Many the Miles
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January 17th, 2009 (9:39 PM).
Thanks! I was afraid it might sound like I was trying to be too philisophical or something. :/ Anyway, you're in luck! Because...
THE MORNING LIGHT
The air was anything but crisp on that hot summer morning, as Daniel Carson, a trainer-in-the-making, rose from his stiff bed in the grass. The sun, having risen a few hours ago, was beating down on him, causing him to squint. One thing that was worth getting up to, however, was the clear blue sky, seeming somehow more expansive on this morning than it had on any previous ones’.
Groggily recalling the past day’s events, he ran his fingers through his hair, noticing that it was already dirty and gaining a greasy feeling. “I could use a shower,” he mumbled, realizing that there would probably be many more times when he would wake up with that thought. Then, wanting to slap himself, he remembered that he had forgotten to pack soap. Of course, it would take more than that to get him to return home on his second day. ‘
I just hope the Pokémon Centers have showers…
Using a low tree branch for support, he stood, stretching as wide as he could, hoping it might help his aching back. He then looked at his green surroundings, curious to see what it looked like in proper light. That was when he remembered one very important thing.
Lying against the base of the small cliff was the Raticate, still sleeping but noticeably less dazed. She’d be out for maybe another hour, Danny figured, assuming that his one day on his own granted him sufficient knowledge to judge such things. ‘
I better get moving,
’ he thought, turning full circle as he searched for Chloe.
She wasn’t there.
“Chloe!?” he hissed. “Where are you!?”
He dug around the area for several minutes, getting no results. In desperation, he resolved to retrace all of his steps back to Pallet Town, and if he hadn’t found her by then, he’d have to ask Professor Oak for help.
“He’ll probably never trust me again…” he whispered, his voice cracking as the seriousness of his situation sunk in. But that was all he could do. “Unless…” Before he could stop himself, he had glanced at the Raticate, considering it as a Pokémon team candidate, but quickly dismissed it, ashamed in himself. ‘
From now on, I’m keeping her in her Pokéball… no… I…
’ “Forgot to bring Pokéballs!?”
He spun around, not daring to hope. He saw the aged bark of a nearby tree. “Ugh…”
“Poli!?” It came from the ground. He looked down and saw Chloe, watching him expectantly.
“You’re here!” he shouted, swooping her into his arms. “Where did you go, huh? You had me worried!” She giggled cutely as he lifted her up and down, spinning the whole time. “Now, let’s go get my stuff,” he said, remembering that he had left all his supplies behind when he was running from the Raticate.
“Poliwag,” she agreed, and they slowly made their way back to their original resting spot.
“… no…” Danny stood wide-eyed above a pile of garbage, shivering despite the warmth of the day. Shreds of fabric covered the grass and lonely pieces of miscellaneous traveling supplies were dotted about. Together, it all made up what used to be his backpack and the materials that had been stored within. The only small consolation was that his money was in the back pocket of the shorts he was wearing.
Kneeling, he picked up his Pokédex, the only item that had survived the massacre. It wasn’t by luck, however. The device had clearly been chewed, as its slick red surface was now bruised, but it was just tough enough to stay functional.
’ he thought, ‘
I have money. I bet I can get this all replaced when I get to Viridian. I don’t need to panic. I’ll just get my bicyc-
’ He stopped. Far off, as if it had been dragged, was a pile of twisted red metal. The tires were punctured, the spokes were gnarled, and the handlebars were smashed. Without the help of a small fortune, it was irreparable. “… h-how?” he stuttered, daring to touch the scratched red paint. “Why…?”
“Poli! Poli!” Chloe jumped onto the scene, jumping on the tattered black rubber.
“CHLOE!” He snatched her up and held her close. “Don’t do that… let it be…” Knowing there was nothing he could do, he picked up his Pokédex and walked away, moving forward to Viridian.
The Eternally Green Paradise
Danny could see why that was the town’s official saying. The grass, the building, even the mailboxes; they were all green. The things that couldn’t be painted green, such as roads and police cars, stood out painfully against the emerald sea.
Looking down at his anything-but-green outfit, he cringed and walked carefully over the slick, lime-colored stepping stones that were stuck in the grass.
