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A chaptered fic I'm doing based on an idea I've had for a long time. I'll update this irregularly because I'm doing this as a light-hearted fic besides my current fic, NG-137. So yeah, enjoy.
Warning: This piece of fiction may contain PARODY. This fic may also have elements of CRACK-FIC as certain parts may not make sense and events seem to jump.
Rating: PG-13 for double entendres, and black comedy.
Oh wow, chapter titles just seem to get longer and longer, don't they?
Breaking the Fourth
Skit 1: Honey, I’m home!
It was, to use the simple term, an ordinary day in the town of New Bark where ordinary people walked the streets and ordinary occurrences were the norm. Having been voted the most boring town in existence by the ministry of tourism, the citizens of New Bark took it to themselves to uphold the status quo which had so shaped their municipality. Of course, owning the title of most boring town in Johto did not necessarily mean that nothing worth nothing ever happened. In fact, things worth mentioning happened all the time in this quaint suburban environment that received little to no public attention. These things were so worth mentioning that they were even being mentioned before they even had a chance to happen and were still being repeated for the countless generations to come.
This was one such story.
It all started one Thursday morning when a bright, young lad of about seventeen years of age awoke from a dreamless sleep. This rather ordinary young gentleman had the good fortune of being named Sebastian and was today to begin one of his greatest adventures of all time. Yes, he was in high-spirits that morning, and the only thing that he now needed to kick-start this journey of a life time was a short trip next door to the laboratory of a one Professor Elm. This good mood of his stayed with him throughout the whole morning and was even present as he descended the staircase, casually humming the tune to ‘The Village’.
Unfortunately, this was to be his first mistake.
Unbeknownst to him, Tomoyo Tanaka, otherwise known as your mom, I mean, Sebastian’s mother was, at that moment, in the kitchen after having drunk herself into a stupor the night before. Sebastian was usually pretty confident of his mother’s inability to wake up before noon on a weekday, especially when drunk, but this was, of course, no ordinary day. Not ordinary in the sense that it was the beginning of the story and the plot demanded that Tomoyo would be particularly receptive towards Sebastian’s humming on this day of all days.
Sebastian continued humming and reached for the door. Tomoyo, hearing the soft sounds of her son’s voice awoke with a start, stared around wildly at the masses of bottles which surrounded her, and was made aware of Sebastian’s presence as he fumbled with the keys. Her eyes widened with surprise and, using a superhuman reserve of strength, she launched herself towards Sebastian with a deadly screech, knocking numerous bottles to the floor in the process. Sebastian turned to the source of the noise and was instead met with Tomoyo’s less than lightweight frame tackling him into submission, slamming him against the door, and bringing him down onto the floor. She stared at him wildly through vaguely confused eyes which betrayed a certain sense of constant paranoia.
Sebastian was the first to break the ice. “Mother!” he exclaimed, “What are you doing?”
Tomoyo’s tangled hair and alcohol-laden breath were enough to alert her consciousness to the fact that she was suffering from a hangover. A bad one at that. Still, she struggled to put words together as she opened her mouth.
“Where the hell,” she gasped, “do you think you’re going!”
“I…I…” he stuttered defensively. “I was going to Professor Elm’s Lab.”
Her face lit up a fraction as she heard this. “And why were you going to Professor Elm’s Lab?”
“I,” he began to think up a suitable excuse but then settled with the truth, “was going to see Professor Elm.”
“And why were you going to see the Professor?” she said, her voice rising in apparent excitement.
“So that I...”
“So that you could get, go on.” Tomoyo’s face was practically shining with excitement.
“A ride?” Her expression dropped from excitement to confusion. “You mean you’re not going to get your first Pokémon?”
“Pokémon? No, I was going to ask Professor Elm if he’d bring me to Goldenrod Station. My train’s in four hours.”
“What for? Oh right, you’re going to see Professor Oak to get Kanto starters aren’t you?” She smiled.
“Err, no mother. We’ve been over this. I’m going to be an attorney, remember? The admissions ceremony at Saffron University is today.” Sebastian was quite used to explaining things to his post-hangover mother. He went through the explanation routine of ‘why it was important for the clothes to not be in the oven’ and ‘I’m not your daughter’ or some variant of his explanations to his inebriated mother at least three times a week. Five times on golden week.
“A lawyer?” she said, taken aback. “I thought that was a phase you were going through?”
“A phase doesn’t last seven years.”
“So you’re not going to become a Pokémon trainer?” said Tomoyo who was still trying to wrap her head around the concept of someone who did not want to be a Pokémon trainer in a world full of one.
“So you’re okay with that?”
“No, I mean yes to your ‘no’ on my ‘no’.
“So that’s a no?” said Sebastian, confused.
Tomoyo drew her breath. “Sebastian Giovanni Tanaka Haley Shiritori Madrid Asda Kanon,” she began, pronouncing Sebastian’s full name, “I did not spend the last seventeen years raising you in this household for you to turn into… into…”
Disregarding the fact that his mother had barely raised him at all for the past seventeen years, Sebastian replied, “Behave like what, mother?”
“A complete and utter failure.”
“Failure, mother?” said Sebastian innocently.
“Yes, a failure. Why in hell would you be a no-good, money-sucking lawyer, the ones that couldn’t even keep your father out of jail, instead of an honest to goodness Pokémon trainer? Do I even need to tell you how little sense there is in that?”
“Mother, the lawyer which we hired to fight father's case wasn’t a lawyer,” Sebastian said patiently.
“Then explain the briefcase!” shouted Tomoyo.
“Then what the hell was he?”
“A homeless person.”
“Sebastian,” began Tomoyo, massaging her temple, somewhat annoyed at her son’s complacence, “I think I’d know a lawyer from a hobo if I saw one. Especially if he was wearing cardboard.”
“He was very good at origami.”
“And you were drunk.”
The rest of Tomoyo’s sentence trailed off into the abyss of her subconscious. To her, it did explain a lot, particularly as she recalled her alcohol-induced argument with the blender the other night on whether or not the toaster was making racist comments behind her back. Therefore, doing the thing any sensible mother would have done to quell a rebellious teenager, she changed the subject.
“So, nice weather we're having,” she said pleasantly.
“Can you please get off me now?” said Sebastian.
Tomoyo got up, went to the kitchen, and poured herself a cup of hot, strong coffee for her headache. She swirled the coffee around in its cup --allowing it to cool, accidentally spilled some on her own hand, cursed, threw the “damn thing” onto the floor, and stared at the brown stain on the carpet reproachfully. Then, she poured another cup, looked appreciatively at the blackish liquid in the cup, and downed it in one gulp, ignoring the searing pain (she made a mental note to feel it later). Realising that one cup wouldn't be able to kill her headache so easily, she sent down another cup of coffee to aid the first in its mission. What she needed now was a battle strategy. She took the jar of sugar and poured the whole of its contents onto the kitchen counter. Then, she placed another cup of coffee on the counter and began to draw out battle formations in the sugar while making sure that the coffee was getting briefed properly. She then drank this cup in hopes that he had understood the plan and was able to relay it to the other two before confronting the headache. Tomoyo then turned around.
Sebastian, who had been watching this process for a few minutes now, had, again, started to question his mother's sanity. Wasn't the coffee hot?
“Have you brought everything you needed?” said Tomoyo suddenly while not looking at Sebastian. Instead, she had begun to glare rather menacingly at the toaster that stood so foolishly beside the rice cooker.
“Umm,” began Sebastian, smoothing down his shirt, “everything's in my briefcase. Ticket, books, and papers.”
“Excellent. Mind if I have a look?”
“No, go on right ahead.” He handed her the briefcase that had fallen to the floor in the earlier confusion.
Tomoyo took the briefcase in her hands,walked towards the door and held it open. “Well, what are you waiting for? Go out, become a lawyer, embrace your destiny.”
“Erm,” said Sebastian, not sure of what to make of his mother's sudden change in attitude.
“Go, child…” she said.
“Right. I guess I’ll be back for Christmas?” He walked out of the door and looked back to his mother just in time to see the door slam shut in his face.
“And never come back!” shouted Tomoyo through the door that now separated them.
“Mother, my briefcase!”
“Screw it, you're gonna become a Pokémon trainer and that's final!” shouted Tomoyo through the door.
“But clothes! They were all in my bag! I don't want to be a trainer!”
“Just buy new ones!”
“Seriously mother, stop joking around, I need to get to the station with a ticket.”
“Why don't you get your Pokémon to help you fly there? Oh wait, you don't have any. Then get some!”
“But… but… I wouldn’t even know where to begin to become a trainer,” he shouted.
“Professor Elm, ask him!” Then, Tomoyo through a grey coloured cap out of the window. “Take this, it will help you.”
If Sebastian was confused, he wasn’t going to hide it. “How? It's just a hat?” he asked.
“When you catch one, turn it all the way to the back and strike a bad-boy pose.”
“Don't argue with me, boy! Now, go!”
With a heavy heart and a cap in hand, Sebastian started his short walk towards Professor Elm's lab. The first steps on his reluctant journey. Tomoyo on the other hand, spent the rest of the morning interrogating the toaster.
..................Sir were going to have to ask you to step out of your house. We got reports of a toaster threatening to stab a women in the face.
That's all. xDDDD best. story. ever. i'll make an actual review later.
no. you are dead.
Huzzah! New parody! I love those!
Before I say anything else, I want to praise you for your subtlety and drollness. It's easy to just go plain over the top with silliness in a parody, but yours has a level of sophistication that makes it more respectable. On top of that, extra super bonus points for originality. I would be lying if I said I saw the line about wanting a ride coming. I'd be lying even more if I said I saw the lawyer aspirations coming. Between that exchange and the battle plan with the coffee, you have a real gut-buster here. Oh, and then there was when she slammed the door on him and told him to become a pokemon trainer instead. Caught me way off guard, nice!
Now that that's out of the way, may I have the honor of pointing out some grammatical mistakes?
On that note, I was confused about the meaning of the sentence at first. I thought you meant to say "enough to alert him," seeing as Tomoyo could probably realize that she had a hangover immediately from the splitting headache that accompanies a hangover. Of course, I'm no expert in hangoverology, so I might be wrong.
That's about all the mistakes I could find. There were still some sentences that I thought didn't flow as well as they could, though. I'd read it over again for good measure and try to spot if there are any cases where something could be better worded. It's nothing that hurts the story, mind you, just generally good practice.
You've got a very funny first chapter. More importantly, it's the right kind of funny. Anyone can write cheap laughs, but that's not what I see here. I see well thought out, well timed, and well sharpened humor. My hat's off to you, and here's to a great parody in the works!
My chapter fics:
Kanto: The Disputed Frontier - 14 chapters, indefinite hiatus. Gary Stu's Unpredictable Adventure - 8 chapters, completed. Digimon Campaign - 7 chapters, ongoing
There's Always Tomorrow (SWC 2009), A Matter of Stubbornness (SWC 2010), Left by the Roadside (SWC 2011 1st place),
Giovanni Destroys the World and Everything in It (2012), By What Right? (SWC 2013 1st place), Back in the Day (SWC 2014 1st place)
Family (kind of?): Strange person who calls me strange names
If the pen is mightier than the sword, the keyboard is mightier than the ICBM.
The story was very enjoyable, and, apart from the minor grammar nitpicks by anon, it's very good. It's reminiscent of the style of humour Douglas Adams and people like that use. There's no outright joke or stupidity in it, but the idea of a section or sections, especially with a deadpan, "serious" delivery, just brings funny to the piece. It's great.
Essentially, I rewrote both Skit 1 and Skit 2 because, hey, that’s what I do for some reason. I deleted the previous Skit 2 because it, imo, sucked and this new version deviates very much from the old one. Also, I didn’t want people to read it just as I posted Skit 3, which is essentially attention-whoring.
Without further ado, I present to you:
Skit 2: Kicking the dog
Sebastian walked sullenly down the short path from his house to Professor Elm's lab. The greyish cap that had been given to him by his mother sat moodily on his head, an obtrusive corporate emblem stitched onto the front. This was not surprising, though. Hats are often of a moody disposition --unlike mattresses, having to sit on heads all day and unwillingly protect their wearers from the extremes of weather. The hat bore its affliction remarkably well and never once did it complain out loud. Sebastian, on the other hand, was, of course, ignorant of this fact, and, as if to mock the hat for everything it stood for, took it off and stuffed it haphazardly inside his coat pocket due to the heat. The hat (which shall now be referred to as Geoffrey) silently cursed Sebastian, or flesh-sack.
Presently he arrived at the laboratory of Professor Elm. It was a squat, greyish kind of building with a chimney that was constantly lit. Sebastian wasn’t quite sure what the chimney was used for, considering the fact that Professor Elm’s house was a bit further away than the lab and that the lab had never had an inlet vent installed anywhere inside. Yet, there it was, spewing out whitish steam without regard for the environment.
The lab seemed disturbingly noisy as Sebastian approached. He could hear all manner of machinery and computers working furiously in the lab alongside some vague shouting and whooping. He rapped on the door and instantly, curiously the noise ceased.
There were some muted whisperings, to which Sebastian found mildly confusing, and the door creaked open a fraction, showing him of one of Professor Elm’s aides. The aide stared at him creepily with a single brown eye then said with a slight accent, “Who goes there?”
Sebastian rolled his eyes. “Let me in Jack,” he said, “I need to talk to the Professor.” Jack was a few years older than Sebastian and was, at the moment, completing an internship, but that didn’t mean he was the most mature of people at all times.
“You shall not pass!” retorted Jack in the same hissy accent.
“Not the time, Jack.”
“Oh come on, you’re leaving today right?” said Jack, dropping the accent. “Besides, there’s always time for some Tolkien.”
“I don’t read fiction,” muttered Sebastian, “you know that.”
“Well I haven’t read Tolkien, but you surf the net, right? Haven’t you heard of memes?”
“Just let me in, we’ll talk more.”
Jack undid the latch and the door swung open to reveal the lab interior, a horrendous mix of pre-1970s lab equipment with frequent attempts at modernism scattered liberally throughout. A dozen, archaic, tape computers were located throughout the lab with him being the current, sole operator working the establishment. Ignoring Sebastian for the time being, Jack walked to one of the computers, ripped off some ticker tape, typed in something on the more, modern-looking laptop on his workstation, and returned. “I think the computers remind him of when Ethan was here. So anyway, what brings you here to the den of our beloved Prof?” he said with a grin.
Sebastian smiled grimly in return. “I just need to talk to Professor Elm regarding certain matters which…”
“Your mom locked you out again?” replied Jack knowingly, turning back to the computer as it suddenly started to spew out more ticker tape without provocation.
Sebastian paused mid-sentence. “She has my bag.”
“Should have known. You need the Prof to talk to her am I right?”
“If he’s not too busy.”
“Are you kidding? He’s in a meeting.”
“Oh, should I come back th—“
“Hey, whoa, he’s with…” Jack paused to reflect on the myriad of expletives he knew which could convey his displeasure at the mention of the word but then settled on a dramatic pronunciation of the word, “her...”
“No, no, don’t say the name, I don’t want to hear her name ever again,” exclaimed Jack with all the air of someone who was denying a blatant truth.
“I’d think you’d have gotten over it by now, Jack,” said Sebastian.
“You’d think. But then, you’d be wrong.” Jack walked over to the window and stared out of it dramatically with his back to Sebastian. “Life is fleeting, Sebastian. We don’t want to waste a single second of our precious lives pursuing a cause which we know to be futile. When I saw what she did… I couldn’t… I just ended it. Acted all confused like she didn’t know what I was talking about.” He sighed. “Failed romances… are never an easy thing to let go off. Especially, especially when the woman in question— hey is your mom having a bonfire?”
Sebastian was thrown off balance by Jack’s sudden change in tone. “What? Where?”
“There.” Jack pointed out the window. “Is that a briefcase?”
Immediately, Sebastian rushed to the window and promptly shoved Jack to one side. Though they were separated by a few years give or take, Jack was only taller than Sebastian by a few inches. Suffice to say, Sebastian had no problem in shoving the aide to the floor.
“Hey, watch it!” said Jack.
“Mother!” shouted Sebastian out of the window, “Look, I’m here, I’m getting my first Pokémon! For the love of all that’s good and kind in the world please don’t burn my briefcase!”
Jack joined in the shouting. “Yeah, Mrs. T. I’m sure that won’t burn as good. You‘ll wanna get some dry wood. That’ll keep the fire going nice and warm.”
Tomoyo paused and dropped the briefcase haphazardly on the ground. She replied, “You’re a dear, Jack. Tell Sebastian that if he doesn’t get his trainer-ass into gear, he can kiss his stuff goodbye.”
“I’m right here, mother,” shouted Sebastian.
Tomoyo squinted through the fiery haze. “Sebastian, you heard what I said. If I don’t get to see a Pokémon in your hands in half an hour, this briefcase gets it, get it?”
“I get it, just please!” pleaded Sebastian. “Half an hour. I’ll be back.” He retreated from the window and paced around nervously.
“Hoo boy,” said Jack, “she’s throwing a toaster in there too. I think she’s restless. Might not burn as well, though.”
“Please, Jack, just shut up. Where’s Professor Elm having the meeting?”
“Hey, is that anyway you’re going to treat someone you’re asking help from?”
“Please! My mother’s going to destroy my briefcase with all my certificates inside, potentially ruining my chances of getting into college, and all you can think about is common courtesy? Have some brains, man!”
“Okay, geez. He’s in the back room.”
Sebastian cast a cursory glance towards the rest of the lab. “There’s a back room?”
“I don’t know. Is there?” said Jack stubbornly.
He sighed. “Professor Elm likes to pretend the backyard’s an extension. That’s the back room, or his office, so to speak.”
“Thanks.” And without another word, Sebastian dashed off to the door which led to the backyard. There, he found Professor Elm seated upon a tree stump with what was supposedly an icebox serving as a makeshift desk in between him and a policewoman.
“Ah, Crustacean, my boy,” he said, “so nice of you to join me and Lily. We were just about to have brunch.”
Lily frowned. “It’s Sebastian, dad. And no, we’re not having brunch.”
“Oh, erm, well, this is kind of urgent,” said Sebastian, “so…”
“Hold on, it won’t be two minutes, Sebs.” Lily turned back to Professor Elm. “Bottom-line, the report needs to be in by year’s end, dad, or you lose your grant. The commission was very clear about the matter.”
“The commission’s a bunch of old, decrepit men in lab coats, have I told you that?” grumbled the Professor.
“Yes, mum tells me you say that a lot.”
Lily snapped her fingers in the Professor’s face repeatedly. “Marina, your wife, my mum, remember? Honestly, dad. I’m surprised you haven’t forgotten to wear clothes today.”
“Or so you assume,” muttered the Professor beneath his breath. Unfortunately, Lily and Sebastian both heard it. While Lily, used to her father’s mental condition, remained stone-faced, Sebastian recoiled in disgust, now painfully aware of the fact that he hadn’t noticed a shirt collar above the ankle-length lab coat wound loosely around the Professor’s body.
Lily stole a glance at her watch. “I think my work here’s done.”
“Won’t you stay for brunch?” offered the Professor.
“Maybe next time. I’m never going to get promoted if I stay around chatting here am I? The nepotism down at the precinct doesn’t help one bit either.” She made for the door but stopped abruptly, her hand on the doorknob. “Sebastian,” she said, “could you just spare a second?”
At that moment, Sebastian was trying hard not to think about the horrors beneath the lab coat but was failing miserably. He snapped out of his reverie as soon as he heard his name. “Huh?”
“Sebastian, come on. I need to say something.”
“Can’t it wait?” asked Sebastian, eyeing the rising smoke in the distance that seemed to be increasing in volume. “This is kind of urgent.”
“No,” said Lily simply. “Come on.”
Reluctantly, he followed Lily through the lab. Inevitably, the two passed by Jack who was typing on his computer. Jack, noticing their presence, stopped typing mid-sentence and suddenly became very interested with the roll of tickertape on his desk. Lily stiffened and stopped in her tracks for a split-second. “Merridew,” she said curtly in acknowledgement.
Jack looked up and allowed his eyes to linger with a certain longing on the woman he once knew as Lily. The few weeks that had passed since he had last set his eyes on her had not dulled her radiant beauty, or so were his thoughts. Soon however, the memories of the affair which had ended their relationship caught up with him. He cast his gaze downwards once more and muttered a sullen, “Evans.”
Lily clasped her hands to her mouth and glared at him sadly in an offended kind of way. She made for the door in a huff and exited without another word, forgetting about Sebastian completely. Sebastian thought he heard a slight sniff as the door closed behind her but said nothing of it. “Elm, Jack. It’s Elm,” he said, correcting his friend’s faux pas, “How can you forget the surname of your boss’s daughter, the one you used to date even?”
Jack slapped his forehead in self-annoyance. “Damn it,” he cried, “I knew I was forgetting something.”
Sebastian shook his head and exited the lab. Lily was outside, leaning against the wall, looking up at the sky. If Sebastian didn’t know any better, he would have thought that she was holding back tears. Of course, Sebastian did in fact, know better, and was far detached from the matters of life and love to which he was completely oblivious. Ergo, he assumed that Lily had noticed something amusing or exciting somewhere in the sky and he too craned his neck to search for this mysterious entity. The black smoke from his mother’s ‘bonfire’ brought him back down to reality with a crash, and he coughed ever so slightly to catch Lily’s attention, painfully aware of how little time he had left.
Lily sniffed and dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. Suddenly becoming aware of Sebastian, she quickly hid the cloth in her uniform pocket. “Ah, Sebastian,” she said, feigning indifference, “I’m sorry you had to see that.”
“You wanted to see me?” said Sebastian quickly.
“It’s about dad, Professor Elm.”
“You know how he’s not been that right in the head these days?”
Sebastian allowed his mind to wander to the past few months when Professor Elm had, on frequent occasions, been seen wandering New Bark in a daze, muttering something about Numels and Donphans. His mother had attributed it to both of them being drinking partners, but Sebastian knew fairly well that Professor Elm had been completely sober on these occasions. Being drunk would result in a lab fire where Professor Elm would mistake a Bunsen Burner for a large pencil and repeatedly try to scribble cryptic notes on the walls with the flame set to blue.
“Yes,” replied Sebastian with certainty.
“Well, I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that he’s planning something. Not something malicious, mind you, but something related to his research.”
“I sincerely doubt that. Though, is that really a bad thing?”
“Well, not necessarily,” said Lily hesitantly, “I mean, he is a Professor so he’s known to be a bit… eccentric at times.”
“More than eccentric if you ask me,” muttered Sebastian.
“So it wouldn’t surprise me if this is leading up to something big, or at least, something that’ll impress the commission at the ministry enough to let him keep his post.”
Sebastian was on the point of replying but then, Tomoyo, who was Sebastian’s mother if you had forgotten, suddenly wandered into view a distance behind Lily, swinging a black briefcase and looking at her watch. Startled, he peered over Lily’s shoulders and watched as his mother, obviously bored, swung the briefcase in increasingly alarming circles, the momentum of which was liable to send either the briefcase and or its contents flying into the flaming pit a few metres away.
“Sebastian?” snapped Lily. “Concentrate. This is important.”
“I… err…” Sebastian hesitated telling her about his predicament in case it would need some kind of explanation that would take up more of his precious time.
“Whatever it is, I’m sure it can wait. Now listen, what I’m saying is, if he is indeed getting ready to spring something on us, you may want to be careful in case he gets you to do some kind of errand for him.”
“Errand, yes,” said Sebastian, not really listening. He was more worried about how his mother had now begun to toss the briefcase in the air and catch it again repeatedly.
