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We are still working on a better slogan!
So, without further ado, the prologue and first chapter of my MayNoWriMo project, "Here Comes The Sun". Will update once a week, excluding this two-part initial release.
here comes the sun
Sarah Scott wasn’t feeling her best that night. But she had volunteered to do this so her daughters could have the movie night they had been promised: Christopher had gone against the idea, but had eventually conceded. That was, of course, what she had expected to happen. She knew her husband well enough.
She was a sufferer of chronic pain. Fibromyalgia was the name of the disease, something with causes that were “still being researched”, and all that bull hockey. The pulled muscle in her arm didn’t help either, from when she was being a moron: she tried to relive some of the old days, lifting up her son and trying to carry him to bed. The kid had gotten too heavy for her, especially with her in the physical shape she was in. She smiled slightly. She left her spot in her seat, walking over to the kitchen counter, reaching into the cupboard and pulling out a glass.
Of course, that walk hurt too. But she was used to that. She had consented to its existence tonight, instead of dulling it with the blackness of unconsciousness in sleep, so why should she complain? She filled the glass up with water, then walked back over to the kitchen table, opening up the bottle of pills. Narcotics were her savior usually, and so they would be again tonight. She poured the contents of the bottle that were left into her hand, and groaned audibly. So this was the last of it. She counted them. Six. She normally took three- but the pain was particularly bad, having kept her up for a day or two with discomfort. So she supposed she didn’t see the harm in taking a few extra so that when the kids and Christopher got home, she could ditch the watch-dog duty off onto her husband, then hopefully catch a Z or two that night.
She popped the pills and tossed back the water, setting the glass down and standing up again. She curved through the kitchen and toward the steps, walking up with slow, careful precision to minimize her suffering. Once at the top, she opened the first door to her left, only to spot the exact opposite of what she had expected to view; a bed with the blankets tossed up, sheets disheveled and a slight bit soaked. He had been sweating pretty heavily, apparently. She walked in the direction of the bathroom, figuring that it was probably the second best place.
She found the door open, and heard the sound of grunts and groans. She walked in to see Terrence, her oldest child and her only son, with his back hunched up and his head in the toilet. She walked over to him quickly, kneeling at his side, gently rubbing his back. She felt sorry for the child. She hated to see him like this, throwing up, sweating like a racehorse running in the summer, barely able to keep anything he put in him still in. The doctor had suggested bed rest and plenty of fluids. He couldn’t sleep peacefully, and he couldn’t drink anything without throwing up. She sighed, and when he was done, she pulled his head out and kissed him on the forehead. “Well, I guess we aren’t feeling much better?”
Terrence shook his head slowly. “...I think I’m dyin’, mama.”
She smiled softly at this statement, shaking her own head. She hugged him gently, and the two of them stood up afterward. “You’ll be just fine honey. Just a nasty stomach bug. Did ya know that your body’s natural defense against stomach bugs is barfing? Believe it or not, this actually means you’ll be getting better soon.”
She threw her good arm around her boy, not daring to risk using her bad arm to support him. He was a bit of a heavyset child; nowhere near in the “fat” range, but he wasn’t ever gonna be a model. She helped him toward his bedroom, tucking him in and kissing him on the forehead. He kissed her on the cheek.
“I love you, mama...” he groaned out.
“I love you too, Terrence. Now try and get some sleep. The best thing you can do when you get sick is...?”
“Sleep it off.”
She nodded firmly. “Very good! Remember, if you need anything at all, just call for me and I’ll be up quicker than a Yanma steppin’ ‘round in a desert on a sugar rush who had too much coffee to drink.”
He giggled at the analogy. He always did. “Okay, mama. I will.”
She turned off his light, then left the door cracked, as was the eleven year old’s preference. He didn’t like to admit it, but darkness still frightened him a bit. He never said it, but certain clues like the fact that whenever she DID shut the door, she later found it open again, either cracked or just full-on swung open.
She walked downstairs with pity and love in her heart for her child. She wondered how much fun the children were having. A lot, she hoped -- if the little brats went out and came back complaining, she would most definitely have to throttle them. She grinned, amused by her own little mental joke.
She sat down on one of the various chairs in the living room, near the coffee table. She picked up a pack of cigarettes that lay on there, as well as the lighter next to it. She picked out one of the long, white and brown tubes, pressing it into her lips and then lighting it up.
Such a stupid habit, she thought. She had only started it off of a dare when she was eleven, but the habit was addicting. She hadn’t been able to stop. She told herself consistently that she would quit some time soon, but soon kept getting later and later.
She tilted her head back and shut her eyes. She removed the cigarette from her mouth and held it in her hand for a moment, but realized that she was slipping away quickly. She couldn’t stop herself. She fell asleep right there on the chair, and Sarah Scott never woke up again.
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
Chapter One is the longest chapter I have ever written of anything, and is the longest chapter so far in the story. Enjoy.
here comes the sunChapter One: A.N.T.I.
Elizabeth Faith Scott tended to have cases of what she liked to call, “Spasmodic Tourette Syndrome”. Whenever something surprised her, she cried out the first word that came to mind -- and this morning, that word was apparently “spaghetti”. She sat bolt upright in bed, her eyes darting around the room to locate the source of the noise that had startled her awake and kept its loud, obnoxious blaring going.
Suddenly, she realized exactly what it was, and groaned. Her hand reached out toward the black box that was the source, switching the alarm clock off. Its red numbers displayed that accursed time that hurt her eyes to look at: Seven thirty in the morning. She slid her legs out of bed, pulling herself off toward the floor. It was a difficult act. It felt like the bed was clinging to her, begging her to stay in and sleep for just a little while longer. She was tempted to follow its pitiful whines, but she knew better than that. Her father would kill her if she was late for school.
And so she walked to the bathroom on tired muscles. She disrobed and got into the shower, turning on the knobs- she was going to kill Sierra. Her sister, Sierra, was famous for using the shower wrong, by leaving the little pully-thingamajig that switched the system to go between shower and bath pulled up, so that instead of the water coming first out of the faucet beneath, it would come out the shower-head, soaking whoever was unfortunate enough to be beneath it. She was immediately doused with freezing cold water, causing her to yelp.
“Graduation!” she exclaimed. It hit her then, and she turned on the hot water knob with a sigh. She was already awake, so why stop? She took her morning shower with the realization that she could have slept in some, because she had graduated from Pallet Academy last week.
IDIOT, IDIOT, IDIOT! she mentally cursed herself.
She walked out of the bathroom dressed in a towel, and after a few moments of gathering clothing, she dropped that and slipped into the new stuff. It was, quite literally, new clothing -- in her opinion, it was also insanely cute. A pink shirt dressed her torso, while a pair of white shorts with a red stripe down each side covered up her lower half down to the knees. She walked back into the bathroom, combing her brown, shoulder-length hair and brushing her teeth. Finally, she walked out of the bathroom and made her way downstairs.
Elizabeth slipped down the stairs with a good bit of grace, which honestly surprised her. She was usually a bit clumsy in the mornings, and even past the clumsy stage, she was never skilled on her feet, so she wondered exactly what it was that made that different this morning. Luck, she supposed.
She sighed, walking into the kitchen to find it occupied, though only by the smiling, jaded face of her father. He nodded toward her. “Up a bit early, are we? You know you could have slept in.”
She shook her head. “Yeah, I sort of figured that out about... ten minutes too late, while I was in the shower.”
Her father laughed at that. She bonked him lightly on the head for that little episode as she walked past him.
“Oww! C’mon, Beth. It was funny,” her father mumbled.
“Doesn’t mean you should laugh at it!” she teased, at the same time hopping up to swipe the box of cereal on top of the refrigerator, then doing the same to reach the cupboard where she grabbed a plastic bowl. She poured the cereal and her milk, and on her way back to the table, she picked up a spoon from the silverware drawer, then finally sat down in a chair beside her father. He set down his newspaper for a moment, reaching over and planting a small kiss on her forehead.
“I’m just kiddin’, honey,” he said. “You CAN go back to sleep now if you want. I’ll wake you up at nine.”
She shook her head. “And go through the trouble of getting up again? I’d much rather just lose that hour and a half of...” She yawned. “...sleep.”
“Of course,” he said, wearing a large grin. She leaned in, taking in a quick spoonful of cereal.
“So, where’s Sierra at? Still asleep?” she asked.
“Of course not. She woke up around the same time I did... which was, really, about half an hour ago. She ate quick and said she would be going out for a walk.”
Beth raised an eyebrow. “Eh? She hasn’t come back yet?”
Christopher Scott shook his head.
“You want me to go out and try to find her when I’m done?” Beth knew exactly where she was. It was where she went whenever she had things on her mind, and had confided this to Beth once when they were younger.
He nodded. “If you wouldn’t mind. I wanna make sure she hasn’t run off just to be a pain or something... especially with A.N.T.I. today.”
Her eyes widened. She had forgotten all about A.N.T.I. She quickly gobbled down the rest of her cereal in silence, speeding over to the kitchen sink and tossing the dirty utensils in. She walked over to her father and kissed him on the forehead. “I’ll go find her. Be back soon.”
“Thanks, honey.” He smiled, and waved to her as she grabbed her purse from in front of the front door and darted out.
Sierra Hope Scott kicked flexed her knee upward, her foot connected with the tree in front of her, sending out a small burst of dust. She switched to the other foot with expert precision and timing, then planted both her feet down, her gloved hand colliding lightly with the base.
Sierra was pissed off for multiple reasons. The primary was anger at her father, because of what he had done. Sure, she would have done it herself, but she wasn’t going to let him know that now. He had forcefully enrolled them in that stupid... whatever it was called. That initiative thing- A.N.T.I. That was it. Annual New Trainer Initiative. The guy was trying to make her decisions for her, and that angered her. He had even confronted her about it, saying it was necessary -- whether she liked it or not.
She was also somewhat angry at her sister, Beth. But much less so than at her father, and only because of her overly annoying, excitable outlook toward the prospect. She still loved her sister, though. The love toward her father was a bit more debatable.
She turned herself away from the tree for a moment, then closed her eyes. She inhaled sharply, exhaling with an equal amount of ferocity. Breathing exercises were originally all ******** to her, but when her anger management classes had taught them and she was forced to start, she found they helped quite a bit.
So, no matter what she did, she would be heading toward the old Oak Laboratory today, and picking up a Pokemon, along with a trainer’s license, and Pokedex. She looked toward the southeast, where that laboratory was located, and was surprised by the lack of people. A.N.T.I. usually drew in a humongous crowd, even in the smaller towns like Lavender and Cinnabar Island. She supposed people ignored Pallet Town, even after the legendary Red had been revealed to be from Pallet to the public.
She turned around and slammed her foot into the tree one more time. People sucked. She then heard someone speak, and groaned -- not only was it another person at an extremely inopportune time, but she didn’t recognize the voice.
“You look cool. Are you, like, a karate master?”
It was the voice of a little boy. She supposed she did look like some sort of fighter in her abuse of the poor tree that served as her safe haven, but her actual clothing -- a red dress shirt buttoned up entirely except for one or two down at the bottom, and jean shorts -- didn’t make her look much like an expert, rather a wannabe with a really weird dressing habit.
She nodded to the kid, however. “Yes. And if you don’t screw off, I’ll kick your butt up that tree and hang you on a branch by your underwear.”
“Cool!” the kid exclaimed.
She raised an eyebrow. Did the kid really find it cool? Was he some sort of masochist? “...Not cool. It’ll hurt. A lot.”
The kid nodded. “Of course, but you’re that strong!”
“...What are you up to, kid?” She wasn’t going to fall for it. He was obviously old enough to understand that no one but movie superheroes had that much strength.
The kid shrugged. “You just looked like you needed a pick-me-up. Or a hug. You want a hug, lady?”
“Fine. But if you ever need one, you can come find me. I’ll be at the housing projects. Y’know, where all those A.N.T.I. people are campin’.”
“A.N.T.I. people? People actually came?”
“Yeah! They’re all just cramped up in one spot, since Pallet’s so small.” The boy nodded to her, then ran off toward the south.
She stood there for a few moments. So people did come after all. How interesting.
“Sis! C’mon. You forgotten ‘bout A.N.T.I. or something? We need to get home. Get prepared.”
And there was Beth, her sister, jogging up toward her, her long brown hair bouncing, her chest heaving. That excited, yet slightly worried look in her eyes. She wore that new outfit Dad had bought her for today, the pink shirt, shorts and her favorite, sky blue, windbreaker.
“Forget A.N.T.I.,” she mumbled.
“But dad said-”
Sierra cut her off. “Dad says a lot of things. Not all of them are good.”
Beth narrowed her eyes. “Why do you always get so angry at him?”
“Because I always get so angry at him. Now, drop the subject. I guess I’ll go.” Sierra wiped the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand, realizing that it was odd for her to be sweating like this in rather nice weather, but ignoring that. She threw an arm around Beth’s shoulder and hugged her for a moment, then began walking in the direction of their home. “But only because I love you.”
So the two got home to a father who was relatively mellow about the whole subject. All Sierra got for being out for half an hour when promising a ten minute walk was a, “I wish you’d tell me if you plan to be out for that long”, so she was somewhat satisfied. Though knowing her, she probably didn’t plan to be out that long in the first place, so the point was void.
The two of them were pretty much packed as good as they should have been, leaving them only the duty to check and make sure they had everything. Their dad had gone through the expenses of buying them each three of each “necessity-medicine”, as he called them -- three potions, paralyze heals, antidotes, burn heals, ice heals and awakenings, as well as one technical machine for each of them to start off with. The move was Return, to teach their first Pokemon. It was a sweet gesture, and had also been an expensive one, so they weren’t going to get much else besides the backpacks these were contained in.
Both had packed up all of their clothing, and the necessities, alongside anything else they individually wanted to take along. Beth had taken a couple of books, while Sierra had grabbed a few empty notebooks, as well as pens and pencils. She was a writer. She loved poetry, dark and depressing, while Beth loved lighthearted novels. That was something neither got about each other.
The rest of the day up until three in the evening was spent relaxing. Beth and Sierra hung out together, talking about the journey prospect. Things they would do, what would happen if such and such occurred, and of course- what if they met up with famous whatshisname? Eeek! They laughed, joked and overall enjoyed themselves, much like they always had together, and as they thought, always would.
thump thump thump thump
“C’mon on in, dad,” Sierra muttered.
Her father peeked his head into the door, nodding toward her. “It’s three. We need to go ahead and go, alright? Grab your purses. No need for the backpacks yet, of course.”
Beth nodded to her father, while Sierra just went ahead and did as asked. Their father shut the door, and Beth leaped up to her feet to grab at hers. The two went out the door, following their father downstairs.
And out the front door they went, walking south.
On the way, their father began to speak. “So, how are you two holding up? Nervous? Afraid?” He laughed. “I know I sure am.”
Beth smiled anxiously. “Very funny, dad.”
“Hillarious,” Sierra chimed in. “It’s not your initiation, now is it?”
Beth looked at Sierra, raising an eyebrow. “I think that’s the point-”
“No, it isn’t,” Chris Scott interrupted, “but it’s the initiation of my two daughters. My two healthy, strong, young daughters leaving off on a journey through Kanto- and I can’t join ‘em. It’s upsetting, yet... you guys know I’m proud of you both, right?”
Beth’s anxiousness slacked off a bit, but was still present, nagging at her. The mask of love from her father lessened the blow, though.
Sierra said nothing on the subject, but both Beth and Sierra confirmed their approval of this question with a swift, decisive nod. The rest of the walk was silent, but Beth noticed as they trekked through the winding dirt roads of Pallet Town, the both of them seemed to gravitate closer to their father’s side.
The Annual New Trainer Initiative was being held in front of the Old Oak Laboratory, “Old Oak” being the nickname of the elderly Professor Samuel Oak who worked there with a three-man crew, studying Pokemon. He had been selected to speak at A.N.T.I. this year, and it was admittedly one thing that Sierra was looking forward to. She had always respected Old Oak, who had helped the greatest trainer known to the world this day, even. It was a large event, bustling with people fluttering about like busy little mice with missions of their own. They had set out on their own mission, one of finding a frigging seat.
