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  #126    
Old June 25th, 2008, 11:03 AM
Grovyle42(Griff8416)'s Avatar
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Truth or Reconciliation


Mr. Briney’s boat was sailing gracefully over the aqua surf. Waves rocked it back and forth while three humans were standing on the deck with two almost at each other’s throats.

“You STOLE Treecko from the POKEMON CENTER?!” Jeff grilled.

“He wouldn’t come with me and then he hit me in the face! What was I supposed to do?” Kevin replied as if he had done nothing wrong.

“How about ASK Nurse Joy for Treecko?” answered the brown haired teen, folding his arms.

“I did that and she said ‘he wasn’t to be moved’…” Kevin replied as Rachel watched on, amused.

“And why would she say that?” Jeff asked, calming down slightly.

Kevin bit his lip and his voice softened almost inaudibly. “Eh… something about him still recovering and not being able to move…” to which he finished with a forced cough.

Jeff scowled and his fists clenched as he began to walk towards Kevin. The blond haired teen grinned, backed up and raised his hands in front of him non-threateningly.

“Easy there! What are you so mad about? You can’t go back there anyways!”

“Hey Kevin… you look a little thirsty… why don’t you have a drink?” Jeff suggested, continuing to walk towards his friend.

“Uhh… I’m good. I… ehh…” Before Jeff got too close, Kevin took out a pokeball and threw it on the deck between Jeff and him.

A green bug pokemon appeared from the bright light and stood on the deck looking confused. Jeff stopped dead in his tracks and froze. His eyes looked up at the Scyther and he immediately started walking quickly backwards.

“Woah woah woah WOAH! Ke-Kevin?! What are you doing?!” Jeff stammered, now jumping backwards.

“What? Blitz is my starter! He deserves the air,” Kevin answered with a sly grin.

Blitz looked around and noticed the terrified human who he remembered. The Scyther suddenly became very uncomfortable and he awkwardly looked around the ship. He then turned around to his friend.

“<Is there something that you needed, Kevin?>” he asked.

“No, I-”

“<Then may I please go back in my pokeball?>” questioned the Scyther, shifting in his place a little.

“I thought you would have wanted some air,” replied Kevin.

“<I…>” He looked back at Jeff and then looked at Kevin. “<I will go sit over there,>” he said, pointing a scythe to the stern of the ship.

As soon as Blitz was at the front of the boat’s deck Jeff cautiously walked towards Kevin.

“What are you doing?! Why did you send him out?!” Jeff asked angrily.

“Why wouldn’t I send him out? He’s my friend!” Kevin answered somewhat defensively.

“Well you sure know how to pick ‘em. That bloodthirsty monster better be an awesome cook!”

Despite being a ways away from the two, Blitz’s good hearing picked up on the conversation. He sighed and awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck.

Kevin looked back at Blitz, noticing his detection of their conversation. “Ease up, Jeff! You’re hurting his feelings!”

“Ooooo!” Jeff said in mock regret. “I’m hurting his feelings? Well he tried-to-kill-me!!!”

“When did YOU get to be such a jerk?”

Rachel stepped in. “Okay okay. Both of you! How about, Kevin, you and Blitz stay on the back end of the ship and Jeff stays on the front end of the ship?”

They both nodded and Kevin went over to Blitz while Jeff walked to the bow of the ship.

“Sorry about Jeff, he’s just a bit… uhhh…” Kevin tried to reassure.

“<No, I am the one who is sorry. He has the right to hate me,>” answered the ashamed Scyther.

“No he doesn’t. Well, not anymore at least! You’re a changed Scyther,” said Kevin, giving him a hard slap on the back.

Blitz grinned. “<Thank you for the encouragement, Kevin.>”

“Don’t mention it!” Kevin answered, putting Blitz in a headlock and playfully grinding his knuckles along the Scyther’s head. The two began to play fight- Blitz had his scythes pointed inwards as to not make Kevin into the human equivalent of chopped vegetables. Meanwhile, Jeff sent out Treecko and Corphish.

“<Hooray! The ocean!>” merrily shouted Corphish, who jumped up onto the guardrail and looked at the water. “<Where are we going? Oh yeah, and welcome back, Jeff! I sincerely hope that prison wasn’t anything like Oz!>”

Jeff chuckled. “No, it wasn’t anything like ‘Oz’, Corp. Oh, and we’re going to… Slateport, I think.”

Treecko looked at the playful fight going on between Kevin and Blitz on the other side of the deck before looking back up at Jeff and putting his twig habitually in his mouth.

“Hey, Treecko.”

Treecko nodded. “<Yup.>”

“I need to have a word with you for a minute,” Jeff said, gesturing with his head to a place away from Corphish.

The wood gecko followed Jeff to the portside of the boat. He leaned against the rails of the boat, as did Jeff.

“How are your wounds?”

Treecko shook his head dismissively. “<They’re nothing.>”

The teen took in a deep breath and then looked at the grass type. “Treecko… I’m… I’m really sorry for hitting you… and for everything. Ever since what happened in Petalburg I’ve been acting like a sulky selfish ass and I don’t hold it against you for leaving when you did. I just didn’t know how to handle things and I made a big deal out of the stupidest things and yeah. Tell the others I’m sorry as well… Oh yeah, and I’m sorry about the pokeball thing; I’m worried about your ribs.”

Treecko was more than a little shocked. He then nodded understandingly. “<Don’t worry about it,>” he reassured.

Jeff was much more shocked than Treecko was. “Thank you… So we’re still friends?”

Treecko stalled, but then nodded. “<Actually, Jeff, there’s something I need to say too…>” He paused and then began again. “<… I may have gotten as touchy as a Chikorita at some times… and I did some things that I now know were stupid… yeah…>”

Jeff smiled. He knew that that was the most of an apology he would get out of Treecko.

“Don’t worry about it.”

Treecko then looked over to the still fighting Kevin and Blitz. “<That Scyther looks familiar…>”

“Yeah… He’s the one who attacked me when we first crossed paths,” explained Jeff.

Treecko took a fighting stance just as Corphish scuttled over. “<You mean you’ve actually met Master Mantis over there before?!>”

Jeff nodded. “Treecko? I personally wouldn’t mind it if you kicked that Scyther’s ass, but he’s Kevin’s pokemon and you’re still pretty… wounded.”

Treecko crossed his arms and gave Jeff a look, but reluctantly stood down.

Corphish recalled that his other friend wasn’t present. “<Why don’t you send Dae out?>”

“Uhhhhhh…” Jeff stalled awkwardly. “I don’t think so.”

“<Why not?>” he asked, while lightly tugging on Jeff’s shorts with his claw.

“I think the answer is pretty obvious. He’s furious at me!”

“<You’re going to have to face him sooner or later,>” Corphish replied.

Jeff looked over at Treecko for his opinion, who shrugged and disinterestedly walked to the edge of the boat.

Jeff sighed. “Fine, but give us some privacy, will ya?” He threw Dae’s pokeball and out came the Taillow. The dark blue bird looked up at Jeff with a glare.

“Daedalus? We need to talk.”

“<Yes, we do,>” he coldly answered.

Daedalus flew onto a guardrail bar and Jeff walked up beside him.

Jeff sighed. “Dae, I-”

Daedalus flew up and gave a painful beak peck on his cheek. Jeff winced as a cut opened up and a trickle of blood dripped down to his chin.

“…I deserved th-” He was cut off by another quick strike to his other cheek, which also drew blood. Jeff calmly put a hand to the newer cut. “…Feel better?”

Daedalus shook his head. “<Not yet… You went to the gym in Rustboro City, didn’t you?>”

“Yes, I did,” responded the teen.

“<Why did you say all of those things when we were watching that battle before we went into Rustboro City? Was it to gain my trust?>”

“No… I respect you too much to lie to you. I really did believe those things that I said,” answered Jeff.

“<Then why do you have us pokemon fight at gyms?>” Daedalus retorted.

“Okay… the whole reason I was on this journey was to get to the Hoenn League. If I could fight in the place of you guys, I would, but unfortunately that’s not how it works. Both Treecko and Corphish want to fight, so it’s not like I’m forcing you guys to. I’m not like that Blane guy!”

Daedalus frowned. “<Then explain to me why you told me to fight in Dewford! And look what happened to Treecko as a result of that gym fight!>”

Jeff bit his lip. “I’m sorry about that, but I was under a lot of pressure and I was desperate. I promise that I’ll never make any of you fight if you don’t want to. I’m sorry I did all that… forgive me?”

Dae opened his beak to say something but then quickly shut it and indignantly turned his head away in a huff.

Jeff frowned. “…You can’t say I didn’t try.”

“<Yes I can.>”

The Taillow flew over to Corphish who began asking him questions and Jeff breathed a sigh of relief, despite Dae still being mad.

“Talk about holding a grudge…” muttered Jeff to no one inparticular.

Kevin and Blitz, who were laughing and wrestling on the ground suddenly stopped.

Blitz looked up from under Kevin’s armpit. “<Do you hear that?>”

“Yeah…” answered Kevin. “Sounds like a motor.”

Just then giant waves began to rock the boat back and forth. Everybody fell to the deck except for Blitz, who flew a foot off the deck. Giant waves rapped the starboard of the boat, causing surf to splash onto the deck.

“What is it?!” Rachel yelled.

“It’s not a storm! It’s still sunny out!” answered Jeff.

With a giant wave, something appeared out of the water. A titanic blue serpent rose from the sea. It’s menacing, gaping mouth let out a ferocious roar. The serpent had white fins, blue whiskers, and was close to the size of Atlas. Water dripped down its beige underbelly and blue scales onto the deck as it peered down at the vessel.

The three humans all stepped back as far as they could, which was the other side of the boat.

“I knew we should have waited for the ferry!” complained Rachel in terror.

Jeff uneasily looked at Kevin, who looked just as uneasily back. Both probably hoped that the other had a plan.

“<Kevin? Challenge!>” exclaimed Blitz.

“Just wait, Blitz! Let it make the first move!”

Jeff’s pokemon all stood in front of him, ready to fight. He scowled. “If only we were on land…”

Two blue jet skis pulled up on both sides of the Gyarados. Both had men with two blue bandanas on their heads and blue and white t-shirts along with darker blue bathing suits.

“This is a raid! Hand over all of your pokemon… and the boat… and then you can have my jet ski! If you don’t then we will be forced to sink the boat… and you will be down one very nice jet ski,” warned the man on the left in a very calm, military personnel-like voice.

“Come and make us!” retorted Kevin.

The other guy stared blankly at him before driving his watercraft over next to him. “We’ve sunk so low as to stealing pokemon? Seriously?! And you’re offering your jet ski?! Why don’t we just take the boat and let them swim to a nearby isla-” The man stopped speaking as he carefully scanned the boat.

“Oh shi…” he murmured in terror.

“What is it, Chanandaler?” asked the other man, placing a toothpick in his mouth. The Gyarados also looked down.

"Stop calling me that and just look, Joey, you idiot!" the guy whispered harshly.

The man named Joey looked carefully at the boat. His mouth gaped and his toothpick fell out of his mouth.

The other man looked at him. “… You don’t know what I’m looking at, do you?”

“Not a clue,” he said, putting another toothpick in his mouth.

“LOOK… ON… THE… BOAT…” he said, becoming more and more nervous.

Joey looked on the boat carefully this time and his jaw hung open with his second toothpick dropping out of his mouth.

“Oh, sweet merciful crap,” exclaimed Joey. “Okay, nothing to see here! Move along!” he said to the boat occupants. “This was all just a joke! This never happened! You saw nothing! We are just figments of your collective imaginations!”

The Gyarados rubbed his face with his tail fin in embarrassment. The two men quickly turned around on their jet skis and sped off, followed by their massive pokemon.

The man who was poorly nicknamed ‘Chanadaler’ hit Joey on the back of the head. “You idiot! If he finds out about this we are in such deep ****! This was your dumb idea!”

“Relax, they think we’re figments of their collective imaginations!”

Back on the boat, everyone was looking at each other confused.

“Well, that was weird,” said a bewildered Jeff.

“Who were those guys?” asked Rachel.

Kevin rubbed his chin. “I dunno… I kind of recognize the uniforms from a picture I saw in the paper once… Team Aqua, I think it is? They’re in some kind of gang war with Team Lava or Magma or something.”

Blitz landed on the deck. “<We could have defeated that oversized eel, could not we, Kevin?>” exclaimed Blitz, confidently.

“With one hand and scythe tied behind our backs, we could!” Kevin agreed, heartily.

Mr. Briney yelled up from below deck. “I think the waves from that flash storm we just had have died down, I’m going to raise the anchor back up and we should be in Slateport in no time,” said Mr. Briney. “I could have sworn I heard some older men talking… it was probably just the waves,” he murmured to the Wingull, Peeko, who rolled her eyes.

The boat slowly started to begin moving again. By now, Rachel had sent out her two pokemon. Strix flew over to Jeff’s pokemon, enjoying the comedy routine of Corphish, while Avis remained with Rachel as she started talking to Kevin and Jeff.

“<What do you get when you cross a Murkrow with a human? … You get Jeff!>” Corphish, Dae, and Strix all laughed, though it was more funny to Jeff’s pokemon. Even Treecko managed a barely noticeable grin.

“<How many humans does it take to screw in a light bulb? …Who knows? They’re so lazy that they’d pay someone else to do it for them!>”

This joke also attracted laughter until Jeff picked up Corphish by the horns.

“There’s one behind you who’s capable of tickling a particular species of water pokemon to death,” threatened the brown haired teen with a sly grin.

“<… I have a few NON-human related jokes,>” ensured Corphish, fearfully.

“We’re here!” Mr. Briney called up from below the deck.

Jeff recalled his pokemon, including Treecko, which he felt weird about doing despite the necessity to do so, and looked up from the boat at the land; he saw a massive beach with about a couple dozen people occupying it. Rachel also recalled her pokemon, but much to Jeff’s dismay, Kevin still had Blitz out.

The boat road into the beachside dock and Mr. Briney let down the anchor.

“Thanks for the ride, I promise I’ll pay you back someday,” called down Jeff.

“Oh, don’t worry about it!” the sea captain answered.

“I insist!”

Jeff then followed the others off of the boat and onto the deck, keeping a good ways away from his Scyther acquaintance.

As they walked from the pier to the sandy beach, Jeff muttered, “Note to self: throw out all red clothes.”
__________________
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Click Below for The Awesome Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile Club
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  #127    
Old June 28th, 2008, 09:00 AM
Elite Overlord LeSabre™'s Avatar
Elite Overlord LeSabre™
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Quote:
“Talk about holding a grudge…” muttered Jeff to no one in particular.
Quote:
Its menacing, gaping mouth let out a ferocious roar.
Now, I really don't mind chapters that are mostly dialogue (an upcoming chapter of mine will be almost completely dialogue as well), but for all the possible character conflicts that were hinted on (Blitz and Jeff, Dae and Jeff, and Treecko and Jeff), none were really fleshed out all that much. It was like Jeff and the feuding party would exchange a few words, then turn their backs to each other and walk away. These scenes could have been expanded upon with more reactions, whether physical, verbal, or the thoughts of the parties involved.

Length notwithstanding (which I usually don't pay attention to anyway), not much happened this chapter, either in the way of plot or character development. Coming into the chapter, we already know of the tension between Blitz and Jeff (and there should have been much more hatred on the part of Jeff IMO) and between Dae and Jeff. And since Treeck already apologized to Corppy...

The attack by the "dudes in blue who are probably Team Aqua but I'm not going to say they definitely are of Team Aqua yet (TM)" was strange to say the least. Whether this is a major plot point remains to be seen, but...
Quote:
“Relax, they think we’re figments of their collective imaginations!”
I really hope they're not *this* stupid...

The idea of making this a filler chapter wasn't a bad idea in and of itself, but filler chapters are usually a vehicle for character development, and the conflict scenes were really too rushed to give a sense of characters actually being developed...
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  #128    
Old June 28th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Oh MY GOD!
It's Chandler Chanadler and Joey!!!
LAWL.

Well, that was quiet interesting...
DarkPersian sorta took the review so...yeah.
It's awesome...xD
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  #129    
Old June 29th, 2008, 06:40 AM
Grovyle42(Griff8416)'s Avatar
Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Haha, I'm happy someone caught that. I just can't resist another Friends reference.

Thanks for reading.
__________________
[B]Claimed: Treecko, Grovyle, Charmeleon.
Co-Owner of Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile Club.
Paired withAnastasia R.
PC Family so far: Cousin - ScytheMaster, Awesomest Sister - Diamondpearl876, Brother - Rebellious Treecko (PM one of us if you want to join it)

------------
Click Below for The Awesome Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile Club
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  #130    
Old July 6th, 2008, 06:04 AM
Grovyle42(Griff8416)'s Avatar
Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Cutting to the Chase


Jeff, Kevin, Rachel, and Blitz walked and flew respectively off of the pier and into the sand. The sea wind blew the grainy particles at them as they scanned the beach looking at the occupants. Jeff and Kevin couldn’t help but gawk at a couple of sunbathing girls of their age, but the two quickly turned before Rachel could stop them, though.

“<Kevin! Are you ogling that human girl?>” Blitz asked intrigued.

“Gih!!” he stammered, a bit of blood rushing to his head. Kevin then lunged at Blitz and clamped his green snout shut with his hands, despite the fact that Rachel couldn’t understand Blitz. Jeff couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Shut up! You thought she was hot, too!” Kevin remarked, referring to the girl he was looking at.

“Yeah, so?” answered Jeff.

Kevin shook his head dismissively and let go of Blitz’s mouth. “Now Jeff, no getting into fights with local gym leaders, okay?” he said in a purposefully condescending tone.

Jeff suddenly remembered something very important. He began to dig through the pockets of his red shorts.

“Lucky for you, there’s no gym leaders in this town, huh?” said Kevin with a grin. “… What’s up?”

Jeff pulled a pokeball from his pocket and quickly aimed it to a deserted part of the beach. A red laser shot out to that area and Atlas appeared in the sand, still unconscious.

“Atlas…” Jeff said, running over to the giant, beaten up rock serpent. “I completely forgot about him.”

He put a hand on his rocky head and began to look in his bag for strong potions. Just then, Atlas’ eye winced. He was lying in such a way that the gash on his face was in the slightly wet sand. His gray eyes shot open and he immediately reared with a massive roar, knocking Jeff backwards. Many people and pokemon on the beach looked up, some backing off and some getting ready to fight, just in case. Atlas snarled and grunted heavily, but he managed to keep himself from thrashing around.

“Atlas! What’s wrong?!” Jeff asked as a small wave crashed into him.

The rock snake ignored him and his teeth were clenched. “<Where is Prometheus?!>”

“Wh-who?!” asked Jeff, becoming a little frightened.

“<Prometheus! Where is he?!>” Atlas roared.

Jeff had never seen Atlas like this. What was wrong with him and what happened to the docile, gentle Atlas that he had remembered from before he was sent to jail? The teen, becoming actually scared for his life, backed further into the water.

“I- I don’t know what you’re talking about… Atlas… what’s wrong with y-you?”

“<Tell me!!!>”

Rachel whispered to Kevin. “What are they talking about?”

Kevin answered, “I don’t really know…”

“I mean what are they saying? You can understand pokemon, right?”

“Later,” retorted Kevin, stoically watching.

The Onix breathed heavily, so much that Jeff could feel the warm, humid air blowing back his hair. A couple trainers and their pokemon closed towards the Onix, warily. Kevin put his arm in front of Blitz, making sure he didn’t attack him. With his other arm, Kevin took something out of his pocket.

“You, Atlas!” Kevin yelled out. Atlas turned his wincing head from Jeff and looked down at him. “I’ll tell you where your friend is!”

He gestured at many of the trainers to move. Kevin threw out a pokeball and a second unconscious Onix materialized in the sand. Jeff was shocked.

“Kevin caught an Onix?” Jeff asked himself, still wide-eyed.

Kevin then promptly returned the KO’d Onix. Atlas grunted and nodded. Jeff stood up in the surf and walked towards the pokemon. “J-just calm down Atlas… O-okay?”

Atlas then began to lose consciousness and fall towards Kevin, who stepped back. The rock serpent fell quickly under his own massive weight.

“Timber?” Kevin squeaked, fearfully.

He prepared to attempt to dive out of the way, although he was pretty sure he wouldn’t clear it in time. The teen then felt himself being winded, as he landed on his back in the sand as he heard a massive crash and a wave of sand fall on top of him. Kevin opened his eyes to find Blitz lying on top of him, looking down on him with a smug look. He looked at his feet to see that they were just inches from being crushed by the now unconscious pokemon. The Scyther stood up and extended his scythe.

“Thanks pal. I owe you one but did you have to cut my shirt?” he said, grinning and taking his scythe to get to his feet.

“<You owe me nothing. We are even now. You have saved me before, do you remember?>”

Kevin bit his lip and nodded.

“Are you okay, Kevin?” asked Rachel. Kevin silently repeated the gesture. “What did Blitz say?” she asked with some frustration.

Off in his own world, Kevin ignored her. Meanwhile, Jeff recalled Atlas to his pokeball and walked over to Kevin and Rachel, who was still very apprehensive.

All three stood there rather uncomfortably. “Maybe we should go to the pokemon centre,” suggested Kevin.

Kevin, out of nowhere, pulled out Blitz’s pokeball and recalled him before beginning to lead the way to the pokemon centre. He stared ponderously at the sand and he began to be more drawn into his thoughts, as did his hearing.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Damn it,” cursed Kevin

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin had been living in Littleroot Town for six years with his mother and he still managed to get lost in the forest of Route 101 between Littleroot Town and Oldale Town.

“I SWEAR I’ve seen this tree before!” he said to himself while kicking a mossy tree in the middle of the dense forest. Kevin put his hands in his tan shorts pocket before making his way over some old logs and fallen branches.

After four minutes of walking, Kevin stopped and scratched his head. “Okay, Kevin. Just keep walking straight and you’ll come across something eventually.”

While walking, Kevin noticed that the forest became deeper and more isolated. He stopped and leaned against a tree.

“Okay, Kev, you’re not lost. You’re in Route 101… I think… just keep-” Just then, Kevin heard sounds coming from further on in the forest ahead of him. It sounded like the muffled shouting. He then thought he heard a higher cry and the clicking of metal.

“What the hell is-”

PKUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHH!!!!!!!

A gunshot rung out threw the forest and Kevin immediately hit the dirt and put his hands on his head.

“Oh ****. Oh ****. Oh ****. A gunshot! Someone’s shooting at me. ****!” he babbled to himself in fear.

He waited a minute, not moving an inch. He heard more shouting and came to the conclusion that he wasn’t the target. Dirt and sweat now staining his blue shirt, Kevin crawled forward in the underbrush very carefully and stopped when he reached a clearing about fifty meters ahead. The teen peered through a large strawberry bush.

In the left of the clearing he saw a one story white house with a large crop field outside of it. Outside of the house Kevin saw a gruff-looking farmer in the traditional pale overalls and straw hat sporting a hunting rifle. Kevin concluded that the farmer looked ‘considerably pissed’.

The teen looked to see what he was shooting at. A medium range away was a green mantis pokemon. It was down on one its right knee and it was clutching its left shin, where Kevin made out bright green blood seeping from a bullet hole the size of a large almond.

The farmer cocked the bolt of the rifle, inserting a new bullet into the chamber. He took aim on the Scyther.

“Oh ****. He’s gonna shoot him dead!” sputtered Kevin to himself.

“Say yer’ prayers, you dirty thief,” said the farmer to the Scyther. The Scyther just winced and stared at the man, ready to face his end.

Kevin fearfully stood up and immediately regretted what he was about to do. He ran out into the field.

“Stop it! Stop! What the hell are you doing?!” he yelled, running towards the two.

Both of the two turned in surprise. The farmer turned the gun and aimed it at Kevin.

“What th’ hell y’all doin’?!” he asked threateningly.

Upon seeing the gun pointed at him, he skidded to a halt, froze in his place and raised his hands up. “Easy! Easy there! Just don’t shoot us!” He began to slowly edge sideways towards near the Scyther without moving any closer to the man or the gun.

“Please!” Kevin begged, traversing next to the Scyther. He whispered to the wounded pokemon. “If you want to live, f-follow along.”

“Explain y’self!” he ordered.

“Okay okay! Just please don’t kill him! He’s my friend! We got lost in the forest and he left while I was resting to go and find help!”

“I caught’im red handed stealin’ me crops!” the farmer sharply exclaimed.

“I’m really sorry. It’s just we haven’t eaten in three days and he was worried about me so he wanted to get me some food. Right…’pal’?” Kevin asked the Scyther, his heart beating a million times a second.

The mantis pokemon was sceptical and frankly shocked at the human helping him, but he nodded.

The farmer slowly lowered his rifle. “Fine… y’can each have ONE carrot, but then get the hell offa my land before I change me mind aboot the two af ya!”

Kevin sighed the deepest sigh of relief and he looked at the wounded Scyther and nodded. Without the Scyther’s say so, but without its resistance either, Kevin put the mantis’ arm around his shoulder and helped him limp off the property. They walked in the opposite direction of the way Kevin came.

The bug pokemon winced and eyed the blond haired human in surprise while they struggled to leave the clearing and Kevin helped him sit down. The teen swung around his backpack and took out an aid kit while he was leered at by the Scyther, who was still confused as to why this strange human helped him.

“Okay, I’m going to bandage that wound so don’t friggin’ slice me in half,” Kevin said, frankly still terrified and in a state of shock.

“<Why did you do that?>” asked the Scyther.

“Why did I help you? Well I-” Kevin began to say, before the realization sunk in and his eyes widened. “HOLY ****! YOU CAN FRIGGIN’ SPEAK ENGLISH?!!” he yelled, bolting his head up to face the Scyther.

“<No, I cannot. I am speaking as I have always spoken. Why did you save my life, hu-errr-man?>” he asked, wincing as Kevin dropped the bandage on his wound in shock.

The teenager stared at the bug pokemon for a long moment, while he patiently waited his answer.

“<Well?>” he asked, interrupting Kevin’s awe.

“I- I- uhh… What was the question?” he asked, shaking himself back into reality.

“<Why did you… save… me from death?>” he questioned uncomfortably.

Kevin began to apply the bandage again on the hole leaking light green blood. “It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, I’m not really sure. I just- I don’t usually do anything THAT foolhardy…” Kevin looked up at the pokemon. That wasn’t the answer the mantis had been looking for. He stopped bandaging the wound and thought. Kevin remembered the gun. “I… The gu… It was the right thing to do,” he finished and began to tie the bandage.

“<I owe you my life,>” he said to him.

Kevin shook his head. “It’s nothing.”

“<No, it is not ‘nothing’,>” he said. “<Are you travelling the lands?>”

Kevin stalled. “Not right now…” He then remembered Jeff and his other friends taking off on pokemon journeys. “…But I might be soon.”

The Scyther stood up with a cringe. “<Then I shall journey with you.>”

Now Kevin was the one confused. “Why would you want to travel with me?”

The Scyther looked down at his wounded leg. “<Because it is the right thing to do…>”

Kevin stalled but then grinned and nodded, standing up. “What’s your name?”

“<My friends call me by the name of ‘Blitz’. So you may call me Blitz, human. What may I call you?>”

“‘Kevin’s the name. Nice to meet you, Blitz.” He held out his hand. Blitz examined his hand, confused. The Scyther then caught on and shook it with his scythe.

Kevin let out a high, quivery sound of pain. He withdrew his hand, which had a large, opening cut on it from the scythe. He held his bloody palm to his shirt and grinned sheepishly.

“<I am sorry, Kevin. Here, take my bandage!>” he said, insisting Kevin to take the bandage on his leg.

“Don’t worry about it, pal. We’ll just have to work on your handshake a little,” he said, smirking. Kevin then put Blitz’s arm around his shoulder and helped him walk through the forest. “We have to get you to a pokemon centre… Do you know where the nearest town is?”

“<It is that way. It will take awhile, but you need not worry, I am doing just fine.>”

“We’ll see what the doctors have to say about that.” Kevin walked west with his new mantis friend.

About an hour later, the sun had set and the stars were out. Kevin and Blitz had made it to the town of Oldale. The humble town had a few streetlights lit, guiding the way to the centre. Kevin and Blitz stumbled in the automatic doors, where Blitz was promptly helped onto a stretcher by pink Chanseys. The Scyther nodded at Kevin before disappearing through the back room.

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“<I owe you, Kevin.>”

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Kevin shook his head and snapped out of his thoughts to see Jeff looking at him.

“I said I owe you one, Kevin… Atlas went… I dunno… nuts,” Jeff said.

“Oh, uh, yeah. Don’t worry about it,” answered Kevin, solemnly.

Jeff looked at him curiously. “…Anything up?”

Kevin looked at him. “Yeah. The sun and sky, dumbass.”

The brown-haired teen wasn’t completely satisfied with his smartass quip, but he shrugged his behaviour off. Rachel rolled her eyes at Kevin as they walked from the beach onto the streets.

“Should I rent us a hotel room?” she asked them.

Kevin shook his head. “Don’t bother. We’re not going to stay here very long, right Jeff?”

Jeff shrugged and looked at the city around him.

“Fine. Well I’m going to go check out the market while you two go to the pokemon centre, okay?” she told them.

Kevin nodded, but spun around after a moment. “DON’T YOU SPEND ANY OF MY MONEY! YOU STILL OWE ME!” he yelled after her.

Rachel walked off and the duo went into the red and white building in the center of the large tourist town. The centre was quite large on the inside. Kevin and Jeff walked over the red and white tiles, past several humans and pokemon, and up to the counter. They both held out a pokeball as they looked around the primarily red-coloured building interior.

“Can you heal this Onix?” Kevin asked Nurse Joy. She smiled and took the pokeball.

“What about you, sir?” she asked Jeff.

“Uhh… I think there’s something wrong with my Onix… and I’m not sure if just a machine will fix it…” he explained.

She nodded. “Well we’ll go a little bit outside of town once I’m done with your friend and then we’ll see what’s wrong.”

Jeff nodded and shuffled in his place while waiting. After a few minutes, Nurse Joy handed Prometheus’ pokeball to Kevin and she led them outside. They followed her north up a road until they were on the path leading out of town.

“Okay, this should be enough room,” she decreed.

Jeff nodded and released the unconscious Onix in the side of the path.

“He’s usually really gentle and nice, but when I sent him out on the beach this morning he went nuts. It was like he was a whole other Onix.”

She inspected the pokemon’s rocky head. “Luckily that’s not the case…”

“Do you know what’s wrong?” Jeff asked in concern.

She remained silent and looked at the deep gash in his face. “It’s this…”

“That scar? He’s had that the entire time I’ve known him and he hasn’t acted strangely…” commented Jeff.

“It’s deep…” she mumbled to herself. “I’ll be right back.” She then stood up and walked back to the pokemon centre.

The two stood and waited until they could see her coming back with a device in her hand. It had a handle and had two lights on the bulk of the device.

“What’s that?” Jeff asked as she walked by him and over Atlas’s face.

She held the machine and went over the gash like she was scanning it. The machine started beeping rapidly and a red light on the device flashed. Nurse Joy put down the device and sighed.

“It’s like I thought. This gash is coated with traces of iron. It’s preventing the scar from healing.”

“Iron?” Jeff asked. “Does that mean he’ll evolve?”

Nurse Joy shook her head. “There’s not enough of it. Tell me, did he sustain this in a battle?”

Jeff shrugged. “He had it when I met him. I think he got it from a fight when he was in his Onix clan…”

Kevin interjected, “I heard a police dude say something about there being a pretty nasty Steelix in that clan.”

“I see… It looks like the iron is so deep that it hit a nerve in his head. Is he very physically sensitive when it comes to his scar?”

Jeff thought back. He remembered earlier that Atlas’ gash was in the wet sand when he went berserk earlier. “…I think so.”

“The iron seems to be reacting with a reagent in his body and it is causing some bad side effects… especially around his nerves. It may prevent him from evolving as well,” she explained, displeased.

“And that’s… bad…” Jeff said, already knowing the answer. She nodded. “Is there anything I can do? … And is it… fatal?”

“I don’t think that this will be fatal… just very very painful for him.”

Jeff’s shoulders slumped. “But is there anything I can do?”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so… I’m sorry. I can prescribe paralyze heal. Give it to him whenever he feels intense pain and it should loosen up his nerves a little and help to ease the pain.”

Jeff became rather downcast. “Thanks… let’s go get that, then.”

Nurse Joy gave some revival medicine to Atlas and then motioned to Jeff to recall him, which he did. They then walked from the path back to the pokemon center. The three passed some buildings and then walked into the pokemon center. Nurse Joy disappeared through the ‘employees only’ and came back moments later with four paralyze heals.

“This should be good until you reach the next town. Be sure to keep him out of battles, okay?”

Jeff nodded and placed the medicine in his bag. “Thank you and I will.”

“Oh, and if you’re going to Mauville, you’ll want to rent some bicycles from the bike shop.”

He then turned around and Kevin gave him a reassuring punch on the arm.

“He’ll be fine… He’s a big guy…”

“Yeah… I guess so,” said Jeff, opening the door of the pokemon center.

