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Thanks! Don't worry, this story isn't going to die, though I may miss weeks depending on how busy my schedule is.
Chapter 36: Misty
A class of loud, noisy brats didn’t help Leah’s mood, especially on such a nerve-racking day.
It was with surprise that Leah watched Ally come into the gym that morning with seventeen brats following behind her. Leah, unlike Ed, hadn’t been given notice that Ally’s class was going to coming with them and Leah suspected it was on purpose. Even her brats knew that she would never show up if she had to share space with an entire class of fifth graders.
Luckily, she had been able to avoid all contact with them, first by excusing herself to the bathroom for fifteen minutes and now pretending that she had absolutely nothing to do with anyone in the arena. It helped that Ed and Ally were nowhere to be seen (both probably talking to Misty somewhere), so it was unlikely Leah would get pointed out.
“Ready to watch the battle, Sands?” Leah asked her Pokemon with forced cheer, who sat quietly with his Fire Stone on his lap.
The Sandshrew looked up, glancing at the pool of water below before quickly going back to his Fire Stone.
Leah frowned. With all the water around, her Pokemon had been acting weird, not at all energetic like he usually was. He wasn’t even playing with his Fire Stone, only holding it against his stomach. It made her worry a bit, but Ed and Ally’s battles wouldn’t last too long so it wasn’t like they were going to be in there forever. Besides, everyone would be so interested in watching the battle, Leah was sure she and Sands could sneak out and go to the lobby when no one was looking.
With a plan in mind, Leah leaned back in her seat and gazed at the empty pool of water below. Surprising even herself, she could admit that the gym looked absolutely fantastic.
It was a sight to see. The room was cloaked in darkness, with only a single bright light beaming down on a rectangular pool of water. The water took the place of the usual boundary lines and several white circular platforms (six in all, three on each side) floated on the calm surface of the water.
On either side of the pool were steps that lead up to a platform that sat on solid ground, giving the trainers a clear view of what was happening beneath the water’s surface.
Even the audience’s view was considered as the bleachers stood on elevated ground and positioned in a way that reminded Leah of football stadiums. The Cerulean gym had completely surpassed the other gyms in every way shape and form, though it made Leah wonder where the gym leader got the money to make it.
Though, Leah would have enjoyed the view better if she wasn’t sitting below some gibbering girls.
“Oh, I hope Ally does well!” one of them moaned in a high-pitched voice, making Leah wince. “I hope she doesn’t use her Vulpix; it’d drown!”
“She has a Voltorb, remember?” the other one said. “Electric’s good against water! She’ll totally win!”
‘She’d better,’ Leah thought to herself, reluctantly agreeing with the girls. It was the brats’ fourth badge and she couldn’t help but be more concerned over this one than normal. Ally she didn’t have to worry about, but Ed was another matter. He had been training with his Ditto the last few days, but even then, Leah still had doubts.
She could only hope they’d win…
“Hi!” a voice whispered close to her ear and Leah, startled, whipped her head around so fast that she bumped into another girl’s skull.
“Ow,” the girl moaned, leaning back as she rubbed her head. “Um, sorry.”
Leah shook her head, trying to throw off the pain. As she did so, her mind raced. The girl was part of Ally’s class (the uniforms were a dead giveaway) and Leah made extra sure that no one would associate her to Ed or Ally. What, was it a hobby for private school girls to approach strangers?
The girl asked, “Um, are Ally’s Mentor?”
“… Yeah,” Leah replied, cautious. How did the girl know who she was? Did Ally have a picture of her or something? More importantly, what would make the girl go away?
The girl’s face lit up. “Oh, cool! Ally’s told us about you. I’m Sam! And this is Maylin.”
About to express her confusion, Leah was surprised to find a face had popped up on her other side.
“Cute Sandshrew!” the second girl said, patting Sands’ head, making the Pokemon shake the hand off and clutch his Fire Stone tightly.
“How did you know who I was?” Leah asked, not liking that the girls were bugging her Sandshrew.
“Fire Stones are rare,” Sam replied, smiling. “Ally said you had one.”
Leah scowled. So, it was all the Fire Stone’s fault her identity was revealed; she should have known…
Both girls were quickly taking up her personal space and Leah glared, moving around a bit, making them back up.
“Can I hold it?” Maylin asked, still trying to play with Sands.
The second girl shook her head. “Nah, there’s lots of Sandshrews around. Can I see the Fire Stone?”
Frowning heavily, Leah glanced at her Pokemon and his Fire Stone. She felt insulted; Sands was way better than some common Sandshrew! He was hers and that made him way better.
As much as Leah liked separating her Pokemon from his most prized possession, Leah said, “No.”
The girls were bugging her and she didn’t want to make them happy.
Sam must have noticed that Leah was in a bad mood, as she stopped her friend from asking again and begging, which Leah was grateful for.
“Well, I really like the Fire Stone,” Maylin said, trying to hide her disappointment. “It’s so brightly colored! Where’d you get it?”
“Found it,” Leah replied shortly, not wanting to get into the story of the abandoned house.
Leah turned her head to see Ally walking towards them at a slow pace, making worried faces at the pool down below.
“Is your friend going first?” Sam asked as Ally took a seat next to her.
Taking her worried face for something else, Maylin said, “Aw, don’t worry about your boyfriend! He’s really nice!”
“Being nice isn’t going to help,” Leah pointed out and unfortunately brought the attention back to her.
“He has a Ditto, right?” Sam said, sighing. “It’d be really cool to have one! It could be any Pokemon, even really, really rare ones!”
“I- I think I’m going to lose,” Ally said, as if she was forcing the words out of her mouth.
The two girls instantly started talking.
“No way, Ally! You’ll totally win!”
“Yeah! You have your Voltorb! There’s no way you can lose!”
“B- But I didn’t train,” Ally protested. “Not like Ed did! Sparks isn’t ready for this.”
Even with all the encouragement she was getting, Ally still looked worried and pale. Though, Ally worried about everything, so Leah didn’t let Ally’s attitude affect her own mood.
‘Ally’s going to win,’ Leah told herself, even if she didn’t know why she had to tell herself that.
Suddenly, the lights started to dim as a referee came out one of the arena’s doors, accompanied by Ed and Misty. Ed looked confident from where Leah could see him, but so did Misty. The gym leader wore her short orange hair in a ponytail and was decked out in a tight fitting bikini, not something that was really appropriate to wear in front of ten-year-olds.
“It’s going to start!” Sam exclaimed, speaking the obvious.
“Shrew,” Sands said, his voice weak. Leah glanced at her Pokemon in concern, but before she could say anything, the referee started to speak.
Ed grinned, looking over at Misty, who returned the smile with glee. The spotlight above warmed his face and made the pool sparkle with every ripple.
It was the battle for his fourth badge and he was ready as he’d ever be!
“The match between Gym Leader Misty of Cerulean City and the challenger, Ed Williams of Fuchsia City, is about to begin! This match will be one-on-one with no time limit! Trainers, release your Pokemon!”
Misty went first, enlarging an odd blue and white Poke Ball in her hand. “I choose-” she started, throwing it high in the air, “-Seel!”
Glittery blue light immerged from the Pokeball as a form descended on one of the middlemost white platforms. It was white and about as big as a Raichu with a dopy grin and dark eyes. It only had flippers for arms and no legs at all, the lower torso only melting into a tail.
As soon as it materialized, the white Pokemon sat up, using its tail as support as it lifted its flippers off the ground and clapped them together several times.
“Seel!” it cheered, like the light above was a spotlight and directed only at it. At its cry, the crowd cheered and laughed, amused by the Pokemon’s antics.
“Whoa,” Ed said, impressed, wondering why the Poke Ball’s light came out blue instead of white. Putting the thought away for later, he brought out his own Poke Ball and threw it towards the pool.
By only luck, his Ditto appeared on the edge of one of the platforms, the white circle starting to sink into the water under the weight. The transforming Pokemon made an odd squeaking noise of panic as it moved back to the middle of the platform, looking uncomfortable as a hint of water lapped at its purple body.
The referee paused, glancing at the Ditto, before shouting, “Let the match begin!”
“Icy Wind, Seel!” Misty said, just as quick. “Knock it off the platform!”
As Coralie’s skin turned white, Seel took in a deep breath and let it out in a stream of wind, the air having an odd sparkle to it, easily seen under the spotlight. The jet of wind sped across the pool and blew into Coralie with unexpected strength, pushing it towards the edge of the platform. The platform tilted, but the Ditto got its bearings, its new white flippers giving it a bit of much needed friction.
“Whoa,” Ed said, feeling the chill on his legs and taking a step back. For the first time that day, he started to feel a trace of worry.
Misty snapped her fingers. “So close!” She eyed the Ditto with a grin. “I didn’t think you could Transform that fast!” She thought to herself for a moment. “Seel, time to get into gear! Water Sport, Ice Shard; on the double!”
Seel matched its trainers grin, raising its flipper to make an awkward looking salute. It raised its head so it was looking at the light, and in a single breath, let out a stream of water. The water arced in the air, and fell back down to earth as rainfall of glitter.
Raising his hand as the first rain droplet hit his cheek, Ed winced as several more followed it, giving him a very quick shower. Rubbing his eyes, Ed frowned at his now wet shirt and looked back at the battle-
“Coralie!” he shouted, the thin daggers of ice hitting the edge of the stand under his feet as Coralie hugged its platform, the shards whizzing over its head. Finally, an ice shard got lucky and went directly towards it, and as the Ditto tried to get out of the way, it slipped. The platforms were slippery enough, but with the extra rainfall of the Water Spout, friction couldn’t help Coralie this time. With a plop, the Pokemon fell into the water headfirst.
A moment went by and then Coralie resurfaced, bobbing in the water, its flippers doing a half-hearted doggy paddle.
“Um,” Ed searched his mind for an attack he could use, but he didn’t think a water technique would help… “Use Ice Shard!”
Coralie looked like it was going to be sick as the Pokemon practically coughed up the Ice Shards. They were nice ice shards if it wasn’t for the fact that they didn’t even come close to hitting their target. Instead, they simply shot past the opponent Pokemon or skimmed the water.
“Seel” Misty called out. “Aqua Jet!”
Seel clapped its flippers with toothy grin before pulling itself to the edge of the platform and diving in. The water swallowed its body whole, and the Pokemon didn’t resurface immediately, instead staying as a white shape beneath the surface.
Tensing, Ed tried to remember what Aqua Jet was. He knew it was an offensive move, but he didn’t know how it worked…
“Climb back on the platform!” he called out to Coralie, scanning the water. To his dismay, Seel had disappeared entirely.
When Coralie tried to take its time, Ed urged it on. “Hurry!”
Unfortunately, the platform was wet and combined with Coralie’s slick water-logged skin, climbing up was nearly impossible. Bracing both flippers on the white surface, the Ditto tried to hoist itself up, but couldn’t get a good grip. Its flippers just kept sliding off.
“Coralie, Dive!” Ed said, changing his plan when he saw that it wasn’t going to work. If his Pokemon couldn’t get out of the water then going under it would be better than just floating there like a sitting duck!
Coralie hesitated and just when Ed thought he had to give encouragement, the Pokemon ducked its head into the water, its tail momentarily splashing out of the water.
The raised elevation of Ed’s trainer box let him see a lot of the pool, but still, Seel was nowhere to be seen. He could see his own Pokemon, at least, and it was near the bottom of the pool, its flippers spread out as if trying to glide.
“What do you see?” Ed asked, hoping Coralie could hear him underwater. “Do you see Seel?”
His Pokemon didn’t answer, but the boy followed the direction its head was pointed in, which lead directly to the platform.
Seel’s hiding under the platform! Ed thought with a moment of panic. But why is it-
“Now!” Misty shouted in triumph.
For a moment, the water was still, but then everything sprung into action.
A white blur shot itself forward from under the platform with a trail of bubbles behind it. Coralie saw and turned, darting away and waving it tail behind it like its life depended on it. But even then, it was an amateur swimmer, and Seel easily keeping up with the Ditto’s pace, picking up speed as it went for the kill.
“Turn! Get out of there!”
Coralie heard its trainer and changed its course so that it was heading for a wall. The Seel followed it, nearly right on its tail, but at the last minute, the Ditto turned, its stomach brushing the wall. Its tail kicked off and Coralie shot past Seel, who was still speeding in the other direction.
It wasn’t enough.
Instead of sticking to Ed’s plan, the Seel easily made a sharp turn, its speed not hindering it in the slightest. Coralie, who had slowed down after dodging Seel’s attack, didn’t see it coming.
“Coralie!” Ed shouted, watching his Pokemon being hit in the side with the super-speed tackle.
Coralie slammed into the wall, bubbles escaping from its mouth. Using most of its will, the Ditto threw off the pain and struggled to the surface, taking a giant breath when its head breached it. It gulped in air, its black eyes wide as it stared towards the light on the ceiling.
“Seel!” Misty said, her Pokemon also coming up to the surface. “Aurora Beam!”
Multi-colored light gathered on the tip of Seel’s horn and the Pokemon lowered its head at its vulnerable opponent. Once the attack was charged, Seel let it loose in a beam of light.
The Ditto cried out as the beam hit, clutching the side of the pool and curling up on itself.
“Run- Swim! Don’t let it get to you!”
Gathering all the strength it had, Coralie pushed itself away from the edge and dived deep into the water, the spotlight of energy following right behind it.
“Aurora Beam right back!” Ed ordered, noticing a dark shadow on his Pokemon’s side, which stood out on its white skin. A bit of guilt edged its way into his mind. It didn’t look like it was bleeding but it obviously pained his Pokemon by the way it was swimming.
Taking a breath in, Ed pushed the feeling away and looked back at the battle with determination. This was his forth badge and he was going to win! He just needed to get rid of Seel for a bit, let Coralie recover and then totally beat Seel up!
That was his plan and he had another technique in mind.
Luckily, Aurora Beam was a move Coralie had used before. While training, Ed had seen a Shellder and really couldn’t help himself, wondering what his Pokemon would be like as a clam. While the Shellder experience didn’t go too well due to the fact Coralie couldn’t get itself to move, Ed (and Coralie once it got into it) had a fun time experimenting with Aurora Beam and Ice Beam. But since he didn’t think the Seel knew Ice Beam yet, he had to go with the next best thing.
The Seel yelped, splashing back as the Aurora Beam hit it from underwater, Coralie not floating this time, but instead swimming, keeping Aurora Beam fixed on its opponent.
Once his opponent’s Aurora Beam disappeared, Ed grinned. “Good job, Coralie! Now, Aqua Ring!”
Aqua Ring was a move that caught Ed’s eye when he was studying. Not only did it sound pretty but it was the only water-type healing move, making it extremely useful. Coralie had never used it before, but Ed hoped it would work.
At first, he didn’t think anything had changed but then three halos of blue light formed around Coralie, shimmering in the water. They were beautiful and seemed to have a calming affect as Coralie let go of its Aurora Beam and relaxed, its flippers becoming limp as it bathed in the radiance.
Ed was so caught up in staring at the pretty light that he almost missed Misty’s next command.
Hoping that he wouldn’t disrupt the Aqua Ring, Ed looked down at his Pokemon and yelled, “Wake up, Coralie! Seel’s coming!”
