
Beside the bridge I saw Bowser climbing up over the ledge. <That was fun!> I heard the overexcited turtle shout as he jumped off the ledge into the lava again.
“Congratulations, Anita Parkwood, on making it past the prelims.”
I snapped my head around to find Aden standing directly in front of me. He was wearing a very attractive amber vest and jeans, and somehow his hair seemed redder in person. His mud-brown eyes glinted with laughter as he held his hand out to help me up. I took it and his strong arm pulled me up easily.
I glanced back at the bridge. “How did you—”
“Rebuild it?” Aden finished. He pulled out a remote control and pressed a button. The bridge collapsed, or rather, it folded downward so it looked like the bridge collapsed. Aden pressed another button and the bridge rebuilt itself. “Very simply, actually. So how did you like the prelim? Was it fun?” There was not a drop of sarcasm in his voice.
I scratched my head, not sure how to answer. “Err…”
Aden thumped me on the back, ignoring my awkwardness. “I knew you would like it. It’s just too bad I’m only aloud to use this setup for gifted children…”
“Too bad…” I echoed.
“Well, I guess we should get down to business. Because you passed my prelim, you have to battle me. Muwahahaha!”
“Why do you always do that?” I asked.
“Do what?” Aden replied.
“Try to laugh evilly.”
“Doesn’t it make everything more dramatic? Don’t you fear me more because I can laugh like that?”
I shook my head. “No.”
Aden snapped his fingers. “Damn. I have a friend that can pull a fear-instilling laugh perfectly. I thought I’d give it a go. Oh well…”
“So the battle…” I reminded the gym leader.
“Right. Well, my battle is a bit different because you are gifted. Essentially, you and I will both act as Pokemon.”
“This is a three-on-three battle. I choose two Pokemon and you choose two Pokemon. In addition, since we have Pokemon powers, we act as Pokemon and battle as well. Unlike usual battles, all three members of each team will be fighting at the same time and any member of one team may attack any member of the opposing team. It is unlikely that you will be able to command your Pokemon because you will be battling beside them. The first team to knock all three members of the opposing team out wins the battle.”
“So basically, this is like a double battle… only it’s really a triple battle?” I asked, realizing soon after how stupid I sounded.
Aden nodded. “We will be battling on the bridge. You will be using your two Eevees, and I will be using—” Aden released two Pokemon from two of the Pokeballs tied to his belt. “—Eon, my Flareon, and Nip, my Growlithe.” Aden raised his voice and spoke down the hallway. “My other Pokemon should evacuate the area to avoid interference.”
<Hey! I’m still tied here!> I heard Aden’s Carnivine call.
I almost decided not to inform Aden. Almost. But it would be awful if the Carnivine did manage to get loose and try to eat me during the battle. Thus, I repeated the message to Aden, who pressed another button on his remote control.
A shiny Ninetales I hadn’t seen, Bowser, and the Carnivine all exited through another door in the glass wall. Aden led me to the side of the bridge and then suggested, “You should leave anything you do not want ruined by the side of the bridge.”
Aden took off his belt of Pokeballs and his vest so he was left bare-chested. For a moment, I couldn’t help looking at his tanned six-pack.
He was strong.
I put down my pack, and after a moment, I decided to take off my t-shirt so I was just a tank top and shorts.
I slowly walked across the bridge, trying to calm myself with deep breaths. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and I couldn’t help thinking, What if I screw everything up?
<You’ll be fine! You just handled that obstacle course by yourself!> Apple said in an attempt to comfort me.
<I wouldn’t have made it without your psychic powers!>
<Well, I can still use my psychic powers to help you, so we are all good.>
When we reached the end of the bridge, I turned around to face Aden. We stood in silence for a moment. Then Aden declared, “Begin.”
Immediately Eon, Nip, and Aden threw flames at us. Yes, I included Aden. He apparently had a powerful fire gift and could create and throw fire with his hands.
I watched in shock. A psychic barrier rose in front of me.
<Move, Anita! You need to fight and protect yourself. At this rate, I’ll use up all of my energy protecting you!> Apple hissed. I jumped to the side and Apple released the barrier. Both Apple and Fiery launched themselves at Eon and Nip. Aden decided to join Nip to take on Fiery. I watched uselessly as Fiery attempted to dodge the Growlithe’s bites and Aden’s punches along with the fire they both could control.
Apple, in the meantime, was exchanging tackles with Eon.
<Anita, go do something!>
<What can I do?!>
<You’ve been practicing with Liam! Go help Fiery. Or come help me. Just. Do. Something.> Apple growled while using sand attack. Eon was temporarily blinded and Apple took the opportunity to help Fiery by hitting Aden with a quick attack.
I noticed that Fiery was not as harmed as I thought he would be from taking on two. I approached Fiery and Nip.
I felt very awkward. Even though Nip was battling Fiery, I did not want to attack the Pokemon. I had fought with humans… but Pokemon seemed almost sacred to me. They never seemed to be the ones causing the problems of this world, only innocent bystanders. To go up and kick Nip just seemed so wrong.
Fiery saw me watching him out of the corner of his eye.
<Thanks, Anita, for stopping all of the fire attacks,> he said as a barrier appeared between him and Nip’s ember attack. Apple, on the other hand, took a hit from Eon.
Guilt flooded my mind.
Apple was doing everything for me… because I was too pathetic to do anything.
Pain rushed through my body as something hit my back.
“Hehe. Do you think I’d let you miss out on all this fun?” A booming voice said above me. “I’m surprised you did not see that one coming; you’ve blocked nearly everything else.”
I reached out with my mind and felt Aden throw another punch at me. I rolled to my right and he missed.
I heard Fiery yowl in pain.
Apple must be getting tired. I reached out and felt the minds of my opponents. None of them were wearing out quickly. I leapt into Aden’s mind and through his eyes, I watched him prepared to throw fire at me.
I saw the fire was about to come from the palms of his hands. With my own body, I kicked his arms up so they fired fire away uselessly. I sensed his surprise.
Because I was in his mind, I could always see what he was doing next. I always dodged.
The only problem was he didn’t seem to be getting tired.
Every once in a while, I checked up on Apple and Fiery. In a moment when Fiery seemed about to falter from wheel of fire coming towards him, Apple knocked him out of the way with a quick attack. Apple then began fighting Nip, while Fiery took on Eon.
Apple was holding her own against Nip.
Fiery, on the other hand, was nearly exhausted. He was taking more and more hits, as Apple was too drained to continue creating psychic barriers.
I ducked under one of Aden’s kicks. He was extremely strong, but he was slower than Liam. Besides the first hit, he hadn’t hit me once.
An agonizing scream pierced the air. Fiery had been struck by Eon’s fire fang.
I ran towards Fiery to help. Apple attempted to reach him too, but she was blocked by Nip’s extreme speed.
Fiery lay weakly on the ground. Aden’s Flareon stood above him with a triumphant look on his face. A small ball of fire began to build in the Flareon’s mouth.
<STOP!> I yelled. Eon was momentarily distracted. He looked at me, and a moment later, I hit the ground.
My foot was on fire; it felt like a thousand needles were being stuck into my lower leg. I jumped into Eon’s mind and could taste my own blood.
He was biting me.
I lifted my leg up and pain shot up my entire body. I then slammed my leg onto the ground. I felt Eon wince in pain and he released my leg.
Darkness tickled the corners of my eyesight. My body wanted to faint, but I couldn’t abandon my Pokemon. I felt Eon prepare to bite me again, and I felt Aden begin to launch his fire at Fiery.
Many things happened at once.
I mustered up all of my energy and hurled myself toward Fiery, who was still lying on the bridge a few yards away. Then I forced my mind out in front of us.
Eon missed me and hit the ground hard.
Both Fiery and I would have been cooked by Aden’s flames if I hadn’t managed to create a barrier in front of us.
The force of Aden’s fire, however, created holes in the bridge’s railing on either side of my barrier. I heard the splash of rocks tumbling to the lava below.
Aden’s fire did not cease. He kept up a continuous stream, and I tried to hold my barrier. I kept being forced backwards.
Aden summoned a giant pulse of energy and sent the fire down his continuous stream. I was hurled backwards over the edge of the bridge.
Fiery and I fell towards the lava, but I managed to catch hold of the bridge’s ledge. I tried to catch Fiery.
<FIERY!> I called desperately as the Eevee plummeted towards the lava.
I put every last bit of energy I had into forming a barrier below Fiery to hold him.
I’m not sure if I succeeded, but even if I did, it was only for a few seconds. I was just too tired… I was a failure to my Pokemon.
I considered just letting go.
I didn’t think Aden would let me die, but I’m sure I would be knocked out. Then this battle would be over…
I looked above me and saw Apple growling at Aden, who was knocked on his butt.
<Get up, Anita!>
<I can’t….> I said weakly.
<C’mon, Anita, don’t give up now! I knocked out Nip!>
I tried to pull myself up. I felt Apple debate with herself silently and then give me a small psychic boost. I was up on the bridge again, but Apple had collapsed. <Apple!>
Eon and Aden were both on the ground, but getting up. Aden was grinning.
“Alright, Eon,” Aden said, turning to his Flareon. “Let’s finish this.”
I closed my eyes and tried to summon my psychic powers. So did Apple.
Flames rushed toward us. Neither Apple nor I had managed to summon the strength to create a barrier.
I prepared for pain.
But it never came.
I opened my eyes and saw a Flareon standing in front of us, smiling widely. The fire had no effect on the Pokemon. For a moment I was confused. How were there two Flareons? And why was one protecting us?
I gasped. <Fiery?>
Fiery, the newly evolved Flareon, nodded. I grinned. Beside me, Apple smiled weakly.
<Let’s go!> Fiery launched himself at Aden. I limped toward Eon; the bite on my leg was still painful. Eon easily dodged around me and aimed a flamethrower at Apple. Apple’s eyes widened with fear.
But Fiery was there again.
He stood above her, protecting her from the flames. The flames gave him strength.
I felt Apple’s final strength leave her as she used helping hand to transfer her energy to Fiery. Fiery glowed with energy.
He launched himself at Eon.
Something hit the back of my head.
Darkness overcame me.
Fire splintered through my body. I winced.
“I think she’s awake,” I heard someone whisper.
I opened an eye. White surrounded me.
“Hey, Anita, how are you feeling?”
I tried to speak but my voice stuck in my throat.
I blinked several times until I could see Erin standing above me. “That was a sweet battle, you know.”
“What happened?” I mumbled.
When I turned my head, splintering pain ran down my back. On the bed next to me, a Flareon stood protectively over a sleeping Eevee.
The Flareon noticed I was up.
I passed out.
Why would I kill you.
But I do have a couple of things to point out.
But first the good. I actually really like the chapter. I especially like the part where Anita did not want to hurt a Pokemon, made her seem more human.
1. If a Flareon was biting me, lift my leg up and slamming it down would probably cause more pain and injury to me then it would to the Pokemon, because the slamming of the weight of the aPokemon would cause flesh to be torn. How ever, one's reaction to pain is to swing a limb at the cause. So even though Anita did not want to hurt Eon, she would do it out of reaction, not becuase she wanted too.
2. This evolution only confirms my theory, all of your Eevee's are named as to what they are going to evolve. Except Apple, cuase there is already a leafon (flower) so what are you going to have her evolve into? (I hope gues a Umbreon)
Orange text FTW (I think, if I can remember, I start posting orange.)
I really need a new signature.
Thanks, Buoysel for the review! I never knew that about the reaction thing, thanks. Hehe, Anita will be in much more pain than Eon from the bite... Good luck with the guessing evolution thing =P
My goal is to be updating here every one to two weeks this summer. I'd like to be halfway done with this by the end of the summer. However, I can't promise anything. I tend to only update about once a month.
Chapter 14: Visions of the Passed/Past
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Something that there was just too little of.
Air swished around me as I streamed ahead rapidly.
A deep aching rumbled through my entire body.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
My body shuddered involuntarily from head to tail. I continued my journey through the clouds, my whip-like tail propelling me forward.
I begged my internal clock to slow. I begged time to slow. What I would give to be a Celebi…
The ocean below glittered like ice in sunlight. Little ships were sprinkled about.
The land was behind me. Far behind.
As were my old problems.
Never again would I clash with the clone.
Never again would I endure such a struggle for power.
Power was simply not worth it.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
My new self would be safe… if only I could make it.
The old land behind.
The new land ahead.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Another deep rumble.
The only problem—
Tick. Tick. Tick-tickity-tick. Tick. Tickity-tick.
Time was almost…
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
… a melody whistling through my ears. Soft notes caressed my fuzzy brain.
I was in two places.
A pair of eyes blinked open and I saw my own body relaxing in white bedcovers.
I yawned, or rather, the body I was in yawned.
A wave of surprise suddenly sent a shiver down the body’s spine. <Hey! What are you doing in here?!>
I was in Apple’s body.
<I honestly have no idea,> I replied.
Apple yawned again. <I just had the strangest dream…>
<Hey, me too!>
<I was flying above a big ocean—> Apple started.
<There was a melodious clock—> I said at the same time.
We both paused.
<You had it too?!> we yelled at once.
<Yes!> we answered, again together.
To make the situation less awkward, I stopped talking. <That was some serious déjà vu,> Apple commented.
<This has happened to you before?>
<Kind of. Well, not the part where I wake up with you in my head too, but the actual dream… It just felt so real, realer than my usual dreams. Almost like a vision…>
<Is that possible?> I asked.
<Maybe. I don’t know…>
I came to a sudden realization. <Hey! The shape of the land, remember? The land that we were flying towards in the dream—that was Acceber!>
<Duh.> I felt her eyes roll.
<Well, sorry! Not all of us have the gift of your brilliance, Miss I-attack-anything-with-food.>
<Only if it’s good food. Now, will you kindly return to your own body so I can rest in peace?>
<You’re not dead yet,> I countered.
<Your lame puns are killing me.>
I was pushed from Apple’s mind back into my own.
As I opened my actual eyes and shifted my legs, I groaned in pain. I felt awful. My head hurt and there were too many bruises below my skin for me to find any one in particular extremely painful. The worst was my right leg, which was bandaged. Every time I moved it, a sharp sting rushed from my toes to my torso. When I didn’t move, it just ached.
“Hey, you’re finally awake!”
I moaned at the voice… at Erin’s voice. “Go away.”
“You think I’m going to leave after waiting a day and a half for you to wake up?”
“Please…” I mumbled.
Erin abruptly changed the subject. “How do you feel?”
“Yeah, you were battered pretty badly, but at least you won! You should have seen Fiery! After you were down, he went crazy. He knocked out that other Flareon in just one hit, and then the gym leader never landed a punch or kick on him! He was like BAM and—”
“Eevee, Ee!” <Shut up!> Apple barked at Erin.
<Hey, you read my thoughts perfectly.>
<Well, I am psychic,> Apple answered. I turned my head. To my right, Apple was snuggling next to a snoozing Fiery on a white hospital bed identical to the one I was laying on. To my left, Erin was sitting in a chair and had clearly understood Apple’s message because her mouth was clamped shut. Next to Erin, much to my surprise, was another figure.
“What are you doing here!?” I asked accusingly.
“He’s here to support you! He’s been really sweet, and he rushed back here after the battle. He was even playing a flute for you when you were asleep,” Erin answered.
<Yeah, and I had to tackle the kid to make him stop playing that stupid instrument. I couldn’t get an ounce of sleep when he was playing; you, on the other hand, slept through the entire thing,> Apple complained.
“Why are you defending him? Didn’t he call you stupid the other day? Are you over your argument so soon?!” I asked almost desperately. My hope of abandoning Liam was fading away too quickly.
“Nope, I still think she’s a shallow idiot,” Liam stated as he folded his arms across his chest.
Erin glared at him for a second. “I’ll have his mind changed by the end of the day,” she said stubbornly.
“Now I really need some painkillers,” I grumbled.
“Oh, the nurse told us to come get her if you got up!” Erin announced as she jumped to her feet. “I’ll be right back…” She ran out the door.
I turned to Apple and watched as she rested her head on Fiery’s paw. <Since when have you and Fiery become so close? Are you two dating or something?>
Apple snorted, causing Fiery to twitch in his sleep. <You think Pokemon date?>
Apple grinned evilly. <What Fiery won’t know won’t hurt him. He’s so big, warm, and fluffy now; it’s really comfy to curl right up next to him.>
<He’ll kill you if he finds you practically on top of him when he wakes up.>
<He can try,> Apple snickered.
<Whatever, it’s your problem. Just don’t seduce him or anything…>
<Are you trying to imply something?!> Apple snapped.
<Nope. I don’t know what you are talking about,> I replied too innocently.
<Why you little—> I blocked Apple’s thoughts when she started swearing at me. I looked over at Liam, who was staring at me again.
“So… tell me something about yourself,” I began, attempting to pull an Erin icebreaker.
“Everything is none of your business,” Liam responded sharply. The teen narrowed his eyes at me. “How about you tell me something about your life.”
I rolled my eyes. “Like?”
“Like your childhood.”
“And why do you want to discuss my childhood?”
Liam shrugged. “I don’t.”
“Then why are you asking?!” I practically yelled.
“To prove a point. Neither of us is willing to give private information to each other.” Liam grinned knowingly.
If I was not stuck in this bed I would have punched him for his smugness… or tried to punch him. I probably would have ended up falling on my face. For the sake of disagreement, I replied, “Not true.”
Liam’s grin widened. “Then prove it. Tell me a childhood story.”
“Fine!” I closed my eyes and recalled…
A typical salt-scented breeze swept through a typical alley on a typical evening in Goldenrod City.
A small girl with a lightly freckled nose and cropped brown hair crouched just outside the alley, leaning towards a fallen garbage can. In the girl’s hand was a piece of bread.
“Don’t be afraid,” the girl whispered as she held out her hand.
There was a whimper from the garbage can. The girl inched closer.
“Hey, watch out!” a teenage boy on a bicycle suddenly cried. The boy struggled to get his bike under control as it swerved toward the small girl. The girl’s violet eyes widened as she watched the bike hurtle towards her, and she let out a surprised shriek.
The biker thrust his bike to the side with all his might to avoid hitting the girl. Despite his best efforts, the bike tipped over and careened toward the girl while he was thrust in the opposite direction.
As the bike collided with the girl, she tumbled forward into the garbage can. There was a fierce growl and the garbage can rolled slightly. Then the ear-shattering scream of a six-year-old girl in pain.
A Poochyena leapt from the garbage can with a blood-stained piece of bread in its mouth. The hound didn’t pause before scrambling into the dark alley. The girl continued to yell from the garbage can.
The teenage boy shakily picked himself off the ground and stumbled towards the garbage can. He thrust his arms into the fallen garbage can and swept up the crying girl. The girl shrieked even louder as the teen put her on the ground. The girl was covered in grime and her arm was smeared with blood.
“What’s your name?” the teenage boy asked kindly as he scanned the area for anyone who might be able to help. It was a quiet Tuesday evening. Only a few ragged-looking beggars and one hurrying business man were currently on the street. The boy turned back to look at the girl to find she was already running down the street, still sobbing.
“I want Mommy!” the girl cried as she turned onto another street.
The teen looked at his watch. He was late; he couldn’t afford to waste any more time getting to his job or he would be fired. The boy sighed, picked up his bike, and rode down the road. When he reached the corner, he glanced down the next road and saw the girl standing on the small porch of a run-down dwelling. With another sigh, the boy continued to pedal forward, trying to forget the girl. He succeeded before he reached work.
The girl, in the meantime, paced the porch of the too-narrow house while trying to muffle her sobs. The raised voices on the other side of the wall made the girl afraid to enter.
“Gav, you can’t keep doing this to us! We’ve been here for nearly a year now and Anita’s just started first grade! It’s time to settle down!”
“Don’t you Ellen, honey me Gavin Arnold Parkwood! We talked about this. You told me this would be the last time— that you would find a steady paying job!”
“Ellen, look what they’re offering me! We can’t afford to turn it down! This will be our last move. We’ll go to Acceber, I’ll do my flashy trainer stuff to get the money, and then we’ll get steady jobs.”
There was a pause in the conversation. The girl too paused her pacing, trying to decide if it was safe to knock yet. Her arm was really starting to hurt. Soon she would have to go in even if they were still yelling. Red blood trickled down her arm onto the white porch, forever staining it.
“Gav, you know I love you, but we can’t keep doing this. Promise me this will be the last time. Promise me you’ll put your trainer career on hold, at least as long as our daughter is growing up.”
“Ellen Samuel Parkwood, I swear—”
There was a quiet knock on the door. The small girl had decided it was safe to enter now that the loud voices were gone.
Ellen opened the door and gasped. “Anita! What happened to you? You said you were going around the corner to play at Kati’s house! Come here, come here! Let’s get you in the bath!” Ellen scooped the muck-covered girl into her arms.
“It hurts Mommy,” the little girl, Anita, said as she pointed to her arm. “It hurts more than a normal boo-boo. It hurts like eighty boo-boos.”
“Oh my! Tell me, what happened?” Ellen anxiously repeated as she dumped Anita into the bathtub and turned on the water.
“A doggy bit me when I fell in the trash can—Ow!” Anita exclaimed as her mother started to scrub her bleeding arm.
“Gav, this is worse than I thought! Call the hospital! She’s bleeding all over!”
The girl’s head was dizzy. Her arm felt hotter than fire.
Her eyes fluttered shut as confusing memories of black dogs and different towns swirled through her head…
I opened my eyes.
“Then what?” Liam asked… almost as if he cared. He was curious, at the least.
I snickered. “The rest is obvious. I went to the hospital, and they gave me stitches. It took my arm a lot longer than they expected to heal; I still have a scar. Then we moved to Acceber. Four months after we moved to Melonbi Town my dad got another offer in Cerulean City. My mom wouldn’t move. They split up. My dad still writes occasionally, but I haven’t actually seen him since he left. He’s a true traveling Pokemon trainer at heart… never could settle down. My mom didn’t take his absence well. She refused to even look at Pokemon for months after he left, and she still has some funny quirks.”
Liam nodded absentmindedly.
“So what about you?” I asked.
“It’s your turn. Tell me something about yourself.”
“I already told you it was none of your business.”
“That’s no fair! I gave you a childhood story so you should give me one!”
I leaned my head back against my pillow. “Ugh, why are you so secretive? Do you work for the government or something?” I glanced slyly at Liam only to find he had averted his eyes. He looked at his shoes.
“I just don’t like to talk about my past,” Liam answered solemnly.
“You don’t have one happy memory you are willing to tell me?”
Liam didn’t reply.
“What about when you got your first Pokemon?”
Liam hesitated for a moment. He finally answered, “Fine. I’ll tell you. My grandpa, like me, had a dark gift. He told my parents and my cousin’s parents that he would give his grandchildren their first Pokemon when we first showed signs of having the dark gift.”
“What if you didn’t have the gift?” I interrupted.
Liam gave me a cold look. I wasn’t the least bit deterred. “I wouldn’t know. I’m sure my parents would have eventually given me a Pokemon anyway.” Liam seemed to look past me. “It was a Sunday evening…
A family of three walked up a graveled path toward an old mansion. Gargoyles resembling Pokemon long deceased stared down at the family from the mansion’s crumbling roof. Thick, pressing dew hung in the air.
“Dad, I don’t want to go to Grandpa’s!” a little boy whined.
“Hush. We do this every Sunday, Liam. You can play with your cousin,” the father replied.
“But dad, Grandpa Willy’s weird! He’s always doing weird stuff!”
The father sighed and looked to his wife for help. She only raised her eyebrows and said, “It’s your family.”
“You’re the one who married into it. It’s not my fault I’m related, but you chose to become a part of it.” The man smiled good-naturedly at his wife.
The wife grinned. “Did I make a mistake?”
The man leaned towards his wife and gave her a quick peck on the lips. He paused, as if considering the value of the kiss. “I don’t think so,” he muttered into his wife’s ear.
The child looked away in disgust.
The family reached the large, wooden front door. Mysterious shapes and shadows were engraved upon the grand entrance. Not bothering to knock, the father opened the door and called, “Da! We’re here!”
The main hall the family entered was dull and simple—an empty area of wooden walls and floorboards. An elderly man with scraggly white hair and a walking cane appeared from around a dusty corner. “Come in, come in,” he said. “We’re just eating appetizers. Ah, Liam, my boy, come give your granda a hug!”
Liam wrinkled his nose at the old-person smell that filled the room. However, he complied and walked across the stiff wooden floorboards to hug his grandfather. Somewhere in the house an old clock chimed, indicating that it was six-o-clock.
“Liam, what do you say you play with Tal a bit before dinner?” The old man patted the head of his grandchild. He reached into a pocket and pulled out a Pokeball.
Liam looked pleadingly at his parents. When they didn’t respond, he said, “But grandpa, I don’t want to play with Tal. I always play with him! Can’t I play with Landon instead?”
The grandfather chuckled. “Landon can be there too, of course. We’ll all go to the other room to play.” The old man gave the boy a gentle nudge toward the living room.
The family entered a carpeted room. The brown couch facing the stone fireplace was well worn, as were the antique pictures scattered about the wooden walls. At a small table in the corner of the room sat another family of three— two adults and one boy who looked strikingly similar to Liam. On the boy’s lap sat a tiny Houndour.
“Landon!” Liam yelped when he saw his cousin.
Landon looked up and smiled. He picked up his Houndour and ran to greet Liam.
“Now hold on a second, boys,” their grandfather said. “Liam has to play with Tal before you two can run off.” The old man fingered his Pokeball and in a flash of red, an Alakazam appeared.
Landon promptly sat down on the torn couch. Liam grumbled about Landon not having to play with Tal anymore. Three Sundays ago Tal’s tricks stopped working on the lucky boy and grandpa gave him his Houndour.
“Are you ready, Liam?” the grandfather asked.
Liam frowned but nodded. He tried to prepare his stomach for the awful feeling.
“Tal, use psychic,” the grandfather demanded. The Alakzam’s eyes grew purple in concentration. Liam closed his eyes and waited, dreading what he was to come. The feeling of toes leaving dusty, plush carpet; the feeling of helpless weightlessness; the feeling of no control…
The feeling never came.
Liam opened his eyes. His mother and father were smiling proudly. The grandfather raised a hand to stop Liam from running to embrace them. He narrowed his rust-colored eyes at the boy.
“Tal, mind reader.”
Liam’s heart sunk. He hated when Tal used that trick even more than psychic. It felt like he was being invaded, like his mind wasn’t safe.
Liam felt wisps of a presence in his mind. It was different— not as overwhelming as usual. Then the presence was gone.
The grandfather frowned slightly. “Well, he definitely has the gift. Mind you, Tal can still delve into some of his memories so it’s not as developed as Landon’s, at least not yet.”
“Dad, you know that the gift will develop as Liam develops. Testing how strong his gift is right now is pointless,” Liam’s uncle stated.
The grandfather sighed. “Of course, of course. Well, as promised, I’ll give Liam his first Pokemon.” He patted Liam on the head and then knelt down to Liam’s height. “How would you like a new friend?”
Liam’s green eyes shone brilliantly. “Like Landon’s Buster?”
The grandfather chuckled at the Houndour’s name. “A little different.” The old man shakily pulled out a Pokeball and pressed the white release button.
An adorable dust-colored puppy appeared in front of the boy. Liam stared in amazement.
The grandfather handed Liam the Pokeball. “This Poochyena is yours now. You can name her whatever you would like.”
Liam looked up at his grandfather. “Does this mean I don’t have to play with Tal any more?”
The grandfather nodded.
Liam smiled and knelt to the scraggily Poochyena. He rubbed the pup behind her soft ears.
“I’ll call you No-Tal. Notal.”
The Poochyena licked the boy’s face.
“It’s nice to meet you too.”
“I had just turned four. My grandfather died just two weeks later.”
“What about the rest of your family?”
Liam’s frozen eyes felt as if they would burn through my skull. “None of your business.”
I rolled my eyes and daringly questioned, “Aren’t we past this ‘not your business’ thing?”
<I would stop asking. He looks like he might kill you,> Apple suggested. <Interesting story, though…>
Liam just continued to stare at me, sending a shiver down my spine. I looked away and muttered, “Guess not.”
Suddenly the door slammed open.
Fiery woke up with a bark.
“Oops. Sorry about that,” Erin said, not looking the least bit sorry.
Fiery growled at her for a moment. Then he realized Apple was curled up next to him. <What the...?> His growl immediately changed directions. <What do you think you’re doing?> he demanded.
Apple yawned. <Snuggling.>
<Why I oughta…> Fiery’s tail lit up and he whipped it down at Apple.
Apple casually flicked her tail forward as it too lit up. Her tail easily stopped Fiery’s. She yawned again. <I know that attack now, too.>
The nurse entered the room after Erin. “Excuse me! There is not to be any fighting in the hospital!” she scolded. She turned to me. “If your Pokemon cannot behave themselves, then kindly return them to their Pokeballs.”
Apple unlit her tail and closed her eyes. Fiery growled under his breath, but he too unlit his tail. He walked to the other end of the bed and settled down.
The nurse glanced down at her clipboard and then turned her attention to me. “Aside from a severely bruised ankle and several deep cuts, you are perfectly fine. You’re free to leave the hospital, but your foot will have to be wrapped for the next week to prevent further injury. I’ll also give you some pills for the pain.” She put her clipboard down. “Let me show you how to bind your foot.” She nodded to Erin. “You watch, too.”
After we observed how to wrap my foot up, Erin and the nurse helped me out of bed. The nurse filled a small container of purple pills for my pain while I practiced walking. When I was finally comfortable enough to walk without a limp, the nurse dismissed us and told us to check out at the front desk within the next hour.
Erin, Liam, Fiery, Apple, and I left the room and walked toward the exit. Surprisingly, a small evil smirk danced across Erin’s face. I peeked into her mind.
<Liam won’t know what hit him—> was all I heard before a bellow interrupted my mindreading.
“THEY DID WHAT?!?”
Erin, Liam, and I all exchanged glances. We knew whose voice that was…
“WHY DIDN’T ANYBODY TELL ME?”