As he traversed the town, he went over a short checklist for when he entered a new town that he had created weeks before he began his journey. ‘
First, check for and go to a Pokémon Center. Second, refresh supplies. Third, find the gym.
’ It was very bare, but adequate.
Following it as best as he could, he began searching for a Pokémon Center, which healed Pokémon and trainers for free, and offered rooms. Being from Pallet Town, he wasn’t used to such large cities, even if this one wasn’t even half the size of some places. He had only been here on occasion, such as shopping trips with his mother or visiting relatives, so the layout was very unfamiliar. Luckily, however, there were several city maps located on street corners in large plastic green boxes. By using their somewhat inaccurate directions, he finally arrived at a gleaming white building with an olive-green roof.
Adequately impressed by the sliding glass double-doors, he entered the perfumed lobby, feeling a blast of cool air. A shiny jade couch lined the entire right side of the large room, and a few casual people sat upon it, flipping though magazines. To his left were several doors which lead to assorted areas of varying interest levels. One was labeled “MEN,” another “WOMEN,” a third “ROOMS,” a couple more “Employees ONLY” and “Waiting Room,” and a few miscellaneous others. Directly in front of him was an immaculate counter, kept tidy by a single nurse sitting behind it. She had a white uniform with a red cross on the cap and apron pocket. Her hair was pink and tied into two enormous loops, which didn’t seem at all out of place, despite their excessiveness. She was looking directly at Danny with a plastic smile.
“Hello, I’m Nurse Joy. May I help you?” she asked, standing and offering a useless but inviting hand.
“Um, yeah,” he almost whispered, slightly shocked at the peaceful ambush. “I need you to, uh, heal my Chlo- I mean, my Poliwag.” He set her gently on the counter, keeping one hand on her protectively. He also requested a room, which she complied with, and a shower. She retrieved a small white towel, which could pass for a washrag under the right circumstances, and a tiny bottle of yellow soap.
Leaving his Pokémon alone with the jolly woman, he entered the bathroom, avoiding the gazes of people, knowing that they knew he was taking a shower. The loss of that simple privacy made him extremely uncomfortable. Nevertheless, he continued with his objective, and came out completely refreshed, except for the fact that he was wearing the same clothes, which raised his self-consciousness even more.
“Where is my Pokémon?” he asked Joy, putting his hands in his pockets.
“What species is your Pokémon?” she replied efficiently, typing into a computer. It was as if she had forgotten that Danny had just come in a few minutes ago.
“… a Poliwag.”
“Poliwag…” she mumbled, the clicking on her keyboard becoming feverous for a moment. “Ah!” she exclaimed brightly. “Right through that door.” She gestured to a sign with “Pokémon” on it. Obeying, he pushed on the faux wooden surface, finding himself in a cozy pink room, with at least fifty tiny beds. Nearly all of them had a Pokémon in it. They ranged from insects, to rodents, or even birds. It was more Pokémon than he had ever seen in one place, and the amazing thing was that they were all peacefully asleep, not like the Raticate he had dealt with the night before.
A fat, pink creature with a pouch on its stomach bobbed from cot to cot, examining each patient with equal care. It was singing a very relaxing tune, which consisted of nothing more than “Chansey, Chansey, Chansey,” repeated over and over again.
He finally found Chloe, who was already unconscious. A blanket had been delicately laid over her. Her round stomach inflated and deflated like a balloon and her pink lips sputtered like an old car as she snored gently.
“Chansey!” The nurse creature was running furiously toward him, her tiny handless arms waving wildly. “Chanchan!” She latched onto his short with unexpected strength and dragged him out of the room, garnering wide-eyed stares from everyone in the lobby, including Nurse Joy.
“What did I do?” he asked frantically, turning full circle, right into a slamming door. “What did I do?” This time he asked his audience.
“Sorry,” Joy said, typing an abnormally long number into a phone. “She gets a little defensive about her patients.” She brought the device to her ear and effectively snubbed the boy.
What’ll I do now?
