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Thread: Winds of the Past

  1. #1
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    Default Winds of the Past

    Welcome to my story, Winds of the Past. A few of you might remember that I did post this story a while back, but I didn't get to finish it due to some time constraints and what not. Now I have begun writing on it again, and am ready to re-post it. Hopefully I get both some new readers and some old ones from before. I also need to say thanks to Ysavvryl who is my beta for this fic. Chapters will most likely be posted either weekly or fortnightly, just whenever I finish them I guess. This fic has a rating of PG-13. It might get a bit higher later on, but it will mostly be PG-13.

    Background:
    Winds of the Past centres around Agatha of the Elite Four and Professor Oak when they themselves were young Pokemon trainers. It does include several aspects from the franchise and game how I believe they would appear in the past. It is set about forty years before the current Pokemon time line in the anime.

    PM List: (If you want to be on the PM list, just say so in your first post.)
    dash142



        Spoiler:- Chapter List:




    Okay, without further ado, here is the first chapter. Hope you all enjoy.


    CHAPTER 1 - PHASE ONE:

    In the town of Veilstone City in the Sinnoh region was a scientist by the name of Professor Mercury. At the very north of the stone, isolated city was a set of stairs which led to an impressive building with four floors. Satellite dishes were placed on the left and right side of the building, which was owned by the evil Team Galactic. Emblazoned on the large double white doors of the building was a golden 'G' symbol, specially designed for Team Galactic. Professor Mercury was working very late into the night on an important research project.

    On the third floor, Mercury was sitting on a spindle-legged chair with a soft, black cushiony back rest and hard wooden arm rests. He was in a room containing many pieces of sensitive equipment that all flashed many different colours. This was his office and he had just finished his research that had been asked of him - more valuable information about their project. It would be big... if it worked.

    He had a small blue lamp light turned on and a neat stack of papers with many hasty scribbles on them bathed in the light. Mercury pushed them to the right so he had some clear space on his otherwise cluttered desk.

    On his desk were many blueprints of buildings and maps of the Sinnoh region with Mt. Coronet, the mountain dividing the region in two. It was marked with a large red X. There were many pencils, some razor sharp, and others blunt as a doorknob. There were also many pens with varying amounts of ink scattered on the small white desk. Mercury had a large, plain computer monitor on the far left of his desk. The monitor displayed a program with many scientific formulas and calculations. Mercury turned off the monitor with one press of the small blue button at the bottom, and turned to his left.

    Floating above the ground next to Mercury’s spindle legged chair was a peculiar looking Pokémon. His body was tetrahedral in shape. Three triangular structures could be seen on his sides and his back. A large red nose covered his whole body and below that was a moustache of iron filings. Atop his head was a hat that was actually a large magnet. This was a Probopass, and the iron filings making up his moustache were actually magnetically attached to his body.

    “Hey, Magnus,” Mercury said. “Oh, thank heavens I’m finally done,” he continued. He breathed a long sigh of relief as he neatly stacked some papers together. “Maybe I can get a promotion now..."

    “Probo Probopass,” Magnus replied. His voice was strangely mechanical.

    The rest of the floor space was taken up by numerous pieces of big bulky equipment that beeped and flashed periodically. Even though this was Mercury’s private office there were no personal touches anywhere in the room. He had wanted to put up pictures of his family but his boss prohibited it. Mercury had a wife and three kids and he adored them almost as much as his work.

    “Work comes first,” he said to himself. That had been his motto ever since he had become a scientist. He had lived his entire life by it.

    Instead of pictures of Mercury’s family there were posters about space, two legendary dragon Pokémon, and three legendary psychic Pokémon. Just to the left of his desk was a mirror in a gold encrusted frame. It was easily the brightest and most beautiful thing in the room.

    Mercury stood up and walked over to it. Staring back at him was a man of sixty-four years. His face was extremely wrinkled and he had a shiny bald patch on the top of his head. Surrounding the bald patch was a fraying batch of greying hair. He had green eyes and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses as well as small ears. He was wearing a black travelling coat over a white striped and collared t-shirt. Over the black travelling coat was a grey and white vest with the golden G logo of Team Galactic on the top left. He was wearing a pair of black pants that were a bit too short, exposing a bit of skin above his ankles.

    Mercury saw his Pokémon float into the reflection of the mirror.

    “Probo...pass Probopass,” it said.

    “Come on Magnus, stop hogging the mirror. I’ve got to keep track of my hair,” Mercury joked. “Well, I guess I should finish up what I’m doing on the computer, and then go home.”

    ***

    Far north of where Professor Mercury and Magnus sat, at the very top of the Sinnoh region, was an extremely freezing place called Snowpoint City. It was so named because of the constant snow that fell there, creating a shimmering aura of white light around the city. The fact that it was the northern most point of Sinnoh also contributed to its cold weather. It looked very beautiful and peaceful, especially at night time when the snow sparkled just like the stars in the sky.

    Snowpoint City had a huge temple at its northernmost point that contained some powerful Pokémon. It also had a few homes as well as a harbour at the south of the city. The harbour had a crane that was inactive at this time of night, but was busy transporting cargo to ships that were docked in the middle of the day.

    What the sleeping residents of Snowpoint City didn’t know was that someone very evil was sailing towards their quaint and innocent city. A boat with a brown deck, which was now covered in a fresh layer of snow, was sailing towards the city. The ship had three floors full of cabins for passengers. There was also a kitchen for the chefs to cook exquisite meals for the esteemed guests.

    Right now a fierce blizzard was sweeping through the town, sending all of the snow into the air with blistering winds; only a mild blizzard to the people of Snowpoint. To the west of the city, stronger blizzards were quite common, almost regular. But to people not native to Snowpoint City this would be horrible.

    The boat docked at the harbour and only one passenger stepped out into the chilling night air - it didn’t seem chilling to him though. He had three layers of thick black clothing on and a black balaclava over his face to conceal his identity. In his pure black outfit he would be almost indistinguishable from the night sky, but he was very easy to see standing in the white snow around him. The man felt quite warm inside his clothes, but he had a job to do and he wouldn’t be able to do it if he was distracted. He stepped off the pier and almost instantly his foot sunk over a foot into freezing snow. He noticed that his foot was starting to become numb. He lifted it out as fast as he could but it was slow work.

    “Hello, Agent Roberts are you there?” The voice had come through a walkie-talkie attached to his belt. The voice was surrounded by static, but it was clearly identifiable as a woman’s.

    The man, Agent Roberts, detached the walkie-talkie from his belt and put it up to his mouth, lifting the other hand up to block out the noise of the blizzard around him.

    “Yes sir, I’m here at Snowpoint City. You were right in advising me to dress in layers. I would've been freezing.”

    “Listen, I don’t care about the weather! Focus on your job or I will get someone else to do it. Start phase one - do you understand?” she replied, her voice angry and hostile.

    “Yes... yes sir, I understand perfectly,” stammered Agent Roberts nervously. He looked over his shoulder in fear and trepidation, even though he knew his boss couldn’t be there.

    “Good, now proceed with your assignment.”

    There was a slight beep on the other end of the line, followed by nothing but static in Agent Roberts’ walkie-talkie. He reattached it to his belt and continued walking through the snow, each step making his foot sink deeper. His feet were freezing and he was moving way too slow for his boss's liking.

    “I’ve had enough of this,” he grunted.

    He pulled out a small white ball with brownish marks on it and a dial on the top. It was called a Pokéball. He nestled it in his thick black gloves before twisting the dial around three times.

    “Daria, come on out!” he yelled.

    The Pokéball opened up and a white light appeared which formed itself into the shape of a Pokémon.

    After the white light disappeared the Pokémon was clearly visible. She had a large orange body with an orange tail, and she stood upright with three claws on each foot and both hands. Two small antennae atop an orange head wriggled slightly in the strong breeze of the blizzard. She stretched out two green wings which she used to fly.

    Agent Roberts had nicknamed his Dragonite Daria when he was a child, back when it was only a Dratini. He had been a very kind and sweet child, but now at the age of forty he was an evil monster. Something had happened to him in his past that had been so traumatic it had changed him forever.

    “Daria, you can fly around the entire Earth in sixteen hours, so you should be able to fly me to Veilstone City in no time,” said Agent Roberts. “Let me on your back and then fly me here,” he said, pulling out a map and pointing to Veilstone City.

    Daria nodded, bent down to let Agent Roberts get on her back, and then flew off into the sky, wings beating madly at either side.

    The scenery below Agent Roberts was passing by so fast he couldn’t get a good look at anything. He saw Pokémon flying in the sky but ignored them. For once he wasn’t here to wreak havoc on Pokémon... not yet anyway.

    ***

    Within a few minutes they were walking up the narrow streets of Veilstone City to the Team Galactic Headquarters. There were no people in the streets this late in the night. The only sound was from the chirping of crickets, and the only light from the crescent moon above. In the day there would be hundreds of people, either queuing up to buy goods at the large department store, or else to gamble away their savings at the local game corner.

    As they came to the steps leading to the building, Agent Roberts ordered Daria to destroy the satellites with a Hyper Beam attack. Daria obliged, tilting back her head to charge up before she let loose a powerful orange beam from her mouth. The first beam destroyed the right hand satellite instantly, and a second Hyper Beam did the same to the left hand one. Agent Roberts knew he was going to attract attention now - the explosions wouldn’t have gone unnoticed. Instead of hanging around waiting to get caught, he and Daria hurried up the stairs to the front entrance. When they reached the front doors and Agent Roberts saw the Team Galactic logo, he spat on the ground in disgust.

    “Destroy it,” he said to Daria.

    Daria ran at the doors head first, completely knocking them off their hinges. Together, they ran as fast as they could to the stairs that would lead to the upper floors. The first floor was very dull. The floors and the walls were grey and it was almost completely deserted. All the regular Grunts had left, leaving only the security guards. The guards tried to fight off Daria, but Agent Roberts just ordered Daria to knock them out of the way with Hyper Beam. None of the guards got close to attacking Agent Roberts and his powerful Dragonite.

    Everything Agent Roberts ran past had the golden G engraved on it.

    I will destroy this building later, he thought to himself. Right now he had to get to the professor.

    “I see the stairs!” he yelled at Daria, who was fending off three security guards with a Dragon Claw attack. Her claws on her hands were shining a bright green colour, and when they made contact with the grunts they were sent flying across the room like rag dolls.

    Daria then ran after her master who was climbing the stairs. They found another set of stairs without incident, but when they reached the third floor and the office of Professor Mercury, they encountered resistance. Mercury was standing outside of his office with Magnus at his side.

    “Well, if it isn’t good old Horace,” Agent Roberts said. His voice was cool, calm, and collected. He took off his excess layers of clothing and roughly deposited them in a bundle beside him.

    “I see you have me at an advantage. You know who I am but I don’t know who you are,” Horace said, his teeth bared in anger.

    “Let’s just say... it’s poetic justice that I am your worst nightmare. Tell me, Horace, do you remember the date of October the eighth? More specifically, the October eighth of thirty-two years ago.” Agent Roberts asked in a curious tone. Horace froze as he remembered both the disastrous and joyful events of that fateful day.

    “How do you know about that?” Horace spat at Agent Roberts. “Who are you?!”

    “I am your worst nightmare, but you can call me Carson,” he replied.

    Horace wracked his memories, trying to think of anyone named Carson involved in that day, but he was unsuccessful. Besides, it probably wasn’t his real name. The day in question had been so long ago and barely anyone at Team Galactic had known about it. As far as he knew, no one outside Team Galactic knew the truth about that day.

    “Don’t remember? Well I remember fine. I can never forget. Daria, use Dragon Pulse,” Carson commanded.

    Daria opened her gaping mouth, producing a blue shockwave that headed towards Magnus.

    “Magnus, dodge,” Horace ordered.

    Magnus floated higher into the air at an incredible speed to dodge the attack.

    “It seems I underestimated you. Most people wouldn’t have reacted in time,” Carson complimented. “It is no matter though. Your Probopass may be fast, but is it strong? Daria use Thunderpunch.”

    Daria curled her right hand into a fist that glowed yellow, and produced sparks of electricity. She then flew towards Magnus at an incredible speed.

    “Magnus, use Discharge.”

    A fierce charge of electricity left Magnus’ body and headed straight towards Daria’s fist. The two attacks collided, producing a huge explosion that rocked the Team Galactic building to its core. When the smoke cleared, both Pokémon were ready to fight, though they had both been bruised and battered by the explosion.

    “Does that answer your question?” Horace snidely remarked. He had raised Magnus long and hard. During one of his research missions to Mt. Coronet, he had worked particularly hard. It had all paid off now.

    Carson grunted and ordered another attack.

    “Use Hyper Beam,” he said.

    Daria charged up another beam of orange light and sent it at Magnus, but again it dodged the attack. It didn’t have much room to move because the corridor they were battling in wasn’t very wide; he was making the most of the room he had.

    “Magnus, now use Magnet Bomb.”

    A steel bomb shot out of the iron filings of Magnus's moustache and landed directly on Daria. She wasn’t able to dodge it because she was recharging after using so much power with Hyper Beam. A few seconds after it landed it exploded, causing part of the roof to cave in and come crashing down on Daria.

    As the rubble and dust cleared, Carson was shocked to see Daria flat on her back on the floor.

    “Daria, get up!” Carson roared. Spit flew out of his mouth as he became more and more incensed.

    Daria opened her eyes and flew into the air. The beating of her wings as she hovered in midair swept all the debris aside into the surrounding walls. Several large holes in the walls now opened up to the outside world.

    “Good job. Now, use Wing Attack,” Carson said.

    “Let’s get rid of that aerial advantage, shall we?” Horace mocked. “Magnus, use Gravity.” Horace was confident he could win this battle. He wasn’t a complete nerd like most people thought and had trained Magnus diligently.

    Magnus closed his eyes as the three triangular structures floated off his body. They hovered up to the top of the ceiling, and began emitting a magnetic field. Daria had just started flying towards Magnus when she suddenly fell down to the ground. The force of gravity had been intensified around her. It was so intense that she couldn’t fly - she could barely even stand up.

    “NO, DARIA ATTACK THEM! What are you waiting for?!” Carson roared as Daria struggled to her feet. Could he possibly lose this? He hadn’t expected this nerdy professor to be so good.

    “I think it’s time for an Earth Power, Magnus,” Horace confidently commanded.

    Magnus made a strange humming noise before slamming himself onto the floor. Cracks began to form in the floor ahead of Magnus. They spread along the floor, occasionally throwing up miniscule chunks of rock. They spread all the way to Daria, who was still struggling against the gravity pulling down on her. As soon as the cracks reached Daria, the floor suddenly gave way, sending huge slabs of rock hurtling at Daria. Carson dove out of the way to avoid being hit. Daria squealed as she fell down to the second floor. A huge chunk of the floor was now completely gone.

    “Daria, NO!” Carson screamed. He rushed over to the edge of the gaping hole in the floor. Daria was back on her feet and was staring furiously upwards. She was beating her wings as she slowly rose into the air. The gravity was returning to normal now. “No more going easy on you now, Horace. This is our last chance, Daria. Use Draco Meteor,” Carson ordered.

    Daria was suddenly surrounded by a blue light. She closed her mouth and made a harmonious sound that seemed to extend to the heavens. The roof of the building exploded as several comets streamed down towards Horace and Magnus. One of them immediately crashed into Magnus. He let out a hideous groan as its huge nose was immediately caved in. Magnus was crunched through the lower floors before finally landing, crushed beneath a comet, on the ground floor.

    “No, Magnus!” Professor Mercury screamed. “No, please wake up!” Tears were now running down Horace’s face as he looked at the almost pitiful form of Magnus far below. How could Carson have done this? What did he want? Nothing deserved this loss of life.

    “Pro...bo...pass.”

    The cries were barely audible over his sobs, but Horace beamed in joy - Magnus was still alive. Horace stood up and made to run to the stairs. He knew he needed to help Magnus. There was a Pokémon Centre in town and if Horace got Magnus there quick enough he might still survive. There was a slim glimmer of hope inside Horace now, the only thing that was keeping him going.

    “Uh-uh,” Carson said, extending his hand out to block Horace’s path. “Daria, charge up Hyper Beam.”

    Daria was back on the third floor now that the gravity was completely normal again. She paused for an instant before seeing the maniacal glint in Carson’s eyes. She may not always agree with his methods, but he was her master and she would do anything for him. She charged up a Hyper Beam. She kept her mouth closed, but was prepared to open it if Carson told her to.

    “Now, tell me where your research is and your Probopass will be fine. If you don’t tell me, your Probopass will not be so fine,” Carson said menacingly.

    Horace whimpered at the sight of the mangled Magnus. What should he do? That research was imperative to Team Galactic, but unlike the other members of Team Galactic he greatly cared about his Pokémon.

    “Daria, use Hyper-” Carson began.

    “No, wait,” Horace interjected, holding up his arms in protest. “It’s in there, hidden in the locked drawer of my desk,” he said, pointing to the second drawer from the top of his small white desk.

    “Give me the key.”

    Horace threw a small golden key from his pocket to Carson who smiled in glee and triumph. He walked over to the transparent locked doors leading into Professor Mercury’s office and unlocked them with the key. He then proceeded past the different machines and unlocked the drawer at the desk. There was a stack of paper, and the first piece of paper read “TORN WORLD MANIPULATION: PHASE ONE”.
    “Perfect,” Carson said to himself. He walked back out of the office and stood next to Daria, who still had her mouth closed, a Hyper Beam ready to be unleashed. “Now that I have this information, the machine will finally be able to work,” he continued. “Thank you for the research. Now we did have a promise, but I’m not a man of my word. Daria, use Hyper Beam,” Carson said.

    Daria unleashed the orange beam of light upon the damaged Magnus. The blast blew up the comet atop Magnus, and in the process, sent him hurtling through one of the ground floor windows before landing motionless on the ground outside.

    Horace moaned in agony at what Carson had just done.

    “How could you, you lying disgusting pig!?” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “That wasn’t necessary. What’s wrong with you!?”

    “Look in the mirror before accusing me of what wasn't necessary!” Carson yelled. He punched Horace in the face before leaving him alone on the floor, whimpering over his lost Pokémon.

    When Horace finally had the courage to look down at Magnus, he lifted his head up from the floor. The first thing he noticed was Carson in the distance upon Dragonite. They were already high up in the air. Horace beat the ground with his fists in frustration. How could this have happened? Had his past finally caught up with him? But why did Magnus have to perish? He didn’t deserve it. Magnus was like another member of Horace’s family and now he had lost him. It was all his fault. Obviously Carson had been angry at him for something he personally had done. That one day, all those years ago had now taken someone from Horace, someone he loved so much.

    In the air, Carson stowed the papers inside his jacket and then screamed into the blistering wind so that Daria could hear him.

    “Daria, use your most powerful Hyper Beam and destroy that building and everyone inside!”

    “Dra, Dragonite,” Daria said. She was hesitating about killing so many people. They had the research, everything they needed was in Carson’s hands, but he still wanted to kill everyone inside.

    “I said destroy that building!” he sneered.

    Daria still didn’t really want to do it, but she was loyal to her master, who had always been loyal to her. She nodded and then took a few seconds to charge up and unleash a beam of orange light at the building far below. It was so powerful that the recoil jerked Daria and Carson back a few feet. The orange light was so huge that it encompassed the whole building. Then with a deafening explosion that shook the entire city, the building became nothing but rubble and corpses. A huge smoking crater was now in the place of the building that had caused so much pain.

    As Carson looked down at the destruction below he smiled.

    “Hmm, what do you know? I actually helped that monster. He doesn’t have to go through the grief of losing his Probopass. Oh well, revenge is much more sweet a motive,” he whispered to himself. “Now, Daria, fly us to the base.”

    Daria felt guilty from all the deaths she had just caused, but she still listened to her master and flew back to their base, trying to find a reason why her master had wanted so many people dead.

    The only thing the people of Veilstone City could see that night was the silhouette of a man riding upon a Dragonite, heading south at such an incredible speed that in a few seconds they were nothing more than a tiny dot on the horizon.
    Last edited by palkia1; 11th August 2009 at 3:19 AM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  2. #2
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    Yay, it's up! And I see it has a brand new title(or at least a shortened version of the previos one xP)! I'm so excited you posted this, it was by far one of my favorite Fics on SPPf and I can't wait to get to the chapter I've already read up to - I think it was twenty, but I'm not sure because of how long ago it was xP

    I looked through and read your introduction and noticed you spelled my username wrong - it's Buraddo_Aipom, not with a space :\ Don't worry about it though, once the username thread opens I'm changing it to somehting different.

    Anyways, I liked the changes. I think that Mercury have a Probopass instead of a Porygon was a good change, as well as the more in-depth characterization of Mercury. Before it didn't seem like we really read about him, but you added some more to him and I liked it. I was sad that he died But yeah, I love the beginning of this Fic, so I can't wait.

    OH YEAH! I read the Chapter List and I completely forgot about Joven! I can't wait until he comes back, his character was very interesting - definately my favorite ^^;

    BA~~

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buraddo_Aipom View Post
    Yay, it's up! And I see it has a brand new title(or at least a shortened version of the previos one xP)! I'm so excited you posted this, it was by far one of my favorite Fics on SPPf and I can't wait to get to the chapter I've already read up to - I think it was twenty, but I'm not sure because of how long ago it was xP

    I looked through and read your introduction and noticed you spelled my username wrong - it's Buraddo_Aipom, not with a space :\ Don't worry about it though, once the username thread opens I'm changing it to somehting different.

    Anyways, I liked the changes. I think that Mercury have a Probopass instead of a Porygon was a good change, as well as the more in-depth characterization of Mercury. Before it didn't seem like we really read about him, but you added some more to him and I liked it. I was sad that he died But yeah, I love the beginning of this Fic, so I can't wait.

    OH YEAH! I read the Chapter List and I completely forgot about Joven! I can't wait until he comes back, his character was very interesting - definately my favorite ^^;

    BA~~
    Thanks for your reply, BA. Sorry about misspelling your username. I shall correct that instantly. I did change the title just because I thought the Agatha and Oak part was a little unneeded. As for the switch of Mercury's Pokemon, that was advice I received in the first version. In the time period, Porygon probably wouldn't have actually been created, so I thought of something more suitable. Probopass seemed to be a good fit.

    I'm glad you liked the better detail for Mercury. I just thought he deserved more then just some dialogue before his early demise. I'm currently writing Chapter 22, so you've read most of what I've written so far.

    Anyways, I'm glad you liked the changes that I made with this chapter. I know that some of my earlier chapters weren't quite as good as the ones I'm currently writing, so as I re-post this I'm also editing the revamping, and in some cases almost completely rewriting the earlier chapters.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

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    Oh yeah I remember this fic it rocked! I'm glad you're writing it again, and I can't wait to see Joven since he was my favorite.

