Thank you I guess, hope this doesn't come out wrong but in the future can you say what you like and what is cool but it's grea to have a new reader. Now some good news!
I have finally finished Chapter 12 after a long time of writing it and I'm sorry for the delay between Chapters, I will try not to do it again as I have no valid excuse. Before you read Chapter 12 I would ask that you re-read Chapter 2 the part where Ryperior appears, it plays a big part in Chapter 12 and I have re-edited it! So here it is...hopefully the long awaited Chapter!
Chapter 12: Once More Round the Bend
A smell of diligent food wafted up Max’s nostrils tempting his taste buds, as their order was being prepared in the kitchen behind where he sat in the red luxurious chair, accompanied with a modern Japanese style that contrasted the red well. His view allowed him to gaze into the black night life of Petalburg City where young trainers were allowing their Pokémon to walk beside them and enjoy the cool breeze whistling through the streets. All of them he considered rivals that one day he would compete against and hopefully win with his ‘talent’.
His family and Roxanne were hot in conversation around the white marbled table where May was telling her stories from Jhoto, the travels from towns to cities and the numerous adventures she experienced with old and new friends, “Wartortle has become such a strong asset to my team, and its personality has really grown along with its size and power. The baby it once was, is now a feisty adolescent who never takes no for an answer, which can sometimes get a little annoying, but that’s what I love about him.”
“Well my dear, I remember when you were like that only a few years ago, always insisting on doing this and that and travelling to Birch on your own, and now Max has taken over that role. The two of you growing up, I never thought I would let this day come but it has and it’s great to have you back home where we can have a family meal together, like the old times,” Caroline softly said with a wave of calming emotions seeping into her children’s’ hearts; nearly bringing tears to Max’s eyes. He reached into his pocket to find a tissue to quickly dab at them while no-one was looking, but he found the leather case box that held his sisters present inside which immediately changed his mood. Grabbing it tightly, he brought it out and onto the table where May instantly took it from him.
“Max? You haven’t opened it yet...why?”
“Well, I guess I just wanted to open it once I overcame my first hurdle in a way...and now I have, I suppose there’s nothing stopping me anymore.” He took it in his hand, unclipping the golden coloured latch which released a majestic violet light as the lid slowly opened to reveal half of a pendant that had a jagged edge down its right side. “May...” Max was stunned; it was truly time for him to accept his journey and fulfil people’s expectations of him, however hard, and the first step lay in the palm of his hand.
Inside a zipped compartment of his bag the same eerie light began to be produced, perplexing Norman and Caroline: what was going on? Max reached in and drew out an identical half of a pendant, something magical was held in the story behind it, and after 5 years of it being hidden it was time to finally tell.
“Max, May! What is all this?” Caroline inquisitively asked looking into the two pieces of jewellery as it captured her gaze with its grand presence, seemingly untouchable in its power.
“Well Mum, the short story, some years back Max and I were fishing down in the river that flows through the woods not far from here, and Max got a tug on his rod, being pulled into the water. It wasn’t that deep so he was fine but I still went in to help him out. When we had got out, attached to his shoes was this pendant you see. I grabbed it and so did Max but due to all our yanking it snapped in half and we’ve both kept our own pieces, until now. I believe that it’s a true sign of Max’s independence having both halves and how I no longer need to protect him as he travels with new friends.”
She looked back around at her little brother who was fiddling with both pieces in his hand, in deep thought about what his sister had said and how he would proceed in his journey and life. Catching Pokémon was all he thought about the day he walked out of Birch’s lab, but now that wasn’t the only thing that mattered. Becoming friends with new creatures and having different experiences with them, like May had, that was what would make his travelling fun and adventurous. But being independent would leave him on his own, no-one backing him up if he encountered trouble in the form of Team Rocket where it would be him on his own. Would any accomplishments make up for the loss of companions?
“Max, honey, what May has done for you is a gift any sibling would want, their independence from the rest of the family as they grow into a young adult and piece together themselves, and a way for you to start is by putting that pendant back together when we get home, and I’ll give you some help if you want to symbolise our last feat united,” Norman said, ruffling Max’s hair like he use to.