We rushed toward the room around the corner the voice was coming from. Aden was lying in a hospital bed… yelling at a nurse.
The nurse sighed. “This is the very reaction we were trying to prevent. Your body is not healthy yet, and we don’t want you overexerting yourself. Believe me, Officer Jenny is hot on the case.”
“What happened?” Erin asked curiously as she entered the room. I followed. Liam was nowhere to be found. Funny, I thought he was right behind me.
“Oh, hello there you two. I was just discussing why nobody bothered to tell me my city was robbed yesterday.”
<Discussing? Yeah right… more like bellowing,> Apple commented.
“What was taken?” I asked.
“Most of the new exhibit on Mew at our city’s museum along with a couple of rare gem stones. It was Team Glop’emm; we caught their uniforms on tape though their faces were covered,” the nurse explained, exasperated. “By the way, visiting hours are three to six; you aren’t even supposed to be here.”
Aden ignored the nurse and continued, “Team Glop’emm has been fairly active in this city within the past year. I think they might have a base here. If I were allowed out of this dratted bed I would be hunting them down—”
“I already told you not to worry, sir. Officer Jenny can handle it. Now if you two will kindly leave…” The nurse pushed us out the doorway. I waved to Aden who grinned at me.
“You have a pretty fierce Flareon!” he called. “Did a real number on me, that one! Take care and good luck, Anita! Oh, and your friend, Erin, has your badge!”
“Out,” the nurse ordered. She pointed down the hall to exit.
We scurried down the hall until the nurse stopped glaring after us and turned down a different corridor. Erin suddenly pulled me to a small niche and looked around suspiciously.
“What are you doing? Do you think—” I started.
Erin shushed me and said, “I need you to find Liam and then go to the northern outskirts of Tinted Town. I’ll meet you there. This is yours.” Erin handed me a golden-red badge in the shape of a small flame. “It’s called the Blaze Badge. Now see ya!” Erin started to walk away, but I grabbed her arm.
“Wait! What are you doing?”
“A few errands…”
“Does this have to do with finding those robbers? I want to come, too!”
Erin gave me a funny look. “No, of course not. You should leave Team Glop’emm to Officer Jenny—its best not to get involved. I’m going to be getting back at Liam… Now don’t say a word to him!” Erin hissed. She then glanced down the hall and was gone in an instant.
I blinked. <Where do you think Liam went?> I asked Fiery and Apple.
Fiery sniffed the air and sneezed. He trotted down the hall towards the exit and sniffed again. Apple and I followed as he veered to the right just before the door leading to the check out counter. He stopped in front of a door.
<Figures,> Apple snickered. <Bathroom.>
Just then Liam walked out of the bathroom.
“Why didn’t you tell us where you were going?” I asked accusingly.
“What, now I have to ask every time I need to take a dump?” Liam retorted.
I folded my arms and started walking to the door to the checkout counter.
“She had some ‘errands’ to do,” I answered. “She said she’d meet up with us in the northern outskirts of the town. Humph…” I paused just before the door, a new plan formulating. “Hey, do you want to see if we can help look for the Glop’emm robbers?”
<Anita, I don’t think that’s a good idea—> Apple started.
“Why would you want to do that?” Liam scoffed. “You think you’re going to be able to do a better job than Officer Jenny?”
“Well, I can use my gift—”
<No,> Apple cut me off. <Anita, you’re already hurt. The robbers have nothing to do with you! It’s just plain stupid to get involved. Do you want Team Glop’emm hunting you down? And what if they discover something about me?>
Apple had pulled the putting-your-Pokemon-in-danger card. How evil… but she was right, unfortunately.
<Since when do you care so much about who knows about you? You would transform back into Mew right here if I weren’t around.>
Apple smirked. <That’s right—I don’t care, but you do. So you won’t put me in danger.>
I grinded my teeth, annoyed.
“What did she say?” Liam asked.
“She agrees with you,” I muttered.
“Good. Then you’re overruled.” Liam held the door open for me. He was looking rather pleased with himself for no apparent reason.
<I hope Erin gets him really good,> I growled to Apple. <Wipe that stupid smirk off his face…>
<Oh, believe me, she will. Didn’t you read her mind?>
Apple grinned. <Just you wait. The fun is about to begin.>
This is one of my favorite chapters I have written thus far. Hope you like it!
Chapter 15: Erin’s Revenge
Ah, the sounds of a secretary’s workspace.
The shuffling of the carelessly turned magazine page. The scratching of butt, numb with overuse. The ringing of the ignored phone.
And, of course, the eternal popping of overchewed gum.
The girl at the hospital checkout counter was no exception. She sat in a well-worn chair reading a popular Persons magazine and chewing a large wad of pink bubble gum. Her dark hair was tossed in a sloppy bun with bits falling freely over her lightly freckled face. As we approached the counter, she looked up from her magazine. Her eyes, covered with a thick layer of mascara, flickered from me to Liam before blatantly returning to the magazine.
I waited in front of the counter for about half a minute before giving the girl a weak, “Ahem.”
The girl made a big fuss of smoothly folding her magazine and placing it on the counter before turning her attention to us. “What do you want?”
“I’m checking out.”
The girl blew and popped another bubble. “Name?”
The girl rolled her chair to a computer and began typing. The phone rang.
Probably attempting to prolong our time wasted at the counter, the girl decided to actually answer the phone. I sighed wearily and listened to Liam mutter curses at the girl under his breath.
The girl unemotionally stared at me as she listened to the person on the other end of the line. Her eyes flickered to Liam for a minute. I got the feeling whoever was on the other line was speaking about us.
After a minute the girl put the phone down and continued typing. “Anita Parkwood, you’re good,” she stated simply. Then she turned to Liam, who had begun to turn away. “You— kid with the messy black hair.” Liam turned around. “You’re on bathroom duty.”
Liam took about ten seconds to process what she had just said. “What did you say?” he asked darkly, giving her his cold stare.
“You heard me, kid: bathroom duty.”
“And why exactly, may I ask, would I be put on bathroom duty?” Liam questioned scathingly. “Do I look like I work here?”
The girl picked up her magazine and leafed through it. “Don’t know what you look like, kid.”
“You didn’t answer me,” Liam growled.
“You’re on bathroom duty cuz my manager said you were on bathroom duty. Just got the phone call that some dark-haired kid with green eyes clogged up the toilet and that if the kid came to my desk, I was to tell him to get his scrawny butt in the bathroom to unclog the toilet.”
“I didn’t clog the toilet, though!” Liam exclaimed. I looked at him in surprise— this was the most emotion I had ever seen him show… and over a toilet, nonetheless.
The girl shrugged and blew another bubble.
I grinned at Liam, who shot me an angry glare in response. <This is too awesome,> I told Apple and Fiery.
“Can I speak with your manager?” Liam asked, his voice surprisingly calm.
“Don’t you have janitors in your facility?”
“Then why doesn’t one of them clean the toilet?”
“Can I please talk to your manager?”
“Don’t feel like picking up the phone. I’m too busy.”
“I didn’t clog the toilet.”
“Not my problem.”
“That’s it.” Liam angrily started to reach for the phone.
“I’ll call security,” the girl threatened.
“Fine. I’m not going to deal with this; I’m leaving.” Liam started to turn away.
The girl turned the page of her magazine. “Security will just drag you back. They’ve also been notified that you are to clean the clogged toilet.”
Liam froze. He turned back to the girl. “Give me the phone,” he said slowly.
“Or what?” the girl snickered.
“I’ll…” Liam glared. Apparently he couldn’t come up with a good threat.
“I suggest you run along to the bathroom now. The toilet is not going to clean itself.”
Liam shoved a stack of fliers sitting on the counter at the girl. Instead of flying everywhere, they mostly stuck together and landed in a pile on the floor. Liam stormed off towards the bathroom. I sat down in a waiting chair and when I glanced at the girl I swear I saw a small smirk flicker across her face. I shook my head and looked at the girl again. She sat unemotionally, looking bored. I must be imagining things…
Fiery hopped onto the chair next to me and started to curl up. Then Apple hopped onto the same chair. <Get off!> Fiery exclaimed as he shoved Apple off the chair. <Haven’t you heard of personal space?>
<Personal space only applies to a person!> Apple retorted.
<Fine, haven’t you heard of Eevee space?>
<Nope, but there was a movie called Eevees in Space that came out a few years ago. Plus, wouldn’t it be Eeveeal space?> Apple giggled. <Hehe. Eeveeal sounds kinda like Ovule.>
<Save me!> Fiery jumped onto my lap and nudged his Pokeball attached to my belt. He disappeared in a flash of red.
While Apple was still giggling quietly, I closed my eyes, deciding to put this time to good use by meditating.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Idiot!” I hissed through the walkie-talkie.
The moron, my assistant, did not reply. He did not even attempt to justify his own stupidity.
“Did I not specifically order you to stay away from Anita Parkwood? Did I not insist that you leave all of the research on Pokemon X to me? Were these demands too difficult for your midget-sized head to understand?”
There was no reply, again.
“Answer me,” I commanded coldly.
“Then why is it all over the news that Team Glop’emm broke into a museum in Tinted Town? Why did my detective just call me to inform me that Team Glop’emm struck while Anita Parkwood was in Tinted Town? And most importantly, why did you feel the need to steal the information on Pokemon X displayed in the museum?”
My assistant hesitated before speaking. “I was trying to help you, sir. I thought more information on Pokemon X would be useful to you. As for Anita Parkwood, I did not realize you wanted all of our normal operations to shut down if she was within twenty miles.”
“You shithead. The information was open to the public. My detective called me a few days ago to supply me with the information on display. There was no need for you to steal it! Now there is a chance that the authorities will get suspicious. They might figure out that I am aft—we are after Pokemon X!”
“I apologize. It will not happen again,” my assistant said lamely.
“No it will not. G-ddamn you. One more act of stupidity and I’ll figure out a way to complete my research from Drape Town. Stay away from Anita Parkwood. Stay away from anything that has to do with Pokemon X. Understand?”
I shut off the connection. That fool; it was a mistake to leave him in charge. To steal something that was open to the public… how brainless. If only my research was complete, I could return to Drape Town to resume my command over Team Glop’emm. Unfortunately, I was not even close to finished.
The various libraries and ancient book stores I had visited thus far provided me with little to no new information. I had found virtually nothing about Mew transforming into other Pokemon.
I sighed and stared at the bare wall—a habit of mine. At least I was getting results from the tests Rita and I had arranged.
Mew… such a peculiar Pokemon.
I stared ahead and recalled the first time I had seen the creature…
A boy and his father stood before the docking railway. A salty breeze swept over them as they silently observed the massive ship they were about to board. Small waves lapped against the side of the boat splashing upward to nearly where the boy and his father stood.
“Vel, wait! Vel! Velkan!” A voice called. The father turned at the sound of his name and peered past the dock to the street. His eyes settled upon a man rushing toward the dock. “You forgot the picture! You forgot it!” the man yelled. The man had a black mustache and hazel determined eyes.
The father and the boy watched as the man rushed towards them. When the man finally reached the two, he had to bend over to catch his breath.
Velkan frowned at the man. “Don, my brother…” he muttered under his breath. For a moment, he looked upon his brother spitefully, as if the man had done something terribly wrong. The father quickly recovered a calm expression.
“The—picture—here—” Don panted. He reached into his pack and pulled out a small, framed picture the size of his hand and handed the picture to Velkan.
The father’s frown deepened. He and the boy stared at the picture.
Six smiling faces stared back.
What a family.
Tears welled in the boy’s eyes as the father pocketed the photo.
“Are you sure about this?” Don asked, looking sadly beyond his relatives to the grand ship.
Velkan, the father, nodded absentmindedly. “We need a new start. It’s been over a year and a half. We’ve waited long enough,” he replied grimly. “You’re sure you don’t wish to join us?”
Don sighed. “I’ll keep waiting.”
The ship’s horn sounded.
The father glanced at the ship and then nodded to his bother. “Arceus be with you.”
“Arceus be with my son.”
Velkan winced. “I hope so.” He grabbed his own son’s hand.
The ship’s horn sounded again.
The boy and his father turned and walked up the rusted docking railway. Wingulls cooed atop the ship as they boarded.
The boy watched his uncle leave stoically.
The ship began to move.
The boy looked up.
A glint of pink streaked the sky—disappearing towards the future.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
After thirty minutes, Liam finally stalked out of the bathroom carrying a wet toilet plunger. He strode towards the checkout counter and placed the toilet plunger plunger-side up in front of the secretary. He then swiveled around and marched out the front doors.
I could hear the distinct sound of bubblegum popping as I jogged after Liam.
“Please?” Anita whined for the millionth time.
“No!” <No!> Liam and I chorused.
“But it’s right around the corner! Can’t we just check it out… Maybe try to figure out what Team Glop’emm is doing…”
I rolled my eyes. This had been our discussion since after lunch. We were now walking down the old, brick roads of Tinted Town. The town was fairly small with lots of adorable stores and great restaurants. Many of the shops looked old and worn, but not quite run-down; it actually gave the town a comfortable feel.
Liam sighed. “What they are after is always the same. They’re pretty forthright with their goals. Don’t you know what Glop’emm stands for?”
“G-L-O-P-‘E-M-M. Get Lots Of Pokemon ‘En Make Money. Glop’emm.”
“I never knew it was an acronym…” Anita trailed.
<Me neither,> I piped.
“…How’d you find out?”
Liam shrugged and snickered. “I hear things,” I heard the boy mumble sarcastically under his breath.
“What was that?”
I looked up at Liam’s expression curiously, only to find his face was blank with his usual stoicism. They walked in silence for a couple of minutes. I got bored so I began weaving between the legs of people walking in the opposite direction for fun…
…until I tripped a bulky, mean-looking man. After the man started swearing profusely at us and threatened to beat up Liam (Anita and I laughed our butts off when he blamed Liam for being tripped), Anita decided it would be better if she carried me.
I was sulking in Anita’s arms when Liam randomly asked, “Why don’t you talk to your mother?”
Anita and I stared. <Whoa. Did he actually initiate a conversation? Something’s up,> I said suspiciously.
<Something’s always up when it comes to Liam,> Anita retorted.
Liam’s eyes flickered between me and Anita. “You know it is slightly disturbing when both of you stare at me with violet… or almost violet eyes,” he commented dryly.
Anita smirked. “We’re just surprised you are actually trying to be social.”
“I’m not trying to be social.”
“Then why start a conversation?”
“Will you just answer my question?” Liam asked irritably.
I knew she did not really feel like explaining her mother’s intense dislike for Pokemon. Anita loved her mother, but her mother would not want to know or talk about her journey very much. Anita had only called once thus far—the day before we met Liam, just to check up.
<He does have a bit of a valid point. I mean, you were in the hospital. Shouldn’t you tell her?>
<She’ll just want me to come home, and I don’t want to. The less she knows, the better,> Anita replied to me. She still didn’t say anything to Liam, pretty much just to annoy him.
“What kind of answer is that?” Liam narrowed his eyes at Anita accusingly.
Anita snorted. “The kind you always give me.”
“Why don’t you want to discuss your mother?”
“Well, that is none of your business,” Anita mocked.
“I’ll bet she’s fictional.”
Anita looked at him weirdly. “Um… that’s not really possible.”
“Sure it is,” Liam replied cheerfully. He looked at Anita slyly and added, “I’m onto your secret.” It was a bit awkward because I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic.
Anita chuckled nervously. <Is he joking or just plain insane?>
<It’s hard to tell.> How I wished I could peek into his mind. But alas, Liam was one strange cookie…
Speaking of cookies…
I sniffed the air. <Bakery!> I yelled to Anita. <Two blocks straight ahead, half a block to the right! Huge chocolate chip cookies with—>
<Hush up. We are not going to a bakery. We just ate!>
I suddenly stopped, sensing a large crowd directly down the street on my right. A sudden premonition of excitement and revenge flashed through my mind. It involved flying hot dogs.
At that point, of course, I had no option but to leap out of Anita’s arms and sprint full speed down the road on my right.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Apple! Wait up!” I called to the crazed Eevee.
I grabbed Liam’s hand and started to run after her. “C’mon!”
Liam jerked his hand back to fold his arms across his chest. He continued to walk at a leisurely pace. I scowled at him and took off after Apple.
When Apple reached the large crowd of people, she stopped running and slipped through their legs. Seconds later, I reached the crowd. <Apple!> I called out to her. She didn’t answer.
I skimmed the crowd to find a space I could slip through to reach the front, but failed to find anything. Liam finally arrived at the scene and stood beside me. I grumbled and started shoving people aside. “Excuse me! Sorry! Was that your foot? Whoops. Hey, don’t you dare flick me off…” ensued for five minutes until I managed to spot a fluffy brown and white tail in the very front of the hoard of people.
<Apple!> I exclaimed when I finally pushed my way to the front next to Apple.
Apple looked up at me, grinning. <Hey, Anita. What’s up?>
I started to scold her. <Why in the world you run off like that? You could have—>
<Just watch the show,> Apple interrupted.
Startled, I looked at the scene in front of me, the scene that the crowd was gathered around. A girl with brown eyes and curly brown hair in a colorful dress was juggling flaming torches. Behind her was a clear tub of water about the size of a queen-sized bed. Above the water was a tightrope, some twenty feet in the air. A ladder led up to a platform on both sides of the tightrope, and beside the ladder closest to the girl was a small table. A Kirlia stood watching the girl with brown hair while leaning against the tub of water. In the tub of water, there was a Wooper swimming.
Someone jostled me and I was shoved to the right. “Hey! Watch it!” I yelped. I turned to apologize to whoever I had bumped into only to find myself looking at the cold, green eyes of Liam. “Err… Sorry,” I said awkwardly before returning my attention to the street show.
The girl had put down the flaming torches and was now announcing: “For this next act I’m going to need a volunteer!” The girl skimmed the crowd. “You, in the front! With the dark hair and polo shirt!” The girl pointed at Liam. “Yes, you. Come here!”
Liam frowned, but stepped forward carefully. The crowd whooped.
The girl nodded to Kirlia, and the Pokemon began climbing a ladder up to the tightrope. The girl whispered something to Liam and then shoved him in the direction of the other ladder on the opposite side of the tub of water. Liam eyed the tub of water and then folded his arms in a refusing manner. The crowd booed. Someone cried out “Chicken! C’mon, get up there!” Flung from somewhere in the crowd, a red tomato soared through the air and hit Liam square in the head.
Liam’s eyes flashed angrily. He shook his head, causing tomato bits to fly everywhere, and he began climbing the ladder.
In the meantime, the Kirlia was dancing about the tightrope. She (at least, I thought the Kirlia was a female) did a few flips and maintained perfect balance. The girl with curly hair, who was apparently the hostess of this street show, signaled the Kirlia with her arms. She then bent under the table and pulled out three brown objects.
I squinted at the objects.
I looked down and found Apple drooling. Strangely enough, she stayed put and did not tackle the girl to the ground as expected. I would have asked her why if not for fear of giving her ideas…
The girl tossed the hotdogs up to the Kirlia, who promptly began to juggle them on the tightrope. She performed several tricks, juggling the hotdogs behind her and even while jumping. Then the Kirlia threw one hotdog to the Wooper, one to Liam, and one into the crowd.
The Wooper jumped into the air and gobbled the first hotdog before returning to the water with a flip. Liam, now on a platform, caught his hotdog with his mouth, but spit it out in disgust. The hotdog fell towards the water and the Wooper devoured his hotdog as well.
As for the hotdog thrown into the crowd…
<Mine!> Apple yelled with a determined look in her eyes. She pounced into my arms.
Using my body as a springboard, Apple leapt into the air.
Of course, she snatched that third hotdog out of the air and landed safely in front of the cheering crowd.
And, of course, I tumbled back into some guy with a Mohawk and tattoos, meekly muttering “I’m sorry.”
After a round of applause, Apple returned to my side, grinning wider than that fat cat from Alice in Wonderland. The hostess held up a hand to halt the applause.
“And now, ladies and gentlemen, our final act. Our kind volunteer will jump into the arms of Kirlia!”
The Kirlia, still balanced on the tightrope, motioned for Liam to jump from the platform to her. Liam looked down for a moment at the water. He closed his eyes, squatted, and then jumped towards the Kirlia. The crowd was silent as Liam landed on Kirlia’s arms and Kirlia began to raise Liam over her head…
The girl with brown, curly hair frowned.
Suddenly, Liam was tumbling towards the water.
As soon as Liam left the Kirlia’s arms, the Pokemon managed to regain balance. She seemed slightly upset.
A water geyser rose from the tub and stopped Liam’s fall. The crowd broke into applause, believing this was all part of the show. I was not so sure.
The Wooper slowly lowered its watergun to bring Liam safely to the pool.
Apple was still smiling giddily. <Aren’t you glad I dragged you to the show?>
I chuckled. <Well, I did get to see Liam get soaked. I guess so. Was it just me though, or did the Kirlia mess up and drop Liam?>
<Well, duh,> Apple responded. I looked at her in surprise. <Kirlia balance like that using their psychic powers. The moment Liam touched Kirlia, her psychic powers were cancelled. Thus, she couldn’t maintain balance. She also tried to stop Liam from falling with her psychic, which obviously wouldn’t work either.>
<You knew all of this, but didn’t stop Liam from going up there?>
Apple shrugged. <Hey, there was water beneath him. And I knew he wasn’t going to die or anything… I had a vision beforehand…>
<People with the dark gift can show up in psychic visions?> I asked curiously.
<Not exactly. He was kind of omitted from the vision… but I knew he had to be there because you were there. No one was upset in the vision so I knew nobody would die and nothing bad would happen…>
I looked up to find Liam standing in front of me, thoroughly soaked. His wet black hair was unusually disheveled, falling into his face. Good thing it was currently sunny and about seventy-five degrees or he would be freezing. I smiled sweetly at him. “Hey, Liam,” I said casually.
Liam walked past me and stalked through the dispersing crowd. Several people were walking the other direction to give the girl with curly hair compliments and tips.
I smirked after Liam. <I suppose we should follow him,> I mentioned off-handedly.
<We could leave him,> Apple suggested.
<Yeah, but then I wouldn’t be able to make fun of him. There’d be no fun in that.>
<I suppose you’re right. Let’s go!>
We happily trotted after the angry, wet boy.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Wait till Erin hears about your performance!” Anita cackled.
I rolled my eyes at the irritating girl. This was the girl I was investigating. The girl believed to be a powerful, legendary Pokemon.
The girl was suspicious in a hundred different ways. Her powers, her background, her mother…
Even her naïve, bipolar, annoying personality. Well, that’s how Mew was rumored to be, anyway.
I closed my eyes, willing myself to relax. Today had been rough.
We stood outside an ice cream shop on the northern outskirts of Tinted Town. Supposedly, Erin had said she would meet us around here. Supposedly.
I shuddered slightly at the cool air; I was still damp, unfortunately. That obnoxious, curly-headed brunette was lucky I was on a mission and lacked time to avenge my embarrassment.
“Well, I’m going to go get ice cream! Want some?” Anita asked me cheerfully. For some reason, today she had been unusually happy. Maybe it had something to do with me having a g-d-awful day.
“No,” I flatly refused.
Anita shrugged and skipped into the shop, closely followed by her Eevee.
I sighed and leaned against a brick wall of a closed clothing store. I silently watched people wander up and down the street.
An attractive girl with long straight black hair caught my eye. She was wearing four inch heels and a skimpy black dress that hugged her body and ended just above her knees. She had long legs. It took me approximately two and a half seconds to realize those long legs were walking towards me.
My eyes were naturally lured to her chest where there was a tad too much cleavage showing. I couldn’t help staring for a moment. Hey, I’m a guy.
I closed my eyes. Geeze, she looked like something out of a stripper club. Now was not the time to be distracted by women, I tried to remind myself.
I opened my eyes and found myself staring down the girl’s top. Yeah, she was that close. Heat rose to my face and I quickly looked up.
Up close, I could see the girl had dark eyes, surrounded by dark eye shadow.
“Hey, there,” the girl said silkily.
I gulped and flattened myself against the wall.
I had an urge to shove her away and stalk off. She had no business doing this to me! On the other hand, if she wanted to…
The girl moved forward. My mind blanked. “I just happened to see a fine man standing here all lonely and handsome, and I thought: It’s my lucky day,” the girl murmured. Her breath was minty and calm. Mine was sour and fast.
The girl put one hand on my shirt and one hand on the wall behind me.
My pants tightened. ****.
The girl leaned in, her lips hovering over mine.
I closed my eyes. I could feel her warm breath on my nose.
“Gotcha,” she whispered.
The girl twirled away from me and began screeching madly with laugher. Stunned, I slowly slid down the wall, urging myself to breathe.
The girl pulled off a wig to reveal reddish-golden hair.
I heard another squeal of laughter. I looked up and saw Anita had joined Erin. I put my head between my knees in shame.
“Erin, is that really you? That was amazing!” Anita squeaked.
I peeked up. Even Anita’s Eevee was grinning.
Erin readjusted her dress so it wasn’t so… ****ty.
She strutted over to me, eyes glinting with laugher. “So, did you have an enjoyable day?”
“What, is poor wittle-Wiam tired of awl Erin’s tricks?” Erin said in a baby-voice. I nearly gagged. Her voice returned to normal. “What, didn’t enjoy cleaning a toilet? How about plunging into water?”
I looked up at her. How did she… awe, f—
“You… it… you…” I stuttered.
Behind Erin, Anita looked confused. Erin smirked. “You know, it’s amazing what you can do with a wig and a bit of make-up. The bonus was I got to use this hair twice! Once for the check-out desk girl and once for this one!”
“Just wonderful…” I muttered darkly.
“Wait. So you were the check-out girl?” Anita started. Erin opened her mouth to reply, but Anita continued before she could say anything. “And the street show girl?”
Anita whirled around. “And you knew!?” she barked at Apple.
The Eevee shrugged.
Erin held out her hand to help me up. I took it. “So, do you still think I’m shallow?”
Yup, I wanted to say. You’re even shallower than I originally believed because you went this berserk over what a person thinks of you.
Unfortunately, that answer would have probably earned me another horrible day.
So instead, I gave her my second best answer. “Nope. You’re not shallow.” Erin grinned at me. Then I added, “But you are a *****.”
Anita chuckled. Erin scowled at her and gave her a death glare.
Anita ignored her and continued to smile. “What? You are.”
Chapter 16: Rock & Roll Disaster
My eyes skimmed over the file.
Join Date: 1/7/12
Pokemon: Gloom, Pelipper, Hippowdon
Characteristics: Not Recorded
Successes: Stolen Pikachu from Orquid City, Orquid City kidnapping/hostage squad
Failures: Smith hostage incident
I sighed and pushed the file aside. Just another inferior Glop’emm grunt. Scratch that—another corruptible, inferior Glop’emm grunt.
The thought brought a smile to my lips.
If only the Master knew… I would love to see the look of fury upon his face, his cool calculating eyes finally out of control, filled with anger.
My smile widened as I recalled the Master’s little tantrum yesterday. It was the first time in over two years I had witnessed the boy lose his temper.
It was wonderful. Not only had I obtained information about Pokemon X the Master wished to keep hidden from me, but I had caused an unexpected outburst.
His anger sang of sweet victory.
And if he knew of my little scheme…
His helpless anger would be enough to make my eyes prick with tears of joy.
But alas, he could not know of my ploy yet. For at this moment, his anger would not be so helpless.
And that is what I planned to change.
I pressed the buzzer. “Marcus Ingblot, please enter.”
I folded my hands atop my desk and silently went over the planned bribe as I waited. Marcus was number seventeen.
Seventeenth of over one thousand Team Glop’emm members.
Seventeenth in my plan to take over Team Glop’emm.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“But Carly, I don’t want to go shopping,” Reece whined playfully.
“Ugh, I don’t want to go shopping with you either. But we have to find something to wear that will proficiently hide these cameras,” I retorted. Shopping with Reece was like shopping with a rock. He was unresponsive to every outfit I tried on, usually muttering how “it would look better off on my bedroom floor,” and he had to be practically dragged by the ear from shop to shop. In fact, shopping with a rock would be easier because at least rocks didn’t argue.
“Yeah, yeah. The cameras he sent to us with our new Pokemon. I don’t get why he wants us to wear them when we meet Anita. Is he checking her out or something?”
I rolled my eyes as I pulled him into a scarf shop.
“Seriously, why does he want us to wear the cameras?”
“I don’t know,” I answered coldly as I tried on a vermillion scarf. Maybe if I folded the scarf like this, the camera could rest hidden just beneath my shoulder… “How’s this look?” I asked. I found a mirror and examined my beauty, highlighted by the scarf.
I frowned at him and stomped off to the register.
Walking outside again, Reece said, “We need a plan or something. You know, to make it not obvious that we were supposed to find and talk to Anita and her friends.”
“Alright then, do something useful and come up with an idea while I find you something to wear,” I snapped. I peered into a store window and examined the different collar styles for men. I wished we were in Zahavah or even Azul City, where there were thousands of stylish shops. Here in Nelcorn City, my choices were pretty limited. A tawny shirt with a flared collar would emphasize Reece’s eyes, I mused silently. Not that I could probably find that around here…
Reece was silent for a minute and followed me into the store.
“How about a party?”
I had been eyeing a navy zip-up jacket. I turned to Reece. “What?”
“A party?” Reece asked again. His voice went a bit high, like he was scared of me or something. Whatever.
I smiled at him sweetly. “I do love parties.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I took a step. “Ouch,” I complained.
I took another step. “Ouch,” I complained again.
Unfortunately, my complaints were ignored. All two hundred and thirteen of them, thus far.
We were currently walking on a rocky hill next to Mint Mountain, or so Liam told me. After I had led the group in a wide circle earlier this morning, nobody would let me hold the map. In fact, since I had led the group astray, nobody had spoken more than two words to me.
And those two words had been uttered by Fiery an hour ago after my forty-third complaint.
