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But enough of that. The story takes place after the final events of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, but fuses itself with the anime and some Original Characters which are owned by Roleplayers at Gateway Island. I'm not trying to advertise here, only giving them their respective credit for their creations.
I'll leave any other story details to the story itself. The Prologue details only what events are important to know from Pokémon XD. Spoiler warning.
Some years ago… there was a region, out there, called Orre. For more than seven years, it was threatened with an evil organization, the self-proclaimed owners of the world, Cipher. Through a complex process, Cipher had turned the creatures of this world into fighting machines. They shut the doors to their hearts and blocked their way of thought.
They were fittingly called… Shadow Pokémon.
Greevil was the commander of this organization, aided by the administrators Eldes and Ardos…
Three heroes appeared to help. Seth and Rui were the first to battle Cipher, defeating the evil commander of that time. The final stab was done by Michael, some years later, causing Greevil’s defeat. They were helped by many good friends, including the region’s laboratory.
Cipher had finally been defeated, and the ultimate Shadow Pokémon had been purified. Orre returned to normality very soon…
However, despite having Greevil and Eldes locked up, Ardos had escaped from Citadark Island… the authorities searched and searched yet again, but Ardos was nowhere to be found in Orre. Nor in Orre… nor in any other place in the world. The authorities assumed him dead.
Back to Vermillion!
The young man gave out a loud yawn after getting out of the comfort that the sofa offered. Light was starting to come through the window, just behind him, which forced the trainer to get up and make the first step that day: to step on his Mightyena’s tail.
- Whoa! Calm down! – The boy shouted as the Pokémon threw him backwards with only its front paws, forcing him to sit down and face its mighty snarl and fearless, red eyes. – Eheh, good morning, Mightyena!
The Pokémon frowned and took its paws of the boy’s chest, raising an ear after lying down again, just in case the human decided to step on him again.
The boy sighed in deep relief; he knew his Mightyena’s humor.
So, very carefully, he got up, taking off the stained, once white shirt, so he could get a new, clean one, and also get some different jeans. Blue just wasn’t his color. His darker ones would do just fine.
- MISTER LAAAAAWWWRIIIIIIDE!! – Someone shouted with full lungs outside, banging the door.
The boy halted in the middle of the stairs and quickly retreated, running to open the door before the usual crazed mailman and its Pelliper came.
- WHAT?! – The boy yelled just as loud as the mailman outside.
- You’re David Lawride, right?
The boy frowned and took the envelopes on the man’s hand.
- You deliver mail to me personally for five years now, who else would it be? – David muttered, closing the door with a bang.
Six envelopes for his parents to pay… but there was a seventh one with a fancy seal. It was tainted in a blood red color, with a shield design in its front.
Highly curious, David threw the six other letters to the table and took the seventh one with him to the sofa again. Mightyena scurried away, trying not to be stepped on the tail again.
The trainer eagerly yet carefully took the seal out of the letter and placed it by him, as if it were a precious treasure.
The envelope, though, didn’t receive the same treatment: the boy ripped open the letter and took the parchment, throwing the envelope away.
His eyes crossed the carefully written lines, reading them very slowly. The letter… it was an invitation. And from the looks of the seal, it was a royal one too.
As he finished reading, he didn’t speak a word. David got up and put on a new, white shirt, as well as his short sleeved grey and black jacket. There was already something on its pocket, and David knew what it was.
He swiftly took out a Pokéball and hurled it up in the air, catching and pointing it at Mightyena.
- It took long enough, Migthyena… But it seems like we’ve got ourselves a challenge! The world is going to know the name David Lawride!
Mightyena’s ears perked up at the word “challenge”. It was enough to make him get up and approach his trainer with a defying expression.
- We’re going to the Orthan Kingdom! The Meag League awaits us! – David announced to his Pokémon, raising the Pokéball in his hand.
- Brock! Look!
We find our heroes in their journey once more. Ash and his friends are again on their tracks, heading to Sunyshore City after a long wait at the Lakefront, and Ash is eager to get the eighth badge to enter the Sinnoh League. Unbeknown to them, a surprise is awaiting, and its moored at the city’s pier.
- There it is! Built around the bay, Sunyshore City! – Brock declared, stopping on the top of the hill to admire the marine waters that bathed the coast. It was extremely hot, too.
- Hey, aren’t those solar panels? – Dawn asked right after, pointing at the darkened, glass roads over the city.
- Yup. The city has sun around the clock, and I heard they also have problems with electricity.
- Oh, so that’s why we were blocked back there… - Dawn stopped and looked around. – Hum, where’s Ash?
- Wasn’t he with you?
- Down here, you two!
Both turned around the looked at the bottom of the hill. Ash had barely gone past the beginning of the climb, and was currently gasping while stretched in the middle of the grass. Pikachu, on the other hand, had already reached Brock and Dawn, and was watching Ash alongside Piplup.
- Don’t you even dare to laugh… - The young trainer muttered, using some of the rocks to help him go up.
- You never change, do you…? – Dawn sighed, crossing her arms and turning around. – You wanna get to Sunyshore today or not?
- Depends on whether you want to help me or not!
- I guess. – Brock replied instead, rubbing the back of the head while reaching out his hand.
Ash grabbed the hand tight and tried to walk, despite having damp grass underneath him.
However, he eventually did it, now with the help of Dawn and the two free Pokémon.
- You owe me one! – Dawn taunted, picking Piplup up and walking away.
- Well thanks a lot. – Ash couldn’t still move much, tired out from the climb.
- Pika… - Pikachu sighed, moving along with Dawn.
- I’ll help you up. Come on. – Brock offered a hand, which Ash gladly accepted to get up.
- Thanks. – Ash adjusted the hat and kept walking. – We’d better go, or Dawn’ll keep going without us. And I want that Beacon Badge!
Brock nodded and followed the trainer, both keen to reach Sunyshore. The path there was clear of trainers, which gave them an opportunity to relax and admire the sea by the cliffs, in an endless struggle to win terrain over each other.
- Your ticket, sir. – An attendant politely asked, stretching his hand at the blue haired boy in front of him. The boy’s rouge aspect was actually leaving the attendant quite annoyed to just look. He did, though, take one look up and down at the boy. His hair was dyed deep blue, just like the stripes that were randomly spread across his black shirt. A golden chain hung from his dark jeans’ pocket, where the Pokéball belt was also strapped. The man’s eyes twitched and he turned away.
- Ticket?! But the letter didn’t include any ticket! – The boy replied back, stomping the ground. – I have to get in that ship! Isn’t that S.S. Quest?!
- Yes it is, sir. But I cannot allow you to go in without the ticket. – The attendant insisted, more annoyed than before.
- Grr… - The boy snarled, taking an envelope from his pocket. – See this? This is my ticket! And if you need more confirmation of who I am… - He took his Trainer Card from the pocket as well. – You can clearly see here that my name is Geais! See here in the letter too?! – He pointed at a sentence in the beginning. – It also says Geais! And that’s me! So you’re gonna let me in, right?!
The attendant’s eyes twitched and he stepped aside.
- You may go in… sir…
- That’s more like it. – Geais replied, putting the documents away again. – Orthan waits the coming of Twinleaf’s victor!
Geais kept going up the bridge, into the ship, making loud noises as he stepped through the wood floor. The cracks and mute sounds kept getting into the man’s nerves, but he kept his calm. He would soon leave that wretched town Sinnoh called Sunyshore.
The attendant took a small, very tidy parchment from his left pocket and looked down with a serious look. Three pictures with the respective descriptions were seen, and the man took a close look at each of them.
He then heard voices and looked up, turning only his eyes.
- Look at that ship…! It’s magnificent! – A girl with a white hood cried out from near the attendant. – I would so give anything to ride one of these!
The man coughed very quietly and approached the girl.
- Madam, are you perhaps… - He took another look at the paper. – Dawn?
The girl blinked a few times, undecided if she should freak out or act politely, just like the man was. The tuxedo was imposing, and the hands, covered by clean, bright white gloves were leaving her with the thought that this man belonged to royalty.
- Y-yes! I’m Dawn!
His serious expression softened very slowly, but eventually turned into a smile.
- I have a delivery for you. It is from the Orthanian Royal Family. – The attendant reached for an envelope in his pocket, superbly sealed with a round, blood red seal. He handed it over to Dawn and nodded after seeing her hesitation.
Dawn took the paper and opened it very carefully, as if the man would scold her for opening it wildly.
- “Trainers of the world… of every nation! The Orthanian Royal Family formally invites you to participate in the Mega League in the Orthan Kingdom, following the coronation of the new king to rule our region! The Orthanian Royal family would be much pleased to be able to count with your participation in such event, and as such, it is offering a free voyage aboard the S.S. Quest, our luxury liner to take you to Orthan in the trip of your dreams…! Do not miss this opportunity! Why must you come? Because you may compete in Gym Battles, Colosseum Tournaments, Contests and, in the end of the line, the Elite Four! We await you at the Orthan Kingdom! Present in one of the following destinations to attend…” – Dawn stopped reading for a bit and skipped right to the end of the letter with her eyes shining beneath the sun. – “Signed, The Orthanian Royal Family.”.
- Hey Dawn! What’s going on? – Ash called, approaching the friend. She was completely immobile, almost drooling at the paper in her hands. The attendant frowned for a moment. – Dawn?
- Pika pi? – Pikachu called as well, tapping her legs. Piplup did the same thing.
- What’s the matter, Ash? – Brock also appeared at his side, curious as to why they were gathering.
- Ahem… - Even while coughing, the man seemed polite. – If I may, your friend seems to be in a state of shock. She has just now read an invitation you might also want to read.
Ash hummed and carefully took the paper from Dawn’s hands, as if they would break if it were taken too fast.
- “Trainers of the world… blah blah blah… participate in… blah… why must you come… blah bl-…” – Ash stopped in the list of challenges, freezing inside.
- A coronation? – Brock interrupted, asking the man.
- Indeed. You see, Master Allester Domikkin, the current king of Orthan, is about to leave his throne to young master Demin. Coincidently, the Orthanian League is about to start, and the Royal Family associated with a regional company to organize these tournaments you are being invited to.
- Wow… that’s making me feel important. – Ash commented, still stunned by the list of challenges that the Orthan Family was offering. – But that’s the least part! I’ve breezed through many leagues, and this isn’t going to be an exception! Right, Pikachu?
- Pikachu! – Pikachu shouted energetically, curling his fists just like his trainer.
- I must say that the Gym or Colosseum challenges are no easy matter. Each of the seven Gyms is a challenge to one’s body and mind. They demand strategy and dedication on knowing your foe. – The butler replied, triumphant, as if trying to scare off Ash’s idea of competing.
- Seven? – Brock interrupted. – Aren’t leagues usually made of eight?
- Orthan is a very special league. Bear with me. You have not seen anything like it before.
- It’s the same thing all over! I’m going to conquer all that in no time! – Ash halted and turned away. – After I’m done with the Sunyshore Gym Battle.
- WHAT?! – Both the butler and Brock yelled.
- You’re going to ignore the chance of getting fame in the Orthan Royal Family?! – The man added.
- What, I need this last badge… - Ash replied, rubbing the back of his head.
- You don’t need to, my boy. I’m going to Orthan myself!
- Isn’t that…
Ash gulped and turned around.
- Volkner?! – He cried out, stepping back quite a few meters.
- That’s right! I’m going to participate in the Orthan League as well! – The blond, blue garbed Gym Leader went ahead to the butler, showing the invitation. – If you want the badge, you’ll have to wait a while! There ain’t that many strong trainers around here, and most of them are getting into my nerves because they just don’t have the spirit to fight. So, I’m taking some relaxing vacations and kick some ass in the Orthanian Colosseum Challenge!
- Well, Ash… you don’t have much of a choice, now. – Brock dryly commented, dragging the young trainer to the butler. He seemingly had more will to go than even Ash did. – Come on, you won’t miss this chance!
The boy, though, only sighed, switching his look from Volkner to Pikachu and then to Brock and the butler.
- Ash, is it? – The Gym Leader called from the ship’s bridge. He was actually sitting on the edge. Ash nodded, puzzled. – Well, Ash, you’ll learn in life that you’ll have to take an alternate path quite often. Sometimes, for the better, too. You’ll never know what you’ll find in your new way, but you’re sure to find strength if it’s the way of Pokémon! You’ll find what you need to bulk up and stand against any trainer!
Volkner jumped from the bridge to the ship.
- And by the way, life sucks. – He blinked and gave him a smirk, leaving off with his habitual cool air around him and his haircut.
- Wow. Volkner just scolded you. – Brock snickered, crossing his arms. – So, you coming? You aren’t just going to stand there after having a Gym Leader teach you a lesson, right?
- You think I’d miss this? I’m not standing back anymore! Pikachu, come on! – The Pokémon energetically jumped to his shoulder. – We’re gonna conquer Orthan!
With that, Ash ran off to the bridge, and surprisingly, the butler let him through.
Brock started to walk, but suddenly stopped, looking back.
- Hey Dawn! You coming too?
The attendant stood quiet as he placed the Royal Family’s seal in her hand.
- They await you. – He whispered in her ear, very quietly.
Dawn slowly started to move, grasping the seal in her hands very tightly.
- It’s my turn to shine! To shine to the Royal Family!
- That’s the spirit! Come on! – Brock followed Dawn into the ship, both running excited to the luxury cruiser.
The butler watched both with a grin as they ran away…
But when he turned around, his face was grave. He checked the parchment once more.
- All of the guests of Sinnoh have arrived… It is time to depart.
He silently walked up the bridge while it was drawn in, entering one of the doors and disappearing behind it.
- Anyone got a light in there?
- Shut up, Meowth. We’ll be discovered if we turn a light on!
- What are we doing here again, Jesse?
- We’re here to steal anything that so-called Royal Family has to offer! Well get rotten rich!
- Yeah! And then we’ll buy a real expensive gift to the boss and get a real expensive promotion!
- It sounds just like the perfect plan!
- Hum, one thing.
- What is it, Meowth?
- How the heck are we gonna get out of this box?
A whole new journey has arrived to our heroes… what will happen in Orthan? What people are they destined to meet? Who are they destined to reencounter? What challenges will block our friends’ way? Only time will tell…
To be continued…
User darkbahamutneo for the trainer Geais
Kuroko for the creation of the Royal Family and its members.
All other characters from the anime are property of the respective creators.
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
When regions collide
After being told of an invitation to enter a championship while chasing the eighth Sinnoh Badge, our heroes entered the luxury liner S.S. Quest which is on its way to the Orthan Kingdom. However, they weren’t the only ones invited to participate; who else could have joined these tournaments?
- Wow… This place is so… luxurious!
- Watch out Dawn, or you’ll drool on the carpet. – Ash muttered, taking the lead as they crossed the richly decorated corridors in search for their room. Even the walls seemed made of gold, accompanied by the bright red carpet that extended on the floor. – Anyone got the invitation?
- Ugh! We left it with that man!
- Hey look! There’s a map of the ship here! – Dawn pointed out a large board with detailed information on each place in the cruiser.
- Let me take a look… - Brock’s finger scrolled through the map, eventually stopping in a large room in the middle of the ship’s second floor. – Erm… I can’t find anything about rooms… if this was made especially for travelling, I don’t see anything about it here.
- You didn’t see well. Let me try!
- OUT OF THE WAY!
- Isn’t that-…
BAM! Just before being able to finish, someone went headfirst against the three, throwing the entire group down like a bunch of dominos.
- I told you to get out of the way! What’s with you people, can’t you listen?!
It was a boy, judging from his voice. The only thing Ash could see, though, was a large, yellow cloud in his eyes, and that was about everything he could see until the boy got up. The green scarf was enough to identify the person who kept running into them.
- What’s Barry doing here?
- Hah! Ash! Whadda’ya know! You’re also going to Orthan, right? – The boy said so fast Ash wasn’t sure he got everything.
- Hum, yeah, I’m going to Orthan but…
He didn’t even finish talking and Barry was already showing his invitation.
- An odd man at the dock gave me this letter once he saw me! It’s a great opportunity to practice for the Sinnoh League, and I’m not going to miss it!
- But if Barry’s here…
- Ash. Why ain’t I surprised?
That voice was thoroughly familiar to the trainer, so much it caused a chill to cross his spine when he slowly turned around.
- At the Royal Family’s service! – The brown haired trainer taunted, showing a shield shaped badge in his hand, glimmering under the corridors light.
Another peaceful day around Olivine City…
- Sailors loitering around every corner, searching for someone to spend some time. Humph.
His name is Maxwell C. Smith. A twelve year old boy from the town of Sunnydale. Many would say he resembles one of the Kanto’s best trainers, Red, if it weren’t for some slight differences and the rivalry between Johto and Kanto, despite sharing the same league. His clothing was an exact match, but their personality drifted quite a lot.
Max was sitting in the Olivine Harbor, just by his trusty Pokémon, Flame, the Thyplosion.
He was holding a large piece of paper, the latest invitation to Orthan. Formalities aside, he was only curious about what this league exactly was.
- Tsc. They won’t stand a challenge. We’ll wipe the floor with them. – Max put the paper in his pocket and got up, heading to a motorized raft that was approaching.
He swiftly got Flame into its Pokéball to avoid him getting any water and carried on to the pilot.
- Maxwell Smith? – He asked, taking the helmet off.
- You bet. Transportation to Orthan?
- Kinda. More like your ride to the S.S. Quest.
Max’s eye twitched.
- You’re going to cross the ocean on that thing?
The pilot shrugged and started to pat the motorized.
- I guess. It’s up to you.
Max’s eye twitched again.
- Are you challenging me?
- Not for a battle I’m not. I like your style. Hop on.
Max didn’t even reply, instantly jumping to the back of the raft.
- Hang on, this’ll be a bumpy ride!
The trainer swiftly put a hand on his hat.
- What do you mean a bumpy riii-…! – He didn’t even complete his sentence because he was already long gone in the horizon aboard the raft, and the pilot didn’t even seem bothered by it.
Although his eyes were being virtually pulled to the back of the head, Max could still see quite a few Lapras zapping by, quickly disappearing behind him. He wondered at exactly what speed they were going.
- What… what are you doing with that badge, Gary?!
- What, you know him?! – Barry immediately interrupted, jumping to Gary’s side. The latest was wearing one of his latest outfits, wearing the black shirt and jeans, and a seemingly heavy bag for a belt. – He’s the best trainer I’ve ever seen! Gary’s been teaching me tricks on how to beat Volkner!
- Volkner? – Ash repeated, frowning. – But you never challenged Volkner!
- Oh yeah? How does Lt. Surge and my Electrivire do for a reason?
- He’s got a point, you know. – Brock sarcastically commented to Ash, forcing him to blush.
- I’m not asking you. – He discreetly replied. – You still haven’t answered my question; what are you doing here?
- Sorry Ash, but you were left behind as usual. Gramps told Prof. Cal in Orthan to have me help him out in his research, and he’s borrowing me some awesome Pokémon! But that’s not all, Ashie! I also happen to be the owner… - Gary switched the badge with a card. - …of the Litindle Pokémon Gym!
That one fell on Ash’s stomach like a rock.
- You’re a… Gym Leader?!
- Not just any Gym Leader! I’m the seventh and most powerful Gym Leader in all of Orthan!
- How come they took you for a Gym Leader and they didn’t take me?!
Gary took a few steps forward and leaned to confront Ash in the face.
- Because you were too busy collecting badges in Sinnoh! And the best part is that I hear you’re going to take the Orthan Gym challenge! I can’t wait to have you in my own arena!
Ash felt a knot in his throat. How did he guess all that?!
- Well maybe I’m not taking the Gym Leader challenge! Maybe I’m entering the tournaments!
- This is getting a little heated; let’s go find some place to stay. – Brock managed to say over the twosome’s voice.
Barry and Dawn nodded, following the Kanto Gym Leader through the corridors, followed by Pikachu and Piplup.
- Hey, wait! I almost forgot we have to be in the main hall to know our rooms! – Barry reminded, taking the lead.
- We need to get rooms like that? Isn’t this supposed to be a quick trip?
- I heard it’ll take a day or two. – It was the first time the two had heard Barry speaking so slow and clear.
- And when does the ceremony start?
Barry took a quick look at the Pokétch and gulped.
- IT ALREADY STARTED! – He energetically shouted, running off as if there was a fire in the ship.
- WHAT?! – Brock and Dawn shouted back in unison, following Barry to the main hall at full speed.
David’s Mightyena wasn’t really eager to travel out. Leaving the house meant he would have to battle, but that didn’t bother him.
Right now, he was crossing many routes and cities to reach David’s next destination, the Vermillion Port.
The worst part was that David did not use Pidgeot to fly there, and instead was using him to ride and run all the way there. That thought was leaving the Pokémon slightly suspicious, but he still kept running. The sooner he got there the sooner David would leave his back. The trainer was getting heavy, too.
David, on the other hand, wasn’t paying much attention to the Pokémon. He was instead focused on the Pokégear, programming its clock to the Orthan time.
- And this must be it. – He finished, placing the Pokégear back to the backpack’s strap. He leaned forward and pet Mightyena in the head. – Come on, buddy. Hold on, we’re almost there. One more town to go. Good thing we went over Mt. Moon, huh?
The Pokémon growled in agreement and hastened his running speed, raring to drop his trainer off himself.
And suddenly, the sun got blocked, and the two were covered by a shadow.
But just before David could look up, the shadow disappeared, causing a quick gust that threw sand into his eyes. He cowered to rub them on his arm, trying to clean the dirt.
When he finally made it, with his eyes still whimpering, he looked over the Saffron City buildings, searching for whatever the shadow was. It couldn’t have been a cloud, the day was clear and clouds don’t move that fast.
His eyes narrowed when he saw an orange blur flying away. He knew what it was…
- Claire’s Dragonite… Shadix is here. – He muttered very slowly. Mightyena had stopped a little to rest, but ended up snarling at the Dragon Pokémon that was seen flying away. – Hit it, Mightyena! We’re going to reach Vermillion and see what this entire invitation thing means! I bet it was just a joke from her!
The Pokémon readily jumped down and started running again, crossing the Saffron streets in the blink of an eye.
- I should have been the Gym Leader! You’re just some trainer they found randomly!
- Me?! Look at who’s walking everywhere and still hopes to be found!
- What?! I’ll show you!
Ash promptly pulled an arm back, but suddenly jumped towards Gary, who was projected against the wall along with the other trainer. The ship was shaking violently enough to throw both trainers to the other end of the corridor, dragging the red carpet across the floor until they reached the wall.
Both were in a messy pile when the ship stopped shaking and a door opened near them.
Volkner walked out with his hands in his pockets, passing by Ash and Gary as if he didn’t notice them. However, both trainers heard something coming from the Gym Leader.
- You’re back home, guys. – Volkner stopped and turned around. – You’d better kill off all the longings and get ready to spend some months out.
With that, he walked off, disappearing in a corner.
- ASH! – Dawn’s voice echoed, and the female trainer was seen running in the boy’s direction, carrying a key in her hands. – Guess what!
- I can’t pay attention now, Dawn! I’m trying to get out of this mess!
- We’re in the same room!
As if a blizzard had crossed the hall, Ash and Gary froze in their place. Quite a messy position.
- I’m going to be your roommate for the next two days!
Ash gulped and scurried to the hall’s corner, until he noticed Brock had also appeared nearby.
- Brock, is this true?!
- Yeah. And guess who’s also coming in my room! – Brock handed the ticket and stepped back, covering himself behind Dawn.
- MISTY’S GONNA STAY WITH YOU?! – The young trainer howled such a mighty roar that it startled some Wingulls outside.
- Someone sounds jealous to me. – His rival taunted, backing against the wall with his arms crossed.
- I’m not jealous… - Ash replied very low, turning away.
- There’s someone outside you need to see, then, Ashie. – Gary added, walking away from the window. I need to see this with my own eyes, eheheheh.
Like Volkner, and with the same cool atmosphere above him, Gary put his hands in his pocket and disappeared in the corner, leaving behind a twisted moment of embarrassment upon Ash. He knew who Gary was talking about. If Misty was coming in this cruiser, then it had to be her who was outside in the docks.
- You’ve just got to say hello, Ash. – Brock tried to calm his friend’s anxiousness. – Come on, she traveled with us for a long time, we should go.
Ash didn’t even reply when Brock started to push him over to the exit, reluctant.
- Oh WOW! A Dragonite in the middle of the docks! Awesome! I gotta go and check it out! – Barry immediately freaked out, running off frenetically, barely even having time to pull the brakes and do the corner.
- A Dragonite? – Dawn repeated to Piplup, who just nodded back at her, just as confused.
- Hum, excuse me, but where is room 34?
Someone pat Dawn’s shoulder, and the voice seemed roughly familiar.
- I think it’s that way… - The trainer replied, turning afterwards. That green thing that girl wore in her hair…
- Thanks! – The girl replied, preparing to walk away.
- Wait! – Dawn suddenly called, halting the other trainer. – Have we met? Somewhere in Sinnoh?
- Sinnoh? – The other girl blinked, trying to remember what Dawn was referring to. – The only time I was in Sinnoh was for a contest…
- In Lake Valor!
- Wait… you participated in the Wallace Cup? I made to the finals, but…
- May! – Dawn wildly cried out, hugging the other trainer tightly. – You were invited to Orthan too?! It’s me, Dawn! In the finals!