“And a word from me...with your challenge against your Father and the battles you’ve overcome against that strange bunch of criminals, and even Mark, you should be able to prove to yourself that you are worthy of reaching the goal of a Pokémon Master already when there are numbers of trainers out there who still haven’t earned enough badges to compete in Pokémon leagues, for you that must prove something.” The kind words of Roxanne were causing a few more tears in Max as he began to realise what was needed of him and how to move on.
“Well, I don’t know. It’s all fair and well saying I just need to believe but in practice it’s a whole lot harder...” Uttering these words he clasped his hands in frustration, evidently pushing the two parts together deduced because of the sheer blinding light that shone from his hands. He couldn’t move, it was like he was frozen in time as he gazed upon everyone around him who had jerked their heads to see the commotion, but things started to get stranger, they all began to slow down until they were halted and Max was thrown backwards into what seemed an endless spiral of multicoloured light!
The sunlight began to break through Max’s closed eyelids as his senses all started to function again, allowing in the sounds of Murkrow to softly vibrate his ears. At first the light blinded him, taking a couple of seconds to focus and allow him to stare into the trees of a wood, surrounding him on all sides. It seemed the perfect bliss place to be, if it was in a movie, but for him this was just terrifying. There was no way he could have got here so quickly after being in a restaurant in the heart of Petalburg City. What a strange experience.
After a few minutes of becoming use to everything once again, he attempted to get a secure hold in the bushes to prop himself up and crawl out of the foliage, except it was harder than he had first imagined. He reached up to hold onto one of the branches dangling from the Oak tree above him, holding on as tight as possible while lifting his body upright. After a few attempts it worked, and he stumbled from within its thresholds only to find he was lying by the road that led towards Professor Birch’s laboratory. How weird? What had successfully launched him a number of km in distance? Then he remembered. The pendant, some mystical force had caused him to teleport across the country, and at first glances it could prove to be handy in reaching his next goals without having to travel far to get there, now he just had to work it again and get back to Petalburg.
While his thoughts continued to process all the relevant data, the noise of a whirring car crept over the horizon along with a churning cloud of dust that was visible even from where Max stood. As it neared, the car became more visible until it was clear whose it was, now he had to hide, no reason why, he just had to. He flung himself quickly back into the bushes as his Dad’s Porche roared past at great speed, gaining its approach towards Birch’s lab, but Max was still able to glimpse inside to where he saw his father and himself in heated conversation, an experience he had lived only a few weeks ago. What had that Pendant done?
His expressions explained everything, a shock, bewilderment, one that was unexplainable. He wandered out onto the road and watched the car tail off toward the building that was faintly visible where Professor Oak and Professor Birch would greet him and offer him a choice of 6 Pokémon, a puzzling fact. There must be a reasonable answer to the situation, maybe he was dreaming or knocked unconscious and was reliving a past event, but things just seemed too real. He went into deep thought, trying to find an explainable answer; however he couldn’t. Maybe following the trail would help him figure out what to do.
He sped off towards the laboratory, arriving not long after the car. His younger self was wondering into the room where the starter PokeBalls were lying on a table along with his Pokédex, about to receive Charmander. Suddenly a thought strayed across his mind, what if he changed his own fate? What if instead of Charmander he bonded with Mudkip, that way his journey might change, and Charmander could go back to Kanto and find another loving trainer. It could work. But he wasn’t thinking of the dire consequences that could follow in this fatal choice. He came first!
Max carefully made his way to the far side of the building where he could see clearly through the window he had crouched by, watching himself look amazed as the first three Pokémon appeared with a gifted magical appearance, each Pokémon with their unique quality. Mudkip was adorable, why else would he have fallen in love with it. He gazed once again in awe at the water Pokémon’s majestic attributes; the orange external gills were what had attracted him to begin with, and something odd that made this Pokémon a beauty. What wonder! He attempted to move to the opposite window where he could distract Charmander and draw him away from the younger Max instead of having Mudkip distracted first, that way his younger self might follow the water type and not get drawn to the fire type. In the process of movement he clipped the windowsill with his bear elbow causing a faint noise which attracted Mudkip’s sensitive hearing. The blue Pokémon leapt from the table to investigate what had occurred outside being the only one to notice it while the others just played around with Max. Now there was no chance to get his favourite Pokémon, the upcoming trainer now had Charmander cradled in his arms, Max was the reason Mudkip wasn’t his; it was his own actions that made it this way, now what to do?
