Here is Chapter 8. Thanks again go to Ysavvryl for betaing. This is my longest chapter I've written yet, as evidenced by the fact of it not all fitting in one post. I hope you all enjoy.
Chapter Eight: The Cave:
After eating their lunch, Joven and Sam made their way north once more, separating them from Koueki City, something which Joven was very pleased about. They walked for almost a couple of hours in complete silence, never once seeing a Pokémon or a person. The path they were travelling was just as dreary and plain as the last one they were on. Just one long path lined on either side by plenty of grass, bushes, and shrubs.
As the end of the second hour neared, Sam could tell that the silence between him and Joven was now a very uncomfortable and awkward one. Sam did want to ask Joven some questions, to find out more about him, whereas Joven wanted to say nothing. The fact that Joven didn’t like Sam at all was one he didn’t want to let slip, in fear of losing the valuable knowledge and experience he could get from him. Eventually, Sam couldn’t take it anymore. The tension in the air had been building, almost suffocating him, until he had to say something.
“Hey, Joven, can I ask you something?” he asked nervously, knowing full well that Joven didn’t want to discuss anything. Joven didn’t reply, which Sam decided to interpret as ‘I don’t care’. “What are your parents like?”
Joven instantly stopped in his tracks as though he had run into an invisible barrier. He had stopped so quickly that Sam had almost crashed into him. His head was bent down, so as to avoid letting Sam see his face. For a few seconds, Joven stood perfectly still, his body quivering and trembling slightly. Sam darted around in front of Joven, preparing to ask the question again.
“Why do you want to know?” Joven asked suddenly.
“I’m just curious. It’s just that you’re only eight years old and you’re on a Pokémon journey. That’s pretty strange. I would’ve thought most parents would wait until you were ten. And then there’s the fact that you’ve got as much money as I do. Are they rich? Are they strict?”
“Just drop it,” Joven smoothly replied. Without waiting for a response or reaction, Joven shoved past Sam and continued up the path. But Sam wasn’t satisfied with the answer.
“Why should I drop it? It’s not that hard of a question to answer. Just tell me what they’re like.”
“Shut up!” Joven yelled, spinning around to glare furiously at Sam, at the same time clenching his fists and narrowing his eyes to no more than slits. “Just mind your own business!”
“Okay, fine, I’m sorry,” Sam said, putting his hands up in a mock signal of surrender. Joven continued to glare at him for at least thirty more seconds before turning his back on him and walking away.
For a few seconds, Sam stayed where he was, contemplating what had just happened. Obviously Joven found his parents a touchy subject, which made Sam even more curious about what his family life was like. Despite Joven’s hostility to the subject, Sam was still tempted to ask again. Although he seemed like he wanted to fight, Sam was sure that it was all an act by Joven, so he didn’t have anything to worry about there. Eventually he decided against it, just to keep things civil between them for the journey to Boku Town.
For the next few minutes, the pair walked in silence yet again, just like the last couple hours. Sam now had his map out and was examining it, trying to figure out how much farther they had to travel until they reached the eastern path that led to Boku town. His job wasn’t made any easier by the wind whipping through the area. It blew the map wildly around in his hands, causing him to grumble in frustration.
After a couple minutes of trying to read the map, Sam angrily stuffed it into his bag, and looked into the distance. What he saw caused him to beam with joy. There was a large forest in the distance, the treetops poking up into the sky above a building in the distance. Just about a hundred metres in front of them, Sam could also see a fork in their path, and it branched off to the east. He quickened his pace for the last few seconds before they reached the fork, and took a deep satisfying breath when he finally arrived.
“Finally,” he said gratefully. “I was beginning to think we’d never make it.”
He turned to his left, expecting to see Joven right beside him, but instead Joven was continuing on, his head bowed down, paying no attention to where he was going. Ever since Sam had mentioned his parents, Joven had been in his own little world. He had absolutely no idea that Sam had stopped or that they had made it to the path. That was, until, Sam shouted out to him.
“Hey, Joven, we’re here!” Sam called out loudly with his hands cupped around his mouth.
It took Joven a few seconds to register what Sam said, and then figure out what it meant. When he finally understood, he came to a halt, and turned around dazedly, as if he’d just woken up.
“Oh, I didn’t realise,” he said bemusedly, making his way slowly back towards Sam.
“No kidding,” Sam replied. He would have liked to have said something more, but he restrained himself. “You should pay attention to where you’re going.”
Ignoring Joven’s attitude, Sam turned his attention to the road in front of them. Unlike the path they had just travelled, it was clear that this one was artificially built. The road was paved limestone, once sparkling white, but now a dull grimy grey after years of wear and tear and countless feet walking over it. On either side of the path were trees, bushes, and many different types of flowers, but the road itself pierced through the wildlife like a dagger, devoid of any life.