- You’re Dawn?! I thought I’d never see you again! – May happily accepted the hug, but quickly separated from Dawn as well. – Where’s Ash?
- Oh, hum, he went outside with Brock just a minute ago. They said they were gonna say hello to Misty.
May’s eyes seemed to have glittered for a moment.
- You know what? Let’s make them a surprise. Come with me.
The trainer walked off, but Dawn hesitated.
- A, hum, surprise? – She repeated, puzzled. Piplup was just as confused as she was, but both followed the Hoenn trainer anyway.
- Aaaah… the busyness of Vermillion never felt this good… - A blond/brown haired trainer said as she jumped off the Dragonite’s back. She was dressed in a thoroughly informal way, with a plain orange shirt with blue borders and normal, blue jeans.
She scrolled her look through the harbor, stopping at the sight of the S.S.Quest. It was quite a large dock, that one, especially to keep such a big ship docked. Being from Johto, she knew she couldn’t talk too much while the other Johto trainers were watching, at least not with Kanto people.
- Okay, thanks for dropping me here, Dragonite. Tell Claire she was a sweetheart for helping me out.
The dragon Pokémon nodded and after a strong flap of its wings that caused a large cloud of sand, took off, flying away across the bay.
- *cough* Wait! – Barry’s voice suddenly called.
But it was too late. The Dragonite was already long gone in the horizon, and the girl that rode it was already walking towards the ship.
- Man, I‘ve been searching for a Dragonite since… I don’t know, since I left Twinleaf!
- Sorry, pal. But that Dragonite wasn’t mine, you know. It’s Claire’s.
- Claire? The Johto Gym Leader?! You know her?!
- Of course I do. I live in Blackthorn, silly.
Barry wasn’t too pleased with that gal’s personality.
- And you are…?
- Me? Shadix Arua.
- Yeah! Shadix of the Blackthorn Rua! – David’s voice was heard from behind. When they both turned, the trainer was by Mightyena, with his arms crossed, as if he was ready to fight.
- David? What, you were invited to the Orthan Championship?
- Of course I was. I beat the Silver League clean, why else wouldn’t they invite me?
- ‘Cause I beat the Elite Four faster than you!
Barry swallowed dry at the arguments both threw at each other. One completed the Silver League and another beat the Elite Four in record time!
Shadix the realized she was doing something that could mean danger to her: she was talking with a boy from Kanto!
- David! Shush! If someone sees us talking, we’ll be fried!
Barry swallowed dry yet again, but this time also felt some kind of dizziness; he was messing with what he shouldn’t, even his hyperactive nature knew it.
- How the heck do you know if there are any Johto trainers around here?
- Yo foo’! – A Bodybuilder near the ship called in his rough, thick voice. – Ya messin’ with da’ gal, ya messin’ with Johto!
- Yeah! That’s right! – Another random trainer added.
The continuous yells were interrupted by a loud BANG, as if something had just exploded, when suddenly, a raft stopped by the dock’s edge.
- Okay, kiddo! You’ve reached Vermillion City! And look at that! The S.S. Quest! Looks like I was a ride after all!
Max could barely believe he had survived the trip without dropping even once… still, he jumped out of the boat, eager to kiss the floor in thankfulness for being alive.
- Your turn now, mate! Knock yourself out! – The pilot finished, driving away at a crazy speed.
By the time David, Shadix and Barry focused on the Johto trainers again, an entire army of Pokémon was already out of their Pokéballs, threatening to battle.
- Come, you Johto punk! Think you’ve got what it takes?!
David’s heart seemed to have stopped: he was in a large number disadvantage! He couldn’t handle all of those trainers!
Shadix, on the other hand, didn’t make use of that advantage: she stayed by his side, her six Pokéballs in her hand.
- Come on, David! Let’s show them how wrong they are about Kanto and Johto being rivals!
David, though, wasn’t too eager to fight, lowering his head in resignation. They would be two to some twenty powerful trainers. How could they stand a chance?!
- David, throw them out! – Shadix insisted, showing out her Thyplosion in the first place, nicknamed C.V., to intimidate some of the trainers.
- So you want to betray Johto, huh, kid?! WELL WE’LL SHOW YA WHAT YA GET!
- I don’t know what the hell just happened, but I’m sticking to the fun! Empoleon, Roserade! Come on out! – Barry recklessly threw out his two Pokémon, ready to fight.
- David. Do it. – Max’s voice called. When he raised his head, he saw that Max was approaching indeed, his own Thyplosion, Flame, following him close behind, as well as Ty, the Tyranitar. – We can win this.
Both knew each other from their journeys together through Johto. David had already traveled with Shadix and Max, as well as many other friends who parted ways…
But that was the past. He had to revive the good old times when he fought along with them.
- No time for hesitating. – He declared, showing two more Pokéballs, besides Mightyena who was already out. The twosome was thrown to reveal an Ampharos and a Walrein. – LET’S DO THIS!
- Now you’re talking! Empoleon, use Hydro Pump!
- C.V., use Fire Blast!
- Aid C.V. with some more fire, Flame!
As the orders to combat were issued, the Johto trainers made their moves.
Soon enough the clash had begun.
With a historical fight in the docks of Vermillion, we find our heroes in the biggest predicament as of yet… will the league of revolutionaries triumph? Or will the Johto fanatics take the lead? And where have our other heroes gone? The truth is close…
To be continued…
The following trainer characters belong to the respective users from Gateway Island:
Maxwell C. Smith belongs to user Kcx
Shadix Arua belongs to user Salimus
David Lawride belongs to me.
I saw that Johto and Kanto had a small rivalry somewhere… I don’t remember where. Sorry if I’m making it up, just take it as if Johto had a league of fanatics. :3
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
The S.S. Quest finally reached Vermillion City, but only to trigger a fight between the trainers of the Johto and Kanto regions. The struggle seems hard, and our heroes are at a large disadvantage against the Johto defendants.
- Dodge that Flamethrower and use Shadow Ball, Mightyena! Cover his move with Blizzard, Walrein! – David was starting to sweat with the thought of what to do to beat a single Ace Trainer that had chosen to attack him. The Blizzard move Walrein used should have been enough to bring quite a few enemies down, but probably not sufficient.
- Dugtrio! – That same trainer yelled upon seeing the mole Pokémon faint. – That’s enough, you punk! I’m gonna show you what battling really means! – The Dugtrio’s Pokéball was quickly replaced with another one that was thrown into the air at high speed, resulting from the trainer’s anger. – Go, Entei!
- Entei?! – David gulped, watching as the Fiery Legendary Pokémon did appear in the battlefield, readying a fire move without even being ordered to.
- That’s right! Melt that Walrein, Entei!
- Ampharos! Stop him with Thunderbolt!
- AmphAROS! – The electric Pokémon hollered, releasing a ferocious amount of electric power across the field to deliver a mighty explosion over Entei, causing the appearance of a smoke cloud all around the legendary beast.
- That’s not going to stop Entei! – The Ace Trainer yelled to David, clenching his fists. In fact, David could see a bright red, glowing creature in the midst of the dust. He could feel the heat emanating from it. – OVERHEAT!
The Pokémon mightily roared from the inside of the cloud, releasing flames all around himself, eventually forming a kind of flaming wall, from which only his eyes were seen glowing. The smoke dissipated instantly, and the Pokémon was able to walk outside and show itself, forcing any other Pokémon to back away.
- Use Earthquake, Walrein! – It was David’s last choice. He knew it.
The Walrus Pokémon took a moment to react, fearlessly watching Entei’s power.
But when he did, Walrein concentrated on the ground, releasing a wave of power that blasted just beneath Entei’s feet, weakening the fire’s power. This, though, wasn’t enough to stop it, and the legendary dog released a fiery beam towards Walrein, a beam surrounded by spirals of flames to strengthen the move. The Pokémon closed it eyes and braced for impact.
…but when the move was supposed to hit, he felt a refreshing sensation, as if touched by water. When he opened his eyes, though, he saw it was indeed water, and that a Pokémon was blocking his way while emanating a powerful jet of water against Entei.
- Figured you might need help. – Barry woke David from his baffling, calling his attention to the battle again. – Empoleon! Keep using Hydro Pump!
- Got it. – David answered, turning to the battle again. – Finish Entei with Thunder, Ampharos! Team up with Empoleon!
- Stop it when the move reaches you! – Barry added to the instructions.
The Pokémon prepared and released a powerful Thunder, no towards the sky, but into Empoleon’s Hydro Pump, following the flow of water until it hit Entei with astounding strength, causing an explosion similar to the one before.
Empoleon quickly stopped launching Hydro Pump, just in time to avoid being electrified.
The lifting of the cloud revealed that Entei was already down and unable to fight.
- Argh! Entei?! They defeated you?! – The Ace Trainer could barely believe his eyes as he took out the Pokéball and called the legendary dog inside. – This doesn’t end here!
The trainer ran off to the ship again, escaping his defeat.
- That one’s down! – David announced, trying to get a new target.
- Shut up you two! There’s a Rhyperior after me and Max! – Shadix harshly interrupted, pointing out a Pokémon that intensely hit C.V. with Megahorn. Unfortunately, though, Rhyperior wasn’t alone, as a Magmortar and an Electivire were also making their move on Flame, Max’s Thyplosion.
- I’ll take care of him and Magmortar! – Barry quickly offered, running to Shadix’s side. – David, help me out with that Electivire!
- Got it! Mightyena, you’re on your own! Ampharos, you too! – David warned to the hyena Pokémon, who readily jumped sideways to avoid a Vine Whip move from a Tangrowth he was dealing with.
Mightyena’s mouth glowed in a fiery rage, leaping at the vine Pokémon while preparing a Fire Fang assault.
Ampharos, on the other hand, was continuously striking a Milotic with strong Shock Wave moves, trying to keep the Pokémon paralyzed and unable to move.
David ran over to Max with Walrein following him close behind, ready to help.
- Hurry up, Lawride! Flame won’t take much longer!
- Walrein! Use Earthquake on Electivire!
- Get outta there, Flame!
The Thyplosion barely saw the Earthquake coming, but had just enough time to jump over the Electivire and avoid a massive explosion that sent the electric Pokémon flying into the dock’s waters.
The power of the wave didn’t just affect the Electivire, though since it also went straight into the Rhyperior that had been charging over C.V.
- Good job there! C.V., use Dig! – Shadix ordered once the Pokémon was free from Rhyperior.
- You too Flame! Use Dig!
Barry’s strategy until now kept the same: Hydro Pump was keeping Magmortar in its place, unable to move due to the power of the jet.
But the Magmortar wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
- Use Earthquake on’em, Magmortar! – Apparently, the three humanoid Pokémon belonged to a single Bodybuilder who was issuing orders from behind most of the trainers.
The Blast Pokémon ignored the water move that was being used on him and concentrated solely on the ground, raising one of its “fists” to fiercely punch the ground and send energy waves trailing towards Empoleon and the two fire Pokémon underground, as well as Walrein.
- C.V.! / Flame! – The two trainers yelled at the same time upon seeing the ground explode in awesome power, sending the two Thyplosions in the air, completely exhausted.
- Take care of them while Empoleon finishes this guy out! – Barry “commanded” to the two trainers, knowing Empoleon would survive the hit. – Don’t let yourself wear out!
Both trainers nodded and called back the two Pokémon, the female trainer readying a new Pokéball.
- Sorry C.V….! Go, Fighter! – Shadix called out her male Butterfree.
- Ty! Use Earthquake! – Max ordered to his Tyranitar, who readied the attack towards Magmortar
- Give him a hand, Walrein! Use Earthquake! – David ordered immediately after, and both Pokémon united to cause a larger, more powerful wave against Magmortar, causing the ground to tremble and blast, sending detritus flying everywhere, along with the Magmortar, who was called back just before it hit the water.
- Alright! – Shadix taunted, high-fiving Barry and Max.
David, though, didn’t have time to celebrate. He quickly ran to Mightyena’s side, who had been sent flying against a warehouse’s wall by a Hitmonlee that belonged to a trainer from within the crowd.
- Come on, you need rest. Get back. – David took the Pokéball out and withdrew Mightyena, placing the ball on the belt again. The Tangrowth it was fighting was already down. A Great Ball flew from his hand to the middle of the field, releasing his last Pokémon, Pidgeot. – Use Aerial Ace on Hitmonlee!
The bird Pokémon flew up and flew against the fighting type at amazing speed, throwing it to the ground without even noticing what hit it.
- You don’t honestly think I’d come to a championship without being prepared, right? – The trainer showed himself, but David knew that face. He was one of the Gym Leaders David once met in his journeys through Johto…
- Chuck?! – The trainer gulped, recognizing the Fighting Type Gym Leader.
- Well, if it ain’t David! This is to repay my debt to you! – The rather heavy fighter quickly threatened, ordering Hitmonlee back into the Pokéball to throw out another one, this time releasing a Poliwrath. – Your victory over me made me close the gym for the rest of the day because you embarrassed me in front of so many people! Now is the time to have a rematch! Poliwrath, use Ice Beam on that Pidgeot!
- Watch out! Dodge it and use Aerial Ace again, Pidgeot!
The tadpole Pokémon immediately fired the ice move, but Pidgeot easily evaded the move and prepared to launch itself at Poliwrath, increasing its speed exponentially while rotating.
- Just as I was expecting! Grab that bird by its talons and use Submission!
Indeed, the Poliwrath did avoid the move and with professional precision, grabbed the Pidgeot’s paws and then its wings, rolling on the floor with it to stop its speed.
- Good work! Now use Dynamic Punch!
The tadpole Pokémon nodded and raised a glowing fist, punching the Pidgeot with full strength to release a blinding explosion of light.
- Pidgeot! NO!
- Finish that bird with a direct Ice Beam!
David curled his fists and searched for Ampharos, finding him in a struggle with another Milotic.
- Leave that and come here! Use Thunderbolt on Poliwrath!
- Are you insane?! You’ll knock Pidgeot down too! – Chuck was rather surprised with that sudden decision.
- Well then you shouldn’t have messed with us! Pidgeot, come back!
The Ampharos didn’t hesitate, and after a quick jump, he released a powerful electric move that caused a mighty explosion on the floor, causing yet another cloud of dust to rise and cover the arena.
Chuck’s eyes could barely believe the scenery. He had just been defeated again.
And, when the cloud lifted, Poliwrath could be seen, unconscious, lying in the ground inside a rather large crater.
- Doooh… Get inside again, Poliwrath… - The Gym Leader called, resigned. – I must say, I’m impressed you managed to defeat me twice like that… I’m going to practice more, though. I’m not giving up. No siree. The Orthan Kingdom is full of opportunities, and I’m not giving up just because of a single defeat.
He retreated to the ship, walking very slowly while watching the Pokéball in his hand.
- We’ll meet again, David Lawride. – And with that, he disappeared behind the crowd of trainers, leaving David with a feeling he knew he would have the chance to feel again: when he challenged Chuck again.
- Use Psychic on those Mothims, Fighter! – Shadix ordered, preparing a new Pokéball.
- Who are you trying to use? – Max asked very quickly to not lose focus on the battle.
- Aura Heart, my Lucario.
- Then give me that. – Max stole the Pokéball from her hand and took another one out. – Dusk! Aura Heart! – A Duskoir and a Lucario appeared in the field at each other’s side.
- What are you doing?!
- Focus on your own Fighter! Trust me on this one! Both of you, use Psychic on those Gallades and those Toxicroaks!
The Lucario joined his hands while the Dusknoir prepared himself to send the psychic shock wave.
- I’m helping you to out! Fighter, use Psychic!
The Butterfree nodded and flew to the other two Pokémon’s side, preparing itself to launch the move.
- NOW! RELEASE PSYCHIC! – Max yelled to the trio, which readily emanated a supernatural force that distorted even space, causing most of the bug Pokémon in the Johto side, as well as the Fighting Type Pokémon to fall, unconscious and unable to fight.
However, this had a price; the Pokémon that used the move were near completely exhausted, and it was visible from their look, as Lucario had bent down to catch some air and Butterfree had also stopped flying. Dusknoir, apparently, was the only one to stay firm, as it was staring at a few of the foes that had fallen with his arms crossed. Max could have sworn he heard a laugh from the Pokémon, but it was probably his sense of victory tingling in his head.
But many of the trainers did retreat into the ship, and the large group from before seemed to now be reduced to a mere collection of three trainers; an Ace Trainer, a Ruin Maniac, and a very formally dressed female trainer. It was incredible the amount of people that used Fighting Type Pokémon.
Shadix and Max had gathered by each other’s side, facing the three opponents with fearless expressions: the same way the trainers were facing them.
Barry had called his Empoleon to his side so he could join the two other, while David had already given up the battle, and had been seen running to the Pokémon Center.
The six scrolled their look through the battlefield, only moving their eyes: the once plain, white floor of the docks was now a disastrous field of craters and rubble.
- So, do you give up? – The three Johto trainers asked triumphantly, readying the Pokéballs for the battle.
- Not a chance. – Shadix answered in everyone’s place, taking her last Pokéball out of the belt.
- Me neither. – Max added, not needing to take a new Pokéball since Dusk was already out.
- Whatever these two say.
- Then get ready to-…!
- STOP! – Someone yelled from the ship. The six turned to the person that had just yelled, only to see an orange blur jumping off the ship to land on the docks. – Stop.
- Flint?! – Barry immediately identified the trainer with an afro, especially from his laidback pose with his hands in the pockets.
- Who’s he?
- He’s an Elite Four in Sinnoh! He’s an expert in Fire Types! – Barry seemed to barely even be able to contain himself.
- Yeah, whatever. – Flint blinked to Barry and turned again to the Johto trainers. – Seriously, what is this crap? Just ‘cause they’re from another region, ya gotta fight them?
- Well, yeah! – The Ace Trainer replied, adding afterwards: Kanto doesn’t want to give Johto the independence it rightfully deserves! They don’t want to admit that the Silver League is just as good as the Indigo League!
- Ah, so it got political, huh? Chill out. Come on. Think about it. You think Kanto’ll give you the independence if you keep treating them like that?
It was obvious that the Ace Trainer was out of cards to play, despite wanting to keep replying.
- I’d say this battle’s over and that you three should go to your rooms and get some fresh bath or something.
The three trainers exchanged looks and turned, walking up the board.
- But Flint. – One of the trainers, the formally dressed trainer said, halting in the middle of the bridge. – We’re not done yet.
Flint just waved and smiled as if it were a compliment, which only contributed to the trainer’s fury, thundering through the crowds in the corridors.
- Stay outta trouble. – He said only, blinking and walking away to the ship.
- He’s awesome, huh? – Barry complimented, watching the Elite Four go back to the luxury liner.
The two other trainers nodded, calling their teams back.
The battle had gone through the day… the trainers could now understand why Vermillion was called the Port of Exquisite Sunsets, they had the opportunity to value a sunset themselves now that the day was about to end… It would be the last afternoon they would be spending in the Kanto Region in a long while, now that the ship would be leaving in no time.
- Be grateful. We won the battle, and now we see the rainbow after the storm. – Max said very calmly, putting his hands into his pocket while walking towards the ship. – I’ll be seeing you two around the S.S. Quest.
- See ya, Max. – Shadix replied, waving slightly with her hand. – So, should we go inside?
- Sure. Let’s go.
The two kept close to each other, walking up the bridge and into the vessel.
- David Lawride? – The nurse called from the counter.
David got up and walked over to the desk, accepting the three Pokéballs and one Great Ball and putting them in his belt.
- They weren’t very badly injured, you got lucky. – She added, offering a bottle of Potion. – We’re doing a campaign. Accept this item for your journey.
- Thanks, I’m sure it’ll be useful.
The nurse bowed with a smile.
- We hope to see you again!
David nodded and went back to his table, releasing Mightyena on his way there.
- Looks like it wasn’t a joke after all. – He told the Pokémon, who immediately sat by his trainer. – If we’re going to Orthan, then we’d better be careful… If that Johto gang catches us again, we’re doomed.
- I knew it! Gary had to be trying to kick me off!
- It’s not that serious. Misty will be in the S.S. Quest, and you know it. Just go to my room tomorrow night or today and you can talk to her any time you want.
David raised an eyebrow, and seemingly, the person talking with the latest one also did, judging from the answer of that person.
- I-I mean, you can go there or I can send her over to your room, of course.
But the part about going in the S.S. Quest was interesting, and so was the fact they both knew Misty, who had been travelling with him, Shadix and Max across Johto.
- So, you two are going in the S.S. Quest too, huh? – David turned and asked, curious.
The capped boy nodded and sighed.
- You said you knew Misty. Where from? – David asked yet again, this time without turning.
- She traveled with us through Kanto and Johto once. We’ve been meeting her along the way a few times. – It hadn’t been the capped boy to answer; David could easily differentiate both voices. – And how do you know her?
- It happens she’s also been travelling with me and some friends in Johto. And Kanto, not as much. – David replied, getting the Pokégear off his backpack’s strap, pressing a few buttons before handing it to the other two trainers. – A company in Johto modified my Pokégear so it could have more functions. They installed a camera in it, and you can see that Misty is with me and some friends.
They didn’t look very surprised while watching the pictures in the Pokégear. The capped boy gave the Pokégear back to David, who put it back to the strap.
- She likes to travel a lot.
- Yeah, I know… she was always ready for an adventure. – David answered, getting up.
Mightyena also got up, following his trainer to the exit.
- By the way, I didn’t catch your name. – He stopped just before leaving, turning around.
- I’m Ash. Ketchum. – The capped boy answered. David only then noticed he had a Pikachu by his side who also greeted the twosome.
- Brock Harrison. Just call me Brock.
David shook hands with both.
- I’m David Lawride. – He introduced himself. Mightyena made itself look important, sitting by the trainer’s side again. – So, I’ll be seeing you around the ship.
- Yup. – Ash replied.
David turned and walked out of the center, now under the weak illumination the moonlight offered. The scent of burning soil was quickly replaced by a salty atmosphere, relaxing him a little, allowing him to forget the battle for once and to enjoy his last stay in Vermillion. Mightyena’s eyes were glowing red in the dark, and seemed as if they were divided in half by a black rift. Other than that, David couldn’t tell apart most of the Pokémon’s body. But it didn’t matter. Right now, he only wanted a bed where he could sleep.
- It worked perfectly! – May could barely contain her laughter, taking off the orange wig and the yellow shirt to put her usual, orange clothes back on, as well as the small bandanna with a Pokéball pattern.
- Yeah, he fell right into the trap! He’s gotta be wandering all over the ship looking for a way to humiliate Ash with! – Dawn took off the same wig and clothes and put hers on again.
- But was it really you outside when Gary left?
- Yeah! I just hurried back in when I noticed he saw me!
- That’s genius! High-five!
- Wait, but what about Ash? – May didn’t get to clap her hand into Dawn’s when she remembered that the other trainer hadn’t been warned.
- We’ll have to tell him. I bet he’ll love to know something to throw at Gary’s face!
The two shared a short laugh and high-fived.
- Come on, let’s go tell him!
May approached the edge of the box and analyzed the area.
- The coast is clear. Let’s get out of here!
The two trainers ran off from the cargo level, leaving behind the false hair and clothes.
- Man, I can’t believe I’ve got to stay with this guy… – Shadix muttered in a low voice, glaring to her ticket while Barry was trying to get his own. – It’s here, dumbass. You’re staying with me in room fifty.
- Neat! We’re gonna be roommates! Awesome! You can tell me everything about that Dragonite, right?!
- Wow wow wow! Cool it! Not so fast, I’ve still got to get my stuff in the room! – Shadix immediately made up some excuse, making her way to their room.
- This is gonna be awesome! – Barry mumbled to himself, trying to contain his hyperactivity while following Shadix.
- Is this some kind of joke? I’m supposed to stay with Lorelei?! – Gary yelled out loud, trying to figure whether he should call the administration or feel honored for it.
- That’s right, babe… - The Elite Four suddenly appeared at his side, much taller than him, adjusting her glasses. – This time we ain’t battling, so try to be a little less cocky, okay, honey?
Lorelei took the ticket from Gary’s hand, an icy feeling emanating from her when she approached him.
With that, she walked off, taller than probably any person in the corridor, entering the elevator after blinking at him. Gary gulped and felt he was getting blushed, quickly covering his face while cowering away to the other elevators on the opposite hall.
Apparently, the next person in the line was a green haired boy, wearing a purple, sleeveless jacket over a black sweat-shirt. It kept its hands in its pocket, and only took a hand out to give the Trainer Card to the cashier at the counter.
The man there didn’t speak either. He silently took a ticket from the machine and gave it to the trainer, who walked off with a glow in his green eyes.
David went in the ship at last, giving a long “Wow!” after seeing how the whole place was large and had multiple corridors and elevators, as well as two or more counters where long queues of people awaited for their room to be attributed. There was a dome in the top of the room, made of glass, through which David could see the moon shining upon the S.S. Quest.
Having chosen the line with less people, David quickly got his turn to get a room.
- David Lawride? – The attendant said, picking the Trainer Card from his hands.
The trainer nodded and waited for a ticket to come out of the machine, handing both documents to him again.
David thanked the attendant and walked off to the elevators. He didn’t bring much stuff with him, only his backpack with the essential inside. He wasn’t a person to bring much luggage.
When he got into the elevator, he took a peek at the ticket to know the room, noticing there was some other information written.
Sharing room with: May”
The rest of the ticket was curiously scratched off, making the name unreadable.
