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Old 2 Weeks Ago (7:18 AM).
Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
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The Mustachioed Machamp
    Join Date: Apr 2013
    Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
    Age: 22
    Gender: Male
    Nature: Quiet
    Posts: 89
    Chapter 72
    “Hey guys!” Kat said as she walked into the hotel lobby of the Fuchsia City Pallet House, where the others were waiting. She ran over to the couch where Mal, Ciel and Sue where holding a conversation about something. Gary stayed by the entrance, looking around absently.

    Gary was starting to feel like he was missing something in his Pokémon journey. While being able to ride around the Kanto region in his dad’s car with the girls was more convenient than walking aimlessly, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was missing out on the experience that traveling on his own would bring. The only one of his chaperones that offered any real help to him was Kat, but she only rarely gave him any advice and he was more interested in figuring things out on his own anyway. And even if he did regularly stop to train and catch new Pokémon, it was still probably less than if he were hiking through the forests and caves of the region by foot. It was with these thoughts that Gary looked over at the girls and made a decision. The four who were supposed to keep watch over him and make sure that he didn’t get into trouble were too wrapped up in their discussion to notice their charge turn around and walk out.

    Gary hesitated just outside of the door, having second thoughts about his decision. But after a moment he tightened his fists and continued walking. He did not know the layout of the city, but he was going to find the Gym, even if it took him all day. When he returned to the hotel that evening he would have his eighth badge. Or maybe he wouldn’t return at all. Maybe he would just keep going, making his way to the Indigo Plateau and challenging any more Gyms that he found along the way. He could do it. He was a Pokémon Trainer, one that was determined to be the best that there ever was. And more than that, he was an Oak. He was part of the longest line of Pokémon Masters that the region had ever known. There were even rumors that the Oak family was descended from the ancient kings of the Kanto region.
    Gary chose a direction and started walking, sure that his trainer’s instincts would lead him directly to where he wanted to go. It was in his blood, after all, to seek out challenge and overcome any obstacle. After having walked about two blocks south, he started to hear something. It was faint and he could barely make it out, but it sounded almost like a woman singing off in the distance. He felt enthralled by the song and his feet instinctively pulled him forward, closer to the source of the distant sound.

    * * *

    “Alright, that didn’t take as long as I thought it would.” Carmine said, looking approvingly at Ash’s Fearow. “Your Pokémon is certainly a fast learner. Now I think we should move on to your Sandslash. He should be good with both attack and defense, so I’m going to focus on increasing the type diversity of his moveset. Brick Break, Poison Jab, Shadow Claw, Iron Tail and X-Scissor all seem like good moves. It probably won’t take much time for him to learn them, though, so let’s work on your Kingler as well. Save time by training both together. I’m going to teach him Brick Break and X-Scissor, like Sandslash, and also a few different moves. Ice Beam, Rock Tomb and Rain Dance all seem like good choices as well as False Swipe.”

    “What’s that?” Ash asked him.

    “False Swipe is a fairly standard Normal-type move but with one little quirk. It can’t actually knock out an opponent.” Carmine explained.

    “That sounds useless.”

    “In competitive battling, it is more or less pointless unless you just want to taunt your opponent for some reason. The main utility of the move is for catching wild Pokémon. Since all kinds of Pokéball can only work if the target Pokémon is conscious, but also work better the more weakened the opponent is, False Swipe can make it a lot easier to catch Pokémon that you might otherwise have trouble with.”

    “Okay, I guess that does sound useful.” Ash agreed. “Alright, let’s get started then.”

    “Good.” Carmine nodded. “And then once we’ve finished training these two we can move on to your Gastly. I’m a little less certain of what to teach that one since I don’t really know what he already has, but if we’re lucky we’ll be done by nightfall, just in time to head back and get dinner and some sleep before heading home for your birthday tomorrow.”

    * * *

    “I think I see Fuchsia City!” Daisy said, holding her hand above her eyes to block out the sunlight as the city came into view.

    “Well it’s about time.” Giselle said. “I feel like we’ve been walking for weeks and basically nothing’s happened.”

    “It’s only been a few hours.” Daisy pointed out. “And we did get to fight a few wild Pokémon on the way.”

    “You know, when I decided that I wanted to be a Pokémon trainer, I didn’t think that there would be so much mindless walking involved. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should have stayed at Pokétech after all.”

    “But I thought that you said that barely anyone from there ever managed to get into the Pokémon League.”

    “That’s true.” Giselle relented. “But I could have still been one of the few to actually do it. At least when I was there I could spend every day training rather than just this endless walking. My feet are killing me.”

    “Again, we’ve only been walking a few hours.” Daisy said.

    “The fact that you can say that its ‘only’ been a few hours just shows how much time gets wasted just getting from one worthless place to another. Let’s just keep going so that we can get there and take a break. I don’t know how much longer I can last at this rate.”

    * * *

    Before Gary knew it, he had found himself walking out onto the shore on Route 19, just south of Fuchsia City. This was definitely not the way to get to the Gym, but he had a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that this was the way that he needed to go. He could still hear the singing, which was clearer now and a little louder than it was before. Gary was sure that he was moving closer to its source and that he would soon be able to make out the words of the song. He made his way along the narrow beach, wedged between two rocky cliffs, and passed by a pair of swimmers warming up for a long trip across the calm ocean. It was clear that this beach was not one of the more popular of the Kanto shore, which was probably due to its small size. But Gary wasn’t really thinking about that as he reached the edge of the deep blue water, where it beat across the shore.

    He looked out at the massive rocks that were sticking out of the water in the distance, likely another reason why few people used this beach for recreation. One rock stood out to him in particular and he thought that he could see something, or perhaps someone, sitting on top of it. He was sure that whatever it was, it was the source of the song. He closed his eyes and listened for a moment. He felt at peace listening to the serein melody but was quickly pulled back to reality as he felt the cold water rise up to his ankles. He tried to take a step back but found that he couldn’t move his feet. It was almost as if the ocean itself was holding him in place. He struggled against it, but it was no use. The water rose up to his knees. Desperately, Gary let out a scream as he tried his hardest to break free, but it was too late. A sudden wave washed over him and he was dragged out to sea.

    The two swimmers had heard his scream, but when they ran out to where he had been there was no sign of Gary. It was as if he had never even been there.
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    Old 2 Weeks Ago (7:37 AM).
    Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
    Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
    The Mustachioed Machamp
      Join Date: Apr 2013
      Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
      Age: 22
      Gender: Male
      Nature: Quiet
      Posts: 89
      Chapter 73
      Ash sat in a chair in the Pokémon League lobby staring at the dark brown tiled floor. Misty and Brock had left to wait for their meeting while Carmine had run off saying that he had to use the bathroom, leaving Ash alone. The initial excitement of visiting the Pokémon League was starting to wear off and boredom was starting to fill in its place.

      “Hey, kid! It’s been awhile.”

      Ash suddenly leapt up to his feet, startled by the unexpected greeting.

      “Uh… hi, Surge.” Ash said hesitantly as he looked up at the large, intimidating man standing in front of him.

      “That’s Lieutenant Surge.” The Viridian City Gym Leader corrected him.

      “I’m sorry, Lt. Surge.” Ash apologized nervously. He could feel his legs shaking beneath him.

      Lt. Surge started laughing heartily and slapped Ash on his empty shoulder. “I’m just messing with you. There’s no need to be that formal. So, how’s my old Pikachu doing, anyway? Have you managed to teach Volty how to use Volt Tackle yet?”

      “Uh…” Ash trailed off. “No. I kind of forgot that I was supposed to do that.”

      Ash reached down to Volty’s Pokéball resting on his belt and held it out. He pressed the button on its front and the red beam of energy shot out towards his shoulder, where Volty materialized and gave an energetic “Chu, Pi!”

      Lt. Surge laughed even harder. “That’s fine. To be honest, I never really expected you to. I thought she’d be happier with you then she was with me and it looks like I was right about that.”

      “Thank you.”

      Volty smiled and let out sparks from her cheeks as Lt. Surge patted her gently on the head.

      “You’ve done a fine job of taking care of her so far. She looks to be quite healthy and happy.”

      “Thank you.” Ash said again.

      “I’d like to stay and chat longer, but I should probably go see the other Gym Leaders. I don’t want to keep anyone waiting.”

      With that, Lt. Surge waved goodbye and headed towards the back where Misty and Brock had gone earlier, leaving Ash alone again with his Pokémon, but feeling a lot better about himself than he had before. Ash hadn’t even realized how much the events of the previous night had affected him until that moment.

      The two Pikachu on Ash’s shoulders jumped down onto the floor and started playing as Ash sat back in his chair. He briefly wondered how long the meeting was going to take, or at least how long it would take for all of the Gym Leaders to get there. “Then again,” he thought to himself, “not all of the Gym Leaders will be here, will they. After all, the main reason they’re even having this meeting in because of Giovanni.”

      * * *

      “I expected this place to be more like a cave.” Sable commented as she, Red and Yellow entered the Underground Path to Celadon City. Bright lights hung from the steel walls, shining down onto the wooden floor which was brown, save for the two stripes painted along it, one blue and the other red.

      “So you’ve never been down here before?” Red asked her.

      “No.” Sable said. “I’ve never had the chance before. It would appear that I haven’t missed anything, though.”

      “Yeah, not really.” Red agreed. “The other Underground Path was a lot like this, too. That’s why we’re going to use Teleport so that we can get across quickly. Speaking of which it’s probably time to get Abraham out.”

      “Right.” Yellow said as she held out a Pokéball. The yellow Psi Pokémon suddenly appeared hovering in the air in front of her before she even pressed the button. “Come on.”

      It only took a few minutes before the group had made their way all the way to the other side and headed up the staircase leading to Route 7.

      “That probably would have taken us at least all day if we had walked the whole way.” Red said as they took their first steps back outside again.

      “Yeah.” Yellow agreed. “It’s a good thing we have Abraham to help us out.” She squeezed the sleeping Pokémon tightly, but Abraham didn’t seem to mind or notice.

      “You seem quite attached to that Abra.” Sable noticed.

      “Yeah, he’s a good friend and he helps us out a lot. He’s also the only Pokémon that I’ve ever caught, even if it was only by accident.”

      “Maybe there are no such things as accidents.”

      “What do you mean?” Red asked Sable, but she didn’t answer.

      “I like Maggie, too.” Yellow said. “But I didn’t catch her and she hasn’t been as fun since she evolved. She’s so big now that I haven’t even had a chance to let her out in a while.”

      “I’m sure you’ll get a chance to play with her again soon.” Red reassured her. “But in the meantime, we’ve almost reached the city.”

      Sure enough, they were just approaching the edge of Celadon City. Though it was hard to tell, as most of the buildings were painted a dark green color that blended in partially with the trees that surrounded the city on all sides. Some buildings on the other side of the city stood noticeably taller than the rest.

      “Celadon City. The city of rainbow dreams.” Sable said. Red and Yellow turned their attention to her and she pointed to the large sign she had just read aloud. “That’s what it says, anyway.”

      “Well, hopefully, it can help us reach our dreams.” Red spotted the familiar orange roof of a Pokémon Center amid all the green and set off towards it. “Come on, this way.”

      * * *

      Hanami floated in the air above Ash, looking around at her surroundings. She had head people mention the Pokémon League over the years but had never imagined that she would even visit it herself. Much had changed in the centuries since she had lived and a building like the one she was in now couldn’t have even been dreamed of in her time. Things like electric lighting and air conditioning were completely new concepts to her and just the one room was larger than any of the buildings in her village had been. The other buildings they had been to were similar in a lot of regards, but she hadn’t really had much of a chance to admire them due to the dire circumstances.

      She looked down at Ash sitting beneath her. Hanami had only been following him for a couple days now and yet it already felt much longer. She wondered if his life was always this busy, it was certainly more exciting than her life had ever been, at any rate. Traveling around the region, meeting new people and facing new challenges as he went. She had never even left her home village before now. She felt for a moment that she would never get used to how different things were now than in her time, but that thought was interrupted.


      Hanami turned around quickly. She thought for sure that she had heard someone speak, but there was no one there.


      The sound came again, slightly louder. Like someone calling out from the distance. Hanami couldn’t tell what had been said, or who had said it, but there had definitely been a voice. A deep, rasping voice calling from far away. Hanami felt a shiver run through her, but it wasn’t cold and even if it was, a ghost wouldn’t be affected by it. Without thinking, she began to recite an ancient prayer she had not heard in many centuries.

      “Lords of Ice, Lighting and Fire,
      Sons of the Silver Flier,
      The beatings of thy wings spread winds of fate across the land,
      And the birds sing thy praises,
      A shadow of destruction falls upon us now which we cannot withstand,
      Unless we rely upon thy strength and darkness thy power razes.”

      She did not know if the Legendary Birds could truly hear her prayer or not, but she felt a warm feeling of peace pass over her as soon as the words left her intangible lips. There was something big on its way. Something that she was sure no one was prepared for. But she felt confident, at least for the moment, that they could make it through whatever was coming. She only hoped that it would not come without too great a cost.
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      Old 2 Weeks Ago (7:35 AM).
      Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
      Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
      The Mustachioed Machamp
        Join Date: Apr 2013
        Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
        Age: 22
        Gender: Male
        Nature: Quiet
        Posts: 89
        Chapter 74
        Carmine stepped out of the bathroom and stretched his arms up high while yawning. He hadn’t gotten much sleep lately, which was normal for him but combined with all of the action as of late was starting to wear him down. He decided that he would lie down and try his best to take a nap while the Gym Leaders had their meeting.

        “I really should get a Hypno one of these years.” Carmine muttered to himself. “I don’t know why I’ve been putting it off so long.”

        A loud beeping noise suddenly went off, startling him. He reached down into his pocket and pulled out his Pokégear, checking who was calling him.

        “Well, there goes my nap.” He sighed before answering the call. “I had a feeling I’d be getting this call. Though I thought it would take a bit longer.”

        “You sound almost amused.” Looker said from the other end of the call.

        “No, I’m just kind of tired. Anyway, I’m guessing this is about last night?”