“Sure is long,” Joven commented beside Sam. The road indeed was long, stretching for what seemed like miles and miles. At the edge of their vision, they could see a cave jutting out of the ground like the hump of a camel’s back. “Is that cave on your map?”
“Yeah, it is,” Sam said after consulting his map, indicating to Joven with his finger its location. He was also curious about the cave. It looked out of place, right at the end of a clearly constructed path. But he was confident there was nothing to worry about. On his journey, he had no doubt he would encounter many caves in many strange places.
“Lead the way,” Joven said in a grandiose manner, extending his arm toward the cave. His voice was cheery and happy, but Sam was positive that Joven was faking it. Judging by his behaviour ever since Sam mentioned his parent, he was still furious.
For the next half hour Sam and Joven walked along the path, their shoes echoing off the solid limestone slabs forming the path. Just like before, there were no Pokémon in sight, though Sam was sure it had something to do by the fact that their habitats were destroyed. If there were any Pokémon around, they would stay well clear of them, just because of where they were. Or at least that was what Sam thought.
Just as he was looking glumly down at the two Pokéballs on his belt, desperately wishing he could catch some more Pokémon, there was a rustling in one of the bushes directly to his right. Two green vines shot out of the bush and straight up into a tree. The vines tugged on a particularly ripe and juicy looking apple, eventually plucking it out of the tree. The vines, with the apple wedged in between, and then retracted back into the bushes. For a few seconds all Sam and Joven could do was stare bemusedly into the bushes, listening to something munching on the apple. Joven was just about to step over to the bush and find out what was inside it when Sam flung his arm out, blocking his way.
“What?” Joven hissed furiously.
“Just wait a second. I think I know what it is. The vines look exactly like those of a Bulbasaur. I’m positive that it’s the Bulbasaur I met at Viridian City.”
“The one you were trying to catch?”
“Well then catch him! Don’t just listen to him eat,” Joven said incredulously.
“I don’t want to make him run off. He might come out on his own once he finishes eating the apple.”
“Some trainer you are,” Joven said offhandedly, turning his back on Sam and the bush.
“You do things your way, and I’ll do them mine,” Sam replied, intently eyeing the bush. His right hand was hovering right beside Pidgey’s Pokéball, and his fingers were twitching like the legs of a spider in excitement. Out of all the Pokémon he could catch, that Bulbasaur was at the top of the list. Only time would tell if he was fortunate enough to find him again.
“Bulba Bulbasaur.” Sam heard the voice a split second before the Pokémon behind it stepped out from the bushes, licking his lips with his large tongue.
“That’s it, that’s the Bulbasaur!” Sam yelled out, jumping up and down in joy.
“How do you know it’s not a different Bulbasaur?” Joven asked, now standing on the opposite side of the road.
“Look at the mark just above his left front leg,” Sam explained. “It’s in the exact shape of his head. It’s a distinct pattern that I noticed at Viridian City. This is definitely the right Bulbasaur.”
Joven leaned his head around Sam to take a look at Bulbasaur’s left front leg, and was astonished to see that Sam was right. Just above the point where the leg met the aqua green body, there was a dark green mark. The mark was in the exact shape of Bulbasaur’s head, right down to the ears. As Joven admired Sam’s attention to detail, Sam grabbed Pidgey’s Pokéball and prepared to open it, confident that he had now caught Bulbasaur by surprise. But Bulbasaur didn’t look surprised at all. His eyes were narrowed aggressively, and he had already taken up his battle pose and position. It was no accident that he had run into Sam again.
“Pidgey, come on out,” Sam said excitedly as he twisted the dial on top of Pidgey’s Pokéball.
Pidgey appeared in a glorious burst of white light, soaring high into the air before doing a loop. Once he saw Bulbasaur on the ground below him, he settled in a tree on the opposite side of the path, waiting for Sam’s first order.
“Pidgey, use Gust!” Sam yelled confidently. Now that he had a second chance at catching Bulbasaur, he was determined to not let him get away. He knew just how strong Bulbasaur was, but he had confidence in the strength of his own Pokémon as well. Pidgey, too, appeared confident. Before Sam had even finished speaking, he leapt from the branch he was sitting on and flew down towards Bulbasaur. Once he was close enough that they were reflected in each other’s eyes, Pidgey flapped his wings furiously, creating a strong gust of wind. By flapping his wings at the right angle, he directed the gust straight at Bulbasaur.