- Interesting. – David mumbled, getting off the elevator once it stopped in the second floor.
Many trainers await unexpected meetings aboard the S.S. Quest… will our heroes find themselves in the midst of an exciting adventure… or involved in a deadly trap?
To be continued…
Less credits this time. The following trainer characters are owned by the respective users in Pokémon Gateway Island:
Maxwell C. Smith - User Kcx
Shadix Arua - User Salimus
David Lawride - Mine
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
Rivals, meet Rivals
After settling the battle between Johto and Kanto thanks to Flint’s help, our heroes returned to the S.S. Quest after one last visit to the Vermillion Port, their final visit before travelling to Orthan. Many surprises await in the rooms of the ship, but even bigger surprises await in other parts of the vessel.
The room wasn’t all that bad. With a place to put his laptop, a TV set and two single beds, David had plenty of space to say he could actually be comfortable there.
That May person still hadn’t come to the room, though. This was an advantage for David’s Pokémon, like Mightyena who immediately took his place next to the bed he chose to be his trainer’s.
The latest placed his backpack on the floor jumped onto the bed, immediately lying back and sighing in contentment to have such a comfortable place in such a long journey.
- Let’s hope this isn’t the last consolation we’ll have in Orthan.
- This must be it. – Said Ash, looking at the ticket and then back at the room’s number. – But where’s Dawn?
He was actually glad to have a room near his friends, since Brock’s room was just on the other side of the corridor.
His room wasn’t different from the others, and the two single beds were tidy and clean, made with quite the perfection one could only expect in the luxury liners such as the S.S. Quest.
Pikachu waited for his trainer to go in before walking inside and jumping to the window sill, gasping, mouth open, at the wonderful sight of the sea off the Kanto shore. Ash approached his partner and looked outside, but didn’t say anything, or even did anything.
He just stood there, watching as the waves slowly crashed against the ship, disappearing in a soothing sound, tearing themselves apart in a thousand bits, some even flying as high as his window’s glass.
The marine water reminded him of Misty, though. The way the mermaid loved Water Pokémon and took care of them was one of the reasons why Ash couldn’t help but feel something in his heart.
After a long sigh, he took the cap off and wandered to the bed, leaving the backpack near the bed’s feet, assuring he knew where it would be in case it was needed.
Pikachu jumped to his side, curling near the edge of the bed.
- Can you tell me about Dragonite now?! Please please PLEAAAASE?!
Shadix didn’t know how long she would be able to stand Barry’s constant pleads to puke everything she knew about a Pokémon that wasn’t even hers, a torture she knew she’d have to handle until they reached Orthan and she could finally go away from that wired trainer with whom she’d be sharing her room!
At last, Barry sat on his bed, inside room 50, the bed that would have been just by Shadix’s side if the trainer didn’t push the bed to the opposite wall of the room, placing C.V. outside the Pokéball just in case Barry had any ideas.
- I don’t see why you won’t tell me those things. – He confessed, disappointed. The boy fell back on the bed, stretching as much as he could to free the tension off his arms and legs.
There was silence for a while, although it was subjective what silence meant. Shadix was actually satisfied that Barry had finally decided to shut up, but Barry wasn’t very thrilled with the loud voices that were heard in the corridor ever since they went inside.
Unable to keep hearing those voices without hearing his own, Barry took the pillow and covered his head, trying to mute any audible sound.
“Whenever that hall gets empty, I’m outta here.” Shadix kept repeating herself in her mind, edifying a plan to clear her thoughts.
Gary didn’t take long to get his side of the room ready, and visibly separated from the side he chose to be Lorelei’s. He decided to keep the side closest to the exit, where he could quickly run away in case.
And just when he expected, Lorelei burst in, two large bags hanging from her long, thin arms.
- Hi, babe… what do you say about helping me out, huh? – The Elite Four wheezed. It was obvious she was tired of carrying the bags, and Gary couldn’t say no to such a famous trainer.
He shyly approached her and took the two bags, feeling their weight as soon as Lorelei let go of the packages. His hands fell to the ground due to the burden, but still, he managed to drag the bags to her bed, throwing them onto it with to cause a loud BAM as if someone had shot a gun.
- Thanks, hon. You’re a sweetheart for doing that. – Lorelei commended, leaving Gary’s face painted red once more. – I HAVE GOT to change these clothes. I’ve been wearing them since I left Indigo Plateau yesterday noon. – Gary was quietly crawling away to the bathroom while Lorelei was turned to the window, unzipping the dress. – You know how it is, hon? When you don’t have anyone to bring you down those mountain and Lance refuses to take you?
Gary instantly froze in his spot when Lorelei started to talk to him again. He slowly turned his head around to check if the Elite Four was watching him, sighing in relief when he noticed she was still busy looking over the window.
He then scurried to the bathroom, locking the door as fast as he could.
Lorelei did hear a door close, though, and turned to look for the trainer. She had already changed clothes by then, wearing a new dress, completely dark, and new glasses with a bluish frame.
- Where’d you go, babe? – She asked to nobody, looking for Gary in the room. She shrugged and took only one of the Pokéballs from the belt she had taken off. – Come on, Lapras. Time to stretch those fins.
With that, she left to the exit, closing the door quietly. The hall’s had silenced a little more since she got there.
A few moments went by before Gary opened the door all of a sudden, falling on the ground while gasping for air, grabbing the blue carpet on the ground so hard the tissue might have ripped a little.
- What do they do in these bathrooms?! Dump the GARBAGE?!
He swiftly got up and closed the door before the smell from inside the compartment came to the room, sliding down the door with his back while sighing.
- Well, at least she’s gone… that woman creeps me out…
Gary roved to the bed, and as if he tripped on his own feet, he fell on the clean, fresh sheets, not even bothering to take his belt out.
- Oh noes… Where was my room again…?
May looked across all the rooms. She and Dawn had already gone to Room 32, but it had already been taken, even though her ticket explicitly stated Room 32.
- Don’t worry, we’ll find it. – Dawn reassured, looking at the map. The lobby wasn’t far from them. – Come on, let’s go ask for some info.
May nodded and both ran off, apparently knowing where they were heading. Dawn had her ticket, so she wasn’t worried. Piplup wasn’t with her, though. The Pokémon had left her ever since they entered the cargo level, and had probably wandered off with Brock when they last met outside.
- If I remember the map right, the lobby should be around he-THUD!
Dawn went straight against someone just after making the corner, falling back on the ground, baffled as to what she just hit.
- Sorry, let me help you up. – It was a young voice, and it was surely a he talking.
She raised a hand and felt another hand, a warmer, smaller hand grabbing hers.
- I’m sorry. – The person said again, composing Dawn’s hood.
She rubbed her eyes to see a little clearer, since all she could see was a mystifying red blur, mixed with the orange and gold surroundings.
The boy also got the kindness to clean the dirt off her scarf and her skirt, and Dawn noticed he stepped back.
- There. Ready for another one. – The boy joked, walking towards her again. Dawn’s heart started to race, with each beat seeming shorter than the previous while the boy, about her height, approached the coordinator. – If you’ll excuse me, now…
However, the boy didn’t stop by her side, and that was everything he had to say to her, apparently. He didn’t breathe a word to May either, but simply carried on, holding his yellow backpack’s strap again after adjusting the red cap.
Dawn wasn’t sure if she should talk or just let the trainer go away. May, though, was sure she shouldn’t, and readily grabbed her shoulder to walk away.
- Come on, that guy’s the living embodiment of rudeness. – She said while dragging Dawn to the halls.
The coordinator struggled not to go and broke free of May’s grip, walking away without speaking.
She was heading after the trainer she saw earlier.
- Wait, please. – She told the trainer, placing a hand on his shoulder once she found him before he entered his room. “Talk about lucky…” She thought.
- Yes? – He kindly said, turning around at the call.
“Rudeness? He’s so cute… and polite…” Dawn thought, unsure of what to say afterwards.
- Hum… I didn’t get to know your name… - She quietly asked, embarrassed. Her heart was furiously pumping blood through the coordinator’s body to keep her standing.
The trainer smiled back and stretched a hand to Dawn.
- I’m Max. – He answered. The girl was unsure if she should accept the handshake or not. It seemed like she would be compromising herself to something if she shook his hand. Still, slightly shaking, Dawn shook hands with Max. That smile didn’t leave his face, as if it were glued to the boy’s face. – You?
- I-huh… - She stammered, trying to get to her senses again. – I’m, huh, Dawn.
- Dawn. Lovely name. – Max gallantly took her hand and a long kiss escaped his lips.
The girl was sure her heart could have exploded into bits that precise moment the boy gave such a majestic compliment. She swallowed dry; as dry as her eyes were that moment, allowing her to watch the courteous act with all the details; the setting was perfect, that royal environment around them, illuminated by the glow of gold combined with a river of red flowing beneath them. – We’ll be seeing each other around.
Max let go of her hand and walked inside; leaving Dawn behind, completely petrified, and blankly looked at the chandelier across the corridor.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the corridor, May was watching everything happen in the front lines.
She could have sworn that Max was looking at HER while kissing Dawn’s hand, and not at the girl he should be facing. And to boot, Max had been staring at her with a triumphant look upon her, as if saying “You lost.”
- What are you doing?! – May scolded as soon as she reached Dawn.
- He’s such a gentleman… - The latest mumbled, balancing back and forth, staring idly at the ceiling.
- He’s using you to piss me off! Can’t you get that?!
But that didn’t even touch Dawn’s heart, let alone was it processed in her mind.
- Dawn? You there? Snap out of it!
- His name’s Max…
May knew when it was no use to go on trying. She sighed and turned around, leaving Dawn standing there, still mumbling all kinds of compliments about the so-called gentleman who called himself Max.
She also knew where she’d have to go know: the lobby, to know her room. Maybe Dawn’s sudden crush would end when the ship arrived to Orthan… they would have to part ways, most likely.
Holding that thought, May smiled; also pleased to know she finally reached the lobby.
But… why was everything empty…?
- …I just got here and there’s already this girl after me… - Max sighed, throwing the cap like a boomerang to a random place. Curiously enough, it landed by the bed.
Someone was already in the room; a blue haired boy was adjusting his suit while looking at himself through the mirror, trying to put a red bow tie over a white shirt, over which would wear the black tuxedo lying on the bed.
- …Aren’t you the lucky one. – Geais took a while to speak, still trying to get the danged tie in place. – Although I’m going to conquer’em all tonight. – He added with a devilish smirk, tensing his arm’s muscles.
Max sat on the bed and freed Flame.
- …Yeah. Right. – He said, lying on the bed.
- Phloshun… - Flame added, lying by the bed’s side.
Geais put his hands on his waist, sighing at the twosome’s attitude.
- You two are a bunch of lazy guys. – He added to the moan, putting the tuxedo on. – I’m gonna conquer tonight’s party like nobody’s ever seen!
- What are you talking about…? – Max was talking into the pillow rather than to Geais.
- Ah, so you don’t know yet?! The elections in Orthan ended! Their announcing the new king today and the S.S. Quest is holding a commemorative ball in the lobby.
Max jumped from his bed in surprise.
- THE CORONATION’S TODAY?!
- No, idiot. Today’s just the announcement. The coronation will be in the day we arrive to Orthan.
The Smith boy fell back on the bed again.
- Then count me out. I can’t stand all those fancy-does. Besides, if Johto catches me, they’ll stick me into the toilets.
- Phloshun. – Flame agreed.
- Humph, whatever you say. – Groaned Geais, walking out of the room, using his hand to adjust his hair. – Let’s go conquer some princesses…!
Brock’s voice broke the silence the trainer had grown fond of inside the room. Pikachu’s ears twitched, but the Pokémon didn’t move.
Ash slowly got up, rubbing his eyes after sleeping for a short while.
- What is it…? – He asked once he saw the Gym Leader clearly. Piplup was just by him.
The Penguin Pokémon scurried to Dawn’s bed, taking his place in the sheets.
- Come on. There’s someone you need to see. – He said very quietly once he noticed Pikachu was already asleep.
“Could it be… Misty?” Ash’s thoughts had a burning desire to be right as the trainer slowly got out of the bed to follow Brock outside.
Closing the door, he kept the card away and followed his friend, his legs trembling at each step, anxiousness to meet their travelling companion again.
“Is she more than just that…?” Kept thinking Ash while the door to a new room opened. A fresh, salty scent came to his nostrils when entry was granted. The room was dark, and barely anything was visible inside it.
Ash gave his first steps in, with Brock closing the door behind him. The Gym Leader stayed outside.
One of the beds was very close to the window. The moonlight shone upon it, illuminating its clear blankets… but also a silhouette. The outline of someone, standing there, watching the sea through the window, despite being sat.
- Is it you… Misty?
The person turned around, her face being enlightened for a split second. It was enough time to let Ash smile at what he saw.
- Hi Ash. – She said, getting up. Ash could see what she was wearing… it was her first clothes, or at least very similar to them. – It’s been a while.
Ash’s eyes could be seen glittering in the dark.
May crossed the empty lobby. It was odd, but everything was cleared up. It had the shape of a circle, and in the middle of it, May could see the drawing of a Pokéball’s lines: the usual drawing used in battle arenas. It was drawn in solid black, contrasting with the golden background and white floor.
Still she was glad to see that the attendant was still there, at one of the counter, ordering keys through shelves.
- Hum, excuse me… - May wasn’t too sure she was doing everything the way those socialites did, but she went and asked anyway once the attendant turned her way. – But what’s going on here?
The attendant held his head high and looked down, turning only his eyes. May knew the guy was doing it to seem taller and mighty, when he was actually her height.
- We are clearing the lobby for the tournament tomorrow. The Elections in Orthan have ended, and the new king will be announced. As such, the respectful Mr. Rhyan, owner of this ship, will be holding a ball to announce the winners.
- Tomorrow, huh…? – She repeated, curious. She drifted for a moment, which was enough time for the attendant to ignore her again and go back to ordering the shelves behind him.
“So there’s gonna be a tournament… I bet that Max guy is going to participate! If Ash manages to beat that guy, Dawn’ll see what that guy’s really made of!”
- And, do we need to sign up for this?
The attendant raised an eyebrow.
- Yes, but signups are only open tomorrow morning. After breakfast is served, an announcement will be made in that sense.
A flame of joy burst inside May.
- Thanks for the information. – The assistant nodded and turned. – One more thing. – May couldn’t see it, but the man was actually trying to not yell. – Could you find my name in the list and check my room? I seem to have been given the room number.
She handed over the ticket.
The man sighed. He had no option but to help, that’s what he was being paid for…
Reluctant, he did a search on the computer, printing out a new ticket and giving it to the coordinator.
- Room 66. Thank you for reporting this mistake. – The man was now clearly annoyed. May bowed and walked away. – And don’t come back… – He added when she was far enough.
Shadix looked at Barry from the corner of her eye. The boy had already fallen asleep, at least from what she could tell. C.V. was also curled and asleep by her bed, protective and intimidating even while snoring like it was. She smiled at her partner’s loyalty to her. They had been friends for a very long time.
The outside of the room had cleared. Not a sound was heard in the halls, everyone seemed to be asleep by now.
Shadix carefully opened and closed her door, trying not to break the rule of gold.
Stepping on the carpet, she quietly reached the exit to the ship’s bow.
The large doors opened to her, allowing the fresh air outside to hit the trainer’s face. She breathed in deeply, enjoying the fresh night.
The trainer strolled to the edge of the ship; her intention was to look over the metallic barrier, trying to see Kanto one last time. Seeing Kanto, she’d also see Johto in all its glory.
And she did. However, it was a moment short lived. The regions quickly became a shinning dot in the horizon, drifting into the darkness… They were travelling at high speed. They had barely left an hour ago, and they were already that far…
- Orthan must be really far… far from home… - She dreamily mumbled about the Johto region, and how she met a very special prince there…
- Roserade, use Magical Leaf! – A voice thundered from nowhere, interrupting her trance. Shadix turned fidgety, somewhat startled, searching for the origin of the voice.
- Use Protect, then throw him ThunderPunch, Electabuzz! – Another voice roared, and this time, Shadix spotted two trainers, on the far end of the ship, battling against each other.
The agile Roserade evoked a storm of petals, shooting them at high speed using the bouquets it used for hands, but the Electabuzz was quite quick as well, quickly put up a protective barrier, a glowing green orb that shielded him from the Magical Leaf’s power. As soon as the strike was over, the Electabuzz dashed at Roserade, his fists sparkling just before discharging all of its electricity in the Bouquet Pokémon’s body.
However, just as the human shape Pokémon backed away, he could already feel poison flowing throw the spikes Roserade had left on his fist.
- Dang it! Poison Point! – The blue haired trainer cursed. He knew he had to be swift in his moves. – It doesn’t matter now! Use Brick Break on it!
- Wait for it!
The Electabuzz electrified his hand once more, darting at Roserade before performing a rapid jump, preparing its hand to perform a karate move on the Bouquet Pokémon.
- Now! Dodge and use Stun Spore!
Roserade made a quick leap backwards and released a reddish mist from its bouquets, pointing them at Electabuzz.
The Human Shape Pokémon fell directly into the cloud of spores, which infiltrated his skin to cause a paralysis that completely ruined its move, forcing it to fall violently on the ground. He was now petrified on the ground, unable to move.
- Finish this with Mega Drain, Roserade!
The grass Pokémon prepared its bouquets once more, this time causing a psychic energy, shot in the shape of a greenish ray to hit and drain Electabuzz’s health.
The spot where ThunderPunch previously hit the Bouquet Pokémon was quickly recovered to its previous aspect, and the Grass Pokémon was as energetic as in the beginning of the battle.
Electabuzz, on the other hand, wouldn’t take it much longer.
As much as the trainer wanted to push him off the limits, he knew Electabuzz wouldn’t stand up while he wasn’t healed.
- Come back. – He ordered, pointing the Pokéball. The red ray turned the Pokémon into energy, draining it back to the item. – You’re disgraceful. – He muttered to the Pokéball, putting it away.
- Looks like I won, Paul. – The green haired boy taunted, triumphant.
But Paul’s severe look didn’t leave the other trainer’s eyes. The two kept staring, piercing into each other’s mind in an attempt to make the other one give up.
Apparently, the battle scenery had been the ship’s bow, in the distant front of the S.S. Quest, where none could be bothered. The two had to be extremely careful though, or they’d sink along with the ship.
Looking over the edges, one could see that Kanto was already drifting away, disappearing in the far horizon has a luminous dot.
- You’re tough, Drew. – Paul finally admitted, making the first step forward. Drew called Roserade in again. – You go all-out on your enemies, and that’s exactly my kind of strategy.
Paul stretched a hand for drew to shake. The latest, though, only stared at it, that fearsome look stitched to his eyes. Paul’s face temporarily showed a defying smirk, but quickly turned back to a gloomy face. He put his hands on the jeans’ pockets and walked off.
- I’ll be seeing you in the tournament tomorrow, Drew… and that… is when I will win.
Drew snickered at Paul’s last warning before disappearing behind him, entering the ship without even noticing that Shadix was still watching.
She noticed that Drew had kept going to the tip of the bow, holding a cord that made connection with the control tower to help him keep balance.
He saw nothing in the horizon. The blackness of the sea was another challenge he was willing to take. It didn’t scare him. For him, it meant only one thing: victory.
- I bet you really like this out here, huh? – Shadix’s voice said behind him.
Drew lowered his head and smiled.
- I guess. You seem like you’re not very pleased to come on this journey.
- I’m not homesick! You nuts? – She replied, offended. While Drew was on the right side, Shadix walked to the left side, also holding the rope.
- Are you going to enter the tournament tomorrow?
Shadix considered the trainer’s question.
- Maybe. I like challenges. A tournament seems like a good practice to Orthan. – She answered, venturing a little farther.
- Aren’t you the courageous one… - He replied, but was he changing the subject?
Drew walked to her back, grabbing her hands. – Close your eyes. – He said very quietly.
Shadix immediately suspected of something, but closed her eyes.
- Take a deep breath and walk forward until I say stop…
The trainer wasn’t too confident, but strangely, the short breathing exercise made her feel… comfortable.
She kept walking, step by step, until she heard a quiet “stop”.
- Now… open your arms… and then your eyes… very slowly… and don’t move when you do…
Shadix raised her arms, stretching them as far as she could.
Drew’s grip was released, but the female trainer could feel balance. For a short moment, the prince she met in Johto came to her mind.
She opened her eyes… slowly…
But everything she saw was darkness… darkness as far the eye could see…
Below the black veil, she could see the water… a hammered copper shield under a dusk sky… There is only the wind and the hiss of the water 50 feet below…
- I'm flying…! – She gasped, but just then, she lost her balance… and as if it were a nightmare, Drew was not there anymore.
Fortunately, the cord was her last salvation. Tightly hanging it, Shadix tried to pull herself up… only to see an empty deck again, humidified due to the nocturnal breeze and constant waves crashing into the ship.
But she didn’t feel mad, strangely. Drew, as if he had guessed, had made her remember something she considered long lost in her mind.
“Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all…” She thought, walking back to the ship, and later, her room.
Brock was just about to sleep. He was wheezing all over, walking from one side of the corridor to another with his hands in his pockets, waiting for the time for Ash and Misty finally go to their rooms. He knew it wouldn’t be easy; he just wanted it to go by quickly!
His Croagunk was probably the only companion he had for quite a few minutes. Even the annoying croak sound was relaxing, such was his state. He was almost about to plead his Pokémon to stab him and put him to sleep; only waking him tomorrow morning.
He froze when he heard more footsteps other than his, coming from the hallway.
But the tension moment was brief: it turned out to be a young trainer with a tuxedo, wandering around as if he was drunk, from wall to wall, trying to find his room.
Brock didn’t even open his mouth to the blue haired boy; he came and went mute, and so he stayed even after making the corner.
- Misty… I…
- Don’t worry. I understand what you mean. – Misty cut Ash’s sentence, placing a finger on his lips. – You don’t need to explain anything. I understand. You want to travel, and I can’t because… well, I’m a Gym Leader. And I can’t leave the gym, or…
- Or they’ll close it… I know…
- Don’t feel guilty. The bicycle wasn’t that precious anyways. – She snickered.
- So, if you’re coming to Orthan, does that mean we’ll get to travel together? Again? – In his opinion, that would be the highest point of the conversation, as if it were a wedding proposal.
However, Misty hesitated in her answer.
- I don’t know Ash… there’s a chance we could but…
Ash took her hands and joined them with his, staring directly into her eyes.
- Come on. Please. For the good old times.
Misty knew that sincere look he was giving her.
- I’ll think about it. I promise.
The two vacillated, and as if they had lost their stability, they balanced towards each other, but always seemed to retract to their position. And no matter how many times they did it that moment, they knew the right one would come…
The stage is finally set for our heroes… are there any more to meet? Or have all the rivalries and friendships been established? The tournament in the next day will be decisive…
Will Ash and Misty finally stay together, or will the Orthan journey set both apart…?
To be continued…
Aw, let me guess. You were expecting the two to kiss each other. X3
Not in this one chapter. Maybe later, who knows… There’s still a lot to tell, as you can see.
Now, before you start lighting those matches to flame me apart, please note that I am not establishing (at least not according to the general rules and their names ._. )any Shippings or whatever they’re called. Okay, maybe I am, but whatever. You get my point. <.<
Maxwell C. Smith belongs to user Kcx
Shadix Arua belongs to user Salimus
David Lawride belongs to me.
Geais belongs to user darkbahamutneo.
Any other characters belong to the creators of the anime and whatsoever. In any case, I don’t own them.
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
Morning breaks into the ship’s rooms, but all resting was left behind: everyone is eager to start the tournament and give their best shot at the opening battles for the Orthan challenge.
- Sign here and here. – One of the many employees instructed, pointing at two points in the parchment in front of the trainers. – Include the team you will be using…
- Only three, huh…? – Ash commented, seeing as only three spaces were available. He’d have to think well about the team to take.
The first name he automatically wrote was Pikachu, in the third line.
“Staraptor… just to make the type matchup.” He thought, inscribing the bird Pokémon in the second line. The attendant raised an eyebrow at how he was filling the form. “One left, then… I’ll put Grotle.”
With the last one entered, he signed the top and gave it to the man, walking away without a word after receiving a new ticket.
Brock and Misty were already sitting in one of the many available chairs spread around the large arena in the middle of the lobby. May and Dawn were also there, but Ash knew Dawn didn’t sign up, since she didn’t even enter the line. He also suspected that Brock didn’t enter either.
- I guess all we have to do now is to wait. – He said, sitting by Misty’s side. Piplup and Pikachu weren’t there; instead, they were playfully running around the area, causing mischief to some of the trainers that came by.
The trainer’s eyes scanned the hall, watching as the seats were slowly taken by other trainers who would most likely enter the tournament.
Many were accompanied by their team’s main Pokémon, too: Ash had already seen a Scizor following an Ace Trainer, while a lazy Munchlax stayed behind while the trainer was already on the other end of the hall.
- Looks like we’re in for some tough competition. – He commented, relaxing back on the seat.
- I’ve seen trainers from all regions here. From Kanto to Hoenn and Johto to Sinnoh. Even some I’ve never heard of before. – Brock added. A pretty trainer had already caught his eye: she was just across the hall, sitting next to a Blissey.
But with Misty and May by both of his sides, he wouldn’t take his chances and get up, or he’d clearly be smacked on the head.