    Also yeah the Porygon thing probably was a good idea to change. Probopass is a better choice.

    You can add me to the PM list again like I was before.

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    Thanks for your reply, dash142. You are now added to the PM list. Hopefully I can get some more readers on it.

    Everyone seems to like Joven a lot. Still a few more chapters until he's introduced, but I'm glad that most people seem to like his character. He's probably my favourite as well.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  6. #6
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    So much to sayyyyy ...

    In [town] was a guy. North of [town] was this. This other thing was also in the town. You know what had owned this? This team. This team was in this building. There was symbols of the team's presence all over. There was vague description that obviously means that this team had owned it. Oh, and remember that one random guy I brought up earlier? I'm bringing him up again. Yeah. He was there too. He was researching late in the night.

    ... is how I would sum up your first paragraph. Not even, unfortunately, because I varied my sentence structure. You are literally listing description in the same, monotonous tone that makes it difficult for the reader to, well read. Authors underestimate sentence structure and believe they can get away with lining up similar sentence form, but you really can't. It makes it stick out more. It's not natural, and it doesn't flow at all. Vary it a bit.

    Examples of different sentences forms: He walked toward the mirror. He gazed at his appearance. His tired eyes blinked back at him.
    • He walked toward the mirror, gazing at his appearance. Tired eyes blinked back at him.
    • Walking toward the mirror, he gazed at his appearance, tired eyes blinking back at him.
    • He walked toward the mirror to gaze at his appearance, and he winced at how tired he looked.


    Or something not as ... crappy.

    On the third floor, Mercury was sitting on a spindle-legged chair with a soft, black cushiony back rest and hard wooden arm rests. He was in a room containing many pieces of sensitive equipment that all flashed many different colours. This was his office and he had just finished his research that had been asked of him - more valuable information about their project. It would be big... if it worked.
    Again, more listing of details, and really, there's something wrong if you put more detail on the chair Mercury is sitting on rather than the actual room he's in.

    That being said, why are you mentioning this project now and then going back to describing the room? Describe the room first then explain the research or whatever.

    There's constant abuse of "was" and "had", and while there's nothing wrong with writing in past progressive tense (the "was" past tense) and past perfect tense (the "had" past tense) there comes a time where you don't necessarily need to. Simple past tense (verbs that simply, har har, end in -ed with no "was" or "had" before it) work just as fine. "Was" and "had" have a funny way of snapping the reader out of the story which you don't want to do. You want the reader to feel like he or she is actually inside the story (separated by the 4th wall, of course ;P). You also want to put some action with your description so the description doesn't stand out so bluntly.

    Let's use the line I quoted as an example:

    On the third floor, Mercury sat on a spindle-leg chair, gripping the hard wooden arm rests with his wrinkled, bony fingers, the black, cushiony back rest alleviating his weary muscles. His eyes swept over the small, cramped room containing beeping machines that flashed different colors. His wandering eyes wouldn't get work done though. With a slight sign of disdain of how plain and cramped his office was, he turned back to his desk, adjusting the light of the small, blue lamp propped up in the corner of the table. Grabbing a handful of papers, Mercury read over the first document - a blueprint - before fanning his thumb through the heavy stack. He had just completed his research that had been asked of him - more valuable information about their project. It would be big ... if it worked.

    Simply adding a few words (I used "disdain" for example) can also add to your character's personality.

    "He excitedly thumbed through the papers"
    "He bit his lip, flipping through the pages with a sense of regret. Yet the job had to be done"

    Or whatever Mercury's character is like.

    Your description of Snowpoint City was very ... touristy brochure like.

    "And to your right is the temple. Now if we look here, there are a couple houses. Now everyone wave to the man working the crane!"

    That's not a proper, or at least imaginative, way to describe something.
    Snowpoint City had a huge temple at its northernmost point that contained some powerful Pokémon. It also had a few homes as well as a harbour at the south of the city. The harbour had a crane that was inactive at this time of night, but was busy transporting cargo to ships that were docked in the middle of the day.
    Rawr. Don't simply TELL me what Snowpoint looks like. SHOW me.

    “Yes... yes sir, I understand perfectly,”
    You identified the voice the agent was talking to as a woman. We usually address ladies as ma'am, not unless it's a girly man, or something. ;P

    The interaction between Horace and Carson (what's with the switch up of names mid chapter anyway?) was pretty weak in terms of characterization. All they really did was spit at each other (via "spat" or whatever) and command attacks. Battles can be used to your advantage because they truly show what a person is like (if they command viciously, they're probably angry, for example).

    “Don’t remember? Well I remember fine. I can never forget. Daria, use Dragon Pulse,” Carson commanded.

    Daria opened her gaping mouth, producing a blue shockwave that headed towards Magnus.

    “Magnus, dodge,” Horace ordered.
    I mean, where's the emotion from the characters? Horace seems to care deeply for Magnus, so wouldn't he be frantic to keep him safe from harm?

    “Don’t remember?" Carson laughed mockingly as the professor's pure curiosity turned into fear. Good. He better be afraid after what he did to him. "Well I remember fine. I can never forget." Then he hesitated, memories overwhelming his thoughts about that awful day. He could feel his hands clench up to his fist, his body shaking with anger. He then shook his head, snapping himself out of it. Now wasn't the time to contemplate. Now was the time to destroy. "Daria, use Dragon Pulse,” Carson commanded, eyes narrowed in hate.

    Daria opened her gaping mouth, producing a blue shockwave that headed towards Magnus.

    “Magnus, dodge!” Horace ordered in a cracked voice, his mouth dry, quickly snapping out of his own thoughts to help his pokemon.


    Dunno. You had several chances to portray Carson as a cold, heartless creature and Horace as somewhat of a kind hearted professor who deep down cares for his pokemon more than his job.

    Daria unleashed the orange beam of light upon the damaged Magnus. The blast blew up the comet atop Magnus, and in the process, sent him hurtling through one of the ground floor windows before landing motionless on the ground outside.

    Horace moaned in agony at what Carson had just done.

    “How could you, you lying disgusting pig!?” he yelled at the top of his lungs. “That wasn’t necessary. What’s wrong with you!?”
    Granted, you did add more to Horace's respond after my quote, but there wasn't a ... not sure how to explain it. Lack there of a reaction to Magnus' death. No horrific astonishment? No disbelief? Just a moan? Lol.

    Daria still didn’t really want to do it, but she was loyal to her master, who had always been loyal to her. She nodded and then took a few seconds to charge up and unleash a beam of orange light at the building far below. It was so powerful that the recoil jerked Daria and Carson back a few feet. The orange light was so huge that it encompassed the whole building. Then with a deafening explosion that shook the entire city, the building became nothing but rubble and corpses. A huge smoking crater was now in the place of the building that had caused so much pain.
    Again, this could have been a powerful scene if you described it as much more as "orange light" and then some shaking. Not even flames? Or the sounds of sirens in the background?

    Nothing but orange light and a BOOM ...

    The plot is fine, but the delivery just doesn't match up to it. You seem to be throwing ideas out there, writing about something else, then returning back to the idea, which makes no sense at all. Powerful, emotional scenes such as the death of Magnus were not gripping for the reader at all. What description of setting there is seems to be nothing more than a list. Character development was flat; it's unlikely that the reader is going to feel sorry for Horace (or a hate for him, if that's what you want). The only character with a tad of personality is Carson's for the sake that he is cold and monotonous, so I don't really know if you implied his lines to sound as such or if this is another sentence structure error. Speaking of which, the actual form is just so unnatural (ie "this was this. this was that. this was here. then that was here") that some readers may find it difficult to get past the few couple of paragraphs let alone the story.
    Last edited by Breezy; 25th February 2009 at 12:44 AM.

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    Thank you for the review, Breezy. I will definitely take what you said into account. I am currently going through my second chapter, and will look out for what you mentioned.

    I know that having description like a list is boring to the reader, and I've tried to avoid it, apparently unsuccessfully. As for the use of the words 'was' and 'had', I know that's a big problem of mine. I've heard it before from readers, but I find it really hard to detect it when I'm reading through my chapters. I'll also try and work on conveying the emotions more through the dialogue. I agree that it could have been done better

    You identified the voice the agent was talking to as a woman. We usually address ladies as ma'am, not unless it's a girly man, or something. ;P
    No, it's not a girly man, it's just that the woman in question prefers to be called sir, rather them ma'am.

    Anyway, thanks so much for the review. I'll try to improve upon what you said for the next chapter. Hopefully it will be a bit better then the first. Also, for other readers, the next chapter should be ready in a day or two for betaing, so hopefully should be up by the weekend. Much sooner then I expected.
    Last edited by palkia1; 25th February 2009 at 3:20 AM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

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    Okay, here is Chapter 2. Thanks again for Buraddo_Aipom for betaing the chapter. I have tried to work on my description that Breezy mentioned in his/her review. Hopefully I've actually succeeded in doing that somewhere along the line in this chapter. I hope everyone enjoys it.



    CHAPTER 2: GASTLY RESCUE:



    It was eight in the morning, and the sunlight peeked through the folds of the curtains hung up in front of the window in front of Agatha’s bed. She was sound asleep - not even the happy cheering of the birds on Agatha’s windowsill could disturb her. One thing that could disrupt her relaxing sleep was her mother kicking open the bedroom door and demanding that Agatha get out of bed.

    “Agatha, wake up! You have to start doing something with your life. Get a job or do something, just stop sleeping all day,” Agatha’s mother shouted. She was sick and tired of having to constantly get Agatha out of bed every morning. Agatha may have wanted to sleep in until noon, but she wouldn’t let that happen. She walked into the clean bedroom and pulled off the blue doona that Agatha was nestled under. As she ripped it off, Agatha protested.

    “Mum, stop it,” she grunted. Her words were barely audible through her slurred, tired speech. She pulled the doona back over her head and clung to it as tight as she could.

    “Oh no you don’t, young lady!” Agatha’s mother sternly warned. She walked over to the pink curtains, yanked them open, and then yet again pulled the doona off of her daughter.

    This time Agatha was blinded by the sun that now poured through the window and straight onto the bed. She sat up, rubbed her tired eyes, and opened them ever so slightly to glare at her mother.

    “Why can’t you just leave me alone? It’s only eight in the morning, it’s not that late.” Her mother always ruined her mornings. She was supposedly wasting her life away. She was sixteen, not sixty. She had plenty of time to do something with her life. Right now all she wanted to do was sleep.

    “It is to me, Agatha. Most kids are doing something by your age. They’ve got a job or they’re traveling with Pokémon. You’re just doing nothing and wasting the best years of your life!”

    Agatha put her hands up to her ears to block out the sound. As her eyes became accustomed to the bright sunlight she glared at her mother. Her mother continued to yell at her, despite the obvious lack of interest on Agatha’s behalf.

    Agatha’s mother pointed a finger at her daughter to emphasise her point. Before she could finish what she was saying though, Agatha reached behind her for her comfortable fluffy pillow and hurled it through the air. Her mother ducked just in time. Instead of hitting her, it hit the wall and fell silently to the grey, worn out carpet.

    “Well, now that you’re properly awake and moving I expect you down for breakfast in ten minutes,” Agatha’s mother said.

    She walked over to the door and closed it behind her, while giving Agatha a cheeky smile as though to say “I win."

    Agatha slumped forwards onto her bed, miserable and depressed. Her mother was right - kids could start their Pokémon journeys when they were ten years old, but Agatha didn’t think that it was right for her. She found the idea of using Pokémon as tools in battles as wrong. Many people argued that Pokémon liked testing their skills, but Agatha ignored them, proclaiming that she would never participate in such a vile activity as Pokémon battling.

    Agatha slowly got out of bed and walked over to the solitary window in her room. Outside she could see the grey and purple building that was Pokémon Tower, the tallest building in Lavender Town. Agatha often visited there, feeling sorry for all the people who had lost their Pokémon, but she never went up to the upper floors where Ghost-type Pokémon could be found. They scared her; their ability to go through walls and being able to disappear freaked her out.

    Apart from Pokémon Tower, Lavender Town was pretty ordinary. There wasn’t anything spectacular about the town and nothing exciting ever happened there. All the small, square houses were very similar - they had neatly furnished lawns, dull paintwork, and the residents were all fairly solitary. Agatha stared up at the sky, wishing she was anywhere else, before looking around the rest of her room. She frowned in contempt at the spotless floor that her mother insisted on having. Stacked up unevenly on a bookcase to her right was a wide array of books. They were mostly about Pokémon. She loved Pokémon, and would do almost anything to have one. One thing she wouldn’t do, though, was battle them. Using Pokémon to make other Pokémon faint was a barbaric concept to her.

    Agatha walked over to the centre of her room and knelt down to examine the fine stitching of the circular rug there. The stitching depicted a small brown Pokémon with a bone in its hand. Its head was all bone with no skin attached. The Pokémon, a Marowak, stood in a battling pose. Agatha’s mother owned a Marowak of her own and loved it very much. It had been with her for many years. Agatha loved the Marowak too, so her mother had made the rug for Agatha on her tenth birthday and put it in the centre of the room. She scanned her eyes across the rest of the room. Looking to her right she saw her small white desk that was almost completely bare. She walked over towards the desk and picked up the lone object upon it; her sketchbook. Thumbing through the pages, Agatha smiled at her artwork. Every page showed a detailed drawing of a certain Pokémon. Agatha loved to sketch Pokémon from her books and she was quite a talented artist. She actually owned two sketch books, but she hadn’t finished with the first one yet, so the second one was empty.

    Picking up the discarded pillow on the floor, and throwing it back onto her bed, Agatha walked over to her mirror, which hung on the wall next to her desk. Staring back at her was a girl with blonde curly hair that Agatha rolled around her finger. Her eyes narrowed even more than usual at the small pimples on her cheeks. There was even one at the tip of her pointy nose. She tapped it softly, thinking that she might have to burst it if it grew any bigger. Her pyjamas were just a white t-shirt and pants with pictures of Marowak on them. Her mother made several of her clothes herself, something which Agatha wasn’t happy with. As the sunlight reflected off the mirror, Agatha’s small blue eyes twinkled slightly.

    Upon a shout from her mother to come down for breakfast, Agatha opened her bedroom door and headed down the hallway. Lining the wall were numerous framed pictures of Agatha’s parents. She headed into the kitchen where her mother sat at a small round table. She had just finished placing two delicate glass plates on the table as well as a knife and fork for each of them.

    “Well hello there, sleepy head,” Agatha’s mother said, bustling around the kitchen making breakfast. “Good of you to join me. Now sit down and get ready for a breakfast like never before.”

    Agatha’s mothers name was Ashley. Her long red hair bounced around her back as she frantically cooked. Ashley also had blue eyes and was an average height for a woman, not too tall or small. She was a bit overweight but it didn’t bother her that much. As she waited for the toast to pop she fingered the wedding ring on her left hand. She still wore it even though it had been fourteen years since her husband had died. As soon as the toast had popped, Ashley put the two pieces on both their plates, one on Agatha’s and one on her own. After that she took off the flowery green apron she wore when she cooked.

    Agatha lived alone with Ashley, which made her a very busy woman. She did all of the work around the house, made all the meals, and took care of Agatha and her Marowak named Clubby. Agatha lived with her mother because her father had died when she was two years old. She didn’t know how, as her mother never divulged any information about her father’s death, no matter how hard she persisted. Agatha sat down and saw Clubby sitting under the table.

    “Maro Marowak,” Clubby said.

    “Hi Clubby,” Agatha kindly greeted. She tickled it a bit on the stomach. Marowak laughed, swinging its club around dangerously. Agatha then sat back up to have breakfast.

    ***

    Half an hour later, Agatha stood out in the sun in her trademark purple pants and frayed blue t-shirt. They were her favourite clothes and she wore them as often as she could. She walked towards Pokémon Tower as she had done almost every day for the past eight years.

    As Agatha walked down the narrow roads of Lavender Town, in between the many dull houses just like her own, she noticed something strange. She could see Pokémon Tower clearly ahead, but there was barely anyone near it. Usually there was a thronging crowd clambering to get into the building. A lot of trainers either went there to catch Pokémon or went there to mourn and respect their own deceased Pokémon. Today, however, Agatha could see less than ten people outside the glass silver doors of the most famous building in Lavender Town.

    She slowly walked up to the small group of people as her curiosity sparked.

    “Hey, what’s going on? Where is everyone?” she asked.

    One of the people, a middle aged man wearing a blue coat and trousers, turned around.

    “We’re not going in there,” he said. His voice shook and he stuttered slightly too “Th-they say there’s a curse. There’s nobody in the tower at...at...at all. There’s always someone in there but now there’s no one. W-we’re too scared to go in. I saw something last night, I did. I saw a bright flash of blue light. At first I thought I imagined it because I was so tired, but now…” The man turned around the other way, looked up at the building fearfully, and joined the crowd in whispering to each other.

    “That’s ridiculous,” Agatha scoffed. “There’s no such thing as curses. I can’t believe you believe in that annoying superstition.” Another thing she didn’t like about living in Lavender Town was the constant spiritual talk, what with a tower of Pokémon graves in their city. She found it all ridiculous and foolish. If she couldn’t see it, as far as she was concerned, it didn’t exist.

    She brazenly pushed herself past the crowd and opened the doors. As she passed the small group of people they all muttered hushed whispers about her. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she thought it was something along the lines of her being foolish. As she entered Pokémon Tower she remembered just how dull the interior was. It suited the site of a massive Pokémon graveyard perfectly. The grey walls cast a sombre mood over every visitor that entered, and the sight of crying Pokémon trainers remembering their long gone Pokémon saddened everyone. There was a reception desk to the far right near the stairs that usually housed a kind, young receptionist. Not today though. The whole ground floor was devoid of life; no people were to be found. The crowd outside were right - there was no one here. She didn’t bother checking the upper floors. That was where the ghost Pokémon were, and Agatha feared them. Agatha slowly began to make her way to the front door, still utterly nonplussed about where everyone was.

    “Gas…ly….GASTLY!” Agatha suddenly heard what appeared to be a Pokémon called Gastly screaming. She instantly bolted towards the stairs before stopping just short.

    But there are ghost Pokémon up there, she thought to herself.

    They couldn’t just be normal Pokémon that didn’t go through walls and appear out of nowhere and haunt people, could they? She wasn’t sure if she could face going up there. It was clear that the Gastly was in trouble, though. She couldn’t leave a Pokémon alone in trouble. Trying to push her fears out of her mind she sprinted up the stairs, taking them three at a time. Her natural athleticism and speed came in handy here. She had always been a fast, athletic girl, though she had never joined any sort of sports club.

    The second floor looked just like the first floor except for one thing - there were hundreds of Pokémon graves on the floor. They were all over the room, so Agatha tread carefully to avoid hitting any of them. She deeply respected Pokémon, dead or alive. That was why she was facing her fears to save a Pokémon. She climbed the stairs to the next floor and what she saw disgusted her.

    There was a Pokémon slowly moving backwards towards the far corner of the room. Swirling purple gas surrounded a small black lump of matter. Instead of moving around the graves, he simply floated through them. He eyed Agatha across the room with his enormous eyes. This was the Gastly that had screamed before. She looked down at the swirling gas surrounding the Gastly with fear and apprehension in her eyes. Gastly was one of the scariest ghost Pokémon. It evolved into even scarier ones, Haunter and Gengar.

    “Gastly,” it said frantically, still eyeing Agatha with an unnatural gaze. “Gas…Gastly.”

    Advancing on the Pokémon menacingly was a man dressed completely in black. He wore black pants, a black jumper, black gloves, and a black balaclava over his face. Two Pokémon were in front of him, each attacking Gastly in turn. The one on the left was an orange, black, and cream Pokémon. It growled threateningly as it advanced towards Gastly on its four short legs. Its fur stood on end as it shot fireballs at Gastly. Hovering next to the fiery dog Pokémon was another Pokémon. Attached to its sides were two magnets that were creating a magnetic field, allowing the Pokémon to float. Its solitary eye stared deeply at Gastly as it shot bolts of electricity from its screw-covered body.

    “Good job, Growlithe. You too, Magnemite,” the man said, cackling maliciously. He laughed at the pain he was causing the Gastly, who was defenceless against the two Pokémon; this Gastly couldn’t do anything to stop him. He was just too powerful while the Gastly was weak. He held all the power, and that felt great. “All Pokémon will belong to us. Nothing can defy-”

    “Hey, what are you doing to that Gastly!?” Agatha yelled. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Her fists subconsciously clenched in anger at the sight of the man harming an innocent and defenceless Pokémon.

    The man turned around with a surprised look on his face. The Growlithe and Magnemite halted their attack at the presence of Agatha.

    “Listen little girl, why don’t you go home and play with some dolls,” he retorted, laughing at his own remark.

    “You can’t attack a Pokémon two on one. You’re severely hurting it,” Agatha said in protest, ignoring the comment the man had just made.

    “You haven’t heard of us have you, little girl?” the man asked. “If you had heard of us you would know that it would be foolish to stand up to us. All Pokémon belong to us and will tremble under our mighty power. Now if you don’t mind, I have some business to attend to.”

    The man turned back around and ordered a double attack on the Gastly.

    “Growlithe, use Fire Spin. Magnemite, use Spark,” he ordered. He licked his lips at the thought of procuring this Gastly for the boss. If he could just knock it out then the job would be done.

    “I can’t let you do this,” Agatha said. She clenched her jaw in determination before she ran towards the wounded Gastly. She sprinted as fast as she could, using her agility and speed as an advantage, weaving her way through the various Pokémon graves.

    A miniature tornado of fire erupted from Growlithe’s mouth and made its way towards Gastly at the same time as Magnemite charged at Gastly. Electricity surrounded the magnetic Pokémon’s attachments.

    “No, Gastly, I’ve got you!”

    Agatha used all the speed she possessed as she got closer to Gastly. She made it just in time. She ran to Gastly, bending down and scooping up the Pokémon in one hand as she jumped over one of the graves. She barely made it in time; the back of her sneakers were singed, and she received a mild shock in her foot, but otherwise she and Gastly were unhurt.

    “Hey, get back here!” yelled the man, ripping off his balaclava. “That’s my chance for a promotion.” His face was severely demented. His face contorted in rage and his features were strangely misshapen. Agatha’s insides squirmed at his nose, which was almost bent at a ninety degree angle. Matted, long brown hair hung in front of his eyes. As he pushed it out of the way, Agatha saw for the first time the look in the man’s dark brown eyes. It was a look that told her that he was going to kill.
    “Give me that Gastly back!”

    Agatha of course ignored the man and ran as fast as she could to some stairs. She didn’t realise until it was too late that they went up instead of down. She paused, looking for another way out. She couldn’t go down the other stairs because the man and his Pokémon were in the way.