They finally found a spot in the fifth row. Pretty good spot, too, for a crowded event like ANTI. They sat and waited for a bit while everybody took their seats and the people up on the stage in front of them took their places, setting microphones up. Sierra recognized a few faces: Furn Ace of Cinnabar Island’s gym, the Pokemon Fan Club chairman Tito Vasquez, Professor’s Assistant Autumn Leaf, and Professor Samuel Oak, of course. The event finally started off with a bang- literally. A gong had been placed in the background, which was hit and rang through the ears of the crowd to start off the event and gain the people’s attention.
The assistant, Leaf, approached the front of the stage. She straightened out her lab coat, fiddling around with the microphone. She cleared her throat and began to speak. Her voice was filled with a surprising timidness.
“Testing, testing... uhm, okay! Sorry, folks, this would, uhm, be my first time doing a speech... sure, I helped Red take down Team Rocket, but I can’t even manage to start off a speech right! Heh... heheh...”
This earned a few giggles from the crowd, but a lot of respect from Sierra. Leaf had helped Red in the famous Rocket siege of Silph Corporation, the major producer of trainer’s items for the Indigo continent. She had also gone with him to finish off the side-project of Rocket on the Sevii Islands.
“...Anyways. Today is May first, twenty-eleven, and the day in which many legends will be made! I’m sure of that. Can we get a cheer for that?”
Many people, Sierra and Beth threw out a big whoop for that notion.
“A.N.T.I. is an organization that supports the Pallet Laboratory, but that isn’t the only reason me and Old Oak are here today, believe it or not. We both love to see the initiation of new greats, see the growth of the children we whisk off tonight.”
“You tell ‘em, Leaf!”
“Take it off!” Sierra audibly giggled at this one.
“...That man is right!” a red-faced Leaf said. “I will take the microphone off, and hand it on to Professor Samuel H. Oak!”
She removed the microphone from the stand, walking to the seat of Professor Oak. He shook his head, standing up and walking to the front of the stage with his cane. The gray-haired, wrinkle-faced old man greeted the crowd with a smile on his face and a wave with his free hand. Leaf quickly followed, placing the microphone back on the stage and adjusting the stand.
Oak cleared his throat, and the crowd went even quieter.
“Hello, folks. My name is Samuel Harris Oak, and exactly nine years ago on this date, I gave a Bulbasaur to ‘Red’ O’Brien, and a Charmander to ‘Blue’ Oak, my grandson, as well as a Squirtle to Autumn Leaf- my assistant here. The three of them left that night, heading out for the journey of a life time.”
The crowd roared wildly at this, but Oak stomped his cane onto the wooden stage, gaining the attention of the crowd once again. “Thank you, but save the applause for when I am done.”
Sierra loved the fact that it was an order, not a request.
“...Now.” Oak looked toward the north, past the crowd. “It seems as if it were yesterday that this happened. The three of them were originally meant to complete the Pokedex- which, for the Kanto ‘dex, they did, mind you- but they became legends. Now they are household names. Red has become known to be the greatest trainer ever to exist- my grandson Blue runs the Viridian City Gym- and I even get to see dear Autumn daily. It is truly amazing to see what the simple act of giving someone a Pokemon can do. Autumn, dear, please send out Nidoran.”
Leaf took a ball out of her lab coat, and pressed a button in the center with her thumb. A magnificent burst of white light shot forth, materializing into the form of a tiny blue Pokemon that Sierra couldn’t quite recognize by sight, but knew easily by its name- it was a female Nidoran, tiny blue creatures with poison pins around their body. The female ad no horn, unlike the male.
“Pokemon are creatures with unlimited potential, especially with a human at their side. Note, I don’t say controlling them. That is something you initiates must remember. They call you Pokemon Trainers, and this is certainly true. You train your Pokemon to be better battlers, coordinators... whatever it is you wish to do. But keep in mind that your Pokemon teach you lessons as well.”
He hobbled around, pointing toward the sky with his cane for a moment, before thrusting it back down to keep his balance. “For instance, fifty years ago...”
A furious cry roared through the skies, and the entire crowd, Sierra and Beth included, gasped and looked upward to see the source of this noise. They saw nothing, and a few people gave up on this, looking down on the stage.
“On the stage!” someone yelled, and the crowded shifted their attention: on the stage, floating in front of Oak, was a reddish bird, flapping its wings intensely to stay afloat. From the steady caws it released, Sierra could tell it was vicious-...ly fake. But everyone else seemed to be going for the facade for the moment, so she would act surprised as well.
“Oh, my!” Oak exclaimed. “Ferocious little fellow. This is the perfect chance to give an example! Nidoran, quickly!”
Beth seemed to be close to hyperventilation next to her, while her father sat back, his eyes wide, focused on the stage. She placed a hand on Beth’s shoulder.
“Potato salad!- Oh, Sierra, this is scary-”
“Beth. It’s fake. Old Oak owns a Spearow, remember?” Sierra soothed.
“...Oh- Oh! Clever..” Beth said, her voice echoing a bit more calm. Her breathing was stabilizing slowly.
Suddenly, the bird darted forward toward Oak’s chest. It was fast, and Sierra squinted to keep up with it. Nidoran jumped in front of it, taking the Peck attack with grace. The two of them crumpled to the floor of the stage, and Oak smiled widely.
“Fifty years ago, I ran into a Wild Spearow with my Nidoran at my side,” he said.
The two Pokemon on the stage got up. Nidoran walked to Oak’s side. The bird floated up to his side, then rested on his shoulder, nuzzling the old man’s hair affectionately. “Spearow could have blinded me. Took an eye out, maybe even killed me if I panicked well enough.”
He reached up with his free hand, gently stroking its head. “He taught me a simple lesson. Fright and adrenaline pounded it into my brain, and I still think of it to this day: Life can throw anything at you. Never be unprepared. It can cost you dearly.”
The crowd roared. They couldn’t help it, and Oak realized this apparently, as he did not try to stop them. It quieted down after a few minutes, and Oak began to speak again.
“We and Pokemon can live separately, in closing. But nowhere does it say that we can do so and still reach our full potential. To reach the pinnacle of potential, Pokemon need us-- and we need Pokemon. Be proud of what you’re doing today, children- or adults, even. You are about to set out on a quest that will change your lives forever, and much for the better. Some have tried to argue that coming into money is the best change possible. I guarantee you, that is false. But on this journey, you will grow wealthy. Wealthy with knowledge; wealthy with friendship; wealthy with experience, and most important of all, wealthy with memories that you will never forget! Hahaha!”
The crowd went wild. Cheers, whoops, claps, and of course, the few in the mixture that gave the Professor a standing ovation. The Professor hobbled over to his chair, assisted by Leaf. Soon, Tito Vasquez approached the mic, and the crowd allowed themselves to finally go silent, much to the relief of Sierra’s aching head.
“A.N.T.I. was founded five years ago with the funding of Pallet Laboratories, The Viridian Gym and an anonymous benefactor, all of which continue to donate today, in the spirit of the famous departure from this very town and of course, the age-old spirit of adventure. We wish you luck with your journeys, participants! At five o’clock, head inside the laboratory to receive your supplies. The event will be open, with such attractions as meeting the few famous faces here today, the arena, and other various games until 10:00 PM tonight! Please enjoy the day!”
After a short cheer, the crowd dispersed to do what they wanted. Beth and Sierra immediately went on to go to the inside of the lab, eager, but their father stopped them first- quickly, just to tell them that he would be waiting for them in the seating area, where pretty much no one would be, he joked with a smile.
So, the two rushed off and waited in the humongous line. It felt like hours to Sierra, though according to her watch, it was about one and a half of them. Finally, Sierra got to the front of the line she was in (it had split in to two when they entered the lab), and approached the lab assistant that was assisting the assistant assisting with A.N.T.I.
Thinking of this little description, she immediately bit her tongue lightly to stifle laughter. She still snorted. The assistant, though looking at her oddly for a moment, smiled. “Hello! Are you here to receive your new partner and the supplies?”
“No,” Sierra said. “I’m here to ask for directions to the bathroom.”
The assistant paused for a moment. “...Well, it’s, er-”
“I’m kidding. Yes.”
“Oh! Alright, then. Name?” The assistant began to type a few commands into the computer behind him. It was the way the system worked: you applied for what Pokemon you wanted beforehand, and the rest of the stuff was made as well, all stored in the computer storage system.
“Sierra Hope Scott.”
“Right! Just a second then, Miss Scott.” The assistant clicked and clacked on the keyboard, making a few motions with the mouse, and from a small slot in the hard drive, a flash of red light came out and materialized into a small card (which was her trainer card, complete with the picture she had sent in), and a Pokeball wih a small green leaf labeled on it. The assistant grabbed them, then walked over to a small pile of red machines and picked one up alongside a small booklet. Finally, he walked over to Sierra and handed it to her.
“Alright! There’s your Bulbasaur, Miss Scott, alongside your Pokedex, Instruction Booklet, and Trainer Card! You are officially a Pokemon Trainer! Good luck, and may your journey bear many wonderful fruits!”
“Thanks,” she murmured, and then rushed off toward the door. When she passed through the door, she heard Beth’s voice call after her, and the two of them rushed toward the seating section.
They spotted not just their father, but another familiar face there, waiting for them. A face that both Sierra and Beth recognized, and spoke in unison. “Matt?”
“So they do know you after all. Glad to hear you’re not a creeper,” their father teased.
“‘course not, Mr. Scott. Thanks for letting me know ‘bout your daughters being here, though... so glad to be able to do this.”
Matt was a handsome boy, throwing the idea of ‘fat’ out the window. He was a major weight-lifter, they both knew, and was well-sculpted because of it. His typical garb consisted of a tank top, his bare arms covered by a jacket that varied in colors (today it was white), and a pair of jeans.
“Do what?” Sierra asked.
“How ‘bout you first, Sierra? Ol’ buddy ol’ pal.”
“For what, Joyson?”
Matthew Joyson slipped his hand into his pocket, pulling out a Pokeball, pressing his thumb against the center. “Charmander! Let’s go!”
The Pokeball opened up and sent forth a flash of white light that materialized into an orange bipedal lizard with a tan stomach, and a tail tipped by fire.
“...Oh. I see.” Sierra grinned, pulling out her leaf-emblazoned ball. “Let’s get this going, then. Bulbasaur, time to fight!”
Matthew Joyson enjoyed two things in this world the most: women, and adrenaline. He had learned to appreciate the finer of the former through age, while he had learned to r of the former (in more sense than one), and learned through experience to appreciate the latter. And he felt like the luckiest man in the world right now, with access to both, right here in front of him.
“Type advantage won’t make a difference!” Sierra Scott exclaimed.
He looked down at the Pokemon in front of her. She was a quadrupedal blueish-green monster with a bulb on her back, but she sat on her hind legs, laziness evident in her eyes. He knew it was female because A.N.T.I. tended to give out starters of the same gender of the applicant. Maybe because they could potentially bond better? He didn’t really know the reasoning for it, in honesty.
He had met the sisters in the academy that the three of them had all gone too; He and Beth shared the same Math class. Matt had always been bad at the subject, while Beth had been pretty good, so he had always gone to her for help. He and Sierra had met for real when Beth had introduced her to him, and he and Sierra had caught on as friends pretty quick. She was a cool chick. Beth was pretty nice, too.
“Who said I needed it? Check your Pokedex. The starters they gave out know no ‘special’ attacks; they’re, at the moment, physical fighters whether you like it or not.”
He could see a disappointed look in Sierra’s eyes at this revelation, and he smiled with a fake cockiness he put on just to try and return that fire in her eyes that he liked so much. It came back quick.
“Bulbasaur, tackle that overgrown lizard! I bet you can set Matt’s pants on fire if you do it right.” She grinned, but Matt could tell it was a forced grin, brought about to show equal confidence; confidence that neither of them really had, but wanted the other to believe that it existed, ever-present, bearing down on them like anvils on their shoulders.
Bulbasaur did not move at first. She tilted her head back to reveal the pink insides of her mouth to the world, yawning loudly. Then, with equal apathy, she stretched one of her legs to gently scratch at her head. Finally, she did get up, but only to turn at Sierra and give her a look that just screamed, ‘And why should I? What have you done for me?’
“...Bulbasaur! Do it! Please?” Sierra groaned.
Matt was rather amused by this display. Pokemon were like people, with an array of different personalities and talents, and it seemed that if Bulbasaur were a person, she would be more on the couch-potato side than the athlete’s. Which was pretty good for him, considering from what he had seen of Charmander’s personality, he was a polar opposite of that kind of laziness.
“Saur! Bulba, ba. Grahhh...ahhh.” Bulbasaur seemed to be agreeing to her wishes with this odd mix of sounds, steadily jogging forward. At the last moment, though, she threw her body in Charmander’s direction.
The reason that Matt had chosen Charmander was because he knew that they had claws. Bulbasaur and Squirtle did as well, but neither were adept enough at using them, typically, to use Scratch attacks, limiting their earlier move sets to less accurate techniques- such as a Bulbasaur tackling.
“Dodge it, Charmander, then let’s see if we can’t cook a little lettuce for dinner! Grab a nice ol’ handful with a scratch!”
Charmander leaped to the side, causing Bulbasaur to only graze him. She did manage to get a decent kick in with her back leg, which was sort of impressive, Matt supposed. Charmander then swiped at her open-view side with his claws, breaking skin and drawing a thin amount of blood.
“Bul...” Bulbasaur landed on the ground with a thick thud, her eyes echoing a sense of confusion. She had obviously not expected herself to miss, and the confusion quite obviously present sort of showed a possible spoiled background. Maybe one of the breeders who had hatched her (as was done with all starter Pokemon) pampered her without thought of her future trainer. He felt a bit sorry for Sierra because of that, but it was going to let him win his first Pokemon battle against her, so hell- it worked for him.
“...ba...” Bulbasaur picked herself up off the ground after a few moments, then suddenly, it looked as if she realized something. She looked down to her side to see the three scratch marks made by Charmander’s claws, then looked at those same claws. She saw they were red. Probably putting two and two together, she saw four in front of her, and got pretty damn pissed off about it.
Charmander’s taunting look didn’t really help either. Bulbasaur’s apathy seemed to disappear, and Charmander was sent skidding a good few inches by the sudden, speedy tackle she gave, knocking one of the chairs over.
“Alright, Charmander! At least you’ve put some energy into that thing!” Matt exclaimed.
Sierra grinned. “...So a lazy Bulbasaur with some anger issues. I think I’ll like ya, girl-” Suddenly, she motioned for Bulbasaur to approach her. Begrudgingly, the green plant-dinosaur cross did so, and she began to speak. “Venus. That’s what I’ll call you. You like it?”
“Saur. Bulb, bulbasaur bulba bulbasaur!”
Matt was pretty sure that was Bulbasaur-language for, “Sure. Now, let me get back to kicking his ***!”
The newly christened Venus turned around, and while Charmander stood waiting for Matt’s commands, Venus wouldn’t allow him the luxury. With ferocity like a Luxray, Venus tackled Charmander again, plowing him through two chairs this time, and that seemed to be more than enough.
Charmander did not get up. Matt grinned, surprisingly. He extended his hand with the red-topped, white-bottomed sphere in it and pressed the silver release button in the center. The ball opened up, returning Charmander with a flash of bright red light.
“Spunky,” Matt said next, “but needs to rid itself of that lazy ‘tude.”
“...Did I actually just win?” Sierra thought aloud.
“No, you lost,” Matt said. “I just beat you into the ground.”
“Shut up, Joyson! I won!”
Mr. Scott pulled himself up out of one of the chairs, and patted Mattt on the back. He leaned in close for a moment, whispering, “Thanks for throwing that, son.”
“Sure,” Matt responded. “No problem, Mr. Scott.”
Sierra was a little too busy doing her happy, in-your-face dance to hear this conversation, and that was for the better, he supposed.
“Now! Beth, we can go at it once I go get Charmander healed- Wait. Beth?”
Matthew Joyson raised an eyebrow, mainly at the fact that Beth Scott was nowhere in sight.
“Did you see that? Super cool!”
Beth turned around, taking in the facial features of the figure who had approached her to see if she recognized it. She didn’t. It was a girl with orangeish-red hair down to her ears, in a white t-shirt and jeans. She was smiling widely.
“No, I wasn’t paying attention,” Beth responded.
“Really? It’s right there in front of you, such action, and you don’t even pay attention? Stellar focus.”
The girl didn’t seem to be doing anything other than trying to start a conversation. While Beth would normally enter this conversation with gusto, the fact that she really needed to use the bathroom and she had no idea where they were sort of distracted her normally receiving attitude.