At its trainer’s words, Coralie snapped out of whatever trance it was in and whipped its head towards Seel, who was speeding towards it, horn first. Remembering what happened last time Seel got too close, the Ditto pushed itself into motion, darting away with a flick of its tail. Fortunately, the Aqua Ring floating around it came with the Pokemon, not being disturbed by the swimming.
Misty pouted and changed tactics. “Seel, stop and use Whirlpool, alright? Don’t get caught up.”
Giving its trainer a big goofy grin, Seel stopped its pursuit and floated silently for a moment. Then, it turned around and started to swim in another direction, making Coralie pause in confusion.
“Huh…” Ed frowned, mirroring his Pokemon’s confusion. He had heard of Whirlpool and knew what it basically did, but…
Now worried, he called out to his Pokemon, “Coralie! Try to get on the platform again!”
His tone of voice must have betrayed his worry because the Ditto didn’t even hesitate, going towards the nearest platform and sticking its head out of the water. The platforms had hardly dried from the Water Spout and the second attempt to get out of the water failed like the first.
“Coralie!” Ed yelled, seeing the platforms as impossible. “Stop Seel from swimming! Aqua Jet!”
Seel was happily swimming in circles around the pool and was rather put out to being stopped. Out of nowhere came a fast blur which swam right in front of it. Luckily, Seel was fast and easily swam right under the Ditto, continuing its trek. When Coralie attempted to follow and try again, the Seel only turned its head and fired an Aurora Beam, throwing the other Pokemon off its back.
By now, the water was getting treacherous and Seel’s intentions were starting to show. The pool was no longer calm but was rippling in unease, the ground around the water getting wet by the small waves as the water started to turn. Now the whole pool was spinning, the water like a river, flowing in one direction and bringing everything with it. The white platforms were starting to move as well, but they hardly went a few feet before pausing, being held back by the chains that kept them rooted to the bottom of the pool.
In the very center of the water, a small hole was developing, small at first, but getting bigger as the seconds ticked by.
Ed didn’t know what to do and could only watch as the whole pool became a whirlpool, controlled by his opponent’s will. He tried to think of an attack that might work but nothing came to mind. What could stop a whirlpool, of all things? Maybe Surf could disrupt it, but he was sure Seel didn’t know that attack as it was rare.
“Coralie,” Ed said, his Pokemon grabbing hold of one of the platforms with all its might, the water gaining strength by the moment.
On the other side of the pool, Ed could see Seel making a giant leap out of the dangerous waters and landing heavily on one of the platforms. Its white skin was shining in the light above and the Seel braced itself, spreading out its body, but not enough that any of it was near the water.
Ed didn’t think Coralie had it in it to jump like that, but it still gave him an idea.
“Coralie! Use Aqua Jet to get onto the platform!”
The Ditto gave him a panicked look, obviously thinking he was insane. Then, the choice was taken out of its hands as the water ripped the Pokemon from the platform and threw it into the tides. The blue rings of healing were now useless as they couldn’t stop the current from pulling Coralie under the water.
“Coralie!” Ed shouted.
Then, Coralie shot out of the water, in line with the current, a blue glow surrounding the Ditto. It spread its flippers, as if gliding, and aimed towards an incoming platform. The Pokemon landed successfully and hard on its stomach, but due to the angle it came in at, it slid. The water didn’t help and it was with great horror that Ed watched his Pokemon slide right off the platform just as soon as it got on.
The current gobbled his Pokemon up and the landing mustn’t have been successful at all as Coralie lost hold on its form, the white Seel snapping back to the familiar purple blob.
The blob who couldn’t swim.
Ed had a bit of hope before, but now? No chance.
He kneeled over the edge of the pool and grabbed his Poke Ball. When he saw a purple blur go by, he pointed his Poke Ball and shouted, “Return!”
The red light shot out and flickered as it hit the water, the current fast enough that it cut off the Return mechanism.
He tried again when Coralie past him a second time, but again it failed.
“Seel!” Misty said sharply. “Stop the whirlpool! It’s over.”
Apparently, starting a whirlpool was harder than stopping as Seel didn’t even have to move. The whirlpool started to slow…
Water licked at Ed’s fingers as he grasped the edge of the pool and when the whirlpool changed from dangerous to mild, he made his move. He didn’t bother with the Pokeball again, instead manually doing it, jumping into the water without a thought.
The water was a bit cold and he shivered as he swam towards his Pokemon. The current was no longer strong enough the stop him and he easily went against it. When he spotted his Pokemon, he dived.
Coralie’s body was all together, thankfully, but it didn’t appear to be moving. He got the Pokemon to the surface with no trouble and placed it on the side of the pool.
“Here,” Misty said, offering her hand, which he took. The gym leader turned towards one of her aides and said, “Go get some towels!”
When a towel was handed to him, Ed voice was low and quiet as he said, “Thanks.”
Using it first to dry his face and hair, he paused before deciding to tend to his Pokemon before himself.
Coralie looked terrible and was completely unconscious. Its smile and eyes had disappeared, revealing a blank face. Its skin looked pink and washed out, and it felt sticky to the touch, not at all like the normal rubbery feeling.
Dabbing at Coralie’s blobby skin, Ed couldn’t help but feel beyond worried when the white towel, instead of just soaking up water, took away an odd pink-ish gray color as well. He looked at his fingers and noticed they too were colored with the same substance that his Ditto was admitting.
“You should go to the Pokemon Center,” Misty said, startling the boy, who forgot she was kneeling beside him.
“Y- Yeah.” Ed nodded, swallowing a lump in his throat. He felt like he was going to cry. He had never seen Coralie so injured before. Maybe it was a really bad idea to use the Ditto for a water battle…
Misty caught his attention again. “Hey, it’s alright,” she said, trying to cheer him up. “Why don’t you return your Ditto and I’ll get someone to drive you to the Pokemon Center. Is that okay?”
Nodding again, Ed returned Coralie, definitely not liking that the red light not only took up his Pokemon, but some of the water around it as well.
Oddly, his mind wasn’t even thinking about his loss. All he was concerned about was that his Pokemon was hurt and it was all his fault.
Sam craned her neck, watching Ed leave the arena at a near run. “I hope his Ditto’s okay.”
“Ditto have the remarkable ability to heal from anything,” Ms. Lewis informed her and the kids around them. “I’m sure its alright.”
“Do you think Misty’s going to use Whirlpool on you?” Maylin asked Ally in a low tone of voice.
Ally shook her head, not answering. She honestly didn’t know. She still felt shaken at Ed’s loss. If he couldn’t win, even with a Pokemon that could swim, how could she? Ed had trained lots with Coralie, just for this battle, and he had lost so easily. She hadn’t prepared, not like him.
She still didn’t even know what Pokemon she was going to be using. Sparks was an electric-type, which would give her an advantage, but he was still a problem! He listened, but if things got out of hand, he’d just start doing what he wanted. And he would never stay on those platforms; he would just roll right off. But even then, she couldn’t use Amber since he was a fire-type. He couldn’t swim at all and all his attacks were useless in the water.
“Hey, where’s your Mentor?” Sam asked Ally quietly. “I don’t see her.”
The question made Ally pale as she turned around, her eyes drifting over her classmates’ heads, looking for the intimidating figure her Mentor made.
She wasn’t there.
“Are you alright?” Maylin asked.
Ally shook her head, feeling herself starting to sweat. Leah never missed their gym battles! She always watched both of theirs! Ally didn’t even see her Mentor leave, so she could have left at any time. Did she even see Ed lose?
Maybe that was it? Maybe Leah knew that she was going to lose and didn’t want to watch…?
‘Maybe she went to the bathroom?’ Ally asked herself, not wanting to get even more nervous. But, Leah went to the bathroom before the battle started, so it didn’t make any sense…
“Good luck, Ally,” George said and her other classmates joined in as Ally looked down at the arena, where Misty was waving to her.
It was time.
“This is a battle between the challenger, Ally Anderson of Cerulean City, and Cerulean City Gym Leader Misty. This will be a one-on-one match with no time limit. Trainers, release your Pokemon!”
Misty grinned and threw a Poke Ball up in the air. “I choose you, Horsea!”
The ball snapped open and with a burst of blue light, a form materialized in the water. It was much smaller than Seel, but still possessed most of the previous Pokemon’s cuteness in the shape of a seahorse. It was blue and had a long snout that looked rather like a hose.
The Horsea let out a small cry of delight as it looked around itself, its two white fins splashing water about. It ducked its head under the surface and then brought it back up, getting its whole body wet.
“Aw,” Ally said, smiling at the sight with only a tint of nervousness. But then her smile dropped. Horsea was so cute and small; it just looked so fragile. It almost seemed wrong to send Sparks against it.
She sighed and took out her own Poke Ball. It didn’t matter how cute Horsea was because she was going to have to beat it. Ed had already lost; she didn’t want to go the same way.
“Go, Sparks!” Ally said, sending out her sphere-shaped Pokemon. She didn’t even try to aim her Voltorb on a platform, knowing he’d just fall off. Instead, she released it right into the water.
The materialization seemed to go into slow-motion and Ally held her breath, hoping that Sparks wouldn’t sink. Luck was on her side, however, and the Voltorb was surprised to find himself in the water, floating on the surface without even trying.
Ally sighed in relief. Maybe she could win…
“A Voltorb?” Misty said out loud with a hint of surprise. But the emotion quickly faded as the gym leader gave off a grin. “Just because you have an electric-type doesn’t mean you’re going to get an easy victory! We know how to deal with electric-types, right Horsea?”
Horsea made a sound of agreement.
The referee broke back in by announcing, “Let the match… begin!”
“Sparks…” Ally hesitated, not paying attention to Horsea. She had a plan in mind, but it wasn’t something had ever done before. She wanted to win and that meant she had to do anything possible.
It was hard to concentrate on charging up when trying to balance on the surface of the water, but somehow, Sparks managed it. While keeping his face out of the water, a pale aura a yellow light surrounded him.
Misty frowned. “Oh, not so fast! Horsea, Water Gun!”
Having not really paying attention to Horsea, Ally felt a jolt of surprise as a blast of water appeared out of nowhere, slamming into Sparks and rolling him backwards. The electric-type’s body spun at high-speed, his face disappearing and reappearing above the water. It looked very dizzying and just when Sparks started to get a handle on himself, Horsea blasted him again.
After the third time it happened, Ally yelled, “Spark!”
The girl didn’t think she would be using Spark so early, but she didn’t have a choice. No other attack would work, not with Sparks spinning like that.
Electricity gathered, surrounding the Voltorb with charges of light. His yellow aura intensified until it pulsed, blasting electricity outwards in a display of light. The attack wasn’t stopped by distance and traveled through the water at a breakneck pace. The whole pool was electrocuted and once the show died down, a bit of steam came off the surface of the water. The display of power made the water warm, as Ally found out when she dipped a finger into the pool. The water felt odd, like there was still a charge running through it.
But even then, Horsea was nowhere to be seen. Everything was silent, the crowd’s cheers fading in the back of Ally’s mind. The surface of the water was calm, only disturbed by the faint ripples of Sparks’ attack.
“Where’s-” the question died on Ally’s tongue as her eyes scanned the water, her gaze freezing on the platforms, remembering that Seel had tried that trick before. Still, how could Horsea be hiding in the water? Wasn’t it really hurt by Sparks’ attack?
Misty grinned. “Nice try, but we’ve learned how to deal with attacks like that. You’ll need more than that to defeat me.”
“Sparks,” Ally said, still searching the water. “Screech!”
A high pitched whine came from the Voltorb and increased in intensity as seconds past by.
Holding her hands to her ears, Ally tried to spot any movement in the water, any at all, but there was nothing.
The noise died down and everything was calm.
Suddenly, Sparks was lifted out of the water by a burst of water from underneath. The Voltorb was thrown into the air and Horsea popped up in the electric-type’s original spot, the end of its spout dripping water. Its red eyes were narrowed in anger even though its skin was nearly spotless, obviously having dodged most of the attack.
In the instant that Sparks was still airborne, Ally yelled, “Use Sonicboom!”
Sparks was still spinning as the air between its eyes started to glow and only when did he face Horsea, eye to eye, did he let go of the blast of air. There was a high pitched whine as the attack cut through the air and hit the water, just after Horsea dived back beneath the surface. There was a small explosion, water flying everywhere, before Sparks fell back down into the water with a splash, bobbing back up the surface, still spinning wildly.
Ally bit her lip. Horsea was so fast! If it could even dodge a Charged Spark and a Sonicboom then how was she going to hit it? Sparks didn’t have any moves that could slow it down, so what was she supposed to do?
“Alright Horsea, Bubblebeam!”
“Sparks, get out of the way, Rollout!”
Regularly, Sparks couldn’t move in water, only able to bob and splash in place, but by spinning like the wheel of a car, he could get by.
Horsea inhaled, the end of its snout becoming wide as air was sucked in. Then, as a bit of red started to appear on the water-type’s cheeks, the Pokemon let it out. Instead of air came a blast of soapy water, surrounded by bubbles. It was very quick and hit the water where Sparks once floated, making a wave splash into the side of the pool.
But dodging the first assault wasn’t enough as the beam of bubbles was right on the Voltorb’s tail, who was spinning on the water’s surface, waves being created behind him. The Bubblebeam was fast, but even out on the water, Sparks couldn’t be called slow.
“Tackle!” Ally exclaimed. “Now’s your chance!”
The water-type was just in Sparks’ path, looking quite small against the speeding wreaking ball, who was closing in. With the platforms out of the way, there was only open water left, which made it very easy for Horsea to counterattack. The beam hit the Voltorb straight on and slowed the Pokemon down as he tried to overcome the obstacle in his path.
All according to plan.
Electrical charges sparked around the sphere Pokemon as his trainer commanded and the attack bled off the Voltorb, going into the water and following the trail of bubbles – straight to Horsea.
The beam of bubbles cut off and without the pressure stopping Sparks from rolling, the Voltorb found itself shooting forwards, electricity still coming off him. In a second, he crossed the distance to the other Pokemon, who was still there judging by the flash of blue scales in the light. Just when Sparks was about to hit it, he hit something hard and it sparked, blasting him upwards and over the water-type, making him land on the solid ground next to the pool.
It happened so quickly, that Ally blinked, honestly wondering what happened. But then she looked closely and saw.
Horsea was unharmed, though looked quite startled with wide red eyes. Hugging its body was a spherical green energy field that cracked in time with the waves of the water.
The barrier would have been pretty, Ally decided, if it didn’t just make her lose.
And that’s what had happened.
Sparks was out of bounds, out of the pool. She had lost.
Ignoring the referee as he called out Misty’s victory, Ally went around the pool, finding her Voltorb near the wall, still sparking. He looked furious and was trembling like he was about to explode.
At that thought, Ally hesitated in her approach before deciding to stay on the safe side by simply returning Sparks, letting him cool off.
She turned her head, looking towards the stands, but she was too far away to see her classmates’ faces. What did they think of her now? She had told stories of her adventures and victories in class, and now she had lost. She didn’t even put up a good fight; Sparks hardly did any damage at all, despite the type advantage. It was pathetic. She should have done better, should have trained like Ed was doing.
But Ed lost too, so did it matter?
“Nice try,” Misty said, smiling at her with sympathy. “Just train more and I’m sure you’ll be able to beat me in no time.”