At first Bulbasaur struggled to keep itself standing, his short thick legs slowly weakening under the influence of Pidgey’s gust of wind. But just before he was about to be blown away, he extended his vines out of his bulb, and whipped them through the air. They sliced through the wind like a hot knife through butter, effectively dispersing it. In the same motion of dispersing the wind, he directed his vines straight towards Pidgey.
“Perfect,” Sam whispered to himself. “I knew it would use Vine Whip. What Pokémon won’t use its signature move?” He was smiling to himself, feeling that everything was so far going according to plan. “Pidgey, get in between the vines, and then use Peck!”
Pidgey nodded to show he understood before heading straight towards the vines. Bulbasaur was startled by his action, but regained his composure while also keeping a close eye on what Pidgey was about to do. As soon as Pidgey was at the vines, Bulbasaur immediately drew them together, attempting to strike Pidgey on either side. Pidgey was just too fast though. He ducked, dived, soared, and weaved his way expertly through the vines, which were beating through the air furiously. Before Bulbasaur could try and dodge, Pidgey rammed hard into his head with his beak, knocking him back into the bushes from which he came.
Sam cheered Pidgey on behind, but while he was doing so, Bulbasaur lunged out from the bushes, heading directly for Pidgey’s chest. Just in the nick of time, Sam told Pidgey to rise into the air, which he did masterfully. Every time Bulbasaur tried to tackle him to the ground, or knock it out of the sky with his vines, Pidgey just managed to dodge.
“Now, finish it with Quick Attack,” Sam said, pumping his fists in the air in triumph. He was sure that this would be it. Pidgey was flying and attacking with precision and power. Bulbasaur couldn’t land a hit, and Pidgey was so fast that he could get past Bulbasaur’s defences. Now Pidgey was flying faster than ever, having tucked his wings in to effectively streamline his entire body. He was travelling so fast that Sam could only see a brown and cream coloured blur, and he felt his hair whip around his face as Pidgey shot past like a bullet. Despite his blinding speed, Bulbasaur easily dodged Pidgey’s attack, and as Pidgey shot past him, he whipped his vines around and slammed them into his back. Pidgey was sent spiralling into the ground, looking like a particularly fluffy brown and cream ball. But Sam wasn’t ready to give up.
“Pidgey, use Gust to stop falling!” he yelled urgently, silently egging Pidgey on in his mind.
At the last second, Pidgey spread his wings wide and flapped them, the resulting air currents pushing him upward. Before he could worry about what to do next though, he was hit in the back by dozens of razor sharp leaves, causing him to slam into the ground. He didn’t get back up. Sam cast his shocked gaze to Pidgey’s right, and saw Bulbasaur standing there, smirking to himself. Once he was finished examining Pidgey, Bulbasaur met same with a sly grin, as if daring him to try again. Ignoring Bulbasaur’s smug expression, Sam reached towards his belt, grabbing one of his empty Pokéballs.
“It must be weak enough to try a Pokéball now,” Sam said. He twisted the dial and threw it at Bulbasaur, but just before it made contact, Bulbasaur swatted it out of the air.
“Bulbasaur Bulba Bulbasaur,” he grumbled, shaking his head as if he was telling him off for something naughty he’d done.
“Oh, how did it do that?” Sam said exasperatedly. ‘I’ve still got Charmander though.” He released Charmander from her Pokéball, and immediately ordered her to use Ember.
“Hey, Sam, don’t leave your Pidgey lying on the ground like that,” Joven warned.
“Shut up,” Sam snapped back, paying no attention to what Joven had said. All his attention was focussed on Bulbasaur and nothing else.
Charmander stared intently at Bulbasaur, who in turn watched her with an expression of curiosity on his face. A spurt of flame shot out of Charmander’s mouth and headed straight towards Bulbasaur. Almost as if it was disappointed, Bulbasaur jumped up to avoid the attack, and then ran off into the bushes. Within a couple of seconds he was gone.
Sam slumped forwards and moaned in disappointment at the realisation that he had yet again failed to catch Bulbasaur. Two times in as many days he had encountered him, and yet both times he had failed. Everything about Bulbasaur encompassed what Sam thought of the perfect Pokémon; strength, courage, hard working, and speed were only a few of the qualities Sam knew Bulbasaur possessed greatly.
“Will you listen to me now!?” Joven asked forcefully, interrupting Sam’s thoughts about his failure.
“What!?” Sam retorted.
“Look at Pidgey,” Joven replied, jabbing his finger towards Pidgey, who was laying on the ground a few metres away, his brown and cream feathers sticking up at odd angles.