They were: <Shut up!>
Erin and Liam had been arguing for the past half an hour. Something about whether albino Sneasel actually existed… In the meantime, most of my and Erin’s Pokemon had been let out of their Pokeballs for exercise (and because it would be hard to cause excessive trouble on a rocky hill in the middle of nowhere). Erin’s Taillow, Tweal, was happily doing air tricks above us. Allo, Sunflower, and Vanilla were taking turns riding on Griffy’s back. Vanilla kept trying to take longer turns so her fur wouldn’t get covered in the dusty dirt that covered the hill. Apple and Splash were attempting to jump from boulder to boulder without touching the ground. They were taking the game very seriously; once, Apple had jumped onto Liam’s head to avoid making contact with the ground. Liam had thrown me several dirty looks while I snickered at his well-ruffled hair after the episode. Fiery, of course, was muttering to himself and keeping a watchful eye on his younger siblings. Erin kept Wella in her Pokeball because there was no water and Wella would not be able to keep up waddling.
Thus, I was left to complain about my aching body while nobody listened.
Early this morning, Liam had woken me up to practice fighting. When I laughed at him, he aimed a kick at my stomach. That got me moving. Now, not only did one leg hurt from the Flareon bite, but both legs (and actually, my whole body) hurt from this morning’s practice.
Remind me why I was traveling with these wackos?
I couldn’t even make the time go faster by riding my bike. This area was way too rocky.
Bored, I watched Apple jump on top of a particularly large boulder. A slightly evil idea flickered across my mind… so I immediately implemented it.
I took a small breath and then rapidly shoved my mind in front of Apple just as she was about to jump to another rock. Apple ran into my barrier and fell back onto the boulder.
Apple glared at me, and suddenly something caught my foot.
I didn’t have to look down to know Apple had tripped me using her psychic powers. Reaching out with my mind again, I felt something strange. There were multiple minds near Apple, though I could see no other people or Pokemon near the Eevee besides Splash.
Curious, I entered one of the unexplained minds. Immediately I was bombarded with anger. The mind opened its eyes and spotted Apple jumping onto another rock. It was watching Apple with fury from a low angle, as if it was a boulder…
I snapped back to my body and peered behind Apple.
The large boulder had eyes. Angry eyes. In fact, the large boulder and several smaller rocks had angry eyes.
Geodudes and a Graveler.
Nobody even bothered to glance at me.
<Guys!> I yelled in everyone’s (except Liam’s) minds. Everyone turned to me. Oh, now they pay attention.
I nodded to the angry rocks with eyes behind me.
<Cool!> Splash yelped as he started leaping towards the large Graveler. I immediately returned him to his Pokeball, and then as a second thought returned the other three younger Eevees. Erin also returned Tweal.
The rock Pokemon stared at us and grunted angrily.
“Let’s try to back away slowly,” I muttered. “I’m going to see if I can figure out why they’re upset.” I entered the large Graveler’s mind and tentatively asked, <Hello?>
Anger was slowly flooding the Pokemon’s mind. Images flashed through his head—of us entering his territory, waking him from his nap, and someone currently invading his mind…
Hehe, my bad.
I was about to try explaining how we didn’t know, when the world started spinning.
The Graveler was rolling towards us. Quickly returning to my own body, I ordered, “Fiery, iron tail!”
Fiery leapt into action and twirled his bright tail at the Graveler.
Unfortunately, because the Graveler was spinning, the attack did barely any damage…
….and the Graveler kept rolling towards us…
…and Fiery had been flattened like a pancake….
…and the Geodudes and Graveler became even more upset because we attacked…
…and this was generally a really bad situation, thus deserving a run-on sentence.
“Anita, that was very stupid,” Liam commented dryly.
“Ya think?” I growled. I mustered as much of my psychic energy as I could and thrust it in front of the Graveler. I felt Griffy add some of his power as well.
The Graveler hit the psychic barrier with a large crash. The barrier shuddered but held against the rock Pokemon.
Quickly, I returned the knocked-out Fiery to his Pokeball.
The Geodudes’ grunts turned into a sort of chant, and the large Graveler that had hit the barrier pulled his fist back. It began to glow.
I scrambled backward to where Erin, Liam, and Erin’s Pokemon were attempting to back away slowly. When Erin spotted the Graveler’s glowing fist, she blanched.
“He’s using brick breaker,” Liam said nonchalantly.
“What does—” I started.
The Graveler threw his fist into the psychic wall. It shattered.
“Oh…” I trailed. Internally, I yelled to Apple, <Do something!>
<Ixney on the owerspey! Griffy would be able to sense it was me using psychic powers if I used them to build a barrier or psychic…>
<Okay, okay! Hey, how did you not know you were jumping on Geodudes, not rocks? I sensed it.>
<Oh, I knew. That’s what made the game so fun!>
<Apple, your stupid game might get us killed!>
<Hey, you’re the one who created the barrier that disrupted the Graveler’s sleep. I fail to see how any of that is my fault—>
“Um, now would be a good time to run,” Erin pointed out, interrupting our argument. Right. There were angry Geodudes in a semi-circle around us. Just in front of the Geodudes, a Graveler grunted loudly and stomped his arms against the ground.
We took Erin’s suggestion.
Several seconds later, I heard what sounded like an avalanche of rock Pokemon tumbling after us.
I gasped as a sharp pain shot up my wrapped foot, causing me to stumble. I tried to continue forward with a one-legged skip; my wrapped foot just wouldn’t move fast enough.
Erin noticed. “Griffy, pick up Anita!”
Something knocked under my legs, and suddenly I was on Griffy’s back.
<Thanks,> I told the Girafarig.
<It is no problem, Miss,> Griffy replied while his tail declared, <The cloud of doom will not rain on your feet.>
I glanced back and saw the Geodudes and Graveler were still in hot pursuit. We were going downhill and despite our small head start, they were gaining on us.
Erin yelled something to me, but I couldn’t hear her over the rumble of rolling rock Pokemon.
<Erin,> I said to Erin and Griffy. For once, the girl did not start freaking out because I was speaking telepathically. <Can Griffy carry all three of us and Apple?>
I felt Erin bite her lip. <It’s pushing it, but I suppose it’s worth a shot.>
<How about it, Griffy?>
<I can handle it, Miss.>
Apple, who had been running beside Griffy, jumped into my lap.
Griffy cantered over to Liam.
After taking a quick look behind us, Liam hopped onto Griffy in one swift motion.
He scooted closer to me to make room for Erin, who was soon also on Griffy’s rump attempting to prevent Griffy’s tail from biting her.
There was so little room that Liam had to wrap his arms around my waist and Erin had to wrap her arms around his waist to keep from falling off. Awkward much?
Now that we were all aboard, Griffy broke into a gallop. “Alright, Griffy, use agility!” Erin called over the loud rumble of the rocks.
Griffy put his head down and prepared to surge forward…
But he never did.
“Griffy, I said use agility!” Erin yelled in a panic. Griffy looked like he was struggling and failing to use the attack.
I tried to contact Griffy telepathically, but found that I could not.
Two and two clicked. Aw, ****, I knew what was happening.
I turned to Liam. “You suck, you know that?”
Liam gave me his distinct, all-too-familiar frown.
“Anita, this is not the time to be insulting—” Erin scolded.
“Liam’s dark gift is preventing our psychic powers from working. Griffy can’t use agility because Liam is touching him,” I explained.
“Liam, you do suck,” Erin agreed.
We all looked behind us. The Geodudes were only about ten yards from Griffy’s tail. They were still gaining because we couldn’t pick up speed. From Griffy’s heavy breathing I could tell he was already getting tired.
“Now what?” Erin asked helplessly.
“I vote we chuck Liam off.”
Erin kicked me.
“Fine. You could pull out Wella and spray water at them,” I suggested.
“Right. Because one Wooper would hold off all thirty or so rock Pokemon trying to squash us,” Erin replied sarcastically.
Liam sighed and pulled out a Pokeball.
A giant Pokemon appeared in a red beam. Sand began to whip around the area, limiting my sight, but not before I got a good look at the Pokemon that Liam had released.
It made my jaw drop.
Liam rolled his eyes. “Tyranitar, keep up that sandstorm and follow with an iron tail.”
Sand now flooded the air. I couldn’t see more than two feet ahead of me. Then again, neither could the Geodudes and Graveler.
While Fiery’s iron tail did very little damage, the Tyranitar’s tail was big and strong enough to send several Geodudes and the Graveler flying.
Or at least that’s what it sounded like from the loud CRACK followed by several thumps.
Less than a minute later, Liam returned his Tyranitar. The sandstorm, however, remained for several minutes as Griffy galloped forward.
“How—you—Pokemon—” I stuttered.
Liam snickered, “Told you you’d lose if you battled me.”
I angrily elbowed him in the stomach, causing him to be shoved backwards into Erin. Erin yelped in response and was pushed towards Griffy’s tail. Consequently, Griffy’s tail took the opportunity to bite into Erin’s shirt and tug her off of Griffy. Of course, chaos ensued, not helped by the dying sandstorm.
“What was that about?!” Erin demanded of Liam once we all dismounted to find where she had fallen.
Apple, who had been unusually quiet the whole ride, mumbled <Excuse me> before wandering a few yards away to puke.
Liam scowled and jerked his thumb at me. “She started it.”
“You’re the one who pulled a really strong Pokemon out of your butt! You could have saved us long before we were chased for a couple of miles by rampant rocks!” I yelled at him.
Apple paused from her puking for a moment. <Out of his butt? Really now?>
<Better out than in, I always say. Speaking of which—> Apple returned to… well, you know.
Liam folded his arms and snidely remarked, “Shouldn’t you be thanking me?”
I marched up to the irritating jerk and poked my finger at his chest. “Shouldn’t you be explaining yourself! What’s your problem?!”
Liam opened his mouth and said, “None—”
I threw my arms up in frustration. “—of my business,” I finished for him. “I know. I’ve heard. But you know what? IT IS MY BUSINESS! WE’RE ALL FREAKIN TRAVELING TOGETHER!”
“Anita,” Erin said softly.
I whirled around. “And don’t you start siding with him! You—”
“I wasn’t going to!” Erin hollered crossly. “Will both of you just quit it?!” She jabbed her finger in my direction. “You need to control your temper, and you—” Erin’s finger swiveled to Liam. “Anita’s right. We do deserve some answers!”
Liam looked from me to Erin, and then turned around on the spot. He started to stalk away from us…
…only to run into something?
Or someone. The dust storm was finally settling so we could see again. Liam had walked directly into a tall figure. Behind the figure was a large building surrounded by a tall stone wall.
“I thought I heard voices over here,” the tall figure said. I could see now that the figure was a man with short black hair and a mustache. “How did you kids get out here? You very well know the campus rules!” The man grabbed Liam by the arm. “Now come along.”
Erin and I exchanged looks of confusion. She returned Griffy to his Pokeball while Apple trotted to my side.
Liam, meanwhile, yanked his arm out of the man’s grasp. He looked like he was about to pull one of his fighting moves on the man so I sternly said, “Liam, don’t.” Strangely enough, he actually listened. A puzzled look crossed his face, though.
“Excuse me,” I said politely. “Where exactly are you trying to take us?”
“Now don’t play dumb with me, girl. You know you’re outside the Standard Trainer Academy Boarding School boundaries.” The man took Liam’s arm and pulled him towards the stone wall. I realized that there was an open doorway in part of the wall.
I looked at Erin and she shrugged. We followed the man.
Apple sighed. <He thinks you guys are students.>
Well that certainly explained things! “Sir, we’re not students; we’re trainers.”
The man snorted. He shoved Liam through the open doorway, and before Erin, Apple, and I could react, he had pulled us through as well. A door slammed behind us.
“Like I haven’t heard that one before.”
i loved the union alalogy!
cant wait for more!!!!!!
In Memoria of Onemanga.
Hello! I was so excited about finishing chapters 19-21, that I decided I had to post another chapter. So, here you go.
Evertime- Erm, what analogy? And, wait no longer
Chapter 17: Mis-Taken
I was Master of Team Glop’emm.
I was Master of dark Pokemon.
I was Master of my emotions.
Those remained unmastered.
There was a baseball field, a playground, and a swing set at the Vintage Village Elementary School. During the recess hour, the well-kept baseball field and playground were populated by several children while the rusted, old swing set usually remained unoccupied.
Today, a six-year-old boy with hair the color of the midnight sky and eyes brighter and greener than the moon sat on a decaying swing.
Usually, the boy could be found on the outskirts of the baseball field or on the edge of the playground. The boy always watched the other children play, though he refrained from participating in their games. Aside from the occasional bully, the other children ignored the strange boy. A few months ago, some children had kindly reached out and talked to the boy; the boy had coldly rejected them.
On this day, nobody noticed the absence of the quiet boy mingling where the grass met the woodchips—with one exception: a girl with raven-colored hair and eyes just as dark.
She had watched the lonely boy before, but never dared approach him. Now, however, the boy looked so miserable that her pity overcame her fear. She skipped over to the boy and sat down next to him on another worn swing.
“Hi! My name’s Lillian Isabelle Penelope Smith,” the girl said, wiggling her legs to get the swing moving slightly. “But you can call me Lily. What’s your name?”
“Go away,” the boy replied stiffly, staring into the sky.
The girl’s stomach went sour and her throat clenched. She knew the boy did this to everyone, but she couldn’t help feeling hurt.
Tears slowly trickled down the girl’s face. She pumped her legs, forcing the swing to move. Then she slumped over, letting gravity take control. The wind brushed her cheeks, drying her tears as they fell.
The boy watched her for a moment and then turned back to the sky. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
The girl smiled bitterly and slowly let her swing come to a stop. “I understand. You’re sad and lonely.”
“I’m neither sad nor lonely,” the boy replied harshly.
“Then what are you? Why aren’t you on the edge of the playground, where you always are? Something’s wrong,” the girl said, almost accusingly.
“I’m thinking. Nobody noticed anyway.”
“I noticed.” The girl paused to blow her nose in the sleeve of her shirt. “What are you thinking about?” she asked more kindly.
The boy hesitated, but decided to tell the truth. “Death.”
“Oh.” Then the girl spoke in almost a whisper: “My grandpa died last year. I miss him. He used to read me stories…”
“I’m sorry,” the boy responded solemnly.
The two children sat in comfortable silence for a time.
Finally, the boy confided, “My mom drowned two years ago. I miss her too.”
The girl nodded.
The unusual sound of nearby crumpling woodchips sounded in the boy’s ears. He looked up.
A large kid with taunting eyes and wind-whipped hair approached. Apparently, the occasional bully had tired of whatever game had previously been occupying his time.
“Hey, Cat, who’s the new puss?”
The boy refused to acknowledge the bully. ‘Cat’ was the name the bullies had given the boy—his eyes glowed like a cat’s.
The girl wound her fingers nervously.
“I asked you a question, Cat.”
Still no reply.
The large kid turned to the girl. “So are you the Cat’s girlfriend? You’re a freak, just like he is.”
The girl looked down at her shoes, her face and eyes red with tears.
“Stop it,” the boy demanded, staring down the bully. “She didn’t do anything.”
“Ooh, your mom did teach you to talk!” the bully exclaimed in mock excitement. “Did she teach you to be chiv-al-ruz too? Standing up for little ladies? She must be a dumb—”
The black-haired boy jumped from the swing and tackled the bully. Despite the size disadvantage, the large kid fell on his back.
“DON’T TALK ABOUT MY MOM!” the boy shouted, punching the larger kid in the nose. Blood flowed freely. The bully made a grab for the boy, but the boy darted back. He aimed a sharp kick at the bully’s stomach.
With an “Oof,” the bully rolled into a ball.
The bell rang, signaling an end to recess. The boy and girl quickly left the swing set and the fallen bully. They walked inside towards their classroom while adults checked the outside to ensure that no kids tried to stay behind.
“That was brave,” the girl whispered. Even though other students were chatting, the hallway seemed abnormally quiet.
The boy shook his head, but didn’t say anything. He walked with the girl all the way to her assigned desk when they reached their small classroom. As he hurried to his own desk, he expected to be called down to the office at any moment.
The moment never came.
Neither did the bully.
The only time the matter came up in class was when one of the bully’s friends raised his hand and asked, “Where’s Tommy?”
The teacher calmly replied, “He fell during recess. He’s going to be alright though. I’m sure he’ll be back tomorrow.”
The boy was surprised, but glad. Apparently, the bully was not a tattletale.
The minutes ticked by. Not soon enough, school was over.
The boy gathered his lunchbox and wandered over to the girl’s desk. He waited silently while she packed her bag. Together, the two children strolled out of school.
Once outside, the girl started toward the playground. “Wait,” the boy said. “Isn’t your mom or dad here to pick you up?”
The girl shook her head. “My parents work far away near the mountain, and I live near the mountain, too. It’s really hard for them to pick me up and drop me off at home before six.”
“What do you do till then?”
The girl shrugged.
The boy held out his hand and smiled slightly. “C’mon. My dad can take you home. Maybe we can get ice cream!” The boy led her to his car, a small black convertible with the top up.
“How was school?” the boy’s father asked as the boy entered the car.
“Dad, can we go get ice cream with Lily?” The father smiled. This was the first time the boy had ever made plans with another child since they moved to Vintage Village.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“This is all your fault,” Erin hissed to me quietly. “If you hadn’t yelled so loudly…”
“And you gave me that ‘Don’t hurt the poor, confused man look’ before!” Liam whispered. “I would have kicked his ass!”
“I thought he would actually listen to us! I thought someone would listen to us!” I hissed back at them.
“Ahem!” The teacher cleared his throat loudly and stared at us. That’s right. I said teacher. The man (I think he was a security guard) had escorted us into the building and told us to get back to class. When he wouldn’t listen to our objections, we decided we’d just leave after class and walked into a random classroom.
So now, we were sitting in a large room with about one hundred other students. The teacher was lecturing and writing some nonsense on the blackboard. He, apparently, had too many students to realize that we did not go to this darned school.
Apple sat in my lap and watched the teacher intently. I think she was actually paying attention…
<Anita, I had another vision.>
<I think I’m getting them because we’re near Mint Mountain…it’s about—well, I better show you.>
Apple opened her mind, allowing me to view what she was viewing, to think what she was thinking, to remember what she was remembering—
A dark cave.
Tickety, tickety, tickety…
My heart was racing, skipping an occasional beat.
Pounding because time was up.
I took in a deep breath and shut my eyes. With my last reserves, I reached around my cave to ensure my safety…
Or rather, the safety of my child.
“Yes, we’ve detected strange psychic readings around Mint Mountain in the past few days. My team and I are checking it out…” a voice said from directly below my large cave’s entrance.
Too close! Too late…
My eyes flew open.
No! I would not allow my child to be endangered! I could hold it off until I found a new haven. With a psychic pulse, I propelled myself out of my cave.
Pain shot up my spine. My body convulsed.
I was falling.
My energy was drained. I had not enough to levitate, not enough to save myself, not enough to save my child.
I plummeted through a purple cloud. Little purple townhouses rushed towards me.
Everything was purple.
I closed my eyes.
The purple remained but a second.
Red and blue burst through the air.
I gasped, causing Erin and Liam to give me funny looks. <That’s not what’s going to happen to you, is it?!>
<Not any time soon. No, I’m afraid, that is what has already happened to me… Those, I believe, were the dying moments of my father Mew.>
<Don’t be. If it weren’t for those moments, I probably would have never met you.> Apple retreated back to her own mind.
I shook my head, attempting to drive the images from my mind. It was too painful… Slowly, I breathed in. I imagined a picture of the vision I had just seen, and I imagined shoving that picture to the back of a very messy file cabinet. I slammed the cabinet shut, and breathed out.
That, my friends, is what I did with painful things.
Pretending I had never seen Apple’s vision, I looked around the room and saw that a few other kids had Pokemon beside them or on their lap. There was a Zigzagoon, a Mankey, and a Delibird that I could see.
I watched Erin and Liam for a moment. Liam was staring off into space and Erin was doodling hearts on a piece of scrap paper.
Curiously, I peeped into her mind.
—his hot rugged breath filled my nose. So delicious and warm. I leaned in for more, and received not just his breath, but the eccentric tingle of his lips on mine. His arm wrapped around my waist—
I leapt out of her mind and gagged. This, I reminded myself with a mixture of guilt and disgust, is why I shouldn’t go drifting into other peoples’ minds, unless absolutely necessary.
Minutes ticked by slowly. Eventually, I became so bored, I actually turned my attention to the teacher. I noticed the teacher was placing a stapled packet upside down on everyone’s desks. I peered past the teacher to the board as the man distributed the papers to my row; it read Quiz.
“Alright, class,” the teacher said as he returned to the front of the room. “Remember, Kadabra will catch you if you try to cheat. So don’t. Now make like the Browns and turn it over!”
There was a loud shuffling of papers throughout the room as the students turned their papers over. Liam, Erin, and I did the same.
“What are the Browns?” I asked Liam quietly. Liam was glancing over the test.
“They’re a fantasy football team,” Liam replied.
“It’s the most popular Gameboy game,” Liam explained. “The player picks teams based off of certain skills and then plays a game utilizing these skills. The game involves attempting to make a team throw and pass an oddly shaped ball to score points. Practice can improve a team’s skill. It is actually a bit like a Pokemon battle, with all the strategy and recognition of weaknesses involved in the game… Anyway, the Browns are notorious for being the worst team a player can choose to play with on the game. ‘Turn it over’ refers to giving the possession of the ball to the opposing team.”
“Huh,” was all I could say. These researchers and their rants…
Liam and I looked up to find the teacher standing in front of us. His hazel eyes were filled with a smug happiness, as if he found joy in catching students misbehaving.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation, but you two have an appointment with the dean.” He spoke like he thought he was actually funny. “Now!” he added with a warm fuzzy smile. The kind of smile that made me wish a pot would drop from the ceiling and knock the man out cold.
Liam shrugged and got up from his desk. I followed suit. We wound our way back to the wooden door we had entered through.
“Oh, and zeros for both of you!” the teacher called after us as we reached the exit. Like that was a big threat to us.
I looked back at Erin, who seemed at a loss of what to do. <Get yourself kicked out of class,> I suggested.
Taking my advice to heart, Erin stood up and punched the teacher in the stomach.
Erin’s greatest moment, in my opinion.
The teacher doubled over while the other students began chuckling and murmuring. Pointing to the door, he muttered, “Dean’s office.”
Erin didn’t hear because she was already with us at the door.
Liam delayed a moment while he watched the teacher. “I’ve never seen you resort to physical violence. Why’d you do it?” Liam questioned.
Erin stuck her thumb in my direction. “She’s the one who told me to get thrown out of class.” Erin changed the subject as we left the classroom. “So, anyone know where the dean’s office is?” she asked jokingly.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not on the campus,” I answered, walking towards a door below an EXIT sign.
There was a white flash of light in front of us. The assistant Kadabra appeared.
<I will be escorting you to the dean’s office.>
We all sighed and followed the Kadabra.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“So you see, sir, we really aren’t students here,” Anita finished explaining to the dean. She had recounted our adventure with the Geodudes and Gravelers, which explained how we came to this remote school. Apparently, most people did not travel the way we came through the hills. I had a good idea why.
The dean stoked his tiny goatee thoughtfully. The man was ugly and unfashionable, wearing extremely high waisted Cauchy pants and an orange striped shirt.
The dean poked his keyboard and sighed. “Well, you kids have valid Ids and you aren’t in the school’s system…”
Anita and I looked at him hopefully. Please, I begged silently, let us out of this hell-hole…
The dean cleared his throat. “Clearly, you three are not students. However, I think it would be beneficial for students to learn from you—actual trainers—”
“Actually, Liam and I are researchers,” I interrupted.
The dean eyed me, agitated. “Nonetheless,” he continued. “It would be beneficial for our students to interact with you. Plus, due to… bad behavior… I believe you three owe me. Why don’t you stay a night or two? I’ll have someone get your rooms ready for you.” He said this all in a tone that made it seem like we had no choice.
This is why I always hated school. They’re always filled with controlling adults who think they know everything. Like that teacher… he was such a jerk to Anita and Liam. When he acted like a kid himself, I wasn’t going to treat him any differently than I treated other boys I deemed nasty.
I peered at the faces of my fellow travel buddies to gauge their reaction.
Liam, as usual, looked like he didn’t care, and Anita looked a bit worried. I think she wanted to leave, but wasn’t quite sure how to ask. When she turned her attention to Apple, I knew she was discussing something telepathically.
“What if we don’t want to stay?” I asked the question Anita wouldn’t.
“Kadabra!” The dean called. The annoying psychic Pokemon appeared out of nowhere. “See to it that these kids don’t leave the campus.” He took a last look at us. “You three are dismissed for now. Enjoy your stay. Kadabra will show you where the mess hall is for dinner.”
As we walked out, Anita glared at me. Well, if she’d known this would happen, she should have spoken up.
As we entered the mess hall through plastic double doors, strange fumes filled my nose. It smelled like cinnamon, grease, pineapple, and maybe meatloaf?
I took one look at the food and lost my appetite. “I’ll go find us a table,” I said. Neither Anita nor Liam looked surprised, though they both got into the food line.
I wandered about until I found a group of nice-looking kids about our age. “Are these seats taken?” I asked a girl with dark skin and sun-bleached hair and a freckled boy with orange-tinted hair.
They shook their heads. “Are you new here?” the girl asked. “I’m Tara, by the way, and this is Max.”
“I’m Erin, and no, I’m not a student…” By the time I was finished explaining our situation, Liam and Anita had already sat down. Anita had taken a plate of food for her bizarre Eevee as well.
“Most faculty members don’t approve of Pokemon eating human food,” Max said, nodding to a group of teachers staring Apple down from across the room. “They say it’s a waste. I’ve gotten detention before for doing it.”
“It’s not like they can actually do anything about it,” I pointed out. “They can’t really give us detention.”
Just as I spoke, Apple’s plate of food started floating away. Our Kadabra “escort” was deeply concentrating on the plate.
“Eev!” Apple complained. Anita turned around and saw the problem. She stared at the plate for a moment and clenched the fork she was holding tighter. Just as the plate was nearing the Kadabra, her eyes glowed for less than a second and she smiled.
The plate flipped over, spilling its contents all over the Kadabra.
We all giggled while the authorities threw mean glances our way.
“Attention students, attention students!” We heard the dean’s voice ring over the PA system. “There has been a change in the schedule. All students are to report to the arena and sit in their assigned row. Also, I would like to see the following people in my office immediately: Brandon Vilcove, Tara Kain, Aaron Arnold, Liam Mendol, Anita Parkwood, Erin Kendle.”
“Looks like we were called to the office,” Tara commented dryly. “Wonder what cockamamie scheme he has this time…”
“You mean it’s not because we’re in trouble?” Anita asked in surprise.
Tara raised her eyebrows. “I’m one of the school’s top students. So are Aaron and Brandon. We don’t get in trouble.”
The dean clapped his hands. “This is simply marvelous! A chance to show the good of the Standard Trainer Academy Boarding School and prove the academy is a more effective way of teaching kids that becoming a trainer at age thirteen!”
Anita and Tara both rolled their eyes.
“Anyone else notice the school’s acronym spells STABS?” I asked.
The dean ignored me. “Kadabra, make sure you get all of it on tape. We can use it for a promotional video.”
“Kadab,” the Kadabra agreed.
A video camera floated beside the dean as he hustled us out of his office down a flight of steps to the arena’s entrance.
“Alright, kids. You six will be battling each other.” The dean turned to look at the floating camera. “Kadabra, turn the camera on!”
The Kadabra nodded and a green button flashed on the camera.
“Here in Pokemon Academy’s own arena we have three experienced trainers battling our own students—” The dean spoke to the camera until I interrupted.
“Excuse me! Liam and I are researchers,” I exclaimed. “Not trainers! And it’s hardly fair that you’re having us battle your top students!”
“Kadabra, remind me to edit that out later.” The dean blatantly ignored me. He smiled at the camera and continued, “The battles will be one on one. Brandon versus Liam, Anita versus Tara, and Erin versus Aaron.”
Liam stepped in between the camera and the dean. “We did not agree to any of this nonsense.”
The dean shrugged.
Anita stepped beside Liam. “I agree. If any of us do not wish to battle, we shouldn’t have to. I, for one, would like to battle, but Erin, for instance, might not want to. You can’t force her.”
Actually, I suspected Liam was the one who didn’t want to battle, but whatever…
The dean frowned.
Anita’s eyes flickered between the dean and the Kadabra. She saw I was watching her.
<Kadabra noticed we were eager to leave by picking up some of our thoughts,> Anita said. I grimaced at her voice in my head. I hated when she did this. It was like my mind was invaded… <Not that he needed to read our minds to know that—>
“Anita,” I said sharply. She stopped speaking.
The dean smiled smugly. “How about if you win two of three battles, I won’t attempt to stop you from leaving after. You won’t be followed by your escort.” The dean gestured to Kadabra.
“We could leave now if we wanted to,” Anita replied challengingly. She narrowed her eyes.
“Not with Kadabra on your tail!” the dean answered cheerfully.
Anita opened her mouth, but closed it after a stern look from Liam. Apparently, Liam wasn’t keen on other people knowing their abilities.
The dean checked his watch. “Time’s being wasted!” He opened the arena doors and herded the six of us forward.
We were standing on the far side of the arena stage. The floor was made of dirt and the ceiling was open to the stars. It looked like about a thousand people were in the stadium. Bright lights illuminated the area. An announcer’s voice boomed, “First up is Brandon Vilcove versus Liam Mendol. It is a one-on-one battle. Participants, please report to your sides.”
Liam and Brandon walked in opposite directions and then stood facing each other on either side of the field. The audience was murmuring quietly. I sat down next to Anita in a plastic chair provided by the dean.
Liam crossed his arms.
In the very center of the stadium, the dean held a red flag up. As he pulled the flag downwards, he yelled, “Begin!”
Brandon released a Wartortle.
Liam stood still, his arms stilled crossed.
Anita started yelling at him frantically, telling him he had better battle or she would “feed him to the Geodudes without his balls! Both types of balls!”