    “Growlithe and Magnemite, ATTACK!” the man roared. “Don’t let them get away. Use Flame Wheel and SonicBoom.” Growlithe cloaked its entire body in searing hot flames and charged at Agatha, while Magnemite sent a grey shockwave of energy straight at her head. She screamed and ran for cover. As she ran she kept Gastly safely curled up in her arms. She blocked her arms with her back to ensure that she protected Gastly from all attacks.

    Using her agility, she managed to jump over several graves before finally hiding behind one. Other graves surrounded it on all sides, so it was the best cover at that particular time. The only problem was that she had no idea how to get back to the stairs. The floor was so vast and was literally covered with graves. She could never make it to the stairs undetected. Her only hope was to remain completely silent behind the small white grave and hope the psychotic man would give up.

    “Gastly, are you alright?” she whispered as she put the Gastly safely and gently down on the cold hard floor.

    “Gastly Gas,” he replied, smiling and nodding.

    “Good. As long as you’re fine, this is all worth it.”

    If Agatha thought the man would give up, she was wrong. He used Growlithe and Magnemite to destroy every grave, waiting for the scream that would give away Agatha’s position. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She had to do something though. He was befouling the graves and memories of all of these Pokémon, and she couldn’t let him continue. Every explosion was another grave, another dead Pokémon, being trampled by this man.

    “Stay down Gastly,” she whispered. She gathered all her nerves and put away all her fears to stand up and face the man. “Stop what you’re doing!” she yelled at the top of her voice. Even though she had yelled at him, the command had sounded awfully feeble, especially since she had no means of protection. The man merely turned around, smiling his evil grin.

    “Well it seems you have made my job a lot easier. You shouldn’t have saved that Gastly. It was a fruitless effort and now you both will perish,” he said, the murderous glint in his eyes as pronounced as ever. He cracked his knuckles to emphasise his point. While the man had been talking, Agatha searched the room for the stairs. It took her a few seconds, but among a pile of fragmented graves and rocks, she saw them.

    “Use Discharge, Magnemite. Growlithe, you use Flamethrower,” the man commanded. He sneered at Agatha, knowing that her life was about to be taken from her. He would gleefully watch as the life drained from her eyes. There would be no escape for this pesky girl.

    Magnemite’s whole body became yellow, and one bolt of electricity headed towards Agatha as a long stream of flame surged from Growlithe’s mouth.

    Agatha screamed and shielded herself with her arms as the attacks bared down upon her. She had to keep Gastly safe; it didn’t deserve to be hunted by this man. He hadn’t done anything to hurt the man that was trying to capture him.

    Suddenly Agatha felt a small breeze move past her. She moved her arms and looked up. Gastly sprung up from the ground and sent a purple energy ball at the attacks. As the attacks collided there was a small explosion in mid air, which shook the ground, but didn’t destroy any part of the room. Smoke slowly rose up from the explosion. This was the chance Agatha had been waiting for. She gathered up Gastly, hugged it tightly, and bolted for the stairs she had seen earlier. The man was still shielding his eyes from the explosion and smoke. When he looked again, he could just see the end of her shoe go down the stairs.

    He pulled out two white Pokéballs, twisted the dial on top of them, and watched as Growlithe and Magnemite were sealed inside by a red light. He then ran after her. By the time he had made it down to the second floor, Agatha was already on the ground floor. She ran faster than she had ever run before, but then she supposed that having your life in danger was a good motivator. She made it out of Pokémon Tower in less than a minute, while the man with the Growlithe and Magnemite remained inside, confused and furious at his prey escaping.

    After Agatha exited Pokémon Tower she ran around a corner, away from the crowd, stopped a few streets away, and cheered for joy. She leant back against the wall of a house and sighed with relief. They had made it. Surely the man couldn’t find her now. Not in a whole town full of people. It would be almost impossible.

    “We made it, Gastly,” she said, lifting the Gastly high into the air. “I guess he couldn’t compete with me. Still, he was pretty scary... and psychotic. Thanks for saving me back there.”

    The Gastly smiled and said his name again, while Agatha ran off to tell her mother of the adventure she had just had.

    ***

    “I guess we lost her,” he said to himself. “Oh well it was only a stupid Gastly anyway. I better call the boss. Our main mission was a success.”

    The man picked up a walkie-talkie exactly like the one Carson used, and pressed a green button in the centre of it. There was nothing but static. Then the voice of a woman came through the static

    “Well, did our test work?”

    “Yes, sir,” the man said. “It worked perfectly...”

    “Did you catch any Pokémon for us while you were there?” she responded. The man could tell that she knew he had failed in that regard.

    “Um… Pokémon. N-no, sir,” the man said.

    “I asked for at least one new Pokémon. What is the use of hiring you people if you can’t even capture a single Pokémon?”

    “I was about to get a Gastly, but some girl stopped me. She saved the Gastly and ran off fast.”

    “I thought you said the mission was a success.” She sounded angry and the man knew that when the boss was angry, trouble was soon to come.

    “It was, believe me - this girl must have originally been outside of Pokémon Tower.”

    “Hmm, well it was only a Gastly anyway,” the voice replied.

    “That’s exactly what I thought as well.”

    “I don’t care what you thought!” she snapped back. She was still furious at the incompetence of her servants. They couldn’t even capture a simple Pokémon from a little girl.

    “Sorry, sir. Do you want me to stay and catch some Pokémon...or go after the girl?”

    “No, you had your chance. This is the last time I send you on an important mission. Return to base camp so I can deal with you properly.”

    “Yes, sir,” the man said, pressing the green button again to deactivate the walkie-talkie. He shivered in fear at what awaited him back at base camp. He always disappointed the boss and she had no faith in him. If she allowed him the chance, he could prove to her that he was an important member of their organisation. He doubted whether he’d get that chance now. He had failed her, and most people who failed her once never failed again. In fact, most people who failed her were never seen again.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

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    Okay, here is Chapter 3. It's a weak late, but that's only because my beta had a little delay. But, here it is, Chapter 3. I hope you all enjoy.


    CHAPTER 3: OAK'S FIRST CATCH:




    Samuel Oak was thirteen years old. He lived happily with his mother and father in Pallet Town where his father was a retired Pokémon Trainer and his mother was a Pokémon Researcher. He was a small boy for his age, was very smart, and loved poetry. His brown hair had always been long ever since he was a small child, and it still was to this day. Like most children his age, he was greatly interested in training Pokémon and travelling with them throughout the world. Children from Pallet Town could receive a Pokémon when they were ten years old from Sam’s mother, who was the local Pokémon professor, and would then go on an adventure. This is what Sam’s two older brothers had done before him. They had left several years before on their Pokémon journeys, and Sam hadn’t heard from them since. One of his brothers was in the faraway Johto region while one was in Hoenn. They had both travelled far and wide, something that Sam had wanted to do for as long as he could remember.

    Sam’s father had been a great Pokémon trainer until he retired to live out his days with his wife comfortably in Pallet Town. However, every day he ventured into the woods near Viridian City with his Pokémon for training and a bit of fun. They left straight after breakfast and didn’t come back until the middle of the afternoon. Sam had wanted to tag along many times, but his father told him that it was his time to be alone with his Pokémon. Sam’s father had caught a lot of Pokémon in his day, but whenever Sam saw him, there was only one Pokéball on his belt. This was the very first Pokémon he owned. Sam had never actually seen it before; he daydreamed often about the journeys and adventures his father must have had when he was his age.

    That had been Sam’s dream ever since he was six years old, but his mother pressured him to stay and study with her to be a Pokémon Professor. Because of this, Sam was torn between what to do with his life. He was very interested in Pokémon and his mother’s research, but what he really wanted to do was to train and travel with Pokémon. He had stayed in Pallet Town past his tenth birthday because of his mother’s constant nagging and refusals to let him travel. Even though he had furiously protested, some of the information he learned was fascinating. Even so, he had to follow his own dream.

    For the last few months he had been more and more tempted to leave Pallet Town and start his own adventure. He watched so many kids that he knew leave without him. He had now decided that no matter what his Mum said, he was leaving. Today was going to be the day he would break the news to his mother - his father didn’t care which path Sam chose, as long as Sam himself was happy with it. Sam was asleep at the moment, but his alarm was set to go off in half an hour, at half past eight. He was going to go down for breakfast and tell his mother that he was leaving on his journey, whether she wanted him to or not.

    ***

    “Hello everyone, and welcome to Pokémon News. It’s half past eight this beautiful morning in the town of Pallet. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperature is a wonderful twenty-six degrees Celsius,” the radio announcer lively announced. It took a few seconds for the vibrant voice of the announcer to pierce through Sam’s dream and jolt him awake.

    He slowly pulled his doona off of his back and hopped out of bed. He spent a few minutes neatly making the bed, folding the doona complete with a design that depicted three Pokémon on it. One was an orange, lizard-like creature that looked kind of like a small dinosaur. It had a tail ending with a small flame. It was a Charmander. Next to Charmander was a blue turtle Pokémon, hunched over with a brown shell on its back. It was a Squirtle. Lastly, there was a Pokémon that looked like a small, quadrupedal greenish-blue dinosaur with a green bulb on its back. Strange dark green marking covered its body from end to end. It was a Bulbasaur.

    One of these three Pokémon would soon belong to Sam; new trainers from Pallet Town were able to pick between these three Pokémon. Sam didn’t know which one he was going to take, and he didn’t think he’d know until he had the Pokéball in his hand. He looked around his room one last time, knowing that he would not see it for some time.

    There was a desk that took up one whole wall of Sam’s room. Perched above the desk was a window that showed the glorious view Pallet Town had to offer. While Sam was studying he would often look out and let the cool afternoon breeze calmly wash over him. His mother had made the desk herself and had designed it to be so large. She often showed him large, thick textbooks about Pokémon physiology and behaviour, and would show him research documents and papers she was currently working on. She thought of Sam as her star pupil, but she was wrong. He liked Pokémon research, but he wanted to be a trainer more. Instead of receiving a Pokémon and a Pokédex on his tenth birthday, Sam had been given a large computer by his mum. She had filled it with information about all the Pokémon she knew, and had made it especially for Sam to look through. Sam walked over to his desk, passing over a loose creaky floorboard, and sat down on the hard wooden chair in front of it. He searched through dozens of scattered papers strewn over the desk for his sketchbook. Amidst a large stack of papers focussing on the three starter Pokémon, Sam found it. He had been sketching Pokémon since he was old enough to hold a pencil, and he loved it. Sketching was his favourite hobby, and it consumed so much of his free time that he couldn’t imagine himself without it.

    Over the years, his drawings became much more sophisticated and more life-like. There was just one thing wrong with his sketchbook - it was almost broken. The whole left side was completely ripped off, and many pages were in tatters. It had been used so much and constantly worn by Sam’s drawing and erasing. He desperately needed a new one, but his mother thought his time would be better spent researching Pokémon rather than drawing them. That was the one thing Sam didn’t appreciate about his mother - she was trying to control his life, and she wouldn’t let him make his own choices and decisions.

    Sam placed his sketchbook back down on his desk so it was visible, and walked over to a large white bookcase on the opposite side of the room. It was filled with many Pokémon resource materials that had educated him quite well. There were encyclopaedias, graphs and charts of Pokémon populations, research reports about behaviour and communication, and much more. Sam’s mother had given Sam all of these, and he had thoroughly read them several times. He had an understanding of a lot of concepts of Pokémon, and for that he was grateful of his mother.

    Sam then knelt down on all fours and crawled under his bed, searching for his backpack. It was pitch black under there, so he had to use a torch. The beam of light moved along the floor and wall, illuminating such items as a stick of chewing gum, a couple of old tissues, and an inch thick layer of dust. Eventually it swept over his bright yellow backpack. It was an ingenious design with numerous pockets that served all the needs of a Pokémon trainer. Sam grasped it tightly and tugged it out, coughing and sneezing as he inhaled hundreds of particles of dust. Sam brushed himself and his clothes clean before placing the backpack on his bed; now he just had to fill it. Sam inspected every nook and cranny of his bedroom for anything that might be useful on his journey. Clothes were the obvious priority. His large wooden wardrobe held several different sets of his favourite clothes: a plain white shirt and brown trousers. He put on a pair before placing two others in his backpack along with a pair of shoes and socks. The last thing he prepared was his sleeping bag. A set of straps had come with the sleeping bag, and Sam used these to secure the sleeping bag on top of his backpack. He then slung the bag over his shoulder before proceeding downstairs.

    As Sam made his way down to breakfast, he realised just how similar his house was to the standard Pallet Town house. It was a two storey, quaint cottage-like residence that seemed cramped on the inside, while looking spacious and roomy from the outside. The hallways were gloomy with a few pictures of relatives framed along the halls. Sam stumbled slightly in the excitement and anxiety he felt as he drew closer and closer to facing his mum. An ornate brass staircase separated the top storey from the bottom, and it was as Sam walked down these stairs, his footfalls echoing throughout the house, that Sam’s parents realised that he was awake.

    As he walked into the kitchen, Sam placed his backpack on the floor and sat at the small, round table. The kitchen was the most cramped room in the house. Even though they were a family of three now, the food barely fit on the table, and you couldn’t move around without bumping into someone or something. Both of Sam’s parents were eating toast from small plates decorated with roses. There was an identical plate with toast on it in front of Sam.

    As Sam bit into the toast, he glanced at his Mum and Dad. His Dad was reading the newspaper, just like every morning, and his Mum was furiously eating while examining her schedule. His mother had brown hair, the exact same hair as Sam. Her green eyes were inquisitive, staring out from behind horn rimmed spectacles. Sam’s Dad, however, had blue eyes and auburn hair. His brow was always creased into a frown no matter what his mood, making it seem like he was always annoyed and angry, even though he was usually quite the opposite.

    “Hey, Sam, what’s with the backpack? You’re not going anywhere, are you?” his mother asked as soon as she took a pause to look up from her schedule.

    “Yes, now that you mention it, I am,” Sam boldly replied, putting down his half finished toast. He was trying to find the confidence and the guts to confess to his Mum what he was doing.

    “Well, cancel it,” his mother dismissed, keeping her eyes firmly planted on her schedule. “I’ve got some research papers to show you as well as the new batch of Pokémon at the lab.”

    “But-” Sam protested. Now was the time to tell her. If he didn’t tell her now he’d never be able to. “No! I’m leaving for my Pokémon journey! I respect that you want me to be a professor, but I don’t want to. I want to be a trainer!”

    “What are you talking about!?” his mother angrily replied. She had a stern look on her face and looked personally insulted. “Researching is better than training. And you’ve taken so much interest in it. You didn’t leave when you were ten and you’re not leaving now. That’s final!” Sam’s Mum then stood up from the table and busied herself with the dishes as though the conversation was over. Sam wasn’t giving up though.

    “No! You can’t pull that crap on me. Why won’t you let me live my life? Everyone else can leave, but I can’t.”

    “While you’re living under my roof, you will do as I say,” his Mum replied, her voice steadily growing louder. She turned around, brandishing a frying pan threateningly in her right hand.

    “That’s the point - I don’t want to be under your roof anymore. I want to leave.”

    “You had the chance when you were ten... you didn’t take it. You can’t change your mind now,” she said. She now had her back turned to Sam so that he wouldn’t see her crying. She wiped away the tears that were dripping into the sink. She had dreaded that this day would come. Sam was her little angel. He shouldn’t be leaving her when he was so young.

    “What do you mean!?” Sam furiously asked. He didn’t realise that he was now yelling at his Mum. All he cared about was convincing her to let him go. “I wanted to leave at ten, but how could I? You constantly told me I couldn’t go, you smothered me with research, and you made me feel... well... guilty. I only stayed for you, to keep you happy. But I have to follow my dreams, not yours. I can’t stay anymore.”

    “You stayed here... for me?” Sam’s mother said in a choking voice. Tears welled up in her eyes as she struggled to produce articulate speech. Only small sounds escaped her mouth, none of which were coherent speech. “Oh, you are too good to me, Samuel.” She bent down and hugged him tightly, dampening his clothes with the water covering her arms and hands. Sam quickly grew embarrassed and managed to shrug her off. “But the answer is still no,” she continued, still wiping tears from her eyes which were now streaked across her face.

    Sam couldn’t believe her reaction. She was obviously touched by what he had done for her, she had heard all he had to say, and she still wouldn’t budge. What did Sam have to do to change her mind?

    “Do you really think that what you say is gonna matter?” Sam said. “Whether you like it or not, I’m leaving.

    “You are not!” she harshly ordered. “You should be staying here with me. Don’t you want to follow in my footsteps?”

    “Maybe,” Sam mumbled. “When I’m old like Dad perhaps...”

    “Watch it, son,” his Dad responded from behind the newspaper. He wasn’t taking part in this argument; he would only step in if Sam and his wife didn’t sort it out themselves. He really hoped they would do it soon - he couldn’t concentrate on the cartoons with all their bickering.

    “...but now I really want to travel with Pokémon. I can get hands on experience for research if I-” Sam continued before being interrupted again.

    “Don’t try and trick me, Samuel. You know just as well as I do that if you leave you won’t be able to continue your studies.”

    “Just let him go, sweetheart,” said Sam’s father. His face was completely obscured by the morning paper, which read, “BUILDING DESTROYED IN THE NORTH: SUSPECT RIDING MYSTERIOUS FIGURE ESCAPES.” The same story had been all over the newspapers for over a week. No one knew what had truly happened or why it occurred. Over a hundred people had died and the police had no leads. The whole Sinnoh region was on the hunt for the perpetrator, who was shown in a blurry, black-and-white photograph riding a large, mysterious Pokémon.

    “This is because you were a Pokémon Trainer. I think he would be better as a Pokémon Professor,” his mother said, turning around now to give him a look that would make most people cower. She seemed to blow up to double her proportions as she furiously stared down her husband. Sam would have been running for cover if his mum looked at him like that, but his father didn’t seem intimidated in the least.

    “It isn’t because of that,” Sam’s father coolly replied. “He isn’t truly happy here. You allow so many kids to start their Pokémon journeys and become a lot happier - why not give our own child the same privilege? He would be much happier travelling with Pokémon and challenging gyms like many kids his age.”

    “But he’s my baby,” she said in a whimpering pitying voice. “I can’t let him go...not now.”

    “They’ve all gotta go someday,” Sam’s father said. “Whether it be now or in a few years, you know he’s gonna leave. Let it be on good terms rather than with a fight resulting in you two not speaking to each other.”

    Sam’s mother pulled out one of the wooden chairs at the table and slumped down, defeated and glum. How could she interfere with Sam’s happiness? She was his mother, and both her husband and Sam were right. She had to let him go, to follow his own dreams, no matter how much it pained her.

    “Well I guess if both of you are against me I can’t win. Still, if you weren’t happy here, Sam, you should have told me. I didn’t realise and if I had I would have let you go three years ago. I’ll do anything to make you happy. You’re my son, and you always will be.”

    “Wow,” Sam said, astounded over how much his mother cared. “Thanks Mum, that’s wonderful.” She finally understood now. She finally knew that this was what he truly wanted, that he wouldn’t be happy anywhere else, and that she was trying to control him.

    He picked up his unfinished toast, and bit down hard. It may have only been toast, but right now, it felt like the best meal of his life; it was his last meal before being on the road to freedom and Pokémon training.

    Fifteen minutes later, Sam was to be seen opening the many pockets of his bright yellow backpack to make sure he had everything. He had a week’s supply of food stuffed into the many side pockets of his backpack. In the two main pockets he had his clothes, his sketchbook, a couple of bottles of water, and other various items that Sam thought would be useful.

    “Well it seems I’m ready to go,” he said, looking up at his parents. “Except for some Pokémon,” he hinted. He still wasn’t sure if his Mum was keen enough on the idea to actually give him one of her starter Pokémon.

    “That’s right,” she said, sighing deeply as she pulled out three white Pokéballs from her work bag. They were the standard issue Pokéball, white with the red dial on the top. The red dial allowed Pokémon to both be captured and released from a Pokéball. “These are the three starter Pokémon I give to aspiring trainers - Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur,” she continued. “These three are special however. They are the first ones I ever caught. I have nurtured them and taken care of them, but I haven’t raised them to battle at all. They’re just like freshly caught Pokémon. These are very special to me and I want you to have one.”

    “You captured Pokémon? I didn’t think you knew how,” Sam joked.

    “Just because I’m not a trainer doesn’t mean I can’t catch Pokémon. These three are just like all the other starter Pokémon I have, except I have looked after them for over thirty years. Pick one and start your adventure, Sam.”

    Sam had no idea which one he should choose. They were all so adorable and had such great potential. Sam knew they would all be outstanding Pokémon to start off with. But which one should he choose? Bulbasaur were loyal and well-behaved, a good beginner Pokémon. Sam liked a challenge though. Squirtle was also well-behaved, but Sam had heard that they could be distant towards people at times. He didn’t want that to happen with his Pokémon. Finally there was Charmander; Charmander were mild-mannered, but they also needed a lot of looking after and tender care. All of these thoughts and he was still no closer to deciding.

    “Come on, Sam, choose your Pokémon,” his mother urged.
    “Okay, I choose Charmander,” he said. His mother handed him the Pokéball to the far left.

    Once the Pokéball was safely secured in his hand, Sam eagerly reached for the red dial on top, twisted it, and let his new Charmander out. In a blaze of white light came a Pokémon that was the spitting image of the orange fire-lizard that was on his doona. She stood on two small orange legs, surveying the room around her and the people in it with two large eyes. Her fiery tale swung from side to side while she stood stationary.

    “Char Charmander,” she said, looking around at her surroundings. She saw Sam and stared at him, tilting her head to one side. “Charman?” she asked inquisitively. She seemed to be checking Sam out, taking in every detail of him.

    “Oh, Charmander,” Sam said. “I’m so happy to finally meet you. Come here.” Sam bent down towards Charmander, his arms outstretched. He hugged her tightly and laughed in joy. He finally had his very own Pokémon. From his Mum, nonetheless. This was the best day of his life. Charmander was stunned for a moment, and then embraced Sam as well.

    This trainer’s small, but I like this attention. I could get used to this, she thought to herself.

    “Oh, this is the happiest day of my life,” Sam said. “Thanks so much, Mum... and you too, Dad.”

    He pulled away from Charmander and embraced his parents.

    “Hey, Sammy,” his father said affectionately, ruffling up Sam’s hair. “I’ve got one thing to show you... my own Pokémon. I didn’t receive this Pokémon from a professor - I found it in an old building. The same building that became your Mum’s laboratory. We have been inseparable since that day over forty years ago.”

    Sam’s father opened another Pokéball and out came a Pokémon Sam had only ever seen during his research on the computer. A small human like figure was emerging, about a foot shorter then Sam. Frizzy blue hair grew out of its head, which had plump cheeks. There were numerous pink spheres on the Pokémon, some of which connected its white arms and legs to its body. Large white five fingered hands waved back at Sam, as his father’s Pokémon, a Mr. Mime, beamed at him.

