"Oh, oh, I talked to Isaac and Kel just before you got here!"
It's later. Casey spent a while in the Pokémon Center getting ready and packing up, then finally brought his jacket to be inspected. So now he's at Mill Park with Sorley for the third time today. Charmander and Buneary are playing with a mix of children and other Pokémon on the little playground. Casey has half an eye on them. Sorley has assured him that his jacket is fine, it's made to get beat on a little, don't worry so much because now you know me and I can fix it if it ever does get messed up! Casey is… quite a bit less worried, now. About multiple things.
"Oh. I guess I never got his name."
"He didn't tell me, either- Kel did! They only wanted to know about my Pokémon anyway, so I brought them all over- no, no, they've gone already, you're fine!- and I introduced them. Talked about their moves mostly. You didn't recognize a Power Gem? That's Missy's favorite move!"
"I just knew it was a beam move. Like the one I saw yesterday… Wait." Sorley tilts their head. "Did Missy shoot down a Pidgey yesterday…?"
"Yeah, yeah, he mentioned something like that!"
"Then… Missy saved me yesterday, too." Casey shudders. He's not too fond of being potentially indebted to a Ghost.
"From the person that made you battle, right?" Casey nods. "He takes an interest in people sometimes! That's probably why he found you this morning, too."
"And followed me to the Pokémon Center…"
Sorley grimaces. "Sorry, sorry! I did tell him to leave you alone. Maybe he thought you'd get into trouble again. But! Now that you've told Isaac and Kel everything, they'll be on the lookout for those people! And Missy won't have to keep an eye on you anymore!"
It's Casey's turn to grimace.
"Oh no, what-"
"I forgot to tell them 'bout yesterday."
"Yeah… wait! It's okay! I can tell Kel when we meet up later! ...Or should I not talk about that when they're off duty?"
"I've been told etiquette isn't my strong suit." Sorley shrugs. "Why're you meeting Kel?"
"They're one of my cousins, I guess."
"Huh? You guess? Didn't you know?"
Even padded by the blanket, the table digs into his back as Casey leans against it and tucks his hands behind his head. "I don't really know any of my cousins. Or much of my family at all 'sides my sister and parents. I was really little when they all stopped getting together, so I don't remember anyone. My sister does, but she's way older'n me and our cousins are older'n her, even. Kel's one of the youngest and they're… twenty-five, maybe, I dunno. Thinkin' about it... I don't even know most of my family's names. Huh. Is that weird?"
"I wouldn't know. I don't have family."
"What? But- aren't you like, related to your studio owner or whoever?"
Sorley laughs. "No, no, I just borrow her name. It's um… weird and complicated! The easy but not-quite-true thing to say is: I'm adopted."
They don't seem to want to continue on that track, which is quite the departure from their usual over-sharing, so Casey doesn't press. The two sit shoulder-to-shoulder and chat about more trivial things. Casey finds out about Sorley's journey through Johto and shares stories of growing up in Pewter in return. A decent number of people wander over to check out Sorley's table. They're… maybe not the best salesperson, but they're talkative and likeable, so people buy small items and willingly accept business cards. Casey watches Buneary push Charmander off the climbing structures several times and scrambles to intervene when Charmander starts throwing Embers in retaliation. They get lectured by a parent for endangering children and get kicked off the playground anyway. Buneary pretends to have nothing to do with it even as Casey lectures her. Sorley giggles in the background throughout it all.
It's a good few hours.
Kel calls just after noon, asking if Casey wants to go for lunch. Casey seizes the opportunity to finally make it over to that bakery he's been thinking about for almost a day now. Kel's waving as soon as he walks in the door, beckoning him to one of the little tables squished into the narrow front room. Casey makes them wait until he's ordered some food.
"Hi!" Kel says when he finally takes his seat. They're no longer dressed in uniform blue; their outfit is something that could probably be described as 'fashionable', if Casey knew anything about that. There's a lot of yellow and pink, including the pink-tinted round glasses that replace this morning's shades. They're flicking a folding fan open and closed with the hand not occupied by a large smoothie. "Sorry it took so long for me to get done! Turns out we had lots of interviews to get through."
Casey, who has no reference for how long a police officer's shift is- nor, in fact, how long Kel had been working before interviewing him- assures Kel that it's fine. He had a nice morning with Sorley, after all!
"Oh yeah, that peppy kid! Isaac had no idea what to make of them; it was really funny. Sorley kept calling him by his first name and it threw him off so bad!" Kel seems incredibly gleeful about this, though not with any sort of malice. Isaac must be a good friend of theirs as well as a coworker. "Their Pokémon are really cool, too! Too bad Ghosts make you faint."
Casey splutters. "Not- hey, that doesn't happen all the time!" It's a poor defense, and Kel laughs at him for it.
"You're gonna have it rough in Lavender, you know."
Casey groans through a mouthful of croissant. "I thought I'd have time to… get over it before we went there."
"Wait, are you going soon?"
"Yeah… it's the next town we're supposed to be in…"
"Guess things change. Huh." Kel sips their smoothie contemplatively. "So what're you gonna do, then?"
"Uh. Try to avoid them?"
"In Lavender Town?" Kel shakes their head. "The only way to do that is to not go."
Casey sighs. "What'm I supposed to do, then?"
"Can't tell you what you're s'posed to do. It's not like there's a relevant social convention to apply here."
"Hm… oh, speaking of that… is it uh, rude to talk to you about work things when you're off-duty?"
Kel ponders. "Uh… mostly no, but also depends on the thing. What're you thinkin' about?"
"Well I reported the thing from this morning, but there was another thing yesterday…"
"Well, uh, not really? Maybe… an 'incident'?" Kel pulls a pen from somewhere and makes a 'go on' gesture before starting to scribble on a napkin. "Um, basically, I was 'bout two blocks away from the Pokémon Center and a Scizor and a Beedrill herded me into an alley and someone was there that made me battle them."
"Ohh. That sounds… Did you know this person?"
"No. I don't think so? I'm pretty sure they were an adult. Maybe a woman? They were wearing all blue and their face was covered by their hood and they had a bandana over their mouth."
"And did you battle them? The Scizor and Beedrill?"
"No they… laughed at me when I asked about it and then sent out a Pidgey. I battled that. It was really fast and took Charmander down in two hits. And Buneary was already weak but the person made me send her out."
"...How did that go?"
"Uh, the Pidgey hit her once and then got shot down by a beam move. I figured out today that it was Missy's Power Gem."
"Oh, Sorley's Misdreavus?"
"Yeah. I didn't even see him then, though."
"Right, okay. Anything about the Pokémon? Moves and stuff?"
"Um, the Bug-types looked really strong. Like they've battled a lot. And they were super quiet; it was unsettling. The Pidgey definitely used Quick Attack and Sand Attack. Probably Gust. Maybe Mirror Move, but it was hard to tell. The Beedrill was in a regular PokéBall but the Pidgey was in a… I think it was a Level Ball, actually. Yeah."
Kel surveys their napkins as they finish writing. "Alright. I think I asked everything. Good, good, okay! Well. You have not had a good few days in Cerulean. Sorry about that."
Casey tips back in his chair, hands behind his head. "Ah, it wasn't all bad! I had a great time exploring with Bruno and Debbie yesterday. And I met Sorley, so that's a positive too!"
"Still… to be completely overwhelmed like that isn't nice. Let alone two days in a row… Did you also try to challenge Leader Hoshi?"
"No. Should I?"
"No, no, not at all! Even sparring there is… way beyond your current level, unless you make it very clear that it's for learning rather than competition."
Casey drops his chair back onto four legs with a thunk. "So is there anything I should do here?"
"Could call up the Professor and ask. But you're prob'ly just meant to be passing through. Not all journeys are linear." They pause. "That sounded weirdly profound but I mean it very literally. Just like, do some training or something before you get into Rock Tunnel."
"All my classmates've probably gone ahead already… guess I could call Bruno or Debbie…"
Kel snaps their fingers. "Or! You could battle with me!"
Vera Hill Chapter 2 - Dark Morning
Route 4, May 22nd
Vera followed the river west of the city, which was never even presented as an option for her journey. Probably because, as she was soon learning, it involved hiking and climbing up the foothills of Mount Moon. Once again she realized that Pokemon training was nowhere near as glamorous as she'd thought it would be. Fortunately for her, the Bandana Boys were right about Druddigon being out this way (she had even followed its footprints well past the house she was told "was too far"). Unfortunately, she found it at the top of a ledge she was convinced she couldn't climb. The cliff face was probably 10 feet of vertical rock!
Fortunately, Druddigon didn't seem to notice her, too busy eating a meal of some kind. Bright red juice dripped from its toothy maw, and Vera could only hope it was berry juice and not someone's pet. She couldn't get close to the Dragon even if she wanted to (which she didn't), so she made the smart decision to phone the police.
*ring*... *ring*... "Hello, this is the police."
"I'd like to report a found Dragon Pokemon? I'm out here on Route 4, and it's making its way toward Mt. Moon. Could you contact the Gym, let them know so they can come get it?"
"Okay. Please hold." The operator was quiet for a moment, while Vera tapped her foot impatiently.
Unfortunately, Druddigon finished its meal, taking notice of Vera. It eyed her warily, a low warning growl rumbling in its chest. She froze, not daring to look it in the eyes.
After several tense seconds, it turned away, headed further down the path toward the mountain. Vera cursed her luck, grabbing a small rock from the ground. "Get back here!" She threw the rock with all her might, and it bounced harmlessly off the back of Druddigon's head.
The Dragon stopped, and Vera grinned victoriously. Then it turned and glared at her with hate-filled eyes, roaring in fury. Vera dropped her phone and stepped back out of pure instinct, immediately regretting her decision.
"...hello?" The tinny voice came from the phone, just as Druddigon leaped from the ledge and landed heavily in front of Vera, crushing it underfoot. Vera backed away quickly, fumbling for a Pokeball. "Protect me, team!" She opened the ball, and Sapphire emerged, hairs raised as she hissed at Druddigon.
Remembering how Growlithe flinched from a Bite, Vera ordered Sapphire to Bite Druddigon. She lunged at it, but draconic energy gathered in its hand, its claws gleaming with power as it slashed at Sapphire, knocking her aside and unconscious with a single Dragon Claw before she could get a hit in.
Vera recalled Sapphire, but Druddigon kept advancing, so she sent out Leo. "Keep your distance, and use Supersonic to confuse it!" Leo pointed his antenna forward, but Druddigon was too fast, and exhaled a stream of fire! Vera raised her arms to her face as the Flamethrower washed over Leo, the heat singeing her clothes and leaving her skin red. Leo lay unconscious from the attack, and Vera trembled as she pulled him back.
"N-no way..." She muttered, in shock at how powerful Druddigon was. "That thing's a monster..."
Druddigon roared again, and Bonnie emerged from her Pokeball of her own volition. Vera hadn't taken the time to heal her Pokemon, so Bonnie was already on the verge of collapse. But she stood firm, protecting Vera from the enraged Dragon.
Druddigon didn't even slow, its hands wreathed in golden aura as it swatted Bonnie aside. Vera dove after her, scooping Bonnie up and cradling her in her arms. "Bonnie! No, no no... wake up, Bonnie!" The little Cubone stirred, but didn't have the strength to fight.
Vera heard Druddigon move, and looked up just in time to see Druddigon's tail, wreathed in orange energy, as she was struck in the chest and knocked off her feet. She flew through the air, holding Bonnie close, hitting the ground and sliding to a stop by the unclimable ledge. Had she had her Pokedex out, she would know that move as "Revenge". Druddigon roared triumphantly, walking toward Vera and the ledge.
"P-please..." Vera whispered, fighting to sit up. "S-somebody..." Druddigon stopped as she spoke, looking at her curiously. "SOMEBODY HELP ME!" Vera screamed, her eyes squeezed shut as tears fell.
In that moment, Druddigon saw her not as a threat, or an aggressor, but as a child in over her head. She had made a rash decision, and angered an already hurt and confused Pokemon, and Druddigon felt intense remorse for his actions. He lowered his head, looking closely at Vera and the Cubone in her arms, but she kept her eyes closed as she shook.
...and then Druddigon was knocked aside by a tail wreathed in gold. He hit the ground and slid to a halt, dazed by the impact.
"Druddigon, what's gotten into you? Back into your Pokeball, now!" Percy, a trainer from the Gym, had arrived on his Flygon, using Dragon Tail to knock Druddigon away from Vera. He pulled out a Pokeball, recalled Druddigon into it, then went to check on Vera. "Are you alright?"
Vera slowly nodded, returning Bonnie to her Pokeball. "Um... yes, I think so. Thank... thank you."
Percy smiled, offering Vera a hand up. "Of course. It's a knight's duty to rescue fair damsels in distress."
Vera had been reaching for his hand, but scowled at that comment, using the cliff face behind her to push herself up. "I appreciate the assistance, but I'm no damsel, mister."
Percy shrugged, returning to Flygon and affectionately patting it on the cheek. "You're a young, unmarried woman who was in a dangerous situation, yes? The term applies."
Vera tried to protest, sputtering out half formed arguments. "That doesn't... just because... you... you..."
"Alright, I apologize. I didn't mean to offend you." He lifted his hands in placating surrender. "But truly, I'm thankful for you calling the police. Druddigon wasn't the only Dragon who went missing today, and I'm glad we could recover him. I owe you one."
Vera folded her arms and sulked, looking away from Percy. "He knocked out all of my Pokemon and threw me at a wall. Forgive me if I withhold my enthusiasm."
"Fair enough. How about I give you a lift back to town? Have you ever ridden on a dragon before?"
Vera thought about it for a second, eventually deciding that it was better than walking. "No. No I haven't."
Back in Cerulean, Percy waited patiently outside the Pokemon Center. When Vera finally came out, she was still looking a little green.
"You know..." He started, but Vera cut him off with a raised hand. "I don't wanna hear it." She started walking away, Percy falling into step beside her.
"I'm just saying, you should have told me if you were going to get air sick. I would have set you down before you threw-"
"I said forget it!" Vera frowned grumpily. "I'd never flown before, how could I know? And why are you following me?"
"A free ride back to town isn't the only thing I wanted to give you. I meant it when I said I owed you. Can I see your Pokedex for a moment? I have a gift for you." Vera sighed in resignation, handing it over.
Percy looked through the Pokedex for a moment, cross referencing his own device, before handing it back with a grin. "A little diversity is always nice, and I happen to have the perfect technique for if you get into a situation like that again. Would you like to teach your Meowth a new move?"
Vera lifted an eyebrow, intrigued. "What kind of move?"
Percy pulled a device out of his bag. "It's called 'Icy Wind'. It's an Ice-type attack, obviously, which are super effective against Dragons, among other things. It's a Special Attack, which Dark Meowths have a preference for, it's able to affect multiple enemies at a time, and slows your foes if it hits, which is good for your other two Pokemon. I can teach it to her right now, if you'd like."