“P-Pidgey,” Sam stammered. He bolted over towards Pidgey, who was moaning pitifully on the ground. His left wing was bent back at an odd angle, and his breathing was heavy and uneven. As he looked down at his Pokémon, Sam was disgusted with himself. He had tossed Pidgey aside, completely forgotten about it, like it was an object, all because of his desire to catch Bulbasaur.
How could I have let this happen? he thought to himself. I don’t deserve to be a trainer. Not when I behave like this.
Charmander was behind Sam, staring worriedly at Pidgey, wondering if he was going to be alright. Thankfully, now that Sam had realised his mistake, he acted straight away. He dug into his backpack, and pulled out a small purple spray bottle. It was one of the many Potions he had bought from Koueki City. He carefully aimed the nozzle at Pidgey’s left wing, and pressed down, letting the tiny particles enter Pidgey’s body, and repair his wounds. After a few seconds his breathing became more shallow and even, but his wing was still positioned at a strange angle. Sam drew Pidgey close to his chest, and petted it slowly and softly, trying to comfort him and make him feel better.
“I’m so sorry, Pidgey. I can’t believe I did that to you. I’m so glad you’re okay now, and I hope you can forgive me.” Pidgey leaned his head back and nodded slightly, letting out a low caw at the same time, before resting against Sam’s chest again.
Charmander looked at Sam and Pidgey and started to feel a little annoyed. She was happy that Pidgey had recovered and all, but she still felt like Sam should be giving her some attention too. Both she and Pidgey fought in the battle, so it wasn’t right for Sam to only show affection and care to Pidgey. After a few more seconds of watching Sam comfort Pidgey, Charmander had had enough. She tugged gently on Sam’s shirt to get his attention. Sam looked down at her and smiled.
“Just wait a couple minutes, Charmander,” he said in an assuring manner. “I’ve just got to make sure Pidgey’s alright. I’ll play with you soon.”
Unhappy with Sam’s explanation, Charmander shot a tiny fireball out of her mouth at Sam’s pants. It wasn’t enough to burn Sam at all, but it would definitely get his attention. Sam felt a sharp stinging pain at his ankle and looked down to see the bottom of his left leg of pants on fire. Standing up in shock, he kicked and blew on his pant leg until the small fire was out, leaving faint black singe marks in its place.
“Charmander, what the hell was that for!?” Sam yelled, while examining the bottom of his leg. The skin around his heel was pink and looked irritated, but it only stung slightly. He noticed the furious expression on Charmander’s face, which was directed right at his chest where Pidgey was still nestled, although he was now startled and restless, squirming around uncomfortably in Sam’s hands. “Is this what it’s all about? You’re angry I’m paying attention to Pidgey? Well, sorry, but you’re gonna have to get used to it. I’ve got to share my attention and care between all my Pokémon, not just you. And it’s been injured. I’d be doing the exact same to you if things were reversed. Now, just calm down.”
Sam abruptly turned his back on Charmander and sat back down, causing her to walk sullenly away, stopping under the shade of a tree right beside the path. She could still hear Sam speaking to Pidgey lovingly, consoling him, and making sure he was okay.
“You seem to be doing good since I gave you that Potion,” Sam said to Pidgey. “How do you feel?”
“Pidgey,” Pidgey squawked exuberantly. He tried to spread his wings out, but he buckled forth in pain. Even though he had more motion in it, his left wing still couldn’t be spread out like his right.
“Hey, don’t strain yourself. You’re doing fine. Have a rest in your Pokéball.”
Pidgey nodded to show his agreement, so Sam grabbed Pidgey’s Pokéball and twisted the dial. He gently tapped Pidgey on the head with it, and watched as Pidgey was sucked inside in a red light. Once he had clipped the Pokéball back on his belt, Sam turned his attention to Charmander. Upon noticing how sad she looked, sitting moodily under the tree, fingering a blade of grass at her feet, Sam walked over to her.
“I’m sorry if you’re jealous,” he began, staring uneasily down at Charmander. She was gazing hopefully up into his eyes, hoping that he would show her that he still cared about her, and was still going to care for her. “You may feel unwanted, but that isn’t the case.”
At first, Charmander didn’t do or say anything, instead sitting perfectly still, contemplating what Sam had said. Finally, after what seemed like hours to Sam, but was only about a minute, Charmander raised her head, and smiled. At the sight of Charmander’s smile, Sam couldn’t help but smile too. He knew that he had gotten through to Charmander and that he had convinced her that he cared for her just as much as he did for Pidgey. It was important for him to know that his Pokémon got along; otherwise they wouldn’t make a good team at all. Now that Charmander’s jealousy was out of the way, he had nothing to worry about. Instead, he walked over to Joven with Charmander by his side, ready to set off once more.