Funny, I thought. She had said earlier we shouldn’t be forced to battle. Then again, that was before the dean had sort of made a deal with us…
“If you do not release a Pokemon, you will be disqualified and Brandon will be declared the winner!” The dean said to Liam gleefully.
Liam rolled his eyes.
Ten seconds later, the announcer declared. “The challenger has failed to release a Pokemon within the time limit! Brandon Vilcove is the winner!”
Brandon looked baffled, but he returned his Wartortle and walked off of the field.
Liam smiled and strode over to a still yelling Anita. He silently withstood her insults until she finally yelled, “Now we’ll be stuck here for at least another night!”
Liam’s smile widened. “Not if you win.”
“Will Tara Kain and Anita Parkwood please take their positions on the playing field,” the announcer requested.
Anita gave Liam a final glare before marching out onto the field. Her Eevee skipped after her.
Tara already was in position; she had a confident air about her. The dean waved his red flag, signaling the start of the battle.
Anita nodded to Apple and the Eevee assumed a fighting stance.
“Kit, go!” Tara ordered. In a flash, a beautifully-coated Delcatty appeared. “Sing!” Tara yelled while Anita ordered a “Dig!”
I covered my ears as the Delcatty’s voice blared throughout the stadium. Apple popped up beneath the Delcatty, abruptly cutting off his voice. The Delcatty proceeded to attempt to hit Apple with his paws, but Apple dodged with a spin.
The battle went on.
Bored, I turned my attention to my opponent, Aaron.
He was a well dressed boy, wearing a loosely collared shirt. His dark, curly hair fell about his face. Next to him an older boy, Brandon, whispered something in his ear.
Aaron’s eyes flickered from the battle to me. I smiled, and he returned the favor.
I watched the battle again.
Apple was now lightheartedly flirting with Kit. The Delcatty’s cute charm ability seemed to have finally affected Apple, but I wasn’t so sure it made a difference. Anita was yelling at Apple in frustration and while Apple ignored Anita’s commands, she continued to playfully dodge Kit’s attacks to the point Kit couldn’t lay a hit on her.
This was so stupid. We were battling these kids because the dean wanted publicity… because the dean wanted the dean wanted us to stay… because the dean wanted yada-yada-yada.
I wasn’t a student here. I didn’t give a flying **** about what the dean wanted.
I wanted to kick his rude ass.
Aaron caught my eye again. I grinned and walked over to him. Before he could say a word, I said, “I’m not going to battle you.”
Aaron’s smile faded. “I was looking forward to it.”
“Sorry, I’d rather kick the dean’s butt though,” I replied.
Aaron grinned. “Now that’s something I’ll look forward to even more.”
“Delcatty is unable to battle! Anita Parkwood is the winner!” the spokesman announced.
I looked at the field and saw Apple jumping around Anita.
Tara returned her Delcatty, frowning. She stiffly congratulated Anita and walked back to us. Apparently, she didn’t lose well.
“Next up, it’s Aaron against Erin!” The announcer chuckled lamely at the play on words. “Aaron Arnold versus Erin Kendle!”
I boldly stepped forward and yelled, “If it’s alright with you, Mr. Dean, I’d rather battle you than Aaron.”
The crowd hushed.
Scratching his head nervously, the dean stared at me. He obviously didn’t know how to react.
“You don’t think you can take me?” I challenged.
“Of course not,” the dean replied quickly. “I mean, of course I can beat you. I just… Aaron, is this okay with you?”
Aaron shrugged and nodded.
“It seems there had been a change in match-ups! Our very own dean, Mr. Johnkloven will be battling Erin Kendle!”
The crowd roared.
The dean strode across the field to his position as I walked to mine. Aaron took over the role as referee. He waved the red flag about his head and then thrust it downwards, giving us the signal to begin.
“Kadabra!” the dean called. Our stupid “escort” Kadabra teleported to his side. I noticed Brandon had picked up the video camera. He was zooming in on his own toe.
“Griffy, go!” I released Griffy from his Pokeball. <All we have to do is get a physical hit in. Kadabras have crap physical defense,> I thought, knowing Griffy would hear.
“Agility,” I yelled, remembering Kadabras were extremely fast.
Kadabra’s eyes were already glowing with a psychic. Griffy had started to pick up speed, but was stopped abruptly by the Kadabra’s attack.
“Light Screen!” I ordered. Although I couldn’t see it, a barrier must have formed between Griffy and the Kadabra because Griffy could move again.
“Keep it up!” I hoped to force the Kadabra towards Griffy by blocking his psychic attacks. The dean took the bait.
“Fire punch!” He commanded.
“Let it hit!” Griffy stood still and prepared for the punch. The Kadabra’s fist glowed as he rushed at Griffy. “Once he hits you, finish this with a stomp!”
Kadabra hit Griffy on the side. Griffy reared and stomped down hard on the Kadabra. The Pokemon visibly flinched.
“Bite!” I demanded, irked that the stomp didn’t finish off the Kadabra.
Griffy turned around and jumped backwards. His tail lunged at the Kadabra and bit down hard on his long ear.
Our Kadabra “escort” was knocked out cold.
The dean stood still, a stunned look on his face. The students all whistled and hooted loudly.
I approached the dean and held out my hand. He took it, eyeing me oddly, like I was an endangered bird or something.
“So long, control freak!” I said before spinning around to join Anita and Liam.
Anita high fived me and Liam gave me a quirky smile. I peered past them to Brandon, Tara, and Aaron. Aaron gave me a thumbs-up.
A teacher accosted us as we walked toward the arena entrance.
Before he could say a word, Anita sharply replied to his thought: “We’ll escort ourselves out. Thanks anyway.”
Evertime- Oh, you mean onion, lol.
Anyway, new chapter, and now I'm a chapter behind so I'll have to post again sometime this week.
Chapter 18: Emotional Complex
My memories were revisiting me for very simple, logical reasons.
For the past four years, I had been trapped in Drape Town. I had to work to gain the trust of Glop’emm members— I focused solely on making Team Glop’emm successful while I awaited the DNA tracking device.
Then the opportunity arose to travel. It was necessary, of course. My research could not be done in Drape Town and no other human could be trusted to do it.
Such a drastic change of scenery would obviously reawaken memories I had buried long ago.
A boy, a girl, and the boy’s father drove in a convertible away from an ice cream shop.
The girl and the boy were happily licking their fingers after eating ice cream, arguing over which flavor was better while the boy’s father drove the routine route to the girl’s house. “I called your mother, Lily,” the father said, a hint of worry in his voice. “Nobody answered so I left a message.”
The girl replied, “Don’t worry. They don’t usually answer at work.”
“I know.” The father frowned, but kept driving. The mountains grew. As the car arrived on the girl’s street, the father came to an unexpected stop. “What’s that?”
The two children peered through the front windshield.
A pink object was falling from the sky over the scattered houses.
Abruptly, there was an explosion.
Blue fire burst through the air where the pink object was before. Several houses and buildings collapsed, while others caught fire—red flames meeting blue.
Nothing happened to the car, though several nearby houses were up in flames.
The father picked up his phone. Sirens could be heard in the distance. He dropped the phone; help was already on the way.
Pulling the car around, the father sped back down the road.
The girl burst into tears while the boy tried to comfort her by patting her shoulder.
“Mom and dad… they were near that… they—I want my mom and dad,” the girl cried.
“Hush. We can’t go into the fire,” the father replied. There was a sharp edge to his voice. A mile down the road, the father pulled into the police station. He swiftly opened the back door and yanked the girl from the car. “Come on.”
“Bye—” The door slammed shut.
“Bye, Lily,” the boy replied softly.
Five minutes later the father returned. “She’ll be alright,” the father assured his son. “The police will handle it.”
“We could’ve… She could’ve stayed with us a little longer…” The boy stared out the window as they pulled out of the police station. He noticed they were driving back towards the fire.
The father ignored his son’s comment. “It had to be a psychic pulse,” he explained. “I had dark material twined into this convertible when it was being built. It was unaffected by the explosion.”
“Are we going to find Lily’s parents?” the boy asked, unable to think of any other explanation for his father’s actions.
“No,” the father replied harshly. “The police will handle that, too. If that pulse was what I think it was, I have to capture and destroy the Pokemon that created it.”
The boy noticed his father was shaking.
“Damn them!” the father burst out suddenly. Ahead, the road was blocked by a wall of bright blue flames. “Hold on!” The car jerked forward, zooming into the flames.
“Stop!” the boy screamed. He shut his eyes tightly, expecting to feel pain any second.
Surprisingly, the car easily passed through the wall, the blue flames licking at the window. The inside of the car heated up slightly, but in the next moment, the car was on the other side of the wall. The father pounded on the brakes and the car skid to a stop.
The father and the boy panted in the car for a moment. The father turned around. “Are you okay?”
The boy nodded.
The father searched the boy’s eyes. They were wide and round—but mostly green.
“First they destroyed our city… our people—your mother, your aunt. Now they destroy this town and hundreds of other innocent people—families are split apart.”
Lily, the boy thought.
“Legendary Pokemon are too dangerous, too hurtful, too random… Nobody seems to understand this. I came here to escape—so you would be safe.” The man shook his head sorrowfully.
The boy looked away, out the window and into the flames.
“But you’re not. Nobody is. I have to destroy the cause of this destruction... for your safety, for everyone’s safety.”
Tears welled in the boy’s eyes.
The father began to climb out of the car.
“Dad, I’m coming, too. You’ll be hurt by the psychic without me.” The father began to shake his head. “Dad… I don’t want to lose anymore.” More quietly, the boy added, “I don’t want to lose you.” The boy looked fiercely at his father.
Father and son stared at each other for a moment. The father sighed and opened the car’s passenger door. The boy took his father’s hand and stepped out of the car.
The air was hot and dry, but breathable. Blue fire did not create smoke.
The blue wall of fire surrounded the area. Everything else, besides the convertible, was ash. In the center of the ring of blue fire was a large mound of ash.
And purple eyes, peeking through the ash.
The father pulled out a Pokeball and without uttering a word, his Houndoom appeared.
The eyes moved up in the ash.
The Houndoom lunged toward the pile. In a split second, the eyes burst from the heap of ash. The Houndoom missed its target and circled the creature from below. The eyes belonged to a grayish-pink body, now floating in the air. It was the size of maybe a loaf of bread, though its tail was twice that length. The creature had short, stubby arms and thick, rabbit-like legs.
The father smiled grimly. “Mew. What I suspected.”
The Pokemon looked confused, like it was lost. It continued to float in the air.
“Flamethrower,” the father commanded.
Flames spouted from the Houndoom’s mouth. The Mew floated above the attack and then curiously stuck its tail into the Houndoom’s fire.
A screech of pain flew from the Mew’s mouth. It circled the blue fire wall once, causing the blue fire to fade.
The red continued to burn.
In the blink of an eye, the Mew was gone.
“Do you know the scent?” the father asked his Houndoom. The dog Pokemon nodded.
“Mew won’t be far from here, at least not yet—the apple won’t fall far from the tree. We’ll track down this apple. We’ll find it. We’ll destroy it—for the good of Acceber.”
So why didn’t it ever feel that way?
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I kicked my leg out.
Liam caught and twisted it so I fell awkwardly on my stomach onto the hard, dry ground.
I tried to get up, but couldn’t. Liam must have been sitting on my legs. I threw my right arm backwards in an attempt to hit that irksome kid. Of course, he caught that too, folded my elbow, and pulled painfully upwards. I winced—just when my leg was feeling better he had to go injure some other body part…
“I give up,” I muttered between breaths.
“Find a way out of this,” Liam demanded.
If he was any normal person, I could have created a barrier and my current problem would disappear. But nooo; he had to be super special with his dumb dark gift.
“Ow!” I cried out as Liam pulled my arm back farther. “Are you trying to break my arm?”
The pressure on my arms and legs ceased.
“Get up,” Liam ordered.
I remained face down on the ground for a second longer before forcing myself up. I shook my arm a bit in an attempt to make its soreness dissipate. My attempt failed miserably.
“I’ve taught you all the basics,” Liam said. He paused, not sure how to continue. Yeah, he sure taught me the basics—he had basically killed me with his practices! Yesterday, I had spent nearly the whole day practicing a simple punch while we were traveling. Yes, people stared at me like I was a lunatic. Luckily, there were very few people in the area. The day before… well, the day before we were chased to a screwy school by rampant Geodudes—but before that we had worked on kicks.
“The basics are all you need,” Liam finally continued. “Now you have to work on implementing these basic skills in a useful, original manner.”
“And how will that help me beat you?” I asked, irritated.
“If you act in an unexpected manner, your opponent will be unable to foresee your attacks and you will have the advantage,” Liam lectured. “Also, you very well know that I am not your opponent—”
“Really then? Who else am I going to be fighting without my powers?”
Liam smirked. “I never said you could not use your gift.”
I started to complain that my gift didn’t freakin affect him, but he chose that moment to lunge at me.
I dodged to the left, but he was already correcting his movements so his next attack would hit. I expected him to throw a left-handed punch my way, but instead found myself falling from a quick twirl of his right foot.
The air was knocked from me. I looked up in time to see Liam’s leg coming down hard. I scrambled out of the way.
This was so stupid. He had obviously been doing this his whole life. How could I be expected to do something to catch him off guard? I had been training for what, a week?
Liam aimed another punch at me. I wearily jumped to the side, only to be hit in my abdomen anyway. I wish I could stop his punches like he could mine; I simply wasn’t strong enough.
Before I had time to consider my next move, both of my arms were twisted behind my back. For a moment, I struggled. When my efforts once again proved futile, I slumped over.
Liam let go. “Get up.”
Just as I was picking myself up, Liam lunged toward me again. I dropped back to the ground as Liam passed over me, his foot barely not crushing my fingers.
I got up, wishing my gift would affect him. This was all too painful…
Wait. My powers did not affect him, but they did affect me.
Liam was coming at me with a spinning kick. I ducked down and rapidly created a slanted barrier behind me. As Liam’s foot passed over me, I used the barrier as a springboard to launch myself forward faster than Liam believed possible. I ended up losing control of the punch I was planning and tackled him to the ground. Still, it was the first time I had actually landed a hit on him.
A second later, I found myself painfully rolled on my shoulder, my arms pinned tight to my back and my legs once again useless.
“Are you through?” I asked. Liam shoved my back. I growled under my breath and peered over my shoulder at Liam. He was scowling.
“Hey, I managed to hit you!” I exclaimed defensively.
Liam smirked. “I congratulate you,” he replied mockingly. Then he proceeded to twist my arms painfully. Seriously, I think he was taking this practice too far.
I gasped. “Do you take pleasure in my pain?”
Liam’s eyes glinted for a moment before he released me.
I rubbed my shoulder as I got up. Liam watched me thoughtfully.
Liam’s eyebrows furrowed. Ah, he had thought my question was rhetorical. Well, it most certainly was not!
“No,” Liam answered slowly. “I don’t believe I do.” His dark hair fell into his face as he looked away.
Not knowing what to make of his response, I replied jokingly, “Oh, good. I was beginning to suspect you weren’t human.” I started walking back towards camp as the sun began to rise. Liam fell in pace beside me.
He smiled slightly. “What do you think being human is all about?”
“What are you, a philosopher?”
He didn’t respond.
I considered the question. “I guess it’s about living life to its full potential—about experiencing and feeling and thinking everything you can in the time you’re given.” I hesitated before asking, “What about you?”
“Obtaining a goal. You’d know about that; you’re a trainer after all.”
I frowned while Liam smirked at me. I thought his philosophy was missing pieces, but I couldn’t come up with a good argument. Silence filled the rest of the walk.
Upon reaching camp, Apple stretched and trotted happily over to me, having just woken up. As I scanned the camp, I noticed the lump of Erin’s sleeping bag was still full—of Erin.
I lightly shook her bag. “Erin, get up! Time to move out.”
“No thanks, Anita. I don’t want the muffin,” Erin replied, her voice muffled by the sleeping bag. I nudged her again, only to get a loud snore.
Irked, I slid into Erin’s mind.
The air smelled of sugar cookies and blueberry muffins. Erin, Liam, Anita, and Jake sat in a small corner of a small bakery.
Anita was offering Erin a blueberry muffin.
I smiled. This would be fun.
Suddenly, the muffin Anita was offering Erin grew until it was human-size. It also grew a tail—a tail that strangely resembled Griffy’s.
The muffin’s tail’s voice boomed: “YOU DO NOT ACCEPT ME?!? THEN I DO NOT ACCEPT YOU AS MY EATER! I WILL BECOME THE EATER! MUWAHAHAHAHA!”
The tail opened its mouth and leaned toward Erin.
“Ahhh!” Erin leapt up from her sleeping bag with a start. Upon seeing no killer muffin, she sighed in relief.
Liam, who had begun packing, looked up at us, startled.
I couldn’t stop cracking up.
Apple looked at me in wonder. <That was brilliant. I’ve been teaching you well.>
Because I was laughing, Erin immediately suspected I had something to do with her interesting dream. “ANITA!” she yelled. “That was not funny!”
I shrugged. “It got you up.”
Erin grumbled inaudibly and started stuffing her sleeping bag into her pack (where it was, of course, shrunk to a more portable size).
“What did you do?” Liam asked, careful to not sound too curious. As I shrunk down a few pots, he took out our map.
“I stuck a giant killer muffin with Griffy’s tail in her dream,” I answered casually.
When everything was packed up, we gathered around the map.
Liam pointed to a spot slightly northwest of Mint Mountain. “We’re right here.” He moved his hand. “This is Nelcorn City. We went astray back with the Geodudes, but now we are nearly back to the more traveled route from Azul to Nelcorn. The path from this point forward will be flat, though we will likely encounter people. We can ride our bikes.”
I sighed and pulled out my shbinker. Liam and Erin followed suit. I mounted my rusted-over purple bike while Apple jumped into its large basket. Erin and Liam mounted their shiny magenta and dark olive-green bikes, respectively.
And we were off.
Although the wrappings on my leg hadn’t hindered me much during practice this morning, riding my bike felt awkward. I could not bend my ankle as usual.
To take my mind away from the discomfort, I watched our surroundings. Behind us, the terrain was rocky and dry. As we pedaled forward, however, the surroundings became more fruitful. There was short grass, and even an occasional tree.
<Hey, Anita?> Apple interrupted the calm, quiet atmosphere of an early morning bike ride.
<What?> I asked stiffly.
<You, your powers, and your emotions are all growing. All at once.>
<They’re all connected. You’ve got to start learning control not only over your powers, but your emotions. Otherwise, things will start exploding. Besides you, I mean. Really—> I tuned Apple out; there was no point in listening to what I already knew.
I focused my mind—I needed to practice. At first, I just “listened” with my mind to the Pokemon in the surrounding grass. Then, I moved on to what I wanted to work on: barriers.
Today, I had been able to create a barrier for myself to use against Liam. I had created a slanted barrier, something I had not thought to do before. It opened up all sorts of possibilities, the biggest being: could I create a barrier in different shapes?
I imagined a bent barrier, almost like two flat barriers stuck together at a one-hundred twenty degree angle. I pushed my mind rapidly in front of me, attempting to create the barrier on the ground, in front of my bike.
My bike slowed as it rode up an invisible barrier, bumped slightly as it got to the top, and quickly rolled down the other side of the ramp-barrier.
This would be a fun ride.
By mid-afternoon we were back to the main route. In the morning, I had practiced creating barriers until my head hurt. Then after lunch, I had battled several of the plentiful trainers in the area and had now taken to avoiding eye contact with said trainers because Apple was exhausted. She was currently fast asleep in her basket. I had battled a bit with Fiery but had not wanted to push him too hard because he was still recovering from the Graveler that had flattened him. We had still not gotten to a Pokemon Center, and in the meantime I only had given him one potion.
According to Liam’s calculations (which, for the record, always seemed to be accurate), we had an hour more of traveling before we reached Nelcorn City. This news had not seemed so bad to me, but it had caused Erin to sigh unhappily.
You did not need to be a psychic to know she was bored out of her mind.
“I know, let’s play a game!” she exclaimed in this final cycling hour.
Liam grunted and I rolled my eyes.
“Alright, I’ll take that as a yes!” She really needed to work on her interpretations of our actions. “How about truth or dare?”
“NO!” Liam and I both shouted at once. We gave each other questioning looks.
Erin ignored us. “Okay, fine. I spy?”
“No, thanks,” Liam replied, while I said, “Bor-ring!”
“Twenty questions?” Erin asked hopefully.
Liam shrugged, and I answered, “Whatever.”
“Okay, I have one. Ask away!”
I peeked into Erin’s mind.
“Is it a toaster oven?” I asked.
Erin’s eyes widened. “How’d you—Anita, you cheater!”
“That’s no fair! Ugh—”
“I have one,” Liam interrupted.
I scrunched my nose. I wouldn’t be able to peek into Liam’s mind… bleh.
“Alright… Is it living?” I asked.
“Is it bigger than a condom?” Erin asked.
I turned to Erin. “What kind of question is that?”
“Sometimes,” Liam replied. “And you have seventeen more.”
“How does that count?!”
“Sixteen. This is twenty questions. You get to ask only twenty questions.”
“Grr…” I growled.
“Can it fly like an ea-gle?” Erin sang.
“Is it human?” I asked.
“Can you say anything other than ‘sometimes?!?’” I demanded.
“Yes. Thirteen left.”
“Does it have eyeballs?” Erin asked.
“Are there any present?” I asked.
“Depends on what?”
“Perspective,” Liam answered.
While I sat silently, thinking this clue over, Erin asked, “Does it jiggle like jello?”
“Will you stop asking stupid questions!?” I yelled at Erin.
“You’re the one wasting questions by shouting useless questions at me and Liam!” Erin shot back.
“Point taken,” I grumbled.
“You have eight more,” Liam stated.
“Is it a thought?” Erin asked.
“Can you think of it?” I queried.
“Can it come in many shapes, colors, and sizes?” I asked, finally getting an idea.
“Is it a Ditto?” Erin immediately assumed.
I smiled. I thought I knew the answer, but there were two possibilities I could think of. “Do you have it?” I questioned.
Liam hesitated. “I’m not sure.”
I frowned. Not the answer I was expecting. Last question…
“Is it… a friend?”
Good luck writing!
Liams caracter has become more intresting.....
In Memoria of Onemanga.
Sorry this next chapter is short... it works best if you think of it as a three parter.
Chapter 19: (Act One) Missing Links
As we rode through the afternoon, Erin and Liam continued to play twenty questions—Erin kicked me out of the game when it was her turn to think of something. In the meantime, I could not rid myself of a nagging feeling.
Over and over, I replayed that second game of twenty questions in my head.
Mew or friend?
Mew or friend?
All of his answers matched both. Maybe he meant both…
<Anita, you are being paranoid,> Apple thought drowsily, just waking up from her nap. <Why in Arceus’s name would he think of Mew? And if he did, so what?>
<He could be after Mew! It could be the reason he’s following us! Remember, when I asked, “Do you have it?” he replied, “I’m not sure.” He’s not sure because he hasn’t confirmed you are Mew!>
<Get a hold of yourself! There is absolutely no reason for him to suspect I am Mew! And even if he did, why would he reveal any of this in a stupid game of twenty questions?!>
<Maybe to get us to react,> I answered weakly.
Apple shook her head. <Way too paranoid… if, in fact, he is searching for Mew—which he is not—he has absolutely no way to prove that I am Mew. We’ll be fine as long as we keep acting normal as we always have been.>
<Normal… yeah, right.>
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I tiredly stirred my coffee, taking a whiff of the bitter, caffeinated drink. The Pokemon Center’s couch pulled me into its lush, blue pillows as I collapsed backwards, exhausted from the day’s preparations. Next to me, Reece casually flipped through the battle section of the Nelcorn News.
“Reece, they’re not here yet,” I said tensely.
“What if they don’t come in time?” I hissed. “Did you think of that when you planned the party? What if we planned it all for nothing and they don’t even stop in Nelcorn!?”
“Then I guess we will be enjoying a party without them. Honestly, Carly, who cares?”
“I CARE!” I yelled. Nurse Joy gave me a scolding look from behind the counter. I ignored her. “I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime, and you’re asking me why I care? If I do this, I can become a model—I can do what I’ve always dreamed of!”
Reece looked up from the newspaper and sighed. “I’m sorry. Seriously, they’ll be here. I know it,” Reece said solemnly, for once in his life. When I did not respond, he continued, “Look, we have everything set up perfectly. We’ll be fine. If we don’t catch them in this town, we’ll find them in the next.”
I took a sip of my coffee, trying to relax. “What if they don’t come to the party? What if they never attend parties? What then?”
“Everyone comes to parties. They’ll be there.”
“But Anita hates parties.”
Reece folded his arms. “Carly, we’ve been through this. The party includes a battle tournament. Yes, Anita hates parties. However, she will want to come for our battle tournament. We’re giving away a crap load of money to the winner, and what trainer does not need money?”
Just then, the Pokemon Center doors whooshed open. A girl with straight brown hair and purple eyes stomped through the door followed by a black-haired boy, a pretty red-haired girl, and an Eevee. Reece quickly picked up the newspaper and pretended to be reading while I turned my head to the dark window, careful to not let the group see my face.
The company did not notice us as they approached Nurse Joy’s counter, requested two rooms, and asked if there was a bike shop in town.
Five minutes later, the group disappeared up the stairs, no doubt retiring for the night.
Reece smirked at me. “Told you it’d work out.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Sir, we really can’t afford that!” I exclaimed.
“I’m sorry,” the manager replied. “But with a flat wheel, a set of brakes that need to be replaced, and several necessary tune-ups, that’s the best price I can give you.”
I sighed. This is a lesson for all Pokemon trainers: never almost run over a Rattata with a bike.
I had been so absorbed in my own thoughts that I had not noticed the small Pokemon munching on a piece of grain directly in my path—that is, I did not notice it until it was a yard away from my front wheel. To avoid hitting the Rattata, I swerved my bike… right into Erin’s. We both careened to the ground causing Liam to crash, bike and all, right in to us.
My poor bike couldn’t survive the collision. Its brakes literally fell off and parts of its metal were twisted in awkward directions. Liam’s and Erin’s bikes were newer and more durable; they only received a series of scratches.
Then, just when we thought the worst was over, an angry Raticate attacked us. Apparently, she thought we were trying to kill her child (which I guess we almost did). Apple and I managed to calm her down, but not before she had taken a bite out of Liam’s bike wheel.
Now, because we were down to one working bike, we had located the Nelcorn City Bike Shop. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to fix the bikes—we had to save nearly all of what we had for Pokemon supplies and basic necessities, like food.
“What if you were to fix just one of the bikes? How much would that cost?” I asked desperately.
“Half the price I gave you before.”
“But that’s still too much!”
“Look, I’m sorry, but replacing bike parts is expensive,” the manager replied.
“Thanks,” I grumbled as I spun around and shuffled out of the store.
“Now what?” I asked dejectedly outside the bike shop.
“Looks like we’ll be walking,” Liam commented dryly.
“We’re not leaving ‘till tomorrow anyway,” Erin insisted.
I frowned. “I thought we voted. We’re leaving tonight.”
“You two are so boring!” Erin complained. “You’d rather be traveling by foot than attending a party every teenager in a mile’s radius is going to be at?!”
“Duh,” I answered. I assumed Liam would annunciate some similar form of agreement; he had voted with me earlier against the party. I looked at him expectantly.
“Our current dilemma changes everything.” Liam pulled a flyer out of his pocket—one of the billions around town stating the party information. He pointed to the bottom of the paper. “There is a tournament for prize money. We need money to fix our bikes. Therefore, we should attend the party so we may participate in said tournament.”
I crossed my arms. “No. We already voted! We’re leaving tonight.”
“C’mon, Anita. You know you’d love to battle,” Erin whined. “Who votes we leave tonight?”
I raised my hand. I looked down at Apple; she didn’t even raise her paw.
<What?> she asked sheepishly. <I like parties!>
“Alright, who votes we go to the party?”
Liam and Erin each raised a hand. Apple raised a paw.
“We already voted!” I repeated. “We voted to leave, remember? Two against one.” I glared at Liam.
“Who votes we can overturn old votes?” Erin asked. Both she and Liam raised her hand. Again, Apple lifted a paw.
“Oh, come on!”
Erin tugged my arm. “Let’s go. We have lots of shopping to do before tonight!”
“Shopping! We don’t even have enough money for new bike parts!”
“Who said we were going to buy anything?”
“What color eye shadow do you want?” Erin asked, spreading my numerous choices in front of me on her wooden nightstand.
“Neon green,” I replied without even glancing at my options.
Erin examined her different eye shadows. “I don’t have that…”
“A little cooperation would be nice!” Erin cried out. “How about a light lavender? It would match your tank top.”
“I’m not wearing eye shadow, Erin.” The mascara was bad enough…
Erin started at me with the eye shadow anyway. I thrust my mind forward, creating a barrier at her feet. Just as I intended, she toppled forward, smearing the eye shadow across the floor.
“Anita! That was one of my favorites…”
“Well, I told you I didn’t want any!”
<Will you two stop bickering and come brush me?> Apple demanded.
I rolled my eyes but complied.
Erin looked me over thoughtfully. “I like that grey mini-skirt on you. You can keep it.
“Just what I’ve always wanted,” I replied sarcastically.
Erin ignored me and turned to examine her own reflection in the mirror. She was wearing high black boots and a magenta dress that ended above her knees. Dark eye shadow above her eyes and straightened hair—she was, in a word: hot.
I, on the other hand, was wearing a simple tank top, skirt, and sandals. I had just wanted to wear my normal capris and tee-shirt, but Erin had flipped out on me. She had immediately pulled out her shrinkable wardrobe (which was filled with G-d knows how much clothing) and tossed clothes at me. After two hours of constant arguing (I would not wear that revealing red shirt… or those enormous heels…or, well, you get the picture), we finally settled on my current outfit.
Erin turned around. “I’m ready to go,” she announced.
Apple jumped off of my lap as I finished brushing her tail. She shook her soft coat. <I’m ready, too!> I rose, brushing the Eevee fur off of me.