"Well, I'm sold." Vera grinned, pulling out Sapphire's ball. "Yes, please!" Percy showed her how to work the device, which was similar to a TM. When he was done, Sapphire had learned a new technique. She let the cat out, who perched comfortably on Vera's shoulder.
"Thank you, Percy." Vera offered him her hand, which he shook. "And thank you, Vera. What you did back there was stupid and reckless, but brave and well-meaning. You have a good heart. Keep training yourself and your Pokemon, and maybe we'll meet again some day."
"I look forward to it." Vera gave him a nod and a smile. He went back to the Gym, and she went the other direction, heading off toward Route 9. She had decided not to visit the Gym after all, and wanted to keep moving forward. Sapphire meowed at her softly, which Vera scoffed at.
"Of course I'm not actually looking forward to it." She wasn't sure what Sapphy actually said, but somehow had a vague idea. "I'll probably forget all about him within a week." Sapphire just snuggled up closer, purring contentedly.
Ralph’s clothes were washed and dried by the time she got back to the pokemon center, and the contents of her bag were mostly dried as well. She still didn’t bring the bag with her when she went back out again, hoping it would get a bit better still. Edgy, Softy and Sandsy were healed and they all needed some dinner.
She didn’t really like to eat alone. She hadn’t told Ari her deepest feelings, but the truth was that Ralph was an extravert in most ways. Eating, chilling, training - it was all better done together with someone. She felt best when she had friends around her to support and laugh with. Or worry about. Or when they worried about her, although she wouldn’t admit that out loud. A smile came to her where she sat outside a pizza place for lunch, as she thought about Arianne again. She pulled her PokéGear up and crafted a nice little text to the other girl, letting her know how nice the gym had been and that she should visit it if she had the chance to. Extravert or not, she still didn’t like calling people up on the phone. It was fine once they were talking, but the calling up - or answering - was the hard part somehow.
When the belly was satisfied, the soul still craved something more. She went to visit some shops that were still open, to get some Antidotes and Potions (just in case! She had learned her lesson) and some more durable food in case she had to eat out on the road.
In the shop, she overheard some old ladies talking.
“And I told them I would take three of them home if I could! But Purrloin and Delcatty already take up so much of my time… I’m not sure I could have more cats.”
“But I heard these new pokemon they found are special? That they’re of a different breed than what is normally found in Kanto. Even the Meowth!”
“Yes, they told me as much too. Very strange. And that they found so many around the same time?”
“Poor things. They didn’t seem to enjoy the wild. I hope someone who can adopt them comes along…”
Only then did Ralph notice how intensely she had been listening. Pokemon in need of adoption? She was a trainer, meant to build a team. It would make no sense for her to skip this opportunity, at least if they were truly exotic. Not that she was trying to win one of Professor Palm's awards for the strongest or most pokémon, but... Still.
After asking the ladies for directions to this rescue center they referred to, Ralph was on her way eagerly. It took her a while to get all the way out to the western edge of the city, and it was already dark when she arrived. But the rescue center was open and inviting, and she was let in. The staff explained that a lot of these odd breeds had been found around the same time recently, and they didn't seem to want to go back into the wild. Their theory was that someone had released them from captivity nearby...
Ralph was let into a big playroom where several other trainers also were meeting the rescued pokémon this evening. There were several of each breed, she even saw both Pichu and Pikachu running around.
"I thought those were native in Kanto?" she said out loud. "And Cubone and Exeggcute as well."
"They are! And yet not!" a voice from behind came, before a firm hand slammed down on her shoulder and a wide smile met her from mere decimeters away.
She would have taken a leap away if the hand hadn't held her in place. It took her a second to recognize the person. "Montany!"
"Hey, I told you to call me Aberdeen, didn't I?" he said with a wink and let her go.
"So you did. Sorry."
"Come to adopt a pokémon then?" the boy said and crouched to make one of the Pikachu run into his arms, which it did happily.
"I guess so," Ralph said. "I don't really know how I should do this though. Which one I should pick."
"You could just let it pick you!" Aberdeen said, standing up again with the Pikachu in his arms.
"Is that yours from before?" Ralph asked, not sure that she could tell the difference between different pokémon of the same race that she didn't own herself.
"No! This girl is a different one. See? Her tail is shaped like a heart! So cute," Aberdeen said and nuzzled the mouse's cheek until sparks started flying, which looked sort of dangerous to Ralph. "I'm not adopting her though! There was a really cool colorful Grimer who wouldn't let go of me so I adopted her. She's in her pokéball currently though because her affection was a bit overwhelming..."
"Ah, yeah. You wouldn't want two similar Pikachu I guess," Ralph said.
"Aha, but they are different! Well, perhaps not now. But I've been told that if they evolve, they will become different kinds of Raichu. That would be so awesome to see!"
Ralph considered that. She still thought it seemed really strange to own two pokémon of the same kind, but she supposed she had seen it before. Not two pokémon were the complete same, after all. Even within the same species, and the same variety. She glanced around the room. It was a lovely place, filled with different kinds of textures and obstacles for the pokémon to enjoy, and a wall that looked like it might open up to the outside when it was daytime, or perhaps when visitors were not here - some pokémon loved the nighttime outdoors too, after all.
She did a double take as she spotted a particular pokémon sitting by a large window next to that wall. It was staring out, seemingly ignoring the activities around it. The reason Ralph blinked several times when she looked at it was that its shape and pattern was so familiar. But not its color. She carefully walked closer, while Aberdeen watched her silently, as if he wanted to see what she was about to do.
"Is that... A Sandshrew?" she asked quietly, and pulled up her pokédex in the same beat. The machine confirmed it. This was a Sandshrew, but it didn't look like her own. Its skin looked rock hard, much like Sandsy's, but it was glistening in a completely different way. Icy.
"Hello," she said, sitting down next to it. "Sandshrew?"
The pokémon turned to look at her at that. It was very similar to Sandsy, yet quite different. Its eyes had a different sort of glare, not as relaxed and cheerful as his. Instead, they were almost forlorn. Yet filled with... determination? Or just anger? Nevertheless, it didn't growl at her, nor withdraw.
"What are you looking at out there?" Ralph asked, she too forgetting the noise of the playing pokémon in the rest of the big room now.
The icy mouse looked back out into the dark woods and gestured with a small noise. It then glanced over its shoulder and grunted at the playroom with a strange look - disgust? - before it turned back again. It was definitely determination that possessed it. It didn't want to be in here. It wanted to be out there.
"Do you want to be set free? Into the wild?"
The mouse looked at her again, but it was unclear if it had understood. Was it anticipation that played over its features now?
Oh, of course.
"Can I adopt you? I'm a pokémon trainer. Well, soon anyways. I'm traveling and training to be a skilled trainer and to make my pokémon the strongest."
Its face changed at that, and it turned fully to face Ralph, giving out an eager noise. The girl couldn't help but smile broadly.
"Aha. She chose you!" Aberdeen said from where he had been watching. "Funny, that you actually would end up adopting the same breed you already have. Although, different, of course."
Ralph reached a hand out and carefully placed it on the Snowshrew's head. It was very cold to the touch, despite the warm temperature of the playroom. And hard as steel.
The sky was turning a lovely orange-purple gradient as the sun set, but Jordan decided they had a bit of time to check out the city before turning in for the night. He had made a beeline straight for the Pokémon Center after crossing the bridge, and now that his Pokémon were properly treated, he could breathe a sigh of relief and do a little bit of sightseeing.
Cerulean City! Jordan had never really travelled before. He only left Celadon for Cape College, and outside of these two places, he hadn't seen too much of the world. This city was larger than his hometown, but somehow more serene and relaxing.
Before leaving the Pokémon Center, he had picked up a couple of pamphlets outlining some nearby attractions. Jordan walked behind his Pokémon as he flipped through the suggested locations. The small Pidgey was hopping along as usual - Jordan had taken the nurse's advice to let him out more often, and Hop had gotten used to moving around with the FlexiGuard surprisingly quick. To his side was... another sort of guard. Tangela had voluntarily assumed the role of his personal bodyguard, and was hovering over him protectively. Jordan looked up from his pamphlets to give a neatly dressed businesswoman an apologetic smile after Tangela swatted at her feet for almost stepping on Hop. She shot the trio a dirty look back as she straightened out her outfit, and continued walking past them.
"Guys, this way," Jordan motioned for his Pokémon to follow his lead. A lot of the places he wanted to see were closing, or already closed at this hour, but one particular location he was interested in appeared to be open 24/7. There was a map on the pamphlet, and it was tucked away at the edge of the city.
Just as he thought he had gotten lost, he found his way to an oddly rustic-looking building with a fading sign that read "Rescue Center". It contrasted sharply with the surrounding architecture, but was very charming in its own way. The door chimed as Jordan ushered Hop and Tangles into the worn but inviting building.
An old woman at the front desk looked up as they stepped inside. "Hello, dears," she greeted them warmly as Jordan waved back. She looked over her new visitors, and her eyes lingered on Hop's bandaged wing. She gave them a sad smile.
"You'll want to fill in these forms first," she said gently, pushing some paperwork in front of him. "And remember, there's no shame in what you are doing. I do applaud you for taking the right steps to ensure he will be cared for properly. You won't believe how many heartless trainers just leave their Pokémon out to fend for themselves when they don't want them anymore..."
She prattled on for a while in what Jordan was sure was meant to be a comforting manner, but looking over the form and processing what she was saying, he started to piece together the misunderstanding.
"Uh- no!" he blurted out, unsure of how else to stop her from reciting the entire procedure of surrendering your Pokémon. "I'm not here for that. I was actually wondering if you have Pokémon available for adoption."
The old lady looked pleasantly taken aback. "Oh! You are not here to...?" she gestured towards Hop.
"No, nonono," he laughed nervously as Tangela stepped in front of Hop to shield her from the lady, as if she would take him away. "But I figured it would be nice to have another Pokémon on the team to train with, especially while my Pidgey is recovering."
"Well. Let me apologize for the misunderstanding, first of all. And come with me if you want to visit some of the Pokémon in our care!" She stepped out from behind the counter and gestured for the group to follow. Tangela continued to wedge herself between Hop and the old lady as she chuckled. "And don't worry, dearie, I will not take your friend away."
The woman led them into another room, and Jordan took in his surroundings with delight, unsure of where to start. There were Pokémon playing, eating and sleeping everywhere. Some of these Pokémon looked familiar, and some of them... also looked familiar, but not like any Pokémon Jordan had seen before, at the same time. Geodude adorned with spiky, black rocks in their heads. Icy Sandshrew. Other oddly-colored Pokémon. Jordan had heard of Shiny Pokémon before, though he had never seen one himself, but there couldn't be that many of them here in this rescue center waiting to be adopted, could there?
The woman noted his wonder and confusion. "Never seen anything quite like some of these little guys before, have you?" Jordan shook his head. "Some of them are natives of another region! We're not quite sure how they found their way to Kanto, but if you are looking for an interesting addition to your team here, do consider bringing one of them along with you."
Jordan, Hop and Tangela spent a good portion of their evening playing with the Pokémon. It was really cool to see the different variations of the same Pokémon he grew up familiar with. The Vulpix were fascinating - polar opposites of its Kanto counterpart, with ice-white fur and a chilly breath, rather than of fire. One of them curled up in Jordan's lap and fell asleep; he was so tempted to take her with him... But another interesting adoptee that captured his heart was one of the Cubone. He wasn't a regional variant, or so Jordan thought, but for a Cubone, he noted that he seemed very outgoing and eager to make friends. Very uncharacteristic for his species.
He quickly befriended Hop and Tangela, and followed them as they went around the room, often trying to divert the attention to himself when they was busy trying to learn about one of the Alolan Pokémon. As Jordan pet the sleeping Vulpix, Cubone made his way onto Jordan's lap as well.
"Well, I would love to bring one of the Alolan Pokémon with me, ma'am, but it seems like this little guy has really taken a liking to me," he laughed, as the Cubone shifted in his seat a little, subtly trying to push the Vulpix away. She yawned loudly and gave him an annoyed look, before hopping off Jordan's lap and finding a more comfortable spot to nap.
"You'll be in for a big surprise later on, actually," the lady replied. "I know you can't tell now, but he is from Alola! Their differentiating characteristics just don't manifest until they evolve. He is going to look quite different from the Marowak you see around here. If you would have him with you, that is."
Jordan looked at the little Cubone swaying left to right merrily in his lap. "Happy little guy, isn't he?"
"Oh, yes, always has been. Quite different from the usual nature of his species, you know? A special little character." the old lady mused. "If you care to know more about his evolved form, Alolan Marowak are actually Fire/Ghost-type."
He finished touring the rest of the rescue center with the lady, chatting about the different Alolan forms as they visited all the Pokémon. Cubone continued to tag along, with Tangela holding his hand with a vine.
"Thank you so much for your time, but I think I've made my decision," Jordan smiled, scooping up the Cubone.
"Oh, wonderful! I know it was a tough choice to make for you, but I could sense the connection between you two. Your other Pokémon seem to like him too! Are you going to give him a nickname?"
Jordan set him down watched the little Cubone scurry off to dance with Hop, celebrating. He was feisty. Spirited. Spirit. He thought to himself. I like that. He appreciated the double-meaning behind the name. He will become a part Ghost-type in the future, after all, and it was a reference to spirited nature.
“W-where Am I?” Richard stuttered as he woke up, he could feel slight discomfort on his ears and left rib cage. He then looked around that he was in a white-colored room which was unfamiliar to him.
“You’re in the hospital, dum-dum.”
A young man entered the room while bringing a plastic bag.
“In all honesty, I’ve already had a few predictions about how will we meet soon. However, none of the predictions I made is in the hospital after an explosion. You sure are reckless than ever, boy,” The young man smugly smiled, while pouring the water from the jug into two glasses at a table beside the bed.
Richard rolled his eyes at the young man’s statement. “Don’t give me that face Keith, I don’t want to hear that kind of statement from a guy who was late one day for his departure because he ate a Quesadilla filled with Duskull Peppers.” Richard snickered at his last sentence as he remembered how Keith rolled in his bed full of pain when everybody was starting to leave due to what he ate the night before.
Keith who was drinking at the time choked due to surprise. “Cough… Cough… Well, I’m sorry. I only knew the Quesadilla was decked with Provolone Cheese, I didn’t know it was also loaded with those ghastly peppers. And how dare you laugh at my suffering and pain, are you even my friend?” Keith was trying to get a one-up against Richard.
“Pretty sure I didn’t know anyone who was dumb enough to get his journey postponed thanks to stomachache.”
“Sheesh… That’s way too cruel even for you my friend.” Keith also laughed at his friend’s quip. “Well anyway, I’m pretty sure you haven't eaten anything, right? Here some food for you." Keith gave one of the plastic bag content to Richard.
"Thanks, now let's see what's in here… cheese muffin? Really? You expect me to have a cheese muffin as a lunch?" Richard was exasperated at his would-be meal. After all, it was just a tiny muffin, how could he fill up his stomach after that whole shebang only with such a small food?