’ he thought, recalling his list. ‘
I guess I’ll find a shop…
’ “Excuse me?” He was looking at Joy, who glimpsed at him but pretended not to notice his plea anyway. Giving up, he walked out of the building, getting a shocking remembrance of how much bigger this city was than Pallet. In his home town, there was but one store, a dusty gas station that was just under the wire when it came to making enough money to stay in business. It had a few types of drinks and candy, and that was about it. But here, he thought, there must be a dozen places to get what he wanted. If he wanted to finish in time to pick up Chloe, he’d better get started.
It was a long and confusing endeavor, in which Danny visited a music retailer, an art gallery, and an electronics outlet, all of which he promptly left in shame. Finally, he found a convenience store which carried Pokéballs, cheap generic clothes, snack that were sold in bulk, and assorted products that would be helpful to him and Chloe. Of course, all of this left his funds severely drained, but not past the point of poverty.
At last, to the indifference of Nurse Joy, he returned to the Center, bearing a few plastic bags. “Is Chloe ready?”
She didn’t flinch as she wrote some ineligible scribble onto a clipboard.
“Ahem,” Danny said loudly, taking a step closer. She finally noticed him and looked up with a pearly smile. “Is Chloe ready?”
“My… my Pokémon. I dropped her off a couple hours ago.”
“What’s her species, please?” She turned to her computer once again and positioned her fingers over the keys.
Forcing himself not to roll his eyes, he said “Poliwag” and watched scathingly as she performed the search for the second time. When an electronic “ping” sounded from the black speakers, her face lit up and she announced that Chloe was waiting in the same room, completely refreshed and fighting fit.
“You’d better hurry,” she continued, winking. “We just got some poisoned patients and Chansey’s a little on edge.”
“Poison?” he asked, horrified. She explained to him that the Viridian Forest, just outside the city, had countless insects in it, some of which could release near-lethal toxins, and that poisoned Pokémon were checked in all the time. She then proceeded to give him a long lecture on status conditions, such as hypnosis and paralysis, and concluded with the opinion that any good trainer should have supplies to combat them. Danny had none.
“Pooooli!! Polipolipolipoli!” Both humans’ eyes bolted to the source of the noise: Chloe was sprinting through the lobby while the aggravated nurse Pokémon, Chansey, was slapping at her with a steaming hot towel. Sizzling noises would erupt on contact, and Danny couldn’t help but flinch as the pair swerved toward him.
“Poli!” She leapt with amazing strength, bouncing against his chest, presumably to have him catch her and save her from danger. However, Danny was too shocked to do anything but watch the pathetic Pokémon fall to the floor and suffer a barrage of painful hits from her enemy. “Pooooli!!” she wailed, and finally snapped to her feet and rushed out the door, crying with unexpected loudness.
The room was now quiet. Everyone was staring at Danny, including Chansey. Occasional murmurings echoed from the corners, which he could only presume were about him and his lack of care. The truth is that he wanted to help Chloe, but he knew that if he held onto her, he’d get whipped, and at this early stage of training, his safety was instinctively held above hers.
Now that the danger had subsided, though, his paternal instincts had slowly begun to awaken, and he worriedly ran out the door, both from a sense of urgency and embarrassment.
The city never seemed as big as it did at this moment. The buildings, the trees, the landmarks; they were all hiding places where she could be. He didn’t even know where he could start. ‘
This is the SECOND time I’ve lost her today! I’m starting to think I’m not cut out for this Pokémon stuff,
’ he thought wryly, forming a makeshift plan to locate his starter. First, he’d scan nearby places. Then, if that didn’t work, he’d ask around, in hopes that someone had seen her go by. And if worse came to worst, he would have to put up Missing Pokémon posters and hang around town until she was found. But he would worry about that later. Now, it was time to search.
He looked all over the block, with no results. Then, he went to a nearby park, which he thought might have an inviting pond. Nothing. He went to a drugstore, a vacant lot, an elementary school playground, and eventually came back to the Pokémon Center. He was having absolutely no luck.
’ he decided, throwing himself into the life of the bustling crowds and shop owners. He must’ve talked to at least a hundred people in the first hour. By the time he found someone who knew something, it was one in the afternoon.