        “You would be correct in that guess, but you already knew that. There are multiple eye-witness accounts of a giant, black Pokémon rampaging through the streets of Saffron City in the early hours of the morning. I think it is safe to assume that we both know what Pokémon that was.”

        “It sounds like your eye-witnesses need to get their eyes checked.” Carmine replied. “There was no rampaging going on.”

        Carmine’s comment was met with an uncomfortably long silence.

        “But yeah, it was the Cianwood Tyranitar. We had a bit of a skirmish with Team Rocket. I tried to keep the property damage to a minimum, but we did cause quite a bit of damage to the Silph Corp. building. And Tyranitar probably did some damage to the nearby streets, now that I think about it. He’s kind of heavy.”

        “I want a full report.” Looker said dryly. “Now.”

        “Fine, fine. I’ll tell you what I know.”

        * * *

        Looker pondered everything he had just been told as he put his phone down. Giovanni was a Gym Leader? That was big news. And he had been beaten by a child? He could barely even process that part. This “Ash” that Carmine talked about must be some kind exceptional trainer to pull that off. Although now that he thought about it, Looker remembered that he had already met Ash, right after the incident at Mt. Moon not too long ago, and his name had been on the passenger list for the S.S. Anne. That boy had had more run-ins with Team Rocket since Looker entered the country than Looker himself at this point.

        “I should run a background check on him.” Looker said to himself. “To learn who that kid actually is. The knowledge could prove valuable.”

        There was a knock at the door to Looker’s office. He called for the person to come in and 009 opened the door.

        “You called for me, sir?” She asked calmly, as if nothing had happened.

        “Come in, take a seat.” Looker gestured towards one of the old, green chairs in front of his desk and waited for her to sit down in it. “What do you have to report?”

        “Nothing, sir.” 009 answered. She was a hard person to read, but Looker was starting to understand her better and it was becoming obvious that she was intentionally hiding something. “Everything’s quiet except for a small earthquake near Saffron City. I also heard something about a storm over on Route 2.”
        Looker stared at the girl for a moment. “Was there anything unusual about the earthquake?”

        “No, sir. It was just an earthquake. If I had to make a guess, I’d say it was caused by the Diglett and Dugtrio that inhabit Diglett’s Cave.”

        “And what makes you say that?”

        “Well, the storm at Route 2 would have happened just outside the cave’s northern entrance. It’s possible that the storm could have scared the Diglett and Dugtrio inside the cave and caused them to stampede through their tunnel networks, which in turn could lead to a potential increase in seismic activity in the area.”

        “Yes, that would make sense.” Looker said. It was a sound theory, but her delivery sounded almost rehearsed. She had been anticipating that question and had already come up with her reply. Looker was more sure than ever that she was a spy, but what he wasn’t sure of yet was whether to confront her about it now, or bide his time and wait later. He opted for the latter option.

        “Very well. I want you to investigate that storm. From what I’ve been hearing about it, it sounds like it may not have been a natural occurrence. If so, I want to know what caused it and why.”

        “Yes, sir.” 009 stood up and turned to leave. Looker watched the girl as she walked out of his office.

        “I wonder…” He muttered. “How long as she been with them? She’s not that old. She’s still only in her teens. How young was she when she joined?

        * * *

        Pikachu ran along the rooftops of Saffron City. She would prefer to travel through the woods than the city, but she didn’t really have a choice right now. She knew that Yellow would already be on the other side of the city by now and she had to get back to her as quickly as possible. She didn’t trust the new woman that was traveling with Yellow. Something about her seemed… off. Pikachu was sure that the woman had somehow known she was there waiting in the treetops last night and that made her uneasy. She had also not been able to make contact with Abraham since the woman showed up, almost as if she was somehow interfering with their mental link somehow. The woman was dangerous, Pikachu knew that much. But was she actually hostile or not? Pikachu had no way of knowing the woman’s intentions or not. She could be a threat, but was that her intention?

        Pikachu decided to put away those thoughts for now. Her priority was to catch back up to them. There was nothing that she could do to protect Yellow unless she was there with her to do it. Then again, was there anything she could do even if she was there? Pikachu’s attacks had proven utterly useless again the one she wanted to protect Yellow from and the boy, Red, had so far proven capable of protecting her from everything else on his own. In fact, Pikachu wasn’t sure that she had actually managed to accomplish anything whatsoever since the destruction of their home other than just follow Yellow and she hadn’t been doing a very good job of that either. The only reason she had not already completely lost Yellow possibly for good was thanks to Abraham, and it looked as if she would not be able to rely on his help any longer.

        “Maybe it’s time.” Pikachu said to herself as she rested for a moment on the edge of a roof. “Time that I actually meet up with her in person. But then again, how will she react? She won’t remember who I am. She doesn’t even know that he is after her, or why.”

        Pikachu sighed and leapt over to the next building. It was no use wondering at this point. It was only a matter of time before she would have to make her presence known, so it might as well be sooner, rather than later. There was no telling what kind of complications it could cause, but then again not revealing herself could also cause problems down the line. She had finally made up her mind, she would reintroduce herself to Yellow as soon as she had the chance.


        The unexpected greeting caught Pikachu off guard, causing her to trip and fall off of the ledge she had been running along. She managed to grab hold of the ledge and keep herself from falling down to the ground below as she looked up at the serene smiling face staring at her.

        “You.” Pikachu said, startled. “But how? Why?”

        “I told the others that I wanted to look around on my own for a little bit before I meet up with them again later. Which is actually true, for the most part.” Said Sable, who was looking back down at Pikachu from the roof. Or at least that’s what Pikachu thought at first, but then she relieved that Sable wasn’t on the roof, she was floating in the air across from it.

        “How are you…?”

        “I’m here because I have some questions for you.” Sable interrupted. “And I’m sure you have quite a few questions of your own, so why don’t we help each other out?”

        Pikachu felt her strength fail her and she lost her grasp on the edge of the roof. She closed her eyes as she fell, not wanting to see the end. But then she opened them again when she realized that she wasn’t actually falling. She was floating in the air, like Sable.

        “What’s going on?”

        “I’ll take that as a yes.”
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        Old 1 Week Ago (6:53 AM).
        Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
        Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
        The Mustachioed Machamp
          Join Date: Apr 2013
          Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
          Age: 22
          Gender: Male
          Nature: Quiet
          Posts: 89
          Chpater 75
          “Well, it looks like we’re all finally here.” Lance stood at one end of a long table and looked around the conference room they were in. Every Gym Leader of the Kanto region, save for Giovanni, sat around looking back at him. “Which means we can get started with this meeting. Now, I know some of you already know what this is about, but for those who don’t, I’m afraid I must be the bearer of bad news. You see, it has recently been discovered that the leader of the criminal organization known as Team Rocket is in fact none other than Giovanni Rozzo, leader of the Viridian Gym.”

          The sound of murmuring reverberated throughout the room and the Gym Leaders quietly discussed this sudden revelation amongst themselves.

          “This news has come as a great shock to all of us and naturally we must react to it. Giovanni will be removed from his position of Gym Leader as soon as possible and a new Gym Leader will be appointed in his place. In addition, we will be changing the requirements for obtaining Gym Leader status by adding more comprehensive background checks in order to assure that something like this will never happen again. Does anyone here have objections to these policy changes or any comments they would like to add?”

          Lance looked around again for a moment, but no one spoke up. “Alright then. In that case, we will move on to the next item on our agenda. There are a number of situations that must be attended to, which the other members of the Elite Four and I have made assignments for. First off, a mysterious storm has caused the northern entrance to Diglett’s Cave to collapse on Route 2. Bruno, Flint and Brock are to go there and rebuild the cave’s entrance and investigate what happened there. Lt. Surge and I are to assist Sabrina in overseeing the reconstruction effort of Saffron City. Lorelei, Daisy, Lily, Violet and Misty are to investigate the wreckage of the S.S. Anne to see if there are any possible clues as to what Team Rocket might be planning. Everyone else should return to their regular Gym Leader duties. Now, if no one has anything else to add, then this meeting is now adjourned."

          * * *

          “Stop the car!” Kat shouted as Mal drove past some sort of old, decrepit looking theater house along the side of Route 15.

          “Why?” Mal asked her as she slowed the car to a stop.

          “Trust me. Gary’s going to want to check this place out.”

          “What are you talking about?” Gary asked her, thinking that his cousin must have gone crazy.

          “You’ll see.” Kat smiled and tilted her head to the side mischievously as she opened the car door to get out.

          Gary looked up and the run-down building before him as he got out of his father’s car. The old theater was painted white and red, which looked like it had once been bright and vibrant but was now faded and peeling off of the rotting woodwork. A sign hung up above the front door, but it was too damaged for Gary to be able to read it.

          “What is this place?” Gary wondered aloud.

          “Why don’t you go in and find out?” Kat suggested as she climbed back into the car. “We’ll wait for you.”

          “Fine. But if I die in there, it’s your fault!” Gary sighed and turned back to the building. He walked up to the staircase leading up to the front doorway and lightly set foot on it. The stairs seemed sturdy enough, so he walked up and entered the theater house.

          The interior was dark and dusty as if the building had been had been abandoned long ago. Gary honestly had no idea what he was supposed to be looking for in there. Some kind of rare Ghost Pokémon, maybe? He pulled out a Pokéball and called out one of the newer additions to his Pokémon team.

          “Go, Growlithe.”

          The Fire-type Puppy Pokémon landed on the creaky old floor. He sniffed the air and let out a small howl before breathing out a small stream of flame to light up the dark theater.

          “Whatever’s in here had better be worth it.” Gary muttered to himself as he and his Growlithe made their way deeper into the run-down building.

          * * *

          “Wait, you’re both leaving?” Ash asked Misty and Brock once they had returned and told Carmine and himself about the meeting.

          “Yeah.” Brock shrugged. “But we’ll meet back up with you once we’re done with our assignments.”

          “This is so unfair.” Ash complained. “Why do you both have to go?”

          “Because they both have obligations as Gym Leaders to help wherever they are needed.” Lance said as he walked up to the group before turning his attention to Ash. “So you must be this Ash everyone’s been talking about. I’ve heard that you’ve been shaping up to be quite the skilled trainer. I hope that you’ll stop by my Gym after this whole Team Rocket situation has been dealt with so that we can have a battle. I’m looking forward to it.”

          And with that, Lance turned around with a swish of his cape before giving Ash a chance to respond.

          “Wow.” Misty’s jaw hung slightly ajar and she and Brock both stared at Ash in amazement. “I’ve never seen Lance send anyone a challenge like that before. That’s amazing.”

          “You’ve certainly come a long way since I beat you in our first match.” Brock added.

          “It doesn’t mean much.” Carmine said. “It’s still just a Gym Battle. A test of strength to make sure that a Pokémon Trainer has reached a certain level of ability.”

          “Well, I’m still going to beat him.” Ash said defiantly. “No matter how strong he is.”

          “Were you even listening to me?” Carmine asked.

          “I should probably be going now.” Brock said. “I don’t want to keep the others waiting. See you again soon!”

          Brock shook Ash’s hand and headed off towards where his father and Bruno were waiting for him, waving goodbye. Ash, Carmine and Misty watched as they headed out the door before Misty and Ash turned to each other.

          “I should be heading out too. My sisters can get kind of impatient sometimes.” Misty turned to leave.

          “Hold on.” Ash said, grabbing her wrist to stop her. “Before you go, I wanted to give you something.”

          “What?” Misty couldn’t hide the surprise in her voice.

          “Volty.” The two Pikachu resting on Ash’s shoulders both turned to their trainer in surprise from this unexpected turn of events.

          “What do you mean?” Misty asked.

          “I want you to take Volty with you, at least until we meet up again. After all, you gave me Krabby the last time you left us.”

          “I suppose that is true.” Misty sighed. “I guess you’ve got a deal.”

          Ash pulled out Volty’s Pokéball and handed it too Misty. Pika and Volty quickly touched their noses together and let off a fly of sparks from their cheeks to say goodbye, almost lighting Ash’s hair on fire, before Volty hopped off of Ash’s shoulder and into Misty’s outstretched arms.

          “I promise to take good care of her.” Misty said as she turned to go. Pika and Volty both reached out to each other as a final parting as Misty walked away.

          “Well.” Carmine said awkwardly. “I can’t say that I expected any of that, and now I forgot what I was going to say. Oh, right, I was going to tell you that I think we should spend this time focusing on your training. Things are only going to get harder from here on out and who knows what other unexpected situations we’re going to face in your journey. You need to be ready for any challenges you may encounter.”

          “Sounds like a plan.” Ash agreed.

          “Good. But before that, we should probably get some rest. I don’t think either of us has gotten any sleep in a while.”

          The mere mention of sleep suddenly caused Ash to be overwhelmed by a sudden wave of fatigue. He had not realized before that point how tired he was, but now it was all he could think about.

          “Yeah.” Ash yawned. “We should do that.”

          “Come on. I’m sure there should be someplace to rest somewhere around here.”
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          Old 1 Week Ago (6:51 AM).
          Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
          Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
          The Mustachioed Machamp
            Join Date: Apr 2013
            Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
            Age: 22
            Gender: Male
            Nature: Quiet
            Posts: 89
            Chapter 76
            Red and Yellow walked into the Celadon City Pokémon Center and headed for the front desk. The nurse there asked if Red wanted his Pokémon healed, as per usual. After the nurse healed Red’s Pokémon and handed them back to him, they walked over to the lounge area. A couple couched sat around a glass table and off in the corner of the room was a PC meant for public use. The PC had a paper taped onto its screen saying that it was out of order and someone appeared to be tinkering with its inner wires and circuitry. Red felt like he had seen the man before.

            “Bill?” Red asked hesitantly.

            The man tried to stand up but accidentally hit the back of his head hard against the underside of the keyboard. He then made sure to back away from the computer and stood up slowly, clutching the back of his head, and turned around. Sure enough, it was the same man that they had helped out back at the lighthouse on Cerulean Cape.

            “Oh, hi!” Bill said once he recognized Red and Yellow. “Fancy seeing you around here.”

            “Hi!” Yellow said cheerfully.