“I mean, you know how these scientist-types…”
Whatever Lily had just said was lost to Sebastian as he nervously watched as the briefcase drew closer and closer to the fire only to be caught by his mother in the nick of time. Of course, with each throw, the briefcase came this much closer to becoming charred bits of carbon so Sebastian had a right to be worried. He also had a right to tell Lily that he was busy, but he was too polite for that. So instead, banking on the fact that Lily had not really said anything worthwhile, he nodded and said yes politely.
“Are you sure you’ve got that?” asked Lily. “Well, I don’t really have the time to repeat myself anyway, so remember what I’ve said and you’ll be fine.” Without another word, she took off for Route 29 where she was to meet with her patrol unit who had somehow managed to get the car stuck on a ledge.
Shortly following Lily’s departure, Sebastian dashed for the backyard, ignored Jack completely, threw open the door, and blurted out as fast as he could, “Professor, I need a Pokémon now!” The trouble with rapid-fire speech, however, is that it is rarely intelligible, so what actually came out was, “Prosor-ai-nidkemon-nau!”
Professor Elm stared blankly at Sebastian as the latter tried to catch his breath. Any normal person would have been slightly thrown-off by Sebastian's nonsensical statement, but Professor Elm was no normal person. Slowly, he nodded in comprehension, got up off his tree stump, and placed a hand on Sebastian’s shoulder. “So the day’s finally here,” he said in a dramatic overtone.
“Hah?” panted Sebastian.
“No, not another word. I know exactly what you’re here for,” said Professor Elm calmly. He led Sebastian into the lab where, again, Jack had ceased his typing as if to accentuate the dramatic mood that had currently beset the moment. Suddenly a familiar, if not clichéd, song that dealt with heroism and the first steps on a long journey started playing somewhere in the background. Sebastian glared daggers at Jack who merely shrugged and grinned in return as he raised the volume on his speakers.
Professor Elm who had taken the sudden music to be a perfectly natural part of the environment, thus ignoring it completely, showed Sebastian to a modern, mechanical contraption in which three Pokéballs had been placed on its top. “This,” began Professor Elm, “is what we call the Stove.”
“Storage Vessel,” shouted Jack from across the lab.
“It’s where we keep the starter Pokémon that trainers use when they first begin their journey.” Sebastian opened his mouth to ask if the Professor could just give him one to negotiate with his mother but Professor Elm hushed him with a wave of his hand. “Now, I know what you’re wondering. Why do I have this potentially expensive container here when I could just as easily leave the Pokéballs on a table or in a box, seeing as the Stove doesn’t really do much?”
“I wasn’t actually—“ began Sebastian.
“The answer,” interrupted Professor Elm loudly, “is simple.”
Sebastian fidgeted for a while as Professor Elm stared at him with a vacant smile plastered on his face. A few seconds ticked agonizingly by. “Well?” said Sebastian loudly, a little harsher than he had intended.
“Come on,” said the Professor, smiling madly, “ask me what the answer is.”
“Okay, what’s the answer?” said Sebastian impatiently. “I really don’t have the ti—“
Again, the Professor interrupted him, “The answer is simple.” He closed his eyes and paused for dramatic effect. Yet another few seconds passed by Sebastian and made funny, metaphysical gestures at him.
“Hurry up, Professor,” said Sebastian desperately.
With his eyes still closed, Professor Elm motioned dramatically to his aide. “Jack! The answer! Why did we spend so much on… the Stove?”
“An excellent question, my good—“
“Jack!” shouted Sebastian.
“Because it looks boss,” said Jack with a wicked grin. “That and I needed the table.” He motioned to his workstation.
“Now that I’ve satisfied your curiosity…” began Professor Elm.
Now it was Sebastian’s turn to interrupt. “Professor, frankly, I could—“
“Couldn’t,” interjected Jack.
“—couldn’t care less about where you got whatever that thing is. I just need a Pokémon right this instant!”
“Crustacean,” said Professor Elm seriously, “do you know the responsibilities involved in keeping a Pokémon? I can’t just give out Pokémon to just anyone that passes through these doors. There are certain procedures, rules, stacks of papers that need to be signed.”
“Well that’s not entirely true, Prof,” said Jack. “Remember Mori? You gave one to her right after Ethan left. You’re probably too young to remember this, Sebastian.”
“That I did, that I did. Well, there’s my argument gone,” said Professor Elm. Again, a third awkward silence followed as Professor Elm smiled his creepy Professor smile.
“Can I just get one for now and be done with it?” said Sebastian, anxiously checking his watch. He gasped, there were two minutes two go.
“Sure, sure, said the Professor.” He gestured towards the Stove where the three Pokéballs were kept. Innocuous as they seemed, the Pokéballs each contained a beast which had the potential to grow into something much more dangerous than their current forms. Beasts which could potentially set the forests ablaze, flood towns, or cut your wrists. Beasts which the world over knew as tame, friendly creatures that were coerced into doing your bidding right after being enslaved. These monsters that could fit into your pocket. Pokémon.
Sebastian, being merely a character in this story narrated by the person who is now reading the story, was, of course, blissfully unaware of the elaborate and potentially useless description of Pokémon which had just been read out. Instead, his thoughts were more pre-occupied with what choice of Pokémon would be most beneficial to him at the current moment.
Sebastian didn’t even have to think twice when he blurted out, “Totodile! Give me Totodile!” A purely strategic choice on his part, it was not that he cared, but he reasoned that a water type could easily douse the fire which his mother had started. He was going to return it after getting back his briefcase after all.
The Professor smiled awkwardly. “Strange, now how did you know their names without me telling you?”
“I live next door, you’ve had the same selection for years,” exclaimed an exasperated Sebastian. “Just please, give it to me!” He cast a cursory glance at his watch to reveal that one minute had passed since. Another sixty seconds to go.
Professor Elm took the ball out of its container and tossed it at Sebastian, “Here you go,” he said cheerfully. “The Totodile. A fine choice if I may—“
Sebastian ignored those last few words, burst out of the lab and made for his house as though his life depended on it, which in fact, it very well may have, considering the impact college would have on his future aspirations.
His mother was there, counting down excitedly on her watch as she was poised to toss the briefcase into the fiery inferno that she had constructed. “Time’s up,” she said excitedly to herself, not noticing the pale-faced seventeen-year-old bounding through the grass a distance away. With all the grace of an Olympic skater, she flung her arms into the sky and released the briefcase from her clutches. Sebastian gasped as the black bag flew gracefully through the smoke and haze, turning in the air a few times as though performing sideways pirouette in tandem to Tomoyo’s own performance.
Instinctively, and without really realising what he was doing, Sebastian gripped the Pokéball tightly and found the comforting, white button that was the release for the imprisonment device. He rammed his finger into it and threw the red and white sphere into the sky in a burst of exhilaration born of the adrenaline coursing through his veins.
Instantly, a jagged, red flash escaped from the confines of the sphere and morphed into something significantly larger than what it had been contained in. Again, going with his instincts which had been coming up with good ideas for once, Sebastian pointed to the fire and shouted loudly at the mass of liquid, red light which was forming, “Totodile, put out that fire!”
The thing, surprised by the order, instantly obeyed.
As the briefcase tumbled to its almost certain doom the creature opened its mouth. Immediately, a burst of flames, much larger than the bonfire itself, erupted from the creature’s mouth and engulfed the both the briefcase and the fire itself in a mass of smouldering, hot red. The briefcase didn’t stand a chance. The bonfire, agitated by the increase in heat, roared in a blaze of heat as the ashes, or what remained of the briefcase, fell into its welcoming embrace.
Sebastian felt his mouth go slack as all hopes of him getting into college went up in flames before his very eyes. He turned mechanically to the fire-breathing Totodile and let himself fall to the ground in shock, anger, and frustration at the Professor’s incompetence. There, standing in between him, his mother and the bonfire, was a small, mousey Pokémon with a long snout, teal fur and a cream underbelly, its mouth smoking from the intensity of its ember attack.
You should know by now that none of these chapter titles have anything at all to do with the story. Well... except maybe to parody the absurdity of labling certain portions of your life, but that's about it really.
Skit 3: Is this real life?
Sebastian had never been the type of person to swear or, indeed, make any extreme emotions, barring displeasure, apparent in the face of company, particularly his mother’s. This was no exception. Even as he made his way in a daze to the fire, even as he sank to his knees a distance away from where he sunk to his knees earlier, and even when his mother started giggling uncontrollably did be betray any sense of sadness or anger towards anybody, really. The only emotion visible on his face was shock –intense, world-breaking shock. The heat of the fire passed him in waves, apparently because his mother had produced a bag of marshmallows and was now fanning the fire, but he didn’t care. Life seemed to be over for him now.
“Your life isn’t over,” said Tomoyo suddenly, chewing noisily on a smore while sitting next to the fire.
Sebastian turned to her with a look of utmost incredulity plastered upon his face. Yeah, sure, life wasn’t over, he thought. But his dreams sure as hell were. “I wanted to be an attorney,” he said quietly.
“Yeah, well I wanted to be a princess when I was your age, Sebastian, but we all know that’s not going to happen,” said his mother cheerfully.
“I had a chance at becoming an attorney,” he repeated. “A chance. It’s all up in flames now, though.”
His mother continued to stare into the fire and said, “I wish I had been born with some royal blood.” Then, she took another bite out of the smore.
“I had a legitimate chance,” he repeated quietly, though whether Tomoyo actually cared enough to listen was up for debate.
They stared into the fire a bit more before the monotony and the afternoon sun caught up with them.
“Well then,” said his mother, packing up the smores by stowing it into her dress, “shouldn’t you get going?”
Again, Sebastian stared at his mother unsurely. “Where?”
“On your journey of course! See the world! Challenge gyms! Beat the E4! What do you think I raised you for?”
“Mother, I think you’re missing the point. I have never, nor will I ever, nor do I at the moment wish to ever even consider taking up the profession of a Pokémon trainer.” And, as if to consolidate his views on the matter, Sebastian muttered a resolute, “Ever.”
“Well that’s a shame then, Sebastian,” said Tomoyo.
“Yes, I suppose it is,” he replied, turning back to the fire.
“I guess the life of a trainer just isn’t for you.”
“No, I guess it’s not.”
“Neither are these certificates then, yes?”
Sebastian turned to Tomoyo who was holding up a transparent folder, stuffed full with all manner of legal documents, specifically, Sebastian’s documents.
“But I just…” he stammered.
“It’s just a briefcase,” said Tomoyo, smiling devilishly.
Barring the momentary grief he felt at the loss of his favourite briefcase, Sebastian was genuinely relieved. This relief, however, was short lived as his mother made as if to flick the folder into the still-roaring fire.
Sebastian squeaked and made a half-jump, half-lunge to stop his mother. Tomoyo laughed and stowed the folder away somewhere in her dress. “If you want this back, you’re going to have to work for it, child!” Again, she laughed maliciously in the way only a loving mother can. “One year.” she wagged a single finger in front of his face. “If in one year you can beat all the gyms up till Blackthorn city, I’ll give you your folder back, and you can go for college next year. Think of it as a gap year of sorts.”
“But we’re Japanese,” moaned Sebastian, “We don’t do gap years.”
“Correction: You’re half-Japanese. I’m Japanese, Sebastian.”
“Race has nothing to do with this! It’s just not natural for us to be taking gap years. It just isn’t done.”
“Being a lawyer just isn’t done ei—“
“Yes it is!” interjected Sebastian.
“-ther, but we still have plenty of those parasites around the country.”
“Mother, please, are you still hung up about that vagrant who scammed you out of father’s trial?”
Tomoyo stiffened. “Scammed us, Sebastian,” she said coldly. “You were there too, but you did nothing to stop me.”
“But I did!” replied Sebastian indignantly.
“That’s besides the point.”
“It has everything to do with the point,” he exclaimed. “Look, I can even remember the whole conversation we had, even though I was seven.”
“Sebastian, please, your seven-year-old self couldn’t possibly—“
“Hey, hey, hey you!” said Sebastian, recalling a scene from ten years ago when he had accompanied his mother back from the Cherrygrove bar following his father’s arrest. Owing to his mother’s incompetence, maturing as quickly as possible was the only possible way for Sebastian to have ever survived for this long in the modern world, hence his near-perfect memory of this one memorable incident.
“Like your memory’s that perfect.”
“That bum replied with, ‘Who, me?’ He was digging through the trash at the time. You then said, ‘Yeah…’ in a slurred kind of way. You were drunk so that was to be expected.”
“Sebastian,” said Tomoyo impatiently.
“And then, you said, ‘You wanna be mah lawyer, mister man?’ At this part, you actually leant over me and I had to prop you up to stop you from falling.”
“You’re really outdoing yourself with the details there.”
“The hobo then looked around confusedly, said, ‘I think you’re confusing me with someone else, ma’am’ and returned to the trash. I then said, ‘Mum, let’s go. He’s just a bum.” But you pushed me to one side, and walked, or rather stumbled, to the hobo and fell across him in that drunken kind of way, knocking over all the trash cans in the process.”
“I don’t think that this level of detail is really all that necessary,” said Tomoyo, looking around to see if anyone had heard. As it stood, someone was listening. Elizabeth Elm in her flower garden had dropped her application of manure and was busily scribbling down notes for the town gossip.
Sebastian ignored her and continued. “Suffice to say, the bum was quite aggravated at you messing with his dinner. “ARRGGHH! What the hell do you want, lady?” I recall was what he shouted. Still slumped over a trashcan, without looking up, you said, ‘Ah jus’ wanna lawyer for my hubby.’ Then, the bum replied, ‘Yer what? I don’t get what yer tryin’ to say. Will ya get off my dinner!’”
“I haven’t called your dad, hubby, in a long time. I wonder how he’s doing in the slammer?”
“Undaunted by his obvious confusion, you pushed on. ‘Jus be needin’ a lawyer and ahl be on mah way.’ This part you sang, I remember. The hobo then tried to redirect you to a law firm down the street but you ignored him, no wait, you punched him for, and I quote, his ‘blatant lies’.”
“They were lies! There are no law firms in Cherrygrove.”
“Kosuke Suzuki owns a law firm in Cherrygrove. The bar’s two buildings besides the firm. Anyway, by this point, the bum was pretty angry. Angry enough to start shouting at you. ‘Lookie here, lady, that was uncalled for. I’m really hungry and you’re in the way of me and some leftover spaghetti.”
“I’m starting to vaguely remember that part.”
“Are you?” asked Sebastian. “Because you were drunk and that was the worst part. I didn’t think you could have offended him more but you did. You actually started eating his trashcan spaghetti. ‘AAAHHHH, THAT WAS DINNER, YOU LOUSY—‘ was what he started shouting. I closed my ears at that last part because I was seven, but I’m sure that was a pejorative term.”
“Sebastian, I think that’s enough of that,” said Tomoyo through gritted teeth. Elizabeth Elm could be heard laughing a distance way.
“If that wasn’t enough, you also belched quite loudly and told the hobo that the spaghetti was amazingly delicious in your own drunken kind of way.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“You were drunk, need I remind you. The only reason I remember this is because I actually went to you at that point to try and extract you from the mess that you’d gotten yourself into. My exact words as I remember them were, ‘Mum, come on, let’s go. Let’s not eat the man’s dinner.’ Of course, you ignored me and tried to negotiate with the hobo again.”
“I definitely don’t remember that.”
“By this point, he was sufficiently annoyed at you to consider offering his services as a lawyer.”
“How does that work then? Wasn’t he annoyed at me? Hah, I just poked a hole in your logic.”
“In exchange for an exorbitant amount of money,” amended Sebastian.
“I then tried to pull you away from the hobo before you did anything rash. I also distinctly recall telling you advising you not to accept his offer.”
“Of course, I didn’t accept the offer. He somehow dragged me into signing the agreement.”
“Really?” said Sebastian, “Because the way I remember it, you actually wrote a cheque for God-knows how much, and gave it to him as a down payment, assuring him that you’d pay him in full after the trial. All this, before you actually signed anything.”
“Sebastian, if you recall, I did not pay him the full amount.”
“No, no, I’m quite sure you did, because he turned up the next day in a cardboard fedora and matching briefcase. He cited a few bogus legal precedents, lost the case, and collected the money from you while father was carted off to jail with incredulity in his eyes. While I don’t remember father all that well these days, that look he gave you, is stuck in my mind.”
“Oh-kay, that’s enough of that!” said Tomoyo loudly as Elizabeth Elm dashed into her house to make a few phone calls. Immediately, Tomoyo pulled out Sebastian’s folder and dangled it precariously over the fire. Sebastian let out that peculiar squeak of his that was associated with fear. “Enough of that,” said Tomoyo angrily. “The fact that I’m even offering you the chance to get your papers back should be grounds enough for you to do whatever I say.”
“Y—yes ma’am,” stammered Sebastian.
“So from today onwards, you’re leaving for your journey and that’s final. I wanna see you in Blackthorn before year’s end, understood?”
Sebastian hesitated in answering. Tomoyo jiggled the folder over the fire, and Sebastian found his mind made up, albeit quite hastily. “Yes, mother, yes, I’ll do it. I’ll go to Blackthorn!”
“And beat all the gyms on the way.”
“But… that’s… impossible to do in one year.” It was a well-known fact that most trainers spend a minimum of two years on the road, most of it spent walking, sleeping, or training, before they were deemed fit enough to challenge Blackthorn Gym. And even then, they spend a further year getting ready for the Elite Four, most of this time spent sleeping in hotels and feeling smug about themselves.
“Is it? Because if it’s possible for my fingers to slip and send your folder flying, why isn’t it also possible for you to reach Blackthorn in a year? And let me tell you, Sebastian, my fingers are really slippery. I’m not sure why though. Facial cream, probably.”
Sebastian weighed up his options. Sure he hadn’t the faintest clue on how to go about Pokémon training, but then again, it certainly beat the alternative that was to spend the rest of his life without tertiary education and potentially have to live on the streets, or worse, become a breeder. Sebastian shuddered at the thought of those trainers whose profession they termed as breeding. Depraved was what he called them. “Fine,” he said, “I’ll get to Blackthorn in a year. However, mother, I would very much like it if you would also uphold your end of the bargain.”
“And what’s that, Sebastian?”
“Could you not forget to meet me there?”
“I won’t,” she assured him kindly. “I’ll be there for you if you’re there for me.” She smiled. But this time, the malice had all but evaporated and it was a warm smile, a motherly smile, something that Sebastian hadn’t seen in a long time, and something which vaguely disturbed him, having never known true maternal compassion. “And if I’m not there,” she continued in the same tone of kindness as before, “well, if I’m not there… you’re pretty much screwed.” And with that, still smiling kindly, she bade him goodbye for the second time that day as he set off on his greatly delayed journey.
“Mother, who are you waving at? I’m right here,” said Sebastian.
“Oh,” replied an astonished Tomoyo, “I thought you’d left.”
“I was standing right here –I haven’t even moved.”
“But the narrative…” she trailed off.
“Never you mind,” she said strictly, unwilling to disclose to Sebastian the voices in her head which governed her actions.
“Sooo, I should take my leave then now, should I?”
“And you’ll be waiting for me at Blackthorn, yes?”
“One year,” he reminded her.
“Sebastian, I think I know how many months there are in a year.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
“No,” replied Sebastian flatly. Yes she was his mother, but the bond of trust that was supposed to exist had never even formed. Their relationship was more a one based around mutual paranoia and a certain disposition to check on each other from time to time to make sure that they weren’t lying in a pool of blood/beer on the kitchen floor.
“I’m hurt,” replied Tomoyo sadly.
“I’m sorry, mother, but past events have proven your untrustworthy nature to me and—“
“I am your mother, Sebastian. How can you not trust your own mother?”
“For one thing you’re not the most observant at times, and I suspect that this leads to your forgetting promises and so on.”
“I am too observant, child,” replied Tomoyo indignantly.
“Erm, mother, your dress is on fire.”
Tomoyo turned to see the hem of her dress in the flames, charred black and ablaze. “AAAAHHH,” she screamed and set about trying to put out the fire. “What the bloody—“
What Tomoyo said next was of no importance as Sebastian took this as his cue to leave without any more of the awkward banter which had pervaded their parting moments. He had never been good at goodbyes and leaving his mother screaming and on fire was probably the best way he knew how to end a conversation. However, barely had he reached the end of town before his mother called out to him again.
“Sebastian!” cried Tomoyo suddenly, stopping him dead in his tracks, “You forgot something!”
Sebastian turned and noticed his mother, the hem of her dress smoking lightly, cradling in her arms a teal-coloured creature with a longish snout. The Cyndaquil seemed to be enjoying itself in Tomoyo’s arms, but it resented the noise she was making. It also hated the fact that she was moving closer and closer to that person who had actually commanded him to do something. The nerve.
“Oh,” said Sebastian half-heartedly, “that thing.”
“You should take better care of your Pokémon, Sebastian,” admonished Tomoyo. “Look at him, he’s so cute.”
The Cyndaquil opened its eyes and glared at Tomoyo. Cute! This woman had it coming. He was a deadly instrument of war, not to be trifled with. To be reduced to the status of an ordinary house pet? Bah! That was demeaning. At least with the other human he would get to have a taste of some action. So, following this line of logic, he leaped out of Tomoyo’s caress and landed around Sebastian’s ankles.
“Aww look,” said Tomoyo, “He likes you. Look at him, he’s nuzzling your ankles.”
“Err yeah,” said Sebastian. Even though his files were safe, Sebastian did still feel a certain resentment towards the loss of his briefcase. By right, this resentment should have been directed towards Professor Elm’s ineptitude. However, Sebastian was much too upset regarding his loss to think rationally and just gazed distastefully at the Cyndaquil. It’s probably trying to gain favour with me, thought Sebastian.
Contrary to his beliefs, however, the Cyndaquil was doing no such thing. He was in fact, trying to gnaw at Sebastian’s ankle to put this human into his place, but was failing miserably for his lack of sharp teeth hindered how much pain he could have possibly inflicted on Sebastian.
“Well that settles that then,” said Tomoyo. “I’ll see you in a year.”
“We’ve been through this, Sebastian,” she said sternly and left the area before another awkward interrogation ensued.
“Err, right, I’ll just leave now shall I?” he called out to her.
And with the Cyndaquil following suit behind him, Sebastian did just that.
Okay Mizan, you requested me to check this out this fic for the humor, so I'll get right to my thoughts on this.
I have to say, this is really quite well done and refreshing to read. Many of the Pokemon parodies try to be over the top with silliness, but you're able to not go way over with the humor. Your choice of narrative for this piece I like too. Like Ninja Caterpie said, the deapan seriousness of the narration just makes this story even funnier. Yes, there are some fourth wall breaking (the most obvious being Tomoya mentioning the narrator telling her to wave to her son goodbye when he didn't leave yet), but you're able to placed them well in my opinion and the humor made me laugh, so kudos for that.
I think what I like most is Sebastian being forced to become a trainer. Many trainer parody fics I read has the main character wanting to become the best Pokemon trainer and such, but I like how he has other aspirations, only for it to be delayed, haha. I do look forward to see how he'll be able to get everything done in a year.
Now, some of my favorite parts:
For the third chapter, I pretty much love the whole Sebastian reenacting the scene where his mother had the homeless man as her husband's lawyer. I too would be embarrassed by him doing that if I were in her shoes, LOL.
I'm really enjoying this a lot and this is a great parody so far. Can't wait for more of this!
Thanks, Bay, seriously. I mean it. I would have responded earlier, but I had other things to attend to. So again, while I can't really say anything on the review itself except thanks... thanks for the review. xD
And now for another short chapter before I dissapear for a while.
