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Old November 10th, 2011 (2:50 PM).
apenpaap apenpaap is offline
    Join Date: Oct 2011
    Gender: Male
    Posts: 79
    Chapter Six: A Grey City
    Exhausted, Black and his pokémon finally arrived at the Striaton City pokécenter while mnight had already fallen over the grey city outside. Much earlier that evening, they had been ready to stop for the night when they had caught a glimpse of Striaton's grey buildings far away, so Black had decided to walk on and rest at the pokécenter. Unfortunately, Striaton turned out to be much larger and mazelike than expected, and when Black asked the locals for directions to the pokécenter they either ignored him or just gave a vague indication and walked on. They had spent several hours wandering the boring grey city before they finally saw the single non-grey façade of the city. Now Black, seemingly ready to fall asleep on the desk, was filling in his name on a form the nurse gave him. When he was finally done, Nurse Despair gave him the key to one of the small guestrooms upstairs.
    'Twas a lengthy ambulation,” Octa yawned, “But spending the night in a comfortable room shall be worth it, shan't it, my dear fellow? I anticipate just getting a complete night's sleep without the cold, nocturnal cars raging by, precipitation, or insects awakening me. Just a calm night with no excitement or disturbances.”
    As Boreas, walking half-asleep, nodded, someone said, “Heeey Black!”
    Octa sighed. “Oh, in the name of...” he muttered. The door of the room they had just passed had opened, and there stood Bianca wearing a green pyjama. Their practise battle against her was almost two weeks ago by now, and they hadn't seen her since, as Black had stayed on the same spot for another day to train Boreas some more while Bianca had been too impatient and hurried on to Striaton.
    Hi there, Bianca.” Black said, “How are you?”
    Great, though I lost to the Gym Leader.”
    That's a shame.”
    He used grass-types, so Oshy was at a type disadvantage, just like when we battled. But at least he- Hey, do I bore you or something?” She said with an annoyed edge to her voice as Black had just yawned widely.
    Huh? Oh, 'scuse me, you don't bore me, I'm just really tired, y'know, I've walked all day. Why don't you tell me all of this tomorrow, okay?”
    They entered an empty room, and Black stepped into the bed and was asleep within seconds. Boreas found a good place to sleep under the bed, while Octa curled up on the feet-end of the bed.

    The next morning at breakfast Bianca was telling all about her battle with the Gym Leader.
    ...Like, he was a really nice and shy guy named Cilan, and he even apologised after he won. But his brother told him not to. And-”
    Black interrupted her. “What type of pokémon did Cilan use again?”
    He used grass-types, silly, a Pansage, I told you that yesterday. But anyway, so we started out by both sending our Lillipups to battle...”
    Hmm.” Octa spoke while sipping from a cup of tea, “so it appears we're up against a user of the grass-type. That could be problematic, given that I'm a grass-type as well.”
    So you have to focus on non-grass-type attacks to win, right?” Boreas asked. “Hey, I've got an idea! If Cilan starts with his Lillipup again and Black starts with me, I can beat that Lillipup, after all I've already beaten one, and then I can tire out the Pansage, and then when I'm actually defeated, you can beat his weakened pokémon.”
    Good plan. Though be careful not to underestimate that Lillipup. The fact that you beat a Lillipup doesn't imply your ability to defeat all of them. Since Cilan is a Gym Leader, his Lillipup is likely more powerful than Bianca's. But if you can defeat it, you could indeed help me by tiring out the Pansage. They're silly ape-like creatures, so I don't expect too much trouble.”
    As they were finishing their breakfast, Black said: “By the way, did you remember to do that errand Professor Juniper gave us?”
    What errand?” Bianca asked.
    Remember, she told us to visit her friend Fennel.”
    Oh yeah! I didn't do that, I guess we should visit her before you go challenge the Gym Leader.”
    Do you know where she lives?”
    I don't think the prof told us. Do you reckon Nurse Despair might know?”
    I guess we should go ask her.”
    Nurse Despair gave Black and Bianca a map of the city and directions to Fennel's laboratory.