            “What are you doing here?” Red asked.

            “This old PC here isn’t working right, so they’ve asked me to come in and take a look at it. For some reason, it won’t seem to connect to Pokémon Storage System, so trainers can’t use it to deposit or withdraw their Pokémon and who better to ask to fix that kind of problem than the guy who created the system in the first place?”

            “You created the Pokémon Storage System?” Red asked in astonishment.

            “Or at least the current system, sort of. I led the development team that created it, but most people tend to forget about the people I worked with. I’m also the administrator for the system her in Kanto and also in Johto.”

            “Why didn’t you mention that when we met before?”

            “I guess it just never came up.” Bill shrugged. “So how have you been, anyway?”

            “Fine.” Red answered. “We were just going to explore the city a bit before I take on the Gym.”

            “Well good luck with that. I think the local Gym specializes in Grass Pokémon.”

            “Well, that should be pretty easy to take on with my Charmeleon.” Red said, then sighed. “Although I suppose I should still work on catching more than just two Pokémon.”

            “Two?” Bill seemed confused. “I remember seeing your account in the storage system just recently and you had more than that.”

            “Only half of my team right now is actually mine.” Red explained. “Two of them are Yellow’s, but she can’t actually have Pokémon of her own yet.”

            Yellow grinned and held up her two Pokéballs. “These are Maggie and Abraham.”

            Bill thought for a moment. “You know, you could probably get a permit for her to have her own Pokémon.”

            “A what?” Red asked flatly.

            “A Trainer’s Permit. It’s kind of a new thing, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if you haven’t heard of them before, but it’s now possible for those under age to have Pokémon. They can’t battle and they don’t have access to the storage system, though. Normally you’d need the permission and supervision of a parent or guardian that has a license, but I might be able to pull some strings for you and see if she can get one.”

            “Really?” Red and Yellow both asked.

            “Yeah, sure. It’s the least I can do for when you helped me out before.”

            “Thank you.” Said Red.

            “I’m so excited!” Yellow jumped with joy.

            * * *

            “Okay, I think that should be enough for now.” Squirtle said as he fell onto his back from exhaustion.
            Charmander sat down next to Squirtle with a groan. “Why do we have to train so hard?” He whined.

            “Because it is the only way to assure that we will be able to take on any challenge that comes our way and always come out on top. Although I think we’ve reached a point where we can continue our journey for at least another Gym or two.”

            “Thank Arceus.” Charmander laid back with his stubby arms underneath his head and his tail resting by his side. “I feel like I could just fall asleep right now and not wake up again for days.”

            “I feel similarly, but we do need to get back up in the morning to start making our way to the next town and with it the next Gym.”

            The two Pokémon stared up at the morning sky for a while in contemplative silence.

            “Do you think we’ll really be able to do it?” Charmander asked.

            “Of course we will.” Squirtle replied. “But only if we believe that we can.”

            “You always manage to be so confident and brave. Where does your courage come from?”

            Squirtle reflected for a bit before answering. “I’ve mentioned before that when I was young I had a trainer, a young girl by the name of Samantha. She had been dangerously sick for her entire life and yet never gave up hope no matter how bad things got. In order to honor her legacy I’ve vowed to always do the same.”

            “Wow.” Was all Charmander could think to say to that.

            “Also, we both watched a lot of anime and I always looked up to the heroes that never gave up even in the face of danger. We’d dress up as the characters a lot and play out our favorite scenes together. That’s actually where my sunglasses came from. They are a replica of the pair worn by our favorite character.”

            “Do you ever miss her?”


            * * *

            Pikachu sat on the roof of the Celadon City Pokémon Center, staring at her paws and contemplating everything that she had just learned. It was a lot to take in and yet somehow she knew, almost instinctively, that it was all true. She became filled with renewed doubts. She wanted to reach out to Yellow and make her presence known but she was sure that this was not the time to do so.
            She mentally slapped herself for thinking that. She should reach out to Yellow and join her properly but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. She was scared. Scared that the girl now calling herself Yellow would not be the same as when they had grown up together. The girl still had no idea of who she was, or what she was, and with what Pikachu had just learned she was no more uncertain than ever.

            “Why is this so hard?” Pikachu complained to herself. “She’s basically right there beneath me and yet I just can’t do it. What’s wrong with me?”

            “I think only you could answer that question.”

            “Go away. I want to be by myself. Besides, shouldn’t you go back to the others before they get suspicious from your absence?”

            “Why would they be suspicious? They just think that I’m looking around a city I’ve never been to before. But I suppose if you want to be alone then I won’t bother you anymore.”

            Pikachu sighed and turned around just in time to see a bright pink flash of light and the one she had been talking to was gone. She heard the sound of the Pokémon Center doors opening and she knew that “Sable” was about to rejoin Red and Yellow.

            “Why did he have to mess things up?” Pikachu asked herself. “We had all been so happy before he had to tear us all apart. They had a good life, all things considered, but then he had to go and blow everything up. Literally. Their home was gone. Their friends were gone. As far as Pikachu knew, she and Yellow had been the only ones to survive his rampage. And now all she could do was do her best to make sure that he never found them again, even though she knew that she wouldn’t be able to stop him if he did. He was too strong, more powerful than anyone else she knew. Although, that might not be the case anymore. It was possible that she did now someone who was at least close to matching his level now. Maybe she would be able to do a better job of protecting Yellow than Pikachu could. But then again, would she even try to? “I wish that something would happen. Something that would let us be able to stop him.”
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            Old 1 Week Ago (9:12 AM).
            Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
            Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
            The Mustachioed Machamp
              Join Date: Apr 2013
              Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
              Age: 22
              Gender: Male
              Nature: Quiet
              Posts: 89
              Chapter 77
              After walking all morning, Daisy and Giselle found themselves entering a small town.

              “What is this place?” Giselle wondered aloud.

              “Well, according to my map this should be… Mossgreen Village.” Daisy said as she held out her Town Map while trying to keep Cleffa held up with one of her arms.

              “Never heard of it.” Giselle placed her hands behind her head as they continued walking.

              “Well, this doesn’t look like a particularly important place.” Daisy stuffed her map back in her bag. “Let’s just keep going.”

              “Hold up.” Giselle suddenly stopped and held her arm out in Daisy’s way. “Do you see what I see?” She pointed to a large building at the other side of the village.

              “What?” Daisy asked before taking a look at the building Giselle was pointing towards. Wait, is that a Gym?”

              “It sure is. Come on, let’s go.” Giselle suddenly started running towards the Gym, forcing Daisy to have to try and keep up with her.

              “Slow down! Running like this will be bad for Cleffa!” Contrary to Daisy’s claims, Cleffa was squealing gleefully, clearly enjoying itself a lot.

              “Come on, already!” Giselle yelled back to her. “You’ll never get anywhere if you keep going at that pace!”

              * * *

              Giovanni walked into a dark room and moved his hand against the wall, looking for the light switch. When he found it, he flipped the switch and the lights came on, illuminating the room. White sheets covered all of the furniture and contrasted heavily with the black walls, carpet and ceiling. He walked over to the center of the room and pulled the sheet off of a desk chair, and then another off of the desk in front of it. He sat down at the chair and looked around at his old office. It had been a long time since he had made us of it, but he had no choice now that he had lost Saffron City.

              The lights flickered, irritating Giovanni. He would have to get the bulbs replaced, not that it was much of a surprise. They would need to make a lot of renovations to get this old base back into working order. If only he hadn’t lost that battle.

              “How did I lose?” Giovanni whispered to himself. “He was just a child who hasn’t even been a Pokémon Trainer for more than a few months at most. I should have been able beat him easily. I know I wasn’t exactly using my best team, but still…”

              “You wanted to see us, Sir?” Asked James, as he Jessie and Meowth stood at the entrance into Giovanni’s office.

              “Yes.” Giovanni motioned for them to come in. “I have your next assignment. I want the three of you to meet up with the Iron-Masked Marauder and investigate a cave north of Cerulean City. It is known as the Cerulean Cave, though the locals sometimes refer to it as the Unknown Dungeon. I’ve already briefed the Marauder and he will be able to fill you in on the details of the mission. Now go!”

              “But what about the others?” Jessie asked.

              “Agent Masque, Butch and Cassidy are running surveillance around the base in order to check for possible security breaches. Attila and Hun haven’t reported in since we relocated here this morning. If they don’t show up soon then they will be considered AWOL and will be punished accordingly when we finally find them Now, I believe I told you three to go.”

              The trio exited Giovanni’s office and stopped at the other end of the hallway.

              “What kind of punishment do you think Giovanni has in mind for them?” Jessie asked.

              “Isn’t it obvious?” Meowth asked. “The sames as whats happensed ta da others. Make ‘em dark or whatever it is thats they dids ta dem.”

              All three shuddered at the thought of it.

              “Something about them just doesn’t feel right anymore.” James said. “It’s almost like they aren’t even human anymore.”

              “I know what you mean.” Jessie agreed. “Which means we should focus on our new assignment so that he doesn’t have any reason to do it to us.”

              “Whys do yas think we’s going ta some old cave?” Meowth asked.

              “I don’t know, but we’re going to find out soon enough.”

              * * *

              Professor Oak sat at the desk in his study sorting through old research papers when the phone started ringing. He put down the paper on sleeping disorders in Snorlax that had been written by an old colleague of his known as Professor Xalrons and answered the phone.


              “Is this Professor Oak of Pallet Town?” Oak didn’t recognize the man’s voice.

              “Yes, now who’s calling?”

              “My name is Looker. I was wondering if I could set an appointment to meet with you.” Oak felt like he had heard that name before, but couldn’t think of where it was from.

              “What about?” The Professor asked.

              “I wish to discuss one of your former students. A boy by the name of Ash Ketchum.”

              “Why?” Professor Oak’s voice carried his concern. “Has he done anything wrong?”

              “No, he has not done anything wrong. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If we could set up a meeting, I will explain what’s going on.”

              “Hold on a moment…” Professor Oak said. “I think I know where I’ve heard you’re name before. You’re an agent for the International Police, aren’t you?”

              “Yes, I am.” Looker answered. “And I have a lot I wish to discuss with you in regards to my current investigation. I will fill you in on the details when we meet.”

              Professor Oak sighed and checked the calendar he had sitting on his desk. “It looks like I’m free tomorrow. Stop by anytime you want.”

              “Thank you, Professor. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

              Professor Oak heard the phone hang up and placed it back down again. He turned his chair around and stared out the window at the clear blue sky.

              “What have you gotten yourself into, Ash?” He wondered aloud.

              A glimpse of silver reflecting the sun’s light caught the Professor’s attention and he immediately stood up and headed for the door. He ran outside.

              “Get out of here!” He yelled as he ran up to a large silver and gray Pokémon. “Go on, get going!”

              “Aggron!” The towering Steel-type bellowed as it turned around and rushed back to the way it had come.

              “I swear.” Professor Oak muttered to himself as he watched the Aggron flee. “That thing just keeps showing up and trying to break into my breeding grounds. Where did it even come from, anyway? Aggron don’t even live anywhere near here.”

              * * *

              Giselle reached the front door of the Gym and waited for Daisy to catch up to her. Once Daisy was there, Giselle reached for the door and tried to open it, only to find that it was locked.

              “Hey, what gives?” Giselle yelled as she tried to force the door open.

              “I guess they’re not open right now. I guess you can’t really expect the Gyms to be open all of the time.”

              “Well, they should be! Trainers could show up at any time, you know. Like right now.”

              “Hold on, hold on!” Came a woman’s voice from off in the distance. Daisy and Giselle both looked over to see a young woman with dark green hair running up to them. When she reached the Gym, she stopped to catch her breath, panting heavily as she clutched her knees. “Sorry about that.” She said at last as she reached into her pocket and fumbled around for something. She pulled out a small white keycard and held it up to the door.

              The door unlocked with a small beeping noise and the woman opened the door, walking inside and motioning for the girls to follow her. Together they walked into the Gym’s interior which looked like the Gym had not been properly maintained in a long time. Moss and weeds were growing around everywhere.

              “I’m so sorry about that.” The woman said as she turned to face Daisy and Giselle. “I was at a meeting. Anyway, my name is Cassandra and I’m the Gym Leader here. I’m guessing one of you wants to challenge me?”

              “Both of us, actually.” Daisy said.

              “Okay then. So who wants to go first?”

              “Me!” Giselle reached her hand high into the air reflexively. “I’ll go!”
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              Old 1 Week Ago (7:15 AM).
              Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
              Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
              The Mustachioed Machamp
                Join Date: Apr 2013
                Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                Age: 22
                Gender: Male
                Nature: Quiet
                Posts: 89
                Chapter 78
                “Well, this whole trip has been a waste of my time.” Gary said bitterly as he and his Growlithe continued wandering around the abandoned theater. “Seriously, why did Kat said me in here?”
                Gary turned around and began walking back towards the entrance. A loud screeching sound suddenly filled the entire theater, followed by what sounded like old circus music.

                “What’s going on?” Gary wondered aloud as he jumped up from fright.

                He stood there nervously, looking around to see if he could see the source of the music and noticed that there were speakers set up all around. There were wires sticking out of the speakers that trailed along the ceiling. Gary motioned for Growlithe to follow him as he started following the cords. They lead him to the main stage of the theater, where a single spotlight shone down on an old gramophone playing into a microphone.

                “What in the-” Gary started to say, but was interrupted as the music came to a sudden halt and the spotlight went out for a second.

                When the spotlight lit up again, the gramophone was gone. In its place stood Kat, holding the microphone and looking up at Gary.

                “Welcome, welcome, to the House of Amity! I see we have a guest today. Here to challenge your skills, are you?”

                Gary stared at Kat in confusion and shock. “Kat? What are you doing down there? Is this some kind of game to you?”

                Kat continued staring up at Gary, a sly smile on her face. The spotlight went out again and when it came back on, Gary couldn’t believe his eyes.

                “Kat? What kind of idiot are you? The name’s Gary. Gary Oak. And one day I’ll be the Pokémon Master.”
                Gary stared down at his doppelganger, no longer sure what to make of anything.