For the rest of the journey to the cave, Sam had Charmander out of her Pokéball. The main reason was because he just wanted some good company. Joven was moody and wouldn’t speak to Sam at all. He seemed quite content in just walking in silence for hours on end. Sam, however, wasn’t like that. Instead, he discussed moves, battle strategies, power, and combinations with Charmander. She would nod or shake her head if she agreed with Sam or if she thought what he said was a bad idea. It took them about an hour to reach the cave, and the whole time, Sam and Charmander were discussing animatedly, something which severely annoyed Joven. When they reached the entrance, he could barely keep the annoyance out of his voice.
“Well, here we are.”
Sam hadn’t needed Joven to tell him they were there. The cave was over ten feet tall, and cast an impressive shadow over the rest of the quaint area. It was much smoother than any cave Sam had ever heard of. There were no bumps or cracks on the outer wall, almost as if it had been sculpted like a statue. He ran his hand over the surface, and was startled at how much it felt like cold hard metal then actual rock. Ignoring how strange the cave was, Sam peered inside, but couldn’t see anything but pitch black darkness.
“Shall we go inside?” Sam asked uneasily. He wasn’t keen on the idea of walking blindly through a cave; furthermore a cave that was unlike any Sam had heard of before.
“We should if we want to reach Boku Town.” Joven retorted.
“Fine,” Sam snapped back. Joven’s hostility had not gone unnoticed. “Come on, Charmander. You need a rest,” he said, holding out her Pokéball. As she was transported inside, she looked a little sad, but Sam knew that she deserved and needed a rest.
Together, Sam and Joven walked into the cave, their footsteps echoing loudly off the floor and wall of the cave, making it sound like there were hundreds of people there instead of just two. For the next twenty minutes, they walked in silence. This time, Sam didn’t feel like speaking much at all. He was uneasy about walking into a pitch black cave, with no idea how long it was, even if it did lead to Boku Town. The fact the cave was so strange and unnatural pressed in on him from all sides, causing his panic to rise with every step he took. Sam’s nervousness wasn’t helped by the fact that the light from outside was quickly dwindling, making the cave even darker, until finally it was pitch black.
“How are we going to find our way through this cave if we can’t even see a foot in front of us?” Sam grumbled. He cautiously extended his arms out to try and find a wall, as did Joven at the opposite side of the cave.
“Got it,” Sam said, finally finding solid wall to press his hand against. The wall was as smooth as a baby’s behind, another uncomfortable reminder of how strange the cave was. There were no cracks, bumps, or even trickling water. It was then that Sam confirmed his earlier thoughts; the cave clearly was constructed, just like the path leading up to it, not natural. Even though his uneasiness was growing every second, he pushed the thoughts out of his mind, thinking there was nothing dangerous about walls that were too smooth.
“This is hopeless. We have no way of making it through the cave when it’s this dark,” Joven complained. It was then that Sam saw a faint flicker of light far down the tunnel. It had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, and Sam was soon beginning to fear that he’d imagined it. But then there was another flicker of light, this time brighter, and this time it didn’t disappear.
“Hey, look at that,” Sam said, pointing down towards the lights, even though he knew Joven couldn’t see him at all.
“Where did that come from?” Joven asked, now clearly able to see the flickering light. It dulled and brightened almost every second, but it never disappeared. He was severely tempted to run straight towards him, to let it guide him through the cave like a lighthouse guiding a ship safely to shore.
“Let’s go,” Sam said excitedly. “That light’s our way out of here.” He then proceeded to run down the long path towards the light with Joven right behind him. Their loud footsteps echoing off the walls were so loud they sounded like a herd of stampeding rhinos. The deafening noise didn’t last for long though. It only took a few minutes for Sam and Joven to reach the source of the light, huffing and puffing deeply to regain their breath. What they saw shocked them.
The source wasn’t just one light; it was hundreds of them. Hundreds of wrought iron brackets were mounted on the smooth walls of the cave, each of them holding a flickering flame. Together, the small flickering flames lighted the tunnel as far as the eye could see. The flames flickered vibrantly, casting distorting shadows on the now lit tunnel. Instead of feeling pleased, Sam only felt worried about the flames. It was now strikingly clear that they weren’t in a cave. They were in some sort of structure, and obviously it was still in use. That meant there was someone else besides them inside, a fact that worried Sam greatly.
“This is really starting to freak me out now,” Sam said to Joven. “Something is not right with this place. We should get out of here quickly.”