“Hey, don’t look at me like that. It only serves as a temporary measure, we could have dinner later. I’ve bought some fresh ingredients from the market around here, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a great time eating it, hahaha.” Keith laughed without restraints, being so certain that none of the restaurants around could beat his cooking.
I bet a few of those ingredients are different kinds of cheese. Richard smiled slightly
Richard took a bite of the muffin before suddenly he and Keith heard a knocking sound from outside of the door.
“Excuse me, is Mr. Richard awake?” It was the sound of a young man, he appeared to have a need to talk with Richard.
“I’m awake, please come in.”
As soon as he was allowed to come in, he introduced himself to both Richard and Keith as a trainer from the Cerulean Gym. He then inquired Richard about what happened before he was hospitalized, Richard answered the question as truthful and detailed as possible. After that, the young man expressed his thanks to Richard and took note of his contact, in return Richard was given the contact of Cerulean Gym Leader, just in case something happened in the future. The man then exits Richard’s hospital room.
"So you got a gym leader contact eh? Well lucky you, or should I say unlucky you?" Keith said while eating his share of muffin.
"Bah… I think you knew already that being given the phone number of the gym leader means that this issue is still far from over." Richard took another bite at his cheese muffin.
Richard was lost in his thoughts, where he was still thinking about the masked man. The fact the masked man still beat him without using his full capability scared the hell out of him, what if he’s not the one getting attacked by the masked man? What if that someone else couldn’t protect themselves? He wanted to rule the assumption that the masked man he met worked alone, but that whole debacle with a lot of Cerulean Gym’s pokemon gone missing wouldn’t be able to be pulled by only one man. He was down deep in the sea of doubts and worries until Keith flicked his middle finger with full force at Richard’s forehead.
“Ow, what was that for!?” Richard asked his friend about his questionable act.
“There’s no use crying over spoiled milk, you know?”
“Isn’t it supposed to be spilled milk?” Richard was confused at the saying Keith used to console him.
“Well I’m still going to cry over spoiled milk, but that’s beside the point. What I’m trying to say is that there’s no use to dwell on the masked man now. Yeah, you let him away with the Dragon-type Pokemon but there’s a better thing to do now, you know? Things like… Training.” Keith was looking toward Richard with a mischievous smile.
“Wait, are you trying to imply about a thing I’m thinking of?” Richard had a hunch about what Keith was trying to do.
“I’m challenging you for a pokemon battle Richard and I don’t accept no for an answer.” Keith pointed his fingers toward his friend.
“Fine with me, game on!”
Continued in part 2-5
A Battle of Wits
Richard vs Keith
Richard and Keith both make their way to the majestic gym, on the way Richard picked up his Pokemon team from the Pokemon Center. After it’s all finished, both of them managed to borrow an unused battlefield on the gym which means they could finally start their battle.
“So, this day finally come eh, can’t wait to mop the floor with you, Pal.” Keith was looking confident at his chance of beating Richard.
“I love your enthusiasm Keith, but I’ll beat you down faster than the Magnet Train! Go, Eileen!” Richard threw his ball, calling up the yellow rodent Pokemon into the fray.
“You’re very brave that you throw out your pokemon first. Go, Hans!” A Zubat came out from the Pokeball Keith threw, Keith was looking proud at his choice of Pokemon.
“Uh… Not the brightest bulb in the room aren’t you? Hurray for me I guess.” Richard was surprised by the Pokemon pick Keith made since Zubat is weak against Electric-type moves.
“Bulb? Hey, I’m a human okay, not a freakin lightbulb. Hans, Wing Attack!”
Richard covered his face with his right hand, flabbergasted that Keith doesn’t understand the saying he used. ”Bah… Anyway, you’re going to be punished for pushing forward blindly. Eileen, Thunder Shock!”
Hans flew towards Eileen with its wing enveloped in white light, while Eileen shoots a small bolt of lightning straight towards the Bat Pokemon. However, instead of swooping straight into the lightning Hans rolled away from the harm’s way.
“You really think I would do something that stupid? Hans, Absorb!”
Hans shot two red beams toward Eileen which hit the surprised Pokemon, it absorbed the energy of the Mouse Pokemon.
“What’s the matter Richard, you’re already giving up? Keith tried to taunt Richard.
“I’m not falling for that obvious taunt you fool. Eileen, use Thunder Shock with a wider arc!”
The lightning was spread out in a wider area in an attempt to stop the Zubat in its track, but Hans only barreled to the side before finally moved low at the end of the arc, slamming its wing against the rodent.
“Wow, two hits in a row… I’m going on a roll here, you sure you’re not going to surrender here now, Pal? After all, it’s kind of ironic that you couldn’t blindly defeat a blind pokemon” Keith mocked Richard one more time while laughing.
“You…” Richard gnawed his teeth. Richard knew Keith’s intention of taunting him is to make himself do rapid and uncalculated attacks so that Keith could dismantle his Pokemon team methodically, but he couldn’t help to lose his cool seeing his friend’s mocking expression and tone. The fact that Eileen was currently under high pressure from Hans forcing the rodent to completely focused her attacks to solely for defense purposes didn’t help Richard with his dilemma.
Richard was so focused on thinking while Keith was smiling already could taste the sweetness of his victory. After a while finally, Richard realized a loophole of Keith’s hit and run strategy. Wait… Blind? Ah… You dug your own grave, Keith… Richard smirked towards Keith.
“You’re creeping me out, Richard. Maybe you and Eileen could take a rest and forfeit this battle?” Keith barreled on with his strategy, hoping that more psyche damage could be dealt with on his friend so he could crack under the pressure.
“You know what Keith? You’re a genius in the strategy department, I’ll give you that. But the one who is going to rest first is not going to be Eileen, it’s going to be Hans. Eileen, Growl… But make it as annoying as possible, please.” Richard smirked at Keith.
The Mouse Pokemon let out a hoarse noise almost akin to shrieking, Hans could be seen visibly annoyed at the antic the Mouse Pokemon had done. The bat started to attack more aggressively but at the same time also less calculated.
“So your strategy of kiting has finally been unraveled eh, Keith? It’s all over for Hans now!” Richard was smiling from ear to ear about the changing situation.
Keith suddenly scratched his head. “Sorry that I’m uninformed as usual, but what does kiting means?”
“I’ll explain later, but for now, Growl!”
Eileen made another annoying sound wave, fanning the anger of Hans. Hans dove once more towards Eileen with full speed.
“Bah, ah well… Hans, Bite!” Keith hoped that the move would flinch Eileen, which would lead to a more favorable situation for Hans.
“Nope, it’s all over Keith. Eileen, catch him! Electrocute him until he drops down”
The Mouse Pokemon openly accepted the attack of Hans, before she hugged and electrocuting it with electricity from point-blank range.
“Not if I could drop you down first. Hans, Absorb!”
The Bat Pokemon shot his red beam from a point-blank range. But alas, the super effective move was taking too much of a toll on Hans before it could drop Eileen down. The flying menace had finally fainted on the ground.
“Tch, so it’s one for you eh. But I’ll not be going to let you have your smug face for long. Go, Bob!” The next pokemon Keith threw out to the battlefield was Exeggcute.
“Well, good luck beating Eileen, Keith. She’ll not drop down that easily.” Richard was showing bravado against his friend. However, he also noticed that Eileen was already softened up by Hans’s attacks.
“Let’s see about that. Bob, Barrage!”
The six head each launched itself towards Eileen at a different tempo and angles, in an effort to disconcert Eileen which doesn’t seem to work. Eileen dodged them all and retaliated with Thunder Shock but it doesn’t seem to affect Bob that much due to the typing advantage.
“It’s useless Keith, just give it up. Bob just can’t keep up with Eileen’s speed.”
“Oh, I know that. However, you sure she’ll make it until the end?” Keith teased Richard.
Eileen was dodging the different attack patterns of each head, retaliating each time with Thunder Shock. However, as time keeps ticking by, Eileen started to get more and more tired because of all the dodging she had to do.
“Tch, Eileen get out of there, Jump!” Richard shouted, realizing the burden dodging did to Eileen.
Eileen jumped high to his trainer’s order using one of the Exeggcute’s head as a pedestal to jump.
Keith suddenly smirked. “I have waited for this moment, Bob use Hypnosis!”
One of the head was launched forward using one other head as launching pad, which managed to catch the hapless Eileen mid-air from down below. The eye of the head turned yellow and shot a beam at Eileen, immediately shutting down the eye of the Pokemon. Which turned her into an easy target for Bob.
“Sorry little lady, Barrage!”
The Exeggcute heads tackled Eileen one by one, finally managed to subdue the Mouse Pokemon. Richard then called Eileen back to its Pokeball
“So how about it, Richard? Bob is cool no? Prepare to get beaten by the numbers game.” Keith giggled a little but immediately stopped when he saw Richard smirking once more. “Whoa Richard, could you stop with those scary smiles? It creeps me out you know.”
“Oh… Sorry, I couldn’t help but smile. The numbers game is your Exeggcute’s power Keith. But soon? It shall be the source of its downfall,” Richard said as he visualized his game plan against Keith’s Exeggcute.
Continued in part 2-6
Richard vs Keith
Kel's Growlithe is beautifully groomed. Its fur is styled in complicated braided patterns that carefully hide the hundred or so bobby pins while still showing off the ribbons wound through. Casey marvels.
"Did you forget I worked in fashion?"
"I never knew!"
"Oh! Right." Kel twirls their folding fan. "I used to style people and Pokémon for photoshoots before I moved back to Cerulean. I loved doing it but man, that's a stressful industry. So I came back to Cerulean and enrolled in the police academy!"
"I still love fashion, though." They snap their fan closed and point it at Casey. "And! I accidentally learned a lot about Pokémon while I was doing it! Which is what I want to show you! Let's do Charmander first."
Casey puts a good twenty feet or so between them before letting Charmander out. The little lizard twirls his stick in imitation of Kel's fidgeting with their fan and Kel is delighted.
"Right! Well, go on an' attack!"
"Okay, uh, Ember?"
Charmander starts to circle, throwing out a few Embers as he goes. They all hit dead-on, but it doesn't matter. Instead of singeing that perfect fur, a little glow erupts then fades at the site of each strike. Charmander stops at Casey's signal and they both look to Kel, confused as to why they’re not doing anything.
"Flash Fire is an interesting ability," Kel calls out. "It completely negates the elemental side of fire attacks and turns that energy into power, right? But it doesn't negate the physical aspect of moves. So if Topaz got hit with Fire Fang-" Topaz chomps the air with flaming teeth to demonstrate. "-the fire part would be absorbed, but she'd still get bitten, okay?"
"Yeah! So, knowing that Topaz can absorb fire, and you have a Charmander… can you guess what I'm thinking of doing?"
Kel doesn't give much time for a response before Topaz is darting behind Charmander, pinning his tail with a paw and sticking the other paw right into his flame. Charmander flails, completely off-balance, and Casey watches with horror as the flame grows smaller by the second. He calls out to Charmander, instructing him, trying to help, but Charmander either isn't listening or doesn't hear him. This- this has never happened before...
Topaz is back at Kel's side with a quick command. Casey and Charmander give a simultaneous sigh of relief.
"So, a few things ‘bout what I just did there! First, I know that was really scary for both of you and it wasn't nice of me." Kel points their fan at Charmander, who is inspecting his tail carefully. "Second: Charmander aren't very particular or sensitive about much. However! Their flame is everything. That's just a fact of their biology. So if something starts messing with it, well! That's all they're going to focus on. Okay? So that leads to point C: You should know what behavior is instinctive to your Pokémon and think about how that could be relevant in battle!”
They twirl their fan as they add, “Even if that knowledge seems trivial, it can be useful. A lot of what I learned while styling seemed applicable only to that job. Like, what am I gonna do with knowing Persian can’t tolerate having its fur back-combed?”
Casey considers. “Muss it up so it’s forced to focus on that rather than the battle?”
“Hah! Exactly! Anything to break focus. It’s actually been a really useful tactic in police work!”
“So… what would you do to Buneary?”
Kel laughs. “You’re gonna ask your opponent about their strategy? You’ll find out when it’s her turn. Let’s try with Charmander again!”
Kel once again waits for Casey to direct first. Ember’s out of the question, so it’s going to be a physical battle. He just needs to keep Topaz from reaching Charmander’s tail while in close quarters. How can he… ah, maybe-!
Charmander takes a deep breath in and exhales not embers this time, but a thick cloud of dark smoke. Casey can’t see a thing, but neither can Kel or Topaz, and Charmander’s bringing his stick down hard onto… well, the place where Topaz was. Casey hears the stick slam the ground and is immediately peering into the haze, looking for any clue as to where Topaz has gone. He hears Kel’s command but doesn’t quite see the result, because the Fire Spin whips the Smokescreen right past his eyes. He fights to keep one eye open against the stinging and sees Charmander doing the same. Topaz is circling behind. Charmander takes a swing as her turns to face her, but she jumps neatly away. They’re both circling now.
Charmander’s stick bounces off the manifested shield and sends him reeling, off-balance just long enough for Topaz to dart in and body-check him while simultaneously clamping jaws down on the stick and tearing it away. Charmander hits the ground, Topaz tosses the stick away and bites down on Charmander’s shoulder, pinning him in such a way that all he can do is flail. A back paw is on his flame again and he’s getting more and more frantic as he struggles ineffectively.
Topaz darts back to Kel’s side.
“Better!” Kel pats Topaz as Casey scoops up Charmander to inspect him. He’s pretty much fine, just exaggerating his discomfort. As usual. “Smokescreen’s kind’ve a difficult move to play off. You can’t be tracking your own Pokémon; you have to look for your opponent and really be your Pokémon’s eyes. Maybe talk to your sister ‘bout that kinda thing?”
Kel frowns. “Man, I really forget you’re way younger than all of us. Anyway. She’s always been a move specialist. Which species can learn what, best set of moves to know, how to counter, how to combine… I mean, she’s so far down that road she can tell what move a Pokémon’s gonna use just by its stance! Kinda crazy, really. And really hard to deal with in battle. But yeah, ask her about the best way to use what you’ve got! It’s not like you have many options unless she lets you get into her TM collection.”
Considering how Aurelia tends to react when he asks her for things, Casey immediately shelves those ideas. Doesn’t tell Kel, though. Instead, he sends out Buneary. Charmander dashes to get his stick before Topaz enters the little arena again.
“Now, Buneary’s sensitive points are obvious, of course!” Topaz spins a thin stream of fire toward Buneary, who dodges at Casey’s command. Her footwork is nimble, but as she dances around the controlled stream neither her nor her trainer are focusing enough on Topaz. The Growlithe cuts the flame and darts around, circling behind, always circling behind. Casey reacts quickly enough to have Buneary spin into a Pound, but it bounces off Topaz’s shield. Buneary reels and gives Topaz an opening to sink her flaming teeth into Buneary’s ear.
Topaz retreats to Kel. Buneary frantically tries to put her ear out with her short arms. She resorts to rubbing it in the dirt and when the flames are finally extinguished, she looks murderous.