“Um, yeah,” a ditzy redhead began, scratching her fuzzy do. “The thing went up that way.” She pointed up a street, which went the opposite direction from Pallet Town. “She was crying a lot. What’dya do t-”
“Thanks, bye,” he cut in, jogging away. He had just started to forget that it was his fault she was missing. All he wanted was to find her and put everything behind him. She might be angry for a few days, or she might just be happy to see him again. A baby Pokémon, he assumed, could be as unpredictable as a human baby.
He stopped every person he passed. A couple people thought they had seen her, but most replied negatively. Still, he pressed on, following the street, which so far was the only substantial clue he had. He walked straight for at least an hour, slowly examining every corner, every crevice, and every person. Eventually, he reached the very edge of town, which contained several rundown, presumably empty shops and houses. In the center of the wreckage was a huge, two-story building, which had the faded word “GYM” painted on the pale green cement walls. It was oddly menacing for the town, as it had no windows, several fractured areas, and ageless handprints stained onto its side in various dark colors.
Constantly checking behind his back for predators, he grudgingly dug through the debris, finding no Pokémon whatsoever, much less Chloe. He avoided the spooky warehouse-like place the entire time, but eventually had no other alternatives to fill his time. Holding his breath, he began walking straight toward the dirty double doors. When he reached them, he exhaled with a mixture of relief and disappointment as he found that they were locked.
“Well she’s not in there,” he assured himself quickly, turning around. “I’ll have to looks somewhere el-”
“Poli!” It was very difficult to hear, but audible enough for Danny to tell that it came from within the building.
Cursing his ironic luck, he faced the door once again, and proceeded to attempt forcing it open, through grunting, pulling, and kicking, none of which had much success. The thought of going back to Pallet Town forced him to continue. He followed the perimeter of his destination, knocking experimentally on spots he thought might be weak. There were none that he could penetrate. There was, however, a small hole that had dissolved near the ground on the back wall. It looked like it might be just big enough for him to fit through, and as much as he didn’t want to crawl through the dirt into a could-be haunted house, he sucked it up and did it anyway.
The first thing he noticed as he face entered the room was a musky smell that almost overpowered him. It was all he could do to retain his vomit. Finally, he had his arms through, which he used to pull the rest of his body inside.
It was dark. There were no windows. He didn’t bring a flashlight. In short, it was a game of hide-and-seek in the dark.
“Ch-… Chloe?” he stammered, half-hoping that nothing would hear him.
“Wag!?” It was very far off, somewhere to his left. Taking each step as if it could be his last, he plunged further into the darkness, calling his Pokémon’s name every few seconds, getting a reply each time. Following her voice, he managed to hit a few walls, trip over countless items which he couldn’t identify, and broke things that sounded both small and large. After he was sufficiently bruised, he entered a room that was roughly his arm span in length and width; the room Chloe was in.
“Girl?” he said, kneeling and blindly feeling the floor. In no time he had her squirming form in his arms, showering her with apologies and hugs. She was quietly babbling fragments of her specie’s name as she cried, pushing her face into Danny’s chest. It was as if all had been forgiven.
“It’s okay, girl.” He stroked her head. “You’re safe now.” ‘
All I have to do now is get out of here.
’ It sounded simple, but he knew that retracing his steps would be no easy feat, even if he had a flashlight.
“Let’s get started,” he whispered, his good mood gone.
He gasped as he tasted the savory plainness of fresh air. It had taken him all of two dragging hours to find the exit hole, but it was the happiest moment on his journey when he did. Impatient, he shoved himself through, taking a moment to lie in the dirt for a while, resting. Chloe, on the other hand, was dancing an odd jig which involved spinning in circles and shouting.
“Let’s go,” the boy muttered, standing. It was now that he noticed it was dusk. Once he got back around the gym and could see the rest of the town in the distance, he saw that the streetlights had been turned on. For someone from the bumpkin town of Pallet, it was quite a sight to see all the glittering points together in one place, completely illuminating an entire city. He wouldn’t have to rely on a full moon to find his way around.
As he stared at it, he knew that as much as he liked the traveling aspect of a Pokémon journey, it was the big towns that he would enjoy the most. They held a strange essence of romance and excitement that could only be found within the glow of those deep city lights that were up until now completely foreign to him. They held untold secrets from years gone by, invoked powerful feelings from the people around them, and best of all, promised exactly what Danny was there for: adventure.
Joined Nov 2007
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