“Thanks.” Beth continued walking along, her eyes darting from place to place in hope of finding the destination she oh so desperately needed.
But the girl followed. “So, my name’s Robin. Robin Byrd. Funny, huh?”
“Huh. Mine’s Beth. Beth Scott. Say, do you know where the bathrooms are? I really gotta pee.”
“Oh, sure! Right around the corner. Here, follow me. So.” She began to walk a little faster, putting herself in front of Beth. “You from Pallet? Or just here for A.N.T.I.?”
Beth shook her head. “Both.”
“Oh, so you’re just becoming a trainer today, too?”
When she slipped into the stall to do her business, Robin continued to speak. “So, what starter did you pick?”
“Squirtle,” she said. “Gonna name her Shelly, I think...”
“Shelly! How unoriginal. But cute. Which is why it’s unoriginal.”
Beth stood up after getting finished, pulling her shorts up and walking out the door. Robin was waiting for her.
“My starter is actually non-traditional. Well, I guess traditional in the sense that most people didn’t start with Charmander, Bulbasaur, or Squiritle,” Beth noted the odd way she said Squirtle, adding an ih between the ir and tle. “I started with a Clefairy. I’m from Pewter City.”
Beth looked at her oddly. “So you didn’t come here for A.N.T.I.?”
Robin shook her head. “I did. I just didn’t come to get the starter Pokemon; I came for the Pokedex and Trainer’s License.”
“So... you owned a Pokemon and have been training it without a trainer’s license?”
Robin smiled, an ear-to-ear ****-eating grin. “Meh. Who was gonna find out?”
“Only everybody you told...”
“Exactly! So pretty much everyone knew, but no one really tried to confront me on it. Weird, huh?” Robin shrugged.
“Kinda.” Beth said this with her voice dripping in sarcasm.
The two walked in silence for a few moments, until Robin cleared her throat and began to talk again. Beth was somewhat surprised it had lasted that long.
“So! Where are we heading now?”
“...I’m heading toward the stage. My family is waiting for me there.”
“Oh. Okay, then. Well, I’ll go with you!” Robin cheerfully said.
Beth nodded. “Alrighty, I suppose.”
The two continued to talk for a bit on the way over there- Beth learned some things about this odd, cheery girl, too. She was Robin Wood Byrd, thirteen years old, from Pewter City, Kanto. She had two sisters, both older than her by seven years, both in the field of police work: one a beat cop for the PCPD (Pewter City Police Department) while the other was a crime scene investigator for the Guardia Civil (Kanto’s major police organization). Finally, they reached the stage, where Sierra was sittingn there waiting for them, and no one else.
“Finally,” Sierra muttered. “‘bout time you got here. Dad and Matt’re out looking for you.”
“Oh, whoops. Sorry for running off like that... just reee-ea-eallly had to pee,” Beth said apologetically.
“And met a friend on the way over?” Sierra observed, looking toward Robin.
Robin bounded forward in typical energetic fashion, extending her hand toward Sierra. “Hi! You must be Sierra. Beth told me a bit about’cha. I’m Robin! Robin... Byrd! Ha, funny, isn’t it? Nice to meet ya, Sierra!”
Sierra extended her own hand, grabbing Robin’s and shaking it. She looked at Beth like she had grown lobsters out of her ears, but did not say a word to her aobut the subject; Sierra wasn’t the type to tolerate energetic, overly excitable personalities like Robin’s, but Beth had decided to let Robin come along anyway. “Okay. Let me call Matt and Dad. Let ‘em know you got here safe and all.”
So Sierra did. “Hey, dad? Yeah. She’s here. Brought a friend, too... no, no, just had to go to the bathroom. Badly, she says. Alright- you’ll call Matt? Good. Alright. See you- okay, I’ll tell her. See you in a few minutes.” Sierra closed her phone and stuck it back into the breast pocket of her shirt. “Dad says he’s glad your safe, and please let us know next time you’re gonna wander off like that. Matt probably still wants to battle you.”
“Oh?” Beth inquired. “Eh... I’m just gonna go ahead and deny that. Go home, you know.”
“So you guys aren’t leaving immediately?” Robin asked.
“No, gonna wait for the mass exodus to go away first,” Sierra deadpanned.
“Sure,” Sierra muttered.
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
For some reason, I am set in the mindset that Wednesday is a crappy day to release this. So, instead, we'll be updating this every Tuesday 'til I run out of my (now nine) buffer chapters.
Chapter Two was my second favorite chapter to write. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.
here comes the sun
Chapter 2: Leaving Home
The next morning, Beth was the first one to awaken. Not exactly a surprised: while the other two people in her family could be nervous, she was the most susceptible to the issue, and the fact that she was going to be leaving home for the first time today sort of implanted a deep, dark sense of foreboding over the otherwise -- as she saw out her window -- pleasant day. She performed her typical routine for what she knew would be the last time for a long stretch, getting her shower in, getting on a new outfit- today’s case being made for comfort and practical usage, when it was usually only comfort; jeans for their sturdiness and a blank white shirt- then heading down and grabbing a bowl of cereal. She did so all with that tiny sphere, with a red top and a white bottom, that silver release button in the center, in her pocket, contemplating whether to let her starter Pokemon rest inside her Pokeball a little while longer or let her out to do something. She had not done the latter yet, feeling just an inkling of nervousness that prevented her from doing as she so deeply wished to.
So, she finished off her pattern. It was six forty something-or-other, she figured, as the last time she checked the clock it was six thirty. She needed something to do. She thought and thought, then thought some more, thinking until the word thought got tired of entering her mind; then she thought of a plan. She would pull “a Sierra” and go out for a walk, but unlike her, she would leave a note. So she went to grab a pen, then ripped off a sheet of paper out of one of her old notebooks she had used in the academy. She scribbled down the note with swift precision, then pulled the Pokeball out of her pocket and walked out the door.
It was still in the stages of getting to light, the sun sneakily rising into the horizon, providing the world with teasing glimpses of light, not quite at the stage where it would provide its full possible power for that day. A steady, creeping feeling was thrown over her like a blanket, covering her and causing her to shiver- she remembered something her mother had once told her. A simple thing, advice for eating her vegetables so she could get dessert. She smiled at the memory.
“But momma, they’re so... yucky! Blech!” the girl of six years age said to the face looming over her shoulder, pushing the green and orange and yellow parts of her dinner toward the farther edge of the plate. “I don’ wanna!”
“Beth, you’re going to have to if you wanna get dessert. We’re having your favorite tonight, too,” her mother said. She pointed toward the brownies on the kitchen counter. Their scent taunted Beth’s nose, creeping into her nostrils and screaming to her, ‘You can’t have me, you can’t have me, nah nah nah nah boo-boo!’, “Brownies.”
“I love brownies, but broccoli and carrots and corn- okay, the corn’s not too bad I guess, but the other two? I can’t. I’ll diiiie...”
“Momma says you won’t, so you won’t, Beth. Come on! You can do it- listen. Whenever there’s something I don’t want to do, but I have to anyway, I just hurry up and get it done. No time for regret means no time is left for you not to do it.”
“But momma...” Beth continued to protest.
“Come on! Just dig your face in, then omnomnomnommmm. Then you get brownies- here.” Her mother walked over to the stove, where the mixture of vegetables that had been cooked still existed in slight amounts on the pot. She grabbed a small spoonful, just about equal to how much Beth had left, and put it on a plate. She sat down at the table next to Beth, and put her face close to the table.
“C’mon. We’ll do it together. One...two... three... GO!”
Beth, with slight encouragement from knowing she wouldn’t be the only one to suffer, dug her face into her plate and went wild. Her tongue lashed out and pulled in anything that she could manage, swallowing what she immediately could, chewing then swallowing what she couldn't. When she came up, her face was a mesh of remnants of the spices and slight addition of sauce to that dinner’s meat, vegetables and ketchup. Seeing the smile on her mother’s face at this, she looked into a mirror that hung on a nearby wall. Then she bust out laughing, her mother joinig her. The duo got weird looks from the other three people at the table, but Beth was sure of it- they couldn’t have been happier at that moment.
Beth was shaken out of her daydream by a sudden breeze. Simple, really. She realized that tears were rolling down her cheeks, quickly sniffling and wiping the tears away from her eyes with the back of her hand that wasn’t occupied.
“...Don’t allow yourself time for regret,” she whispered, and pressed her thumb down hard on the release button of the Pokeball. It felt odd expanding in her hand, forcing her palm to stretch open and making her tighten her grip in order to keep a full hold on the ball. It opened up, sending forth a burst of white light, which then connected to the ground and materialized into an odd-looking form. She had two legs, Beth could tell, and a shell just above her curled-in tail. Her eyes were wide and yellowish green, shining with innocent excitement. Her stubbled arms reached up toward Beth, opening, as if asking for a hug.
Beth kneeled down, unable to continue her forced blockage of tears. Her starter Pokemon, Squirtle, would then run forward and yelp out in excitement. From this yelp, her mouth was wide open, and she connected with Beth, licking her cheek.
Beth giggled, gently batting the Squirtle away. “...Shelly. That’s what I’m g-gonna call you, girl. Shelly.”
“Squir! Squirtle, squhhh!” Shelly agreed excitedly. Beth could tell that this was a baby Pokemon, probably very recently hatched. So she would be a mother figure to Shelly, which was fine with her. She reached out and pinched the cheek of the little creature, smiling. “Do you like me, Shelly?”
“Squirtle! Irrtle!” The easiness of that cry confirmed it for her. Beth was already in love with this little girl, and nodded slowly.
Sierra Scott went to sleep late the previous night, and woke up several times during the night. All of this was caused by a continuous string of nightmares; the first time she woke up, she broke it off, but when she fell back asleep, it continued where it had been left off, taunting her mind.
The smells of burning hair, burning flesh and burning memories filled the air. Sierra saw it all, smelled it with the most feverish senses, her heart pounding in her throat. She sat tied on the living room floor of their old home in Azalea Town, struggling furiously against the bonds that crushed into her torso, the ties around her wrists to prevent her from moving those. She could barely breathe, with the smells and the gag in her mouth. She couldn’t remember who had done this to her.
“Sierra, help! ****, kid help me!!”
She looked up to see rotting flesh, peeling off the bone to reveal bloody red muscle beneath. Maggots rested in one, empty eye socket, while the one living eyeball was quite literally a ball of fire. Suddenly, Sierra realized that it was hot in the area. She squirmed, sweat rolling out of every pore in her body. The figure that had just screamed at her leaned in close, placing its cold, dead fingers on her shoulders.
“I died, and now it’s your turn,” the corpse said, “so, my dear darling daughter, are you ready to join me?”
It hit her. “Momma?!”
The dead, rotting corpse of her mother burst into flames, and Sierra screamed and screamed, dream-world lungs giving her infinite amounts of air to just scream and cry, hoping that somehow, some way, things would just go back to the way they once were.
“Sierra, honey, wake up- wake up, Sierra... come on...”
“You’re having nightmares. Wake up.”
Sierra Scott awoke with a start. Her hair was matted to her face by a thick sweat, as if the heat she vaguely remembered n her dreams was still there, taunting her. She was shaking ever-so-slightly, and realized that, opposite the previous opinion nthe heat, she was actually shivering from the cold temperature of her body. She looked at the person beside her, who’s loving, carig eyes focused n her. She fell into his arms and, takig comfort in his loving embrace, began to cry, the tears just flowing out; she was unable to stop them, no matter how hard she tried. Her father patted her n the back gently, shhhh’ing her, planting a kiss on her head. “It’s okay, baby...daddy’s here...”
“...Oh daddy. Do... do you think momma would be proud of us?” she asked.
“She would be insane with pride,” her father said, trying to reassure her. “In fact, I know she’s looking down from Heaven right at this moment, giving you her blessings.”
“...I miss her, daddy. So much,” Sierra whispered.
“...Me too, honey. I miss her every second of every day of every week.”
So, Sierra got up with an intense groginess covering her being, her legs having to struggle to work, fight in order to follow the commands of their master and owner. Her hands were the same way, fatigue making it take effort to do the simple tasks like turning on the faucet and pressing down that little button thing to turn on the showerhead. She had a feeling this was going to be a difficult day, but she was going to get through it, even if it killed her- which, her mind told her, it probably would.
Beth decided she would let Shelly walk outside of her Pokeball, which proved to be an... interesting choice. Shelly was much more energetic than Beth had possibly thought she could be, the type to bounce off of walls, pinging from point to point with an admirable sense of gusto. “Come on, Shelly, we need to get back home.”
Shelly didn’t respond, and Beth got a bit worried by that. She turned on her heels, looking around the area- she saw no signs of Shelly. Only a couple of trees, and a public trashcan. She had wandered into one of the more quiet sections of Pallet Town, which didn’t have many, if any, homes in it. “Shellyyy?”
“There you are!” Beth heard a voice, but saw no source. “Where are you?”
“Squirtle squir. Irrr...tle,” Shelly moaned. “Squh! Squirt!”
Suddenly, the trashcan began to rumble, before falling over. Old beer cans, food wrappers and a little bit of wrapping paper (the first two made a little more sense than the last, to Beth), followed by the figure of Shelly dragging herself out.
Beth burst out laughing. The poor girl must have fallen in. “Oh... oh, poor Shelly! Ahaha... oh... uhm... here.” Beth walked over to the slightly dazed Squirtle and knelt down in front of her, picking her up by the shell and drawing her into her arms. “I’ll carry you home.”
Matthew Joyson wondered if he made the right decision by staying behind a night. Maybe he should have gone on, joined the rest of the crowd in their expeditions to the nearest town. Or perhaps it was better that he had decided to wait for the crowds to clear, so his travel could be pretty easy. Plus, with this, he got to leave around the same time as Sierra. And Beth of course, but Sierra was the one out of the two he really... liked.
He got up out of bed, performing his typical morning duties. Making his bed, going in for a shower, getting a new set of clothes on- which, today, consisted of a plain white t-shirt and a pair of khaki pants, sturdy and reliable. Those were the types of clothing he would need out on the road, because he would probably not change out of this outfit until he reached Viridian City- eating his breakfast, and making sure his stuff was packed. He did the last... well, last, but he realized at that time that Blair’s- Blair was the name he had decided on for his Charmander- Pokeball was missing. His heart froze.
He turned around and headed to the kitchen, finding his mother in there, just as she was before he left a few moments ago. “Hey, uhm... Mom?”
His mother turned around toward him, using one gloved hand to brush some of the pink hair out of her eyes. “How can I help ya?”
“I... seem to have misplaced Blair’s Pokeball. Have you seen it by some chance?”
“Blair?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh! That adorable little guy. I threw him into the healing machine for a little extra rest before the real journey begins. I forgot to tell you!”
His mother was speaking of the healing device of Pallet Roadside Hospital, the family business of his mother’s. She was a Joyson, typically known across the world as “Nurse Joys”, healers who worked in Pokemon Centers like Pallet Roadside.
“Oh. Alright. Thanks, mom.”
“Sure, no problem,” she said, before going back to washing dishes. Pallet Roadside was not only a hospital, but served as a home for the Joyson family, which really only consisted of Matt himself and his mother. His father had, apparently, long-since died. Heart Attack, right around the time that Matilda Joyson, his mother, was pregnant with Matt. He was rather going to miss this place.
He walked up to his mother, who was a grand bit shorter than him, kissing her on the forehead. “Okay, mom. I’m gonna go grab Blair and then I’m gonna go. I’ll call you from Viridian. Looking forward to seeing Aunt Tessie, and I’ll give her your regards.”
“Please do. And if you forget to call me, I’ll make sure Chanchan comes over and beats your butt into the ground like a stake.” She was speaking of the family Chansey, Chanchan. Chansey were rotund, oval-shaped pink Pokemon with eggs in a pouch on their stomach, and were renowned for their healing ability.
Matt laughed, then nodded. He broke away from her, murmuring, “Love you.” before dashing to where his backpack was. He picked it up, slinging it onto his shoulders, then walked to where the healing machine was. He pulled out Blair’s Pokeball, before dashing out the door, letting it fall shut behind him. He ran. He didn’t really know how long he ran, but he knew he did it for a while due to the fatigue in his legs and the burning of his lungs, and he didn’t regret it. He wanted to get out of Pallet Town, before he allowed his true emotions to get the better of him. As much as he hated it, Matthew Joyson was a momma’s boy. He leaned up against a tree and decided to rest there. He wasn’t even out of Pallet Town yet, but he supposed it was far enough.