Skit 4: Ducking is an Art
At times, the narrative of life will seem exceedingly dry and overtly superfluous when not interspersed with dialogue in which to cohere with the descriptive prose. At times, the narrative of life is rich with sensations and experiences that are meant to draw the reader, i.e. the person experiencing life, i.e. Sebastian in this particular case, further into the story without actually mentioning anything worthwhile or related to the plot while still maintaining to assume a semblance of sophistication. And at times, the narrative of life will not even spare a thought towards how it is perceived and will continue on regardless of how introspective or insightful the reader is being.
Having said that, our, or rather Sebastian’s, story continues from halfway through Route 29, where he was seated quite awkwardly on a log, planning his next course of action. The Cyndaquil lounged lazily at his side, basking in the warm evening sun that was currently at the three o’ clock position and was thus quite happy to frolic with the clouds.
If, thought Sebastian to himself, I made my way to Violet City first, I’d be able to tackle the first gym there. That’s supposed to be the easiest one, right? It should be a good morale-booster. Everyone’s always talking about what a pushover Falkner is. That and how amazingly cool and handsome he is... Sebastian stopped and shook his head in disgust, as if that would rid his head of such thoughts. Ugh… What am I talking about? That’s just wrong. Falkner’s father is much cooler and or handsom-er than Falkner himself. I mean, I’ve never seen him or anything but-- Sebastian frowned --wait… is handsom-er even a word? I think I’d better check it next time. I’ll make a mental—done!
Sebastian got off the log and stood up with greater resolve. Right, he thought to himself, I’ll get to Cherrygrove and borrow someone’s dictionary. Monica’s quite friendly, I wonder if she’ll lend me hers. Ah, but no, she’s probably already at college or at work or something. What about Erica? College too. Rita and Tina? Ditto. Sandra, Mary and Jessica weren’t the brightest but… no… they received scholarships. Wait, Lou! Lou told me he wasn’t going to college! No, no, he also said something after that… Something about going into music? Heck, everyone I know has probably left Cherrygrove by now. Granted, some may be working there, but I can’t really be sure since we were in the top class and we’d be smart enough to get work elsewhere. But then again… that would also imply that I’d be smart enough to know if handsom-er was a word! I’d look a complete fool asking someone for a dictionary to look that word up. Unless… unless I didn’t tell them what it was for. Yes, yes that could work perfectly.
Presently, Sebastian slumped down to his former sitting position on the log.
What am I doing? he moaned mentally, I’m supposed to be heading for Violet, not borrowing dictionaries at Cherrygrove. I should really stop getting distracted by these mundane things. Okay, no more playing around. I’m going to get up, I’m going to get my priorities straight, and I’m going to go to Violet City. Yes, that’s my plan. After that, I’ll get the badge and head for… for…
At that point, Sebastian, for the first time in his life, realised that he had never really been anywhere else outside of the Cherry-Violet suburban area and that his geographical knowledge of Johto, and Kanto for that matter, were severely lacking. He could point out Tokyo on a map, sure, but getting there would prove a real challenge if he were to consider it.
You know what, I think I’ll just deal with this problem after I defeat Falkner. I can plan from Violet. Yeah!
Sebastian stood up again and felt quite proud with himself for planning out his next course of action with such precision and detail. Meanwhile, the Cyndaquil had been watching his new master get up and get down from the log without much interest. All humans were the same, he thought to himself. Stupid and indecisive. Sit down or stand up. Make up your damn mind!
On that note, the two continued on their journey to Violet City.
In almost no time at all, however, they came across a ledge. Now ledges are a common feature throughout Japan, owing to the island-nation’s awkward geology which arranged the soil and rock in peculiar ways. For example, most grassy plains in Johto were made up of intermittent layers of hard rock and soft rock, the latter which eroded faster over time. Almost as a rule of nature, the soft rock usually brought with it fertile soil and thus plenty of long grass, leaving the area of hard rock with the usual, dull, short grass. This then created the annoying situation where most trainers who jumped down ledges inevitably found themselves in the long grass where the wild Pokémon lurked, not a very favourable situation to most.
Despite this lengthy explanation, however, a ledge itself does not constitute a very difficult challenge. Given the proper motivation, one could easily scale the few feet needed without too much strain and without taking up too much time. Sebastian was aware of this and, like so many before him, tried to climb the ledge.
The real problem, however, came when he had made it halfway up the ledge and was hanging on by his upper body, his Cyndaquil on his shoulder. Looking straight forward, he could vaguely make out a shape that seemed to be getting bigger with every passing second. The sun, now being at the three thirty position, annoyingly cast a glare into his eyes from said object, and so forced Sebastian to squint to make out what exactly it was.
If the whir of chains and the tinkling of a bell hadn’t already been enough to alert Sebastian to the fact that a bicycle was headed his way, it was the fact that the girl on the bicycle, a trainer presumably, screamed, “Watch out, you bloody idiot!” while pedalling full speed towards him.
Sebastian screamed, the girl screamed, and the Cyndaquil let out a volley of flames that narrowly missed the bicycle. The girl swerved to avoid. In all this commotion, Sebastian managed to let go of the ledge and drop down safely on to the soft grass beneath it. The girl on the other hand, wasn’t quite as fortunate. The bicycle, being driven at an awkward angle towards the ledge, was subsequently launched off it like a golf ball being smacked by a driver, that is to say hard, wobbling slightly, and with some grass.
Yet again, the girl let out a frightful scream as she flew through the air and crashed quite a distance away. Meanwhile, Sebastian did the only useful thing that he could at the moment. He flinched and said, “Ouch.”
Sebastian approached the crash site apprehensively, debating whether or not he should make a run for it. The Cyndaquil, still perched on Sebastian’s shoulder, smiled smugly at the carnage he had indirectly managed to produce. “Are you alright?” asked Sebastian timidly.
The girl looked up angrily from a mess of twisted metal and —well, no, not really. An impact of that slight magnitude wouldn’t have the force sufficient enough to mangle a bicycle completely. No, the girl merely looked up angrily from a bicycle with a broken headlight, a basket which was slightly bent out of shape, and a chain which had been dislocated. The fact that she was still alive and the fact that the bicycle could easily be fixed did not even cross her mind when she began to shout, “What the bloody ‘ell was yoo doin’ on the road?”
Sebastian blinked. “Excuse me?”
“You ‘erd me ye bleedin’ bastid, Wotcher doin’ on the road like that? You coulda been killed,” replied the girl in that same accent.
Sebastian made a face. “Are you… are you English?” he said tentatively.
“I’m British, thank ye very much,” replied the girl indignantly, getting up and brushing dirt off her outfit.
“But you’re travelling in Johto?”
“So? Wot’s it to ya?”
“Shouldn’t you, I don’t know, be travelling the British Isles and beating the gyms there instead of here?”
The girl frowned. “No, it’s my choice where I wanna go fer my challenge. More to da point, whaddya tink you were doin’ in da middle of the road like that?”
“I was… climbing the ledge and –I’m sorry your accent is really off-putting.”
“Don’t ya dare mock me accent! This is me ‘eritage, ‘ere…” said the girl hotly.
“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. What I meant was: it’s a bit too strong to the point of becoming unnatural.”
“Why I never!” said the girl, stamping her foot. “Yer doubtin’ the fact that I’m British?”
“See, the problem is your accent’s kind of strange in places. We had this student from England when I was in school, and he didn’t talk as strongly, or as wrongly as you’re doing it right now, but he did have a similar accent.”
“Ya bleedin’… I can prove it. I’m from Brittania! Don’t ya dast make a mockery on what I stand for!”
“It’s just not very convincing when your accent keeps slipping like that.” Sebastian looked away embarrassed. “Sorry about that,” he added as an afterthought.
The girl recoiled, offended. “You take that back! You take it back right now!”
“I really don’t mean to be offensive, but could you please just speak normally?”
“Why. I. Never.” she said, emphasizing each word on its own. Quite dramatically, she produced a Pokéball from her belt and shoved it directly at Sebastian’s face as though she were offering an apple for him to eat. “That Cyndaquil must mean you’re a trainer, right? You can’t refuse a challenge now can you?”
“I can’t?” said Sebastian, frowning. For all he knew, a moment ago they had been discussing accents and now he suddenly found himself being challenged to a duel.
“No,” replied the girl flatly. “Official rules, them’s.”
“No… nope, I’m not listening!” she said, covering her ears.
“If you could just talk norm—“
“Go, Pokéball!” interrupted the girl as she launched her Pokéball in the air, releasing from its captivity a purple-furred feline with a ruby on its head. The psychic cat purred in that particular way which reminded one of a very quite motor and adopted an attacking stance. It looked reproachfully at Sebastian and his Cyndaquil.
Sebastian, being from the backwater of Johto, had never seen an Espeon and was mildly surprised by the creature. It didn’t seem entirely menacing. “Cyndaquil,” he began unsurely, “get… it?”
Contrary to Sebastian’s command, his Cyndaquil merely glared at him. “Never...” said the Cyndaquil in its own language, “…tell me what to do, human.” Sebastian, of course, not being a Cyndaquil, couldn’t understand a word of what it had just said and replied thusly.
“No, don’t just stand there squeaking. Get it! Attack it… with… fire! Yes, fire! Fire away! Look.” Sebastian made a kind of blowing gesture with his mouth as if doing so would convey the necessary message.
The Cyndaquil looked at Sebastian oddly. He was… blowing a kiss? Was this some kind of perverse, human mating ritual?
The girl watched this display of ineptitude incredulously. “Haven’t you ever battled before?” she asked, crestfallen.
“No,” Sebastian replied truthfully. “Could we just call it quits or maybe say that you won because I don’t really think I’m up to this just yet.”
“Nonsense! We can’t just quit mid-fight. That Cyndaquil has to be unable to battle before we stop.”
“My Cyndaquil? What about that cat-thing? Can we stop if that can’t fight?”
“That cat-thing is my Espeon. Besides, do you really think I’ll lose?”
“Look, I forfeit. That has to count for something, right?”
“Not in my books. I mean, look, your Cyndaquil’s raring to go.” She gestured towards the Cyndaquil which was now facing the Espeon calmly. ‘I’ll kill you’ was clearly written in its eyes, or that’s the message it wanted to convey it any case. “Are you really going to deny it the thrill of the kill? You’ve got to learn your place, newbie,” said the girl excitedly. “How much do you bet?”
“Bet? You mean wager? I don’t gamble.”
“Hey, a trainer’s got to make a living. I can’t just go giving around free fights without getting some sort of monetary compensation in return.”
“See, you’re missing the point. I don’t want to fight.”
“It’s too late for that kind of defeatist attitude now. How much do you have with you?”
“Look,” Sebastian began, drawing on the reserve-of-lies-we-tell-people-when-we-don’t-really-want-to-talk, “I really have to be somewhere quite quickly and this battle might take a while so…”
“What do you have with you!” shouted the girl impatiently.
“Don’t make me keep asking you.”
She glared at him.
“200 yen,” said Sebastian, rummaging in his pocket. “But I might need—“
“Close enough,” interrupted the girl. Without missing a beat, she then said, “Espeon, psychic attack and finish it quickly!”
With the battle initiated, the Espeon mewed and bounded forward, its body glowing an intense shade of blue with the radiation that signalled the advent of any psychic-type attack. “Espe!” it mewed as it began to concentrate its mental energy.
“Dodge it!” ordered Sebastian hesitantly, unwilling to part with his already money.
The Cyndaquil did not need telling twice and, indeed, was already a few steps further than either Sebastian or the girl. Somehow, during the pre-match banter, it had somehow constructed a sort-of gun-looking device out of twigs and rocks. How this was done is not important, rather, what was important was that this contraption was sufficiently menacing-looking enough to cause the Espeon to pause in alarm, breaking its concentration. This pause was all the Cyndaquil needed as it leapt into the air, drew a deep breath, and let loose a stream of thick, acrid smoke from its mouth.
Sebastian coughed as smoke filled his lungs. “What was that? A failed flamethrower?” he shouted, even though being unable to see didn’t necessarily make anyone hard of hearing.
“Don’t you know anything?” replied the girl in annoyance and coughed. “That’s smokescreen, though I’ve never seen a Cyndaquil at this level pull it off. I thought you said you were new to this?”
“I am!” said Sebastian and coughed again.
The girl coughed some more, not willing to be beaten. “Espeon, don’t let it phase you! You can do it!”
Encouraging words had been spoken but that did not make the smoke thinner or the battle any closer to completion. The Espeon stumbled around wildly in the smoke, its battle-hardened instincts already telling it to hold its breath until the smoke receded. This same instinct, however, did not give it the ability to see through smoke. That would be the job of its psychic sonar, which it performed with its eyes closed. The Espeon paused and focused its mind on locating the fire rodent, which, it found, to be right behind it.
Found you , thought the Espeon to itself, and turned to face the menace.
Unfortunately, even an Espeon, fast as they are commonly known to be, cannot dodge, nor focus a psychic attack quick enough, to stop a Cyndaquil which is flying through the air in a curled up ball. Attempting to reason and or pray to the laws of physics, which is what the Espeon had resorted to doing in those final few seconds before impact, proved futile. The Cyndaquil slammed full-force into the Espeon in very much the same way Mr T would jump out of a bush as you are taking a walk, shout “Shut up, fool!”, and proceed to beat the living crap out of you for no particular reason whatsoever.
The Espeon was thrown to the ground and the Cyndaquil jumped off, landing smoothly on its hind legs in an oddly menacing battle stance. Its eyes were ablaze (ablaze, that is, in the metaphorical sense) with a desire to win, and from its back burst yellow and orange flames, ablaze (in the literal sense) with various chemicals that made up the curious physiology of fire Pokémon. Weakly, the Espeon raised its head and was confronted by the Cyndaquil crawling towards it calmly, its back still on fire.
The smoke cleared and the arena was visible. From the sidelines, both Sebastian and the girl watched dumbstruck as a newbie Pokémon was thoroughly and utterly making a mockery of the concept of battle experience.
“Just how long have you been training this monster?” asked the girl in awe. She was doing all she could to avoid unwittingly giving Sebastian a compliment.
Sebastian shook his head in disbelief. “I haven’t.”
“What? That’s your excuse? You haven’t? Then how the hell is it this strong?”
“I don’t know,” said Sebastian, and continued to watch the match.
The Espeon scrabbled backwards, partially in fear, but mostly because it wasn’t going to give up without a proper fight. The thing had jumped him! It wasn’t ready. It was like being mugged, albeit by Mr. T, when you’re coming back from the pub. Unsteadily, it tried for a confusion attack, but failed to concentrate enough of its energy. The Cyndaquil continued forward in that particularly oddly menacing way of it.
“Come on, Espeon,” encouraged the girl, “you can get that bugger!”
The Espeon shot her a glance that seemed to say, “Why don’t you bloody well do it then?”
The Cyndaquil crawled forward slowly, intent on somehow disabling its prey (i.e. the Espeon). The girl shouted useless words of encouragement. Sebastian stood watching the battle slack-jawed.
The Espeon scrabbled backwards again, trying to concentrate its powers. The Cyndaquil crawled.
Sebastian blinked and found his attention drawn away from the battle. A clicking sound? Where did that come from. He turned to the source. The girl, whom you might expect to also be distracted, didn’t turn. She couldn’t. A policewoman, namely Lily Elm, had handcuffed her, hence the clicking, while she was distracted by the battle, thrown her to the ground, and placed a gag in her mouth.
“You are under arrest,” exclaimed Lily loudly, “for illegally assaulting a civilian and his Pokémon. Anything you say, do, or think can, and will, be held against you, especially if it involves my methods of apprehending you. If you wish, I can read you your rights, but I’d rather not, since it’ll take a while.” The girl wriggled about on the ground, gag in place, with her hands cuffed to restrict movement, and stared angrily at Lily. Lily stared back. “You just swore at me in your mind didn’t you? I’m afraid that’s going to get you a healthy fine.” Lily pulled out a battered notebook, scribbled down some words, tore out the paper, and stuck it on the girl’s back.
“Hi, Sebastian,” she said cheerfully.
“I, err... ah...” stuttered Sebastian. He motioned towards the ongoing battle and was surprised to see a Sneasel with a blue tie around its neck tending to the Espeon and fending off his advancing Cyndaquil rather successfully. “Uh... erm... eh...” he continued, pointing at the girl on the ground, who had, at the moment, taken to glaring at Sebastian instead of Lily.
“I know,” said Lily, waving her hand uncaringly, “it must be confusing. I’ll explain but just call off your Cyndaquil before it does some damage to Maria.”
“I... ah...” He turned towards his Cyndaquil in a daze and said, “Cyndaquil... err... I think you should stand down... or stop, or something.”
As previously, the Cyndaquil glared at him angrily for this order, but conceded regardless. Despite having the type advantage, he had no reason to pursue a fruitless cause. Continuing the battle would gain nothing.
“What’s...” began Sebastian.
“...going on?” completed Lily. “Nothing really. It’s just that my dad called. Said that you had some unfinished business. Arresting this one here was part of it.”
The girl glowered through her gag. “Hey, one more thought like that and I’m tripling the fine, kid,” said Lily in an offhand fashion. She bent down and rifled through the girl’s pockets and backpack. “Let’s see... Ah, trainer card. Cecilia Atkinson. Sixteen. Female. Saffron City, Kanto.” At this point, the girl blushed furiously and tried to wriggle away from Sebastian’s view unsuccessfully.
“Kanto...” said Sebastian quietly.
“And,” continued Lily, “about four gym badges, though not in order.” She let out a low whistle. “Assaulting a civilian’s a criminal offence, Miss Cecilia. There’s a hefty fine involved. Otherwise, being banned from the League for a few years, depending on severity.”
A look of shock and confusion passed Cecilia’s face. Muffled sounds came from the gag and she struggled to get herself upright despite the cuffs.
“Umm...” said Sebastian, “I’m not really sure how this all fits. See, I’m under the assumption that this was a perfectly legal battle.” Relief was the predominant expression on Cecilia’s face.
“But Sebastian,” began Lily, “you don’t have a trainer’s license do you?”
A stunned silence descended upon the area, despite the area already being silent in the first place. Cecilia’s look of relief turned to one of anger and frustration as she struggled furiously to right herself and possibly land a few kicks on Sebastian for failing to address this particular issue.
Sorry for late review, got held up with many things. D<
Another funny chapter, as always. Man, must be painful writing Cecelia in that accent, huh? Also, very awesome Cyndaquil kicked Espeon’s butt, LOL.
Hm, the ending I thought Sebastian will be the one arrested because of him not having a license, but Ceclia’s arrest is quite interesting and unexpecting. Too bad she didn’t think of mentioning Sebastian not having a license, haha.
For the record, I still think it's lacking in humour, but I've never been good at being funny anyway.
I'll probably explain it in later chapters.
Overall thanks. :D
I'm glad you liked it, and I'm in the midst of writing the next chapter right now. I started writing it right after 4, but I also procrastinate a lot okay. :P
I started writing this almost a month ago. I only just finished it yesterday. What is wrong with me?
Warning: Mild innuendo present in this chapter. Pg-13, obviously.
Skit 5: I... err... what now?
“A trainer’s license?” echoed Sebastian.
Cecilia was practically shaking with rage. It was fortunate, therefore, that she couldn’t get up, and say, disable our protagonist in any way which would necessitate the use of excess violence, and or gore, in this particular story. If, however, on the off chance that you were expecting gore, go check out some other story or something, you sick psychopath. You know, something that’s not PG-13.
“Yes,” replied Lily after a lengthy narrative interlude, “a trainer’s license. I’m willing to bet that you don’t have one right now.”
“I need a trainer’s license?” he said blankly.
Lily was interrupted by Cecilia’s gag falling loose, releasing a stream of insults directed at Sebastian. “You stupid, inconsiderate, degenerate, bloody, sodding, idiotic arse! Why the hell didn’t you tell me you weren’t a trainer!” she cursed. “This is all your fault! You and your stupid, imbecilic, idiotic... idiotic... self!” Cecilia paused to bite back tears, and she let hair fall over her face, obscuring her eyes which had begun to glisten slightly.
“That’s enough out of you,” reprimanded Lily, kicking Cecilia in the shin. “Do you want to be charged with libel next?”
“I’m innocent!” said Cecilia loudly. “I didn’t even know he didn’t have a license!”
“Is that a fact? Look at him. Does he look the type to even be a trainer? I mean, come on.”
Sebastian picked awkwardly at his sleeve.
“He had a Cyndaquil for God’s sake!” retorted Cecilia. “How was I supposed to know he wasn’t a trainer?”
“You could’ve asked.”
“Who asks anymore?” shouted Cecilia furiously. “This isn’t the bloody Victorian age.” Whatever Cecilia had meant when she referred to the Victorian age was lost when Lily countered:
“Well, this isn’t bloody Kanto now is it?” Lily kicked her again to which Cecilia replied, ‘Hey!’ “Come on then,” said Lily, “get up. I’m not carrying you all the way.”
Fuming, Cecilia stood up shakily without using her bound arms and cast a smouldering glance at Sebastian. Sebastian shrank at the sight and hastily avoided eye contact by looking to the left. Cecilia’s Espeon was on the left. It glared at Sebastian instead, which made him feel twice as guilty. Feeling this overwhelming sense of blame settle on his shoulders, Sebastian avoided contact with the two of them and busied himself with getting his Cyndaquil. The Cyndaquil couldn’t be bothered by Sebastian and merely shot a disgusted glance at his master. This was, however, not because of Cecilia’s predicament, but rather because he despised humans in general. Sebastian took this moment to return the Cyndaquil to its Pokeball.
“What now?” said Sebastian, rather hopelessly turning to Lily for emotional support while trying to avoid the feeling of Cecilia and her Espeon’s eyes on his neck.
“Now, we move out,” said Lily.
Another lengthy pause ensued in which all three of them just stood there. “Err... where exactly?” said Sebastian, breaking the silence.
“Where indeed,” she replied vaguely. “Just bear with me, I’m trying to remember where I’m supposed to be now.”
“The station?” suggested Sebastian tentatively.
“You just can’t wait to get me locked up, can you?” hissed Cecilia under her breath.
“No, we’re not going to the station just yet,” said Lily. “There was something important. Something import—“
VROOM, Lily was interrupted by a noisy roar as a gleaming, white motorcycle bearing two riders flew of the very same ledge that Cecilia had. The two, blue-uniformed riders laughed maniacally as they landed on the grass --their black, treaded tires gouging shallow scars into the dirt—and zoomed off towards New Bark.
“That’s right,” said Lily with a sudden burst of realization. “We were going to get your license.”
The trek back was a short one. In the few hours in which Sebastian had left home, he hadn’t really gotten that far before being accosted by Cecilia and being reminded that he now had to get his trainer’s license before being able to proceed any further. He had tried, during the course of the few minute walk back, unsuccessfully to pursue a conversation with either one of the two women to alleviate the awkward and guilty atmosphere which had started to saturate his being.
With Lily, he had casually asked, “So do I just get my license from the Professor? Is that it?”
Lily nodded in confirmation but didn’t turn to look at him. “That’s pretty much it. As long as Dad’s printer hasn’t run dry, I’m sure he’ll get one for you in a flash.”
Sebastian frowned. “Is it really that simple? Shouldn’t there be a bit more paperwork involved?”
“Not that I’m aware of, no.”
“But what kind of system is that?” said a surprised Sebastian. “Any random person can become a trainer with a scrap of paper if that’s the case.”
“It just works, Sebastian. It just does. It’s worked for years and I’m sure it’ll work for years to come.”
“But it’s working wrongly.”
“Regardless, it’s working.”