Kel lets out an undignified shriek as a small crater appears where they and Topaz stood a half-second before. Buneary’s already launching herself to where Topaz has bounded off to and Casey can see the energy powering her kick. Another crater appears, but Topaz is gone again, skidding to a halt on the other side of the field and spiraling a much larger stream of fire out toward Buneary. Buneary runs straight into the flames, keeping perfectly in the center until breaking through to smash Topaz in the jaw. Topaz dashes away from the barrage on Kel’s instruction as Casey’s pleas to Buneary prove futile. Buneary springs high again, aiming her Frustration-powered flying kick perfectly. The summoned shield repels her and she slides all the way back to Casey. Topaz is on her in the blink of an eye, flames licking the teeth resting at her throat.
And uses her ear to punch Topaz in the eye.
Topaz reels back and Buneary goes for the throat, but her opponent’s deafening Roar washes over Casey and activates the PokéBall in his hand. Buneary looks furious, still actively trying to get at Topaz even as her form turns to light and is sucked away.
The four still on the field heave a sigh of relief. Kel surprises them all by laughing.
“Oh, your Buneary’s got some kind of spirit! I’ve never seen one do that before!”
“Uh. Sorry about her.”
“Nah, I mean, we provoked her. Of course she was gonna react some type o’ way! Just didn’t know she’d be so… aggressive.”
Casey spins Buneary’s PokéBall in his hands. “Me neither,” he says, a bit glumly. “She wouldn’t even listen to me at all.”
“Well that’s what I was showin’ you, wasn’t it? That you can use what you know about Pokémon to your advantage in battle. I know how to rile ‘em up ‘cause it’s what I was taught not to do when styling.” They flick their fan aimlessly as they talk. “You might want to take a different angle, though. I can’t really think of how to learn what I did without doing what I did, y’know?”
Casey doesn’t really know. He doesn’t know much about Kel’s life, after all. “So… what should I focus on, then?”
“Hmm.” Kel flips their fan. Casey suddenly realizes they haven’t dropped it yet and is impressed. The fan snaps and is pointed directly at him. “Start with what you know!”
“What do I know?” Thought had absolutely nothing to do with that question before it left his mouth. Kel laughs at him.
“How’m I supposed to know what you know and don’t know?” they tease. “What’re you interested in?”
Kel bonks him on the head with the fan. “Not useful!”
“Fine, um… fitness?”
“Yeah, makes sense. You look the type.” Casey’s questioning noises go ignored. “So! You know what’s good and bad for Pokémon! You know the physical limits of what their bodies can do! Right?”
“Uh, yeah, I’m working on it.”
“So!” Kel bops him on the head again. “Use that! Think about like… how much your opponent weighs, or how far they can reach, or if they’re better at running or jumping! And then use that information! What are they likely to do? How will they move? What can you do to counter that?”
Casey hums a note of understanding. Kel grins. “And when you figure out how to counter Topaz, well! Come back and see if it works, right?”
Aberdeen accompanied Ralph back to the Pokémon Center after the adoption of the Alolan Sandshrew was finalized. Ralph owned 4 pokémon now, only two days into her journey. What if it would continue like this? Would she have captured hundreds by the time she returned to the Cape? Would she be able to train them all to become strong?
“Hey, you’re spacing out,” Aberdeen said, waving in front of her face. “Your pokemon are healed, Ralph.”
“Oh, sorry,” she said and accepted the balls back from a smiling nurse at the counter where they were standing.
“How tired are you?” Aberdeen then quickly asked, not looking tired at all himself. “I was thinking maybe we could let all our pokemon meet? You’ve already met Pidgey and battled Pikachu, but Grimer will like you for sure!”
“I don’t know…” Ralph said, hesitating. She was quite tired and wouldn’t mind just resting for the night now. But at the same time, she always liked meeting new pokemon. “Sure.”
They went out back, where the pokemon center had a small yard, and Montany wasted no time in letting Grimer out of her pokeball. It in turn wasted zero time before it literally jumped its trainer with glee.
“Nice to meet you,” Ralph said with amusement, but kept her distance. “You’ve already met Coldy.”
“Coldy?” Aberdeen asked, straightening up a bit as Grimer sank back down to the ground.
“Oh, it’s what I named Sandshrew. Since Sandsy is sandy and… She’s kind of cold. Yet steel hard, I feel like. So cold and steel. Coldy.”
“Coldsteel!” Aberdeen laughed.
“I can’t name her ‘Coldsteel’,” Ralph rolled her eyes.
“Call her what you wish, but she’ll always be Coldsteel to me now!”
“Say that to her face if you dare,” Ralph said smugly and let Coldy out of her pokeball.
She materialized a meter away from Grimer and immediately pierced the colorful slime monster with her fiery stare. The goo creature backed off, very intimidated.
“I suppose they weren’t playpals at the rescue center then,” Aberdeen shrugged.
“She didn’t seem to be the friendly kind,” Ralph stated, which earned her a look from the icy Sandshrew. “No offense. You clearly had other things to focus on. I think you want to train hard and become strong, don’t you?”
Coldy replied in a way that certainly sounded like agreement to Ralph.
“Well, let’s battle then,” Aberdeen grinned.
“Now?” Ralph asked, surprised. “It’s bedtime.”
“Jeez, we’re not in school anymore! We’re free! Live a little?”
Ralph grunted, annoyed. She really did feel sleepy now… But also keen on seeing what Coldy was capable of. Edgy and Softy were a bit difficult to battle with, as they had been completely wild and were not entirely tame yet. Sandsy was easy as he was trained already before coming into Ralph’s possession. How would Coldy do?
Ralph took up her pokédex and scanned her pokémon. Coldy knew several well known moves. Ralph could work with this.
“Alright,” she told the boy. “Let’s battle.”
It became clear pretty soon that Coldy had been trained before. Ralph opened up by ordering a Powder Snow, which Aberdeen countered with a Poison Gas. The two attacks, both sort of propelled by air, met in between the combatants and become a cold, toxic cloud of flakes and poison. Ralph tried to take the opportunity to have Coldy sneak around the mess and reach Grimer with a Scratch attack. But Aberdeen had had the same idea and Grimer met the mouse with a Pound of apparently equal power. Both pokémon were struck, but the hard-shelled Coldy leaped back to take cover while Grimer's soft body absorbed most of the impact - although the sharp scratch was still felt. On the boy's orders, Grimer advanced for another Pound, but Ralph was quick thinking and had Coldy do a Defense Curl. She also told Coldy to Bide her time, and she withstood several Poundings from the slime character until Aberdeen figured out what was likely going on (he had known Ralph wouldn't be so defensive a trainer to just sit there and take it for too long) and had Grimer quickly back off. Unfortunately, the poison pokémon wasn't fast enough. Coldy unraveled her body and unleashed her revenge on her former attacker in the form of several Scratches from behind - although Aberdeen's shouting to Grimer to Harden her body did repel some of the damage there. Grimer turned back around and readied to blow out a Poison Gas again. Coldy, still enraged from the Bide revenge attack, and Ralph hoping that Aberdeen had lost motivation after the turn of events, were both unprepared and didn't have time to mount a defense; the gas was blown directly into Sandshrew's face. She stumbled backwards initially, and Ralph found herself thankful that they were right next to a pokémon center, so that her pokémon could be swiftly healed from the poison once the battle was over. But another twist occurred. Coldy didn't seem bothered by the attack. She merely shook her head now, before her eyes grew fiery again and she blew one last Powder Snow right into the face of the surprised Grimer. That was enough to make the sludge pokémon give up.
"Oh, of course," Aberdeen laughed as he returned Grimer to her pokéball and comforted her a bit. "I forgot!"
"Forgot what?" Ralph said, confused as she stepped up to Coldy and put an appreciative hand on her head. The Alolan Sandshrew seemed proud of itself.
"That's a steel type! Steel pokémon don't get poisoned."
"Oh..." Ralph felt stupid. She should have realized that too. If she had, she would have dared to play a less careful game. "True. I didn't say I was a good student, back there," she shrugged.
"I clearly wasn't either!" Aberdeen smiled. "Thank you for the battle, Ralph."
"Thank you too, Deen!"
The boy seemed to flinch at that. "What did you say?"
"I mean, what did you just... Ah, nevermind. See you tomorrow, perhaps? Unless you sleep in for too long!"
"Sure, see you when I see you," Ralph said with a sigh.
They healed the Alolan pokémon up anew, and went their separate ways to finally rest after the long eventful second day of their journeys.
The same old detective from the Pokémon Center ran inside the hidden grotto with a light-brown enraged Lycanroc by his side and two Police officers behind him. The shorter of the two had grey hair and looked way older than his partner. The taller one wore big, round sunglasses and had a Growlithe by their side.
“Officer Dolan, Officer Tanabe, take the kid out of here now!” the Detective ordered. “And you, put that Pokéball down and walk over here with your hands over your head!”
“Now, now. There’s no need to be so damn harsh is there!?” the masked man said, as if he struggled to remain calm and raised his arms, with Hypno’s Pokéball in hand.
“Didn’t you hear me!? I said put that Pokéball down!”
“You know... I thought this was gonna be easy at first. But thenTHAT KID APPEARED!”
“Enough! Put that Pokéball down now!”
“Sorry, sorry. Am I getting carried away?" He said sarcastic "You see, I had a very difficult day... AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE GOING TO PRISON EITHER!”
“I told you to--!”
“YOU WANT ME TO PUT THIS POKÉBALL DOWN!? BECAUSE I SURE AS HELL WILL DO!” the masked man dropped his Pokéball with enough strength to take out the Pokémon inside. “HYPNO, TELEPORT!”
“Lycanroc, don’t let them escape! Use Bite!” The rock-type Pokémon pounced at Hypno, opening its snout and showing its sharp fangs, but both Hypno and its trainer disappeared before it could land its attack.
The detective returned to the other two police officers, who were trying to calm Bruno back at the Kingdra fountain. Bruno had an empty look in his eyes and his mind in blank. He wasn’t scared but he wasn’t feeling well. He could take a better look at that man from before now that he had him in front of him. He was old, indeed, probably younger than the gray-haired officer but still old, he had a poorly shaved beard and the eyes of someone who didn’t know what a good sleep was.
“He escaped.” he confirmed with a low, raspy voice.
“He fit the description, so he was definitely one of them.” he continued ignoring them and presumably not recognizing Bruno.
“Man, how many of them is that now? Six?”
“I don’t know, I lost count, but I think something around six… of the cases we know about.”
Officer Dolan tsked. “Another statement to add to the pile, then.” They turned their attention back to Bruno, who was now looking at the destroyed grotto, he wasn’t listening to anything of what they were talking until Officer Dolan talked to him. “Hey… do you think you’re up to tellin’ your side of the story?”
Bruno nodded, but he really wasn’t sure if he could give testimony now, so he stayed in silence for a few seconds before starting “I… I was on my way to Route 9. So I went this way to take a shortcut. Then I found this... hidden grotto, I walked in and found this guy battling and trying to catch that dragon.”
“Do you know what species it was? And did you happen to see, uh, a tattoo or something on it?”
“I, well… it was purple and black, I think that trainer said it was called ‘Noivern’? And yes, it had a tattoo… in its wing, but I couldn’t see what it was like, it was too dark.”
“Right, okay. Did the guy say anything before we got here? Anything could be a clue! Do your best to remember, okay?”
Bruno stayed quiet for a minute, trying to remember. Why was it that he knew what he was doing was wrong? “He…” he remained silent again. Will they believe him? “He said something about catching other trainers Pokémon… or something like that. He mentioned some ‘Boss’ as well who gave him those weird, black Pokéballs.”
“Oooh, that’s good!” Dolan got an elbow in the side from their note-taking partner. “Ow. Um, this is really good information. And it lines up with what everyone else is sayin’! Ow, Isaac, fine! Are there any other specifics that you can tell us?”
“Hmm… I don’t think it’s important, but he had a... PokéDex. And that mask that I think you saw.”
“A PokéDex?” Dolan said. Their bewilderment was clear. “That’s- huh. Right. Okay. Then the last thing is we need to scan your trainer license, is that alright?”
Bruno nodded, handing them his Trainer License. The detective started making some calls in the background while they scanned it.
“Right. Thank you, uh, Bruno.” Dolan seemed to struggle with what to say next, so Officer Tanabe stepped in.
“If you would rather not be alone right now, I understand,” he said quietly. “We can escort you anywhere you would like to go. I… would recommend the gym. It is peaceful and has an abundance of strong trainers.”
“I think the thing he needs the least is a battle with strong trainers, but I agree with taking him to Hoshi.” the detective said after finishing his last call.
Tanabe’s eyes narrowed and his tone turned steely. “I did not suggest a battle.”
Dolan coughed. “Right! Let’s get going, okay?”
“No, I’ll stay. I’ll have to start an investigation here as well, I just called another team.” he said “I would need you two to take the kid safely to the gym. And if possible, report everything to Hoshi.” he sighed “This part of the park will be off-limits for now too.”
“I will choose the best course of action.” Dolan visibly winced at Tanabe’s tone and began steering his partner and his charge in the direction of the gym.
“Oh-kay see you later we’re going, now.” Their cheery tone was clearly forced. Tanabe chose to lead the group. Dolan, a step behind, whispered urgently at him as he marched away. Bruno could hear snippets of the one-sided argument. The Growlithe plodded obediently at his side, as if making sure he wouldn’t get lost.
They were close to getting outside of the park already, and Bruno’s unease had not gotten any better but on the contrary since he found out that there were similar cases to his.
“Umm… can I ask you something?” he asked in a low voice.
“Ah-” Dolan fell into stride with him, letting Tanabe truly lead. “Sure. What’s up?”
“Were there… other Cape trainers among the people that found those guys?”
Tanabe shut down his partner’s open mouth by responding. “I apologize, but we are not meant to share that information.”
Dolan frowned, but made sure Bruno was watching before nodding their head slowly. Yes.
Bruno nodded back and answered to Tanabe “Oh, ok… I didn’t know that, sorry.”
Tanabe sighed. “Those involved have full liberty to discuss their experiences.”
Bruno nodded, but obviously Officer Tanabe didn’t see him. He was still worried, but he wouldn’t get any information about Casey or Deborah from them, apparently, so he had to call or text them later.
He kept silent during the rest of the walk until they finally reached the Gym. It was bigger than it appeared to be when he first saw it from Nugget Bridge, and it really did give the feeling of it being a gym only for strong trainers to challenge, but it also represented the calm that wasn’t present anymore in Cerulean.
“Uh, stay here a sec. We’ll fill Leader Hoshi in. Topaz? Stay with ‘im.” The Growlithe looked content to stay at Bruno’s heels.
Bruno sat on a bench in one of the gardens of the gym, in front of one of the artificial ponds, taking the rest he should’ve taken instead of going to the grotto. Topaz followed him and stayed by the boy’s side. He wasn’t that fond of Growlithe, Rockruff or similar Pokémon as he was to Meowth, Skitty or Purrloin, but Topaz’s company really did help cheering him up a bit during the time Dolan and Tanabe were talking to the Gym Leader.