                * * *

                “So who’s up first?” Cassandra asked Daisy and Giselle once they were all inside of the Gym

                “I’ll go ahead and let you go first.” Giselle said to Daisy. “And when you lose, I’ll already have an idea of what her strategy is like when it’s my turn.”

                “Gee, thanks for the vote in confidence.” Daisy rolled her eyes before walking up to Cassandra. “I have four Gym Badges already.”

                “Okay then. This will be a three-on-three battle. We’ll get started as soon as you’re ready.”

                Daisy turned back to Giselle and smiled mockingly. “When I’m done with this battle, I don’t think there’ll be any point in you even trying.” She couldn’t quite read the expression on Giselle’s face. “Anyway, let’s do this.”

                Daisy called out her Vulpix, while Cassandra opened with a Butterfree.

                “I hope you’ll actually listen to me this time.” Daisy muttered before giving her Pokémon a command. “Fire Spin!”

                The Fox Pokémon spat out a cyclone of fire that blasted Butterfree, engulfing the Bug-type in a spinning vortex of flames. Butterfree remained unable to move until the flames died down and it had already been knocked unconscious from the blow.

                “Wow.” Cassandra said in stunned amazement. “Um, go Beedrill.”

                She sent out her next Pokémon. The Poison Bee Pokémon charged at Vulpix with a Poison Jab, but Vulpix side-hopped out of the way causing Beedrill to crash stinger-first into the ground. Vulpix’s six tails stood on end and glowed with an ominous purple aura as she used Will-O-Wisp on Beedrill. Beedrill managed to dislodge its stinger from the ground and tried to fly up into the air, but its wings suddenly caught fire and it was send hurtling back down to the ground again. Vulpix launched another Fire Spin and when the flames dissipated, Beedrill couldn’t get back up again.

                “Return, Beedrill.” Cassandra said unenthusiastically. “Let’s go, Parasect.”

                The Mushroom Pokémon barely had time to land on the ground before Vulpix hit it with a Fire Spin and, like the two Bug-types before it, was knocked out by the blow.

                “I’m not really sure what to say to that.” Cassandra said as she recalled her Parasect. “You just flat-out wiped the floor with me. I guess you can just take this Mushroom Badge now.”

                Cassandra walked over to Daisy and handed her the badge. Daisy took it happily and turned back to Giselle.

                “So, what did you think?”

                Daisy thought she saw Giselle’s eye twitch as she stared at Daisy with an expression that Daisy couldn’t even begin to identify.

                “So you beat a few Bug-types with an overpowered Fire-type.” Giselle said as her expression returned to normal. “Big deal. My fight will be similarly short, so there’s no point in you even sticking around to watch. Why don’t you just head over to the Pokémon Center and heal up.”

                “But my Pokémon don’t need healing.” Daisy pointed out.

                “Just go.” Giselle growled angrily.

                “Fine, fine.”

                Daisy made her way to the door. As she made her way out she heard Cassandra ask Giselle how many badges she had and thought she heard Giselle reply with a week ‘Only one.’

                * * *

                Red and Yellow made their way over to the Celadon City Gym. As they approached the building, they noticed that there was an old man standing by the doorway, looking in through a window.

                “This Gym is great.” The old man said to himself as they approached. “It’s full of girls.”

                Red made sure that Yellow was standing on the opposite side of him that the old man and placed his arm around her securely, eyeing the old man with a look of disgust. Yellow felt surprised to feel his arm around her and felt her cheeks start to get warm, but she didn’t know why. As they walked up to the door, it opened automatically and they were met by the pungent aromas of a multitude of various flowers and plants. They made their way into the Gym until a young woman walked up to them.

                “Are you here to challenge the Gym?” She asked.

                “Yes.” Red replied.

                “Well I am afraid the Lady Erika left for some urgent business early this morning and has not yet returned.”

                “Do you have any idea when she’ll get back?”

                “I’m afraid not. You’ll just have to check back later.”

                Mildly disgruntled, Red turned around and left, Yellow still at his side. They walked along the long narrow pathway edged by rows of trees that lead to the Gym without another word until they walked out into the city.

                “Well now what?” Red asked.

                “You can let go of me now.” Yellow suggested.

                “Oh, right.” Red quickly put his arm back to his side. “There was something odd about that old guy so I wanted to make sure that you were alright. Anyway, do have any ideas of what we should do while we wait? It looks like there’s some kind of big mall over on the other side of town.” He pointed to a tall blue building with yellow and red banners hanging down from it that were advertising some kind of big sale.

                “I wanna check out that place.” Yellow gestured towards a bright purple building just a few blocks away covered in bright flashing lights.

                “The Rocket Corner?” Red asked, reading the large neon sign on the roof.

                “Yeah! It looks exciting!”

                “I think that’s a casino.” Red said in amazement. “But I thought gambling was illegal. And even if it is then there’s no way they’d actually let us in. We’re minors, after all.”

                “We’re what?”

                “Minors. It means we’re not adults yet and we aren’t allowed to do… things that kids shouldn’t do.”

                “But I thought you were an adult.”

                Red pondered that for a moment and then it occurred to him that he was, actually, legally an adult now that he had a Trainer’s License. It was an idea that would take him a long time to get used to.

                “Even so, “Red said. “We still shouldn’t go there. There’s a nice looking restaurant over in the other direction. Let’s go there and have breakfast. We haven’t eaten yet today and I don’t think we’ve really had a proper meal since the S.S. Anne.”

                Yellow was disappointed, but suddenly realized just how hungry she was. “Yes. Food. Let’s do that.”

                “Can I join?”

                Red and yellow both jumped, neither of them having noticed Sable walk up to them.

                “How long have you been standing there?” Red asked in alarm.

                “Not long. I just walked around the city for a while and then saw you two over here.”

                “Come on.” Yellow said impatiently. “Let’s go eat already.”
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                Old 1 Week Ago (6:44 AM).
                Glitch the Lifehacker's Avatar
                Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
                The Mustachioed Machamp
                  Join Date: Apr 2013
                  Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                  Age: 22
                  Gender: Male
                  Nature: Quiet
                  Posts: 89
                  Chapter 79
                  Gary stared at his doppelganger standing in the middle of the stage below him.

                  “What? Who? What’s going on?” He stuttered out, utterly confused.

                  The second Gary smiled back up at him and the spotlight went out again. When the light came back on, the Gary imposter had been replaced with a woman that Gary had never seen before with bushy teal hair tied in twin-tails and wearing an orange tee-shirt with a yellow star on it and jeans.

                  “My name is Duplica.” The woman spoke into the microphone. “Though most people call me ‘The Copycat’. I’m the Gym Leader here.”

                  “This isn’t a Gym?” Gary pointed out, still confused.

                  “Well, not exactly, anyway. The actual Gym is still under construction but I’ve already been appointed as its Gym Leader, so I’ve been using my family’s old theater house to fill in for it.”

                  “But, what was Kat doing down there with you? And that person that looked like me?”

                  The light went off and back on showing that Duplica had been replaced by the face Gary.

                  “Why do you think they call me The Copycat? Impersonating other people is my specialty.” The fake Gary pulled off his wig to show that ‘he’ was really Duplica in disguise. “I thought you would have figured that out on your own. Maybe you’re not as smart as you think you are?”

                  “Shut up!” Gary yelled down to her.

                  “Hm. Must have struck a nerve there.” Duplica muttered to herself. “Anyway, are we going to battle or not? I just got back from an important meeting and I’d like to get this over with so I can relax for a while.”

                  “You’re on!”

                  “Good.” Duplica said is Gary’s voice and then switched back to her own. “You should already have six badges if I’m not mistaken, which means that this will be a six-on-six battle. So give it all you’ve got and take on Kanto’s Normal-type specialist.”

                  “This will be a piece of cake.”

                  * * *

                  Red, Yellow and Sable walked into the restaurant, the “Celadon Grill” according to its sign, and were immediately greeted by the intoxicating smells of bacon and eggs. Evidently, they had just walked in during the breakfast rush as the old-timey diner was filled with people. There happened to be three empty red-leather stools available next to a man who seemed to have fallen asleep in the middle of his meal at the far end of the marble counter spanning one side of the diner, so the trio made their way across the black and white checkered floor trying to avoid bumping into anybody on the way. They sat down on the empty stools and a waitress walked up to them from the other side of the counter.

                  “What can I get for ya?” She asked. When she didn’t get an answer she just said. “Should I just make that three of the house special?”

                  “Sure.” Red said hesitantly.

                  “Okay, that ‘ill be comin’ right up.”

                  The waitress left, leaving Red, Yellow and Sable sitting alone in the crowded restaurant.

                  “It sure is noisy in here.” Yellow commented. She had to speak up to make sure that the others could hear her.

                  “Yes, it is.” Red agreed.

                  “I kind of like it.” Said Sable. “It’s different than what I’m used to.”

                  “Yeah, Lavender did seem like a pretty quiet place.” Red said.

                  “Apart from the ghosts.” Yellow added.

                  “Yes. Lavender Town.”

                  The sleeping man next to them suddenly stirred and sat up, staring blankly at the half-empty plate in front of him.

                  “Ugh.” The man grunted. “That’s it for me. I’ve lost too much already. I’m quitting now before I’ve got nothing left back the spin of my back.”

                  The man grabbed some sort of small red box out of his pocket and set in on the counter.

                  “What’s that?” Yellow asked inquisitively.

                  “It’s yours now.” The man replied. “Take it, I don’t want it anymore.”

                  And with that, the man stood up and waddled away, clearly still not fully awake yet.

                  “Hey!” The waitress yelled out to him as she walked up to Red, Yellow and Sable with three plates full of food. “You haven’t paid your bill yet!” She set the plates down in front of them and ran after the man. “Come back here!”

                  “Well, that was odd.” Red commented.

                  Yellow grabbed the box that the man had given to her and undid the golden latch on it to open it up. Inside were rows of strange golden coins, different than the ones normally used as currency. “What are these?” She said, holding one up and admiring the stylized ‘R’ on one side.

                  “Put that away.” Red told her. “I think those are casino tokens. Probably from that one you were looking at earlier.”

                  “Does that mean that we can go there now?”


                  Red picked up his fork as Yellow put the coin back in the case. He was about to take his first bite when Sable happened to catch a glimmer of light out of the corner of her eye.

                  “What’s that?” She asked Red.

                  “What’s what?”

                  “That thing on your wrist.”

                  “This thing?” Red held up his right hand to show off the bracelet with the marble-like stone embedded in it that Mr. Fuji had given him. “We’re not exactly sure yet. Why?”

                  “No reason.” Sable turned to her food. “I was just curious.”

                  * * *

                  “Raticate, use Super Fang!” Gary called out to his Pokémon.

                  The large Mouse Pokémon charged forward and bit its opponent, another Raticate, on the neck. Duplica’s Raticate let out a screech of pain and twisted around to get Gary’s Raticate with its own Super Fang. The two Pokémon released each other and backed off slightly, circling around one another. Duplica’s Raticate prepared to use Tackle, but Gary’s interrupted the move with a Quick Attack, knocking Duplica’s Raticate onto its back. Gary’s Raticate then bit Duplica’s with Hyper Fang, and Duplica’s Raticate fell unconscious.

                  “Well so much for the mirror match, I guess it’s time for a game of cat and mouse!” Duplica said as she called back her Raticate and sent out her second Pokémon, Persian.

                  The red gemstone on the Classy Cat Pokémon’s forehead glowed brightly and four purple rock-like energy constructs emerged from it, floating gently in the air above it before being launched straight at Raticate and knocking the Mouse Pokémon out cold. Gary scowled as he recalled his Pokémon and sent out his Nidorina. The blue Poison Pin Pokémon leapt out of her Pokéball and hopped off of the wooden stage floor they were battling on, turning around in mid-air and smacking Persian with a Double Kick. Persian was knocked back by the attack but quickly found its balance and retaliated by lunging towards Nidorina with its claws outstretched and using Slash. The attack struck Nidorina across the face, but she didn’t let it get to her and countered by pelting Persian’s underbelly with a round of Fury Swipes before it had landed back on the ground. Furious, Persian whipped around and smacked Nidorina with its tail and then hitting her with another Slash. Nidorina jumped back and then lunged at Persian to hit it with another Double Kick, knocking out the feline Pokémon.

                  “You’re certainly doing better than I expected you to.” Duplica commented as she sent out her third Pokémon. “But then again, this battle isn’t even half over yet. You’ve still got a ways to go.”

                  A Chansey emerged from the Pokéball and landed on the floor with a loud thump. The round pink Pokémon launched an Egg Bomb at Nidorina, who was barely able to jump out of the way of the attack. Nidorina then ran up to Chansey and used Bite on Chansey. The Egg Pokémon merely shrugged off the attack and hit Nidorina across the face with a Double Slap. Nidorina backed away from her opponent and launched a small purple dart from her mouth with Poison Sting. The Poison Sting hit Chansey just above its left arm and infected Chansey with poison. Chansey then used Heal Pulse to recover all of the health it had lost so fat.

                  “Don’t think that beating my Chansey will be so easy.” Duplica taunted Gary. “She’s an extremely resilient Pokémon and is capable of healing anything that you manage to do to her. The only way you’d be able to beat Chansey would be to knock her out in one hit.”

                  “Then I’ll just have to find a way to do that.” Gary replied.
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                  Old 1 Week Ago (7:01 AM).
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                  The Mustachioed Machamp
                    Join Date: Apr 2013
                    Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                    Age: 22
                    Gender: Male
                    Nature: Quiet
                    Posts: 89
                    Chapter 80
                    “Use Toxic!”

                    Nidorina spat out a glob of poison at Chansey on Gary’s order. The poison hit Chansey, who used Defense Curl to strengthen its defense. Nidorina then launched a spray of Toxic Spikes around the battlefield as Chansey got ready to hit Nidorina with a Take Down. Nidorina was able to jump out of the way of the attack and then sent out another wave of Toxic Spikes. Chansey used Heal Pulse to recover her health again as Nidorina growled at Chansey, causing Chansey to lower its attack.