“Almost there,” Beth whispered. She was speaking to no one in particular, not even the turtle resting lazily in her arms. She related her experience to a sort of sugar-rush; she had gone around with so much energy, that she crashed totally. She was now asleep in Beth’s arms, and though Beth found it absolutely adorable, watching her little chest rise and fall with breathe, the sound of her snoring ringing through her ears... she wished Shelly would wake up. Her arms were starting to hurt.
She decided it was best to go ahead and return her, so she knelt down, setting the sleeping turtle down onto the ground. “Okay, Shelly. Time for...”
Suddenly, the Squirtle woke up. She stood, yawning loudly, then examining her surroundings with tired eyes. Then, with simplistic trodding, she moved toward the north and toward the trees.
“Hey!” Shelly seemed to be ignoring her cries, continuing to walk toward the trees. “Shelly, c’mon, stop, please?” She continued to go, and slipped out of sight.
Beth waited. She waited and waited and waited, then waited some more, then after that she did some more waiting. “...Shelly?”
Silence. No response whatsoever, and Beth’s hopes were deteriorating quickly. She thrust her despair to the side and went toward the bushes, willing to brave them to find her baby-
“Huh?! What?! What’s going on?! Shelly!” Beth leaped backwards, having to plant her feet firmly to prevent stumbling right down onto her butt. She saw things in a blur of motion, her mind incapable of deciphering the sudden burst of events. Shelly, she realized; Shelly was running from something. They were small, tan but very very fierce.
“Shelly...” she whispered. “I think... uhm... we should probably...”
She turned on her feet, but not before grabbing Shelly in her arms, hugging the Squirtle close to her chest. “RUNNNN!!!”
She vaguely recognized them now, as the two monkey-like creatures scurried after them. They were Pokemon with temperament problems, tan-furred monkeys called Mankey. When angered- which they pretty obviously were- they were said to not stop pursuing their prey until they were in as much pain as the Mankey could inflict, or the Mankey was rendered unconscious.
They ran as fast as Beth’s legs could take them, swerving through various obstacles, trying to take the slightly more difficult paths in order to make the Mankey have a more difficult pursuit, her lungs burning with each sharp inhale, it feeling like her feet were not on the ground, but gliding over it: yet, they still managed to keep up a steady chase. Beth was close to their destination, Sierra’s little spot, her “pet-tree”, and like she expected, Sierra was there. So was their father, him carrying a backpack while one was slung on Sierra’s back.
“Oh, Beth!” her father said. “I take it you found the note?”
“No time for discuss! Sierra- please tell me you have your Pokemon--”
The Mankey both cried out in anger, swinging their limbs wildly toward Beth’s back. Beth fell forward quite on purpose to avoid the attack, letting go of Shelly and falling flat on her face. She pushed herself up to her feet, nodding toward Sierra, who by now had her Bulbasaur’s ball in her hand, thumb down on the release switch. In a flash of white light, the green dinosaur with a bulb on its back appeared in front of them, sitting on its hind legs.
“Venus. No time for laziness. Please,” Sierra asked.
The two Mankey didn’t allow much time for conversation. Seeing the Pokemon who had originally angered them in sight, they turned their attention toward her.
“Shelly!” Beth exclaimed. “I... I guess it’s time to battle!”
“Venus!” Sierra followed. “Tackle one of the Mankey!”
“Shelly! Do the same thing! Try and hit the one that Venus gets, but... you know, dodge the other one as long as you can!”
Beth had a good strategy in mind, that would hopefully work, combining their strengths on to one Mankey at a time. Two attacks were better than one, after all.
Venus seemed to recognize the fury of these little monkeys, so she didn’t screw around. She got up to her feet and ran toward one of the Mankey, allowing it to collide with her; but, she pushed back with just as much force, if not more. The attack sent the Mankey skidding back onto the ground, dazed a good bit.
“Go! Don’t give it time to recover, Shelly!”
Shelly began to run in the downed Mankey’s direction, but found herself a bit busy. The other Mankey of the group leaped onto her back and began a steady assault on the head. Panicked, Shelly drew her body into her shell, arms, legs and head all disappearing and causing the shell to fall to the ground. The sudden collision, though, surprised the raging fighting-type, sending it skidding down to the ground. But it recovered quickly, sticking its hand through the small opening in Shelly’s shell, trying its hardest to scratch at her through the opening. Beth couldn’t tell exactly what happened, but she figured Shelly must have done something; the Mankey drew its hand out and shook it, acting like it was on fire or something. In its anger, it kicked at Shelly’s shell, sending it twirling across the ground and hitting Venus right in the backside. Venus leaped, yelping out in surprise, and was sent directly in the path of another oncoming attack from the previously-dazed, but now-recovered, Mankey. Shelly continued moving until she hit a tree, and neither Shelly or Venus moved. The Mankey seemed to think their job wasn’t over yet: and Beth (as well as Sierra, she saw out of her peripherals) watched in horror as the two Mankey went to town. One was beating furiously on Shelly’s shell, pounding with rough fists like a macabre bongo player, while the other scratched at Venus’s exposed belly, drawing blood and tearing skin. But suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the two Pokemon revealed their little plan.
Shelly leaped up to her feet and popped out from beneath the protective cover of her shell, while Venus moved (while not as quick) up to her feet and let her bulb open up.
Inside the bag that Chris Scott was holding, as well as the backpack on Sierra Scott’s back, simultaneous buzzing noises occurred. The father of the two girls, absorbed into the battle, almost didn’t notice. He quickly opened up the bag to reveal the source of the buzzing- Beth’s Pokedex. Sierra’s was doing the same.
Both spoke in mechanical voices at the same time.
“Through experience...” they said.
“...learned Vine Whip!”
Shelly’s mouth opened and fired forth a concentrated stream of water, bubbles floating out and popping against the Mankey’s skin. The pressurized blast as well as the explosive power of the bubbles combined, sending the Mankey in front of Shelly a bit backward. This was perfect timing, as when Venus’s bulb opened, she had shot forth two vines- one ensnared the arm of the Mankey in front of her, while the other ensnared the foot of the water-drenched Mankey. She lifted them up into the air, slamming them against each other, then slamming them into the ground. Her vines then retracted into her bulb, and she fell, sweat visibly leaking out of her pores, her breath so heavy it was audible. The same occurrence happened with Shelly, and a grin crossed Beth’s lips. She returned Shelly, nodding and giving her praise for a job well done. Sierra did the same for Venus.
“...Phew. Intense. Are they...?” their father asked.
“No. They’re just unconscious. That isn’t enough to kill a Mankey, I don’t think...” Sierra said.
“Good,” Beth commented. “They’re angry little creatures, but they don’t deserve to die...”
“Right,” their father said, “but let’s get out of here before-”
“...before they get up?” Sierra asked.
Beth turned on her heels once again, looking at the Mankey that were getting up off the ground with wide, awestruck eyes.
Sierra went into hyperactive mode, swinging her backpack off her back. “Dad, toss a Pokeball to Beth.” She said this while digging through her backpack, pulling out one of the Pokeballs that they had been given as supplies for their trip.
Beth turned to her father, who had also found one by this point, tossing it to her. She scrambled to catch it, managing barely, then looked to Sierra for some form of guidance, seeing as this WAS her plan after all.
“Beth, we can either catch them or get a faceful of fury.”
Beth nodded. “Oh, okay. Got’cha!”
Beth pressed the silver button in the center of the ball with her thumb, feeling it expand in her hand. The empty Pokeball tried to open to release its nonexistent contents, bt iut trealized it was empty. Beth made sure it wouldn’t have to be for long. She tossed it after a moment of aiming, and watched as the ball hit the Mankey next to the one she targeted; crappy aim, but at least she hit a Mankey. It bonked the pig monkey Pokemon on the head with a firm ‘thud’, floating into the air and opening. It released a beam of bright red light, which sucked the Mankey into itself, then slid back into the ball, where it hit the ground. The ball began to furiously quiver, but after a few moments of struggle,the ball stopped moving. Mankey was hers, and with a quick glance toward Sierra, she noticed that hers had been caught as well. She walked over to the Pokeball on the ground and picked it up, holding it over her head. “MANKEY... GET!”
Both her father and Sierra stared at her for a few moments, before they burst out laughing.
“Ahh, cut down on the TV, Beth,” Sierra giggled.
Beth’s face went hot and red, blood rushing up beneath her skin.
The note their father had spoken of was a small slip of paper they had left at home, letting Beth know that they decided that they were going to leave early. Beth, of course, questioned why- but her question was ignored, and that rarely happened in this family, so she didn’t press the issue any further. She now had her backpack on, the “trainer’s belt” her father had bought her with Shelly’s and Mankey’s Pokeballs both equipped to it alongside her Pokedex in one of the bigger notches.
She was feeling small pings of nervousness at this prospect. It was an odd feeling, having to leave home like this. It was an odd feeling to realize that she even thought of it as home. She found that idea perplexing, but she shrugged it off. She supposed she wasn’t nobody’s papa, but her life up to this point could be described as a rolling stone; where she laid her hat was her home. And tonight, she would be laying that theoretical hat down onto the grass of Route One, her head down alongside with it. They finally reached the edge of Pallet Town’s borders just as she finished off that little thought, and the trio stopped.
Sierra Scott felt her heart pounding in her chest. It was so stupid, really. She felt herself overflow with an unexpectedly high amount of stupidity, so much so that her body shook with it, a constant burden on her shoulders that she wasn’t sure she could bear.
“So, this is it, huh?” Beth asked.
Sierra nodded. “One step further, and we’re out of this joint. Looking forward to it, Beth?”
“I’m kinda gonna miss Pallet...” she admitted.
“I’m not. I can’t wait to get out of here,” Sierra said, but felt like this was an awful lie slipping through cracks in her teeth. “I guess I might miss you, slightly.” She spoke this second sentence while gesturing toward the father of herself and Beth.
“Love you too, honey,” he said. A sly smile was on his lips, which gave way to a simpler, happier grin in just seconds. A contented sigh slipped past his guard. “Well, I know for sure I’m going to miss you two. Call often. Remember two things...”
He walked up to Beth, gave her a quick hug and a kiss on the forehead. He kneeled down to match her height, which was just a couple of inches beneath his own. “You can come visit Pallet any time you feel the need. Home is still home to the both of you.”
He walked over to Sierra, but did not show her the same affection. She knew why: because he thought she didn’t want it. So, with a moment of letting her tough facade down, she extended her hand to him. He grabbed it, shaking it firmly. “...and remember that no matter what happens, I- and I’m sure your mother and brother both agree from Heaven-...am proud of you.”
Sierra and Beth turned to each other then nodded in understanding.
“See you, daddy,” Beth said.
“Bye,” Sierra murmured, and the two sisters nodded once again in confirmation, before beginning a steady power-walk out onto the grasses of Route One with their heads held high, their hearts full with firey devotion yet burning with fear of the unknown, and their cheeks wet with tears.
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
Update day. Chapter Three is a chapter which has significance much later in the story; for now, and for quite a few more chapters, it'll seem just a bunch of random events. Trust me on this one. :p
here comes the sun
Chapter 3: On the Road
“Mannn!” Beth Scott exclaimed. “I’m tired. I wanna take a rest.”
“Squirtle! Squirr. Squirtle,” Shelly chimed in. From the slightly less energetic than usual tone of the tiny turtle’s voice, Sierra could tell that it was agreeing with Beth’s sentiment. And, as much as she hated to admit it, she was tired as well. Route One was not flat, as she had honestly thought- it was a steady uphill progression, which meant the three of them walking around had to fight against that stupid little physics law called gravity. She sighed, nodding her approval, and both Beth and Shelly dropped to their butts right there on the spot, in the dirty, short grass.
“Lazy people,” Sierra murmured. She would stand for a few more moments while slinging her backpack off her shoulders, then plopped down next to them. She opened up the top compartment of the pack, pulling out two normal-sized cereal bars, tossing the other one to Beth, then pulling out another two, smaller-sized ones, once again tossing the extra one to Beth. “Not exactly the most appropriate snack, but it’s something easy. We eat these, then we get our backsides back on track.”
Beth caught both bars with ease, opening her Squirtle’s first, handing it to her. Shelly accepted it cautiously at first. So Beth apparently decided to teach the water-type, opening her own next and nibbling on it gently, making her teeth’s connection to the surface of the bar open and visible. Shelly seemed to understand then, nibbling on her bar for a few moments, before taking a hasty, crunching bite. Beth giggled, but Sierra decided to pretend she was ignoring it, instead releasing her own Pokemon.
“Alright, Venus,” Sierra began. “I’m going to let you make your own choice. Either way, you get a bit’a fresh air for now, but one way gets you a lot more.”
Venus looked at her blankly, yawning after a few moments of silence on Sierra and her own parts (Beth and Shelly were both doing something Sierra considered irrelevant in the background).
“...Ah-hem. You can either get your lazy butt in gear after we get our snack, and walk with us, or I can return you to your Pokeball. One ‘saur’ for ‘I want to stay out’, two ‘saur’ for, ‘Screw you woman, I want to go inside my ball’.”
“Saur! Saur saur.”
Sierra blinked. She didn’t quite know what to think of this response. The little creature had just responded with three “Saur”s, a category which was not included in the possible answers.
“Let’s try that again. One for ‘Yes’, and two for ‘No’,” Sierra said.
One, then? That somewhat surprised her-
“Saur, saur saur!”
“...I swear to Arceus, Venus, if you do not stop these shenanigans...”
“Saur, bulba saur bulb!” Venus said.
Sierra unwrapped the smaller cereal bar, and tossed it to Venus. It hit the ground in front of her, and curiously, the Bulbasaur began to sniff it, before taking it into her mouth and beginning a steady chewing.
“Eat,” Sierra mumbled. “Then you’re going back into your Pokeball.”
So the four of them sat out and ate their snacks, basking in the light of mid-day and just enjoying themselves. After they were done, Sierra returned Venus to her Pokeball, and they went- much to the protest of Beth- onward.
Their walk was relatively uneventful for a while, consumed y idle chatter between the two siblings, and the occasional quieting as a fellow trainer passed y, equally silent. IT was like a code that all trainers had in instinct; if you didn’t want to fight, you didn’t speak. To exchange words would lead to the eventual exchange of fists, and if you weren’t ready for it when someone spoke to you, well... too god damn bad for you, buddy.
Of course, Beth felt far from ready when, as they were walking someone tapped her on the shoulder.
She turned around on her feet quite literally slapping the person who had tapped her on the shoulder with her forearm.
“Toilet Paper!- Oh!”
That, probably combined with the shock of having a fourteen year old girl’s shrill scream of restroom products blasted in your face sent the boy who had done the act tumbling down to the ground with a cry of surprise, is legs thrust out in order to attempt to balance himself, instead knocking Beth’s feet out from under her. Beth, in a desperate plea to maintain her balance, grabbed onto Sierra’s sleeve for support, but only ended up bringing her don with her. It was all Shelly could do to scramble out of the way of this tangled, screaming mass of flailing limbs.
Ten minutes later, with Beth still apologizing profusely and Sierra telling her through grunted whispers to shut up, the situation was... relatively tame again.
“So sorry! You aren’t hurt, are you?”
The boy pushed his glasses up his nose, shaking his head, his long bangs bouncing in front of his eyes with the motion. “No... and, for the seventh time, it’s alright. Really. You can stop apologizing.”
The boy looked at Sierra. “Is she like this all the time?”
Sierra narrowed her eyes. “You have no idea, pal.”
The boy cleared his throat, nodding slowly. Then, total and awkward silence burst through the air, and none of the three people spoke despite their shared feelings that it would be for the best to break it.
Finally, Beth decided to do so. “...So, uhm, I’m Beth. And this is my sister Sierra. Who are you?”
The boy looked at her for a moment, staying silent for almost a full ten seconds (Beth counted) before speaking slowly. "You can call me Jackie, I guess."
Beth raised an eyebrow. "Isn't Jackie a girl's name?"
A sharp glow entered Jackie's eyes. Beth would later swear on her mother's grave that she saw it happen, his neck whipping in her direction once again. "It's a perfectly masculine name, thank you very much!"
apologizing profusely with her eyes, not wanting to further anger the boy with her words.