The two walked under the sunlight towards the open-air market in an attempt to find Rachel, pushing through a crowd of people as they went. They spotted Rachel a few shops down, holding about three gift bags and a hand full of cash, about to make a transaction.

“…Do you have any money?” Kevin asked Jeff.

Jeff shook his head. “I’m about out.”

Both looked at each other before simultaneously shoving through the crowd.

“RACHEL, NO! WE NEED THAT FOR BIKES!!!” Kevin screamed while accidentally kneeing a kid in the gut as they made their way through. Kevin grabbed her arm before the transaction could be made.

“What are you doing?” she asked, confused.

He plucked the money from her hand and put it in his pocket. “I’m making sure we don’t have to take the long, overgrown grass route to Mauville! We need this money to rent bikes.”

“Well you could have just said so,” she explained. “Oh yeah! I got you both hats!”

“Really?” Jeff and Kevin asked enthusiastically and with irritation, respectively.

She took out two green baseball caps with darker green visors, which had purple rimming and a large, stylized purple ‘A’ on the front. The ‘A’ had an arrow-like tail coming from the right leg.

“Awesome! I love the Petalburg Aerodactyls!” he enthusiastically said putting on the hat. “Thanks, Rachel!”

“Eh, speak for yourself,” grumbled Kevin with a shrug. “And I believe you mean, ‘Thanks, Kevin! I couldn’t spot a good baseball team if my life depended on it!’”

“You’re just mad because they made it to the semi finals and the Sootopolis Sharpedos didn’t make it to past the quarters,” retorted Jeff.

“Whatever. I’m gonna go return his hat for money so I can use it for something USEFUL like a potion or tassles for our bikes…” He then walked to stand and began to return it.

Jeff grinned sheepishly and shrugged at Rachel. “…He –uhhh- really likes the Sharpedos…” Jeff said, feeling the need to apologize.

He began to fiddle with the visor of his new hat as Kevin came back. Kevin shoved his way in front of them.

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“Come on, let’s go.”

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“<I am, Kevin. It is hard to walk with my leg at this moment,>” Blitz said as Kevin helped him walk and make their way down the beaten path from Oldale Town to Littleroot Town.

“Complaining about it won’t make it stop hurting,” Kevin told him, looking down at Blitz’s bandaged wound which was professionally attended to at the Oldale pokemon centre.

“<I am not complaining!>” Blitz retorted defensively. “<I was simply stating the fact of why I cannot walk as fast as you would like!>”

“Riiiight. Why don’t you fly? You’ve got wings,” Kevin pointed out.

Blitz shook his head, his snout almost hitting Kevin in the face. “<I am perfectly able to walk!>”

“Okay okay. I believe you, jeez.” Kevin adjusted Blitz’s scythe on his shoulder and they continued to walk down the dirt path. “Just up ahead is town. First stop is Prof. Birch’s lab!”

“<Who is Prof. Birch, and what is this lab you speak of?>” asked Blitz curiously.

“You’ll see, pal,” Kevin told him as they walked onto the asphalt of Littleroot Town. Kevin and Blitz turned left to the nearest massive building, which was next to acres of land reserved for trainer’s stored pokemon to roam about. There was a small mountain at the far end of the land, as well as some lakes for water pokemon to inhabit.

“<That place is very beautiful,>” remarked Blitz.

“I guess.” Kevin shrugged and the two went through the glass doors of the laboratory.

The brown haired and bearded Professor Birch was talking to one of his assistants, before looking up at the duo.

“Kevin?” he asked, slightly confused.

“Hey, Prof!” Kevin greeted.

Professor Birch sceptically looked at the Scyther being supported by Kevin. “Who’s that?”

“This here is Blitz. I saved him from an angry redneck,” explained the teen with a grin.

Blitz insecurely butted in, “<He did not save me in the sense that he says, Kevin merely helped out a little!>”

“If you say so, pal,” Kevin said, rolling his eyes.

Professor Birch grinned and looked at the two. “So what can I do for you?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

“We’re going to be travelling, so can I have a pokedex please?” the teen asked.

“This is a joke, right?” asked the professor, still smirking.

Kevin and Blitz looked at each other, confused. “Uhh… no. Why would it be?”

The smile disappeared from his face.

“Uhh… have you talked to your par-” The professor stalled and mentally slapped himself. “…Your mom about going on a journey?” he asked, sceptically.

“No, I’m going to tell her as soon as I get my pokedex,” assured Kevin.

“… Right…What about your starter pokemon?”

“That’s going to be Blitz!” Kevin answered.

“Uhhh… I see… Can you and I have a word in private for a moment?” the professor asked.

Kevin looked at Blitz, who nodded in reassurance that he was fine to stand alone. He walked over to Professor Birch.

“What’s up, Prof?”

“Kevin… Do you remember the lesson we had on larger bug pokemon?”

Kevin stalled, knowing he fell asleep that class. “Uhh… I had a really rough sleep that night, so I-”

Birch cut him off. “Were you awake for the part about Scythers?”

Kevin had a sheepish smile on his face as he scratched the back of his head.

“Okay, I’ll sum it up for you. Scythers tend to be very aggressive and very proud… especially ones straight out of the wild. When they see red they naturally go into a frenzy. If you recall, your friend Jeff was almost killed by a Scyther,” explained Professor Birch.

“Well all due respect, but Jeff’s an idiot. He probably went and kicked one in the face while it was sleeping.”

“Perhaps… Jeff has made some less than bright decisions in the past… regardless, he said that it was because he wore a red shirt that day. What I’m trying to say is that travelling with that Scyther is… well it could be very dangerous. For all you know he could attack you. Now wouldn’t you rather have something a little tamer like a Mudkip… or Torchic? I have both!” urged Birch in a way similar to a used car salesman.

“Scyyyyyy,” sighed a voice coming from behind them. Blitz was looking somewhat uncomfortable and it was fairly obvious he heard the whole thing.

Professor Birch grew red in the face. “Why does that always happen?” he muttered to himself. He then urged Kevin to farther away to where Blitz wouldn’t hear them.

“He’s not gonna do anything to me. I saved him,” reassured Kevin. “He feels like he owes me.”

“So what do you think he is going to do once he feels like he has paid you back? Do you really think that a Scyther will stay around and travel with some human who he might consider inferior?” asked Professor Birch.

Kevin stayed silent and dwelled on that.

“Look, I’m not going to stop you from going, I just don’t want you to end up in over your head.”

Kevin looked back at Blitz and then answered, “I’ll be fine.”

Birch sighed. “At least don’t wear red… I CAN’T emphasize that enough!”

The teen smiled and nodded. “Can I have my pokedex and pokeballs now?”

Professor Birch walked over to his desk and pulled out the items before handing them to Kevin.

“Thanks, Professor Birch.”

Kevin began to turn around. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he said.

The teen nodded and walked back to Blitz, who he helped walk outside.

Once they were outside, Blitz spoke up, somewhat embarrassed. “<Kevin… I would not attack you…>”

“I know, pal. Professor Birch doesn’t know what he’s talking about…” he said, not entirely convinced of his own statement. “I’ll take you back to my place and we’ll wait a few days before leaving, okay? Hopefully your leg will be better by then. You can sleep in the guest bed.”

“<Very well, Kevin.>”

With that, Kevin and a limping Blitz walked down the road back to his house. The teen looked at the Scyther and sighed uneasily. He hoped that what he feared would not happen again.
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  #131    
Old July 26th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Next chapter up. This chapter has a character from my One-Shot. You don't NEED to read the one-shot to understand what's going on, but it's a nice look into his backstory.

Link: One Shot

Escape


A bell attached to a door rung as it swung closed. Jeff, Kevin and Rachel walked out of the bike shop each holding a dirtied up bicycle. They walked the bikes onto the dirt road by the side of the shop before mounting them.

“SEE, Rache? If you hadn’t bought Jeff that stupid hat we could have rented new bicycles instead of these used ones! I think there’s gum on my seat!” complained Kevin.

“We would not! That hat barely cost anything!” retorted Rachel.

“Well my wallet begs to differ!” snapped back Kevin.

Jeff sighed as he kicked the pedals of his bike backwards. “Oh, stop complaining. Just be glad we’re biking and not going through that windy, jungle-y path,” Jeff explained, adjusting his new green and purple hat.

“Whatever.” Kevin looked at Jeff with an eyebrow raised. “Why don’t you let out that starter of yours?” he asked.

The teen stalled. “Uhh, Treecko?”

“No, Mudkip! What do you think?” sardonically said his friend.

Jeff idly fingered Treecko’s pokeball on his belt. “Uhm… I don’t think so. He’s still kinda hurt.”

“He’s been doing fine last time I saw; maybe he’d enjoy the ride. Besides, he hasn’t been out of that ball for who knows how long. Hell, he probably evolved while he was in there!” Kevin joked.

“Well why don’t you have Ace ride along with you?!” snapped Jeff.

“Puh-lease. He’d be terrified of a bike… let alone RIDING on one,” Kevin answered with a smug smirk.

Rachel interjected, “Guys, let’s just go before nightfall. Who knows what kind of biker gang freaks will come out when the sun sets… And Kevin, stop being such a jerk.”

“Well EXCUUUSE ME, princess! I just have to get something,” said Kevin, getting off of his bike. The blond haired boy stood between his bike and Jeff, seemingly about to take off his bag. With surprising speed, he lunged at Jeff and snatched two pokeballs from his belt. Following a laugh, he released one occupant on the ground and from a bright gleam emerged Corphish.

“Corphish cor!!!” stated the merry crustacean.

“Sorry, wrong one.” Corphish drooped with disappointment before being returned to a pokeball by Kevin.

“Kev! What the hell are you doing?!” Jeff protested.

He tossed Corphish’s pokeball to him and threw the other one on the ground. From the second flash of light appeared a green wood gecko, who placed his customary twig in his mouth.

“Cko treecko,” muttered the Treecko coolly after a few deep breaths.

“KEVIN!” Jeff carped, but soon shut up.

The blonde grinned and hopped back on his bike. “Hey, Treecko, Jeff wanted you to come out for the ride.” The grass type merely blinked in response. “That is… unless you think you’re too injured to handle it,” smirked Kevin in a goading fashion.

Treecko immediately shot him a look, hopped onto Jeff’s shoulder and perched there calmly.

“That reminds me, Jeff… What happened to your dumb twig? Before we met up in Dewford you were like a dog with your favourite chew toy,” inquired Kevin.

Jeff shifted uncomfortably. “I… uhhh… still have it… let’s just go already!”

Rachel nodded in agreement and the three took off down the dirt path. They rode down the path and the buildings to their left turned into dense forest. To their right was also forest, but the difference was that they could hear the sloshing of water through the trees.

Kevin, who was leading the way and kicking up dirt in the other’s faces, slowed down to ride next to Jeff.

“Yo, Jeff… You realize we have two Onixes…” Kevin pointed out.

“Yeah… What’s your point?” Jeff answered, awaiting a bad joke.

“It’s ‘How are we going to feed them?’ They’re huge and I’m guessing that they eat a LOT…”

Jeff remained silent, only shifting uncomfortably as Treecko sat on his shoulder.

“… We’re not going to be able to keep them with us.”

The brown haired teen nearly lost control of his bike as he swung to face his friend.

“If you suggest that we leave them then you’ve got a hell of another thing coming!!!” shot Jeff, angrily.

“Woah, woah. I didn’t say we had to release them… ever hear of a thing called Birch’s ranch? You know that MASSIVE landscape northeast of Littleroot Town? It’s got mountains ‘n’ crap? I say we put them there for awhile…” Kevin explained, while occasionally looking ahead on his bike.

“Hmph,” grunted Jeff as Kevin rode back to the lead. He muttered to himself, “I’m not agreeing to anything yet.”

They braked to a slow halt when they reached a small building which, as evident on the other side of it, connected the dirt path to the bike path. Kevin dismounted and opened the glass door to the building and entered, leading the others to follow. They passed by a check out desk and were given the go ahead to proceed to the bike path. The three walked out onto a ceramic, fenced pathway. They spotted several people travelling on bicycles on the path several feet above the ground.

Kevin hopped onto his bike, as did Rachel and Jeff with Treecko. “Okay… here’s the deal… First one to the other side gets to battle the gym first, and last one there has to pay for hotel rooms… Go!”

With that, Kevin and Rachel sped ahead, peddling up a short incline.

Jeff peddled more slowly. “… What did he say?” he asked obliviously, climbing the hill.

“Cko…” muttered Treecko, slapping his head. “<It’s a race that you don’t want to lose.>”

Jeff’s eyes widened and he peddled furiously to catch up. The two rode up the hill which levelled off a good fifteen feet above the grassy route below. Jeff aptly sped around fellow bicyclists, not bothering to enjoy the relaxing breeze. Much to his dismay, the bike path was very long and there was no end in sight, or at least not past the various bikers’ helmets.

“Treecko?... Can I ask you a question?” Jeff asked through a pant of exertion.

Treecko awaited the question, starting to stand up on Jeff’s shoulder.

“Treeck, be careful!” Jeff warned.

“<Jeff, I’m fine,>” he answered, somewhat irritated.

“You could fall!” exclaimed the teen, swerving past a cyclist.

“Treecko cko tree,” muttered Treecko under his breath.

“What was that?” Jeff asked.

“<What are you, my mother?>” Treecko mumbled.

Jeff still hadn’t heard him. “Anyways, my question… You’ve been acting different lately… Ever since you saw me in jail, you’ve been… obeying me and going inside your… pokeball. Why? I mean I’m not complaining, but…”

Treecko suppressed a scoff. “<You’re not complaining?>”

“Yeah, why have you been acting differently?” Jeff inquired, looking back at Treecko.

The grass starter looked forwards. “<Jeff, there’s a road fork ahead.>”

The teenager swung his head forward and saw the elevated bike path split into two separate roads about fifty metres ahead. “Great. I think Kevin and Rachel went right.”

Treecko folded his arms across his bandaged chest. “<They went left.>”

Jeff looked at Treecko. “No. I’m pretty sure that they went right,” he said, his voice getting stronger.

“<I’m telling you they went left,>” Treecko coolly insisted, shaking his head.

“I’m POSITIVE they went right!”

“<They went LEFT!>” exclaimed the pokemon.

“RIGHT!” Jeff shouted, turning in the direction of the right path.

“<LEFT!>” Treecko growled. He hopped down onto the handlebars and grabbed them. The grass starter pulled the bar while Jeff vehemently resisted.

“Let go! I told you, RIGHT is the right way!!” Jeff snarled.

Treecko pulled the handlebars to the left with great force. The bike turned sharply to the left and sped towards the guardrail, which separated cyclists from a fifteen foot drop to the route below.

“MOVE! WE’RE HEADED FOR THE SIDE!” yelled Jeff, trying to help turn and right the bike.

“Tree…” the lizard growled, strenuously trying to help course the bike.

“GET OUTTA THE WAY!” yelled a biker that almost hit them in their spin.

The bike was turned at such an angle where it could not be put back upright, and was instead spinning into a helix motion. The two shifted their entire weight to the right and the bike began to stand. Unfortunately, they still sped towards the three foot rail at an unrecoverable pace.

“I think I… can turn it…” managed Jeff, beginning to turn the cycle.

Just then they saw another bike come out of nowhere and cut them off.

“Eyy, I’m bikin’ ‘ere!” the man exclaimed.

In an attempt to avoid him, Jeff reflexively turned the handlebars. The action was much too sharp and their wheel acted as a barrier as it turned sideways. The rear of their bike upended before even hitting the rail, and both were sent from the seat of the bike into a fifteen foot fall to the jungle-like land below.

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“Errrrrgh,” growled Jeff. He opened his eyes after being unconscious from the nasty fall. Looking straight up, he saw tall grass curving upwards around where he laid his head. Jeff also noticed that he was right below the high bike overpass. He attempted to sit up but couldn’t; there was a blinding pain in his ankle. Jeff slightly lifted his head and looked down at his chest to see Treecko sitting on it while chewing his twig.

The wood gecko noticed Jeff was awake and looked down at him with the smallest hint of concern. “<Jeff… you okay?>”

“Er… Yeah, I’m-ERRRGH… I’m fine! Really!” he insisted, propping himself up on his elbows.

“<Uh huh…>” The grass type got off of Jeff’s stomach and walked down to his feet. He lifted up Jeff’s pant leg and pulled down his sock to see a dire purple coloured and badly swelling bruise. “<You have a sprained ankle…>” Treecko flicked just above the swelling, causing Jeff to cry out in pain. “<…and a bad one at that.>”

“Treeck, I told you. I’m fine,” said the stubborn teen.

“<I’m not a Grovyle or Sceptile… I can’t help you walk. You’re going to stay here and I’ll go get you help,>” Treecko stated, folding his arms.

“The only help I need is help standing up so that we can walk to Mauville!”

Treecko hopped on Jeff’s chest, forcing him to the ground. “<Either you stay put willingly, or I tie you to that tree until I get back with help. So what’s it going to be, Jeff?>” he threatened, pointing to the tree behind him.

The human growled before reluctantly agreeing. “I’ll stay here…”

Treecko nodded and walked off of Jeff’s chest. He grinned to himself. “<I think I’ll have a few battles while I’m at it,>” he muttered to himself.

“What was that?” Jeff asked, trying to sit up more.

With much struggle, Treecko ripped off the bandages tied horizontally on his chest and began to walk.

“Treecko, what are you doing?! Why did you take your bandages off?! Your ribs could still be hurt!” complained Jeff.

“<I’m fine. Just stay put Jeff and I’ll be back soon with help.>” With that, Treecko began running on all fours into the dense forest.

“Treecko, hold up! Wait! Damn it!!” he called. With a grunt of extreme pain, he managed to pull himself to his feet. He hopped on his left foot out of the shade of the underpass, touching his injured right foot to the ground as little as possible.

“I don’t like the looks of this,” he grunted as he limped through the rugged forest terrain. The farther he went, the darker the forest became. The sun seemed to barely leak through the canopies now. Through the dark trees, Jeff could see a giant brown egg-shaped structure. He marvelled at the sheer size of it as it stood around a tree at about three stories high.

“What the hell is that?” he grunted to himself, moving closer to the giant beige oval construction. He pushed himself from tree trunk to tree trunk in an attempt to take pressure off of his sprained ankle. Jeff looked through a few trees and identified the structure as a giant hive, with buzzing emanating from the inside. He stopped dead in his tracks, balancing on his good foot.

Jeff then heard a buzzing to his left. He turned and saw a large, yellow hornet with black stripes standing on its two, skinny black forelegs. Its menacing main stinger looked just as deadly as its two ivory fore stingers that took the place of hands. The bug squinted its large, red, buggy eyes, which stood under two antennae. Jeff had never seen a Beedrill walk instead of fly before, but it seemed to be injured seeing as the lower pair of its two wings appeared missing. In addition to the wings, something else caught his eye. There was a vine necklace around the bug’s neck with two small, ivory cones on it, which looked like the very tips of a Beedrill’s fore stingers.

The teen remembered Professor Birch say that Beedrill were very territorial and highly dangerous. He slowly turned his head back forwards and broke into a run, using even his sprained right foot to get himself away.

“<HALT!!>” buzzed a voice.

The Beedrill shot an adhesive string from its mouth which hit Jeff’s mobile left foot, pinning it to the ground. Beginning to fall over, he instinctively put out his injured foot to catch himself.

“ARRRRRRGH!!” he cried out as all of his weight went on the injury, and he collapsed under the pain.

The Beedrill ran towards him as he tried to take the string off of his foot.

“<Do not move!>” ordered the Beedrill. Jeff promptly stopped as the bug pointed his fore stinger at him. “<What were you doing?!>”

Jeff’s muscles tensed. “I… I was looking for my friend… a Treecko…”

The Beedrill slackened a bit. “<… A friend?>” he asked more softly, looking down at the necklace he wore.

The teen nodded and adjusted his hat in a worried anticipation,

The Beedrill looked up at his hive. He whispered, “<Alright… You must get out of here as soon as possible- before my fellow Beedrill come out and see you.>”

“Uhhh…” a surprised Jeff stalled, gesturing to his immobile left foot.

“<Right…>” the bug said trying to tear away at the silk. Jeff also attempted to rip it off. “<… Damn it! How much did I use?! I just can’t take it off!>”

The teenager’s heart dropped as the Beedrill looked at him guiltily. “<I am truly sorry… I… My name is Drezdk,>” he said, unable to think of anything else to say.

“… I’m Jeff,” replied the downcast human. “There’s nothing you can do?”

The Beedrill attempted to try to tear apart the adhesive again, but failed. “<I’m sorry. I was nervous and used too much snare thread-err- ‘string shot’ to non-Beedrills. I’m not used to this job!>” he frantically said.

A Beedrill flew out of the entrance of the hive and landed on a Beedrill-made plateau just outside of the entrance on the hive. It looked down at Jeff and Drezdk.

“<Drezdk? Who are you talking to?!>” he asked,

Drezdk panicked. “<N-n-nothing, sir! I-I was just finishing off this intruder!>” He turned to Jeff and raised his right fore stinger. “<Follow my lead,>” he whispered very softly. The bug thrust his stinger forward, into between Jeff’s right arm and chest. When Drezdk realized that Jeff wasn’t screaming, he stepped on the human’s sprained ankle, causing him to cry out.

“<Keep up the good work, hero,>” said the Beedrill, flying back in the hive. Drezdk shuddered at the last remark.

Jeff cringed and looked up at the Beedrill standing over him. “Why don’t you kill me?” he asked, in the form of a question rather than a goad.

The bug looked down at the ground. “<I don’t want anymore blood on my stingers… I hate it here… This hive… They’re all over-aggressive, warmongers who hate anyone outside the hive… and… Tal’s gone…>” he said contemptibly, his voice getting gradually softer as he spoke. “<I keep planning to run away… but I can’t. We’re on an island… I wouldn’t be able to get away and if they found me they might kill me.>”

“Kill you? But didn’t that guy call you a hero?”

“<I AM NOT A HERO!>” Drezdk shouted as the forest mist grew thicker around them. “<I… I am really sorry, but… I have to kill you.>”

Jeff froze. “W… what?”

“<If they see you’ve escaped they’ll… I… I don’t know what they might do!>”

The teen tugged at his trapped leg. “Why would they kill you if you’re a hero?!” he grilled.

“<They- they might! It’s a very complicated and cruel society!!>” Drezdk insisted even more frantically. “<And I told you! I am NOT a HERO!>”

“You said we’re on an island! My friend went out to find help for me and he could get himself hurt or killed looking for it! If anything happens to him… that would be on my conscience forever. I… can’t leave him to possibly die. If you’re not a hero… then you have the chance to be one. Please…” plead a desperate Jeff.

“<I tried to help you… but I couldn’t… It’s just like the battle…>” Drezdk looked down at the necklace on his chest in deep thought. “<…Two days ago I had my first real battle. I was part of the ‘reconaissault’ team along with my best friend. During the battle, the entire team was wiped out. My best friend, Talvoc, died saving me… and I couldn’t save him…>”

Jeff looked down, uncomfortably. “I’m… I’m sorry… is that how you injured your wings?”

“<Thanks,>” said the bug before continuing. “<The only reason I survived was because I ran away and lied… Now, back at the hive, they call me a hero for not dying in battle, but they don’t know that I’m a coward and a traitor… Ever since the battle I’ve been terrified that the others will find out and kill me. >” He took a deep breath and held up the double-pointed part of his necklace. “<These two points are the very tips of Talvoc’s fore stingers… I made this necklace to remember him.>”

Admittedly, Jeff thought that it was kind of weird, but he didn’t dare judge someone else’s culture. “Why did you tell me all that?” he asked.

“<Because you’re as good as dead next to this hive,>” he answered remorsefully, causing Jeff’s heart to sink even lower.

“You know… If you get me out of here, you can come along with me… That way they wouldn’t try to kill you because it would seem like I caught you. The chance of me getting away with my bad foot his like hitting a bulls eye with a dart in the dark, but it’s better than-” Jeff was cut off by the Beedrill.

“<Dart? That’s it!>” Drezdk aimed his main stinger down at the sticky thread pinning Jeff’s foot to the ground and shot out three, large purple pins.

Jeff shut his eyes, fearing that they would hit his foot. None did and they began to eat away at the string shot. With most of it gone, Jeff freed his foot and got on one knee to stand up.

“So, Drezdek,” he said.

“<Drezdk,>” the Beedrill corrected.

“Whatever… Are you going to take me up on my offer?” Jeff asked with a grin.

The bug nodded. “<I just need to visit Talvoc first… and leave a message for my other friend.>”

Jeff nodded and hopped a little ways away from the hive. Meanwhile, Drezdk walked a little ways through the forest to a very, very small clearing. Before even looking at his surroundings, he hastily wrote on a tree trunk in Beedrillian script and then he would say his parting words to his deceased friend.

It read: ‘Friend, try to get caught by a human if you can - anything's better than the hive. But if not, come and check on Talvoc's body every day-’

The writing cut off as the Beedrill looked at where his late friend should have been lying. Instead, there was just pressed grass and footprints leading off.

“<Tal?!>” Drezdk shouted, looking around frantically. “<Talvoc?!?!>” he asked again, as if expecting an answer from him. The distraught Beedrill began running frantically around the clearing.

Meanwhile, Jeff leaned against a tree warily. The teen was very concerned about both the nearby nest and Treecko, who could be anywhere. He shut his eyes as he waited; the dark forest made him uneasy. His eyes shot open when he heard a rustling in the bushes beside him. Jeff’s head jerked towards the leafy unknown where the sounds were coming from.

“…Drezduk?” he asked anxiously.

He got no verbal reply, the rustling only got louder

More fearfully, he questioned, “…Treecko?”

Jeff braced himself as a figure his size burst through the bushes.

“Pip! PIP-lup!” a high, squeaky voice said triumphantly.

Jeff opened his eyes and looked up from under the visor of his hat to see a human in familiar attire. He recognized the dark blue shorts and Piplup sitting on a shoulder of the white and blue t-shirt. The figure was Jeff’s age and height, but with shorter and darker brown hair.

“Hey!” he said. “Are you the guy who fell over the edge?”

Jeff took off his baseball cap and stared at him. “You… Blane…”

The teen that Jeff had met twice before, and had disliked for only caring about winning battles, stared back at him before recognizing Jeff. He walked towards him, grabbed Jeff’s shirt collar, and forced him up against the tree he was leaning against.

“What was the big idea stealing my bike back in Oldale Town?!” he said with a scowl, pressing Jeff against the tree.

“Piplup! Lup piplup!” said the annoyed penguin pokemon, urging his trainer to stop.

“First of all, I didn’t steal it, I borrowed it. I left it in Petalburg!” said Jeff, grabbing Blane’s collar in response.

“I had to fish it out of the harbour!!” he yelled, only to have Jeff ignore him.

“At least you got it back… Second of all, it was an emergency, my Treecko was really hurt. Thirdly, settle down… or do you want an entire hive of Beedrill on our asses?” Jeff said calmly, craning his head towards the giant hive.

Blane looked over, loosened his grip on Jeff and stepped back. “Well… you coulda just asked…”

Jeff looked at the Beedrill hive and then around the forest for Drezdk. “…What are you doing down here anyways?”

“We heard that someone fell off the side, so we wanted to make sure they were okay,” Blane explained, lightening up.

“Pip pip lup!” his Piplup proudly nodded.

Jeff faked a grin at Blane. “Well aren’t you the hero?!” Jeff sarcastically said.

Blane frowned angrily. “Why are you such a jerk?!”

The teen in question opened his mouth but was interrupted by Drezdk, who ran to him. “<Human! I can’t find Talvoc! He just disappeared!>”

Jeff was shocked. “What? I… How can a… Hmm.” He looked at the distraught bug type with some pity. “I… I’m sorry, Drezdok… I really don’t know what to say…” awkwardly said Jeff, guessing a hungry wild pokemon probably took the body. He then glanced up at Blane. “Wait, you came down here from the Mauville side of the path?!”

The hasty teen nodded. “Does that mean we’re NOT on an island?!” Jeff asked before looking down at Drezdk.

“<So all this time… I could have left?! We could have just left?! The hive just LIED to us?!?!?>” Drezdk yelled, angry, shocked and shaken.

Meanwhile, Blane and his Piplup looked on perplexed, but rather impatiently. “We really have to go, RIGHT NOW,” he urged, bothered.

Jeff shot a glare at him and looked down at the Beedrill. “He’s right… Are you sure you want to come?”

The very upset Beedrill sighed and nodded. Jeff took out a fresh pokeball from and tapped Drezdk on the head with it. He was surrounded by a red gleam and sucked into the orb. The pokeball didn’t even shake, it merely locked immediately. The teen placed the pokeball on his belt and limped towards Blane.

“You look hurt,” he pointed out.

“I’m fine… I can walk just fine,” Jeff insisted.

“Piplup pip!” said the water type, crossing his flippers.

“Yeah, not fast enough!” Blane said, taking Jeff’s arm and putting it around his shoulder.

“You don’t have to help me walk. I’ll be okay.”

“Too bad,” he said, as they started to walk away from the hive.

Jeff sighed and then remembered Treecko. “… Then let’s hurry up.”
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  #132    
Old July 26th, 2008, 09:28 AM
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Bay Alexison
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Sorry for not reviewing the last couple of chapters. Stuff came up. Also, so sorry this review is going to be short. Playing catchup and also actually I'll be busy for the next couple of days. Wanna do this now before I forget. XD

For "Truth and Reconciliation," pretty much I agreed with everyone else how it seemed rushed and you could've expanded the emotions more. However, you made me wonder what kind of role Team Aqua has in this story and also why those two guys were suddenly scared.

For "Cutting to the Chase," I was a bit confused as to how Kevin got the other Onix, though I might've missed something there. However, I thought it was funny that Rachel blew off much of the money on shopping. XD Also, interesting backstory between Kevin and his Scyther.

For "Escape," love the bike scene. Poor Treecko and Jeff suddenly crashed. XD Also, intersting you incoprate Drezdk's background story into this chapter (yes, I read that one shot LONG time ago, back in March but wasn't able to review because I was busy with school XD). It'll be intersting how Jeff will handle that Beedrill. Also, I assume Blane and Jeff are going to help each other, at least for now? Not only that, hoping that Jeff and Treecko will patch things up soon?

So far things are back on a shakey start but you seem to be getting back in the groove of writing. ^^ Can't wait for the next chapter!

Before I go, wanna say, Congrats on winning Fifth place! ^^
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  #133    
Old October 30th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Wow, it's been awhile. New Chapter!

Shock of the Lightning

“Treeeeee CKO!” shouted the wood gecko.

He spun his large tails around, pivoting on his foot in a slide tackle-like motion, and smacked a brown-furred mammal across the face. The Zigzagoon flew back against the trunk of a tree. The knocked out rodent fell to the grass, followed by bark cracked by the impact.

Treecko stood up and exhaled. “<Four should be enough for now… I guess I should go find Jeff’s friends.>”

Treecko inhaled but then stopped. The wood gecko sensed something was coming up behind him. He pretended to be oblivious to the thing coming towards him. He could feel a wind blow with it. Suddenly, right before it could reach him, he spun around and grabbed it by the neck. The surprised pokemon let out a squawk. Treecko was grabbing the neck of a Taillow.

“Cko…” The wood gecko sighed and let go, shifting the twig in his mouth from one side to the other. It was Daedalus.

“<Watch it!>” chirped the Taillow angrily. He looked around Treecko to see an unconscious Zigzagoon. “<What the heck were you doing?>”

The grass starter folded his arms and looked at the tree canopies past Daedalus. “<None of your business…>” he answered informally.

“<Right… Well I was supposed to find you. Jeff’s hurt and we’re lost so we’re supposed to go back to them,>” Daedalus explained, pulling Treecko’s hand with his talon.

Treecko held his ground. “<I’m trying to find the others. And who’s ‘them’?>”

“<You know that guy with the Piplup?>”

Treecko shook his head. “<…No.>”

Daedalus flapped his wings and continued trying to pull Treecko. “<Just come on, we’ll find the others later!>”

Treecko yanked his hand from the talons, but nodded and followed the bird. The wood gecko walked behind the slow-flying Taillow.

To pass the time and break the uncomfortable silence, Daedalus struck up a conversation. “<I think Jeff got a new pokemon…>”

“<Uh… huh,>” Treecko replied, unable to care less.

“<Yep. Someone called Drezdek, apparently. Sounds like some sort of bug pokemon based off the name. Yeah…>” Daedalus awkwardly grinned before his stomach growled.

“<You’re thinking about eating it, aren’t you?>” Treecko said, shifting the twig in his mouth.

Daedalus looked back. “<No! …No no! I wouldn’t eat it. Of course not! I->”

Treecko cut in. “<Tree.>”

Daedalus looked back forwards and slammed hard into a warm wall of bark. “Taaiiii…” he groaned, slinking to the ground.

Treecko walked past the wounded Taillow and kept walking onward in the deep forest. Daedalus shook himself alert. “<Ugh… Treeck! Wait up!>” He flapped his wings and quickly caught up to the grass type. “<So, Treeck…>” Treecko kept his head facing ahead but shifted his eyes to the bird in response. “<Why are you suddenly going in your pokeball? I thought you were scared of pokeballs,>” Daedalus asked.