“The wrong way,” pressed Sebastian.
“Look, do you want it or not?” snapped Lily irritably.
“I... I’m sorry...” he replied quietly.
Lily looked back at him quickly and pursed her lips. “No, I’m sorry. It’s just that... we’re going back, and that person’s there, so I’m starting to have doubts about escorting you the whole way.”
Sebastian tested the waters again by barrelling straight into another question. “By ‘that person’ you mean Jack right? Whatever happened between you two anyway?”
Lily sighed in that same way that Jack sighed. She said, “I don’t really want to talk about it,” and fell silent.
Cecilia’s conversation with Sebastian was a bit different.
“I’m sorry it had to end up this way, but I did try to forfeit,” Sebastian had said quickly once he started walking beside her.
Cecilia ignored him.
“As you can plainly see, I had no idea that I even needed a license, nor did you, as Lily’s said, ask for one.”
Cecilia completely tuned him out and continued walking at the same pace.
“Therefore,” continued Sebastian nervously, “I’m pretty sure that, while my ignorance may have played a part in this entire affair, you are clearly in the wrong.”
Again, the oppressive silence and Cecilia’s resolute disregard for Sebastian’s existence forced Sebastian into that lonely corner of guilt where it seemed that a dozen fingers were floating in mid-air, pointing at him.
“Am I right?”
Cecilia stopped suddenly and Sebastian, surprised, tripped over a rock and into the grass. Carefully, she watched the retreating figure of Officer Lily, who was too preoccupied with brooding, and made sure the woman was out of earshot. She squatted down with her hands still restrained by the cuffs and motioned for Sebastian to come closer.
Having already fallen down, Sebastian found this quite convenient and shimmied lengthways to Cecilia.
She grabbed his ear and moved closer, almost intimately, but not quite. Maybe menacingly would be a more appropriate term.
“Aah,” whined Sebastian as he felt her finger pinch his ear. This close, he could make out her dirty, straw-coloured hair, the angry blue eyes which appeared accusatory from all angles, and the generally unpleasant features of her face such as the various blemishes common on teenagers.
“Stay,” hissed Cecilia into his ear, “the hell,” she fixed him with another stare of such intensity that Sebastian wished he wasn’t being held onto by the ear, “away from me.” And then she dropped him and carried off walking.
Sebastian got up and followed her. “But... but...” he stammered.
Again, Cecilia shot him a glance, and he was forced to back off a second time.
To Sebastian, police visits to New Bark Town were a regular occurrence. Be it Professor Elm or his mother, Tomoyo, the flashing blue lights would indiscriminately flash in Sebastian’s face as he would, on many occasions, watch as either one of the two argued with the officer in question. The officer didn’t always have to be Lily either. Sometimes, it was a nice young man who went by the name of Ryuu. He would smile and sigh resignedly when forced to put up with Professor Elm or Tomoyo and he would never shout or anything of the sort. Oftentimes, however, they sent a rather ferocious old woman. Officer Mizuki. Arguments would go on longer when she came around and simple disputes often escalated into full-blown warfare where she would pull out her gun and Tomoyo or Professor Elm would pull out a toaster or marker pen respectively.
Either way, the flashing blue lights which Sebastian had grown accustomed to over the years had stopped surprising him. This time, there were two officers. A man and woman, oddly alike.
“Sergeant Elm!” they both cried out in unison as Lily approached.
Lily regarded them both with incredulity. “I thought I told you to wait for the car to get towed away?”
“We got bored,” they replied, again in unison.
“So we radioed for a bike,” said the man.
“And here we are,” the woman continued, “waiting for you.”
They both grinned. “So where were you?”
“I was on my way here, I told you that,” said Lily. “Anyway, introductions. Sebastian, this is Officer Saito and Officer Saito; I just call them Officers Saito. Officers Saito, Sebastian.”
The twins bounded forward towards Sebastian. “Nice to meet you!” they both exclaimed.
“He’s Katsuya, but you can call him Katsu or Office Saito,” said the woman.
“She’s Kinoya, but you can call her Kino or Officer Saito too,” said the man.
“Honestly,” said Kino, “we don’t care either way.”
“Well, at least I don’t.”
“I mean, seriously, Kino? What the hell was mom thinking? It means friggin yesterday for God’s sake,” said Kino exasperatedly.
Sebastian was stunned. “I... the pleasure is mine,” he replied carefully.
“And who’s this?” they said as they turned around to the handcuffed Cecilia.
“No wait that’s...” began Lily.
“Oh my God, Katsu,” interrupted Kino, covering her mouth, “They’re lovers!”
“And, wow, handcuffs. You dog, you,” said Katsu, nudging Sebastian.
“What?” asked Sebastian innocently.
Cecilia flushed and Katsu found his collar being gripped tightly by a strong, female pair of hands. “I’m sorry, would you care to repeat that?” she said threateningly, tightening her grasp on Katsu’s neck.
Katsu frowned and effortlessly removed Cecilia’s tight grasp from his uniform. “I thought I was quite clear. I said, ‘And, wow, handcuffs. You dog, you.’” He said this in a dull monotone, as if oblivious to the rhetorical question that had just been posed.
Cecilia was quite surprised that Katsu could have removed her that easily. She had always assumed that feminine fits of anger would entail colossal amounts of strength. Katsu, on the other hand, was wondering if she had a hearing impairment.
Kino watched the confrontation with a curious look. Suddenly, her face brightened up. “Oh, oh,” exclaimed Kino excitedly. “Sergeant, I know what this is! This is... it’s assaulting an officer!”
“What? That was harassment!” proclaimed Cecilia. “I have a right as a citizen of Jap—“
“Hey yeah!” said Katsu, interrupting Cecilia’s tirade. “Do we get to write her up? You said we could write someone up if we found one.”
“Wait, listen. You can’t just—“
“No,” Lily said simply.
“What? Why not?” the twins demanded.
“Because she’s already convicted of civilian and mental assault which I’ve written her up for, and I need to get her down for a few more crimes before we get back, so I can impress the chief and get promoted. I don’t need you two mucking up my record.”
“Oi, mental assault’s not a thing is it? I thought you were joking about the whole mind-swearing thing.”
“June 2009, Act 234. Very controversial,” offered Sebastian in what he thought of as being very helpful.
Cecilia rounded on Sebastian frustratedly. “Well, gee, thanks a lot!” she said sarcastically. “I feel a hell of a lot better now that I’m a felon convicted of two things.”
The twins, meanwhile, gawked at Lily’s selfishness. “That hardly seems fair! We want to convict her off stuff too,” said Kino.
“Hey, I’ve been in this business for six years,” Lily said calmly. “Three years in training. I think with the amount of work I’ve been putting in, I deserve to be a bit more than a sergeant.”
“Just graduated from cadet school. Plenty of time for other arrests elsewhere. Besides, you’re just following me today.”
“But you told us we could write someone up!”
Lily bit her lip thoughtfully. “Yeeahh... but I was going to put it on my record. I wasn’t going to tell you that, though.”
Katsu intervened. “That’s not fair,” he said, disappointed.
“It’s corrupt!” added Kino.
“Well, nepotism is corrupt too. Have you too not noticed that Superintendent Jenny is the daughter of the Chief Superintendent who is the cousin of the Superintendent General, who is, in turn, the wife of the Commissioner General.”
“I thought it was funny they all were called Jenny,” said Kino.
“Family name. The country is littered with these bluey-green-haired, nepotic freaks. They even look the same!”
“Don’t tell me you’re just noticing this now.”
“Well...” Katsu started, “Instructor Jenny did seem to be everywhere all at once.”
“Oh, remember the time she was talking to herself in the mess hall at the academy?” asked Kino.
“Yeah, I was wondering how she did that. I bet on cloning.”
“Magic,” replied Kino simply.
“Oh my God,” Lily said exasperatedly, “Half the cadets were called Jenny! They were everywhere!”
“I dated Silvia Jenny once,” mused Katsu.
“You mean that wasn’t Instructor Jenny #2?”
“No, I’m surprised you’d think that.”
“Well, she acted the same way. Very abusive.”
“I err...” hesitated Katsu.
“Told me to get out of my bunk for no reason once.”
Katsu breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, is that what you meant. No, that was her sister, Samantha.”
“Okay!” shouted Lily, “Enough! Stop being complete morons. I came here to help out a family friend, and you two are just mucking about.”
“We thought you said you were working,” the twins said simultaneously.
“Well I arrested someone, didn’t I? Look, Sebastian, just go see Dad. I’ll radio for another bike, and I can drop you off at the next town, so you don’t have to walk.”
“What about me?” demanded Cecilia, whom had been ignored up till that point.
“Good point. I’ll radio for a police jeep then. More space for the felon in the back, and I can get past those ledges.”
“Hey, why doesn’t the government build roads?” asked Katsu.
Sebastian rapped on the door once, then twice. The curtain at the window opened a fraction and a solitary eye peered out paranoidly through the miniscule gap. Quickly, it darted from Sebastian to the police and back to Sebastian whereupon it retreated back into the darkened room. The door opened in a quickly and Sebastian was dragged in roughly by a familiar hand.
“Hey, what the--” said Sebastian, but Jack hushed him by placing a hand on his mouth.
Sebastian removed Jack’s hand and spat out the filthy taste of ink, take-out food, and disinfectant. “What?”
“Shhh,” repeated Jack. “What part of shut up don’t you understand?” hissed Jack.
The laboratory was bathed in shadows with the only source of illumination coming from the dull glow of Jack’s laptop computer. A dull banging sound could be heard, emanating from the back. “Why is it so dark?” whispered Sebastian.
Jack stole a glance through the curtains. “I don’t want them to know we’re home. Those kids out there, I mean.” He straightened. “So what brings you back home? Couldn’t take the heat? Lost all your money on balls and potions?”
“I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot today, but... what?”
“I’m asking why you’re back. Jeez.”
“No, the other thing.”
“Oh that. I just don’t want those two to know anyone’s home.”
“They’re still young. The Professor’s expecting old woman Mizuki; he got out his marker pen and everything.”
“Yeah, the marker pen. Anyways, it wasn’t the old woman obviously, so he’s like ‘screw it’, and gets the thing out anyway because he’s been itching to test it. I’m sure he wouldn’t be like this to Ryuu, but these two ain’t Ryuu.”
“So those two were here for you, were they?”
“No, wait, I’m not sure. They’ve just been standing there. Didn’t even knock.”
“I don’t think they’re here for you. They’re Lily’s recruits, as far as I can gather. They were waiting for her.”
“They were? Why’d they be waiting for that woman here? She just left.”
“She’s escorting me to get my trainer’s license. She also arrested another trainer who—“ Sebastian felt a guilty lump form in his throat. He swallowed. “Who battled me without a license,” he croaked.
“Didn’t the Professor tell you? I distinctly remember her telling me that Professor Elm had called her about this fact.”
“The professor doesn’t tell me anything.”
“You work here.”
“As an intern.”
“You worked here when you were younger.”
“As an errand boy.”
“Surely he must trust you by now.”
“It’s not that he doesn’t. I think I’m sure he does, but he just forgets. Or maybe he doesn’t think it’s important enough to be telling the intern. Regardless, ours is a bond of mutual trust. We wouldn’t betray each other. I‘m sure of it.”
Sebastian peered through the semi-darkness of the lab. “Where is he anyway?”
“I locked him in the back room,” replied Jack nonchalantly.
“You did what?” shouted Sebastian.
“Hey, hey, keep it down,” Jack hissed anxiously, peering out of the curtains a second time. “You’re right. That woman is here. Also, some blond girl.”
“What do you mean you locked him in the back room? You don’t even have a back room!”
“He thinks it’s the back room, Sebastian.”
Sebastian began to take notice the insistent, dull banging sound from the back. He had assumed it to be the wind or something before that. “He’s banging on the door. Why doesn’t he just go round the side?”
“He thinks he’s locked in of course.”
“Why’d you lock him in there in the first place? What about trust and everything you just said?”
“Oh that. Well, I couldn’t let him get at those kids could I? They’re like, what? Nineteen? You know how the Professor gets.”
“I’m sure they’re older than that. They can hold their own against one deranged old man, can’t they?”
Jack looked at Sebastian oddly. “No, they’re definitely nineteen.”
“What? You didn’t even know what they were here for in the first place. How can you suddenly claim to know their age.”
“Isn’t it obvious? They’ve just came out of the academy. Training’s at least three years. On average, most cadets who enter the force do so as soon as they leave mandatory schooling, that is to say, sixteen, so obviously they must be nineteen.”
“Who’s to say they’ve just come out of the academy?”
“You did, idiot,” Jack said while rapping his knuckle on Sebastian’s head.
“Ow, stop it!”
“You told me they were that woman’s recruits, therefore they must have just left the academy.”
To be frank, Sebastian was quite sick of being pushed around and knocked about, so he chose this moment of degradation to be more assertive and to stand up for himself for once. He did this by trying to be witty. “Oh... umm... well. Haha,” he laughed awkwardly. “You’re not as... as stupid as you look, Jack.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “I look stupid?”
“No, that’s not what I—“
“Because I assure you, looks do not affect intelligence.”
“I was trying to be—“
“And before you start making assumptions based on a person’s physical features, I want you to take a close look at yourself.”
“—witty!” said Sebastian. “Wait, what?” He did a double-take.
“I said you should look at yourself.”
“Yes, look at yourself. I mean, come on, seriously. You look nothing like a trainer.”
Sebastian stared dumbstruck.
“What’s with the suit? You look more like someone who’s going off to college.”
“But I was...”
“And your shoes. Shoes! Not trainers!”
“I was going to college in the first place.”
“And don’t get me started on your face.” Jack stopped. “I’m sorry?”
“I was going to college.”
“Oh yeah, you were!” Jack said, remembering the events of the morning. “Well, no hard feelings then,” he said cheerfully.
“What’s wrong with the way I dress?”
“Eh? Are you still on about that? Geez, Sebastian, that was two seconds ago. Chill out.”
“Lily said I was dressed inappropriately too. Do you think I should change?”
Jack squinted thoughtfully at Sebastian’s clothes. After a while of examining him, he said, “I can’t see in the dark. Let’s get some lights on.”
“You were mocking my clothes just a moment ago!”
“From memory. I have an excellent memory.”
“Au contraire, mon ami unilingues. J'ai appris cela en un an.”
“Nothing, nothing. Now about that license of yours.”
Jack approached his computer and began to being up the necessary files. “See, the Professor and your mom have always been planning for when you’d leave,” Jack said, his eyes glued to the screen.
“How long have they been planning this exactly?”
“I dunno, but that’s what they sometimes talk about when they drink in the lab.”
“They drink at the bar in Cherrygrove.”
“They drink in the lab too. It’s kind of disturbing really. Anyway, like I’ve said. They’ve been planning this for a while now, so the Professor has always had your files ready to print into a license. Like, ever-since-you-were-ten ready.”
“I didn’t leave when I was ten.”
“I know; I was there. You continued primary.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
Jack suddenly produced a camera from within his desk and the sudden flash of a camera blinded Sebastian’s vision.
“AAAHH, my eyes!”
“I need a picture of you that isn’t ten for your trainer card,” he explained.
“Why does this hurt so much?” shrieked Sebastian, writhing on the floor.
“Hmm... maybe replacing the flash with a laser wasn’t such a hot idea. Here, take this water.”
Sebastian hastily grabbed the open bottle and splashed its lukewarm content on his face. With an expression of dramatic, wide-eyed relief, he harshly deposited the bottle on Jack’s table.
“Watch it, this is delicate machinery here!”
Sebastian paid no notice to Jack and sat on one of the chairs in the lab, exhausted after the day’s endeavors.
“Hahaha,” laughed Jack. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost in this picture. Oh well.”
Haha, the twins are quite cute. LOL over the conversation about Jennys. I'm betting on clones myself. I have to say though wow on Lily going to take credit over what the twins did. Great officer, indeed. :/
Lily's isn't meant to be a complete monster. She's more a power-hungry professional who's kind to her neigbours, if that makes sense. I like the twins too, and yes, I was going for cute and or innocent, though Katsu is... well... heh.
Bab Enam. (Yeaah.... this isn't Romanian.)
Anyways, how long's it been? Close to 22 days, so that's three weeks? Man, I am terrible at keeping a deadline.
Skit 6: Demand to see life’s manager!
“Come on, right here. Right here,” encouraged Katsu, presenting the top of his head to Cecilia. “Just take a whack riiight here.”
“We don’t have all day!” said Kino cheerfully. She had her phone out and was recording the proceedings with the video camera.
Cecilia glared incredulously at the two moronic twins who were trying to write her up for another case of assault.
“This time with video evidence!” as they had both said.
Through the oppressive limited mobility offered to her by the handcuffs, she clenched her fists tightly and gritted her teeth, willing herself not to succumb to the inexpressible urge to knock Katsu to the ground. She wasn’t going to allow herself to do what these two wanted. She wasn’t going to be charged with anything else today. Papa could pay bail, but she wasn’t going to give him any more reason to tell her why going on a Pokémon journey was a bad idea.
“Please!” pleaded Katsu, “Kino didn’t charge her phone before we left, and I left mine back on my desk. We really need this now before the battery runs out.”
“We’d really appreciate it,” added Kino. “We’ve never arrested anyone before, and we’d really like you to be our first felon. Now if you could just take a good swing, right at Katsu’s head. I’m sure he’d appreciate you hitting him as much as I’d appreciate it.”
Cecilia pursed her lips and leaned against a tree. No, no, no, no, no, she thought to herself.
“Hey, hey sergeant, is she insulting us in her mind? Can we charge her with mental assault?” asked Kino.
Lily was texting on her own phone and looked up. “Hmm? No, she’s not swearing at the moment.”
“Are you sure? She looks like she’s angry.”
“Nah, she’s not angry. She’s just really, really annoyed.”
“Annoyed?” repeated Katsu. “Why’s she annoyed?”
“I dunno,” replied Kino. “She must be bipolar or something.”
Stay calm, stay calm, repeated Cecilia to herself. Soon, she’d be sent to jail and she’d call Papa. No problem. They had the best lawyers. She wouldn’t be banned from the League. While she was at it, though, she should try not to get into anymore trouble.
“What does bipolar mean anyway?” asked Katsu.
“I think it’s when you’re a felon and you want to get sent to an arctic prison,” his sister replied wisely.
“Oh, that makes perfect sense!” He approached Cecilia. “We can arrange a nice cell for you in Snowpoint if you want? Do you want that? It’s not a polar settlement, but it’s got snow, so that’s good right? Is that good?” Katsu nudged Cecilia softly. “Huh, huh? Come on, don’t leave me hanging. Punch me once, and we’ll make sure you’ve got a cell next to a guy named Stanley.”
“Who’s Stanley?” asked Kino.
“Stanley’s real nice...” said Katsu simply.
Stay calm, stay calm. Just ignore them. Everything will be fine, thought Cecilia. She closed her eyes tightly and willed them to leave her alone. I cannot believe I’m stuck with these two idiots. At least that corrupt sergeant doesn’t bother me as much. Just relax. Relax. Hold your Pokeball, Cecilia. That always makes you feel better. Just like mum once said before she went out on her journey.
Cecilia felt for her Pokeball with both her hands and sat down on the grass beneath the tree. It seemed peaceful in the dark with her eyes closed. Really peaceful. She couldn’t hear anything but the melodious chirruping sounds of the bird Pokémon flying overhead and the soft rustle of the leaves in the spring. It seemed that she had finally managed to tune out both dumb and dumber because she could no longer hear the blatant idiocies these two were so excited in sharing with the living.
No wait... It was too peaceful. Her eyes snapped open and she fell backwards, shocked. Two sets of gleaming, black eyes were staring at her intently, the faces of the Saito twins being only a quarter of an inch away from Cecilia’s face.
“Oh, I thought she’d died,” said a disappointed Kino.
“What’s with that tone?” said Katsu, patting his sister on the back. “At least we can film her hitting me. Isn’t that right, felon?”
“Can you please stop calling me felon,” said Cecilia angrily through gritted teeth. “I have a name.”
“Is crime not also your middle name?” zinged Kino. The twins high-fived.
Cecilia sighed. “I’m not a criminal. I’m just very, very unlucky to have met you two and that corrupt she-witch over there.”
“Excuse me,” trilled Lily. She pushed through the twins and stuck another scrap of paper on Cecilia’s forehead. “That’s for verbally insulting an officer,” she explained and returned to her phone.
Cecilia groaned inwardly. “This has been the worst day.”
“Jack,” said an exhausted Sebastian, slumped down on a chair.
“This has been the worst day.”
“I’m sure someone somewhere’s saying the exact same thing.”
“I doubt it.”
Jack pressed a button and a peculiar printer-like device on his desk beeped once. A laminated piece of card rolled out of its mouth bearing the picture of a shocked-looking Sebastian and some other miscellaneous information about his sex and trainer number.
“There we go! Card!” proclaimed Jack, proudly shoving his handiwork into Sebastian’s limp hand.
Wearily, and with all the enthusiasm of a rock dipped in treacle, Sebastian lifted his arm just enough to stare hostilely at his trainer card. The laminated card itself didn’t really make him angry; rather, it was the symbol which the card represented, the very profession which he despised. The card chained him to this profession. It restrained him, bound him to something he had no interest in doing. And, just as the narrative started to get repetitive, he spoke.
“So that’s it? I’m a trainer now? Officially?” asked Sebastian, standing up.
“Umm... yeah. I think that’s about it,” replied Jack. Sebastian turned to leave. “Unless of course...”
Quickly, Sebastian turned on the spot. “What? What else?”
“Are you sure you have everything?”
“I have a Pokémon,” he held out his Pokeball, “and a trainer card.” He gestured to his pocket. “What more else do you need?”
Jack shook his head slowly with a grim expression upon his face. “You’re not very bright are you?”
“I’m tired and it has been a very long day. I could do without the abuse.”
Jack pointed at Sebastian’s clothes. “Are you really going to be wearing that for a whole year?”
“Well... no, but I was going to buy more clothes.”
“Uh huh, and where are you going to put those clothes?”
“I was going to buy a bag too.”
“Right, right. How are you going to buy a bag without any money?”
Sebastian thought about this for a while and then finally sighed. “I need money.”
“Then can I have some?”
“Some what?” asked Jack.
“Then why bring it up if you’re not going to lend me any?” asked Sebastian hotly.
“Because I don’t want to,” replied Jack simply. “Also, I’m broke, but still.”
“So what now?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Why are you asking me? Don’t you have that bank account of yours?”
Sebastian winced. “I was hoping you wouldn’t mention that.”
“Why not? You’re loaded! You have tons of money.”
“But that’s for college fees! I’m not going to waste a single cent of that on this journey.”
“So what? Are you going to starve? Are you going to let your Pokémon fight without using any potions? Hell, are you just going to make do with that one Cyndaquil? You’re going to need to buy more Pokeballs you know. They’re 200 yen a pop, and I’m afraid trainers aren’t subsidized like the lab.”
“Then what do you suggest I do?”
“Ask your mom or something, I don’t know.”
A long, drawn out sigh escaped Sebastian’s mouth. “I really didn’t want it to have to come to this.”
Sebastian had assumed that the next time he saw his mother would be in a year’s time, preferably receiving his certificates at Blackthorn City. He had not, however, anticipated this sudden deviation from his plans and was struggling to articulate his desire for money from his mother who was reluctant, even, to buy him a pair of shoes, despite the massive wealth afforded to the Tanaka household from the money they had somehow come to acquire.
“And what the hell are you doing back here?” Tomoyo had asked when she looked up from her expensive wine, disguised surreptitiously as tea in a delicate bone china cup, to greet Sebastian entering the door.