Ally nodded. “What attack was Horsea using?” she asked quietly, not smiling back.
“It’s a TM called Protect,” the gym leader explained. “I really got tired of the type advantage thing, especially for pool Horsea, so I taught it to her.”
“Oh.” Ally said, and, not exactly wanting to be in the gym leader’s presence anymore, excused herself.
When she got back to her friends, she was offered sympathy and apologies on her loss, but she wasn’t really paying attention.
“Did Leah come back?” Ally asked, searching the crowd.
When she got no reply, the bottom dropped out of her stomach.
“If you tell anyone I bought this for you,” Leah threatened, staring at her Sandshrew with all the sternness she could muster. “Your Fire Stone will go bye-bye for a week. Got that?”
Sands nodded, his mouth full of Poke-Treats, aware that whenever his trainer mentioned his Fire Stone, it was never for anything pleasant.
“Good.” Leah nodded to herself, pleased that her Sandshrew would keep the secret between them. She could just see the brats’ faces if they realized she actually bought food for her Pokemon because he wasn’t feeling well.
Speaking of the brats… Leah glanced at the direction of the gym, wondering how their battles went. She had snuck out before Ed’s match ended, not only for Sands’ sake but because she just couldn’t watch. Her breath kept catching in her throat at the slightest damage Coralie took and was forced to leave when the Ditto used Aqua Ring. At least at that point, she still had hope that maybe, just maybe, Ed had won.
Of course, not wanting people to catch her being nice to her Pokemon, she had left the gym completely, and instead came to the park she was at now. It was cold, but at least she had her jacket and the bench was dry.
Besides, Sands could use some fresh air.
“How do you think they did?” Leah asked, sniffing a Poke-Treat, trying to decide if it was worth it.
Sands was too busy stuffing his face to reply, so she continued, “I mean, maybe Ed lost, but Ally definitely won, right? Ally hasn’t lost a gym battle yet and she’s always lucky in battles. She always goes up against easy Pokemon, so that’ll help.”
Leah finally concluded that she was hungry enough and popped the Poke-Treat in her mouth. It was salty.
“I really can’t wait,” she muttered. Promising herself to go to the Pokemon Center after she was finished eating, Leah ate another Poke-Treat. The food actually wasn’t that bad. It would make nice snack food and she wondered why they were only for Pokemon.
As a thought occurred to her, Leah looked at the bag of snacks, grimacing. “Oh, wow. Is this how Shaggy feels about Scooby Snacks?”
“Shrew!” Sands said, his big black eyes begging for another treat. Leah gave him one, reluctantly.
“This is the only time you’re getting these, Scoob,” Leah told him. “You don’t need another addiction.”
Forcing herself to put the bag of treats down, Leah glanced towards the sky where clouds were starting to form. It was going to rain soon, she just knew it.
“I hope they did well,” Leah said out loud.
“They’d better have.”
A/N: A bit late, but here’s the chapter! Originally, Ed was supposed to win but I couldn’t figure out a way for Coralie to get out of the whirlpool. Though, I think it works out better this way.
Anyways, I hope you liked the chapter!
I really like the battle between Ed and Misty; Ditto sliding off the other side of the platform sounds like something that would happen to me.
Please don't change the color of the font to black: it makes it harder for people who use a dark colored background to read.
I really need a new signature.
Well, much to my disbelief, I just spent the past four hours catching up! Whooo! Obviously, you're still a great writer because I have not put my laptop down.
So, giving a review of the past, eleven (I think) chapters I haven't reviewed would take forever, so I'm just going to give you what I jotted down while reading.
William says, "Search your feelings, you know it to be true."
STAR WARS MUCH?! Lol.
Also, even with Jason Dare supposedly being on the S.S. Anne, I'm surprised she would consider boarding a ship, considering how well it turned out last time.
Truck thing very mysterious. I wonder who that guy was. Blue? Also, Zee is my favorite of the Pokemon introduced so far.
I love the beginning Gengar vs. Nidorino excerpt! Awesome imagery and ties into the whole gameboy beginning thing.
The bedrooms on the ship sound awfully like my dorm room, lol.
Glad to see Leah making a friend- Danny.
I absolutely loved Giovonni's joke about criminal organizations, enjoyed Sands being encouraged by the lecture, and I liked the way Giovonni was overall portrayed.
Nice scene with Blue and Leah.
Agatha is her grandmother!!!! That... oh... stuff starts to make more sense.
You are improving a lot as a writer! This chapter, in particular, was well done and pulled me in.
I wonder why Blue won't touch that plate? Which plate? Can't wait to find out!
"Didn't you here?" should be "Didn't you hear?"
Err... really now?
The way Pokemon in your world work is kinda similar to gameboy. The player can really make the game as hard as he/she wants it to be. Older kids have strategy- younger kids tend to just use brute force. Cool.
I feel like I may have already mentioned this in one of my other reviews, or maybe I'm just having Deja Vu, but I totally understand what Leah means about not remembering conversations after just waking up because I do it all the time! I once had a whole conversation on the phone, apparently (not that I remember, oy).
I love the way the other kids are portrayed. Very realistic.
It was weird when Ed used Ditto because I thought he had said earlier that he would use Parasect.
Really bizarre that the 5th grade teacher's name is Mrs. Lewis because that was the name of my 5th grade teacher.
As always, you have great character development! I'm glad that they are in Cerulean because it gives the chance to develop Ally further. The plot is very intriguing. This is not like a normal story so I am curious to see if Leah will separate from the two, and if she does, what she will do. Perhaps she will help track down Blue? Or maybe she will train her Pokemon.
Keep up the great work!
Heh, this chapter happens to be one of my favorites and the mystery Plate will be revealed soon enough.
... And Ally lost.
OK... not that it's that bad -- for anyone but Leah, heh... she won't be able to shake off her charges so easily!
Battles were good, Ally's the better one in my opinion. The defects in Ed's training method and thought formation became quickly apparent when she fought Misty. Although sending out Ditto was a relatively good strategy (IMOE; contrary to what Ed thought), he fell because he didn't know how to handle it: Ditto slipping across the platforms and not being able to evade the attacks was a reminder of the "originality bonus" Brock talked about when Ash faced Drake's (of the Orange Islands) Ditto, and a nice touch to the battle.
For some reason I really wanted Ally to win, specially after she decided to send out Voltorb. It wasn't enough with the electric attacks Voltorb could do though, but I think a good portion of Ally's defeat was that second-guessing herself on things that weren't related to the battle took a heavy toll in her concentration. Why had Leah gone away? I quote: “Maybe Leah knew that she was going to lose and didn’t want to watch?” -- that part can be particularly hurtful to a young person who is looking at a role model. That and Ed's battle was a loos (a nasty one) as well.
I can't help but think that Ally and Ed are likely to feel Leah emotionally sabotaged their battles, in particular Ally's.
Well, I don't recall finding any obvious errors and I don't feel like searching for them-- hey, it's Sunday! I just wanted to review again, tell you that I still like this story. But maybe a couple o weird things.
Plus, Sands ♥ Fire Stone (call to shipping name still pending) and a nice touch of secret caring on Leah's part, what with the treats. And, seriously, do Pokémon treats taste that good? Also, having her take care of her Pokémon in secret, sort of, tells a bit of how she may feel with the current situation. Had Ed and Ally won, after all, she'd be back at home with only Sands for company... as much company as a Pokémon obsessed with a Fire Stone can be! XD
Notorious thing that reminds me there's still another plot going on:
All in all, a good work, again. A pleasure to keep reading.
Have a nice St. Valentine's!
Hey, Solovino! Thanks for reviewing. :D
Chapter 37: Fault
“Hey,” Leah said.
Ally only nodded, still sitting quietly on a bench outside the Pokemon Center, shoulders hunched.
After the girl had said goodbye to her friends (while trying to avoid their half-hearted apologies and cheering up), Ally had slipped into a depressed state, not talking and brushing off any attempts of conversation Leah tried to induce. It was annoying; Leah was the one that was supposed to ignore people, not Ally.
But really, it was the girl’s first gym battle loss, so at least she had an excuse.
Leah sat down beside her, but didn’t say anything, instead looking at the yellowing sky, wondering how long it would take for the moon to come out. Even at the early hour, daylight was slipping away.
“I’m sorry,” Ally said.
“I- I lost,” she said, her voice still quiet. “E- Even if only one of us won, you could go home without getting into trouble. I didn’t train Sparks enough, so I lost.”
“… It wasn’t your fault,” Leah replied, a bit grudgingly. Yeah, she was upset that they both lost the battle, but- “The only reason you two lost was because Misty was spamming TM techniques. Whirlpool and Protect… they’re not ordinary moves you can defend against. It’s cheating.”
Ally shook her head. “No.” She hesitated. “M- Maybe, but I still didn’t train Sparks enough. He listens now, but it wasn’t enough. He can only attack; he can’t defend or move in the water properly.”
“When you going to challenge Misty again?”
“I don’t know… My Pokemon aren’t strong enough…” The girl looked up at her Mentor. “What are you going to do now? You can’t leave, but you have nothing to do. You can’t watch us train for a long time.”
“What do you think I’ve been doing for this whole journey?” Leah joked, but stamped any further urges down. It wasn’t something to joke about, it was actually something to think about. What was she supposed to do?
It was odd really, how fast her mind had jumped to the future instead of sticking with the present. She had expected herself to be angry and upset at the kids’ lost, but she wasn’t. No, she had just felt tired, like she should have expected disappointment. Of course it wasn’t going to be easy, why would the world give her a break for? It had already shown itself to love tormenting her with such a journey, so why not extend it for longer?
She didn’t know where Ed was, probably still in the Pokemon Center, waiting for news on his Ditto. He may be more talkative that Ally, but being around him right now was even more depressing. She could only take his self-blame talking for so long before wanting to leave.
“L- Leah,” Ally asked, looking away. “How do I beat Misty? I- I don’t know how to defeat Protect…”
“Protect’s a weird move,” Leah replied. “It doesn’t break, even from the strongest attacks, but it can’t be held up for too long or it’ll disappear.”
“M- Maybe that’s what I can do? Attack Horsea until it’s forced to let Protect go?”
Shaking her head, Leah said, “No, Horsea can just dive underwater. It’s too quick for that.”
Ally deflated. “Oh…”
“Um, but don’t worry!” Leah said, panicking at how Ally was slipping deeper into depression. “Misty probably won’t use the same Pokemon against you and I doubt you’ll find Protect on other Pokemon since the TM’s expensive!”
“What if the Pokemon uses a different TM move? I can’t fight them...”
That was something Leah couldn’t answer, so she shrugged.
“Look, you only lost because of Protect; just train a lot and you’ll win next time.”
“Are you sure?”
Leah looked at the girl and tried not to let a bit of doubt show through her words. “Yeah, you’ll do fine.”
Apparently it worked since Ally nodded, the older girl’s encouragement lifting her spirits as a relieved expression overtook her face.
“Leah? W- Why did you leave my battle?” the girl asked, fiddling with her sleeves.
Since of course she wasn’t going to tell the truth, Leah said, “Sands ran off and I went to go find him.”
“Why would he do that?”
“I dunno, he’s been weird recently.”
Ally looked away and Leah had a feeling her lie was seen through, or maybe it the girl was having a bout of a self-doubt.
“I’ll watch your rematch,” Leah told her. When Ally didn’t reply, the older girl reached out and lightly touched her shoulder. The girl shielded away at the touch as Leah added, “Alright?”
Turning back, Ally gazed at her with distrust. “Promise?”
Leah didn’t hesitate.
Not feeling like going off on her own or visiting Ed, Leah tried to keep up the conversation, no matter how unwilling Ally might be. “So, when are you going home? It’s getting dark.”
“I’m taking the bus,” Ally replied and, like it just occurred to her, stood up, and shouldered her backpack. “I- I have to go now.”
It was just a bit odd that a ten-year-old was trusted to take the bus by herself. Sure, the girl went on dangerous journeys and trained powerful creatures to obey her will, but this was something a bit different. She wasn’t alone in Cerulean, so why was she taking the bus?
“Won’t your parents pick you up?”
Ally shook her head, tucking a strand of black hair behind her ear. “Dad’s in Saffron and Mom’s at work; they’re busy. I can go by myself.”
While Leah hesitated at what to do or say, Ally uttered a quiet, “Bye,” and started to walk away from the Pokemon Center.
“Wait!” Leah exclaimed, standing up. “Aren’t you going to stay bye to Ed?”
The girl didn’t say anything, but the teen saw her bow her head and shoulder’s tighten. Maybe it was her imagination, but Leah wondered if Ally started to walk just a bit quicker.
Leah watched until Ally was out of sight before sighed and crossing her arms.
She didn’t have any firsthand experience, but Leah was pretty sure good parents didn’t leave their kids hanging like that. Sure, Ally’s parents had an excuse but the situation just seem a bit strange to her. Her parents’ working hours didn’t seem to have time for a kid and apparently, Ally knew where the bus terminal was and she was ten. What ten-year-old knew something as boring as that?
Even though Leah was probably blowing something out of proportion, Leah made a mental note to asked Ed what he knew about Ally’s personal life.
It was just that Ally had always been weird, very shy and quiet for a ten-year-old. Leah didn’t know whether that was because of an odd upbringing or maybe a bad one, but either way, something seem off.
Not that Leah really cared, but it was something to look at. Maybe it’d even give her something to do in her now no-going-home filled week.
With Ally gone, there was only one other person she could interact with and lucky for him, she decided to give him her full attention.
Ed was easy to find; all she had to do was ask the nurse where the emergency room was and presto! One brat sitting all by himself.
However, he wasn’t the only one in the small waiting room. There was a couple of other trainers there, all looking as sad and miserable as him. One of them, a girl around her age, was sniffing quietly to herself, gripping an Ultra Ball tightly in her hands.
“Hey,” Leah greeted, sitting down next to Ed.
He didn’t say a word, ignoring her entirely.
“How’s Coralie?” she asked him, but still, he said nothing.
Huh. That was weird. He wasn’t this silent last time she talked to him, which was about an hour ago. Besides that, Leah never thought she’d see the day when Ally was more talkative than Ed. Someone must have broke the universe when she wasn’t looking.
Reminder: find the person who broke the universe so she could force him to fix it again.
Seriously, a silent Ed was creepy. It made her on edge, thinking that he’d suddenly whip out a fire hose, grin, then blast her with water and send her careering to the other side of the room. When people got quiet, they were being evil. It was that simple.
Though, Ed didn’t seem like he was plotting evil deeds as he was bent over, head between his knees and looking at the ground with an expressionless face. He looked sick, as if he was about to throw up.
Leaning back in her chair, Leah guessed that cheering him up would take longer than she thought.
… Actually, why was she trying to cheer him up? Hell, why did she try to cheer Ally up?
A draft of air hit Leah’s face and she looked up to see one of the emergency room doors open. Above it, the red EMERGENCY light went off and a doctor appeared in the doorway.
“Michelle?” he asked, looking around the room as the girl with the Ultra Ball stood up.
“That’s me,” she replied, her voice barely a whisper and her eyes red. “I- Is Tino okay?”
The doctor held the door open as he beckoned her inside and after a moment of hesitation, the girl went in. Silently, the door swung shut behind her.