Treecko grunted and looked back forwards. “<I’m not scared of pokeballs... I just don’t feel comfortable in them. They’re very restricting.>”

“<Right, but why are you going in them now?>” Daedalus asked. “<And don’t say ‘It’s none of my business’!>”

“<Fine, it’s none of your business,>” Treecko answered, placing his hands behind his head, idly.

The Taillow sighed. “<Just tell me…>”

Treecko reluctantly answered, “<There are worse things than going in a pokeball… like losing. And I don’t want to be treated special because I’m Jeff’s first pokemon. I hate it but I’m strong enough to be able to suffer through being in those things.>”

Dae nodded. “<And you’re not going to run off like a selfish coward again?>”

Treecko swung to face Daedalus, staring at him. “<I am not a coward. I had something important that I needed to do- and needed some time to think about stuff… Speaking of cowardice, when are you ever going to battle someone?>”

Daedalus likewise swung around to face Treecko. “<How dare you call me a coward! I have led my flock in a territory war against Spearows! I will not injure another pokemon for sport! I->”

“Pip piplup!” chirped a high voice. “<There you are!>” he exclaimed from Blane’s shoulder.

Jeff, being supported by Blane, walked forwards through a tall bush to the two pokemon.

“Treecko… you okay?” Jeff asked groggily.

Treecko nodded. “<Of course I am. I’m perfectly fine, Jeff!>” he responded irately.

The teen took a pokeball and recalled Daedalus to it before reattaching the pokeball to his belt. Treecko stood there, half-expecting to be recalled too.

“<… Jeff, you can recall me to one of those… things, too, you know.>”

He looked at the grass type sceptically and confusedly, but then shrugged. “If you want to…” Jeff then raised another pokeball and absorbed the pokemon into it.

Blane looked at him with a curious look. “You having problems with your Treecko?”

Jeff shot him a glare. “I suppose you have a perfect relationship with all of your pokemon!”

Piplup opened his beak to retort but it was quickly muffled by Blane for its own good. “Jeez, sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it…”

Jeff grunted and continued to limp alongside Blane. He looked up to see a small hole in the massive tree canopies and noticed that dark grey storm clouds were beginning to blanket the sky. Suddenly there was a clap of thunder.

“Doesn’t it rain enough in Hoenn?” Blane muttered to himself, looking down at Piplup, who shrugged. He then turned to Jeff. “So how many badges do you have, Jeff?”

He paused and looked back. “I have two.”

“Yeah, me too. Brawly sure was tough, though. We almost lost that one, right Piplup?”

“<Almost,>” Piplup said, nodding proudly.

Jeff scowled at the name ‘Brawly’. Blane looked at him curiously and sighed. “What? What did I say wrong this time? I’m starting to think that you’re just a jerk that hates me for no reason!”

It took every ounce of Jeff’s willpower not to respond to that. He wanted to tell him off for the way Jeff thought he treated his pokemon, but Jeff wouldn’t let himself at least until he could walk on his own.

“Nothing… Brawly claims that my Onix –before I met him- went crazy and tried to destroy the town. So now he banned us from ever going back.”

“Gee, that sucks… Did your Onix do that?” Blane asked.

Jeff grunted and thought. He remembered the outburst on the beach and what Nurse Joy said. “I’d like to say Brawly is wrong… but I’m not sure.” Wanting to change the subject, he asked, “So you’re from Sinnoh, right?”

Blane nodded. “Yup, Twinleaf Town- Piplup’s my starter.”

“Why are you challenging the gyms in Hoenn and not Sinnoh?”

“I offered to deliver something from Professor Rowan to Professor Birch, and Professor Rowan said I might as well start in Hoenn,” he explained.

Jeff nodded and recalled seeing him in Littleroot Town when Jeff was going to get his starter.

“I have a bit of advice for you, Blane…” Jeff told him.

“Yeah?” Blane asked curiously.

“When you’re in a battle you can’t win and your pokemon are really hurt, don’t keep giving them potions if they’re just going to get hurt again in the vain hope you’ll win; you’re just prolonging their pain. Y-” Jeff advised before being cut off and awaited the retort.

“Yeah… I know,” replied Blane, catching Jeff off guard.

“…What?”

“I battled this guy with a Sandslash and he really taught me that doing that wasn’t right. …I still feel like a moron for that,” he said, looking down at Piplup who patted him with his flippers reassuringly.

“Oh… A Sandslash, huh?” Jeff asked. “Was he really mysterious and have a hat?”

“Yeah, why? You know him?”

Jeff nodded. “He helped me in Petalburg Forest…”

“Wow. Small world,” Blane said, stepping them over a large log.

He nodded again and asked, “What about your pep-talks?”

“What pep-talks?” he asked Jeff, curiously.

The injured teen sighed. “Never mind.”

Suddenly, a blue thing started flying towards them from out of the dark forest. Small, infrequent drops of rain began to trickle down from the trees above. It darted incredibly fast at them. Then a crack of thunder boomed, startling the blue creature and causing it to fly into Jeff’s face.

“AHGH!” he yelled as both he, Blane and the creature fell to the forest floor. Piplup jumped on top of his trainer and sucked in, preparing to attack.

“<Jeff! Jeff! It’s me, Jeff! It’s Strix! I’m here to find you!>” said a Zubat, flapping wildly in front of Jeff’s face.

“Strix? It’s okay, Piplup, I know him,” he explained.

“<Yeah, Pipster! He knows me!>” he wryly smiled before landing on Jeff’s head.

As the two humans stood up, Jeff with much struggle, Piplup shot the Zubat a look. “<Don’t call me that.>”

“Lead the way, Strix.”

The Zubat nodded and flew off on Jeff’s head, erratically flying in front of them. He then spun around and started flying backwards, obviously showing off.

“<So what happened to your leg, Jeff?! Did you break it?! You pick a fight with a Beedrill?! I heard they’re pretty bad in these parts! Did you try to do a jump off the bike path? That would have looked cool!>” he hastily asked, not stopping even to take a breath.

The rain hitting Strix’s wings splashed onto the three as he flapped his wings to fly backwards. Lightning flashed, illuminating the four briefly.

“Just get us out of here, okay Strix?” Jeff said, wincing from pain. “I don’t want to get struck by lightning.”

The others agreed and trudged through the dark, now muddy forest. “<We’re almost there!>” Strix told them while doing a corkscrew-like flying manoeuvre.

A louder thunderclap crackled nearer to them and the rain continued to fall.

“Man, the weather in Hoenn is temperamental,” Blane muttered, now drenched.

“Pip piplup!” muttered the water type in agreement.

Jeff nodded. “How much longer, Strix?”

The Zubat flew far ahead of him and stopped, flapping in his place. “<We-are-here!>”

Blane and Jeff sped up as much as Jeff’s injured ankle would allow, and burst through the bushes. Standing under a tree was Kevin, who had a grin plastered on his face, and Rachel, who was looking rather annoyed by the fact that she had no umbrella and that they were in the middle of a thunderstorm.

“Look who decided to show up! It’s Jeff and… some guy! Fancy driving there, J! Did you take this poor guy over the side too?” Kevin said, visibly trying hard not to crack up.

Jeff glared at Kevin. “Laugh it up, Kev.”

“I haven’t even started,” Kevin said. “Let me give you a hand, though.” He took Jeff’s other arm and helped Blane support him.

“I’m Blane, by the way,” he introduced himself.

“I’m Kevin, and that bundle of mirth over there is Rachel,” Kevin replied, pointing to a rather huffy looking Rachel.

“Let’s just go before we get struck by lightning!” she said as Strix landed on her shoulder.

They agreed and quickly trudged through the rain towards Mauville.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The four ran through the gates of Mauville City. The city they were entering was a large city decorated with several skyscrapers. They saw the urban center was on the bank of a large river as they ran through the rain to the pokemon center. Due to the thunderstorm, there weren’t many cars driving through the lamp-lit streets. The group went as quickly as they could up to the pokemon center. They opened the doors and walked inside.

Kevin walked forwards through the spacious white lobby and up to the tall counter, which a Nurse Joy stood behind.

“Hi, uhh, my friend over there in the baseball cap sprained his ankle and we were wondering if you could do something about it,” the blonde haired boy asked.

“I’m terribly sorry,” she replied guiltily, “but we’re only supposed to treat pokemon here. There’s a hospital on the north side of town.”

“It’s fine, Kevin, I don’t need any medical attention anyways,” Jeff insisted, wrenching away from Blane and sitting down on a cushioned, red leather seat.

Kevin rolled his eyes and walked back to the four. He looked over at the purple, swollen injury and flicked it.

“GAAH!” Jeff cried out in pain, clutching his leg.

“Don’t need any medical attention… suuure…” he said with a grin.

Jeff shot a glare at him and then looked at the others. “So… there’s a gym here, right?”

Blane nodded. “Yup, Wattson’s the gym leader… it’s an electric type gym. Who’s coming with me?!” he questioned eagerly.

“I am!” Kevin and Jeff both said competitively.

“We’ll time it to see who beats him first… IF you even beat him!” Kevin said to Jeff with a rivalrous grin.

“And no using Atlas or Prometheus,” Jeff added.

“Got it.”

“You’re goin’ down, Kev.”

“Man, Jeff, it sounds like you’re talking to Alan or something!” Kevin laughed.

Jeff grew silent. “…Yeah,” he mumbled quietly. “…I guess now I’d rather compete with someone who’s worth my effort.”

Kevin tilted his head in curiosity and confusion.

Blane stepped forwards. “I bet I could beat him quicker than both of you,” he said with a confident smile.

“Okay, Blane’s in. No using ground pokemon,” Kevin said. “What about you, Rache? Are you gonna battle?”

She shook her head. “Nope, I don’t really care about pokemon battles. Besides, it’s an electric type gym; I don’t want Strix or Avis getting hurt.”

“Why are you travelling if you aren’t collecting badges?” Jeff asked, curiously while getting out a potion from Kevin’s bag.

Rachel shrugged dismissively. “It’s kinda complicated.”

“Yeah and no one cares!” added Kevin with joking smile on his face.

She glared at him and looked at Strix. “Can you go bite him or something?”

The Zubat shook his head. “<I like Kevin!>”

Rachel sighed. “What did he say?”

Kevin started walking to the door of the pokemon center. “He said I’m awesome.”

Jeff finished spraying his leg with the potion and stood up with a wince. He walked back over to the counter and handed Nurse Joy Drezdk’s pokeball. “Could you please heal this Beedrill for me?”

She nodded and took the pokeball. “Of course… Lots of Beedrills these days, it seems like. Come back in thirty minutes, please.”

“Thanks,” he said before walking back to the group. The four of them walked out of the pokemon center. Blane followed last, after conversing with some teenager.

“Hey, guys,” Blane said, stepping into the rain. “I was talking to some guy in there who just battled Wattson and he said that the battles are one on one. What pokemon are you guys going to use?”

“Uhhh… I guess Blitz is my only real choice,” Kevin said with some discomfort before throwing a pokeball onto the ground. A Scyther appeared on the concrete sidewalk. Standing in the rainy night, he turned towards Kevin, his wings twitching slightly as the rain hit them.

“<Hello, Kevin. What is it that you need?>” the mantis asked, standing uneasily in the rain.

“Uhh… well…” he said slowly, as if he were mulling something over.

“<…Kevin…>” Blitz whispered before making a quick upwards motion with his head to the sky. He then looked at the others out of the corner of his eye, hoping they didn’t see.

Kevin looked up at the sky and he quickly remembered something. “Oh right! Let’s go to the gym already so we don’t get –uhh- soaked,” he suggested running ahead along the wet road with Blitz at his side.

As he ran he asked. “Blitz? How would you like a last gym battle?”

“<Of course, Kevin… last?>” he asked in confusion. Kevin sped up and made it to the front door, which he held open for the water-logged Scyther.

The others didn’t hasten to catch up with the two, despite the rain. Blane turned to Jeff. “So, what pokemon are you using?”

“Uhhh, I don’t really know. Treecko would make the most sense, but he might still be hurt… and I know Corphish has been itching to battle, but he’s a water type… Daedalus and Dre-… the Beedrill are both out of the question. What about you? I’m hoping you leave Piplup on the bench this time.”

Piplup tilted his head, somewhat insulted. “<What? You don’t think I could handle it? I->”

“Piplup…” he warned good-heartedly. “I think I’m using Bagon for the fight.”

“A Bagon!?” Jeff said, surprised and somewhat spiteful. “You sure got lucky. I remember Professor Birch said those are rare.”

“Yeah… You could say I got lucky; he’s great! Want me to introduce him to you?” he answered with pride.

“Uhh… sure.”

Blane took out a pokeball and pointed it towards his left arm. There was a bright flash of light and a small, light blue reptile appeared in his arms. The rain drops splashed down and ran off the back of Bagon’s head, which had three white, boney crests.

“Bag bagon!” he said, rubbing his beige underbelly and jaw.

Rachel came up from behind them with Strix, interested in the new pokemon.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“Jeff and Rachel… this is Bagon. Bagon, these are my friends Jeff and Rachel,” Blane explained.

Jeff’s jaw dropped. “…‘Friends’?!” he thought, stunned.

“<Nice to meet you,>” the Bagon said acknowledgingly.

The teen stared blankly at him. “Uhhh… Oh! Uh, yeah. You too,” Jeff said to Bagon.

Blane looked at the two. “Should we catch up to Kevin? We’re getting soaked.”

“Yeah, let’s hurry to the gym already!” Rachel agreed.

Jeff stalled. “You guys go ahead… I’ll catch up to you,” he said, taking out a pokeball.

They nodded and ran off through the night rain towards the gym at the end of the street. He released the occupant of the pokeball on the ground. The bright white light against the dark backdrop of the night hurt Jeff’s eyes. When his vision refocused, he saw the green form of Treecko walking calmly towards him as the grass type ceremoniously put his twig in his now-wet green mouth.

“<I see you’re walking now,>” observed Treecko.

“That’s right, Treecko… thanks for trying to get help.”

The lizard’s eyes looked off to the side as he nodded. “<Where are we?>”

“Mauville City. I’m about to challenge a gym…”

“<Okay… Then let’s go fight.>”

“Hold on there…” Jeff said deterrently. “Your ribs… how are they?”

Treecko raised a rain-drenched eyebrow in slight irritation. “<Seriously?>” he thought to himself. The grass type then spoke up. “<My ribs have never been better…>”

“Do you think you can battle okay?” he asked with concern.

“<…Of course I can battle okay!>” he replied, slightly insulted. “<What is this about?>”

Jeff sighed. “Last time you got beat up pretty b-” he attempted to say before being cut off.

Treecko stepped forward into the orange street light which shone upon Jeff. He attempted to remain as calm as possible while interrupting. “<But I won… and now I’m fine and now I’m stronger,>” he coolly explained in self-assurance.

“But-”

“<Look! I’m not a child. I can take care of myself without you having to watch over me like a Staraptor. If you’ve shut up, then I’m going to win this gym battle whether you want me to or not,>” he boldly told him. Treecko then turned and began to walk down the street in the rain, leaving a drenched Jeff standing in the orange glow of the street light.

“…I just don’t want you to die again,” he silently murmured to himself. He slowly tailed his starter and walked up to a large yellow building with the words “gym” plastered above the entrance. He opened the glass door and the two stepped inside.

Meanwhile, Kevin and Blitz waited on the bleachers around the arena. This gym hall was fairly straight forward: the floor was flat ground, dirt, and there were no obstacles on the field. It seemed Wattson liked to keep things simple. The security guard told Kevin that Wattson would be arriving at the gym shortly.

Kevin swung around his hiking backpack and zipped it open. He reached in and pulled out a neatly folded beach towel. He then unfolded it and began drying off Blitz with it, as the Scyther couldn’t himself due to his awkward scythes.

“<Thank you, Kevin,>” the Scyther said appreciatively.

“No problem,” the teen answered simply and hastily.

“<Please, do not tell the others that I fe->”

“I won’t… I promise,” Kevin said somewhat downbeatly while drying the scythe closest to him.

Blitz faintly smiled, but it disappeared when he noticed his trainer’s gloomy expression. “<What is the matter, Kevin?>”

Kevin looked at him and forced a smirk. “Nothing. I’m fine.”

Blitz didn’t entirely believe him, but he nodded, wanting to respect his privacy. “<What is it that you implied earlier when you said ‘last gym battle’?>”

The teenager stalled. The two swung their heads towards the arena door that led to the front lobby. From the door came Blane, Rachel, Jeff, Treecko, and a man in his late fifties. The somewhat stout man held an umbrella to keep his brown sweater and yellow undershirt from getting wet from the rain. The colour of his pants matched the colour of his undershirt. There was a lightning-shaped patch on his upper sleeve; it was Wattson. His white hair and beard looked like he had been electrocuted because it looked like it was permanently sticking out.

“Kevin!” Rachel called out, beckoning him down.

He nodded and he and Blitz walked down to the arena floor. They went up to the old gym leader, who inspected them.

“So this is the third competitor? Excellent! I hope you’re as ecSTATIC as I am for this match! …BAHAHAHAHAAAH!!” he chortled hysterically.

There was silence. The four teenagers looked at each other and wordlessly agreed to force a smile or even a laugh. Jeff cleared his throat, “So, are there any special conditions for this match?”

“Hahah... hee… Err, I don’t have enough pokemon with me, so it will be a single one on one match for each challenger. Who’s up first?!”

Blane stepped forwards with Bagon before Kevin could raise his hand. “I am!”

“Ah! I see a spark in this one!” he said before a hearty giggle.

“I’ll use Bagon here,” Blane told him eagerly.

“Then let’s cut to the chase.” Wattson walked to his side of the arena and signalled to the referee.

“It will be a one on one battle… one pokemon each… the first person with their pokemon unable to battle will be the loser,” said the ref in a voice that said he’d rather be at home with his friends watching the football game where the Pinsirs were facing the Rhydons. “…Begin…”

“Let’s win this quick, Bagon!” Blane encouraged as the tiny dragon hopped in front of him on the battlefield.

“Bag gon!” he eagerly complied.

Jeff, Rachel, and Kevin all took seats on the bleachers; Kevin was careful to take mental notes of Wattson’s fighting style.

“Magnemite!” Wattson beckoned, calling out his pokemon. In a flash of light, a floating metal ball with an eye appeared floating above the arena ground. The light emitted by the pokemon brightly reflected off the metallic lustre and the magnets coming off both the ball’s left and right side.

“Magnemiiiiiiite,” it droned mechanically.

“You get the first move,” Wattson called to his opponent.

Blane nodded and then looked to Bagon. “Start it off with focus energy, buddy!”

The dragon shut his eyes and began to thoroughly concentrate. He seemed to be completely relaxed.

“Wow,” Jeff said aloud in surprise, “I expected him to go in guns blazing.”

“He’s not Kevin, Jeff,” Rachel replied.

“Good!” said Kevin with a grin. “I think even I’d hate another one of me!”

“Magnemite, hit him with a thunderbolt!”

The floating magnet began to pulse electricity into its magnets. A large bolt of lighting shot out from the magnet’s poles and speedily went towards Bagon. The concentrating dragon opened his eyes and threw himself to the side, electricity just missing him. The attack struck the ground where he was standing, which exploded in sparks and left a black scorch mark of the floor.

“Concentrate, Bagon! I know you can do this!” Blane yelled out. “Get in close for a headbutt!”

“And there’s the pep talks,” Jeff said to himself, standing up.

Kevin looked up. “If you’re going to the vending machine, can you pick me up some stuff? I’ll pay you back,” he asked.

Jeff paused. “Uhh… yeah, sure. I was actually going to get Drezdk from the pokemon center, but I guess I can get something on the way.”

He limped down and off the bleachers, going slowly towards the door while warily looking behind him in case of stray attacks. Jeff opened the door, walked out to the lobby, and then went out to the dark street. He limped as quickly as possible to the pokemon center up the street so he wouldn’t get soaked again. The teen entered through the automatic doors and approached the counter.

“Ah yes, you must be here for your Beedrill. I took him out to deal with his hurt wings; he was very sweet. There was something strange with his wings, though, they were-”

“I know, the bottom pair was missing,” Jeff interrupted.

“No- the bottom pair was stuck to the upper pair using a substance that I believe is a Beedrill’s string shot. The half of the bases of the wings was torn so they appeared mutilated.”

Jeff was shocked. “Really? Will he be able to fly again?”

“Yes, I’ve added some medicine to increase the tissue growth. He should be fit to fly in a couple days,” she explained reassuringly.

“Great! Thanks!”

Nurse Joy looked at him curiously. “… I believe the wounds were self-inflicted…” she said, choosing her words carefully. “Is he… okay? I have a program that might help…”

Jeff scratched the back of his head awkwardly. “He didn’t do this to himself out of sadness, I don’t think. I mean… he is sad over losing his friend, but I’m almost certain that he did this in order to save himself from death. He said that his hive was pretty… uhh… cruel. I don’t know the full story, but…”

Nurse Joy nodded in understanding before handing over the pokeball. “If you two ever need anything, then feel free to come here,” he said, smiling.

Jeff thanked her appreciatively and walked over to near the front doors. There he stood and released Drezdk onto the ground. The Beedrill appeared on the ground, looked around and then stood before Jeff.

“<…Hello.>”

“…Hey… How are you feeling?” He was replied with a blank stare from Drezdk’s red eyes. “Sorry… stupid question.”

Drezdk looked outside. “<Do you mind if we walk?>”

“Oh, sure,” Jeff said, walking in front of the automatic door to open it. “Good news, your wings will be healed in a few days!”

The Beedrill nodded silently and walked alongside Jeff in the rainy night. “<Did you find your friend?>”

The teen nodded. “Yeah, I did.”

“<…That’s good.>”

Jeff placed his hand on Drezdk’s shoulder. “The friend I mentioned… I nearly lost him once… I kind of know how you feel, Drezdek.”

Drezdk wrenched away from the human’s grip. “<All due respect – ‘Jeff’ is it? - but you have no idea how it feels to have your life-long best friend die in your arms and then disappear without a trace! And it’s ‘Drezdk’!>” he angrily snapped.

Jeff looked down at the ground. “… Sorry…”

After a short silence, he glanced over at Drezdk. The Beedrill looked at him with a guilty expression and tears brimming. “<I’m truly sorry, I’m not usually rude like that. I know you were just trying to help and I appreciate all that you’ve done for me… but I… I just keep thinking that what happened to Tal was all my fault!>”

Jeff replaced his hand on the pokemon’s back. “I’m sure it wasn’t. You can stay with us as long as you want.”

Drezdk turned away and wiped his eyes with his right stinger. “<…Thank you, Jeff… Can I please go back inside that odd contraption now?>”

He nodded and recalled the bug pokemon to the pokeball just as they had come up to the gym. Jeff opened the front door, purchased a Coca Cola for both himself and Kevin, and then cautiously entered the arena.

As he looked in, he saw Blane rush over to his pokemon and pick him up. “Awesome work, Bagon. I knew you could do it! Way to win us a badge!”

“<Thanks.>” The Bagon smiled and nursed the small burn mark on his head from when he had collided with the Magnemite in the fight. As this happened, Jeff quickly walked back up to his seat on the bleachers.

“Good show, lad! I’ll give you your badge after I finish with your two friends,” Wattson explained, grinning and returning Magnemite to its pokeball.

“Got it. I’m gonna take Bagon to the pokemon center, guys,” Blane called over to the three.

“Okay! Nice job, Blane!” Rachel called back.

“I’ll beat him faster!” Kevin yelled competitively as he stood up. “I timed you!”

“Why don’t I just get a ruler for you three?” Rachel asked with a smirk.

“Because I think you already know that I’d win that contest bar-none, too,” Kevin said smugly.

“If you say so, Kevin…” she sighed.

Blitz, remembering being shown a ruler in Kevin’s house, asked, “<Excuse me, Kevin… but what is it that you would measure with a ruler?>”

Kevin, being stared at by Blitz, started to blush as he thought of a delicate way to put it.

“Ask Corphish,” Jeff said, helping him out while also throwing him his drink.

“What he said!” answered Kevin, standing up and putting his drink down as a placeholder for his seat. “Now… let’s start this battle.”

Blitz nodded and followed him off the bleachers and down to where Blane previously stood. Kevin took out a pokeball and tossed it to Rachel. “Let Ace out; I want to show him that winning battles can be fun!”

She nodded. “…But what if you lose?”

Kevin merely grinned. “We won’t.”

She rolled her eyes and released Ace in her lap. He looked around the area, confused. “Kevin and Blitz are competing in a gym battle,” she explained.

He slowly nodded and looked down at the two. Jeff took out a pokeball of his own. “I should let Corphish out for some air.” The shellfish pokemon materialized and landed on his lap, causing Jeff to sharply exhale. “Did you gain weight?” he asked, jokingly.

“<I didn’t gain weight… I just lost height! …Yeah!>” he indignantly replied. Corphish then looked over to Treecko, who was sitting a couple feet to the right of Jeff, idly chewing his twig. “<Plant butt!>” he exclaimed happily, scuttling over to him.

Treecko looked over and nodded. “<Corp.>”

“<I take it you’re going to be the one battling in this gym match?>” he asked, motioning to the gym ground.

The grass type nodded.

“<Aw… well don’t collapse any more lungs; I was worried about you!>” he said, patting his friend’s back with his claw.

“<I’ll be fine,>” he insisted with calm confidence.

Corphish turned back to Jeff. “<Hey, let Dae out! I haven’t seen him in ages!>”

Jeff stalled and looked down at the arena, watching Kevin and Blitz prepare as the referee restated the rules. “Uhh… I don’t think he-”

Corphish walked over mid-sentence and snatched the pokeball off of Jeff’s belt and then pointed it beside him. Emerging from the light was the Taillow, cracking his neck and stretching as he appeared.

“<Featherface!>” Corphish happily greeted.

“<Heya, Corppy… what’s going on here?>” he asked, gesturing to Kevin and Blitz.

Jeff bit his lip and slowly moved away from the bird. Corphish smiled. “<This, my good Taillow, is your first arena-side gym battle.>”

Daedalus let out a caw that could safely be considered an expletive. “<…So who’s battling for our ever-so moral human?>” he asked, huffily.

“<Treeck is,>” Corphish replied.

“<Hmph… At least no one I care about is going to get hurt…>” Dae scoffed quietly.

Once again having his hearing underestimated, Treecko turned his eyes to coldly stare at Daedalus, and then turned them back to watch the battle. The Taillow averted the gaze, rubbed the side of his head with his wing, and pretended like nothing happened.

“<Would you like to say that again, Dae? I don’t think the people of Johto heard all of that!>” Corphish replied, giving him a pat of the back. The crustacean then looked over to see Ace curiously watching Kevin and Blitz impatiently wait for the ref to finish. Corphish climbed up to Jeff, who was sitting to the right of Rachel.

“<Hey! I don’t believe we’ve officially met,>” he said, getting Ace’s attention. Ace shyly looked over. “<I’m Corphish, but you can call me ‘Corp’, ‘Corppy’, or ‘Sir Awesome the Fourth’.>” The shellfish stuck out his claw for a handshake.

Ace nodded and very slowly moved his hand towards Corphish’s claw for the handshake. He noticed that it was a somewhat sharp pincer and he paused the movement. The Squirtle looked up at Corphish, who smiled, and then back down at his small hand. He gulped and slowly moved his hand towards the pincer; the closer his hand got, the more it started shaking from fear.

“<Relax…>” Corphish smirked. “<It’s not like I’m going to tear you limb from limb or anything…>”

Ace completely froze and his eyes widened and pupils shrunk. The colour drained from his face so that he was a very pale blue hue. Corphish’s smile grew and he clicked his pincer once. “Squir!!!!” Ace sputtered, instantly retreating back into his shell in Rachel’s lap.

Daedalus hopped over and whacked Corphish on the back of the head with his wing. “<That was mean!>” he scolded.

“<And saying that you wish Treeck was dead was SO the work of a saint,>” Corphish smugly answered.

“<I didn’t say that!>” he defensively replied. He jumped to between Jeff and Rachel and began to attempt to get on the better side of Ace.

Meanwhile, the ref finished monotonously reading the rules and Wattson was now ready, as well.

“I’m ready when you are, laddy!” Wattson yelled over across the field.

“Then let’s start this!” Kevin replied. “Ready, Blitz?”

The Scyther stepped forwards and raised his scythes in an offensive guard. “<Of course, Kevin.>”

“Let’s roll, Voltorb!” Wattson threw out a pokeball and from it appeared what seemed to be a much larger pokeball with eyes. The red and white sphere rolled forwards on the floor and crackled with electricity. “Use Spark!” The electricity around the pokemon increased and it began to roll faster across the floor.

“Blitz! Quick Attack!” Kevin shouted. A smirk seemed to appear on Blitz’s face and he rushed forwards, matching the Voltorb’s quick speed.

“I kinda hope Wattson wins,” Jeff muttered.

Corphish looked up at him. “<You’re as bad as Dae; I don’t see why you two don’t get along!>” The water type then found his head being whacked by a dark blue wing again.

Ace emerged from his shell just as Blitz rushed forwards. The Scyther and Voltorb were headed straight for the other. As Blitz dashed, he dragged his right scythe in the ground, creating sparks as it was sharpened. He then raised the scythe above his head. The sparking spherical pokemon was now just meters away from him.

“Agility!” Kevin called.

In the blink of an eye, Blitz moved diagonally from heading straight towards Voltorb to appearing behind him. A chill crawled down Jeff’s back at the deadly speed of the pokemon. Blitz than turned around and charged Voltorb. All that the electric pokemon could see was ground and the daunting, upside-down image of a Scyther charging towards him. Blitz rammed the Voltorb and sent him careening to the floor where he rolled to a stop after a few meters.

“Charge beam, Voltorb!” Wattson called, rather calmly.

The pokemon shook himself alert and started to build up electricity. He then shot a massive surge of crackling blue electricity at the Scyther. Blitz effortlessly side stepped, the beam missing him completely.

“Slash, Blitz!” Kevin yelled, a confident grin plastered on his face.

The Scyther darted towards Voltorb, raising his scythe. With tremendous speed, he brought the jagged metal down on the pokemon. Voltorb cringed and let out a pained buzz. Blitz’s metal conducted the electricity emitted from the electric type and coursed through his arm, making him wince and withdraw the scythe.

Corphish looked at Jeff, who was rather fidgety. “<You don’t look so good, Jeffy. You look like you’ve seen a ghost pokemon. Maybe a Scooby-snack would help?>”

“I’m fine…” he assured, watching the Scyther fervently deliver more blows with his scythe.

“Voltorb, hang in there!” Wattson called over to the wincing orb pokemon. “Use Spark!”

Voltorb hopped back from the blows and built up more electricity. He then lunged towards Blitz with tremendous force.

“Blitz, sidestep!!!”

The Scyther shifted his body sideways and leaned backwards. Voltorb just barely missed hitting his chest. Then, just as Voltorb was passing right in front of him, Blitz stretched out his two scythes and caught a shaky hold on him. Ignoring the electricity going through his arms, he used the momentum of Voltorb’s tackle to spin around at increased speed. Blitz swung around three times before hurling Voltorb upwards in the air. He immediately flapped his wings and flew upwards after him, matching his speed.

Just as Voltorb was reaching the peak of the height that he could go, Blitz appeared in front of him and raised his right scythe to his left shoulder.

“<Crap…>” the Voltorb managed to squeak in a buzzing voice.

A Kevin-like smile appeared on Blitz’s face and he immediately slashed diagonally downwards, sending Voltorb flying to the ground. He hit the ground about ten feet in front of Kevin before detonating. The blonde-haired teen braced himself and was nearly knocked off his feet by the discharge of energy.

Wattson frowned but then started to chuckle light-heartedly. “Wow, that was a blast!” he exclaimed with a laugh, recalling the unconscious Voltorb.

Blitz flew down in front of Kevin. “<I apologize for that; I didn’t expect him to detonate, though I should have.>”

“Haha!” Kevin laughed, ecstatically hugging the mantis. “Don’t worry about it, you kicked ***!”

Blitz smiled and hugged him back, conscious of his scythes. “<Thank you, Kevin.>” Despite this, he still shocked Kevin due to the electricity in his scythes.

“Gah!” he sputtered, jumping.

Blitz almost let out a chuckle. “<Should we go collect our badge now?>”

Kevin paused and came to a realization. “Oh… uhh… yeah, sure…” he mumbled, glumly.

“<What is wrong?>”

“Uhh… we have to have a talk later…” Just as Kevin said this, Jeff came up to him with Treecko, taking their place on the field.

The two walked back up to the bleachers and Wattson took out his third pokeball. Meanwhile, Treecko confidently stepped forwards on the field.

“Let’s go, Electrike!” Wattson called, throwing a pokeball onto the arena. Emerging from the ball was a light green dog-like creature with yellow ears and tail. It stepped forwards and snarled, electricity shooting from its bristling green fur. “This must be the Jeff that Brawly mentioned to me yesterday. Let’s see if what that surfer nut says is true or not… Electrike, use Discharge!”

Jeff glanced with shock at Treecko, not knowing that the ref gave the okay to start already. “Treecko, play this defensively! He’s going to be using fast and disabling attacks!”

Treecko shook his head. “<Then I should go out and meet him before he gets the chance to use them,>” he calmly replied.