    “Wow, you have a Mr. Mime,” Sam exclaimed. “That’s awesome!”

    Suddenly Sam felt a tug on his pants. He looked down to see Charmander yanking on his pants with one hand, while pointing at herself with her other.

    “But not as awesome as Charmander,” Sam finished.

    Charmander smiled and continued looking around the dining room, inspecting every square inch by slowly treading across the soft carpet, jumping at any sudden noises. Her nose was sniffing furiously along the floor and furniture. She was highly curious about this place. Most of her life had been spent outdoors or in a Pokéball - this was quite foreign.

    “Well, we’d better be off.” Sam recalled Charmander to her Pokéball while she was sniffing a particularly grimy bit of dirt on one of the dining table legs. He placed the white Pokéball in his pants pocket.

    “Here’s something else for you, son,” Sam’s Dad said. He rushed into the adjacent room, the living room, for about thirty seconds before coming back in with a black belt in his hand.

    “A belt?” Sam questioned. “What for?”

    “It’s to hold your Pokéballs,” Sam’s father explained. “This belt is specially designed for carrying Pokéballs. It has special clipping slots where the Pokéballs are magnetically held.”

    “Wow, that’s incredible,” Sam said in delight, graciously taking the belt from his father. He inspected it and found about ten round slots for carrying Pokéballs; he didn’t bother actually counting them - he was too excited about trying it out. He placed the belt around his waist and secured it in place. Fishing into his pocket, he pulled out Charmander’s Pokéball and clipped it onto the first slot. There was a loud click as the Pokéball slid securely into its slot.

    “Remember that those belts only hold so much,” Sam’s mother said. “You can only use six Pokémon at a time, so when you catch a seventh the Pokéball will be inactivated. There are ten slots on this belt. After that, you’re out of room. That’s why as soon as you catch more than six Pokémon, you should deposit your excess Pokémon at a Pokémon Centre so they can be shipped to the regional professor. In your case, that will be me. I can monitor your progress from afar,” she said gleefully, clapping her hands together and beaming as though this was the best thing in the world.

    “I know,” Sam said. “I’m not a novice. I do know how Pokémon training works.”

    “You’ll learn soon enough that there are unexpected bumps in the road at every turn,” Sam’s father said. “You can never know all there is to know about being a trainer. Anyway, there is something else to go with that belt, Sam. Now if I could just remember where I put them,” he muttered under his breath.

    He searched through his pockets and throughout the kitchen, but still couldn’t find what he was looking for.

    “Looking for these?” Sam’s mother said, pulling out five more white Pokéballs, just like the one Sam had Charmander in. She also held a blue, electronic device called a Pokédex, and some wads of cash. An advantage of having a world renowned professor as part of your family is that you were very rich. Sam’s father had decided that he would borrow some money to give to Sam when he left on his journey. Unlike his wife, he knew that Sam would leave soon enough - he had just been waiting for the day when Sam had the courage and conviction to leave.

    Sam and his parents laughed, and even Mr. Mime, at the mistake Sam's father had made. After a minute or so of laughing, his mother handed him the Pokéballs, the Pokédex, and the cash, which Sam put away in his pocket.

    “Write your names on your Pokéballs, darling, so that you can tell that these are yours.”

    Sam’s mother pulled out a black marker from a nearby drawer and handed it to Sam.

    “Why would I need to do that?” Sam asked.

    “You never know when you’ll need to know your Pokéballs from someone else’s,” his mother replied.

    “Fine,” said Sam. “It still seems pretty useless,” he muttered under his breath. Nevertheless, he wrote his name in big bold letters anyway to please his mother. He then hugged his mother and father goodbye and opened the front door, staring out at the wide world at his feet, the sunlight hanging above the quaint houses of Pallet Town. He took a large breath of air; it was the freshest breath of his life.

    Sam stood at the threshold of his front door, looking around at Pallet Town. There was a small assortment of houses just like his, separated by narrow dirt roads. Perched on a hill and surrounded by a red brick wall, far down the long dirt road that ran past their house, was the Pallet Pokémon Laboratory. That was where Sam’s mother had spent most of her adult life, and it opened every morning at ten o'clock.

    Sam took one last look at his parents. Sam’s mother had her hands to her mouth, as if trying to hold back words that were trying to escape her. Sam could see tears trickling down her face, and heard her sniffling. Sam’s father was smiling proudly at Sam, his arms folded comfortably. Sam couldn’t help but feel mixed feelings as he looked at his parents, who themselves were both feeling differently over Sam’s departure.He was leaving his parents for the first time in his life. It may be because he was starting a Pokémon journey, something he had dreamed of for years, but he still couldn’t help but feel a little sad, depressed, and lonely. Sam waved at them with a force smile on his face before turning his back and closing the door behind him. As the door clicked shut, Sam knew that he was closing one chapter of his life and starting another chapter in the same moment. That part of his life was over, the life of being a wannabe Pokémon trainer. He wasn’t dreaming anymore - he was living it.

    ***

    Sam wound his way through the curving dirt roads of Pallet Town, often being joined by kids playing in the fields, and always accompanied by the same luxurious grass and vibrant foliage on either side. He was well known throughout Pallet Town. He was the son of the regional professor, and his family had been famous ever since the days of his grandfather, the first widely renowned Pokémon trainer from Pallet Town. Sam walked by many houses, all looking very similar. They were all drab and ordinary, and their lawns were all plain, with no flowers or life seemingly anywhere among them. It was an uneventful start to his journey. He was already feeling lonely, so he called Charmander out of her Pokéball for company.

    It didn’t work too well - one couldn’t have a stable and worthwhile conversation with a Pokémon. They couldn’t communicate well, especially ones who had just met. It was an uncomfortable silence between the two. There were no kids this far out. All the main houses of the town were far behind them, so they were well and truly alone. There were no birds singing in the trees, no animals or Pokémon frolicking in the grass. There wasn’t even a bug buzzing annoyingly by his ear. Eventually Sam broke the silence, just because he needed to hear a sound.

    “Hey, Charmander, what does the Pokédex say about you?”

    He pulled out the blue device from his pocket and opened it up. Inside was a black screen with two black buttons beside it. He pointed it towards Charmander to hear what the Pokédex had to say. A small black sphere on the edge of the Pokédex began flashing blue and a few seconds later it stopped and the Pokédex began to speak.

    “Charmander, the lizard Pokémon,” the Pokédex said in a mechanical voice. “This Pokémon is an omnivorous lizard-like creature that also resembles a salamander. It has a fire on the tip of its tail that can be used to channel the emotions or moods of a Charmander. If the tail flame ever goes out, Charmander will die.”

    “Hmm, quite interesting. Guess we better keep an eye on that flame, hey?” he joked, nudging Charmander lightly on the arm. Charmander gave a wry grin up at Sam before looking straight ahead again.

    “Hey, Charmander, I’m really glad I chose you,” Sam said. “We may not be saying much, but I still really like you.”

    “Charmander,” Charmander said before smiling up at Sam.

    “LOOK OUT!”

    Sam turned around at the sound of a kid screaming, and saw a large red rubber ball flying straight at his head. He immediately ducked down and felt it whiz by, blowing his hair up in the process. Once the ball had passed and landed safely on the grass on the other side, Sam stood up once more. He looked over towards the source of the warning and found a young chubby boy running towards him. It was Trevor, a six year old boy that Sam often played with when he was bored. Trevor, like Sam, wanted to be a Pokémon trainer.

    “Sorry, Sam,” Trevor said. His face was furiously red, as though he had just run a marathon. “I kicked it too hard.” It was then that Trevor noticed Charmander by Sam’s side. “What you doing with that Pokémon? Are you doing some research for your Mum?”

    “No, I’m actually starting my journey,” Sam responded with pride. He puffed out his chest and stretched himself as tall as he could to make himself seem as grown up as possible. Charmander, imitating her trainer, did the same, but lost her balance and fell face first onto the ground.

    “Yeah, right,” Trevor derisively replied, chuckling slightly under his breath. “You’ve been saying that for years.”

    “It’s true,” Sam urgently replied. He was fuming at Trevor’s attitude. It was one of no respect. He was being mocked by a small kid half his age; it was humiliating. He’d show Trevor that he wasn’t lying. “I’ll prove it to you. Look at this Pokédex and my Pokéballs.”

    He lifted his shirt up slightly to show his belt to Trevor, and also pulled out his Pokéballs and Pokédex from his pocket.

    “Hmm... interesting... guess you must be telling the truth.” Trevor sounded disappointed that Sam really was on his journey. Trevor had thought that he would definitely start before Sam. He would laugh at Sam for being stuck at home while he was out adventuring. Sam had beaten him to the punch though. “Can I see you do an attack with Charmander, though? I’ve never seen a real trainer command a real Pokémon before.”

    Sam was willing to do almost anything to show Trevor that he was going to be a great trainer. He looked around for a way to use Charmander’s fire techniques. He found a couple of sticks scattered throughout the area. He picked them up and handed them to Trevor.

    “Throw them up in the air one at a time,” Sam explained when he saw Trevor’s bemused expression. “I’ll have Charmander burn them with Ember.”

    “Got it,” Trevor said, giving Sam a thumbs up. He wrapped his small pudgy fingers around the first of four sticks, and tossed it as high as he could into the air.

    “Charmander, use Ember on that stick.”

    Charmander focused all of the heat in her body towards her mouth. This was her first opportunity to impress Sam, and she wasn’t going to disappoint. She opened it wide and shot out a small, burning flame. It soared into the sky after the stick and made contact at the apex of its trajectory. The stick crumbled almost immediately, turning into nothing but black powder. Sam and Trevor watched as the particles fell slowly down to the ground. Trevor tossed the remaining sticks into the air, and Charmander burnt them all the same way as before.

    “Oh, can you please stay some more,” Trevor begged, getting down on his hands and knees as Sam repeatedly said that they had to get moving. Now that he believed Sam, he couldn’t think of anyone in the world he’d rather hang out with.

    Sam again denied Trevor, and after a few more shots, Trevor finally gave up. He picked up his red ball and proceeded glumly back towards home, Sam moving away from it. He was glad to have shaken Trevor off. He was an annoying and cocky kid, and Sam had put him in his place.

    As Sam and Charmander continued to walk towards the northern end of Pallet Town, they yet again sunk into the boring rut of walking alone through a deserted landscape. In half an hour they would only walk by one or two houses. These were usually occupied by old couples sitting on their front porches, enjoying watching the world go on by around them.

    Sam had been impressed by Charmander’s demonstration and had immediately let Charmander know it. From what he had seen so far of Charmander’s behaviour, she seemed to live off attention and care. Sam wanted to make Charmander happy, so he was going to compliment her whenever he got the chance.

    “That was quite good,” Sam said to Charmander as they walked by another bare stretch of grass. “I know I chose the right Pokémon. Powerful, strong, and just great in all areas.”

    “Char... mander,” Charmander simply replied.

    “Hmm.... what a drag,” Sam whined, sighing loudly. “I forgot how boring it is this far out from where I live. I haven’t even seen any Pokémon to catch. Everyone says this is supposed to be exciting. Some excitement,” he finished derisively.

    A few boring minutes later, Sam saw a small single story house in the distance. It was old fashioned, with bricks painted a dull red colour. Some of the paint had peeled off though, now leaving the walls a strange, multicolour arrangement. Many of these isolated houses were similar, but there were several strange things about this particular house and the surrounding area.

    Sam didn’t notice these differences at first. He felt ecstatic at the sight of the run down house, because he could see a large, brown worn out sign to its right. It read, “ROUTE 01," and pointed north, resting atop a tall stake in the ground. According to the sign, Sam was only a few minutes away from leaving Pallet Town. It wasn’t until after he had read the sign and looked back at the house that he noticed the strange differences.

    For one, all of the grass within a twenty foot radius was brown and dead. Ever since Sam had left home, he had seen nothing but vibrantly green fields and lawns, but this area was dead and barren. He was reminded of crop circles often appearing in farmer’s paddocks, except this time it was just a plain circle of dead grass instead of a strange alien pattern. There was also a man walking around the perimeter of the house, peeking in through the tightly shut windows, and trying to shimmy the doors open.

    The man was young, probably in his mid to late twenties, and was dressed completely in black. It was quite a startling outfit. Sam couldn’t see any other details of the man from where he was standing, but he could immediately tell that whoever the man was, he didn’t belong with this house. His outfit was out of place, and unlike the other residents in the outer houses of Pallet Town, he was younger than fifty. The man stopped to look in another window, his hands cupped against the glass, trying to look in.

    Maybe he’s a burglar, Sam thought. He wasn’t sure what to do. The chances were that the residents of the house would be old and defenceless. He couldn’t leave them to be robbed, but he couldn’t jump to conclusions either. Maybe the house was abandoned and the man was trying to figure out if it was suitable for rent. Sam highly doubted it, but he couldn’t be sure either way.

    Sam decided that the only course of action was to go up to the man and ask him. It might be risky, but he had Charmander with him to back him up if need be.

    “Charmander, you ready?” Sam asked tentatively after explaining his plan to her. He wiped some sweat off his brow and loosened up the collar of his shirt. He always got hot and sweaty when he was nervous or scared. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but this was one moment where he was afraid. This suspicious man could be dangerous, and Sam was going to brazenly, and now that he thought of it, quite foolishly, walk up to him and interrogate him about his actions.

    “Charmander!” Charmander replied determinedly. She clenched her hands into fists and took up a fighting pose, even though they were at least twenty metres away and the man hadn’t noticed them. Charmander’s spunk, enthusiasm, and determination strengthened Sam’s resolve as well. He nervously muttered to himself about what exactly he was going to say, brushed his hand through his hair, and then strode up to the man.

    “Hey, sir!” Sam called out once he was within a few metres of the man. Sam had approached from the back, so his sudden address to man startled him. He jumped off the ground before landing and turning around to face Sam. He looked worried and annoyed that someone had found him. He dug his hands into his pockets and cursed out loud at his own foolishness. “What are you doing?” Sam asked.
    The man didn’t respond to Sam’s question, and when asked again, he instantly bolted away from the house, up towards Route One. Sam was startled for a few moments at the man’s actions. Whatever Sam had been expecting, it hadn’t been that. It was like the man was terrified of him. Maybe he really had been planning to rob the house, and had panicked when a witness had come along. Either way, by the time Sam reacted and chased after the man, he was already long gone. He had passed onto Route One and into the trees and bushes. Sam knew he’d never find him. Sam quickly put the man out of his mind though. It didn’t seem as though he had done or taken anything, and he ran at the sight of Sam. Sam no longer had anything to worry about. This allowed Sam to enjoy the last few minutes of being in Pallet Town, walking up the large steady incline towards Route One.

    When Sam finally reached the border between Route One and Pallet Town, he looked ahead of him. There was nothing but long grass and the occasional small tree, separated by a narrow winding dirt trail. The long grass was so overgrown that it almost completely covered the path, leaving only a few small patches where it could be clearly seen. Sam looked back down towards Pallet Town, feeling both pride and homesickness as he realised that he wouldn’t be coming back...not for a long time anyway. Sam walked a few metres along the path of Route One before resting against a large rugged grey rock. He rested his back against it as he lay down, with Charmander doing the same. He had only just left his home, yet he felt like he had travelled the world. Travelling was much more exhausting then Sam had anticipated.

    Sam opened up a zipper of his backpack and pulled out a bottle of water. He took a large gulp of water before offering it to Charmander. She turned it down, though. She wasn’t anywhere near as tired or thirsty as Sam. She was full of energy, and eager for some more adventure. Out of the three starter Pokémon up for offer to Sam, Charmander was the most aggressive and battle happy. She enjoyed battling, and she thrived on tough fights. It had been fun showing Sam what she could do, but she wanted to show him her abilities in a Pokémon battle.

    Sam put his arms behind his head and leant back against the rock, stretching his legs as far as he could. He looked up at the morning sky with half opened eyes, as the Sun was shining brightly overhead.

    “Ah, this is the life,” he said to Charmander. “On the road with my Pokémon partner, no worries, and no hassles. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

    Sam tilted his head to look over at Charmander, expecting her to still be lying against the rock. Instead, Charmander was up on her feet, her nose almost touching the ground as she caught the scent of something nearby.

    “Do you see something?” Sam asked. “Is it a Pokémon?”

    Charmander didn’t reply, but continued sniffing the ground and the air. Her tiny nostrils were considerably wider as she breathed in as much air as she could, trying to filter out the particular smell and where it was coming from. Suddenly, Sam heard something rustling beside him. He turned around to find something furiously pecking and tearing at his backpack.

    “Hey, get away from that!” Sam yelled, yanking his backpack away from the small creature. The creature was very small, about a foot tall. He had skinny pink feet which were darting around where Sam’s backpack was. These feet held up the plump brown and cream feathered body of the bird Pokémon. He had both his small wings outspread, flapping up and down furiously. His pink beak was open wide in protest as he hopped from foot to foot, glaring up at Sam.

    “Pidgey! Pidgey!” the creature furiously squawked at Sam.

    “Looks and sounds like a Pidgey,” Sam said to himself. “Let’s see what the Pokédex has to say.”

    Sam pointed the small blue mechanical device at Pidgey and waited for the Pokédex to gather its data.

    “Pidgey, the tiny bird Pokémon. Pidgey are usually docile creatures but if disturbed can kick up sand from their surroundings. They are a common sight in forests and try to avoid fights but can fight back with their fierce beak.”

    Sam peered into his open backpack pocket to see what Pidgey was after. He saw two sandwiches covered by a plastic wrapping. There were tiny beak holes in the plastic where Pidgey had been trying to break through. Obviously Pidgey was hungry.

    “I know,” Sam said to Charmander. “How about you battle this Pidgey, I capture it, and then I feed it.”

    Charmander only heard the part about battling. She instantly leapt in between Sam and the madly hopping Pidgey, ready to fight. She breathed heavily and small puffs of smoke escaped from her nostrils.

    “Energetic,” Sam commented. “I like it. You can never be too psyched up for a battle. Okay, Charmander, let’s do this.”

    Just as Sam was ready to give the first order to battle, Pidgey leapt off the ground and flew directly at his backpack.

    “Quick, Charmander, u-use Scratch,” Sam timidly ordered. He quickly lifted his backpack up in front of his face to shield himself from Pidgey.

    Charmander focussed her energy into the tips of her claws, which began glowing a brilliant white. She smiled to herself momentarily before leaping into the air at Pidgey. Pidgey halted his flight just in time, stopping right in front of Charmander. Pidgey turned around and flew low down to the ground, whizzing through the tall grass around them. The grass bent down as he sped through, seemingly obeying his will.

    Sam finally lowered his bag and searched around for Pidgey. Unfortunately, the tall grass was providing perfect cover. Pidgey was small enough to hide within and spring out when they least expected it. Sam placed his bag carefully on the ground beside him.

    Pidgey had been watching Sam and Charmander search warily around them. He was hiding amidst a small bush just to their right. As Sam put down his bag, Pidgey’s stomach rumbled. He knew that his lunch was in that bag. Without even thinking about the battle, Pidgey walked out of the bush and right towards Sam’s open backpack, the bright yellow standing out against the green of the grass and trees.

    Charmander heard Pidgey’s feet lightly falling against the grass before Sam saw it. She swiftly rounded on Pidgey, who immediately responded in turn. Pidgey rose just above the ground and began flapping his wings, gathering up any surrounding dirt. As the dirt was sucked in towards Pidgey’s wings, he flung it directly at Charmander, blinding her. While Charmander shielded her eyes with her arms, Pidgey charged forwards, knocking straight into Charmander’s exposed underbelly. Charmander fell to the ground as Pidgey arced high into the air and came back down towards Sam’s backpack.

    “A Sand Attack and Tackle Combo,” Sam said to himself. “Grr....Charmander, are you alright?” he urgently asked. He leant down and examined every inch of Charmander to check for wounds. This was his first battle. He couldn’t let Charmander get defeated. If this got much worse he would just have to recall Charmander and call it a day. Meanwhile, Charmander was wiping all the remaining dirt out from her eyes, while glaring at Pidgey, who was now just metres from Sam’s backpack. As soon as she got the last few bits of dirt out of her eyes, Charmander leapt towards Pidgey, ignoring Sam’s concern and caution.

    Charmander lifted her right hand up into the air, again focussing all her energy into the tips of the claws. Just as Pidgey was about to pluck the sandwich out of the backpack, Charmander slashed him in the face with her claws. This time the Scratch attack had been successful.

    “Yes! Go, Charmander!” Sam yelled in encouragement. He was back on his feet, jumping for joy at Charmander’s success. But, his celebration was premature. Pidgey was brushing off the attack, and resuming his footing. Sam knew Pidgey was going to attack again. He needed a more powerful move to finish this battle once and for all. “Now, use Ember!”

    Charmander nodded to show she understood before turning back towards Pidgey. She poured excess internal heat from her body into her mouth and concentrated it into a small flame. At the same time, Pidgey was charging at Charmander, speeding just a few inches off the ground. Charmander was about to fire, when she heard another command from Sam.

    “Wait, Charmander, don’t fire yet,” he warned. “Wait until it’s as close as it can get, then fire. That will cause max damage.”

    Charmander nodded with her mouth firmly shut tight so the flame wouldn’t accidentally be released. She faced Pidgey, and stood her ground, waiting for the perfect moment. Pidgey was now just a metre away. A couple of feet, now. Mere inches. Charmander suddenly opened her mouth wide, and the fireball shot out like a speeding bullet. It hit Pidgey right in the face. Pidgey fell backwards, tumbling awkwardly to the ground and into the long grass.

    Sam eagerly rushed over, pulling out one of his Pokéballs at the same time. He twisted it anticlockwise this time, the opposite way to when he let Charmander out of her Pokéball. This would allow the Pokéball to open upon impact with Pidgey.

    He stared down at the worn out and exhausted Pidgey, who was struggling to get up, while whimpering softly. Sam couldn’t believe it. He was actually catching a Pokémon. It was a joy beyond anything he had experienced before. He took aim, and threw the Pokéball at Pidgey.

    The Pokéball arced gracefully through the sky, seemingly in slow motion. It hid Pidgey, and immediately upon impact, opened up. Pidgey was enveloped in a red light, and that red light then entered the open Pokéball, taking Pidgey along with it. Once the red light entered the Pokéball, it shut close and began shaking violently on the ground. The dial of the Pokéball was now flashing different shades of red. First, it was amazingly bright, then back to normal, then dull, and then back to normal again. Sam watched, extremely tense, and not willing to take even the slightest breath. The Pokéball seemed to shake for what seemed like hours, but what was in reality just a few seconds. It then suddenly stopped with a loud echo as Pidgey was sealed inside. It was a success. Sam had just captured his very first Pokémon.