Some minutes later, the two Officers walked outside the gym. Tanabe nodded to him as he dragged Dolan back out of the gym. Dolan waved cheerfully, and Topaz bounded to follow and they were gone. Bruno raised his hand as a ‘goodbye’ sign and stayed on the bench for a while before making his way to Route 9.
He was walking outside the gym, when he heard someone call him back there. It was a tall man with long hair, not shoulder-length hair like his, even longer. Bruno was still confused and with all his thoughts scrambled inside his head from what happened before, it took him more time than expected to realize that man was Gym Leader Hoshi.
Even in the current situation he was in, Hoshi appeared to remain calm, but someone had to stay that way, or not? He offered Bruno to come to one of the training rooms of the gym for a while and take a look at his Pokémon, but he also wanted to hear what was reported to him just now by Bruno himself, thing the boy accepted to do after a short period of doubt.
“What you did there was brave.” he said with a smile after Bruno finished explaining.
“It was illegal.”
Hoshi laughed. “Maybe, but brave nonetheless. Any other person would have just walked away and called the police. What you did with your Gastly was also really clever, that’s not something one would expect from someone just beginning their journey.”
“Am I going to get in trouble after attacking another trainer without challenging them first?” the boy asked nervous.
“In normal circumstances, you would. But this is not the case, so you’ll be fine.” Bruno exhaled, feeling a big weight disappear, but he still had more with him. Hoshi smiled and walked to a small door in the training room. Behind the door, there was a Pokémon healing machine chiming an acute ding, the Gym Leader took the only Pokéball there and handed it to the boy. “It’s fully recovered now.”
“Thank you, Leader Hoshi.”
“No need to thank me.” he answered with his hand in front of him. “It seems to like being with you, which is good. Do you have more Pokémon with you?"
"Two. A Hoothoot and a Fomantis"
"Ah, Fomantis!" He looked surprised "I heard they were quite rare around these parts."
"Really? I… think I was just lucky, then." He chuckled "They didn't battle this time, but if you want to see them too…"
Hoshi shook his head "No, no. It won't be necessary, I believe. I'll give you a small advice, though," he continued "You know it's a trainer's job to form strong bonds with your Pokémon, don't you?" The boy nodded "Good. When I was around your age, during my own journey, I had a really strong Pokémon, but our bond wasn't really strong at first. That's a big problem when you train Dragon-types. I started taking the Pokémon outside its Pokéball as we traveled, it helped me know it better and strengthen our Trainer-Pokémon relationship as well."
Bruno took his time to answer, he now realized he didn't know about Eterna and Artemis as much as he knew about Gospel, and he hadn't taken any of them outside their Pokéballs unless it was to check on them. After thinking about that, the kid nodded and confirmed with an "I'll keep that in mind."
He thanked Leader Hoshi for healing his Pokémon and left with nothing else to say. Hoshi accompanied him to the exit and before Bruno walked his way out, he asked for his PokéGear number. "I hope you don't mind. I've been asking for them to every trainer that's had some contact with those people. As much as I want you to avoid any kind trouble I'd like to keep your number for future use just in case." Bruno had no problem with it. It seemed reasonable and it seemed impossible for him to stay away from those masked people if he'll continue traveling. After registering their numbers, Bruno thanked Hoshi for everything a third time and walked outside the gym, making his way to Route 9.
Chapter 3: Route 9
Starting date May 22nd, Wednesday
Route 9 is a small road winding through an increasingly rocky landscape with some forest the further east you come. Only trainers and other daring travelers really use this path, as most transports between Lavender and Cerulean go via the bigger roads through Saffron City instead. That, however, is way too easy and boring for you, according to professor Palm.
As you start your journey east, it is likely Wednesday afternoon or thereabouts. You know that you should be able to reach the entrance to Rock Tunnel and the small outpost there today, but not before nightfall. It is likely that you will have to either hurry, or camp out and reach the tunnel entrance in the morning instead.
WHAT TO FIND HERE
- Old Hikers or young Picknickers, some who are licensed trainers and will love to battle - or lecture you about recycling and caring for the environment...
- Wild pokémon. Likely a lot of them, as this road isn't well traveled.
- Dangerous cliffy nature.
- At the end of the route (either late at night or Thursday morning): a very small pokémon center and a few houses - more information on them in the next chapter.
GO CAMPING: Evening May 22nd / OPTIONAL
- Somebody decided setting up a campfire and inviting all the Cape trainers they met was a good idea...
- Reward? Friends or enemies for life, or at least some marshmallows. Also a relatively safe place to sleep for the night.
- Alternative? Sneak around these socialheads or just don't find them at all - and either make it all the way to the small pokémon center or camp on your own.
POKÉMON FOR CAPTURE Hover for movesets. All are approximately Lv 6-8.
Pokémon below are more rare and only available after you have leveled up at least 2 pokémon to Lv 10 (or if you only have one - that one to Lv 14). All are approximately Lv 8-9.
Ralph actually did sleep in a bit next morning, on purpose. Slowly and groggily, she finally sat up in her bed and glanced over the room. All her stuff was finally dry and decently clean now. She had let her pokémon out at bedtime, in case they wanted to sleep next to her in the big bed, or elsewhere in the room, instead of in energy form inside of their pokéballs.
Softy had happily agreed and initially cuddled up as an extra pillow next to Ralph, but she let off too much spores and stuff for that to be a comfortable arrangement. Carefully, Ralph had moved the Venonat down to the feet end of the bed instead, which luckily was good enough for the bug. Sandsy had been happy enough to take a spot next to Softy without much ado, and Edgy had initially refused to approach the bed alltogether but when Ralph woke up it was the small caterpillar who was curled up beside her after all. Such as tsundere. Coldy didn't seem to want to sleep. At first she had done what looked like stretching exercises, and after that she had just kind of stood in a corner of the room until Ralph and the others fell asleep. When she woke up, however, Coldy was at least rolled up and peacefully asleep in her corner. She wasn't a robot after all, which relieved Ralph a bit.
Calmly, she woke them all up from their sleep, fed them, and returned them to their pokéballs - all but Edgy whom she decided she wanted to give a ride on her shoulder today. He pretended he didn't care, but he didn't climb down either.
Fully packed, she went down to the large pokémon center's cafeteria to have some breakfast for herself and to plan her next leg of the journey. As she munched on some oatmeal and juice, she noticed how odd the atmosphere in the lobby nearby seemed. Finishing quickly, she headed over there and found that nearly everyone was looking worried and talking in hushed tones.
"What's going on?" Ralph asked the nurse behind the counter.
"Something happened at the gym," the nurse replied solemnly. "Lots of dragons are gone. Some trainers say they've seen strange people around, and some of the gym pokémon have been found - but they were trashing about and hurting people and other pokémon alike. It's not like them at all! They're supposed to be well trained."
"The dragons just left? They wouldn't just leave Hoshi and the others... They were happy there," Ralph pondered.
"Indeed," the nurse said, shaking her head. "If you see anything unusual or find a dragon, please let us know here or let someone at the gym know!"
Ralph furrowed her brow as she left the center. She had planned on leaving Cerulean as early as she could after waking up, but now she felt hesitant. Could she just leave this place like this? When something dire seemed to be going on. Hoshi's words suddenly flashed by in her mind.
"The true reward lies in the journey itself. Perhaps there is glory in speed. But enjoying the ride and living in the moment is the most important thing of all. That is how we truly grow."
That's right. There was no point in hurrying. She turned around on the spot and started heading back towards the gym.
It's 5 AM in the morning. Ungodly early for most people, but Jordan was up, showered, and ready to start his day. This was slightly earlier than the time even he would normally wake up, but his excitement at being in a new city and his eagerness to continue his journey had him up earlier than usual. Neatly dressed in a heather-grey shirt and some light blue jeans, Jordan looked at the tangled heap of vines and sheets on his bed. All three of his Pokémon were still fast asleep. Not everyone shared his enthusiasm to start the day before sunrise, it seemed. He sighed, and plopped himself down in the chair opposite of the bed, tapping his fingers on the armrest impatiently.
He sat quietly for a few minutes, flipping through some of the other pamphlets he had gathered the night before. I definitely want to see the gym. Leader Hoshi is not accepting college students as challengers yet, but I hear the gym itself is a must-see for tourists... He looked up. Spirit snored gently and rolled over. Jordan looked at his watch. 5:04 AM. Alright... what else do we have here? Maybe some of the shops will open soon... definitely want to pick up some supplies while I'm here. He looked up. Hop kicked his feet up in the air, dreaming of running through a field. Jordan looked at his watch. 5:09 am.
This was going to be a very long morning.
He fidgeted in his seat, before springing up from the chair with a new plan. Maybe I'll take a quick walk before they wake up, chat with the locals, if any of them are... also... up. He thought to himself, glancing at the snoring pile of Pokémon on his bed. He wasn't too optimistic on the latter possibility - most people seemed to share his Pokémon's sentiments on mornings.
He grabbed his bag and strolled out into the hallway. Humming, Jordan stood waiting for the elevator. Suddenly, he felt something tugging on the hem of his jeans. He looked down.
Bleary-eyed behind his helmet, but dragging his bone club behind him, Spirit had followed Jordan out of the room.
"Oh! Hey buddy, sorry if I woke you. Are the others...?" he glanced down the hallway to see if Tangles and Hop were on the move too, but Spirit seemed to be alone.
"Well! I'm going for a walk, if you want to join me. But if you want to sleep a little longer, that's okay too. I will be back pretty soon."
"Bone." Spirit yawned, but turned to face the elevator as the door chimed open, his hand still grabbing onto a fistful of jeans.
Jordan laughed. "Okay, let's go!"
The streets were even quieter than the previous day, but Jordan noticed some activity here and there, mostly behind closed doors. Diners and cafes preparing for breakfast service already had their lights on, as employees scrambled to get ready to open their doors to early-risers like himself, and people getting ready for work.
The one place Jordan wanted to see that didn't really require it being open for business was the gym. It didn't take long to find the city's pride and glory; the elegant structure stood at the eastern edge of the city, but there were many signs along the way guiding them towards the gym. It would have been cool to see the interior as well, but the beautiful architecture and exterior décor was already a breathtaking sight.
"Spirit, we're gonna come back someday," he marveled. "and take on this gym. Like, for real, not just standing outside it. You, me, Tangles, Hop, and who knows how many more friends we will have met by then!"
"It'll be a long journey..." his thoughts trailed off, as he heard some commotion coming from the gym's courtyard.
Are they starting their training so early already? No wonder this gym and its trainers are regarded as some of the best.
"Come on, Spirit, let's go watch them train!"
Jordan put Spirit on his shoulder, and they bolted towards the courtyard, eager to learn something from the Dragon trainers. But as they got closer, something seemed a little off. Someone stood by one of the yard's ponds, dressed in plain, black clothes, but more strikingly, they wore an intricate mask resembling a Pokémon that Jordan had never seen before. They did have a Dragon Pokémon with them, but the Dragonair didn't appear to be familiar with its handler... or comfortable. This person did not look like a gym trainer.
Suddenly, a flash of red light flew towards the Dragonair, but with the last of its strength, it flicked it away with a sharp crack. Jordan noted that a tribal dragon tattoo branded its tail.
It didn't look like the Dragonair was being recalled, it looked like this person was trying to catch it. But why...
"Still got some fight in you? Hm. Glalie. Ice Fang." the mask covered their entire face, but from the voice, Jordan could tell this was a man.
A menacing Pokémon previously obscured by the man floated out from behind him. And suddenly...
"Glalie, the Face Pokémon. Glalie has the ability to freely control ice-"
The masked man looked up, searching for the source of the racket. Jordan was furiously pushing all the buttons on his Pokédex, trying to get it to shut up. Oh god, how did this happen?
"For example, it can instantly freeze its foe solid. After immobilizing its foe in ice, this Pokémon enjoys eating it in leisurely fashion."
"Yes, thank you, Pokédex-" Jordan hissed.
When he finally got it to stop, he looked up. The man was looking directly back at him. Jordan gulped.
Well, only thing left to do now... He stepped out and cleared his throat.
"H- hey! What do you think you're doing with that Dragonair?"
She didn't need to go far before she ran into a couple of trainers in a sidestreet who seemed to have cornered a small pokémon. A Gible. And on its head was a mark, clearly indicating that the pokémon belonged to the Dragon Gym.
"Hey!" Ralph called out and ran up to them, battle ready with a snarling Weedle on her shoulder. "What do you think you're doing?"
"We found it!" one of the trainers said. "We heard in the pokémon center that the gym was looking for their escaped dragons, and here is one!"
"Oh," Ralph said, actually believing them. She watched as the two other trainers gingerly coerced the small dragon into calming down and follow them. "Will you take it back to the gym now?"
"Yeah, that's the plan," they said. "I think half the city is searching for dragons right now! If you see any others, please follow our example! I know leader Hoshi will be thankful!"
"Oh wow, do you think he'll give us a reward?" their buddy said.
"Stupid. We're doing this out of the good in our hearts!" the first replied, before the two of them and Gible disappeared down the road to the gym side of town.
Ralph lingered. That tiny dragon had ran pretty far. Big ones likely wouldn't hide in the city as easily. Maybe they had gone off to the countryside? She wondered if somebody else had thought that too, as she changed her direction and went southwards instead.
The cities of Kanto - bar Saffron and Pallet perhaps - were no metropolii. She was able to walk to the southern edge of the city in a reasonable amount of time, and on the way she encountered several other trainers with small gym dragons tagging along. Good thing many were found at least.
Farmlands stretched out near the southernmost area of Cerulean. But here and there there were some patches of forest still, likely left alone by the farmers so that pokémon would have somewhere to live and rest. Feeling adventurous, Ralph and Edgy approached these patches of greenery in between the fields. Nothing in the first two. Well, perhaps this was unnecessary after all. Perhaps the bigger pokémon were still in the gym; surely they were more difficult to scare off anyways. And... why would she have wanted to go on a hunt for big dragons anyways? She stopped outside the third forest area to shake her head for a bit, letting Edgy down onto the ground where he gave her a quizzical look. Sometimes she acted without thinking. She thought she had outgrown that behavior, especially since she often found herself worrying about other people who did that. Apparently not.
Suddenly, Edgy started squeaking loudly. Ralph blinked at him for a moment before she caught his drift and spun around.
Behind them stood a huge dragon. Not just big, not just kind of strong or evolved. But a big, really strong, probably very trained Dragonite. It was kind of hiding behind the closest trees, but that didn't stop Ralph from utterly panicking initially. She backed off and pulled Edgy up from the ground by the tail end, which nearly earned her an angry sting from it. Then, her brain finally caught up.
"A gym dragon! You're from the gym, you're one of Hoshi's and the others' pokémon, right?" she asked the dragon.
There was no sign of recognition in its eyes. Its eyes, who looked strangely strained and staring. Piercing Ralph intensively. Not a good sign.