Ed looked incredibly pale, Leah noticed, though she wasn’t sure if it was because of that scene or because she hadn’t gotten a good look at him before. His hazel eyes were wide and sightless, staring at nothing in particular.
And still, he didn’t talk to her at all.
It was annoying.
“Hey,” Leah repeated, leaning towards him. “How’s Coralie?”
Finally, the boy replied, though the words weren’t smaller than a mumble.
“What was that?”
“I don’t know,” he hissed, raising his voice.
Leah had a funny feeling that if she tried pushing, any conversation they could have had would turn into an argument. So, going with her powers of deduction, she backed up a bit, giving the kid more room and went quiet, letting the boy turn back to whatever invisible thing he was looking at.
Okay… things weren’t going to go anywhere, so maybe she should take her leave. She had tried her best, all that jazz, so why was she still sitting? Ed didn’t want her here, so it wasn’t like he’d stop her from leaving.
Why, exactly, was she bothering? She went to Ally, cheered her up as best she could, and now she was bugging Ed. She never sought the two kids out when she didn’t have to, so why was it different now?
Well, maybe because they lost a battle, a gym battle, no less? Not only that, but it was an important battle, where they could finally part ways with her. Leah wasn’t the only one wanting them to win, they did too. She remembered all the hours Ed spent in Misty’s gym where he could have been outside playing. He put in a lot of effort, and what did he get? He lost. And maybe that was why Ed was acting differently than Ally. As far as Leah knew, Ally spent most of her time with her friends, unlike Ed, who actually worked to win.
Or maybe it was because they were kids. Despite what Leah sometimes thought of doing, you couldn’t just kick them when they were down or ignore them when they were depressed. It would be like kicking a puppy (one of those Corgis puppies, not a bulldog puppy that everyone except her thought was adorable).
And maybe that was why she wasn’t as angry at them as she thought she’d be. It was hard to yell at someone who was already depressed. She should be yelling and insulting them, but no. She didn’t feel anything, really. They lost, boohoo; they could re-challenge the gym later. As much as she hated to admit it, she could wait another week. Give her an unlimited stack of Jason Dare magazines and she could wait a month.
So, back to the original question: why was she trying to cheer them up?
Because it would raise their spirits, of course. If they were upset when battling, they’d be distracted and Leah needed them to do the best they could.
Aha! Problem solved.
Now, what to do about Ed…
Since he didn’t want to talk, Leah supposed that she’d just have to wait for him to get better.
Luckily, a magazine rack happened to be in the room and she picked up one that looked interesting, it having a snazzy looking Persian on the cover with Giovanni towering over it.
Interview with Giovanni on pg. 35! it proclaimed.
It had been a while since Leah saw the gym leader on something like a magazine cover. He usually was pushed out of the spotlight in favor of others, like Misty. Though, after seeing him on the S. S. Anne, Leah could say her interest was piped.
What had Giovanni been doing recently?
To answer that question, she settled down to read.
Awhile later, Leah put down her magazine and stood up, telling Ed, “I’m going to the bathroom,” before leaving.
When she came back, however, the boy was gone.
It wasn’t a big mystery where he had gone. The doctor must have called him into the Emergency Room, and with that answer in mind, Leah sat back down and picked up her magazine, mind elsewhere.
Before she had gone on this journey, she was perfectly fine in saying that she didn’t care one bit about what happened to a Pokemon. They died all the time, and it wasn’t rare when the news reported a death (usually not natural, but there were some exceptions) of some famous person’s Pokemon. A lot of Pokemon didn’t even live very long anyways. It was like crying for that gerbil that was a class’ pet. They died all the time and could easily be replaced without anyone noticing.
Now, things had changed. She didn’t know when she had gotten attached to her Sandshrew, but she had and now she was stuck being nice to him. It wouldn’t have been too bad if the extent of her fondness didn’t extend to the brats’ Pokemon as well. Sometimes, she found herself petting Amber when he begged, bugging Coralie and even mockingly blocking Parasect’s path whenever he crawled over. Of course, she didn’t bother Sparks much; she wasn’t that stupid.
The prospect of Coralie dying was one that made Leah frown and it made her frown more when she caught herself doing it. The jiggle-y little transformer was weird as hell, but Leah couldn’t say that she wouldn’t feel sad if it randomly died all a sudden.
Which is why Leah hoped for its recovery.
Having good timing, it was then that Ed came back out of the room, looking as relieved as could be.
“Coralie okay?” Leah asked and Ed froze, apparently forgetting that she was there.
Finally, he nodded. “Y- Yeah,” he said. “She’s going to be okay, but she’s going to have trouble transforming for a while.”
Leah didn’t really know what to say, so what came out was: “That’s good.”
A weight had obviously been taken off Ed’s shoulders but he still walked with his head bowed and his shoulders hunched as he went past Leah, obviously intending to leave.
Leah threw down her magazine and followed.
The two walked in silence in the lobby of the Pokemon Center. There weren’t too many people around as the sky was already dark and all the good little trainers were tucked in their beds. There were a few people sitting in front of the television, their eyes glazed over at whatever they were watching.
Having left any tact she had back at the gym, Leah asked, “So, when are you going to re-challenge Misty?”
Ed stopped abruptly and Leah noticed his hands clenching.
Okay, maybe the wrong question to ask.
“Coralie almost died,” he spat out, turning to face her. “I can’t- I just can’t put her through that again.”
“So what? You’re going to fight with Parasect?”
He shook his head. “No; he’d drown! My Pokemon aren’t good at battling in water, so…” He looked nervous. “I- I’m just going to not battle Misty again.”
The response was absolutely absurd. Ed, the boy who’s dream to become a Pokemon Master, not wanting to challenge a gym leader? Yeah, he must have been replaced by an alien when she wasn’t looking. There could be no other explanation.
“Then how are you going to compete in the Indigo League?” Leah asked, crossing her arms.
“I dunno, but I won’t battle Misty again!” Ed seemed very certain of the fact and whenever he got that determined, his mind didn’t change easily.
Leah frowned. Okay, him not wanting to get his fourth badge in Cerulean didn’t change that much. As long as Ally got the badge, Leah could go home, not having to worry about Ed.
“Maybe you should go catch a water-type,” Leah suggested, not letting Ed give up so easily. Sure, his Pokemon was hurt, but that was no excuse to give up.
Well, actually, if she thought about it, she would probably be pretty cautious if her Pokemon was hurt. If Sands almost drowned, she’d definitely not let him near the water. And since Zee was too fat to swim, there would really be no way to challenge the gym leader.
Strangely, Ed seemed closed off to her idea. “I don’t want another Pokemon,” he exclaimed. “I’m not challenging Misty.”
To prove that he was done with her, he turned away and continued walking, right out the front door. A cold gust of wind blew into the lobby, but was cut off as the door slid closed behind him. Leah didn’t follow him out into the night, though she did consider it.
Maybe a good night sleep would change his mind since Leah doubted she would get through. She’d already spent over an hour sitting with him and maybe it was time to do something else.
She wondered if the cafeteria was still opened.
It was dark and cold outside, but that didn’t stop Ed from being there, shivering in the cool wind. He wasn’t wearing warm clothes, having not yet gotten used to autumn weather, and his jacket was in his room. He could go get his jacket before returning to his sulking, but that would mean he might run into Leah. And that was something he didn’t want.
He didn’t want to talk to anyone, not Leah, not Ally and not even his brother. He just wanted to be alone.
And alone he was.
Sighing, Ed walked to a bench a little ways from the Pokemon Center. There was a perfectly good one closer, but that one sat before a window and he didn’t want Leah watching him.
The bench seemed lonelier then his previous spot, not a soul around, which was just what he wanted.
He sat down and leaned back, ignoring the dampness of the wood.
Finally, a time where he could think.
The hours he spent waiting for Coralie in the emergency room didn’t count; he wasn’t thinking then. Then, fantasies of Coralie’s death played and replayed inside his head as guilt gnawed at him from every direction. But now that he had actual news of his Ditto’s survival, the fantasies had lifted, though the guilt decided to stay.
It was all his fault.
It didn’t matter that Coralie was going to be okay, he was the reason his Pokemon was hurt in the first place. He knew that Coarlie still had problems in water, but he didn’t think, too busy looking forward at getting another badge.
His brother would be so ashamed if he found out. William had always treated his Pokemon kindly, never pushing them and was always so prepared. He studied before every gym battle, making sure nothing would surprise him and that his Pokemon were ready. Because of that, his brother had never lost a gym battle and he still had his collection of gym badges in a little case under his bed.
Not only that, but Coralie wasn’t Ed’s Pokemon. She was William’s. His brother had only given her to him; he didn’t catch her or train her. She already knew some moves and could use them without Ed ever teaching her. It could be said that Ed was only borrowing her, that she wasn’t even his.
And now Coralie was hurt.
She got hurt in her last gym battle too, but this time it was worse. Unlike with Surge, Ed knew that he shouldn’t push his Pokemon, but he did anyway. He wasn’t ignorant like last time.
It was all his fault.
What was worse was that more than just Ally and Leah were watching his battle. Everyone saw him lose and get Coralie hurt. He didn’t really talk with Ally’s classmates, too busy focusing on the battle (and getting Coralie hurt), but he bet that they thought he was a terrible trainer.
But that was true, wasn’t it? All he had been doing was getting his Pokemon hurt, Coralie most of all. He remembered, way back to his first gym battle, that he sent Paras against Blaine’s fire-types. Now he could see how dangerous and stupid that was and how thankful he was that Paras wasn’t totally hurt. He acted so recklessly and still, Blaine had given him a badge, almost congratulating him at getting his Pokemon hurt.
Really, he should have his Pokemon taken away for being so stupid.
“You alright?” a quiet voice asked and Ed turned his head, almost expecting to see Leah or Ally, but it was only some strange man. He seemed to be peering at him curiously, but it was too dark to really see his features. His hair looked brown and the man was dressed warmly for the weather with a sweater and jeans.
Ed blinked at the sudden question and nodded, hoping that he’d go away.
But the man didn’t. Instead, he sat next to Ed on the bench.
Obviously, Ed was not in the mood for company, especially with a stranger, so he asked, “What’d you want?”
“Nothing,” the man replied. His voice was so low that Ed almost had to strain to hear him. “You just look upset. Are you a trainer?”
“Yeah,” Ed replied, a bit cautious. Strangers don’t usually go up to a person just because they looked upset, especially not at this hour. He wondered if he should get up and go back to the Pokemon Center, but Leah’s lingering presence convinced him otherwise.
Finally and a bit reluctantly, Ed added, “How’d you guess?”
“A kid wouldn’t be outside this late, especially on a school night.”
The man’s explanation made sense, but still, Ed didn’t want to be bothered. It didn’t seem like the man would go away, so it’d probably take drastic action.
“Can you go away?” he said bluntly.
“No,” the man replied, crossing his legs. “I’m waiting for someone and I wanted to sit down. You can move if you don’t like it.”
Of course, Ed refused to move. He had found the bench first!
With both of them not wanting to move, they were forced to share, Ed made a point of his discomfort by sitting at the edge of the bench, body tense.
After a while of silence on both sides and just when Ed was starting to relax, the man suddenly asked, “Do you want to battle?”
Ed was taken aback. That was the last thing he expected to be asked and really, the last thing he wanted to be asked. Coralie was just taken out of the emergency room and was there in the first place because of him! Did he want to battle? No!
“I don’t want to,” he said out loud.
The man seemed surprised. “Really? Trainers never say no to a battle.”
“Yeah, well, I’m busy,” Ed snapped, turning to face him. “I don’t want to battle!”
The man raised his hands in mock surrender. “Alright, alright. Just thought I’d ask. Battling always makes me feel good and I thought it’d might cheer you up.”
Ed grumbled, “Why do you care so much?” Then, as another question entered his mind, he asked, “Why are you out here anyways?”
“I told you, I’m waiting,” the man explained. “I’ve been waiting out here for hours with nothing to do and you’re really the only one around to talk to.”
At that, Ed looked around, spotting a couple of other people in the area, who looked older and probably more interesting to him. So, why was he being bothered?
“Who are you waiting for?”
The man looked a bit uncomfortable at that, his posture shifting. “Well, ah, my girlfriend, actually. She said to meet me here around this time, so that’s what I’m doing.”
“Why are you guys coming meeting here after dark?” Ed asked.
“Why are you out after dark?” he asked back.
Not wanting to get one-upped, Ed frowned. “I just wanted to be alone and think; the Pokemon Center’s too… noisy,” he finished awkwardly, not knowing what else he could replace ‘Leah’ with.
“What, did you lose a battle or something?”
Ed gaped at him. “How did you know?”
“When I was your age, I was always depressed after losing,” the man replied.
“How did you get over it?”
He shrugged. “Made the best of it, I suppose. I’ve been training for years, so I don’t really lose the often, anyways.”
“Oh.” Ed went silent. “Um, did your Pokemon ever get hurt?”
The man was quiet for a bit before he said, “When I was around fifteen, I made the mistake of sending my Graveler against Pryce’s Piloswine. Pryce is an ice-type gym leader in Johto,” he explained for Ed’s benefit. “Anyways, I thought my Graveler could just smash through Piloswine’s shields of ice since none of my other Pokemon were doing the trick, but Piloswine got lucky and got an Ice Beam through. Ice is really effective against rock-types and my Graveler was frozen solid.” He paused. “Did one of your Pokemon get hurt?”
Ed let out a breath. “My Ditto… she almost drowned.”
“Is she okay?”
“She’s going to be, but… She’s really going to have trouble transforming now. She took in too much water.”
“At least she’s alive, right?” the man said. “She’s luckier then my Graveler.”
“… Did you Graveler die?” Ed asked, not really wanting to know the answer, but still curious. Rock-types were really hard to kill.
“Piloswine drove his tusks into my Graveler earlier in the match,” he explained, “and when Graveler was frozen, the ice went into the cracks as well. So, when he unfroze, he sort of… broke apart.”
Ed shivered. He wouldn’t know what to do if his Pokemon broke apart. At least Coralie was still alive and could still battle. “How’d you get over it? Did you re-challenge Pryce?”
“I got over pretty fast,” the man admitted to Ed’s surprised look. “I had been training for five years and it’s common for Pokemon to die in battle. It’s no one’s fault; these things just happen. Most of my old Pokemon are dead or retired over at Oak’s lab by now and I have them replaced with new Pokemon.” He paused. “I didn’t go against Pryce again, though, I really just didn’t feel like it. Instead, I waited for a few months before I sent one of my brothers to battle him under my name so I could compete in the Silver League.”
Ed didn’t want to battle Misty again either, but he didn’t think William would be up to battling in his place.
“You know,” the man continued. “You don’t need to re-challenge Misty so soon. This town won’t disappear after you leave; you can come back later.”
“… I guess,” Ed said, but that still didn’t answer his problem about beating Misty. He wasn’t going to use Coralie and Parasect couldn’t swim, so did that mean he would have to catch another Pokemon soon? He knew he would, Misty or not, but what Pokemon would it be?
“Hey,” the man said, catching his attention. “Why don’t we battle? It won’t have to be long, just a quick one.” Probably thinking that he needed to do some bribing, the man added, “I’ll give you a prize if you win.”
Ed opened his mouth, intent of telling him no, but…
“Fine,” he said and the man grinned.