“I know what you mean,” Joven replied. “I still think we should go down here though. There’s bound to be an exit around here somewhere.” He shivered slightly, and then led Sam through the lit passage, both of them hoping it led to the exit and not something more sinister.
Sam and Joven lost complete track of time as they walked down the brilliantly lit passage. Time seemed to have no meaning. Everything around them was exactly the same the whole way down, never changing, making them feel like they were making no progress at all. Finally, after what seemed like hours but was really just ten minutes, they saw a change in the path. They had reached a fork, one path leading left, and the other right. While the left one was lit with flames in brackets, the right one was pitch black, seeming to go on forever.
“Let’s choose the left one,” Joven said, pointing down the brighter of the two paths.
“Yeah, at least that one’s lit. I’d hate to go through this place in the dark,” Sam replied, eyeing the darker passage warily. Joven then proceeded down the left with Sam just a few feet behind.
Suddenly all the flames along the cave walls died out, plunging the cave into complete darkness. There was a loud crashing noise, like a two cars colliding, and the entire cave began to tremble as though there was an earthquake. A deep rumble could be heard, shaking the very foundations of the cave, but Sam couldn’t determine where it was coming from. It sounded like it was coming from all around him and Joven. Then the flames flickered back into life, but before Sam could try and orient himself, he was flung back against the cave wall by some unseen force. His head hit the wall, causing him to slowly black out. The last thing he saw before he fell unconscious was a giant door coming down from the roof, separating him and Joven.
Sam suddenly jolted awake as though he had been electrocuted. He stared around, but there was nothing but impenetrable and blanketing darkness around him. His head ached horribly from where it had hit the cave wall, and when he tried to stand up, he instantly fell back down. Taking a few seconds to regain his composure and balance, Sam tried to remember what had happened. All he remembered was everything becoming black, and then being bright again, and then a door coming down from the roof. It was now all too evident that they had walked into somebody’s trap, but who was behind it and why was still a mystery to Sam.
After he finally felt like he could walk again, Sam slowly stood up and walked blindly forwards, his arms outstretched to stop him from walking right into something. He didn’t get too far though. Only a few seconds after he started walking, he felt his hands press against something. Just from the feel of it, Sam knew it wasn’t part of the cave wall. This was rough and hard, and as Sam slowly moved his hands around it, he felt several screws along the edges. He now knew that this was the door that had come down from the roof, separating him and Joven. For all he knew, Joven was only a few inches away, yet a solid barrier as hard as steel separated them. He beat his fists against it and yelled as loud as he could.
“Joven!” he screamed. “Joven, can you hear me!?”
There was no reply, and all he was getting from beating the door were red and bruised knuckles.
“This isn’t working,” Sam said to himself. “Charmander and Pidgey aren’t strong enough to get through this door, and I have no idea what direction I would be going if I…wait a minute,” he said, an idea finally dawning on him. He might just be able to get out of the cave after all, but how he was going to get Joven out was a whole different ball game.
“Charmander, come on out!” he yelled, twisting the dial to Charmander’s Pokéball.
Charmander appeared in front of Sam, and the flame from her tail bathed the surrounding area in a soft light. It didn’t extend very far, but it would be enough to guide Sam down the other path, which he could now see was unblocked. He knew all too well that the person behind all this would want him to go down the right path, but Sam knew he had no other choice. He couldn’t go back the way he’d come because he’d be leaving Joven behind. If he could get through the right path, he just might be able to find a way to Joven as well.
“Char Charmander,” Charmander said happily, running up to Sam and hugging his leg.
“Hey, Charmander, I need your help. I need you to walk in front of me down that path. The light of your tail will help me find a way out of here. Do you think you can do that?” he asked. Charmander nodded and immediately began walking down the right path with Sam right behind.
It turned out that the right path was just as unnatural and as creepy as the rest of the cave. An eerie silence hung over them, causing Sam to constantly look over his shoulder in fear of being followed or watched. There wasn’t even the slightest drip of water or the scurrying feet of Pokémon, sounds that were present in most caves. The only sound that Sam could hear was his own footsteps.
As Sam made his way further and further down the path, he couldn’t help but think that he’d made the wrong decision. For all he knew, Joven might have been able to find a way back to him. Sam knew that Joven had other Pokémon that he knew nothing about. Maybe one of them might have been able to find a way through. The fact that he had been walking for ages and still hadn’t found the exit he had been hoping for didn’t help lift his optimism.
One thing that Sam did notice was different was that the height of the cave seemed to be shrinking. He now had to crouch down to avoid his head brushing the roof of the cave, and still it was becoming smaller. Every step he took he had to crouch down further until he eventually had to crawl. Just after he began crawling, and when Charmander was also beginning to crouch down, Sam thought he saw an exit up ahead. There was a small hole, just big enough for him to squeeze through, and it seemed to lead into another room. From his current position he could see a few crates, but that was it.