    Sam slowly bent down to the ground, and clasped the Pokéball in his hand. It was unbelievable. This time yesterday, he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to become a Pokémon trainer. Twenty-four hours later and he had two Pokémon in his possession, one from his Mum, and the other one he captured himself. It was incredible. A wave of euphoria and relief washed over Sam. He was relieved that he had just caught a Pokémon. The whole time he had been afraid that it would fail, and it would show that he was an incompetent trainer, and that he should have really stayed with his parents. But he hadn’t failed. He had caught his very first Pokémon.

    “Amazing,” Sam said to himself. He stood back up, holding the Pokéball with both hands as though it was made of glass and was as sacred as the Holy Grail. “YES! I did it! I caught a Pidgey!”
    Last edited by palkia1; 29th March 2009 at 6:53 PM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  10. #10
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    Hey palkia1.

    So.... Chapter Two was my favorite chapter out of all of the ones that I've read, mostly because Gastly is my favorite Pokémon. It was just a nice introductory chapter for Agatha and for the plot to take off kind of mysteriously.

    Chapter Three.... yeah, so sorry again for the long wait. I was so busy looking for a dog and the servers were crap, so that all added up to no beta time >< But eh, Chapter Three also wasn't really my favorite, I guess mostly because Sam isn't my favorite, but that's minor. Still, this Fic has so much potential that I cannot wait until it really kicks off. Some of the chapters from the old version were awesome and it'll be awesome to see what you do with them now

    Keep it up

    BA~~

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buraddo_Aipom View Post
    Hey palkia1.

    So.... Chapter Two was my favorite chapter out of all of the ones that I've read, mostly because Gastly is my favorite Pokémon. It was just a nice introductory chapter for Agatha and for the plot to take off kind of mysteriously.

    Chapter Three.... yeah, so sorry again for the long wait. I was so busy looking for a dog and the servers were crap, so that all added up to no beta time >< But eh, Chapter Three also wasn't really my favorite, I guess mostly because Sam isn't my favorite, but that's minor. Still, this Fic has so much potential that I cannot wait until it really kicks off. Some of the chapters from the old version were awesome and it'll be awesome to see what you do with them now

    Keep it up

    BA~~
    Thanks for the reply, BA. I'm glad you liked Chapter 2, and like I said before, I'm not annoyed or anything by you taking a while with the betaing. I've PM'd someone to see if they'd like to beta, but as of yet have had no reply. I might have to post in the beta thread if I don't get one soon.

    I'm just putting the finishing touches to Chapter 4 right now. It's one of the shortest chapters for this fic, but I still really enjoyed writing it, mainly because it's where some of the main characters begin to meet each other.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  12. #12
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    Okay I finnally got around to reading the two newest chapters. They are really good and seem to be a big improvement from what I can remember from their previous incarnations.

    Can't wait for chapter 3, and I will review it sooner than I reviewed the last two I hope.

  13. #13
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    Okay, here is Chapter 4, everyone. Firstly, I'd like to announce that I have a new beta. BA had to quite because of time constraints, so I am glad to announce that my new beta is Ysavvryl, who helped me with this chapter.




    Chapter Four: Family Troubles:




    It was midday in Viridian City. The hot afternoon Sun was shining down on the town, yet not a single ray of sunlight penetrated the room of Joven, an eight year old boy living on the outskirts of the city. The blinds of his window were shut, and they never opened, no matter what the weather.

    Joven was alone in his room except for three Pokémon. He was sitting on his bed, bashing two of his toy cars together repeatedly. His long black hair occasionally blocked his eyesight, but he would just brush his hair to one side. Ghostly white wax like skin hung over his face like a mask, and his grimy fingernails had clear signs of being bitten and chewed. His wide blue eyes stared across the room, blinking much less than a normal person’s.

    The three Pokémon Joven owned were sitting on the opposite side of the room in front of his wardrobe, staring back at Joven. Joven couldn’t see any of his Pokémon because it was so dark in his room, but he knew exactly where they were. He tossed aside his toy cars and picked up a Pokémon plush doll. The doll was that of a Charmander, and it squeaked slightly as he pressed against its stomach. Joven chuckled for a few seconds, yet there was no joy in it, just pain and misery.

    “Hey, guys,” Joven began moodily, now throwing his Charmander plush doll across the room, which squeaked after hitting the wall and the floor. “We leave today. I can’t stand it here anymore. My drunken father...what a joke. We used to be rich, travelling all around Kanto. The days of visiting the Safari Zone and travelling the S.S. Anne with my family are over. But I can do these things myself. I wouldn’t have to if she had just stayed.”

    Joven’s voice slowly trailed off into nothing more than a whisper, and his three Pokémon glanced at each other with concern. This was like a daily ritual with Joven. Every morning he would recount the worst day of his life. He would stay in his room for most, if not all of the day, and would rarely talk. But he had never spoken about leaving before. This was something new that had made them all quite curious.

    As they continued to watch Joven, waiting for him to speak, they saw him pull a half-eaten sandwich out of his bedside table. He took a few bites, and a drink of water, before finally beginning.

    “You’re the only ones I can talk to about this,” Joven whispered sombrely. “Or about anything. At least there’s still something good in my life. You’re more than just Pokémon I’ve been training. Our training together has made you all really strong, but has also made us all more than trainer and Pokémon. You’ve stood by me more than my Dad has. Today we start to put that training to good use. But first, that day...that day,” he finished.

    Joven had recounted the events of that day over and over again in his mind for the last two years, hoping that someday something would click and he’d be able to know why it all happened. That was why he went through it every day with his Pokémon. If he knew why it all happened, if he knew what he had done wrong, he could fix it and bring his family back together.

    “Well, I guess it started on that day two years ago...”

    ***

    “What are you doing!? You can’t leave!”

    The screams rang throughout the house, startling Joven out of his peaceful slumber. He stared bleary eyed across his dull dark room. It was too early for the Sun to shine down through the open window, and brightly light up his room. Joven didn’t care about that though. Why was his Dad yelling at the top of his lungs this early? And who was he yelling at? Surely not his Mum. Joven had never ever seen them fight before. Why would they start now? His curiosity piqued, Joven quickly jumped out of bed, picked up his two Pokéballs, which were on his white bedside table, put on his orange coat, and walked towards his bedroom door.

    Even though it was dark and virtually impossible to see where he was going, Joven wend his way through his room perfectly without hitting any of the stuffed Pokémon toys, and toy cars scattered across the floor. He never cleaned up his room, and even though it was a mess, he knew where almost everything was. His feet padded softly on the grey worn out carpet as he crept slowly towards the oaken brown door. He clasped the doorknob tightly in his hands, and slowly pulled it open. The door creaked slightly as it was pulled further and further back. Joven winced in fear, hoping that his parents hadn’t heard. He wanted to find out what was going on, and he’d never get that if they knew he was around.

    Joven walked slowly down the dimly lit hall, and towards the stairs, making sure to be extra quiet. He softly walked down the stairs, careful to skip the third last step, which always creaked. At the foot of the staircase, he looked to his right to see his parents fighting in the kitchen.

    Joven’s mother was extremely tall, and had long black hair. Right now it was bobbing up and down as she waved her arms madly in the air and shook her head in frustration. Her hair always seemed to shine and be full of life. She had a long pointed nose, and right now was wearing a red blazer and skirt. Below that she was wearing tight black leggings and red high heels, which echoed off the wooden floorboards of the kitchen.

    Joven’s father on the other hand seemed like a dwarf compared to his wife. He had short brown hair that was balding at the back, and a whiny voice. He was the passive one in their relationship, not willing to argue with his more fearsome spouse. As his wife became angrier and angrier, he became more and more scared. But he was determined to save their marriage and this family. This was one time that he had to stand up to her.

    “I can do whatever the hell I want!” Joven’s mother screamed, sharply jabbing his father in the chest with her finger. “My company is growing and growing, and you’re dragging me down. I can’t be with you anymore.”

    “But what about your son!? Are you just going to leave him? He needs his mother, no matter how crazy she is. He won’t be the same without you.”

    “That may be, but I have more important things to worry about,” she boldly replied.

    “Typical of you. You’ve only ever cared about yourself and your career. You value your money over your family. You sicken me!” Joven’s father spat on the floor in disgust and glared across the kitchen bench at his wife.

    “You’re right. Right now there are more important things then you and Joven in my life right now. But that’s not the only reason why I’m leaving. You sicken me just as much as I sicken you.”

    “What did I do? I thought...you loved...me,” Joven’s father whimpered timidly in response.

    “I loved you,” she spitefully replied, emphasising the past tense more then she needed to. “Things change. Surely you’ve seen that we’ve been going downhill ever since he was born. Even if I didn’t have the money, I’d be doing the exact same thing. I just can’t live here anymore.”

    She shoved right past Joven’s father and into the living room, heaving out a large black suitcase. As soon as Joven saw his mother come into his line of vision he scampered up the stairs so she wouldn’t see him.

    “M-Mum,” Joven mouthed silently. He was crying uncontrollably at the top of the stairs, trying to muffle his choked sobs so as not to alert his parents. “L-leave? No.”

    Joven was in complete shock and disarray. He hadn’t seen any of this coming, and he didn’t understand any of it. How could his mother leave them? Wasn’t she happy? She sure seemed to be. But then she mentioned how ever since he was born, things had gotten worse. Maybe he had pushed her away somehow. He must have disappointed her, angered her, or something. He would make it up to her and then she would have to stay.

    Joven stood up, still sobbing slightly. He rubbed his hands across his eyes, and leapt down the stairs, ready to please his Mum so that she would stay. As he rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs to run into the kitchen, he crashed into his Mum. She was savagely tossing her clothes and personal belongings into the suitcase when she felt her son ram into her.

    Joven fell backwards, and landed hard on the floor. He didn’t care though. He jumped back up again, and tried to speak, but he couldn’t. Instead, only strangled fragments of noises escaped his mouth.

    “You see, this is why you have to stay,” Joven’s father pleaded, rushing over to Joven and embracing him.

    “Leave us,” his mother replied. She sounded completely indifferent, as though none of this was affecting her slightly. She wasn’t angry anymore, nor was she caring or concerned. “I have to talk with him alone.”

    “Why?”

    “Just do it!” she warned threateningly, her glossy red lips curving into a cruel snarl.

    “Fine...maybe speaking with him will bring you to your senses. But don’t think this conversation is over.” Joven’s father was trying to sound threatening and in charge, but he failed miserably. He turned around shamefully and left the room, heading upstairs, with his fists clenched in fury.

    Joven’s mother bent down so that she was facing him, eye to eye, and held her arms out wide.

    “Come here,” she said softly, trying to sound as sweet and as soothing as possible. She was trying to sound like the mother Joven knew, instead of the mother abandoning her family.

    “Mum, you’re not really leaving...are you?” Joven asked uncertainly, sniffling and wiping his nose, as he began to cry again. He could barely speak through the tears that were streaming out of him like a flood. “Did I do...something...wrong?”

    “No, of course not,” his mother replied, delicately wiping the tears off Joven’s face, while smiling soothingly down at him. Her smile changed to a scathing scowl as she looked upstairs. “Your father is at fault here.”

    “But why can’t you stay?” Joven begged.

    “It’s complicated...far too complicated for you to understand. But understand this...that I do care for you, no matter how much you may not believe it. I will always care for you, but I can’t stay here and I can’t bring you with me.”

    “But why?” Joven pleaded hysterically. “You can’t leave.”

    “I’m afraid that I have to. I may come back to see you one day, but if I do, it won't be for a long time.”

    Joven was now on the verge of a full blown tantrum. His head was buried in his hands as he sobbed uncontrollably on the floor. He couldn’t understand what he had done to deserve this, and he didn’t understand why she was leaving. Nothing made any sense.

    “I’ve got something for you,” his mother said. She was rubbing his back gently, trying to get him to calm down. “Here, have a look,” she coaxed, reaching down to lift his arm off the ground.

    “NO!” Joven screamed, beating his mother away with a swift swing of his arm, before resuming his sulking on the ground.

    “Look,” his mother sternly addressed. All the kindness and soothing quality of her voice had disappeared to be replaced by cold anger. “I’m leaving one way or the other. I just wanted to give you something first. If you’re going to be too much of a baby to take that opportunity, then fine.”

    Joven’s mother stood up and moved towards her suitcase, busying herself with the last of the packing. Joven secretly watched between a gap in between his arms as his Mum packed. Just as she was zipping it shut, Joven stood up and firmly clasped his hand around her arm.

    “What is it?” he asked, trying to sound as brave and mature as possible.

    “Open up your hand.”

    Joven did as he was asked, and watched as his mother pulled out of a bag behind her, a white ball with a red dial on top. She placed it gently in his hands, and then bent his fingers around it. She had given him a Pokéball.

    “Inside that Pokéball is my most valued Pokémon. It has been with me since I was just a few years older then what you are now. It is a fiercely loyal Pokémon so it may not obey you at first, but if you treat it right it will become as loyal to you as it is to me. I want you to take really good care of that Pokémon. Treat it like it’s your own and when you are with it...think of me.”

    “I will, Mum,” Joven said through a new set of tears. “I’ll take great care of it. Will that make you stay?”

    Joven’s mother sighed deeply as she realised that Joven was blaming himself for everything. She knew that there was no way to explain to Joven her reasons behind her actions, so she decided to ignore his question.

    “Goodbye...my son,” she said calmly. She bent down to hug Joven, but pulled back at the last second. She merely ruffled his hair before picking up her suitcase and walking out the front door as fast as she could, dragging the large piece of luggage behind her.

    “No, MUM!” Joven screamed. He ran out of the house after her, but she refused to turn back. She now broke into a run, forcing herself to move on and not face the temptation to turn back and be with her son. Joven tripped over and fell face down on the ground. He looked up and saw his Mum growing smaller and smaller as she moved further and further away. He knew there was no hope in catching her now. She was walking out of his view and out of his life.

    “What’s going on!?” Joven’s father was storming furiously out of the house after hearing Joven scream. He reached Joven just in time to see his wife heading north to Viridian Forest, far off into the distance. “That irresponsible selfish manipulative woman,” Joven’s father hissed spitefully. “She leaves me forever and can’t even muster a goodbye. Well, good riddance anyway.”

    “You’re wrong!” Joven furiously shouted. He leapt to his feet and glared up at his father. “She’ll come back! She has to. She gave me her Pokémon...she will come back,” he finished, his voice trailing away to almost a whisper towards the end. He shoved past his father and ran back into the house, clutching the only part of his mother left in his life tightly in his right hand.

    “Look what you’ve done now,” Joven’s father muttered angrily to himself. He felt like screaming at the top of his lungs, to let all the pain and hurt out. His wife had destroyed him, and would most likely destroy their son. He pounded the ground furiously with his fists several times, before glancing to the north again. His wife was no longer visible. She had left him for good, and he knew she was never coming back. Joven was optimistic, too optimistic. The pain and anguish would never go away for either of them. He knew that, and he knew Joven would know that one day as well. “Why’d you have to leave?” he asked. “Why why WHY!?”


    ***

    And that was it. Joven never saw or heard any news of his mother since that day two years ago. His father had re-entered the house only minutes after Joven had. He had pulled a bottle of liquor out of the downstairs cellar, and had drunk it dry within an hour. Over the last two years he spiralled out of control into a full blown drunk. He had removed everything that reminded him of his wife, and he had neglected Joven ever since. All he did now was sit on the couch and mope while drinking bottle after bottle of liquor.

    This was why Joven despised his father so much. It was his responsibility to care for Joven, but all he had done was spiral out of control. Joven had become almost completely self-sufficient. He had to get his own food and water, and he and his father rarely spoke. Joven knew that he couldn’t go on living in this sort of environment. His house, which had once been pristinely decorated and looked after, was now nothing more than toxic to Joven. Leaving was his only option.

    He glanced across the room at his Pokémon. Yet again he had gained no new knowledge or perspective on that day. He still blamed himself for his mother leaving. She said so herself, so he knew it was true. How he was going to fix it was a problem, if he was even able to fix it. It would be something to think about on his journey; a journey that started today.

    Untangling himself out of his doona covers, Joven hopped out of bed, and picked up three white Pokéballs off his bedside table. The only thing on the bedside table besides the Pokéballs was a broken alarm clock that continually flashed midnight. He twisted the red dials on the Pokéballs anticlockwise, and watched as his Pokémon were transported inside in a beam of red light.

    He clipped his Pokéballs onto his belt and made his way towards his bedroom door, avoiding the strewn clothes and toys on his floor. The only thing he took was his backpack, which he packed the previous night. He opened his bedroom door, which still creaked, but this time Joven didn’t care. His father was most likely hung over, so Joven could level one whole side of the house and his father wouldn’t do anything.

    The upstairs corridor was completely bare. A long gorgeous rug once spread the entire floor, but his father removed it. All family pictures which had once so proudly hung on the walls had also been removed. It was as bare as any part of a house could be. Joven didn’t care though. He would soon be leaving and never coming back.

    He made his way across the hall to his Dad’s room. His Dad never slept in here anymore, but it still held most of his possessions. There was a king size bed against one wall, but there was only a mattress. There were no pillows, sheets, or doonas. Against the opposite wall was a locked glass cabinet. This was what Joven had come for.

    When Joven’s mother left, she took almost all the money with her. She left twenty thousand dollars in this cabinet so that Joven’s father could support him until he found a job. Joven’s father had obviously not found a job, and had barely even touched the money. Most of it was still locked safely away in the cabinet. Joven planned to change that very quickly.

    He took a small baseball bat out of his backpack and smashed it against the glass of the cabinet. It took a few swings for the glass to finally shatter, showering around Joven’s knees. He brushed aside the glass so he could rest an elbow against the ground while reaching inside with his other arm. Along with the money, the cabinet also held an expensive dinner set that Joven’s mother had obviously forgotten about. She wouldn’t have left it there otherwise.

    Joven pushed aside some wine glasses and plates before hauling out a large leather bag. He unzipped it and saw over fifteen thousand dollars bundled up into dozens of wads of notes. He greedily stuffed as many wads of cash into the side pockets of his backpack as he could fit. As he struggled to zip up the last pocket of his backpack, which was full to the brim of cash, he was confident that he taken at least five thousand dollars, maybe even ten.

    Smiling to himself at his own cunning and nerve, Joven hoisted his backpack over his shoulder and proceeded downstairs, the walls and floors bare once again. His steps echoed loudly off the floorboards, but Joven knew his father either wouldn’t hear or wouldn’t take any notice of the noises. As Joven reached the bottom of the stairs, he saw his father asleep on the couch, snoring loudly, with three bottles of liquor on the ground beside him. Joven wrinkled his nose in disgust before walking out the front door, slamming it loudly behind him. He felt extremely proud that he had finally left. He was about to start his Pokémon journey. No matter how it turned out, it had to be better than what he was leaving behind.

    ***

    Now Joven was walking along a long dirt path towards Viridian Forest. Small bushes and shrubs lined either side of the path, being neatly planted and carefully looked after. He was excited to finally be on his Pokémon journey. Even though rules and regulations stated that you had to be ten years old to be an official Pokémon trainer, this didn’t worry Joven. He wasn’t going to take the official route. If he entered the Pokémon League, challenged gym battles, and entered other official tournaments, he would have to wait another two long gruelling years. That was something he refused to do. He had decided that he would just train his Pokémon against each other, or just battle random trainers he found along the way. It wasn’t necessary to enter the Pokémon League to be a great trainer.

    Unfortunately for Joven, he chose the wrong day to start his journey. The scorching Sun shone intensely overhead. Joven felt like he was being baked extra crispy. He was so used to being in a dark cold room with no lights, and now he was out in the scorching bright Sun. It was a definite change, and a horrible one at that. He could feel his skin burning under the searing hot rays of sunlight, and he was perspiring in bucket loads.

    Joven walked for several more minutes, growing more tired and exhausted after every second, until he thankfully saw a large wooden bench to his right. It was nestled under the overhanging branches of a large tree. The tree blocked out most of the sunlight, cloaking the bench in shade. Joven slumped down on the bench, taking up as much room as he could, before sighing in relief.

    After sitting down on the bench, Joven shrugged his bright orange backpack off his shoulders, and placed it beside him. He reached inside one his pockets, and plucked out a sandwich,which he began to eat, tossing the plastic wrapping carelessly over his head. He bit down on the sandwich, and let the delicious taste of ham and cheese tingle the millions of tastebuds on his tongue. While being delicious and satisfying, the sandwich also cured his hunger. He hadn’t had anything to eat all day, and it was almost noon, so he was desperate to eat.

    Now that his backpack was open at his side, Joven took off his orange jacket and stuffed it inside. Even with the thick jacket now in his backpack instead of on his back, Joven felt only marginally better. Being in the shade didn’t seem to be helping at all. Joven continued to rest on the bench, all the while, fiddling with the three Pokéballs attached to his belt. He reminisced about how he had come to be with all these Pokémon, particularly the one on the far right. He unclipped it off his belt, and examined it closely. This Pokémon was his most special. While it had bought him nothing but joy, the circumstances in which he had received this Pokémon had bought him nothing but pain. This was the Pokémon his mother gave him. Every moment, every tiny detail, every second of that day, he could remember clearly. It had been the most important day of his life, and he would never forget it.

    Joven nestled the Pokéball his mother had given him in his hand. The Pokémon did obey him now, just as she had said. He had nurtured and cared for it, and now he was reaping the rewards for his effort. He clipped the Pokéball back onto his belt and stood up, ready to leave, when he remembered something important.

    If he was to become a Pokémon trainer, Joven needed Pokéballs to capture Pokémon with. He had Pokémon, but not the necessary piece of equipment to capture more. He knew that further ahead, just south of Viridian Forest was Koueki City. Koueki City was a small modern city that populated a small amount of people. It was involved mainly with trade. There were only a few residential houses, several stock and trade warehouses, a Pokémon Centre to heal sick and wounded Pokémon, and a Pokémart shop. The residential houses were for the workers employed at the warehouses. The workers occupied over ninety per cent of the total city population.

    Joven zipped his backpack back up, hoisted it over his shoulder and stepped out into the hot afternoon Sun. It was a long half an hour journey to Koueki City. Joven was exhausted and hot yet again. It was like he hadn’t even rested earlier. He entered the city streets, and made his way to the Pokémart, whose blue roof could be seen in the distance. The streets were mostly empty except for a few visitors and disgruntled employees on their lunch break.

    About ten minutes later, Joven was standing in front of the Pokémart, examining a list of stocked items on a large window right of the door. He scanned the list and found Pokéballs as the fifth item down. He smiled to himself before walking through the small mechanically operated doors into the large white building. As he walked towards the doors, they opened up with a faint hiss. As Joven stepped inside, he felt the cool air of the shop blow away the hot air and wash over him. It was incredibly satisfying to feel the air-conditioned breeze blowing lightly against him, fluttering his clothes and brushing against his skin.