    As they walked through Striaton City, Boreas became crushingly aware of how incredibly grey and dreary the city was. Every single building was grey, the street was grey, and even the sky was a clouded grey. While most of the people didn't wear grey, their clothes were so similar that they almost seemed like uniforms. Everyone wore blue jeans, and green sweaters, shirts, or tops. Everyone minded their own business and seemed to be on their way somewhere, and no one seemed to be having any fun or talking to each other at all. The only pokémon out of their pokéballs were at work.
    We seem to fit in like a streaker at Queen Victoria's funeral.” Octa mumbled, making Boreas chuckle.
    Bianca?” Black said quietly, as talking felt strange on the quiet street, “Have you noticed the looks most people here give us?”
    Bianca nodded. “Some seem almost scared or angry. It was like that yesterday too.”
    Not the most welcoming city, eh?”
    All the boring greyness made Boreas feel odd. He felt a desperate need to do something to break the city's monotony. He saw several Timburrs and humans repairing a hole in the road and walked up to them.
    Pardon me, but I have nothing to say!” he said to them and then walked on.
    What was the meaning of that behaviour?” an amused Octa asked.
    Boreas shrugged. “I'll let them figure that out. I just feel like breaking the monotony of this place.”
    Octa tossed a look backwards. “A laudable goal in itself, perhaps, my dear fellow, but I'd rather you didn't upset the locals. Those Timburrs are talking about something right now and eyeing us suspiciously. I don't think this city is the most accepting recipient of attempts to spread some minor chaos.”
    Boreas laughed. “Oh, c'mon, what's the worst that could happen?”
    Well, they could have you caught and Black arrested on some nonsensical charge like “Not having one's pokémon under control”, “disruption of public order” or “suspicious behaviour” and fined or asked to leave the city.”
    Boreas laughed. “You can't be serious!”
    I am somewhat serious, actually. The chances of that scenario playing out may not be gargantuan, but it does happen. My great-great-uncle Regulus, for example, once-”
    Yeah, yeah, I'm sure he was arrested once for impersonating a goat in public or something. You're too careful.”
    I beg your pardon? Your cavalier attitude is the one that'll get us into trouble.”
    You shouldn't worry so much. Even if we do get into trouble, at least we'll have had some fun in this paltry-boring city, and we'll have made some people's day more interesting. But, since you're making this into such a big deal I guess I'll stop.”
    After about ten more minutes of walking through the grey streets, they arrived at the laboratory and rang a doorbell. A long-haired woman with glasses wearing a lab coat opened the door.
    Hi,” Bianca said, “I'm Bianca and this is Black. Professor Juniper asked us to visit you.”
    Fennel clapped her hands together. “Minerva sent you? Excellent, I need some skilled pokémon trainers to help me with my research.”
    Well, you've got the right people before you, then.” Black said, “we are great pokémon trainers, and I'll be happy to help you.”
    Good, why don't you come in?”
    They followed Fennel inside, through several corridors and past labs were scientists were working on strange experiments. Boreas tried to sneak inside one of them to see what the scientists were doing with fifteen cakes and a saw, but Octa hurried him along. They entered a big lab containing several beds and weird, big machines.
    Welcome to my lab. I have a little favour to ask of you.” Fennel said.
    Anything.” Black said.
    First, I have to explain that I research pokémon dreams here. For several years, I could only get data via roundabout ways. But I've been working on this machine, which will let me view pokémon's dreams directly. It works by tapping into several...”
    While Fennel was detailing the workings of the machine, Octa nudged Boreas. “Take a look at Black, my dear fellow.”
    Black was paying close attention to Fennel's words, looking deep into her eyes with a smile on his face and a slight blush on his cheeks. “He seems interested in the machine.” Boreas said.
    Octa guffawed. “Methinks he's more interested in its creator, if you know what I mean.”
    Boreas felt he was missing something. “No, I don't.”
    You know, he seems enamoured with her.” Seeing Boreas' not-understanding expression, “Twitterpated. Smitten by her, fascinated, enchanted, infatuated, has a crush on her?”
    You mean he's... In love with her?”
    A brilliant deduction, my impulsive little friend. I suppose she is quite fair for a human. Of course, this allows me to have some fun. Watch me make him both envious and embarrassed in a single move.” he calmly walked over and stood between Fennel's legs, who didn't notice, busy as she was explaining the complex machine, and shot a quick glance up. Then he smirked smugly at Black, who turned as red as a tomato.