Charmander was the first to reach the exit, and after some gentle and assuring coaxing from Sam, she stumbled out of the tunnel and into the room. Sam did the same a few seconds later, being careful to avoid accidentally hitting Charmander. They were now in a new room that looked like a miniature storage warehouse. The floor was covered in potholes that were clumsily filled, and there were many rocks jutting out of the ground, casting long shadows along the uneven ground from the electrical light bulbs hanging overhead. Scattered around the room were countless crates, all with faded writing on them. The one nearest Sam read:
At the far end of the room was a command centre of sorts. There were two brightly flashing consoles propped up against the far wall, and above them were small screens showing the different passages of the cave. Sitting at one of the consoles was a woman Sam instantly recognised.
“Well, you finally arrived,” she said scathingly, standing up and letting her long curly purple hair to fall elegantly against her back. “You really are an excruciatingly slow kid.”
The woman who had pretended to be the Pokémon Centre nurse at Viridian City, the woman who would’ve stolen his Pokémon had it not been for Bulbasaur, was standing before him, smirking cruelly at him. Even though Sam was horrified to see her again, there was some part of him that was also happy. He couldn’t help but find her attractive. Her long purple hair which seemed to have a life of its own when it bobbled behind her, her pale blue eyes which seemed to be able to take away all life’s problem with a single glance, and her dazzlingly white teeth. How could such a beautiful face belong to such an evil woman? Sam forced himself to not surrender to her beauty and charm; otherwise he’d have no chance of making it out of here alive.
“Who are you? What is this place!?” he yelled angrily, glancing around the room to try and pick up a clue as to who this woman was.
“Let’s just say that I’m a representative of a very powerful person who wants you eliminated. This used to be one of many hideouts for our prestigious organisation. It was abandoned a few years ago, but I knew it would be a perfect trap for you. It can look like a normal everyday cave, but with the press of a few buttons it can change,” she explained gleefully, indicating the control panels on her right. She then spat on the ground beside her, and laughed out loud. “I’m going to enjoy getting my revenge on you, you little brat! No one defeats me and gets away with it.”
She pulled out a Pokéball and twisted the red dial, releasing Kadabra into the room. Upon seeing Sam again, Kadabra smiled just like its trainer, and then waved its spoon around in the air.
“Kadabra, show them how tough you really are!” she said. “And don’t let me down this time.” Kadabra nodded to show it understood, and took a couple steps towards Sam.
“You ready, Charmander?” Sam asked.
Charmander nodded intently at Sam before stepping forward, her tail flame now double in size and intensity. She stopped in front of Sam, and growled menacingly at Kadabra.
“Great, Charmander. Use Ember!”
Charmander gathered up heat energy from her tail flame, and formed it into a fireball in her mouth, before shooting it towards Kadabra.
“Ha! Pitiful attack,” Agent Green said mockingly. “Kadabra, use Psychic to get rid of the attack, and then use Psybeam on the pesky little lizard.”
“Charmander, dodge and then use Metal Claw.”
Just before the flaming fireball was about to hit Kadabra, it put up its spoon, and the fireball vanished in an electric blue light. In the same motion of making Ember disappear, a rainbow coloured beam of light shot out of the red star on Kadabra’s forehead, heading straight for Charmander. She ran to the side to avoid the attack, and then charged at Kadabra, her claws now grey.
“Kadabra, use Future Sight!”
Kadabra closed its eyes, and slowly began to glow purple, remaining utterly still. Charmander was still bearing down, but Kadabra didn’t move a muscle. When Charmander’s claws slashed across Kadabra’s body, it still remained perfectly motionless, though it was knocked back several feet.
“Bullseye, Charmander,” Sam called out. “That Metal Claw had to do some damage.”
Sam was too concerned on winning the battle to try and figure out why Kadabra hadn’t tried to dodge the attack, or why it was still standing perfectly still. He was so focussed that he didn’t even notice the smug look on Agent Green’s face, despite the fact that her Pokémon had just been hit. If he hadn’t been in such a life threatening situation, Sam would’ve remembered his Mum telling him about the Future Sight attack. He would have remembered that it took a while after the attack was charged for it to finally make contact. But he was trying so hard to win, to ensure his survival, that the thought never crossed his mind.
“Charmander, just keep on using Scratch!” he yelled.
Charmander furiously slashed at Kadabra, swiping her claws along its head, body, legs, arms, everywhere it could reach, but still Kadabra wouldn’t react. No sound left its mouth, and there was no sign of it or its trainer being concerned about what was happening.