    The shop seemed to have more people in it then the streets Joven just left. The narrow aisles were crammed with frantic customers, looking for a bargain buy or just wanting to finish their shopping as quickly as possible. An old man examined a selection of green bottle with a Pokéball symbol in the middle. A sign above the bottles read “Repels: Keep wild Pokémon away.” A young girl stared inquisitively at a purple spray bottle that Joven immediately recognised as a Potion. Joven then noticed at the far end of the store, a set of five shelves with a sign labelled, “Pokéballs: Capture those elusive Pokémon.” Joven walked over to the shelves and saw at least fifty small white Pokéballs just like his one. He picked up seven to make an even ten. He could only use six Pokémon at a time, but he could always capture more than six.

    As Joven walked down the narrow aisles, occasionally bumping into other customers, he attracted many strange glances. They all thought he was too young to be buying Pokéballs by himself. He certainly didn’t look ten years old. He also didn’t look like a normal kid. With his ghostly pale skin and long black hair, he looked very peculiar indeed.

    “Strange looking kid.”

    “He’s like a ghost.”

    “Looks pretty young too.”

    Joven ignored them all as best he could, and avoided making eye contact with any of them, instead choosing to stare straight ahead. He placed the Pokéballs on the counter in front of the sales clerk.

    “Can I please have these three Pokéballs?” he asked. He tried to sound as polite as he could. Judging by the curious glance the sales clerk gave him, he had failed.

    “Sure you can,” the clerk replied in a crisp businesslike manner. He scanned the Pokéballs past a machine before looking at Joven. He had a large scar on his forehead, and Joven felt slightly intimidated as the man stared at him. “That comes to a total of 600 bucks. Hand over the cash.”

    “Fine,” Joven muttered angrily at the clerk. He wasn’t at all pleased with the man’s attitude. He opened up a side pocket of his orange backpack and took out the required money; the same money he had stolen earlier that morning.

    “Thanks for shopping at Koueki City Pokémart,” the man stated in an insincere manner. It was clear that he had been told to say that to every customer no matter what the situation. “Do you need anything else?”

    Joven glanced towards the healing items section at the back of the store. Potions, Antidotes, Paralyse Heals, Ethers, and more were stocked up neatly against the wall, each with their own label posted above them. Joven knew just how useful those would be on his journey.

    “Actually, I’d like to buy some...”

    “No, good, see ya kid,” the man gruffly interjected. He hadn’t even listened to what Joven had begun to say. Joven was shocked at the man’s behaviour. What kind of sales clerk treated customers so poorly? Maybe it was just because he was a strange looking kid. Still, that wasn’t a justifiable reason.

    “But I...”

    “Look, beat it kid, or I’ll beat you!” the clerk threatened.

    Joven didn’t think the man was serious, but he couldn’t be sure. He picked up his Pokéballs and stuffed them inside his bag before running out of the Pokémart as fast as he could. Joven raced out of town and back to the bench he had rested at earlier. He assumed there would be Pokémon nearby. Trees, bushes, and grasslands were among the most common areas for Pokémon to live. That made the area around the bench perfect to add another Pokémon to his collection.

    He was now sitting on the bench, looking glumly ahead, waiting for a Pokémon to suddenly leap out of a bush and challenge him to a battle. He had the Pokéballs he had purchased at the Koueki City Pokémart clipped to his belt, waiting to actually use one. It was like watching paint dry. He waited for what seemed like hours and no Pokémon appeared.

    He continually glanced at his watch, watching the second hand tick sixty times each revolution, before starting at the top again and again. The hand seemed to slow down the longer Joven stared at it, almost to the point where it didn’t seem to be moving at all. As the hands of his watched moved around and around, Joven lost complete track of how much time had passed. Either way, there was nothing more to be gained by looking at his watch except feelings of boredom and lethargy.

    Instead, he focused his attention on the grass in front of him. He stared at a particularly long blade of grass, much taller than the rest. As the light winds passed, Joven watched as the grass fluttered and then remained still, and then blew again. It was just as repetitive and as useless as staring at his watch, if not more so because there was no indication of time in the blade of grass.

    Joven rubbed his eyes before leaning back against the bench. Maybe if he didn’t focus on just one thing, time would pass quicker. He looked at the trees, the bushes, the dirt, the grass, even south towards Viridian City, but he was just as bored as ever. Occasionally a few bird Pokémon would fly out of the treetops and into the sky, but they never came down to him. After half an hour of nothing, Joven grew thirsty, and quickly grew tired of waiting. He pulled a water bottle out of his backpack and took a swig. As he savoured the feeling of the cool water lapping down his throat, he heard a rustling in the nearby bushes. Because he didn’t want to startle whatever it was in the bushes, Joven slowly stood up, slowly pulling out a Pokeball at the same time. He watched as the bush rustled more violently as the creature finally broke through the dense leaves.

    First came a small sharp white stinger, followed by a yellow twisting body. Her segmented body wriggled sideways as her numerous tiny pink feet moved her forwards at an agonisingly slow speed. As she moved closer and closer towards Joven, he recognised her as a Weedle, a common bug Pokémon. He had travelled to Viridian Forest several times when his family was still together, and Weedle was one of the Pokémon he had seen most.

    “Wee...Weedle,” she said as she slowly crawled to a stop. She looked up at Joven with an inquisitive look on her face.

    “Hmm...Not the strongest of Pokémon, but it will do,” Joven said to himself. “After all, it does become Beedrill. Okay, Weedle, you’re mine! Come on out, Shellder!”

    Joven twisted the red dial on the Pokéball he was holding clockwise, and watched as it opened up and shot out a white beam of light. The white light quickly changed into the form of a Pokémon. A purple shell was now on the ground, with two spikes jutting out the top and bottom. The shell was slowly wriggling around on the ground before a large red tongue poked out. The tongue moved around and around in circles as the shell turned around to face Joven. Two large eyes were visible within the blackness of the shell’s interior.

    “That trip on the S.S. Anne was quite valuable. Just ten minutes of fishing and I had you in the bag,” Joven said before smiling down at his Pokémon, Shellder.

    Weedle glared angrily at Shellder. He was her opponent, and right now she was focusing on defeating him in battle. She charged towards Shellder, the tip of her stinger glinting brightly in the sunlight.

    “Shellder, use Withdraw,” Joven anxiously ordered. He wringed his hands in anxiety, knowing full well how hazardous a Poison Sting could be. Thankfully he still had two other Pokémon if Shellder lost, but he’d prefer to only have to use Shellder.

    Shellder’s tongue quickly retracted back into his shell, before the front of it snapped shut. He was now completely surrounded on all sides by his impenetrable shell. Nothing could break through.

    Weedle continued to charge at Shellder, her tiny feet moving at an incredible speed as it wriggled towards him. When her stinger, now oozing with poison, hit Shellder, she was jerked backwards. Shellder’s shell was too hard, and her stinger had merely bounced off. She had caused more harm to herself then to him. She now knew she couldn’t do that again without risking damage to her stinger. But it was her only weapon. How could she fight without it? She’d just have to make sure that Shellder couldn’t use Withdraw before she landed a hit.

    “Shellder, spin around as fast as you can on your shell. Then use Ice Shard,” Joven said, miming a spinning action to show Shellder exactly what he wanted him to do. Just before Shellder began spinning, Joven darted back towards the bench for protection. Joven had trained long and hard with Shellder to perfect this strategy and make it as accurate as possible, but there was always a risk of Joven being hurt.

    Shellder retracted his tongue yet again, and flipped upside down. He spun himself around, angling himself upwards so none of the spikes were making contact with the ground. As he spun around, shards of ice were being fired out of the opening in his shell his tongue usually stuck out of. As Shellder spun faster and faster, the shards of ice were fired more rapidly. It was like he had turned into a machine gun, shooting ice instead of bullets. Weedle tried to dodge them, but she was just too slow for the speeding icy projectiles. She was hit by three in a row, and thrown back into the bushes. Joven now knew he had been wise in hiding behind the bench. Four ice shards had shot out of Shellder’s shell in the direction where Joven had been standing just seconds before. It was a pretty small amount compared to how many Shellder fired, but even one was dangerous enough.

    “Now use Aurora Beam!” Joven confidently ordered, stepping out into the open again. He pointed his finger towards Weedle, who was slowly untangling herself amidst the leaves and thorns of the bush. Weedle was weakening, so if Aurora Beam hit, she would surely be weak enough to capture.

    Shellder came to a sudden stop, and swiftly repositioned himself to be facing Weedle. A rainbow coloured beam of light shot out of his shell and headed for Weedle. She ducked down at the last moment to avoid the attack. She crawled as fast as she could to her right, trampling the grass underfoot, but Shellder fired again and again. On the third hit, Weedle was slammed forwards into the ground.

    “Perfect, now’s my chance,” Joven said to himself.

    Joven unclipped a Pokéball, turned the dial anticlockwise, and threw it at Weedle. She was far too exhausted and weak to dodge the Pokéball. The Pokéball hit her on her large pink nose. She was turned into red energy before being sucked inside the Pokéball. Joven watched as the Pokéball wriggled on the ground, the dial flashing different shades of red. Finally it stopped wriggling and remained still. Joven strutted over to it, even though there was no one around to show off to, bent down, and then picked it up. He smiled down at the Pokéball, knowing that he had another potentially powerful Pokémon in his collection.

    “Ha! Can’t wait to start training you,” Joven whispered to the Pokéball. “You’ll be awesome as a Beedrill.” Joven then turned around to face Shellder, who was gazing blankly up at Joven, his tongue hanging out again. “You were great, Shellder. Return.” Joven unclipped Shellder’s Pokéball in the same action as clipping Weedle’s Pokéball onto his belt. He twisted the dial clockwise, and watched as Shellder returned into the Pokéball.

    Joven walked over to the bench, letting the feeling of euphoria wash over him. He had yet another Pokémon. He was only eight years old, and he already had four Pokémon with him. One was extremely powerful, two were on their way, and one was freshly captured. He couldn’t wait until they were all powerful enough for him to become the greatest trainer in the world.

    He unzipped his backpack and pulled out his water bottle again. Although he had only drunk a few minutes earlier, the battle made him feel like he had run a marathon. He took several large gulps of water before returning the bottle to the backpack. As Joven packed up his things, and prepared to leave, he heard a strange noise behind him.

    “Bulba...Bulba...saur!”

    The noise sounded like a Pokémon, so Joven instantly became excited. He turned around, trying to figure out what was making the noise. That was when he saw a Pokémon running straight towards him. Four short green legs bounded along the ground, supporting a body covered with strange green markings, and kicking up dirt in their wake. Upon the Pokémon’s back was a large green bulb, which was slightly open, taking in the Sun's energy. As the Pokémon ran, the bulb shook violently, almost as if it had a mind of its own. His keen red eyes were narrowed as he continued to sprint head on towards Joven.

    Joven wasn’t even sure if the Pokémon had seen him. He seemed to be focused on nothing but running as fast as he could. Joven jumped out of the way to avoid being hit by the Pokémon, a Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur continued on past Joven as if he hadn’t even been there. Very soon he ran out of Joven’s field of view.

    “What was that all about?” Joven asked himself incredulously.

    Joven turned around to face the way Bulbasaur had come, when he was suddenly rammed into the ground. He didn’t even know what had hit him. As he looked up into the sky, lying flat on his back, his vision was blurry and hazy. It took a few moments for his vision to return to normal, upon which he dazedly hopped to his feet. He instantly saw what had knocked him over. A small skinny boy, maybe around thirteen years old, was standing next to him, looking flustered and exhausted. His long brown hair was stuck to his face because he was sweating so much. A Charmander was standing beside him, also looking exhausted.

    “Watch where you’re going,” Joven snapped at the boy derisively.

    “Sorry...about...that,” the kid said, taking in deep breaths as he spoke. “Did you see a Bulbasaur run by here?”

    “Yeah, what’s it to you?” Joven asked curiously.

    “I’m trying to catch it,” the kid replied. “I’m a new trainer, and I’ve just got to have that Bulbasaur.”

    “Well, you’re too late,” Joven said smugly. He had an opportunity to test himself against a trainer for the first time. He was all too happy that the boy couldn’t run off after Bulbasaur. “That Bulbasaur’s long gone. But since you’re a trainer, how about a battle?”

    “I don’t know. I only started today,” the kid anxiously replied, fingering a long strand of his hair.

    “So did I,” Joven said eagerly. He couldn’t see why the kid was so anxious. If he was a Pokémon Trainer he should be thriving on battles. “We’re perfect for each other. So how about it...er...” Joven finished off uncertainly.

    “The name’s Sam,” he replied. “Okay, fine, I’ll battle. Who are you, by the way?”

    Joven thought long and hard about how he should answer. He normally didn’t talk to people at all, but he knew he’d have to make certain exceptions when it came to Pokémon Trainers. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to tell this kid his name. It’s not like they’d ever see each other after this battle. Eventually Joven decided on his response.

    “My name’s Joven, okay?” he snidely remarked. “Now, can we hurry up and get on with the battle. A one on one if you don’t mind.”

    Now that they had both accepted the battle, Joven could see that Sam was thoroughly excited. He smiled gleefully at Joven before calling his Charmander up to battle.

    “Sure, let’s start.”

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  14. #14
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    Apr 2007
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    Okay, here is Chapter Five, everyone. This has undergone a fair bit of tweaking from the original, especially in the latter half of the chapter, but I do think it's for the better. Hope you all enjoy.



    Chapter Five: Developing the Weapon:




    “This is totally unacceptable!” The brass speakers anchored high on the walls in the lab blared the furious voice of the boss over the entire room. All of the scientists jumped as though they had just sat on a pincushion. “You have been working on this machine for years, and you told me it would be ready for improvements once we had the research from Team Galactic. I have seen no improvements. We can still only target buildings, not towns or cities or even regions. This is intolerable and I will not stand for it. You shall receive your punishment.” The boss then deactivated the speakers from within her office, which was situated above the lab.

    “And you, Agent Roberts,” she addressed. Carson was in his boss’ office. She was sitting behind her desk, while he was sitting in a chair a few metres away. The whole room was pitch black except for the light below the crack in the door, and from the lights of the computer on her desk. The boss always had her office like that so that no one would see her. Only Carson knew her identity, but he kept it secret.

    “Yes, sir,” he coolly replied, smiling slightly at his boss’ anger. He lightly tapped his fingers together, and relaxed in the chair. He acted like they were discussing the weather over a cup of coffee.

    “Have a look at the headline of today’s morning newspaper.” The boss flung a newspaper through the air and Carson caught it in his right hand. The headline read “BUILDING DESTROYED IN THE NORTH: SUSPECT RIDING MYSTERIOUS FIGURE ESCAPES.”

    “No one was supposed to know about your mission. You were supposed to be in and out with no one noticing, not blatantly obvious. Now everyone in Kanto and Sinnoh has probably heard of this. No building was supposed to be destroyed, and no one was certainly supposed to see you or your Dragonite,” she hissed.

    “I had a personal score to settle...as you very well know.”

    “I don’t care what Team Galactic has done to you in the past. Don’t let personal matters get in the way of things again or else you will be eliminated, no matter how talented or needed you are. Everyone in this team is expendable; do you understand?”

    “Yes, sir, I am sorry, sir.” Carson’s voice was still perfectly calm. He had dealt with death threats before, some much more serious than the one he had just received. He knew that she wouldn’t kill him over trivial matters. If she did lose control, and push came to shove, he had some dirt on her that he knew she wouldn’t want to be released. She of course had no idea he had such valuable information about her.

    “Good. Now to make an example of Jinto.”

    ***

    In the lab downstairs, the head scientist, Professor Jinto, looked around nervously, biting into his lip hard. He was a pale and chubby man of sixty years, and right now he feared that he wouldn’t reach sixty-one. He was the head scientist, and the head of the department always received the punishments. No matter how much you tried to worm yourself out of them, the penalty was almost always death.

    Jinto walked across the gleaming polished floor of the lab, taking in the bright sparkling walls and the numerous pieces of equipment scattered about. At every machine there were at least three scientists, either operating it, fixing it, or else trying to find ways to improve efficiency. He was in charge of the largest, most expensive, and most important machine in the building. It was so large, that it had one whole wall devoted to it alone. Things had become much more crammed in the lab in the past fortnight, which was the time it had taken to finish the last part of construction and installation.

    As Jinto looked up at the machine, he couldn’t help but be in awe at the marvellous feat of technology they had achieved. No one would have ever thought of something like this. It had taken the greatest scientific minds in the world over two years to determine if it was even possible.

    The machine reached up to the very top of the thirty foot tall room. Its base was square, and was about ten feet tall. Atop the base was a clear glass that was filled with mostly empty space. Flashing inside the dome was a small crystalline structure supported by six strong cables to the sides of the base. It was flashing blue, and as the power output of the machine increased, the faster and more intense the flashing of the crystal. The crystal acted as a converter of the electrical energy fed into the machine, turning it into useable energy to suit their needs. And that was what was most amazing about the machine-what it was used for.

    The machine could target a building and instantly make every human in the building disappear. It was only after Agent Roberts, the boss’ right hand man, had stolen the research from Team Galactic, that they found a suitable place to store the humans. The machine, which they had simply dubbed the Rift Opener, was human specific. Pokémon and any other life remained, but humans instantly disappeared. The Rift Opener allowed them to open a rift in space, leading to another dimension, and instantly teleport every human in a certain radius into the dimension. That was why Team Galactic’s research had been so crucial. They specialised in space and time, and so they of course would have information about alternate dimensions.

    “Please tell me that you have something about increasing the target radius of this infernal device,” Jinto warily asked one of the lower scientists, his eyes madly darting from left to right. Jinto’s arms and hands twitched, and he was so jittery that any slight noise caused him to jump a foot in the air.

    “I’m sorry sir. I think we are close, but we need a little more time,” one of the scientists replied, looking up from a large stack of notes he had been poring over for hours. He a balding man, with only slight amounts of grey hair left on his head.

    “Time is something I am running out of,” Jinto said, fidgeting and looking around to the entrance. “Give me an estimate of how long it might take.”

    “It’s hard to say. It could be anywhere from ten minutes to ten hours. Surely she’ll give you more time.”

    “You haven’t been with us long, have you? The boss is not lenient in the slightest. We were supposed to have this done six hours ago. The boss won’t tolerate any delays...even if they are ten seconds.”

    Suddenly Professor Jinto heard the unmistakeable sound of the doors to the lab being opened. They swung open and banged against the wall, exposing the darkened silhouette of their boss. Jinto clasped his sweaty palms tightly together, knowing full well that he was in big trouble.

    “Professor Jinto, please step out into the centre of the lab. Everyone else, go to a work station away from Jinto. Watch this demonstration and learn the consequences of failure.” Her voice was crisp, heartless, and to the point. A voice that meant she was serious and angry.

    Jinto reluctantly moved to the centre of the room as the other scientists scurried to their work stations, getting as far away from the boss as possible. As Jinto walked by the scientists, he gave pleading looks to them, silently begging them to help him find a way out of this. Everyone noticed, but nobody did anything. They were all too scared that they would meet the very same fate that Jinto himself was about to face.

    “Alakazam and Scyther, come on out.”

    From the shadows of the boss’ figure, two bright white flashes of light appeared and formed into two Pokémon. The first Pokémon was humanoid, and held a spoon in each of his two hands. As he was released, the Pokémon tossed the spoons into the air and caught them right in front of his large yellow moustache. Alakazam then stood in front of his trainer and closed his eyes as if in deep meditation. The second Pokémon leapt into the air when released, jumping up the walls with her strong green legs, while slicing through the air with her bladed arms. Scyther eventually flew down in front of her trainer, standing just inches away from Alakazam.

    “Alakazam, lift Jinto up into the air,” the boss ordered, her voice now full with glee and excitement.

    Alakazam instantly obliged, tilting his spoons across the room towards Jinto. Jinto was surrounded by a blue light and lifted ten feet into the air. He yelped in shock as he rose higher into the air. He tried to break the psychic force that was lifting him up towards the ceiling, but it was no use. Alakazam suppressed Jinto’s nervous system. His brain wanted him to break free, to struggle, but Alakazam forced his muscles into doing nothing. No matter how hard Jinto tried, no matter how desperately he wanted to escape, it would be futile.

    “Scyther, use X-Scissor on Jinto’s left leg.”

    “No, please, don’t do it. I’m sorry for the delay,” Jinto begged, still hanging motionless in mid-air like a broken puppet. “We’ll have it done really soon, I promise. Just wait a few more hours. It might even take less than that.”

    “People have made me promises many times…and I have found out that they rarely keep them,” she replied dismissively.

    Scyther was still standing in front of her trainer, trying to figure out what to do. She was apprehensive about what she had just been ordered to do, but she also didn’t want to disobey her trainer. They had done some questionable activities in the past, but never torture, or quite possibly, murder.

    “Scyther, do it now!” she fiercely ordered, brandishing her fists in Scyther’s direction. “Or receive the punishment of disobedience.”

    “Scyther,” she mumbled, her voice full of regret and shame. Scyther hated herself for the pain she was about to inflict, but this would allow her to avoid the same suffering. Scyther launched herself at the floating Jinto, her sharp arm scythes ready to strike. Scyther raised her right scythe up and sliced through Jinto’s leg like a hot knife through butter.

    Jinto roared in agony, and tried to clutch at the bleeding stump that was once his leg. From the knee down there was now nothing. The bottom half of his leg fell to the floor with a dull thud, which was drowned out by Jinto’s screams of agony. Blood had flown across the room, splattering against the sparkling walls and raining down on the scientists and the floor below. Scyther’s green body was now splattered with large spots of red as she returned to the ground shamefully.

    Jinto continued to scream in the air as the pain coursing through his body worsened. The overwhelming pain was so intense that Jinto could think of nothing else. He was surely dying; nothing else could hurt this much. As the pain grew and grew, Jinto slowly lost consciousness, the loss of blood finally taking its toll. His screams waned away into pitiful nothingness while his boss smiled in delight. Her demonstration had gone according to plan.

    “THIS is the price you pay for failure!” she yelled, making sure that everyone in the room would hear what she had to say. “Different every time…but always painful. Make sure none of you here today do what Jinto has done. He is no longer in charge of this project. That duty would fall to you,” the boss said, pointing to the scientist Jinto had pleaded to for results. As soon as he saw the finger pointing at him he gulped in fear, and instantly began to tremble in his seat.

    The boss turned around, returning Scyther to her Pokéball. Just as the doors were about to close behind her she spoke.

    “Alakazam, remove the blood. It might leave a stain. We wouldn’t want that. Transport Jinto to the medical clinic. Let the doctors take care of him.”