Instead, he retreated in his seat as much as he could, trying to architect a plan to reach that lady.
May was drifting in her own thoughts, searching for a single trainer in the entire room. So far, she’d seen four Thyplosions, but none belonged to Max. She had seen him signing up, and a Thyplosion was by his side, but she never saw him again. She was feeling rather anxious to know who she’d battle with, though. Having signed up with Blaziken, Glaceon and Wartortle, she’d have a rough time since she wasn’t able to change Pokémon during the battle.
- Got everything set? – Barry came into view, sitting near the group.
- No surprises there. You’re entering, right? – Ash asked, knowing the obvious answer.
- Yup. Can’t tell you who I’m using though, or you’ll have the advantage over me.
Ash narrowed his eyes at the answer.
- You mean…
- That’s right, your battle’s with me. – Barry reduced his voice and approached Ash. – I took a look at the tournament table, and your battle’s with me.
- Er… okay…
- Shadix! Whadda’ya know? – David’s voice interrupted the teenager’s trance. She had been looking around the lobby, inspecting the crowds very slowly.
The trainer sat by her side, followed by Mightyena. He also noticed Shadix wasn’t alone: Max and a Geais were also there: Max didn’t seem the least concerned about having to battle, but Geais was acting in his usual cool attitude, showing off to every single girl that went by.
- Say, David, did you see a green haired boy, green eyes…? – Shadix suddenly asked, trailing off when he raised an eyebrow. – You know what, never mind. I’ll find him myself.
- Ah, no you won’t. – David grabbed Shadix’s shirt and forced her to sit down. – The battles are going to start.
- And your greeny guy is the first challenger. – David pointed out a green haired boy walking to the arena, three Pokéballs swinging in his belt at each step.
Shadix didn’t notice her mouth was still open when she sat down, watching Drew go to the battle arena.
- Come on, stand still or you’ll cause us trouble. – Ash called his partner, who swiftly jumped to his hat. He was actually trying to concentrate on his strategy, or he’d have very little chances of getting past the first round.
- Hey, isn’t that Drew? – Brock was the first of the group to point out the trainer.
Ash and May immediately woke up from their strategies, raising their heads at the arena.
- You’re right! What’s he doing here?
- Drew must have gotten an invitation like us, Ash. – May replied to the rhetorical question. Her worries were raised a little. Drew being here meant she’d have to battle him if she went through the first round…
- Grr, guess what. Inscriptions closed now. – Gary appeared out of the blue, and once Ash noticed, his rival was already sitting one level above him.
- Lemme guess, you did get your inscription. – It was a morbid enjoyment for Ash to say that to Gary.
But it had an even more sinister taste to reply in Ash’s face:
- Too late, Ashy-boy. I was one of the first to get into the tournament. While you were still sleeping with your girlfriend, I was already here to fill out the papers!
- Girlfriend?! – May and Dawn simultaneously yelled, forcing Misty and Ash to blush and recoil into the chair.
- Nice work, Gary. – Brock added sarcastically, folding his arms. – Who told you that anyway?
The Oak gave him a triumphant smirk.
- My sources. – He replied confidently, sitting back. – Now shut up, I want to watch this. Drew battled me once in Johto, and I wanna know what I’m up against!
- Wow, you seem really confident… how do you know you’re going to get through the first trainer? – Ash didn’t need to ask it, and despite knowing it wouldn’t scare Gary even a little, he wanted to test his rival’s confidence.
- Come on, none of these losers have a chance against me.
- Same old Gary… - The original Kanto trio sighed, sitting back as well.
The lights in the lobby slowly faded away. Some, curious about the effect during the day, looked around.
All the windows were being locked and sealed as well as the exits, and the dome in the top of the area disappeared over a metallic cover.
- Ladies and gentleman! May I have your attention please?
A pair of Pachirisu in the center of the arena launched a few sparks, giving some light to the lobby.
Then suddenly, the sparks became large thunders, revealing two Togekiss crossing the air while releasing radiant silver dust around the crowd, flying through it and flapping their wings to create a beautiful Silver Wind, contributing for the crowd’s awe as they watched the thundering force combine with the hoary breeze.
- Thank you for appreciating our show! – The announcer said as soon as the spotlight moved over to him. – In the Royal Family’s stead, we of the S.S. Quest staff welcome you, trainers for your bravery in accepting this challenge! As you know, the elections in Orthan have ended! The new king has been selected, but I will not reveal his name, for neither I nor anybody aboard – perhaps, not even in Orthan – know the face of the true king. But we will know one face! The face of the winner of the S.S. Quest tournament, titled Pré-Cup! You will, as you know, battle with three Pokémon at hand, and will not be allowed to switch out! You will be allowed to forfeit the match at anytime, however.
A new spotlight appeared, pointing to a higher balcony in the lobby, one barely anybody had noticed, where two persons sat, to gaze down at the battles. They were both somewhat old men, although one was wearing glasses – more like goggles, with thick, gray lenses that seemed to not even let the own man look through them. The other one had a rather relaxed look, wearing informal clothes, almost as if he had just returned from a trip to the beach. His face seemed immaculate, and not even a trace of age seemed to have gone by the man, despite being a little fat, unlike the man who stood at his right, who looked thin and tall. The latest wore a bluish tuxedo, unlike the regular black color. His face looked consumed, just like the blue hair, completely combed to the back of his head, was missing from his forehead.
- Those, ladies and gentleman, are our hosts! Rhyan, to the left! The owner of the luxury liner S.S. Quest! – The announcer pointed at the chubby guy, who happily got up and waved at the applauding crowds. – And to the right, the president of the Orthanian Mega League! Welcome Mr. Eldes Verich!
As Rhyan sat back, he could see that Mr. Eldes didn’t stand up like him, and instead just smirked and waved with his left, skinny hand.
- Come on, it’s a party day! Get up and show’em your spine to rule the Mega League! – The ship’s owner tried, but Mr. Eldes simply stopped waving, the smirk never leaving his face.
His hands now grabbed the seat’s arms, respectfully coughing before talking.
- I do not think “rule” is the appropriate word, my fellow Rhyan. – Mr. Eldes’s voice was husky and cold, and the large glasses only added to Mr. Eldes’s gloomy aspect as he got up.
- Making a speech, huh…? – Rhyan mumbled, preparing to hear the older man’s words.
- I am afraid I cannot see any of you. – Mr. Eldes said, loud and clear, through the microphone. – Indeed, the sad truth is that I am blind. Thus the use of these horrible glasses. But that is not what brought me here. I am here today to witness the rise of a prechampion. Adequate to the name of the cup, the trainer who shows himself winner will have its training ready. Consider this Pré-Cup your first challenge in the Orthan Mega League, the first challenge you must take as seriously as the second, the third, and the last. Whichever is the path you choose, you will be forced to travel to far and away… Orthan is not a small kingdom, I’m afraid. Those among you who consider themselves unable to go forth… may leave the day we arrive. They will not be grudged. It is comprehensible. Not always is Men ready to face his challenges. As I said, I cannot see you. However, I can hear you perfectly, and I can tell apart the trainers who shall sweat to conquer their goals… and those who have everything planned, and are ready to face anything that might cross their way. To any of these… I wish good luck.
Mr. Eldes raised his arms and looked up, as if he knew where the dome was located previously.
- LET THE PRÉ-CUP TOURNAMENT BEGIN! – He roared in a mighty voice, causing euphoria amongst the trainers; no, amongst the entire crowd!
- Trainer Drew from the respectable city of LaRousse stands by my side! – The announcer took Mr. Eldes’s place, announcing the first trainer. – Your challenger will be… Lorelei! Of the powerful Elite Four of Kanto!
Indeed, the woman descended from the crowd to the stage, the three Pokéballs hanging from her belt, according to the rules.
The trainers’ three Pokémon appeared in the two large screens over each side of the crowd, showing the trainer’s photograph and a picture of the teams. Drew’s team showed a Roserade, a Flygon and an Absol, while Lorelei’s team showed a Slowbro, a Lapras and a Dewgong.
- What?! They show the teams over there?! That ain’t fair! – Barry immediately protested, as he tried to hide his team from Ash until their fight began.
- Calm down, it’s not that serious!
- Look who’s talking… - The trainer replied to Dawn, crossing his arms.
When the two looked again, the announcer had already left the arena. Right now, he was mixed with a crowd of respectable people, sitting in a table of his own, with a pair of microphones and another commenter.
- Tsc. Predictable. – Drew commented, referring to Lorelei’s team.
- You’ve just got part of the advantage, hon. The rest’s with me!
- Assume positions! – The referee declared. Drew and Lorelei made a few steps forward, readying their first Pokéball. – Release your Pokémon!
- Go, Roserade! – Drew called his Pokémon, throwing the Pokéball to reveal the Bouquet Pokémon, Roserade, performing a quick spin as an intro.
- Slowbro! You’re first! – Lorelei threw her own Pokéball, releasing the Hermit Crab Pokémon to fight. It didn’t move, and simply stared blankly into Roserade’s defying eyes; they shared this trait with Drew’s.
- The first trainer to choose its move is Lorelei! Le the battle begin! – A gong was loudly heard in the lobby, and Lorelei made her first choice.
- Calm Mind, Slowbro!
- Hah! You’re standing still? Even better! Use Mega Drain on the Slowbro, Roserade! – Drew imposingly commanded, and the Roserade, heeding the order, joined its bouquets, preparing a powerful force that could be felt emanating from the bunch of petals, just before firing a glowing green beam at Slowbro, draining its energy from its body.
- Drew made the first real move of the battle, and made the exact right choice! Mega Drain seems to be affecting Slowbro!
- No, it doesn’t. – Gary lazily commented to those near him. – Those Pokémon take a lot of time to feel pain, so how can the guy even tell?
In fact, Slowbro didn’t even move, and the same vacant stare didn’t leave his eyes even while Roserade was attacking it. Lorelei grinned, enjoying the rough start.
- Now use Psychic! – The Elite Four pointed at the Roserade with confidence, and surprisingly, Slowbro moved, creating such a powerful energy around him it distorted even space, speedily launching the psychic blast at the Bouquet Pokémon.
- Roserade! – Drew cried as his Pokémon was submitted to an intense power, so great it threw the Pokémon to its “knees”, let alone bear the rest of the body.
- Lorelei wasted a move to up Slowbro’s power… that must be why it’s having such a strong effect on Roserade… - Brock commented to himself.
- So that’s what Calm Mind does… - Said the trainer by him, previously unable to understand what such an odd named move would do.
- Not just that, Ash. Slowbro’s also more resistant to any strike from Roserade. That’s probably why it hung on like that when Drew used Mega Drain.
- Finish him off with Ice Beam, Slowbro!
Just after a short grunt was heard, Slowbro was seen join his hands, still wielding his empty, mouth-open look, forming a chilly breeze around them before strongly clapping them to release an icy beam that trespassed the grass Pokémon’s body, freezing it upon contact.
- Bull’s-eye! – Lorelei coldly taunted, clenching her fist, much to Drew’s disgust.
Roserade stood immobile, still capsule inside a frosted container.
The referee still waited. He didn’t say anything, only waited to see if the Pokémon would break the ice and move.
Only two words echoed in Drew’s mind…
- Tsc. What a weakling. That guy’s gonna be swiped outta there in no time. – Gary dryly commented.
“He’s being more a referee than the referee himself.” Misty thought, frowning at Ash’s rival. “He really hasn’t changed even the least.”
At last, something changed in the battle.
Unfortunately, it was for Lorelei’s side.
The referee coughed and announced in the microphone:
- Pitiably, Roserade is unable to battle. Slowbro is the winner of the first round.
- That’s right, hon. You might as well give up now. – Lorelei teased again, crossing her arms and raising her head to seem mightier than Drew, watching him through her glasses.
But the young trainer wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
- Not so fast. – He called Roserade back while throwing a new Pokéball. – Absol! Let’s turn the tide of the battle!
The cry of war was the crowd’s source of excitement, with a large number of people supporting Drew and his Absol.
- Whatever you say, babe! You’re not taking the best of me! – Lorelei added, albeit being aware of her type disadvantage.
- We’ll see about that! Absol, use Night Slash!
- Sol! – It growled, promptly concentrating energy.
The Pokémon’s front paws immediately shone in a bright white color, just as it darted toward Slowbro and jumped, commencing a long session of various strikes, eventually making the slashes look more like a big flash between the two Pokémon.
- That won’t leave a scratch! Use Brick Break, Slowbro!
- What?! – Ash, Gary, Brock and Drew could be heard shouting in unison when the Slowbro actually pulled an arm back and fiercely punched the Absol in its stomach, flinging it across the stage while rolling in the irregular terrain.
- That’s it! Now use Focus Blast!
A sphere grew between Slowbro’s hands, quickly being shot at the Absol to deal massive damage that knocked the Disaster Pokémon unconscious with a single strike.
- My, the battle isn’t good for the “green” corner! Absol is unable to battle! – The judge made its decision, and another square went black in Drew’s team on the screen. – Slowbro is once again the winner!
Drew’s face seemed like it couldn’t get any more terrified; his last Pokémon was Flygon. He had been beaten up ‘till now, with no chance of even striking back!
- Drew. – The referee spoke honestly. – Do you wish to forfeit the match?
- He’s in a tough situation… Drew’s Pokémon is in a clear disadvantage against Slowbro.
- Drew… - May quietly cried, somewhat concerned.
- Give it up! You’ll be wasting your time! – Gary suddenly screamed behind the group.
Although Ash wanted to tell Drew to not give up and go on, he knew as well as everyone in the crowd – and reluctantly, Gary – that Flygon was no match to Slowbro’s power.
Drew gave one last look at his Pokéball; a desperate look, nonetheless. Even Lorelei seemed touched by the trainer act, judging from the way she was standing, her eyes no longer challenging but soft and caring.
- Listen, Drew. – Her voice wasn’t cold and harsh anymore. – Do not go on. Flygon will be battling for a lost cause. I am not trying t make myself win through bluffing, but you’ve seen it as well as I do.
But he didn’t want anyone’s mercy! He wanted to go on and fight, but…
It was final.
- I… I forfeit the match.
A unison gasp was heard throughout the audience. For a moment… everything seemed to have a solution. But then, it had been bad luck.
Drew put the last Pokéball away after calling Absol back. He turned and walked away without breathing a word.
- Whatever. – He mumbled only to himself, starting to run from the arena to disappear into an unsealed passageway to the ship’s halls.
The guards were about to move, but the referee spoke.
- It is unfortunate, my friends… “A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.” Drew has chosen to resign… – He simply said. – This battle belongs to Lorelei. She is the winner of the first round’s first battle.
The Elite Four wasn’t expecting applauses; maybe before the battle, she was. But now, all she wanted was to call Slowbro back and go back to her seat.
She did, and she became silent like stone, in her place, meditating. Nobody spoke with her either.
- Drew… - May repeated again, running after the trainer.
Her way was blocked by the guards, though, who pushed her back to the lobby.
- You must keep inside the lobby until orders stating otherwise. – May wasn’t really listening; she was actually watching as Drew walked away in the hall, disappearing into the elevator, and how she was helpless to do anything. – We’re sorry. But these are official orders.
- Quite the battle, huh, Mr. Eldes? – Rhyan asked, actually amused at how the battle turned out.
- He is weak, Mr. Rhyan. His heart does not understand it, but he failed to conquer it. Training is not based upon one’s heart, but upon one’s ability to battle. – The Verich said, cold and serious. – He does not qualify for the League…
- Come on, give the kid a chance. I bet he’s gonna get a lot better in Orthan.
- People don’t change like that, Mr. Rhyan. – His voice suddenly got higher. – But this is only the beginning. There are more battles I wish to see before reaching a conclusion.
Rhyan’s eyes were locked in Verich’s triumphant grin.
A smirk that seemed to fear nothing… not even death itself. His blindness seemed like a simple obstacle to overcome.
Mr. Eldes suddenly turned his head at Rhyan, still wielding that expression, which was actually a scary thought that led Rhyan to jump in fright.
- Gah! Don’t stare at me like that! – He jolted, retreating in the chair.
It had been as if he had been cornered there with a vampire. It wasn’t respect, it was real fear he was feeling now.
- And now… the second battle for today! Please greet Gary from the peaceful Pallet Town and Ein from the Gateon Port in Orre! – The referee announced, and the spotlight moved to two distinct places in the audience, far from each other.
- Hah! I’m gonna show these guys how you really battle! – Gary victoriously chanted, jumping over the gang and landing on the stage. His team appeared on the screen: Electivire, Umbreon and Blastoise, just below Gary’s Trainer Card picture.
Ein, on the other hand, didn’t speak, and calmly came from his seat to stand on the other side of the arena. He was wearing an odd variation of a scientist’s outfit, almost like a complete tunic with various blue stripes, in a gray tone, wearing small sunglasses with orange lenses. However, what Gary found most nerve-racking about that guy was the fact that a thin yet long part of his hair curiously rose in the air, balancing forward instead of simply falling down on his face, and that his left hand never left his chin, as if he were always intrigued by what he was seeing.
- Ein, huh? – Gary mocked, taking the first Pokéball from his bag. – Who cares! You’re gonna get the beating of your life!
The man, however, simply laughed.
- You talk too much, I’m afraid. – He said, showing his teeth in a wide, mischievous grin. – But that matters not. For I have the team to defeat you with ease.
Ein then pointed at the screen, showing his team’s order in comparison to Gary’s. The scenery harshly struck Ash’s rival:
The “scientist” was using a Rhyperior, a Lucario and a Manectric, and the three types were equal super effective matches against his own Pokémon.
- Wow, that guy guessed Gary’s team out of nowhere!
- He’s gotta be pretty good to know all that stuff about people! – Dawn added to Ash’s exclamation.
- Maybe he was watching Gary. – Hypothesized Brock, assuming the exact position Ein had.
Gary was in a tight situation. He knew it, but he knew many other things: he hadn’t come so far by relying on luck.
“He can’t switch during the battle… but I can. This’ll be piece of cake.” He confidently thought, proceeding forward when the referee gave the order.
- Release your Pokémon!
- Let’s make it electrifying, Electivire! – Gary threw the Pokéball and the Thunderbolt Pokémon was released, showing its readiness by clenching and smack its fists into each other.
Ein, though, didn’t say anything. He disdainfully threw his Pokéball, releasing Rhyperior into the field. The Pokémon was just as passive, and it simply stared into Electivire’s eyes, its horn rotating as a sign of being prepared.
Ein’s inertia was leaving Gary nervous, though. He didn’t seem like a trainer, he seemed more like a statue that was placed there on purpose just to study him.
- Let the battle begin!
- I’m done waiting! Use Iron Tail on Rhyperior! – Gary immediately commanded, and the Pokémon’s tail glowed in a silver light before jumping at the Drill Pokémon and attempting the tail strike.
And despite not being commanded, Rhyperior was able to grab the tail with its powerful hand, stopping the attack just before it was able to hit.
But Gary wasn’t going to give up easily, and a triumphant smirk came to his face.
- Use your other tail, Electivire!
It was a morbid pleasure to enjoy Ein’s horror struck face when Electivire spun on its first tail to throw a mighty Iron Tail at Rhyperior, hurling it away from the Thunderbolt Pokémon after being unable to grab it.
- Wow, amazing job! – Ash commended, starting to enjoy the battle. Could it be because it was his rival fighting?
- You will not surpass my knowledge! Rhyperior! Use Earthquake!
- Use Protect! – Gary ordered right after the Drill Pokémon did a quick leap in the air and threw two powerful punches in the ground, sending power waves crawling through the ground until they reached and exploded into Electivire.
However, there was no dense cloud of detritus to block their sight: Electivire was indeed protecting itself inside a greenish sphere, fending off the attack and nullifying its effects.
- Now go and use Iron Tail! Don’t stop!
Letting the protection dissipate around his body, the Thunderbolt Pokémon made use of its speed and dashed towards Rhyperior with two glittering tails. The Drill Pokémon did try to protect against them, but the harsh hits kept coming, no matter where it put its long, resistant arms; and as a final hit, Electivire did a quick spin to pitch the Pokémon across the stage, nearly unable to battle.
Ein could barely believe what was happening: he was losing to an Electric Pokémon while using a ROCK and GROUND POKÉMON?!
- NEVER! – Rage was visible in the scientist’s face; its shades fell from his head when it shook it in wrath. - DESTROY that annoying beast with ROCK WRECKER!!!
As if sharing its rage, the Rhyperior’s eyes shone in a deep purple color, and out of nowhere, the Drill Pokémon pulled out a huge boulder, holding it firmly in its hands before launching it at full force into Electivire’s massive body.
Gary gasped in surprise and horror, much like most of the crowd, once the enormous rock hit the Thunderbolt Pokémon, and consequently tossed it backwards along with it, flying towards a wall where Electivire was smashed between the barrier and the boulder.
It eventually crashed in the ground, and Electivire was able to come out of the slim space, with one disastrous consequence: he fell directly on the ground, unable to move.
Gary looked at the screen in panic. One of the squares in his team was no longer lit.
He had lost the first Pokémon. He didn’t have many choices left.
With one Pokéball, he called Electivire back.
With another one, he threw it to the arena, the flashing explosion blinding many in the crowd.
But he knew one thing: he would fight.
“Giving up… that’s for pansies like that Drew guy! True trainers like me fight to the end!”
- Go, Umbreon! – He announced, setting his second Pokémon free.
Ein was rather curious about the sudden change of strategy, but he said nothing.
- What’s his plan…? – Ash asked to himself instead.
- Why didn’t he use Blastoise? He’d clearly have a type advantage against it. – Misty added to the intrigue.
- He wants to knock Rhyperior out first with Umbreon… but then he’ll have to face Manectric with Blastoise in case Umbreon faints… and he’s still got Lucario on the way.
- Maybe… but isn’t his strategy filled with flaws? I mean, he can’t do it right all at once… right? – Ash didn’t know if he made sense to himself either.
- We’ll just have to wait and see…
Brock’s watch was turned to the defiant look Gary had in comparison with Ein’s relaxed expression. There had to be a trick behind it…
Drew is out of the PréCup… however, Gary is in a tight spot, and has little options to win the battle… Will his strategy overwhelm Ein’s psyche? The battle must go on to know…
To be continued…
Maxwell C. Smith belongs to user Kcx
Shadix Arua belongs to user Salimus
David Lawride belongs to me.
Geais belongs to user darkbahamutneo.
Any other characters belong to the creators of the anime and whatsoever. In any case, I don’t own them.
Additionally, Mr. Eldes Verich and Ein are not of my creation. You might know who they are with a little research, but that’d be spoiling it, right?
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
They Pinch back
After being defeated by Lorelei in the first battle, Drew sought to forfeit the match, running away immediately after.
Gary is now in a predicament against an ill-tempered scientist, Ein, with his Electivire knocked out. How will the battle develop?
- Use Dark Pulse, Umbreon!
The Pokémon’s shady voice echoed across the arena to form a dark energy field around it, and its rings shone within the darkness before releasing a powerful purplish wave, dragging everything with its power until it reached and shoved the Rhyperior to the ground, still recharging from the last move that left Electivire down.
- Wow! Look at the size of that Dark Pulse! - Ash gasped at the power that the move packed; it had to be very powerful to throw such a big Pokémon down.
- Gary must’ve trained that Umbreon really well!
- Don’t stop! Use Psychic to finish him off! – Gary ordered yet again, not willing to lose that fight at any cost.
The ring marks over Umbreon’s body glittered again in a golden color before releasing such a fierce power at Rhyperior, it distorted even the space it crossed to cause an explosion where the Drill Pokémon stood, throwing debris into the air.
Ein didn’t react. He was strangely calm; he had a strategist look upon him, even when he called his Pokémon back without saying a word.
- Clean shot! He swiped Rhyperior out in no time!
- If he keeps like that, he’ll beat Ein in no time!
- Ein’s Rhyperior is unable to battle! Gary is the winner of the second round! – The referee declared, blanking another square in the team screen.
Gary’s look got even more confident after the declaration. He felt like there was a chance now.
The scientist said nothing once more when he threw a Pokéball into the air, releasing a Lucario. Just like the Rhyperior, its eyes seemed to be covered by a lavender cloud, swirling around its glowing yellow iris. The bluish flame that usually took its place around the hands was no longer blue; instead, they became shrouded in a deep black fog, appearing even more threatening than it seemed before.
Gary was curious about the physiology and aspects the Lucario had. It was also overly tall, more than any Lucario he’d seen before.
But he wouldn’t let himself be intimidated by the appearance. While Umbreon and Blastoise were still by his side, he knew he could have a granted victory.
- Use Dig, Umbreon! – Gary commanded at the Pokémon, who instantly dug its way underground, disappearing from the crowd’s sight.
However, not from the Lucario’s.
- Use your Aura… find that black thing and kill it off.
Ein’s terms were starting to get into Gary‘s nerves. He treated his team like machines, and the other teams as dispensable beings.
His concentration was broken when Lucario’s eyes shimmered for a second, leaving Ein with a devilish smile.
- Use Aura Sphere. – The scientist dryly ordered.
- Use Psychic and get outta there!
The urgency Gary had called Umbreon with wasn’t pointless; the sphere that grew between the Lucario’s hands was like a black hole, sucking even the light into its core, where it was simply vaporized into dark energy.