Sebastian shifted nervously on two feet with his hands behind his back and tried to maintain an air of professionalism. “I’m sorry to ask you this, mother, but I fear I might be in need of some... well... monetary assistance.”
“Speak up,” said an inebriated Tomoyo, downing the cup.
“Monetary assistance!” repeated Sebastian loudly.
“Cash, dough, whatever you want to call it, mother. I need money for this journey you want me to take.”
Tomoyo raised the cup to eye level and peered furtively over the rim. “Money, eh?” she slurred. She squinted at him for a few seconds and replaced the cup. Awkwardly, she got up from the table, knocking her chair to the floor in the process, and made for her purse. Her eyes were unfocused and Sebastian was not quite sure if she was actually aware of what she was doing. “So you’ve finally accepted your destiny, huh, Sebastian,” she said while digging through the purse.
“No, but I do need to survive apparently.”
“Urgh,” she grunted. “I was expecting you back a while now.”
“You just asked me what I was doing back.”
“You just asked me what I was doing back,” mimicked Tomoyo in a childishly, high-pitched voice. “Goddamnit, don’t you ever stop talking.” She looked upward and massaged her temple. “This hangover is killing me,” she muttered.
“Maybe you should lie down, mother. I don’t think that tea is helping your hangover very much.”
“Tea?” she said innocently. She mulled this thought over in her head for a while and nodded in comprehension to herself, the synapses in her brain dulled by the excess of alcohol. “Oh yes, tea. Yes, that’s tea. And no, it’s not helping. I think.”
“Okay... so maybe you should lie down?”
“Quiet, Sebastian. I’m working.”
Sebastian was going to point out that she wasn’t actually working, but thought better of it. Evidently, she was still drunk.
“What day is it?” she asked suddenly.
Sebastian wasn’t quite sure what to make of this sudden change in tone so he just went along with it. “Err... Thursday?”
“Five in the evening. Why do you ask?”
Tomoyo didn’t answer, and she tossed him a mobile phone --his mobile to be exact. He had barely used the thing, seeing as Jack lived next door and he didn’t really have many close friends besides Jack anyway. In fact, he was surprised his mother had saved it. The device was an old video phone which he assumed to have had perished in the bonfire alongside his briefcase.
A thought struck Sebastian. “If you still have this, then do you have a bag I could use?”
Tomoyo was still digging through her purse and grunted a barely discernible ‘yes’ while pointing to the fireplace. There, lay a black and charcoal grey backpack. Its tame colours suited Sebastian, and again he began to wonder how long exactly it was his mother had been planning for his departure.
“Hurr,” said Tomoyo, holding out a wad of bills. Sebastian accepted them and Tomoyo promptly collapsed into an inelegant heap on the floor.
“I’ll be leaving now, yes?” he asked the heap.
A loud snore met his ears, and Sebastian awkwardly exited the house with a new bag, an old phone, and enough cash to last him for quite a while.
The door closed behind him and Sebastian made steadily for Lily, counting the bills in his hands with a certain feeling of guilt that he could not shake. It was then that the unexpected had to happen and a flash of blue rushed by Sebastian, screaming its head off.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, get him away from me!” shouted Kino as she ran through the grassy dirt paths of New Bark.
A predatorial Professor Elm was pursuing the female officer with a shiny, waterproof marker in one hand and a mirror in the other. It should be noted that this particular event should not be misconstrued as being in any way or perverse or of a sexual nature, but regardless, it didn’t stop Katsu from trying to save his twin sister from this horrific beast that had so suddenly burst out of that strange building they had parked in front of. “Stop it! I order you as an officer of the law, stop it!” he shouted uselessly as he too ran away from the Professor.
The twins stumbled through the grass and aided each other as the other fell or lagged behind. Certainly it would have been more advantageous for them to split and disorient the Professor’s chase, but, of course, being twins, they didn’t work that way.
“I’m sorry!” repeated Jack profusely from his safe-spot atop the police jeep that had arrived there somehow. “I forgot he had a key with him!”
“You forgot to lock it, you liar!” shouted Lily coldly from the other end of the Jeep.
“I did not,” said Jack indignantly. “How could you accuse me of that?”
“The backyard door only has one key!”
“Okay, whatever it’s my fault,” admitted Jack reluctantly, albeit a bit hotly. “So what?” he demanded.
“So what is that two of my subordinates are now being chased by a senile old man, that’s what!”
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” repeated Kino as she ran past with Katsu.
“He’ll tire himself out eventually,” said Jack to Lily guiltily. “Try to outrun him!” Jack shouted to the twins.
Sebastian approached the jeep, stuffing the bills in his wallet to keep them away from the prying eyes of his penniless friend. “Hey, umm, Jack?” he asked. “What’s going on?”
“That’s fairly obvious isn’t it?” Jack replied impassively, not taking his eyes off of the action.
“Because I think that girl... umm... Atkinson or Cecilia wants to say something.”
“Atkinson, no, never mind, that girl who was arrested.”
Lily crouched to reach Sebastian’s level from the roof. “The felon’s trying to say something?”
“Err... yeah,” said Sebastian, gesturing to the back of the jeep where Cecilia was holding up a Pokeball with her handcuffed hands. She shook her head slowly and a look of pained disbelief was etched across her face as she tapped the glass with the Pokeball, trying to get the attention of anyone who would listen.
“Huh...” said Lily. She dropped down from the jeep and slowly inserted the key into the door, making sure to be as stealthy as possible so as not to attract the attention of her father who had made his way to the other end of town –still in hot pursuit. “What is it, felon?” demanded Lily sternly once the door was open.
Cecilia pursed her lips with a look of intense displeasure upon her face. “You Johto people are all freaking weirdos.”
“Yes, and this helps your cause, how exactly?”
“It doesn’t; I just thought I’d say that all of you are quite possibly the most incredibly unresourceful people I have ever had the displeasure of meeting.”
“Do I really need to listen to this abuse?”
“Yes--” Lily made as if to close the car door “—if you want to save the idiot brigade that is.”
The policewoman paused and her eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?” she asked suspiciously.
“I mean, God! What kind of world do we live in? We’re not helpless you know.”
“Are you trying to be vague?”
“Yes. Yes I am very much trying to be vague because it’s so obvious.”
“I don’t think that’s helping very much,” said Sebastian out of the blue.
“You shut up –you’re not part of this,” replied Cecilia calmly. She continued, “What I’m saying is that there are ways to catch someone other than catching up to him.”
“Figure it out,” said Cecilia smugly, and rested herself comfortably on the seat.
Jack slapped his forehead. “Of course!” he said out loud.
“What?” asked both Sebastian and Lily together.
“This is a police jeep right?”
“Yeah,” said Lily hesitantly.
“So you’re equipped to handle rough terrains, yes?”
“I don’t see where you’re going with this.”
“Just trust me on this one. If you are, you’d most likely be called to handle wild Pokémon attacks, right?”
“I guess, but that’s not really under my jurisdiction.”
“Excellent.” Jack rubbed his hands together. “Let’s get cracking. Sebastian, see if you can’t find a shotgun in the back of the jeep.”
“JACK!” cried Lily angrily.
“I don’t think that’s what Atkinson meant, Jack,” said Sebastian.
Cecilia rolled her eyes. “Pokémon!” she exclaimed. “Use your Pokémon! Don’t any of you have a Pokémon with stun spore or sleep powder or something?”
The three paused in contemplation.
“No,” said Lily slowly.
“Does Cyndaquil learn stun powder?” inquired Sebastian.
“I don’t remember having any that can do that,” said Jack.
“My God, you people are hopeless. Isn’t that supposed to be a lab? Don’t you have anything besides starters?” said Cecilia exasperatedly.
Jack laughed. “This isn’t that kind of lab.”
“I hardly think this is time to be laughing,” said Sebastian.
“What a terrible lab,” said Cecilia. “I have a Breloom here with stun spore. If you let me go, I can get him for you.”
“Do it! Do it! Do it!” screamed Kino as she ran past with Katsu in tow.
“BLAARGH!” shouted the unbalanced Professor Elm.
“He’s unconscious,” noted Jack, “I guess you should just let her go and she can get to work.”
“It doesn’t look like we have a choice right now,” agreed Sebastian.
Cecilia smiled to herself in relief.
“Never!” Lily put her foot down and crossed her arms.
Cecilia frowned. “Aren’t those your cronies or whatever? Don’t tell me you don’t care.”
“Yeah, but the guy chasing them is my dad. My track record isn’t worth those two either.”
“Yes it is!” shouted Katsu from afar.
“No... it’s not,” emphasized Lily.
“That’s so mean!” said Kino.
Katsu nodded vigorously in affirmation to his sister. “It’s horrendously corrupt.”
“It is not corrupt,” said Lily fiercely. “I don’t think you two know what that even means.”
“Yes we do,” they replied in unison.
“It means you’re being a mean person,” said Katsu
“And that you’re also not very pleasant,” continued Kino.
“They’ve got you there.” Jack chuckled.
“Quiet you,” snapped Lily. “I’m not letting a felon go just because you two can’t outrun an old man.”
The twins glared at her and looked at each other, the Professor hot at their heels. A secret look of understanding passed between the two of them and, without a moments hesitation, they felt for their Pokeballs. “If you’re not going to do anything,” began Kino.
“We will!” said Katsu. They both held up their Pokeballs which looked oddly like Great Balls but were actually the Police standard.
“You wouldn’t dare,” hissed Lily.
“Fine, fine, fine! But you two are in my debt.” Grumbling, she bent down and roughly jammed a key into Cecilia’s outstretched handcuffs.
The trainer gratefully rubbed her wrists and set about getting out her Breloom. “I have to say though, your dad is probably not going to appreciate this, but it’s probably better than whatever those two were going to do to him.”
“Just get on with it,” grumbled Lily.
Cecilia pressed a button and the Breloom was released into the field in a flash of red. Awkwardly, it looked around, disoriented by its new environment and the four people surrounding it. It recognized Cecilia and everything else seemed to be of little importance.
“Breloom,” began Cecilia, crouching on her knee, “this is very important, so I want you to pay close attention.”
The large, mushroom-thing nodded and cried a soft, “Brel...”
“I want you to use stun spore.”
“Brel!” the Pokémon cried enthusiastically and turned to face its opponent.
“Wait, no!” Cecilia grabbed it by the paw and it obediently turned. “Not on another Pokémon. This isn’t a battle.”
The Breloom looked at her oddly, cocking its head to one side.
“Do you see that guy in white running around chasing those two in blue?” Cecilia pointed towards the twins escaping the Professor.
“Loom...” replied the Pokémon hesitantly.
“Yes, that’s what I want you to attack.”
The Pokémon turned to her with incredulity in its face.
“I know, I know, it makes no sense, but just trust me.” She placed her outstretched palm in front of it.
The Breloom shifted uncomfortably on its two feet, hesitating to break the age old taboo of hurting humans. Steadily, it extended its own paw and it met with Cecilia’s sealing the bond of mutual trust the two had for each other as trainer and Pokémon.
“This is a Hoenn Pokémon isn’t it?” said Jack, watching this display of trust.
Cecilia answered without looking up. “Yes, I’m surprised you recognize it.”
“I am a researcher, you know. You seem very close to your Pokémon.”
“It comes with being a trainer I suppose.”
“Yes, but you give out that vibe y’know? That good trainer vibe.”
Cecilia shrugged. “I have no idea what you’re trying to say, but it looks like those two are starting to tire out.” She pointed towards the twins who were panting, trying desperately to avoid the Professor who was drawing ever closer with no sign of wearing out.
“How can you even be human?” they shouted at him.
He replied with another “BLAARGH” and wildly waved the marker pen around in the air.
“Breloom,” shouted Cecilia. The Pokémon snapped to attention and suddenly the air of hesitation all but evaporated. “Catch up to the guy in the white coat and hit it with a light stun spore. Hold back and try not to kill him okay?”
“Loom!” cried the thing, and nodded, pawing the ground nervously.
“Come on, it’s not that hard to hold back is it?”
The thing shook its head and made good with the trust vested in it by its trainer by darting forward aggressively, its two beady eyes focused on the unconscious but mobile Professor Elm.
“What I’m saying is,” said Jack, “is that you’re the kind of trainer who I’d expect to see beat the Elite Four and befriend all sorts of Pokémon everywhere. Like the kinds of things they tell you in commercials only they’re actually lies and most trainers just end up as breeders when the going gets tough.”
Sebastian felt a chill go up his spine.
“Huh, you’d never have guessed,” replied Cecilia uncaringly. She was watching her Breloom as it neared the Professor and readied its pores for the attack.
“I’d never have guessed, yes, but you’re not listening. You’re the kind of trainer we’ve been looking for. I have a proposition to make.”
“No,” said Cecilia resolutely. “And I’m not interested. All I want is to get on with my journey.”
“But this won’t interfere with your journey! If anything, my proposition may as well enrich your journey.”
“Uh huh, yeah.”
The Breloom released a thin, yellow mist from its body as it grabbed hold of Professor Elm by the leg. Gradually, the effect of the stun spore took effect as Professor Elm’s ragged breathing caught the fine particulate that were the paralysis spores.
“No, just listen. We at the lab have this device that we give to every trainer that passes through our doors.”
“What device?” asked Sebastian curiously. “I wasn’t given any device.”
Cecilia turned. “If you’re talking about a Pokedex, I already have one. It’s from Professor Oak.” She produced a bulky, orange gadget that looked oddly like a PDA.
“Damnit,” swore Jack. He pondered the situation over in his head for a while and came up with what he thought of as a good idea. “But I bet yours doesn’t have the advanced functionality I personally added into the Johto Pokedex does it?”
“It’s a computer that tells you stuff about Pokémon. I don’t think I need any more functionality than that,” said Cecilia.
“That sounds useful,” said Sebastian. “Why wasn’t I given one?”
“But you do need it!” pressed Jack, ignoring Sebastian completely.
“I’m pretty sure I’m old enough to not be drawn in by advertising that tells me what I need and what I don’t need.”
Professor Elm collapsed in a heap a distance away, and Lily, silent until then, rushed to aid her fallen father, shouting, “Dad!” Meanwhile, the twins cheered breathlessly and sat down in exhaustion, offering each other a handkerchief.
“No, you don’t understand,” pressed Jack. “This Pokedex, Elm’s Pokedex, is far more advanced than Professor Oak’s version. The Kanto one is old hat. The Johto version is the future!”
“I’m not interested,” said Cecilia simply.
“I’ll take it,” offered Sebastian.
“Shut up, Sebastian, this doesn’t concern you.”
“Loom!” screeched the mushroom Pokémon, running back to its master. The fear in its eyes was evident. It had hurt a human, and now the Gods were going to rain fiery death upon his very soul. At least... that’s what he remembered his mother telling him when he was a young Shroomish. That and being captured by a man in a suit directly after, but that wasn’t important.
“There, there,” soothed Cecilia, accepting the Breloom’s embrace. “Just get back in and everything’s going to be just fine.” Still hugging it, she returned it to its Pokeball.
“Yes, yes, very touching,” said Jack. “Just take it, come on. The Professor might lose his grant if we don’t get anywhere with our research this year. And I still have five more months on my internship.”
Cecilia took out her own Pokedex. “One’s enough, mister,” she said, waving it in his face.
Jack looked at the thing as though it were mocking him. A frown formed on his face and, without much thought, he snatched it out of her hands.
“Oi!” shouted Cecilia. “I actually need that.”
“No, you need this.” Jack handed over the advanced Johto version. “It’s way more advanced.”
“I don’t care! That one already has all my catalogued Pokémon.”
A ping sounded from the Johto Pokedex.
FILE TRANSFER COMPLETE. PARTNER DEVICE CAN NOW BE DISCONNECTED, rang out a robotic voice.
“I’ve updated the Johto-dex. Now you have everything from the Kanto version inside this newer, better casing. Plus extras! Cool, right?”
“Why are you so insistent?” she said, reluctantly accepting the device from his outstretched hand.
“Because I am. Sebastian, here, take the Kanto version.” Jack tossed it over.
“Thanks?” said Sebastian uncomfortably as he pocketed it. “I’m not sure what to say.”
“Just don’t say anything.”
Lily returned with the body of her father being carried by the Saito twins. The look of disgust was apparent upon their faces at the sixty-something-old which was twitching in his sleep. The lab coat he had on his body was loose and the twins were disturbingly aware of how thin the material seemed.
“He’ll be fine, I think,” she said to the group. “Officers Saito, get him to that house over there. My mum will probably know what to do. I imagine she’s had worse things show up on her doorstep than two officers carrying a paralyzed old man.”
“Yes, ma’am,” they responded, albeit with a trace of hesitance.
“As for you, Miss Atkinson...” Lily frowned at her. Then she sighed and avoided eye contact. “I guess you’re free to go,” she muttered.
“Freaking finally,” said Cecilia with relief. She picked up her bag and turned to leave.
“Wait,” said Jack suddenly.
Cecilia stopped in her tracks and breathed out slowly. “What? What could you possibly want now?” she cried frustratedly.
“I’ve been thinking.”
“I find that hard to believe,” Lily muttered under her breath.
“Whatever,” he responded. “I’ve been thinking, right? Sebastian, you have no experience whatsoever in this training business.”
“Huh? Ermm, yeah?” Sebastian said, addressed at being surprised. He was busy exploring the limited functionality of the Kanto Pokedex. So far, he had already flipped through a few entries on the various Pokémon Cecilia had already encountered. There were a fair bit.
“Yes, right. So I was wondering...”
“What is it?” asked Cecilia.
“Well, you’re experienced, Sebastian isn’t...” He gesticulated vaguely with his hand in a casual manner.
Cecilia’s eyes widened in horror as realization hit her like a lorry going sixty in a school zone. “Oh God, no.”
“Rather, I was hoping...”
“No,” she said flatly. “Please don’t make me do this,” pleaded Cecilia. “You know what, I don’t think I even have to do this! I’m going to leave, right now.” She started to walk away.
“Whoa, whoa, hold up,” said Lily. “He’s not done talking yet. I think I can see where he’s coming from.”
“What, you’re on my side now?” Jack grinned mockingly.
“No, I’m on Sebastian’s side. I don’t care about you. Sebastian, pay attention!” she said to Sebastian who had returned to the Pokedex.
WEEPINBELL, THE FLYCATCHER POKEMON. WHEN HUNGRY, IT SWALLOWS ANYTHING THAT MOVES. ITS HAPLESS PREY IS MELTED INSIDE BY STRONG ACIDS.
“Does anyone know where the mute button is? I think I depressed it by accident,” said Sebastian.
“Ugh,” Cecilia said, disgusted, and pressed a button on the device’s side.
“You all know what I’m getting at right?” said Jack.
“I don’t. What were you saying?” asked Sebastian who had missed the first part of Cecilia and Jack’s exchange.
“You, Sebastian. You’ll probably die out there.”
“I... that’s very optimistic of you,” said Sebastian, confused.
“You’re hardly the trainer type.”
“Sebastian, this idiot’s right, as much as I hate to admit it,” said Lily. “You cannot even begin to imagine how hard it is to be a trainer.”
Cecilia rolled her eyes. “Yes, hard, right.”
“I guess so... But I can’t say I’m too happy with having to travel with her. It feels awkward, to say the least,” said Sebastian. He pocketed the Pokedex and hesitantly established eye contact with Cecilia. He bit his lip nervously.
“Damn right it’s awkward!” exploded Cecilia, throwing Sebastian off balance. She pointed an accusing finger at him. “You’re the arse that got me into this entire mess in the first place. It’s your fault my bike’s lying in a field somewhere! It’s your fault I was arrested! And it’s your fault I lost my Pokedex!”
“You got a better one,” interjected Jack.
“Point is, Sebastian,” she spat, pronouncing his name with contempt while jabbing her finger into his chest. “I don’t think I like you very much. I would never ever even consider wanting you to join me on my journey.”
“I can see that,” Sebastian replied slowly, backing away.
“Oh you can, can you? My journey! Alone! That’s the way I want it!”
“I’m okay with that, really. I don’t want to intrude.”
“But these two don’t think that way do they? Do I have a choice now? Have I ever had a choice? It’s not my bloody fault I’m in this bloody region, oh no. The gym leaders just had to be drawn to a conference somewhere, and two bloody years down the bleeding drain!”
“Just saying,” Lily interrupted, “I’m not giving you a choice.”
“Who, me?” asked Sebastian.
“You and the girl,” she replied.
“It’ll work out for the best, Sebastian. You’ll get your badges and you won’t get killed in the process!” said Jack cheerfully.
“Oh, great! Just great!” Cecilia stomped over to Lily angrily and stared into the policewoman’s face. “What makes you think I’ll go along with this? I don’t care if this imbecile dies!”
Lily grinned maliciously into the face of Cecilia as the cuffs were once again on the girl’s wrists.
“What the hell is this?” screamed Cecilia, struggling against her restraints. “You said I was free to go!”
“A verbal contract is not a legally binding agreement,” replied Lily cheerfully. “I actually have more of an incentive to keep you around now than before, so you’re under arrest. Again!”
Cecilia’s jaw dropped, almost comically in fashion. She stuttered and stumbled over words, but she couldn’t find a noun profane enough to describe Lily at the moment. She kept her mouth shut, and willed herself to avoid spouting profanities.
“Oh, you learn fast,” said Lily, nodding in approval. “Most people don’t agree with my method of treating felons and start swearing again.”
“I can’t believe this,” moaned Cecilia. She sat down in the grass and buried her head in her knees.
“So you’ll do it?” asked Lily. “I still have you down for assaulting a civilian and various other offences.”
Sebastian spoke up. “If it helps, I’m not too partial towards going with her either. I’ll probably get in the way, and, as I’ve said, it will be exceedingly awkward.”
“Sebastian,” began Lily, “I don’t think you understand how dangerous being a full-time trainer is.”
“At the risk of sounding pretentious, don’t ten-year-olds do this every year?” countered Sebastian.
“Yes, but...” Lily struggled with words. “How can I put this lightly? You’re not...”
“...a ten-year-old,” she finished lamely.
“You’re right. I’m older than that.” Sebastian knew where this was going, but he refused to admit that he was that much of a lost cause when it came to the outdoors.
Jack spared him the trouble of having to say it aloud. “She means you’re hopeless at Pokémon, Sebastian.”
“Way to be tactful, Jack. Just...” She sighed to herself. “Look Sebastian, let’s not kid around here. Tell me, do you know anything at all about Pokémon?”
“Well, I like to think I know a bit.”
“That you haven’t learned from National Geographic.”
“Hey, that’s a valid source of knowledge!” he retorted.
“No, Sebastian, that’s edutainment. Most trainers, ten or otherwise, spend at least half a year preparing themselves. The schools help too. You, on the other hand, never went for that program, so you never prepared.”
Determined not to be beaten, Sebastian said, “There are children who leave home anyway, even without the school program. I gather that they learn on the road.”
“Those kids, they... I don’t know. They just have it, you know? Prodigies,” she replied vaguely.
Jack said, “What this woman is trying to say is that they have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them good trainers.”
Lily smacked Jack in the back of the head. “Don’t give me that bull. You’re just repeating what I’ve said.”
“Doesn’t mean you have to hit me...” muttered Jack, rubbing his head.
“So what do you say, Sebastian?” continued Lily. “Take a travel partner with you?”
“I can’t say I’m too happy about it,” said Sebastian quietly.
“I’m not asking you to be happy about it,” responded Lily. “I’m asking you to survive.”
“Jack?” asked Sebastian.
“It was my idea, Sebastian.”