Sierra looked at Beth for a moment. "Alright, well, Jackie... I think it is time for me and Beth to leave. Sorry, see you later, maybe-"
Jackie swiftly turned his head toward Sierra, so fast that Beth was a bit surprised she did not hear his neck snapping. "Not so fast, buster!...ettes," he said. He turned his head toward Beth, now. "I wanted to battle you!"
Beth pressed her finger against her chest, not quite sure he meant her, but enough so that she wouldn't feel like a moron when asking him for some slight confirmation.
"Yes, you." Jackie reached toward his belt, removing a Pokeball. He extended the arm that had the ball in it now in Beth's direction, a grin crossing his lips.
"Well, uhm... I-...oh, alright," Beth conceeded, motioning for Shelly to come close. She scrambled over in front of Beth, taking a slack, but Beth assumed battleready, position.
"Go, Shifty!" Jackie exclaimed, pressing his thumb down against the silver release mechanism in the center ofb the Pokeball. The Pokeball opened wide, sending out a zap of white light that materialized into a small, round Pokemon with a tan coloration, a stem on its head and no arms, only two small feet. Its eyes were oddly emotionless.
"What the heck is that thing?" Sierra asked, voicing Beth's rather present confusion.
"It doesn't matter," Jackie murmured. Suddenly, his face had gone red. "Just... hey, Beth, I think it was, are you gonna go first or should Shifty?"
Beth's face went an equally odd shade of red. She was tempted to press the issue further, his defensiveness rather suspicious, but she didn't think it was wise to press the issue much further due to said defensiveness. "I guess you can go first-"
Jackie nodded. "Bide, then, Shifty!"
Shifty took a creepy, stiff stance, eyes flashing a momentary pinkish red. Then it just stood there, completely and totally immobile.
"...Is that it?" Beth asked.
Jackie's eyes flashed with a sly sense of knowing, thoughts of mild fear entering Beth's mind. "For now."
"...Right," Beth murmured. "Shelly, use Tackle!"
Shelly stood there for a moment, before beginning a steady jog in place. Then, when she felt she had brought herself up to the necessary speed, she ran forward and rammed into the tiny, tan Pokemon with her shoulder. She skidded to a stop, while Shifty was sent almost flying. Shifty landed with a thud, then lay there, still stiff, still motionless.
"Shifty, keep it up!" Jackie yelled. "Your turn, Beth!"
Beth raised an eyebrow. "Eh? But you didn't do anything..."
That knowing smile crossed his lips again. "Oh, trust me, just do as you please..."
Sierra interrupted her. "Just do it, Beth."
"Fine! Jeez... Shelly, punch it!"
Shelly nodded, curling her small hand into an even smaller fist, a smile crossing her lips. Beth imagined she probably was pretty confident, facing a totally motionless opponent. She ran toward the downed Pokemon, leaped up on top of it and slammed her tiny fist into Shifty's face.
"Time," Jackie said. Suddenly, Shifty began to glow.
"Get off him, Shelly!" Beth yelled, but her commands didn't reach ears that could follow the commands quick enough: just as Shelly turned her head back to acknowledge the orders, she was sent flying off on her own, a white light eminating from Shifty's round body.
"...dot," Shifty said, finally. He leaped up to his feet and ran toward Shelly, who was now laying on her back, struggling to get up. A firm grunt came from him as he hopped up, landing on Shelly's stomach, small, flat feet pounding into the shell. He then leaped off, running back a bit.
"...What WAS that?" Beth asked.
"Shifty's Bide attack! It absorbs the physical or special energy that is delivered during a short, half-minute period, then delivers it back... two-fold!"
Beth's eyes widened. She had fallen right into his trap, and Shelly was paying for it. "Shelly! Are you okay?"
No response. Obviously unconscious, the tiny turtle Pokemon lay there, still as could be.
Beth returned her, nodding her approval toward the Pokeball. She pocketed it, pulling out a second.
"Alright," she said. She paused a moment, thinking heavily. She hadn't given this one a nickname yet, but she wanted to now. "I'll put my faith in you... uhm..." She pressed the silver release switch with her thumb, watching the white light burst out from inside the ball, materializing into the tan shape of the Mankey. "...Buck!"
The newly christened pig monkey Pokemon turned to face Beth, giving her an odd look. "Ayeiii! Man, mank!"
"Wah? You don't like the name?" Beth asked.
"...I don't think it likes YOU," Jackie noted.
"...Oh. Well, uhm, Buck, we can settle that issue later! Right now, please, uhm, well, I guess, er... scratch that thing!"
Buck had it in his nature. He enjoyed violence. That was a guarantee, Beth realized suddenly, when he leaned in forward on his paws, before dashing toward Shifty with little to no hesitation. Once close (and this was quickly: by no means was this Mankey slow), he swiped his paw out, batting the round, tan Pokemon toward the left. Fiercely, he caught him with his other paw, slamming him down toward the ground.
Shifty did not get up. This seemed to incite a panic in Jackie, who quickly returned the unconscious Pokemon, hugging it close to his chest. "Ahhh! You... you hurt Shifty! Mean girls! Mean!"
And with that, he ran off.
After a few moments of silence, Sierra spoke up. "...Alll...righty, then. Well, Beth, you ready to keep going?"
As Jackie ran off, holding his unconscious Seedot close to his chest, screeching random insults to the two girls, he felt glad. He had made the mistake of letting his eagerness and weakness to girls get to him and possibly reveal his identity; something he didn't want quite yet. They might have given him special treatment, something he far from wanted. But, then again, he supposed this was Kanto, wasn't it?. What did they know of his father, or his sister? They hadn't recognized something as common as a Seedot. Once confident he was alone, he stopped to a steady walk. Jackie Birch let loose a contented sigh.
It was nighttime now for Route One, and thusly, all of Kanto. Matt Joyson was appreciative of the company that Blair kept him, but to let the fire-type sleep outside under the stars and near the trees when he could possibly get hit by any sudden rain? Any good Charmander trainer knew that was incredibly dumb.
"Night, guy," Matt said to the orange lizard. "Good work today. Nice excercise." And then, with a quick nod, he watched the red beam of light from inside the ball envelope him.
The night was something Matt had learned a long time ago to appreciate. It was a time in which the entire world was decently quiet (admittedly, the buzz of nature around him was a bit annoying, but oddly peaceful at the same time), full of thoughts and dreams and natural light that the starry skies provided. He loved it. If it were up to him, he would change his patterns so that he were nocturnal, so he could forever enjoy the night and sleep during the noisy day; but as he laid his head down on his sleeping bag, drawing himself in, thoughts like that were utterly forgotten. He sighed, and nodded to the world itself, giving it his approval, before he drifted off into a thin, dreamless sleep.
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
It's come to my attention that due to a schedule change which I'd rather not disclose, that roughly every other Wednesday, I won't have access to a computer. So in order to keep a relatively regular schedule of release, I'm making one final change- new chapters will be released every Sunday until I run out of 'em.
This next chapter is relatively uneventful, until about mid-way. Then we get a surprise from an old pal, and a new challenge is put in the way of our hero...ines.
here comes the sun
Chapter Four: Viridian City Showdown Pt. I
Travel was, for the most part, a relatively uneventful thing for sisters Beth and Sierra- the most eventful thing was when Beth tripped over an extending tree root and cut up her leg a little bit. But that slight pain was utterly ignored when she looked up and saw the grandest sight she had ever seen.
Beth and Sierra Scott were small-town girls. Their original home had been Azalea Town in the Johto region, and then they had moved to Pallet. The only times they had seen cities were on TV and on their trip (in which both of them had really been more asleep on than anything), but now...
"...It's huge," Sierra murmured.
Beth nodded her agreement. Viridian City was right in front of them, tall, sprawling skyscrapers seemingly touching the heavens, sounds of car horns and people's conversations ringing thtrough their ears. The two of them looked at each other and bolted forward, going further inside the barriers of this wonderful metropolis.
"...Frickin' huge," Sierra repeated.
Their first few stops were leisurely, of course. It would be a crime if the two small-town girls would ignore the fun that they could have in the big city: shops, arcades (both of the girls were huge video game buffs), and of course, restaurants.
"C'mon," Beth begged. "This place looks so good! The food is bound to be awesome."
"We have a limited budget. If we're gonna eat anything other than Pokemon Center food, it's gonna need to be cheap," Sierra said. Again. For the third time, to be precise.
"C'mon! Please? One time. Only time I'll ever ask."
Sierra shut her eyes and sighed. "Fine. Once. In return, though, we aren't gonna be able to go any other places for today."
Beth seemed to be ignoring that prospect, instead rushing in through the doors of the, "Viridian Kitchen". It was a rather famous little restaraunt chain with one or two in every city. It wasn't high-class, which was why Sierra figured they could afford it, but it certainly wasn't a fast food restaraunt.
Sierra followed Beth on through with a sigh. The inside of the Kitchen was pretty fancy looking, with lights hanging down every other set of two or three feet, their ever-so-slight glow giving the tables and buffet booths an air of sophistication. The smell of various foods (pasta, steaks, chicken, pizza- all sorts of delicious stuff) was intoxicating. Sierra stopped to admire it for a moment, before walking after Beth, who was awaiting her arrival in line. She stopped next to her, throwing an arm around her sister and planting a kiss on her forehead. "You're lucky I like you, kid."
So, the duo was seated and given their menus. Sierra cringed at the prices- some meals were upward of fifty dollars. Their dad had given them a grand and a half in total to use for the first leg of their journey, and they had spent about a hundred of that in various shops. She spotted the best deal, she supposed, with the thirty dollar buffet.
So, that was what they got. Beth was the first to get up, excited to eat after a long day of walking and shopping; Sierra couldn't blame her, really. They had skipped breakfast and eaten a small lunch, after all.
Of course, bad things tend to happen with big crowds and eager people.
Beth rushed by an accidentally elbowed a tall man right in the gut, swerving around on her feet the moment she realized it. She examined him as he stumbled back; he was a tall man in khaki pants, a greenish blue hoody, and dress shoes. His facial features were piercing, though the intimidation was slightly reduced by the ridiculously bright brown hair, bright to the point of nearly being orange, on his head. She quickly apologized.
"So sorry! Oh, oh my God, are you okay?"
The man looked up at her for a moment, as if examining her with equal intensity. She felt her legs begin to tremble a bit. He recovered, then nodded slowly. "I'm fine. Thanks for askin'. Though, ya should be a lil' more careful in these big crowds, Miss..."
"Beth! Beth Scott," she said.
"...Miss Scott." His eyes fell down to her waist, and for a moment she thought this man was being perverted (he probably was too, on the side), but realized he was mainly eyeing her belt, both Shelly and Buck's Pokeballs out in the open. "You a Pokemon trainer, Miss Scott?"
Beth nodded. She examined his belt too, but saw no Pokeballs. He smiled at this nod, and motioned with his head toward a nearby table. She saw a small crowd of Pokemon around it, mainly a small, brown cat-like Pokemon she didn't recognize, a small purple rat (a Rattata, she figured), and a decent-sized human-like Pokemon with blue skin and defined muscle tone that she also recognized as a Machop, a common worker Pokemon.
"Those're mine. Tell you what, Miss Scott. You can make that little incident up to me by dropping by the gym later on today. Name's... well, the name ain't quite important right now. I'll tell you when you get to the gym, okey doke?"
Beth nodded slowly. "...Uhm? Alright, I guess."
The man grinned from ear to ear, then walked toward the buffet booths, leaving Beth to wander back down to her seat. Sierra was waiting for her there, an arm slung over the side of the booth they were sitting in, an eyebrow raised. "You didn't get us in much trouble, did you?"
"I dunno... I just bumped into him by accident, then he started talking about some gym, that I could meet him there later-"
"Huh? Wait, that's... duh! Stupid Sierra, stupid!"
Sierra leaped up to her feet and stormed over to the buffet booths, picking out her food quickly, Beth following shortly after. The short time was filled with short bursts of conversation between the two siblings that consisted of the following, in basics:
"What? What's goin' on, Sierra?"
"I'll explain it later. Just eat. Hurry up, too."
The two ate swiftly, then got their reservations down at the Pokemon Center so they would have a cheap place to sleep tonight. To say Sierra forced them to walk quickly would be an understatement. But on the way there, a familiar face stepped out of the shadows.
"'lo there, Scotts."
Matt Joyson could tell that he had taken the Scott sisters by surprise; they had been rushing to something. Perhaps he could make them a little late, make their blood boil a little. He wanted to see that.
"Matt?" Sierra piped up. "We're a bit busy. We sort of got invited personally to-"
Matt placed up a hand, silencing her. "I don't care. First, I want a rematch against you, Sierra!"
"...Ugh. Fine, Joyson! Beth, you go on. I'll battle annoyance here."
Beth nodded quickly and darted off.
"That's the direction of the gym," Matt observed, watching her go. "Did you mean you got invited by Blue Oak? Wow. How'd that happen?"
Sierra explained the incident to him. He nodded slowly, then removed Blair's Pokeball from his belt.
"Well, I suppose if you wanna go see this go down, maybe get a bit in yourself," he started, "then we had best hurry the heck up."
Beth was a bit frightened. Sierra took this seriously, but Beth imagined it was common. Blue Oak was a big trainer, was he not? He probably invited everybody and their Weedle to his gym.
She sighed, pressing the door open and entering the gym. She was startled right out of her skin when something spoke to her in a droning, mechanical voice.
"Welcome to the Viridian City Rainbow Gym! I am PidgeBot Model VI, now included with such functions as PseudoPokedex, Leader Messages, and Tour Guide! The following has been set as my current function: Leader Messages. The following comes from..."
Then, the familiar voice of Blue hit her ears.
"Leader 'Blue' Oak," PidgeBot continued. "I am the leader of this gym, the Rainbow Gym, renowned for it multiple typings instead of a monotype set up like most gyms. If you're hearing this message, I'm either not here or not available to battle. You can wait for me at the entrance, or check back later. Sorry for any inconvieniences-"
"Shut off, PidgeBot," a voice said. Beth turned again to see the familiar FACE of Blue Oak this time around.
"Recognized voice of 'Leader 'Blue' Oak'! Following command. Shut...down."
The robotic Pidgey then floated back over to the stand it had apparently flown off in the first place.
"Sorry 'bout that," Blue said. "I told him to shut off when I came back earlier, but no... gonna have to complain to the League 'bout that. Get a new one."
Beth smiled a bit nervously. She was going to have to curse Sierra later for giving her such a case of the jitters like this. "It's okay."
Blue cocked his head toward the back of the place. She looked at it for the first time- it was a long hallway, each wall painted a drab hunter green, splitting into a plus-sign shaped series of pathways once or twice within her range of sight.
"Gym's a maze. Still under construction from its old form, though, so no trainer has to go through it. That a disappointment or a relief to you, Beth?"
Beth pondered it for a moment. "Pretty big relief. I've never been good at puzzles."
Blue's expression seemed to dim at the response. "Ah... well, here are your choices. If you want to challenge this gym today, you can take path one; fight three gym trainers, each with one Pokemon, or you can take path two. Path Two is skip the gym trainers and go right to me, but I use my full team for your level- which is the 'Level' stat of your Pokemon combined- while the other option features me using HALF my team for your level. Your choice, Miss Scott."
The choice was a difficult one. She weighed the benefits in her mind; fight three one-Pokemon trainers and risk losing both of her Pokemon in that chain of fighting, or fight one trainer and risk losing both of her Pokemon in one whole round. She closed her eyes and sighed.
"Well, I think I'll..."
At the same time, Sierra was making a painful choice of her own. She learned in the academy that one of the most important factors of a battle was prediction: if your opponent threw out a type that could fight easily against your own, you could potentially be screwed. She needed to out predict him, and that was a choice between Grass or Fighting. She also weighed the benefits of the two; Grass, AKA Venus, was powerful... when she wanted to be. Fighting, AKA Ali- the name she had chosen for her Mankey- was fierce and probably of moderate strength, but also very difficult to keep under her control. She closed her eyes and sighed. "Are we gonna begin this fight or what, Joyson?"
Matt shrugged. "Whenever you're ready, 'Scott'."
"Come on, then! Ali!"
She gripped the Mankey's Pokeball and tossed her hand forward, making sure not to let the ball fly loose, her thumb over the release switch. It pushed down on the silver, metallic button and Sierra felt the ball expand in her hand, watching the jolt of white, blinding light flash out and materialize into the husky shape of the boxing superstar's new image.