An explosion erupted beneath the Lucario’s feet, but that didn’t stop him, and not even the psychic move’s power was enough to stop the orb from growing. Even the dust from the ground was now swirling inside it, which made clear for the Pokémon to see where Umbreon had jump off to after blowing away the tunnel dug to strike Lucario with.
It didn’t hesitate: still airborne, Lucario immediately shot the powerful move at the foe with such power; it even caused the Pokémon to be launched backwards in the air, about the same power it hit and even seemed to annihilate Umbreon with, which left Gary speechless about the Pokémon’s performance, much like the awestruck crowd watching as the sphere dug deep into Umbreon’s body to propel it far from its place.
Umbreon was obviously unable to move, and anybody in the audience could’ve felt the pain it would have been for the Pokémon to be hit with such an enormous power.
The impact caused a crater in the wall behind Gary, who stood immobile even when the Pokémon went flying past him.
Ash’s eyes stopped in the referee. The bald man, garbed in a nifty tuxedo with a Pokéball pattern, looked at the Umbreon with an afflicted look. It wasn’t a situation where he had much of a choice declaring victory or defeat. A drop of sweat crossed his forehead, landing on the piece of paper where many trainers were registered in a wide table.
Gary didn’t wait for the man’s decision, calling Umbreon back into the spherical object.
The square with Umbreon’s profile also faded away, leaving only Blastoise in the team.
- U…Umbreon is unable to move. – The judge finally announced, though stammering. – Ein is the winner.
Some in the crowd whistled in celebration for the victory, clapping loudly to cover the gloomy atmosphere that had suddenly crept from the spectators.
- It’s your turn to decide, Gary. – Ein finally spoke. But unlike Lorelei, Ein didn’t use a comforting tone; it was obvious in his voice that he wanted Gary to quit, even the lousy smile in his face told the same story.
And Gary was falling for it. Manectric was the last choice Ein had, and if he managed to defeat Lucario, the Pokémon would probably be just as overpowered.
…it was time to get back to old times.
His hand threw the Pokébal in the air and let it spin before grabbing it again.
- I’m no quitter.
Ein narrowed his eyes at the confidence Gary had pronounced his last word.
- Then I guess I will have to throw you down just like I did with your two previous Pokémon.
The trainer snickered and released Blastoise, putting the two Pokéballs away.
- Fight! – The secondary referee announced, raising both flags.
- Use Hydro Pump, Blastoise!
- Detect. – Ein automatically replied to the order.
The two pumps took no time to appear on the shell’s surface and even lesser time to power up and fire a long jet of water flying towards Lucario.
For a moment, the Pokémon’s eyes glittered, and all of its body became enveloped in a black light that completely consumed all of its color to turn it into something like a two-dimensional figure, of which its depth was not clear.
The purpose of this became immediately clear: the jet of water simply dissipated into nothing after touching Lucario, much to Gary’s surprise. The fact that left his heart racing was that Ein didn’t even think when he issued the move; as if it were picked randomly… or in a remote chance, Ein knew what Gary thought.
- Earthquake, Blastoise!
The stage’s safety barriers immediately rose and limited the move’s reach to the field only, just in time for the Shellfish Pokémon to jump and heavily fall on the stage again to cause a shock wave sent crawling beneath the ground to cause cracks in its way, propelling jets of dust in the air.
- Stop the Earthquake with Aura Sphere again.
Lucario joined his hands in front of himself and swiftly readied a sphere, firing it at the ground to blow apart much of the battlefield’s soil, stopping the shockwave just in time to avoid the hit, which exploded in the air.
What was left of the chunks of rock that made the arena rained over Lucario in a filthy cloud of dust, creating an eerie scenario when the Pokémon’s eyes glittered enigmatically in a golden color, leaving an atmosphere of suspense over Gary and Blastoise.
And just before Gary could blink, an overwhelmingly large sphere crossed the stage and hit Blastoise directly, sending it hovering past Gary just like Umbreon had. A pointy object, like an arrow about the size of a hand flew by, painfully craving itself into the Trainer’s left arm. Gary cried out in pain, automatically grabbing the item. The pain he felt in the arm didn’t allow him to pull it out just yet, even if his right hand’s palm was already covered in a dark-red liquid.
Taking the hand off it, Gary noticed what the object was: a shard from Blastoise’s shell, sharp like a spear, though covered in blood.
- The battle is over! Ein is the winner of the second battle! – The referee declared when the third square in the screen finally faded away, as well as Gary’s profile picture.
Ein gave a short laugh and called Lucario back, silently walking out of the arena.
David took a quick glance at the scientist. His face showed a mischievous grin, and part of it was covered by a shadow, giving him an even darker, suspicious look. He suddenly lost of him in the crowd that was starting to get up. Distracted, David hadn’t heard that the referee had declared a short break before the next battle so people could “get some fresh air”.
Gary still hadn’t moved much from his position. The white robe’s sleeve was slightly soaped in a crimson color, but he had yet to pull the shard from it.
Most of the people simply went away, ignoring the trainer’s complaints, assuming it was only a case of a bad loser.
Blastoise was still unconscious against the wall, but Gary knew the Pokémon hadn’t suffered too many injuries, except or the impact of the Aura Sphere. He also knew the shell had protected the Pokémon because of the same shard tightly stuck in his arm.
- Someone help me here! – He finally shouted, grabbing the spire.
Most of the people had already left, though. There were but a select few in the audience, but he recognized one by the color of the hat he wore.
- Ash! Help me here! – He staggered towards the sidelines, dragging the latent arm at cost.
- Gary! Nice battle there! – The trainer answered, jumping down the rows of seats with Misty and Brock by his side. – But why are you covering your arm?
Gary reluctantly removed the hand from the shard for a moment but immediately grasped it again. The short glimpse of the wound left Misty nauseous.
- He’s bleeding, Ash! – She immediately stated, grabbing the younger trainer’s collar and shoving him away. – Get somebody, quick!
Ash gravely nodded and started to run off, followed by Pikachu, who had gone much further ahead.
- Let me see that…
Brock grabbed the arm very carefully and took Gary’s hand away from it. Though covered in fluid, he could see that the spire had dug deeply in the skin, possibly affecting a tendon inside the limb. But he was no doctor, so he silently watched over the injury with a serious look, pretending to be healing it with his eyes.
“I hope I’m wrong…” He thought, analyzing the sprite from up to the incision. “If he did… he might not use this arm.”
- I found someone! – Ash’s voice was heard calling, and once the three raised their heads, the young boy could be seen running back to them with a small team of what appeared to be doctors. – He’s there. – He added one last time, stopping to take a break from all the running.
Brock slowly let the arm in a man with large, round spectacles, a red emblem imprinted in a pocket of the suit.
- …This looks bad, kid. Looks like you’ve got some serious trouble with this arm. – The doctored man made a swift move with his hands and two other men joined him. – We’ll take you to the restroom so we can get a closer look at that. Call your Blastoise back.
With what strength Gary had left in his other arm, he called the creature back into the spherical object, placing it back in the belt.
- Come on, kid. – The previous man called, escorting him away.
- Wait! Ash! – Gary forced the doctor to let him go and carefully turned around. – If you’re gonna fight that guy… Watch it. He’s a real maniac. I saw it in his eyes, he’s obsessed in winning. – Gary’s eyes narrowed. – A senseless, emotionless trainer.
- I wasn’t expecting something like this… We’ll need something for a regional anesthesia. – The apparent leader instructed, walking away with Gary and the other doctors.
- We’ll see what we can find, sir.
- He’ll be operated… - Misty gasped very low, turning away.
- Don’t worry, it’s not that serious. Something around it and he’ll be as good as new. – Brock comforted, placing his arm around her and making his way to the hallways.
- I hope so… Thanks for the advice…
Ash lowered his hat and followed his friends, leaving behind the empty arena. The seats were completely empty, and not even the judge was at his sitting place anymore.
May found Drew in the ship’s farthest edge, leaned over the safety barriers. He had his head lowered; sadly gazing at the fast waters below… the copper layer from last night had vanished into a clear blue veil, startled by the ship’s turbines.
The coordinator took a cautious approach, slowly leaning over the grates to share the waters that went by, faster than ever.
- I… I lost. To her. H-How…?
- She’s an Elite Four, Drew. It wouldn’t be easy anyway. – May soothingly replied, placing a hand on his back.
- Still… She took me down with only one Pokémon. She didn’t even blink when she beat me… And then I had to give up on it. Dang! I’m so stupid…! – Drew punched the iron rods that made the fence, shutting his eyes as much as he could.
- You did what was right. You were compassionate. If you had gone ahead, it would have been worse. You spared your Pokémon from a lost battle. That’s exactly what a coordinator would do.
For a moment, Drew felt her close, landing a warm kiss on his cheek.
- Come on, the third battle’s about to start. – May got up and moved, but quickly noticed Drew wasn’t following her. She knew how he felt, but seeing him like that grieved her. – Just forget that battle. This is the Pré-Cup, remember? It doesn’t count for your collection of Emblems.
- I guess… - He sighed, getting up as well. – I guess you’re right. Go ahead without me… I’ll join you shortly.
- Got it! – May happily nodded before running back inside the ship.
Drew raised his head, gazing lazily at the seagulls passing near the ship, letting his hair dance in the wind’s flavor.
May had helped him recover from a loss he thought to be shameful… but she was right. Losing against an Elite Four… he could bear with it. For now, at least. This was the Pré-Cup, and nothing out of what happened back there would even count in his progress through the Orthan kingdom.
Better, it did count: it made him ever confident about the need of practicing and training before aiming as high as beating the Pokémon League of a foreign region.
Such thoughts left a confident gaze embossed in his face. There wasn’t much to do now but watch Lorelei’s performance in her second battle. It was a spectacle he wouldn’t afford losing, much like he wouldn’t be able to handle her defeat.
At most, in his mind, there could only be a SINGLE trainer two steps above him.
With that in mind, he discreetly snickered, assuming his cool attitude, the same he had before the battle happened. With hands in his pockets, the arena was his next destination.
- Confidence, Ash! That’s the key to victory! – Misty advised in a supporting voice, patting him in the back.
The next battle was his; the referee himself had declared that when both met in the hallways. In the five minutes prior to the beginning of the call, Ash had been alone with his selected team in their cabin, focusing on the battle only.
But apparently, Barry was roundly wrong about Ash’s match being against him, because that same hyperactive boy was sharing his hyperactivity with the staff between shouts of indignation.
It wasn’t embarrassing, it went over that to become funny and relaxing for the trainer whose battle approached.
Full house again: all of the seats were taken, but no sight of Gary anywhere, nor of the mysterious scientist. Misty and Brock had a permission to stand inside the arena, outside the tiers, but they would have to stay quiet under the penalty of invalidating Ash’s battle.
So they sat quietly in their own bench, watching as the lights started to fade after the referee came in and sat down, removing his high hat.
- The third battle of the Pré-Cup tournament is about to begin! I must unfortunately communicate that Gary Oak, who previously fought in the last battle, was gravely injured in his left arm and is now attending medical cares. I am certain all of us wish his fast and efficient recovery. – The judge stopped for a moment and sighed. – But it is time to move forward! Lorelei proclaimed herself winner of the first battle, and Ein has taken the place of winner in the second! We will now witness another promising battle! I call Ash Ketchum to the stage!
- It’s time, Pikachu. We’re gonna make it now! – Ash reassured, closing his fist.
- Pi-ka! – The Pokémon mimicked the trainer and release a few sparks, jumping to the ground.
- Then let’s do it!
A trainer in black clothes was seen entering the arena, followed by a yellow spotlight from the hallway to the position in the stage, where a Pikachu stood already.
In the screen many meter above them, three squares became filled with pictures, and a bigger square showed Ash’s picture, with Barry idiotically placed behind him in the distance. Below Ash’s disastrous picture, though, the crowd saw a Grotle, a Staraptor, and a Pikachu filling in the squares, respectively.
The other trainer’s profile remained empty, though. And the judge was hesitating over something while scrolling through the paper with his eyes.
Until another boy was spotted walking into the arena, his clothing fairly similar to Ash’s, except in a red and white version.
- And… er… Maxwell C. Smith!
Dawn nearly fell back. At last, the crowd saw Max’s face: silk black hair falling down to a pale face, apparently bothered face with light blue eyes narrowed into tiny, glittering shells in the bottom of the sea.
His list of Pokémon threw Ash to the ground like the Rhyperior had done before. A Typhlosion seemed to be the first kill in the entire team, followed by a Dusknoir and ultimately, a Tyranitar whose eyes seemed to penetrate into Ash’s mind.
A chill crossed his spine up to his head, but it wasn’t time to think about the consequences now. And Grotle had to be sent out with no alternative.
- Trainers! Assume your positions! – A sideline referee ordered, raising the flags. The two gave a step forward, but did not talk. – Release your Pokémon!
- Show that Typhlosion who’s the boss here, Grotle! – Ash taunted while throwing the Grass Pokémon’s Pokéball, which opened itself automatically at a certain length from the trainer to reveal the Grove Pokémon to the field.
Max, on the other hand, released “Flame” without a word, much like Ein had done.
This attitude rised Ash’s first doubt about the trainer. What if he was another maniac like that Ein person was shown to be for Gary?
But Ash wouldn’t commit to defeat just yet: the battle hadn’t started, and his chances were balanced.
- Use Fire Blast! – Max almost yelled in unison with the referee, and before the flags were lowered, the fire move was already striking Grotle hardly. The crowd gasped in amaze before the speed with which Max and Flame thought.
And Ash’s speed of thought wasn’t very satisfying in contrast. Grotle was nearly put aflame, and the young trainer’s mind was too confused to start processing the move.
- Use… huh… Use…!
- As-…! – Misty shouted, but before she could say the last part, she was blocked by Brock’s hand.
- You’ll get him disqualified if you do that!
Misty could see that Brock was meaning it. Still, she couldn’t avoid but think about how hard it was being for Ash to decide what to do. The type matchup hadn’t started well for him.
And while the two thought it over, Grotle had made his own move: a spontaneous Rollout to attempt dousing the flames.
- Use Fire Punch to stop it! – Max commanded with a cold, imposing voice. However, it didn’t demonstrate hatred; it demonstrated a rare sense of leadership over Typhlosion.
And indeed, Flame, as he affectionately called it, speedily prepared a blazing fist which dug into the Grotle’s shell. However, the Grove Pokémon wasn’t that weak, and it dragged Thyplosion for quite some distance before it ultimately stopped and was thrown back by a second punch, flailing aimlessly in the air with occasional, painful crashes n the ground.
- And now let’s finish it with Flame Spin!
A ring of fire surrounded Typhlosion, controlled by its mighty roars of power, gradually expanding itself while rising in the air.
Eventually, the ring of fire became a true wall of flames, abruptly sent flying at Grotle; Ash closed his eyes, this was as far as he could tolerate any of this.
Surprisingly, though, the fire did not reach for Grotle, but instead surrounded it in tall, mercilessly flaring wave.
To Ash’s added surprise, Typhlosion walked inside the ring, its fists burning in flames again. Rubbing its hands, small cinders flew from it, igniting the ground in fire. Grotle started to recoil, watching as Flame towered over it, as if it were ready to snap in punches at any moment.
Instead, its eye started to glow with an intimidating red flame that seemed to set fire to everything its look rested upon.
The opportunity Ash sought for had come: he couldn’t let it go.
- Use Body Slam on Typhlosion!
Despite having a colorful effect, Grotle’s fright vanished at his trainer’s command.
It had been just like Misty had said: confidence was the key.
Stepping back some more in swift steps, Grotle charged against Flame and shoved the Pokémon to the ground, readying yet another Body Slam without Ash’s command.
- Keep going, Grotle! You can do this! – Ash spoke from outside the flames, which started to shrivel with so much movement inside the ring.
With the confirmation from his trainer, Grotle slammed as hard as he could on Flame, throwing it out of the ring.
Ash’s watch crossed the stage and stopped in Max’s eyes. That confident look… it was over him ever since the Typhlosion started to deliver the powerful moves. Why stop now?
- Finish that Typhlosion with another Body Slam! Get him out of the stage! – As much as he wanted to yell out for Max to tell him what the hell just happened, the victory depended on this.
- Use Fire Punch! – Max suddenly woke and Flame suddenly got up, and in the same motion of events, the two took a swift punch; although Flame’s punch flung Grotle into the ring again, trapping it once more.
The Typhlosion walked inside it as well, and the flames on his back were growing bigger, even above the Pokémon’s head, and far behind him.
- Use Eruption!
- Gah?! Eruption?!
- PHLOSHUN! – Flame fiercely roared and its back’s fire ring exploded in a powerful blast of energy that seemed to have the ability to instantly annihilate anything in its path, including the Grotle, which was so close to the Pokémon.
Ash covered his eyes to avoid staring directly into the light, much like most people in the crowd did.
High above, Rhyan leaned over the chair to take cover, while Mr. Eldes stood in place, gazing into the sphere of fire.
- That is a powerful trainer down there… Would you be kind enough to gather all of the data about him? – Mr. Eldes’s quiet voice startlingly stood out in the middle of the cries.
- Who?! Ash?!
- No… I have no use for him. I am referring to Maxwell.
- Ah, Max! – Rhyan yelled, getting back to his place. – He’s the son of a Gym Leader somewhere in Johto, I think!
Mr. Eldes’s grin grew wider.
Between the cries and screams, Ash heard his Pokémon’s pain in the middle of the fiery storm. He knew it was painful, but there wasn’t much he could do.
A crystalline drop of water fell across his face, humidifying the sleeve. And like a rainstorm, many others followed down…
That bright light between his arms… who ever said brightness was good? Or darkness, evil?
It was starting to cease, nonetheless, it was starting to fade away into a simple flare.
Before long, the crowd saw that Flame was still grabbing Grotle, and had forced the Pokémon to withstand the entire brutality that had been the Eruption move.
The Typhlosion growled and stepped back, leaving the Grotle on the ground, knocked unconscious.
The referee raised the right flag and lowered the left flag.
- Max is the winner of the first round! – The judge announced, lowering both flags again.
- There is no use in crying. Ash, it’s your name, right? – Max’s voice finally spoke. – Crying is a desperate way of getting rid of pain. Turn that pain into energy. Confidence.
But the Pallet Town boy wasn’t listening. It didn’t matter what his opponent said now, of all times, after making his Pokémon go through that much.
Ash called Grotle back into the Pokéball, putting it away without a word. His hat was lowered, covering his face with a slight shade. Grotle’s square faded away into black.
- Ash is in trouble, now. – Brock stated, sitting back.
Another ball was already on his other hand. He would take this to the end.
- Staraptor! I choose you! – Letting his catchphrase echo, he pitched the Pokéball to the arena and released the proud Predator Pokémon to the field.
- Use Close Combat! – Both trainers ordered in unison, and both of their Pokémon propelled against each other with their wings and fists ready. Surprisingly, the collision was a tie where Staraptor’s paw met Flame’s fist, instantly turning into a hurricane of movements in high speed, each one desperately trying to control the opponent with its own, swift move.
- Stop it and use Fire Punch!
Flame blocked one last move from Staraptor and immediately countered with the other fist.
However, the Pokémon wasn’t slow; Staraptor flew slightly higher and then dropped down again, shoving Flame to the ground after avoiding the blow.
- Nice job! – Ash commended after watching the evasion – Now use Aerial Ace!
Flapping its wings to rise even higher in the air, Staraptor lowered its beak and dropped at high speed, drilling into the Typhlosion’s back with a rough strike that left it immobilized for a few moments.
- Finish it with Close Combat again!
- Not so fast! Use Fire Blast while he’s close!
- Phloshun! – Flame rolled on the ground with Staraptor nearly on him, readying its talons to claw the Typhlosion apart.
Just when the first scratch reached Flame, Staraptor was thrown backwards by a wicked burst of flames from the foe’s Pokémon’s mouth; it had been a direct shot against Staraptor.
- Not yet you’re not! Use Close Combat on Typhlosion again!
- Use Close Combat on Staraptor!
- Star!/Phlo…! – The two Pokémon’s cry echoed throughout the arena when their moves once again collided with brute strength, a match to decide which of the two was the strongest.
- Flame Wheel!/Brave Bird! – The two trainers ordered in unison, and after a lengthy backwards jump, Flame immediately curled, igniting its back and rolling towards Staraptor while the Flying type Pokémon became covered by a shining blue veil as it folded it wings and dove into the Flame Wheel move, nearly parallel to the ground.
The amazing speed each one wielded was dissipated upon impact, where fire met fire to create an incredible explosion that covered the arena in smoke and dust, forcing the protective barriers to appear and block the cloud from spreading out.
Each trainer tried to call their Pokémon from within the cloud, hopping that the move had been enough to knock the opponent out.
Ash, though, was mainly concerned about his own: the move Brave Bird would have a prejudicial effect on Staraptor.
But it had been done, and there was no turning back now.
The judge crossed his arms and sat back, enjoying the match’s progress. The leaflet on the desk was nearly empty, but it seemed like the entire cruiser’s trip wouldn’t be enough to clear all the trainers.
- Hum, sir. – Someone called from behind, placing a hand on the referee’s shoulder.
- Hmm? What is it, Seth? – The judge recognized the security guard by its voice, and didn’t even turn around to look at him; especially because his haircut and wardrobe made him look like a clone of all the others.
- We found something troubling. You should come. – The guard’s strict voice answered, removing his shades to reveal his serious, clear gray eyes.
- Me? Aren’t the ship’s issues dealt with Rhyan?
- I’m sorry sir, but you are the one closest.
- Damn you, boy! Why must you bother me because of such a stupidity?! It’s probably nothing! If you wanna argue over it, argue with Rhyan, not me! – The protests from the referee left Seth speechless for a moment, while he put the black glasses again.
- …Yes sir. Excuse me, sir. – Seth deeply apologized, even though it was only protocol behind every word. Quietly, the security guard walked away, disappearing behind an automatic door.
- Humph. Stupid security guard. No wonder the world’s the way it is. I can’t even time these matches.
- Jessie! – A man with his hair dyed blue called from the deck. – Are you done yet?!
- Would you just shut up?! I’m trying to get these untied! – Jessie replied from the water’s surface, undoing a bunch of knots in the ropes that hung a life raft that gently balanced with the water’s current.
James sighed and took a closer look at his wristwatch.
- If you don’t hurry up, we’re gonna go down like them! – Meowth added to James’s complaints, which only helped Jessie’s fury.
- Then you come down here and undo them yourself! – Jessie made a lasso from the untied ropes and threw it up, reaching for Meowth with incredible precision.
With a swift pull, Meowth was sent crashing into the water, then pulled into the raft again.
- You wanna come too or would you rather stay and watch?! – Jessie yelled up when she noticed James was still distracted with the wristwatch. It hadn’t been bought, but that was not new. James had managed to steal it from an old codger with a high hat, all classy looking, when the two met in the hallways. The watch was decorated with diamonds and other jewels, which only called James’s attention even more.
- He ain’t listenin’! We’d rather leave’em be and go away while we can!
- Just cut those ropes and be quiet! – Jessie suddenly stormed over the cat Pokémon, retreating back to a corner.
- Gah, alright! – Meowth took his claws out and pulled his arm back, instantly slashing away most of the ropes that kept the raft connected to the cruiser.
After the last rope was cut, the raft fell in the water with a short “thump!” and was now sailing away from the hold, slowly cast away by the waves.
- Now jump down! – Jessie ordered to the Rocket member on the ship.
James, though, had other ideas, and less dangerous, too.
Instead he ran over to the anchor and slid down using the cord.
Reaching the water, he swam to the raft as fast as he could, eventually landing on the plastic surface.
- Okay, now let’s get the heck outta here!
However, the three idly looked at each other, and the trio seemed to be as puzzled as the three Goldeen that had stopped at the water’s surface to watch Team Rocket.
- …James? Where are the paddles? – Jessie asked in a monotonous voice.
- I thought you had them. – James quickly answered in the same tone.
- WHAT?! Ya mean we’re stuck in this raft ‘till som’one comes?!
- Or until we’re dragged into the bottomless ocean with the ship… - James hypothesized, thinking about the tragic accident.
- Or until a wave comes and swallows us alive… - Jessie added to the scenery in a creepy voice.
Meowth’s eye twitched at the dark cloud over the two burglars.
- Are ya nuts?! I’m getting’ outta here, even I have to use my own hands to do it! Now row before I kick you two out! – The cat commanded, showing its claws in a threatening way.
Jessie and James retreated to the other end of the raft, and immediately jumped to its side and started paddling using their arms.
The Goldeen watched carefully as the three flailed and failed at getting away from the ship, since the water’s current was flowing against them.
“They’re really stupid.” One of the fish commented.
“Come on, let’ go back before they see us.” The other one said, and the three dove again.
- Watch your step, Mr. Rhyan. – Seth warned, as he entered a very tight stairway.
- I say, Seth, thank you for getting me out of that place… I thought Mr. Eldes was something else, but that guy freaks me out!
- I understand, sir. Please be careful now, we are reaching the hold.
Rhyan suddenly stopped Seth with a hand on his shoulder.
- Wait. Don’t you hear anything? – The manager inquired, quieting down.
Seth concentrated on his surroundings, trying to listen to anything abnormal.
The only audible sound was that of a quiet pond of water where some drops fell like tears, but it was close by.
However, something else echoed in the tunnel.
As if water was rapidly flowing, crashing against rocks and then retreating again while dragging something along in its current.