    Alakazam closed his eyes, and the spoons in his hands slowly bent backwards, then forwards, then back again. In a flash of blue light, the blood disappeared off the walls, the floor, and the scientists, leaving everything sparkling clean like before. The bottom half of Jinto’s leg had vanished as well. However, Jinto still remained in the air, surrounded by Alakazam’s psychic energy. Alakazam moved his left arm in an arc over his head, and Jinto was whisked away in a bright blue flash. Before anyone could look to see what Alakazam would do next, he had teleported out of the room and into his boss’ office, leaving the lab just as it had been just minutes before. It was as if nothing had happened in there.

    “Now get back to work!” The boss stormed away, the doors slowly obscuring her from view as they closed. She was furious, yet at the same time, chuckling quietly about what she had done to Jinto. Scyther’s uncertainty hadn’t come unnoticed. Unfortunately for her, it seemed that Scyther still needed some more work. Just as she was entering the elevator, she heard the doors to the lab hissing open. She turned around to see the newly appointed head scientist sprinting down the corridor.

    “What is it?” she asked before he had even stopped running. He had a clipboard in his hand, which he handed to her in response. She gave him a scathing look before examining the paper on the clipboard herself. It detailed graphs, tables, charts, and experimental data, but none of it made any sense to her.

    “What does this tell me?” she asked. “This time, answer me with words.”

    The balding man took the clipboard back, and apologised before answering her question.

    “While you were...um...disciplining Jinto we managed to finally make the Rift Opener target whole cities. We’ve increased its radius to encompass the largest city in Kanto. Every town and city is at your disposal, sir,” he said quickly, not taking any breaths in between sentences. It was as if he was afraid he would be punished for speaking too slowly.

    “Excellent. It seems Jinto was right in telling me it would be operational shortly. Too bad he was a few seconds too late. Oh well, what’s done is done, and besides, it was entertaining.”

    She let out a short derisive laugh which was met with a fearful smile from the man across her.

    “Target Lavender Town. We’ve made everyone in Pokémon Tower disappear. We might as well make everyone in the whole town disappear as well,” she said. “By the way, what’s your name?”

    “Um...Randolf, Kirk Randolf,” he replied. As he spoke, he nervously fidgeted with a pair of spectacles he had worn for years.

    “Mr. Randolf...let’s hope that your improved efficiency over Jinto lasts. I’d hate to lose two scientists in one day.”

    “Of course, sir. I would hate that too.” Randolf ran back into the lab as fast as he could, the hem of his lab coat fluttering out behind him. He was just happy that the boss hadn’t found anything to punish him for. He had only delivered her good news, but she was a quirky and mystifying employer. She was irrational and quick to anger at all times, which made her even more dangerous. If it wasn’t for the money he would be as far away from her as he possibly could be. Unfortunately he wasn’t. Just like all the other people here, he would have to stick with his choice and hope that it all worked out.

    ***

    “Hey, Mum, look who I found at Pokémon Tower,” Agatha excitedly greeted, bursting in through the front door. Her mother, who was slaving over the kitchen sink, dropped the plate she washing. It hit the floor with a loud bang and broke into over fifty pieces. Clubby, who was sitting next to Ashley, jumped in fear and inadvertently threw her club through the air. It hit the wall just above the kitchen sink and left a gaping hole before falling to the ground. Coupled with the club falling just inches from her, and her already frightened state, Clubby scurried under the table as fast as she could.

    “Agatha, don’t do that!” Ashley yelled in frustration. “You can’t just go bursting in here. You scared the living daylight out of me.”

    “Sorry,” Agatha apologised, taking in the chaos that had just erupted inside the kitchen like a volcano spewing lava. She forced a wry smile, as if thinking that she might be able to make it all seem really funny. Judging by the frown Ashley was giving her, she hadn’t succeeded.

    Ashley pulled off her gloves and sat down at the table, taking extra care to avoid the glass on the floor.

    “Okay, who did you find?” she asked exasperatedly. As she asked the question she stared at the seemingly insurmountable mountain of dishes she had to wash, dry, and put away, before examining the hole in the wall.

    “Watch,” Agatha eagerly replied. “Now!”

    Ashley watched for several seconds before jumping in shock when something flew right through her wall as though it was as solid as air. It took her a few seconds to get over her shock and realise it was a Pokémon; a ghost Pokémon strangely enough.

    “I thought you hated ghost Pokémon. Why do you have a Gastly?”

    “Well, when I first saw Gastly, I still was afraid of him and I didn’t really like him, but after what happened, I’ve grown to like him. He’s not all that scary, and he’s fun.”

    “What do you mean, ‘after what happened’?” Ashley asked half-heartedly. She wasn’t sure if she really wanted to know what kind of trouble her teenage daughter could get into by herself.

    Clubby now slowly edged herself out from under the table, staring timidly around to see if anything scary was still in the room. Unbeknownst to Clubby, Gastly observed her every move. Just as Clubby stood up and prepared to walk over to her club, Gastly appeared right in front of her, and licked her with his tongue. Clubby freaked out and ran upstairs, all the while having her small brown hands cover her eyes. This caused her to make quite a ruckus as she made her way under Agatha’s bed to hide.

    “Ga-Ga-Gastly,” Gastly cackled uncontrollably, shaking violently back and forth.

    Gastly listened to Clubby’s reaction as she banged into walls and doors in her hasty effort to get away from him. He looked up at the ceiling, trying to position himself right under where she had hid. If he came at her from below, that would be really fun.

    “You know, for a Marowak, Clubby’s pretty chicken,” Agatha said.

    “Yes, well, back to my question. How did you stumble upon this lovely Gastly,” Ashley replied in a strained voice. She knew it would take hours to coax Clubby out from under Agatha’s bed. Agatha was just about to reply when she saw Gastly slowly floating up to the ceiling, positioning himself right under Agatha’s room.

    “Gastly, come back here,” Agatha said, running over to Gastly and grabbing him with both hands. “Anyway, Mum, it’s a long story. Here goes.”

    Agatha told Ashley every detail about the morning she just had. She told her about the man with Growlithe and Magnemite, how she saved Gastly, and how Gastly saved her in return. She didn’t take a break the whole time. Once she got started, she found it hard to stop, even though going through it again was terrifying in a way. Every pause Agatha took to take a breath, Ashley wanted to ask a question, but Agatha always jumped right back into the story before she could ask. Finally when Agatha finished her story she got the chance.

    “Good heavens, Agatha, are you alright?” Ashley asked concernedly. She rushed off her seat and examined Agatha up and down, lifting up her arm and legs in an attempt to find anything wrong with her.

    “Yes, Mum, I’m fine, it...”

    “Are you sure? No cuts, no bruises, no scrapes? He didn’t do anything to you, did he?”

    “No, it’s just like I...”

    “Maybe we should take you to a hospital to get you...”

    “MUM!” Agatha yelled, instantly causing Ashley to stop talking. “I’m fine, seriously. He never laid a finger on me. It was Gastly he was hurting.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry, darling,” Ashley said before slumping back down in her chair. “I guess I was fussing too much. But you are so precious to me. You’re all I’ve got left since your father...well...passed away. I tell you what though, I’d love to give that guy a piece of my mind. What kind of despicable excuse for a human being attacks children and innocent Pokémon? It’s horrible.” Ashley clenched her fists so hard that they began to turn white.

    “I know. At first I thought he was capturing it, but he wasn’t using a Pokéball. He seemed to be relishing the pain he was causing.”

    “But still, Agatha, you could have died. You should have called the police or someone else for help. You shouldn’t have rushed in there without thinking about your safety.”

    “My safety?” Agatha asked bemusedly.

    Agatha looked back on the situation, and realised that her Mum was right. She could have died. Agatha hadn’t even thought of that. She had just been thinking of Gastly, and that had made her much more reckless than usual. It was only now that she realised how close she had come to dying. If she hadn’t found a way out of Pokémon Tower, that man surely would have killed her. It was extremely disconcerting to know that she had risked everything and not even realised it. Would she have done the same thing if she knew how dangerous it was? She was confident that she would have acted the same. She just couldn’t stand to see Pokémon in pain, even if it meant putting herself in danger.

    In truth, Agatha was trying to forget about the whole thing. Retelling her ordeal to her mother had been bad enough. She just wanted to put it all behind her, to never think about it again. The man had been extremely frightening, and now that she realised how stupid she had been and how close to death she had come, she was even more desperate to forget about it. Acting normal and doing normal things would do that.

    “Hey, Mum,” Agatha began. “Can I go down into Lavender Field? I wanna see what Gastly can do. It’s wide and open so we shouldn’t get in anyone’s way.”

    “Are you kidding?” Ashley exclaimed. “After what just happened to you this morning, you shouldn’t be going anywhere. I have half a mind to never let you out of my sight again.”

    “Oh, come on, Mum,” Agatha whined, trying to make her mother feel sympathetic towards her. “What can happen in the middle of Lavender Field? It’s grass, flowers, and trees. Nothing else.”

    “I’m sorry, but the answer is no. What kind of mother would I be to let you go off on your own after this morning? Something strange is going on here. Pokémon Tower is mysteriously deserted, and then some unknown guy tries to kill you. I’d be insane to let you out on your own. What if he’s still hanging around?”

    “Fine, you can come with me, keep a tracker on me, whatever. Just please let me go. I need something to distract me from what happened.”

    “Okay, Agatha, you can go. I’ll be watching you though. And you can’t go beyond the Banya Tree. From there I can keep a safe eye on you from a distance.”

    ‘Okay, come on come on, let’s go,” Agatha urgently hissed, madly ushering her Mum out of the house. Just as Ashley was locking the door behind her, Gastly floated through the door, shocking her so much that she dropped her keys. The clanging of the keys startled Agatha, who turned around, and laughed at her Mum for being scared by Gastly again.

    “I tell you what,” Ashley muttered to herself. “She couldn’t have found any other Pokémon, could she? She had to get a prankster.”

    Agatha and Ashley slowly walked through the narrow streets of Lavender Town. Ashley kept herself about ten metres behind Agatha. She could still keep an eye on her, but Agatha would still have some sort of privacy. Ashley knew that when she was sixteen she wanted to spend as little time with her parents as possible. As they made their way out of town, many people pushed and shoved past them to get to Pokémon Tower. Judging by the snippets of conversation she heard, Agatha guessed that the rumour of a curse had spread over town quickly.

    “Maybe there are aliens trying to invade us,” one small kid said to his mother, both of them sprinting past Agatha.

    “No, son, they’re probably vengeful Pokémon spirits.”

    Agatha almost burst out laughing at the foolishness of the local townspeople. Vengeful Pokémon spirits and aliens. People these days were so gullible. As Agatha continued to wonder about the sanity of the townspeople she had a distressing thought.

    “Gastly, do you want to stay with me?” she asked nervously. She was afraid that Gastly might not want to stay with her. Agatha had just assumed that after the incident in Pokémon Tower that they would stay together, but Gastly might have other plans. He may have family, or something else he wanted to do then be with her. She had quickly grown to like Gastly. They had saved each other’s lives, and that made her feel as though there was a special bond between them, something more then what most Pokémon trainers had with their Pokémon, even though Agatha didn’t see herself as a trainer.

    Gastly stopped and floated up so that his eyes were level with Agatha’s. Yesterday Agatha would have been screaming in terror if a Gastly was this close to her, but now she was hoping that he would stay with her forever. Gastly suddenly floated towards Agatha, and entered her body, moving right through her face. As soon as Gastly was inside her, Agatha’s eyes began to close, despite her best efforts to keep them open.

    “Wh-Wh-What’s...happening,” she moaned, her words slurring as she struggled to stay awake. Her eyes closed, slowly blanketing out everything she saw with blackness. She struggled to stay upright as her body was overcome by Gastly’s influence. After a few seconds Agatha slumped forwards and her head hit the hard concrete ground, but she didn’t feel a thing.

    Just seconds after Agatha’s eyes closed, incoherent images appeared in front of her. It was as if she was looking through a slideshow of pictures taken on vacation. First there was an image of her and Gastly playing together in a meadow. That faded away to be replaced with her and Gastly sleeping together in her room. The last image showed Agatha as an old lady with Gastly right beside her, still smiling that goofy grin.

    As the hazy images appeared and disappeared, Agatha felt complete bliss. She was seeing what Gastly wanted their future to be, and she was feeling what he was feeling as well. Gastly felt the joy of a friend, the excitement of a long future together, the love and care for someone who had saved his life. All of these feelings flew through Agatha’s brain like a rollercoaster, making her dazed and confused, but also unimaginably happy. This all changed as the final image disappeared. Nothing else came to replace it. Everything was black again, and Agatha’s euphoria was slipping away.

    “No, don’t make them go away,” she moaned, trying with all her might to bring the images back somehow. But it was no use. Agatha slowly regained consciousness, and as her eyes opened, she saw the blurry image of Gastly smiling over her, looking nothing more like a small insubstantial purple cloud. She heard hurried footfalls behind her, and next thing she knew her ears were ringing with her mother’s shrill screams.

    “Agatha, are you alright? Get away from her, you beast!” Ashley swung her arms towards Gastly, madly trying to beat him away. He weaved his way with ease under and over her arms, before floating just beyond her reach.

    “No, Mum, please don’t,” Agatha mumbled as she sat up. Her head was swimming, and everything around her seemed to be spinning around. “He was just showing me something...something wonderful.”

    “Are you sure, dear?” Ashley inquired, still glancing at Gastly suspiciously. “You just collapsed, and he invaded your body.”

    “I don’t speak Pokémon, Mum,” Agatha scoffed, ignoring her Mum’s unneeded fuss. “It allowed him to communicate to me. Now will you stop worrying? I’m fine.”

    Agatha shrugged off Ashley and slowly stood up, supporting herself against the front door of a house. After a minute of regaining her balance, proper vision, and composure, they were off again. They reached the southern gate of Lavender Town, which was just an arch with a sign reading, “Welcome to Lavender Town, the Noble Purple Town”.

    Beyond the arch, Lavender Field could be seen, vibrantly covered in bright green grass and colourful flowers. Daisies, lilies, sunflowers, roses, and lavenders, you name it, Lavender Field had it. Agatha looked back towards town, where Pokémon Tower rose above the rooftops. She was glad she was getting a bit of fresh air out in the wide open expanses of Lavender Field. She sprinted below the archway, and into the ankle high grass, which was blowing slightly in the pleasant afternoon breeze.

    Ashley stayed just behind the Lavender Town arch, watching Agatha and Gastly running towards the main attraction of Lavender Field. It was the Banya Tree, a massive 300 foot tall tree, which had been growing in Lavender Field for as long as anyone could remember. Its root spread from one side of the field to the other, and it was a common place for children to play. They would run around its huge trunk, walk along the exposed parts of the roots, and play with the Pokémon living in and around the tree.

    “Stay in front of that tree or so help me!” Ashley yelled to Agatha.

    “I know, Mum,” Agatha replied, exasperatedly.

    Together, Agatha and Gastly played a makeshift game of hide and seek under the watchful eyes of Ashley. This game was much tougher for Agatha, who couldn’t hide in the roots of the tree, or vanish below ground. Gastly always gave Agatha a chance to find him to make the game more even. Whenever she did, he would lick her with his tongue and speed off towards the Banya Tree, rising up to its highest branches, before shooting back down towards Agatha.

    “Six...seven...eight...nine...ten,” Agatha called out, her hands covering her eyes.

    She opened her eyes, and scanned the field, finding it to be completely empty. Gastly had obviously found a spot to hide. Agatha walked through the flowers, seeing if he was hiding amongst them. Her hands slowly became itchier as she bent down and examined every kind of flower planted in the field. Because of this, she moved over towards the Banya Tree. As soon as she looked in the direction of the massive tree, she knew that was where Gastly was. There was a faint collection of purple gas just hanging outside one of the roots. This was one of Gastly’s hints. He would now move to somewhere else close by, and Agatha would have to find him.

    Agatha made her way over to the roots of the Banya Tree, and slowly moved inwards towards the trunk of the tree. Along the way, she saw some Pokémon hanging off the low hanging branches just above her. Hanging from small brown roots sprouting from their heads were yellow bell-shaped Pokémon. Their leafy appendages drooped as their gaping mouths opened and closed in unison.

    “Wee...Weepinbell.”

    All of the Weepinbell were speaking in unison, as though it was a chant or a song. Their mouths were tilted up towards the faint rays of sunlight peeking through the branches of the Banya Tree. Being grass Pokémon, Agatha thought that it may be some sort of ritual or ceremony involving the sun and the sacred Banya Tree. At the base of the Banya Tree, Agatha could see a small hole with a few more Weepinbell outside it.

    “Hmm...I wonder,” she said to herself. The hole would be a good place for Gastly to hide. He would show himself near the roots, and then move himself through the base of the tree into one of the hollows. Agatha knelt down next to the Weepinbell, and apologised at their disdained looks.

    “Sorry, Weepinbell. I’ll leave as soon as I get Gastly,” she said as they continued to frown and glare at her. “Gotcha!” she yelled. She plunged her hand deep into the hole, but her hand closed around nothing but air. “What the?” she exclaimed, looking at her fist full of air. She was sure that Gastly would have been there. Maybe he was playing a trick on her. She placed her hands on either side of the hole and leaned in, trying to spot the purple gases of Gastly amongst the blackness of the hole. After a few seconds of seeing nothing, Agatha backed out of the whole, and turned around.

    “GASTLY!” Gastly screamed. He was hovering just centimetres from Agatha’s face.

    The shock of seeing Gastly caused Agatha to fall backwards, hitting her head painfully against the base of the Banya Tree. Gastly fell to the ground in hysterics, laughing uncontrollably again. Agatha slowly lifted her head up, rubbing her hand gently against the bruise that she knew was forming. Upon seeing Gastly rolling around laughing on the ground, her anger rose to boiling point.

    “What did you do that for!?” she yelled, grabbing the solid part of Gastly, and shaking it back and forth. “That hurt...and it could’ve been a hell of a lot worse.”

    Instead of looking sorry or apologetic, Gastly merely grinned cheekily up at Agatha. It wasn’t the exact reaction that Agatha had been looking for, but she supposed it was progress. At least he wasn’t laughing anymore. She placed him on the ground before rubbing her head again, wincing in pain as she went over the area of her head that had hit the tree.

    “Gastly, you’ve got to stop doing that, okay?” Agatha said. “Tone it down a bit, or play jokes that are a bit safer.”

    “Gastly gas,” Gastly responded, moving up and down.

    Agatha wasn’t sure if that was Gastly’ equivalent of nodding. She wanted to believe that he understood, so she took it that way. As she turned around to face Lavender Town, deciding that it was time to head back home, she saw something strange.

    An electric blue pulse of light lit the sky above Lavender Town. It spread overhead like a dome covering the city, blocking out the clouds, the sun, everything. Its origin seemed to be above the direct centre of Lavender Town. Agatha had no idea what was going on, but something about the blue light sent shivers down her spine. It may have been that it looked like it was imprisoning Lavender Town as it spread far and wide. It may have been how it clearly wasn’t natural. Either way, Agatha knew there was nothing good about the blue pulse of light. She had to warn her Mum, who had her back turned towards the light.

    “Mum, look behind you! Get out of there!” Agatha yelled, waving her arms up in the air and jumping up and down to grab Ashley’s attention.

    Ashley heard Agatha’s desperate cries of warning. She immediately turned around, and saw what had Agatha so worried. The growing dome of blue light was now above Ashley, and was rapidly heading towards the ground, threatening to trap her inside Lavender Town. She couldn’t see the sky above her, and her view of Lavender Field was quickly being blocked out as well. As soon as Ashley realised how much danger she was in she bolted towards Agatha, praying that she would beat the light.

    Unfortunately, Agatha could see that her mother wasn’t going to make it. Agatha sprinted across the field, leaping over anything in her way, running faster then she had ever run before.

    “Gastly, help her,” Agatha said in between her deep gaping breaths. “Surely you can do something. Take control of her body and get her out of there or something,” she finished desperately. She was struggling to keep her pace up as a painful stitch began to stab at her sides. She may have been athletic, but long distance running wasn’t her strong suit. Adrenaline was pumping through her body, forcing her limbs to move, with Gastly right beside her.

    As Gastly raced towards Lavender Town, his smile was replaced with a determined scowl across his face. He sped off towards Ashley, easily passing Agatha. Agatha was surprised at how fast Gastly could move. She had never considered him a fast Pokémon. But she could see that he was just as desperate to save Ashley as she was. Agatha knew that people desperate enough could do amazing things. Pokémon could surely do it as well.

    Meanwhile, Gastly punched through the visually solid dome of light, which dwarfed him considerably, and entered Ashley’s running body, ignoring her shocked look and yells of protest. He entered her body and went straight for the brain. He took control of Ashley’s nervous system, and poured all his energy into speeding her up. But he was too late. Gastly could see through Ashley’s eyes that the dome of light now completely surrounded them, trapping them within Lavender Town. There was suddenly a bright blue flash, and everything for Gastly blacked out.

    Agatha was now closing in on the light. She was only metres away from it, but already she could tell she wouldn’t make it. The light now completely surrounded Lavender Town. Before Agatha could try and break through like Gastly had, she was knocked back by a powerful shock wave as a bright blue flash exploded outwards. Agatha tumbled backwards into a field of flowers, squashing the flowers and startling the Pokémon. She quickly stood back up, flustered and exhausted, and turned towards Lavender Town.

    The blue dome of light was gone. Everything looked perfectly normal. There was no sign of any disturbance in Lavender Town. The roads, the gate, the buildings; they all looked fine. But Agatha knew that nothing was fine. Her mother was gone. Agatha didn’t know how, but her mother had just vanished. Gastly was in the middle of the street, unconscious, but Ashley was nowhere to be found.

    “M-Mum,” Agatha said. “No, MUM!”

    She sprinted towards Lavender Town, hoping that as she drew closer she might be able to see her mother. Even though Agatha knew her mother was gone, she was still clinging on to the faintest hope that her mother was alright. As she passed under the gate, she knew her fears were right. Her mother wasn’t anywhere in sight. She was just gone. Agatha clutched at the air where her mother had been standing, as if hoping that if she tried hard enough she might just be able to pull her Mum out of thin air.

    Agatha didn’t even pay attention to Gastly as she frantically ran up the street. She looked left and right, hoping that Ashley might just pop her head around the corner. But she didn’t. Agatha ran back to Gastly, almost on the verge of tears, having no idea what had happened, or what she was going to do. On either side of her were houses with their windows open. Agatha peered inside, her hands cupped against the glass, but she didn’t see anyone.

    “Maybe...maybe she’s home,” Agatha said to herself. “Maybe she just ran for cover.”

    Agatha knew she was clutching at straws. Ashley would never abandon Agatha to save her own neck. But the idea sparked the tiniest flare of hope inside her, and she wasn’t going to let it die. She was just about to run off when she remembered Gastly. Still lying unconscious on the ground, Gastly was all that Agatha had at the moment. She quickly gathered Gastly up into her arms, and urgently ran towards home, weaving her way through the eerily empty streets. When Agatha reached her front door, she immediately lifted up the front door mat for the spare key Ashley had. She fumbled with it slightly as she unlocked the door, but finally managed to shove the door open.