    Octa, get back here!” he whispered angrily, then added an apology to Fennel.
    Fennel noticed Octa and stopped talking to pick him up. “Hey, Octa, aren't you a cute little guy? Why don't you wait over there for a moment until I'm done talking to your trainer? I promise it won't take long.” She smiled to Black, “I'm sure he meant no offence by it, he's just impatient.”
    While she talked, Octa shamelessly threw a look down into her cleavage and smirked smugly at Black again. Fennel put Octa down and he joined Boreas again. “Now normally I wouldn't treat a lady like that, but it was worth it to see that look on Black's face.”
    Let's see, where was I?” Fennel asked.
    You had just finished telling us how the machine works.” Bianca said.
    I did already? Okay, well, there's a problem with it, you see. It turns out I need a vapour called Dream Mist that is produced by the pokémon Munna and Musharna. It has several interesting effects on dreams, one of which is that they are made much more vivid and stronger, which is needed for the machine to work properly. The problem is the Dream Mist itself is actually illegal in this city, so I can't get any. So my request to you is: could you please catch a Munna and give me some of the mist?”
    Okay,” Black said, “we'll do it. But why did you have to wait for us, couldn't you just ask some other trainer for help?”
    Fennel chuckled, “Surely you've already noticed how the people of this city react to even their unwritten rules being broken, let alone if I were to ask someone to actually break the law. Not that that's an entirely bad thing: the crime rates here are so low that you pretty much don't need to bother with locks at all. But it's rather inconvenient now.”
    Where do we find a Munna?” Bianca asked.
    At the northeast of the city there's an old villa where a scientist used to live. It's been abandoned for over a century. Munna lives there now, that's why people call it the Dreamyard. There's actually quite an interesting story behind it, if you want to hear it.”
    Of course we-” Black started.
    Perhaps later.” Bianca interrupted. “We'll go catch Munna now.”

    The Dreamyard itself was a large, mostly decrepit and collapsed mansion, and the large garden around it had become a small forest after a hundred years of neglect. It looked rather creepy together. As they entered the forest, Boreas noticed an odd smell hanging around.
    Hey Black,” Bianca said joyfully, “Now I'll get to see how you catch pokémon! I'm sure I can learn a lot from your skill.”
    Black returned a forced smile.
    Muuuuuuunna!” Bianca sang, “Where aaaaaaaaare you?! I want to be friends with yoooooooou!”
    Ssh!” Black hissed, “You'll scare them away like that!”
    Cheren said that too, but I'm just making sure they know I'm not sneaking up on them, but just want to be their friend.”
    I don't think it works like that, Bianca.”
    Help, help!” A Munna appeared from behind some shrubbery, “They're after me, help!”
    See!” Bianca said as the Munna approached, “I told you!”
    What's wrong?” Boreas asked, but at that moment a grey-clad human jumped from the bushes and grabbed the Munna. A second human followed.
    Eep!” Bianca squeaked, “Who are you?”
    "We are Team Plasma!” The left human said, “We fight day and night to liberate pokémon from foolish humans!"
    The right grunt stood up with the struggling Munna in his hands. “And we heard Munna and Musharna emit a strange vapour called Dream Mist, which influences people's dreams. Sage Rood wants to use that to make people want to release their pokémon... We'll show them dreams to manipulate their hearts!”
    The Munna was panicking by now, begging for help. “You can't manipulate people into releasing their pokémon!” Black said, “That's as bad as forcing them to do so. Why don't you just try reasoning with them? And besides, you're squeezing that Munna way too hard.”
    We can do whatever we want, brat!” the left grunt said, “Sage Rood's orders are much more important than whatever you say.”
    Come on, spit out that Dream Mist!” The right grunt yelled at the Munna, who started crying.
    Boreas couldn't ignore the cries for help. He ran at the Team Plasma grunt and climbed up in his clothing, noticing that the grey costume provided an excellent climbing surface. When he reached the man's face, he scratched him, drawing a little blood and making the startled grunt yelp and let go of the Munna. The Munna tried to float away, but in her panic and pain she couldn't levitate properly. Fortunately Bianca managed to catch her while Boreas ran back to Black.