“One-on-one okay with you?” the man asked as he led Ed over to an empty patch of grass a bit further away.
Since he only had one Pokemon with him anyways, there wasn’t much else he could do but agree. His other Pokemon was hurt, and even if it wasn’t all his fault, that didn’t mean he didn’t have to be careful. He only agreed to the battle because, well, why not? He knew Parasect; the bug-type was his first Pokemon and unless the person he was battling had a fire-type, there wasn’t many ways the battle could go wrong.
It was a quick turnabout, actually. Ten minutes ago, he’d swear that he’d never battle again and now look at what he was doing.
This time would be different, though. He wouldn’t let his Pokemon get hurt like that again. Never again.
“What’s your name?” Ed asked.
The man apparently didn’t expect the question as he looked taken aback. Then, as he got out a Poke Ball, he said, “Ah, my name’s Dust-y.”
“That’s a really weird name,” Ed commented, feeling a cool wind blow into his face. He sent out his Parasect without waiting, and his Pokemon shuffled forwards under the weight of his giant mushroom, intent on fleeing.
Ed, use to the behavior, stepped in front of his Pokemon, smiling ever so slightly. “Where you going, Parasect? It’s battle time!”
Parasect did not look pleased.
“Interesting choice,” Dusty said, looking only a bit put out by the reaction to his name. “Let’s see what you can do against mine.” Then, he released his Pokemon.
The Pokemon was different and certainly one that Ed had never seen before. It had a small dog-like body with dark floppy ears and stood on its hind legs. Behind it was a long and thin tail that had a large tuff on the end of it that resembled the end of a paintbrush.
“Whoa, what is it?” Ed asked, staring at its large eyes and pink tongue hanging out of its mouth.
“He is a Smeargle.” Dusty seemed rather proud of his Pokemon. “He’s from Johto and is really rare; I’ll tell you that much.”
An unknown Pokemon wasn’t the best opponent to face, but Ed felt confident. It didn’t look like much and it was probably a normal-type, so that meant no surprises there…
He was confident in his last battle too and look where that got him. He was supposed to be careful. What if Parasect got hurt, too?
Never again, remember? He wouldn’t break that promise!
There was no referee to say when a battle started, so Ed went first.
“Parasect, Spore! Now!”
Parasect was slow, so time was as of the essence. Unlike with Paras, there were no signs that showed how the bug-type’s progress was going, but Ed hoped it was going well. There was no time to waste.
“Smeargle,” Dusty said, the Pokemon giving no signs of listening as it looked in another direction, its ears perked up. “Let’s not go asleep, okay? Safeguard.”
Just when Ed was about to conclude that nothing happened, a strange thing was happening around Smeargle’s tail, the end tuff starting to gain a green tint as a paint-like substance stated to generate. Then suddenly, Smeargle was glowing green. The color was faint, but it could be clearly seen in the dark, and add to that the green substance on its tail was also glowing in the dark, giving the Pokemon a rather odd look.
It made Ed nervous. “Parasect!”
Parasect shifted and a hissing sound became present as something was released into the air.
Smeargle was clearly seen as it jumped back, its tail in front of it like a weapon.
“Don’t overreact,” Dusty scolded the Pokemon. “It’s alright, don’t worry about it. Instead, use Lock-On. No time for misses.”
Ed bit his lip, wondering why the Smeargle wasn’t falling asleep. He knew Safeguard was a type a barrier, but was it a type that stopped it from falling asleep? Apparently, as still, nothing was happening. And the Johto Pokemon was giving his Parasect an odd look, like it was concentrating on something.
The battle had hardly started and already things weren’t going well.
It was nerve-racking in a way that a battle had never been. Ed loved battling, seeing Pokemon battle it out, but as the seconds ticked by, he wanted to withdraw from the match. Parasect wasn’t hurt, but he could be and he didn’t even know what a Smeargle could really do.
He didn’t know what he should do.
“Parasect…” Ed hesitated, covering it up with a convenient yawn. He didn’t want the battle to go on for any longer but any attacks Parasect had involved getting real close to the victim and that made him nervous. He did have a real strong offensive move, but it would be a rick, one he didn’t want to take.
Finally, he called out, “Slash!” and hoped for the best.
The darkness was pushed away as Parasect’s claws glowed with a white light. Smeargle backed into its trainer’s leg from the sight, intimidated, but Dusty just gently pushed him forward, giving him a look.
“Come on, scared-y cat,” the man said. “Go up to it and use Cut. Give it a chance.”
Under the green glow, Ed could see the glare the Pokemon gave its trainer before looking at the Parasect nervously, who wasn’t making any move forward.
With a sigh of reluctance, Parasect paraded forward at the pace of a snail, his stick-like feet making tiny clicking sounds against the cement. Smeargle looked at it, obviously wanting to back away, but only kept in place by its loyalty to its trainer. And even then, it looked like the Pokemon wanted to ditch it all together.
Just when Parasect was a few feet from his target, Smeargle’s tail flicked out of sight as the Pokemon spun on its feet, its tail like a whip as it slashed Parasect on its mushroom, the tuff of its tail straightened out like a sword. Parasect’s claws lashed out, nicking the normal-type’s tail as it made its escape.
Ed gulped as he saw his Parasect take tiny steps back from the other Pokemon, who was lapping up the blood from the small cut on its tail. Walking around his Parasect, Ed was horrified to see the horizontal slash that stretched from one end of the bug-type to the other. It may be dark, but even he could see the pain his Pokemon was in, the bug-type twitching oddly and struggling to stay standing.
Dropping down to his knees, Ed raised a hand to his Pokemon’s wound, lightly touching it to his Parasect’s dismay. Instead of blood, the cut oozed an odd white puss that felt sticky and thick to the touch.
“… I- I give up!” Ed told the man, who was watching him silently. “T- This is too much!”
The man was very accepting. “Alright,” he said, but made no move to return his Pokemon. After a moment of watching Ed fuss over his Pokemon, Dusty asked, “Want some advice?”
“No,” Ed said, his voice sullen, returning his Pokemon when he found that there was nothing he could really do. Now his other Pokemon was hurt just because he decided to have a battle. He had to get to the Pokemon Center.
Dusty continued like he didn’t hear. “Really, your Parasect needs some work if you want it to battle properly. Its way too slow and even a weaker fast Pokemon would be able to beat it.”
“Oh, go away!” Ed snapped, feeling embarrassed when he felt tears prickling in his eyes. “How am I supposed to fix that, anyways?”
The man shrugged. “You can’t.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You never see Parasect in official battles. You ever wonder why?” Dusty questioned. “Parasect aren’t good battlers and can be taken out easily. They’re better at incapacitating things than anything else. They’re good for Pokemon capturers, not trainers.”
Ed got to his feet, and wavered as he felt a rush of dizziness. “Don’t call him stupid!” Ed said, and was only mildly concerned to hear his voice come out a bit slurred. There was an odd blackness at the edge of his vision that was growing as the seconds passed.
“Are you alright?” the man asked, suddenly looked around. He took a big breath of air and then suddenly looked a bit sick as he put his sleeve to his mouth. Dusty’s muffled voice said, “Damn, the Spore’s still in the air.”
Sitting back down again since the ground kept trying to spin beneath his feet, Ed groaned, fighting his eyelids determined motion to close.
Maybe he shouldn’t have used Spore after all…
Using the last bit of his strength, Ed pointed to the Pokemon Center in the distance and told Dusty in a quiet voice, “Pokemon Center, bring me there. Parasect…”
Then, the world arched and blackness overtook his vision as Ed toppled over, asleep before he even hit the ground.
The voice was jarring and really left no choice for Ed to wake up, though when he did, he was surprised to find where he was.
“What are you doing out here?” Leah asked, towering over him with her arms crossed and a look of confusion over her face.
“Huh?” Ed muttered, feeling the soft leather padding beneath him. “I- I dunno.”
He got up, shielding the morning sun from his face as he looked out into the lobby, where business at the Pokemon Center was maintaining as usual. He was sitting on a couch, away from most of the hubbub, with a single blanket thrown over his legs. His eyelids felt heavy and he put a hand to his mouth as he yawned, obviously still tired after an apparent good night’s sleep.
The events of last night were unfortunately clear, and he felt mortification on falling asleep outside with only a stranger to help and with Parasect still hurt-
Ed’s hand shot to his pockets, where no familiar sphere shape sat.
“You lost your Pokemon?” Leah asked as Ed shot off the couch, not picking up the blanket when it fell on the ground, and rushed to the middle of the lobby. His eyes searched every corner, but he couldn’t see the man from last night, and even then, he wasn’t sure he’d recognize him since his memory of the man’s face was blurred.
Was his Parasect stolen? No, no, no, no, no-
At a last ditch effort, Ed went up to the front desk, where the nurse there smiled at him kindly.
“Um, my Parasect-” he started and the nurse nodded instantly.
“He’s in the recovery room,” she told him as she picked up a note and something shiny from the desk. “A man brought you and your Parasect in last night, explaining everything to my coworker. Your Parasect is fine; he just needs some time to heal.”
Ed swallowed, relieved beyond belief. He wouldn’t know what he’d due if his Parasect was stolen. “T- That’s good.”
The nurse smiled at him and gave him a note and a small metal badge.
“The man left these for you before leaving,” she told him, with Ed blinked at her and unraveled the note from the small square it was folded into.
You didn’t win, but you hurt Smeargle, which is pretty hard. Consider this your fourth badge.
It was short and brief and there was no signature left on it, but it was fairly obvious who it was from.
Leah read it over his shoulder. “You battled some weird guy last night?”
“Yeah,” he said, looking at the badge. “I didn’t think he’d actually give me anything.”
It felt cold in his hands as he turned it over and it was different from all the other badges he’d seen. It was crimson red, for one, and was shaped in a capital R, its lines straight and corners sharp. The back of it was black and the whole thing gleamed, as if it was brand new.
Ed stared at it for a few more moments before Leah plucked it from his hands.
“I’m just looking,” Leah said, rolling her eyes, giving it back to him when Ed glared. “So, let me get this straight: you battled some guy, lost, fell asleep outside and got some cool badge out of it?”
Putting the badge in his pocket, Ed nodded and then turned away.
“Where you going?” Leah called out to his retreating back as his walk started to turn into a run.
“Checking on Coralie!”
With that, Ed left Leah’s sights, his mind focused on his Ditto and having the comforting weight of a badge in his pocket.
A/N: Ugh. This chapter… Where do I start? Originally, Leah was supposed to have a huge argument with Ed and Ally because of their losses, and I even wrote half a chapter with that in mind before I finally decided that that I couldn’t see Leah acting that way. So, I ditched that chapter and wrote another, so that’s my excuse on why this chapter is, like, two weeks late.
Anyways, the ending wasn’t the best, but I needed it done, so that’s that. Next chapter should focus on Ally, if everything goes to plan.
Hello! Nice chapter. I really like how you made the man Ed battled shady, but not obviously shady, so that the reader wasn't quite sure what to make of him. The rocket badge fits perfectly! Nice plottiness.
I really liked Ed's scene. Nice job, keep up the good writing!
Oh my god, this fan fic surpassed all of my wildest expectations. Imagine my joy when I found out it was still active. Imagine my surprise when i found out it got updated yesterday! And that encounter was pretty damn surprising. It didn't dawn on me who "Dusty" was until much much later. And it's great to see Ed making a turn around, I guess. I was honestly scared for Para and Ditto.
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
Thanks for killing your eyes for me, Legendarian Mistress! And thanks for reviewing!
Chapter 38: Normal
She should be training.
For nearly the entire day, that was what Ally kept telling herself over and over again. Her Poke Balls were at her hip and she could easily open them, but she didn’t. The only time she ever did was when she wanted company and that had been a rare occasion all week.
For the last few months, Pokemon had overtaken her life. They were all she thought about and as she dreamed her future, they were in it. Now, things had changed. It had been a couple of days since she had seen Ed and since they had spend everyday together for a while, that was shocking. She didn’t know what he was doing. Was he training? Getting ready to challenge Misty again? She didn’t know.
That was what worried her. She should know. She had known her school friends for much longer, but she was comfortable to say that Ed was her best friend. Best friends should know what the other was doing. She knew that she should get in contact with him, stop by the Pokemon Center to see how he was doing, but... For the past week, ever since they had lost against Misty, things had changed.
The topic of going up against Misty never came up whenever she and Ed talked. They made half-hearted plans for training, but somehow, they had never gone through, forgotten amongst their awkward conversations. Ed was always depressed whenever she saw him and he told her it was because he wasn’t sleeping. He was telling the truth; the bags under his eyes made it obvious. She always wanted to know why, but he was quick to change the subject.
She knew that she had to train. She had to beat Misty so that Leah could go home. She didn’t want to disappoint her again. And Leah promised to be at her match, so the older girl would see her win. Leah always saw her win, but this time would be different because Leah had actually promised to watch. Watch willing, not because she wasn’t allowed to leave.
Ally should be training.
But she wasn’t.
Instead, she stood outside her school, waiting for classes to end so she could play with Sam and Maylin. They were all going to go to the new playground that had been built this summer because as Sam claimed, there was a giant slide that was the best in the world. Both girls had been saying that all of yesterday when they were at Sam’s house, so Ally was excited to see it.
The bell rang, its shrill tone signifying the end of school for the day. Even from outside, Ally could hear the scraping of chairs as students ran out of their classrooms and to freedom. The front doors opened as a trickle of students came out, the trickle turning into a pour as Ally’s eyes looking at each and every one of them. She saw George and they waved at each other as the boy hurried to his mother’s car at the end of the parking lot.
Then, Sam and Maylin appeared, each bearing grins, as they made their way towards her.
“Ally!” Sam greeted.
“You’ll never guess what happened in class today!” Maylin exclaimed.
“What happened?” Ally asked the three girls started their way out of the school grounds and towards the direction of the park.
“Well, Ms. Lewis’ Natu, Ruby, suddenly had a vision and-”
Maylin’s words washed over the girl as Ally kept an ear on the story, but as much as she was glad to see her friends, guilt kept her from focusing.
She should be training.
Guilt prickled at the edge of her mind. She didn’t want to lose again, so why wasn’t she training? If she trained, she could beat Misty, so why wasn’t she?
“I’m listening,” Ally said, coming back to reality. She gave her friends a smile. “Keep going!”
Today, Ally was busy with her friends so she couldn’t train even if she wanted to. Ally could train tomorrow though, and she promised herself that was what she was going to do.
She’d train tomorrow.
Unfortunately, things didn’t end up the way Ally planned. Apparently, Maylin’s sister got a new Pichu and when the friend asked for them to come see it, she couldn’t say no. She had lots of time to train, but seeing a baby Pichu was a rare opportunity! And really, Ally only felt the smallest traces of guilt. How could she be guilty when staring at such a cute Pokemon? It was impossible.
She had lots of time to train; she did, she did! Misty would still be at her gym tomorrow if she spent a day with her friends.
That night, after Ally had gotten changed into her pajamas and was ready to go to bed, she descended the stairs to get a glass of water. The whole house was dark, but there was a light on in the kitchen and the girl paused outside of the doorway, hearing her mother’s voice from within.
“I tell ya’, Markus, the girl’s doin’ nothing!” her mother was saying.