“Now all that’s left is Liam,” Erin muttered to herself. She stuck her hand into her gigantic wardrobe and pulled out a black suit and tie. “This’ll do…”
“Um, Erin, why do you have guy’s clothing in your closet?” I asked tentatively, not sure I actually wanted to know the answer.
Erin shrugged. “I’ve got to be prepared for everything. Now, where did I put the wardrobe shrinker?”
As Erin searched for the shrinker device, I picked up a party flyer and read it over again.
You are invited to party at the Phanpy Party Center (PPC)!
Who: Any teenager between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. You must have an ID to be admitted.
When: 7:00 p.m. July 16, 2013
Where: The PPC, of course!
What: Dancing, fun, and battle tournament!
Please Note: Due to the large number of young trainers that will be present at the PPC, Pokeballs will be strictly forbidden within the PPC. By taking this precaution, the PPC hopes to avoid stolen Pokemon and unauthorized battling. Trainers entering the tournament may bring one Pokemon outside of its Pokeball into the PPC. Pokemon must be small enough to carry. Trainers will be checked at the door. Any trainer who violates PPC’s rules will be detained. To obtain a complete list of PPC rules or if you have any questions, please call 1-800-PAR-TEEE.
“What Pokemon are you going to bring?” I asked Erin curiously.
“Tweal. Are you coming, or what?” I looked up. Erin was holding the door open and the gigantic wardrobe was not in sight. Apple and I followed Erin out of the room.
“You know, Liam never told us about his Pokemon…” I said as we stood before his door.
Erin bit her lip. “I know. We’ll ask him now—” She knocked on his door and held up the black suit. “—after he changes into this, of course.”
A teenager wearing black jeans and a black loosely buttoned shirt opened the door. His hair was brushed just enough so it didn’t look messy, but kept its slight wildness.
I blinked. Geez, that was Liam?
Erin’s jaw dropped. “Guess you don’t need this,” she mumbled. “You look…uh…good.”
Liam nodded, a small smile playing on his lips.
I coughed slightly to get their attention. “We need to talk.”
Liam opened the door wider, inviting us in. The room was a lot cleaner than the one Erin and I were sharing. Erin and I sat down on the extra bed while Liam sat on his.
“We need to know why you don’t use your Pokemon, how you have a Tyranitar, and why you did not tell us,” I bluntly said.
Liam’s expression returned to its usual stoicism. “I’d prefer not to talk about it.”
“Well, Erin and I would prefer that you tell us. We don’t feel like we can trust you without this information.”
Liam looked away, hesitating before saying, “There was an accident a long time ago… I used to be a trainer… I was a very good trainer.”
Well, that explained the Tyranitar.
“Then, my Pokemon…” Liam continued. “They… they nearly killed a good friend of mine… It was an accident, of course…”
Liam stopped to take a breath. Alright, maybe I really shouldn’t have asked.
“My Pokemon… I loved them but… I couldn’t remain a trainer… I couldn’t bear seeing them, letting them out of their Pokeballs—I wouldn’t let them out of their Pokeballs, not unless it was absolutely necessary…”
“Wow.” Erin whispered.
Liam looked me in the eye. Solemnly, he said, “I explained the situation to them. I loved them… but I couldn’t be around them. I offered to release them… The Pokemon I have left are the ones who refused…”
Erin got up and sat down next to Liam, patting his shoulder. “I’m so sorry.” She gave me the “this is all your fault” glare. Hey! She agreed to do this, too.
“Yeah, sorry” I murmured, not sure if I was more annoyed with myself, Erin, Liam, or this whole situation. “Umm… you know the tournament?” I continued uncomfortably. “Well, we really need that money… so we should all bring a Pokemon. If you’re not comfortable bringing your own Pokemon, maybe you could barrow one of mine?” My voice went kind of high and awkward at the end.
Liam smiled slightly. “Sure.”
<I object!> Apple said.
<Well, who do you think is going to be paired up with him? You think Fiery will listen to him?>
<Let’s find out.> I pulled out Fiery’s Pokeball and Fiery appeared out of the red light. <Fiery, would you battle for Liam?>
<Is Liam my trainer?>
<Is Liam a blood relative?>
<I sure hope not—>
<Do I care about Liam?>
<Not that I’m aware—>
<Then why the hell would I battle for him!?!>
<Told you so,> Apple snickered.
I sighed. <Apple, will you battle for Liam?>
<I don’t wanna.>
<Apple, come on! Please? We need all the chances we can to win that money!>
<If we win the money, can you use some of the money to buy me a jumbo hotdog?>
I rolled my eyes. <Fine.>
<Then we have a deal.> Apple trotted over to Liam, sniffed his foot, and plopped down next to him.
“Apple will battle with you,” I told Liam. “Fiery, you’re with me.”
“Alright, ready to go?” I asked. I looked at my watch. “The party already started.”
Liam and Erin got up.
<Well this has been an interesting evening,> Apple commented. <I can’t imagine there could be too much more excitement.>
She couldn’t have been more wrong.
YAY A MINI CHAPTER! kEEP UP THE APPLENESS.
(YES I THINK ITS A WORD)
In Memoria of Onemanga.
That was a small chapter, and you just handed Liam what hes been wanting all this time, I wonder how this will work out.
Ooh look. I cought a spelling error. I'm so freaking excited. lmao
But, you post did not offer any constructive criticism, please read the rules in this section before you post again.
I really need a new signature.
Thanks Buoysel (sorry, I can't type your other name so, you are still Buoysel) for the error! I actually had to fix chapter 18 too because I did the same thing there.
Amazing story. No errors i could spot, although i wasn't looking for them . Good work, and im excited to see what the next one will hold.
So that's really weird. Safari will not keep the underlines, bold, and italics when copy and pasted from word, but Firefox will! Yay Firefox! Anyway, sorry it's been a month. I just started college so I've been pretty busy. But, here ya'll go! Enjoy! It's nice to see some new readers!
Chapter 20: (Act Two) Sweet ‘n’ Sour Minus the Sweet
The Phanpy Party Center was huge. It was literally the biggest building in the city on the largest property I had ever seen. The building looked more like a country club than a party center; the architecture was Roman style, with white columns and stone walls. Several large gardens and wide grass fields surrounded the building, and around the whole huge property was a pointy iron fence. We had to wait in line with other trainers to make it to the front gate in order to get through said fence.
Behind us, two trainers were discussing battle strategies of water Pokemon, and in front of us a girl and guy would not shut up about who was better at battling. The girl had blond curly hair and the boy had a buzz cut…
And why was I observing this? The line was moving too freakin slow!
So, back to the blond curly hair…
Wait, I knew that blond curly hair!
<I was wondering when you would notice,> Apple snickered from by my feet.
The blond girl turned around.
“Mia!” I exclaimed, before enveloping her in a huge hug.
“Anita! Wow, the last place I expected to run in to you would be a line for a party. What are you doing here? Who dressed you? And who is your friend?” Mia fluttered her eyes at Liam.
“I can see you haven’t changed,” I said with a laugh. “This is Erin—she dressed me—and that’s Liam.” I gestured to our Pokemon. “You know Apple. The Flareon is Fiery and the Taillow on Erin’s shoulder is Tweal. We’re here for the battle tournament.”
“And the party!” Erin piped.
“We were passing through town… Guys, this is Mia, my childhood friend. Why are you here?” I asked curiously.
“The only person who would consider refusing a free party is you, my dear friend, but I know that’s not what you meant. We’re in Nelcorn because there’s a huge contest here next week.” She turned to Erin and Liam. “Nice to meet you, by the way. I’m Mia, this is Andrew, my Chikorita named Lola, and Andrew’s Snorunt named Snorkoal.”
“So how have you been since I last spoke to you?” I asked. Generally, we tried to call each other once or twice a month to keep in touch. The last time I had talked to her was the day before my birthday.
“Same old thing. I haven’t won any more ribbons in the past couple of weeks, but hopefully that will change by the end of next week. Look at you, though! Already have a Flareon! How many gyms have you beaten?”
“Two, but those weren’t very exciting compared to what else has happened to me. I have such insane stories to tell! You know Carly and Reece? Well, I’ve managed to already run into both of them!”
“How the heck…?”
“Well, I found Carly’s house by accident…” In the next several minutes, I recounted my encounters with Carly and Reece, excluding parts about my gift. I wouldn’t mind telling Mia, but there were too many other people nearby for our conversation to be private.
I had finished by the time we reached the front gate. We were scanned with a machine by two security guards to ensure we did not have any type of Pokeballs. All of us made it through, although some guy behind us was stopped.
We walked up the stone path that led from the gate to the entrance. In the vast fields on either side of the path there were a few Pokemon and trainers practicing attacks. When we reached the main doors of the PPC, we could hear loud music playing, muffled by the party center’s walls.
As we walked though the grand entrance, we were greeted by two lovely teenagers.
At least, they were lovely upon first glance…
…before I recognized them.
Fiery and Apple realized the same thing I did at about the same time. Immediately, they lunged at the female teenager. The girl screamed, “Thunderwave!” and a bolt of electricity spun from near her feet.
I threw up a barrier between the girl and us. <Stop!> I yelled at Fiery, Apple, and the Pokemon who had used thunderwave, which I now identified as a Dratini. Both Fiery and Apple hit my barrier with a thud and the thunderwave deflected harmlessly into the air. <Don’t do anything stupid,> I reminded them. I picked up Fiery and Liam, to my surprise, picked up Apple. I hoped I would be able to follow my own advice. We literally could not afford to be kicked out this early.
“What the hell are you doing here?!” I yelled.
“Yeah, really,” Mia muttered. “Speak of the devil…”
“This is my party,” the girl replied. She didn’t seem at all phased by the barrier I had created. In fact, nobody did. When I replayed the incident in my head, I realized it must have looked like the thunderwave actually hit. Apple and Fiery were standing so still, if I didn’t know better, I would have believed it myself.
“Your party?” I said in disbelief.
“I paid for it, distributed the flyers, and arranged it in celebration of my birthday tomorrow. So yes, it is my party.”
“Erm… who are these people?” Erin asked.
I pointed to the blond girl, dressed in a lovely red dress with a fashionable scarf around her neck. “This is Carly Goldenthrill, the ***** who threw Allo, Sunflower, Vanilla, Splash, and Fiery out on the curb.” I turned my gaze to the boy dressed in a brown shirt and cache pants. “And this is Reece Dracuta, the pervert from Peepin Pond.”
“A pleasure to meet you both,” Liam said. I moved my glare to Liam. He only shrugged. In Liam’s arms, Apple squirmed, trying to escape.
<Stop it,> I ordered.
<I can’t use my psychic powers like this,> Apple complained. <You have to reach out to me to talk with me!>
<You’re not supposed to be using your powers, remember? We’re on ultra-high alert because of Liam,> I reminded Apple.
<Liam’s really starting to annoy me… do I have to listen to him in battle?>
<Unfortunately… look, I really should be paying attention to the argument Mia is having with Carly… It sounds like some excellent insults are being exchanged…>
<Fine, leave me. You know, it’s awfully quiet in my head when I can’t listen to other creatures’ thoughts…>
I rolled my eyes.
“****! You’re the ****! Look who is with Reece, Miss ****ty ****!” Mia scoffed. Yeah, she’s never been the best at insults…
Noticing Carly’s Dratini and Reece’s Bagon by their sides, I interrupted the argument and asked, “How did you two manage to capture such rare Pokemon?”
Carly flicked her hair back. “A birthday present from my mother. Bagon was ugly so I gave it to Reece.” Reece smiled smugly.
I exchanged disgusted looks with Mia and Erin before inquiring, “How are you here if your birthday is tomorrow?”
“Why all the sudden questions?” Carly snapped. “I can get anything I want. My mom pulled a few strings and poof, I’m able to start my journey early.” Carly’s head twirled to Liam. Strangely enough, Reece had been watching Liam for the last several minutes. It was also strange that Reece had not said a word yet, not even a comment about my ass… “Who’s your friend?” Carly asked suddenly.
“I have a lot of friends,” I retorted.
“I’m Andrew,” Andrew said, though he clearly knew he was not being asked about. I chuckled.
“C’mon, let’s go,” Mia said, marching to the right, away from Carly and Reece. I started to follow her…
“No, who are you?” Carly asked, grabbing Liam’s shirt.
Apple growled and Liam yanked his shirt back.
“Liam Mendol,” he answered coldly.
“Dating anyone?” Carly asked flirtatiously.
“Actually, I’m engaged to this Eevee,” Liam replied in a dead-serious voice. He spun around and stalked after us.
I couldn’t help giggling at the look of revulsion on Apple’s face.
We didn’t look back, but I sensed that Carly and Reece were attempting to follow us. Creepers. I put up a barrier between us to stop them. When I heard a light thud, I knew I had succeeded. “Can we leave now?” I asked Erin and Liam once we were they were out of earshot.
“Not if you want that money.”
“You know what’s weird?” Mia started. “They didn’t demand we leave the party. I thought for sure that was what Carly was going to do. It’s what I would have done if she showed up at my party.”
“It was also queer that Reece didn’t say a word,” I added.
“Maybe they’re changing for the better?” Andrew suggested.
Mia and I laughed. “I’d believe Mew was sitting in front of me this instant before I’d believe that,” Mia joked.
I half-snorted and Liam smiled at Mia. Nobody else seemed to find the remark amusing…
“Come on, let’s go sign up for the battle tournament,” I finally insisted. “It starts in fifteen minutes.”
“But there’s music! Couldn’t we dance for a bit?” Erin pleaded.
“No way, the line to sign up is way too long,” Mia pointed out. Thank goodness. “Hey, Anita, you should probably run your two Pokemon over to one of those spare healing machines to get rid of their paralysis.” I had told Mia that Liam was a researcher with weak Pokemon so he was borrowing my Eevee for the tournament. A little white lie… much like the one I was going to tell about healing my “paralyzed” Pokemon.
“Yeah… I’ll get right on that.”
So far my evening was absolutely spectacular! Not.
Yes, I was in the semi-finals, but…
Well, I guess I should start from the beginning of the tournament.
Approximately two hundred teenagers were participating in the tournament. In order to cut that number to an even one hundred twenty eight, there were several pre-tournament battles. Because I had two badges, I was one of the lucky few who got to skip this preliminary round. Erin was not so lucky. She and Tweal faced a Shinx and lost very quickly. Right off the bat, it was up to Liam and me to win the money to fix our bikes. Liam wasn’t even using his own Pokemon… great.
The rest of us all made it into the actual tournament (by rest of us, I mean Mia and Andrew). Sadly, I noticed Reece and Carly made it as well.
The first two rounds were pretty easy for everyone. Fiery and I beat a Bellsprout and a Meowth, Liam and Apple beat a… actually, there’s really no point in listing all of these. All of us made it to the third round, where there were thirty-two contestants left. In this round, Mia faced Andrew. Mia and her Chikorita lost pretty much because a grass Pokemon can’t do **** against a pure ice type. Other than that, not much excitement in the third round.
Then the fourth round. Guess who I ran into just before the fourth round?
Nope, not Carly and Reece. (We had been adamantly avoiding them. If they got too close, I’d just put up a barrier.)
Someone who we seemed to run into all too often—
I found him flirting with Erin, of course.
“Anita, look who’s here!” Erin exclaimed.
“Did you miss me?” Jake grinned. “I’m on my way back from Cape Caution, where I already earned my third badge,” he bragged.
I grimaced while Erin squealed, “Oh, that’s so impressive!” I glared at Erin.
She gave me a smile and a wink.
“So, are you participating in the tournament?” Erin asked.
“Of course I am, my dear. I’m in this next round.”
“Where’s your Pokemon, then?” I folded my arms.
“She prefers to stay under ground,” Jake easily answered. He held out his arm. “I’m up soon. Would you like to accompany me?” he asked Erin.
“I’d love to!” Erin took his arm.
“You’re welcome to take my other arm, Anita,” Jake offered in a sugary voice. Gag.
I turned away in disgust…
I still have a sour taste in my mouth.
Because fate had decided I hadn’t had enough torture this past evening, I faced Reece in that fourth round. Though he was extremely easy to beat, I found his smug smile and lazy stare incredibly annoying and uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he was going for, but I obviously did not stick around to after the battle to find out.
Andrew lost in that fourth round to some guy with a Masquerain. The referee of his battle was a bit… off. Before the battle he was trying to sell some trainers concessions, even though this was a party so there was free food inside just around the corner. His face looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint where I had seen him previously…
Before I could ponder the referee any further, it was the next round. Summary of round number five: Jake beat Carly. Yesssssss! (insert Carly’s eliminated dance here) Wait a second. That means Jake is still in. Aww…
…which brings me back to my current situation: the semi-finals.
There were only four of us left: me, Liam, Jake, and the guy with the Masquerain, whose name was apparently Fred.
There were only three ways this could go:
1. Me vs. Jake and Fred vs. Liam
2. Liam vs. Jake and Me vs. Fred
3. Me vs. Liam and Jake vs. Fred
Options one and two would have been wonderful—these options would have opened up the possibility of both Liam and I making it to the final round, thus ensuing we would receive the bike money no matter how the final battle ended. Because options one and two were, in my opinion, more preferable, we obviously got stuck with option three.
Yup, Fiery and I had to battle Liam and Apple in the semi-finals.
<He’s not even your trainer! How the heck did you two make it this far?> I asked Apple as we stood across from each other on the grassy battlefield.
Apple smirked at me, revealing her tiny fangs. <I’m just that awesome.>
I rolled my eyes.
<We’ll see how awesome you are in a minute,> Fiery growled. Apple stuck out her tongue.
<Yeah, once that ref gets back here,> I added. I quickly scanned the area to see if there was any sign of our recently disappeared referee. The battle between Fred and Jake, I noticed, had already commenced. Jake’s Diglett hid underground as the Masquerain fired bubbles at it…
I turned my gaze to Liam. He was glaring towards the party center building. I followed his line of sight, and low and behold, our referee! I squinted… hmm, it was the same referee from Andrew’s battle with Fred earlier. The man was pocketing a handful of money, and his concessions were nowhere that I could see.
The referee briskly walked towards Liam and me. Once he was in place, he raised his flag and shouted “Begin!”
In a split second, all of Apple’s attacks flashed through my head. I remembered Liam’s words from the previous day… If you act in an unexpected manner, your opponent will be unable to foresee your attacks and you will have the advantage. Because I had trained Apple, she would surly be predictable, giving me the advantage. I expected her to use dig against Fiery, as it would be considerably more effective than any of her other attacks.
“Quick attack!” I shouted.
For a moment, Liam said nothing. He watched as Fiery rushed towards Apple. Then just before Apple hit, he ordered, “Attract.”
I almost laughed. How dumb could he get? Apple didn’t know that attack…
“This is too easy. Come on Fiery, Iron Tail to finish it!”
But Fiery didn’t respond. He was gaping at Apple, watching her as if she was some sort of deity.
Ugh. <Apple, I’ll get you for this!> I called. Apple smiled widely and then nuzzled Fiery lovingly.
“Dig,” Liam demanded. To his surprise, Apple ignored him and playfully nipped at Fiery’s tail. She giggled as Fiery teasingly snapped back. “You are not the one attracted! Dig!” Liam ordered once more.
Again, Apple ignored him. She might not be attracted to Fiery through an attack, but she was nonetheless attracted.
“Fiery, snap out of it!” I yelled, out loud and psychically. Bite!”
Fiery shook his head and stared for a moment at the Eevee attempting to cuddle with him. Then, reality seemed to hit and he sharply bit down on Apple’s tail…
Or where Apple’s tail was moments before she slipped past Fiery, licked his cheek, and then dove into the ground.
“Ember into the hole!” I called. Fiery did not respond once again. He looked longingly at the hole, like a lovesick fox… which I guess he actually was. I muttered angrily to myself and attempted to slip into Fiery’s mind—
—only to be shoved out. <Fair is fair!> Apple said. <If I’m not using my powers, you shouldn’t be using yours!>
<You just used yours to stop me, you little dim-wit! And you only pull that “fair” card when you’d have the advantage! It’s inconsistent with the whole fairness policy!>
<And you’re miss, “oh, I’d feel guilty if I ever read someone’s mind in a battle. It’d be cheating.” Well, what do you call what you were about to do?> Apple yelled. She burst out of the ground and hit Fiery squarely in the chest.
A twinge of guilt churned in my stomach. <Hypocritical, I suppose…> Apple tackled Fiery to the ground again. “Fiery, snap out of it!” I yelled uselessly. I hated this… not being able to help my Pokemon.
<Fiery, use iron tail!> I called. Apple was too busy using iron tail herself to stop me from entering Fiery’s head. Sudden realization dawned in Fiery’s eyes; he managed to block Apple’s tail with his own. Apple jumped back, out of physical attacking range.
Did I feel guilty about using my powers? Yes. Was I sorry? Not a bit.
Fiery was breathing heavily; I’d have to do something to finish this fast.
“Ember!” I ordered.
This was my one chance. “Fiery, get to that hole and fire down it!” But it was too late—Apple popped beneath Fiery just as he reached the hole.
Fiery collapsed. Apple poised herself nearby, ready to attack should Fiery get up. “Fiery, you can do this,” I hollered hoarsely.
Unfortunately, Fiery didn’t get up.
“The winner is Liam Mendol and his Eevee!” the referee declared.
I quickly strode onto the field to pick up Fiery. Apple ran up to me to do her victory dance. <I beat my trainer! I beat Fiery! I’m that awesome! Na, na, na, naaa, naaa.>
<Don’t get full of yourself.>
<I’m not. I’m full of victory!>
I scooped up Fiery in my arms as Liam approached me. He held out his hand. “Good battle.”
Rolling my eyes, I shook his hand. “I suppose I can’t be too mad. You’ve won with my Pokemon, after all.”
<He did command me, you know. Maybe he’s a better trainer.> Liam smirked, as if he knew what Apple had said.
<You’re not supposed to say that! You’re my Pokemon!>
“The next round will commence in ten minutes!” a referee announced. I looked over my shoulder and found Jake shaking Fred’s hand. Fred’s Masquerain lay fainted in his arms.
Liam and I started heading inside for the automatic Pokemon healing machines.
“I do have one question…” I started. Liam looked at me expectantly. “How did you know Apple knew Attract, when I didn’t even know Apple knew that attack?”
Liam pulled a red device out of his pocket and handed it to me. I flipped it open and gasped, “Is this a Pokedex?”
Liam nodded. Pokedexes were extremely rare and even more expensive. A Pokedex could scan a Pokemon to reveal attacks learned and general skill level as well as having several other features. I’d have expected someone like Carly to have one… “Where did you get it?”
“My father gave it to me a long time ago, when I was still a trainer.”
Deciding not to pursue that tangent further, I asked Apple, <How did you learn Attract anyway?>
<I picked up some tips from that Delcatty I fought. It’s really an easy skill to learn… Liam helped me perfect it today in earlier battles.>
Great. I had an Eevee that already abused her psychic powers. Now, she suddenly had the power to attract half of the Pokemon population.
That did not seem like a good combination.
We reached the automatic healers. They were cone shaped, with automatic sliding doors. I placed Fiery inside the open doors of one, and Apple hopped into another. The doors closed, and seconds later, both Apple and Fiery leapt out of the healers.
Apple wasted no time. <I beat you, I beat you!> She sung at Fiery.
<Don’t get full of yourself,> Fiery growled. I smiled at the familiar words. <I’ll take you on again anytime.>
<You still have one battle to win,> I reminded Apple as Liam started back towards the doors that led to the outside field in back. I followed… <Are you coming?> I asked Fiery.
Fiery shook his head. <If you need me I’ll be sulking in the front garden.> He began to trot away.
<You’re not going to watch?> Apple asked, a touch of disappointment in her voice.
<I don’t enjoy watching selfish braggarts,> Fiery sneered.
Apple sadly watched him go. <You shouldn’t have—> I scolded.
<I know,> Apple interrupted before shaking her head and trailing Liam. Her ears and tail drooped slightly as she padded across the cold tile floor.
Her sweet victory gone sour.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Annoying twit. That girl was stalling our plans with her stupid barriers. I couldn’t get within a hundred yards of her!
And he had realized it too. He was avoiding me by staying close to her. Unfortunate really—he was losing a chance to be with a beautiful, wonderful girl.
Whatever. It did not matter. For we had a back up plan…
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Lights twinkled brightly above the field, blurring out the stars and the waning moon. I stood across from the referee—one of many partiers watching the final battle.
The last battle—the ultimate battle—the crucial battle.
The battle to end all battles!
The battle to win the tournament money so we could repair our bikes.
Very dramatic, right?
Liam and Jake faced each other across the field. Jake was wearing his usual smirk while Liam’s expression remained unreadable.
I did my best to ignore the tinge of jealousy I felt for Liam. I wanted to be battling…
The referee—no not the bizarre one; he seemed to have disappeared—shouted, “Begin!”
So it did.
<Aw, ****, the Diglett’s a girl,> was Apple’s first thought.
“Dig!” commanded both Liam and Jake. Both Pokemon disappeared under ground.
“Go Jake! You got this!” a girl yelled beside me.
I turned to tell her to shut the hell up—“Erin?!”
“Oh, hey Anita,” Erin said before shouting again, “C’mon Jake!” Jake caught Erin’s eye and grinned.
“Erin, we need the bike money! And that’s my Eevee! You have to root for Liam!”
“But Jake is cuter…” Erin stuck out her tongue at me and continued cheering for Jake.
I rolled my eyes. Apple suddenly was tossed out of the hole she had gone down. She may be able to use the attack dig, but Digletts were naturally stronger and quicker under ground (thus their name). Liam seemed to understand this—he was smiling slightly. In fact, I had a suspicion that he only had Apple use dig to test the Diglett’s speed—
“Go Jake!” Ugh, this was annoying. Hmm, maybe…
I hopped into Erin’s mind chanting, <Go Liam, Go Liam, Go Liam, Go Liam…>
“Go Liam! Go Liam!” Erin shouted. Her hands rushed to her mouth. “Did I actually say that?” she hissed. “Anita, get out of my— Go Liam! Go Li—Anita, I’m gonna kill you!”
Erin somewhat subdued, I watched the battle through her eyes. “Apple, do what I say—iron tail that rock!” Liam ordered. Jake’s Diglett raced toward her in an attempted slash, but Apple dodged to the right just in time.
<How is breaking a rock going to help me? I’ve got to beat this Diglett, not the rock!> I heard Apple think. I couldn’t help but agree with her.
“For the last time Apple, use your tail to break apart that rock!” There was a sharp edge to Liam’s voice. Apple was thrown backwards as she was hit by another dig attack. “Get to that rock!”
“Apple, Digletts have poor eyesight,” Liam explained as Apple tiredly sidestepped the Diglett popping out of the ground. “They ‘see’ through vibrations in the ground. In order to win this battle, you must break the rock into shards, and then kick these shards to make vibrations elsewhere. This will make it appear to the Diglett that you are elsewhere, and allow you to predict the locations the Diglett will appear.”
<Why didn’t you say so—> The Diglett knocked Apple to the ground. And out.
Liam muttered, “Too late,” spun on the spot, and angrily kicked the grass…
I left Erin’s body and blinked. Whoa, Erin’s face was way too close.
“Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Erin said angrily.
“Or what?” I taunted playfully. Erin raiser her hand and swiped at me. If it weren’t for Liam’s practice I would have never been able to move out of the way in time. “Alright, alright! I’m sorry! I won’t do it, I swear!”
Erin turned and melted into the crowd. Right, the crowd. People swarmed around me onto the field, cheering for Jake. I couldn’t even see Jake any more… or Liam and Apple, for that matter.
I did hear Jake yell, “Come on! Let’s go get this party started!” I was nearly swept off my feet by the crowd. I had to create a small barrier around me to prevent getting herded inside with everyone else.
<Apple!> I called out. I couldn’t locate her; there were too many people and thoughts flooding my senses. <Apple!> I tried again. It was no use. I prayed she hadn’t been trampled.
I sighed and rigidly watched my watch as the crowd cleared out. It took seven minutes and twenty six seconds… not that I was counting.
I looked at the area I on the field I thought Apple had fallen. She was no where to be found. I figured as much—Liam probably took her to be healed. I had just been hoping I wouldn’t actually have to go back into the party.
I calmed my mind and focused on Apple. It was strange—I thought I felt her in the midst of the party center, but I couldn’t seem to speak telepathically with her. I stopped trying and watched the wind tickle the tips of the grass blades for a moment, summoning my courage.
I turned around and held my head up high, attempting not to cringe as I followed the crowd into the booming music… the restless dancing… the sweaty bodies…
My personal hell.
Another month, another chapter, or that's my goal. We'll see! Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing this.
Chapter 21: (Act Three) The Di-Vine Dance
Blaring music, dimmed lights, another victory, and several hot girls dancing beside me—this was the life! I skimmed the giggling group of girls surrounding me for one in particular, one redhead among these blonds and brunettes.
Ah, there she was—not amid my crowd, but in a small cluster of her own, one adjacent to mine. No matter, I would go to her.
I pushed through the several girls, excusing myself gracefully. When one girl with a particularly strong grip latched onto my shoulder, I twirled her away into another lucky gentleman’s arms.
Erin, said beautiful redhead, was laughing and appeared to be having a dance off with a blonde girl I had seen in the battle tournament. The blonde girl performed a series of complex jumps through her Chikorita’s vines. She then snatched the vines and spun them, causing her Chikorita to roll through the air and land on her shoulder. The blonde gave Erin a “beat that” look.
Erin smirked and nodded to her Taillow. The bird hopped to the ground and Erin began with a series of unusual dance moves—all of which her Taillow imitated perfectly. When Erin folded her arms and square stepped, the Taillow folded his wings and square stepped. It was quite amusing to watch the Taillow imitate everything Erin did exactly.
Erin ended with a double back flip (causing several nearby dancers to back away/move out of the way in surprise) up to the blond girl and then whirled the girl into a waltz position.
The Taillow did the same, only ending up in a waltz position with the Chikorita.
Both girls burst out laughing.
I strode up to the pair of hyenas and slipped my hand between theirs. The laughing came to an abrupt stop.