- Could it be… - Rhyan started, but the two were already running down the stairs by the time the manager stopped speaking, disorderly jumping many steps to reach their objectives faster.
Seth suddenly stopped in the end of the stairs with a gasp, covering Rhyan’s fall after a terrified look struck his face.
The hold was completely flooded, and a part of the wall menaced to tear itself apart due to the water’s pressure. The crates that were placed on the ground were now floating about, and whether there were only accessories or even Pokémon in there… there was no salvation left for them.
- We must take action! Mr. Rhyan, go warn the judge to suspend the matches and move all trainers to the safety rafts! If possible, send them in their Pokémon so they can fly to Orthan themselves! I will warn all of the security guards aboard to evacuate all rooms!
- Got it! – Rhyan replied, running back up with Seth following behind.
Now in the halls, the two took separate ways, but stopped for a moment when Rhyan suddenly called the security guard.
- Seth! – The guard turned around, his heart racing to the speed of his step. – Good luck. You’ve served your duty well.
- Thank you, sir. Much obliged. Good luck.
The two restarted their race, each following a different stairway with a different objective, but a common goal: to evacuate all of the trainers aboard.
- Staraptor and Typhlosion are unable to move! The second round is a tie! – The referee announced, lowering both flags.
- Darn! – Max complained, calling Flame back into the Pokéball.
- You did good, Staraptor. You’re deserving a rest. – Ash commended, standing straight up. It was Pikachu’s entry, now.
- Release your Poké-…
- HALT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS! EVERYONE MUST STAY CALM, NOW! – Rhyan’s voice echoed through the arena.
- Mr. Rhyan, are you insane?! – The judge protested, punching the table after getting up.
- Shut up! – Rhyan’s voice stood over the other man’s, forcing it to sit down again. – Everyone stay calm! – He added after seeing everyone in the audience getting up. – We have discovered a breach in the ship’s hold! The situation may become serious, but we will sort this out if everyone cooperates!
- You mean… we’re sinking?! – Misty suddenly yelled loud, grabbing Brock firmly with a gasp.
- I am afraid so. – Rhyan admitted in a depressed voice. – Everyone with Pokémon that can use to fly should head to the top of the ship to receive further information on Orthan’s coordinates. Any other details will be given there! Time is running out, but do not panic! You will be saved, and if your Pokémon can take more than you, than please carry them! We must save as many lives as we can!
Only some trainers jumped down from the tiers directly to the ground, waltzing away into the hallways between cries of joy.
- What about us?! – A random trainer called out in the crowd.
Rhyan’s voice became suit of a leader.
- You will be taken to the life rafts. You must form groups and enter the rafts while you are allowed to do so.
Rhyan needn’t say anything else, and all of the trainers in the crowds ran away between screams and cries. Rhyan knew the situation was far from his control.
- Staraptor… - Ash mumbled, falling on his knees.
- Ash! Come on! We’ve got to hurry before they run out of rafts! – Brock called from the beginning of the hallway, running with Misty by his side.
- You, get up. Quick. – Max’s voice called from above, offering a friendly hand. – Follow me. There’s no time to waste.
Ash accepted the hand and ran with him, leaving even his hat behind, lying on the arena.
But he felt something was missing. He felt like there was something he wasn’t bringing along…
- Pikachu! – He suddenly screamed, preparing to run back. However, Max’s hand abruptly halted the trainer in his tracks. – Let me go! I’m not leaving without him!
- You’re coming whether you want it or not! Your Pikachu wasn’t in the arena, so shut up if you want to come out of this alive! – Max roughly scolded, dragging Ash with him.
Despite the desperate face, Ash had one last hope: that his loved companion was by Misty and Brock’s side…
The situation became complicated aboard the S.S. Quest… Could there really be such a danger as sinking with the lack of life rafts? Would anyone be left behind? And what happened to Gary and the doctors, who, taking the injured trainer, went deep into one of the cabins? And Pikachu? Could the Pokémon be with Brock and Misty…? Or had Ash’s companion have been lost…?
Questions unanswered needing desperate responses…
I'll edit with the credits later.
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
Okay, so I went a little overboard this time, and it ended up with a whooping 11 pages.
So, I'm dividing it into two posts.
I'd like to thank to Feign for his advice on how to make this scene go through, and Sgt. Shock for his fic being such an inspiration to get the police stuff going.
I'm also trying a new style using "" and Italics for thoughts. I figured it'll work better to not break the action with '-' to insert dialogue.
The situation is tough inside the S.S. Quest. After Seth, the security guard in charge of the hosts’ safety, found a leak in the ship’s hold, Rhyan, the ship’s owner, launched the alarm for evacuation. However, in such an unpredictable predicament, will everything end well?
All of these… all of them… they’re all the same… all have kept me in here, hidden from the world… hidden from my own…
The walls and the floor… they are but the same.
I’ve seen many come by me. I’ve been to more than ten of them, and this is the only one where they kept me safe.
No, not safe from me. I had to be safe from them.
I’ve seen so many like me… some more successful than others. I’ve seen this odd haired guy, with a pale face… I’ve seen as much as an elder in his death years.
But all failed to reach their goals.
And now… it was my time. It was inevitable, I am aware of that.
But still, this will not end here.
I have been the boss of the most powerful, criminal organization in the world.
I deserve more than this rotten cell. I deserve eternal power! I’m due to a rightful place in the history of the world!
But no… those ignorant fools continue to tell me that I am insane.
From someone, I learned that feelings are not important… from someone, I learned that your subordinates are important… from someone, I learned that power comes with responsibility… From me, all of them learned that my fist is more powerful than their words.
“I deserve more than this putrid, sickening cell!”
For long hours have I hollered my thoughts to these walls… and they, in return, remained quiet. They did not question my authority. Just like those I trained in my headquarters in Viridian…
Why must I suffer like this? My only hope was to create the ultimate creature… Why must they impede me from having such an ambition?!
Oh, but I know… Yes, do I know.
One day, they will come for me…
That day begins today…
“Wake up, you.” A bundle of keys chimed on the iron bars following the grave voice of a security guard.
The cell’s interior remained quiet. Not even a sound was heard.
The sentinel took the keys and opened the cell, walking inside with the flashlight on.
“It’s your lucky day, lunatic.” He snickered, pointing the light at a man lying down on a wooden desk. His hair was easily confused with the darkened background; it was a color as black as the night itself. It was kept impeccably well cut, a hairdo like those you only see in the army.
His face was clear and still looked as young as when it entered that prison after attending ten other ones. In all of them, this man, who was nearly charged with the death penalty, was chased and nearly killed. A scar crossing his cheek told that exact same story.
He had a solemn look upon him, now because of the flashlight’s glow.
“Didn’t you just hear me? I said, WAKE UP!” The table trembled with the guard’s strength, nearly throwing the man off it. “Trial’s today! So get up, your misery around here’s ending today!”
But even the guard’s furious personality shivered before the smile that appeared on the prisoner’s face.
Slowly, the guard started walking backwards, closing the chamber again.
“You’re not threatening anyone after tonight Giovanni…” It echoed through the jail rows. “Not after tonight you won’t!”
“ATTENTION ALL UNITS. INITIATING EVACUATION PROCESS. GATHER AT DECK.” A megaphone spelled chaos in the halls; the passengers burst into angry crowds attempting to reach the doors in the least time possible.
Some trainers knew their way: it wasn’t outside; it was up, to the captain’s cabinet. However, very few of the totality of trainers aboard had that luck, and those who didn’t were part of the swarm making its way using brute strength.
These massive concentrations were broken in a few spots, where a squad of men in black made their way through with ease, throwing whoever got in their path to the side.
To these, everything they could see was a large, black blur running over them to accomplish their duties, even if it took some sacrifices.
“Unit One! We are in Hall Four!” The communicator yelled as loud as the noisy walls of people coming by. “Report on situation, Unit One!”
“Major blockades in intersections with deck and Hall Five and Six!”
“Copy that, Unit One! Let’s go people, move MOVE!”
The unit beaconed to the rest of the squadron and infiltrated into the swarm with his other agents following suit to drive people off their paths.
“Everyone keep calm, DANG IT!” Unit One cursed as he reached the wall with the intersection, preparing to pull the gun out and shoot a warning bullet.
The protruding echo threw everyone to the ground in cries of fright, seeking for any wounds in their bodies after hearing a gunshot.
“LISTEN UP YOU BUNCH OF PUSSIES!”
“Chief, cool it.” But the man wasn’t tolerating anyone, and threw the small communicator in his ear to the ground, shattering it into pieces.
“There ain’t no COOLING in here! You all either follow me or DIE [i]NOW!” [/I]The unit’s voice stood over even the voices on the lower levels of the ship. “You all are going CALMLY through this door behind me and MAKE a LINE into the life rafts – and don’t make me pull this gun from here or ya’ll be SORRY!”
The crowd immediately got up when the speech stopped and headed to the door under the chief’s raged glare.
They didn’t even dare to look into the man’s face, which, just like the rest of the body, seemed to be made out of solely muscles; his neck’s veins were at the surface of his skin, and his scarlet visage kept the crowds in their place, even after they were outside.
The chief ordered the other units to search the area for anyone who would have been left behind in the confusion. Not a whisper was heard, not even when the lights inside the hall suddenly went off. Before long, the crowd disappeared from the ship, and the halls suddenly became silent.
That was when the four other units returned to near Unit One, running as fast as they could.
“Empty, sir. We found some bodies… but…” The answer was the same for the four of them. Some even added that the rooms, where the trainers were supposed to be live for at least three days, were left upside down. …Three days. Was it asking too much to keep safety for three days?
“Search the lower levels of the ship.” The four units instantly crossed the door behind the leader, leaving with urge in their voices as they whispered “Clear.” to the communicator.
Unit One took a close look around, the last look before abandoning the ship. His work was done now. The others leaders would take his place in other levels.
He spotted, very close to him, an emergency trigger. Breaking the glass with his gloved fist, he silently pressed the button.
Nothing happened at first. Then, an annoyingly loud sound resonated inside the ship, establishing the ultimate state of emergency.
No turning back.
David wasn’t too sure about what had just happened, but he was sure that Pidgeot was going to be thoroughly handy in that situation.
He stormed down the corridors in search for his room, wherever it was. He had to get his backpack, or his entire gear would be lost in the depths. If the situation reached a critical point, he knew he had Walrein to help him. He would be safe enough in any way.
With that in mind, he ably dodged a wave of trainers coming from the deepest cabins, hiding to avoid being forced to exit the ship.
“[b]You all either follow me or DIE [i]NOW!” [/I][/B]David leaped surprisingly high because the voice seemed as if it were right beside him, forcing him to duck and cover.
He then realized the voice had come from far away, probably from the exits.
Silence took the cabin and the hall, and steps were heard again, this time at a much slower pace.
But he didn’t run out just yet, which guaranteed him to be hidden from an agent that suddenly bolted down the hall without even bothering to look inside his cabin.
From the corner of his eye – and a gap in the door – David saw that the agent was bent on the ground, just by a body.
His heart raced with the thought of having dead people in the halls. It wasn’t easy to bear the place anyone else could have taken.
The thought distracted him for a moment, and he leapt again, gasping, when the unit suddenly got up and ran back again.
“Search the lower levels of the ship.” He suddenly heard, and the steps’ sound dissipated, probably from the distance.
He waited for a few moments. There was something that didn’t add up. How did so many people obey to that guy? Granted, it was a hard situation, they were more fragile.
But to think all of this was just a rehearsal…
His thoughts were once again interrupted by the clash of sound and vision. The siren unexpectedly rang in the higher levels of the ship, and David heard the exit’s steel door bang. It was it, he was now alone.
Cautiously, David opened the door slightly more and peered to both sides. As the units would say,
The trainer tried to run past the man on the ground without looking, but a morbid curiosity inside him forced David to look down.
His nerves relaxed a bit when he realized it was nobody he knew. The man, probably falling in the category of hiker, judging from its fat body and backpack, was helplessly lying on the ground, his arms stretched towards the exit.
David would have stopped looking at such horrid scenery, but something else caught his eye: a small ring, a metallic coat around the right index finger, more precisely. It didn’t even seem very natural to be there, as if it were out of its place.
But David’s attention got back to his original task. To recover his backpack, no matter how close-fisted it seemed.
Leaving the hiker lying on the floor behind him, David ran down the halls.
He could see the chaos for himself, now. How everything was left upside-down and how chaotic every single room looked.
Eventually, the trainer came to face something he didn’t want to. Stairways.
He was entering a perfectly dark area, now. It was time to bring Ampharos out.
He silently released the Pokémon and ordered it to use any move he could keep to illuminate his way. The Ampharos released a blinding light at first, but then decreased to a more tolerable glow. They began going down…
The room’s kept going by, too… the same disorder in every corner.
Occasionally, David would look down, but immediately regretted doing so after watching many trainers and butlers petrified on the ground, their insipid faces showing a never-ending suffering to reach for the exits.
David gulped and carried on, though. Not only did he know it was inevitable, but he also knew there was nothing to do now. Only to be considered lucky in being able to escape such a painful destiny.
His spirit momentarily rose when his room’s door, marked with 66 in solid gold, bold numbers. His door was open, though, but it didn’t matter much, as long as nothing had been stolen. In such a fuss, he hardly believed it.
And there was nothing of value to take. Money, Pokégear, everything was with him.
Ampharos went ahead, opening the door for its trainer, who entered afterwards.
“Lucky me.” He commented upon seeing that his backpack was still underneath the bed. He promptly put it on his back, preparing to finally exit the room. Ampharos showed a smile and went ahead, illuminating both of their ways to the door.
David took a quick glance back, though… the situation just seemed to call him to look out, towards the window. Through which’s glass he could see an infinite blue, fading into blackness… He also noticed that his roommate’s bag was still there, too. Could she be safe, or… No, he wouldn’t think about that. Not now.
“Amph!” The Pokémon called from the exit, impatient to get out.
“I’m coming.” David answered, nodding.
He silently joined the Pokémon outside, and neither hesitated before walking away.
“…wait…” A faint voice echoed in the darkness. “Please… wait for me…”
The voice was… weak, yet recognizable. It seemed so distant, as if whoever spoke was about to fall into a deep slumber…
“Wait, Ampharos.” David suddenly halted.
If there were survivors, he wouldn’t leave them behind.
He patiently waited a little longer, the cracks above him causing some anxiety about how long it would take for that ship to snap into half.
“Is anyone… *cough*… still there…?”
“That way!” David pointed out in the opposite direction to the exit, running with Ampharos by him.
They went past a large number of bodies, much larger than the previous found in other halls. The reason, he could not fathom. He knew but one thing: the survivor would not be left behind.
Only few of the trainers, nimble between the masses, immediately rushed to the top floors of the ship, searching for the captain’s advice on what to do after taking flight. The more avid ones immediately took flight, and didn’t even bother to receive instructions on which direction to follow. For them it was sheer treasure hunt.
Max, though, didn’t even head that way; with Ash in his hand, he jumped over the protective fences and released his Dragonite in midair to fall on its back and ready the flight. Gaining some altitude, the two stopped near the deck’s level, and Max stretched his hand to Ash.
“We ain’t got all day! Jump already!” The other trainer, who stood in the edge of the ship, was confused about what to do. It seemed too sudden for him to just leave his friends behind, leave Pikachu behind, and, who knew, losing the three…
“Listen, kid! This thing is about to sink like a rock! You want to die, fine! More space for someone else who actually cares for life!” With that, Max pat the dragon’s back and started to slowly fly away.
Ash’s thoughts rushed as much as the decision had been: hasty. Even if he didn’t want to admit it, leaving his friends behind was too much to bear, but to die trying to find them seemed just as much.
Would he be letting them down by thinking they weren’t smart enough to find a way out of the ship?
“Listen, kid.” Max’s voice spoke up from above. To Ash’s surprise, the trainer was still in front of him. “If you wanna go and look for them, you’ll die trying. Not to mention you won’t make it to the lower levels. Not because of the water, but because there are guards everywhere. Would your friends want to know they’re alive and you died because you thought the contrary?”
Crappy philosophy Ash thought, curling his fists.
But this stance immediately disappeared when he was thrown against the wall, following the destructive power the water possessed and used to break the ship into half.
The sudden cracking of the deck made most in the crowd fall backwards, helplessly flailing and sliding towards the water across the waxed surface.
“Get him, Dragonite!” Max instinctively commanded, and Dragonite immediately obeyed, diving in the air to catch Ash with his hand just a few seconds before the latter fell in the water, recovering his height by narrowly gliding through the water.
“Hang on, down there!” The trainer shouted, but Ash couldn’t hear.
He wasn’t conscious. Not completely. His last sight was that of the sky, and the ship flying away as he dove into the darkness.
Max had Dragonite make a u-turn, soaring above the seas as fast as he could.
The trainer sighed; they had finally managed to get away from the ship.
He didn’t know the ship was about to sink in the first place, but he was used to this kind of situation. Especially after having been carried to the harbor in Vermillion with a crazy driver, and he was used to fly away with Dragonite when times called for that.
They were now above the rafts, high above from danger. From his point of view, the small boats seemed to be red dots in the middle of an endless blue sea, desperately rowing to escape succumbing to the deadly whirlpool the ship was about to cause.
It breaking into halves was enough for a reason to get the hell out of there; fast.
And now, he could only consider himself lucky to be safe, and consider the boy in his Dragonite’s claws even luckier for having been saved.
He quickly met the other trainers flying with various Pidgeots and Staraptors, some even using Swellows, but those were curiously less. He was the center of attentions thanks to his Dragonite’s size compared to the other, smaller bird Pokémon, making its way through the middle of the group. Nobody complained, though: they just kept flying, some carrying other people on their backs, while others fled on their own, leaving the tragedy behind as fast as they could.
And those in the rafts were curious enough to look up and feel jealousness; and fright as well. The Pokémon flew beyond the clear white clouds, disappearing from sight as they attempted to reach safe land.
(Continues to part 2)
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
Last edited by D. Lawride; December 4th, 2009 at 07:14 PM.
Well, here's the continuation! Sorry for the gap, I had to make some small changes to make it a little easier to read.
“There they go…” Misty commented, grasping the rubber edges of the raft when a sudden wave nearly caused it to turn. “Do you think Ash is okay…?”
Brock groaned and sat back in the uncomfortable surface. “He’s smart. He’ll make it out.”
The thought wasn’t leaving the female Gym Leader comfortable enough, though. While Ash was indeed smart enough to get out – so she thought, at least – there was something leaving her agitated. Something else… and she felt it was related to him.
She wished the last night they spent together hadn’t been so short. She spent barely four hours with him in the ship since they met, the four of which in her room talking. And that was exactly what she wished it had turned out differently.
She leapt to the other side of the raft when Brock suddenly jumped to her side and nearly fell to the water shouting, “Look up there!” while pointing at the ship’s sinking halves.
The yell was heard by most of the rafts around them, as all of them immediately turned around to check what could be catching so much attention.
The large helicopter which flying near the right half of the ship, carefully lowering its height while throwing down a rope was enough for many passengers to complain when they were shaken off the cord.
A smile crossed Misty’s face at the sight. “They’ve come to save us!”
“But where are the rest of them?” Her companion added. There were probably some four more people inside the raft. Misty hummed at the strange question. “I mean, you wouldn’t think they came to save us all with just one helicopter, no matter how big, right?” The answer made Misty gasp.
“There’s someone climbing the ropes…!” A guy with a large, round and scarlet afro cut in, pointing at the end of the steps.
On a closer look, two men, each garbed in differently colored lab coats, were climbing the ladder under the death threat the wind was offering as strong gusts of air hurled the rope close to the ship’s hull.
“Mr. Eldes! What are you doing?!” Rhyan desperately shouted from the deck, fiercely grabbing the iron fences to keep himself from sliding down.
“I’m afraid I have to take care of matters of much larger importance. Farewell, Rhyan!” The blue haired man bid while entering the helicopter.
“Shame. I really liked you, Mr. Rhyan.” Ein added, following his superior.
His hand was starting to slip from the handle, especially because rain was starting to fall over the wreckage, moistening the metal.
“Take more people, you idiot! You’re going to get more people killed if you don’t!”
“I will be sure to deliver my condolences to the families!” Mr. Eldes finished, closing the door behind him.
A burst of air made it even harder to clutch the metallic surface, even if he was doing it with both hands.
With no Pokémon of his own to use, Rhyan closed his eyes and prayed; prayed for a way to be saved from the wretched storm approaching.
The rain felt like fire on his skin, and particularly burned the palm of his hands for each second that went by, which caused them to slip from the bar.
A brief yet strong gust created by the helicopter’s rotors spinning motion gave Rhyan the feeling of security for a split second, before the gust became too strong for even him to handle.
Unable to hold on for much longer, he opened his eyes once more, gazing at the helicopter that gradually moved away…
“Curse you… Eldes…” He mumbled before opening his hand completely, releasing the bar from his grip…
Below him, few grabbed on tight at whatever the deck offered to take hold of. They were few, but kept well alive the hope to survive inside themselves, which blazed inside them.
And Rhyan’s eyes saw it all going past him, disappearing into deep darkness at one point… the point.
“Answer me!” David tried, yelling at the apparently empty halls. There was someone there, it had to be! And whoever it was, he was decided to save them: be it a Team Rocket goon from Kanto who managed to land a ticket onboard or a resolute Cipher supporter from Orre. They would rotten in jail, but heck, he’d save them. “Ampharos, light the way!”
“Pharos!” The Pokémon gladly replied before taking the lead, leaving David shouting the same thing over and over, hoping to hear a response. “Is anyone there?!”
“Here…!” The voice finally came back this time closer than before. David sighed in relief, since it was obviously a good sign.
“Keep talking! We’re going to save you!” The trainer replied right after hearing the answer, guaranteeing he would be heard.
The reply didn’t come now, but he did hear something echoing, and it wasn’t a sound caused by the destruction of the ship in the inside.
As if something was knocking on a metallic surface, producing a sound that guided David to a pile of rubble concealing a door he could clearly see.
“Are you in there?” He called again. A series of chimes was enough of a confirmation for him to call Walrein outside. “Get that rubble destroyed using Body Slam, Walrein!”
The walrus Pokémon didn’t question the order and readily launched itself against the rubble, trying to reduce it to smaller, moveable debris.
David crossed his fingers, hoping the attempt wasn’t risky enough to the point of collapsing the ceiling under the water’s pressure, which he knew was right above them, judging from the landscape outside, seen through the windows of the many rooms he had been while searching for this helpless passenger.
But Walrein was rather fast to finish the job without the ceiling having fallen over their heads.
With the most of the rubble destroyed, David combined forces with his Pokémon to push aside the remaining debris, allowing the trainer to slam the door himself, bringing it down with a loud BANG.
The room, though, seemed just as empty as the other rooms did, and he stopped hearing the sounds that had guided him to that point.
“Come in here and light this room, Ampharos! Fast!”
The Pokémon ran inside and immediately emitted a blinding light, leaving the room completely illuminated thanks to a constant light emanated from its tail.
It was a complete mess all around the room, possibly due to the ship’s constant quivers which sent sliding against the walls anything that wasn’t attached to the ground.
David flinched at the thought that his imagination was playing tricks on him. But if even his Pokémon heard it, why wasn’t there anyone inside the room?
“Pharos! Pharos!” The Light Pokémon suddenly called, pointing at a pile of rubble in the corner while walking towards it.
“Beneath?” He asked, and Ampharos nodded, stopping by the stack. Moving so much rubble was getting repetitive and tiring, but he had no choice.
After a short sigh, David grabbed a large iron rod on one end while Ampharos lifted the other, and both threw it to the ground with combined strength.
However, the pile wasn’t just made of iron rods, and the trainer was actually questioning himself how the heck anyone even survived underneath the steel’s weight combined with all the wood and some resistant materials that would simply crush someone with relative ease.
There had to be quicker and better way to get it done.
“Please… help me…” The voice once again called. David felt how close the voice was, and how far he actually placed himself from reaching it. It’s disturbing to know that a life can be saved by just taking some sticks and shafts off dust, but he still wasn’t able to do it.
“Hold on in there!” David yelled into the pile, grabbing the last visible pole and throwing it over the bed. Ampharos lighted the pile again, trying to search for some kind of way out for the prisoner. The dust and wood, though, were covering it all.
“Look, I can help! But I’ll need some cooperation! Can you hold your breath for some seconds?” A Pokéball was already maximizing in his hand.
“I think so…” David immediately threw the Pokéball in the air, releasing a bird Pokémon, one bearing a long crest with golden and scarlet colors, possibly taller than even its trainer.
“Then do it! Pidgeot, use Whirlwind to drive that dust away!” He ordered before hiding behind his arms to protect from the upcoming wind.
The bird Pokémon immediately took flight to begin flapping its wings with brute strength, taking a split second to create a strong gust that blew away the dust and even most of the wooden planks in the pile, spreading the dirt over the entire room.
“Return Pidgeot! Light the way, Ampharos!”
While the bird returned inside the Pokéball, the Light Pokémon leapt to the corner, providing David enough brightness to find the person and help it get up. In spite of the steady glow, he couldn’t even see the person’s face, nor if he or she was injured anywhere. He just knew they had to move.
“Can you walk?” The person nodded weakly, giving some steps forward, but tripping over to fall on the ground; if it weren’t for David, that is, who promptly grabbed its shirt. “I guess not, then. Ampharos, go call Walrein in. We’re going for a swim.”