“Treeck, no, stay where-” But before he could finish, Treecko dashed forwards, just barely dodging the electrical attack that was headed towards him. “Damnit,” Jeff murmured. “Try a quick attack, then!”

The speedy wood gecko dashed towards the pokemon, who was still cooling down from the electric attack he emitted, and swung his tail around, slamming it into the Electrike’s face. Electrike flew to the side, but managed to land standing on his feet.

“Careful, Electrike! Try Spark!” the gym leader ordered.

“Trike, trike!” Electrike barked, charging forwards towards Treecko. The grass type attempted to dodge, but was slightly too slow to the draw; Treecko was hit by both Electrike and coursing electricity in the chest, sending him backwards onto the floor.

“Treecko!” Jeff yelled out.

The wood gecko immediately got to his feet. “<I’m fine,>” he called back.

“Electrike, go for a Thunder Fang now!” Wattson said.

Electrike started bounding towards Treecko, sparking fangs bore. Treecko took a defensive stance and glared at his oncoming foe.

“Don’t just stand there, Treeck! Keep moving so he won’t hit you!” Jeff shouted as the green hound-like pokemon raced closer.

“<No, I’ve got a better idea,>” he replied. Treecko’s eyes locked with the oncoming Electrike’s and he glared into them. Electrike was confused as to why his opponent seemed to be welcoming the attack, but he continued charging ahead. Treecko remained standing in his place, staring down the electric pokemon.

“Treecko, what are you doing?!” Jeff yelled, growing impatient.

Hmm, he and the Treecko don’t seem to be working well as a team, at all,” Wattson thought, examining the two.

Electrike lunged at the grass type, prepared to bite and still fixated on the reptile’s glaring eyes. As the fangs were now inches away from his upper body, Treecko leaned backwards, using his tail as a tripod. Electrike’s fur brushed horizontally against his red stomach, bristling with static as it did; it was just far enough so that Electrike missed and flew over Treecko, landing several meters behind him.

Immediately after this, Treecko used the momentum from falling backwards to pivot on his tail to turn around and then stand back up, facing behind Electrike. He grinned and then opened up his mouth to use Bullet Seed. Four glowing seed-sized balls of energy came from his mouth and hit Electrike, causing him to cringe, but four was all.

His eyes widened and he attempted to fire again. Nothing. A bead of sweat dripped down his face. Again, he tried to use the attack, but it was to no avail.

“Crapcrapcrap,” Jeff murmured, clenching his fists.

“<Uh oh, he’s shooting duds again,>” Corphish remarked. Daedalus merely smirked in reply, watching closely.

Wattson tilted his head in confusion, but shrugged it off and called to Electrike. “Quick Attack and Thunder Fang!”

Electrike barked in agreement and charged towards Treecko, who still attempted to use his attack. The lightning pokemon dove at Treecko, dug his teeth into his left shoulder and brought him to the ground. The grass type cried out as electricity coursed through him, but he shoved Electrike off of him.

“Treeck!” Jeff called over. “Are you alright?!”

The Treecko sluggishly sat upwards, flinching. “<I’m… fah-fine- errgh!>” he attempted to reply. He slowly got to one knee, at the pace of a tortoise. Treecko tried to stand up but then he froze in his place. He winced and then fell forwards onto the floor.

“Treecko!” Jeff yelled, louder and more concerned this time.

The wood gecko grimaced and got back up to his hands and knees. Wattson grinned. “He’s paralyzed, laddie! You don’t happen to have a paralyze heal for that, do you?”

Jeff glowered. “How are you doing, Treeck?!”

Treecko got back up on one knee and looked back at Jeff out of the corner of his eye. “<Fine… Can still fight…>”

Wattson sighed. “I’m calling this match, lad!”

Both Jeff and Treecko darted their heads towards him in shock. “<I can still fight!>” the latter shouted in a growl.

“But he’s not knocked out yet!” Jeff also protested.

“He’s paralyzed from my Electrike. He doesn’t stand a chance against us now. We’d only be prolonging his pain.”

“But-”

“You can’t win, I’m telling you! Besides, if you two can’t work together by this point… neither of you really deserve the Dynamo Badge. Go to the pokemon center, settle out your differences, train, and then come back here for a rematch. We have these gym battles for a reason, lad; it’s not just to test strength, but also cooperation and the relationships between a trainer and pokemon.” Wattson looked over to the ref, who impatiently nodded.

“Treecko is unable to battle, Wattson and Electrike are the winners.”

There was an eerie silence, which was broken moments later by Daedalus cracking up into a fit of laughter.
__________________
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  #134    
Old December 18th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Resolve


Jeff sat down on the red cushioned couch of the pokemon center. He leaned forward and settled his forehead into his palms, rain-soaked hair resting between his fingers. The teen had just given Treecko’s pokeball to the Nurse Joy, his face still burning from humiliation. Kevin sat down on the cushion left of him and Rachel sat to the left of Kevin. The blonde haired guy shook Jeff’s shoulder.

“Come on, Jeff, he only wiped the floor with you a little!” he said, trying his best not to burst out laughing. His self control only held for about three seconds. Kevin then started guffawing. “Maybe you should change your name to ‘Swiffer’!” Strix, who was perched on Kevin’s left shoulder, also started snickering

“Kevin! Strix!” Rachel scolded.

Jeff’s hands clenched and he glowered, burning holes into Kevin out of the corner of his eye. “If I was Treecko, Nurse Joy would be removing a tail from your skull right now…”

“Looking back at your gym match earlier, that’s doubtful,” he replied, still grinning.

“Hey!” Jeff angrily snapped, grabbing Kevin’s navy blue shirt collar with his left hand. Kevin grabbed Jeff’s collar in response, tensions rising. Rachel and Strix immediately got between the two and broke them apart before anything could escalate.

Jeff grunted and let go reluctantly, shifting back on the couch. “…Where’d Blane go, anyways? Didn’t he say that he was going to be at the center?”

“He didn’t say,” Rachel answered, looking around the center.

Nurse Joy happened to overhear the conversation as she walked over to them with Treecko and Blitz’s pokeballs. “Excuse me, do you mean ‘Blane Grohl’?” she asked, handing the pokeballs to Kevin and Jeff.

“Uhh, we didn’t catch his last name, but that’s probably him,” Kevin replied.

“Alright. When I was getting his trainer information in regards to one of his pokemon, he said to tell a group of three people his age that he was over in the hotel across the street and to meet him there. I assume you must be that group.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks!” Rachel said to her.

Kevin and Jeff also thanked her for healing their pokemon before getting up and off of the couch. “What time is it, Rache?”

Checking her watch, she answered, “Twenty-three forty two.”

“What are you, in the military or something?”

“Luckily for you, I’m not,” she warned, opening the pokemon center doors which led out into the pouring night rain.

They looked up at the hotel which stood twenty-five stories high, which loomed over the pokemon center. Then, Kevin and Rachel started running towards the brightly lit lobby of the building, Jeff unenthusiastically walking after them. They entered the large lobby and saw Blane walking away from the reception desk. At this late hour, there were only a few people walking around the fancily tiled area.

“Hey, guys!” he greeted, coming over to them.

“Hey, what are ya doin’?” Kevin asked, looking around the place.

“I figured that if we didn’t want to sleep in the thunderstorm, I should get us a few rooms,” he explained.

“Really? You paid for our rooms?” Rachel asked gratefully.

He nodded. “I could only get three. Two rooms with one bed and one room with two beds.”

“Oh boy,” Jeff mumbled. Strix flew beside his head, spraying him with rain water as he rapidly flapped his wings.

Kevin stepped forwards. “Okay then, why don’t you two take the two single rooms and me and Jeff take the room with two beds.”

Jeff sighed. “Lucky me.”

“Don’t be such a stick in the mud, Jeff; it’ll be like a sleepover.”

“With both Kevin and a homicidal bug pokemon? Yeah, I can always look forward to that!” he replied.

“I think Corphish’s sarcasm has been rubbing off on you… Let’s go to these rooms.”

Blane nodded and led them across the lobby and into a relatively spacious elevator. He pressed down on the button ‘15’ and the large metal doors slid shut.

“So how did you guys do at the gym?” Blane asked as the elevator started to ascend, giving them a sinking feeling.

Before Kevin could even breathe, Jeff replied, “Just fine!”

“Cool… So who won the bet?”

“Definitely not Jeff,” Kevin said with a chuckle. “I beat him in eight minutes… you did it in eleven, right?”

Blane nodded. “Damn, Kevin, you must be some battler! We should have one sometime!”

“Yeah, Blitz didn’t take a single hit other than some static from his attacks! I wouldn’t mind winning another battle either… You’re on.” He grinned competitively.

The elevator came to a halt and the doors slid open. The four walked out into the carpeted hallway. “What are the room numbers?” Rachel asked him, overjoyed to be sleeping in a hotel as opposed to outside.

“Uhh…” Blane looked at the three key cards. “1515 for Rachel, 1516 for me, and 1523 for Kevin and Jeff,” he answered, eying the numbers on the doors as they walked past them.

They walked to the end of the hall and found their rooms. “’Night, guys. Don’t wake us up,” Rachel said before opening the wooden door to her room and disappearing inside with Strix.

“<Bye bye. Talk to you later!>” Strix quickly sputtered before Rachel’s door fully closed behind them.

Blane also unlocked the door to his room. “Later, guys.”

Kevin slid the card through the lock on the door to their room and turned the knob. Kevin and Jeff walked in and looked around. Immediately to their right was a bathroom complete with a toilet, shower, bathtub and sink. To the left was a cramped closet. They walked forwards in the room and there were two large beds on the right wall facing a TV and separated by a large end table. On the far wall were windows and a door that led out to a small balcony with glass walls, overlooking much of Mauville.

“Not bad…” Kevin exclaimed. He ran to the far bed and did cannonball onto the soft mattress. “I call this one!” Jeff sighed and sat down on the closest bed. Kevin frowned. “Don’t be so sulky, Jeff. Pretty soon Corphish is gonna be calling you ‘Eeyore’. Sure you lost a gym battle, but it’s not like you can’t challenge him again!”

Jeff lay back on the bed, enjoying the soft mattress under his back. “It’s not just that, Kev…”

“Then what? Spill it, already!” he goaded.

The brown-haired teen sighed reluctantly. “…You can’t tell anyone.”

“If I do, you can sic Atlas on me,” Kevin reassured.

“Fine… I have a history of bad luck with relations with my pokemon…”

“Go on…” he curiously said, grinning slightly as he sat cross-legged on his bed.

“Brawly also said that I wasn’t working together with my pokemon. Corphish is fine, if not a little annoying. Atlas was great to start with but then I found out that his scar was making him go all Mr. Hyde. Drezdek is new, but apparently his best friend died and he feels guilty about it. Daedalus is angry at me for fighting in battles and thinks I’m a hypocrite. And Treecko… I have no idea what’s going on with him. We were good friends when we first met, but things slowly got worse. It eventually got to the point where I did something to cause him to leave. When we met each other again, we got into a fight and I had to rush him to Dewford. I went to battle the gym without him and then he came in at the last minute, still injured, and won, but his lung collapsed in the process. So he almost died and then he started to act differently… You saw it. Now he seems to be acting like normal… Well, not exactly ‘normal’.”

There was a silence, where only rain drops battering the window could be heard. “Well… that’s quite the story. Luckily for you, you’re not the only one with pokemon troubles,” Kevin replied.

“Remember, don’t tell anyone! …And ‘pokemon troubles’… do you mean you and Ace?” Jeff asked.

Kevin paused. “Not exactly… I think I’ll let them out now… Why don’t you do the same? I’m sure they’d rather sleep in a bed than a cramped pokeball,” he said, throwing two pokeballs on the ground. Both Blitz and Ace appeared, the Scyther looking around the room and Ace quickly scrambling up the bed sheets to on top of the bed. “I kinda feel bad for Atlas and Pro, though.”

Jeff nodded, sat up on the bed and released four pokemon on the carpet in front of him. Treecko, Corphish, Daedalus, and Drezdk all appeared simultaneously. Timidly looking around at the other pokemon, Drezdk noticed Blitz who was particularly daunting to him; he edged closer to Jeff and was the first to speak up. “<Where is this?>”

Jeff turned to the Beedrill, who was pretty much pressed up against the wall. “This is a hotel, erm, a place where many humans stay to sleep temporarily.”

The bug nodded. “<Vaguely similar to a hive…>” He looked around and noticed that most of the pokemon were looking at him. “<Um…>”

Jeff got up. “Right, everyone, this is Drezdek… Drezdek, this is Treecko, Corphish, Daedalus, Kevin, Ace, and… Blitz.”

“<Nice to meet you all… but it’s pronounced ‘Drezdk’.>”

The human sat back down on the bed. “That’s what I said, I thought… ‘Drezdok’.”

The Beedrill sighed. “<That’s kind of a mouthful,>” Daedalus spoke up, “<Can’t we just call you ‘Drez’?>”

Drezdk stepped forwards and angrily shouted. “<NO!>” The outburst caused Daedalus to squawk reflexively and jump, along with Corphish and Jeff. Also, it caused Ace to speedily dive behind Kevin. The bug type then blushed and stepped backwards, rubbing the back of his head with his stinger. “<I… Um… Sorry… I mean ‘Please, do not call me that’… ‘Drezdok’ is fine…>”

“…Good news for you all, you get to bunk with us in these sweet beds!” Kevin said, averting an uncomfortable silence.

Corphish and Daedalus immediately climbed and flew, respectively, onto the bed, hoping to find some new spots. Drezdk also sat down on the bed, trying to get a feel for it. Treecko, however, remained leaning against the table that held the television.

Jeff, once again, stood to his feet with a groan. “Errgh… My ankle still burns… I should probably run a hot bath for it.”

“Fine, but don’t be in there for too long,” Kevin called as Jeff shut the door behind him.

He quickly limped into the bathroom, which had a shower tub parallel to the door and the sink and toilet on the right side. “With any luck, by the time I get out, everyone will be asleep; I don’t think there’s a single person out there I want to deal with right now…” Jeff thought, placing his hand on the bath dial and turning on the hot water. The steaming liquid poured into the white tub, which began to quickly fill up. He took off his clothes and placed the garments on the sink counter. When the water reached the desired level, he stepped into it and laid back. The water flowed over him and he closed his eyes.

“I can’t believe I lost in front of Kevin, Rachel and the others! ...Not even a real loss… but being told that I couldn’t work with my pokemon well enough to deserve the badge!” Jeff thought, sinking deeper in the tub. “Treecko… errgh.”

He then put a hand to his injured leg and felt how bad the bruising was. “Some potion… I guess I can’t pass all the blame to Treecko… If I hadn’t acted like I did, then… damn… I guess I can’t avoid talking to him forever, no matter how hard he’s taking the loss.”

Jeff remained submerged in water, thinking, for several minutes until he heard loud footsteps walking about the otherwise quiet room. “…Hey, Kev?”

The person he expected responded, “…Yeah?”

“…Who’s still awake out there?” Jeff asked, now very relaxed from the bath.

“Me and Blitz… Treecko’s out on the balcony…” Kevin responded dryly.

“…Okay…” he said nonchalantly.

There was a brief silence.

“…Hey, Jeff…”

“…Yeah?”

“…I found a lemon…”

“…Cool…”

Jeff then opened his eyes, sat up and drained out the bathtub. He stood, reached over to the black marble counter, and wrapped the white towel around his waist. Jeff then walked over, opened the bathroom door and stepped into the other room. He looked around the room and saw Corphish, Daedalus, and Drezdk sleeping soundly on his bed and Ace fast asleep on the other. Treecko was standing out in the rain on the balcony, staring off through the glass barrier into the distance and Blitz was sitting quietly at the table near the door leading out to the balcony. Jeff looked down and saw Kevin kneeling around various unopened snacks and drinks, going through the mini-fridge in the drawer under the TV.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

Kevin looked up from having taken several Coca Colas out of the fridge. “I’m cleaning it out.”

“We have to pay for those, you know.”

The boy grinned. “We don’t have to… Blane does.”

“Isn’t that a little greedy?” Jeff asked, bath water dripping off of him and onto the carpet under him.

“What do you care? I thought you didn’t like him. Besides, he said he’d pay for us, why not take advantage of that?” Immediately after he said the last few words, he trailed off. “…Uhh… Why don’t you go talk to Treecko?”

“Why?” he asked, suspiciously.

“None of your business; just go talk to him about the battle or something, man! …Out on the balcony,” he testily replied, emphasizing the last part.

“Fine, fine… It’s not like I’m in a towel or anything…” he muttered, walking across the room towards the glass door.

“<Hello,>” Blitz greeted, softly as to not wake the others.

Jeff pretended not to hear and then opened the door to walk out into the showery night. The door closed behind him and Kevin sighed. Blitz uncomfortably scratched the back of his head with the blade of his scythe before turning to Kevin. “<Kevin… I am starting to get the feeling that Jeff does not like me…>”

Kevin smiled reassuringly while standing up. “Don’t mind him. He’s just angry about losing that gym match.” He then walked over to the table and sat opposite from Blitz. “…Do you want to talk now?”

“<I’d be honoured to, Kevin.>”

The teen’s face became slightly glummer. “That’s kind of it… Your honour…”

“<What about it?>” Blitz asked in confusion.

He stalled. “…You remember when we first met, right?”

“<Of course; you saved me.>”

“…Yeah… Well you said that you owed me for that. I have to be honest… I think I took advantage of that. I didn’t plan on journeying until you offered to come along. I’m sorry, pal…”

After a brief silence, Blitz nodded and answered. “<I forgive you… Was that all this was about?>”

Kevin shook his head. “No… When you said ‘I owe you my life’ I’m guessing you took that literally… Well when you saved me from that falling Onix, you said that we were even…”

“<Yes…>” the mantis replied, still unsure of what he was getting at.

“So you’re going to be leaving pretty soon, aren’t you?” Kevin asked rhetorically.

“<What are you talking about?>”

“Oh, don’t give me that, Blitz!” he snapped. “I saved your life and then you stayed around with me to repay the debt, now you saved me so why would a Scyther have any reason to stick around?!” he sharply asked, remembering what Professor Birch had told him. “That’s how your code of honour work, isn’t it?!”

Blitz glowered and narrowed his eyes. “<I did not save you to repay my honour… I saved you because you… are… my… FRIEND!>” he angrily yelled, digging his scythe into the edge of the table. “<I did it because I thought that you would do the same for me! …This is why you said that the gym battle would be our last one?! Because you expect me to leave?!>”

“Well now you know the truth!” Kevin barked.

“<That you are a selfish and opportunistic deserter?>” he coldly asked.

“Are you going or not?!” he retorted.

The mantis took his scythe out of the table and stood up. He then slowly walked towards the balcony door, where Jeff and Treecko were standing outside of. “<I will go if you desire it…>” he reluctantly answered.

“If that’s what you want…”

“<It isn’t… but I will do so if it makes you happy. …Do you want me to leave… friend?>”

“…No.” Kevin’s voice was much less aggressive now, as was Blitz’s. The Scyther turned around and stared at Kevin. The teen looked back at him guiltily. “I’m really sorry, pal… I was just worried you’d leave…”

“<I would never. Do not worry yourself about it… ‘pal’,>” he answered, outstretching his scythe with the blade pointing upwards.

Kevin grinned and grabbed the green arm portion at the bottom and shook it. “Hey! You finally got the handshake right, loser!” he said, giving Blitz a playful punch on the shoulder in the process.

Blitz smirked. “<It was not my fault you were so dense as to constantly grab the blade,>” he playfully remarked, hitting him back.

“It is so! Your lack of a brain is rubbing off on me!” Kevin goaded, hitting away his arm.

Blitz chuckled slightly. “<Is that so?>” he asked, using his arm to put Kevin in a headlock

The human laughed and pushed against the green limb while leaning sideways, causing them both to tumble on the carpet where they began to play-wrestle. It was a feat that none of the other pokemon stirred at all during their talk.

Meanwhile, towel-garbed Jeff walked over and stood in the rain beside Treecko, who glanced up at him. Both he and the grass pokemon stared out, over the balcony, at other large buildings. Over to the left they could hear the sloshing of the nearby river. Raindrops trickled down Jeff’s already wet face and chest as he turned and looked down at his starter pokemon.

“What are ya doin’, Treecko?” he asked, carefully placing his words.

He kept staring off into the distance, but replied, “<Thinking…>”

“The gym battle?”

“<Not exactly.>”

Jeff took a wet chair that was on the balcony and pulled it forwards before sitting in it. “I guess we should talk about what happened, huh?”

Treecko glanced out of the corner of his eye at him. “<What’s to talk about?>”

“What do you mean? What about the fact that we lost? I thought you’d be more upset!” Jeff responded, confused.

“<We didn’t lose.>”

“Yes we did!”

“<No we didn’t, Jeff… Wattson called the match unfairly,>” Treecko stated simply.

“You were paralyzed,” Jeff reminded, uncomfortably sitting on a wet deck chair.

“<I could still fight.>”

“Yeah, your bullet seed…” Jeff stopped himself. “Never mind. Regardless, we still don’t have the badge and we’re not going to get the badge if we don’t fix what’s wrong.”

“<And what’s wrong?>” Treecko asked, leaning against the glass wall on the small, car-sized balcony.

“Us. Our friendship. We don’t work together! You changed from when we first met, Treecko.”

The grass type turned to face at him. “<Yeah… So did you.>”

“…Well, why did you?” Jeff asked, hoping to grind some information from the aloof wood gecko.

Treecko turned back around and looked off over the city, unapproachably.

“Well?”

“<Don’t bother.>”

Jeff sighed and shook water from his hair. “Tell me.”

“<No,>” he firmly replied..

“Tell me,” the teen persisted.

“<No.>”

“Tell me.”

“<No.>”

“Tell me.”

“<No.>”

“Tell me.”

“<No.>”

“Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.”

“<No. No. No!>” Treecko answered, struggling to keep his cool.

“Tell me.”

Treecko turned around to stare daggers into him, actually causing Jeff to shrink back a little. “…Please?”

His eyes narrowed. “<…No…>”

“Just tell me, Treeck,” he stubbornly said.

Treecko closed his eyes and growled. “<… Will you finally shut up?>”

“You bet I will.”

The reptile sighed reluctantly. “<…Fine. What do you want to know?>”

“Why you went from the Treecko who saved me and through that rollercoaster of changes and then came out like this,” he replied.

“<Do you have a problem with ‘this’?>” Treecko asked, glaring at him.

“No, I’m just saying…”

“<Fine… I guess I acted so… upbeat because I respected you and I never had a friend until I met you and I didn’t really know how to act. Then you found out what’s-her-name was in love with that rival of yours and then you went into that sad, moody state. Then I started to lose respect for you.>”

Jeff nodded, wishing he could forget those days. There was a bit of a silence, where only the sound of rain, a couple cars, and a helicopter flying overhead could be heard. “Go on…”

“Cko,” he disdainfully muttered, hoping that that was all he would have to say. “<… Well, then you hit rock bottom and I was tired of you being so mopey. Then I insulted you and you hit me… which, thinking back, I don’t really blame you for. Then I overreacted, later found out my bullet seed didn’t work, and had a bad couple of days and needed time to myself.>”

“Uh huh…”

“<Seriously? You want more?>” Treecko asked, grudgingly.

“We need to do this if we want to win, Treecko!” Jeff replied, leaning forward.

Treecko grunted, watched the large form of a Pidgeot fly over the city and continued. “<Then we met again and I fought you because I wanted to knock some sense back into you… but apparently I underestimated you…>”

“Yeah, thanks. It helped,” Jeff interjected.

“<Are you going to keep interrupting?>” The teen was silent. “<Okay… I won at Dewford Gym to make up for losing to you and apparently almost died. Sitting in the recovery room I did a lot of thinking. I thought that maybe being relatively ‘obedient’ would make up for how I acted before, but then you kept treating me like one battle would kill me. Now I’m back to the way I always was and always should have been.>”

“… I see…” Jeff replied, processing the information.

“<And now you can never ask me to ‘open up’ again… Got it?>”

“…We’ll see,” he said, half grinning.

“<Shouldn’t you say something now?>” Treecko asked, somewhat indifferently.

“Do I have to?” Jeff whined. A single glance out of the corner of Treecko’s eye solidified the response. “Okay okay… I really am sorry about the way I acted, too. I won’t treat you any differently. We should try to start over… Starting with talking about that gym battle.”

Treecko remained silent, waiting patiently while leaning against the rain-cascaded wall.

“You’ve gotta start listening to me!”

The lizard glanced at him. “<And why is that? I can fight perfectly fine without you! Humans hate when they can’t bend things to their will, don’t they? It makes them realize that they’re not all that high and mighty.>”

Jeff closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. “It has nothing to do with that! You know this! I admit you’re a great fighter, but when you’re out there in the middle of it, you won’t be able to see everything, while I, standing farther back, might be able to. If someone is coming up behind you that you don’t see, I’d be able to tell you and then we could think of a counter attack.”

Treecko glanced back into the rainy night. “I personally know that, when fighting, you tend to get focused on only one thing. Even the most calm of people can have their minds clouded, and this makes them unable to think of all the possible strategies. I can’t expect you to be both a quick fighter and an expert tactician at the same time, Treecko. I may be kind of new at this, and I know I froze up a few times, but you’ve gotta trust that I know what I’m doing some of the time!”

“<… You could use a few pointers…>”

Jeff grinned and stood up, holding his towel. “Duly noted. So, do we have a deal on trying to work together, Treeck?”

Treecko closed his eyes and chewed on his twig for a few moments before opening them. He then jumped up onto the wet chair-side table and nodded. “<Yeah… We’ve got a deal.>”

He then turned around and shook Jeff’s hand with one of his tails. Jeff beamed. “Fantastic!” Jeff walked towards the dripping glass door and opened it. “You coming?”

Treecko glanced back before looking forward again.

“Suit yourself.” Jeff shrugged and stepped towards the balcony door to get inside and out of the rain. He looked down and saw Kevin and Blitz still wrestling. “Having fun?” They looked up and grinned.

“How did it go?” Kevin asked.

“Good, you?”

“I’m not dead, am I?” he replied jokingly.

“…Good point.” With that, Jeff walked into the bathroom with his bag, grabbed another towel to dry himself off and then changed into his green pyjama pants. He then went back into the room and carefully placed himself on the right side of the bed, next to Corphish, while Daedalus and Drezdk took up most of the left.

He sunk into the relaxing bed and smiled. Kevin also hopped onto his bed beside Ace and looked over. “I’m guessing your and Treecko’s talk went well?”

Jeff glanced over. “Much better than I expected. How about you?”

“I couldn’t agree more. Anyways, I’m hittin’ the hay. Yo, Blitz, are you planning to sleep tonight?”

The Scyther nodded and sat down, cross-legged in an almost meditation-like pose. Jeff wasn’t sure how he could sleep like that and he was frankly pretty uneasy that he was sleeping in the same room with someone who tried to kill him. In fact, he was so uneasy that he couldn’t bring himself to fall asleep.

For a long time, Jeff remained awake, occasionally glancing down at the sleeping Scyther. “Relax, Jeff, he won’t slice and dice you while you sleep and serve you with Chinese food,” he thought, attempting to reassure himself. Treecko had eventually come in and lay down on the carpet.

Something hit his leg, causing him to spring upright. He looked down and saw Drezdk restlessly moving about in his sleep. Jeff relaxed, until after a few murmurs, the bug jolted and indistinctly yelled, “<TAL!>”

The nervous and sweating Beedrill realized he was back in reality and quickly looked around. He realized Jeff was still awake.

“You okay?” the human asked.

Drezdk stalled before nodding. “<…Yes… Thank you… Are you having trouble sleeping too?>”

“Yeah…”

“<Why?>”

Jeff glanced over at Blitz. “That Scyther tried to kill me a year before he was friends with Kevin…”

“<Ah… And you’re afraid of him still?>” Drezdk quietly asked. Jeff didn’t respond. “<Don’t worry; if he attacks, I will help you fend him off,>” he reassured.

The teen smiled. “Thanks, Drezdek… You know… if you ever want to talk about your friend, I’d be happy to listen…”

The bug pokemon nodded appreciatively. “<Thank you…>”

They both lay back down, feeling comforted, and the Beedrill quickly fell asleep. Jeff, however, accidentally put his head on Corphish, causing the crustacean to cry out.

“<NOT MY EYES!>” he cried out, jumping awake. He looked around, dazed, and sighed. “<Oh… It’s just you, Jeff. I had a dream where I was on the game show Jeopardy and I got the last question wrong and then the host, the other contestants, and the studio audience all attacked me with those novelty foam hands you get at sports games,>” he explained, wiping the sweat from his face.

“That’s what you get for watching too much TV before going to bed,” Jeff replied.

“<Oh, Jeff… You and I both know that that’s Tauros crap!>” Corphish said happily. “<Why are you up?>”

“Can’t sleep.”

Corphish noticed him glance over at Blitz. “<Ohhh, you’re afraid that as soon as you go to sleep, Master Mantis will decide to have you for a midnight snack!>”

“No!!” Jeff retorted, “I just don’t like this bed.”

“<Oh, I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t want to sleep in it either.>”

“…Why?” he asked curiously.

“<Haven’t you seen CSI?>”

“Once or twice, but-”

“<Then you should know what I’m talking about. The point is I’m sleeping on TOP of the covers,>” Corphish said, getting settled in. “<What’s up with Buzz-kill?>” he asked, looking over at the sleeping Beedrill.

“Clever name. How long have been waiting to say that one?” Jeff asked, grinning.

“<Since I met him…>” the crustacean said with a wink. “<Well?>”

“His best friend was killed recently, he says.”

Corphish frowned. “<That’s a bummer. Maybe I should cheer him up.>”

Jeff looked sceptical. “You idea of cheering someone up is telling numerous inappropriate jokes, Corp…”

“<Hey! I also do physical comedy!>”

Jeff laughed. “I bet you do, Corppy. Get some rest; I’ll see you in the morning.”

“<G’night, don’t let the bed bugs slice you up.>” Corphish grinned before taking a glance over at the sleeping Blitz and then curling up to go to sleep.

“Gee, thanks…”

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Last edited by Grovyle42(Griff8416); December 18th, 2008 at 10:27 AM.
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  #135    
Old February 19th, 2009, 03:18 PM
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Training Day



Daedalus perched on the windowsill and looked out, peering over the balcony as best he could. He wasn’t gazing at the cityscape; he was gazing at the forest beyond the human-dwelling settlement. He briefly glanced around and saw Treecko leaning against the wall on the other side of the room, keeping to himself. Daedalus looked back at the forest longingly and sighed.

The Taillow closed his eyes and wondered where his flock was. He found it terribly ironic that he was sitting in a room full of sleeping people, but he had never felt more alone. He sat there staring out into the night hoping that his friends were all okay, wherever they were. The bird peered downwards, glaring in disgust at the human-made buildings.

“<They drive us out of our homes to build their own homes. Some aren’t even homes, they’re just… I don’t know what they are! There are buildings that try to touch the sky or hope to light up the night with bright colours. Why do they need all of this? Pokemon are happy to live in the wilderness, but no, these humans want more. They think that they’re so much better than us so they have to reflect that in the things that they make, not caring who it hurts. Then they make us fight each other for their own gain or pleasure. Even Jeff… the one human who I held a sliver of respect for. They’re all the same,>” he thought, frowning as he did. Daedalus tilted his head forwards so that it leaned upon the glass. “<…I just wish that I was back with my friends right now.>”

The Taillow turned his head around and looked at Corphish, who was lying on the bed, contently snoring. “<I guess Corphish and I are buds, but… he’s still no Struthios or Ornithos.>”

As he was looking at Corphish, he noticed Jeff beginning to stir. Daedalus turned around and continued to look at the rising sun. Jeff stretched, wary not to hit the others on the bed, and then stood up and looked around. Treecko opened an eye and glanced at Jeff.

“Good mornin’, Treecko,” Jeff greeted with a slurred voice. Treecko made eye contact acknowledgingly before closing them again and continuing to lean against the TV stand.

The teen adjusted his hat and looked over at the window, where he saw Daedalus looking out.

“Hey, Dae; I didn’t know you were up this early.”

The Taillow turned his head slightly and opened his beak to respond, but then decided against speaking and turned back to gaze through the glass window.

The corner of Jeff’s mouth tensed and his eyes made their way to the ground. He was hurt by Daedalus’ seemingly endless disdain towards him. He had already apologized; he wasn’t sure what else he could do.

Jeff quickly wrote on a sticky note and attached it to the TV. Treecko began to walk towards the door to the room. With an effortless leap, he jumped up and twisted the knob using his steadfast grip. After a back flip from the lizard, the door came swinging open.

Jeff grinned. “Looks like we’re both ready… Let’s go.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Jeff and Treecko walked outside of Mauville on the route between it and Verdanturf Town. They continued along a dirt path across the land shaded by the dark blue sky. The sun hadn’t even risen yet. The two kicked up dirt as they walked, their skin being bitten by the sting of the passing cool night.

Ahead of them was a small, sparkling, dark blue lake which had a small stream running from it, travelling through a small trench in the grass and into a grove of trees where it deposited the fresh water in the nearby shore.