Ally peaked around the corner to see her mother’s back, with the phone to her ear. Her father was on the other end of the line, still on his business trip in Saffron. It was obvious who they were discussing.
As Ally was frozen outside the doorway, her mother went on. “She spends all day in her room and only goes out to play with her friends. Been here for two weeks and I doubt she’s going anywhere anytime soon.” There was a pause. “No, not doin’ anything. A whole month of school wasted just like that.”
Feeling uncomfortable at listening in, Ally was going to go back upstairs, but stopped.
“- She’s not, Markus. She’s already gone back to school, so I don’t see why not. I’m her mother; I know what she’s like. Slipping in and out of hobbies, she’s already given up on this one.” Her mother laughed. “Oh, a scruffy Vulpix and an electric ball thing. I don’t see them much- She can always send them to a Pokemon Center, they take in unused Pokemon; I checked this morning.”
‘What’s going on?’ Ally thought to herself and even then, a theory was forming in her mind.
Then, her mother said it. “I talked to the principal. The girl will have to come in after school to get caught up in all the work she missed- No, no, I haven’t talked with her yet. You know how she’ll whine-”
Quietly, Ally tiptoed back upstairs, her heart pounding. Her hands were shaking as she closed her bedroom door and only when she lay down on her bed, under the warm covers, did she allow herself to think.
They were going to send her back to school.
Suddenly, Ally could see her freedom and unlimited time for her journey get cut off as the prospect of being forced to stay home caught up with her. She was going back to school! But she still had her journey to complete and she couldn’t do it if she was stuck at home.
What had she been doing all week? She was a trainer! Instead of watching TV and playing with her friends, she was supposed to be training!
In the dark, Ally could see the luminescent red numbers on her clock that told her it was nearly nine.
She wasted her whole day looking at a Pichu. She went to the park yesterday and the day before that, she went to Sam’s house. The day before that? She saw Ed, but it was short because she had to go meet Sam and Maylin after school.
What had she been doing?!
“Tomorrow,” Ally promised herself, saying it aloud to make it permanent. “I’ll go see Ed tomorrow and then I’ll train. All day, no friends allowed.”
She should also go talk to her mother and tell her she wasn’t going back to school, but she wasn’t sure her mother would listen. It was true what her mother said. When she was younger, she was always interested in different things, changing her interests at the drop of a hat. She loved horses when she was little and demanded riding lessons, but got bored of them after only two months (waking up early on Saturday morning helped). Then, she wanted to be a ballerina, but eventually dropped out of lessons. She did that for a lot of things.
But Pokemon wasn’t one of them. She remembered before the journey started, how she begged and pleaded to go on a journey and how much happiness she felt at being allowed. She wanted to go with her friends but her mother didn’t trust her and sent her all the way to Pallet Town instead for the Mentor Program, like it was supposed to keep her safer.
She wasn’t bored of training, she wasn’t! Just because she didn’t play with her Pokemon as often as before, just because she was starting to settle in the routine of a normal girl-
Ally threw off her covers and got up, bare feet touching her cold wooden floor. She went over to the far corner of her room, by the door, and went into the pockets of her bag. Out came two Poke Balls, which she enlarged in her hand.
“I choose you,” she spoke quietly, releasing both.
The white flashes of light burned her eyes and shielded her face until it died down. And even then, the spots before her eyes throbbed.
Without light and with her night vision shattered, Ally couldn’t see her Pokemon, but she could hear them. Amber was pawing the ground, his claws lightly scratching the floors while Sparks slowly moved backwards and a made a sound as he hit her bedpost.
Using her hands, Ally felt her way to Amber, feeling his soft fur beneath her fingers.
Downstairs, her mother was still talking on the phone, but up here, the conversation was muffled enough that only the loudest words were heard. She wasn’t sure if her mother heard her Poke Balls opening and if she did, she knew she’d make her return them. But at long as she didn’t…
Ally picked Amber up and held him in her arms like a cat and carefully walked back towards her bed, avoiding running into Sparks. She placed the fire-type on the bed before kneeling down to lightly touch her Voltorb on his head, feeling the barely noticeable twitching of his body. Not wanting him to fall off the bed if she brought him up, Ally instead grabbed her stuffed bunny from beside her pillow and put it on the floor, right next to Sparks.
She wouldn’t need it; she had something else to hug tonight.
Laying back down and putting her head on the pillow, Ally felt her Vulpix paw the bed, walking in circles until he let himself fall on the soft comforter. His warm body pressed against her leg as he curled up, breathing gently. On the floor, Sparks wasn’t doing anything, but Ally could say she trusted her Pokemon enough to leave him there for the night.
Lulled by the soft sounds of her Pokemon and with the promise in her mind, she had no trouble falling asleep.
The morning sky looked gloomy, so Ally made sure she brought an umbrella with her on the way to the Pokemon Center, just in case. It was cold out, and the girl pulled her jacket together tighter, hitting the ground with the sharp point of her pink umbrella in time with her steps, like she would a cane. At her feet, Amber trotted beside her, his head held high in the cool morning air.
Whenever she could, Ally made sure one of her Pokemon was with her at all times. She had been neglecting them the past week and she had to make it up to them. She had ate breakfast with Sparks and Amber wandering around on the kitchen floor, her mother already gone to work. They were there when Ally left a message with Sam’s mother, telling her that she wouldn’t be able to come over and play that day.
She was a trainer, not a schoolgirl. She had work to do; she couldn’t play all the time.
The front doors of the Pokemon Center slid open to her and Ally and Amber walked into the warm lobby. When she didn’t find Ed among the faces of the people around her, she headed toward the stairwell.
Then, a thought occurred to her.
It was sudden and left her blinking. Amber stopped beside his trainer, wondering what was wrong.
She didn’t know Ed’s room number. Every time the two had met, they had come to the lobby to talk, never going up to Ed’s room.
For a best friend, she was sure bad at it.
With her face burning, Ally finally got his room number from the girl at the counter and then continued her journey to Ed, one step at a time. His room was on the second floor and in the middle of the hall of doors.
The girl knocked a few times and waited, hands in front of her. She was patient, but no one came to the door. Frowning, she knocked again and could have heard a shuffling sound from inside, but she wasn’t sure.
Maybe she had the wrong door? Ally bit her lip, looking both ways down the hallway, which was deserted. Maybe he wasn’t there?
Suddenly, there was a click and Ally turned back in time to see Ed’s appearance at the door. It was obvious now why he didn’t answer so quickly. He was rubbing his eyes and wearing his blue pajamas, looking utterly tired. His usually neat orange hair was sticking up all over, looking uncannily like his brother.
“D- Did I wake you up?” Ally asked, secretly horrified at bugging her friend.
Ed nodded, confirming her fears. “Why you here?” he said, his voice quiet and raspy. He didn’t sound very awake.
“I-I just haven’t seen you in a while,” Ally said, fidgeting. The only reason she was here because she was feeling guilty at leaving him alone, but really, she had just made things worse…
Not saying anything, Ed just stared and Ally realized that he was acting like Leah. If you woke Leah up when she didn’t want to, she’d act like a zombie and if you let her go back to sleep, she’d remember nothing of being awake. It was a quirk of hers she and Ed sometimes played with, but they stopped after a while in fear of Leah remembering the conversations.
The boy seemed so tired, that Ally was almost sure he wouldn’t remember their conversation.
“I’ll come by later,” Ally said, her voice turning into a mumble. She looked at Ed’s swaying, undead form. “I’m going to go train, alright?”
Ed bobbed his head. “Okay,” he said and then closed the door without a goodbye.
Ally stared for a few more moments before sighing and looking down at her Pokemon. “I guess we should go.”
Back in the lobby and just before she was about to leave, Ally suddenly thought of Leah. She had been neglecting her mentor just as much as Ed, but unlike Ed, Leah wasn’t her best friend, or even much of a friend.
Maybe she should go talk to Leah?
The prospect of accidently waking up Leah held her back, however. It was embarrassing to wake Ed up, but with Leah, she might get yelled at. Though, she wasn’t that sure anymore. The talk they had last week was civil and Leah actually acted as a mentor for once, comforting her after her defeat when Ed didn’t. It made the girl unsure of where they stood, and having not seen Leah at all the past week, it made her even more unsure.
But since she didn’t want to go up to the front desk to ask another room number, Ally decided to let Leah be. Maybe she would go see her mentor later, but now it was time for training.
No ifs, ands or buts.
There was a small little area on the outskirts of Cerulean that proved to be perfect for a training ground. Unlike any other place she could have chosen, it was completely deserted, not a single human around. Now there was no way she could get distracted.
Laying down her backpack, Ally looked at her two Pokemon. Amber looked ready for a fight, and so did Sparks, the electric-type aware that something was going on.
Ally had never really trained by herself before, so she felt a bit nervous. Ed wasn’t around to give encouragement and there was no Leah watching quietly from a distance. Just her and her Pokemon.
Kneeling down, the girl felt the grass between her fingertips. It was dry, too dry, which meant she shouldn’t use fire attacks. She’d never hear the end of it if she accidently started a forest fire. But that also meant no electric attacks either. It wasn’t a bad thing, though. Water conducted electricity, so there was no need to aim.
What her Pokemon needed to work on were techniques that didn’t involve attacking. Sparks was supposed to be able to use Light Screen, but he had never gotten the hang of it. That should be worked on. Amber could probably start leaning Safe Guard. He was experienced enough and he had all his other attacks down, except for maybe Flamethrower.
Ally took a deep breath. She had a plan.
“Let’s get to work,” she told her Pokemon, and that’s what they did.
For about an hour, anyways.
“Sparks!” Ally said, frustration in her voice. She though her electric-type was over his disobedience problems. “Light Screen!”
The Voltorb didn’t seem to hear her, instead staying perfectly still. Off to the side, Amber was taking a break, lapping up water from the brook.
“Please?” she asked, shoulders slumping. Her training had been going so well! And then Sparks got tired and stopped listening. Ally had given him a break but he still wasn’t doing anything!
“Sparks, Light Screen! I know you can do it!”
A few sparks zapped across the electric-type’s body as Sparks still gave the impression of being deaf.
Going up to him, Ally spoke in a louder voice. “Sparks!”
Reaching out to touch him, Ally shrieked as a zap shocked her hand. Leaping back, she kept her injured hand close to her chest and she winced at the pain. She felt tears welling up in the corners of her eyes and she sniffed, wiping them away with her sleeve.
She didn’t have time to cry! She was supposed to be training…
“F- Fine,” Ally told Sparks, stalking away and sitting down next to Amber and the brook. “D- Do what you want!”
Sparks seemed happy at the order of freedom and his sparking died down.
Looking at her hand, Ally wiggled her fingers, waiting for the numbness to go away. She couldn’t remember the last time Sparks’ shocked her. He had been obeying her since Vermillion, but now all the progress she had made was disappearing.
Petting Amber’s head, Ally smiled and playfully pushed the Vulpix away when he tried to nuzzle her with his wet nose.
She loved her Voltorb, she really did. After travelling with him for months, how could she not? But sometimes, she thought he wasn’t worth it. He didn’t obey, would attack her, never showed his pleasure like Amber did… he was a lot of trouble. If she had a choice, Ally could admit that she wouldn’t choose him to be her Pokemon a second time.
She felt so ashamed whenever she thought like that, but it was the truth. She would rather have a different Pokemon than him.
Suddenly, a thought came to her, right out of nowhere.
Why was she doing this? Sitting out here, away from civilization, trying to train a disobedient bomb and a fire fox…Why?
She was a trainer, not a normal girl. But if she had to choose between them, which would she rather be? A trainer was what she always dreamed of, even if her parents were disproving, it was what every person dreamed of, right? To be a Pokemon Master; to be the very best. Having adventures with her loyal Pokemon was what she always wanted to do.
Now here she was, a trainer and having adventures with her Pokemon. The experiences weren’t ones that stories told you. It wasn’t normal to be in danger so much, was it? Those long walks from one city to another, having to live through defeat, coping with a Pokemon’s disobedience- that was what every trainer went through, right? Did they almost drown too? Have a murder happen only a few doors down from them? Were they in danger like that?
What if she was just a schoolgirl, though? She wouldn’t have to walk miles and miles, every day. She’d have a warm bed to sleep at night. She wouldn’t have to watch out for dangerous Pokemon or hope that nothing would attack during the night. If she was just a girl, she could still keep her Pokemon. All the danger would be omitted and only the most loved parts would be left: the Pokemon themselves.
The conversation from last night floated past Ally’s memory.
She had a choice.
Challenging Misty wasn’t something she had to do. Losing hurt, it really did, and it wasn’t something she wanted to repeat. Misty was so much more experienced than her, and even with a type advantage, Ally still lost. To a cute little Horsea, even. How was she supposed to beat that? Even if Horsea wasn’t her opponent next time, it would probably be worse. What if it was a Gyarados? Or a Golduck? There were so many different types of water Pokemon, she couldn’t even begin to predict.
This was the first time she ever realized how easy her journey had been. Dangerous sometimes, yes, but easy. She had beaten all the other gym leaders without losing once, and even out in the field, she rarely lost a trainer battle. Maybe that was because she didn’t battle often, but still. Her Pokemon were rare. Vulpix were searched for all over the world and bred to perfection, and she found one in the wild. Voltorb could rarely be caught and she had gotten one as her starter. They were both so powerful; she sometimes worried what would happen when they evolved.
Electrode had worse reputations than Voltorb and were bigger, and exploded with more force. How was she supposed to train one of those? Ninetales were very beautiful, but stories portrayed them as wild creatures, cunning and quick, never staying under a trainer’s heel for long.
What would happen then? She could hardly train her Voltorb now, so how could she begin to tame a dangerous Electrode and a headstrong Ninetales?
Maybe it was best to stop while she was ahead. Leah told her and Ed so many stories of training gone wrong. Ally didn’t know how true they were, but her mentor took great pleasure in telling them. And they were so detailed, how could they not be true? Even the gentlest Pokemon had bloody stories attached to them. How a Jigglypuff sang their trainers to sleep, letting them be eaten by wild Pokemon in the night, how a Pichu’s playful zaps eventually gave its old trainer a heart attack, how an Eevee used its cute charms to lead wandering trainers to their deaths…
Ally looked up and stared at her Voltorb, who sat silently in the middle of dry grass. His zaps had died down, but there was still a look of rage on his face. Then, she turned to look at her Vulpix, who was sleeping under a ray of sunlight.
She had been lucky so far. How long would that last?
Trainers died all the time. It was a very dangerous job. She could keep being a trainer, collecting badges, exploring new places, catching Pokemon, training them to obey her very command. Then, what would happen? Maybe one day, she’d go up to some dangerous place, determined to capture a Pokemon. She’d leave the Pokemon Center, Poke Balls on her belt and then never be seen again.
Her parents would be shocked at her death, or maybe they’d have expected it. Her mother especially always told her how stupid being a trainer was. So, they’d arrange a funeral, and all her school friends would come, and maybe Ed and Leah would too. They’d never know what happened to her, she’d just be listed as ‘missing, presumed dead’ like so many others…
Ally was suddenly aware she was shaking. She held up a hand in front of her face, seeing its trembles and a few tears ran down her cheeks. This time, she didn’t wipe them away, but instead kept staring at her hand.
Was that the life she wanted to have?