                    The battle continued with Nidorina dodging as many of Chansey’s moves as she could while using Growl to lower its attack more and more. Chansey would heal its injuries with Heal Pulse whenever its health started to get low, but it seemed to get more and more fatigued as time went on. Eventually, after using Heal Pulse for one last time, Chansey simply lost consciousness and fell over.

                    “What?” Duplica wondered aloud. “What just happened?”

                    “I used Toxic on your Chansey earlier and unlike other moves which inflict poison on the enemy, Toxic’s effects double every time it takes effect. So it was only a matter of time before it reached the point where it would completely take away all of your Chansey’s health at once, rendering your little healing trick completely ineffective.”

                    “I can’t believe that I overlooked that.” Duplica said as she called back her Chansey into its Pokéball. “Good use of strategy, but I’m afraid that it won’t do you any good now that I know to avoid that attack. Go, Kangaskhan!”

                    The large brown Pokémon came out of its Pokéball with a roar as it leaped into battle and then let out another roar as it landed on the double-layer of Toxic Spikes that Nidorina had scattered around earlier.

                    “And of course there’s more than one way to badly poison a Pokémon. For example, the move Toxic Spikes normally poisons any of the opponent’s Pokémon that enter the battle after the move is used. If you use it twice, however, it badly poisons them instead. Every time you send out one of their Pokémon, it’s only a matter of time before they faint. I’ve effectively already one.”

                    “There’s one little hole in that plan of yours.” Duplica said.

                    “And what’s that?”

                    “All I have to do is beat all of your Pokémon before that happens. Kangaskhan! Use Mega Punch!”
                    The Parent Pokémon charged up to Nidorina and decked her across the face, sending her flying back into a wall and knocking her unconscious in the process.

                    “I guess I didn’t really think of that. Of course, it’s not like you actually have of beating me or anything, but I’ll let you pretend that you might actually win. Come on out, Nidorino! Use Horn Attack, followed by a Double Kick!”

                    The purple Poison Pin Pokémon practically flew out of its Pokéball and crashed straight into Kangaskhan head-first, knocking the larger Pokémon onto its back and then hitting it in the chest with his hind legs. Kangaskhan tried to retaliate with a Dizzy Punch, but Nidorino rammed Kangaskhan’s lower jaw with another Horn Attack. Kangaskhan let out a roar and passed out.

                    “Maybe you might win this one after all.” Duplica admitted as she recalled her Kangaskhan. “Then again, maybe not. Go, Tauros!”

                    The Wild Bull Pokémon emerged from its Pokéballs and landed on the Toxic Spikes. It winced slightly as it became badly poisoned, but was able to get itself riled up by whipping itself with its three tails. Tauros then lowered its head. The three silver orbs on its head began to glow purple as it charged forward to hit Nidorino with a Zen Headbutt.

                    Nidorino braced itself for the impact and took the attack head-on. The force of the blow knocked Nidorino back several inches along the floor. As Tauros backed away, Nidorino charged forward with a Horn Attack and struck Tauros in the leg. The attack forced Tauros to collapse onto the ground, making an opening for Nidorino to turn around and strike Tauros with a Double Kick to the face, knocking the Wild Bull Pokémon onto its side. Tauros quickly got back onto its legs and stood up, only to collapse again as the poison drained away the last of its health.

                    “It looks like it’s time for my last Pokémon.” Duplica said. “Come on out, Ditto!”

                    Duplica threw her last Pokéball and a small pink blob popped out of it. The blob twisted and contorted until it took the form of Gary’s Nidorino before it landed on the floor below.

                    “What?” Gary said, unsure as to what just happened.

                    “Ditto’s a special Pokémon.” Duplica explained. “It has the unique ability to take the form of any other Pokémon it sees. Normally it would take a moment for the Ditto to transform, leaving it vulnerable to attack when it first comes out. But my Ditto here has the rare Imposter ability that allows it to transform into something the moment it sees it. In this case, my Ditto was able to take the form of your Poison-type Nidorino, leaving it completely immune to the Toxic Spikes scattered around the field, as well as any other possible attempts to poison it. What do you have to say to that?”

                    “I say that an imposter can never be as good as the real deal.” Said Gary. “Nidorino, use Horn Attack!”

                    “Ditto, use Horn Attack!” Duplica yelled, imitating Gary’s voice.

                    The two Pokémon charged forward and rammed into each other. Nidorino and Ditto staggered a bit from the collision, and after a moment, Nidorino collapsed.

                    “What? How?” Gary yelled.

                    “You forgot that your Nidorino was already pretty hurt from my Tauros’ Zen Headbutt, while my Ditto was still perfectly fine. Although I did expect that Nidorino to at least take another hit or two before going down.”

                    Gary gritted his teeth as he recalled Nidorino and sent out his next Pokémon. “Rapid Spin!”

                    Wartortle came out of the Pokéball and retracted into its shell, spinning around quickly as it hit the ground, sending the Toxic Spikes flying at Nidorino.

                    “I might not be able to poison you, but I’m sure you’ll still take some damage from the spikes. And there’s no way you’ll be able to hit him when he’s moving around so quickly.”

                    Wartortle continued spinning as he made his way around, sending as many spikes as he could at Ditto. Ditto winced as hundreds of the tiny darts hit it, but was able to open its mouth long enough to fire a Poison Sting and managed to hit Wartortle, knocking him off of his intended projector and flipping him onto his back. Wartortle stuck his head out of his shell and used Water Pulse. Three rings of watery energy shot out of Wartortle’s mouth and hit Ditto. At first, it didn’t seem to do much, but when Ditto then tried to use Horn Attack, it charged off in the wrong direction and tripped, falling over onto its side.

                    “Wartortle, use Aqua Tail!”

                    Wartortle flipped over onto his feet and ran up to Ditto, his tail glowing blue. As he was about to reach Ditto, who was trying to stand back up, Wartortle turned around and slapped Ditto with his glowing tail. The attack knocked Ditto back and off the side of the stage. After a moment, Ditto was able to climb back up onto the stage and looked like it was going to attack again but instead melted back into its original gooey form.

                    “It looks like you won.” Duplica said. “That was a good battle. Here’s a Core Badge in honor of your victory.”

                    Duplica held out a badge that resembled a green circle surrounded by four green circles. Gary walked up to her and she dropped the badge into his outstretched hand.

                    “This means you should only have one more to go before you can enter the Pokémon League, right?”

                    “Yes.” Gary said as he put the badge away in his badge case. “But then again, why settle for only eight? I should have plenty of time to get more than that before the League starts up this year.”

                    “Really?” Duplica was surprised by his remark. “Most trainers don’t try to get more than the eight that they need. At least not before challenging the League, anyway. Once you’ve got eight badges, Gym Leaders no longer have to hold back at all. We don’t to limit ourselves to the normal restrictions we’re bound by when forming our teams and strategies.”

                    “That just sounds like more reasons to do it, then.” Gary said.
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                    Old 6 Days Ago (6:51 AM).
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                    Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
                    The Mustachioed Machamp
                      Join Date: Apr 2013
                      Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                      Age: 22
                      Gender: Male
                      Nature: Quiet
                      Posts: 89
                      Chapter 81
                      Red stepped out of the Celadon Grill and stretched. “Do you think the Gym Leader will be back by now?” He asked Yellow.

                      “How should I know?” Yellow asked back.

                      “I was just wondering aloud.”

                      “I’m sure she’s back at her Gym waiting to be challenged right now.” Sable said.

                      “How do you know that the Gym Leader is a woman?” Red asked her as the trio headed out back towards the Celadon Gym.

                      Sable paused for a moment, looking contemplative before answering, “I was just making a guess.”

                      They walked along the tree-lined path until they reached their destination. The old man was no longer standing outside the Gym and judging from the marks on the ground where he had been, Red guessed that he had been escorted away by force. Red walked through the front door and into the Gym, which remained unchanged from when he and Yellow had entered just earlier that morning.

                      “Welcome back.” Said the same woman that had greeted them earlier. “Lady Erika has returned from her meeting and is awaiting your challenge.”

                      “It looks like you were right.” Red said, turning to Sable.

                      “Yes, well, we’re all right sometimes.”

                      Red turned and headed further into the Gym, determined to win another badge. One more and he would be halfway to reaching the Pokémon League. It felt like nothing would get in his way. He didn’t even notice that Yellow was no longer with him.

                      * * *

                      Yellow stood outside the Rocket Game Corner, clutching the golden Coin Case that she had managed to take back from Red without him noticing. She had seen him battle three Gym Leaders already and would likely see him challenge more in the future, so she didn’t really care about missing this one. There was just something about this bright and shiny building that drew her in, compelling her to enter within those mysterious walls. It was like something inside was calling to her, asking her to find it. And the temptation of that forbidden allure had grown too strong for her to resist any longer. She had to find out what was in there.

                      She walked up to a group of people entering into the Game Corner and went inside with them, avoiding any suspicion from the guards standing by the doorway. Inside, she was greeted by a blindingly brilliant golden floor surrounded by pastel blue walls with pink trim. Neon signs hung from the ceiling pointing out eh various games and attractions littering the den of avarice that Yellow had found herself in. She made her way across the building, looking in awe at everything around her until she found herself walking up to a strange poster hanging alone on the far wall from the entrance. She walked up to the poster but found her way blocked by a large man dressed in black who walked up to her to stop her from reaching the poster.

                      “What are you doing here, little girl?” The man asked in a mocking tone. “This isn’t a place for kids. Scram!”

                      “No.” Yellow said as dignified as she could sound, stomping her foot for added effect.

                      “I said get lost.” The man reiterated. “There’s nothing to see here. Nothing strange about this poster at all. You shouldn’t even be in this place to begin with.”

                      “Make me.” Yellow stood up tall and made a determined face.

                      “Uugh, fine.” The man reached down to grab Yellow, but she ducked under one of his arms and mad a dash for the wall. The man’s comment about there being nothing strange about the poster just made her want to investigate it more and so she lifted up one of the bottom corners and found that there was a switch behind it. She pressed the switch despite having no idea what it did.

                      The man in black chased after Yellow and almost caught up to her when the floor at the end of a short hallway nearby moved, revealing a hidden staircase. Yellow dashed towards it to get away from the man and made her way down. As she ran down the steps, she realized that whatever was calling out to her wasn’t in the Rocket Game Corner after all. It was beneath the Game Corner.

                      * * *

                      Gary walked out of the House of Amity, wincing and lifting a hand up to block the bright sunlight from getting into his eyes, which had adjusted to the darkness of the old run-down theater. He looked around to see where Mal had parked and found his Dad’s car sitting just a few yards away. The four remaining members of his ‘cheerleaders’ were having a lively conversation, though he couldn’t tell what they were talking about and they quieted down as he approached the car.

                      “How did it go?” Kat asked him enthusiastically.

                      “You know, you could have told me this place was a Gym.” Gary said, standing just outside the car. “It would have saved me a lot of confusion. Although at least I didn’t have to suffer through you cheer routine again.”

                      “You do realize that we haven’t done that since before the S.S. Anne, right?” Asked Ciel.

                      “Not since the others left.” Sue added sorrowfully. “It just wouldn’t be the same without them.”

                      “Yeah, whatever. I never liked that cheer and I don’t really care that those other two left. I mean it’s not like anything really happened to them or anything. They just wimped out and decided to go home.”

                      “That’s kind of rude thing to say.” Mal said.

                      “Yeah, whatever. Anyway, does anyone have a Revive I can use? I have something that I want to do but I don’t want to have to wait until we get to the next Pokémon Center.”

                      “Sure.” Said Kat, reaching into her purse and pulling out a small yellow crystal.

                      She tossed the Revive at Gary, who tried to catch it but wasn’t quite able to get a good grip. The Revive fell to the ground, forcing him to have to bend down and pick it up. As he stood back up again, he glared at the girls like he wanted them to forget what they just saw. He then held out one of his Pokéballs and tapped the Revive lightly against the button. The Revive dissolved into light and was absorbed into the Pokéball.

                      “Alright, now that that’s taken care of, come out Nidorina.” He tossed the Pokéball and his Poison Pin Pokémon popped out. Gary knelt down and scratched Nidorina under her chin before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small gray rock. He held the Moon Stone up to Nidorina’s forehead and she began to glow brightly. Gary had to take a step back as the evolving Pokémon grew larger and larger. Eventually, the glow faded and standing before Gary was a newly evolved Nidoqueen.

                      “Good girl.” Gary said, placing his hand gently against the top of Nidoqueen’s head, making sure not to accidentally touch the horn sprouting from her forehead. “You’ve earned this.”

                      “Are you going to evolve Nidorino too?” Kat asked him.

                      “No, I think I’ll hold off on that. I might want to use my other Moon Stone for something else later. Anyway, we should get going.”

                      * * *

                      Daisy stood outside of the Mossgreen Village Pokémon Center, leaning against the side of the building and waiting for Giselle to finish her battle. She caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye and turned to see what it was. A small bird Pokémon carrying some sort of green twig was marching along a row of bushes along the edge of town. Daisy looked away again and then did a double take. That Pokémon was a Farfetch’d, one of the rarest Pokémon that Daisy was aware of. There was no way she was going to let this opportunity pass her by.

                      Daisy crouched down low and slowly made her way towards the Farfetch’d, who was facing the other way from her and seemed to be oblivious to the girl slowly approaching it. Daisy pulled out her Bulbasaur’s Pokéball held it out. Bulbasaur came out of the Pokéball and reached out to grab Farfetch’d with its vines before Farfetch’d had a chance to react. The Wild Duck Pokémon started flapping its wings wildly and quacking angrily as it tried to break free of Bulbasaur’s grasp, but to no avail. Daisy pulled an empty Pokéball out of her bag and threw it at Farfetch’d. The Pokéball hit its target and engulfed the struggling Pokémon before falling to the ground. The Pokéball shook once, then twice and finally a third time before the red light on its button went out and it stopped moving.

                      “Yes!” Daisy said triumphantly as she picked up the Pokéball and held it triumphantly over her head. She felt that the day couldn’t get any better, but was quickly proven wrong as Bulbasaur started to glow. In a moment, it had evolved into an Ivysaur.