“Oh right...” Sebastian weighed his options. On one hand, there was the slight chance that the girl would kill him. That was a slight chance. On the other hand, he might get killed anyway. All this debating had sown within him the seeds of doubt. There wasn’t any longer the optimistic, logical confidence he had afforded to himself earlier. “I guess... I guess it might be a good idea.”
“So we’re settled?” asked Lily. “You’re okay with this? You two don’t even have to work together. All I’m asking is that you two travel together, and Miss Atkinson can show you the ropes.”
“And if I refuse?” Cecilia said suddenly as she emerged from her cocoon of self-pity.
“Then I ban you from the league,” replied Lily simply without batting an eyelid.
Cecilia flinched. “You don’t have the power to do that.”
“Don’t I? Remember the penalty for attacking a civilian with Pokémon? Yeah, I could do that.”
Cecilia let out a long-drawn sigh. “This has been the worst day,” she said for the second time that day.
“See!” said Jack suddenly. “Someone else as miserable as you!”
The blue and white police jeep drove slowly off the dirt path and onto the hard tarmac that was the entrance into Cherrygrove City. A police motorbike followed suit and its two riders waved to the jeep as they headed back to the station first.
Night had fallen and the sleepy suburb of Cherrygrove was illuminated by the fluorescent lighting of various bars and seedy night clubs. The streetlamps helped too, but most had died, leaving the remaining few to get their job done the best they could. Adding to this assorted medley of lights was the moon, which hung gloomily in the night sky, using every single cloud that passed its way to shield its vision from the squalor of the town area. Regardless, the jeep with its powerful headlights pushed through the gloom.
Inside the vehicle, the occupants were safely shielded by way of the tinted windows from the gazes of the inebriated masses and homeless bums that wandered the streets in search of free bathrooms to rest their sore feet for the night. Lily manoeuvred the jeep carefully, not trusting the cheap budget of the Cherrygrove Station to be able to afford repairs or even a new paint job if somehow she were to catch a bum on the front grill. The last time this had happened, the hobo had woken up a few days later with no recollection of how he had come to be there. The officers were the same in that respect because they also were unaware of the bum’s presence, taking the hideous shape stuck on the grill to be some sort of aerodynamic upgrade. Of course, everything spiralled out of control from their when the hobo, an out-of-work diplomat, refused to leave the jeep and its plentiful rations, citing diplomatic immunity from the jeep-country he had just established.
The jeep finally rolled to a halt in front of the comforting glow of Pokémon Centre. Sebastian and Cecilia exited; Lily leant out of the window.
“Now you two be good, hear?” She dangled a pair of handcuffs on her finger. “If I find that you two aren’t together, then there’ll be hell to pay, especially if I find Sebastian dead somewhere.”
Lily rolled up the window and left, Sebastian being one of the two who bade her goodbye. The other one was a drunk that was making his way home, wherever home was. Cecilia couldn’t be half-assed to say goodbye and entered the centre straight to Nurse Joy without trepidation, bringing with her an atmosphere of confidence associated with the more experienced trainers out there.
She placed her trainer card on the counter. “One room far the nigh’ please,” she said to the nurse, adopting the same thick accent from before.
“Oh are you from abroad?” asked the nurse cheerfully. “I have a trainee here who’s also from England; you might want to meet him.”
“Err... no thanks. I’m fine. Just one room thanks.”
“What a wonderful name,” enthused Nurse Joy. “Any Pokémon?”
“They’re here with me. If yah could take a look at me Espeon that would be super.” She placed a Pokeball on the desk.
“Anything, dear, anything.” The nurse handed over a key. “If you need anything don’t hesitate to give me a ring.”
“Thank you kindly,” said Cecilia, and left for her room, taking her card with her.
Sebastian approached the desk after Cecilia, though not as confidently. “Can I have a room for the night please?” he asked, failing to keep the apprehension out of his voice.
“Certainly, sir,” she smiled. “Identification?”
“Oh right.” Sebastian hastily pulled out his own trainer card.
This satisfied the nurse who reached for the key drawer. “First time?”
“Is it that obvious?” asked Sebastian.
“I’m afraid so, dear.” She smiled kindly. “Do you have a name?”
“I umm... do I have to write it down?”
“No, not really. I just need something to call you.”
“Oh, well, most people just call me Sebastian. Tanaka Sebastian.”
The nurse paused from finding the keys and a slight chill entered her voice. “Tanaka, you say...”
Sebastian found himself feeling quite nervous. “Yes...” he replied slowly.
“From New Bark town?”
“Yes...” Sebastian didn’t find Nurse Joy’s sudden change in tone very encouraging. He actually felt it rather disturbing.
She found the key and jammed it roughly into his hand, the warm smile from earlier replaced with a cold, forced one born of professionalism. “Thank you for your business, Mr. Tanaka.”
“The room’s down the corridor to your left.”
“Well, get going.” The nurse said this not unkindly, but there was the slightest trace of hostility in her voice.
As Sebastian walked off, Nurse Joy shouted after him, “And remember, alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited in this establishment.”
“Alcoholic beverages?” Sebastian turned.
“Nothing, nothing,” she said with forced cheerfulness. “Ahou,” she added under her breath in Japanese.
Sebastian slept quite well that night. He was terribly tired.
Haha over the part with the twins trying to make Cecilia break something. I feel sorry for her dealing with them. Also, I don’t think I want to know Stanley. ._.
The beginning of the part where Sebastian asks his mom for cash and other stuff went a bit repetitive when Sebastian kept saying to his mom to lie down, IMO. Nice of her to give her son some essentials, though, heh.
Anyways, I feel the conversation with Lily and Jack telling Sebastian he’ll need Cecilia with him in order to survive was dragged on a bit with Lily and Jack not telling him that straight out.
For the last part, I just have to say LOL over Nurse Joy's interaction with Sebastian. His mother must have done something wrong to set the nurse off, haha.
Overall, this chapter isn't as funny as the other chapters because some of the dialogue could have been shed off IMO, but I still enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to the next chapter!
Once more, I have failed abysmally at keeping a deadline. :(
Despite that, a big thanks to Bay for reviewing this despite my erratic updates. I wish I could make it funnier, but comedy is really not my strong suit. Also, I'm quite happy with the first part, not so much about the second part. Finally, a note from the author: If you recognize anybody, remember that they're not canon. :P
Anyway yeah, presenting:
Skit 7: Oh hey, a random stranger! *Waves*
New Bark Town. Revisited. At night. There was not much that could be said about this small, rural settlement that was located so far away from any major commercial centres. Less could be said about the surrounding environment. Even less could be said about its inhabitants because no one worth note actually lived there. Unless, of course, you counted Professor Elm, who didn’t see himself as a person.
Having received his doctorate in Pokébiology from Saffron University at the youngish age of thirty-two, written numerous papers regarding the evolutionary processes of Pokémon, and also having received a government grant at the age of thirty-five to continue his research in solitude, Professor Elm was hailed as a prodigy. Intellectually speaking, he was on par with the greats. Alongside Professor Oak (who was incidentally his mentor), Professor Birch, and Professor Rowan, he was considered one Japan’s four main authorities on Pokémon, specializing, not surprisingly, in the process of their evolution.
Unfortunately, that had been twenty years ago. Time had not dulled his intellect, but it had brought out his eccentricities more vividly. Strictly speaking, nowhere else in Japan was government money being squandered so thoroughly than at Elm’s Lab where security systems were passed over for more outlandish things such as expensive storage devices and hotel minibars. Indeed, on a recent excursion to Acapulco (on research expenses of course), Professor Elm had become quite attached to the small, metal box in his hotel room that he had paid a bundle just to have removed from the hotel and shipped over to Johto. The peanuts and wine he had stolen, of course, but the minibar was perfectly legal.
It was with this beloved metal box of his that he spent his nights thinking up a hypothesis that he could use to fob off the government for a while longer. It was all well and dandy to send out kids to get your empirical data for you, but the real brains of the operation required some hard thinking of its own. And also wine. Yes, plenty of expensive wine from Acapulco, stowed away inside a towel bag.
Professor Elm took another sip of his wine and let the sweetness of the liquid saturate his taste buds. Then setting the cup on the table, he stared blankly at the word processor in front of him. He blinked at the screen as the alcohol slowly crept to his brain. The typing cursor blinked back at him. Jack had left for the night and he was all alone in the lab with the only source of light being the glow of the screen. He took another sip of his wine and shifted his weight ever so slightly on the swivel chair.
It was then that Professor Elm felt something go off in his brain. A synapse must have fired the right way for once because he felt the sudden, exciting rush of a tremendous idea forming within the confines of his mind. Cloudy and distorted, the idea grew in intensity until it occupied his very subconscious, every fibre of his being dedicated towards this very goal. He positioned his hands above the keyboard, closed his eyes, and slowly, very slowly, the medley of assorted synapse firings coalesced to form a larger, more coherent picture.
And bang! That was it! Following the impulse of the moment, he pressed both his palms firmly into the keyboard and launched himself a distance backward. Perfect, he thought to himself. Then, still following the wave of genius he had been endowed with, he placed his right foot on one of the swivel chair’s legs, placed the other on his lap, and pushed.
“Hahaha!” he laughed as he span around in the chair, gaining momentum with every kick he aimed at the floor. “Faster!” he shouted, pushing harder and faster with all the strength he could muster until...
CRASH. A deafening noise resounded from the exterior. “Goddamnit,” hissed a voice angrily from the outside.
Professor Elm stopped abruptly and halted the spinning of the chair, his full attention diverted by the noise. “Who’s there?” he called out, standing up dizzily and grabbing hold of the chair.
The Professor thought about something for a bit and woozily made his way to his desk. “I uhh... I wasn’t asking because I expected an answer, mind,” he said warily. “It was a reflex, I swear. Nobody asks who’s there to a robber --that would be stupid.”
“I’m armed,” he warned, scrabbling around on the desk to look for a weapon. Professor Elm opened a drawer to look for his marker pen but instead found a note from Jack which told him that his wife had confiscated it. There was also something about punishment for chasing some girl, but he didn’t read that part. All he could do was curse under his breath. “No, scratch that,” he said. “I’m not armed.”
This time, instead of silence, a short sigh greeted his ears. “Oh, okay then,” called out the voice in relief.
Professor Elm was quite alarmed at this so he quickly responded with, “No, no, wait, I found a poker iron --I’m armed!” He grabbed a pencil.
The voice hesitated before saying, “You said you weren’t armed,” quite disappointedly.
“I wasn’t, but I am now,” replied the Professor, gripping the pencil tightly. “Show yourself.”
“Why should I?” asked the voice.
“Why? What do you mean ‘why’?” asked an incredulous Professor.
“Why should I show myself?” the voice responded calmly.
“Because...” The Professor paused in contemplation.
“Good point,” conceded the Professor finally.
“I do try.”
The Professor looked around the darkened interior of the lab and passed a cursory glance over the window. “So where are you?” he asked.
“Oh me? I’m right out here --at the door.”
The Professor’s eyes snapped to the door. “Well?”
“Well what? Don’t be so vague,” scolded the voice.
“Well, aren’t you going to come in?”
“You’re inviting me in?” asked the voice in surprise.
“That is, if you don’t want to come in. I’m fine with that too.”
“Oh, so the door’s not locked is it? I’ve been standing here all night, trying to figure out how to get in through the window.”
“The window? I like to think we’ve evolved much further than that,” replied the Professor disapprovingly.
“No, no. I thought the door was locked, see.”
“I see,” the Professor said comprehensively, nodding his head slowly.
“So you’re fine with me coming in right?” asked the voice.
“If you want, sure,” said the Professor.
At the far end of the lab, Professor Elm squinted his eyes to make out the shape of the door opening in the darkness. A dark, thin figure stepped through the doorway and closed the door. “Wow, it’s dark out there,” said the person. “And cold,” he added as an afterthought, rubbing his hands together.
“That’s New Bark for you. But hi anyway. Come here, come here,” said the Professor enthusiastically, beckoning the man forward.
The person stepped into the dim light to reveal a young man, somewhere around twenty, dressed all in black, and with a head full of fiery red hair. The man smiled pleasantly, his lip curving up in a somewhat malicious fashion. “Hello there, Professor,” he said and walked forward another step. “I can’t help but notice that you still have two Pokémon in that marvellous contraption of yours.”
“Why yes, yes, I suppose I do,” replied Professor Elm as though the very fact surprised him.
“And the missing one is a...” said the man curiously. His eyes roamed the visible parts of the lab –the ones which were lit by the computer screen, taking in the various, antiquated machinery.
“A Cyndaquil. But he’s not missing. I gave him to a neighbour of mine for his own journey.”
“Ah, cool. That’s cool,” the man said, nodding slightly.
“Is it?” said the Professor. “I find it quite stifling in here to be honest.”
“No. I meant that it’s good. The Pokéballs in the device are good.” The man walked over to the Stove and placed a hand delicately on one of the red and white spheres. “You also don’t have a poker iron with you,” mused the man.
Professor Elm looked at his hands in surprise and saw a pencil in place of a metal bar. “I could’ve sworn that I had one with me...”
“But the great thing is that you don’t,” said the man cheerfully. “Also, tell me and be honest. You aren’t much of a fighter, are you?”
Professor Elm laughed hollowly and motioned to his thin, old body. “Well, maybe twenty years ago, but certainly not now.”
“Oh that’s good. Very good in fact.”
“I’m glad that you find it good,” said Professor Elm. “The wife, you know. Has all these ridiculous notions about how I can really pick a fight with people when I’m motivated enough. Can’t imagine where she gets it from.”
“Well, we all know how women are,” replied the man uninterestedly.
“So true,” agreed Professor Elm.
“In a way, I’m also kind of glad,” said the man suddenly. He turned his face to meet the Professor’s, but his hands lingered longingly on the Pokéballs, caressing their smooth plastic exterior.
Professor Elm was surprised. “Glad? Why?”
“I’m glad,” said the man, walking forward with determination, “because it’s not breaking and entering,” he brought his fist high into the air, “when you’re invited in!” He swung it sharply at the Professor’s face, sending him sprawling onto the floor and knocking him stone cold.
The redhead stared unsympathetically at the unconscious body of the Professor lying on his side on the tiled floor. “That was easier than expected,” he said to himself.
Dawn broke over Cherrygrove, the sun rising over a misty background, and the drunken denizens of the night returned to their close-curtained dens to nurse their aching hangovers, some with Twinkies and or light snacks of that nature. The only refuge for civility in the city, the Pokémon Centre, was busy getting its staff and machinery ready for the morning shift. Trainers were, by law, to leave at one in the afternoon, but the staff liked to wake them up early to prevent moochers who slept till twelve.
Cecilia was already up and about by this time. She was outside, in front of the Pokémon Centre, standing in the shade of the Centre canopy with her Breloom out in the misty open.
“Like this, only faster!” she shouted to the Pokémon, making a fist and thrusting it forward into the air. “Mach Punch! Come on, it’s not that hard.”
“Loom!” responded the Breloom enthusiastically. It too punched the air with its large, red claws, but what came of it was similar to Cecilia’s attempt --a regular punch, nothing special. It stared at its outstretched claw disappointedly, despite Cecilia egging it on in the background.
The Pokémon tried again. “Loom! Loom! Loom!” it cried repeatedly, punctuating each syllable with another stab at the move. With each forceful punch, the faintest of sparks danced around the Breloom’s fist but nothing more. Tired, the Pokémon breathed raggedly and bent down to catch its breath. “BRELOOM!” it screeched loudly, drawing back its claw to the maximum and letting leash a furious punch that managed to create a slightly bigger spark. “Breloom!” shrieked the Pokémon frustratedly, throwing its claws up into the air.
“Oh my God, SHUT UP!” shouted someone suddenly. It was a man lying down on a bench with his hands in his face. “Some of us have a meeting in five minutes and we’d like to get some sleep!”
Cecilia dashed forward and dragged the Breloom back by its shoulders, apologising profusely. “It won’t happen again, ah promise yah, sah,” she said quickly.
The man frowned, opened his eyes, and got up to a sitting position. “What’re you –British?” he said irritatedly.
“Born and bred, sah,” replied Cecilia proudly.
“Then keep it down!” He closed his eyes and tried to catch some sleep. “Goddamn foreigners,” he muttered to himself.
“I’m sorry, sah. Won’t happen again.”
“What part of ‘shut it’ don’t you get?” He turned on his side and wrapped an old sheet of newspaper around his head. “Just go.”
Cecilia and her Breloom retreated quietly back to the Pokémon Centre. “That was good, very good,” she whispered to the Pokémon, stroking its mushroom cap. “We’ll try again later.”
The peace of the early morning, however, was broken once more as another disturbance rang through the city streets. “Atkinson, Cecilia!” a male voice shouted, “Atkinson, Cecilia!”
“AARGH!” yelled the man on the bench irritatedly, getting up and stomping off somewhere else with the newspaper in hand. “Goddamn foreigners in this goddamn hick-town!”
“That’s me,” Cecilia responded, hurrying back. “Come on, Breloom. Hurry up.”
The two reached the entrance of the Pokécentre where a gangly, unsmiling, black-haired youth in a pink and white scrub was holding out a tray with a single Pokeball in it. “Miss Atkinson?” he asked, fixing an uninterested gaze on the sixteen-year-old.
“Aye, that’s me,” she replied.
The man raised an eyebrow. “Oh, you’re British too?” he asked in a dull voice.
Cecilia felt the blood drain from her face. Too? What did he mean too? How many British people could you find in Johto? Certainly not a lot. Well, this guy certainly didn’t have an accent. He might just be playing, she thought.
“Y...yes,” she answered hesitantly. Okay, so far so good. The Breloom looked up worriedly at its master, noting the edge in that last sentence.
“Oh finally. Another person who isn’t a native of this godforsaken country,” said the man, still without smiling, and, despite the nature of his words, still lacking enthusiasm.
No, not good. Not good.
“Ermm...” was really the only thing Cecilia could manage to say as she felt her throat go dry.
“Tell me, what part of England are you from?” he asked.
“I err...” A thousand city, place, and county names passed through her brain, itching to be chosen for this one simple lie, but her nervous disposition made it a bit harder to choose.
“No wait...” he paused. “That accent is Scottish. What part of Scotland then?”
“Ah...” Okay, that narrowed it down. What city or place could she use from Scotland. God, she was supposed to be Scottish! How could she have forgotten?
“Yes, come on,” encouraged the man unenthusiastically.
“West...” began Cecilia slowly.
“Westminster? That’s not in Scotland.”
Okay, not Westminster Abbey, whatever that was.
“That is to say, West... umm... hampshire.” She thought hard. “Westhampshire... in umm... Aberdeen.” she said finally, hoping to God he would buy it.
“Oh,” said the man in a monotone. “So you’re from Aberdeen.”
Cecilia breathed a sigh of relief. “Aye.” She cheered in her mind.
The man looked at her and raised both his eyebrows this time. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t smiling. “Westhampshire, Aberdeen.”
“Is there summat wrong with that?” asked Cecilia confidently.
Casting a solemn glance at Cecilia, the man said, “No, I guess not. It’s just that I’ve never heard of a city in a city before. It’s a bit like that movie don’t you think?”
“I... ah...” Again, Cecilia felt her throat go dry. A prickly sensation ran up her spine, characteristic of when she was feeling stressed and or scared. Okay, you can do this. Just relax. She amended her previous statement,“That’s uhh... Westhampshire Street in Aberdeen.”
The man looked at her, unphased by this amendment. “Postcode?”
Cecilia was caught off guard by the question. “What?”
“Postcode, Miss Atkinson. Surely you had a postcode staying in Scotland.”
Cecilia breathed out nervously and looked downwards, feeling the comforting grasp of her Breloom’s claw. “Err... now what was it again...” She shakily tried to maintain her composure.
“It’s okay, take your time,” said the man unblinkingly. He balanced the tray and its Pokeball carefully on one of the benches outside the Centre.
Obviously, he was going to get her to talk, and Cecilia herself was feeling quite boxed in by this interrogation. But no matter. She would fob him off with a bit of her British ingenuity. She would make up a postcode and pretend not to remember the rest. Perfect.
“That’s righ...” she began slowly. “I think I’m rememberin’ it vaguely.”
“Oh do you?”
“Aye...” She was getting a bit more confident,” but it’s been a while since I’ve been in me hometown. If I’m rememberin’ correctly, it was one four nine dash somethin’. I canna seem to recall the last four digits, fer the life of me.”
The man pursed his lips in an expression of disapproval. Disapproval of what though? Cecilia tightened her grip on her Breloom’s claw. Eventually, and after much deliberation on his part, he nodded his head slowly. “I see...” he said. “I guess that’s all I wanted to know.” He retrieved the tray and gave Cecilia back her Pokeball. “Your Espeon, right?” he asked, amicably enough.
“Aye,” said Cecilia, accepting the sphere and pocketing it. “She’s all righ’ then?”
“Nurse Joy patched her up quite well, or so I’m led to believe. There was nothing of major concern.” The man turned to enter the centre.
Cecilia held the Pokeball in her hand. It may have been the psychic effect of her Espeon leaking through the container or maybe it was her British intuition, but she felt a slight unease enter her psyche. She couldn’t quite pinpoint it and said “Wait,” abruptly to the departing man, unsure of what she was being possessed to do. “You said, ‘too’,” she said, cursing herself mentally for going with the impulse. “Does that mean yer also from the UK?”
The man fixed her with that same disinterested gaze. “Yes, as a matter of fact it does.”
“But ye don’t have an accent?”
“An accent doesn’t define your origin, Miss Atkinson,” he said sternly, turning to leave once more.
Cecilia stopped him again, running forward to catch up before he went in. “But wait, so why did you want to know my postcode?”
“What’s wrong with being curious?”
“No, you had a reason, I’m sure,” pressed Cecilia.
“Curiosity is a reason.”
“But what were you curious about?”
“Nothing special.” He glanced at his watch. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some filing to do.”
“Wait, wait,” she said desperately. “At least tell me what’s your postcode?”
The man stopped in his tracks. “M2 6LB,” he said simply, and entered the Pokécentre dramatically without another word.
Cecilia felt a bit stunned by his words, particularly the revelation that postcodes around the world didn’t follow the seven digit format employed by Japan. Feeling the after effects of shame wash upon her, she quickly produced a notepad and jotted down the postcode, resolving to tell people that this was her postcode in the future. Her hand hovered steadily above the paper as she thought about what also to write besides that. She settled on a note reminding her to look up which particular city that was.
The doors to the Pokécentre slid upon and a slightly disoriented and dishevelled looking Sebastian exited, staring around bewildered in the sunlight, as though he were unsure of where he was.
“Atkinson?” he asked Cecilia, who quickly ignored him.
Sebastian’s bewilderment was understandable. Even though he hadn’t woken up at five in the morning to train like Cecilia, he had been shaken roughly awake by an angry Nurse Joy at ten past five for a lecture on the importance of sobriety. He had barely the time to get dressed and or wash his face when Nurse Joy pulled him aside and started searching his room for the faintest traces of non-medicinal alcohol, all the while telling him (scolding him) about the harmful effects it had on the human body and intrapersonal relationships.
After that, she had shouted at him for a bit more, because she was unable to find any alcohol, and summarily left the room in a huff. Sebastian had sat there stunned for half an hour or so, quite unsure of where he was or what he was doing. Eventually, he had left, carrying with him his limited worldly possessions and was surprised to encounter someone he knew in the lobby.
“Roger?” he had said woozily to the trainee nurse.
Roger, the trainee, was in a hurry and tried to brush Sebastian off. “Do I know you?” he asked impatiently and a tad rudely.