“Now, finish it with Ember.”
Charmander darted back a few steps to charge up her Ember attack, but just before she was about to shoot it out, Kadabra’s eyes flew open, and a beam of energy shot out of the star on its forehead. Because she had been preparing an attack of her own, Charmander didn’t have time to dodge. She was flung backwards into a boulder so hard that it crumbled upon impact, burying her under tiny fragments of rock.
“Use Ember again,” Sam ordered. He now understood what had happened, and was silently cursing himself over his own stupidity. As soon as Sam spoke, Charmander slowly pulled herself out from under the tiny rocks, and shot a fireball across the room towards Kadabra. At the same time, a rainbow coloured energy beam was fired out of Kadabra’s star. The two attacks collided midway, small fireball against rainbow energy beam, and the fireball was completely obliterated. The energy beam ploughed through it as though it wasn’t even there, and hit Charmander right in the chest.
“No, Charmander, please get up,” Sam pleaded, rushing over to Charmander, who was lying flat on her back, trying to get back up. “You have to get up?”
“That little lizard won’t be getting up again. She’s only suffered marginally compared to how you will. Here is a taste of the pain I will be putting you through. Kadabra, use Psychic!”
As Sam crouched down behind Charmander, Agent Green confidently strode over to them with Kadabra by her side. When she reached them, she couldn’t help but smile, knowing full well that they were defeated. As Sam looked up into the pale blue eyes, which were now cold and emotionless, he knew full well that he was going to die. He had no defence against her, no way to win. His Pokémon weren’t strong enough, and with Kadabra’s psychic powers at her disposal, she could do anything to him. Instinct told him to flee, to get away from her as fast as he could, but Sam was frozen. Even when she was ordering Kadabra to attack, Sam was just too petrified to move. All he could think about was how he was going to die, and how much Agent Green was going to enjoy killing him. Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw Kadabra wave its spoon in front of its face.
Before he could even brace himself for what he knew was about to happen, Sam was flung across the room, and fell in a heap a few metres away. Cuts and bruises lined his arms from where he had hit the floor, and he felt sick to his stomach as he saw Agent Green approaching him once more.
“There’s no escape for you this time, kid,” she said. “No Bulbasaur of mine is going to save you this time.”
“Your Bulbasaur?” Sam exclaimed, trying to fathom what she had just said. Ignoring Sam’s look of horror, she ordered Kadabra to use its telekinetic powers to inflame Sam’s nerves. The pain would be so severe he’d feel like he was on fire.
Just before Kadabra lifted its spoon, there was a huge explosion from the wall to their right. The cave wall blew apart, fragmenting all over as huge chunks of rock flew across the room. One hit Kadabra right in the chest and pinned it against the opposite wall. Agent Green ducked for cover and shrieked in fear as she ran to the other end of the room. Sam too scrambled for cover as the rock came crashing down to earth. Emerging from the debris was a large Pokémon with a small person astride it. Sam forced himself to look up, to see who it was, even though he had a splitting headache and felt sick to his stomach. The sound of the cave wall blasting apart was still ringing in his ears, disorientating him, but he immediately recognised who it was. It was Joven, scanning the room intently. He was riding a grey Pokémon covered in hard grey armour, which was reflecting the lights from the bulbs above all across the room. Spinning at the front of the Pokémon’s head was a horn, although at that time it looked more like a digger’s drill. Four short thick legs kicked away any nearby debris as effortlessly as if they were pebbles, not five foot thick chunks of rock. When Joven noticed Sam crouching on the ground to his right he smiled slightly.
“Yeah, thanks,” Sam replied, still staring in awe at Joven and the Pokémon he was riding, which he now recognised as a Rhyhorn. He wanted to say something deeper, something more gratifying, but all he could think of was ‘thanks’. “W-Where’s Charmander?” Sam asked urgently, suddenly remembering that Charmander was in the range of the flying heaps of rock from Joven’s dramatic entrance.
“She’s fine. Look,” Joven said, pointing across the room. Sam turned his head and was shocked to see Charmander walking slowly towards Kadabra, grimacing in pain, but her face etched with determination. Kadabra was pinned up against the wall by several large rock fragments, leaving only its two arms and its head free. As it noticed Charmander coming closer, Kadabra wriggled the spoon in its hand as much as it could with half of its arm pinned behind solid rock. In a bright flash of blue light the boulders rose up to the roof, freeing Kadabra. In that same instant, Kadabra disappeared in a small white flash, and then reappeared at its trainer’s feet, smirking at Charmander, who had just fallen over from exhaustion.