                      “Whatever.” A bitter voice came from behind Daisy. She turned around to see Giselle standing there. “Come on, let’s just get going.”
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                      Old 5 Days Ago (6:33 AM).
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                      Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
                      The Mustachioed Machamp
                        Join Date: Apr 2013
                        Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                        Age: 22
                        Gender: Male
                        Nature: Quiet
                        Posts: 89
                        Chapter 82
                        Erika stood at the far end of her Gym, mentally preparing herself for battle. When she had arrived back from the meeting held in Indigo Plateau that morning, the girl she had left to watch over the Gym in her absence had told her that there was a boy who had stopped by earlier wanting to challenge her. She knew that now that she was here, it was only a matter of time before that boy would return to face her. As she thought, she had only been there a few minutes before the boy entered the Gym.

                        Erika had seen the boy before, or at least his picture. Samuel Redwood, of Pallet Town. She had seen his records among those of all of the trainers currently attempting to get into the Pokémon League. She went through those records regularly, keeping watch over the many trainers as they continued their journeys. If there was one thing that Erika took pride in, it was her infallible memory. Like a fly trap that snaps shut around its prey, nothing ever escaped her recollection.

                        As Red approached her, Erika noted that he looked different than his profile picture showed him. In his picture “Red”, as he was known, had a very humble look about him. His brown hair was kept neatly combed and his red and white jacket was kept zipped up to the collar. He had a plain looking smile that showed his inexperience, even if he didn’t intend it as such. She had seen that same smile on countless trainers like him before. But the Red that now stood before her was much more experienced than when that picture was taken, much more confident. He wore the same vest as in the picture, but it was no worn open, revealing the black t-shirt underneath, with three badges pinned to the shirt. A proud symbol of what he had accomplished so far. His hair was no longer as neat as it had been, no being rather messy under the red and white cap he wore slightly askew. There was a proverbial fire burning in his eyes, that made them appear to be red, much like his nickname. There was also a woman with him, with long, bushy purple hair and wearing a black dress. There was something off about the woman, but Erika chose to ignore her for now and focus on Red.

                        “Welcome, trainer.” Erika said. “I take it that you are here to challenge me to a Gym battle?”

                        “That’s right. My name’s Red and I already have three badges” Red said proudly.

                        “Very well then.” Erika gave a slight curtsy. “I am Lady Erika, the Gym Leader of Celadon City and master of the Grass-type. In accordance with the official Pokémon League rules, we shall each use no more than three Pokémon. If you manage to defeat all three of my Pokémon then you win the battle and earn the Rainbow Badge, but if I defeat three of your Pokémon before that then you lose the battle.”

                        “I already know how this goes.” Red said. “I’ve already beaten three other Gym Leaders, after all.”

                        “I know, and I’m sure you do know, but a brief refresher on the rules never hurt anyone. Now, if you are ready then we shall begin on the count of three. One, two three.”

                        Erika tossed a Pokéball to send out her first Pokémon, Tangela, while Red called out his Charmeleon. She already knew that he would win this fight without much trouble, but it was her duty as a Gym Leader to make sure that she gave the fight her to make sure that he would truly earn the badge he would receive upon victory.

                        * * *

                        As Yellow reached the bottom of the staircase, she could hear the entrance the entrance to the secret passage close behind her. She could tell that the man who was chasing her wasn’t able to get to the stairs on time and was heading back to press the button to open it up again. Or possibly send out some kind of alert that she was in there. Yellow wasn’t really sure how she knew this, but she seemed to know a lot of things that she was sure that she shouldn’t.

                        As Yellow made her way along a dark hallway with gray walls and a brown tiled floor. There didn’t really seem to be anything of note about this place beside how plain it was in comparison to the bright and elaborate the building above was. There were many open doorways along either side of the hallway leading into what appeared to be offices filled with men and women in black uniforms that were too busy to notice her go by. She happened to look into one office room as a man looked up at the ceiling while stretching his arms out to the side and letting out a big yawn. This allowed Yellow to see the front of his uniform clearly. In particular, the familiar red ‘R’ that she had seen several times before. These people were from Team Rocket.

                        That revelation didn’t really come as much to a surprise to Yellow though, as she had already had her suspicions about the name of the Rocket Game Corner and thought there might have been some kind of connection, but she didn’t care as much about that right now as she felt that she probably should. The hallway branched out into other hallways and formed almost a maze-like pattern, but she somehow knew exactly where she was going. There was a presence coming from deep within the apparent secret base that was guiding her way. She still had no idea what it was, but she knew that she had to go to it. She eventually came to a stop outside a closed door. She had no idea what lay beyond the door, but she felt the presence strongly behind it. Whatever was calling to her was just on the other side. She reached out for the door handle and was just about to grab it when she felt something large and hard slam into the back of her head and everything went dark.

                        * * *

                        Charmander and Squirtle walked through the woods until they reached the spot where Zoroark and Bulbasaur were resting.

                        “Time to go already?” Bulbasaur opened one eye as he heard them approach.

                        “There is no point in dallying here any longer.” Squirtle replied. “We have reached the end of our training for now and it is time to head to the next Gym. If we hurry, we should be able to get to Cerulean City before dusk.”

                        “But isn’t Saffron closer?” Bulbasaur asked.

                        “I’ do not think that going there would necessarily be such a good idea.” Said Squirtle. ”I have heard rumors that the Gym Leader there is some kind of powerful psychic. I think that it would be best for us to avoid that place, in case the Gym Leader could somehow find out the truth about us using those powers.”

                        “I’m a Dark-type, which means that I’m immune to Psychic powers.” Zoroark pointed out. “No one should be able to see through my Illusion and my presence should render any attempt at reading out minds to be futile.”

                        “Still, I’d rather not risk the chance of getting caught. There’s no telling what would happen if we were discovered. I think it would be for the best if we avoid Saffron City and head north to Cerulean City instead.”

                        “I suppose that makes sense.” Bulbasaur conceded. “We don’t want to take any unnecessary risks.”

                        “Now come on, let’s get going so that we can try and get there before dark.”

                        Squirtle set off on his way, with the other three Pokémon following close behind them. They were still a long way from reaching their goal of the Pokémon League, but every step of the way was another step closer and with Squirtle’s inspiring words every time things started to look down for them, victory felt like it was only just out of reach. They knew that their charade probably would not last much longer, but it felt to them as if it would last long enough. They were going to make it to the Pokémon League and they were going to win. Nothing could get in their way.
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                        Old 4 Days Ago (7:20 AM).
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                        Glitch the Lifehacker Glitch the Lifehacker is offline
                        The Mustachioed Machamp
                          Join Date: Apr 2013
                          Location: Gresham, Oregon, U.S.A.
                          Age: 22
                          Gender: Male
                          Nature: Quiet
                          Posts: 89
                          Chapter 83
                          Ash slowly opened his eyes before sitting up in bed and stretching his arms up. It was nice to have finally gotten some sleep after everything that had happened and he felt refreshed. He got out of bed and looked around the room.

                          “Good morning.” He yawned as he noticed Carmine reading a book while laying on a bed on the other end of the room.

                          “Mornin’.” Carmine replied, not looking up from his book. “How’d you sleep?”

                          “Good.” Ash walked over to a coat rack near the front doorway and grabbed his jacket off of it. “How about you?”

                          “That was the best I’ve slept in ages. Too bad it never lasts.” Carmine closed his book after finishing the page he was on and got up. “I guess it’s time to get to training now. The early Pidgey gets the Caterpie, as they say.” He then checked the time on his Pokégear. “Although I guess it’s not particularly early right now. Go wake up your Pikachu and we’ll get started outside.”

                          Ash turned to look at Pika, who was still curled up and the end of Ash’s bed. It struck Ash as odd that Pika would still be asleep. Normally, the Electric rodent got up at the same time he did.

                          “I think something’s wrong.” Ash said worriedly to Carmine.

                          “He’s probably just a little depressed that you got rid of the girl Pikachu.” Carmine jokingly suggested.

                          “I didn’t get rid of her.” Ash argued.

                          “I know. I’m just saying that the two seemed close. It’s only natural that he’d experience some behavioral changes. Volty’s probably acting similarly with Misty right now.”

                          Carmine’s words did nothing to calm down Ash’s worry. He knelt down in front of the bed and placed his right hand against Pika’s forehead.

                          “He has a fever!” Ash shouted worriedly.

                          “What?” Carmine asked blankly and walked up next to Ash. He rested his own hand gently against Pika. “Aeroblast!” He swore. “He’s burning up. We’ve got to take him to the Pokémon Center right now!”

                          * * *

                          Red’s Charmeleon blasted Erika’s Tangela with an Ember. Tangela was burned by the attack and retaliated with a Vine Whip. Charmeleon dodged out of the way of the vines and ran up to Tangela, using Fire Fang it bit into the wriggly mass of vines that coated its body. Tangela managed to wrestle free from Charmeleon’s jaws and launched a spray of Poison Powder. Charmeleon was infected by the powder but was able to get Tangela with another Fire Fang, knocking it out.

                          Erika sighed and recalled Tangela into its Pokéball before sending out her second Pokémon, Weepinbell. The Flycatcher Pokémon threw a Razor Leaf at Charmeleon. The leaf grazed Charmeleon’s cheek and the fiery lizard spit an Ember back at Weepinbell. Weepinbell then used Growth to try and increase the power of its next move, but that gave Charmeleon an opening to close in and use Fire Fang, biting into the brown stem at the top of Weepinbell’s head. Weepinbell tried to use spit Acid at Charmeleon but was unable to get a good shot at it. Charmeleon use Fire Fang a couple more times before Weepinbell fainted. After Weepinbell was recalled, Erika sent out her final Pokémon, Gloom, but it fared no better against Red’s Charmeleon as the others had.

                          “That was short.” Erika said as she walked up to Red with an outstretched hand. “And the result was rather predictable, but here you go. You’ve earned this Rainbow Badge. Take it as a sign of your victory.”
                          Red took the badge from Erika and pinned it with the three badges he already had. “Thank you.”
                          “Now, if you have no other business here, I would like to get some rest.” Erika said as she walked over to a flower-shaped pillow lying on the ground nearby. “I have had a busy day and I feel that a nap is in order.”

                          “Okay then, I guess we’ll be going.” Red waved goodbye as he turned to leave. He and Sable walked out the door when he finally noticed the absence of their other traveling companion. “Wait, where’s Yellow?”

                          “She left before we entered the Gym.” Sable said. “I don’t know where she went.”

                          “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” Red asked louder than he meant to.

                          “You didn’t ask.” Was Sable’s reply. “And I thought you would have noticed.”

                          Red rested his face in his hand. “Never mind. We need to find her. And I have a strong suspicion that I know exactly where she wandered off to this time.”

                          * * *

                          “I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of teleporting.” James moaned as he, Jessie and Meowth walked along a narrow stretch of land between a cliff-face and a small river. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

                          “Shut yer yap.” Meowth ordered him. “We’res almost dere.”

                          “How do you know that? We don’t even know for sure where ‘there’ is.”

                          “We knows that it’s suppose’d ta be a cave somewhere along dis here river, so as long as we’s follow alongside's it, we’s should get dere anytime nows.”

                          “Would you two just shut up?” Jessie yelled at the other two in frustration. “Can’t I just get some peace and quiet for five minutes?”

                          “Wells someone gots out of da wrong sides of the da bed dis mornin’.”

                          “I didn’t get out of bed at all this morning! I haven’t slept in over a day! None of us have and I don’t know about you, but I need my beauty sleep.”

                          “Ya’s got’s that right.” Meowth remarked. Both he and James laughed but were quickly silenced as Jessie smacked them both on the backs of their heads.

                          “Ouch.” James said before looking up again and seeing something up ahead. “Hey, look over there! That must be the cave!”


                          The three dashed towards the cave entrance and peered inside the dark interior.

                          “Did anyones happen ta bring a flashlight?” Meowth asked aloud.

                          “I didn’t even think about it.” Jessie answered.

                          “Hold on, I think I have something that can help.” James said as he reached down for an Ultra Ball clipped onto his belt containing one of the Pokémon that he had been given back during their special training with Archer. “Come on, Magneton!”

                          A yellow light shot out from the Ultra Ball a Pokémon resembling three steel orbs clung together and surrounded by magnets and screws materialized in front of them.

                          “Can you light the cave for us?” James asked his Pokémon.

                          Magneton stared at James with its three blank eyes and tilted forwards as if nodding and turned around. Its eyes lit up like spotlights, illuminating the dark cave.

                          “Well now dat dat’s solved, I guess we should head in nows.” Meowth said as he climbed over a rock and headed into the cave.

                          “What are we even supposed to be looking for in here?” Jessie wondered as she and James followed after the Pokémon.

                          “I dunno, but da boss seems ta want it bad if he sent us outs ta gets it.”

                          “I just hope we find it fast so that we can head out of here.” Said James. “Something about this place seems off.”

                          “I know what you mean.” Jessie agreed. “I’m feeling a cold chill that I don’t think is just the wind and Arceus knows how much this humidity is going to mess up my hair.”

                          “Shushs.” Meowth whispered back to the two humans. “I thinks I hears sumthin’.”

                          Jessie and James stopped talking and listened for a moment. Sure enough, there was a sound coming from deep in the cave. There was a distinct sound of running water, like there was some sort of underground river running through the cave, but there was something else as well, which was hard to make out at first but sounded like deep, raspy breaths.

                          The trio tried to hold back their fear and followed Magnaton deeper into the cave in silence. The noise got louder and louder as they made their way. They eventually reached the underground river and had to make their way around it to progress even deeper into the cave. At last, they finally made their way to the end of the cave and what they found there shocked them.

                          “Oh, Arceus.” Jessie muttered in horror. “Is that… a person?”

                          A dark-haired man that appeared to be somewhere in his thirties stood before them, encased in some kind of crystal that looked either orange or purple depending on how the light hit it. James hesitantly walked over to the man and touched the crystal. It felt as cold as ice and harder than steel.