“May I intercede?” I asked. Erin looked up and blushed. Upon seeing Erin’s expression, the blonde girl winked and disappeared into the crowd of dancers toward the wall. Erin’s Taillow whistled a cat-call before flapping off after the blonde.
I took Erin’s light hand and twirled her closer to me. When I heard her breath catch, I smirked slightly. “That was quite a dance,” I complemented. “Do you and your Taillow practice regularly?”
Erin looked up at me with those lovely hot-chocolate-like eyes. “Yeah…I—uh… I mean no.”
“No?” I asked. This was unlike Erin’s usual quick and witty response… interesting. I touched Erin’s other arm and trailed my finders up to her hand.
Erin stared at her hands for a moment before firmly repeating, “No.” We moved slowly together despite the upbeat music. She closed her eyes for a moment and when she opened them, she was smiling widely.
“Then how, may I ask, was your performance so perfect?”
Though I didn’t believe it possible, her smile grew. “What can I say, I’m astounding.”
So cheeky Erin was back after all. I rolled my eyes and spun her again, considering the Taillow. “Mirror
Move?” I guessed.
“You caught me,” Erin replied, literally falling into my arms. She blushed and quickly spun away. “Tweal’s father was a Pidgeot.”
I was about to comment on the strange nature of her Taillow’s name when Erin peered over my shoulder and said, “Oh look, there’s Liam.” I turned my head and saw the pesky kid leaning against the wall, talking to the blonde girl Erin had been dancing with before. Actually, I think the two were flirting from the way the girl kept laughing and moving closer to the kid. “Why isn’t he dancing?” Erin mused.
Irked, I replied, “Who cares?”
Erin ignored me. “This is totally unacceptable! That boy must dance! He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on!” She pulled away from me and made her way toward the irritating teen.
I felt like I was the one missing out.
Seriously, what was with that kid? Why was Erin so interested in him? Perhaps, she liked… no I didn’t want to consider that. Perhaps, she wanted to make me jealous. Yes, jealousy… well, two could play at that game.
I turned around to locate one of the girls I had danced with earlier, only to come face to face with a frantic looking Anita Parkwood.
This situation could not be more perfect.
“Jake, have you seen—”
I leaned in—
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
—and kissed me.
So much for being a psychic. I certainly didn’t see this one coming.
The instant his lips touched mine, all thoughts and worries about finding Apple fled my mind. I had kissed once before, but it was nothing like this.
If I had known he was going to kiss me, I would have slapped him. This is Jake Veneer we’re talking about. The evil, annoying… sexy, delicious… G-d help me.
He had one arm wrapped around my waist and another hand cupping my chin. His lips were soft and gentle, paralyzing my body and shutting down my brain. All I wanted was to get closer to him…
Was he enjoying this as much as I was?
There were just too many feelings—so much yearning to close the distance between our minds, emotions, souls. I couldn’t help myself; I slid into his mind…
He watched Erin. He was enjoying himself; in fact, he seemed surprised that he was enjoying this more than his several other kisses… but it was almost all physical. Not nearly as much emotion as I was feeling…
He watched Erin. This was for her… he wanted to be kissing—
I abruptly shoved him away, disgusted.
“You…you… What have you done?” Anger flooded my mind. I was vaguely aware that a nearby light fixture exploded into a billion glass shards.
About to completely maul Jake Veneer, I was stopped suddenly by a shocking sight.
Erin was making out with Liam.
Mia, who had just been talking with Liam, looked like she might puke. Feelings of betrayal radiated from her; she stomped away angrily.
I watched in complete disbelief. And I thought our traveling group was already messed up…
Erin finally took a step back, but instead of smiling at Liam, she grinned evilly at Jake, snickered, and marched in the opposite direction of Mia. I noticed the restrooms were in that direction.
Remembering I still had to kill Jake, I turned around—only to find he had already disappeared.
Leaving me and Liam.
For a second we watched each other with a mixture of confusion and astonishment, trying to understand what had happened in the past five minutes. I’m not sure we ever would.
Distantly, I heard the DJ say, “And now a slow dance, dedicated to our birthday girl, Carly Goldenthrill…”
I blinked, feeling like I was forgetting something.
“Apple!” I exclaimed. Right, I was looking for Apple. She did not seem to be with Liam… “Liam, have you—” I started before realizing Liam’s attention was not on me.
“Anita, will you dance with me?” Liam asked, his eyes darting across the crowd to his left.
“You heard me; will you dance with me?”
“Why would I do that? I think you’ve had enough girls for the day—”
Carly appeared out of the crowd of people to Liam’s left, her eyes focused on him. “Because,” Liam quickly replied. “Otherwise I’ll have to dance with Carly and you’ll have to dance with Reece.” He nodded to the right. Reece’s tall figure could be seen pushing past teenagers in this direction.
“Oh, Liam,” Carly sang. “It’s my birthday! Will you dance with me?”
Liam smiled frostily. “Sorry, I already have a dance partner.” He slung one arm around my waist and used his free arm to place my hand on his shoulder. I took a step closer to him so I could easily put both arms around his neck (to strangle him if necessary, of course).
Carly frowned and stomped away to Reece.
“Has it been like this all night?” I asked, amused.
“You don’t know the half of it,” Liam muttered darkly. “Actually, the only time I’ve been able to avoid her completely is when I’m with you.” He raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
“Psychic barriers,” I reminded him. “Though right now, I can’t exactly do that.”
“Believe me; nobody is sorrier than I am.” He peered around. “She’s not around anyway.”
“Probably sulking…” I suddenly stopped swaying with the music, remembering my missing Pokemon. “Liam, where’s Apple? Did you take her to be healed?”
“No, I did not see her after the battle. I assumed you picked her up.”
“Shit,” I said, starting to pull away.
And that’s when the music stopped and the lights went out. Several people screamed.
Something flung me forward, into something hard. I tried to reach out with my psychic powers to figure out what all these “somethings” were, but I found that I couldn’t. A thick rope seemed to bind me to the hard thing in front of me. My arms were tied around it, and I was helpless to stop whatever was holding me.
I managed to tilt my head upwards, and yelped in surprise when I found a pair of glowing green eyes staring down at me.
“Liam?” I asked.
“Yes,” a voice above me replied.
“I’m tied to you.”
“So I’ve noticed.”
“What’s going on?” I asked hesitantly. It was oddly comforting to have somebody to talk to in the midst of all this panic.
“I suspect we are being abducted. We can conclude that our abductees know of your psychic powers, as they most likely tied us together to stop your gift from working,” Liam answered robotically, as if he was reading it out of a text book.
“Can you see what’s happening?” I asked. Shrieks filled the air. Somewhere off to my right a couple of trainers were ordering their Pokemon to attack. I let out a yelp of fear when my feet came off of the ground.
“Obviously. We are currently tied together by thick green vines, and I believe there are a few others who have been tied by these vines. The vines are numerous and strong enough to lift us into the air, making me suspect the vines belong to a Tangela. A few trainers are attacking the vines, but I believe they are encountering problems because their vision is impaired. The rest of the teenagers are panicking.”
“A Tangela?” I asked. I knew one person with a Tangela…
There was a flash of fire somewhere below me. The vines did not explode into flames as I expected. “That was Protect…” Liam muttered.
“Are these people idiots? If they use a fire attack, the whole place could burn down.” I could tell we were being moved through the air from my hair rustling into my face.
“We’re moving towards a doorway,” Liam informed me.
“Lovely,” I replied. I started to struggle, seeing if I could wiggle my way out of these vines.
“Ow!” Liam yelped. “Stop it! Are you trying to strangle me?”
“Well, you figure out a way out of this!”
“I’ve concluded that there is no way out, and therefore have decided to save energy by not moving.”
“So you’re giving up?”
“No, I’m waiting for a more opportune time—you need to duck,” Liam warned.
“How the hell am I supposed to—” something hit the back of my head. The world spun. I saw about forty green eyes. “Crap, that hurt,” I said, dazed.
“The Tangela… miscalculated how high that doorway was.”
The screams began to fade behind us. I supposed we were being reeled in to wherever the Tangela was. My stomach plummeted, indicating we were going downwards.
A few dark minutes later, we finally stopped moving. I felt my feet touch the ground.
The lights flickered on. Unused to the light, I had to blink several times before I could properly see. When my eyesight returned, the first thing I saw was a blur of bleached hair and amber eyes. “Reece,” I hissed. “I knew you had a Tangela…”
Reece shrugged. He bent down out of my sight. I looked around. We were in some sort of storage room, probably in the party center’s basement. There were several cardboard boxes along the white walls, and the ceiling was cracked. A small wooden doorway was in the corner of wall I was facing. It was hard to see much more because Liam was in the way…
“Anita! Liam!” I heard Erin’s voice behind me.
“Hey Erin, how’s it going?” I asked sarcastically. Liam rolled his eyes. “Who else is here?”
“Jake’s tied up in the back corner. His mouth is covered with a vine though. Other than that, it’s just us, Erin, Tweal, Apple, and Reece.”
“Apple’s in here!?”
“Yes, but she is knocked out on the floor.” So that’s what happened to her…
“Tweal’s tied up, too?”
“Can you see what Reece is doing?”
“I’m snapping Tangela’s vines and tying them so he doesn’t have to hold you,” Reece answered. I felt my shoe being taken off.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
“Ensuring that you will not be able to use your powers.” I felt my bare foot touch Liam’s bare foot and shivered at the awkwardness. Reece was tying them together. Highly unnecessary, if you ask me. My hands were already tied around his neck.
“What do you want with us, Reece?”
Reece did not respond. He was apparently done tying us up and moved away, probably to Erin. The wooden door in the corner of the room opened.
Carly stepped through.
“I knew Reece was too stupid to figure all of this out on his own!” I mock exclaimed.
Carly ignored me and walked out of my line of sight. “Excellent work.”
“You *****! Don’t touch my hair! Do you know how long it took me to style it like this?! Fu—mmmhmmmmmmmm. Mmmh. Mhhhm!”
“Carly touched Erin’s hair. Erin fell over in an attempt to bite Carly. A vine is now covering Erin’s mouth,” Liam explained before I could ask.
“What do you want, Carly? People are going to notice we’re missing. They’ll call the police!”
“By then, we will be long gone.”
“Why did you take Apple before the rest of us?” I asked to see if that was indeed what had occurred.
“I assumed you would come looking for her. You were supposed to come down here yourself, but apparently you don’t care about your Pokemon enough,” Carly snickered. “We were forced to resort to more disruptive plans…”
Anger broiled in my blood. “What do you want?” I repeated. “Our Pokemon? Money?” My eyes flickered to Reece. “A blow job?”
“Nothing,” Carly said.
“Nothing?” I asked in disbelief. “So you just decided to tie us up for fun?”
I felt a yank at the back of my head. “Ow! What was that for?”
“Too many questions.” Carly walked back into my sight. She placed a hand on Liam’s head and ran it lovingly through his hair. “Can’t avoid me now, can you?”
Liam narrowed his eyes and with precise aim, spat in her face.
“Nice one,” I commented cheerfully. Carly used the sleeve of her dress to wipe her face, disgusted. I smirked. “Hey, Carly, if there is one upside to this situation, it’s that I get Liam here all to myself.” I leaned my head on Liam’s shoulder to enforce the point. “Too bad you—”
Carly snapped her fingers and my mouth was covered with a vine instantly. Ah well, I knew I had it coming. Carly put her face close to mine. “I’ve always wanted to do this.” I saw her raise her hand and I immediately closed my eyes. I winced as her hand connected with my face.
I saw stars again.
“Our work here is done,” I heard Carly say. “Come on Reece, let’s go.” I watched the two leave the room, Reece holding his Tangela. We unfortunately were all still tied up by the Tangela’s snapped-off vines, and Liam was the only one who could talk.
A few moments after the door slammed shut, Liam said, “Jump.” He tried to jump, but because I didn’t we ended up falling to the ground with a loud thump. Of course, my back landed on the hard floor. Liam, on top of me, was at least cushioned by my body.
I glared at him.
For whatever reason he started kicking the ground. “Make as much movement as possible,” Liam ordered. I had no idea what he was trying to do, but Erin complied and started thumping the ground with her legs. Jake, I noticed, was too tied up to move any part of his body.
About five minutes later, something suddenly burst out of the ground.
“Diglett, slash these vines,” Liam ordered. The Diglett obeyed, releasing Jake first, of course, because Jake was her trainer.
Finally, we were all free of the vines. I scooped Apple off of the ground as Jake explained, “—so then they tied me up when I was calling out for Diglett.” He looked at Liam. “Man, if you knew to call Diglett by thumping around, why didn’t you do it sooner?”
“They had a grass Pokemon,” Liam answered coldly. “Calling Diglett while it was around would have been pointless.”
Erin tried opening the door. She had been extremely quiet, and avoided even looking at Jake. Jake pretended that nothing was wrong. “It’s locked,” Erin announced.
“Slash,” Jake ordered his Diglett. The door… well, it fell away in chunks. We climbed through the doorway. In front of us was a long spiral staircase, but to the left there was an elevator. I pressed the up button.
“What I don’t get is why they captured us in the first place,” I muttered as we clambered into the elevator. I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind, trying to see if I could locate Carly or Reece. I couldn’t find either. I did, however, find—
<So you are alive. The police are looking for you.>
Through Fiery’s eyes, I saw he was sitting in the large ball room the dance had been held in the party center. All of the lights were on, and the room was mostly empty. Napkins, cups, dead vines, and even a few shoes were strewn about the room. A couple of police were inspecting the area. One of the officers had a Machamp that was holding up a large metal gate—
The elevator door opened, and down the hall, I could see the Machamp. As we passed under the gate the Pokemon was holding up, I heard a nearby policeman mutter, “I don’t understand why this gate came down…”
Mia and Andrew were waiting by Fiery, looking worried. When they spotted us, they ran over exclaiming, “Are you okay?! What happened?!”
Officer Jenny, her turquoise hair bobbing, walked over to us and grimly said, “I think we’d all like to hear that.” Several police officers gathered around us.
I explained everything, leaving out the bit about my powers. When I was finished, one police officer said, “But that’s impossible. Carly Goldenthrill was the first person to call the police. Several people said they saw her run out of the building for help.”
“Are you sure it was Carly?” Officer Jenny asked.
“Yes, it was,” I replied.
“Maybe she didn’t see correctly?” one of the police officers suggested.
“We saw her, too,” Erin answered. “It was definitely Carly Goldenthrill.”
There was a murmur among the police officers. “There have been rumors of Team Glop’emm using hypnosis…” a policeman said. “Could it be?”
Angry that the police were so unwilling to listen, I yelled, “We weren’t hypnotized!”
“How could you know?” the policeman retorted.
Because one of us isn’t affected by any form of psychic energy, I wanted to scream. Another light fixture exploded.
Liam grabbed my arm. I glared at him and tried to tug away. He held steady and glared right back at me. “Control. Your. Emotions,” he hissed, before releasing my arm.
Officer Jenny put a hand on my shoulder and said, “That’s enough.” She frowned at the police officer muttering about hypnosis. “It is extremely unlikely that these children have been hypnotized. There little proof of anything at the moment, except that there was indeed a Tangela in this room. We will continue investigating, but now it is time for these children to return to the Pokemon Center.”
Officer Jenny lightly pushed us toward the door.
We took the cue and left.
The Pokemon Center was crowded, but because Apple only needed a simple heal, we were able to get back to our rooms fairly quickly. I left Apple with Nurse Joy and had to pick her up in about ten minutes.
As we walked down the austere hall back to our rooms, I made a request. “I think we should leave tonight.”
“Are you insane?” Mia asked. “Do you know what time it is?!”
Erin yawned. “Anita, it’s one in the morning. Isn’t it reasonable to just stay the night?”
In Erin’s and Liam’s minds, I said, <I’d like to see if I am able to locate Carly and Reece.>
Liam nodded slowly. “I’m with Anita.”
Erin scowled. “Fine, I’ll go pack.” She turned to Mia and gave her a quick hug. “It was nice meeting you,” she said. Then, in barely a whisper, she spoke: “And I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” Her voice was so quiet I may have been hearing it telepathically.
Erin shook hands with Andrew, ignored Jake was standing with us, and backed into our room to pack.
Liam simply nodded to everyone, giving a particularly long look to Jake. They seemed to have developed a mutual respect for one another. Liam turned and exited into his room, next to mine and Erin’s.
Mia and I hugged, promising we’d keep in touch and she and Andrew went off to bed (not together, to their separate rooms, people).
Which left Jake.
Jake sighed. “Anita, I need to talk to you.”
I jumped into his mind before he could say anything. <…feel bad about having to break it to her, but its best not to have any confusion in the future. I don’t enjoy breaking hearts…>
I snapped back into my own head and glared at the twit. He was so arrogant he believed that just because he kissed me, I like-liked him! I mean, he was a good kisser, but that does not make him a decent person! Ugh—he deserved this—
I thrust my fist forward in a well-practiced punch.
I think that was his nose! Ooh, that had to hurt.
To add insult to injury, I declared, “Jake Veneer, you are an arrogant ass. Remember, that is what I have always and will always think of you, moron!”
I slammed the door in his face, feeling pretty good about myself.
Erin spotted my grin. “What are you so happy about?”
“I think I may have broken Jake’s nose.”
Erin smiled. “That is something to be happy about.”
“Here’s your Eevee. Have a good evening,” Nurse Joy said tiredly. Apple jumped into my arms. There were less trainers waiting to get their Pokemon healed in the Pokemon Center’s lobby when we exited the building. We quietly walked down the street.
<Where is everyone else?> was Apple’s first question.
<Depending on who you are referring to, either in the Pokemon Center or in a Pokeball. Either way, they’re probably sleeping,> I replied.
<Where are we going?> Why was Apple so inquisitive this late... oh wait, she was just knocked out for about five hours. That’d do it.
<We’re going to find Carly and Reece.>
<Why would you want to find those fruitcakes?> Apple asked.
<To eat them alive.>
<Good point. Fruitcakes are quite delicious.> Apple paused. <I think I must be missing something.>
<A few brain cells?> I suggested.
<So you finally admit I have a brain!> Apple exclaimed. <Thinking of which, can I have a peek into yours? I need to catch up…>
<If you must.>
<Thanks.> Apple sniffed the air. <I have one last question.>
<Ask away,> I replied dryly.
<Is there a reason I smell like an overgrown, tangled weed?!>
Chapter 22: Mysteries
I held the door open for the two teenagers as they walked into my office. While they sat down in their prepared chairs, I took my time locking the door and pulling down the black office window blinds. Finally, I slowly strutted across my room, pulled out my cushioned chair, and sat down across from the teenagers. I folded my hands atop the desk.
For a moment, I mused over the vast differences between the two teenagers. The blonde girl fidgeted with excitement, watching me eagerly. The boy, on the other hand, looked rather bored as he stared at a covered window. It was a wonder they were able to work so well together.
“You two have done exceedingly well,” I said. “You shall be rewarded as promised.”
The girl smiled brightly.
“New Blue, the world renowned clothing store, is having a nationally televised catwalk in Cereal City a month from now. I happen to have close ties to the president of New Blue.” Team Glop’emm had bought out the company, after all. We used the numerous stores to locate potential customers of our stolen Pokemon. “I have arranged for you, Carly Goldenthrill, to be a model for this catwalk.”
Carly squealed in delight.
“However, you will need to report to Cereal City immediately for preparations. I will, once again, have Gallade teleport you.” Carly nodded happily, and I turned to the boy, frowning. “Is there anything you would like? Perhaps a spot in the catwalk as well?”
The boy smiled greedily. “Can I keep the Gallade?”
My frown deepened. This particular Gallade was one of the team’s most successful Pokemon. He understood the concept of working for the greater good of the whole team and thus took orders from any team member if requested, no questions asked.
Well, sacrifices had to be made, and these two had done an exceptional job. This way, I could wiggle in my own condition as well… “Very well, you may keep Gallade… under one circumstance. Should I require a favor in the future, you and Carly are obliged to assist me as needed.” For now, there was no reason to continue using these two teens—I had what I wanted.
“Deal,” Reece answered immediately. Carly frowned at him, as if he should have asked for her approval.
I smiled and reached into my pocket. “This is Gallade’s Pokeball. You are dismissed.” Once again, I held the door for the teenagers as they exited my office, relocking the door as soon as they had departed. I opened my laptop and settled back into my chair.
Carly and Reece had indeed provided beyond the basic information I had been seeking. For one, they had given me a very good idea of the strength of both gifted children’s powers. I rewatched the clip of one of the very first scenes from the party, slowing the video as Carly yelled, “Thunderwave!” I carefully observed as the Eevee and Flareon leapt toward the electric bolt. Just before the two Pokemon were struck by the attack, they fell to the ground. I paused the video. If one looked carefully, a slight deflection of the electric bolt could be seen.
Anita Parkwood certainly had a strong gift, if she was indeed a child. It was only to be expected if the Master was correct in his assumption of her being Mew. This was just the first of several occurrences throughout the night in which she had illustrated her ability to create barriers. The fact that she was able to keep Carly and Reece away from her for practically the entire evening further manifested that she could sense their presence, perhaps even view their thoughts…
I froze. What if she could read their minds? How limited was that ability? Had she discovered my existence? I considered her reactions through the rest of the evening and breathed again. No, I decided. She appeared too confused. Unless she was a brilliant actress, it seemed unlikely that she knew of me. Of course, if she was Mew, she would have to be a brilliant actress. I would just have to hope that if she did know, she would say nothing to the Mendol boy. In the future, I would be more careful.
I fast forwarded the video until I came across another scene involving the Master’s so-called detective, Liam Mendol.
He certainly could be related to the Master—he had the same unnerving green eyes. Interestingly, he was also using the Master’s last name, though why he would do anything so obvious was beyond me. The detective seemed an inch or two taller than I remembered the Master. It was impossible to consider any other similarities as I had never actually seen the Master in the light.
I watched the scene play out. On the right side of the screen, the Mendol boy was mingling on the outskirts of a crowd watching a battle. The left side of the screen was filled by Gallade, pretending to be some trainer’s wandering Pokemon.
“Psychic,” Reece ordered. I could not see Reece, as the camera was attached to his body.
Gallade’s eyes glowed in concentration. I watched the Mendol boy. Nothing happened. Three more times Gallade tried, but the boy remained unaffected.
I smiled. This had confirmed the boy to have the same powers as the Master—
A stab of pain wretched through my gut. Why were these children granted such power? If I had that kind of power…
I shook my head to rid myself of pointless yearnings.
I fast forwarded again—this time to the final scenes of the evening. I watched as Carly implemented her ingenious plan of using Mendol’s gift against him in order to carry out my other request…
I opened the desk drawer and pulled out four small covered vials, each containing a single hair.
I smiled. Carly had even thought to obtain the hair of Jake Veneer, who appeared extremely well acquainted with the three persons I had originally requested a hair from.
I closed the laptop and picked up the vials. It was time to put the hair to good use. I silently strode out of my office to the elevator, pressing B5.
As I swiftly left the elevator, I brushed past Rita Teal, her Pokeball earings jiggling wildly from the slight impact. Rita sent a silent scowl my way before the elevator doors closed.
I walked down the tiled hall and turned into the bare room with the DNA tracking device, my finger print scanned at the door.
Carefully, I took the vials from my pocket and uncorked each one. Using tweezers, I plucked the four hairs from their vials and placed them in four of the DNA tracking device’s slots.
The Mendol boy’s hair was the last I fed into the machine. I examined the dark hair, wishing I could somehow obtain the DNA of the Master or his deceased father so I could run a comparative analysis to demonstrate the detective’s relation to the Master. Unfortunately, the Master was sure to clear the system of any information on his family’s DNA records in order to avoid being tracked. I sighed and dropped the final hair into the machine’s slot.
There was a whirring sound, and then a cluster of multi-colored dots appeared on the screen. Before I could smile in victory, the irritable walkie-talkie was buzzing on my hip.
“Master, I presume,” I said into the walkie, answering its buzz.
“Never presume.” The Master’s cold voice rang through the walkie.
“Of course.” I briefly wondered if I would ever actually speak with the mysterious detective. He had yet to call me, or I him.
“How is business?” the Master inquired.
“The usual,” I answered easily.
“Excellent. Is there any new information regarding Pokemon X?”
I looked at the dots on the tracking device’s screen and smirked to myself. “Nothing, Master.”
The annoying boy paused before requesting, “Tell me, Mr. Arkle, what do you know of Carly Goldenthrill and Reece Dracuta?”
“Of the former, I only know that she gave us much valuable information regarding Anita Parkwood. I have never heard of Reece Dracuta,” I replied innocently. “Why do you ask?”
“My detective—nevermind. It was nothing,” the Master retorted. Then, composing his voice, he calmly continued, “No further information, Master out.”
I put down the walkie-talkie next to the slots and stared at the blinking dots. I would not be losing track of Liam Mendol, the oh-so-spectacular detective, nor Anita Parkwood, the supposed legendary, any time soon.
For now, that was satisfying.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I pocketed the walkie-talkie, deep in disconcerted thought.
How did they know?
How did Carly Goldenthrill and Reece Dracuta learn of the dark gift?
So few humans knew of the gift in the first place…
Mr. Dracuta, certainly, knew of Miss Parkwood’s powers since the Peepin Pond incident, but who could have explained to him the occurrence in full? Perhaps they had done research and grown curious… but from the characteristics displayed by Mr. Dracuta and Miss Goldenthrill, this seemed highly improbable.
I was the only person who originally knew of the detective’s gift. Miss Parkwood and Miss Kendle, of course, soon discovered it, but they had neither the nature nor the time to inform Miss Goldenthrill and Mr. Dracuta—
I forced my brain to discontinue the endless circles of thought. Regarding this matter, I obviously did not have enough information to make an accurate assessment.
No harm had yet come from this disclosed secret. It would be unwise to forget the matter entirely, but foolish to dwell on a matter of such minimal importance.
At this instant, it was vital for me to continue my research. Research that had failed to uncover any new information—yet.
My father had known the necessary information.
He, however, had passed on before giving it to me. He had not kept any written record of the information, nor revealed the information to anyone that I was aware of.
Thus, I had to find this most crucial information.
I had searched many of Acceber’s great libraries, only to come up with nothing.
I would continue to search—
For without this information, finding and capturing Mew would be quite futile.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Isn’t hitchhiking illegal?” Erin whispered.
“Does it actually matter to you?” I retorted in a voice just as quiet.
A breeze swept past us, filling our nostrils with a stench of moldy socks and decomposing biscuits. We sat in a small alley behind several trashcans watching two workers unload a large grocery store supply truck of hundreds of boxes.
Yes, we had stooped to this level.
“Hitchhiking was outlawed in 1964 due to a series of unfortunate accidents as well as low ratio of cars to trainers in Acceber—” Liam started to explain.
“If I wanted to know that, I would have paid attention in history class,” I snapped.
Liam just gave me his best all-knowing, I’m-better-than-you smirk.
<Do you think they’ll unload all of the food?> Apple asked randomly. <Maybe just leave a crate or two behind…?>
“Anita, look!” Erin exclaimed. “That was the last box! You’ve got to do it now!”
One of the workers was now pulling down the truck’s flexible back door to close the vehicle. I summoned my energy and shot forward with my mind, creating a thin barrier beneath the closing door.
I flinched as the door slammed down, but my barrier held. The worker walked back around the truck towards the store, oblivious to the inch gap between the door and the floor of the truck.
“C’mon!” Erin sprinted towards the truck. Liam and I carefully followed her, me double-checking the area for people with my mind and Liam with his eyes. When we reached the truck, Erin was tugging at the door impatiently. “You guys are so slow!” she complained. “Ugh. This is too heavy. Liam, why don’t you give it a try?”
“No!” I yelled, but it was too late. Liam touched the door—
—and nothing happened.
Liam easily lifted up the door.
Confused, I asked, “Didn’t my barrier stop working on the door?”
“Anita, though you seem to believe yourself more knowledgeable than the rest of the world, you, in fact, are lacking in the most basic knowledge: common sense. Obviously, your barrier failed when I touched the door,” Liam snickered. He slowed his speech. “However, because I was holding the door with my hand,” He mockingly wiggled his hand in my face. “I was able to lift the door. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Sir Liam. I understand,” I replied sarcastically. I flashed him a smile. “What I don’t understand, Sir Liam, is how you came to be full of such crap. You think I’m conceited? Take a look in the mirror!”
Liam shook his head, half-smiling, like he knew something I did not. He stepped gracefully into the truck, and Erin clambered after him, slamming the door shut behind her (which promptly locked).
“Erin, turn on the flashlight,” I demanded, still annoyed.
I heard a ruffling as Erin searched for the flashlight in her bag. “Aha!” A light flickered on, and I got a good glimpse of the dull, empty vehicle before the light flickered back out.
There were a few scratching noises followed by a final bang.
I could only assume the worst.
“The flashlight is broken,” I stated.
“Yup,” Erin answered.
“You were trying to turn it back on.”
“But you failed and threw it against the wall in frustration, thus destroying any chance we had of fixing the flashlight.”
“Well, I guess…”
The only light came from Liam’s eyes. They followed me as I felt my way to the side of the truck and slumped down. “This is great,” I said bitterly.
<No, it’s not! There’s no food in here!> Apple interrupted.
“Our PokeTechs have built in lights,” Erin suggested.
“No, no. I’d rather just sit here in the dark and wallow in self-pity,” I replied icily.
“Not conceited at all,” Liam murmured.
“Do you have anything better to do?” I shot at the pair of green eyes.
“Actually, yes. We can discuss where Carly and Reece disappeared to and why they captured us in the first place,” Liam answered.
Erin groaned. “Not this again! We’ve been over this about twenty gazillion times! Can’t we just forget the whole thing?”
“Aw, but then you wouldn’t remember your passionate kiss with little Liam,” I snickered.
Even though it was dark, I could practically feel the heat radiating from her face. “Liam knows that was done out of… spite. It doesn’t change our relationship—right Liam?”
“I try not to involve myself in the ridiculous workings of hormone-driven female teenagers. Can we get back to the topic I wish to discuss?”