"Alright! Blair, let's get this party started!"
Matt sent out his orange lizard, and Sierra smiled. Had he even caught anything else? She didn't know, and really, she could not have cared any less. She would win either way.
"Blair, start this off! Ember!"
Her train of thought was broken when Matt stole the first command, his Charmander opening its mouth and sending forth a small mass of burning dust particles in the air. Those particles landed on Ali's tan fur, causing him to jump back and yelp. She sympathized with the poor thing- must have hurt. Oh well.
"Heh, stealing the first attack, Joyson? Fine! Ali, use..."
Suddenly, she realized that she didn't know if her Mankey knew any special attacks. She pulled her Pokedex out of her pocket and flipped it open, pushing through a small list of various sheets of information until she finally found the moveset for Ali.
"Alright. Low Kick, Ali!" she shouted next.
Ali ran in place for a moment (picking up some momentum, Sierra figured), then dashed forward. Just inches away from Blair, he dropped to use a single arm for support, sliding along the ground, one foot extended just a little farther than the other. This knocked Blair's legs out from beneath him, sending him up into the air for just a moment. Ali took this moment of vulnerability to his advantage, delivering a quick, fierce chop to the Charmander's stomach.
Blair landed on the ground on all fours, his tail waving around behind him. With his mouth opened to reveal tiny, but sharp little fangs, he looked quite feral- he only awaited his trainer's orders to do something.
"Alright, Blair! Let's try for a Tackle this time! Its defenses should be down a little! Quick!" Matt cried.
Blair leaped forward, his shoulder projected. With as much force as he could possibly muster, Blair slammed into Ali, his shoulder hitting the Mankey's nose and sending him skidding back a couple inches, some pretty nice distance, Sierra mentally admitted.
"Okay! Ali, I know you're probably hurtin' some, but hang in there!" Sierra proclaimed. "It's time for your Fury Swipes attack!"
Ali ran forward at his trainer's command, darting toward Blair. Blair tried to raise his arms in defense, but got them up a little too late- two direct scratches toward his stomach were delivered, drawing blood and causing what appear to be some pretty decent amounts of pain, judging by the flinching and squinting of his eyes.
"Not bad, Sierra. Not bad at all," Matt responded, a grin on his face. "Hang in there, Blair! Retaliate with a Scratch of your own!
The Charmander looked back at its trainer for a moment, then nodded his agreement. With a yelp of, "Char!", Blair ran at Ali", delivering a quick scratch across the Mankey's face. With a howl of rage, but a body incapable of responding to it, Ali fell to the ground and did not get back up.
The situation was looking a little bleak for Sierra.She shut her eyes and did a few deep breaths, trying to calm herself down some. She was known for occasionally flying off the handle when things didn't quite go as planned: and if she did that here, that would only satisfy Matt. She wasn't going to let THAT happen, now was she? She removed Venus's Pokeball from her belt and released her.
"Venus. Listen very carefully," Sierra whispered, leaning down at the Bulbasaur's side. "I need you to fight as hard as you can. Please, PLEASE don't be lazy..."
In response, Vens opened her mouth to let out a huge yawn, laying her head down on the ground and closing her eyes. Sierra stood up, stomped her foot and let loose a frustrated yelp. "DAMN IT!"
Of course, Blue seemed to be getting his mood dampened by this response too. "The big battle against big, bad gym leader, huh? Alright. Follow me, then."
Beth nodded slowly. She supposed impressing the famous Blue was impossible, though- after all, he had probably fought the boldest of the bold, the toughest of the toughest of the tough. She sighed, following after him.
"So, where are you from?" Blue asked.
"Pallet Town," Beth said absentmindedly. She thought of including the Azalea Town incident, but decided against it.
"Ah! We're from the same town, huh? You ever meet my grandpa?"
Beth shook her head. "No, not in person. He really seems like an impressive guy, though."
Blue shrugged. "He is, I suppose. He's pretty wise."
Beth looked at him for a moment. "How about a battler? Is he any good as a battler?"
"I hear some stories of amazing battles he's had," Blue murmured. "But, there are no records of it other than word of mouth, and..." He let a smile cross his lips. "The old coot never really confirms it. I've asked him multiple times, tried to extract some information out of him, and all he gives me is that smile and a shrug, as well as that same old response, 'Possibly. Memories elude me these days.'"
Beth nodded slowly. "...Huh."
The two reached the platform that the battle was going to take place on, and PidgeBot joined them, fluttering up next to Beth. He began to speak.
"Currently in automatic referee mode!" the bot squawked. "Battle of Level 18 challenger against Gym Leader! Gym Leader is allowed to use up to six Pokemon of Level 3 or Lower, or one Pokemon of Level 18. Gym Leader is not allowed to rotate Pokemon. Challenger is allowed to rotate, and use as many Pokemon as they have on them!"
Level was a concept that had always confused Beth. A Pokemon's level was an addition of its stats- which was even more confusing a concept to her. She believed it was something along the following lines: A Pokedex could scan a Pokemon and count measurements through muscle mass, internal energy and such, estimate a Pokemon's ability and count them into "stats". These stats combined made a Pokemon's "level", and a trainer's "Trainer Level" was determined through the addition of all of their Pokemon's "levels". All that it had been composed of confused the hell out of Beth, so she was somewhat grateful for the PidgeBot's assistance.
"This is, as you learned earlier, the Rainbow Gym. I use any and every type of Pokemon. I still give out the Earth Badge, only because Erika stole the whole 'Rainbow Badge' concept before I thought of it- eh. Beside the point," Blue said. "So various terrains and such will be employed through this little sucker here." He removed a switch from his pocket, finger over one of the several different miniature buttons, a grin on his face. "So, uh... PidgeBot. Provide her a pen. Going to have to sign a waver saying basically, 'If I slip and hurt myself on the ice terrain, break my knee on a rock in the mountain terrain or something, it ain't my ol' friend Blue's fault'."
PidgeBot went away for a moment, returning with a pen clapsed in his beak alongside a rolled up sheett of paper.
"Don't worry, I probably won't be using more than the mountain or modern terrains, since this gym only has half of its ice, and pseudovolcanic terrains installed- ah, if you'll excuse my language Miss Scott, ****in' budget cuts-. It's not that dangerous, but I don't want that one klutzy blonde gal slipping up and suing me over it."
Beth nodded, her black hair shaking a bit. Thank GOD she wasn't a blonde. She signed the paper and handed it to PidgeBot, who flew off for a few moments, then returned- beak empty- to Beth's side.
"So, then." Blue pressed one of the buttons on the switch, the room shimmering for a moment. Suddenly, Beth felt the modern, sheen floor tiles beneath her disappear, and be replaced with a coarse, grainy surface. She saw the walls around them totally vanish, instead replaced by mountains and clear blue sky.
"Holy crap," Beth whispered.
Blue grinned. "Impressed? Modern technology does a lot of wonders. Gym Leaders back in my day had to have their terrain pre-installed and it couldn't change. So glad I didn't become one before this stuff was invented."
Beth nodded, removing Shelly's Pokeball from her belt. "Well, uhm... I'm ready to fight!"
"And so am I," Blue responded. "Thought you might want to take a few moments to admire the scenery. But, guess not. Alright, then." Blue removed a Pokeball from his belt, nodding toward Beth.
"Let the battle..." PidgeBot started.
Blue interrupted just seconds before the big finish. "BEGIN!"
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
Technicallyyyyy, it's not even Sunday yet, but honestly I just feel like releasing this now. It's only forty-eight minutes early, technically. :p 'least in my timezone.
Chapter Five is where some action picks up. We get the battle of Beth vs. Blue, and continue on with Sierra vs. Matt: and during the battle of Beth vs. Blue, something... odd happens!
here comes the sun
Chapter 5: Viridian City Showdown Pt. II
"Backed me in a corner, huh, Joyson?" Sierra whispered. "Fine. Come at me."
Matt let a smile cross his lips. "Let your Bulbasaur's 'tude shine through? No thanks. If a Pokemon is incapable of battle, and your only other one is unconscious... well, looks like you lose, Sierra."
Sierra stomped on the ground again, earning her a glare from Venus. But this angry force had a second, more positive effect.
"Bulba! Bulba bulba, saur saur basaur," Venus muttered, climbing up to her feet.
Matt had a feeling that this meant something along the lines of, "Fine! Come on woman, get it over with."
Sierra seemed only more infuriated. Matt figured it was about time he stop his taunting smiles before he got a faceful of frustrated woman. "About time! Come on, Vine Whip!" she said.
'It's not gonna do much,' Matt observed in his thoughts. 'It's a grass attack against a fire-type.'
However, Venus seemed to be quite the proficient markswoman. Her vines sprouted from her bulb and swiped forcefully across the raking scratch marks from Ali's Fury Swipes attack, and Matt knew that probably hurt. A lot. But Blair was still standing, albeit with a bit of a staggering, swerving posture. This was going to end soon.
"Use Ember, Blair!" Matt shouted. "Put as much force into it as you can! Make it hot!"
This seemed to make Venus's attitude heighten a smidge, bracing herself for an attempt to dodge. But those burning particles, while not particularly large, were still moving fast, and a multitude of them collided with Venus's leg. The embers then fell to the ground, but the remains of their heat were evident- reddened, slightly bleeding skin was left. Matt couldn't help but smile at this. It was a burn, a status affliction that almost always ended up cutting down the Pokemon's attack power.
"Crap," was all Sierra could muster.
"Gonna give up, Sierra?" Matt asked.
"...In your dreams, Matt!" Sierra responded.
Matt smiled. "Okay, then. Wonder what your plan is- Oh, that explains a lot, doesn't it..."
Sierra was now kneeling in front of her backpack, pulling out a small yellow syringe. She approached Venus with it, placing a hand on her bulb.
"This is gonna hurt," she murmured. "But it'll make it feel better. Trust me."
Venus took one look at the needle and began to quiver. Sierra stroked her head gently, trying to calm this while she slid the needle into the injured patch of skin and pressed down on the top. Within a few moments, the redness disappeared, and Sierra gently withdrew the needle, tossing it into a nearby wastebasket.
Venus looked up at Sierra for a moment, and Matt saw a small smile flash at the Bulbasaur's face before disappearing. She turned back to face Blair.
"Alright, Blair," Matt said. "Official League rules state the usage of items takes up a turn. Let's- Blair... eh." Matt took one look at the heaving form of the Charmander, and removed its Pokeball from his belt. "Come on back."
Sierra looked at him for a moment. Then, she finally spoke up, a tone of confusion evident in her voice. "Did you just give up?"
Matt smiled wider. "Did you really think I only had one Pokemon?"
Beth looked at the Pokemon Blue had just sent out with a mild interest. It was rather large for the Pokemon she had seen, measuring in at about a third of her own height of 5'2", she estimated. It had two drill-like appendages attached to thin black arms, a yellow body with black stripes across it. Its wings buzzed furiously behind it, its large red eyes focused on Beth's Squirtle, Shelly.
"Alright, Beedrill," Blue said. "Pretty obvious you're the faster of the two. Start things off with a simple jab attack."
Beedrill buzzed forward, and before Shelly could start to make a move to defend herself, the drill-like arm appendage was thrust into her stomach. It connected hard, but Shelly managed to stay standing, a thin layer of blood trickling down her shell.
"Oh! Shelly, are you okay? Uhm... use..." Feeling just like someone had done a similar thing somewhere else, Beth realized she didn't know that many of Shelly's attacks. She quickly retrieved her Pokedex from her backpack, and examined her list of techniques. One of which included Withdraw.
"Alright! Use Withdraw, Shelly," Beth said, and Shelly obeyed, drawing her arms, legs and tail into her shell. She suddenly hit the ground.
"Pretty smart," blue admitted. "Not too many newbies tend to tink of strategy. All-out offensive power is their tactic,and-"
Beth allowed herself one of her signature shy smiles. "...that never works."
"Exactly! Now, Beedriill, flip that shell into the air and fire a Fury Attack at it! Scare that Squirtle right ut of its hiding spot!"
Beedrill rushed forward, slipping one of its stiners beneath Shelly, flipping her upward. As Shelly began to descend, Beedrill met her at the halfway point, thrusting its stingers repeatedly into a single spot on the shell. Beth saw cracks begin to form in it, and her heart began to beat hard. "Oh, no..." She didn't know wehtehr or not a Squirtle's shell culd ever be replaced if it was broken. Did it, by some chance, cripple them? No- did it... kill them?
She shut her eyes and let loose a firm, forceful hwol. "Shelly! Come ut of your shell and use the opportuniy to get a close up attack on Beedrill! QUICK!"
Shelly responded with sudden swqiftness. Blue looked shocked at this-- her hands were the first thing to come ut, grasping the bee Pokemon and holding it in place. Then her head popped out, followed by her legs, and she spat out a Bubble attack at point blank range. The Beedrill begin to fall, Shelly clinging close to it. Beedrill hit the ground with Shelly's weight pushing it down further, and Shell leaped off, fine for having used the bee Pokemon as a cushion for her fall. She ran over to Beth's front and gave hr a knowing glance, before turning back to Blue, watchig as Beedrill slowly lifted upward, conscious- but, judging fromthe shaky pattern of fliht, barely.
Blue looked at her for a moment, then gave her a quick grin. "Your Squirtle is pretty loyal," he said. "I'm impressed."
"Thanks..." Beth murmured.
"Now, I know when a Pokemon will be beat. Beedrill will be exiting the mtch, now." With those words, PidgeBot fluttered up into the air in between the two fighting Pokemon, declaring, "Leader withdraws his Pokemon! That Pokemon can no longer be used in battle!"
Beedrill was then withdrawn, and Blue nodded to PidgeBot, who returned to his spot a slight distance from Beth.
The next Pokemon Blue sent out was one she recognized. It had been at his little table in the restaraunt, the small, blue humanoid worker Pokemon with a pronounced muscular frame. It was a common worker Pokemon, so she even knew its name by heart: Machop.
"Machop here is my secret weapon for newbies such as yourself," Blue said, a smile still playing at his lips, threatening to come on at any given moment. "Let me give you a little tip: don't underestimate him."
Beth saw a twinkle in his eyes that reenforced her belief in the fact that he wasn't giving her that advice to scare her, but to warn her. She looked at Shelly, trying to ignore the now slightly chipped shell on her back, and gave her a firm nod.
"Time for round two, Beth Scott!" Blue exclaimed. "Machop, use Seismic Toss!"
His next Pokemon didn't surprise her. Of course it presented another typology disadvantage on Sierra's end, but he had to find it through such commonplace creatures. Taunting her, Sierra had long since convinced herself. He was most definitely taunting her, trying to infuriate her, as he always had in their little rivalry.
"Breezy," Matt said, adressing the Pokemon in front of him. "Use Gust."
Breezy was a small, brown Pokemon with piercing sharp eyes, slightly tan wings and a pronounced orange beak. Her species was a Pidgey, a common bird that could be seen almost anywhere within the Indigo continent.
She began to flap her wings at a steadily rising pace, gusts of wind beingn whipped up by the forced- tiny, ineffective ones on their own, but with the ending move, a broad-winged flap, they combined together to form a large gust that picked up small rocks and twigs along the way, and no matter how quickly Venus tried to move out of the way, she couldn't dodge the wind. It hit her, rocks and twigs cutting against her skin, causing tiny little lacerations to appear mainly around her sides. None of them bled, but the steady pain must have been a *****. Sierra sympathized with her Pokemon, but wasn't about to recall her.
"Venus! Vine Whip! Try and whack away at those wings!"
Venus looked to her trainer for a moment, taking some time to either register or gain the will to follow the commands issued to her. But she eventually did, the bulb on her back opening just for a moment to reveal two vines, each one reaching out in wiggling motion to slap at the wings of the bird. Breezy didn't seem to be that effected; quite the opposite, in fact. She almost seemed to enjoy it.
"...Venus," Sierra murmured. "Hey, Venus! Vine Whip my arm. Just do it."
Venus turned to face Sierra, and for this, she oddly showed no signs of hesitation. The bulb opened again, and Sierra felt one slap lightly against her arm, feeling more like a gentle touch than the force of a whip.
Venus wouldn't last in battle much longer. Sierra knew she was defeated now: there was no way around it. Better to lose to your own degree than lose by your opponent. She took Venus's Pokeball, and returned her.