A sob escaped her throat, and Amber looked up.
“Vul?” he asked.
“A- A- Amber,” Ally said between tears, her voice hiccupping. “I- I don’t want to die! Not like that!”
Ally buried her face in her hands and just let the tears fall.
What was she doing? Travelling all over, just to enter tournaments and train Pokemon… she didn’t have to do that! Why couldn’t she just stay home, where she could go to school, where danger didn’t lurk behind every branch. She could still keep her Pokemon and maybe train them with her friends. She didn’t need to travel to do that! Normal people kept Pokemon too, there was nothing wrong with that! Why did she have to be a trainer? Why couldn’t she just be a normal girl?
But, if she quit now, what would happen to Ed? He was still going on, right? So, he’d be all alone and travelling alone was even more dangerous than doing it in a group. Leah was leaving for sure, so that only left her. A Parasect and a Ditto weren’t good protection; both were too slow to do anything quickly. What if a Pokemon attacked? Would he become ‘missing, presumed dead’?
“I- I don’t want to-” the words got caught in her throat as another hiccup left her mouth.
In four months, she had gotten four badges. Four more and she’d be able to take part in the Indigo Tournament. Every year, she’d watch it happen, from opening to finish. And every time, she’d always be amazed at the skill the trainers showed. She’d even tape the final battle and re-watch it again and again.
Taking part in the Indigo Tournament was a dream that she wanted to come true. It’d only take four more months, so she’d definitely be done by January, if everything went as planned. The tournament took place in March, so it gave her a lot of time to prepare. She didn’t have to be a trainer forever. After the Indigo Tournament, no matter how well she did, she could just quit and go back to a normal life. Then, she’d be able to stay with Ed during their journey. She wouldn’t abandon him.
Her tears went on for several more minutes, before Ally enough of a grip on herself to wipe them away.
She wouldn’t be a trainer forever, but right now, she was one. She was supposed to be training so she could beat Misty. What was she sitting around for?
Getting up, Ally brushed excess grass off her overalls and looked at Sparks.
He looked angry.
She didn’t have time for him to be angry.
“S- Sparks!” Ally said, standing tall. “Light Screen!”
The Voltorb didn’t seem to care at what she had to say.
Ally stalked closer, but the electric-type let off a couple of sparks. This time, however, the girl didn’t jump, but instead used her foot to kick Sparks back.
Now, the Voltorb seemed a bit confused. Ally had never stood up to him before, and never physically touched him like that. Something was wrong.
“Light Screen!” Ally ordered, trying to hide her nervousness. “Now!”
The girl towered over the Pokemon, blocking out the sun and letting her shadow fall over him.
There was no time for games. She wouldn’t let Sparks boss her around anymore. She was the trainer, not him!
Her shouting seemed to affect him, as the Voltorb’s angry sparks died down and his eyes started to glow yellow.
“Yes! Light Screen!”
Around him, a square yellow shield materialized and shone with a yellow light. The shield seemed almost like a blanket, though while solid and straight, it had an odd quilt pattern to it.
Ally put a hand on it, feeling it flex. She put pressure to it and was almost considering sitting on it before it broke, letting Ally stumble forward.
But that was okay, since Light Screen wasn’t meant to ward off physical attacks, only long-distance ones. Despite that, maybe it was something to be worked on.
The Voltorb stared up at his trainer and Ally smiled down at him.
“G- Good job!” she said, though one thing was still on her mind.
Would it be enough to beat Misty?
Sparks didn’t have many attacks and if she went up against Protect again, it might not be enough. Misty knew how to counter electric-types, so the gym leader would know what to do.
She needed another plan, a strategy, in case something went wrong. Something Misty would never expect…
And she knew just the thing. It would never be seen coming.
On television, there was a show Ally sometimes watched that showcased amazing Pokemon, ones who could do things so bizarre that they were one of a kind. The episode that she saw focused on a Bulbasaur that could use Dig as fast as a Sandslash. It was amazing what some Pokemon could do or learn when forced into a corner.
What she wanted to do would take lots of training and time, but it would be worth it in the end. Really, it wasn’t that rare of a talent, but she was just a kid. People always underestimated people like her. Having a Pokemon like that wouldn’t even occur to them.
“Amber!” Ally called out, making her Vulpix trot over.
Ally knelt in front of her two Pokemon, plans forming in her head.
It was time to train.
A/N: You know, I think this is the one of the few chapters where Leah didn’t make a single appearance. Anyway, this chapter may have been a bit boring but the next one (and the one after that) will be… uh, interesting.
Thanks for reading!
Ooohhh... a chapter about procrastination, eh?
I'll read it later.
This was quite a surprise. Plus, entirely dedicated to Ally, with no Leah in sight. You know what? Knowing Leah is not around makes the chapter feel strange, in a "oh you'll see, she'll jump out of some bushes to yell at Ally" sort of way.
Procrastination kinda hits close to home, but I don't like to be called lazy or procrastinator; I'd rather view it as being a bit too wary on immediate risks. That said, I'm owing you a review. You know how much I like to review your chapters, but I want to wait to the next battle (or the next time Sands pops up) to leave a review. Plus my family is on the move...
OK. To make a quickie, a very psychological chapter. The whole "don't want to die!" part felt a little too forced, but that may be because I despite the "girls in horror movies are dumb" stereotype and anything that comes even a bit close to it, like the screaming issue. A nice touch was kicking Voltorb: I never thought she could do something like that, actually forgetting that Voltorbs are physically shaped for things like that, and for a moment I was considering that Ally would be eager to play the "I have a Pokémon more pretty and obedient than you" card out of spite or something... not that it would have necessarily worked.
Well, then... seeing you later. Seriously!
Thanks for reviewing, Solovino!
Hey, Ally trains her Pokemon like I write fan fiction. I approve whole-heartedly. I thought the whole realization of mortality seemed a bit strange and forced until I realize that the high mortality of Pokemon training has really been the elephant in the room. I think it adds a nice touch on the characters, because it's quite strange to see how (such in some other fan fictions) characters repeatedly skirt death and never think twice about it. Oh, and I love the kicking of Sparks. It's really just a crowning moment of awesome for Ally. And somewhat funny to think about.
Anyways, I’m glad you enjoyed the chapter! Thanks for reviewing!
My review is shorter this time...
And while we’re on the issue of a chapter about procrastination, I better get stuck into Chapter 1 of my fic.
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
(Oh hai...yeah I've totally read up to this point on SPPF and now here. Lurking ftw.)
I'm pretty sure Ally is now -definitively- my favorite character. Kicking a Voltorb is so much win and I've never thought of someone doing that. I just always think of them as pissy...not pissy spheres that are easy to knock around when they're not electrocuting you. XD
I would love more Ally-centric chapters in the future; I loved how you explored her so deeply here. Plus her change from unsure to determined was very well-described and I could totally feel exactly what she was feeling with the people dying from Pokemon (an idea that's not too often explored...but you did it really well and made it sound pretty interesting) and her constant procrastination.
Looking forward to the next chapter. Yay for Leah!
Hi! Thanks for reviewing, you two!
Chapter 39: Bzzt
“Evolve?” Leah asked, blinking.
“He’s very close to evolution,” the nurse explained further, handing back Leah’s two Poke Balls. “I’m surprised he hasn’t already done so.”
With only a pause before thanking the nurse betraying her surprise, Leah walked away from the counter, deep in thought.
Now, what did she knew about evolution? Not much, really. Only the basic stuff and maybe a few other things she picked up from the internet. First thing that you had to know about evolution was to keep the Pokemon as comfortable as possible. Evolving was a stressful time and every little bit helped. Keep the Pokemon out of their Poke Balls, don’t let them battle days before their evolution and keep the Pokemon in familiar territory. Those were the basics.
Honestly, Leah just couldn’t believe Sands was evolving. He had been acting weird for a week now, sure, but Sands? Her little Sandshrew who’s battle techniques needed constant work and still had a security blanket (stone)? That Sands?
Leah tried to picture a Sandslash in place of her Sandshrew, but it just didn’t compute. Sandslash could grow pretty big, some as large as a Ninetales. She couldn’t keep something as big as that in her room! She wouldn’t be able to drag him around anywhere, and couldn’t even tease him in fear of retaliation using huge claws.
Why did he have to evolve now? She was almost done with her journey! A few days ago, Ally informed her that she was going to be battling Misty this Saturday, so she’d be home free after that. It was Thursday now, so only three more days!
Sighing, Leah looked at Sands’ Poke Ball again, Bulbasaur sticker and all.
She didn’t want a Sandslash…
“Go,” Leah said, releasing her Sandshrew on the floor of the lobby and then picking him up before he had time to think. Not that it mattered; Sands didn’t put up the slightest struggle, only resting in her arms peacefully. He didn’t even try kicking her in the stomach. It was like he turned into a doll when she wasn’t looking.
Well, at least she had an answer for Sands’ weird behavior. He had been acting like he was sick, and when it finally got to the point that he only reluctantly played with his Fire Stone, Leah knew something was horribly wrong.
This was the first time today that Sands had been out of his Poke Ball and since Leah now knew about the evolution, she didn’t have much choice but to keep him out. The nurse said that he’d evolve really, really soon, so Leah assumed that meant less than a day.
If she had a choice, she’d definitely try to find a way to keep him from evolving. The only problem was there was never a definite way. There was such thing as something called an Ever Stone, that supposedly halted an evolution, but those had consequences. It wasn’t healthy to stop a Pokemon from growing. It was like putting it between a rock and a hard place. Leah didn’t want to wake up one morning to find that Sands had a heart attack in the middle of the night due to stress.
So, her mission: get Sands comfortable.
Leah exited the lobby and took the stairs to her room, opening the door with Sands held under one arm. Since she had been in Cerulean for two weeks now, her natural messiness had affected the state of the room and she could safely call her clothes, her carpet. Not there was much carpet anyways. The room was very small, taking after every other Pokemon Center room she had ever lived in.
That presented a problem.
Her plan was to hole up in her room until Sands evolved, but her memory of the room didn’t match up to the one in front of her. She could have sworn that it was bigger, at least enough to have a Sandslash in it. Obviously, that was not the case. Now that she thought about it, Zee could hardly fit in her room either, though the psychic-type was fat, so it could be excused.
She needed a plan B.
Anyways, evolution called for a familiar environment and her room wasn’t that familiar. Really, what environment could be familiar to Sands? Due to her almost solved Mentor problem, she was always on the move, and didn’t really let him out in her room back home either. There was no familiar territory, so what was she supposed to do?
It required further thought and after about five minutes of lying down on her bed, hoping the problem would go away, she formulated another plan. Sandshrew lived around Cerulean, so maybe this is where he once lived? Oak had to have gotten the starters from somewhere and Cerulean was the place where you first thought of when you thought, ‘Sandshrew Habitat’.
There she had it! She’d go out into the woods and stay there for a few hours, until Sands evolved. What was more relaxing than the great outdoors? (Several things, actually, but that wasn’t the point).
For the long and boring journey ahead of her, Leah packed a bag filled with the necessaries: food, water, Jason Dare magazines and the Fire Stone. Oh, and Zee. It would be a good time to work on the psychic-type’s communication skills. The Drowzee certainty needed them.
With the bag over her shoulder and reluctant suffering in her heart, Leah grabbed Sands and left her room behind…
… To go a few doors down for a moment’s detour.
Throwing Sands under her arms again, Leah rapped on the door.
“Ed, open up.”
The door opened a few seconds later and the tired face of Ed greeted her. He was wearing pajamas and was apparently asleep until a few minutes ago. Which was just pathetic, even by Leah’s standards. It was past noon!
“Sands is evolving,” she said. “I’ll be gone for the rest of the day.”
“Alright,” Ed replied groggily, peering up at her through tired eyes.
The expected question never came.
“So, uh, just wanted to let you know,” Leah said, watching Ed nod before closing the door on her.
Oh, come on! She came all the way to his room to tell him about Sands and he never asked to come with her! She thought he liked evolving Pokemon. He wouldn’t stop talking about evolution days after Paras evolved. Though, she really shouldn’t be surprised. He had been acting weirder than Sands for a while and not even Coralie’s recovery cheered him up. It had gotten to the point that Leah had to drag him to dinner every single day since he was rather attached to his room.
So, what? She was supposed to spend all day doing nothing but reading magazines and waiting for Sands to evolve? Sure, Jason Dare was beyond awesome, but Leah couldn’t spend all that time on him when she had already read the magazines!
Ugh, there went her plan to drag along human company. She’d try to go get Ally, but she had hardly seen the girl for the past few days and still didn’t know where she lived.
Looks like it was just her and her Pokemon.
The place Leah chose was a bit far from Cerulean City’s limits, but it was actually nice, as far as a plain forest could be. The trees were colorful with its green and yellow leaves with flickers of orange here and there, and the whole place seemed to be trying to hold itself up to Disney standards. Woodland critters peeked out from behind every bush. Pidgey chirped in their trees, Rattata gnawed on any stick it could find, and a faint mist hung in the air like it had nothing better to do.
It was past noon, so it was a bit odd to see mist around. It was cold, she supposed, but the sun was shining.
The mist had appeared a while ago, when she had left the dirt path to find a comfy clearing. While Leah knew that was kind of stupid, especially since she had ventured out father than she expected herself to, she kept an eye out for strange plant growth to be used as landmarks. And since this was a Disney forest, there was no lack of abundance.
Now, she didn’t have a problem with the mist. It was actually kind of interesting and gave the forest a bit of a spooky feel. With a boring day ahead, that was definitely something she could like.
“Nice place,” Leah said, setting Sands on the ground.
“Shrew,” Sands agreed, his voice weak. He seemed quite content on laying on the grass, so Leah put his Fire Stone next to him and got comfortable.
She pulled out a magazine from her bag and took a few moments to admire the cover, where Jason Dare had mysteriously lost his shirt.
Well, she did have Jason Dare, so she supposed that the next few hours couldn’t be that boring.
“Sands,” the Sandshrew cried, turning over on his stomach.
Leah’s head shot up. “What’s wrong?” she asked with a hopeful tone. “You evolving?”
Hours had passed. Afternoon was bleeding into evening, or so said the sky, which wasn’t as bright the last time she looked. She had finished all her magazines a while ago and was stuck playing with her Fire Stone, like the bored and pathetic individual she was. She knew she could have sent out Zee to train and talk to, but her bag was all the way over there (right beside her) and her Fire Stone was right in front of her.
… Okay, fine, make that bored, pathetic and lazy.
The only interesting thing to happen all day was the mist. It had obviously sensed her boredom and with pity only in mind, thickened to the point where distant trees were vague dark shapes. The sun itself had trouble penetrating the mist, it beams of sunlight becoming weaker as the day went on. The mist was so thick that Leah had started to wonder at some point if it was bad for a ground-type to be out in such weather. If Sands didn’t seem so close to evolution, Leah would have moved him, but an evolving Pokemon was like a pregnancy. Everything had to be handled with caution so close to the due date.
As if mocking her, Sands’s nose wrinkled and he threw back his head before letting out a sneeze. His problem dealt with, the Sandshrew rolled back on his side to continue his nap.