Treecko walked directly beside Jeff’s right foot, easily matching each foot step with several of his own. “<I’m surprised you wanted to get up this early. You usually like to sleep in a bit,>” he stated, glancing up at the groggy human.

He scratched at the corner of his eye and cracked his stiff jaw. The boy was just barely awake. “And wait for Kevin? No way. We’re better off doing this alone now.”

“<Obviously,>” Treecko dryly responded.

He agrees with me… That’s a first,” thought Jeff.

“<What should we practice?>” Treecko asked, eagerly cracking the three knuckles on each emerald hand.

Jeff attempted to get his tired mind into gear. He scratched the back of his neck while attempting to get the initiative to think. “Let’s start with your attacks. Pound and Quick Attack seem fine. You obviously don’t need help staring people down, so Leer is good. Bullet Seed, though…”

“<Duds; I know,>” said the grass type, hoping not to dwell on the shameful fact for long. He clenched his fists and took a deep breath, wishing he knew what exactly was wrong with him so that he could fix it.

“What’s going on with that?” Jeff asked, really hoping he didn’t place his words poorly.

There was no verbal response from Treecko; he looked forward and continued chewing his twig as they tromped along the beaten dirt road.

“Well…” Jeff swung around his backpack, zipped it open, and took out a bag of sunflower seeds which he threw to Treecko. The gecko caught it in both arms and looked up at Jeff. “Show me what you’ve got.” The pokemon nodded and poured a handful of seeds into his mouth. “Try aiming for that tree,” he said, leering at a small oak tree that stood looming over the grass in front of them.

“Treeeee CKO!” yelled the wood gecko, propelling a volley of sunflower seeds towards a nearby tree. The seeds impacted and exploded on contact into tiny, brown fragments. Some small pieces of bark even chipped off when pelted with the seeds.

“Nice,” Jeff said appreciatively.

Treecko ceased and spat out a final seed into the ground beside him. “<It’s not the spitting I’m having trouble with,>” he explained, folding his arms.

“Then what?” Jeff asked, squatting down on his haunches.

“<I don’t know… I just can’t control the damn thing.>”

“Sounds like your attack takes after you,” he replied with a slight grin.

Treecko shot him a look that could kill. “<I mean I can feel the things building up, but I can’t get the bullet seeds from point A to point B, where those sunflower seeds were.>”

“Try giving it your all,” Jeff plainly suggested.

Treecko sneered and then quickly turned to face and reprimand him. “<I HAVE been giving it my all. You honestly think I’d hold back in a battle? I don’t exactly like looking like an idiot because I can’t use a simple grass attack,>” he snappily retorted, clenching his fists.

Jeff bit his lip and felt like an idiot. He was right; it wouldn’t be like Treecko at all to ever hold back. He out of everyone should have known that. “Uhhh… Right… Sorry…”

“<Forget it,>” he said, looking back towards the tree. “<Should I give it another shot?>”

“It’s your call, Treeck,” replied Jeff, leaning back to relax his haunches to sit down in the grass. He was really hoping that Treecko would be able to pull it off; Bullet Seed was Treecko’s only grass move so far, after all.

Treecko eyed him and nodded. He heaved his chest back and inhaled air. As soon as his chest was expanded with air and ready to expel the numerous seeds of energy, he attempted to forcefully release everything he had at once. “Treeeeeeeee…Ck-”

The attempt completely halted; not a single seed had been fired. He failed again. Treecko’s face showed surprised, but the look of initial shock soon crumpled into a frustrated frown. The small lizard placed his own tail onto the cool, dew-ridden grass and lay back against the cushion of muscle while placing his relatively diminutive hands behind his head.

“Damn… I wish I knew how to help, but I’ve never, well, used Bullet Seed before,” Jeff said, scratching the back of his head.

Treecko didn’t respond for a few moments before deciding to put forth a suggestion, which was really more of a demand. “<We should practice in a battle.>”

“I agree,” he replied, looking around. “See anyone as up as early as us?”

Treecko climbed on top of Jeff’s hat for a better vantage point and looked around. “<No.>”

“Then what do we do?”

“<We’ll just have to find one…>”

--------------------------------------------------------------------

“I can’t believe they left without waking me!” Kevin complained. He walked out of the city limits and onto the dirt road where Jeff and Treecko had went on. On his left walked Blitz who glanced over at him. On his right walked and flew Corphish and Daedalus, respectively. Ace was held in his arms, clutching onto Kevin’s hand tightly.

“<They had left a note. Besides, I can see why they didn’t; every time I try to wake you up early, you say words that I do not understand, like ‘Fu-’>”

Blitz was promptly cut off as Kevin’s empty hand tightly shut his snout. After a moment, he removed his hand and Blitz gave him a look.

“<At any rate, should not we have waited for Rachel, Blane, and the others?>” Blitz asked.

“…Nah,” Kevin answered, squinting at the sun as it began to peer over the mountains in the distance.

Blitz grinned. “<You are a very unthoughtful human, did you know that?>”

“Hey, I’m not the one who tried to do to Jeff what ‘Miracle Blades’ did to a flying pineapple, am I, Chef Tony?” Kevin replied with a goading smile.

Corphish burst out laughing, remembering the infomercial they saw on TV earlier. “<Well played, sir!>”

The Scyther, however, was not amused. His face turned a bright shade of red and he turned his head in the other direction.

“Hey, Blitzy, your face is all red. Are you evolving into a Scizor or something?” he continued with a wide smile.

Blitz’s face became even redder. “<I’d prefer if we talked about something else… please.>”

Kevin placed his hands behind his head, idly. “You’re the boss.”

Corphish looked over at Daedalus, who hadn’t said anything the whole trip. The bird was solemnly staring at the ground as he flew.

“<Hey, Featherface…>” Corphish merrily said, eagerly awaiting a response. When he got none, he put on a more serious tone. “<…Dae?>”

The Taillow blinked and looked over. “<Uhh… Sorry, what is it, Corp?>”

“<What’s wrong, buddy? Did a mean pidgey steal your favourite worm this morning?>”

Daedalus shook his head. “<Nothing. I’m fine. Thanks for asking.>”

Corphish scoffed. “<Oh right. Whenever ‘nothing’ is wrong I get all glum and Jeff-like too,>” he replied, persisting.

The bird sighed. “<Fine… but don’t tell anybody… Especially not Treecko. I’m kinda… homesick,>” he explained, keeping his voice very quiet.

Corphish nodded. “<I miss my TV, myself. Especially that misanthropic doctor. Hey, Dae, you’d love him!>” he said with a chuckle.

Daedalus rolled his dark brown eyes and continued flapping his wings at a slow and steady speed. Corphish looked up at the bird pokemon. “<Hey, did Jeff tell you where they were going?>”

The Taillow remained quiet and kept flying forwards.

---------------------------------------------------

“Quick Attack, Treecko!”

Treecko charged forwards, driving his shoulder into the stomach of a brown humanoid pokemon. It fell backwards, and the leaf on its head lay limply in the dirt. The wild Nuzleaf began to slowly crawl away while cursing.

“<This isn’t over!>” it yelled, crawling into the forest.

Treecko grinned and turned around. “<Are all pokemon on this route such pushovers? That’s the third one I’ve beaten in an hour.>”

Jeff smiled. “Nice going, but don’t get cocky; we still haven’t mastered your bullet seed, yet.”

Treecko folded his arms and narrowed his eyes. “<I don’t necessarily need to master Bullet Seed to win. It’s not like it’s especially effective against electric pokemon.>”

Jeff sat down in the grass. “Oh? Remember what happened last time you went into melee with that Electrike? Paralyzed.”

Treecko indignantly turned his head away and looked to the side.

The teen sighed and rested his head on his fist. “Look, I know you don’t like failing at using the attack, but we need a ranged attack in order to win this! And if we don’t practice-”

“<Isn’t that your friend?>” Treecko interrupted, glancing down the path.

Jeff looked to where Treecko was staring and indeed saw Kevin walking towards him with his pokemon and Corphish and Daedalus. He assumed that Drezdk was returned to his pokeball. Kevin and the others ran up to him upon spotting them.

“Thanks for waiting for us, you two!” Kevin complained, handing Jeff his backpack and two pokeballs.

“I tried to wake you, but I was drowned out by your snoring,” Jeff brazenly replied. Blitz grinned, but decided it would be in his best interests to keep quiet.

“Where are the others?” Jeff asked, folding his arms.

“They’re either sleeping or checking out. We left them a note,” Kevin said with a smirk.

Jeff grinned. “What took you guys so long?”

“Well… Corphish insisted on watching a nature program on the mating rituals of Corphish and Crawdaunts,” Kevin replied. “We only got through a few minutes before the others started to complain.”

Corphish stepped forward. “<She was faking it, by the way,>” he plainly declared.

Kevin chuckled, but Jeff merely sighed. “Thanks for that, Corphish…”

Kevin looked at the landscape around them and then back to Jeff. “Hey, this would be the perfect place to let the jolly grey giants out… I mean… unless you think Atlas will go berserk again.”

Jeff’s green eyes widened. “Crap! I completely forgot about Atlas!” he thought to himself. “I didn’t even give him that paralyze heal for his wound yet!” He frantically grabbed the pokeball and threw it to the ground. After a blinding flash of light, a giant stone serpent towered over the group, looking around in confusion. The morning air touched his scar, causing Atlas to cringe and double over.

“Atlas!” Jeff ran over towards the quivering, writhing pokemon, but he made sure to keep his distance for fear of what happened last time.

Atlas looked out of the corner of his scrunched up eye towards Jeff. “<Jeff... Stay away… I’m not sure how much longer I can stay in control…>” he growled; heavy strain was in his voice.

Jeff slowly approached, still very nervous. The others looked on warily, not daring to step any closer. He put his hand out in good will, as if approaching a wild pokemon who was distrustful of him. “Just relax, Atlas… put your head down and I’m going to apply something to your gash… It should take away the pain.”

Atlas remained still- sceptical of the foreign substance Jeff was holding. The more he waited, the more pain Jeff could see in his eyes. “Atlas… Please… I want to help you.”

The Onix closed his eyes. Through the pain that clouded his mind, he remembered Jeff placing his trust in him when they first met. He remembered Jeff sticking up for him in Dewford, which got him arrested. And he remembered how Jeff kept him even after how he had acted on the beach of Slateport. He also knew that Jeff had no idea what his true intentions were in Dewford.

Atlas tried to keep himself composed as he lowered his head towards Jeff. He arched his rocky spine and gently placed his chin on the grass in front of the human. Jeff slowly stepped forwards, approaching his head and raising the spray bottle of paralyze heal. “Now… I don’t know how this is going to feel. So if you feel pain, just try to relax and think of something nice back home, okay, Atlas?”

Jeff neared his hand towards his face and Atlas closed his eyes and swallowed nervously. The human held the trigger of the bottle and the yellow liquid shot out in mist-form into the deep gash. Atlas’ closed eyes shut tighter and he let out a sharp grunt, but Jeff’s advice seemed to be paying off. He remained still; Atlas thought about his cave, with all sorts of different pokemon living happily in it, not just members of his species.

“Sorry… Nurse Joy said that it should start to take effect in thirty or so seconds.”

He opened his eyes and a smile crawled upon his face. “<…Thank you, Jeff…>” Atlas said graciously.

They were suddenly interrupted by another bright flash of light. The two looked over to see Prometheus appear from the dimming flare. He quickly wrenched his head around in disorientation. “<Wh- Where am I?! What happened?!>”

The world around him spun and all he could make out was a blur. He attempted to shake off the distorted vision and blink his eyes into focus. The first thing that was vaguely clear was a blue shirt beneath a head of blonde hair. His eyes focused on Kevin.

“<You… I remember you!>” he exclaimed, anger rising in his voice. He leaned forwards. “<What did you do to me?! Where am I?! Where’s Atlas?!>” His bold, threatening demeanour led him to have the tip of his snout millimetres away from Kevin’s eyes. Kevin nervously grinned and stepped back, but imposing Prometheus was more than ready lock horns with the small human, so he moved his face to the same position as before until he got his answers. Needless to say, Ace was paralyzed with fear. Blitz stepped forwards and readied his scythes, just in case.

“<Are you going to tell me, runt? Or am I going to have to harm you?>”

A voice rang out to their side. “<Prometheus, you and I both know that you couldn’t hurt a fly, no matter how much you threaten it.>”

Prometheus craned his head to his right and saw Atlas, now standing upright beside Jeff. Atlas had a large grin on his face.

“<Atlas!>” he joyously yelled, slithering over to him. They rammed their heads together in a form of good-humoured greeting between friends. This action resulted in a gritty echo that one would expect from two boulders colliding at high speeds. “<Hahah! You’re okay! …And forget that load of nonsense that you said about me not being able to hurt a fly, I could have eaten that human up in a second,>” he said, hoping to keep face.

Atlas chuckled. “<Whatever you say, Prometheus.>”

Prometheus turned around, eying the others. “<Who are they… especially that human with the yellow fur on his head?>”

“<He is the one who saved you from the human police. Perhaps you owe him a thanks?>” Atlas said with a sly smile. “<And try offering the end of your tail and then lightly shake it.>”

“<Why?>” Prometheus asked in confusion.

“<From what I’ve seen, shaking limbs seems to be the universal gesture of good-will. I’ve seen both humans and pokemon doing it. Well, go along, Prometheus; show the good-will of all Onixes everywhere,>” he goaded with a grin.

Prometheus gave him a half-serious sneer, but submissively nodded. “<You know, I’m usually the one in your hide in this situation- being the moral compass,>” he quietly said.

Atlas let out a short laugh before seriousness returned to his face. “<Hah… I suppose you’re right,>” he replied, glancing down at Jeff.

The Onix slithered over to Kevin and the others, all of which were still slightly wary. “<I… apologize for being so brash… but know not to cross me, little one… understood?>” he said, curling around and extending the end of his rocky tail towards Kevin.

Kevin grinned at his attitude and contently shook his tail. Prometheus performed Atlas’ suggested tail-shaking procedure in what he considered ‘lightly’, but it was not technically so. Kevin was sent flying back several meters by the force of the gesture.

“<…Oops. Too powerful?>” Prometheus asked, looking back at Atlas, slightly nervously.

Kevin got to his feet and chuckled. “I like your style, Prometheus. My name’s Kevin.”

Prometheus nodded. “<It is nice to meet you, Kevin.>”

A certain slightly irritated Scyther stepped forwards, in front of Kevin, and pointed his right scythe towards Prometheus. “<I advise you be more gentle around Kevin.>”

Prometheus let out a hearty chuckle of mockery. “<HAHAH. You ‘advise me’, do you? …And what if I don’t?>”

Blitz stepped forwards again and narrowed his eyes. Prometheus followed suit and he locked his blue eyes with the mantis’ hazel ones. Both pairs glistened in the morning light, adding to their already sharp colours.

Atlas cleared his throat. “<Prometheus? Can I have a word with you? I should probably tell you how things work.>”

The Scyther shot him one last angry glance before turning around. Prometheus grinned and slithered over to Atlas. Blitz put his scythe on Kevin’s shoulder, who was dusting himself off. “<Are you okay, Kevin?>”

“I’m more than okay! We have an awesome new pokemon to travel with!” Kevin said, ecstatically.

Blitz turned and looked over to Prometheus momentarily. “<He seems pretty hostile… Are you sure that you can trust him?>”

“You trust the Scyther, don’t you, Kevin?” Jeff muttered as he passed them to reach Treecko, Corphish, and Daedalus.

Blitz cringed and looked at the ground, hurt by his words. Kevin looked at Blitz and then turned his head to look at Jeff, unsure of how he should respond.

“Uhh… Come on, guys,” he said to Blitz and Ace. “Let’s go and get some water refills from that lake.” He nodded to the pond ahead of them, shaded by trees that seemed to form a wall around the water. Kevin picked up Ace and began walking, followed by a sombre Blitz. As they left, Jeff sat down and crossed his legs.

Corphish leapt up onto his left leg and looked up at him. “<Gee, Jeff; you’re becoming as callous as Dae!>”

“<Are not!>” both Jeff and Daedalus snapped. They both glanced at each other and immediately jerked their heads away.

Corphish grinned cheekily. “<You two are either a match made in heaven or a match made in hell.>” The crustacean pokemon glanced over to Atlas and Prometheus, who were a deal of metres away from them. “<What stopped Atlas from hulking out on us?>”

“Oh, Nurse Joy gave me some paralyze heal in Slateport. I just sprayed some of that on his cut.”

“<You mean the gash that could double as two champagne bowls?>”

“…Yes.”

A brief silence followed, in which the chirping of birds and bugs could be clearly heard. Corphish folded his claws and seemed to fall into a deep state of thought.

“<… Guys?>”

Jeff and Daedalus looked at him with great interest, Treecko merely out of the corner of his eye.

Corphish let out a Zen-like breath and was about to speak. “<…Do you think that the monster in Lost is really Darkrai?>”

They were both taken off-guard with the question, leaving shell-shocked expressions on their faces.

“…Uhhh…”

“<Is TV all that you think about, Corp?!>” Daedalus asked, being the first to snap out of bewilderment.

“<It’s a gift, really,>” Corphish replied.

A voice called out from behind them. “You mean like the Trojan horse was a gift?” Kevin approached them with his grin, Ace, and an armful of canteens.

A chill coursed through Jeff’s spine when he heard the low humming of Blitz’s wings. The mantis landed somewhat close to him, between Kevin and himself, which put the teen on edge. Corphish glanced at the sky behind Kevin and noticed a puffy gray cloud.

“<Is that another thunder cloud?>” he asked, pointing at it with his claw.

Blitz abruptly and slightly worriedly spun around to look for himself. As he turned the dull end of his arm missed Jeff’s head by about a hair, who hastily recoiled and stood up in fright.

The Scyther turned back to see Jeff cagily staring at him, seeming ready to fight-or-flight at any moment. Blitz realized his blunder and opened his mouth to attempt to explain himself. Instead he merely snarled in frustration at the whole situation, causing Jeff to step back. Blitz clenched his teeth and stormed towards his pokeball which lay beside Kevin’s bag on the ground. He raised his right foot and unleashed a portion of his frustration, driving it into the center button which enveloped him in light before any physical damage could be done to the ball.

Kevin scratched the back of his head in worry and discomfort. “He must be having a bad day or something…”

Corphish looked back to the spot in the sky. “<So is it a rain cloud?>”

“<Nope,>” Treecko aloofly replied from the group.

“<How do you know?>”

“<…I can tell.>”

Kevin whipped out his pokedex from his back pocket and scanned Treecko with it. “He’s right; something about his tail.”

“You wouldn’t need your pokedex to know that if you listened in Professor Birch’s class,” said Jeff, who was beginning to relax after the encounter with Blitz.

“We can’t all be experts on Treeckos…” Kevin responded.

Atlas had finished filling in Prometheus with how the world seemed to work outside of the cave and they both slithered over to the group.

Kevin glanced up at his Onix and smiled. “Are you all up to date now, Pro?”

“<Metheus,>” he corrected. “<And I believe… What is that?>” the rock type asked, motioning with his head down the dirt road that led back to Mauville.

Everyone turned around to see what Prometheus was referring to. A white and blue MCPD police cruiser was zooming down the dirt road towards them. Kevin froze. The car slowly pulled to a stop about fifteen metres in front of them.

“Crap! Blane ratted us out! They know we stole all that stuff from the hotel room!” Kevin sputtered in fear.

“What?! ‘Stole’?! ‘WE’?!” Jeff shouted, his stomach wrenching around in worry. “I’m not going back to jail again, you idiot! What if they know about Atlas!?”

Kevin looked around frantically. “Prometheus! Quick! Open your mouth!”

Prometheus looked sceptically over to Atlas, who tilted his head in an equivalent to a worried shrug. The Onix bent down towards Kevin and opened his mouth. The worried teen snatched up both his and Jeff’s bag. “Don’t swallow anything!” With that, he threw both bags into Prometheus’ mouth under his tongue.

The window on the driver’s side door rolled down. As soon as it couldn’t be rolled down anymore, an orange blur lunged out of the window and began running towards them. “Oh crap! A Growlithe!” Jeff said, preparing to brace himself. He remembered being tackled by one the last time that they were through this and none of it was at all pleasant.

The orange dog started running towards Jeff, in particular. He cringed and awaited being winded and the smell of dog breath. The pattering sound of paws came closer. Jeff dreaded the fateful pounce. He waited… and nothing. Jeff opened his eyes and looked down at his feet where the Growlithe was sniffing furiously at Corphish.

“<Umm… Can I help you?>” Corphish asked, feeling uncomfortable and slightly violated.

The pup turned its head and barked back at the cruiser. “<Over here!>”

The driver seat door opened and out stepped a young-looking police officer who seemed to have something in hand. Jeff and Kevin stood rigidly as the police officer approached them. He looked down at his Growlithe.

“Are you sure?” asked the man.

The Growlithe nodded. “<Positive, Al. It matches the scent of seafood perfectly!>”

The officer folded his arms. “Okay, then. Excuse me, guys, I’m Sergeant MacGuffin, can we have a word?”

The pokemon watched on as the two humans stepped forwards in defeat.

“I believe you guys dropped something.” He extended his hand and spread his fingers, revealing a large rock.

“… A rock?!” Jeff and Kevin both sputtered almost simultaneously.

“<…That would be mine…>” Corphish said, sheepishly, fearing the joint wrath of Jeff and Kevin.

MacGuffin shook his head. “Oi, it’s not just a rock. If you’ll look closely you’ll see it actually contains a fossil. I was a geology major before I decided to be a police officer.”

Much to mostly everyone’s surprise, from out of the back of the police cruiser emerged Rachel and Blane. They casually walked up to the group.

“These are the right people, right?” the officer asked the two newcomers.

“Yup, thanks again for the drive,” Rachel happily said.

Kevin and Jeff were still flabbergasted. The angry blonde-haired teen stepped forwards. “Let me get this straight. The only reason you’re here is to give us this fossil?”

“Aye. The maid was on the way to clean your room when she saw it lying on the ground. It must have fallen out of your bag. At any rate, I happened to be downstairs when she came down to the front desk about it. I offered to go find you guys and your friends here overheard and said they’d help too,” Sgt. MacGuffin explained.

They both sighed a breath of relief. “Well, thank you! We wouldn’t want to keep you from more important police work, so… Thanks again!” Kevin impatiently insisted, taking the rock.

“<I sense fear in him…>” the Growlithe stated suspiciously.

“I’m… uhh… terrified of… shellfish!” he said, trying desperately to cover his tracks.

The sergeant paused and eyed Kevin. “…Forget it, mate; let’s go get us some breakfast,” MacGuffin dismissively said to the Growlithe, who gave Kevin one last look before going with the officer back to the police cruiser.

Corphish folded his claws. “<Who could possibly be terrified of such a majestic species? …Besides Ace.>”

Kevin relaxed and turned around, picking up the Squirtle. Blane and Rachel walked over to them, Blane slightly irritated. “How come the bill for the hotel was eighty dollars over what it should have been?!”

Kevin grinned nervously and quickly walked towards his pokemon. “You’ll- uhhh- have to ask Jeff about that! Yo, Prometheus; can we have our bags now?” he inquired, changing the subject and looking up at the Onix.

He nodded and spat out both bags to the grass. Jeff and Kevin walked over to their respective bags and Jeff picked it up by the strap but quickly recoiled and dropped it.

“Kevin, you idiot! My bag is covered with saliva now thanks to you!” Jeff complained, tapping his soaked bag with his foot.

“Oh quit complaining…” was his response.

Jeff carefully opened his bag and his eyes widened. He pulled out of the bag what appeared to be a large white tarp.

“Shower curtains?! You stole the shower curtains?!” Jeff grilled in disbelief while folding the fabric in his arms. He tossed it aside and continued looking through his bag.

“Soaps, coasters, the clock radio, the TV remote, bath salts … You took everything that wasn’t bolted down or twice your weight! Who here actually uses bathsalts?!”

Corphish raised his claw. “<…But Kevin didn’t know that when he took them.>”

Kevin shrugged. “What? We paid for the room, so aren’t we entitled to everything inside?” he asked with an innocent smile.

Blane stepped forwards. “Actually, I’m the one who paid for the room, so…”

Deciding it would be best to switch to another topic, Rachel spoke up. “What were you guys doing out here anyways?”

Jeff stalled and glanced back to Treecko. “Uhh… Treecko and I were training.”

“Oh, for your rematch against Wattson?” Blane asked curiously.

Jeff grimaced knowing that Blane found out about his loss. “It was Strix…” Rachel apologetically replied.

Blane continued on, “If you want any tips…”

“No!” Jeff firmly stated. “…We’ll be fine, right Treecko?”

The grass pokemon gave a nod agreement. The wood gecko proceeded to walk through the grass and jump up to snatch the fossil from Kevin’s hand. He carefully inspected it, gave a quick glance to Corphish, and then threw it to Jeff, who fumbled with it before catching it.

Jeff looked closely at it. “Corphish, this is yours? Where did you find it?”

“<Well…>” Corphish replied, closing his eyes and crossing his claws in thought. “<I found it in that area between that big forest where we met Dae and that big city… Mauville, was it? Then I put it in the back pocket of your bag.>”

Jeff thought carefully, trying to remember. He suddenly remembered that it was in that area where Corphish and Treecko were taken prisoner by Daggerback, that Nidoking.

“You mean you took it from Daggerback?”

Corphish nodded. “<I guess he was too busy getting a bullet seed in the eye to notice,>” he replied, sending a good-natured wink in Treecko’s direction.

“What would he be doing with two fossils?” Jeff asked aloud.

He then remembered a part of his discussion with Roxanne, the Mauville City gym leader.

---------------

“The Devon Corporation is a company local to this city that creates many futuristic technologies… one of which includes a fossil reviver. The Nidoking broke into the company late one night, knocked out the guards and stole two ancient pokemon fossils from the lab,” Roxanne had said.

---------------

Jeff’s eyes widened. “This is one of the fossils that was stolen from that Devon Corporation!” he exclaimed in shock. Then something else slipped into his mind. “This is the reason why that Nidoking has been following us!”

“<That and he was on a revenge kick,>” Corphish added, glancing back at Treecko.

“<That Seviper that attacked us was working with him too…>” Treecko nonchalantly added.

Kevin scratched his head. “’Working with him’? They’re pokemon for crying out loud!” he exclaimed, very confused.

“You should give them more credit, Kev,” Jeff told him, folding his arms.

“Am I missing something here?” Kevin asked.

“I’ll tell you later…”

“Can you tell me too?” Rachel quickly asked.

Jeff nodded and continued inspecting the fossil. He held the dark brown sedimentary rock in his hands. His fingers rubbed along the coarse surface of the stone and stopped when he felt an irregular, smooth bump. Jeff flipped the rock over to inspect the other side where he saw a white shape on the side of the rock. It looked like a white curved cone, very similar to a claw of some sort.

“Hmm… I wonder what kind of pokemon this was… Anyway, this is valuable, I should probably keep this for now,” Jeff said, wrapping the fossil in the shower curtain to cushion it, before he put it back in his bag.

“Yeah, yeah,” Kevin impatiently said. “So are you going to keep training or can we go and have your rematch now?”

Jeff looked at Treecko, who nodded. “There’s not much left we can do, so… Yeah, I guess we’re ready.” Jeff looked up at Atlas and Prometheus apologetically. “We’re going back into the city now… and it’s the daytime so there’s lots of cars and stuff, sooo… Is it okay if we return you both to your pokeballs?”

Atlas glanced to Prometheus, who looked sceptical. “<Only if you promise to let us out tonight.>”

“<’Let us out’?>” Prometheus asked in a whisper. “<What are we, slaves? It sounded like you were talking to Kronos, again.>”

Atlas growled. “<For lack of a better phrase, okay?>” he fiercely whispered back.

Jeff nodded. “Of course, guys. No question about it,” he reassured them. They nodded in satisfaction, awaiting their return to the small devices. Jeff and Kevin both aimed the pokeballs at the respective Onixes and within seconds, they were sucked into a red beam of light.

“Hey, do you think you can catch humans?” Kevin asked, looking at the pokeball in his hand in curiosity.

“I think you can, but I’m pretty sure it’s illegal,” Jeff replied. “Not to mention that I’d kill you if you ever tried it on me…”

Kevin grinned. “You saw right through me. Now let’s get going, I don’t want to miss lunch because of you two,” he said, glancing between Jeff and Treecko.

Jeff gazed down the road to Mauville. With a quick turn of his head he turned to face Treecko. “Are you ready?”

Treecko’s eyes narrowed slightly at the question, but a small grin appeared on his face as he turned back to Jeff. “<…Are you?>”
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  #136    
Old February 25th, 2009, 04:47 PM
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Legendarian Mistress
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My review…

It took me a couple of hours to read your fic last night. I want to say that you’ve done an excellent job with it, there’s just one tiny mistake.

Quote:
Roxanne, the Mauville City gym leader.
As far as I remember, Roxanne is the Leader of Rustboro. I picked up this mistake in the last chapter, btw. The one called “Training Day”. Are you planning on evolving any of your trainers’ Pokémon? If so, will there be an evolution soon? When I read fics, the two things I look forward to the most are evolutions and Gym battles. Anyway, it’s a really good fic, keep up the excellent work and if you have a PM List, can I please be added to it?
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  #137    
Old February 26th, 2009, 06:51 AM
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Thanks for the review and thanks for picking that mistake up.

Yes, I do plan on evolving some eventually. I can't really say when though.

You don't happen to have an accound on serebii, do you? Because that's where I have my PM list. If not, I suppose I can make an exception here. My reviews here are few and far between so I didn't bother to make a list here, but I s'pose I could start.
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  #138    
Old April 5th, 2009, 11:49 AM
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Turnabout


The gang walked along the wide sidewalk of Mauville City, feeling diminutive in comparison to the hotels and skyscrapers looming above them. The beating sun was especially bad on that day because the rainfall in the night resulted in an irritating amount of humidity. Luckily for them, they were in the shade of the tall buildings. Ace, who was in Kevin’s hands, hid in his shell where it was quite cool. However, no one else had shells that could be seconded as a house. Daedalus insisted on being returned to his pokeball and the only remaining pokemon out were Treecko and Corphish, who was bushed due to the heat.

Corphish panted and was sweating quite a lot. “<Are… we there… yet?>”

Jeff looked down behind him and raised an eyebrow. “Just two more blocks. You know you can go in your pokeball if you want.”

Corphish shook his head and slowly plodded his numerous legs upon the warm tarmac. “<Like I’m gonna miss this next gym battle!>” he retorted, walking on for a few steps before collapsing to his stomach. He reached out his pincer and clasped the creases in Jeff’s right sock. “<Drag me, please…>” he said, submitting into his own exhaustion. Jeff grinned and walked, dragging the water type with his foot.

“Corphish has a point… It is really hot today,” Kevin said while rapidly pulling and pushing below his shirt collar to make a makeshift fan. While doing this, he lightly handed Ace to Rachel, who seemed reluctant to have to carry any more weight than she already possessed.

“You guys live in Hoenn, so aren’t you used to this kind of weather?” asked an especially hot and impatient Blane.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t still complain about it,” responded Kevin, smirking before turning the corner. The smirk disappeared as, upon turning the corner, he slammed into a warm wall of flesh. The teen stumbled back and clutched his nose. “Son of a-” he sputtered.

Kevin opened his eyes and found himself staring at a white torso which spanned his entire field of vision. He looked to the sides of the body and saw two large legs and arms branching out of the creature’s bulky blue figure. A massive shadow cast down upon Kevin as he stared up in trepidation at the sneering cobalt face beneath two sizable fins that spanned to the back of the creature’s skull. The large orange whisker-like gills at the corner of the wide mouth tensed as the pokemon sneered down at him.

“S-s-sorry, buddy,” stammered Kevin, backing up and into Jeff.

He heard a mechanized ‘ding’ from behind him along with a monotone, electronic male voice. “Swampert: The Mud fish pokemon. It can swim while towing a large ship. It bashes down foes with a swing of its thick arms.”

The Swampert seemed almost to smirk at the last sentence and he stepped towards Kevin, raising his mighty arms.

“Cool!” Blane enthusiastically stated, closing his pokedex.

“Not cool!” Kevin worriedly responded, forcefully walking backwards and ploughing Jeff with him.

The Swampert reached out, grasped and held Kevin up by the shoulders. A malicious sneer creeped onto the water type’s face, but after a moment, it was replaced by a beaming smile. Within seconds, Kevin felt himself being crushed against the Swampert’s underbelly in a massive bear hug.

A gaunt twenty year old walked up to the pokemon’s left and kneaded his brown eyebrows- matching his hair- with his fingertips in embarrassment. “Don, quit it!” he playfully scolded the large pokemon. “Don’t mind him, he’s just happy that he won against Wattson.”

“It’d be hard not to win with this guy!” a strained Kevin managed to state from under the high-pressured friendly gesture. “OW OW! You’re crushing the bruise I got from Prometheus!” Kevin yelled, shifting in response to the sharp pain in his back.

“Actually, it was a tough battle,” the trainer said, folding his arms over his yellow t-shirt. “That Magnezone was skilled.”

“Magnezone?” Jeff inquired, curiously.