    The two grunts approached Bianca threateningly, so Black and his pokémon stepped in front of her. “Out of the way, brat!” the one grunt shouted, “You have no idea about the trouble you're getting yourself and your girlfriend in. Hand over the Munna, and you needn't get hurt.”
    You're not touching that Munna.” Black said, “Now get out of here.” Boreas growled to help repel the grunts.
    Y-yeah.” Bianca stammered.
    The Team Plasma grunts threw their pokéballs to release a Patrat and two Purrloins, one male and one female. “I warn you, brat, don't act tough because you may have won some of the fake battles that you trainers fight. We, Team Plasma, don't just fight for badges like you selfish trainers, but for the liberty of pokémon everywhere. So our resolve is unending, and if you stand in our way, we'll kill both you and your pokémon!”
    Boreas felt like running away now, as he really didn't want to die. He hadn't thought these guys would actually be willing to go that far. But he saw Black and Octa weren't wavering, and swallowed his fear, as he wanted to abandon them even less.
    I told you: You're not touching that Munna! Threats won't help you.”
    Then you brought it to yourself, brat! Pokémon, get 'em!”
    Whaaaat! Don't hurt Black!” Bianca cried.
    I take it you don't care that I have only two pokémon and you three?” Black said with a sly smile.
    Ha! Team Plasma doesn't play by the rules! You should've thought of being outnumbered before you challenged us, brat! A Snivy and a Lillipup aren't gonna stop us!”
    Lillipup?” Boreas snarled, “Is that supposed to be an insult towards my tail?”
    Good.” Black said, “Then I don't need to feel guilty about outnumbering you myself. Bianca, I could use some help.”
    O-okay.” Bianca stuttered, “Oshy, Puppy, go, but be c-careful.”
    Boreas, Puppy!” Octa commanded, “fight together against one of them, Oshy and I shall each fight one of the others!”
    The male Purrloin rapidly charged Boreas, who tried to dodge, but the Purrloin was too fast and he received a painful scratch in his side. Boreas countered by Tackling the Purrloin, then was joined by Puppy who Tackled the Purrloin too.
    The Purrloin tried his best not to be surrounded by the two canines and to play them out against each other, but Boreas made sure to constantly outmanoeuvre him. The Purrloin just didn't stand a chance against two enemies, and quickly lost. The pokémon Octa and Oshy were battling also lost quickly.
    A silence fell as the grunts didn't seem to know what to do next, until it was suddenly broken by Bianca: “YAHOO! YES! We won!”
    The one grunt spoke up. “...I can't believe we lost. But we have to obtain the Dream Mist! Please, give us that Munna! Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!”
    "Knock it off!" Bianca said.
    Suddenly an old man with greying blond hair wearing long, red clothing appeared out of nowhere “What are you two doing goofing off?” he thundered with a heavy Dutch accent.
    S-S-Sage Rood!” the grunts yelped, “W-We didn't mean to... It was an accident... It was HIS fault!”
    Rood disappeared and reappeared on the grunts' other side. “Stilte! We, Team Plasma, shall separate pokémon from foolish people!”
    He disappeared and reappeared again. “If you can't fulfil your duties...”
    W-we're so sorry!”
    Get out of here now, and never let me see you again!” he disappeared, and the Team Plasma grunts ran off.
    Woah,” Black said, “That was weird.”
    Yeah.” Boreas said.
    A Musharna floated out of the bushes. “Thank you for saving my daughter from those people.” she said.
    Mummy!” the Munna floated out of Bianca's hands to hug her mother.
    A Musharna!” Black said, “That Rood-fellow must've been an illusion!”
    Munna and Musharna began floating off, but Bianca called after them. “Heey, we need your help too! We need some Dream Mist!”
    Musharna blew a big cloud of pink vapour from its nose, and Bianca quickly captured it in a glass pot that Fennel had given her for that reason. “Thanks! Black, why don't you take it to Fennel? I want to catch a Munna too, I think, they're cute. So I'm staying here to find one. Will I see you at the pokécenter?”
    I've got a better idea: come to the Gym when you've caught your Munna.”
    You're going to challenge the Gym today still? It's already getting dark.”
    I don't want to spend more time than is strictly necessary in Striaton. I don't like this city very much, and I believe the feeling is mutual.”
    You seemed to quite like Fennel, though,” Bianca winked.
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