“Teleportation,” I grumbled.
“That would be the first thing you think of,” Liam harshly accused. “We do not know whether they even have a Pokemon that knows teleport.”
I shrugged. “It’s the fastest way I know of to get out of place without leaving a trail. It’d also explain how they got the Tangela inside with the PPC’s one-Pokemon rule.”
“They might have just driven off in a truck or car! I mean, look at what we’re doing!” Erin exclaimed. As if on cue, the truck’s engines rumbled. We started to move.
“I guess it’s possible…” I trailed.
“…but highly improbable,” Liam finished. “As I said before, there are very few vehicles in Acceber. Pokemon often make that technology superfluous.”
“So they could have left on a Pokemon,” Erin suggested.
“Which brings us back to the point that they do not have any Pokemon that can perform such tasks,” Liam said.
“That we know of,” I chipped in.
<Does anyone else feel like this discussion is pointless and that there is no benefit to continuing with it?>
<That is generally what the word pointless implies,> I replied dryly. <Liam’s the one started it. File a complaint to him!>
<Obviously I can’t exactly do that.>
<Right. I’m the psychic one. Whatever.> I interrupted one of Erin’s rants by clearing my throat. “Apple thinks this conversation is pointless and would like us to shut up so she can take a nap because we kept her up all night searching for Carly and Reece.”
<I didn’t say that!> Apple objected.
<But you agree.>
Erin yawned. “I’m with Apple.” I heard a bit of shuffling. “This isn’t too bad. I can probably fall…” A loud snore erupted from Erin’s nose.
Yup, that’s how quick Erin was conked out.
Liam rolled his eyes.
<Now that you mention it, I could do with a nap…>
“Goodnight,” I said to both Liam and Apple.
Liam’s eyes flickered to me before closing, obliterating all light in the truck. I too shut my eyes and drifted through dreams of moonlit darkness.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I woke up when the dancing lollipops started to chase me, relieved that my dream was not reality. The complete darkness disoriented me as I sat up. I could not tell what time it was, but I had deduced the truck was no longer moving from the lack of a rumbling sound beneath me.
“Anita, Liam, wake up!” I called as I stood up to stretch my sore back.
“I’m already up,” Anita answered stiffly.
Liam’s glowing eyes opened, making the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up—those eyes were awfully disturbing.
“I think we’ve arrived,” I stated.
Liam walked across the truck. There was a soft clicking noise as he unlocked the door and flung it open. I cringed as the bright light streamed into my face.
Eventually, my sight returned enough to follow Liam out of the truck. Anita followed me carrying Apple, who continued to nap in Anita’s arms.
I looked around, expecting to see my comfortable home town of Cape Caution. It would be good to see my family, my old lab, Professor Blubber…
Unfortunately, all I saw was a bunch of thick trees and a tiny dirt road. “This isn’t Cape Caution,” I stated dumbly. I looked accusingly at Liam. “You said the truck was headed for Cape Caution!”
Liam looked thoughtful. “According to the schedule, it was.” He closed the truck door and started walking towards the front of the truck. I looked to Anita to exchange out usual annoyed glance when Liam started acting weird, but her expression was oddly blank. Liam returned. “The driver is not in the truck.”
“Maybe he had to pee?” I suggested.
“We should look for him,” Anita said.
“When he could be peeing?!” I exclaimed. “No thanks!”
“We’ll wait a few moments. If he does not return we will go looking,” Liam decided.
He did not come. So maybe he was taking a dump…
“Anita, can you sense him anywhere?” I asked.
Anita did not answer. Instead, she walked past me into a more wooded area.
“Yes?” Could she just give me a definitive answer?
Anita nodded slightly, hopefully to answer me, and kept walking. Liam and I followed.
After about three minutes of silent, dreadfully boring walking, a huge run-down mansion appeared among the trees. “We should go inside,” Anita said.
What was with her? She must have woken up on the wrong side of the truck… or something along those lines.
“I’m not sure we should,” I replied. “He might be a drug dealer, and this is where he stores the drugs.”
“We should go inside,” Anita repeated.
I looked at Liam; he, too, seemed to think Anita was acting particularly strange and was staring at her in contemplation.
Just then, several things happened at once.
There was a loud roar of an engine from behind us, and some nearby animal or Pokemon squealed in fear. I tripped in surprise on top of Anita, causing Apple to wake up growling. Hurriedly, I picked myself up. As usual, due to Anita’s ideas we were in trouble—the truck was leaving! I tried to scramble towards the truck, only to be stopped by Liam grabbing my arm.
“It is too late,” Liam said.
“Liam, you piece of poop! We have to catch that truck!” I yelled as I uselessly struggled forward.
After two minutes, I gave up because the truck was long gone, I was tired, and for whatever reason, Apple was still growling.
“Liam’s right. It is silly to chase the truck,” Anita said eerily. Was she on drugs? She seemed fine before she fell asleep…
“Eevee eeeeee! Eevee, eeveevee! Eevee!” Apple barked at Anita.
“Why’s Apple so mad?” I asked.
“She’s upset because…” Anita paused. “She is hungry. There was no food in the truck.”
“Figures,” I muttered, but Apple continued to growl.
“Let’s go inside,” Anita said, smiling brightly now. “It will be fun.” She started off for the sinister mansion again.
I mouthed, “What the hell is she smoking?” to Liam before following.
Liam shrugged. “It is logical. We have no idea where we are and have nowhere else to turn.”
The house ahead of us became creepier and creepier as we neared it. A thick fog seemed to linger at our feet, and our crackling shoes seemed to disturb the pressured silence of the woods.
When we reached the wooden, spider-web covered porch, it took every ounce of my courage not to take a hint from my first instinct and bolt. Apple, apparently, had the same instinct. She growled even louder. “Are you sure about this?” I asked.
Anita continued to smile, and she absentmindedly picked up Apple. For a moment, I thought the Eevee would bite her, but the Pokemon settled for a continuous deep growl. Occasionally Apple would throw glances at me and Liam, almost a pleading look in her eyes.
Liam knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. I silently counted sixty seconds and then snapped my fingers. “Oh well! Nobody’s home! Let’s get going.”
Liam did not move and Anita only moved closer to the house. Not very encouraging signs… What was wrong with their instincts?
Anita twisted the bronze door handle of the plain wooden door, and the door, unfortunately, swung open. Now I felt like I was in a horror movie. Seriously, insert foreboding music here.
Anita and Liam both entered the house, which I thought was pretty intrusive. I hesitated. Sadly, there was no way I was going to stay on this freaky porch alone so I had no choice but to follow.
The inside of the house was just as covered in spider-webs as the outside. A thick layer of dust covered the floor of the room we entered into, along with several antique chairs and picture frames. What I found most unnerving were the footprints in the dust scattered about the room. The prints were so far apart… It looked like someone hopping on one foot had easily leapt ten feet.
Liam bent down to examine one of these peculiar footprints, leaving a footprint trail of his own in the dust. Anita, in the meantime, strode directly through the room to the next door. “This way,” she said.
Liam looked up at her and then at me. I shrugged and started forward. Abruptly, the hairs on my arms rose. A dark purple mist surrounded me, gently brushing my sides, and making my breath come up short.
Alright, this was way creepy. I tried to lower the pace of my racing heart and raspy breaths, but failed. Air rushed past my face, then a sharp, tickly feeling—something was nibbling my ear!
I screamed like I would if my shrinkable wardrobe ever caught on fire.
I heard a faint, echoing laughter, and then it was gone, leaving me scared out of my wits and panting heavily.
Liam was staring at me, his brow furrowed. Anita also watched me, holding Apple tightly despite the Eevee’s thrashing. “What was that?” I gasped. “Did it happen to you, too?”
Liam and Anita both shook their heads. “Eevee! Eevee!” Apple exclaimed, nodding.
Not knowing what to make of the scene, and not wanting any further problems, I reached to my belt to release Griffy. My hand slapped my butt. I tried again—
Where were my Pokeballs!?!?
“My Pokemon are missing!” I shouted.
Liam’s eyes flickered darkly to my belt, then to Anita’s, and finally to his own. His hand brushed over his own belt. “My Pokemon are still here,” he said slowly.
“Mine are gone,” Anita said without even checking.
I waved my hands wildly at Liam. My Pokeballs were missing and we were just standing here! “Do something!” I yelled. “You still have Pokemon!”
Liam frowned. “They are of no use in this situation.”
“I think I know what happened to them,” Anita said, her face no longer smiling. “Follow me.” She stepped into the next room, and flickered on the lights, which I would not have thought to look for in a house like this.
The room I followed Anita into shocked me. It was a spotless kitchen. Beautiful wooden cabinets gleamed in their dark glaze, the white tiled floor sparkled as if untouched, and the steel refrigerator had not one fingerprint.
Liam peered into what might have been a closet and then opened the refrigerator wide. There was food.
“Come on.” Anita gestured to the next room, and we followed obligingly. The next rooms were the same as the kitchen, clean and perfect. We walked down as twisted hall, viewing a bathroom, some type of lounge, and a staircase.
Finally, we came to a set of wooden doors engraved with several swirls. I swear, for a second, purple air seeped out around the doors, but I blinked and no trace of purple remained.
Anita led us through the doors into a room that appeared to be a library. Books were stacked as high as the ceiling on long wooden shelves. A single chandelier hung from the ceiling, lighting the room along with the grand window across the entire back of the room. In the center of the room, there were several cushioned couches.
Above these couches floated a Gengar and a Misdreavus, the latter watching me with a wide grin.
The Gengar, I observed, was looking at the couch. I turned my attention to the plush piece of furniture, and to my surprise, found myself looking into the silver eyes of a young boy.
A shiver ran down my back.
The pale boy smiled. “I’m so glad you guys came!”
I looked at Liam, who was expressionless as usual, and Anita, who appeared completely baffled. She put her hand on her head as she asked, “Where are we?”
“Four miles southwest of Cape Caution,” the boy answered, tilting his head so his blond hair—so light it was almost white—fell away from his face.
Anita looked even more confused and she turned her attention to Apple, who was now quiet and well behaved. They appeared to be having some sort of deep telekinetic conversation. “I must be dreaming,” I thought I heard Anita mutter.
I turned to the blonde boy. “Who are you? Where are your parents? What’s with the creepy house and ghost Pokemon? Did you take our Pokemon? Where are they?!” I demanded.
The Misdreavus playfully flipped through the air and whisked around my head.
“She’s taken a liking to you,” the boy commented sadly. Then he reached toward the Gengar. “This is Scary—”
“You betcha,” I muttered.
“—my friend and family. He’s taken care of me and played with me for a while. My name is Melvin, but I like Mel better. This is my home.” He gestured around him.
“Where are our Pokemon?” I repeated.
Mel glanced at me embarrassedly, before saying, “They’re safe.”
I wanted to kick the kid in the face, but that might qualify as child abuse… I think. I’m still considered a child at age fourteen so that might change the charges or something. In any case, I then asked, “Why are we here?” because he seemed to have stolen our Pokemon. I figured he must want something in return.
The boy frowned. “I was lonely. I’ve been begging Scary forever to let me play with actual people—it gets boring playing with ghosts all the time—but he wouldn’t disobey my father. I don’t know where my father went… Scary and I were running out of food and then Scary saw the food truck passing by so he pulled it over. There wasn’t any food, but there was you three! That was even better! Now you can stay here and play with me!”
“We’re here because you needed someone to play with?” I asked in disbelief.
The boy smiled widely. “Yup! Aren’t you excited?”
I grimaced. “Look, kid, I’m sorry you’re lonely, but I’m not playing with you until you give me my Pokemon back.” I glanced at Liam and Anita to judge their reactions. Liam watched the boy intently, his eyes narrowed, but Anita was oblivious to the world, apparently still engrossed in her conversation with Apple.
The boy frowned and stuck his chin out stubbornly. “No. I’m not giving them back until you play with me.”
“Play what?” Liam interrupted.
“Everything!” the boy exclaimed.
Liam looked thoughtfully at the boy. “How about we make a deal. We will play any game you wish, but afterward, you will give Anita and Erin their Pokemon back.”
“How about they only get their Pokemon back if you guys win. If I win, you get to stay and play more with me!”
How did this child know how to make deals? Seriously, how old was this kid?
“Deal,” Liam answered, not even bothering to check with me and Anita. Did he understand his little bet affected all of us, not just his self-absorbed butt? “What game?”
The boy grinned. “Hide-n-go-seek. I hide, and if you can find me in fifteen minutes, you win.”
Alright, maybe Liam made a good choice. This would be too easy. “What do we count to?” I asked.
“Counting…” the boy chuckled. “That’s a good one. There’s no need to be so generous.”
Then he disappeared.
Well, that couldn’t be any good.
Chapter 23: Cackle Attack
The boy was gone. Poof. The Gengar disappeared, too, though the Misdreavus remained floating by my side.
Anita looked around the room past Apple. She seemed to have just returned to the real world. “Erin, Liam—” She spoke rapidly. “He’s—” Anita calmed. “He’s somewhere in the house,” she said quietly. “I read his mind before he disappeared.”
Apple started growling again.
Suddenly, as everything in this house seemed to happen suddenly, the Gengar appeared out of thin air, holding a small metal cage, his eyes glowing. Apple was lifted into the air above the chandelier and put into the cage, which remained floating by the Gengar.
Apple yowled, but there was nothing we could do. Liam was too far away from Apple to stop the psychic attack.
“Anita, stop him!” I yelled. She was a psychic, too, after all.
Anita frowned. “I can’t.” She giggled slightly—or coughed—it was hard to tell. “We’d better start looking.”
Liam watched Scary and Apple (who was still howling) suspiciously. “You could use your Pokemon,” I suggested to Liam, trying not to sound accusing. I didn’t want to cause him any personal pain, but in situations like this, sacrifices sometimes had to be made.
“This is not an emergency,” Liam replied stoically.
Do not smack Liam, I thought. Do not smack Liam. Slightly more composed, I asked, “What do you call our situation then?”
Liam paused. “A complication.”
I turned to Anita for moral support, but she was already heading for the library door. “You’re going to leave Apple?” I asked her.
“We must find Mel. We only have fifteen minutes.” She left the room. I sighed and bent over to look under the couch. There was nothing—not even a layer of dust.
When I came back up, Liam was sitting on the couch, watching Apple. “What are you doing? We only have fifteen minutes!” I exclaimed.
“About how screwed over we are? The boy freakin disappeared in front of out eyes!”
“Exactly. We are clearly missing some piece of vital information.” He glanced at me. “I believe Apple knows. I think she has been trying to get Anita to believe something important. This theory would explain both Apple’s and Anita’s strange behavior… Apple, is this so?”
Apple nodded and then shook her head.
“Well, that was helpful,” I snickered.
Liam closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “A disappearing boy…. It could be an illusion, another ghost Pokemon, teleport, magic…”
“Magic?” I raised my eyebrows. That was the last word I would have expected Liam to use in a serious tone.
“Magic is all that is unexplained. The unexplained remains magic until it is understood.”
I rolled my eyes. “Magic is when people wave sticks and stuff happens.”
“No, that’s baseball.” Liam opened his eyes and rose.
“Did you have an epiphany?” I asked hopefully.
“No. I must know what Apple was telling Anita. Perhaps…” Liam shook his head. I got the feeling he was not telling me everything but decided not to pursue the matter. I had learned that Liam liked to do everything himself. If he needed some information or suggestion, he would ask.
We jogged back through the twisted hallways until we arrived in the kitchen. We found Anita looking through a cabinet under the stainless steel sink. How much time did we have left? I did not wear a watch. Maybe eight minutes…
“Anita, we need to know what Apple is growling about,” Liam said.
Anita looked up from her search. “It was nothing. Apple is still hungry.”
“I didn’t think Apple got this upset over food… usually,” I commented.
Anita smiled. “Then you don’t know Apple.”
Liam narrowed his eyes. “Anita, we need to know what is really occurring.”
Anita’s eyes darted around the room. “Nothing is going on,” she answered hastily. Then she got up and quickly walked toward the door leading to the dusty room.
Liam blocked her way. She attempted to dodge around him, but he grabbed her arm.
Anita suddenly froze, staring right at Liam.
I hurried over. “Are you okay?” I asked worriedly. When there was no response, I waved my hand in front of her blank face. “Anita?”
“Help me…” she uttered.
Liam released his grip in shock. Anita stumbled backwards and fled into another tiled room adjacent to the kitchen. She slammed the door.
I made to follow her, but Liam ordered, “Stop!”
“She’s going to get away!” I shouted.
Liam shook his head. “It is a dead end. I saw when we walked through here earlier.”
I frowned. “Aren’t we going to follow her?”
“Yes… but I have to explain what I believe is occurring, without Anita hearing—”
“Why?” I interrupted.
Liam held up his hand, flashing me an annoyed glance to indicate he was not finished speaking. “I believe the boy is gifted—ghost type.”
I blinked a few times. “But the odds of that…”
“I know. The odds are against us, but still, consider. Apple has been acting exceedingly peculiar; Apple knows. Apple and Anita communicate regularly through telepathy so she would be the first to realize the problem. In addition, just now…” Liam paused. “You understand how Anita’s powers do not affect me, correct?”
“Gift types work exactly like Pokemon types. Consider a ghost type gift. A person with such a gift would likely be able to turn invisible, fade through walls, and possess others… and what would a ghost type be effective against?”
I gasped. “Psychic.”
Liam nodded. “As the boy is still young, it is unlikely that his power is strong. I doubt he could possess a normal person for very long, if at all. Anita, however, would be easily possessed.”
“Suppose you’re right. How could you unpossess Anita and find the boy?”
“Remember when I touched Anita? That’s what confirmed my suspicions. By making physical contact with her, I cancelled her powers out, making her more difficult to possess. She managed to mutter a plea…”
“So if you just touch her for a longer time…”
Liam nodded. “That’s the theory.”
“Well, what are we standing here for?!” I twisted the doorknob, revealing a small laundry room.
The room was empty.
I opened a cabinet. Then another. And another—soon every nook Anita could have been hiding in was visible, and she still hadn’t been found.
“And you did not chase her because…” I glared at Liam.
“I did not believe the boy was powerful enough to turn invisible or fade through walls while possessing Anita. Clearly, I was mistaken.”
“Genius,” I muttered. “Maybe you’re wrong. The boy could just be a ghost or a ghost Pokemon or something.”
“Perhaps, but how would you explain the footprints?”
I shrugged nonchalantly, not wishing to reveal that I secretly thought he made a good point, and tapped my long nails on the slick counter in thought.
Liam watched the purple cloud of smoke that had been following me. When a pair of eyes appeared in the smoke, he asked, “Will you assist us in finding Melvin?”
There was a ghostly chuckle as the cloud faded.
I smiled suddenly.
We didn’t have to find Melvin; we could make him come to us.
“Ugh, this game is soooo boring!” I exclaimed. “We should just give up! Don’t you think?”
Liam simply stared at me in frustration.
“Sure,” Liam said warily.
I spoke louder. “I wish Mel would just come out of his hiding spot already. It is so silly to keep playing this boring game when I know so many games that are much more fun. We’re wasting valuable time!”
I whirled around as the door swung open and—voila—Anita stood in the doorway.
“Are y—we really giving up?” she asked.
Liam lunged and grabbed her arm, twisting her around so he could grasp both arms behind her back to prevent escape.
“Wha—” Anita started. “Let go!” she demanded.
“Nope,” Liam answered, smirking. “We found you, Melvin.”
Anita glared at Liam. “Let go! Melvin’s in the library! I came to tell you…”
“Give it up Melvin. I know you cannot stay in that body much longer.”
“Seriously, check the other room,” Anita sputtered.
Liam changed strategies. “Anita, will you take your body back already?”
“I am in my own body, moron!”
“You can do it, Anita!” I cheered. She frowned in response.
“I guess I overestimated your strength,” Liam taunted.
Anita’s head snapped around angrily, and she attempted to elbow Liam in the gut. This failed, of course. Anita slumped over, her face blank. Liam loosened his grip.
“That’s right. Keep fighting,” Liam cooed. Yes, I mean he cooed. It was such a bizarre sound coming from Liam’s mouth that despite our situation I started laughing.
Suddenly, Anita’s eyes snapped open. She twisted out of Liam’s grasp and sprinted forward. After about a second of hesitant shock, Liam and I both ran after her. Liam was faster, and soon I could only just see a swish of black shirt as I raced down the twisted halls.
The library doors were sprawled open, and Liam was once again restraining Anita. “Look at the couch,” Anita managed to gasp. Liam and I looked.
There was Melvin.
Liam hastily released Anita and took a step back.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
What the hell was his problem?
“So tell us how you got rid of Melvin,” Erin said.
I struggled wildly to no avail until Apple told me I might be able to regain my body by creating a barrier in my mind and slowly expanding it. I tried, failed, so Apple ended up doing it for me. Good explanation right? Ehh, once again, stupid Liam…
“I made a barrier in my mind. It was a lot harder and less effective on a ghost type, but Melvin’s powers aren’t as developed as mine,” I grumbled. It had been harder (for Apple) to create a barrier to stop the Gengar from helping Melvin. I think the fact that the Pokemon is half poison is the only reason the barrier actually held…
I sat on one of the ridiculously over-plushed couches in the creepy library, silently fuming at Liam because my voice was hoarse from yelling. Melvin was still lying unconscious on a couch directly across from the one I was sitting on. Liam sat next to Melvin, barely touching the boy’s skin in an attempt to suppress the boy’s powers should he wake up. While I continued to glare angrily at him, he returned a cool, bored gaze.
Liam is stupid. I just couldn’t get away from that, could I?
Inadvertently, all this glaring and staring caused us to begin a tacit staring contest. Seconds ticked by… I heard a nearby shuffle. Probably Erin—she was searching the house for a ladder. When my eyes began to water, Liam smirked slightly. Tears streamed down my face, but I refused to blink—
My concentration broke. Surprised, I looked up at Apple, who was still stuck in the floating cage above my head, as the Gengar had once again, disappeared. A knot of guilt tightened in my stomach. I was supposed to be psychically searching for the Gengar…
<It took you long enough. Do you know how long I’ve been trying to get your attention while you and Mr. Intensity have been goggling at each other?!>
<Hey, he started it! And I wasn’t going to just give in!>
<Then congrats on taking competitive to a ridiculous level. Anyway, I found Scary Face!>
<Erm, scary face is an attack. One I suppose you could use often.>
<No, I meant the Gengar.> I rolled my eyes at Apple. <He’s floating right above Melvin, actually, invisible.>
<Then why don’t you, the amazing psychic Eevee, tell him to release you. Or better yet, why don’t you just psychically get yourself out of the cage.>
<Uh, maybe ‘cause you’re the only one who knows about the whole psychic thing?>
I scowled and said sarcastically, <I know, I know. It just gets annoying, you know. Always rescuing people, saving the day, doing hero stuff.>
<Scary face!> Before Apple could retort, I focused my attention on the Gengar, knowing Apple wouldn’t disturb me. I sensed the Pokemon hovering, but instinctively shied away. I tried again. <Yo, Scary?> I felt the Gengar turn toward me in surprise. <Hey, you can hear me! Will you please release Apple? And can we have our Pokeballs back?>
<I will not help those who hurt Melvin.>
<Are you kidding me? The kid got himself hurt!>
<Even if that were the case, I would not take any action without Melvin’s permission.>
I broke off the connection with Scary, annoyed. Liam raised a questioning eyebrow at me, but before I could say anything, Erin burst through the doors, screaming loudly. “What the hell! Will you stop bothering me!!! Go away!” There was nothing behind her. She swatted the air uselessly.
I watched incredulously and Apple burst into laughter.
A purple mist seemed to seep through the floor around Erin’s feet. “Eeep!” she screeched, before jumping away and sprinting toward the couches.
Liam stood up, probably to move out of the way, but Erin had other ideas. She jumped into the arms of a wide-eyed Liam, who promptly dropped her on her butt. Erin jumped back up, rubbing her sore butt and flicking her eyes around the room intently.
Curiously, I stretched out my powers, and sensed another Pokemon. <Hello?>
<Jello?> a voice replied.
<Um, who are you?>
<Dumb, poo far too!>
<Fright ten!> A whispery voice cackled softly, and a cool breeze pricked my neck. I froze standing completely still as the breeze enwrapped my body, and then left. <Boo!> It took me a moment to realize that the sound was not a short “Boo”—the type meant for scaring—but a long “Boo,” an irked “Boo.” <The girl over there reacts much more funnier.>
I winced at the bad grammar, and looked about for the source of my chills. <I’m sorry—> I started talking, but the creature continued, <Now she’s went to the bad-tasting boy. I don’t like the tasting-bad boy, but I want to haunt her.> A purple smoke appeared and materialized into the Misdreavus we had seen by Melvin earlier.
<That is a dilemma,> I agreed, coming up with a way to take advantage of the situation. <I know! If you get the Eevee out of the cage above me, I’ll get the girl you like away from the yucky boy!>
<Don’t, Missy,> Scary said sharply. <She’s not your master.>
Missy, apparently the Misdreavus, let out another chilled laugh before swooping towards Apple’s cage. <Mel isn’t neither. And neither are you. Neither is a funny word. Sounds like I need-fur or need-her or need-to-purr…> Missy stared at me a moment. <You better hold up your end of the deal, or it’s you I be haunting.>
The lock on the cage popped open, and Apple was dumped out. I dived forward, catching Apple as I skidded across the floor.
<Wow, you sacrificed Erin’s sanity for me! I feel loved!> Apple exclaimed.
<Ghosts are known from time to time to drive people completely berserk. What do you expect when someone’s constantly invading your mind?>
<I think I know the feeling,> I retorted dryly.
Knowing I should feel guilty about this, I frantically called as I dusted my pants off, “Hey Erin, come look at this!”
Erin, thinking something was wrong, hurried over. Ha! See, Erin’s not the only one with mad acting skills!
<Don’t push it,> Apple commented.
The Misdreavus immediately enwrapped Erin in a purple mist and both disappeared, Erin’s high pitched squeal clashing with the Missy’s cackle. <Um, should I be worried?> I asked mildly.
Apple shrugged as I slumped back on a couch. Not a great sign.
Liam looked at me. “Should I even ask?”
I shook my head.
“Yeah, they’ll come back eventually,” Mel said. Wait, Mel said?!
Melvin, was sitting up, probably woken by the excessive noise. “You, little boy, have some explaining to do,” I scolded. The boy struggled against Liam’s grip for a few seconds and then sat still. One of his fingers disappeared, and for a second I thought the rest of his body would follow, but the finger reappeared quickly.
“You’re not going anywhere until you tell us what your problem is and where our Pokemon are,” I told the boy. “Care to get started?”
“Why can’t I disappear?” the boy asked, his upper lip trembling.
“Liam’s weird that way. Now get on with it, kid,” I demanded.
“Stop being so mean!” Mel cried and then burst into tears.
<Nice going, Anita.>
<You couldn’t have done any better,> I snapped.
<You couldn’t have done any worse.>
“Scary, get me out of here!” Mel yelped while Liam shot an angry glare at me.
Before Scary could even move, I created a psychic barrier around the ghost, which was quickly enforced by Apple. Liam’s glare turned into a curious gaze.
“Half poison,” I reminded him.
“Who-who, are y-you?” the boy stuttered.
I opened my mouth to object to his question when he hadn’t even answered ours, but my mouth wouldn’t move.
<Anita, do us all a favor and be nice.>
I took a deep breath and Apple unfroze my jaw. I looked down at Melvin, his face all damp and cute…
“Stop crying,” I demanded.
“Please, stop crying,” I repeated.
Ugh, this was the type of thing Erin could probably deal with. Why did Erin have to disappear now of all times? Of course, her disappearance was my fault…
I struggled to smile at the boy. “I’m sorry,” I said unenthusiastically.
<You’re grimacing. Think happy thoughts.>
Kicking Liam’s ass, the day Erin tortured Liam, Melvin not existing, peanut butter cookies… I flashed a smile. “We can help you and Scary” get lost.
<Geez, you’re in a violent mood today,> Apple commented. <Looks like, as usual, I’ll have to do all the dirty work to save your butt.> Apple leapt onto the couch next to Mel and licked his face. The boy patted Apple and let out a sound that sounded like a sick cat purring. <That was a giggle.>
I sighed and sat back down on the couch. Let Apple do her magic, or whatever. After a few minutes, when the boy calmed down, I spoke again. “Melvin, we’d really like to know where our Pokemon are, and what is going on. The Eevee you’re petting, Apple, wants to know, too. Will you help us?”
Mel looked hesitantly at Apple and then looked up at me with huge teary, grey eyes. “Do you promise not to leave me?”
“Of course not,” I replied uncomfortably.
“Then if you let Scary out of the bubble, he can get your other Pokemon.” I tried to probe Mel’s mind, but found it impossible to penetrate. Liam and I watched Melvin sharply as Scary was released and given orders to retrieve the Pokeballs. Scary disappeared.
“Tell us about yourself, Mel,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere (in other words, stop the boy from having a mental break-down).
“I’m eight years old, I like playing games, and I have ten fingers. When I grow up I want to be a profusional ghost.”
<I think he meant professional,> Apple suggested.
<Yes, wealthy ghosts are hard to come by.>
<So are professional ghosts…>
“Like Scary?” I asked Mel.
The boy nodded seriously.
“So why are you alone in this house? Where are your parents?”
“This is my home!” the Mel exclaimed. “And Scary is my parent. He takes care of me, and feeds me, and sometimes finds me friends like you guys.”
“What about before Scary?” I pressed. “Did anyone take care of you before Scary?”
Mel looked at the ground. “No.”
“Mel, we’re trying to help you. We have to know.”
“Papa ran away,” he whispered. “He was scared. Of me. He’s not my parent.”
<You are really bad at this emotional comfort stuff. Why don’t you give the boy a hug?>
<He might try to take over my body again! Maybe this is part of an evil scheme to get back inside me!>
<Or maybe Mel’s a scared little boy who needs a hug. I’ll know if something goes wrong and Liam is touching him so it should be okay.>
<Alright…> I moved next to Melvin, and gave him a hug, awkwardly patting his back.