Once more, the Light Pokémon gave a cheerful answer, quickly disappearing from the room… and darkness cloaked the room once more, giving David an odd sense of blindness. Even the waters outside the window were dyed a deep, blue color, as a trainer once told him…
For a while, he heard Ampharos yelling for Walrein, but then fading away, possibly to look for the curious walrus.
When silence installed in the room, his tension eased; the pipes, probably ruptured due to the recent events, were dropping water on the ground, cleaning some of the dust Pidgeot managed to spread across the room.
David could hear a heavy breathing coming from his side, along with coughs and some sighs. He knew it was from the person by him, but he didn’t dare to ask how it got underneath a pile of debris like that.
“So, hum… what’s your name?” He shyly asked, trying to sound as relaxed as he could: which was probably as panicked as any passenger outside.
“M-May… C-call me M-May…”
Female, then. Just your luck, David.
“David.” He instinctively offered a hand to shake, but then he remembered he couldn’t even see her. “Listen, I’m not really good at this… but don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.”
“N-no… you should j-just leave me here… Y-you’re going to die because of me…”
“What?! Nonsense!” David immediately replied back. He felt a spark of disbelief in his oh-so-well-planned scheme for the first time since he went looking for his backpack. “Why do you even say that?!”
“I helped them… because of me… he’s probably…”
“Them? Them who, May? Who did you help?”
“They said they were going fix it…”
“Listen to me! Who did you help?! Who’s going to die?!”
David regretted making the last question with such an aggressive voice. That May person was probably broken into tears now between sobs and sighs…
“I’m… I’m sorry.” He could hear her now. It was true that he had gone too far.
Talk about a lifesaver!
“Ampharos! He’s back!” The boy immediately got up as a light kept growing stronger in the room’s entrance, describing a shadow with it.
His Walrein’s cries were heard close behind, which meant Ampharos did manage to find him!
“May, this is it! We’re going back to the surface!” The comment was almost satirical, especially now that he could see her face. Though covered in filth and some scratches, her blue eyes still shone under its brown, messy hair. A green bandanna with a white Pokéball pattern, slightly ripped on the front, was fallen over her forehead.
David kneed and took her hands, showing a confident look when he tried to convince her again “Come on. It’s the last chance you’ll probably get to fix your mistake, whatever it was. It’s not too late.”
He pulled May’s hands just when she lowered her head, trying to call her attention – and keeping the lady from passing out unexpectedly.
“You’re a trainer, right?” She nodded, bringing a smile to the boy’s face. “Would you leave your Pokémon to die with you? Or would you rather bring them with you, back to where they can live? There’s no third option here you know?”
“No. Either you come, or they’ll probably stay here with you.”
He sounded cruel, but he wanted to. Driving her into a desperate thought was the only way to bring her into reasoning.
And once more, David shook the other trainer’s hands.
“For your Pokémon. Your friends.”
I’d say that’s enough of a confirmation for me. He thought, beaconing Walrein to make a move.
An icy beam shot from the Pokémon’s mouth, immediately freezing the wall behind the two humans.
“No going back now.” He commented one last time, getting up to help her stand too.
“W-what d-do… do you want to do, then…?”
“Heh. You’re voice is recovering, I see.” He remarked, walking to Walrein’s side. The grin she rewarded him with was encouraging enough to keep explaining. “The plan’s simple. Walrein’s going to blast this wall using Body Slam.”
She was going to object when David raised a hand and kept talking.
“AND give us a ride. We’ll have to hold on tight him when he’s going through the wall. After that, he’ll just swim to surface and get us out of here.”
“A-and… o-once we’re up t-there…?”
A Pokéball suddenly appeared in David’s right hand, being maximized.
“My friend Pidgeot’s giving us another ride. I… I mean, he’ll take you to the safety rafts and we’re both saved.”
May wasn’t too confident, though, and even Walrein was staring at David from the corner of the eye with suspicion.
“Look, we’ve done this already, okgrrmph…?”
May tilted her head, much like Ampharos.
“Something the matter?”
“No…! nothing…!” David discreetly took his feet from underneath Walrein’s paw and discreetly stepped on the Pokémon. “Just some nerves from, you know, doing this again so suddenly…” Taking some steps back, David continued. “Okay, hang on to Walrein. Go no his back and leave some pace for me.”
The trainer nodded and walked to the Pokémon’s side, carefully settling herself on its back. Walrein narrowed his eyes and glared at David as he circled the two in search for a May’s so-called “reserved space” for him.
“Take some aim at the wall, you’re doing the Body Slam in the dark, Walrein.” David explained after lying on the Pokémon’s back as well, clutching the fur around his head. He then used the Pokéball on his free hand to call Ampharos back, leaving the room in perfect obscurity again. “Okay, Walrein… whenever you’re ready, go for it. Just give a warning.”
“Are you sure this is going to work…?”
“Trust me. I’m confident of my Walrein’s skills. Now hold your breath.”
Walrein cleared its throat and coughed.
“And you owe me a handshake.”
David swore he heard something similar to loll when Walrein finally charged against the ice with its full body, smashing the wall with the noise of a thousand mirrors shattering at the same time all around them.
It wasn’t a lasting sensation, though, as a severely cold liquid immediately bathed them upon exiting the ship, which seemed more like a blast from nowhere to those observing underwater, followed by a protruding sound that echoed through the ocean’s waters…
David and May turned their watched toward the ship, the half of the ship they managed to stay and come out alive from after long, endless minutes…
The other half of the ship, unfortunately, was already in the depths…
Their half of the ship was about to have a similar fate, however, since just where the lost half landed, was a wide crack on the seafloor, possibly a one-way ride to eternal darkness…
They felt a warmer water touch their skins when Walrein gave a speed boost, and the sun’s light finally started to bath the water’s lower layers, relieving them for avoiding a much worse fate than most of those who were left behind inside the halls of a sunken ship.
Misty could barely believe her eyes as the helicopter took flight, disappearing into the storm clouds that threatened to attack the survivors. She felt like her heart had been ripped from her chest when she noticed that Ash wasn’t coming out of that ship. Nobody would, not now.
She hadn’t taken her eyes off the vessel ever since the first half completely sank, and now watched as a second half slowly slid into the cold, sea waters.
Staying there wouldn’t guarantee their safety. So Brock and the other ones in the raft made the first move among the crowds.
Releasing their Pokémon, all kinds of water specimens, from Gyarados to rare Lapras, were seen throughout the area, while their trainers wrapped around their necks and tails the ropes found on the boats’ edges.
Misty handed her Pokémon to the others in the raft so they could use them as well, and so she could keep looking out, hoping that, against all odds, something would…
Wait; there was something in the water! She saw it, bubbles!
“Brock! Quick, help me out here! There’s someone here!” She immediately hollered, reaching out for the water. Please, be him…
The bubbling started to increase, and a shadow appeared underwater.
“She’s right! Give her a hand!”
Two men came and also reached their hands into the water, pushing whatever was there back to the surface.
A white object appeared at first, but the three quickly realized it was a Pokémon carrying humans because of the tusks it showed and the two bodies holding on to its neck.
A boy and a girl, more precisely, each of them seeming dismayed and awfully cold.
“Where the heck did these two come from…?” One of the men questioned, helping the other one in putting the two bodies onboard.
“Hey!” Brock suddenly piped up, grabbing the green bandanna on the girl’s hand. “I know that! It’s May’s headband!”
“May?” Misty repeated, trying to remember why the name sounded so similar. “You mean, that girl who followed Ash in Hoenn?”
With the two bodies loaded, they started turning them around, revealing their pallid faces, darkened due to the sun’s absence in the sky.
“Why…” The Cerulean leader started, approaching them. “That’s… David and… May… Then that Walrein must be his…”
“So they escaped from the ship while it was sinking? Impossible!”
“Well they are here, right?”
“Check her pulse. She’s not breathing.” Brock ordered, noticing that David was still breathing, though heavily.
One of the men carefully took May’s pulse and tried to feel the pulsation under Brock and Misty’s anxious eye, uneasily grabbing the gelid skin in search for a sign of life.
“It’s weak, but I can feel it.”
“Will… will… she make it?” The boy coughed his first sounds, astonishing the crew.
“I-I’m no doctor, and she needs serious medical attention. She might make it to shore, but she might not. There’s no way of telling…” The man nervously explained, somewhat embarrassed for his lack of knowledge.
David weakly punched the rubber.
“Your Walrein seems to pack some power. Did you use it to escape?”
“Yeah… he’s really useful.” David commended, patting the walrus on the head.
His hand then fell to the belt around his waist, unclipping a Pokéball that was thrown in the air to release Pidgeot. The people in the raft seemed surprised to see the bird Pokémon, probably because everyone escaped in their first chance. “Put her on Pidgeot and let him do the rest of the job. He’ll know what to do to reach Orthan.”
Pidgeot lowered his altitude enough to allow the men to carry May onto his back, and he immediately felt the girl’s deadweight.
“Go! There’s no time to lose!” David commanded to his Pokémon, watching it fly away, beyond his sight. He sighed and rethought his plan.
It hadn’t gone according to what he thought it would. The plan was to reach the surface with May in a good, healthy state, not hypothermic and or with some possible disease derived.
He didn’t feel sick or even weak, but seeing May in that condition was a letdown for him.
And now, there was only one way for him to reach Orthan: on Walrein’s back. He had no time to lose, and the rafts would take longer to reach the mainland than he would.
It was decided: he confidently got up and jumped out of the boat, climbing up to Walrein’s back again.
“Where are you going? You can’t leave now!” Misty immediately argued, grabbing David’s jacket, but he grabbed her hand and pulled it away.
“I’ve got to reach Orthan in time. If Walrein takes me, I’ll reach it fast than you all will. Besides…” He stopped, staring up. “There’s a real big storm coming. I have to get there fast.”
“But what about us?!”
“I’ll make a call to Kanto and send your coordinates so they can warn the Orthan coastal police and come here with a decent ship.” He signaled with his Pokégear, showing the regional map. “You’re not far from the coast. Make sure you get there soon if the police don’t get here first.”
Walrein started swimming forward, preparing to submerge itself for higher speeds.
Before leaving, David turned one last time, waving his hand.
“Good luck, you all. Hit it, Walrein!”
Before he could even see them nod, Walrein had already started swimming away as fast as he could; and for a walrus, he went out of sight rather quickly, disappearing behind the waves, which’s crests towered high above them.
The storm was coming. And it wouldn’t become a sight to behold.
“Dawn, snap out of it.”
Is it you…? Why are you lifting me…? Why are you just a blur…?
“WAAAH!” The girl suddenly yelled after being hit by a gelid bucket of water. “Where am I?!”
Only a laugh was heard.
“Gary?” She said. She didn’t recognize him right away with that white garbing. She’d been used to seeing Ash’s eternal rival in much darker clothes than a clear cape buttoned by a badge with the shape of a crown on his chest. “I thought… I thought you were…”
“With those doctor wannabes? Yeah right…”
Gary grabbed the bucket and tossed the object into a random cabin, helping Dawn getting up afterwards.
“Those two ran away before the siren even rang. Thanks to them, I nearly got crushed by a table.” Dawn couldn’t avoid giggling with the way he said it. He smiled at her complete consciousness. “Feel anything hurting you?”
She shook her head, which pleased Gary.
“Good. Come on, there’s someone we need to…”
Gary’s eyebrow twitched. It was too perfect to be true.
Dawn kept silent for a few moments, considering the best way to ask it.
“Where’s Piplup? And Ash?”
“I don’t know about your Piplup, but… Ash is probably safe. That guy’s got more lucky shots than anyone else. Like he’s got some aura protecting him.”
The girl giggled again.
“You’re not nervous at all, are you?”
“Nah. We’re on the seafloor, so what? You could be in the rift just ahead…” He satirized, pointing at a dark pit visible through the windows. Dawn felt a chill run down her spine.
“You mean… we’re…”
“If we don’t get out of here soon, you’ll spend the rest of your days in a pit.” She would have passed out in fright right there if it weren’t for Gary reaching her hand, feeling her cold skin into his warm palm. “Just follow me. We’ll be ok. I promise.”
She stared directly into his eyes, trying to search for the truth. They didn’t tremble; they didn’t even move when she made eye contact. His lucid words were telling the truth, and she knew it. In a peaceful manner, her hands clutched his.
“I trust you.”
“Tha-…” The solemn moment was abruptly interrupted by a sudden bang from above, where the twosome stared in panic. “There’s no time to lose now. Follow me!”
Gary grabbed her hand tightly and started running down the hall with her, escaping the tracks of a rambling sound that chased them beyond the ceiling.
Piplup… be safe…
The tragedy as sprawled to all of our heroes… some set apart, others have their fate unknown… friends to whom their friend’s luck is a mystery…
Many survivors await a crucial rescue where time is of essence…
Will the rafts ever reach Orthan in safety?
Vos estis sal terrae
(S. Mathew, 5)
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
Yay for no Writer's Block! =D
Ash and Max are amongst those lucky enough to escape… Ash, still unconscious, travels without his loyal partner to the intriguing Orthan kingdom… Could the luck that has long supported him to keep Pikachu have disappeared? Or are there other facts that may have triggered this disappearance…?
Even outside that place… I can’t feel freedom.
Being in these lush fields relieves my anger and soothes my spirit… but none compared to freedom.
Even my office gave me a larger sense of freedom…
The office at the Headquarters in Viridian…
I converse with other prisoners outside… it is the only time where I can socialize.
They granted me that much.
But now, I don’t know if it’s a privilege or just a gift before I’m being sent to another penitentiary.
I met some old Grunts I trained… they have been here for far longer than I have. It’s only natural, it seems; they have been arrested in Kanto and they have been put into prison in Kanto. We talked about the projects. I shared my ideas and ideals. I shared my thoughts and revealed knowledge they wouldn’t otherwise know if they were still my subordinates.
And still, they all made me the same question.
What became of those three idiots and the boy they were after…?
It seemed like a flock of birds in the sky above the sea. Birds of all varieties and colors, sizes and aspects…
Their number wasn’t the only resemblance to migrating birds; all of them had the same destination, and they flew close and together, as if fearing to leave anyone behind.
There wasn’t a pattern or an organized movement to them, though. Only one distinct bird flew ahead of all, and it was probably their leader.
This bird, carrying a caped human on its back, proudly exhibited its blue feathers, sparkling like crystals in the stormy skies. Its long tail, covered in a shimmering dust, created a trail that some dared to follow close behind. Vigilant red eyes focused in the path ahead, as the Articuno guided the immense flock.
Max eventually lost track of how long they had been flying. Hours left uncounted, but he didn’t really care.
The same way he wasn’t even troubled with the boy on the Dragonite’s hand; despite knowing he’d already passed out quite some time ago.
The boy, called Ash apparently, was reluctant about leaving the ship.
Max recalled it was because of a Pokémon, and then something about his friends.
The Pokémon… Pikachu. Yup, that was it.
Thinking about it, that always left him puzzled, intrigued about how a person could connect itself so much to a Pokémon.
He was sure he’d never leave his Typhlosion, Flame behind; but heck, he wouldn’t just leave it lying around for nothing.
So no wonder that Pikachu was left behind.
In that mess, you’d be surprised if anyone came out alive.
His thoughts were interrupted by his Dragonite’s call. The Pokémon was signaling Max, pointing down at the boy.
Max carefully got up and walked to the edge of the dragon’s back, trying to get a clearer view of the involuntary passenger.
He could see it squirming between Dragonite’s claws, and the Pokémon was having some difficulty in holding it.
“Get him up here, Dragon.” Max commanded, and the Pokémon obeyed. “’Bout time.” He commented when Ash was on Dragonite’s back. “You’ve been out for the past hours.”
Max knew that the boy was confused, partly because he didn’t answer. Instead, he looked around aimlessly.
“You’re in the middle of the ocean.” Max bluntly said, walking over to the top of his Pokémon’s head. “’N we’re escaping the shipwreck where you nearly died.”
Ash was still stunned, both by the height and the people who followed all around, forming a massive group. A Staraptor flew close to his head and nearly stole his hat with the breeze caused by its strong wings’ flapping.
“Still not talking, eh?”
Max sounded nearly like an elder talking with some young inexperienced scout lost in the woods; but he was practically Ash’s age.
Max didn’t know about inexperienced, but everything in Ash pointed out he was feeling lost; lost in the world, lost in the ocean.
Well if he wasn’t replying a rhetorical question, it was time to stab the knife.
“You got your Pokémon with ya? Your… other… Pokémon, with ya?” Max tried to make it sound the least rude he could – to try and test the boy’s reaction. He managed to pull one off: Ash was about to reply at the first question, but then retreated at the continuation.
“See? How hard’s it to talk?” Max satirized, showing a grin only he could see. “Mind sharing your team, mate?”
Maybe it had been too soon to ask it; the knife should have gone deeper first.
And he was right; Ash didn’t reply. He was sobbing on his own corner of the Dragonite’s back, for a reason Max just couldn’t fathom.
“Would you just look at me?” Max yelled, getting up. “I said: LOOK AT ME. Are you going to hide your face from the world for the rest of your life because you lost someone?! I get it that you’d cry for some time, but you’ve been crying ever since you left that ship and that almost cost you your life, boy!” Max was now in front of the trainer, looking down at Ash’s dark cap. Theirs were almost identical, except for the color difference. “Ya gotta go on. Ya gotta give up on the past.”
Max got down on one knee and patted the boy on the back.
“You can’t get stuck with the past forever. You gotta move on and live for those you lost.” His voice softened, lowering to something like a whisper. “Think about it. Do you think they would’ve wanted you to mourn them endlessly?”
Still no response. He was starting to lose his good faith over the boy.
It was time to use another card.
“For all you know… they may still be alive.”
Ash’s eyes instantly met Max’s at the sound of his words.
“Al…Alive?” He stammered, completely hit by the new hypothesis. Max didn’t really get why he sounded so surprised, but if it was working, he didn’t care either.
“Well, yeah. Did you see them dead?”
“No. You instantly escaped.” Max quickly interrupted, giving emphasis to the first word. “Which means, you don’t know about whether they’re alive or not.”
“I guess…” But once again, Max didn’t even let him speak.
“Which also means it’s no use crying, ‘cause you don’t have anything to cry for.”
“Then stop crying already! Wipe those tears off your eyes and say something!” Max was getting carried away by his own outburst of conclusions, and that was obvious when he got up and pointed at Ash in a movie-ish fashion.
“OI!” Someone suddenly called from one of the Pokémon that flew close to Dragonite.
Ash could swear he saw a cloud of black smoke appear over Max’s head that instant.
“Thanks for interrupting me, wise guy.” Max muttered to the man riding a Pidgeot. A man, though he seemed to be about Max’s height, and his face didn’t really resemble a full grown man, perhaps because half of it was covered by his long, deep azure hair which curved down on the right side of his face along with his clothing – blue and white traditional clothing, as if he was taken from some old village story.
Either way, he didn’t seem satisfied with Max’s response to his call, and instantly narrowed his visible eye to show it.
“We’re reaching Orthan in some minutes. Get ready to land.” He communicated with an annoyed voice.
“Yeah? And who’re you to know that?”
The boy-man showed his teeth and jumped off the Pidgeot, clenching his fists in anger.
“Hey! Who allowed you land on my Dragonite?!”
“Myself! The Elegant Master of Flying Pokémon!” He reached for the inside of the cloth-like coat, taking out a silvery object hanging from a very thin string. It had the appearance of two symmetrical wings, polished to its brightest.
“You’re… Falkner?” Max slowly said; it came as no surprise to him that yet another Gym Leader would appear before them. Falkner above all, and that other Hoenn Gym Leader, Winona.
“That’s right; and my father’s over there leading this whole crew to Orthan!” Max felt like Flakner had grown two inches for having a father leader. “If it weren’t for him, you all would still be lost in the sea!”
“How influent…” Max muttered to himself, arms crossed as he watched the Gym Leader brag about the infinite qualities he had when compared to his father. He glanced at Ash, who was still looking down at Dragonite’s bright scales with a gloomy look upon him. “See this guy? You wanna end up like this lunatic?”
“Lunatic?!” Falkner suddenly yelled in Max’s face, grabbing him by the collar. “You repeat that and I’ll-…!”
“And you’ll let him go.” Another man appeared behind, mounting an Articuno’s back.
He seemed like a pilot in all aspect; the leather jacket, tainted with a chestnut color, along with the goggles on his head actually made him fitter of driving a pilot rather than being a Pokémon trainer. A long cape flew behind him, flapping at the wind’s taste.
“But dad, I-…”
“You nothing. For Arceus’s sake, you always said you were against Kanto people and now you’re arguing with a fellow Johto citizen?”
Upon his words, Falkner seemed to realize he was right, as he slowly let go of Max.
“Don’t think my father will be always around the corner to save you from me.” The Gym Leader muttered, walking backwards to the edge. As soon as he was one step away from falling down, Falkner brushed his hair with the hand and showed a cocky smile. “I’m watching you!” Max groaned at the word of warning, rolling his eyes.
With that, Falkner jumped down with a flip, disappearing from sight, reappearing once again on his Pidgeot’s back, which flew away to mix itself with the rest of the flock.
“Your son there needs to calm down or he’ll get into a mess you won’t save him from.” Max added, but the man and his Articuno were no longer there.
Instead, a large mass of green land stretched as far as the eye could see; five majestic mountains rose from the land, disposed to seem like the face of a dice. One of them stood in the middle of a bay that separated desert from forest, dividing the kingdom into half.
Yes, a kingdom… its castle stood high on the top of the mountain in the south westernmost end, a majestic construction in white stone with blue roofs, shinning under the sun that opened above them, since they needed to lower their altitude rather early in the trip because some we’re bringing Noctowls, Pokémon who weren’t too large and couldn’t fly too high.
Max could see their destination now: just over the bay, on the northern side, where a big port town occupied the shore with tall buildings tainted gray, like a polished stone sprinkled with dark powder, over a long, golden beach.
“That city yonder…” Someone said from his side. “Is Caitla Port.”
The trainer noticed that a Charizard had been flying by their side for quite a while, and riding it was one of those persons to whom we would certainly call rouge, judging from the hair, which was tinted with a dark blue color reminiscing the night sky, randomly spikes as if he had just woke up like that. But then he remembered that it in all of the regions he had been to, their tastes for fashion were always almost alien like. In fact, he was surprised to have found a relatively normal dressed person.
“The captain there told us we have to go there. We have to land there and wait for further instructions.” The guy said. Max noted that he was basically pretending to be an assistant or something.
Before he could reply, though, the Charizard dove abruptly, speeding up towards the port below them.
“This is it.” Max hummed, more to Ash than himself. “Get a hold of something to keep you from flying away now. We’re gonna have to spin down to avoid diving.” ’Cause I just know you wouldn’t hold on if I did that.
But again, and even if he wasn’t expecting an answer, the boy remained silent like the air when he tightly clutched the dragon’s back scales.
Max disdainfully watched this, thinking to himself if it wouldn’t have been better to just leave the trainer to join his friends at the ocean bottom.
He’d faced similar situations to it, and that’s what made him what he is; but never had he encountered such a depressingly sorrowful trainer.
As the Dragonite began to dive in spiral patterns, Max kept his cap from flying away, gripping the radiant scale armor with a single hand.
The movement was sickening and horribly confusing at first, but as he became adapted to it, his mind realized the world was now upside down, and the land was approaching his head at a speeding rate. The air buzzing in his ears didn’t help since it made it seem like Dragonite wasn’t even flapping its wings; Max’d rather not even check.
I have to make a decision… He thought, not willing to concentrate on the flight anymore. Either he changes… or I’ll have to go on.
Fact was, Max wasn’t in Orthan to travel for adventure. His pride in journeying derived from his large collection of Badges and Ribbons, but mainly Badges. Ever since meeting a certain white-haired boy in Hoenn, Max had gotten into his mind that collecting Ribbons was something for the weak.
Taking him along will only be a drag for me… he can’t go like this.
The wind’s pressure on his face was starting on increase as Dragonite’s speed exponentially rose, so Max was forced to sustain his breath in order to not get an overwhelming amount of air into his mouth – and, who knew, some random bird flying around. The air around there didn’t seem very tasty either.
But before Max could even blink, the world suffered an agonizing twist as land and sky switched places again, nearly throwing the trainer down due to the dragon’s momentum.
Luckily, Dragonite caught him in the nick of time, placing him on the ground again with a contented groan.
“Nice catch!” Max commended, adjusting his hair before putting his hat back. A quick check on his equipment showed everything was in order; nothing was lost during the flight.
A surge of concern rushed his mind at the thought; the boy!!
“Dragon! Where is he?!” He frenetically spun around in search of any sign of the boy, but all he could find was an immense crowd surrounding the trainers who had just now jumped off their preciously rare flying partners. His eyes then met Dragonite’s, but all the dragon did was shrug.
And the fact that none of the two knew where the boy was left Max even more troubled.
“Damn…” He hummed, covering his face in embarrassment – trying to hide the tears he didn’t dare to shed.
“Damn…” Dragonite also heard it now; but knowing his trainer’s pride, the dragon didn’t bend down to try and comfort its trainer.
Was it some kind of irony? His plans on leaving the trainer behind; had they been heard by some superior entity, and then made true to its own rejoice?
Never, in all the years Max travelled, had he lost someone in a flight he himself forced.