She looked at Matthew Joyson for a moment, and almost couldn't stop herself from frowning.
"You win this round, Matt," she said. "But I'm gonna trainer harder! Faster, too! And then... well, then, I'm gonna beat your backside down into the ground. Understand?"
Matt stuck his arm out, and Sierra watched as the Pidgey in front of him was recaptured by a blast of red light. He smiled his signature, taunting smile and then nodded. "Well, Sierra... I'd like to see you try."
Machop leaped into the air, grabbing onto one of Shelly's stubby arms in the process and bringing her up with him. He hugged her as close to his chest as possible, and as he began to fall, he tilted himself until he was totally upside down. Then, at the last moment he released the struggling Squirtle, flipping to the side and landing safely, while the less experienced tiny turtle Pokemon crashed into the ground headfirst.
It was pretty obvious that Shelly wasn't going to get back up from that for some time.
Beth extended her arm, pressing the release switch on the Pokeball, returning Shelly to her home for a while with a flash of red light. Moments later, she repeated the proccess- but with a different ball that sent out a white light this time around, a light that materialized into the small, tan form of Buck.
"Alright, Buck!" Beth started. "Time to kick some butt!"
"A Mankey, huh?" Blue observed. "Well, seems it's a fighter versus a fighter. Wonder which one will win?"
"Buck, start this run off with a simple Fury Swipes!" Beth's mind was focused on getting the waters tested, for now: she wanted to see just how well Buck could do against an experienced fighter like this Machop.
Buck took one look at the Machop and seemed to be infuriated. He rushed forward and skidded to a stop right in front of Machop, using his tiny paws to deliver fierce scratches toward his torso. Machop walked backward a step with each blow, but Buck moved forward a step in the proccess, leaving him virtually unable to dodge. After a few moments though, Machop realized he should take advantage of the close proximity.
"Karate Chop!" Blue ordered.
Machop quickly ducked beneath one of the scratch attacks, costing him some skin on the back of his neck but gave him some room to deliver a quick, decisive blow toward the stomach. The forceful chop caused Buck to stagger backward and fall onto his back. For a moment, he didn't move, and Beth's heart began to pound in her throat. She shut her eyes, and began to breathe steadily. Her muscles loosened and then suddenly contracted, causing her to shake slightly, and then nothing. No movement. She saw through closed eyes. All that she saw was a black void around her, as well as its two inhabitants: herself and the Machop. She realized suddenly that she was in Buck's body, or she was at least in his likeness.
"Buck," she said. "Stand up and use Focus Energy."
She felt an odd calm in her voice. She pressed her hands against the ground and pulled herself up to her feet, and then once again let her muscles loosen. Her wild anger was forgotten, and she merely stood there.
She heard Blue try to say something, but it came out inaudible, little more than steady whisps of wind escaping his lips. Machop approached her and delivered a firm punch forward. She felt it connect with her leg, but it didn't seem to effect her much. At least, she felt no pain. She spoke again.
"Now, Karate Chop."
And suddenly, she felt herself falling. Down to her knees she went, and then she was back into reality, feeling as if someone had directly knocked her in the stomach, the wind punched out of her. She couldn't breathe. Her short hair was matted to her head by sweat, and her muscles were tense to the point of pain.
Blue looked at her for a moment. "Hey! You alright?" She could read hesitance in his voice, as if he wasn't sure whether or not to do something.
She forced herself to stand up and examine the battle field. Buck had just finished delivering a blow to the Machop, apparently- he stood in a victorious, fist-pumping pose, while the Machop stood with shaky breathing, one of its eyes squinted.
"Yes," she said. "Must have tripped over a rock or something... I didn't get hurt too bad."
Her mind was in scatters. She didn't know what the heck just happened, but she knew she would have to try and focus elsewhere.
"Well, just sayin', you signed the agreement," Blue said. "Anyways, Machop. I think you can make one more move, right?"
"Then I want you to put your fighting spirit into this one. Use Low Kick and combo it with a Karate Chop!"
Machop was putting his heart into this one, apparently. A firm running start occurred, and within seconds, Machop was sliding- right into Buck, knocking his feet out from under him and sending him ever-so-slightly into the air. Then, with as much precision as he could muster, Machop thrust his hand directly into Buck's gut.
Buck was sent flying. He landed on the ground, but managed to struggle back to his feet.
The two were standing, both on their last breaths of consciousness. Both fighters were almost on the verge of victory... it all depended on who tuckered out first.
Beth let a weary smiile cross her lips. "Blue, I-"
Machop fell forward, and did not make any movements to get back up.
"Well then," Blue said. He had a smile on his face, though that twinkle of worry was still evident in his eyes, seeing her panting, as well as the pale color of her skin. "Looks like you win, Beth Scott." He returned Machop, then approached her, placing one hand on her shoulder and the other on his belt. He removed a small, green feather-shaped piece of metal from a case attached to it, and handed it to Beth. "Looks like you win the Earth Badge."
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
I'm an idiot who forgot about his own story. So sorry, folks. To make up for it, I'll give you two chapters this release date.
In this chapter, Beth makes a hard decision, alongside debating herself about the oddity of the incident in the Viridian City Gym Battle.
Also: Odd creature! What is that thing?
Author's Note: Sonic reference here. If you don't pick it up, you're a moron- or you just never heard of Sonic. I don't own Sonic the Hedgehog.
here comes the sun
Chapter 6: Cherry Blossoms
Beth left the Pokemon Center that night with a slight conviction toward understanding. It was the deep part of the night, where Sierra was asleep in their room, Matt asleep in some other room provided to him. She had considered waking Matt up and asking him to join her, but she had decided against it. She needed some time alone. Sierra had helped her out with that, though she would have done this no matter what Sierra had said, Beth told herself. She dashed off into the night.
"Beth, I've come to a decision."
Beth looked up from the magazine she was reading, letting out a small gasp. She hadn't known her sister was in the room.
"And that decision is?" Beth turned herself around in the chair, looking at Sierra curiously.
Sierra looked oddly shameful. As if she didn't quite know whether or not this decision she had made was a right one or not. But at the time, it had eluded Beth, and she merely waited for her to speak as if pausing in speech like this was normal for her outspoken sister.
"I... Beth, please don't be upset," she said. "But I want to travel alone."
Beth's eyes widened slightly. She hadn't been expecting that, and it hurt her a bit. That must have been made visible, because Sierra walked up to her and hugged her.
"It's not you. I just... oh, I love you sis, you know that. But I want some alone time. You know what I mean?"
Beth looked back down at the magazine for a moment- she saw a familiar face of Sabrina, the Saffron City Gym Leader, a piercing face that told her things that she didn't really understand. She wondered what they meant. She would focus on Sierra instead, she supposed. She merely turned back around and nodded. "Yep. Okay."
Sierra raised an eyebrow, taking her turn to look confused. "You're... not upset?"
Beth shook her head, offering a weary smile. "Nope. I understand. Might be fun to try."
Sierra let loose a relieved sigh. She made a gesture like wiping sweat off her brow. "Wow. I thought you'd be crying... oh wow, what a relief."
Beth turned back to her magazine and continued to read.
She heard the sounds of the city at night. They were pretty nice. It was a calming effect; hearing the steady hum of the few vehicles driving through the streets; to hear the buzzing of bug Pokemon living in the city, making their homes in the nooks and crannies that were otherwise ignored; to hear the sounds of a few people talking, their conversations barely audible hums; to look up in the skies and see the shining stars, watching her from the heavens; to her, it was all amazing. But as she finally stopped her jogging, she realized she was heading out of the city and toward Route Two. The second step of what was turning out to be a confusing journey, she figured. It was going to be a long time before she understood much, she supposed- she wasn't content to stay in ignorance, htough. She would speed that time up as much as she could. Her thoughts floated back to the gym: back then, she had done something abnormal, and both she and Blue knew it. She had done some research on Pokemon Center computers and through magazines, but she found nothing.
"Leaving town at this point in the night, kid?"
She swirled around on her feet, biting her tongue to prevent her "Spasmodic Tourette's" from shining. She saw a familiar face staring at her from a spot slumped against a tree, his head tilted back slightly, orangeish-brown hair mixing in with the light brown bark.
"Oh... uhm, yes," Beth said. "What are you doing out this late, Mister Oak?"
Blue scoffed, a smile curling at his lips. "You can call me Blue. Or Leader Blue, if you really have to do the formal thing. As for why I'm out? I tend to do some midnight walks. Viridian Forest has some wonderful scenery in the dark. Plus, right about here..."
He pointed forward, and Beth looked in that direction. She saw a huge mountain, its top tipped by snow.
"Ah, well, let's just say me and an old friend communicate at this spot sometimes. Not by words or body language. It's just a thing where we know what the other is thinking."
Beth nodded slowly. "I do that sometimes- did that... sometimes with my sister. It takes a close bond, doesn't it? You and this friend close... uhm, Blue?"
"I call him my brother. Funny thing is," he said, looking at her like she was a bit on the stupid side, "I used to hate him. But now... there's..." His expression changed for a moment. "A sort of... empathic connection. Have a good night, Beth Scott."
Sierra Scott woke up the next morning with a heaviness in her limbs that made it difficult to get out of bed. But she dragged herself. She had fell asleep quicker than a hedgehog chasing after precious gems (she had thought of that analogy once when she was a kid, and even though it made no sense, she loved it), and from the way she felt, slept long and heavy. She pulled away, ignoring the bed's desperate cries for her to stay with its fluffy comfort.
She went through her morning routine and it wasn't until she went to go wake up Beth did she notice something was wrong.
"Yo, Beth- it's eight in the morning, time to get up-"
Beth's bed was in the same room as her own, yet she hadn't noticed. How? The covers were thrown off of it, like she had scrambled to get up. Laying on the sheets was a small slip of paper, scribbled with fast but familiar handwriting.
Hi. If you've found this note, I have slipped out earlier than planned. I want to go ahead and get on with this journey and, quite frankly, discover things about myself that I do not understand. Thank you for understanding. I will miss you, but we have phones for that, right? You know my number and you can call me any time,
Sierra put the note down and sighed. Eager beaver as always. She had foreseen an emotional goodbye, something meaningful for and powerful to singify the separation of the sisters that had been side by side for their entire fourteen years of life.
She supposed she had seen too many chick flicks.
Beth awoke to the sound of a steady buzzing, a fierce but natural sound. She slid out of her sleeping bag, standing up and liocking her hands behind her head, stretching and letting out a loud yawn. She was surprised: she hadn't honestly been expecting to be able to sleep that night. From the steady trickle of light filtering in through the treetops of the Viridain Forest, she guessed it was pretty erly in the morning. She hadn't gotten much sleep then, seeing as she had settled down in this spot at- according to her phone's slightly inaccurate clock- three in the morning. She grabbed her phone from her backpack and checked it: eight o'clock on the dot. She absentmindedly thought that it would be around the time Sierra would normally wake her up, and offered a simple smile to no one in particular.
She felt slightly better this morning, the fatigue in her body having dwindled almost to the point of nonexistence. Of course, this made her all the more curious, but her priorities were forced to be elsewhere at the moment. She knew that Beedrill were prominent members of 'society' in the forest, and that wild Beedrill could be dangerous. So she packed up swiftly, threw her backpack over her shoulders and began to travel for the day, a cereal bar in her hand for breakfast.
The next day or two, for both Beth and Sierra, were relatively uneventful. Sierra managed to beat Blue for her Earth Badge, and headed into the Viridian Forest. Beth managed to make it out to a small patch close to the exit of the forest due to her headstart. Even Matt Joyson managed to make some decent progress, winning his Earth Badge and starting on his way to the barrier of the Forest.
On the morning of her third day in the forest, it still wasn't quite light yet, Beth Scott observed. She flipped open her phone and saw the time: three forty-two in the morning. So it was still pretty late- well, early technically- and she was up. Bleh. She wondered for a few moments what was waking her up, but was suspicious that she wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. It wasn't smart, but she figured she may as well use the opportunity to catch up on her traveling, which had been a bit on the lazy side yesterday. She reached over to her backpack, trying to find the middle compartment's zipper in order to pull it open. But she realized suddenly that she was grasping for air- her backpack wasn't there. Laughing at herself, she turned her head around at different angles to try and locate it, only the light of the moon being her guide. It was quite a distance from where she had left it last night, it turned out: about ten or eleven feet, Beth estimated, resting up against a tree. She wondered absentmindedly what happened to it, thinking perhaps she had sleepwalked, but didn't fret too much over it.
She tried to open the middle compartment, only to find it stuck. Her hands ran over it, feeling the odd, sticky substance covering it, and she raised an eyebrow. This was certainly becoming a bit iffy. She scratched the sticky substance off with her nails, and pulled open the middle compartment and retrieving one of her last cereal bars. She would have to restock soon once she reached Pewter City. She nibbled on it, before hopping up to her feet- and falling back down again. She looked down to her ankles and noticed something that forced her heart upward and toward her throat. Something was attacking her, and she had no idea what it was or where it was: she only knew from the sticky, web-like substance that surrounded her ankles, bounding them together and preventing her from walking. And the problem was, whatever it was, she probably couldn't defend against: Shelly's Pokeball was inside her backpack. The top compartment, to be specific: which was also covered in this sticky substance, and no matter how hard she scratched, this stuff, she couldn't get off.
With a short grunt, she tried to rip it open. She was unsuccessful. This material was more fresh, and much more durable because of it.
"Hello?" she asked. "Who's there?"
The sound came from the tree to her northwest; she looked at it, but saw nothing odd, other than a slightly pink leaf, hanging from a thin, white line from a branch-
She reached into the lowest compartment of the three-compartment bckpack, pulling out her Pokedex. She pointed it in the direction of the "leaf", and pressed a few buttons, the Pokedex flashing to life.
"Caterpie, the silk worm Pokemon," it said in monotonous, droning English, "it is a common sight in forests. Its small size makes it appear weak, but with the stench of the chemicals released from the red antenna on its head, as well as its ability to produce durable silk, it can be a formidable opponent."
She recognized the name then, but was a bit confused. This was a Caterpie, according to the Pokedex, but the problem was that whae she saw was not green. It was pink.
She tilted her head back, and called out to the little creature. It had, by now, lowered itself down to the ground started crawling toward her, its small pink body toward her.
"Hello there, little guy..." she whispered. "What's your name?"
The Caterpie stopped for a moment, tilting its head at her, big yellow eyes examining her quizically, then continued to crawl.
"Mister Caterpieee..." she whispered. "I don't know how strong you are, but I value my life. So, uhm, can you... possibly, I don't know..."
She looked down to the bindings on her ankles. "Untie me?"
The Caterpie continued crawling closer. No matter how much she tried to talk it down, it kept its steady approach up, and she was beginning to get quite scared.
Then, just before it came up to her, it took a sharp right turn. It started crawling in a totally different direction, eventually ending up... well, right on top of the cereal bar she had dropped when she fell.
Beth's fear evaporated just like that. She quickly fumbled a ball right out of her backpack and placed her thumb on the release switch, pressing it down. The ball expanded in her hand, and she tossed it at the odd, pink Caterpie, watching as it bonked it on the head and went up, opening and sucking both the Caterpie and the cereal bar beneath it into itself. There was virtually no struggle from the content worm Pokemon, and Beth raised her hands in victory, then wondered just how long she would have to wait for this silk to degrade enough so that she could break free of it.
She woke up to the sound of rustling leaves.
"Ah, eeeh, careful there," a voice said. "Gonna start a forest fire- gosh darn it. Fine. Sorry, Blair, but you're gonna have to come back."
The sound of whirring, a familiar sound to her, for it was one a Pokeball made when it returned a Pokemon. Then, it struck her.
"Hey! Matt!" she yelled out. "Could use a little help here!"
From behind a tree, a head peaked out in her direction. As she thought, it was Matthew Joyson, his black hair a sharp contrast to the greenery surrounding him.
"Oh, Beth! What're you doing here? It's, like..." He peered into something at his side, hidden by the bush he was standing beside. "Ten o'clock." She saw his eyes focus on her sleeping bag. "Don't tell me you're JUST waking up."
"Late night," Beth said tiredly. She pointed to her feet.
Matt raised an eyebrow at the sight. "What happened?"
"...It's, uhm, kind of embarrassing, actually," Beth said.