“Yup… I take it you guys don’t know that gym leaders have pokemon of vastly different strengths at their disposal. They can’t expect everyone to go to gyms in the same order, now can they? It makes it so that neither the gym leader nor the trainer is at a mark disadvantage. Roxanne in Mauville will be my 6th gym leader to go to… it wouldn’t be fair if I challenged her lowest levelled Geodude with Don here, but it wouldn’t be fair if she used a Rampardos against some new trainer’s Torchic either. Catch my drift?”

They all nodded, with the exception of Kevin, whose legs were starting to fall asleep. Treecko grew tired of waiting and walked between the Swampert and trainer to make his way to the gym, which was now in plain sight. Jeff noticed and quickly followed. “Gotta go! Nice meeting you!” he hastily said, knowing Treecko wouldn’t wait for the others.

“Help me!” Kevin pleaded from behind them, but the two kept walking and expected the others to take care of it and be behind them soon enough.

“<I bet I could take that Magnezone…>” Treecko said, ambling along the sidewalk.

Jeff smirked and placed his hands behind his head as he went along side him. “I don’t doubt that you could… but let’s just stick to whatever Wattson throws at us.”

Upon reaching the recently cleaned, glass front doors of the gym, Treecko stood up onto his hind legs and folded his arms across his red chest.

“You sure you want to keep that twig in your mouth during the battle?” Jeff asked, glancing at his pokemon partner.

Treecko gave an affirmative nod. Jeff grinned and placed his hands of the metal handle but stalled opening it upon hearing numerous footsteps behind him. He turned and saw Rachel, Blane, Corphish, and a rather pissed off Kevin.

“Thanks for the help, you two!” Kevin sarcastically said, giving them each a glare.

Treecko merely glared back with a look that said ‘Don’t try me…’ Jeff, however, replied, “You had it under control.”

“I’m so cheering for Wattson now… Actually… No, then I’d never get lunch,” Kevin said, grinning and playfully shoving Jeff into the handle so that the door would open. Jeff pushed him back and the group walked up to the front desk of the gym.

“Can we go in?” Jeff asked, glancing over at the metal door to their right.

The guard, who was in the middle of a drink from his morning coffee, gave a slight nod and eyed the door. Jeff quickly complied and trudged over to it. He was apprehensive about going back in after his humiliating ‘defeat’ yesterday. However, it wasn’t technically a defeat in everyone’s eyes. Jeff glanced at Treecko, took a deep breath, and opened the steel door.

Jeff and Treecko walked forwards onto the simple, obstacle-lacking gym arena. The others went around it and climbed onto the bleachers on the left side.

While departing, Corphish made a point to ask something of Treecko. “<Treeck! At some point during the battle, can you say ‘It’s tail time’?!>”

Treecko gave his friend an utterly perplexed look before continuing to the edge of the field. Much to Jeff’s mixture of relief and embarrassment, Wattson was already standing on the other side of the field.

“OH HOH! I expected you two back earlier,” the gym leader said, is voice echoing about the walls of the empty gym, as he grinned and placed his hands on his yellow and brown aloha t-shirt which sat above a pair of brown shorts. “I guess you two took my advice after all. Are you ready to see how much it has paid off?”

Both pokemon and trainer nodded. Jeff did so with awkward shame. They traipsed across the flat dirt floor to meet Wattson in the middle. The jolly gym leader confidently marched forwards and walked up to the two with a large grin on his face. Wattson stopped in front of them and placed his broad hands on his hips.

“Okay, lads… The rules for rematches are a little different in this gym. People in your case get a handicap,” Wattson said, slinging around his grey backpack and shuffling through it.

“A handicap?” Jeff asked sceptically. “Uhhh… okay; that sounds fine.” Jeff wasn’t sure about the idea of being given an advantage over Wattson. It didn’t seem right to him, but he wasn’t going to argue and it seemed like a good idea.

“<Jeff… I don’t need a handicap to beat this guy,>” Treecko fractiously whispered to the human situated next to him.

“I know that… but we should take any advantage we can get,” Jeff whispered back.

The wood gecko folded his arms and sneered. Jeff honestly couldn’t tell if he was agreeing or disagreeing. Wattson took something out of his backpack- a long white cloth, carrying the aroma of one of those airline ‘moist towelletes’, that he tossed down to Treecko, who caught it and looked at it curiously.

Jeff stared at it blankly. “Is this a joke? Is that for surrendering or something?” he questioned with a hint of irritation hanging on his words.

Wattson chuckled. “Hahah! No no… That’s your handicap!”

Jeff and Treecko looked uncomprehendingly at each other. “Uhhh… I don’t follow you, Sir.”

“Don’t call me ‘sir’… And it’s a blindfold for the Treecko,” he explained.

Jeff’s eyes darted from the blindfold and Treecko to Wattson. “Wait! I thought you said we were getting a handicap!”

Wattson nodded and crossed his arms. “Aye… he has to wear that blindfold for the battle. What did you think a ‘handicap’ meant?”

Jeff recoiled in terror from the statement. He quickly looked down at Treecko, who seemed somewhat peeved, but he felt that a small part of the gecko was inviting the challenge. Wattson looked at Jeff and let out a merry chuckle.

“Hah hah! Well, Jeff, you seem shocked… No pun intended…” Needless to say that, a moment after, Wattson burst into thunderous bellows of laughter, threatening to rival the roar of an Onix.

Jeff impatiently held his objections until Wattson was good and done. “…How do you expect Treecko to battle if he can’t see his hands in front of him?!” Jeff quickly demurred.

“Well, that’s your job, trainer. To prove to me that you two trust and can work together, you have to guide his actions and call out positions and whatnot. It shows your job as a trainer and the trust that should exist between you two.” Wattson gave them a brief moment to take in what he said before continuing. “You could hypothetically keep losing and retrying at this gym. You could lose eight times and get lucky on the ninth time, but that doesn’t show that you’ve learned anything as a trainer, it just shows that you’ve gotten lucky. Like I’ve said before, gyms are here for a reason… They’re to gauge your abilities and bond with your pokemon. It would be unfair to give you a badge for a lucky blow that won you the battle after the 9th rematch. No one gets the Dynamo Badge unless I’ve seen they deserve it, and I know that most of my fellow gym leaders feel the same way.

Jeff stalled, feeling quite insulted and misunderstood, although part of him found truth in Wattson’s words. “…We’ve been through a lo-”

“Whatever turmoil has happened between the two of you lads, if any, it’s your own faults and it’s irrelevant to the task you face right now. So you both should suck it up and save it for off of the battleground,” Wattson harshly scolded.

Jeff was taken aback; Treecko was not. While being frustrated that he needed Jeff’s directions, he smirked and stared up at a somewhat pouty Jeff, who felt like all the gym leaders were ganging up on him. “<You heard him… Let’s show this guy.>”

Jeff managed to crack a grin as a result of Treecko’s confidence despite the situation. “Got it… Can we have a few minutes, Wattson? ...Y’know, for war room discussion.”

Wattson chuckled. “Aye, tell me when you’re ready.”

Jeff turned on his heel and began to walk back towards his side of the battleground, Treecko walked beside him, looking down at the blindfold in his hands.

“Okay… How are we going to make it so that you know where you’re going?” Jeff asked with rising apprehension in his voice. Treecko put his hand to his hip and glanced off in thought. “Hmm… Hey, Treecko! You seem pretty survival savvy, with all that first aid stuff you’ve given me and the like…”

Treecko folded his arms, wondering what he could be getting at.

“Well… can you read a clock?”

The wood gecko raised an eyebrow, having been clearly lost by Jeff’s question.

“Like, 12:00 is forwards, 6:00 is behind, and so on…”

Treecko nodded in comprehension, but shook his head. “<We don’t use clocks in the forest…>” Jeff folded his arms and pursed his lips. “<Do you know azimuths?>” Treecko asked, not entirely expecting him to. Jeff scratched the back of his head in confusion. “<…Angles in degrees,>” he reiterated.

“Uhhh… Only 0, 45, 90, 180, 270, and 360 degrees,” he said with an uncomfortable smile.

Treecko sighed. “<…That’s not good enough. Hmm… tell me you at least know compass bearings. Like north, north-north-east, and so on…>”

Jeff nodded, while thinking whether he knew them or not. “Sure.”

“<Do you? I don’t want to slam into a wall because you don’t want to admit you don’t know them,>” he plainly said, folding his arms across his chest.

Jeff adamantly nodded. “Yes. I know them... and range in metres?”

Treecko paused. “<How long is that?>”

Jeff spread out his arms and created a gap between his hands of roughly a metre.

Treecko nodded. “<Oh. We called those ‘leaves’.>”

Jeff tilted his head, curiously, but nodded. “Sounds good, then.”

“<…Okay. Let’s start this.>”

“Hold on, we don’t have a battle plan, yet!” Jeff protested.

“<We don’t need a plan; battles are best fought based on instinct and reflex,>” Treecko insisted.

“We do so need a plan! Last time we winged it we were shot clean out of the sky!” Jeff retorted.

Treecko shook his head. “<I’m not against tactics, but this isn’t the right battle for them. In a fast-paced, spontaneous battle against an electric type… especially where I have to wear this damned blindfold… the last thing I need are unnecessary goals to try to reach. We should just adjust to the sway of the battle during the fight.>”

Jeff folded his arms too, but indignantly. “I think having a tactic would be our best tactic,” he replied in irritation.

“<You’re wrong.>”

“No, you’re wrong!”

“<Nope.>”

“Yup.”

“<No.>”

“Yes!”

“<No!>”

“YES!”

Kevin, Rachel, Blane, Corphish, and Ace watched in amusement and bemusement as the two argued.

“They are off to a terrific start,” Kevin said.

“<This is nothing,>” Corphish assured.

Wattson watched from the other side, mildly annoyed. “AHEM!” He loudly cleared his throat, catching their attention. “…Everything okay? Are you sure you two don’t want to come back in a week?”

Jeff’s face turned a light shade of red in embarrassment. He remembered his and Treecko’s conversation- one of the points being that Jeff was still a rookie to training. He turned to Treecko. “We’ll do it your way; I trust you know what you’re talking about… but you’re going to have to trust me too. That’s the only way we’re going to win.”

Treecko nodded, somewhat reluctantly. “<And let’s hope we’ll never have to do this again.>”

Jeff grinned and looked up to Wattson. “Thanks, we’re ready!”

The gym leader smirked, as well, as the two stepped forwards on the battlefield. Jeff knelt down and put the blindfold on Treecko as instructed. “Okay, let’s try this… North about four metres.”

Treecko nodded and carefully stepped in a straight line and stopped a few centimetres short of the desired length.

“Nice. Right on the mark.”

“<Remember, you’re going to have to take my position on the field into account when calling out bearings- your south may be my west, if I’m positioned sideways. Got it?>”

“Got it. I’ll put myself in your scales,” Jeff replied, slightly nervous of the upcoming battle. “Wow, this idea of Wattson’s really covers all aspects of training,” Jeff thought to himself, watching as the gym leader released the green hound onto the arena floor.

The referee took a seat on the sidelines. “The match between Wattson’s Electrike and… uhh… Jeff’s Treecko may begin,” he stated after glancing quickly at his chart.

Jeff let out a shaky, nervous sigh while glancing at his blindfolded pokemon. Treecko put his twig in the corner of his mouth and folded his arms. “<Keep calm, Jeff. I’ll be fine. Remember, you just have to call out my directions- I’ll take care of the rest.>”

Jeff took a deep breath and nodded. “We can do this, Treecko,” Jeff said, more to himself than to Treecko.

Treecko unfolded his arms and stepped forwards another step. “<Yeah.>”

Jeff clenched his fists in anticipation and put weight on his left foot to take pressure off of his still stiff and sprained right one. Wattson beamed and clapped his hands together. “Oh hoh hoh! Let’s start this off! Electrike, go ahead and start with Discharge!” he commanded with a shade of jollity donning his voice.

Blue sparks were conducted by the green bristles of the Electrike’s on-end fur. The static accumulated and was discharged straight towards Treecko’s position on the other side of the field.

“Jump! To the left!” Jeff called out reflexively, watching as the electricity quickly neared Treecko.

Treecko side jumped, but upon landing he sternly reminded Jeff, “<Compass bearings, got it?>”

Jeff shuffled in his place. “Yeah- got it- sorry. ‘West’, then…”

Wattson clapped and chuckled. “HAHAH! Interesting tactic! Kudos to you both! …However… I’m afraid it will take more than that… Electrike! Spark ’em!”

Electrike preserved some of the electricity from his previous attack in his conductive fur. The dog began to start charging Treecko at top speed.

“He’s comin’ in! North north east! About twelve leaves from you!” Jeff called out. Treecko turned to face Electrike exactly. He heard the rapid pattering of his foe’s paws becoming louder and louder, indicating his distance. “Treecko! He’s about two leaves from you! Do something!”

Treecko ignored his comments and stood his ground, waiting like a crocodile for the perfect time to rise out of the water and grab its prey. He waited until he heard the pattering of the feet cease to strike. It was at this point that he knew that Electrike was lunging at him. Treecko waited a fraction of a second before pivoting around on his heel, swinging his large tails at full force. “Cko tree CKO!” He felt his tail smack into fur and flesh and heard a sharp yelp. His target flew off to the side of the court.

Treecko stood firmly on the ground and asked Jeff. “<Where am I now?>”

“Electrike is north to you… you got him pretty good. Uhhh… and… the direction of the field is east northeast. Don’t forget about Electrike’s static! We have to try to use Bullet Seed or else there’s a good chance you’ll get paralyzed!”

“<’We’? I thought you said you’ve never used Bullet Seed before,>” Treecko said, slightly sarcastically, trying to cover the fact that he didn’t want to use it.

“I’m serious! You’ve gotta try to use it!”

“<So am I. There’s no point. Why would I have suddenly be able to use it from over the span of this morning?>” Treecko retorted.

“Just try it! You’re not scared, are you?” Jeff goaded.

Treecko turned his head back towards the trainer. Jeff recoiled; even under the blindfold he knew that Treecko’s eyes were digging into him. The wood gecko turned back around and opened his mouth.

“Treeeeeee CK-”

As he expected, no seeds escaped his throat. Treecko sneered and clenched his fists.

“Gesundheit!” Wattson merrily called from the other side of the field. “Oh, and hook and Thunder Fang!” he directed his pokemon.

Jeff blushed and scratched the back of his neck. He wasn’t looking forward to after this battle at all; he knew Treecko would get him for making him do that. Meanwhile, the Electrike had risen and began circling around Treecko to flank his right.

“He’s going around you, Treecko!” Jeff warned.

“<Where is he right now?!>” Treecko quickly asked, hoping this would prompt a hasty answer.

Jeff mentally went over the various bearings in his mind as quick as possible while trying to keep an eye on both Treecko and Electrike at the same time. “Uhh…” He waited for the right moment. “Due east!”

Without a response, Treecko turned around and ran at a forty-five degrees angle. He headed for exactly where Electrike was about to be. Before Electrike could readjust his plan, Treecko went into a very speedy run- a Quick Attack. Electrike tried desperately to halt himself, but that wasn’t possible at the speed and orientation he was going. Treecko pivoted the twig to the other side of his mouth, making sure that it wouldn’t break on impact.

Treecko rammed his shoulder into the hound’s neck and used one of his tails to buckle the Electrike’s hind legs. The electric pokemon winced and felt the rear of his body give and succumb to the moving ground beneath. The force from the blow and the fall caused the dog to topple head over heels in the dirt until he rolled to a stop. Treecko skidded to a halt, sending up a small wave of displaced dirt.

“<Status report?>” he asked Jeff.

“The other end is west to you, and Electrike is north north west to you and about three metres- err, leaves- away. He’s hurt but not out… Good job by the-”

Before Jeff could finish his compliment or warn Treecko, Electrike jumped upwards and lunged at Treecko, with sparks jumping about in his glossy fangs. Treecko attempted to react, but was slightly late to the draw. Electrike dug his fangs into Treecko’s left shoulder and collar. Treecko let out an agonized, grating snarl as the teeth broke skin and entered his flesh.

“TREECKO!” Jeff yelled, actually walking onto the field to get the Electrike to stop.

“Hey! Behind the white line, buddy!” the referee shouted, outstretching his arm pointing his index finger accusingly at Jeff.

Jeff stopped and sneered, but nodded, walking backwards as quickly as he could. Wattson clapped his hands together and chuckled. “Hah hah! Jeff! You remind me of me when I first started training! Such heart in you! … However, rules are rules… leave the fight to the pokemon,” he replied, his tone becoming dead serious.

Jeff ignored him and watched down as Treecko struggled with the Electrike latching onto him and sending voltage into his wound and, subsequently, body. Bent over and on his knees, Treecko was trying hard to shake off both the electricity and Electrike. In a strained action, the reptile managed to move his right arm and gradually grab Electrike’s lower snout. He slowly and painfully pushed the lower jaw towards the ground, causing the teeth to slide out of his flesh.

Ignoring the burning of his wounds and the upper set of teeth still embedded in the back of his left shoulder, Treecko used his right hand to reach into Electrike’s mouth and close his fist on Electrike’s tongue. The hounds’ eyes widened as he felt his tongue being grabbed.

Sweat now dampened the blindfold and Treecko was grimacing from the pain, but managed to speak. “<…Let go… or you’ll never lick your own ass again…>”

Electrike slowly nodded and removed his upper fangs from Treecko’s shoulder. The wood gecko let go of his tongue and stood up, stepping back a pace. The Electrike spit out blood, closed his mouth and stepped back a pace as well. Treecko wiped his spit-covered hand in the dirt before resuming his fighting stance, despite the pain and the feeling of warm blood leaking out of his wounds. He heard the crackle of electricity and gave a motion with his finger to Jeff, behind him.

“Oh! North! One leaf away!” Jeff said, previously distracted by the amount of blood dripping down Treecko’s back from the bite. “He’s charging a Thunder attack! Dodge! Ten metres towards my voice!” Jeff yelled, much too desperate to try to think of the compass bearings at that point.

Treecko sensed the urgency in his voice, meaning that Electrike was just about finished charging and preparing to strike. Treecko turned towards Jeff and began running. He felt the warm, prickly pulse of the electricity hitting the ground behind him on his back, but he continued to sprint.

“<Say when to stop, Jeff…>” he calmly said with a hint of frustration in his voice.

“Stop!” Jeff quickly shouted, the grass pokemon stopping right in front of him.

“Hit ‘em with another Thunder, Trikey!” Wattson shouted to his pokemon, who seemed reluctantly accepting to the spur-of-the-moment nickname.

“TRIIIIKE!” the lightning-spouting hound howled. He sent a massive blue bolt the size of a human towards Treecko.

Jeff’s eyes widened and he quickly focused solely on Treecko. “Treecko! East as fast and as far as you can. NOW!”

Treecko vaulted to his right at remarkable speed as the electricity neared him. He ran and felt a few outlying sparks latch onto his tail, but he made it out of the powerful attack pretty much unscathed.

Jeff was another matter.

Treecko had been standing directly in front of Jeff when the attack was launched at him and, unfortunately, electricity is indiscriminate. The spear of static slammed into Jeff and danced about his body.

Jeff let out a strained, gravelly roar as he collapsed to his knees and then his hands and then giving in and writhing in pain on the dirt floor of the arena. The Electrike’s eyes widened and he immediately halted his attack. Treecko swiftly turned around towards the direction of the bellow and the referee stepped out onto the field, quickly looking to Wattson.

“Crap! Should we call for a break and some medical aid, sir?!” he asked, glancing over at Jeff.

Wattson let out a hearty laugh. “Hah hah hah! … No no. It’s good for the boy…” he explained with a crooked smile.

“…Really?” the ref asked, glancing over to Jeff, who’s leg was twitching slightly.

Treecko folded his arms, still chewing habitually on his twig. “<Get up, Jeff… or are you too weak to handle a meagre shock?>” Treecko asked in a similar goading manner that got him to try his Bullet Seed.

Jeff sneered through his pain and slowly began to move his arms. Still lying down, he propped himself up on his elbow and let out a pained snarl. “Re… sume… battle!”

“Gee, those two are stubborn,” Rachel said to Kevin, Blane, and Corphish.

Kevin, who was drumming his fingers on Ace’s shell, shrugged. “That and they’re idiots,” he said with a grin. “You still in on our bet, Blane? The odds are now ten-to-one of Jeff winning. I get forty bucks if he loses!”

Blane nodded. “I think they can pull this off with that kind of determination. Besides, I think Wattson’s morale is down since he ran out of electricity-related puns.”

“Your funeral…” Kevin chuckled.

Rachel shot Kevin a look. “You’re, like, the worst best friend someone could have.”

The teen winked. “I do what I can.”

Meanwhile, Jeff had managed to bring himself to an incredibly wobbly kneel. “It’s just a bit of electricity, boy-o.” Wattson snapped his fingers and looked to the referee. “Jerry? I think we can resume now.”

“Yessir! The match will resume.”

“Electrike! Light up that lizard with a Thunderbolt!” the gym leader commanded while placing his hands on his hips.

The Electrike nodded and fired a smaller, more precise bolt at Treecko.

“Treecko… dodge-” Jeff attempted to gurgle out directions, but was too slow and still recovering from being electrocuted.

Treecko let out a cry as the electricity went through him and he collapsed to one knee.

“Tree-eck-ck-ck!” Jeff inaudibly stammered while hoping to say something coherent.

Treecko grimaced and slowly stood up. Sparks leapt about his skin and Jeff could see some of his muscles trembling involuntary, especially around his still-bleeding bite wound.

“Crap, Are y-you para…lyzed, Treeck?” Jeff asked.

Treecko panted, sneering as he did so. Ignoring the beads of sweat dripping down his face, he simply and forcefully asked, “<Tell me… where he is…>”

Jeff stalled, worried that his rage and tenacity were taking him over. “Treecko…” he said dismissively.

Treecko looked over to him. Again, even with the blindfold, Jeff immediately felt the look he was given. “<I’ve trusted you all of this time, so trust me… got it? I may be stubborn sometimes, but I’m not an idiot- I won’t let my rage take over my common sense.>”

Jeff nodded and felt a wave of guilt. “… North north east, about sixteen leaves away,” he directed, humbly.

Wattson called out first. “Volt Tackle, Electrike!”

The dog pokemon began charging towards Treecko, electricity surrounding him as he ran. The wood gecko quickly turned his head to Jeff. “<When I’m about to hit him, count down from three. Don’t mess up the timing or else.>”

Before Jeff could nervously nod in reply, Treecko was off. However, he noticed that the Treecko was much more sluggish than usual, but that couldn’t be helped- he was just shocked with countless watts of electricity, after all. Treecko raced towards the static-enveloped pokemon on all fours.

“Three…”

Treecko sprinted faster, hoping that he was given the right instructions. Electrike was at maximum energy potential as he closed towards Treecko.

“Two…”

Treecko’s aching and warbling muscles burned, but he continued running. Jeff was fixed on the reptile, tensely wondering his seemingly insane plan.

“ONE…”

Treecko fell. In Jeff’s wide eyes he had tripped and was about to roll, prey to the oncoming, Volt Tackle.

However, this wasn’t the case.

Treecko slid and manoeuvred on the ground, pivoting on his side while sliding along the light layering of dirt. He swung his large tails around in front of him. Electrike was taken off guard by Treecko’s unpredictable tactic, but he couldn’t stop, he could only hope that he gave more damage than he received.

Treecko swung his tail with all of his might. He took out Electrike’s statically charged front legs and received a nasty shock as he did. The dog pokemon yelped and fell over Treecko crashing into the ground behind the gecko, face first- the electricity around him died. The electrical energy surged through Treecko’s tail and he slowly slid to a stop.

Neither moved. Everyone looked on anxiously, especially the referee. There was a deathly silence.

Then… Electrike’s leg twitched. The referee raised his arm.

“NO!” Jeff called out, his heart sinking down to his feet.

But then, Treecko pushed his arms against the ground, attempting to get to his knees. The ref lowered his arm and watched. The fight wasn’t over yet.

Both Electrike and Treecko moved very sluggishly in an attempt to get to their feet. Treecko was also bipedal, so he managed to slowly stand first. Electrike saw this and frantically attempted to get his legs to allow him to stand. While he did this he began to build up electricity as a defence.

“<… Jeff?>”

Getting down to the bare essentials, he replied, “East south east. Two metres.”

Treecko scowled and began to slowly walk towards Electrike, like an unstoppable killer in a slasher film. Electrike’s eyes widened and he built up a greater amount of electricity. Treecko would have none of that.

Jeff called over and with a serious tone, declared, “You’re there…”

The wood gecko loomed over his opponent for a second, before winding up his tail. Without so much as a ‘cko’, he swung is tail around and slammed it into Electrike. Sparks erupted in a small firework upon impact. The electric pokemon flew to the side, skidded, and tumbled in the dirt at the center of the field until coming to a stop, with a few rogue sparks still jumping off of his fur.

The referee carefully inspected the unconscious Electrike from the side before nodding. “Electrike is unable to battle. Treecko and Jeff are the winners!”

There was silence.

Jeff looked across the field to Wattson, who was silently staring at him. Still no words were said; Jeff was starting to worry that Wattson was going to take out a pair of pistols and start firing at him. He looked like he was burning a hole through Jeff’s head.

However, a wide, beaming smile came onto Wattson’s face and he started feverishly clapping his hands together in a joyous fashion while laughing. “HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH! WELL DONE, BOYO!” Wattson bellowed, chortling with amusement.

Jeff still remained silent. He had won. He really didn’t know what to say- certainly not in response to Wattson’s behaviour.

Treecko winced and slowly walked towards the middle of the field. Jeff also lumbered to the center to meet Wattson, who was grinning madly. He could hear Kevin swearing about losing his bet. The middle aged gym leader took something out of his pocket and folded his arms.

“Impressive, lads! I didn’t think you two could pull it off!” Wattson exclaimed. He outstretched his hand and revealed in it a golden badge shaped like a shaped like a coiled wire with a pole going through it diagonally. “There is one more condition before I give you this though…”

Jeff froze- he was tired of Wattson’s outside-the-box techniques.

“You have to promise that you two’ll fight each next gym battle like the one you just fought,” he explained.

“…You mean… W-with a blindfold?” Jeff asked nervously.

Wattson chuckled. “No no! With you and your pokemon… specifically that Treecko… working as a team and cooperating… It’s never too late to bond with your pokemon.”

Jeff turned his eyes down at a very serious Treecko. It worried him, thinking that that bird had flown. “Cko.” The wood gecko threw his blindfold to the ground and let out a grunt. Jeff wasn’t sure if it was a grunt of pain or indignance, but either one was enough to make Jeff want to hurry this up.

“Yeah- yeah, okay. We’ll do it,” Jeff quickly said, taking the badge. “Thanks.”

Wattson gave him a stern stare. “… You’d better… HAH HAH! Good luck to you, boyos!” the gym leader said giving him a hard slap on the back which caused Jeff to stumble a bit.

“Ack! Uhh, th-thanks, Wattson,” he answered. Jeff looked down at the badge in his hand. His victory finally began to sink in as he realized the obstacles he had to come over to win this. A beaming smile crept onto his face and he looked down at Treecko. “… WE DID IT!” Jeff yelled with a victorious laugh. He bent down, picked up the Treecko and hugged him in merriment.

They both initially winced as they electrocuted each other on the impact of their flesh colliding, but Jeff ignored it. Treecko, however, struggled exasperatedly to get out of the hug.

“<Jeff! Quit it! I hate frigging hugs!>” he complained, squirming violently.

Jeff simply chuckled and let go, quite proud of their achievement. His smile disappeared when he saw blood staining his own shirt. He looked down and realized that Treecko’s wounds were still bleeding and he realized that they should leave now.

“Thanks again, Wattson.” Jeff had a reluctant Treecko to saddle up on his shoulder so that he wouldn’t waste any more energy. The teen ran to the bottom of the bleachers to meet his friends.

“Nice job, Jeff!” Rachel congratulated.

“Yeah, thanks for winning, Jeff!” Blane added, putting his wallet in his pocket.

“You owe me forty dollars, Jeff,” Kevin said crossly.

Corphish jumped from the stand onto Jeff’s back, causing him to wince from the hard and jagged exoskeleton hitting him. “<Way to get electrocuted, you two!>” Corphish then noticed Treecko’s blood dripping off his front and back- staining Jeff’s white shirt. “<…Eww… Oh, and Treeck? What’s with you and that Bullet Seed attack?>”

Treecko heard the comment and winced. The reptile pretended he didn’t hear and he continued gazing forwards, becoming lost in his thoughts.

“<Why is everyone ignoring me today?>” Corphish asked, downtrodden.

Jeff grinned and reached back to pat Corphish’s back. “I’m not ignorin’ ya. Everyone’s just tired from getting electrocuted… I’m feeling kinda tired right now.” He yawned.

Corphish held tightly to the scruff of the yawning Jeff’s shirt and looked forwards. “<Hmm… should I tell Jeff about the closed door he’s about to walk into?>” he thought to himself.

Moments later Corphish heard and felt a bump as his steed collided with the metal.

“Owwww…”

A big smile appeared on the water type’s face. “<I’m happy I didn’t.>”

-------------------------------------------------

Jeff huffily rubbed his nose as he sat in the waiting room of the Mauville pokemon center. Blane and Rachel sat on one white couch and Kevin, Jeff, Corphish and Treecko sat on the other. Of course, Kevin had made fun of him the entire way there about him walking into the door. Jeff could have beaten Arceus and Kevin would still be able to find something to undermine him with. Right now, the pokemon center was backed up in terms of patients, so there were about six other trainers and their pokemon idly waiting around the lobby.

Jeff inspected his friends: Rachel and Blane were eagerly talking with each other about some topic he couldn’t quite make out, Kevin and Corphish were exchanging their opinions on some of the many TV programs that they had gotten up relatively early to watch, and Treecko sat on top of the spine of the white leather couch- the reptile was staring off into nothing.

Jeff was frankly surprised- of course he didn’t expect any boasting or anything in the way of celebration from Treecko, but he expected at least a half-grin at the time he was announced the winner, especially given the circumstances of the match. He really wondered what was on his mind, but he knew he’d never find out.

The teen looked at the slip in his hand. It read: “Forty-two.” Jeff looked up at the ‘we are now serving…’ ticket counter above the front desk. To his dismay, it was only at thirty-eight. His eyes trailed over from the white desk across the room over to his left, where he saw two video phone stations next to another couch. “Maybe I’ll see how everyone at home is doing…” he thought to himself, as he felt kind of isolated from the others right then.

Jeff stood up and walked over the freshly cleaned white tiles and over to the machines. The video phones looked strikingly like ATM machines, except the screen was more inclined for easier sight access. His finger pushed on the green ‘On’ button and the screen lit up, awaiting the phone number. He quickly typed on the number pad and hit the blue call button right next to the ‘on’ button.

Jeff waited somewhat impatiently as the phone rang. Suddenly, the blue screen switched to a new screen and Jeff made out a familiar brown, humanoid body reluctantly holding up a sign which read: “Growell Residence- Please leave a message with the pokemon.”

The pokemon looked over the sign and into the screen and his eyes widened. “<JEFF!>” he immediately threw the sign to the side and stepped forwards,

Jeff smiled. “Tyr- err- Hitmonlee!” he replied, just as happily.

“<Ugh! I wish I could tackle people over the phone… How’ve you been?! You better have been doing a lot of fighting for me!>” Hitmonlee excitedly asked.

“Yup! I just got my third badge!” Jeff said happily, holding up the Dynamo Badge to the screen.

“<Took ya long enough!>” Hitmonlee joked. “<I bet I would have been able to get it the day after you left, if I was a human… Who’s with you anyways? Any new friends?>”

Jeff chuckled. “Right, dream on. As for new friends well there’s Rachel, a nice girl from Johto, and Blane… well… he’s some guy from Sinnoh who ended up travelling with us. OH! Kevin’s here too!”

“<Kevin? Really? Your blonde haired friend from our town who was always over?>” Hitmonlee asked.

“Yup. You forgot to mention ‘annoying’ and ‘evil’. Oh, and also I’m friends with a Beedrill named ‘Drezdek’.”

“<Yeah? I hope he’s not as sulky as you were,>” the fighting type continued to tease.

Jeff stalled, knowing that the Beedrill was, moreso- he did lose his best friend after all. “Uhh…”

“<Anyways, tell Kevin I said ‘Hi.’ Now this ‘Rachel’ girl… do you two have a thing?>” Hitmonlee slyly asked.

Jeff’s face flushed red. “No! No no! We don’t!” he insisted. “I barely know her!”

Jeff knew that Hitmonlee was grinning wildly, despite not having a mouth. He even heard a few suppressed chuckles. The fighting type folded his arms across his brown, toned chest and smiled. “<Whatever you say, Jeff.>”

The teen hoped that the blood would leave his face soon, so he decided to take the pressure off himself. “What about you and Bayleef? Ever get the guts to tell her how you feel about her?”

Hitmonlee’s stunned face turned a bright red colour as well. He quickly clenched his fist and imposingly shaked it at the video screen. “<WHY YOU- When I next see you, you’re dead meat, pal! You hear?!>”

Jeff chuckled and gave a dismissive wave. “Not so funny, is it?”