He skulked down with his back against the white washed wall, crowded with unwanted feelings of regret and disappointment knowing that what he just attempted was wrong, although he realised that if he had succeeded nothing would matter anymore as he would return to a different world, without Charmander and possibly without Mudkip. Fate can’t be changed, he knew it, but the excitement of getting what he wanted or turning a situation into his own way was not a chance to give up at a snap of a finger, if anything it should be tried out in some sort of simulation chamber that only existed on the T.V. At least then...things could become easier, tough decisions made simpler by a pre-empted enactment and maybe his past few weeks would have become somewhat different, not meeting up with Roxanne or having to face the mysterious ‘Steel Team’ who put them all through torture. He sighed, there were all these ‘what ifs’ which became incredibly strenuous upon his mind as he juggled with the thought of changing some other occurrences, say causing his younger self to take a different route to Petalburg City and not becoming mixed up in everything he did, a year’s journey packed into a few small weeks. His face started to sag from the stress and burdens he had thrown over himself by trying selfish acts to enhance his life, the only thing he should worry about was finding a way back to his time, his reality. If only that was a simple answer.
After a few minutes pondering over the same thought in his head, he decided that the best course of action was to leave after Max, loitering in the bushes as to hide from detection. Maybe the reason he was sent back was to confront something along the path, finding a certain secret out; anything seemed possible at the moment but Max had to find the answer and it would certainly lye on the path of his travels.
He supported himself by clinging onto the ledge to give some leverage in his pull, as a precaution in being undetected and able to slip away without any fuss, or so he thought. Just as he was about to turn the corner the front metallic doors burst open with little effort and the group of professors wandered back into the grounds along with Norman, busy in conversation. Max slipped to the ground edging himself closer to listen intently to the words they were all saying, as he guessed it would most likely concern him.
“Birch, you promise me you’ll watch over him until he reaches Petalburg?” Norman asked with an obvious agitation to his voice as he looked over to the horizon as his son trekked along the path to Oldale Town.
“I’ve already said I have someone on it, Roxanne to be precise! She has a full back story for the trip at hand and someone in Oldale to go along with the story so if Max does question anything there will be no hesitations...don’t worry Norman; he’ll make it home in one piece.”
“Thanks Birch, sorry to bother you...”
“It’s okay Norman, being a worried father is part of your job,” Birch jokingly said tapping Norman’s shoulder as they all chuckled, except for Max. His Dad had presumed that he wouldn’t cope on his own, that being independent would prove too tough. Why though? He had been able to let May go on her travels without setting her up with someone to travel with, but when it came to him it did; anyway he was more mature than she ever was always making the right decisions; except...what he had just attempted to change a little thing that could easily alter time and space upsetting both Dialga and Palkia, two God like Pokémon. But at least he could say he would manage on his own and not have to cling onto home like a small toddler always holding onto Mummy’s leg as they walked leisurely down a supermarket isle.
He looked back over to the men as they clambered into cars and drove off down the road, back into the direction of Petalburg City with Birch waving them goodbye as they hit the distance. Now would be his chance to catch up with novice Max, but like always, something interrupted him. All of Birch’s assistances had made it back indoors as the bushes and grass begun to whir and bend as a harsh noise protracted from the sky where a helicopter descended onto the road and a young woman gingerly climbed out with lush long brown hair. Max soon realised that it was none other than Roxanne starting her given task to tail after him and keep him safe from ‘danger’ that would arrive, like he really needed her in all the situations they became tangled in, but the more he thought about the more he disagreed with himself. Who was he kidding when thinking that Roxanne didn’t help or Charmander got in his way, life happened for a reason his Granddad always use to remind him, and in this case that was certainly true. If these events didn’t occur then instead of being released by the ‘Steel Team’ he could have been held hostage and taken back to their head base, but because his friends were there they were able to pull together and escape showing the criminals a thing or two about friendship.