                          “What’s going on here?” Jessie asked, not expecting an answer.

                          The breathing noise had become almost deafening and was now accompanied by what sounded like a heartbeat. Meowth looked around to see where it was coming from and was started as he saw a figure in a brown cloak crawl out from behind a large stalagmite.

                          “Get out.”
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                          The Mustachioed Machamp
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                            Chapter 84
                            “I don’t know why she wanted to go here, but this is probably where she wandered off to.” Red sighed as he and Sable stood outside the Rocket Game Corner. “Come on, let’s go look for her inside.”

                            The two walked into the Game Corner. Red thought for a moment that the guards standing outside were going to stop them, but it was as if they didn’t even see Red and Sable walk by.

                            “Not very good guards.” Red muttered once he was sure they were out of hearing range.

                            “I’m sure they had other things on their minds.” Said Sable.

                            “Other than doing their job?”

                            “Never mind.”

                            Red surveyed the busy casino, looking for any sign of Yellow. It was hard to make out anything among the crowds and bright lights everywhere. Sable walked away towards the other end of the Game Corner and Red saw no other option than to follow her. They made their way across the swarms of crazed individuals trying desperately to make back their losses until they made it to the back wall.

                            “I don’t see her anywhere.” Red complained.

                            “Hold on.” Sable walked down a short hallway that appeared at first to be a dead end. It looked like she flicked her whist and suddenly the floor opened up in front of her to reveal a staircase. “What do you think the odds are that she went down here?”

                            Red stared down at the secret passage and then at Sable. “How did you…?”

                            “Such a coincidence that this would open up right when we’re here. Anyway, shall we go?” Sable stepped to the side and motioned for Red to go down first.

                            Red begrudgingly headed down the stairs, with Sable following close behind. They made their way along a hallway until three men in Team Rocket uniforms suddenly ran out in front of them.

                            “Remember us?” One of the men said.

                            “Should I?” Red asked as he instinctively reached for his Pokéballs.

                            “We’re the guys you beat back in the Lavender Tower. And now it’s time for us to get our payback.” Said one of the other men. “And I wouldn’t try anything if I were you. We’ve got you surrounded.”

                            Red glanced back and saw three more Team Rocket grunts walking up to them from behind.

                            “Any ideas of how we’re supposed to get out of this mess?” Red asked Sable.

                            “I think I’ll leave this one up to you. I’m not really one for confrontations.” Sable said. “That guy did just say that you’ve already beaten then, right?”

                            “I guess so. But I think I might be a little outmatched this time.” Red said as even more members of Team Rocket ran up to them. “I don’t think we have a choice other than to surrender and hope for the best.”

                            * * *

                            Ash paced anxiously back and forth in front of the Pokémon Center’s front desk while Carmine stood off to the side, leaning against a wall. They had rushed there as fast as they could and handed Pika off to the nurse that was stationed there. The nurse had taken Pika to examine him and find out what was wrong and now they were waiting for her to return, hopefully with good news.

                            “This wait is driving me crazy!” Ash yelled in exasperation, raising his hands up to his head and stroking his hair furiously, almost knocking off his hat.

                            “Calm down.” Carmine told him. “Being impatient right now isn’t going to get you anywhere.”

                            “Calm down!” Ash turned to Carmine. “For Arceus’ sake, how the Distortion World can you expect me to be calm at a time like this? Pika could be dying right now for all I know and there’s nothing I can do about it!”

                            Carmine looked up at Ash quizzically. “Wow, you’re developing quite the foul mouth. Your mom would throw a fit if she heard you talking like that. I’d say that you’ve been hanging around me too much, but that wasn’t even the kind of heavy language that I use when I’m upset.”

                            “What, would you prefer I say Aeroblast like you always do?”

                            “No, not really. You should really watch your language. There may not be anyone else here right now, but this is still a public place.”

                            “Why should I even care right now?” Ash walked up beside Carmine and put his fist against the wall. Tears were streaming down his cheeks.

                            “Look, kid,” Carmine said as comfortingly as he could, “your Pikachu’s going to be just fine. It’s probably just a cold or something. Pokémon do just get sick sometimes, you know.”

                            “I know.” Ash muttered. “But I just can’t stop thinking the worst right now.”

                            The sound of a clearing throat turned Ash’s attention back to the desk. The nurse had returned.

                            “What is it?” Ash asked, running up to the desk. “What’s wrong with him?”

                            “You’re Pikachu has contracted a bad case of Pokérus.” The nurse explained. “He should be back to full health in a few days.”

                            Ash gave a sigh of relief as he turned back to Carmine. “That’s good to hear.”

                            “We do want to keep him here while he recovers so that we can monitor his condition and make sure that he isn’t overexerted.

                            “Okay.” Ash agreed. “Then I guess we’ll be sticking around here until he’s ready to go.”

                            “Well, we were planning on spending the next few days training anyway.” Carmine said as he walked up to Ash “This just means that we’ll do that training here. You already use Pika more than your other Pokémon, so this will give you a chance to test out your skills without him.”

                            * * *

                            Masque stood atop the roof of the Rocket Game Corner, using a small telescope to survey the surrounding city. She turned slowly as she took in the various landmarks of Celadon. There was the Gym, where the Gym Leader was no doubt taking her midday nap as she always did. Behind that was a large park with a fountain in its center, which had always been a popular gathering place for the locals. The Celadon Department Store stood proudly as the largest shopping center in the region. There were a number of apartment buildings that had sprung up in recent years. Off in the distance, she could see the Berlitz estate, owned by a wealthy family that had moved there from the Sinnoh region. Across from that was the family estate of Lady Erika.

                            A sudden burst of pain erupted from Masque’s head and quickly subsided. She dropped the telescope as she raised both of her hands to grasp her head, letting out a loud, high-pitched scream. She fell to her hands and knees, trying unsuccessfully to keep her breathing steady. She kept her eyes shut tight until she started to feel drops of water fall onto her clenched fists. It couldn’t have been rain. The sky had been completely clear just a moment ago and she would have felt it falling over her whole body. The only alternative was…

                            “Impossible.” Masque tried to say, but no intelligible words could escape her mouth in the state she was in.

                            The girl who had until that point been emotionally dead rolled onto her back. There was nothing else that she could do. Nothing but cry. She couldn’t explain her feelings at that moment and she didn’t know how she could feel them when the Iron-Masked Marauder had made sure that feelings were something that she would never have again.

                            Masque turned her head to the side and saw the telescope that she had dropped. She could see her reflection in the lens and stared at the face that gazed back on her, half covered with the white mask that she took her alias from. The vague smile design of the mask contrasted with her own expression of pain and grief. She grabbed the mask with one hand and threw it away. She now stared at the reflection of her own face, completely exposed. It was a sight that she had not seen in a long time. That no one had seen in a long time.

                            “What’s happened to you, Karla?” She said to herself before breaking down into sobs again.

                            The sounds of the city below made sure that no one would be able to hear her up that roof, no matter how loud she cried out. She was completely alone up there. It would likely be hours until anyone even noticed that she was missing.
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                            The Mustachioed Machamp
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                              Chapter 85
                              “So what are we going to do first?” Ash asked Carmine as they headed out the front doors of the Pokémon League.

                              “Well, why don’t you go ahead and let you Pokémon out so that they can get a breath of fresh air. I’m actually going to go back in and see if we can use one of the battle halls here to train in. Since there aren’t any tournaments going on right now, they should just be open so hopefully I can convince someone to let us use them.”

                              “Okay, I guess that sounds like a plan. Come on out, guys!”

                              Ash reached down to his belt and picked up his Pokéballs one by one, sending out all four of the Pokémon he currently had on hand. Fearow flew over to a nearby statue of a Machamp and perched on the stone Pokémon’s head. Sandslash and Kingler landed on the ground next to each other while Ghastly floated around in the air above them. All four Pokémon seemed happy to be out.

                              “Alright then, I’ll be back in a moment.” Carmine said before walking back inside.

                              Ash turned to his four Pokémon and stared at them for a moment. “Wow, with Pika and Volty gone, it’s like we’re down to almost half our team.”

                              “You are only missing a third of your Pokémon team.” Ghastly pointed out.

                              “I said almost.” Ash defended himself. “But still, it feels so weird, just having us here. I didn’t want Misty or Brock coming with us at first, but I’ve gotten so used to them that it doesn’t seem right not having them here anymore. It just feels like everyone’s leaving.”

                              “We will always be here so long as you need us.” Ghastly reassured him and turned to the other Pokémon. “Isn’t that right?”

                              Fearow spread his wings out wide and let out a loud screeching cry. Sandslash nodded its head and made a slight squeaking noise. Kingler snapped his jaws open and closed while spraying a foam of bubbles from its mouth.

                              “It’s good to know that you all have my back. And I promise to take care of all of you as best as I can.”
                              Ash heard the Pokémon League’s automatic doors slide open behind him and turned to see Carmine walking up to him hurriedly. Carmine was holding his Pokégear and held it up for Ash to see. Ash’s wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to be looking at, however.

                              “In all this excitement the past couple days we completely lost track of what day it is.” Carmine said.
                              Ash suddenly realized what Carmine was trying to show him. “June 20…”

                              “I know you probably want to stay here until your Pikachu recovers, but we should consider heading back to Pallet Town tomorrow. I’m sure your mom would probably want you to be home for your birthday.”

                              * * *

                              “What is it now?” Giovanni grumbled as Mallory walked into his office.

                              “Sir, three intruders have been found and captured.”

                              “Really?” Giovanni asked, dumbfounded. “We’ve hardly been here a day and people are already breaking in, right after yesterday. Please tell me it isn’t Carmine or that boy.”

                              “No, sir. The first intruder was a young girl who seems to have wandered in by accident, followed by a boy and a young woman who seem to have been merely searching for the girl.”

                              “Well, I suppose that could be considered good news then.” Giovanni gave a sigh of relief.

                              “However,” Mallory continued. “The agents that we had stationed in Lavender Tower claim that the boy is the one who defeated them there and he also matches the description the boy that agents Attila and Hun claim to have had an encounter with at Mt. Moon. The girl was also said to be with him on both occasions, though not the young woman. In addition, our records show that both the boy and girl were aboard the S.S. Anne.”

                              Giovanni sat back in his chair and held his hand up to his forehead as if he had a bad headache.
                              “It’s just one thing after another now, isn’t it? Yesterday had to have been the worst day in Team Rocket’s history and now it’s like things just keep piling up. What’s next? Is Arceus going to come down from the sky and rain His Judgement upon us personally? If He is, then He should stop taking His time and just get it over with already. I don’t think I can take much more of this.”

                              “What are your orders, sir?” Mallory asked him.

                              “Oh, just get rid of them. I don’t really care how just so long as they can never get in our way again. We don’t need any more of that.”

                              “Yes, sir.” Mallory bowed slightly and walked away, leaving Giovanni alone again.

                              “I’ve had it up to here with all of this nonsense.” Giovanni said to himself. “I lost my seat in the Council, I was beaten by a child, we lost our headquarters in Saffron and now our old base here in Celadon has already been breached. All within the span of twenty-four hours. I need some good news now, or else I think I might go crazy.”

                              Just then, the control console over to the side of his desk started beeping, showing that he had an incoming call. He pressed a button on the console and a small monitor folded out from the desk.

                              “What is it?” Giovanni asked as the image of Meowth, Jessie and James lit up on the screen.

                              “We’s went’s to the cave near Cerulean like’s ya asked us ta do.” Meowth said.

                              “What did you find?”

                              “Well… we’re not really sure what’s we’s founds, to be honest, sir.”

                              “But you did find something?”

                              “You’s could’s say that.”

                              “Stop beating around the bush and give me a straight answer!” Giovanni yelled furiously at the talking Pokémon. “Did you or did you not find something in that cave?”

                              “Yes.” Meowth said nervously. “We’s found… some kinda strange Pokémon that’s put up a huge fight, but that we’s was able ta capture.”

                              “Good. I want you to bring it back immediately. It may be the key to our future plans.”

                              “There’s was also somethin’ else back here’s.” Meowth continued. “It’s looks like some kinda person frozen in somethin’. We’s don’t know’s who it is or what they’s actually frozen in, though’s.”

                              “Hm…” Giovanni pondered what Meowth had just told him. “Leave him for now. We might send someone to investigate that later, but we don’t have the available resources right now. Return here with the Pokémon as soon as you can.”

                              * * *

                              Wes and Rui sat at a table inside of a small fast food restaurant in Viridian City. Rui was feeding her Pichu some of her fries while Wes leaned back and stared up at the ceiling.

                              “What’s on your mind?” Rui asked Wes.

                              Wes looked down from the ceiling and looked at Rui for a moment before responding to her question with another question. “How would you describe your relationship with your parents?”

                              Rui was caught somewhat off guard by the sudden question. “Well, my dad’s kind of strict and my mom seems like she tends to get worried over nothing most of the time, but I’ve always been able to get along with them reasonably well. Things started to get a bit shaky once I started getting my aura sight, though. My mom never developed the sight and my dad doesn’t come from a family of aura guardians so they didn’t think I’d end up having the power of aura and it came as a shock when my powers start manifesting themselves. It took a few years before they finally decided to send me to my grandparents so that Grandpa Eagun could teach me how to use my power properly. Why?”

                              “It’s interesting how different our upbringings were. I was raised by Team Snagem because my mom couldn’t care less about me and chances are my dad, whoever he is, has no idea that I even exist.”
                              Rui bit her lower lip, not really sure how to respond to that.

                              “And yet here we are, an ex-criminal and a psychic. Fate or whatever decided to put us together so that we could take down Cipher and now here we are, together again and working to bring down another criminal organization.”

                              “I’m not a psychic.” Rui corrected him. “I’m an aura guardian. In training.”

                              “Whatever.” Wes said as he picked up his burger. “Same difference.”
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                              The Mustachioed Machamp
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                                Chapter 86
                                Yellow slowly regained consciousness, finding herself strapped to a chair in an apparently empty room.

                                “W-where am I?” She asked.

                                “Good to see that you’re awake.” Red’s voice came from behind her. “Or at least hear you anyway. I can’t really see you right now.”