"Come on. Whatever scared you, it's gone now. Let's go back to the gym, nice and calmly," Ralph tried, but didn't risk taking a step closer. There were only a few meters in between them as it were, and the Dragonite could easily close that gap with a single leap if it wanted to.
And apparently, it suddenly did.
A roar came out of its throat as it jumped, and landed with a ground-shaking impact just in front of the girl, who stumbled backwards in renewed panic.
"Oh god, oh no," she mumbled, dropping Edgy and fumbling after her pokéballs as she kept moving back when Dragonite straightened up again. "Come out, everyone!"
That was the safest solution she could think of doing right then. Just running would do her no good against a big dragon who could also likely fly - and Edgy couldn't take this pokémon on on his own, no way. Besides, this probably wouldn't be a fair fight even if she used four pokémon against one. One very strong, very angry dragon.
Sandsy and Coldy appeared, and if they were intimidated by the opponent, they didn't show it. Softy came out as well, but she flinched and ran to hide behind Edgy as fast as she could. It didn't do her much good, of course, as Edgy was much smaller than her. Nevertheless, he did his best to look imposing.
For a few breathless seconds, nobody moved. Then, the enraged dragon sprung into action once more. One of its paws glowed and crackled and it lunged for Coldy. The attack didn't impact her though - it struck Sandsy, who had jumped in the way. How noble, Ralph thought for a microsecond, but when he flew back and landed next to her from the impact, she wished that both Sandshrew had just jumped out of the way instead. It had seemed to be an electric attack though, so probably he had only felt the physical impact, not the elemental component.
Dragonite wasn't done. Its other paw started flaming up - a fire move! That was even worse against Coldy! What could they do now? Think, think!
The Dragon lunged anew.
"String Shot!" Ralph screamed quickly.
Edgy was thankfully riled up enough to not lag with the order this time. He fired his famous string and hit the face of the dragon, just in time for it to twitch and miss Coldy with the Fire Punch. Instead, it hit the ground next to her. She still didn't seem particularly phased. Ralph didn't know whether to be impressed or annoyed with that. Did Coldy like to have guys come to her rescue again and again?
Dragons... Were weak against Ice!
"Coldy! Use Powder Snow! Let's teach this dragon how to chill."
Finally, the Alolan Sandshrew moved to attack (apparently it enjoyed following orders strictly). The Dragonite had just managed to tear the sticky String Shot away from its face, when the Powder Snow hit it instead. Unfortunately, that only seemed to enrage it further, and it trashed around itself from the icy pain its face, forcing Coldy to back off.
Sandsy growled by Ralph's side. He was fit for fight, still.
"Alright," Ralph said. "I can't panic. I have to use tactics. Raw power won't get us anywhere here. Softy... Use Disable!"
Softy stopped shivering for a second and steeled herself. Her eyes glowed and she used a mysterious power that hit Dragonite mentally. It stopped trashing about for a second, to shake its head, and then roar loudly.
"Let's hope that worked the way we want... Coldy, come over here!"
Coldy obeyed, and took a spot right next to Sandsy, who seemed happy about that, despite their current situation.
Dragonite's roar turned into a mysterious wind, forming a small twister in between the combatants. Oh no, the Twister move from their training before! But this was much stronger. Sandsy and Coldy had to hold on hard to the ground and to Ralph to not get pulled into the crackling whirlwind, which grew by the second - soon it was even taller than Ralph. At least it seemed stuck in place; perhaps Dragonite was too enraged to properly control it. But Edgy and Softy...
"Edgy?" Ralph called out over the crackling noise as they kept trying to back off.
A squealing noise reached her, and she gasped as she looked up again. He had been sucked into the vortex! Now his small body was turning around and around in there, getting worse hit by the dragon energy for every turn.
If that wasn't bad enough, Dragonite was also advancing on them now, moving around its twister creation to flank them. Ralph begun to feel overwhelmed. This was a too dire situation... She placed the Sandshrews in between herself and the oncoming dragon, and picked up Edgy's pokéball to return him. But somebody else moved faster.
Softy suddenly leaped out above the Sandshrews and let loose her Supersonic attack. It stopped Dragonite in its tracks and made it roar in pain from the harsh noise. Softy didn't stop nor waste time, however. She changed direction and jumped off the other way. It looked almost as if she used her Tackle move to propel her with extra power from on top of a rock, straight into the Twister behind them! Ralph hardly believed her eyes as she watched how Softy snatched the barely conscious Weedle out of there and landed relatively safely with him on the other side. With Edgy gone, the Twister finally dissipated.
Sandsy suddenly pushed Ralph to the side - he had barely saved her from getting crushed by another Dragonite punch while she was watching the bugs. This time, the paw wasn't flaming though, which was lucky as it somewhat hit Coldy. Softy's Disable from earlier had done the trick!
"Good work guys," Ralph panted as she quickly got back up on her feet. "Now, let's make him listen for real. Coldy, Ice Ball! Sandsy, Rollout!"
The two Sandshrew nodded before they leaped up into the air and rolled up into shapes powered by their respective elements: Ice and Rock. Dragonite angrily opened its mouth, which crackled - it was about to launch a ranged energy move for sure! But without its trainer there to control it, and in its current state, it wasn't good enough at gauging how fast it needed to be versus how much energy it should charge. Luckily for Ralph.
Coldy and Sandsy hit the dragon hard right in the belly at almost the exact same time. The two elements were what Dragonite was weak to, and it was thrown backwards and slid against the ground for a while before its body came to a stop at the edge of the trees.
The Sandshrew kept rolling for another attack round, but Ralph ordered them to disengage. Instead, she walked over to Edgy and Softy, who were sitting on the ground at a safe distance. Edgy was still awake, although badly damaged. Carefully, Ralph lifted him up; Softy only reluctantly let him go.
"Hey brave man," she said. "Can you help me with your String Shot once more today? Then I'll let you rest a lot!"
He was too tired to be grumpy, and had long since decided to just blindly trust this human, so he did as she asked and bound the legs and arms of the Dragonite before it could get back up. It mostly seemed to lie in confusion on the ground right now, thankfully. Ralph still picked up her PokéGear and searched for the number to the gym to call, as soon as she could. A nice trainer picked up and was delighted to hear that she had found Hoshi's Dragonite. They would come pick it up as soon as they could, if Ralph could try to keep it subdued until then. She replied that she would do her best.
Sandsy and Coldy stood guard next to the groaning dragon on the ground, while Softy softly cooed to try to get Ralph to crouch down and show her the Weedle again. Ralph obliged, even though Edgy was half asleep. It seemed to make Softy calmer to see that he was alright, at least. He opened an eye and looked at the Venonat for a few seconds, before he closed it again with one last grunting sound.
Then, he started glowing. Ralph gasped and nearly fell over, where she crouched. She put one knee into the ground to steady herself, and wasn't sure if she should put the pokémon down onto the ground or not. Again, her slow brain caught up with her soon enough though. He was evolving. It felt strange in her hands. She could feel the worm body getting warm. Then suddenly, it changed texture. And density. And shape. For a moment, it felt as if she was holding nothing at all, just a bright orb of energy levitating in front of her. But then, the shape, density and texture returned, and more strongly than before. Harder, heavier, bigger!
The glow dissipated, and a different pokémon looked up at Ralph from her arms.
"Kakuna," he said simply.
"Hello, Edgy," she said with the widest of grins, as Softy bounced around them, overjoyed. "That was really cool."
Destiny? 🍀🍀🍀 Arianne Chandler - Cerulean City - Day 3 - May 22nd
Most trainers, including Ralph, had already left the Pokémon Center by the time Arianne was finishing her breakfast. In fact, she didn’t recognize any familiar face among those who were still there. She was, however, told that there were rogue Dragon Pokémon around the city.
Excuse me, what?
The girl tried to gather some information from the other trainers...
Apparently, many of the Pokémon belonging to the local gym had escaped and were now roaming the city, harming people or destroying things. They seemed confused, enraged, unable to control themselves. Some trainers successfully calmed them down, but others had their Pokémon hurt or worse, were hit themselves. Yet, the Police - all the cops were on duty, helping out the citizens and seizing the Dragon types - still needed additional help. These Pokémon had enough time to spread out over a very large area, after all. Plus, they were well trained. Strong.
All of this was a huge monkey wrench into Arianne’s plans for the day. She wanted to visit the gym, as Ralph suggested the day before, but also wanted to buy additional items and supplies before finally leaving Cerulean and heading towards Route 9. Staying in her lovely room in the Pokémon Center was an idea that enticed Arianne for a moment, but she scrapped it in the end. If anything, it was better to leave the city as soon as possible…
No, Arianne was about to become a trainer. She had to go through a lot to even get there, and was much closer to her objective than many, many other people in Cerulean. She needed to get out in the sun and lend a hand, if necessary, and no enraged juggernaut could have stopped her. Everything near the Pokémon Center looked fine, somehow. That is, just like the day before, except with one or two more cops and Gym trainers patrolling the area together. Arianne let out Squirtle, just in case, and headed towards the gym. It was on the edge of the city, and therefore quite far from the Center, but it made up for it by being very large, with a pretty garden and a forested area too!
Cerulean City was very big and cozy itself, with plenty of space for each building and large roads. Only further south, in the oldest part of the city, houses were more crammed together.
It was nearly halfway to the Gym that Arianne’s day took a wrong turn. Someone held onto the girl and made her fall, before running away and literally kicking Squirtle out of the way. The cold pavement met Arianne’s hands as a worried look met her eyes. “Help me get him!” an equally worried voice said, as a middle aged man stopped to lift her up. He was definitely too concerned with the other person to even ask the girl if she was alright. And so began the chase.
The two had tracked down what looked like a young trainer wearing nothing but dark clothes and a dark mask. He or she was heading towards the city center, turning left and right through the - at the moment - regularly laid out roads of Cerulean City. Unfortunately the man… more precisely, the cop who was in charge of patrolling the area, was running out of breath. He eventually had to slow down his pace, leaving Arianne in charge but having his grumpy Growlithe follow her. The pup Pokémon was trained to find its way back to its trainer anyways.
Now it all seemed so… real. Catching that person was a life or death matter for both the cop and her, whose Squirtle was hurt in such a barbaric way.
Arianne believed in Destiny. In her mind, her life was already shaped by events that were out of her control, like her date and place of birth, her parents’ personalities, her wealth. Not all was set in stone though: everyone was free to put Destiny to test, and ask for a different future. And this was what Arianne did by joining Cape College and completing all the courses in due time, despite all the opposition. She was writing her future alongside Destiny, suggesting little changes and receiving either approval or harsh criticism: that’s called willpower, and it’s probably the most important thing in one’s life.
This moment was one in which Destiny was testing Arianne. Are you sure you’re up for this?
Something cold, pointy and slightly wet made contact with Arianne as she turned one last corner. For the last minutes, more and more noises started to blend together in her ears: a metallic clanging, her own strained breath, people talking and running away, footsteps, Growlithe barking, painful Pokémon cries. Now it was all an indecipherable mess.
The girl fell yet again, but not on the ground. She fell over whatever she’d touched seconds before, noticing it was some kind of purple, segmented… creature. She was grabbed by two claws and lifted airborne by… that’s what it was! A Drapion!
Now she had a better view of what was happening, at least. She was quite close to the City center: tall buildings, mostly made out of exposed red bricks, rose on the two sides of the small alleyway she’d just entered. It was quite narrow for Cerulean standards, and was actually a dead end. Trash cans and bags were lined up on one side, while on the other there were some small side entrances… maybe for things like shops and hotels.
Drapion fully turned around, taking a look at what he’d fished up with its tail, before focusing its attention on what was in front of him in the first place. Its trainer, none other than the masked… girl, apparently, was leaning on one wall, leaving space for Drapion to attack… an enraged Dragon Pokémon!
That Dragon was very big and very menacing, but looked to be already very weakened. Perhaps poisoned, as well. It surely had to be the result of a good team work between the girl and other masked people. It looked unlike any other Dragon Pokémon Arianne had ever seen, and definitely wasn’t from Kanto: the grey and yellow colors, the scales covering its body, the red details… she really had no clue what its name was. It stood beside a couple of torn trash bags and pieces of bricks.
The masked girl was very quiet, and visibly tired from all the running. Actually, she seemed annoyed, as she pulled out some kind of weird Pokéball. A black one, of course. It looked a little like a Chic Ball - the one that “raises friendship”, they say. Oh the irony...
Calm down. What can I do now…?
There was a narrow, dead end in Cerulean. At the end, a tired Kommo-o from the gym. In the middle, a masked girl with a wannabe Chic Ball. At the beginning, an arrogant Drapion lifting an entire teenager in its tail - plus a small Growlithe hiding from the Poison type’s sight.
Nothing. Nothing. I’m stuck. I’m the spectator. I’m nothing.
Another striking sound echoed through the alleyway, visibly hurting any nearby Pokémon. The Dragon had attempted one last attack. The Poison type answered with a Poison Jab, probably the finishing blow. It was time to throw the Dark Pokéball… but it was also time for Growlithe to do something. It was so eager to save the day, and knew it was all up to him.
It climbed onto Drapion with two quick jumps and used Fire Fang on its tail, freeing Arianne. The girl landed right behind the Dark type and quickly pulled out the first Pokéball she could find. With fire in her eyes, came out… Pineco. You again… let’s do this. The masked girl finally took aim with her Pokéball and let herself be heard for the first time. “Look what I’m gonna do!” she smirked, in between heavy breaths. Drapion lunged once again at Arianne with its tail, as she was holding Pineco.
The Bug type was quick to react and used Protect, blocking the attack and allowing her trainer to keep standing. Growlithe, in the meantime, attempted an Ember attack on the dark Pokéball itself, following Arianne’s command. Yes, that meant burning the masked girl’s hand to a crisp too, but in all honesty she deserved that and more.
The flames stopped halfway, however. Drapion took the attack with relative ease, using one of its other claws, then knocked the Fire type away. Basically… not only was it strong, it was also great at multitasking!
Now it was Pineco’s turn to attempt... something. By using Tackle, she jumped closer to Kommo-o, over Drapion’s body. The Poison type grabbed her anyways - after all, it was instructed not to let anyone or anything get past it - and this is when the Bug type started to glow. Both she and Arianne were desperate at this point - and it was probably with the force of despair that Pineco was able to land a good hit on her opponent, before fainting.
After fighting valiantly against Kommo-o and Growlithe, Drapion had flinched. It could still fight, but in its eyes one could see a feeling of defeat. It wasn’t all in vain! Or was it?
Behind the Poison type, there was nothing else. Nothing but the masked girl and a Pokéball on the ground. A Pokémon belonging to someone else was now inside it. “I’m done here. Don’t ever look for me.” the trainer told Arianne sternly, as she let out a Honchkrow (the teen was sure of its name this time!). “Haze and fly...” she muttered, returning Drapion to its Pokéball before disappearing.