“Roger, it’s me, Sebastian. From school remember?” said Sebastian.
“No, I don’t remember, so if you’ll let me through...”
“Wait, how can you not remember me? It’s me: Sebastian,” he reminded Roger.
Roger stared at him blankly. “Look, what do you want, kid?”
Sebastian slowly scratched the back of his head and stifled a yawn. The apparent drowsiness from the past hour or so hadn’t worn off and he was still confused about where he was. As far as he could gather, he was in a Pokémon Centre of sorts. Beyond that, the previous night was pretty much a blur.
“Hello?” snapped Roger impatiently.
“Uh... sorry.” Sebastian had nodded off for a bit there. “Nurse Joy woke me up and...”
“Is there something you want,” Roger said tersely, leaning in and snapping his fingers.
“No... not particularly, no,” said Sebastian who realised that he was just surprised at finding Roger here. He had been studying to be a doctor, but evidently him being here must have meant that that didn’t work out too well. “Weren’t you studying to be a doctor?”
Roger sighed audibly. “Look, kid, I don’t know who you are or how you know that, but what I want you to know is that I am an incredibly busy person.” He gestured to the empty lounge where Nurse Joy was absently reading a magazine on the counter and the familiar Chansey was busy watering the plants. “So if you don’t mind...”
Sebastian looked a bit sceptical at this. “Ermm... right. I was just wondering. That’s all. I mean, Jack’s an aide now so—“
“Jack?” said Roger, cutting him off. “You know Jack? Jack Merridew?”
“Yes, that Jack. You, him, and I went to school together.”
Roger reminisced fondly on his high-school days. “Ah Jack. Jack, I remember.” The he frowned. “You on the other hand... How old are you?”
“You were five years my junior. How am I supposed to remember my juniors?”
“Well, I was with Jack an awful lot.”
“Yes, well, you didn’t really stick out sorry to say,” said Roger, not really sorry. “Besides that, Jack’s an aide now, you say?”
Roger interrupted with a short, frustrated sigh. “Well at least one of us got what he wanted. Lazy bastard never did a day’s work in his life. Lucky he was born such a genius. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Roger tried to sidestep Sebastian.
“Waaaait,” repeated Sebastian, stopping Roger. A certain niggling feeling kept telling him that he needed to ask something important.
“What, what is it now?”
Sebastian racked his brain for that one important thing and soon found it not so much a burst of inspiration rather than a slight pop. “Have you seen a girl somewhere?” he began, beginning to recall the events of the previous night. “I’m supposed to be travelling with her. I mean, I don’t really want to be going with her or anything, but I’m supposed to. So... have you seen her?”
Roger paused again. “Finally, a legitimate question,” he said. “This girl, you’re looking for. Yellow hair, grey cardigan, faux-British accent?”
“I knew you’d be able to tell about the accent thing.” Sebastian congratulated himself for this trivial point. “So have you seen her?”
“She’s outside.” After a bit of consideration, he then said, “Also, wait.” He pulled out a pen and paper and wrote down something. “Give her this.”
Sebastian accepted the scrap of paper, not really sure what he was doing. “A phone number?” he asked.
“Just give it to her and say it’s from me –the British guy.” And with that, Roger left a confused Sebastian for the office to twiddle his thumbs and watch a soap on the television.
This then brings us to just now where we find Sebastian out in the street with Cecilia who was trying very much at that point to ignore him.
“I umm... I have something for you,” said Sebastian nervously. Cecilia pretended as though he weren’t there. It would have been easier for her if her Breloom hadn’t been tugging at her sleeve, alerting her to the other human master who was holding out a piece of paper.
Sebastian approached her carefully. She was quite the violent one, he recalled. “If you could just take this,” said Sebastian. “I’m sure we can start with settling our differences among other things. First, though, I need to give you this.”
The Breloom, failing at grabbing its master’s attention, walked forward instead and took the piece of paper from Sebastian’s hand. “Loom,” it said gratefully.
“Well, umm, thanks... Mushroom-thing. Breloom was it?”
“Loom,” nodded the Pokémon.
“Yes, well, just scurry off to Atkinson and give her that paper. It’s kind of important,” said Sebastian with a small smile. The Breloom had a certain charm to it, thought Sebastian. It wasn’t like those ugly Sentret that every so often would slam into his window in the middle of the night. In fact, this was the first Pokémon he thought was quite cute. Regretfully, his Cyndaquil wasn’t as friendly as this thing.
The Breloom returned to Cecilia’s side and handed her the piece of paper. She accepted it reluctantly and patted the Breloom with a pained smile. Idiot, she thought to herself grimly.
“Now that that’s out of the way,” began Sebastian. “I think we should start to... wait no... actually I’m not sure how to begin.”
Ignoring him, Cecilia read through the paper and froze, her body rigid with disbelief.
“Umm... Atkinson?” he asked nervously.
“What’s this?” Cecilia said suddenly, a touch of hostility entering her voice at the mere sight of the numbers scrawled on the scrap of paper.
“It’s umm... a phone number,” said Sebastian. He attempted a nervous smile. “I’m glad we’re on speaking terms now so...”
“A phone number?” said Cecilia incredulously, her fist tightening around the paper.
“Well... yes... I guess. I’m just saying that—“
Without provocation, she had turned and smacked Sebastian in the face, cutting him off mid-sentence as well as catching him completely by surprise. He staggered backwards as Cecilia started shouting. “Why the hell...” she began heatedly, “would I want your phone number? Why would I even need your phone number?” Disgusted, she stormed off to do some training.
Later, Sebastian found himself sitting on a bench, nursing a sore cheek while an irate Cecilia continued training her Breloom. Gingerly, he placed his palm on the tender skin on his face, quickly withdrawing it at the slightest indication of the sharp, throbbing pain he felt. It still stung quite badly.
He had explained to her after being slapped that it was, in fact, Roger’s phone number, not his, and that she wasn’t really justified in slapping him because he wasn’t really sure what he did wrong. Besides that, he also mumbled something about wanting an apology. How much she took in was debatable because she definitely was not in the mood to hear Sebastian talk. In fact, she had chosen to ignore Sebastian like she would ignore an annoying something that just wouldn’t leave.
Sebastian watched with interest as Cecilia punched the air in a desperate attempt at teaching her Breloom how to perform a Mach Punch move. Sebastian knew this because he had heard her shouting the name of the very move to the Breloom, who was still struggling with creating a large enough spark, characteristic of a successful Mach Punch.
Sebastian lightly touched his cheek again. No good. It still hurt, and it didn’t look like it was going to go away. Maybe he could buy an icepack or something? To that end, Sebastian got up and announced his decision to get an icepack on the off chance that Cecilia was listening.
“Good thing too, that looks really bad.”
That wasn’t Cecilia –she was still ignoring him. Sebastian turned. It was another person who spoke, a man with striking red hair and quite the sharp-looking outfit. He was standing right next to Sebastian, watching Cecilia’s attempts at training.
“Oh hello,” said Sebastian courteously, not missing a beat. “I didn’t see you there.”
“It’s alright,” the man waved off his apology. “I was just saying: that bruise of yours looks pretty bad.”
Sebastian nodded. “I was off to get an ice pack.”
“Right, right,” the man said without interest. “Training a fighting Pokémon right?”
Preferably, Sebastian would have wanted people to assume that he had received the bruise doing something more athletic, not being slapped by someone he barely knew for something he wasn’t sure off. Training a fighting Pokémon was certainly athletic, but Sebastian wasn’t one known for compulsive lying. “Err... no. Not quite.”
“Got into a fight?” continued the man.
“You could say that...”
“Ah well, you can’t win ‘em all.” The man turned his eyes away from Cecilia. “Friend of yours?” he asked Sebastian.
“Not a friend per-se,” replied Sebastian hesitantly. “More a travel companion.”
A slight, eager smile crossed the man’s face. “So you’re both trainers then?” The man put both his hands in his pockets and grabbed something.
Sebastian could see where this was going. The man was going to challenge one of them to a battle, and he did seem quite experienced. It was a shame. He did seem like quite the nice person, if he weren’t a trainer.
“I err... Well, I’m not really much of a trainer, to be honest. She’s the more experienced one.” Sebastian pointed at Cecilia, hoping desperately that he would challenge her to a battle, so he could run off somewhere until he left.
“That’s alright,” said the man, bringing out a tiny sphere from his pocket. “I’m just a beginner too.”
“I should really be off right now,” Sebastian said hurriedly. “This is really starting to sting and I—“
“Nonsense,” said the man loudly, holding Sebastian back. “You’ll want to watch this.” He grinned excitedly. “I have some new Pokémon I’ve been itching to try out.”
“Very kind off you, but I really—“
“Hey kid!” shouted the man to Cecilia. “Fancy a battle?”
Cecilia turned and noticed the redhead standing right next to Sebastian. Surprised, she grabbed hold of Breloom’s shoulder, stopping its repetitive training punches. “You a trainer?” she asked warily.
The man was slightly taken aback. “Yeah, hence why I’m asking you if you want to battle.” He lifted the red and white sphere into the air to emphasize his point. The device expanded within his fingers. “So what do you say? Battle?”
Satisfied, Cecilia grinned excitedly, reaching for her own Pokéballs. “Oh, you don’t know how long I’ve been looking for a real trainer.”
Hey, who remembers National Geographic from way back when?
Now that that's done, presenting Skit 8. Shortest chapter I've done? Definitely. Fastest chapter I've done? Hell yes. There's not much in this chapter because I'm just introducing a new, recurring character to the mix. I just didn't want to overload it with too many useless things like previous chapters, so that the content isn't too messed up.
Breaking the Fourth is, and always has been, an experimental attempt at writing in a way I don't normally write. Cutting out the superfluous and incorporating deliberate humor are ways in which I do this.
Skit 8: This is not what victory is supposed to taste like...
Paying no attention to the Breloom by her side, Cecilia released her Espeon from its Pokéball in a flash of red light. The Breloom looked up at its master as if to sulk, but Cecilia placed a firm, friendly hand on its mushroom cap, reassuring it that its time on the field would come soon enough.
The man blew a low whistle. “An Espeon,” he said. “Impressive. I definitely wasn’t expecting that.” There was a pause then he grinned. “Then again, I don’t expect anything when battling someone new.” With that, he dropped his own Pokéball onto the ground and released his own Pokémon.
What happened next will, sadly, not be narrated because it was at that point that Sebastian’s phone began to ring. Fumbling in his pocket for the source of the noise, Sebastian grabbed the device, noting that it was an unknown caller, and hurriedly whispered, “You don’t mind if I take this do you?” He was ignored and went off to a quiet corner somewhere as Cecilia began to order the Espeon to perform a Psychic attack.
“Hello, Sebastian speaking,” said Sebastian once he found a quiet spot beside the entrance to an alleyway.
“SEBASTIAN!” shouted a familiar voice from the other end.
Sebastian grimaced, instantly regretting picking up the phone. “Jack...” he answered slowly. “What do you want?”
“Okay, first off,” began Jack, cutting straight to the chase, “you don’t need to introduce yourself when you answer your mobile. You’re the only one who uses it, so it’s pretty redundant, and I’m pretty sure no one would call a mobile number without knowing who was at the other end. Unless of course, you’re talking about those numbers you find in gas station bathrooms or phone booths which—“
Sebastian cut him off. “Is there a point to this?” he asked irritatedly.
“Oh right, SEBASTIAN!” shouted Jack, building on his previous momentum. “You won’t believe what happened last night --somebody broke into the laboratory!”
Sebastian went wide-eyed. “What? Really?”
“Yeah, really. There was no sign of a forced entry, nothing. The police are here, but we’re still not sure how they got in. The Professor wasn’t anywhere to be found, so I’m assuming he forgot to lock the door when he went home.”
“Have you tried his house?”
“Well... no. He’s not much help Sebastian, you know that.” Jack hesitated then said, “Also, they sent us old woman Mizuki again. I can’t risk it.”
“So what did they take?” asked Sebastian.
“What else? It’s not like we keep money in the lab. The equipment was also untouched –even my laptop.”
“So what did they take?” repeated Sebastian impatiently.
Jack sighed impatiently. “Sebastian. This is a Pokemon Research Facility with rare Pokémon,” he explained in the tone often used with small children, “They took the Pokémon, what else?”
“The Pokémon?” echoed Sebastian.
“Yes, the Pokémon. You have to stop repeating everything in surprise. Anyway, you need to get back asap. We need you here.”
Sebastian scowled, vaguely hoping it would show in his voice. “And why would you need me?” he said. “I don’t have anything to do with this.”
“Well, I was hoping you could identify the convict or something...”
“I haven’t even met him!” shouted Sebastian exasperatedly into the phone.
“Hey are you okay over there?” called the redhead from before. His Pokémon was currently running circles around the Espeon.
Cecilia’s furious face only barely reflected how badly she felt at being toyed with by another trainer.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” Sebastian replied, taking his eyes of the phone for a moment to cast an affirmatory glance towards the man. “It’s just a friend of...” Sebastian paused as he noticed the man’s Pokémon.
It was a Chikorita.
Chikorita had been considered rare in Johto ever since the seventies when they were hunted to extinction, owing to the obscene usefulness of their body parts in herbal medication and or the production of hallucinogenic drugs. The only place anyone would find a Chikorita anymore was in a strictly guarded National Reserve where the incredibly rich could get licenses to catch one. It was either that or a Pokémon Research Facility with a penchant for lavish spending and unnecessary licenses for rare Pokémon.
Sebastian was pretty sure it was the latter when he continued, “...mine.”
The redhead looked at him strangely. “That was a pretty long pause there.” He waved for his Chikorita to continue with the offensive as the Espeon warily watched its flanks. “Are you sure everything’s fine?”
Sebastian swallowed nervously. Sebastian had never been good at lying, but there was first for everything. “It’s fine. I’m fine... It’s just my friend, he’s asking me about... a... friend of his... that... I haven’t met yet.”
“You seem really jittery. The thrill of the battle getting to you?” the man said excitedly. Again, he barked another order at his Chikorita which lashed out at the Espeon with its vines, just barely bruising it. Cecilia cursed.
“Something like that...” Sebastian attempted a weak smile. This person could be... no... was definitely the thief, and he could potentially get violent, so Sebastian chose to play it safe.
The man grinned in return. “Ahh, it’s amazing, right? Don’t you just love beating the living crap out of every trainer you find?” The man did a little excited hop on the spot. “The feeling’s amazing,” he enthused.
“It is... yeah,” agreed Sebastian hesitantly.
“Hey, you’re a trainer too right? What say you and I do a little tango after I’m done with this kid?” The man jabbed a thumb rudely at Cecilia who simply flipped him off in retaliation. She barely noticed the speed at which the Chikorita danced around the Espeon, inflicting shallow cuts on its fur. The Espeon cried in pain as each lash brought with it the sharp, stinging pain of whip made from nettles. Cecilia encouraged her Espeon from the sidelines, shouting futile evasive manoeuvres’ at the psychic feline.
“I think, I’ll pass,” Sebastian replied weakly.
“Oh come on, it’s just a tiny sparring match. The only ones who get hurt are the animals.” He turned his attention to the battle and shouted at his Chikorita, “Hey, enough screwing around! Let’s finish this.”
The Chikorita nodded slightly and, with all the grace of a quadrapedal interpretive dancer, whipped out its two vines and slashed them at the Espeon, the first one stunning it and the second one striking a deadly blow at its face.
“Espe!” it squeaked, falling to the ground, the flawless jewel on its head glowing weakly. Cecilia rushed forward and brought the Espeon in her arms, embracing it tightly, her eyes filled with angry tears. She looked up at the man who gazed back impassively.
“That was a... fair battle,” she said through gritted teeth, knowing full well she had done nothing to stop it.
The man laughed hollowly. “No it wasn’t. That was a massacre. I could’ve told Gaea to go easy on you, but I didn’t.”
Cecillia ignored him and turned to her Espeon, softly stroking its fur and bringing her face close to its ear. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry. I got caught up.”
“There!” said the man triumphantly. “The girl got caught up in the thrill of the battle.” He faced Cecilia, disgusted by her soothing of the Pokémon. “Oh come on, it’s just a Pokémon. You don’t need to apologize. Look, I won’t even ask for the prize money if you just stop doing what you’re doing right now.”
Cecilia looked at him with loathing. “This is my starter you inconsiderate arse. I should’ve never put her up against you if I knew you were going to play dirty.” She dug around in her pocket and threw a wad of cash onto the ground.
“Play dirty?” replied the man with a laugh, bending down to retrieve the money. “I don’t play dirty; I play by the game but enjoy every second of it.” Cecilia opened her mouth to retaliate, but the man silenced her with a wave of his hand. “So what if she’s your starter? Gaea’s mine, and I don’t have any emotional attachment to her.”
I knew it! Sebastian thought to himself. Without waiting to hear Cecilia’s response, he excused himself and returned to the phone.
“Where the hell were you?” scolded Jack from the other end. “I’ve been waiting for a whole five minutes. Do you know how expensive credit is? You know I’m broke right now.”
“Never mind that,” said Sebastian impatiently. “I think I’ve found the thief.”
“Hey, really? That’s great. Where are you now? We’ll come get him.”
“We’re in front of the Cherrygrove Pokémon Centre. Atkinson’s just done battling him, and I think he wants to do me next.”
Sebastian heard Jack stifle a laugh on the other end.
“What’s so funny?” demanded Sebastian.
“Nothing, sorry,” apologised Jack. “Could you repeat that?”
“I said we’re in front of the Cherrygrove Centre.”
“No, the other part.”
“What, Atkinson’s done battling him? I’m going to battle him next?”
“Say it exactly like just now.”
“Is something wrong with you?”
Sebastian thought he heard a slight giggle. “You know what? Never mind, we’ll be there soon. Just...”
“Well... uhm... try to be gentle with him.” A laugh resounded through the other end and the dial tone was heard as the call ended. Sebastian stared at the phone dumbstruck. What did he mean be gentle? Did he want him to try and avoid hurting the Chikorita? Was that it? Sure it was a significant investment, but Sebastian was pretty sure that he wouldn’t be able to hurt it that bad.
The redheaded man walked up to Sebastian, counting a wad of bills in his hand. “Hey, are you done with that call yet?”
A chill ran up Sebastian’s spine at the man’s voice. Now that Sebastian was sure this man was the thief, he looked incredibly different in his eyes. He was no longer the creepy, sadistic stranger asking for a battle. He was the creepy, sadistic stranger who’d mug you if you didn’t battle him. Sebastian sure as hell wasn’t taking any risks.
“Yes... I just finished,” said Sebastian cautiously, replacing the phone back in his pocket. “I’m ready.”
“Excellent.” The man rubbed his hands together excitedly. “So... shall we proceed with the battle? You’ve seen my Gaea. What Pokémon do you have?” There was a brief pause as Sebastian struggled to remember what Pokémon it was the he owned. His anxiety made it a tad harder to think. “No, wait --don’t tell me,” said the man, interrupting Sebastian’s chain of thought. “I think I’d like to see it for myself.”
“Oh, err... right. If you say so.” Sebastian fumbled about in his pocket for his own Pokéball. Among the phone and his wallet, he found a miniaturised sphere, quite warm from being in his pocket for so long.
The man watched this display of inexperience curiously. “You should probably keep that in your jacket pocket or something --away from your phone. I once knew this guy, the microwaves from his phone messed up the Pokéball’s mechanism. Nasty stuff. All I know is that whatever was in there before he took it out was definitely not a Muk.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, mister umm...” Sebastian realised that he didn’t really know the man’s name. “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name.”
“That’s because I never mentioned it,” replied the man simply. “You can call me Silver, if you wish.”
Sebastian was taken aback. “What kind of a name is Silver?” he asked incredulously, momentarily forgetting his fear.
“A stupid one,” said Cecilia as she walked into the area. All eyes turned to her. Sebastian froze in shock. She had insulted a criminal. Who knows what he could potentially do to her –or the both of them!
“Hey, watch it,” said the man, pointing a threatening finger. “You don’t need to be a sore loser, missy.”
Sebastian breathed a sigh of relief. So far so good. He wasn’t getting violent.
Cecilia sniffed disinterestedly. “I just need a quick word.” She then grabbed hold of Sebastian’s hand and dragged him out of earshot. Sebastian was only too glad to be away from the criminal.
Once they were a distance away, Cecilia motioned for Sebastian to come closer. They bent down into a protective shell of privacy and she began whispering.
“Look,” she began in a matter-of-fact tone, “I don’t like you very much.”
At that point, Sebastian became very aware of Cecilia’s hand and promptly forgot about telling her that Silver was a criminal. Instead, he realised his cheek was beginning to throb again.
“And I know you probably don’t like me,” she continued. Sebastian opened his mouth to say something but she quickly clamped her hand over it. Sebastian flinched and he was keenly aware of how painful his cheek felt this close to the hand that had hurt it. “If you do like me, I don’t want to hear it. In fact, I don’t want you to, so don’t even keep your thoughts to yourself --get rid of them.”
She removed her hand and Sebastian was silent with fear. “Nod once if you understand,” said Cecilia.
“Okay, now that that’s out of the picture, here’s what I want you to do.” Sebastian was about to bring up the point that he was about to battle someone and didn’t really have time for favours, but Cecilia beat him to it. “I want you,” she said slowly, making sure he understood, “to kill him.”
Sebastian drew back in paranoia, looked to see if Silver had heard. He hadn’t and was idly shoving the Chikorita, Gaea, around with his feet. She seemed to be enjoying playing with her master. Silver on the other hand, looked like he was playing with a bit of the grass.
Cecilia dragged him back into their shell. “Not literally, you moron. I mean in the battle.”
Sebastian felt the need to protest. “But I can’t!” he said. “I just started yesterday; I don’t even know all the names of the moves yet, save the ones from TV.”
“I don’t care when you started,” hissed Cecilia. “You have the horribly over-levelled Cyndaquil don’t you? Use that!”
“But,” protested Sebastian.
“I don’t care,” she repeated, ignoring his defence. “If I’m forced to travel with you, you’re going to have to do things for me from time to time, even if you and I don’t like it. And right now, I really didn’t want to have to ask you, but I can’t stand the thought of that guy getting away with hurting my Espeon. So instead, you’re going out there to avenge my Espeon for me.” She straightened. “Am I clear?”
Again, Sebastian wasn’t really sure what else to say and nodded. He was pretty surprised by how fast she had possibly forgiven him. For the first time in his life, he finally found it was true that the enemy of his enemy was his friend, even if he didn’t really consider either of these two people his enemies –just people hopelessly obsessed with getting animals to fight.
“Right, I’m going to the Pokécenter now,” said Cecilia. “Make sure he’s beat by the time I’m back, capish?”
Cecilia rolled her eyes.
“Am I clear?”
“Yes...” said Sebastian hesitantly.
“Stop being so uncertain!” she shouted frustratedly, noting his hesitance. “Look, it’s very simple. You have a fire type, he has a grass type, do the math!”
She was met with a blank stare from Sebastian.
“Fire burns grass!” She threw her hands up in the air and stormed off. “God, you’re stupid.”
Sebastian watched her leave with a sinking feeling in his heart. He realised, again, that his knowledge of the Pokémon Kingdom was severely limited. How was it that National Geographic had never mentioned this in one of its documentaries?
“Hey, you! You done with your girlfriend yet?” asked Silver from afar.
Sebastian turned. “She’s not my girlfriend,” he replied bluntly.
“Your friend then.”
“She’s not my friend.”
Silver looked at him bemusedly. “Well, whatever she is, you’re done right? Let’s get this party started!” He shouted this last part loudly and excitedly, his voice echoing through the streets of Cherrygrove like a street hawker in the evening, except it was the morning and he wasn’t a street hawker.