                                “What’s going on?”

                                “Sable and I went searching for you and somehow wandered into a Team Rocket hideout. The ambushed us and took us prisoner or something. I don’t know what plans they have for us.”

                                “W-what?” Yellow found herself experiencing a sudden shortness of breath as she tried not to cry.

                                “Don’t panic. I’m going to find a way for us to get out of this mess. Just hold on.”

                                “I find this to be a very interesting turn of events.” Sable said with an inappropriate level of enthusiasm.
                                “Seriously?” Red snapped at her. “I’m starting to think that there’s something seriously wrong with you.”

                                “Hey, I made it perfectly clear when I asked to come with you that I’m just here for some excitement.”
                                Their argument was interrupted as a door swung open and Mallory walked in, followed by Ken, Al and Harry.

                                “It’s time for you to go.” She said coldly as each of the three grunts went to untie the three prisoners.

                                “You’re letting us go?” Red asked hopefully.

                                “In a matter of speaking.” Mallory smirked. “Blindfold them.”

                                * * *

                                Gary climbed out of the back of the car and looked around. Fuchsia City was very different than anywhere he had been before. The first thing he noticed was that all of the roads were a dark red color, unlike the usual black or gray pavement. The wooden houses and other buildings around them seemed to have a very rustic feel to them that he wasn’t used to. He turned around and noticed that what he at first thought was just the other side of town wasn’t even a part of town at all.

                                “What’s that over there?” He asked Kat.

                                “That’s the Fuchsia zoo.” She answered. “And that…” she pointed to a large building nestled between thick rows of trees, “is the entrance to the Safari Zone.”

                                “The Safari Zone?”

                                “Trainers can go there to catch some of the rarest Pokémon in the region.”

                                “Really?” Gary was intrigued by this. “Then I guess I know where I’m going next.”

                                “Hold on a moment, it’s not that simple.” Kat put a hand on Gary’s shoulder to stop him from walking off.

                                “What do you mean?”

                                “Well first off you have to pay to get in and you only have a limited time before you have to leave.”

                                “What? What kind of Tauros crap is that?”

                                “They do have Tauros in there actually, but there’s more to it. You can’t actually take your own Pokémon or items inside. You’ll be given a set of special Safari Balls and have to try and catch whatever you can on your own within the time limit.”

                                “You know what?” Gary said. “I don’t think I have time for that kind of nonsense. Let’s just find the Gym.”

                                “Are you sure?” Kat asked him. “You could miss out on a lot. Rhyhorn, Chansey, Pinsir, Kangaskhan, Tauros… Do none of those sound interesting to you?”

                                “I’m listening.” Gary said as she got his attention again.

                                “I’ve even heard stories of people seeing Dratini in the Safari Zone before. Though I’ve never heard of anyone actually catching one before.”

                                “Then I guess I’ll be the first!” Gary started marching off towards the Safari Zone. “Come on, let’s go!”

                                Mal sighed as she saw Gary leave. “That kid never rests, does he?”

                                “You can go ahead and find the local Pallet House or something.” Kat said to the others. “We’ll catch up.”
                                Kat ran off after Gary, leaving the other three women behind.

                                “Why are we even still doing this again?” Mal asked her sister.

                                “You’re the one who wanted to go.” Ciel reminded her. “You said that you wanted to get out of Pallet for a while and do something new.”

                                “Oh, yeah. That’s right.”

                                “And also because Mayor Oak is paying us a ton to watch over his kid.”

                                “I suppose he is. But I never realized how long this would take or how hard the kid can be to deal with sometimes. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want a bunch of gorgeous ladies such as ourselves cheering on his battles?”

                                “How about you, Sue?” Ciel asked. “Why are you still here?”

                                “Mostly just the money.” Sue said. “I couldn’t compete in last year’s swimming season because of a leg injury, so I’m kind of tight on cash right now.”

                                * * *

                                Red, Yellow and Sable had no idea where they were being led until they felt themselves being shoved back against a wall. They had their blindfolds removed to find themselves in a storage room filled with boxes.

                                “This place should do nicely.” Mallory mused.

                                “I thought you said you were letting us go?” Red shouted at her.

                                “I said that we were ‘in a manner of speaking’.” She corrected him. “Obviously we can’t actually let you when you know how to get into our secret base. No, we're going to have to make sure that you can never tell anyone about us or anything that you’ve found here.”

                                Mallory pulled out a Dusk Ball and pressed the button on its front. A beam of dark green energy shot out and a Hypno materialized in front of her. Yellow shrieked at the sight of it and frantically tried to back away from it, but she was already against the wall.

                                “W-what’s wrong with that thing?” She asked in horror.

                                “What are you talking about?” Red asked in confusion, as it seemed to be a perfectly normal Hypno to him. He turned to Sable and noticed that she was also eyeing the Pokémon as if there were something wrong with it.

                                “Can’t you feel it?” Yellow asked. “That thing… it’s like… it’s like its pure evil!”

                                “Hm. Interesting observation.” Mallory noted. “This Hypno has had its heart sealed off using a process that our scientists developed. We call them Dark Pokémon. Are you able to see aura, girl?”

                                “What’s that?”

                                “Never mind.” Mallory shook her head. “It doesn’t matter anyway. You see, my Hypno here is going to wipe away all of your memories so that we can just dump you in an alley somewhere with no worries about you telling anyone about us. You won’t remember this meeting or even anything that’s happened today. You won’t even have any idea who you are.”

                                “You can’t do that!” Red blurted out.

                                “And why not?”

                                “Because…” Red tried to think of anything to say.

                                “That’s what I thought.” Mallory raised her hand in preparation to give her Dark Hypno the signal to wipe their minds but was suddenly interrupted.

                                “You know, I think I’ve had enough of this little game now.” Sable said unexpectedly as she stepped away from the wall. “I’m not really having any fun anymore you’re really starting to make me worry that you might actually try to harm us.”

                                “Get back over there!” Mallory ordered her.

                                “If you don’t mind, I think it’s about time that you let my friends and I go. Otherwise, we’ll be forced to leave without your permission.”

                                “This isn’t a game.” Red said, worried that Sable had completely lost her mind.

                                “No, it isn’t. These people are threatening to take away everything that makes you who you are and you’re not doing anything to stop them. I honestly don’t understand you humans sometimes. One minute you’ll do whatever it takes to survive and the next you just give up.”

                                Mallory and the three Team Rocket Grunts were suddenly knocked away by some unseen force, all of them losing consciousness as they slammed into the walls. Sable walked over to where Red and Yellow were standing and placed a hand on each of their shoulders.

                                “We’re leaving.” She said disgruntledly. There was a sudden flash of light and the three were standing on a beach.

                                “What just happened?” Red asked in shock.

                                “The important thing is that you are out of harm’s way for now. Now, if you don’t mind, you’ve just learned a lot that I’m not ready for you to learn.”

                                Sable took her hands off of their shoulders and waved them in front of Red and Yellow’s faces in a single, fluid motion. Both of them fell to the ground unconscious.

                                “I almost feel bad about taking away their memories of the last few moments considering that it’s like a smaller version of what was about to happen to them.” Sable muttered to herself as she held out her arms to her sides and began to fall back. “Oh, well. Time for a dirt nap.”
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                                The Mustachioed Machamp
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                                  Chapter 87
                                  Gary looked around. There was something highly unusual about this place. The trees looked completely different than any he had ever seen before in his travels across the Kanto region and the grass seemed like it was a darker shade of green. It felt less like he was in a forest and more like some kind of jungle.

                                  “So, this is the Safari Zone.” He turned to Kat, who was standing beside him.

                                  Kat seemed to be taking in her surroundings as well, but she seemed more at home here than he felt. She took a deep breath of air and seemed to hold it in for a while before letting it back out. Gary realized that he had been holding his own breath since walking out into this place and inhaled slightly. Even the air felt different here, sort of musty. He didn’t really care for the feel of this place and didn’t think that he would be getting used to it in the time they had there.

                                  “There’s nothing quite like this place.” Kat said wistfully.

                                  “You can say that again.” Gary grumbled.

                                  “So, cuz’, do want to explore on your own or do you need me to watch over you?” Kat asked playfully as she ruffled her hand lightly through Gary’s hair.

                                  “I do not need you to watch over me!” Gary said indignantly, pulling himself away from her.

                                  “Good, then I’ll see you when time’s up.” Kat turned and ran along a pathway, quickly falling out of sight.
                                  Gary steadily walked in the opposite direction, not really sure where he was going. He walked along a patch of thick, tall grass but stopped when he heard a rustling sound nearby and turned to brace himself as a Venonat jumped out at him.

                                  * * *

                                  Mallory limped into Giovanni’s office to find the leader of Team Rocket sitting back in his chair with his hands up to his head as if nursing a headache.

                                  “What could you possibly want now?” Giovanni groaned as he heard her come in.

                                  “Sir, there’s been an incident.” Mallory said, leaning against the door frame.

                                  “An incident?” Giovanni put his hands down and looked up at her. “What could possibly have happened in the last fast minutes? And what happened to you? You look like you just got hit by a Rhyhorn.”

                                  “I went to get rid of the intruders like you asked.” Mallory explained. “But the woman that we had no record of must have been some kind of powerful psychic. She knocked me and the others that I had as backup away effortlessly without even touching us and then they teleported away.”

                                  “So let me get this straight.” Giovanni raised his hand to his forehead and started massaging his temples as he spoke. “You let the intruders get away with full knowledge of our location and how to find us, meaning that this hideout, which has been the primary headquarters of Team Rocket throughout almost our entire history, has now been compromised, less than a day after we lost our base in Saffron City.”

                                  “Yes, sir.” Mallory looked down at the floor in embarrassment and flinched as Giovanni walked up to her.

                                  “What are we supposed to do now?” He yelled. “We can’t stay here and we have nowhere else left to go at this point! We’ve lost almost everything within the past forty-eight hours and now we’ve lost the only base of operations that we had left. What do you suppose that we do now?”

                                  “Well, sir…” Mallory did her best not to break into tears, both from fear and from her injuries. “This isn’t actually our last base.”

                                  “What?” Giovanni asked flatly.

                                  “When I was going through the archives earlier this morning, I found a locked filing cabinet that had apparently rusted open by a leak in the ceiling while we were in Saffron. Inside I found documents related to another Team Rocket facility on one of the northern islands of the Orange Archipelago.”

                                  “Do you mean the New Island laboratory? That facility was completely destroyed in a lab accident years ago.”

                                  “No, sir. We apparently had another facility on one of the other islands. It would appear that knowledge of it was kept top secret, even amongst the higher-ups of Team Rocket.”

                                  “Interesting…” Giovanni contemplated what this could mean. “What information were you able to gather about this secret facility?”

                                  “Not much sir. It appears to have somehow been connected to the New Island laboratory, but that was all I could find. I didn’t have time to look over the documents completely and a lot of them were water damaged from the leak and had become illegible.”

                                  “I think I have a plan for what we’ll do for now. “ Giovanni said. “We’re going to find this secret facility and make it our new headquarters, at least for the time being until we can find a better alternative.”

                                  * * *

                                  Red slowly opened his eyes and sat up. Yellow was lying beside him and Sable was also nearby, both also just regaining consciousness.

                                  “What happened?” He asked.

                                  “I don’t know.” Said Sable. “What is the last thing that you remember?”

                                  “Well, we had just been captured by Team Rocket and they said that they were going to wipe our memories.” Red recalled.

                                  “There was something wrong with the lady’s Pokémon.” Yellow said. “But, I don’t remember what.”

                                  “It would appear that they tried to take our memories away and dump us here but that it didn’t work for some reason.” Sable explained.

                                  “I guess that makes sense.” Red said as he got up onto his feet. “Although that doesn’t really answer the question of where we are.”

                                  He looked around. They were on a sandy coastline, but not one that he recognized. He checked his watch and then looked up at the sun, determining that they must be on an eastern shore as the sun was over the ocean and it was still morning. There appeared to be a large city just a few miles north along the beach.

                                  “I guess we should head over to that city to see where we are. Hopefully we’re not too far away from where we were.”

                                  “That sounds good to me.” Yellow said cheerfully.

                                  “Everything sounds good to you.”

                                  “Not everything.”

                                  The three started heading towards the city, Sable staying a few paces behind Red and Yellow. She looked up at a nearby try and glanced at Pikachu, who was freaking out from unexpectedly finding herself teleported from Celadon to this unknown location without any warning. Sable smiled, mildly bemused by Pikachu’s reaction, before running to catch up to the others.

                                  “I’ve never been to a beach like this before.” She lied.

                                  “I think I have.” Yellow muttered. “I don’t think that it was this one, though, but I don’t really remember it at all. It’s just a feeling.”

                                  “Well, that’s better than nothing.” Red said. “You were also able to identify a lighthouse a while ago, so I’m starting to think that you may be from somewhere along a coastline.”

                                  “Do you think this city could be where I’m from?”

                                  “I don’t know. It seems like that would be an unlikely coincidence, but then again it could be. We’ll just have to see.”

                                  * * *

                                  “Are you sure about this?”

                                  “Yes, I’m sure. I see more clearly now than ever. Team Rocket was holding us back.”

                                  Hun stood at the edge of a small river, Attila sitting next to him. They watched their discarded jackets be carried away by the water.

                                  “I’m no longer content being a lackey for a weakling like Giovanni.” Attila continued. “What kind of organization can’t even handle dealing with children. We’re much better striking it out on our own. It shouldn’t take us long before we become the strong Pokémon hunters this country has ever known. No, we’ll be the best Pokémon hunters in the world.”

                                  “I’m still not convinced that this is the best thing to do.” Hun said. “But I will follow you along whatever path you choose to follow.”

                                  “I know you will.” Attila stood up and put on his sunglasses. “I can’t always count on you to have my back.”

                                  “So what are we going to do now?”

                                  “I think it’s high time that we went after that brat from Mount Moon. He’s gone far too long without having to pay for standing up to us.”

                                  “You mean standing up to you.”

                                  “Is there a difference.”

                                  “Not really.”
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