Hitmonlee grunted and averted his eyes. “<That wide smile on your face begs to differ… Anyways, you say you just beat a gym? What type?>”

“Electric,” Jeff answered.

The kicking pokemon nodded. “<So… that Corphish and Taillow would be toast against them… that means you used the Onix?>” he asked.

“Uhhh…” Jeff stalled, instantly remembering his promise to Hitmonlee when he last saw him. He promised that he wouldn’t go and find Treecko. While it was true that he didn’t look for Treecko, he came across him through inane circumstances, the end result was still the same. That would be enough to set Hitmonlee off, and he knew that he wouldn’t listen to Jeff’s explaination. He continued stalling. “…Not exactly?”

“<‘Druzdork’ or whatever the heck that Beedrill’s name was, then?>”

“…Nnnnnnnno…” Jeff answered, becoming very nervous.

Hitmonlee set his piercing brown eyes on his friend’s, knowing that something was up. “<…Then who? …Didn’t you say that you didn’t meet any new pokemon?>”

Jeff began getting very nervous. It was only a matter of time now before he found out. “…Uhh… Y-yeah…”

The fighting type stared into him and then his eyes widened. “<… YOU DIDN’T!!>” he roared in disbelief.

Jeff recoiled in fear. “N-NO! I… I mean… What are you talking about?” he asked, attempting to play dumb.

Just then, he heard Nurse Joy’s voice call out from behind him. “Excuse me, Jeff, is it? We’re ready to tend to your Treecko’s bite wounds…”

Jeff froze in his spot, watching helplessly as Hitmonlee’s rage grew exponentially. Just as it looked like the brown humanoid was about to unleash his wrath on him, a green sauropod pokemon shoved Hitmonlee out of the way of the screen and replaced him.

“<JEFF!>” Bayleef greeted happily.

An overwhelming wave of relief swept over him. “B-Bayleef! How are you?!”

“<I’m pretty good! Except Hitmonlee can’t cook food at all. Fighting types have no taste in anything!>” she joked.

Jeff laughed. “Very true…” He was suddenly very confused. “Wait… Why would Hitmonlee have to cook?”

Bayleef tilted her head slightly. “<Oh… Your parents still aren’t back yet from their trip in Sinnoh.>”

“Will you two be okay?” Jeff asked in great concern for them.

The grass type nodded. “<Yeah. We’ll survive… barely,>” she joked, giving a look to Hitmonlee off-screen.

A flustered Hitmonlee pushed himself back onto the video phone screen so that his glaring brown eyes were all that took up the screen. “<WHY DID YOU GO AND GET THAT DAMN TREECKO BACK?! DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO A SINGLE WORD I TOLD YOU?! YOU KNUCKLEHEAD! YOU ABSOLUTE KNUCKLEHEAD! HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY THINK THAT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO GO AND GET THAT IDIOT REPTILE?! DAMNED MORONS, THE LOT OF YOU! YOU’RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER! HONESTLY! IDIOT! I SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU NOT TO GO AFTER HIM, BUT NOOOO, YOU HAVE TO GO AND LOOK FOR HIM BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THE ANNOYING LITTLE PEST! YOU REALLY ARE PATHETIC, YOU KNOW THAT?! DON’T COME CRYING TO ME FOR ADVICE NEXT TIME YOU HAVE A LITTLE FALLING OUT! ABSOLUTE KNUCKLEHEAD! HONESTLY! I SWEAR, YOU’LL-…>”

Bayleef managed to push her way onto the screen as Hitmonlee continued on. “<Maybe you should call back later!>” she yelled over the shouting. “<Bye! Love ya!>” She waved her vine and then moved it to turn off the video phone. His screen then went blank.

In the pokemon center there was dead silence. Jeff felt a presence behind him. He didn’t need to move his eyes in the slightest to know that everyone in the pokemon center was staring at him. His face flushed redder than a Scizor’s metal hide as he turned around to face everybody.

Corphish was the one to try to break the excruciatingly awkward silence. “<…Those things should really come with headphones, eh?…>”
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  #139    
Old May 22nd, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Hey, I've read the first chapter. Great story. I'm loving it already. Hey, but here's a tip from one writer to another: when Jeff thinks, not to sound rude or anything, but I kind of sort of sounds a little fakey, I wanna say. Like for example "Today's the day I get my first pokemon!" I get it that you're telling what day this is exactly, but you might want to try being a bit more discreit. For example "Oh yeah, it's today. I think I'll go with Treeko. Or maybe Mudkip. Torchic? Uh why can't this be easier." You know what I mean? Because he's fifteen and most teenagers I know kind of go into detail when they think and don't really point out the obvious in their mind you know. Now I'm not saying that you're bad or anything, I'm just saying that you might want to be a little less obvious to these sort of things. BTW this is nnot an insult just some advise, if you're wondering.
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  #140    
Old May 26th, 2009, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkfingers View Post
Hey, I've read the first chapter. Great story. I'm loving it already. Hey, but here's a tip from one writer to another: when Jeff thinks, not to sound rude or anything, but I kind of sort of sounds a little fakey, I wanna say. Like for example "Today's the day I get my first pokemon!" I get it that you're telling what day this is exactly, but you might want to try being a bit more discreit. For example "Oh yeah, it's today. I think I'll go with Treeko. Or maybe Mudkip. Torchic? Uh why can't this be easier." You know what I mean? Because he's fifteen and most teenagers I know kind of go into detail when they think and don't really point out the obvious in their mind you know. Now I'm not saying that you're bad or anything, I'm just saying that you might want to be a little less obvious to these sort of things. BTW this is nnot an insult just some advise, if you're wondering.
Heh, I get what you're saying. Don't worry, that improves a LOT. My first chapters suck, so if you can get past Chapter 7, it's smooth sailing from there. Thanks for the review, by the way. (I'm also planning to do rewrites of the first chapters, so that should help, too.)
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  #141    
Old May 26th, 2009, 08:47 PM
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That spunds good, I'm on chapter 3 or four right now(I've been really busy and grounded from te computer so whataya gonna do?

BTW Let me run you an idea for a new book tell me what you think. It would be like pokemon the movie(live action)I'd tell the origin of how we found pokemon and all that. New charatcer 15 year old male w/ love intrest. It'd be more mature too, kinda like your books. What do ya think(be honest)
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  #142    
Old May 27th, 2009, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Inkfingers View Post
That spunds good, I'm on chapter 3 or four right now(I've been really busy and grounded from te computer so whataya gonna do?

BTW Let me run you an idea for a new book tell me what you think. It would be like pokemon the movie(live action)I'd tell the origin of how we found pokemon and all that. New charatcer 15 year old male w/ love intrest. It'd be more mature too, kinda like your books. What do ya think(be honest)
It sounds fine, but it's all how it's pulled off.
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  #143    
Old May 29th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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Hey Just finished the first part of chapter four and I must say, very clever. I love the way you have treecko's thoughts. I kinda feel bad for torchic though.
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Old June 3rd, 2009, 05:11 AM
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Thanks. I kinda like 1st person. That Torchic is a jerk, though.
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  #145    
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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First of all, sorry for a few things.

Firstly (okay, I guess this is secondly), sorry for how long this took. My laptop broke down last month and it had my document on it and I was so far along in it that I refused to rewrite it.

Secondly/Thirdly, sorry for how long this chapter is. I was writing it and it slowly grew to this Onix of a chapter. It's the longest NITWOMP chapter to date at 30-some pages.

Anyways, enjoy and I hope you eyes don't melt out of yer skulls while reading.

Lost and Found



Mountains flanked the group from both sides while they left bright, energetic Mauville City behind them. They walked in the center of a relatively narrow, grassy valley which was caused by glaciation in the far past. This was evident because of the ‘U-shape’ the valley was carved like. The mountains weren’t overly large, but they were definitely impassible for most creatures. The afternoon sun was already blocked by their presence, so the valley was in shadows except for the tips of the uppermost cliff faces on the right.

The shade and the wind tunnel that the valley created were very relaxing to the travellers after that hot, muggy day. Kevin marched forwards leading most of the troupe. Alongside him scuttled Corphish and on his opposite side flew Strix, who was struggling to maintain his slow and steady speed. Behind them were Rachel and Blane, who were talking to each other alongside of Avis and Piplup. Blane was recounting his tale of his travels up to the point they met. Jeff straggled behind everyone else, partially because of the electricity and partially because he was navel-gazing about Hitmonlee and Treecko. The wood gecko was several dozen metres ahead of Kevin and Corphish- always alert for potential trouble ahead. He and Jeff hadn’t exchanged any words since the battle had ended and the teenager couldn’t help but wonder why. Jeff decided to walk up beside Rachel and Blane.

“Nice job with the battle, Jeff,” Rachel said, smiling. “I wouldn’t have been able to do that.”

“What was with Treecko’s Bullet Seed, though? It didn’t look like it worked,” Blane remarked.

Jeff wasn’t quite sure how to answer that. “…Uhh… He just has trouble with it, I guess.”

Blane pensingly put his fingers to his chin. “Have you two tried training?”

“Yes, we’ve tried training!” Jeff defensively retorted. After he realized that he replied somewhat harshly, he cleared his throat. “Umm… Ever since he learned the attack, it’s just been hard to control.”

Blane glanced down at his own pokedex. “Well… it’s not something that Treeckos learn naturally, so maybe that’s it. It’s no wonder it requires a load of training to work properly.”

Jeff looked ahead at Treecko, who was attentively scouting ahead. “Hmm… maybe that’s why he’s acting this way… Maybe…” he thought. “I just don’t understand anything about him…

Rachel glanced at Strix with worry, who was conversing with Kevin and Corphish. She looked back at Blane and Jeff. “I’m, uhh, sure you and Treecko will get the hang of it eventually,” she assured, half-heartedly.

Blane and Piplup eyed Rachel curiously. “Hey, are you okay? You seem kind of… uneasy.”

Avis adjusted her position on Rachel’s shoulder as her trainer turned her head to face Blane. “Oh… Umm, I’m fine. I just get a little worried when I’m not near Strix at all times. He can be really high maintenance and I don’t want him to get-”

Rachel cut off as soon as she glanced back to Kevin and Corphish. Strix was nowhere to be seen. Her heart sunk and eyes widened.

Avis muttered to herself and kneaded her forehead with her wing. “<Oh boy…>” The Pidgey flew off Rachel’s shoulder as her trainer went into a full run towards Kevin.

Rachel stopped behind Kevin, pulled his shoulder and forcefully turned him around. “Where’s Strix?!”

Kevin sheepishly glanced down at Corphish, who nervously looked back at him. “Uhh… he flew off?”

There was a long, tense silence. After a brief moment of shock, Rachel swung her right palm and slapped Kevin across his cheek. “Why didn’t you tell me or try to stop him?!” she yelled.

Everyone, with the exception of Treecko, looked on in flabbergastment with their jaws hanging slightly askew.

Kevin was momentarily stunned. “…OW! What was that for?!” he snapped.

“Uhh… Rache?” a bewildered Blane asked. Nobody could comprehend her sudden outburst and change in demeanor. None of them had seen her act so distraught before.

“You don’t have to slap me to get my attention, you know!”

The complaint and joke fell upon deaf ears; Rachel was too concerned with frantically looked around the sky and surrounding area for her pokemon. “Strix?! Strix?! Where are you?!” she called out with obvious desperation in her voice.

A still shocked Blane and Jeff glanced at each other before running forwards to try to lend her some aid.

“He couldn’t have gotten very far; we’re in a mountain valley pass, after all,” Jeff reassured.

Rachel wasn’t any more calmed by it. “Ugh, this is all my fault! I should have been watching him closer!” she worriedly exclaimed. She quickly craned her head around every which way in an attempt to spot the missing Zubat.

“Maybe he just had to use the bathroom,” Blane suggested, giving her an encouraging pat on the back.

While flapping her wings to stay airborne, Avis shook her head. “<He would have gone out of his way to make that known to me,>” she said with an exasperated sigh following her words. The Pidgey landed on Rachel’s shoulder and rubbed the side of her face against Rachel’s, hoping to comfort her since she couldn’t verbally. “<We’ll find him…>”

Jeff nodded. “Avis is right; right, Kevin?” he asked in forceful tone.

Kevin, who was still nursing his bright red cheek, indignantly nodded. “Yeah, fine… I guess.”

Blane nodded. “We’ll send some pokemon to go look for him. Jeff, you have two flying pokemon, don’t you?”

Jeff’s mind immediately flashed to Daedalus and Drezdk. Despite Daedalus being angry with him, he imagined that the Taillow wouldn’t object to help look for a missing pokemon. Drezdk was the one that raised concerns in his mind- because first of all, he wasn’t sure if his wings were healed enough and second, Jeff was under the assumption that he had never left the general vicinity around his hive, so if he went off alone, he could easily get lost or worse.

Jeff took out Daedalus’ pokeball and released the pokemon onto the ground. The Taillow appeared in the grass and glanced around. His brown eyes fixed on Jeff and glowered. “<So I guess this means you got your third badge?>”

Jeff evaded the question like it was a pinless grenade. “Strix has gone missing. Could you help us find him… please?”

Daedalus didn’t need to think twice about giving an affirmative nod. “<I’m doing this for him, not you… Just so you know,>” Daedalus said, with contempt towards the human clutching onto his words.

Jeff could feel himself shrinking back as if he was Ace, except he was without the shell that he desired at that point.

“What about that Beedrill?” Blane asked curiously. “Two heads are better than one.”

“Don’t you have any flying pokemon?” Jeff retorted, deflecting to Blane the attitude that Daedalus was sending towards him.

“Well… yeah, but Nurse Joy said that he shouldn’t move around, if possible. He was hurt pretty bad,” he replied.

“Great training there…” scoffed Jeff, who was now in a foul mood.

“It wasn’t my fault!” Blane retorted, also becoming angry.

“Guys!” Rachel yelled. “Please! Now’s not the time.” Immediately after saying that, she turned to Kevin. “Which way did he go?!”

Kevin stalled and glanced towards the forest ahead of them which was on the base of the cliff on the right side of the valley. He sighed. “The forest… Here’s what we’re gonna do. Jeff goes with his Beedrill and Treecko, Daedalus goes with Avis, and I’ll go with Blitz. Everyone else stays here in case he comes back. Does that sound good to everyone?”

The majority of the group nodded in agreement.

Daedalus hopped over to Avis, outstretched his blue wing, and placed it on Avis’ side (as was the Taillow custom). “<I don’t believe I’ve introduced myself. My name is Daedalus,>” he said with a smile.

Avis inwardly chuckled, but replied, “<I’m Avis. It’s nice to meet you, Daedalus.>”

“<You can call me Dae.>”

The Taillow immediately felt a looming presence behind him. He turned his head slightly and saw… Corphish.

The water type had his arms crossed and looked at him sternly. “<Aren’t you breaking your marriage vows to ‘your’ precious Peeko, birdbrain?>”

Daedalus gave him a half confused, half annoyed look. “<First of all, what are marriage vows? Second of all, shut up, Corp.>”

Jeff sighed and walked towards Treecko, who was standing with an exasperated expression that said ‘Remind me again why I’m travelling with these people?’

“Okay, Treecko. Are you coming?” Jeff asked with a smile.

The silent grass type merely blinked and walked past Jeff. He sat by himself near the edge of where the ones who were remaining were. The teen eyed Treecko, who was glancing up at the clouds while leaning against his tails. The thing that Jeff wasn’t surprised at was the fact he couldn’t understand why Treecko was doing the things that he did. He merely sighed and began to walk towards the forest alongside Kevin and the two avian pokemon.

“Trouble with your Treecko?” a grinning Kevin asked.

“He’s not my Treecko…” Jeff replied, particularly before Daedalus could comment on Kevin’s choice of words.

“Okay, then… ‘Trouble with that Treecko?’” Kevin’s grin grew wider.

“None of your business,” Jeff annoyedly responded, panning his eyes across the cliff face that flanked their right and that of the forest.

“C’mon! I’m your best friend!” Kevin continued, hoping to soften him up.

The teen scoffed. “You bet against me in my last gym battle.”

Kevin sheepishly grinned and rubbed the back of his head. “About that… Can I borrow forty bucks?”

Jeff ignored him and huffily kept walking.

“Come on! You and I both know that you’re far from being as good a trainer as me, so I’m gonna be the one to give you advice and stuff!” he said.

Daedalus and Avis, who were overhearing the conversation, gave each other an apprehensive look. Jeff’s head spun around to glare at Kevin. “Oh yeah! You’re a great trainer. You have a Squirtle who’s afraid of his own shadow and a murderous Scyther who’s been hiding in his pokeball since this morning!”

Kevin clenched his fists and shouted, “HEY! Back off, pal! That’s over the line! You wanna play like that?!”

Without allowing Kevin to continue speaking, Avis and Daedalus flew in between the two’s faces, blocking them. “<Let’s focus on finding Strix,>” insisted Avis.

Daedalus slightly nodded and looked ahead at the border of the forest that they approached. The woodland wasn’t particularly dense, but it seemed to go along the cliffside for a ways up the route. “<Now’s a good time to split up, anyways,>” Daedalus agreed, glancing at Avis and giving a nod for her to follow him. Kevin and Jeff didn’t give so much as a look at each other before going in different directions. While taking out Blitz’s pokeball, Kevin walked forwards, going parallel to the cliffside which was about a kilometre to his right. Jeff on the other hand started walking at a diagonal angle from Kevin, going into the forest slightly towards where the cliff below the mountains was.

Jeff stepped over a couple of roots and plants while taking out a pokeball from his belt. He pointed it at a portion of ground uncluttered by flora and tapped the center lock with his index finger. His eyes narrowed as a result of the white flare that burst from the pokeball upon releasing the pokemon. From the light emerged Drezdk, who warily inspected his surroundings. The last thing that he focused on was Jeff.

“<Oh… Hello… uhh… Jezz?>” he sheepishly asked, embarrassed that he couldn’t remember his name.

Brushing it off, the human warmly replied, “‘Jeff’… How are you, Drez…dek?” He made a conscious effort to try and pronounce the Beedrill’s name correctly, but ultimately he failed.

“<I am… okay…>” he said, rather unconvincingly.

Jeff felt guilty, especially since Drezdk had been through so much. “I’m really sorry I didn’t let you out sooner. I was so focused on getting that badge that I completely forgot. Sorry.”

Drezdk shook his head. “<Do not feel guilty about it. I needed that time to myself. What do you mean by ‘getting that badge’?>” the Beedrill asked, standing on his two black legs and using his main stinger to keep his equilibrium.

Jeff stalled, wondering how to describe it. “Well… humans and pokemon work together in a fight. Traditionally, humans come up with the strategy and the pokemon, who the human relays the strategy to, fights against another pokemon. Humans and pokemon do it all the time all over the world, and badges are basically the things that signify how a human and the pokemon are doing.”

Fear immediately struck into Drezdk’s heart. “<Y-you mean fighting? You mean I am supposed to fight another pokemon to the death?!>” the Beedrill fearfully sputtered.

“No, no!” Jeff hastily assured him. “No, of course not! It’s nothing like that. The pokemon just battles until they feel that they can’t continue, and if the human thinks that it would be too dangerous for the pokemon to continue, but if the pokemon is too stubborn to admit defeat…” His voice trailed off as an image of Treecko immediately jumped into Jeff’s mind. “Well, then the human can recall the pokemon. And of course the pokemon doesn’t have to battle if they don’t want to.”

A wave of relief swept over Drezdk. “<You are telling the truth, correct?>”

Jeff replied almost instantly, “Of course! I would never lie about that!”

Drezdk was still a bit unsure, so he outstretched his right arm and bent it so that his forestinger was pointed upwards. “<If you are promising this, then confirm it.>”

Jeff was very apprehensive. “H-how? And don’t you trust me?”

“<Do not take it personally, please… It is just that I had put my faith in my hive… and after what they did…>” He trailed off. “<Please, confirm it by locking your right forestinger with mine while they are pointed vertically,>” he explained, keeping the stinger in question in the same place.

“If only I had a ‘forestinger’…” Jeff said, examining his arm.

“<…Right. Just use whatever you call that, then.>”

Jeff nodded and raised his arm vertically to lock it with Drezdk’s. “So what is this? Some sort of Beedrillian gesture of promising? It’s just kind of like an upside down handshake- not as strange or as painful as I thought it might be,” Jeff mused.

Drezdk nodded. “<Z’yup! Traditionally, I could kill you if you ever broke the promise…>” The Beedrill watched as Jeff’s face seemed to freeze, and he had to suppress a small chuckle. “<…But my killing days are over.>”

Jeff relaxed for the most part, but he couldn’t get over that last statement. He was afraid to ask but his curiousity took over. “You mean you-…”

The Beedrill cringed and turned his head so that he looked off to the side at a tree trunk, averting Jeff’s gaze. “<I… did not have a choice. I couldn’t help myself… I-…>” Drezdk now wanted anything but to cease staring at that one slab of bark on the tree trunk. He much preferred going over every crack in the wood a million times to looking up at what he imagined was Jeff’s disappointed, accusing face, even for one second. Drezdk shakily sighed. “<I do not blame you for thinking me a monster. It’s one of the many negative things I could aptly be called.>”

Drezdk was stunned by the reaction he received- it was nothing that he had ever expected. He felt Jeff’s hand placed consolingly on his back above the wings. The bug type was expecting to be chastised, thought of as some horrible creature, or even physically beaten. He was constantly told in his hive how humans never understand the Beedrill’s way of life and how the humans thought them as bloodthirsty monsters. Drezdk could never get over the prospect of that stereotype- and after awhile, he even began to start to believe it. He felt very alienated prior to that moment. Drezdk couldn’t believe that Jeff wasn’t rebuking him in some way. The Beedrill immediately looked at Jeff in confusion.

Trying strenuously to muster up his best speaking ability and a flexible tongue, Jeff tried to the very best of his ability to get his name right. “…Drezd-k… You’re the farthest thing from a monster. In fact, you seem like one of the kindest, most decent individuals that I’ve ever met.” He gave a genuine, comforting smile and a pat on the Beedrill’s shoulder before retracting his hand.

Drezdk, who was still feeling quite vulnerable, stared blankly at Jeff. Despite the fact that he had killed others before, Jeff still thought he seemed kind- no- the kindest person he had ever met? How could that be? Drezdk wondered. This human was nothing like the ones that he was told about by his swarm. If this human was smart enough to know that Drezdk wasn’t truly an aggressive killer, than how could Drezdk himself have been so blind to believe that all humans were as unforgiving as the members of his hive said? “<He… doesn’t think me a monster? …And he says that I might be one of the kindest people he’s met? He believes in me and is actually trying to make me feel better?! He even went out of his way to try to get my name right… and he almost did too… I can’t believe it…>” Drezdk was at a loss for words for a few moments. The slow realization and comprehension of Jeff’s words slowly began to form a mixture of appreciation, gratitude, and guilt- but most of all, an overwhelming sense of pure relief.

Drezdk stared long and hard up into Jeff’s eyes before his own lit up and he gave an uncontrolled chuckle of elation. “<Th-… Thank you!…>” Drezdk felt that Jeff deserved to understand how happy he had just made him. Since all that he could muster was those two words, he instinctly decided to resort to an action that a Beedrill would do in this situation to show his overpowering admiration. Drezdk stepped towards Jeff, wrapped his forestingers around him, and pulled him into a tight hug.

Jeff was stunned for numerous reasons. Had he really had that much effect on the Beedrill? And… Drezdk, a Beedrill, was hugging him?! For a few moments, Jeff didn’t know what he should be feeling, but then it began very clear what he was to feel… the same things as Drezdk. After a few speechless seconds of incomprehension, Jeff decided the only thing that he ought to do was kneel down to Drezdk’s level and return the hug and all that it stood for. He slowly went down on his knees and placed his arms around the Beedrill, who he had just recently met.

He could hear a humming. The dull, yet pleased hum was coming reflexively from Drezdk’s fluttering wings. He could feel the contented Beedrill emitting soft vibrations accompanying the humming. It was an automatic response of a Beedrill when feeling strong emotions of happiness. The feeling of the dull vibrations was a strangely relaxing sensation, Jeff had to admit.

After several moments of the mutual hug, when it was really starting to sink in, a feeling hit him like a tidal wave- a torrent of warmth flooded through his body. Jeff was initially shocked at this sudden, strange feeling, but he quickly came to relish it. A feeling that, through all of his time of being a trainer, he hadn’t felt until now. It was the feeling that one of his pokemon actually cared about him. It was an undying warmth inside of him- Jeff imagined this must be what Charmanders feel like all the time. He felt that this one hug made all the disasters he had went through when trying to be a trainer, almost worth it. Almost…

“Thank you…” he murmured.

Drezdk released his amiable hold on Jeff and stepped backwards, also ceasing the movement of his wings. He glanced around the forest before looking back to the human. “<Where did all of the other pokemon and humans go?>”

“Oh… Most are out searching for a Zubat. That’s why I’m out here. How are your wings, by the way?”

“<They are healing… but I don’t wish to fly anytime soon… I hope that’s not a problem,>” Drezdk said uncomfortably, glancing back at his lucent wings.

Jeff nodded. “I understand.”

Feeling a bit guilty, the hornet pokemon suggested a different service. “<I’ve got excellent eyesight though… That’s why I was put in the team I was in, in the first place,” he said, eager to help out.

The teen smiled. “So you don’t mind helping to look?”

“<Z’yup! I would like to help.>”

Jeff nodded. “Fantastic! Let’s start looking.”

Drezdk obliged and walked along side him in search of the missing Strix.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin trudged through the forest alongside the sizable Scyther, Blitz. The mantis hadn’t said a word the entire time after being released. Blitz’s wings hummed as he flew a couple feet above the mossy forest floor. Kevin glanced at him, not being entirely sure of what was going on with him.

“So… You see Strix anywhere, Blitzy?” Kevin asked, hoping to to get some sort of verbal response from his friend.

The Scyther merely shook his head and kept flying. Kevin sneered and walked alongside his friend. After a couple minutes of travelling in silence, he spoke up again. “…You’re acting like a big baby, you know that?”

Blitz turned to Kevin with a questioning look on his face. “<…Excuse me?>”

“Ever since you stormed into your pokeball for no reason, you haven’t said a word and you’ve been all sulky!”

Blitz’s response was a volley of slightly hastened wing beats. Kevin sped up to match the Scyther’s speed. He forcefully placed his hand on the mantis’ shoulder and spun him around. “C’mon, Blitz! Tell me what’s up!”

The bug pokemon glanced at Kevin, but his eyes quickly strayed away from him and off to the side. “<Do you promise to keep it a secret and not make fun of me for it?>”

Kevin nodded. “I’m already doing that for your other secret, remember, pal?”

Blitz grinned slightly and made eye contact with Kevin. “<Yes… Thank you… Erm, it is about your friend, ‘Jeff’, correct?>”

The teen shifted uncomfortably. “Right… Him.” He was aware of how unusually mean Jeff had been to Blitz.

“<You are aware of how I… almost killed him… correct?>” He awaited Kevin’s affirmation before continuing. “<Well… I wish to apologize sincerely and tell him what happened, but I am beginning to think that he will not listen to a single word that I have to say. I just want him to realize that I did not-…>” Blitz cut himself off with an aggravated growl. “<It is… frustrating.>”

Kevin chuckled slightly. “Heh, it must be. I’ve never seen you complain so much.”

Blitz shot an unsatisfied glare at his friend. “<I am not complaining…>” he said, placing stern emphasis carefully on each word.

The teen grinned but submissively shrugged. “What happened this morning before you locked yourself in your pokeball?”

The mantis grimaced, but was willing to answer Kevin’s question. “<Somebody mentioned a rain cloud and… I panicked. I turned around and almost accidentally hit your friend with my blade. I was ashamed and frustrated. I apologize, Kevin.>”

Kevin looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “What are you apologizing to me for? I don’t care about Jeff.”

Blitz’s eyes widened in surprise. “<Kevin, that sounded very mean.>”

The human grinned a bit. “I bet my awesome voice made it sound pretty cool too,” he said, smirking. “Remember who you’re talking to here, pal?”

The Scyther sighed. “<It does not hurt to be nice every once in awhile, you know.>”

Kevin folded his arms and glanced about the forest, still making an effort to look around for Strix. “I don’t go out of my way to be mean; I just tell it like it is. If you ask Jeff, he understands that. …That is, if Jeff lets you ask him anything,” he said. Kevin turned and saw Blitz cringing and he realized that he hit a sore spot. “…Sorry.”

Blitz shook his head. “<It’s okay, Kevin. I’m just happy that you have a bit of a heart in there,>” he responded, a small smile appearing out of the corner of his mouth.

His friend chuckled. “Hah, it’s reserved only for my best pals and occasionally cute girls.”

The Scyther glanced at him. “<You mean like Rachel? Is she ‘cute’?>” he asked.

Kevin laughed. “Why? Do you have a crush on her?”

Blitz blushed slightly, shuffled in his place and looked away from Kevin. “<By ‘crush’ you mean ‘romantic interest’? Please, Kevin, she’s a human. I hope I do not offend you, but I would prefer something more of my own species.>”

“Hahah. That’s generally a good idea,” the teen replied. Kevin thought about it for a few seconds and then burst out laughing.

Blitz eyed him in confusion. “<What is so amusing?>”

Kevin was tittering like a hyena, but he managed to quickly stop. “Heh… Nothin’, Blitz, nothin’.”

The Scyther stared at him, but looked away to search for any sign of Strix. “<Do you like her? Rachel?>”

The teen grinned. “She likes me, but then again, who doesn’t?”

Blitz sighed and shook his head. “<I can think of a few…>” He slowly flew around some trees; while doing this, he raised his scythe and looked at himself in the reflection of the blade. As he expected, Blitz saw the face of a collected but gloomy Scyther. He sighed and turned his head to see Kevin leering at him. He noticed that his friend’s trademark grin was gone. “<What is it, Kevin?>”

Kevin shook his head. “Nothin’…”

Blitz studied his face and eyes carefully. He knew that something was up. “<…You still think that I want to leave, don’t you?>”

The teen didn’t answer him. He just continued tromping through the forest beside the bug pokemon.

“<…Kevin… I…>” Blitz started to explain, but he cut himself off. The Scyther immediately stopped and sniffed the air. “<Something smells different…>”

Kevin looked at him curiously, but his attention was quickly diverted to a thick piece of foliage in front of them. It seemed impenetrable without the use of a hacking tool. The reason Kevin was fixated on the bush, however, was because it was shaking violently. Blitz raised his shimmering blades in a defensive stance and glared towards the foliage.

Suddenly, the plantlife stopped moving. Blitz didn’t like this one bit; he adjusted his positioning to be ready to cut anything that might jump out at them in two, in a wing beat. He looked back at Kevin. “<You should mo->”

Before he could finish, a purple mist burst out from the bush and clouded over them. They didn’t have even a second to escape it. “<Close your eyes and cover your mouth! Quickly!>” Blitz shouted, squinting in an attempt to see without getting the powder in his eyes. Kevin quickly complied and the cloud started to descend upon the two. The purple powder began to settle on their hides. Then it reacted.

“ARRCK! Damn it!” sputtered Kevin’s muffled voice from under his palms. “What is this stuff?! It burns!”

The grimacing Blitz was also feeling the agonizing effects of the fine, violet particles that engulfed their bodies. While the pain he felt all over his body was intense and burning, he had to concentrate on what caused the haze. Blitz let out a strained snarl and looked over his shoulder to Kevin, who was writhing in agony where he stood. “<H-Hang in there… It is poison powder. Just keep doing what I said and- URRMPH!>”

Blitz felt a large, blunt mass slam downwards onto his collar and side of his neck with such great force that he was instantly brought to his knees. The biting mist was still too thick; he couldn’t see what hit him or from what direction. He was in enough pain from the powder without having his exoskeleton almost shattered. Blitz had taken some blows in his life and that was a strong one.

Kevin was trying desperately to shake off the falling powder, but to no avail. “BL-BLITZ?! Y-You okay?!” he border-line screamed.

The Scyther grunted and attempted to damper his pained, heavy breaths. “<Per…fectly fine… J-Just do what I said until it all settles. Do you understa->”

Blitz felt something strike hard into the side of his face, sending him toppling to his side on the forest floor. The throbbing in his face was a grim companion to the searing pain on the rest of his body. His vision was horribly impaired now that the poison powder has had a chance to enter his eyes. The Scyther knew that he would not be able to win this ambush, though he would still try with all of his might.

Or so he thought.

Before Blitz could even use his scythe to support himself, he felt a large vine wrap around his neck and yank him closer to the ground. He attempted a gasp for air, but realized there was little untainted air to be had. The mantis struggled to remove the vine, but it was difficult with the appendages that he wielded. He then felt himself being dragged over roots and through a bush. With his last ounce of strength, he called out to his friend. “<Hang in there… for one more minute, …Ke-…>” And then his consciousness slipped him.

An agonized Kevin was walking around in circles aimlessly, calling out to his missing friend. “Blitz! Where are you?! What happened?! Say something!” Every inch of his body was burning, with the exception of his mouth and eyes. He couldn’t take it. Kevin removed his hands from his face and darted his eyes around feverishly. The poison powder had almost completely gone with the exception of a few wafts.