Once the smoke dissolved, Arianne and Growlithe peeked out of the alleyway into the main route, only to see a couple of worried passersby and an unidentifiable Flying Pokémon in the sky… with someone riding it, of course. Following the pup Pokémon’s directions, the trainer slowly and clumsily made her way to where she fell on the ground the first time.
“No chance in hell you’ll beat my Exeggcute, you know Bob resist Uri’s Psychic-type attacks right?” Keith tried to dissuade his friend from being so sure about the result.
“Yeah, I know. Still… A strategy usually triumphs the existing odds you know.”
“Usually… Bob, use Barrage!” The heads started to launch itself one after another, aiming once more to overpower its opponent with brute strength.
“Not this time Keith. Uri, Teleport them to each other!” Uri slightly moved, letting the first Exeggcute head almost pass him before he teleported alongside it, blocking the trajectory of the second one. The act destroyed Exeggcute heads’ attempt to disorient the Psi Pokemon and instead just making them confused with what just happened.
“Now, Confusion!” Uri teleported to the middle of the disoriented heads, attacking them with psychic energy that sent the heads back.
“Grr… This time, Bullet Seed!” The six heads moved into a position where they encircled Uri and started shooting green bullets at the Psi Pokemon.
Richard smiled at the effort. “Not this time either, Teleport!” Uri teleported himself out of the encirclement which led to the bullets colliding and explode. “Now, Confusion again!” Uri struck down the Egg Pokemon with a downward moving psychic force.
“You’re getting cocky eh… Let’s see if you could survive this. Barrage!” Bob launched his heads once more against Uri.
“You’re going to use the same tactics twice? It’s not like you to do that Keith. Teleport!” Richard seemed confused at why Keith decided to use the same tactic twice, but when he realized something was amiss, everything was too late.
“Hypnosis!” Just as Uri teleported the first head to disconcert Bob once more, the other heads stopped and instead shot beams in different directions, one managed to hit Uri which caused him to fall straight into a deep slumber.
“Shoot… I wasn’t expecting that. Fair play to you Keith,” Richard half-heartedly accepted Keith’s ingenuity on stopping Uri. The tables were turned and the fact he didn’t have any Pokemon available to replace Uri on the Battlefield even worsen the situation.
“Sorry pal, I’ll buy you a Lemonade after this. Barrage then Bullet Seed!” The Egg Pokemon launched his heads towards the prone Pokemon, using his heads to inflict damage before he finished everything up with green projectiles which ended up exploding and causing dust clouds to appear. The sight caused Richard to be worried at his Pokemon.
“...bra…” The silhouette of Abra slowly became more visible as the dust started to go away. It appeared that Abra is already damaged quite a lot, but it still looked like he still able to put up a fight.
“Not bad, even after those direct hit straight hitting Uri, he still be able to stand. But can he withstand another hit? Barrage!” Bob launched his heads once more, this time more determined than ever to put down the Psi Pokemon.
“Just go and keep trying Keith, Uri won’t be defeated that easily. Teleport!”
The Egg Pokemon launched themself methodically once more in order to prepare themselves against the Psi Pokemon’s Teleporting antics. This time, however, Uri teleported to the back of his original position which surprised Keith and his Pokemon who had thought Uri would teleport near them to wreak havoc.
“You won’t get away that easily, Pal. Bullet Seed again!”
The Exeggcute was preparing to shoot the Psi Pokemon with a hail of green energy bullets before realizing their mouth were tight shut.
“Confusion!” Uri’s Confusion was powerful enough to seal their mouths for the duration needed, causing the energy gathered to explode on their own mouth instead. The damage that had been done to them to finally faint.
“Gah… Another Pokemon is done for… But, I always prepare an ace in my sleeve.” Keith grabbed another Pokeball from his belt. Looking smug as he looked confident with his pick of Pokemon.
“Whoa, slow down! I only have two Pokemon. You don’t want to win only because of numbers advantage are you?”
Keith thought twice about his choice, winning by the benefit of numbers there wasn’t exactly a noble thing and that in fact wasn’t Keith’s playstyle at all, but they didn’t exactly decide how many Pokemon that could be used by both trainers. He gazed once more at his bewildered friend.
“Well I don’t, but… You’ll forgive me in the end, right?” Keith grinned widely at his best friend while he tossed his Pokeball up and down. He called his final Pokemon to the field before his friend had any chance to retort. “Go, Kallavan!”
“You’ll pay for your stupid transgression against me, you cheater!” Richard tried to act angrily against his friend, but he eventually snorted at his friend’s remark.
Still… A Deino, huh? This could go completely wrong if I don’t choose my move properly… After all, I don’t think Uri could handle himself much longer.
Richard looked back at his partner, all of the fatigue and damage it accumulated in the battle started to show in his current condition.
“You think too much, Richard. Kallavan, Dragon Breath!”
A wave of blue flames was shot by the Irate Pokemon, causing a huge dust cloud upon its impact against the battlefield. Uri who managed to teleport above him then prepared to do a counter-attack at his trainer’s order.
“Uri, Confusion!” Uri launched a psychic force from above, hoping it was enough to stop Kallavan’s rage temporarily. However, Kallavan didn’t even flinch from the Psi Pokemon’s attempt and promptly retaliated with another wave of the blue flames which would hit Uri if he hadn’t move beforehand.
“He’s Dark-type, Richie. You know what that means.” Keith tried to mess around with his friend’s head again by calling him by a nickname he hated.
“Yeah, yeah, Psychic-type move wouldn’t work against Kallavan. And for the last time Keith, don’t you dare call me Richie, Cheesehead!” Richard frowned as he heard the taunt spouted from Keith’s mouth, he curled his fingers into his palm clad in black leather gloves.
“Confusion!” Uri shot another telekinetic force, but it didn’t have any effect on the dragon.
“Cheese-what!? You’re crossing the line mister… Let me show you the power of Kallavan! Bite!”
“You can show it all you want, the only thing it’ll do is hasten your defeat! Charge forward, Uri!”
Both Kallavan and Uri dashed at their opponent as fast as they could.
“Gah... Continue the assault Kallavan!” Keith hesitated for a moment, he was suspicious at Uri’s advance instead of using Teleport. But he decided to follow his plan in the end.
“You’re not the only one with an ace in your sleeve, Keith. Ice Beam!”
“Ice what!?” Keith was surprised at Richard’s order for Uri.
Just as Kallavan opened his jaw in preparation to sink his gnarly sharp fangs against the Psi Pokemon, it got shot by a light-blue bolt that came out from the ball Uri conjured. The Irate Pokemon was now trapped in a solid ice crystal, seemingly unable to move even a single muscle.
“I won Keith, enjoy your humiliating defeat.” Richard flash a very wide smile, mocking Keith for his inability to gain a victory even with a numbers advantage. The celebration was cut short, however, when Richard heard what appears to be a cracking noise that came from the direction of Kallavan.
“Sorry to say, but the one who’s going to taste defeat... Are you!” Kallavan thawed out from the ice while roaring. The Irate Pokemon was not going to go down as easy as Richard hoped.
It wasn’t the last of things Richard had to be scared of as Uri started struggling to even continue floating above the ground. “Tch…” Richard grasped Uri’s Pokeball tightly.
“I guess the time has come, let’s finish this. Dragon Breath!”
“Argh... Ice Beam!”
Both attacks collided with each other creating a huge blast, it caused a curtain of dust to be momentarily formed between both of the trainers. However, much to Richard’s shock the veil of smoke was pierced by another wave of blue flame which hit Uri, finally bringing the contest between friends to a close.
“1-0, ooo yeah!” Keith threw his right hand to the air with all of his power, he jumped around while shaking his clenched fist and ended his celebration with an air guitar.
“Congratulations, cheater.” Richard sarcastically uttered the words, but his face showed a sincere smile at his friend’s victory.
“I lie, I cheat, I steal.” Keith made an L using his fingers while laughing, which was met by a playful punch and laugh from his best friend.
They both then took a rest at a nearby bench while drinking the Fresh Waters they bought before reaching the gym.
“But really though, Ice Beam? Really? Uri could use Ice Beam!? More shots of those and Kallavan is a goner” Keith was still shocked that his embarrassing choice almost amounted to nothing because of a move he didn’t expect an Abra would be able to muster.
“Hey, even I was surprised that Uri could use Ice Beam the first day I saw it,” Richard argued back against Keith. “Let’s discuss more pressing matters, okay? I don’t think we could reach the entrance of Rock Tunnel before dusk.” Richard started to steer away the conversation from the battle to their plan to travel in an effort to save time.
“Hey, I already anticipated that, okay? Besides by the time you were discharged from the hospital, there wasn’t enough time to reach there anyway.” Keith looked at his wristwatch.
“Well, since this battle is finished, shall we go now? Even if we don’t manage to reach the entrance of the Rock Tunnel today, we should be able to find a suitable place to camp before the sundown.”
“Yeah I agree, we have to stop by the Pokemon Center to rent camping equipment for the night first, though.”
“Ah well, Shall we go then… Richie?” Keith bolted out from the gym, running as fast as he could to the Pokemon Center while trying hard to keep his laughter so he wouldn’t get any weird eyes from the people nearby.
Richard sighed and scratched his head, he has chosen to traverse the city slowly rather than running away and wasting his energy to chase Keith.
“Boy, this is going to be a long one…”
Continued in part 3-1
Vera Hill Chapter 3 - Rocky Road
Route 9, May 22nd
After leaving the Gym, Vera headed east out of the city. Cerulean was apparently in a valley of some kind, because this road was also mountainous and sloped upwards. No cliffs to scale, though, so at least it had that going for it.
Vera was carrying Sapphire again, the little cat purring happily as Vera scratched behind her ears. Vera smiled as she looked at her, glad that she wasn't too hurt after this morning's... incident...
She held Sapphire out, looking at her with eyes that burned with determination. Sapphire tilted her head in mild annoyance and curiosity. "We're not going to get blindsided like that again, are we? From now on, it's constant vigilance, and picking our battles wisely, and-"
"Row!" She was interrupted by a shrill screech, making her stumble back and drop Sapphire. The Meowth yelped in indignant surprise, but landed on all fours. The source of the screech turned out to be a tiny bird, one with a sharp, hooked beak and a nasty look in its eye.
Sapphy gave Vera a look that seemed to say 'What were you just saying about vigilance?' Vera couldn't decide whether to scowl or pout, so just ended up frowning. "Don't give me that... We just found a perfect chance to try out your ice breath." She grinned darkly, rubbing her hands together in anticipation. Sapphy chuckled eagerly, turning back to Spearow.
Spearow glared at Sapphy (or Leered, according to the Pokedex), its eyes glowing red. A faint red outline appeared around Sapphire, but she stood up on her hind legs, exhaling a blast of freezing fog that washed over Spearow. The little bird hopped into the air in surprise as frost coated its feathers.
"Haha, yes!" Vera pointed at Spearow dramatically, a wicked gleam in her eye. "Bite it!" Sapphy pounced on the bird, sinking her teeth into the ruff of feathers around its neck. Spearow squawked, frantically flapping its wings and squirming free of her grip. Sapphire let it go, her eyes never leaving it as it jerkily flew away.
"Aw, it got away!" Vera clasped her hands close to her head in mock distress. Sapphire licked her paw and started grooming her ears. Vera gave her a moment to finish before picking her up again. "This route will be child's play! Let's head off the beaten path and see what we find..."
Leaving the path took Vera into the foothills. It was still early afternoon, so the sun was shining brightly and making the rocks warm. When given the chance, Vera went around the rocks and bushes, preferring to avoid them rather than clamber over them.
She was investigating just such a rock when she noticed a gap between two stones. It appeared to be a small nest of some sort, where a Pokemon might be able to hide. Looking around the area, she found a long, forked stick, taking it back to the rocks. She crouched down beside the hole and started poking around inside it. "I wonder what kind of adorable, furry creature is hiding in here."
There was a sharp hiss that made Vera freeze, and a low rattle that made her shiver. Something lashed out from the hole, breaking the stick she was holding and knocking her onto her butt. A scaly purple head poked out of the hole, golden eyes standing out vividly. The snake darted from cover, coiling in on itself until it sat like a spring, the yellow tail shaking and rattling. Vera screamed in terror, having accidentally awakened some sort of demon from her worst nightmares, which now stared at her with unblinking eyes.
Sapphire rushed to her pet human's defense, hissing and spitting at the snake. It turned toward her, tongue flicking out rapidly. That was too much for Vera, who scooted backwards until she could get her feet under her and run. She didn't get very far, slipping on some loose gravel and falling down, tumbling through some bushes. Thankfully they weren't thorn bushes, but the branches still scratched her face and left her clothes dusty.
Crashing through the bush disturbed a pair of Pokemon that had been chewing on the leaves. They leaped from the bush, startling Vera as she tried to process what they were. "Wha- oh, they're small... little rabbits? Fur... soft fur..."
The darker one lowered its head, pointing an impressive horn at Vera, while the lighter one bristled, showing its fur was actually sharp quills. Vera rolled to her feet to get away from them. "Spikes! Not soft, pointy, full of toxins and pain!"
Sapphire meowed, still facing off against an Ekans that was mad that Vera woke it up, while the two Nidorans were angry at her for disturbing their meal. With immense trepidation, she took a couple steps toward Sapphire, putting herself in the middle of three angry Poison Pokemon. She sent out Leo and Bonnie to face the Nidorans. Surrounded by her team, she felt... not confident, but she needed to be strong to lead them. "Okay..." she let out a little whine before steeling her resolve. "Let's do this."
"Sapphire, use Icy Wind! Bonnie, Bone Club on the male! Leo, Confusion on the other!" She turned her head only, to keep her balance as she had to rapidly switch perspective from one fight to another.
Sapphire breathed her frigid fog at Ekans, whose tail rattled in agitation as the cold gripped it. It lunged at her, grabbing her leg in its mouth and Wrapping around her body. She screeched as it tightened, squeezing her.
Leo's eyes glowed blue, and a similar glow surrounded the female Nidoran. She was lifted off her feet even as her male counterpart rushed forward, tossed back by Leo's psychic power. She shook it off, charging at Leo and leaping, twisting in midair and hitting him with both back feet, one in the mouth and one in the eye.
The male Nidoran charged Bonnie, lowering his head and pointing his horn at her. She put her club in the way, taking the brunt of the blow on her weapon. She pushed him back, smacking him in the jaw with the bone.
Distracted by Sapphire's predicament, Vera issued her commands. "Try to break free! Bite it! Bonnie, Leo, same tricks, but switch targets!"
Sapphire bit down as hard as she could, causing Ekans to hiss sharply. It opened its mouth and a pair of fangs flipped out, making Vera scream and look away. Ekans bit Sapphire with Poison Sting, but luckily the poison didn't take hold of her. Ekans tightened again, and Sapphire let out a pained growl.
Leo turned to the male Nidoran, which was staggered from taking a club to the face. His eyes glowed as he targeted Nidoran with his power, pulling it toward himself rather than blasting it back. Nidoran was dragged across the ground, getting whiplash from being jerked so quickly in the opposite direction. The female rushed to his side, Growling a warning at Bonnie and Leo to stay away from her man. Bonnie came at her from the side, bringing her club down on Nidoran's head and knocking her senseless.