Abruptly, Scary, Erin, and Missy all faded into reality. Or rather, Scary, holding Erin and Missy by the scruffs of their necks, faded into reality. Erin struggled wildly, and Missy continued to cackle. <I found these two where the Pokeballs were being stored.> Scary lifted Erin higher into the air. <This one somehow convinced this one—> Scar lifted Missy. <that it would be extremely fun to steal back the Pokeballs.> Scary dropped both of the offenders. Missy, of course, continued to float.
Erin, however, hit the couch hard. She rolled into a sitting position. “Hey, guys. I’m just dropping by…” Three Pokeballs hit her head and she collapsed back down onto the couch.
<Lame puns should always be punished with violence.> Apple nodded approvingly at Scary.
Once I had my Pokeballs all safely clipped to my pants, I asked, “Alright, ready to go?”
Liam and Erin exchanged glances. “Anita, we still don’t really know where we are,” Liam explained.
“And there’s Melvin. Does he have actual parents? We can’t just leave him,” Erin added.
“You promised to stay with me!” Mel yelled accusingly.
“I… er… didn’t mean… umm. Of course, we’re staying with you,” I hastily told Mel.
“Why don’t we bring Mel with us?” Erin suggested. “He knows how to get to Cape Caution, probably.”
“No!” I shouted. When I got shocked looks I spoke normally. “I mean. Well, no, I do mean no. We can’t take care of a kid.” I wrinkled my nose. “He seems like a hassle.”
“I can take care of myself,” Mel replied indignantly. “I don’t wanna go.”
Erin crouched down next to Melvin. “Mel, you can’t keep living like this. You need a safe home, and an education, and someone who can help you use your powers better, and someone to take care of you.”
“But I’m a ghost. I don’t need an education and Scary can do the rest.”
“You’re a human with ghost powers, Mel. You need to be around humans. Come with us. It’ll be fun—we’ll play games with you and you can meet our Pokemon.”
<Mel, I think they are right,> Scary added.
Uh oh, it looked like the miniature fountain was going to start spouting tears again. “But, you’ll come, too. Right, Scary?”
Immediately the boy brightened. “Well, okay then.”
Everyone started getting up to go. “Now, wait a second! I still don’t want—” I objected.
“Anita, shut it. He’s coming with us,” Erin said.
“I think you two will get along. Both of you appear to have the maturity of eight-year-olds,” Liam added.
I scowled. “And you have the maturity of an eighty-year-old.”
“Nu-uh,” Erin argued. “He’s not super mature! He spat at Carly, remember?”
“I never said eighty-year-olds were super mature. My grandpa Phil, for one, is eighty-three years old and still making prank phone calls to his hall mates in his nursing home,” I recalled.
“I’d love to meet—Ahhh!” Erin jumped up and yelped. When she landed, she spun towards Liam. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?! Don’t you dare touch my ass!”
Liam held up his hands. “I did not touch you.”
Mel tugged my sleeve. “What is a prank phone call? And what’s hell? And ass?”
<You guys are going to be a brilliant influence on Mel,> Apple said dryly.
“Ow!” Erin yelped again. She looked around at everyone shiftily, daring anyone to speak.
Mel picking his nose.
Chapter 24: Ridiculous to the Max
“Aden, this is ridiculous.”
I squinted at the picture. “His right eye is definitely brown,” I masterfully observed, lifting the picture closer to my face to get a better look. I was brilliant at this sort of thing.
“Hey! Give that back! We need that for the wanted posters you are going to make!”
Officer Jenny crumpled the picture in her hand. “With all due respect, sir, we are not going to find the robbers by putting up wanted signs of security tape snapshots. The pictures are too blurry, and the robbers had their faces covered. Plus, they were with Team Glop’emm. If we cannot even find their base, how are we going to find the individuals?”
“One of them has brown eyes,” I replied definitively.
“Aden, the snapshots are in black and white.”
“But…” Unfortunately, even I, the great me, could not defeat that logic.
“We have not been able to find any traces…” Jen blabbered away. No new information, blah de-blah. I could be out there searching for those scoundrels myself! Or hanging up wanted signs. Maybe someone in town had seen….
“That’s it!” I yelled. Jen yelped and tripped backwards over an office stool. My awesome booming voice tended to have that affect on people.
“What now?” The officer gave me an annoyed glare as she dusted her pants off. But no way was I going to wait and explain. I had a brilliant idea! Muwahahahaha! It needed immediate implementation! Now where was that phone? I shuffled some papers around Jen’s desk until- aha! – I found the phone.
“I’ve already thought of that, Aden.” Tamara answered the phone before it even rang... as well as my thoughts before I spoke. But it was impossible. She couldn’t have thought of my brilliant idea already! It was so… brilliant!
“There is no way you came up with the idea of making wanted signs for our favorite missing person without reading my mind!” I accused.
I heard a sigh. “Actually, Nai came to me with the idea the day our gym leader went missing. She thought that even though we had no photographs of him, I should be able to project his image into an artist’s mind, who would then be able to create an image. In theory, she should be right… even if he does have dark powers, I should be able to project a simple image of him into another’s mind. I tried. I failed. Aden, I do not understand why, but I cannot do it. I did not wish to disclose this information to the others, as I would be creating a false sense of insecurity.”
“You sound fairly insecure,” I said seriously. “Is there anything else wrong, you know, with your powers?”
“Nothing at all. It is a small matter, Aden, do not worry. And I would be grateful if you told nobody else of this conversation.”
“Alright…” Tamara had already hung up the phone. Bleh, psychics.
I turned around, only to find Officer Jenny an inch away from me. “What was that about?!” she shouted.
“Apparently, nobody likes my wanted poster idea,” I mumbled.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
…according to ancient Pekanian legend “blue fire fell from the sky…leaving only ash.” This could be a reference to Mew’s supposed regenerative lifecycle, rumored to occur every five thousand years. This destructive blue fire, however, seems to have been witnessed twice in the past hundred years— the already discussed Cherrigrove City and Vintage Village incidents. Several questions arise from the short period between these incidents. Is Mew’s lifecycle as long as the legends suggest? Does Mew actually have a phoenix-like lifecycle?
I slammed the musty book shut, dust visibly swirling around the page corners.
This research was useless.
They asked all the wrong questions.
A small boy with dark hair and lean features aimed a punch at his father’s stomach. The father stopped the boy’s hand before the blow could hit.
“What did I tell you about flailing about?” the father scolded.
The boy looked at the rough grass beneath his torn shoes.
“Answer me. Where does power come from?”
“From the base, father. From my legs.”
“Look at me.” The father put a gentle hand under his son’s chin. Green eyes connected. “Power is always built up. To make even the slightest inefficient and unbalanced movement is to lose power. Do you understand?”
The boy nodded.
“No, you don’t. But one day you will. Again.” The boy thrust his arm forward, faster this time. The father let his son’s fist connect with his stomach, wincing slightly. The boy lost balance and fell over, cradling his wrist from the impact. “Better—“
The father looked over his shoulder, as if someone had called his name. “Tal may have found something a mile into Apoosh Forest. Let’s go.”
The man took off running after giving an expectant look to his son. The boy knew he had to keep up.
For every one of his father’s strides, the boy took three. Still he pushed forward.
The trees became thicker, and the boy stumbled on a root. The father did not slow. “Why do we do this?” the father asked.
“To train,” the boy replied by rote.
“Train?” the father repeated.
“Train to be like a Pokemon. To be successful, a trainer must be able to think and fight as if the trainer was in the Pokemon’s position.”
“Excellent. At least your mind is sharp.”
An Alakazam appeared before the man, its legs shaking slightly. The man and boy slowed down. “This better not be a false alarm—not another Grumpig like last time.” The Alakazam shook his head and pointed into the dark woods. “Very well.” The Pokemon disappeared in a flash of red. In its place stood a Houndoom.
As the dog sniffed the air, the boy smiled. “Houndoooooom!” The Houndoom ran into the woods, closely followed by the father and son.
Not ten minutes later, the Houndoom growled and circled a large berry tree. The father looked up. A pink Pokemon cradling a delicious-looking Oran berry rested in the topmost branches.
The boy’s stomach growled as the Pokemon took an enormous bite into the berry, spraying berry juice across its face and the tree bark. A drop landed in the boy’s hair.
“Charmeleon, now!” the father yelled, releasing a Charmeleon. The fire Pokemon leapt into the tree, quickly bounding up the branches, as the father flung what looked like an over-sized black and yellow Pokeball.
Just as the Charmeleon and the ball reached the upper branches of the tree, they froze. The pink Pokemon gave the father a pleading look, but almost seemed to be looking beyond the father. <Why?> It quickly floated above the tree tops out of sight.
“Tal, which direction?” the father demanded, releasing the Alakazam once more. The psychic Pokemon’s spoons bent in concentration and pointed deeper into the woods. A sweet scent of pine and dew grew stronger as the father, son, and Pokemon pursued the pink creature.
The Alakazam stopped. <It’s gone.>
“Gone? That’s not possible!” the father exclaimed.
<I can no longer sense its presence.>
“You mean it teleported? It could not do that before!”
<Maybe. However, I should still be able to sense its existence. I cannot feel the creature.>
The father pulled out three Pokeballs. “I pushed you too hard, Tal. We’ll try again later.” After all of the Pokemon were returned to their Pokeballs, the father kicked the ground in frustration.
“Father?” the boy asked timidly.
Composing himself, the father replied, “Yes?”
The moss-covered trees were calm—not a branch wavered. The air was light and peaceful.
“That Pokemon destroyed our village and Lily’s parents?”
The boy hesitated. “Then why are you trying to capture it? Why not kill it?”
“That Pokemon is not like normal Pokemon. Mew is legendary. It is dangerous and immortal.”
“So how can you kill it?”
The father smiled down at his son. “That’s my son, always asking the right question.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
<868,013, your barrier is weak,> Lieutenant 868 yelled.
I poured more psychic energy into my barrier. It was not fair. The others were older and more experienced and stronger…
<868,013—age is no excuse! 868,012, show 013 how weak that barrier is!> Another Mew appeared next to me. I was not surprised. That had happened a lot this past week.
The Mew’s fist lit up. I prepared for the worst—and felt my head explode into several million shards as 012’s fist shattered my barrier.
<013, you are not a theater major! Stop the drama! Have I taught you nothing this past week? Get back up! You have very little time remaining—let’s practice your teleportation.>
Feebly, I floated a foot off of the ground. 012 towered over me. A blur of pink whipped towards me at a speed I could not possibly block.
I closed my eyes and prepared for the blow that would never hit.
Green light, like a forest—
I woke up panting.
It was dawn. The sun peeped over the horizon, as if welcoming me back into the physical world. I took several deep breaths to calm myself and purge the distinct smell of my dream from my system.
I did not want to believe it. It was not possible. Not so soon… But the visions kept coming, even after we left Mint Mountain. I worked hard to clear my mind every day before Anita woke up so I wouldn’t worry her, but it was getting harder.
The last time I had so many visions…
But no. This must be something else.
I would not allow myself to disappear now, of all times.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The glittering sunlight shone brightly upon our fur, comforting us in a chewable-squishy-fuzzy-slippers kind of comfort.
At least that’s how Apple described it, and she’s the coolest so she’d know.
Now though, Apple was busy with our trainer so it was up to me to make fun and be cool. “Attention!”
“So the Mudkip replied…” Vanilla chattered to Allo.
“No, a truck sounds like Vrorom-rooom! Not Vrooom-um!” Tweal argued with Missy.
“Ehem!” I cleared my throat. “I said ATTENTION!”
Everyone was quiet. Normally, I didn’t like quiet, but this was a good quiet. Maybe a fuzzy-slipper quiet. “Now, you all know why we are gathered here…”
“Actually, we don’t, Splash,” Vanilla interrupted. “We were all happily munching away on our nutty nibbles—” Missy made a puking noise. “—when you decided we had to have a super-special meeting. I’m not quite sure why any of us actually agreed to come.”
“Fun!” Tweal chirped.
“Well, Tweal is right. Today is a very important day. A day for fun. Today, ladies, gentleman, ghosts, Eevees, birds, and nutty nibbles smeared across Allo’s face, is July eighteenth.”
“And…?” Vanilla asked.
“Today, we battle!”
Allo sighed. “I figured it was something like this—”
“No! It is nothing like that! We are not gathered here for a simple announcement! We are gathered here in celebration! We are gathered here for—”
“Fun!” Tweal chirped again.
“Exactly! Now who’s with me?!”
“But, we still don’t know what—”
“Me!” Tweal exclaimed.
“Me!” Missy whispered.
I gave Sunflower a threatening growl when Allo turned to consult Vanilla. “Me…” Sunflower said.
Vanilla started to walk away. “Oooh, Vanilla’s afraid to have a little fun!” I taunted.
“Am not!” Vanilla snapped. “I just don’t like your idea of fun.”
“Splash, I think I’m with Vanilla on this. What exactly are you planning?”
“Well, I’m glad you asked. In celebration of today, we are going to play a game!”
“What kind of game?” Allo asked tentatively.
“Where does he get this stuff from?” Allo asked Vanilla in disbelief.
“My artificial intelligence!” I replied. Duh! “Whoever can pretend they are something or someone else the longest wins the game!”
“Can we choose anything to pretend to be?” Tweal asked.
“Yup! I’m going to be a cactus!”
“Then I’ll be Splash,” Vanilla snickered. “Look at me! I have maximum energy and minimum intelligence! I leap before I think. Actually, I do everything before I think and never get around to the actual thinking part!”
“Ooh, Vanilla you’re brilliant! We can pretend to be members of our group. I take it back, I wanna be Anita!”
“Me got dibs on Erin!” Missy cackled.
“If you’re not going to be a cactus, can I be a cactus?” Tweal asked.
“There once a friend anew—a Gastly haunting cactus …” Missy stared off in reminiscence.
“What are you going to be, Sunflower?” I asked.
“I’m not sure this is the best game, especially for Sun—” Allo started.
“I’ll be Mel,” Sunflower said quietly. Of course she wanted to be the boring one of the group.
“That was a good decision,” Allo said encouragingly. Then he sighed. “I wish I could disappear right now, too… I’m going to pretend you’re all normal.”
“That’s actually going to be a challenge,” Vanilla commented. I would have retorted, but I heard the trot of one of my favorite Eevees in the whole group!
“Hey, my fellow Eeps! What is up?” Apple bounded next to Allo. “After Anita and everyone cleans up lunch, you guys are going to train! How does that sound?”
“Awesome!” I replied enthusiastically.
At the same time, Allo asked, “Eeps?”
“People are called peeps, so I figure Eevees are called Eeps!” Apple explained. I think Apple must have a Ph.D. in life because she’s so smart. I want her smarts one day!
“We’re celebrating by make believing!” I proudly declared. “I’m Anita, Missy’s Erin, Vanilla’s me, Sunflower’s Mel, Allo’s pretending we’re normal, and Tweal is a cactus!”
Apple smiled widely. “I am soooo Liam.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“There is no reason for the Electrike to migrate with all the rain Cape Caution’s had this summer,” Liam stated.
“It’s not about reason. The Electrike migrate away from Cape Caution every summer,” Erin argued.
I sighed and unzipped Erin’s bag to find our pot shrinker. They had been arguing all through lunch. Mel had become so bored he threw his unfinished lunch at the two of them, and when that failed he had resorted to French braiding the tall golden grass around our camp.
“They only migrate because there is not usually enough water up here to sustain the whole pack.”
“Enough! I’ll prove you wrong!” Erin declared. “Anita, Liam and I are going to what would be the Electrike habitat if it was winter. It’s about two miles west of here. Can you watch Tweal? He likes to be around Splash.”
Mel jumped up. “Can I come too?!”
Liam, who had been examining his Pokedex, shot Erin an irked look. Erin smiled at Mel. “If you want to, Mel, of course you can come! Anita’s going to be training her Pokemon here…”
I glared at Erin, who replied with an innocent blink.
“Nevermind! I’m going to stay here and help Anita train!” Mel exclaimed.
“But Mel, don’t you think it would be more fun to look at the Electrike with Erin? They have such cool sparks and—” I tried to get Mel to leave.
“I’ve seen Electrike before, but I’ve never seen Pokemon training! And I want to be a profusional ghost Pokemon so I need to learn all I can!”
“Professional,” Erin muttered. Before I could say anything else, Erin called over Griffy. “You two have fun! Hop on, Liam!” Liam nimbly climbed onto Griffy’s back behind Erin, and Griffy took off into the tall grass.
Well, this was just perfect. I finally fished the pot shrinker out of Erin’s bag and used it to store our dishes. Then, I turned around to tell Mel to stay out of my way, only to find the area surrounding me void of little annoying boys.
That should be a good thing, right? Not when the little annoying boy can turn invisible…
“Boo!” I jumped up in surprise, and beside me, Erin shrieked. Wait, Erin wasn’t here. So who…?
Missy, apparently, could do a perfect imitation of Erin’s scream. She winked at me and disappeared. Mel was rolling on the ground laughing, Scary smiled beside him, and even Sunflower, who was sitting by Mel’s feet, seemed to be grinning.
“So happy to provide amusement,” I mumbled before stomping away towards my other Pokemon. “Fiery, come on!” Fiery had been lazily relaxing in the sun. He opened an eye to glare at me, and then shut it.
Before I could ask again, Splash jumped on top of him. <Get up! Get up! Let’s go battle! Come on!>
Fiery leapt up immediately and started sniffing Splash… wait… no, it couldn’t be… but… but… how? I looked around the field. Splash and Apple were tackling each other a hundred meters away. Splash hadn’t tackled Fiery. It had been… Vanilla?
Vanilla sprinted towards me, followed by a rather shocked Fiery.
Stunned, I watched as Vanilla ran past me to where Tweal and Allo were sitting, and started running in circles.
<Is something wrong?> I called out to Tweal and Allo as I approached them.
<…> Tweal was silent.
<Nope, everything is absolutely normal,> Allo answered.
Maybe Vanilla was really excited to battle? She never had been before… Well, no time to worry about that now. I had practicing to do. “Everyone come over here!” I yelled.
Apple tackled Splash to the ground one more time before both she and Splash frowned slightly and walked towards me. Weird, usually they were a little more enthusiastic.
Once everyone was gathered, I began my pep-talk. “Alright, so for most of you, this is your first time training. If the training’s too tough for you, say something, and I promise to psychically shoot you back to Mint Mountain. No wusses or crybabies—” I glared at Mel. “—allowed. I thought we’d start with a quick round robin to illustrate the most basic move, tackle. Fiery, demonstrate tackle on that rock.”
I pointed, and Fiery ran at the rock, headbutting it so it flew a good forty meters through the air.
<What did you think of the pep-talk?> I asked Apple as Fiery illustrated the attack.
<It was amazing, of course, because I made it!> Apple replied. I turned around to see if she was making a joke I just did not understand, only to realize that several members of the group were missing.
“Where’s Sunflower, Mel, Scary, and Missy?” I asked.
Allo shrugged, Tweal did not answer, Splash replied, “I don’t know,” Apple replied, “I don’t care,” and Vanilla had a paw stuck up her nose.
Trying extremely hard to ignore all of the bizarreness so I could concentrate on finding Sunflower and the others (but mostly Sunflower), I ordered, “The five of you practice tackling each other. Fiery, can you look for Sunflower? I’m going to try to find Mel psychically. Hopefully, they are all together.”
With that, I sat down and closed my eyes. Immediately, I was drawn to the minds of the five Pokemon closest to me, but I avoided the temptation and reached out further. I started reaching only in the direction away from Fiery, but soon realized I was able to “see” many directions at once if I wanted to. It felt like I was zooming out of a picture so I could see more and more.
My mind stretched outward, but like a muscle, there came a point where I felt I could not stretch even an inch more. I settled for scrutinizing every inch of the area I could see, maybe half a mile radius. At the very northern tip of my view, I felt strangely repelled. My power dipped slightly, as if there was an invisible barrier.
I flashed an image in Fiery’s mind. <Try here.> Fiery, who had been heading north-west, changed directions slightly. <Tell me if you find anything.>
I returned to my body. “Alright you guys, I need to know exactly what happened to Sun—”
Allo, Apple, Splash, and Vanilla all lay crumpled on their sides, as if badly beaten in a battle. Tweal was the only Pokemon still standing tall.
<Tweal, what happened?>
<… Cacti will triumph over all…>
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
On a scale of one to a hundred, Anita’s temper broke the thermometer. She immediately tried to force her way into my mind. Wincing slightly, I held her back. To keep her from doing anything destructive, I said, <Don’t worry, Sunflower and Mel are fine!>
<Even I, the great and mighty Anita, could not defeat a cactus,> Splash declared, trying to answer the real Anita’s question. <Every time we tackled it, we were hit by spikes!>
Anita crept back into her own mind and glared at me. <Whatever is going on, I’m sure it’s your fault,> she told me. “Splash,” Anita said, a little too sweetly, “you are not me.”
<Of course I am,> Splash insisted. <Look, I can make a psychic barrier!> Splash waved his paws in an attempt to look mystical and then pretended to run into an invisible barrier.
<Apple, what is going on?>
<None of your business.>
<Apple,> Anita growled. She pressured my mind again. I still resisted. She then changed her focus and tried to get into the others’ minds. Just for kicks, I held her back from their minds, too. Liam would do that too, right? He likes to bother Anita… I mean who doesn’t?
“Alright, Vanilla and/or Allo, would you care to inform me why my Pokemon have become idiotic?”
<Of course, my idol, Anita!> Vanilla answered. <I came up with the most amazing idea to play make believe! Now we’re all pretending to be other people and Pokemon and thingies! I’m Splash so I’m hyper and stupid!>
Anita slumped onto the ground. “You have all had me worried because you’re playing a freakin game?!”
<Obviously,> I drawled. <Took you long enough to figure out.>
“Apple, snap out of it. This is ridiculous! Who are you supposed to be, anyway? Vanilla is Splash, Splash is me, Tweal is a cactus…? And I think Missy might have been Erin…” Sudden understanding crossed Anita’s face. “You must be Liam.”
“Don’t forget Sunflower is Mel!” Vanilla piped.
“I’m going to go curl up by those bushes and pretend this isn’t happening,” Anita said despairingly.
<Welcome to the club,> Allo muttered.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Scary, is this far enough to not be disturbed?” Mel asked Scary.
I peeked out of Mel’s arms and saw Scary nodding. Both Scary and Mel floated to the ground, and I let out a sigh of relief. The floating made me extremely uncomfortable.
“Boo!” Missy popped out at me and Mel. While Mel did not even flinch, I plunged my head down into Mel’s chest. Missy then did another very good imitation of Erin’s scream and continued to laugh madly. I knew I shouldn’t be afraid, that Missy was just joking, but I could not help being frightened. I did not like surprises…
“Alright, Sunflower, Scary here tells me that you want to learn to be a ghost so we’re going to teach you! Okay?”
I nodded and Mel set me down on the ground. To be quite honest, I knew there was no chance of me ever becoming a ghost until I died, which I hoped would not happen any time soon. I really only did this to get away from my insane brother. His games were dangerous.
“First of all, Sunflower, ghosts are scary. Watch—”
Scary grinned evilly and seemed to grow in size. I cowered by Mel’s feet.
“Now you try!” Mel exclaimed.
I looked at the boy pleadingly. I could not be terrifying—only terrified!
“You can do it! Growl at me!”
I tried. I screwed up my face and barked.
“Hehehehehe!” Missy cackled. “That quite hilarity.”
Mel started laughing, too, but managed to turn it into a coughing fit. My ears drooped. I couldn’t do this.
“Sunflower, try to imagine I’m Splash. Growl at me!” Mel suggested.
But he was not Splash, and if he was, I could never growl at him. Still… he was not Splash and if I pretended I had the guts to stand up to a pretend Splash, maybe it would sound something like—
Missy let out an Erin scream.
“Sunflower, that was great!” Mel exclaimed. He patted me on the head. “Now we can work on turning invisible.”
I licked Mel’s hand. He was such a nice person, but he was a child, and children did not understand the laws of physics… of course, I was a child, too.
“Mel, Sunflower is not like us; she will never be able to turn invisible at will,” Scary said to Mel. Scary disappeared into Mel’s body for a few seconds and then returned. It must have been their way of communicating because Mel looked downcast for a moment.
“Scary says you can’t learn that…” Mel suddenly smiled. “But he did show me something I might be able to teach you!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
The campfire’s heat was relaxing. The soft grass I sat on was relaxing. Erin and Liam’s constant bickering… kinda ruined the whole relaxing atmosphere I was going for.
“The Electrike only moved a mile south, Erin. That does not qualify as migration,” Liam argued.
“Does too!” Erin countered. “Doesn’t it, Anita?”
Not satisfied with my answer, Erin accusingly asked, “What did you accomplish here, anyway, while Liam and I were off making amazing scientific discoveries?”
“Anita couldn’t control her Pokemon and ended up not accomplishing anything!” Mel blurted out.
I glared at the evil boy. “In fact, Allo and I had a very productive day. Allo mastered several attacks.”
Allo puffed out his chest proudly.
“And your other Pokemon…?” Erin asked.
I didn’t answer.
“Scary told me the whole situation! See,” Mel explained, “what happened was Splash decided he wanted to make believe. So he gathered everyone and he was Anita and Vanilla was him and Missy was you and Apple was Liam and Tweal was a cactus and Allo pretended everything was alright and Sunflower was me. So I decided to train Sunflower myself but then Fiery found us and was furious and brought us back to Anita. And—”
“Who won?” Erin interrupted.
“Won?” Mel asked. “Make believe isn’t a winning-losing game.”
<Whoever pretends the longest wins,> Apple explained. Only nobody could hear her and I certainly was not going to be the communication link in this conversation.
<Excuse me, but Apple claims that whoever pretends the longest wins this strange game,> Griffy said. Darn that Girafarig.
“And?” Erin asked expectantly.
Apple spoke and Griffy relayed, <Allo lost when he tackled Tweal and pretended to be hurt because he was supposed to be pretending that nobody was pretending. Tweal eventually fell over from standing up straight and Vanilla fell in a puddle and started flipping out about her dirtiness so they both lost. Then Splash and I got bored so we played leapfrog instead of make believe. That leaves—”
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!” Missy uttered a high pitch Erin scream, making me jump back from the fire.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a dark ball of energy collided with Missy. The Misdreavus fell over, knocked out.
We all turned our heads towards the source of the attack.
Sunflower smiled. <I win.>
I love how the first paragraph flows. It seems a little short, but it works quite well, as it supposed to be a quick, frantic beginning, right? That said, ‘intense battle’ seems a little thrown in. I mean, it just seems almost too causally thrown in, as if it was humorous. Oh, an ‘intense battle’! :o
The words you chose captured the scene quite well: ‘frantically’, ‘stumbled’, ‘raging’. I always write quite a lot on beginnings. I just consider them really important. You’re off to a great start.
I think the sentences about the girl’s pity would work better separated, but maybe that’s just me. Speaking of that sentence, how much pity does she feel? Is she a bit blasé about the whole thing. Is she completely confused, unable to comprehend what’s happening. Is she filled with anguish in the whole situation? I felt she didn’t feel much pity at all, as if it was just slotted in as an afterthought. I do like that you mentioned the girl cares about both creatures? That shows a little about her personality, her character. She seems to have a child-like, unprejudiced view. Even though the Charizard is clearly hurting an innocent creature, she still feels (some) compassion.
There’s not much I can criticize in this paragraph, because word and grammar-wise, it’s pretty good. I like how you didn’t lose the sense of drama too much, as you kept using descriptive words like ‘cradling’ and ‘panting’. I know I’m yakking on a bit about your word choices, but I’m just saying, keep up the good work!
Now onto chapter 1!
The second last paragraph there was one of the better ones so far in this chapter. It shows a little about their relationship. That Mew owes her almost. It’s just interesting…
I eventually decided it was safe to tell my mom about my pink friend, but when I tried to show her, Mew was nowhere to be found. Similar occurrences happened when I tried to show Mew to my friends. At the time, I did not understand why Mew did not want to be seen. Apple had to explain that an angry man was trying to capture it and it was trying to stay hidden from this person.
<You see,> the small creature told me. <I am a very rare Pokemon containing power I don't even know how to use yet! I was born only two years ago, from the ashes of my father Mew. I don’t have enough power to be able to defend myself from the angry man.>
"What do'ya mean ashes?" I questioned, confused.
<When a Mew is 5,000 years old, it dies, and from its ashes, rises a new Mew,> the pink creature explained.
"If you're only two years old, how do you even know that?!" I asked, bewildered.
The Mew shrugged. <I guess I was born knowing that. But that's not the point. The point is I can't be seen by anyone because they might want to capture me for my power, or worse, they know the angry man! I'm not strong enough to protect myself! I need to hide myself from the world!>
Yes, it weird that Mew knows that in 4,998 years she will turn to ash. But then she’s a mysterious, legendary creature.
Hmmm, hmmm. There isn’t much I can say. It isn’t an “oh-wow that’s amazing paragraph”, but that said, you’re getting into your stride here. I can feel the heroine’s own voice and personality shine through at this point. She comments that true friends wouldn’t keep their friends in Poké Balls and the way she tries to be polite: “to put it nicely, irritating companions”. Of course, the unusual surnames too! XD
I have to praise your characterisation so far, even though I’ve just realised I don’t know the protagonist’s name. Nonetheless, having a Mew can risk the story straying in Suedom, though you seem okay for now. You do need a little more description, but you got away with it in that chapter as it wasn’t a Pokémon battle or journey, just an introduction into what’s going on. Obviously, you mightn’t get away with it later.
I’ve noticed you have wrote a lot more chapters (your last post puts it at twenty-four) since the first one. Don’t rush them! Spend as long as you need. I would post a review of all of them, but understandably, I don’t have enough time on my hands! I plan to catch up and read them all, though.
Good luck. It’s great to see people getting on a metaphorical fanfic ladder, joining in and writing!