Matt shrugged. "I won't laugh. You can tell me..."
So, she explained to him the situation and her theory- that the Caterpie had merely found one of her cereal bars and enjoyed it, and reeeally wanted another. So when she had tried to walk away with one, it had gotten a bit miffed at the idea.
He got Blair to scratch off her bindings, as well as the remaining silk on her backpack. Then he sat down next to her, watching her curiously as she got up immediately and began to pack her things.
"So, where's Sierra?" Matt asked.
Beth shrugged. "Me and her decided to separate."
Matt nodded slowly. "Ah... well, was it an argument sort of thing, or just... you wanna be alone?"
Beth looked at him for a moment, before shaking her head. "Neither. It was her idea, and I just... agreed."
"Ah, so," Matt said, "you wouldn't mind another travel partner then?"
Beth picked up the Pokeball in which the pink Caterpie was resting, and stuck it in her bag. She hadn't told him the color difference- she feared he might take interest because of that. She wanted some time to get acquainted with this thing because of its oddity- she could relate.
"I guess not..." she said after a short time of silence. "Did you want to join me?"
Matt stood up and nodded. "You're a nice gal. Plus, sounds like you just attract bad luck, so having a guy around to protect you a little might be good."
She assumed Matt didn't mean for that to sound as chauvinistic as it did, and nodded. "Alright, then... thanks."
She continued to pack up her campsite, Matt eventually joining in to help her. As she did, she was racking her mind for a nickname for her new Caterpie- and after a bit of walking in the direction of Pewter City, she thought of one. Cherry.
She smiled and nodded, satisfied with herself. Matt didn't seem to notice. All was good.
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!
In this chapter, Matt encounters an odd man down in the weight room of the Pewter City Pokemon Center.
Also: Roberry!? Who are these strange people?
here comes the sun
Chapter Seven: Pewter City Museum
The newly formed duo arrived in the city of gray that very night, tired and exhausted from their speedy travel: they didn't take the time to do any sightseeing or shopping, or anything of the like. Instead, they simply checked into the Pokemon Center for the night and crashed, both of them staying dead asleep until the next morning.
Matt Joyson was the first one to awaken, but he didn't quite get out of bed immediately. He lay in the comfort of sheets and a blanket until his muscles cried out for activity. He got through his morning routine, then went down to get some breakfast, waiting for Beth.
As he was waiting, Matt approached the desk and pulled out his wallet. "Yes, ma'am, can I please get a- no, two tickets down to the weight room?" Every Pokemon Center had a weight lifting room in its basement to promote good health for both people and Pokemon: Matt planned to take full advantage of that. Only thing was that it cost some money, but it wasn't all that much.
"That'll be ten dollars, sir," the nurse said. Suddenly, her eyes widened in recognition, and Matt remembered.
They both spoke in unison. "Aunt Jaqueline-"
"Oh, you're Matilda's son, aren't you?"
Matt beamed, nodding. He didn't really know the woman that well, but she was family, and Matt had learned at an early age to always act excited around family. "Yeah! Aunt Jackie, how have you been?"
"Wonderful," she said. "Quite busy around here, though. Especially since the A.N.T.I. trainers have come here- speaking of which, I hear you're part of it!"
Matt nodded. "Yeah. It's been fun, really. Plan on challenging all the gyms, though I'm a bit worried 'bout the gym leader, 'cause I chose Blair- my Charmander, Imean- and my only other Pokemon is a Pidgey... and I hear is a rock-type enthusiast."
His aunt smiled, patting hm on the houlder. "I'm sure you'll do fine. Have you, by chance, got a traveling partner?"
He nodded. "An old friend, yes." He raised an eyebrow. All Joysons tended to have this wry tone of voice when they were about to break something big.
"Did he pick a Charmander too?"
Matt shook his head. "No, SHE didn't..."
"Ooh, Matt is traveling with a female companion? Remind me to call your mother up later with this juicy bit'a gossip," she said, a sly smile on her lips.
"...I'm not afraid to tell you to shut up, Aunt Jackie."
"Right, right. Well, Indigo League rules state that a double battle can be done in some gyms, and both competitors face off against the one gym leader- if one loses and the other wins against the gym leader, both challengers still get the badge. It's still at the cost of facing more powerful Pokemon, though," she said this and her smile disappeared, "because of your combined T-levels."
He remembered a story his mother had once told him. His Aunt Jackie was not the happiest of the Joysons to be in her position, as she had aspirations to become a Pokemon Trainer of her own right. But it was all she could do to have this job, so she was stuck.
"Really?" Matt asked. "Thanks for the advice, Aunt Jackie: I'll come back with a warstory for you, eh?"
Her expression seemed to lighten up at this. "You'd better."
With that, Matt turned around and began to walk off, only to swivel back around and dash back to the desk. "Oh, right, the weight room passes..."
"Really?" Beth Scott raised an eyebrow, looking at the small pink ticket in her hand. "But what interest would I have in weight liftin', Matt?"
He saw him examine her body, and she lifted up her arm, examining it herself. In no way was Beth Scott overweight- in fact, she was a bit underweight. She nodded to him. "Point taken."
The two of them slipped past the guard, handing them their tickets. The weight room was a large place painted in drab gray, with a multitude of large (also gray) "stations", Beth named them on the spot. On the sides of these "stations" were multiple racks, each holding a multitude of different circular plates, all ALSO that dull gray. She saw men and women of varying sizes and appearances all doing a multitude of things, so many of them confusing to her as of their usefulness.
Matt's touch on her shoulder broke her out of this trance-like state, and she turned toward him. "Bit confusing your first time 'round, eh?" She wondered momentarily if he was a mindreader. "Don't worry. We'll start you off with an easy set. Bench, curls, shrugs, dead lifts, squats 'n' calf raises. Simplest excercises to understand."
The two of them walked over to an empty station, and Matt sat down on the blue bench that rested beneath and between the racks of weighted plates, placing his hand on the bar above him. He pulled it off of the rack, and lowered it to his chest, breathing carefully, before pulling it back up. He repeated this five times, before looking to Beth and nodding to her. "That's how you do a bench press. Simple stuff, really - a three year old could understand it. Give it a shot."
And, as it turned out, they made little to no progress in terms of traveling that day. Beth had learned each of those six excersises pretty easily, but Matt supposed he had gone off on a limb to get her to do both upper body and lower body excersising on the same day. She had been virtually crawling up the stairs by the time they had been done, and with an awkward silence, she had to be carried to her room after that (she probably could have walked, but she begged to the point of where Matt did it just to shut her up). So he imagined they would be staying in Pewter for a few days. He would go down to the weight room alone today, as he imagined the poor girl was very, very sore.
He slipped on two twenty pound weight plates onto each side of the bar, then lowered himself down onto the bench. Lifting without a spotter was something he had always been taught NOT to do, but today, everyone in the room seemed to be pretty busy, and he could handle the weight. He knew he could. So today he would defy that teaching. He lifted the bar off the rack, bringing it down to his chest, before pushing it back up. He loved the feel of this: forcing himself to work his muscles, to feel sweat trickling down his face, to smell the familiar musky smell of strained bodies. Something about it all just cried out masculinity. Masculinity was a constant he needed in his life, because after all, he had grown up in a house of female nurses. He cracked a thin smile, and on his last repitition, as he moved his arms upward to place the bar back on the rack, his stomach burst into a flare of sudden pain and he felt the bar drop: rolling right onto his neck. He felt his windpipe be constricted, his air supply cut off, and he clawed frantically to lift the bar off him, but found himself unable- and then it was gone.
He sat up quickly, hearing the bar hit the rack but not paying attention- he let loose a gale of breath, happy that the weight hadn't crushed his windpipe entirely. He looked around, examining something to see the cause of what had happened- he saw an apologetic looking rock. It was small, round and a deep shade of gray with two, bulky arms. Then, he heard the voice.
"Weight lifting without a spotter is pretty dangerous, kid."
Matt rubbed at his neck, looking up at the seasoned, tanned face looking down at him. "I know. The one day I decide to give it a shot, I end up nearly choking m-m-...myself." He coughed quickly. "Thanks for your help, though. And you, Rocky, buddy- it's alright..."
He looked toward a second rock-with-arms floating over, and from some scratches on its coarse surface, he guessed the two were having a practice battle. Such things were common in weight rooms, though not quite legal. Matt wasn't going to say anything, though.
"Not a problem, kid. Do you need a spotter?"
Matt shook his head. "N-nah, I think after that, I'm pretty much done for the day."
The man smiled. Suddenly, Matt realized that the man had closed eyes, leaving his expression to be a slight bit odd: he wondered how he could see. The man then extended his hand, and Matt shook it.
"Name's Brock," the man said.
"Matt Joyson," Matt responded.
"A Nurse Joy relative?"
Brock had asked that with an alarmig rapidness. His expression seemed to light up, and interestingly enough, his lips seemed to moisten up visibly.
"...Uh, yeah," he said. "I'm-"
"Introduce me to one! Your best friend Brock! That's who I am. Heh... heheh..."
"...I only really know my mom," he said. "I tended to stay away from family gatherings. Too..."
"...cute? Hot? Sexy?" Brock chimed in.
"...feminine," Matt deadpanned.
"...Oh. Well, then... erm, I guess, well... see ya later! C'mon, Dude and Dudette, back to practice."
The two floating rocks followed Brock off to an obscure corner of the wait room, and Matt sighed, walking back up to the entryway of the Pokemon Center.
He approached the desk with a slight frown on his face. "'lo, Aunt Jackie."
"Matt! Have you challenged the gym yet?"
He shook his head. "No. Been down in the weight room since this morning... had a little accident, though. Wouldn't happen to have any Excedrin, would you?"
She shook her head. "Will Tylenol work intead?"
Matt nodded. "Thanks... by the way, would you happen to recognize the name 'Brock'?"
She grabbed a small bottle of pills, pouring two out onto her palm and handing them to Matt. He swallowed them quickly.
"Brock Flintson?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I don't know... he was in the weight room. Lil'..."
"...pervy? Yes. The man has an all-access pass, that he uses quite often. Mainly to come down here and flirt with me." She shrugged. "Why?"
"No reason, no reason..."
"Want to have more information on him for when ya challenge him?" Jackie asked.
"What? Why would I-"
Her eyes widened slightly. "You didn't know? Why, Brock Flintson is the Pewter City Gym Leader."
Beth Scott wasn't quite wanting to head out the next day, but Matt was dragging her out of bed. Her muscles were still aching, albeit not as bad as the previous day. He forced her to do a workout, only as she was still too sore to resist, though it was only half the size. Then, as if Matthew Joyson was a sadistic little beast, the two sent on a shopping trip, restocking on supplies, before finally heading to their last destination of the day- the Pewter City Museum.
"Two below eighteen?" the receptionist asked.
Matt nodded. "Yep."
"Ah, guess what? We have a special this week. For youth visitors, buy one get a ticket free. So, your cost will be just ten dollars instead of the typical twenty."
Beth looked over to him. "Talk about a deal..."
Matt nodded again, pulling his wallet out and pushing forth ten bucks. "Treat's on me, Beth, since I'm dragging you to the place."
Beth supposed she was glad for that, and flashed an appreciative smile toward him, before turning and walking into the museum on sore legs.
The first exhibit the two of them examined was a small collection of stones: all of them about the size of Matt's fist, smooth and shiny. The exhibit was labeled, "MOON STONES: Press button beneath to learn".
Curiously, Beth pushed the red button beneath the sigh, and heard the auditory systems flare to life.
"Moon Stones are a constantly valued item throughout history for their origin and their origin only. In terms of composition, they seem entirely secular, but in fact, they are meteorites infused with a peculiar energy from the moon, hence their name. Old organized crime organizations including even the likes of Team Rocket constantly search for them in hopes to sell them for their tremendous price as a collector's item."
Beth looked at Matt for a moment, nodding slowly. "From the moon? Wow."
Matt grinned. "Yeah. I hear they can evolve some species of Pokemon, too... like Clefairy, Nidorino or Nidorina..."
They moved onto the next exhibit, then the next one, continuing on throughout the museum and just having a- for once in her life, Beth thought- fun learning experiences. Finally, they finished their tour off with looking at a few old Pokemon fossils, before heading for the door.
With Beth just inches away from it, a metallic shield slammed shut over it.
Matt grabbed her by the hand and pulled her away out of reflex, she supposed. She was distant enough so that the shield wouldn't harm her, but still, as she leaned up against the receptionist's desk, listening to the ragged breathing of herself, Matt and the receptionist in sync, as well as the sudden, surprised yelps of other tourists, she felt her heart beating in her throat.
"This indeed a robbery," a male voice said from seemingly out of nowhere.
"So please, folks," a female voice chimed in. "Do not panic."
The male voice again. "Our corollary is a simple one."
The female voice followed in sync. "Do not think we are manic."
From seemingly out of nowhere, two people appeared. Both were dressed in the same outfit: the male with an old-style hat, flat with a small button-like top, and the woman's bare head were the only differences. Both wore tight black suits with silver belts, the tops in these suits both labeled a hot pink, "TR".
"We merely request you listen," they said in sync. "To our demands. If you do, you shall leave with no harm done to yourselves. If you don't, we will be forced to hurt you."
The male spoke alone this time. In person, his voice sounded much less in the elegant section, and more on the gruff side. "All of you into..." He turned, pointing toward a corner with no exhibits. "Into that corner."
The woman unclipped a Pokeball from her belt, and the room was momentarily enveloped in a bright flash of light. In the place of where the light had focused, a large Pokemon with bladed gauntlets for arms appeared, its body a sleek mix of red and silver except for the yellow "horn" on its head.
"Sharp!" it cried.
Beth felt her heart pound in her chest. Her legs seemed frozen to the spot, and only when the male yelled, "MOVE!" did she finally gather up the necessary force. Quickly, the inhabitants of the first floor moved toward the empty corner and stood there, some shivering, some only holding their breath, all of them dripping fearfulness from their pores.
"Now!" the male commanded. "Any trainers amongst you, remove your Pokeballs and roll them toward us! Any one of you that is otherwise armed, remove your firearms. We will frisk you afterword, and if anyone tries to be a hero and keep something for later, guess what? It's only gonna make you a martyr, and you don't want to be that."
All the trainers in the room, Beth and Matt included, unclipped the Pokeballs from their belts, and rolled them in the direction of the male. Very quickly, the woman walked over to the group and frisked everyone, and after determining no one was hiding anything, ran back over to the male's side.
"Alright, folks. We are Tierra One- myself- and Tierra Two- my partner. We are members of a terrifying organization: an old scar on the world returning with white hot pain!"
The male- Tierra Two- smiled widely, sending shivers down Beth's spine. She felt tears well up in her eyes, and only because she could have sworn he was staring right at here.
"Dearies, that is correct. Nine years ago, we were defeated. It was an embarrassment, but we were... weak back then compared to how we are now. Our old boss is dead. You may recognize his name..."
Tierra One spoke up next. "It is Giovanni Russo. His death has given room for a stronger, wiser and much more competent leader, who you will all know soon. Our new boss's name is Tierra Radiance. Remember it."
At the mention of Giovanni Russo, a few gasps came from the crowd. Beth was confused as to the identity, and as Tierra One continued to speak, Beth felt her heart skip a beat as it all came together.
"Folks, Team Rocket has returned from the grave! And we are here to wreck the Kanto region into rubble! Bit by bit we will conquer until the world belongs to us!"
"There's no ****in' way!" a man cried out from the crowd. "Red kicked Team Rocket's butt into the ground!"
"...Yet they still rose again under Archer's reign, did they not?" Tierra One mused, a wicked smile plastered on her lips.
"And that Gold kid kicked their butts too!" the man retorted.
"Because they were not structurally sound. Three years is not a long time to wait. It is not enough time. We learned this and tripled it, making ourselves an impenetrable fortress. We have returned for good this time."
"Red'll come back, I bet!" the man said.
The smile that was already on her face twitched and widened to the point of where Beth thought her lips would break. "My friend, that isn't happening."
The man backed down slightly. "And why not?!"
Tierra Two threw in his own section of drama, but his was much more efficient: it was enough to crush the spirits of everyone in the room. "Ha! Because Red is lying on top of Mount Silver, a frozen corpse in the snow. My friend, Red is dead, and there's nothing you can do about it!"
Thanks to ShinySandshrew of serebiiforums for the banner!