He looked down at his bare arms and hands and they were coated with the purple substance, which still felt like it was melting him. He managed to ignore the blinding pain just long enough to look around the forest. Blitz was nowhere to be seen. Kevin wanted desperately to call out to him, but he virtually couldn’t ignore the pain any longer. He drilled his hand into his back pocket and pulled out a pokeball, fumbling with it in his hands before getting a decent grip on it. He threw it indescrimately into the forest. There wasn’t a split second wasted from the time he threw the pokeball to the instant after when he began ripping off his toxin-coated shirt. He ignored the bright light of the pokeball releasing its occupant and threw his shirt to the side before taking off his poison-laced shorts and stripping to just his boxers and shoes.

A confused Squirtle emerged from the light and looked at Kevin, who he felt was acting very strangely. “…Squir?”

Kevin’s head shot in the direction of the water pokemon. “A-Ace! Use water gun on me right now! Get this stuff off!” he plead in pain.

Ace stepped back in fear and confusion. He had never seen Kevin this distraught and he was a bit fearful of what the human asked of him. “Sq-squirtle?” he whimpered.

Kevin growled, but tried his best to keep his composure. “P-Please, Ace. You gotta do this. For me…” he said, a forced grin appearing on his face.

The Squirtle stalled, but eventually nodded and stepped towards him. He took in a deep breath and released a very unimpressive torrent of water at Kevin. Kevin embraced the water and turned at every angle in an attempt to remove the poison. After becoming soaked, he backed out of the Water Gun and gave a nod to Ace before collapsing to his knees in a mixture of pain and exhaustion.

Ace gave a deeply concerned gasp and ran over Kevin’s side. He looked at his arms and legs and they were bright red, similar to a bad sunburn. The drenched teen forced a second grin of reassurance. “Th-thanks, Ace. You really saved the day,” he said, giving the Squirtle a pat on the head, who was smiling with hope and pride from the praise. “Think you can wash my shirt and shorts too?”

Ace nodded and began to water down the clothing on the ground. Kevin turned away from the water type and looked out into the forest. “Blitz…” he murmured. “…Damn it!” His fist pounded into the wet ground. Ace initially jumped back, but realized that something was very wrong. He hobbled over to Kevin and hugged him, even though he had no idea what had happened only five minutes ago.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Corphish sat atop a picnic blanket that Blane had rolled out for them. He sat beside Rachel, Blane, and Blane’s Piplup. As he munched on a slice of bread, Corphish had his eyes fixed on Treecko, who was sitting in the grass several meters away with his back to them. Piplup, also eating a slice of bread, sat down next to Corphish and glanced over to see what he was looking at.

The penguin looked up at Corphish curiously. “<What’s up?>”

“<Uhh… Thanks a lot! You made me lose count! I was counting how many of his scales were off-green,>” Corphish replied evasively.

Piplup gave him a sceptical look, folding his flippers and tilting his head. “<Come on… I’m not an idiot.>”

The crustacean sighed. “<Okay… I’m curious as to what’s up with him this time.>”

“<Maybe he just likes sitting alone and staring off into the sky,>” the penguin suggested.

“<He does, but I think there’s something else this time. He won the gym battle, so I don’t know what it is,>” Corphish responded.

The Piplup shrugged. “<Why do you care, anyways?>”

“<What d’ya mean, Happy Feet?>” Corphish asked, finding it fully necessary to tag on the nickname. “<He and I are the best of pals!>”

Piplup stared blankly at him before rebutting. “<I haven’t seen you two say a word to each other.>”

“<He’s kind of the strong, stubborn, rebellious, and silent type,>” Corphish said with a half grin.

The blue water type shrugged. “<If you say so.>”

Blane sat beside a very distraught Rachel, who was still carefully watching the treeline for a sign of the missing bat pokemon. Blane had his hand placed comfortingly on her shoulder. “Relax; he’ll be okay, Rache. He’s a big Zubat and I’m sure Strix can take care of himself… Besides, he’s got a whole search party going after him, too,” he tried to reassure.

“I should be with Avis and the rest of them,” she moped.

Blane ignored the last comment. “Why would Strix leave anyways?”

“… Because of me,” Rachel whimpered. She got a confused gaze from Blane.

“That’s ridiculous. Why would he leave because of you?”

She sighed. “He thinks I’m boring and no fun. That’s why he’s always hanging around Kevin! And Kevin, Jeff and you can understand them, but I can’t. Why would he want to be my pokemon?”

“Rachel, you’re being unreasonable. I don’t think that Strix thinks that at all. Besides, there’s plenty of reasons why he likes you!” Blane declared.

“Oh yeah? Like what?” she asked, challengingly.

Blane’s cheeks tinted pink slightly as he began to answer. “Well…”

Rachel groaned, taking the pause in a negative light. “That’s it, I’m going to find Avis,” she said, standing up on the blanket and beginning to walk.

“H-Hey!” Blane called out. “You didn’t even give me a chance to answer!” She ignored him and continued walking. “Wait a second! You can’t go into that forest without a pokemon! That’s the first thing everyone tells you!”

“<It’s not like you listened, Blaney,>” Piplup murmured with a sly grin curling on the edges of his beak.

Blane gave him a look until Rachel called back to him. “I do have a pokemon! I just need to find her!” she replied, tromping towards the valley forest.

Corphish turned to Blane. “<You sure know how to bring out the best in females, don’t you?>”

Piplup chuckled mockingly, prompting Blane to give them both a cold stare. “I hope she knows what she’s doing…”


-----------------------------------------------------------

Jeff trekked alongside Drezdk, who, for the first time in a long time, had a smile on his face. Of course, Jeff couldn’t see the smile because of the height difference and the fact that Drezdk’s mouth was in the niche under his chin, which made it hard for anyone to see unless the Beedrill was staring straight upwards. Despite the fact he couldn’t see the smile, Jeff could sense it was there.

They both looked around the canopy line and patches of sky that slipped through with hope of seeing the Zubat.

“<Jeff? What does a Zubat look like?>” Drezdk asked, not having seen a ton of other pokemon when with his swarm.

Jeff pulled out his pokedex, flicked it open, and pressed the buttons until he pulled up a Zubat’s profile. His finger tapped the picture and showed it to Drezdk, who nodded and didn’t bother to question what the strange piece of technology was.

“<Oh, okay,>” he said, continuing to walk along.

The teen smiled at how accepting Drezdk was, but the smirk quickly turned to confusion when he felt the dull edge of the Beedrill’s stinger against his torso.

“<Stop,>” Drezdk warned, keeping Jeff still. “<I see something.>”

The human stayed perfectly still and darted his eyes around. He saw absolutely nothing. “Are you sure?” The hornet nodded firmly in reply.

Neither of them moved a muscle. Drezdk kept his eyes fixated on something. After several silent moments, Jeff heard leaves rustling in the forest, several metres away to their left. Whatever it was, it was getting closer.

“Wow,” Jeff whispered. “You really do have great eyesight.”

Drezdk was about to thank him, but he cut himself off when he saw a figure. “<I see two unknowns,>” he warned Jeff in a hushed voice. His brief time on his assault squad was coming back to him. “<I personally think that we shouldn’t enter combat.>”

Jeff nodded and ducked behind a large bush with Drezdk. “Sounds like a good plan,” he agreed, remembering that Drezdk’s wings were still healing and that his only other pokemon with him, Atlas, couldn’t maneouvre well in this forest. They both stayed hidden. Luckily, whatever was moving was going parallel to them, not coming towards them.

Jeff slowly readjusted a few leaves which obstructed his view on the bush in front of him. He flinched upon seeing the sun’s orange glint reflect off of something and into his eyes. Though the sharp reflection of light wasn’t the only reason that he flinched, it was what the light was reflecting off of that really sent chills down his spine.

A scythe. A scythe similar to the one that had tried to slice him to ribbons a year prior. It was unmistakably a Scyther. But he noticed something odd about it- it was dragging on the forest floor. Jeff looked more carefully. The whole body was being dragged. He carefully looked at the unconscious Scytherian figure and noticed that a large brown vine with a leaf on the end of it was coiled around the chest, resting under the bug’s underarms and pulling it in short bursts before momentarily pausing. It was understandable since pulling a mantis of that stature can’t be an easy task.

Jeff was unsure what to make of this. He glanced at the Scyther's face, and he saw that the pokemon was about to disappear behind the foliage after whatever the vine belonged to

Drezdk was also carefully studying what he could from his concealment. He whispered to the human next to him, who was inspecting the scene, “<Jeff, I wasn’t able to catch a glimpse of the other one in time, but isn’t that pokemon who’s being dragged->”

Upon a good look at his face, Jeff immediately identified the Scyther. There wasn’t any way he could forget it. His eyes widened and, not long after, he found himself on his feet yelling in shock. “Blitz?!”

The unconscious bug suddenly ceased being pulled. Drezdk cringed at his companion’s foolhardy action. He suddenly felt like he was with his best friend Talvoc again, but in this case, that wasn’t a good thing. Jeff froze and looked in the direction of the large bush, behind which was the unknown assailant. Drezdk readied his twin forestingers and prepared for the worst.

In seconds flat, a blue haze of microspores surged through the bush and was ingested into the two. The reaction was fast-acting. Both Jeff and Drezdk’s heads started to feel light-headed and loopy. They started to feel really heavy.

“What the-…” Jeff attempted to utter, already nodding off where he stood.

Drezdk’s crimson eyes were dulling in colour. “<Jeff… What’s happening… to me?>”

Before he could get a fraction of an answer, the human was already falling to the ground, hitting his head on a nearby tree trunk as he dropped like a brick. Drezdk lazily turned his head. “<Je…eh… fffffzzzzz.>”

The Beedrill trailed off both in speech and in mind. He fell to his knees before slowly toppling to his stomach, unconscious.

-----------------------------------------------------------

The Taillow and Pidgey pair flew at a steady pace. They alternated in altitude, occasionally switching back and forth between above and below the forest canopy line, in case Strix was flying at a different height than them.

“<Why would he fly off suddenly?>” Daedalus asked his flying companion.

Avis briefly glanced up at him. “<Oh, Strix? He probably got distracted by a Beautifly and decided to follow it. I swear most Growlithes have a higher attention span than he does.>”

Daedalus grinned and pictured Corphish. “<Are you two friends? You and Strix?>”

Avis stalled but nodded. “<I guess you could say that… but most of the time I feel like his older sibling.>”

The Taillow chuckled a bit. “<I kinda know what you mean,>” he answered, assuming ‘sibling’ meant ‘guardian’ or something like that.

Avis turned to face him again, after checking around for the Zubat again. “<I know you do… You have that leader quality about you…>”

Daedalus froze in his place and stopped flying, only flapping his wings to keep himself airborne. Avis turned around and looked at him in confusion. He looked like he had just been kicked in the stomach.

“<…Daedalus?>”

The Taillow looked away from her. “<You’re wrong. I don’t have that ‘leader-quality’. Never say that again… please,>” he said, grimacing slightly.

Avis stared at him for a moment, but nodded. “<Umm, okay. I’m sorry.>”

Daedalus shook his head. “<…Why was that human of yours so worked up earlier?>”

“<Hmm… You mean Rachel, right?>” she asked the dark blue swallow, who nodded. “<Oh… well… I can’t really tell you. It’s a secret.>”

Daedalus nodded understandingly, but he was still curious. “<I swear on my honour as a Taillow that I won’t tell anybody.>”

Avis glanced into Daedalus’ eyes. “<I can tell that you don’t take promises lightly, either.>”

“<… You’re right,>” he replied, shocked that she could deduce that just by looking at him. “<How did you know?>”

The brown Pidgey looked back forwards. “<I can just tell tell things about some people. Mostly I can’t, but when it’s somewhat obvious…>”

Daedalus looked at Avis, intrigued by her and slightly embarrassed that that part of him was so transparent to her. “<Hmm… Does that mean you’ll tell me?>” he said with a sly, almost Kevin-like grin.

Avis nodded, somewhat reluctantly. “<As long as you promise.>”

Daedalus flapped vigorously with his left wing so that he could stay airborne while placing his right one across his chest to signify his promise. Avis chuckled, still scanning the area for Strix, and nodded again.

“<Well, it happened a few years ago when she was babysitting her brother…>”

The Taillow looked at Avis, flabbergasted. “<Sorry, but… ‘babysitting’? ‘Brother’?>”

The brown bird frowned, trying to think of a way to say it so that Daedalus would understand. “<Umm… first, a brother would be like a male hatchmate.>” When the Daedalus nodded in understanding, Avis continued. “<And ‘babysitting’ is like how a more mature flock member would watch over the nestlings.>”

The swallow nodded again and allowed her to continue. “<Well, anyways, she was watching her brother for the first time. She was mostly watching TV though and only half watching him when he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. She panicked and got all upset. Her brother was fine after he was taken to the hospital, but Rachel never really got over it. That’s why she’s so nervous about being responsible for Strix and I,>” Avis explained.

Daedalus nodded in understanding. “<Do you like your human?>”

Avis nodded. “<Of course- even though she can’t understand me. She tells me all sorts of stuff and I’m happy to listen, although I sort of wish that I could do the same with her sometimes.>”

“<You can tell me stuff in the meanwhile…>” Daedalus offered with a warm smile.

Avis stared at him and was about to respond, but something caught her eye. “<Is that… Kevin?>”

Daedalus looked down to see Kevin sitting on the ground beside Ace, but he saw something out of the corner of his eye. Something was walking towards the two.

“<Rachel?>” he asked himself out loud.

Avis craned her head to see Rachel stomping towards the still half-naked Kevin. The two avian pokemon nodded at each other before flying into a nosedive to go check out what was going on.

“You!” Rachel shouted, pointing at Kevin, who was sitting next to a surprised Squirtle. The teen looked, stood up, and turned to face her as she approached. “You say that you’re going to look for Strix, but instead I find you sitting around in your underwear doing…” The situation began to sink in. “What the hell are you doing?!”

When she looked at him, she expected him to respond with a witty and suggestive innuendo, but instead she got something else. “… I’m waiting for my clothes to dry off…” he said plainly, glancing over to his shirt and pants.

Rachel looked around and noticed that Ace was patting the back of Kevin’s leg and that Blitz wasn’t present. “Kevin… What’s going on?”

Daedalus and Avis were now flapping in the air next to them. Kevin grimaced and looked at the ground. “Something attacked us… and it took Blitz.”

“Kevin…” she said apologetically. Then she realized something. “What if it got Strix too?!” She swiped Avis out of midair and started hugging her. “Oh, Avis!” The Pidgey in question cringed momentarily before patting Rachel with her wing.

Daedalus flew over to the tree branch where Kevin’s clothes were hanging and tossed them to him. “<Standing around here feeling sorry for yourselves isn’t going to rescue them,>” he said.

Kevin’s trademark grin returned to his face. “The bird is right. We should go find them.” He turned to Rachel, clothes in hand. “Sorry, sweetheart; I know I have an awesome body, but I’m gonna have to get dressed now.”

“<I have a name, thanks,>” muttered Daedalus in contempt.

Rachel gave a fuming glare and walked past him. Kevin smirked, put on his garments, and scooped up Ace in his arms. “Don’t worry, Blitz; I’m comin’ for ya, pal,” he murmured to himself.

Kevin took off after Rachel, with Daedalus and Avis leading the way.

--------------------------------------------------
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  #146    
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:23 AM
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Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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(Continued)

--------------------------------------------------

Darkness… Darkness… Darkness…

Sunlight.

Its blinding rays pierce into my red eyes. I find myself staring back into the mystical, luminous orb that moves across the blue sky on a daily cycle. Every time that I see it, it soothes me, lulls me into a sense of peace. This time it doesn’t work for some reason. The familiar feeling of dread that’s pinching at my heart is too strong.

All around me are eleven Beedrill, eagerly waiting outside a giant egg-shaped hive which is built around the trunk of a massive tree. I have no idea why I feel the way that I do right now. The fear is all too memorable.

Suddenly, I feel a smooth, blunt-sided ivory stinger forcefully grapple my neck and pull me back.

“Tal…” I manage to choke out, already knowing who the culprit was.

The headlock stops and a familiar Beedrill flies around to my front and looks at me with a brilliant sense of enthusiasm that nobody will ever be able to duplicate. “The one and the only,” he replies, giving me a playful whack on the arm with his right forestinger.

Talvoc. My best friend. We have been inseperable friends since literally before we can care to remember. When I look at him now, I feel a great sense of forboding, but I can’t place my stinger on why.

“What’s going on?” I ask, looking around.

“Wow, you’re slow-witted. It’s only the battle that’s been hyped up for the past hundred sun cycles!” he replies, his happy-go-lucky smile only growing wider. “Wake yourself up, Drez!” he tells me.

Drez

‘Drez’ is the nickname that Talvoc, and Talvoc alone, calls me. I realize I’m very sentimental with this friendship, but it’s very important to me. I have a nagging feeling that I’ve done something horrible when somebody I loathed called me that.

I close my eyes for a brief second.

A flash goes through my mind. A chill crawls through my insides.

I see myself in the forest, with my right stinger pointed downwards, impaling a fellow Beedrill’s head. Not even a hostile, but a Beedrill from my own hive! He has a green band on his stinger, indicating his rank and affiliation as one who kills anybody from my team who tries to retreat or surrender. I can’t take my eyes off of his emerald blood that stained the grass and my stinger.

My eyes open and I look around with a start. My friend Tal looks at me with confusion. “What’s with you, Drezzy?”

I cringe as I begin to reply. “Uhh… I… just imagined that I… killed someone.”

He looks at me and smiles. “Oh? I’m not that surprised.”

My crimson eyes scan him carefully. “Why do you say that?” I ask.

“For one thing, we’re in the middle of a battle.” Just as he finishes, Tal turns sideways and plunges his stinger into a hostile Beedrill who was charging at him.

As if they had been there all along, Beedrills, friend and foe, are flying around, skirmishing with each other. I see a few drop out of the air, but I don’t care to follow their chilling descension.

Talvoc looks at me more seriously this time. “Come on, Drez… You have to fight… or else you’ll die.”

My insides feel like they have just been given the weight of a boulder. I start trembling and the awareness of my mortality hit me like a stab to the chest. Looking up at Tal, his raising of his main stinger towards me catches my eye. Before I can react, I feel a looming presence coming up behind me.

“DREZ! BEHIND YOU!” he yells as he fires off a very precise purple spear from his main stinger. The dart goes through my wing and straight into the head of an enemy behind me who was just about to slay me. The hostile drops and I turn around to face my friend.

I stare at him.

He stares at me.

There’s a toxic dart in the dead center of his abdomen. A sense of revelation strikes into me like it had been me who was hit with it.

This has happened before.

“You were too late again, Drez,” he says, not taking his eyes off me. “But don’t give up yet…”

I can’t reply. My eyes find his attacker far above and behind my friend. Without choice, my wings are already buzzing vigorously, bringing me closer and closer to the enemy Beedrill. He fires more poison pins at me. I dodge them and close in on the daunted shooter.

Before he can react, I jam my stinger upwards into his skull, killing him instantly. I blink. Instead of the corpse of the hostile Beedrill in front of me, I’m now on the grass, holding Talvoc in my stingers as he grows increasingly still.

Tears flood into my eyes. Despite the fact that this has happened before, I still weep uncontrollably, struggling even to make a portion of a brave face for my friend.

As I stare at him, more flashes enter my mind. Flashes that I wish weren’t real.

The same vision I had earlier appears. Driving my stinger into the head of a horrible Beedrill who tried to kill me; who tries to kill any who try to flee because they value their lives over a pointless cause. I remember now that him calling me “Drez” was what drove me over the edge into finishing him off.

Another image then appears: myself having to fake a major injury so that I wouldn’t be slaughtered upon my cowardly return home. It was me in the process of ripping the base of my lower wings in order to fold them to attach to my upper wings. Shivers crawl down me.

The flashes vanish and I find myself facing Talvoc again, who lies in my stingers. I struggle to suppress a sob when I look at him. He looks back at me carefully with forced, reassuring grin.

As soon as he opens his mouth, I know what he’s going to say. His last words. Words that I will never forget.

“…Drez… Run…”

-----------------------------------------------------------

“<-al!>”

Drezdk woke up with a violent start. The Beedrill was sprawled across the grass in a small clearing in the forest. He could feel his face wet with an equal mix of sweat and tears. The first thing that he saw upon coming to was an unconscious Jeff lying in the grass beside him.

The bug type let out a soft groan and turned his head a little to try and inspect his surroundings. He noticed that they were in a small, secluded grass clearing in the forest, scattered with leaves and undergrowth. Drezdk’s eyes immediately darted towards two figures. The first one that entered his field of vision was a blue bat whose purple wingspan was pinned by two relatively large rocks in comparison to the bat’s body.

“<So that must be the one that Jeff was looking for…>” he thought to himself, still somewhat groggy from the sleep powder.

Drezdk saw a figure in front of Strix talking to him. He was shocked at the sight of seeing what appeared to be a giant, upside-down bell-shaped bugcatching plant. The plant’s eyes were glaring down at the Zubat from directly below its gaping maw. The Beedrill watched as the pokemon began to point angrily with its leaf arms at the unconscious body of Blitz.

He was shouting at the Zubat, which caused the large vine behind his head that had a leaf sprouting off the end of it to bob back and forth with each syllable. Drezdk tried to focus on what was being said.

“<You said that this ‘Kevin’ would be able to explain why you were doing what you were doing!>” the Victreebel yelled at Strix, still pointing over at the Scyther.

“<No no no! Can’t you do anything right?! That’s not Kevin!>” Strix said, meanwhile using his echolocation to identify the mantis in question.

The Victreebel growled and slammed down his vine just inches away from the helpless Zubat’s face. “<I’m in no mood for your games! I heard him say ‘Kevin, I…’ just before I attacked him! What better proof than admittance from the person himself?!>”

The Zubat sighed and craned his neck up to give a look at the angered plant. “<Was he, by any chance, with a human?>” The Victreebel nodded. “<The HUMAN was Kevin!>” Strix barked. “<Bugs there is just Kevin’s friend, genius!>”

“<You’re in no position to be talking down to me, brigand. You’re lucky I’m even giving you a chance to try to clear up this ‘misunderstanding’, as you called it. Besides, you should have been more specific when I asked you earlier. And my name’s not ‘Genius’, it’s Khasri.>”

Strix attempted to shrug. “<Whatever. Can you just move these rocks? I hate not being able to flap my wings! I feel like a fish that can’t swim!>”

The sentient plant stared at him. “<Nope. It’s my duty to keep you there until someone can prove your story.>”

After a drawn out, overexaggerated groan, Strix turned his attention to Drezdk and the unconscious Jeff. “<Why’d you bring them here?>”

“<They saw me dragging the Scyther. I couldn’t risk them following me back.>”

“<You sure are paranoid, you know that?>”

“<I have to be paranoid to protect it…>” he responded after turning his back to the bat, “<because it’s all I have left.>” The last part was whispered to himself.

Strix’s sensitive hearing picked up on the intended soliloque. “<Why is it the only thing you have left?>”

The Victreebel known as Khasri swung around and glared at him, embarrassed that Strix heard him. “<None of your business!>”

The Zubat grinned. “<Okay, okay. Sorry. …What do you plan to do with them, Khazzy?>”

He looked over to the two. “<I don’t kn->” Khasri cut himself off upon noticing that Drezdk was conscious and watching them. He hopped over to him and peered down at the wary Beedrill. “<Ahh. I see that you’re awake, bug.>”

Drezdk shuddered, looking up at the imposing creature. “<That’s right... What do you want from us? We did nothing to you.>”

The flycatcher pokemon chuckled. “<It’s not what you did, it’s what you were going to do.>”

“<You mean save that Zubat?>” Drezdk asked, slightly confused as to what he meant.

Khasri growled. “<Don’t play dumb with me, bug. You know what I’m talking about. You were all here to destroy the ancestral garden!>”

The giant hornet sat up slightly. “<Excuse me? What garden?>” he inquired, not exactly wanting to admit that he didn’t know what a garden was.

“<The garden which is home to our sacred flora. The garden which is my duty to protect.>”

“<I see… but Jeff and I were going to destroy no such thing. We just came out here looking for that Zubat.>”

“<Liar!>” shouted the Victreebel.

Strix sighed. “<He’s telling the truth, plant-butt!>”

“<I truly am,>” Drezdk added.

“<Both of you, shut up! I don’t care if he’s telling the truth! It’s my duty!>” Khasri bellowed.

They both silenced. Drezdk sighed and carefully studied Khasri. “<Why do you care so much about this duty?>”

The Victreebel stalled before answering. “<… The others told me it was vital that I stay here and protect the sacred garden while they left to find a new home. They told me they were going to come back for me once they found it.>”

Drezdk kept looking at him. “<… And how long ago was this that they left?>”

“<… Longer than I care to remember. I was still a Weepinbell at the time.>”

The Beedrill cringed and felt a sense of understanding and pity. “<I’m sorry…>”

Khasri looked down in confusion. “<Why are you sorry?>”

Drezdk stared at the grass under him. “<They’re not coming back for you…>”

The Victreebel seemed to elsewhere for a few moments upon hearing him. “<…What?>”

“<The ones who left… I don’t think they’ll come back to get you.>”

“<… What are you talking about, bug?!>”

Drezdk sat upwards and stared at him. “<If they were coming back for you, don’t you think that they would have by now?>”

“<It has been a bit long, yes, but they’ll be back! Now shut up or I’ll shut you up!>” he roared.

“<They were never planning to come back. They just needed someone to stay here. That, or they wanted to get rid of y->” the Beedrill was cut off by vine slamming across his face. Drezdk let out a shaky grunt, but kept his ground.

“<You’re a liar… You’re just trying to get inside my head, you pest,>” he said with a cold, slightly unconfident tone.

Drezdk remained standing upwards. He glared into Khasri’s eyes. “<…You know I’m right. …You just don’t want to admit it.>”

The Victreebel remained silent. All he did was glare back into Drezdk’s crimson eyes.

The hornet pokemon relaxed his muscles and he took a breath and walked up to his foe. “<My swarm lied to me too… They lied to all of us. It was to keep us fighting and dying for a selfish, pointless, and wrong cause. I didn’t want to believe it either, but that’s the way things were.>”

“<I said to shut up!>” Khasri tackled Drezdk to the ground, winding him in the process.

After a several gasps to catch his breath, the bug pokemon persisted. “<Listen to me! They were just using you!>”

“<What part of ‘shut up’ don’t you understand, bug?!>” he slammed Drezdk into the ground and wrapped his vine around the hornet’s neck, beginning to crush his windpipe.

Drezdk cringed and struggled to breathe. He felt his vigour begin to be drained from him as well. Khasri was stealing his energy. “<Maybe this will silence you, pest!>”

The Beedrill tried desperately to loosen the vine from his neck without having to resort to violence, but it was proving to be very difficult.

“<Ple-…ease… Listen to… me!>” Drezdk begged. “<You know… I’m right… Don’t… you?”>

Khasri said nothing.

Drezdk felt his consciousness slipping quicker away. He wasn’t sure if he’d make it.

“<Khas…ri… They’re not… coming back for y-… you…>” he said, his eyes dulling.

His face slowly cringed and he began to loosen his grip on Drezdk’s neck. The Beedrill collapsed to the ground and began gasping heavily for air. Drezdk looked up and saw Khasri looking solemnly into the forest.

“<…You’re right, bug…>”

“<My name’s Drezdk...>”

“<Drezdk…>” he corrected himself. After a long pause filled with heavy thinking, he sighed. “<I’m sorry… You’re right. Deep down, I always knew that they would never come back. I didn’t want to admit it, though.>”

Drezdk nodded and slowly stood himself up, rubbing his own neck. “<I know… I know how you feel. I’m sorry I had to force you to understand…>”

Khasri slowly shook his head. “<No… It’s best that I realized it… I would have wasted my life if you didn’t. All these years I hung onto that garden… I felt like if I did, they might come back… I never thought I’d be telling a bug this... Just leave me alone,>” the Victreebel said, beginning to hop away.

Drezdk stopped him by placing his arm on top of the bug-catcher pokemon’s leaf arm. “<Khasri… You are not alone… You don’t have to act like you are.>”

Khasri stopped and turned slightly. “<Thank you, Drezdk… for everything. You’re a better friend than any of them were. You and your friends can go.>”

Drezdk smiled and nodded. The Victreebel then began to hop towards the treeline of the small clearing. “<Hey! Khasri! Wait! Where are you going? Why don’t you come along with us?>” Drezdk warmly suggested.

A smile appeared out of Khasri’s gaping maw. “<Thank you… but I need some time to think things over. I just know that wherever I go, it won’t be near that blasted garden. You and I will meet up eventually, okay?>”

The Beedrill nodded and he waved as Khasri disappeared into the foliage. Several moments after, Drezdk kept staring at the same spot where Khasri left, but then he sighed, turned around and walked over to near the still unconscious Jeff and Blitz.

“<A little help, bug-brain?>” Strix called over, still trying to wrench his wings away.

Drezdk walked over and carefully removed the rocks with his forestingers, allowing Strix to fly freely.

“<Nice job, pal! We really owe ya one! I was kinda hoping you two would duke it out though. That woulda been great to watch!>” Strix quickly said.

“<Why were you out here in the first place?>” the hornet pokemon asked while lightly poking Jeff to try to wake him.

Strix suddenly realized something. “<Oh yeah! Thanks for reminding me!>” Before Drezdk could even begin to stop him, Strix zoomed into the forest.

“<Hey! Wait a second! Why did you say 'Kevin' would be able to clear things up?!>”

"<Because I told he and Corphish that I was gonna go and look for something for Rachel and that I wanted it to be a surprise!>" he yelled back, and then he disappeared into the forest.

“<Drezdk!>” a voice chirped. The bug turned and saw a dark blue bird flying towards him. “<What happened?!>” Daedalus asked, looking at Jeff and Blitz.

“<It is a long story…>”

“BLITZ!”

The two turned and saw Kevin virtually lunging on top of Blitz. The Scyther stirred and ground. His hazel eyes opened and darted around. “<…K-…evin?>”

The teen let out a relieved laugh and embraced him. “You’re okay!”

Drezdk looked and also saw Rachel, Avis, and Ace walk into the clearing. Rachel looked around for Strix and was downcast when there was no Zubat to be seen. Avis flew onto Rachel’s shoulder and put her wing around the back of her head. “<We’ll find hi->”

“<Avis! Rachey!>” Strix, while carrying something in his mouth, flew over to the two and ecstatically flew in front of them.

Rachel looked up. “… Strix?!”

The Zubat smiled and nodded. In his mouth was a rose. He flew closer to her, gesturing that he wanted her to have it.

“Th-… That’s for me?” she asked in shock.

Strix nodded and happily dropped it into her hands. “<I even got beat up by a plant when I went to pick it!>”

Rachel didn’t understand what he said, but she nevertheless was overwhelmed with happiness. “Oh, Strix! I was so worried! And thank you!” She grabbed him out of the air and hugged him tightly.

The Zubat’s azure face tinted pink with embarrassment. “<Aw, it was nothin’!>”

Blitz looked over at Strix and grinned softly. He turned his head slowly towards Kevin. “<Thank you for coming after me… pal… You are the closest friend I have.>”

The teen was momentarily stunned, but he quickly grinned and patted the bug’s shoulder shoulder. “What are best pals for?” Upon seeing his friend wince, he stopped. “Sorry.”

Blitz managed to smirk and headlock Kevin. “<Do not worry about it.>”

“Hahah. Okay, jeez!” he said while laughing, managing to free himself from the headlock.

Kevin have Blitz his hand, helped him up and supported him. “Okay, everyone. Let’s get Jeff awake and head back to the others so we can get the show on the road.” He looked over to the nearby Squirtle with a malicious grin. “Ace… You know what to do…”
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Last edited by Grovyle42(Griff8416); July 13th, 2009 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Clearing up plot near end
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  #147    
Old July 13th, 2009, 02:56 PM
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NOOOOOOOOOOO I WANT MORE.....

*cries in corner*
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  #148    
Old July 13th, 2009, 05:01 PM
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A 30 page chapter wasn't long enough?

I'm working on the next one soon
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  #149    
Old July 16th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Amazing chapter! (the longer the better IMO)

I have one criticism. When Drezdk wakes up after being Sleep Powdered by the Victreebel, he is able to see what the Victreebel looks like. In the next sentence, you start calling Victreebel Victreebel. However, considering that he didn't even know what a Zubat looks like, there isn't any way that he could have figured out that that was a Victreebel.

Can't wait for the next chap!

-Skippy
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  #150    
Old July 19th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip Shot View Post
Amazing chapter! (the longer the better IMO)

I have one criticism. When Drezdk wakes up after being Sleep Powdered by the Victreebel, he is able to see what the Victreebel looks like. In the next sentence, you start calling Victreebel Victreebel. However, considering that he didn't even know what a Zubat looks like, there isn't any way that he could have figured out that that was a Victreebel.

Can't wait for the next chap!

-Skippy
Hey, thanks for the read and review.

At that point, it wasn't in Drezdk's point of view anymore, it was a general objective narrative so he didn't need to know that what a Victreebel was (unless you mean at some point I had Drezdk actually call him a Victreebel). And at that point I was running out of other ways to describe Khasri without becoming repetitive, anyways. Thanks for the input.
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