By this time, Birch had entered the laboratory and Roxanne had departed down the path into the Oldale Forest where the first few major experiences for the young trainer occurred like random fire works on a trajectory course for damage. Max cautiously rose from his current position and trailed after the Rock Gym Leader as she sank into the distance. His mind was still pondering over the case of how to get back to his time without disrupting anything else in the process, but he still hadn’t found a solid answer. There was the possibility of breaking the pendant now hanging round his neck to see if that undid the process of time travel but it was too risky, if anything went wrong he could be sent further back than he already was, if only he could consult someone else who could help. Then he realised the two closet friends he had were hanging from his belt inside their PokeBalls. He released his two Pokémon one by one, each landing straight onto the ground in the trail of white light that always appeared, both of them were still worn out from the Gym Battle earlier on in the day which left them feeling tired and aching. They had each fought a tough battle, especially the little Bud Pokémon who managed to defy the odds and defeat a Pokémon that towered over her, using some hidden power stored somewhere inside the tiny coiled body of herself. They looked toward their trainer gazing at him with slight bewilderment noticing their whereabouts had become different in a matter of hours.
“Don’t really know how to put this, but we’ve travelled to the past, a few weeks to be exact right at the start of my journey and I have no idea how to get back without jeopardising our safety or that of others.” He paused while drifting into deep thought yet again, his confusion being felt by both his Pokémon, making them agitated and slightly worried. “I have one suggestion that I thought over earlier however; we could follow this road back to Petalburg City and see if that helps determine what our next move should be.” They nodded to show their agreement, and they even knew that the only possible solution to their undeniable problem was to continue on until their path home was shown instead of standing around waiting for something to happen. If nothing could be done then at least when he arrived at the restaurant he would be back to his present time and able to continue on the journey. Budew leapt into the arms of her trainer while Charmander sat on Max’s shoulders as he hastily ran to catch up with the first predicament, Ryperior.
The sunlight had begun to disperse as the huge yellow ball of energy began to rise on the other side of the Earth, bringing warmth to different trainers and Pokémon as they continued on their current travels, or past encounters as Max looked at it. His legs were finally numb from the excursion he was putting them through as their sore and achy period had past, or were to come, very confusing, but his efforts had paid off as he was nearly there. The path had now begun to join the river which he and May had once found the pendant now sitting in his pocket, the cause for their bewilderment, but he couldn’t worry about that now as he was about to come across the camp site where his younger self was busy eating supper. Now he had to hide! The long perturbing branches of the bushes were piercing his skin as he slowly edged closer to Max, finally able to see him through the gaps in the undergrowth. He planted his behind in a soil patch that was warm and cosy while he had Charmander and Budew sitting on his lap, waiting for something, anything. The youthful Max was now busy looking for his Charmander who had disappeared only moments before into the hedge growth just a few metres away, following a trail of Gulpin slime that had intrigued him. Now it was time for the big cliché to arrive, with thunderous roars, Ryperior stomped around the corner ready to cause havoc, although he was still puzzled as to how it came ambling into the forest. It gave another huge roar as it charged a Hidden Power while Max was looking up all its details within the Pokédex. What a stupid mistake he realised as he eagerly watched from the safety of the vibrant green bushes. The attack was all it took to lunge the past Max into the river, sinking straight to the bottom, an experience he absolutely hated, but all he had to do was watch and wait for Roxanne to save him, although Ryperior had other plans. It suddenly turned its mass toward where Max and co were sitting comfortably as if they were on a sofa eating popcorn and watching a horror movie, except they were able to be injured by the creature. It once again began to charge a Hidden Power, just long enough for Max to get out before things reached critical; until Roxanne arrived he would have to face the giant Pokémon.
“Budew and Charmander, use Bullet Seed and Ember now!” His commands were very decisive, direct and quick enough to allow time to collide with the oncoming Hidden Power and try and force it back with as much power from the two Pokémon as they could muster. The buzz and energy brought Max back to reality showing him how much he enjoyed battling and how well he could cope on his own. Yes it’s always great to have friends with you but if he was put on his own he could handle situations as long as he had the confidence. After these experiences it had clouded his beliefs, as all he saw was other people there coming to his rescue, but reliving it all put a spark back to the flame and he could let go of the burden. The answer had been given to him, independence; he was capable of doing that.
His face showed it all, the confident smirk was a breath of fresh air to his friends battling with him with a new belief in themselves, “I’ve finally come to my senses! I can be independent if I believe!”
The multicoloured light started to fade back into view surrounding all three as they were launched straight into the heart of the light. His journey had a new spark and the realisation made him safe, he was back on his travels!