An awkward silence ensued as Sebastian walked forward nervously with the ball in hand. During this time, a pedestrian told Silver to shut up, and Silver told that person to get stuffed.
“Should I go first then?” asked Sebastian nervously.
“Yeah sure, but wait one sec,” replied the man.
“Is something wrong? You were so keen on battling just now.”
“No, I’m still excited –in fact, I’m really pumped right now. But...”
“Yes?” asked Sebastian.
“I couldn’t help but notice that girl shouting at you just now.”
“Oh err... really?”
“She was very loud. It’s not really hard to not hear what she said.”
“Which part exactly?” Sebastian tensed his legs to run. If he was going to throw a fit over Cecilia plotting to avenge her Espeon, Sebastian wanted no part of it.
“The one about you having a fire type.”
Sebastian relaxed, breathing outwards in relief.
“Oh, nothing else?”
“No. However... I play to win, don’t you?” A chill entered Silver’s voice as he spoke.
Sebastian became nervous once more, noting this sudden change in tone. “Why, I presume everyone plays to win.”
“Well... yes. But you do have a fire type right? Can I see it?”
“Okay...” Sebastian released his Cyndaquil from the Pokéball, complying with Silver.
“Ah, that settles it then,” said Silver, staring at the Cyndaquil keenly to make sure it was, in fact, a Cyndaquil. He pulled out a Pokéball from his coat pocket and recalled Gaea. “I play to win, see, and, odds are, I’ll lose if Gaea goes against that.”
Sebastian felt like jumping for joy. He wasn’t going to battle. He was chickening out. Sebastian wouldn’t need to fight him!
“You’re forfeiting?” asked Sebastian excitedly.
“What? Hell, no.”
Sebastian’s heart sank.
“I’m just using a different tool.” Silver whipped out a different Pokéball and, this time, he released a Totodile into the arena. “Say hello to Poseidon!” he shouted out loud. Then, he said under his breath, “Name pending.”
In that moment, Sebastian could only curse silently as he recalled what Jack had said on the phone.
“They took the Pokémon, what else?” echoed through Sebastian’s mind in Jack’s infuriating voice.
Sebastian also cursed the vagueness of the English language for good measure.
Skit 9: Trainers are as trainers do
Sebastian was ashamed to admit that he hadn’t expected this. He should have known that the thief would take all the Pokémon, not just one. Who did that anyway? Who would steal just one Pokémon when there was one more perfectly good one for the taking? How could he have been so stupid?
And now, because of his negligence, he was going to get beat in less time it would take for him to persuade the Cyndaquil to go up against the Totodile.
While Sebastian was having his panic attack, the Cyndaquil itself was in the middle of not feeling too responsive.
The fire-mouse looked blearily around, surprised to find itself in this unfamiliar setting and facing one of its old nemeses: the Totodile. It yawned and stretched, light, young flames dancing on its back like an old pilot light slowly warming up its body. Turning, the Pokémon saw Sebastian, and immediately frowned the only way a Cyndaquil could.
It was that human again.
Of all the two people to wake up two, those were the two that it hated the most. That damn Totodile and, more recently, that damn human. Arceus, this was one hell of a morning. It could only mean one thing.
It had to be a Friday, it thought to itself. It was most definitely a Friday. Back when he was a lab Pokémon, that human with the white cloth on its body always used to take it and the other two out on Fridays for some reason. They got some good food, fought for a bit, then went back to sleep until the next Friday. He really hated Fridays. That Totodile would always hog most of the good food, and that Chikorita would be too timid to do anything about it. Of course, being a fire type, he couldn’t really teach the Totodile his place. It didn’t help matters that the white-clothed human wouldn’t allow it anyway.
The Cyndaquil swore. It closed its eyes tightly and willed everyone to just leave it alone for a few damn minutes while it got its bearings. It was having one hell of a pounding headache from waking up this early and now this human expected it to battle? Yeah, good luck. It lay down and curled up in a small ball with the fires on its back still burning softly. This, it felt, was rather cosy.
Silver was taken aback. Sebastian wasn’t surprised.
Frowning at the tiny ball of fur and fire in the middle of the street, Silver asked, “Is your Pokémon sleeping?”
Sebastian didn’t answer just yet. First, he breathed in deeply, looked to the sky angrily, and cursed luck for not only making him get stuck with such an unresponsive Pokémon, but also for having to face against someone who had a type advantage against him so early in the game. And this when he had a chance at reprieve with Cecilia, a chance to make travelling with her less awkward than it already was.
“Yes...” he said finally, gathering up enough patience. “It’s sleeping.”
Sebastian lightly kicked the Cyndaquil with his foot and the Cyndaquil snapped its mouth at him in return.
“It doesn’t want to be disturbed apparently.”
Silver nodded slowly and rubbed the back of his neck, not sure what to make of this new development. “This is awkward.”
Sebastian nodded grimly. “Very.”
While the trainers talked, Poseidon the Totodile looked at his sleeping opponent. Then, he looked at his master, expecting some kind of command. “Totodile...” Poseidon said in an inquiring tone.
This seemed to Silver to be a sign of disobedience of the highest level, so he did what he usually did in such circumstances. He kicked Totodile deftly in the side, right at the more tender areas where its scales met flesh. “Don’t speak when you’re not spoken to,” he said warningly, flashing a glare at the water type.
Poseidon nodded obediently and whimpered to itself in fear. It had known this trainer not more than a day and yet he found that he was an incredibly scary person to be around.
“So...” began Sebastian, breaking the silence. “Do you want to just... maybe talk or something?” he asked hopefully. Anything was better than battling.
Silver raised an eyebrow. “No. I’m expecting a battle, whatever-your-name-is, and I’m not going to be cheated out of one because you can’t control your monster.”
“It’s Sebastian. My name, that is. Sebastian.”
“Well, Sebastian. I am expecting a battle.”
Sebastian shrugged noncommittally. “Sorry, I really can’t do much about this. I don’t have any other Pokémon.” In actual fact, Sebastian was quite grateful that he didn’t have any other Pokémon at the present moment.
Silver sighed and glanced at his watch. “You know, I’m usually kind of courteous and wait for the other trainer to be ready, but this looks like it might take hours.” He looked up, expecting Sebastian to know where he was going with this.
“Well...” Sebastian started.
“Exactly,” interrupted Silver. “It’s not going to wake up any time soon if you don’t give it a good enough shock. A wake-up call to a disobedient Pokémon who won’t even listen to commands. Knock some sense into it, you know?”
Sebastian thought about this for a while. He didn’t really like his Cyndaquil, only needing it to win battles and the like, and it wouldn’t be good to him if it kept sleeping every time he needed a battle. Theoretically speaking, it was an excellent proposition. Getting Silver to put it in its place might make it less of a stubborn Pokémon. Sebastian then came to a conclusion:
“If it’ll make it more obedient, I guess you could go on ahead,” he said firmly.
Silver rubbed his hands together and grinned. “Excellent. Easy money.”
Money? thought Sebastian. He frowned and was suddenly reminded of the obligatory wager. “Wait, how much were you expecting?” he blurted out. “I change my mind!”
Silver didn’t hear him when he ordered his Totodile to begin the offensive. “Poseidon!”
The blue alligator snapped to attention, looking up expectantly.
“Take that sleeping Cyndaquil out with a Water Gun. Do it quickly and aim for the back. That’ll douse its fire.”
“Dile!” Poseidon bounded forward as fast he could on stubby legs, his rough, reptilian feet lightly crunching the gravel underfoot as he came in for the kill. From a strategic perspective, he needed to get close enough behind the Cyndaquil to effectively disable its flame. The Totodile wasn’t much for strategy to begin with, but it seemed simple enough to formulate.
Sebastian, sensing the danger of his wallet becoming dangerously light, suddenly felt compelled to intervene. “Cyndaquil!” he shouted.
The Cyndaquil looked up, sparing only one eye to find the source of the disturbance.
“The Totodile’s aiming for your fire! Get out of the way!” Sebastian did a sweeping gesture with his arm to convey the order visually, if not ineffectively.
The Cyndaquil rolled its eyes. As if it was stupid enough to fall for that trick. It closed its eyes once more and inhaled deeply.
“See, it’s not listening to you, Sebastian,” Silver gloated. “Now about the bet... I’m thinking 1000 yen is fair for cheating me out of what could have been an amazing battle, don’t you agree?”
Sebastian bit his lip uneasily and felt for his wallet. This was supposed to last a year. He should stop getting into these useless battles.
Poseidon drew nearer to the sleeping Cyndaquil, and a globule of cold water built up in his mouth as he prepared to fire. He ran to the side of the fire mouse facing its flame to make sure that one shot would be all that was needed. When he was finally in position, he paused complacently and allowed the pressure to build in his mouth. Then he would unleash that one shot, a satisfying blast of icy water which would instantly knock out the vulnerable mouse, extinguishing the flames that were the collective weak spot of fire Pokémon everywhere.
Poseidon grinned mentally, feeling the pressure reach a climax, and opened his mouth.
Sebastian closed his eyes and groaned.
And then... a burst of smoke erupted in the middle of the street, enveloping the arena in a cloud of slate grey and blinding all those present with a blanket of darkness.
A passing car swerved and Sebastian swore he heard the driver cry, “You goddamn foreigneeers!” as he tried to regain control of the vehicle.
The sudden smoke had surprised Poseidon. He looked around frantically for the escaped Cyndaquil, realising that his mouth was still agape from where the water had exited. He closed it and breathed in the lungful of air he had lost in the previous attack and realised that he was now breathing in soot. He coughed and choked out the dust and breathed in more slowly.
There was smoke everywhere, limiting his field of vision to a few inches in each direction. It stung his eyes bitterly, but, resolutely, he remained stationary, reasoning that blindly charging into battle was an idiotic thing to do. Instead, he lowered his head and focused. The best way to find his prey in the smoke would be to wait it out. Vaguely, hopefully, he was able to make out the repetitive pattering of soft feet on gravel and the light crackling of flames. He didn’t waste energy grinning this time but merely held his position.
A flash of red glimmered through the smoke; Poseidon turned his head quickly. Then he coughed. The smoke was making it harder to breathe, and it didn’t seem to be clearing fast enough.
Another flash of red. He heard the pattering of feet behind him and turned quickly on the spot. Where was that rat? he thought frustratedly.
Poseidon wheezed and wobbled on the spot.
The smoke wasn’t clearing. It seemed to be getting thicker. The air seemed to be getting warmer. It shimmered in front of his eyes and he suddenly felt his mind go blank for a split second. The crocodile gasped and, feeling its stance waver, abandoned its stationary position in search of air. There was bound to be a pocket of air somewhere. The smoke might have cleared in places by now. It would get the Cyndaquil soon enough, but, first things first, it needed air.
A few seconds later and he had completely forgotten about the Cyndaquil.
Air was what he needed. He had been looking for something before this. He couldn’t remember what that was now, but it surely couldn’t have been more important than air.
Another few seconds and he couldn’t take it any longer.
Poseidon collapsed and his paws grasped the gravel. It was blistering, but he didn’t remove his paws. All he could think of was his need for air. All other thoughts be damned. He needed air.
Something appeared in front of him out of the haze. A teal and cream figure which stared at him unremorsefully. Its back was ablaze in an infernal pyre of crimson heat which burnt up the precious oxygen from the air.
Poseidon blinked weakly. He couldn’t breathe and he couldn’t even think to curse the figure. All he wondered was whether or not it could tell him if there was any air anywhere for him to breathe. He looked up expectantly.
The Cyndaquil, it seemed, understood what the Totodile was saying. Because, without batting an eyelid, it then bent forward and slammed its foot into Poseidon’s face.
Knockout, thought the Cyndaquil grimly.
Cecilia exited the Pokécenter and was mildly surprised to note the plume of smoke that rose over Cherrygrove like an ominous cloud of... soot. She also noticed that it was coming from where she had battled Silver and left Sebastian to avenge her Espeon. Immediately, her finely-tuned trainer senses told her that it was a smokescreen attack –an incredibly powerful one at that.
A scowl formed on her face as she began walking back to the site.
Surely, he didn’t need to use a smokescreen attack on a Chikorita? And one of that magnitude? She shook her head disbelievingly. This was a common rookie mistake. It was false to assume that a single, successful strategy would work for every single type of Pokémon out there. In this case, Sebastian had probably thought that the smokescreen strategy from when he beat her Espeon would be infallible every time. He was wrong. In fact, this time around, it was incredibly wasteful. A single flamethrower would suffice to burn the Chikorita enough to incapacitate it. He didn’t need a whole smokescreen to cover his tracks.
She shook her head then walked faster, eager to see what kind of damage had been dealt to the Chikorita and, hopefully, Silver’s pride. Along the way, she passed a car which had crashed into a streetlight. The driver was glaring at her from some reason. He wasn’t hurt or anything –he just kept glaring.
Cecilia recognized him as the man sleeping on the bench earlier. She tried to avoid meeting his eye as she passed.
This apparently worked for both of them because the man was content to stare and Cecilia was content to be left alone. For a paranoid moment, she thought that he was stalking her, but then thought better of it, recalling the car which had smashed into the pole. His eyes were somewhat accusatory, she thought. It was like she’d done something wrong.
She shrugged off the feeling. Whatever it was, it wasn’t important. What was important was the look on Silver’s face when he lost. With this in mind, she smiled eagerly.
Cecilia wasn’t smiling when she reached the battle site.
A few things caught her attention: The fact that there was a Totodile in place of a Chikorita lying passed out over a triumphant-looking Cyndaquil, the other fact that Sebastian was lying flat on his back in the middle of the road, and the slightly more pressing matter of Silver choking Sebastian to death.
“Ack,” he choked unintelligibly.
“You hustled me!” shouted a livid Silver.
Sebastian could feel Silver’s hot, oddly minty, breath on his face as he felt his airways constrict under the redhead’s strong grasp. Like the Totodile, he was finding it hard to breathe. Unlike the Totodile, he wasn’t a Pokémon, so he wasn’t used to passing out from fights, especially when his opponent was definitely going to kill him.
“I... ack... don’t want the... ack... money,” Sebastian said with difficulty. It was incredibly difficult to actually talk, but Sebastian did it anyway.
“That’s not the point,” Silver hissed back. “The point is you hustled me into thinking that you were a newbie. I could’ve had a better strategy, a more satisfying battle, but you chose the coward’s way out.” Silver sneered at him. “You dirty, cheating bastard, you.”
“But I... am,” wheezed Sebastian.
“A coward. Yeah, definitely,” spat Silver.
Sebastian nodded with difficulty. “I also... am... new.” Sebastian coughed. His face was starting to turn blue from oxygen deprivation. It didn’t help that Silver’s weight on his chest was making it harder for him to breathe.
From the sidelines, Cecilia was speechless with shock. She recovered quickly. “What the hell are you doing?” she shouted, striding forward and kicking Silver swiftly in the side.
Silver grimaced at the blow, but didn’t get off just yet. First, he punched Sebastian, knocking him out, and then stood up. “This doesn’t have anything to do with you,” he said calmly.
Cecilia faced him angrily. “I don’t care if it doesn’t have anything to do with me! You’re beating up a trainer for losing. What kind of trainer does that?”
“What kind of trainer hustles people?” retorted Silver. Pointing a finger at Cecilia, he said, “You’re probably his accomplice, aren’t you?”
“Accomplice?” replied an offended Cecilia. “Don’t just jump to conclusions.”
He shook his head. “I wish I could believe that.” Silver raised a hand threateningly, meaning to strike her as he had done Sebastian.
As if on impulse, Cecilia shrank and fell backwards in fear of the redhead as he swiped his hand out in front in a blow that would have potentially been incredibly painful.
Cecilia scrabbled backwards desperately. “Hey, wait a minute,” she cried, “I’m not his accomplice!”
“A likely story.” Silver stepped forward with disgust. “You whispered something in his ear before mentioning fire types. You were negotiating the cut weren’t you?”
“No! That’s not it at all! It was strategy, pure strategy.”
“He’s a newbie. I was telling him how fire beats grass.”
Silver sniffed in amused disbelief. “What idiot doesn’t know that?”
“Well, him, obviously!” said Cecilia, gesturing desperately to the downed Sebastian.
Silver smiled grimly, bent down, and grabbed Cecilia by the arm. “You know what I think?” spat Silver. “I think you’re a liar and a hustler.”
Cecilia struggled uselessly against Silver’s strong grip. This was twice she had been overpowered by an older man. She was beginning to think that the mythical burst of strength afforded to females in times of duress was nothing more than pure fabrication. To that end, she shot a silent curse to Japanese comic artists.
“What do you want?” she shouted. “I can give you money if he really did hustle you. I have loads of money, just take it.” Cecilia reached for her purse, but Silver grabbed her arm by the wrist.
“Weren’t you listening?” he retorted. “The money’s not the point. The point is, no one messes with Silver and gets away with it.” Silver brought back his fist.”Now if you don’t mind, just stop squirming.”
Cecilia closed her eyes and awaited the inevitable blow. This was it. She felt afraid, alone and helpless against some nutjob who was going to beat her up for something she hadn’t even done.
And it was then that a loud report burst through the air. Cecilia, shocked, opened her eyes and noted Silver’s fist hanging a few inches from her face with Silver himself, his hair waving slightly from a short and sudden gust of compressed air, wearing an expression of surprise. She turned to where he was looking and saw Officer Lily standing beside a motorbike, her hand holding a smoking police pistol with her Sneasel already running forward with a malicious grin on its face.
Silver released Cecilia and staggered backwards as Lily let loose another bullet which narrowly missed his shoulder. He swore and took out a Pokéball from his belt, but the Sneasel leapt into the air and swiped the sphere out of his hands with a deadly screech. Silver swore and tried to retreat. The Sneasel, however, had other plans. As soon as it landed on the ground, it opened its mouth and screeched loudly, causing Silver to cover both his ears as he felt his ear drums explode in a cacophony of pain.
Lily ran forward and grabbed Cecilia by the shoulder. “You okay?” she asked, giving her an encouraging glance and smile.
Cecilia nodded, still in shock from the suddenness of her arrival.
This was enough for Lily, and she turned to the Sneasel. “Maria, that’s enough,” she ordered.
Maria complied and stopped the Screech attack. Silver fell to the ground, still clutching his ears and shaking violently. He looked up and glared at the pair furiously.
“Well this is something,” Lily said, striding forward. “There hasn’t been any real violent crime in Cherrygrove for a long time.” She stared at him seriously. “In any case, you’re under arrest for civilian assault. Anything you say, do, or think can and will be held against you in a court of law.”
Silver didn’t say anything and slowly he lowered his hands, his ears still throbbing.
“Aren’t you going to say anything,” asked Lily, waving the gun threateningly. “No? Well...”
Cecilia’s heart pounded furiously, and she was still wide-eyed from how close she had come to injury. She placed a hand on her chest and breathed a grateful sigh of relief. Adrenaline coursed uselessly through her blood, and she was annoyed that she hadn’t really been able to retaliate as effectively. Now, however, she was safe. No harm had come to her and... she paused. Harm?
She looked to her left and there was Sebastian lying on the ground, two purple welts on either side of his cheek with blood slowly flowing from his mouth. She noted guiltily that both were her fault to an extent, and, as much as she wasn’t inclined to, she made a mental reminder to make it up to him sometime. First things first, however:
“Sebastian’s hurt,” Cecilia blurted out uneasily. She clenched her fists embarrassingly. The name felt like acid on her tongue, having never actually said his name without some sort of spiteful intonation before this. In fact, she had barely referred to him by name at all this morning.
Lily turned swiftly. “Sebastian?” She looked downwards and saw Sebastian lying on the ground, injured.” She gasped and went to Sebastian’s side instead, leaving Maria to deal with Silver. “What happened?” Police training kicking in, she felt his pulse and turned him on his side to ensure that he didn’t choke on his own blood.
“He was attacked,” she said. “I came back from the Centre and that guy, Silver, was on him, choking him for losing. I tried to stop him, but—“ she almost swallowed her tongue in trying to say these next few words, “—I couldn’t. Is he... going to be okay?”
Lily didn’t answer immediately. She checked Sebastian for any other injuries and took off her police jacket, placing it under his head for elevation. “He’s fine,” she began, “but we should probably take him to a clinic to get treated. I just hope nothing’s broken.” Lily faced Cecilia. “More importantly, you left him?”
Cecilia shifted nervously. “Well, I thought he could handle a battle on his own. I didn’t think he was that hopeless.”
Lily mulled this over in her head for a while. “You know what? Never mind, it’s not your fault. He just had the bad luck of challenging a more experienced trainer, that’s all. It’s not like you had anything to do with it.”
Cecilia opened her mouth, “But I—“
“As for you,” Lily said brusquely, interrupting Cecilia and turning around to face Silver. “I hope you’re looking forward to the Pokémon League because I am definitely banning you.” She sneered. “You’re pathetic. Like a kid throwing a tantrum after losing a game, you assaulted a beginner, a beginner, mind you, just because you couldn’t stand the thought of losing. That is disgraceful.”
Silver didn’t rise to her taunt and just glared.
Cecilia’s half-formed confession of how she had forced Sebastian to battle Silver died on her tongue. A little ball of guilt at the back of her mind was overpowered by a stronger sense of self-preservation and an even larger feeling of timing and how it wasn’t right at the moment.
Lily shook her head. “You’re going away for a long time.” Then, she turned and radioed for someone to come pick up Silver while she tended to Sebastian.
“Atkinson,” she said, “with me.” Lily walked over to Sebastian and gently hoisted him up by his shoulder, beckoning Cecilia to do likewise. “He’s a bit heavy, but we really don’t have anything but the Jeep back at the station.”
Cecilia nodded quietly, complying.
“There’s a clinic two streets down from here, so it’s not too far.”
“What about Silver?” asked Cecilia.
“Huh? Oh, Maria’ll watch him while we’re away, won’t you Maria?” She turned to look at the aforementioned Sneasel, and...
That was when Silver made his move. Banking on the half-formulated plan that he had just thought of and Lily being distracted, he sprung forward and knocked into the Sneasel forcefully, smashing his foot into its face and making a run for his fallen Pokéball. Lily gasped and was torn between dropping Sebastian and going to Maria’s aid.
She made up her mind fairly quickly.
“Maria!” she screamed, leaving a heavy Sebastian with a significantly weaker Cecilia.
“Aargh,” gasped Cecilia, Sebastian’s full weight left on her arm. Doing what she thought was the most logical course of action, she too dropped the injured Sebastian and flopped onto the ground, exhausted. She started to glare at Sebastian for being such a deadweight, paused, remembered what she had done, and managed to catch herself just in time.
Silver grabbed his Pokéball, rammed it in his pocket, and made a swift turn in mid-run for his Totodile. He produced another Pokéball and recalled the blue crocodile into its captivity with the speed of a Western gunslinger.
Stunned, Cecilia cried, “He’s getting away!” In a moment of pure madness, she considered going after him while he was defenceless, as was her hot-blooded Scottish heritage, but Silver looked back at her words and gave her a ferocious stare that made a chill run up her spine. With that, any thought of going after him evaporated. Something told her that, he, however, wasn’t going to let this go as easily.
Meanwhile, Lily was too focused on Maria to give a damn as Silver bounded off into the distance. She cooed softly at the injured Pokémon, telling it that it was going to be fine despite the obvious smashed-in face. “Despicable,” she said finally. “Hurting a Pokémon... like that. He deserves more than what I was going to give him.”
“He got away,” said Cecilia quite uselessly.