So why now, at the verge of a fresh start? No… it couldn’t be right… He had to be dreaming…
Ultimately, Max couldn’t avoid it anymore; it had been a too deep blow in his own honor… and everyone would hear his own lament, echoing with the few tears Max couldn’t keep anymore as the boy fell on his knees…
As the crowd began to surround Max and his Dragonite, the trainer started to wonder what good would it do to just stay there… The boy was doomed to fall in some Pokémon’s paws anyway, so why even bother caring about whether he was safe on his Dragonite’s back or not?
He saw the boy fight; and honestly, any compliments he might have said were simple courtesy. Their fighting styles weren’t related in any way. Nor were their goals.
So, taking the boy along would only delay Max’s arrival to the next Gym.
Surely, knowing he could have been responsible for his disappearance wasn’t a pleasant thought; but it was nothing Max couldn’t live with.
And as Max always said, it was no use crying over the past.
It was decided for him. He didn’t want to be accounted for complaints of any kind. Especially not for a floating corpse.
“Dragon” He whispered, getting up slowly with the care of covering his face with the cap. “Let’s get out of here. Fast.”
The Pokémon sought to look its trainer in the eyes, but quickly realized he wouldn’t.
Out of options, the Dragonite clutched Max and took flight, spreading a dense cloud of sand that provided the perfect distraction to keep anyone from following them.
In fact, as the cloud settled, neither one could be seen, leaving the crowd stunned with the Pokémon’s speed to disappear.
Something wasn’t right.
He didn’t have trouble carrying the girl on his back when David first placed her there.
Crossing the sea within a thick fog capable of leaving even the most experienced sailors wondering just where in the world they were, Pidgeot easily carried out the task of safely transporting that young girl to the port town; he did, in fact, nearly land.
Nearly because just as he found a good place to land, the weight he was supposed to bring doubled for some reason.
And Pidgeot couldn’t afford stopping somewhere to check whatever was hanging on his talons.
So instead, the Pokémon kept flying as if it were nothing – which, in spite of carrying the weight of over two persons, wasn’t for his enormous size.
His sharp eye – and eagerness to land – rapidly spotted the perfect place to do it: a small hut on top of a hill overlooking the sea, built from straw and wood.
It had to be a good landing – for him, at least. His “other” cargo would have to handle itself on its own.
A large patch of soft-looking grass was just by a plantation of Aspear and Oran Berries, which were just what he needed.
The pasture below shook under the bird’s flutter to lose speed, finally stopping on the turf with the perfect landing. Unloading the girl was the next task – and with a gentle swing of his back, the girl slid from the back to the left wing over the smooth feathers, and then to the ground, on the fresh, morning grass.
The weather in Caitla was rather warmer than the frigid sea, and also much clearer, so leaving the girl there while waiting for David shouldn’t be much of a problem.
If it were a human, the Pokémon would have smiled in contentment for finally being able to eat some of those juicy berries from before; but as he prepared to hop his way to them, Pidgeot remembered something. That other thing that significantly raised the weight on his back earlier; where was it?
Almost pretending to be a Noctowl, the Pokémon’s gaze found nothing around except for a few Rattatas which were curious to know what such a big Pokémon was doing there.
And then it hit him; taking a step back and looking down at the ground, he saw a cap trapped in one of his talons, and a hand firmly hanging on to his right paw.
The glove covering it was almost completely ripped apart, much like the cap, pierced by the razor-sharp talon David insisted in keeping that way, but it wasn’t a pretty scenery either, since even the hat was covered in dirt.
Following the hand to the body it belonged to, Pidgeot found yet another boy who, in spite of his multiple wounds, kept holding on to the Pidgeot’s paw. A trail of soil, probably a result of being dragged across the grass, followed the boy all the way to his chest, where the jacket was shred all the way to the shirt below.
The Pokémon was confused. What to do? Good person, bad person? Talking wasn’t an option, obviously.
“Where…” He coughed, finally releasing his grip. “Where is she…?”
Pidgeot opened his beak to chirp, but instead stepped away from the boy’s sight.
As the girl’s green clothes came into view, the Pokémon noticed a certain shine appear in the boy’s eyes. They regained vitality, or at least enough to breathe a word before collapsing.
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix
Well, after a long time with no updates, I ought to post the latest chapter here too, even if I haven't been having many readers. <.<"
My kingdom for a Pikachu
The large bird could be easily confused with a ruffled ball of feathers because of the way it had folded its wings and concealed the head, leaving behind long strings of hair ranging from red to yellow, no matter how unfitting it seemed for the landscape.
Sleeping by the window, Pidgeot had practically devoured the berry trees on the soft soil beside it. A few half eaten berries were still on the ground, segregating a juicy liquid that shone under the increasingly warm sun.
Not long ago, a man had come outside the hut and taken the two humans; but it hesitated when it was about to take the boy. Not that the Pokémon even cared, it wasn’t his job to escort him.
His mission was accomplished, per say; all he had to do now was wait for David to return.
So, sleeping by the rather small hut, taking refuge from the sun under the straw ceiling that would cover another hut like that, Pidgeot reluctantly listened to the constant hums and groans that came from inside.
The cause for these constant laments was the young boy the bird accidentally brought along as extra cargo. Lying on a small couch by the window, the blanket covering him seemed like an old rag from all the shaking and rolling during his sleep. His hair was a messy amount of black, also a product of his slumber.
A pile of well arranged clothes was placed on the table just next to him, including five Pokéballs and a Pokédex.
The sun, peering from the spaces between the logs of which the wall was made, acquired a light orange color that resembled a sunset instead of a sunrise, illuminating the dust particles flying everywhere in the hut and the old, thin carpet that served as the only thing between feet and wood.
An aged fan kept the air inside the hut fresh, but it was basically the only thing that moved. The hut seemed to be inert in time. It was a boring yet comfortable atmosphere, the perfect house for the beach days that so often flooded Caitla Port with people from all over.
The moving of a small, yellow creature broke the hut’s monotony. The brown stripes on its back, along with the creature’s slim body were easily mistaken for the floor beneath, and made it seem like three brunette lines were moving by themselves towards the sofa.
Its ears, tipped with black, twitched slightly as the curious creature observed the human.
The latter hummed silently, turning yet again on the couch.
This alone triggered even further curiosity, so the creature swiftly jumped, landing on the human’s chest like a feather.
Approaching him, it began to sniff his head; the creature’s ears twitched even more, a notorious sign that whatever the scent, it was sparkling more and more curiosity. The human hummed yet again, this time shaking his head to the sides in a violent manner.
Tilting its head, the creature stood up on the two rear paws, watching as the human seemed to contort in pain.
After showing some signs of easing, the creature took its chances again and approached the human’s face, this time touching it with the front paws.
The human finally opened an eye, but closed it again after humming something.
A frown came to the creature’s face.
“Who’s… who’s there…?” He finally spoke very slowly, narrowing his eyes while these adapted to the light.
A blur of yellow covered his view, mixed with a strange palette of orange and brown.
He began to recover his senses; first the soft material that wrapped him, then the salty air from outside. A fresh breeze comforted him; but then it went away.
The blur became somewhat clearer… it was now a yellow silhouette, but the background remained hazy.
But the yellow silhouette… he would have recognized it any time…
“P-… Pikachu…?” He stammered, quickly sitting up. A sudden thought led him to realize he had barely any clothes on, so he took the blanket and kept it on his legs.
The boy immediately rubbed his eyes, in order to get a better view of what was now on his lap. He wanted to know… it had to be him. It just had to.
And his happiness nearly got stuck in his throat after he opened his eyes; his heart raced in thrill and joy.
“Pikachu…!” He couldn’t understand… why didn’t he move? Why didn’t he even speak? Why did he stay still, watching the Pokémon with a saddened look? Why didn’t he just…
A hug. At last, the boy lunged forward and embraced the Pikachu, feeling the tears running up to the eyes; why was he crying now? Hadn’t he just found his companion?
Questions that raced through his mind at the same speed as his heart beats, all of which left behind a single fact he considered fundamental to know: he was finally there.
“Pikachu…” He began sobbing, affectively hugging the Pikachu as a string of tears ran down his face. “Why… when… how did I even lose you…?”
The boy paused to wipe off the tears, pushing the Pokémon away again.
“It… it doesn’t matter now! We’re together again and…”
“Pikachu.” An older, graver voice called from the other side of the room.
The Pokémon didn’t hesitate in jumping off the boy’s grasp, running towards a doorway just opposed the couch.
Ash’s confused eyes and a trembling hand followed the Pikachu’s course all the way up to a rather short man’s shoulder. A beard fell from the man’s wide chin, opposed to his perfectly bald head.
“Oh…” Ash sniveled, lowering his hand. “I… I see…”
The man started walking, its thick boots producing clicks on the wood they stepped. Elderly eyes gazed upon Ash with comforting looks, even as the man sat on the couch by the boy.
“Am sorry.” He spoke again, his deep voice heavily marked by a sailor accent. “Pikachu, apologize to the lad.”
“It’s… it’s okay…” Ash interrupted, leaning back on the couch again. “I should apologize… The Pikachu did nothing…”
The man shrugged and got up, approaching the radio next to a window. The turn of a button played a soft tune from the object, quickly spreading across the hut.
“Aaaah…” The man sighed in contentment. “Radio Docker. Nothin’ like these fella’s to cleanse yer thoughts.”
Though the music wasn’t half-bad, Ash’s thoughts hadn’t left the Pikachu yet. What about his own…? Where was it…?
The happiness he felt for brief moments, would he never feel it again?
“Ahoy.” The man called, sitting on his own rocking chair, gladly rocking back and forth. “What’s yer name?”
“Hum… Ash… Sir…”
“Ash ei?” The man immediately cut in. “Name’s Jackson.”
“Where am I…?”
“Ye’re in Caitla Port. Orthan coast.”
“Orthan…?” Ash repeated, remembering the previous events… how he lost the battle, his Pikachu, his friends… how he was forced to come to that kingdom… “So… I really got here…”
“Aye, ye did! The way ain’t the best, but aye, ye did.”
“What… do you mean?”
“Ye dun’ remember?” Ash shook his head. Indeed, the most recent events were still unclear to him… “I found ye holdin’ to a Pidgeot’s talons. Yer clothes were filthier than the grass, so I got rid of’em for ye.” Ash was about to protest when the man pointed out the rest of the clothes. “But I got new ones, so dun’ worry.”
Ash sat up on the couch again to examine the clothes. They were quotidian clothes… a white shirt with a red Pokéball pattern, some jeans, and a pair of blue, fingerless gloves.
A pair of black and red sneakers was also included among the entire wardrobe.
Needless to say, Ash was somewhat stunned at how caring Jackson had been.
“Now now, lad… Jackson. I ain’t no sir.”
Ash absorbed the request and corrected himself.
“Mr. Jackson.” He repeated to show he had learned the lesson. The man smiled.
With his eyes still laid on the Pikachu, Ash decided it was the right time to make the question.
“Sir…” The man coughed and Ash immediately corrected it. “I mean, Mr. Jackson… That Pikachu… where did you catch it?”
Mr. Jackson laughed a bit and took the Pikachu from his shoulder, placing it on his lap instead.
“I didn’t catch it, lad. A lad just like ye gave it to me some years ago. I said it was better to keep it, but the boy insisted and left it with me. Since then, this rat hasn’t left the hut. I’m surprised it even approached ye.”
“Hum… really?” Ash did agree on the degree of oddness on the Pokémon’s actions, at least according to what the man had just described. He could number some reasons… perhaps the scent of his Pikachu led to this Pikachu’s approach? Even if the clothes weren’t the same, the two tended to mingle very often. So it came as no surprise to him that the sailor reprehended the poor thing’s behavior.
The two paused for a moment. Mr. Jackson’s eyes still observed Ash with an attentive gaze, describing him as a whole and collecting all details on his personality.
For Mr. Jackson was no ordinary sailor, of course. He was the only sailor in Caitla Port, perhaps, the entire bay that bathed the kingdom, who dared to transverse the seas with passengers in such a small yacht. While most sailors loitered the cape, Mr. Jackson’s keen eye and mental dexterity made him quite the fortune out of the simple business of transportation across the bay, building a bridge that was long wished.
The bridge, though, wasn’t as solid as most might think, because Mr. Jackson saw his days of retirement in the horizon, and so hoped to leave his entire commerce to his descendants. Needless to say, these denied the old man this pleasure, so the gap between Caitla and Sitia was once again established, even if some private ships do cross it.
And age hadn’t rusted his senses at all. They became ever sharper, and his companies became as selective as the Pikachu that lives with him. In a way, his own way of speech was a distraction from the real person within.
Rising from the chair, Mr. Jackson started walking towards the door he had entered through, but this time calling Ash as well.
“And, hum… get dressed, first.” He immediately added to point out the clothes, just before a blushing Ash threw the blanket away.
The young trainer didn’t waste time getting dressed; not after such a nice person offered him decent clothing to replace his other one. However mundane, the clothes were comfortable and would allow him to blend in easily with the port town’s people. They reminded him of the day he received his first Pokémon, in Pallet Town, both because of their color and their aspect overall. Remembering the time when he went against Gary, though, only reminded him of more pains he suffered and would suffer from. These pains – exclusively his, for even the thought of sharing the pain with Mr. Jackson pained him – were something he’d rather not think of, but continuously thought about. Friends – and rivals alike – whose location or condition were unknown.
Ash met Mr. Jackson at the end of a short corridor, clearly decorated to suit a very seaside style, due to its abundance in seashells and Heart Scales – these were scattered along the ceiling as well, giving Ash the feeling of walking under a thousand Luvdiscs.
He found a very interesting item sitting on top of a decorative table; it had the curious shape of a shell, yet resembled a bell in many ways. A crimson hold kept it hanging from the ceiling with a string, which granted the item some mobility as Ash walked by. The pendular movement it printed produced a very silent melody that echoed across the wood walls, rewarding its listeners with a soothing moment.
“Found’em shell inside a rock’n Mount’n Pinnacle.” Mr. Jackson readily explained, reaching for the doorknob. Ash was about to add something, but the man raised an open hand to demand silence. “Ye weren’t alone. ‘Em Pidgeot outside carried ye here on its talons. But some’n else on the back.”
A short memory of grabbing hold of a big bird’s paw came to his mind, but the reason remained shrouded.
It became clear however, as Mr. Jackson pulled the door very slowly, allowing Ash to peek inside and see with his own eyes what obscure reason had propelled him to jump off the Dragonite’s back and instead risk his life.
A tear came to his eye.
“M-May…” He stuttered, lounging forward as if the girl lying on the bed would fall into some invisible void to grab her hand. Ash pushed his head against her hand, clutching it uncontrollably yet with care. A bandage was placed around her naked arm, kept over the clean, white sheets.
A weak light from within the window blinds illuminated her sleeping face, showing her calm expression even after the events.
Ash couldn’t control the tears that streamed down his face; they weren’t tears of sadness, but of joy: he had finally found someone. That was what mattered. And that alone restored in him some of that confidence he felt upon entering the sunken S.S. Quest.
Getting up very slowly, never letting go of her hand, Ash passed his own hand over her forehead, brushing her hair very softly. But as soon as his palm touched her skin, the confidence drowned in shock.
“She’s… she’s burning up with fever…” His gasp didn’t seem to be much of a surprise to Mr. Jackson’s already grave face.
“Aye… The lass’s suffering from hypothermia…” The sailor admitted, reaching for a mortar and a pestle on a small wooden table at the bed’s feet.
It contained a dark-green semiliquid substance, which Mr. Jackson pounded even more, until the substance started to ooze a light-green liquid. Using a wooden cup, he poured the liquid inside and opened May’s mouth, dropping the resultant fluid until she swallowed it.
The remaining liquid was deposited on the mortar again, and the utilities kept in their place.
“A natural medicine. There ain’t better cure for a fever like that than good ol’ pulverized Ivysaur petals.” Mr. Jackson explained after seeing the perplexed looks Ash threw at the bowl. “But it ain’t enough! I need more! And the only place I can get more is in either Victala or Litindle! The pharmacies in Caitla can’t dispense what I need!”
The two names were completely extraterrestrial to Ash; they could very well be the names of two cities, but ranging from their location to their aspect, Ash knew nothing. He was actually starting to wonder if he even wanted to stay in that kingdom now.
“If ye were to go there…” Mr. Jackson continued, sitting at the end of the bed. “I bet the lass’d be grateful.”
“Me…? T-travel?!” Ash stammered again, however unsurprised by the request. “But… I don’t even know where those places are…”
It was undeniably true; Brock had been his only orientation throughout his journey. And when he wasn’t, somebody else would.
But here, Ash felt like he would be speaking in a foreign language nobody’d understand. Was it even worth a try? What if he failed? But would he just let his friend, the only friend whose life was still hanging by a string, but hanging nonetheless?
“That’s no problem, lad.” A smile appeared in Mr. Jackson’s face. “Pikachu here knows the way there…”
Ash’s look flew over to the Pokémon on the sailor’s shoulder.
“Aye. Ye can take Pikachu with ye. That is, of course…” The sailor continued before Ash’s cries of joy ensued. “…if ye leave me yer other Pokémon. Insurance policy, ye get me? Ye can have’em when ye get back with’em medicine. Dun’ think me wrong, lad.”
“My other Pokémon…?” Ash repeated, considering the proposal.
Here occurred a collision of interests, for Ash wasn’t necessarily at his best state of emotion. Stimulated by May and the offer of the Pikachu, his emotional side could override common sense, in other words, his obvious choice in another case.
Taking Pikachu’d grant him some last moments with one of his best partner’s kind, but it’d also mean taking a greater risk than taking the team he raised by himself.
But of course, the decision had already been taking ever since he woke up.
“I… I…” He hesitated briefly. And rising his head, Ash took the decision with as firm conviction as his closed fist. “I’ll do it.”
“That’s the spirit, lad!” Mr. Jackson commended, patting him on the shoulder. This also allowed Pikachu to walk from one man to the other, this time staying on Ash’s shoulder.
A faint happiness came to Ash for a moment; feeling a Pikachu there again… he longed for the time when he’d get a partner as great, as trustworthy, as familiar, as his again.
The sailor’s eyes intercepted Ash’s for a moment.
“The journey ain’t easy, mate.” Mr. Jackson said, honestly smiling. It was an inspiring expression, and Ash found in it the warmth his beloved ones transmitted to him when he was about to depart to another journey, to another region, to another adventure.
Before, Ash relied only in his singular partner to start a new journey through a new place. It was somewhat strange to him that, after so much time doing that, he had to start it out with the team he would’ve otherwise left behind.
The same team he now saw being handed out to Mr. Jackson’s hand, one Pokéball by one. Showing signs of good faith, Mr. Jackson politely placed them by May’s bed, throwing a glance at Ash to prove he wasn’t doing it pointlessly.
As the sailor walked back, a piece of paper was now flying in his hand. The parchment was promptly put on Ash’s hand.
“That’d be them ingredients I need. More specifically, a Melissa Herb.” He explained while reaching for the interior of his navy blue jacket. Before even being able to see what it was, Mr. Jackson laid an item on Ash’s hand, keeping it closed. “Ye can take this, too… As a guarantee I shall keep me promise.”
Ash’s was about to open the hand when Mr. Jackson continued. “Please… not here.”
The young trainer stood puzzled, his anticipation trying to decipher what was that the sailor had offered him. It seemed triangular shaped… from what his hand, still sore from the flight, could feel.
“Time is of essence.” Mr. Jackson warned, obviously hinting him to leave as soon as possible. Ash nodded and left without a word.
Having been unable to help his friends before… he was evidently vowing to save his last friend in that decrepit land which had brought to him nothing but catastrophe, loss and pain. He swore in his mind; and he had the determination needed.
Finally setting foot outside the hut, he noticed the Pidgeot, asleep once more, next to the berry-bearing trees on soft soil. A smile came to his face; and the thought of thanking the Pidgeot to his mind.
But another look at the hut made him run away, merging with the increasingly busy dock’s crowd. A long breakwater just off the Caitla Port coast; its extent diminished over time, having survived through thick and thin.
The Pikachu on his shoulder provided him all the needed confidence; even if it was a faux confidence, and all of it was just a mere illusion… he knew it; yet, he denied it.
We interrupt this broadcast for breaking news on the sinking of the S.S. Quest in the Animor Sea, five miles off the Orthanian coast. Survivors have been found among the wreckage driven by the waves, shoring at Mt. Pinnacle and at the base of the Sacred Mountain. Among these survivors is the Sinnoh Elite Four Flint, who was found aboard an inflatable raft with other Gym Leaders from Sinnoh and other individuals whose identity is unknown. We have currently no deaths to register, and we will keep up-…
“Seems like Rhyan’s havin’ a tough time…” The fisherman commented, patiently holding the fishing rod. Putting the radio back into his bag, he threw a quick look at the wristwatch. Midday; the busiest time in Caitla Port.
His observation was interrupted by the ringing of a small bell attached to the rod; effectively, the long object was curved downwards. “Ya hear that, Skip?!” He joyfully cried to the Mudkip by his side before grabbing the rod and pulling with all the strength his human body could handle. “We’re takin’ home some big, juicy Remor-…AAH!”
The man couldn’t even finish speaking when he was thrown back by the applied strength’s recoil, helplessly hitting the ground with the back of his head.
The Mudkip leaped backwards when a hand suddenly emerged from the other side of the breakwater, clutching the damp edge with effort.
The Mudkip eventually came to its senses after staying stunned for a split second, now skipping around its trainer to call for its help in incomprehensible yaps.
“What is it, boy?” The man spoke, still rubbing the back of his head from the impact.
His sight was still rather blurry, but he could clearly see a hand on the ground, possibly pushing the rest of the body below. “Whoa, hang on!”
Their hands met; and with the additional strength from the fisherman’s years of experience, the boy below was successfully pushed up, lying on the ground while coughing obese amounts of water.
“Who’re you?! You okay, boy?!” The fisherman flooded the boy with questions as concern lifted and the thoughts of how he’d be rewarded took place.
“I’m… *cough* fine…” The boy replied, getting up and walking towards the edge of the dock again.
“Whoa! Where’re you goin’?!” The man exclaimed as the boy leaned on the edge again.
“Walrein! Get back!” He commanded as a red beam shot from the Pokéball in his hand to reach the surface of the water below. He quivered and stood up, receiving the gentle rays of heat from the sun. “Last time I’m travelling like this… and this time, I mean it…”
“You’re ona’ those guys that got shipwrecked?” The fisherman asked, still curious.
“Yup.” The boy replied, taking a box out of his backpack to hand it to the man. “Name’s David. Keep the rod, that one isn’t giving you any fish.”
And those were his last words before walking off, removing his jacket to get it dry while mumbling a few words on his own.
The fisherman blinked for a few moments, trying to understand what happened before opening the box.
A few sticks, increasingly thick, were well arranged and placed on a surface involved in velvet, next to a long, transparent wire and a reel designed to look like a Pokéball.
A golden plate was attached to the bottom of the box, where the words “Super Rod” were carved.
Needless to say, it left the man speechless.
“Well then, let’s see…” David started, composing his jacket. He put his thumb and index fingers on his lips and loudly whistled a short tune, allowing it to echo across the area, fading away rather quickly.
He waited for a moment, carefully hearing the sounds around him.
Finally, a faint reply was heard; the exact same melody, albeit in a different tone!
“Pidgeot!” David yelled, running across the tall grass to reach a hill; and across the grassy field over it was a hut, a small one in the middle of meager woods.
The plateau was interestingly wide, but completely covered in tall grass, desperately needing to be cut.
“Where could he be…?” The boy muttered, slowly crossing the field.
He came across a particular patch of grass; the soil there seemed to have been dug recently, as the earth from beneath the lawn was spread all around it.
“They must have landed here…” He commented, bending to pick a glove from the ground; he grasped it tightly when he realized who it belonged to. “May.”
But there was another glove next to it, a size larger. Picking it up, David tried to identify who it belonged to; to no avail.
“Pidgeot!” The boy yelled yet again, getting up and following the path to the house.
He was about to enter it when a quiet space of soft soil caught his eye. It was conveniently placed next to the house, and it seemed to be well treated, too; if it weren’t for the fact that all the berry trees had no fruit.
David frowned, walking to the patch of soil.
And right behind the house, he saw it.
“There you are!” He spoke, seeing his Pokémon resting behind the house, small pieces of berries lying on the ground. The Pidgeot woke upon the call, chirping in an annoyed tone. David couldn’t reprehend him, not after having done such a long trip. “Okay, okay… Get inside the Pokéball, I’ll send you back to Saffron so you can fly away again. I’ll just call Lacewing.” The Pokémon nodded and got inside the Pokéball. “Phew… this was a close one…”
His hand reached out for the Pokégear, opening it up to check the regional map.
“Caitla Port is just north of here… I need to get to the center. I’ll get back to her whenever I get my team back.” He commented, staring at the house, then back at the belt in his hand. “I have to give her this back.”
He wanted to start moving, but his eyes couldn’t leave the hut’s straw roof, and mostly wooden walls. They were appealing and looked old, but he still felt it was safe to leave her there, if she was inside. If not, there was not much he could do now.
“Good luck, girl.” He muttered under his breath, walking away to finally embark on a new journey…
One that had already given proof not to be easy…
And thus the fall of Cipher
awakened a greater evil somewhere else... the beginning of a true
- Delta Vulpix