With both Nidorans dealt with, Vera turned her attention to Ekans, recalling Sapphire to her ball as Leo and Bonnie took her place. Bonnie got up close and personal, while Leo hung back a step. "Bonnie, use your club! Leo, blast it with your mind bullets!"
Ekans was faster, and lunged at Bonnie, biting down on her club and trying to Wrap around her. Before it could start constricting, Leo grabbed it in his telekinesis and blasted it away from Bonnie. Knowing that it was outmatched, it slithered away to the safety of a different rock.
Leo and Bonnie cheered, looking at Vera happily. She didn't waste a second, running full speed back the way they'd came. "I wanna go back to the pa-ha-hath!" She cried, Bonnie and Leo racing to catch up with her.
It had been a long past few days for Gwen. Even though she finally started her lifelong dream of going on a journey to collect gym badges and fight and catch all kinds of new Pokemon, she couldn't shake off how tired she was feeling. A lot had happened and it was a bit much to take in; She received her first Pokemon, a Vulpix she nicknamed "Pix"( Inspired by the name her sister gave her Krookodile), somehow had came across an Axew which she named "Tusk", and most recently adopted a Pikachu which she called "Custard", which she chose because of the affection Alolan Raichu have for pancakes and sweet things in general.
Even with how tired she was feeling, Gwen decided to stroll through Cerulean just to have something to do, since being cramped up at Cape College for so long gave her a desire to see the world, and more mundanely she also thought it might be a good idea to buy some healing items before heading out to Route 9. This was not a Hardline destination for her though, so the girl was aimlessly lagging through the streets of Cerulean City and eventually found herself in a very old part of the city. Just like the buildings here, the residents of this particular area were just as old, and usually preferred to stay inside making it feel vacant.
As Gwen was mindlessly strolling with her mind just as lost as her body, she found herself tripping over something.
"For Arceus' sake who the f-" She interrupted herself when she turned around to see what exactly it was she tripped over. Whatever it was it had blue scales and covered with areas of black feathers and in place of where one might expect heads to be what it instead had resembled Scizor claws.
"Oh my Arceus..." Gwen whispered to herself "Is that...a Hydreigon? But what is it doing here...?"
The Hydreigon let out a whimper and Gwen realized there was no time to ask questions. "Oh no it's hurt!" She said with genuine sadness in her voice. To her few things were as upsetting as seeing a Pokemon in pain like this, especially one that was unattended. "There has to be something in my bag I can help with!"
As Gwen was rummaging through her bag she was obvious to the approaching footsteps behind her. "Arceus, am I a dumbass" the voice behind her said. She turned around to see the voice belonged to a figure cloaking himself in a large black cape and his eyes covered by a mask. His hair was black and very long, on one side anyways as he had the other side of his head shaved. "Took me forever to get this thing down and when I do I realize I'm out of dark balls. Track down some cohorts to borrow some, think 'Nobody ever leaves their houses anyways' and of course I'm wrong. Not a problem for me though". The masked man pulls a black pokeball out of his cape, probably one of the dark balls he was talking about.
Gwen shot up, impulsively throwing out a pokeball, summoning Tusk to her side. "Kew Kew!" He let out very confidently.
The masked man laugh a little. "Piece of damn cake", laughing to himself as he casually tossed a dark balls, letting out a demon looking creature with long black hair. Gwen, having extensive knowledge of Pokemon, immediately recognized it.
"M..M..Morgrem!" Gwen stuttered "W..well that's nothing!" She said in an attempt to hide her nervousness at the situation "Tusk, use scratch!" Tusk ran up to Morgrem bearing his claws.
"Fake out" The Masked Man let out. As Tusk got closer to Morgrem, Morgrem beared a very nasty smile, and quickly disappeared. Them just as quickly as he disappeared, he reappeared right in front of Tusk and bopped him right on the forehead, pushing Tusk down.
"Play Rough" Morgrem then grabbed Tusk off the ground, threw him up in the air and as he was falling to the ground, the gremlin Pokemon kept repeatedly slapping Tusk's cheeks, alternating between hands. This was enough to cause Tusk to faint.
"Hah...right..." Gwen had never felt this level of defeat before "Fairies against dragons...I should have known..." Gwen had returned Tusk to his pokeball. "P..Pix come out"
The masked man seemed unamused by Pix's entrance. "This was fun at first but now your just waisting my damn time, but I can't just leave you here. Play Rough."
Morgrem was running toward Pix, and Gwen knowing well what happened to Tusk let out a "Pix, quick attack!" This led to Pix swiftly charging her body into Morgrem, getting some damage on him, but was not enough to stop his Play Rough attack on Pix. While Pix was still standing, she was just barely doing so. Gwen thought it was smart to switch her out for Custard and did so.
When Custard made her entrance and saw Morgrem, she immediately hid behind Gwen due to her timid nature. "Pathetic" The Masked Man laughed "Your psyducking mouse is your last resort and she can't even hold her ground" The Masked man let out a very similar smile to the one his Morgrem was making as he fought Tusk "Play Rough"
As before, Morgrem grabbed Custard but as he did Gwen shouted "Custard, thunder wave!" causing Custard to let out a small electric pulse. Morgrem did not handle the attack very well, and this was evident by how he was not very lively as he was before.
"Muk, I can't believe you got me with damn thunder wave" The masked man was visibly furious from this "Every damn time it's always thunder wave, EVERY DAMN TIME ITS ALWAYS PSYDUCKING THUNDER WAVE" He shouted as he was stomping his foot on the ground. At this point Gwen was suddenly less terrified and was just starring, baffled by someone she assumed was an adult, or at least someone older than her, was throwing a full blown tantrum.
"THIS ALWAYS HAPPENS WHEN YOU'RE JUST [B]BETTER[\B] THAN YOUR OPPONENT AND THEY PULL OUT SOME CHEAP MUK LIKE THUNDER WAVE MAKING YOU SLOWER RUINING EVERYTHING MOTHER F-"
"HEY!" A voice from above the two called out which appeared to be from a dragon shaped Pokemon descending "The old people living here called and they have a problem with your language!"
"Damnit" the masked man sneered "Morgrem, substitute!" A burst of smoke popped up, and in the place of the masked man and his Pokemon, two dolls took their places-One a Nickit doll and the other an Impidimp doll. The Pokemon, now clearly a Noivern, had landed on the ground and a young woman mounting them hoped off.
"Shoot they got away" she said as she was dismounting from her Pokemon right before her attention shifted fully to the Hydreigon on the ground, attending to it "Oh my Arceus! I'm so glad the missing Hydreigon is here!" Gwen slowly approached the young woman nervously to thank her.
"O-Oh thank you so much for helping me! I don't know what I'd do without you!" The young woman turned around and when she got a glimpse of Gwen she was starring at her for what felt like a full minute.
"I'm sorry, I know I have more important things to ask right now but has anyone told you that you look and even sound like Jennifer Alanis?"
They’ve said goodbye to Kel and are halfway to Cerulean’s eastern exit when Casey pauses to return Charmander to his PokéBall. He pockets it and pulls Buneary off his shoulder. She growls at him and tries to wriggle out of his grip, but he keeps his hands under her arms and his face just out of reach. She eventually communicates her surrender by going limp.
“You can’t do that,” he says. She tilts her head, eyes narrowed. “You can’t just stop listenin’. Especially in a battle!”
Buneary huffs at him and starts pushing at his hands. “Stop it.” She pauses and looks at him suspiciously.
“I’m your trainer, so I gotta look out for you, right? But I can’t just go in and uh, punch out a Pokémon or anything. The only way I can help you is by telling you what’s going on. But there’s no time for that in a battle. So what I gotta do is tell you what to do.”
Buneary crosses her arms, but seems to be considering his words. That’s something, at least. “I’d prefer if you did everything I told you to, but right now I just want you to promise to listen. Okay?”
Buneary hesitates. Casey holds his breath.
“Awesome! See, now we’ll do much better!”
He cuddles her, perhaps with a bit too much enthusiasm. She smacks him chin with an ear. “Ow,” he complains. It doesn’t really hurt. “Fine, get back up there.”
Buneary settles herself back onto his shoulder as Casey, energized by way of accomplishing something, jogs on toward Route Nine.
Hearing the name of Gwen's beloved sister come out of the mouth of a stranger gave the girl feelings of excitement, that her sister's name was so well known despite the peak of her popularity was years ago before she even attended Cape College "Heh, well I guess I do kind of look like her" she let out proudly "Being her younger sister and all. My name is Gwen, Gwen Alanis."
"Oh" the young woman let out, a bit confused "I thought her family lived in Unova?"
"Wait...do you actually know Jenny? I just thought you were a fan?"
The young woman let out a little laugh "Oh yeah, we go way back. Jenny was a rival of mine when we were teenagers and later on we were...g-girlf..."" the young woman hesitated to finish her sentence. Gwen, meanwhile, was shocked to here somebody she just met refer to her sister as "Jenny", something only she called her sister.
"Thats not important, whats important is what happened here" The stranger said to change the subject "My name is Sasha, Cerulean City gym trainer. The people living here called the gym since they aren't very keen on police. Please tell me what you saw and more importantly why did you not call the police or even the gym when you saw the Hydreigon?"
"Its just whenever I see a Pokemon in danger I just NEED to help it, and the urge to help it out just kind of overtook any sense of reason I had beyond that..."
Sasha sighed "Thats very kind of you but this isn't a Rattata or a Caterpie. This is a Hydreigon, and there are trainers who are trained for this kind of stuff. Please if you ever see something like this again call a gym or the police" Sasha pulled a notepad out of her back pocket "Now please tell me about the person you fled."
Gwen went over everything about the masked man with Sasha, from his attitude to his Morgrem to his temper tantrum and Sasha was writing everything down. "I see" Sasha closed her notepad and put it back in her pocket "Well I'll half to tell the gym and the police about this myself. That's all I really need from you, so you can go now, however there have been multiple sightings of masked people and rouge dragons, so keep an eye out and remember what to do when you see one."
"O-oh, do you need help with the Hydrei-" Gwen half-whispered while pointing at the dragon Pokemon
"Nah I got this" Sasha sent out a Dragonite as if this was something she did regularly "Hey Dragonite, I need you to bring Hydreigon back to the gym" The Dragonite simply nodded in response, and with ease had picked up the dark dragon type, holding it over his shoulder, then walking back to the gym.
Sasha then mounted on her Noivern, about to take off but stopped herself "Oh one more thing Gwen; Hows Jenny doing these days? Still winning tournaments?"
"O-oh, well she...hasn't won any in a few years and h-honestly she's been a little depressed lately."
"Darn, thats too bad" Sasha reached her hand into her pocket, and then handed 2,000 pokedollars to Gwen "Next time you're in Saffron go buy her some Charmeleon Cookies and say it was from me. Nice seeing you!" She said before taking off on her Noivern.
Gwen was astounded; How did Sasha know her big sister loved those cookies so much? And why did she refer to her as "Jenny"? Are rivals usually this close?
After those two encounters Gwen decided she was energized again. She headed to the nearest pokemart to stock up on healing items and then set out for Route 9.
Not too far off from Cerulean City laid Route 9, a long and windy road and all roads needed to start somewhere which is where Gwen found herself. It was a sunny May day, which for most people would have been great-But not for Gwen who hated sunny weather as the Sun always got in her eyes (Ironic that her first Pokemon had Drought). She preferred the fall for its clouded skies but unfortunately not much could be done about that, at least not with her current Pokemon. All she could do was travel to wherever she may find herself. At the very least she could observe the wild life here, such as the Wingulls and Pelippers soaring in the air while Seakings and Seadras swam through sea visible from the route-but she didn't see any Pokemon on the ground. This didn't bother her so much, as the sight of any Pokemon got her spirits up after a crushing defeat by the hands of a masked man.
Further along the road more Pokemon on the land started appearing, namely Rattatas, Zigzagoons, and Spearows. None of these were Pokemon that were particularly interesting to her, especially after seeing a Hydreigon just this morning. However, some common Pokemon were around that had caught Gwen's interest, those being Nidoran of both variants and Ekans.
"Poison types!" She exclaimed "Next time I see that Morgrem bastard a poison type should make him cry!" After looking around she laid her eyes on an Ekans slithering around in the grass.
"Alright Tusk, help me out!" and quickly after Tusk popped out letting out a singular "Kew!" with his chest puffed out. This caught the attention of the snake Pokemon, who in retaliation let out a hiss. This hiss was enough to put Tusk in his place, with less confidence behind his chest puffing.
"Damn, Intimidate huh? Well thats not gonna stop us, Tusk, bite em!" Tusk leaped forward and bit down on Ekans' neck. This hardly scratched Ekans and in fact, seemed to help her out as she used this opportunity to wrap her body around Tusk. "Gah! Uh, scratch Ekans!" Gwen panicked, and so was Tusk while he was frantically scratching the Ekans-again doing very little. Ekans then gave the Axew a dirty look, causing him to lose even more confidence.
"Jeez, for a rare Pokemon you sure do have some awful luck huh?" Gwen complained while returning Tusk to his pokeball. "Custard, get out here!"
Custard's entrance was less enthusiastic than Tusk's, but seeing Ekans she thought it'd be a more fair fight than Morgrem-That was until Ekans gave Custard a similar look she gave Tusk, making Custard not so sure about this fight.
"Custard, don't worry! Leer won't work against your attacks" Gwen cheered "Now hit em with thunder shock!"
"P-Pika!" Not moving from her position, Custard blasted lightning from her cheeks at the snake Pokemon, doing some decent damage to her. Ekans shot out a dart-shaped projectile from her mouth, hitting Custard but doing minimal visible damage. Gwne laughed "Poison sting doesn't do muk" Immediately after uttering those words, Custard fell down and Gwen checked on her. Custard was still conscious, but just barely.
"Way to jinx myself-you've been poisoned. But you did a good job still so I'll let Tusk do the rest" Gwen returned Custard to her pokeball and sent Tusk back out in her place. With the stat changes reset, Tusk, louder than ever, let out another single "KEW"
"Tusk, scratch!" Tusk ran up to the Ekans and scratched her right in the face, which did significantly more damage than previous attacks from Tusk- a critical hit. Gwen saw this as a perfect opportunity to throw a poke ball and took advantage of that, tossing the ball directly at the Pokemon's face. The ball was shaking and each shake of the pokeball caused Gwen to spike in energy-but after three shakes, the ball made a clicking noise, and Gwen jumped up in glee.
"YEAHEHA! THAT MORGREM BASTARD WON'T KNOW WHAT'LL HIT HIM NEXT TIME!" Gwen ran up to her newest catch, and enthusiastically picked up the pokeball. "Sorry for that last scratch, but you were a real rattata to catch. But I think you'll be a good addition to the team, Ekans. But just calling you by your species would be lame-I think the name Jess suits you."