Why didn’t she just drag Ed out his room? Then, she’d have someone to talk to. All she had to do was break down his door and forcibly manhandle the boy downstairs and outside. But nooooo, she just had to be nice and let him be. Honestly, Ed was starting to worry her with his zombie-ness. Oh, he did actually come out of his room sometimes, but that was to disappear. Leah supposed he went out and trained, but he never told her what he was doing. And really, she never asked.
… Okay, maybe once, but that was it. Really.
“Sands,” Leah whined, crossing her legs. “Come on! Can you please evolve now?”
Sands didn’t answer, already asleep.
Leah watched her Pokemon before extending a hand and running it down his leather-like body. His chest rose and fell under her hand and it suddenly hit her that this was the last time she would ever do this.
Sandslash couldn’t sleep on her bed or sit on chairs or be picked up. She would no longer own a cute little Sandshrew, but a more dangerous Pokemon, with long claws and needles running down its back. Sandslash couldn’t be called cute, pretty or even that scary looking. There was nothing unique about those Pokemon. It was just your genetic ground-type. Sandshrew were like that too, she supposed, but…
There were things about evolution that bugged her. It wasn’t always a smooth process and if you did something wrong, you’re Pokemon could be damaged. Back at home, when she had spare time, it was a hobby of hers to go searching around the web for the creepiest stories involving Pokemon. That sort of thing used to interest her, but now, the memories of the late night searching didn’t help her growing nervousness.
Take for example, a Pokemon evolving while battling. Almost every cartoon and game said that Pokemon evolved by battling, and while that was true, evolving while battling was never a good thing. She remembered one story on a forum that detailed how a Croconaw’s evolution went wrong. The water-type was battling and losing and as it evolved, its cuts and bruises proved to have side affects. Feraligatr were big, so previously small slashes on its arm grew and stretched as well, cutting into the new muscle. The Feraligatr ended up with one working arm and it’s new injuries needing extensive healing.
Another story told the tale of a Spearow, who evolved while a pet to some rich person. Its owner was out and it was stuck in a cage. The cage was small and Fearow were big. Being a Pokemon, the cage was designed to hold super powered monsters and a non-trained Pokemon wasn’t strong enough to get out. The end result was messy.
There were countless other stories (like how a Machamp only gained one arm during evolution or how a Butterfree evolved while wet and was unable to fly, having to be put down hours later), and Leah regretted reading every single one. It was one thing to read highly interesting articles about how bad evolution could turn and another to have an evolving Pokemon in front of her.
The only hope she could get out of those situations was that she was obeying every single rule evolution had put down. No Poke Balls, no battling; just her and a wide open space as far as the eye could see (ignoring the trees and mist).
Everything would go well. There was no point in worrying.
Leah was about to see if Fire Stone could cut through bark when something cut through her boring day.
It was hardly audible, but it was there. Leah listened to it quietly, putting the Fire Stone in her pocket. It seemed like a mix between a buzz and a strange sort of static. It wasn’t constant, either, fluctuating in and out of focus from beyond the trees.
What was that sound? A Pokemon? She didn’t know if Beedrill lived around Cerulean, but she hadn’t seen a Weedle yet, so it was doubtful.
Leah listened to it for a few more minutes before growing annoyed. It almost seemed to be getting louder as time passed and had graduated from a vague, mysterious sound, to something to be dealt with, before her ears shut off.
She waited another few seconds for it to leave peacefully before deciding that it wasn’t the time to be merciful. In front of her, Sands had been woken up and was staring blankly ahead, his ears down.
Her Pokemon was trying to evolve and she wasn’t going to let some noise bother him.
The buzzing obviously recognized her stance (sitting down with a glare on her face) of that of a challenger as it’s humming got louder, like it was coming closer.
‘What is that?’ Leah thought. If she had a radio, she would have sworn it was the signal of a monster approaching, but since she didn’t, it was probably something worse.
She had no clue what could cause the sound, except for some wandering bug-type. But the only other bee Pokemon didn’t live in Kanto, and as Leah racked her mind for bug Pokemon, nothing would come up. Venomoth were moths and fluttered, not buzzed, and the same went for Butterfree. There was no point in thinking of Parasect or even Pinsir…
So, judging on her luck, it had to be a Scyther. No other bug-type would do, unless someone released a Yanma without telling her.
As the noise got closer, Leah stared into the mist, damning the weather for the first time that day. The mist was cool at first, but now that some Pokemon was using it to cheat, she could no longer like it on good conscience.
Though, why did it have to be a Pokemon that was making that sound? Maybe it was just a… regular bee. A ton of small little bees. Maybe someone upset a bee hive.
“Come on,” Leah said, picking up Sands with one arm and throwing her backpack on her shoulder. There was no way she was staying here with that buzzing noise and the prospect of bees around.
Suddenly, there was silence.
Leah scowled. “Just when I get up-”
There was a thump and a Pokemon stepped out of the mist.
The mist clung to its form like inverted shadows, caressing its humanoid body. It stood upon two legs and wore what looked like boots. It had three horn-like appendages on the top of its head, almost crown like, and its eyes were sharp and narrow. On the end of each of its arms was a long silver-white blade, cutting the mist every time it twitched.
Its delicate-looking wings retracted, upsetting the mist, which formed a cloud around it, and the Pokemon looked directly at Leah, its blades starting to glow.
Words didn’t have the time to leap from her mouth as everything slammed into high-gear. Keeping Sands close to her body, Leah threw herself out of the way as the Scyther crossed its blades to its chest and then unveiled them, a high pitched scraping sound leading a bright white X’s way.
Leah landed on her side, knocking the breath out of her, and she quickly looked up, almost feeling the wind the X pushed out of the way as it passed where she had been standing and hit a tree, slicing straight into its trunk. Loud cracks followed and the tree’s bark broke under the strain of holding its injured body erect, the tree groaning as it fell.
The tree landed in behind Leah and the whole world rocked as it hit the ground, throwing the mist back in a burst of wind.
“What-” The word was hardly out of Leah’s throat before the situation caught up with her and she forced herself to her feet, legs trembling and her bruised shoulder whining. Sands dug his claws into Leah’s jacket and held on tight as she bolted between the trees and the mist, her backpack bouncing up and down with her movements.
The mist was kind enough to show off its thickness as Leah was forced to keep a hand in front of her, trying to find her way out of the invisible maze. The bark scratched her palm and Sands cried out, jostled each time she nearly bumped into a tree.
‘The path! Where’s the path?’ Leah thought, her brain frantic. The Scyther had blocked her route from the path, so she had no clue where she was going. She had to stay focused and try to find a way around it.
What was a Scyther doing so close to Cerulean? They didn’t live anywhere close to here!
But that didn’t matter now. All she knew was that a Scyther had attacked her and if there was one thing worse than a wild Pokemon attack, it was a wild Pokemon attack by something with blades for arms. There was no point in fighting. What could a sick rodent and a slow psychic do against a Scyther? One that cut down a tree with one attack, even?
Fleeing was the smartest option.
Now, if she could only find the path… There was no way the Scyther followed her through the trees, it wouldn’t be able to fit properly, much less find her through the mist. She was safe as long as she had trees surrounding her on all sides. When she got back to the path, she’d find someone to help. There was trainer always around, and there was no way a trainer would reject a chance to catch a Scyther.
Leah jumped through the bushes, and onto gravel, Sands making a small whine at the rough landing. The trainer panted and looked both ways down the path, but all she could see was mist.
She had been running so quickly, that she didn’t know which way she should go. The mist helpfully covered up all landmarks, so all she could do was guess.
“Shrew!” Sands cried, and Leah followed the direction of his head towards the sky where a shadow could be seen beyond the mist. It was directly above her and following her every footstep.
Not paying attention the ground, Leah was more surprised than anyone when her feet got tangled with each other and collapsed from under her. She twisted her body in mid air to land on her injured shoulder again, protecting Sands from the impact.
“Damn!” Leah exclaimed, and through the pain, saw the shadow in the sky get closer, as if descending.
“Muk, ****, ****!” The stream of curses didn’t help the situation but made Leah feel better as she got back on her feet and started to run.
Leah skidded to a halt as the Scyther landed in front of her, its dangerous-looking blades looking so very clear and sharp close up.
She jumped back as the Scyther’s blade blurred, slicing through the air, and she felt a draft of wind touch her neck. Before she could even begin to think, Sands was already on it, spitting out several purple needles that were blocked by the second blade that Scyther brought up before its face.
Her mind on autopilot, Leah felt her hand rising to her neck before she got a hold on herself and pulled it back. Instead, she slipped the strap of her backpack off her shoulder and as it slid down her arm, grabbed it in a tightly closed fist. Swinging with all her might, she swung the backpack like a baseball bat and towards the Scyther.
The bug-type raised a blade and slashed through the bag like tissue paper, right down the middle. The backpack fell apart, ripped magazines with Jason Dare’s face falling to the ground all over the place.
Leah let go of the backpack, letting Scyther deal with it, and extended an arm, grabbing her Drowzee’s Poke Ball out of midair and then, pulling the arm back, threw it straight at the Scyther.
The Poke Ball soared and just like the backpack, it was cut in half by the blade, tiny sparks flying out of the destroyed device. The two halves of the ball flew apart and a white ball of energy followed the deceased Poke Ball’s path, flowing around the Scyther’s head like water and materializing behind the bug-type.
Before Leah could even see Zee’s successful release, she shouted, “Disable!”
No matter how fast Scyther was, it couldn’t spin around in time to avoid Zee’s raised finger, her eyes a cold blue. There was a shifting sound and a wave of blue psychic energy encompassed the Scyther, freezing it in mid-motion, its bladed arm outstretched.
“Now! Now!” Leah yelled, running past the Scyther with every part of her body alert, grabbing Zee’s hand and pulling the psychic-type along.
Zee was slow, but without a Poke Ball, it would have to do. Leah half-ran and half-jogged down the path, not daring to look behind her. Despite that, her ears were on full alert for any signs of buzzing that did not come.
“Drow!” Zee said between pants, not enjoying to be dragged at such a fast pace, but Leah ignored her. Sands was under her other arm and was also starting to struggle at being bounced around in such an uncomfortable position but Leah ignored him too.
Her eyes were on the path, but her attention couldn’t help but keep flashing to her neck, where she felt something. She wanted to check, but couldn’t let go of either Pokemon. Well, she could return Sands, but his Poke Ball was in her pocket and she didn’t have a hand to spare. She couldn’t stop.
The Scyther aimed for her neck.
If the tree destroying thing didn’t make her take the Pokemon seriously, that did.
The mist was starting to clear as she went further down the path, thank god, but that was both a pro and a con. With the mist, she couldn’t see but neither could the Scyther. Now, they could both see and she knew Scyther’s were fast runners. The path wasn’t that straight, but straight enough that she might have to duck if the Scyther sent an attack her way.
Why was the Scyther following her?
She didn’t want a stalker, especially one that was trying to kill her.
Through the thin mist, Leah spotted a bridge up ahead. While it was an old, rather ugly bridge, it gave her hope. She had crossed it before she came here! That meant she was close to Cerulean!
Unfortunately, that’s when her hope fled and against the protest of her mind, Leah looked up to see the Scyther flying towards her from above the treetops, its wings a blur.
Just as her footsteps hit the wood, the wind starting to pick up, blowing against her. Through her waving hair, Leah saw the Scyther was glowing with a white light and a ball of wind was forming on the tip of one of its blades. Her eyes widening, Leah ripped her eyes from the sight and kept running. If she could get to the trees on the other side of the bridge, maybe she could-!
Her breath was knocked out of her as she was pushed off her feet from behind. Sands was thrown out of her grip and landed a few feet from her, Zee, likewise, being thrown to the ground.
Back hurting like nothing before, she looked up to see the visible blue wind impact the wooden boards, denting them and leaving small streaks of blue light.
A blue wave of air hit the wood beside her, and Leah winced, rolling onto her side.
“Shrew!” Sands said, struggling to get to his feet. His tiny paws wavered, but the ground-type didn’t give up, trying to stand tall.
“Get down!” Leah hissed at her Pokemon, but her Sandshrew didn’t hesitate to disobey.
Sands growled at the bug-type, tiny fangs barred, and stood on his two feet, exposing his furry white chest.
Everything was so still, that for a moment, Leah thought Sands was going to evolve right then and there. But he didn’t. The ground-type took a deep breath in and blew out tiny stars of white light, sparkling in the daylight and homing in on the predator above. The Scyther blocked the stars heading for its face, but one of them left a shallow cut on its right leg, and the bug-type let out a cry, for the first time showing weakness.
The Scyther looked down on the little Sandshrew, its eyes narrowed into slits.
‘Why would a Swift hurt it like that?’ Leah thought, and for the first time, actually looked at the Scyther.
It was scary, sure, but there were just a few things off about it. Leah had never seen a Scyther in real life, but she knew that a Scyther’s green coat wasn’t that pale, almost having a gray tint. Its blades were covered in scratches and so was the rest of its body, the scars making it look like a veteran of a great bloody war.
The Scyther was old, Leah realized. It wasn’t a young, fast predator, but one, who may be skilled, but with lesser abilities. A real Scyther, a young one, would have no problems killing her, being faster than the eye could see, but an old one wasn’t that fast or strong.
Not only that, but there was something wrong with its leg. It was different than the other, having a giant scar running down it. If its leg was injured, than that must be why the Scyther didn’t run after her, instead flying. It took a lot of experience for a Scyther to fly, and with a bad leg, it probably couldn’t fly straight. The Scyther was old and off balance.
That gave her a chance.
Up in the sky, the Scyther tightened its body like a spring, blades poised to strike.
“Zee!” Leah said without looking at her, feeling her Pokemon’s emotions touch her mind. Hurt and anger made up most of them. “Confusion!”
The Scyther dived and a blast of blue psychic energy was thrown over the Pokemon like a bucket of water. Like water, it was easily thrown off as the bug-type landed in a crouched position in front of Leah, its blade raised. This time, it was almost on purpose that the Scyther missed, misjudging the distance between them by a foot, giving time for Leah to back up on her feet.
Another blue light centered on the Scyther, and, confused and enraged, it turned to Zee, stabbing the wood between them, not realizing none of its attacks were hitting. Also startled by the attack, Zee took a breath, its trunk coiled together and released a purple cloud of gas that merged with the mist and surrounded the two Pokemon.
“Sands, Swift at Scyther’s leg!” Leah said, the Sandshrew did just that, sending more stars of light at the quickly thinning cloud of gas, stabbing the Scyther’s leg like shurikens.
The Scyther howled and Leah called out to Zee, “Come on!”
Coughing, Zee ran as quickly as she could and took Leah’s hand, the trainer also grabbing Sands on the way by.
With Scyther behind them, the three crossed the bridge and disappeared between the trees.
After a couple of minutes, the Scyther looked up, coughing, staring at where they had gone. With great pain in its leg, the bug-type stood and with a several experimental flaps of its wings, its feet left the ground. With a quick glance at the thinning mist behind it, the Scyther followed its prey.
A/N: I’ve been looking forward to this chapter for a while. Putting the actual sound effect of ‘Bzzt’ in instead of just saying ‘the buzzing’ was a last minute change and I hope it works well.
I really, really liked this chapter. It was exciting, and shows the huge change in Leah's relationship with Sands. Very nice! So, does the Scyther belong to Green or Blue? Guess we'll see! Short, but great chapter!