    “Hello...Mum...is anyone here?” Agatha asked.

    Gastly was still unconscious in her arms as she stood on the threshold, praying to see Ashley inside, maybe scrubbing a particularly stubborn stain off a plate. Yet again, Agatha was disappointed. There was no one in the house, just like there had been no one in the streets that were packed just half an hour earlier. It was like everyone in Lavender Town had vanished along with the blue dome of light.

    Just when Agatha was about to sit down she heard something from upstairs. It sounded like footsteps. Agatha ran to the stairs, and was slammed into by Clubby, running as fast as she could down the steps. Agatha was thrown to the ground, and Gastly tumbled out of her arms and smacked into the tiled kitchen floor. Clubby was on top of Agatha, licking her cheek and smiling down at her.

    “Clubby, get off,” Agatha said, trying to push the ecstatic Marowak off her. But Clubby was too excited to hear what Agatha had to say. She continued to lick and hug Agatha, despite Agatha’s protests. “I said, GET OFF ME!”

    After hearing Agatha’s furious scream and laying eyes upon her scathing glare, Clubby scarpered upstairs and back under Agatha’s bed. Agatha smoothed her clothes out and crawled over to Gastly. It seemed that the shock of hitting the floor had jolted Gastly awake. His eyes were slowly opening as he stared dazedly at the kitchen ceiling. When he saw Agatha beside him, he beamed up at her and rose up so they were face to face.

    “Oh, Gastly,” Agatha said tearfully, sitting herself on one of the chairs at the dining table. Gastly sat on the table itself and stared at Agatha intently. “This is awful. They’re all gone. Everyone in the town...including...Mum.”

    Agatha wiped away her tears, and buried her face in her arms. She felt worse then she had ever felt in her entire life. The pain was so great that it felt like someone had ripped her heart right out of her. The shock and reality of losing Ashley left Agatha with a gaping hole inside of her that couldn’t be filled. Wave after wave of depression, guilt, and sadness beat against her, enveloping her in a cocoon of emotional anguish. They consumed and overwhelmed her entirely. She felt tired and exhausted, as if she had swum across an ocean, and she felt more vulnerable than ever before.

    So many emotions were building up inside Agatha that she was almost at boiling point. She had already lost her temper at Clubby, who had only been scared and frightened about what had happened. Agatha knew just how Clubby felt. It had been horrifying to watch Ashley slowly be consumed by the dome of light. To see her own mother wrenched away from her life like that, right in front of her eyes. How could she ever recover from such emotional trauma?

    Agatha couldn’t imagine anything worse than what she had just been a part of. She was now all alone. No family, no friends, no identity. She was nobody. Everything that signified who she was had just been taken away from her. Her mother had raised Agatha by herself ever since she was just two years old. She had moulded Agatha into the person she was today. How anyone was supposed to get over a loss of that magnitude, Agatha didn’t know. She just slumped forwards onto the table, closed her eyes, and waited for precious sleep to come to her. Sleep would take away all the distress and pain, at least for a few hours, before she had to live with it again. Right now, it was the best thing she could do, the only thing she could do to relieve the pain.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  15. #15
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    Apr 2007
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    Okay, here is chapter six. Hope you all enjoy.




    CHAPTER SIX: REALITY CHECK:




    Sam Oak was hugging his Charmander with one arm, and in his other hand he was holding onto the Pokéball that held his recently captured Pidgey.

    “Yes, Charmander, we did it!” Sam said gleefully, punching the air in triumph. “We’ve got a Pidgey.”

    He stood up and clipped Pidgey’s Pokéball to his belt while reliving the battle in his mind. It had been better than he could have possibly imagined. The adrenaline rush, the excitement, and the pride of catching his first Pokémon were overwhelming. With another Pokémon in his possession, Sam couldn’t help but feel much closer to his goal of becoming a Pokémon Master, even though in reality he had only taken the tiniest step.

    “Wow, this Pokémon catching stuff isn’t too hard. Come on, Charmander. Let’s move on and catch some more Pokémon,” Sam said confidently as he returned Charmander to her Pokéball. He cast his gaze north towards the end of Route One, a short path between Pewter and Viridian City. It was a path teeming with wildlife, and Sam was sure that he would see more Pokémon along the way. If he did, he would most certainly catch them. He picked up his backpack, making sure to keep the sandwiches Pidgey had been after, and then made his way north towards Viridian City.

    As Sam wound his way up the dirt path winding through the centre of Route One, he was disappointed at the lack of Pokémon he saw. The environment around him remained the same all the way along. The same overgrown grass snaked its way across the path, and the same small skinny trees lined the path sparingly, rising out of the tall grass. But unlike Pidgey, the Pokémon in the area clearly weren’t tempted by Sam’s sandwiches.

    Sam’s job wasn’t made any easier by the fact that the long grass shielded many of the small Pokémon from view. He didn’t really feel like crawling through grass for hours on end to hunt down a Pokémon. It would be much easier if the Pokémon came to him just like Pidgey had. Realistically though, Sam had to admit to himself that his future captures wouldn’t be as easy as his first. Being a Pokémon Trainer wasn’t a job for the lazy. Sam began to tell himself over and over again that if he didn’t see a Pokémon soon he would have to take the initiative and hunt one down himself.

    After another half hour of walking moodily through Route One, brushing aside the long grass with his legs as he walked, Sam decided that enough was enough. He was content with already having Pidgey, but he was eager for another Pokémon as well. He knew that he was probably being too optimistic about his chances of catching two Pokémon in his first day as a trainer, but he couldn’t help himself. The possibility was too great to ignore.

    Sam tossed his backpack against the base of a tree, the shade its leaves cast spreading into the grass Sam was about to search through. While unclipping one of his Pokéballs from his belt, Sam bent down on all fours, his arms and legs now deep within the long grass. He peered around him in all directions, but still didn’t see anything amidst millions of blades of grass. Slowly and carefully, Sam crawled through the grass, the only sudden movements he made being flicking a stray bug off him or else brushing away a blade of grass tickling his arm.

    To his left, his right, behind him, in front of him, Sam searched all directions, and just when he was about to give up, he saw something sticking up into the air. Only part of it could be seen, but from what Sam saw he was sure it was part of a Pokémon. The tip of a purple curled tail rose into the air, twitching slightly to the left and right as the Pokémon below moved from side to side, hidden by the tall grass surrounding it.

    “Gotcha!” Sam hissed quietly as he silently twisted the red dial atop the Pokémon in his right hand. A blinding flash of white light appeared and slowly formed into the floating form of Pidgey. As soon as the light had appeared, the creature in front of Sam whipped around, its tail being replaced by a small face like that of a rodent. Before Sam could react, the Pokémon leapt out of the grass and over his head, before rushing off towards the tree at which Sam had left his backpack. Sam swore silently as he and Pidgey followed the rustling grass, identifying exactly where the Pokémon was heading.

    When Sam made it to the tree, the Pokémon was standing at the base of the tree, its large front teeth gnawing into the deep hard trunk, tearing strips of bark off the tree. Its whiskers and large pink ears were extended straight out in anticipation, and its purple and cream fur bristled slightly in the light afternoon breeze. After a few seconds, the Pokémon pulled itself away from the tree and took up a fighting pose, its two front sharp teeth bared in anger.

    “Rattata!” it hissed scathingly at Sam and Pidgey, who was standing in front of Sam.

    “A Rattata, huh?” Sam asked. “Let’s see what Mum’s found out about it.” He pulled out his small blue Pokédex from his pocket, flipped it open, and pointed it towards Rattata. The small blue sphere at the edge of the Pokédex flashed blue for a few seconds before it accessed its internal database and gathered the information on Rattata.

    “Rattata, the mouse Pokémon. This Pokémon is a common sight in many areas. It eats anything it sees with its large fangs. It may appear small and harmless, but when provoked it lashes out with a furious bite.”

    While Sam’s Pokédex was gathering information on Rattata, it was staring down Pidgey viciously. It also darted to the left and right for a few seconds, as if warming itself up for battle.

    “Sounds interesting…and it will make a great addition to our team, don’t you think?” Sam asked Pidgey. Pidgey nodded in response, but didn’t take his eyes away from Rattata.

    “Rattata,” it hissed menacingly, snarling and baring its fangs at Pidgey, demanding him to prepare for a furious battle.

    “Pidgey!” Pidgey shrieked in fear. He instantly scrambled behind Sam’s legs to hide himself from Rattata.

    “Hey…hey Pidgey, don’t be scared,” Sam said, bending down to gently pat Pidgey on the head. As soon as Sam’s hand touched the top of Pidgey’s head, he closed his eyes and seemed to relax. His feathers which had been sticking up at odd angles were now perfectly flat, and he was breathing calmly. After gathering up all his bravery and determination, Pidgey darted out from behind Sam and spread his wings wide to make himself seem as threatening as possible. He was ready for battle.

    “Okay, good job, Pidgey. Use Gust,” Sam ordered confidently, his eyes sparkling with excitement as his second battle in as many hours began. Pidgey flew up into the air and beat it wings ferociously, creating strong gusts of winds that flew straight at Rattata. Just before the attack struck, Rattata jumped for cover in the nearby grass.

    “Oh no. Where is it?” Sam asked bemusedly. Pidgey was hovering in the air, feeling as confused as Sam as he stared into the grass below. Sam was blind to Rattata’s position, so he couldn’t give any useful commands to Pidgey. Pidgey had a better aerial view, but Rattata was so small that the grass completely covered it. Then without warning Rattata jumped out of the grass, straight at Pidgey. Unfortunately, Pidgey couldn’t react quick enough to dodge the attack. Rattata shot through the air like a cannon ball, and head butted Pidgey into the ground. As he regained his footing, Pidgey huffed and puffed heavily, looking extremely tired and worn out.

    “Pidgey must be worn out from when I captured it,” Sam said anxiously. The sparkle in his eye was gone now that things were going badly. “That doesn’t matter. I’m sure that it’ll win.”

    Before Sam and Pidgey could launch an attack though, Rattata charged at Pidgey. It moved so fast that the blades of grass were blown away, as was the dirt on the ground. As it raced towards them, Rattata looked like a purple and cream blur.

    “Oh no, Quick Attack,” Sam muttered worriedly as he looked concernedly at Pidgey. Sam knew it was almost impossible to dodge such a fast attack, so he came up with another strategy. “Pidgey, use Sand Attack!”

    Pidgey immediately rose into the air and began to beat his wings back and forth, just like with Gust. Unlike Gust though, Pidgey was using the wind he was creating to kick up dirt around him. He directed the dirt straight towards Rattata, hoping to blind it and therefore leave it vulnerable. Rattata was too quick though. Just as Pidgey blew the dirt towards it, Rattata jumped high into the air, over the dirt, and landed behind Pidgey, skidding to a halt several feet away. Then, before either Sam or Pidgey could react, it leapt towards Pidgey like a speeding bullet, slamming him back into the ground.

    “No, Pidgey!” Sam screamed helplessly. He ran over towards Pidgey to check that he was alright. Sam was pleased to see that Pidgey stood back up, but he was clearly tired and hurt. After encouraging Pidgey to continue, Sam stood back up behind him, and ordered him forwards.

    “Pidgey, you use Quick Attack this time,” Sam ordered. His confidence before the match was now almost completely gone. Without even realising it, he was wrapping a strand of his hair around his finger in anxiety and fear.

    At the exact moment Pidgey began his Quick Attack, Rattata sprinted towards him as fast as it could, kicking up dirt and grass as it went. Neither were willing to back down as they drew closer and closer together. They both hit each other with tremendous force, but Rattata was healthier then Pidgey and had a tiny bit more power. Pidgey was sent careering into the air, and fell hard again onto the ground, knocked out and defeated, while Rattata merely landed awkwardly several feet away. As soon as it saw that Pidgey was defeated, Rattata scarpered into the grass. Within seconds, it was far away from Sam and Pidgey.

    “Pidgey, return,” Sam grumbled moodily, twisting the dial on his Pokéball anticlockwise. Pidgey was surrounded by a red light and returned to his Pokéball. “I can’t believe you lost. I didn’t think I could lose to a Rattata,” Sam whispered to the Pokéball.

    He slowly walked over towards his backpack and sat down at the base of the tree, hiding himself from the rays of the sun within the shade the tree provided. Every moment of the battle raced through Sam’s mind as he contemplated how he had lost. Things had been going perfectly until he had met Rattata. Somehow, he had failed to capture one of the most basic Pokémon around. During the three extra years he had spent at home, he had learned so much about the abilities, behaviour, habitats, and strategies to defeat countless Pokémon, and yet he had failed against a simple Rattata.

    Sam couldn’t help but doubt his abilities as a trainer now. Maybe successfully catching Pidgey had just been a fluke, and he wasn’t as good as he thought. Maybe his Mum had been right about him being better suited to be a researcher rather than a trainer. Even though he was a beginner, Sam had expected himself to be a cut above the rest because of his sheer amount of knowledge of Pokémon. It seemed apparent to him now that he had underestimated the difficulty of being a Pokémon Trainer. Training and catching Pokémon wasn’t anywhere near as easy as Sam had thought, and he now knew that knowledge only accounted for a tiny fraction of what it took to be a Pokémon Trainer.

    Feeling depressed and angry at himself, Sam slammed the ground with his feet several times, cursing himself for his arrogance and foolishness. He buried his face in his hands and thought of the long difficult journey ahead of him. But even though he felt depressed and sombre now, he wasn’t willing to give up. Every Pokémon Trainer in history had stumbling points and hurdles in their journeys. He was no different. This was what being a trainer was about.

    He tried to cast aside all his negative emotions and focus on his current goal, which was to reach Viridian City. Now this was even more urgent. Pidgey had fainted, and Charmander was probably tired from her earlier battle. Sam knew that it was his duty as a trainer to heal his Pokémon when they were injured. The nearest Pokémon Centre was in Viridian City, so Sam quickly picked up his backpack and almost ran there. No matter how ashamed he was, he couldn’t let his Pokémon suffer.

    Because his attention was now focussed solely on making his Pokémon better, Sam didn’t even realise he was making progress as he ran towards Viridian City. Before he even knew it, he was there, staring around at the small city. In between the small grey stone houses, two buildings instantly stood out. A two storey red building near the front of the city towered above the other houses, while an almost identical blue building did so at the far end of the city. Unlike the drab stone houses they surrounded, these two buildings were sleek and modern. Sam immediately knew that they were the Pokémon Centre and Pokémart respectively. One of each was found in almost every town and they were vital tools for a Pokémon Trainer to use.

    Glad that he had reached Viridian City so quickly, Sam instantly rushed towards the Pokémon Centre, refusing to stop to take in anything else the city had to offer. As he made his way through the streets, Sam noticed that the boring stone houses actually looked quite spectacular close up. All of the gardens looked like they were tended to daily, with bright green grass and a wide assortment of flowers blooming into life everywhere Sam looked. The stone foundations of the houses actually made them look classic and antique rather than filthy, and Sam was sure that they had all come with hefty price tags.

    The Pokémon Centre, however, looked anything but classic and antique. Two mechanically hissing doors let Sam into the cool modern technological building. Everywhere Sam looked there seemed to be some machine or display beeping or flashing lights. Sam slipped slightly on the freshly polished gleaming floor as he made his way over to the nurse’s counter. Behind the counter were one nurse and a Pokémon, both busying themselves with a piece of equipment. Pokémon Trainers young and old were either queuing up at the nurse’s counter, or else sitting in the comfortable sofas on either side of the room.

    Sam himself made a beeline straight for the three man queue at the counter, weaving himself in between many anxious looking trainers. After several minutes of waiting, Sam was finally at the counter, finally able to heal his Pokémon. Unfortunately, neither the nurse nor Chansey had noticed Sam at first. They were both bent over a small machine and were urgently trying to fix it. The Pokémon was pink and egg shaped, and didn’t even reach the height of the counter. As it helped the nurse with one small pink hand, its other hand rubbed a large egg sitting in a pouch on its chest. Sam recognised it as a Chansey, a Pokémon that helped out at all Pokémon Centres.

    “Um...excuse me. Can you please help me?” Sam asked awkwardly. He wasn’t sure if it was rude to interrupt the nurse when she was busy.

    As soon as Sam began to speak, the nurse turned around, dropping a wrench in the progress. It clanged loudly to the ground as she smiled at Sam. He couldn’t explain it, but her smile seemed so warm and kind that he felt better just looking at her. Long purple hair trailed down her back and formed a long pigtail, and Sam couldn’t believe how young she was. She was clearly only a few years older than he was, maybe seventeen or eighteen at the most. It seemed strange to have a nurse so young, but her kind heart-warming expression instantly erased any of Sam’s doubts about her.

    “Sorry about that,” she apologised as she picked up the wrench and handed it over to Chansey. “So, what do you need help with? I’m Nurse Jenny, and this is my assistant, Chansey.”

    “I need my Pokémon to be healed. They’ve just been in some battles, and they’re both tired and injured.” Sam unclipped his two Pokéballs and placed them on the bench.

    “Okay, that isn’t a problem. Just wait for a few minutes and your Pokémon will be healed,” Nurse Jenny said sincerely. She smiled once more at Sam before placing the Pokéballs in a special case and transporting them into a back room, leaving Chansey alone with the machine. Now that his Pokémon were in good hands, Sam decided it was time to relax. He walked across the room and sat down on a large green sofa occupied by another kid a couple of years younger than him. Sam sat down beside him, and almost felt like a giant because the kid was so small. The kid didn’t even acknowledge Sam sitting down beside him. He was just staring down at the floor with a glum expression on his face.

    “Hey, what’s the matter with you?” Sam asked.

    “Oh, it’s just my Pokémon,” the kid replied sombrely. “Nurse Jenny said that it would only take a couple of minutes to heal them, but that was over fifteen minutes ago. She just says it’s taking more time than expected. Everyone here has had the same problem. Their Pokémon have been in there for ages. Some of us, like me, are worried that our Pokémon are more seriously injured then we thought, while others are suspicious of Nurse Jenny.”

    “What do you mean by suspicious of her?” Sam asked perplexedly. “I mean, sure she’s young, but that doesn’t mean there’s something bad about her.”

    “Well then, what’s happening with our Pokémon?”

    “I don’t know. I’ll just ask her and see.” Sam stood up and walked over to the grey door Nurse Jenny had taken his Pokémon to. He slowly opened the door slowly, not wanting to shock her, but instead he was the one in for a shock. Nurse Jenny was kneeling down on the ground shovelling Pokéballs into a large sack.

    “Come on, Kadabra,” she said. “We should get these Pokémon to the boss right away. This is the perfect scam. She even gets the Pokémon healed before she gets them. All because of my brilliant plan to pose as a nurse.”

    Next to her there was a yellow and brown Pokémon, who was staring intently at a mountain of Pokéballs on the floor with its sinister eyes. Its three fingered clawed hands were waving through the air, one of which was holding a spoon. As the spoon moved through the air a blue light trickled down to the Pokéballs, and they suddenly levitated in mid air. Under the Pokémon’s guidance, the Pokéballs shot into the sack five at a time. Gathering all his nerves, Sam leapt into the room and slammed the door shut behind him.

    “What are you doing!?” Sam yelled. He charged at Nurse Jenny, who was now wearing a black outfit instead of her nurse’s uniform. Before he could get close enough to her though, her Pokémon swung around, its thick tail swinging dangerous through the air.

    “Kadabra, use Psychic to stop this brat,” Nurse Jenny ordered. Her voice had changed completely from before. She had seemed so nice, warm, and caring before, but now her voice was full of malice and anger.

    Kadabra’s long yellow moustache curled up into the air as it waved its spoon around again. Sam was stopped mid stride as he was surrounded by an eerie blue light. His brain was telling his legs to move, but he was frozen to the spot. Suddenly he was flung sideways and sent crashing into the wall. He slid down painfully to the floor, clutching his back as he glared up at Kadabra, who was now standing guard over its trainer, its skinny yellow arms and legs spread out wide.

    Sam desperately looked around the room, trying to think of how he could stop them. The room was very small and housed a few medical machines, all of which were inoperable. There was one door at the opposite side of the room, which was the back exit of the Pokémon Centre, and there was another door to the left leading to an alley out back. There were alleys on either side of the Pokémon Centre, separating them from the residential houses of Viridian City. None of this helped Sam think of any sort of plan at all. He had no Pokémon to use, Kadabra’s psychic attacks were impossible to dodge, and he was injured. The pain of slamming into the wall was still throbbing up and down his spine, and it was making it hard just to stand up.

    “Ah...damn, that hurts!” Sam swore under his breath as he sat himself up against the wall. “Stop taking those Pokéballs,” he told Nurse Jenny much more confidently then he felt. “They’re not yours.”

    “No kidding, brat,” she retorted as she continued to stuff more and more Pokéballs into the sack beside her. “It wouldn’t be called stealing if they were mine.”

    “You’re not a nurse, are you?” Sam asked warily. Talking to her was the only thing he could think of doing for now. If he could distract her or delay her maybe someone would come to his rescue. It wasn’t a great plan, but it was the best he had

    “Wow, nothing gets past you, does it? You’re a genius kid,” she sarcastically replied.

    She laughed at Sam’s naivety at thinking that she could still actually be who she said she was. The smile suddenly disappeared from her face as the door to her left that led to the alley was smashed open. Two dark green vines slithered into the room along the floor, heading straight for Kadabra. The two vines hit Kadabra right in the middle of its brown torso, sending it flying into its trainer, and knocking her over. She collided with the sack, causing Pokéballs to spill out and roll everywhere, clattering upon the hard tiled floor.

    “Why is nothing ever easy?” the woman grumbled as she haphazardly got to her feet. She looked towards the door leading into the alley, and saw a Bulbasaur walking into the room, its two vines stretched out as far as they could go. Furious growls could be heard from Bulbasaur as he slowly stood opposite the woman he knew so well. Sam quickly hopped to his feet at the sign of help, even though his back still hurt. He knew there would be bruising, but it wasn’t severe enough to significantly hinder him.

    As soon as the woman had laid eyes on Bulbasaur, they narrowed to slits and her face contorted in rage. All the beauty in her face evaporated in an instant as her face turned into that of a monster. If looks could kill, then Bulbasaur would have been killed a hundred times over under the woman’s scowl, and it looked like she wanted nothing more than to throttle the life out of Bulbasaur.

    “You!” she exclaimed in disbelief and disgust. “But how? It’s impossible,” she stammered. After a few seconds of staring dumbfounded at Bulbasaur, she regained her composure and anger. “Kadabra, use Psybeam!”

    Kadabra was back on its feet, but instead of attacking, stared at its trainer warily with doubt and confusion in its eyes.

    “Kadabra, listen to me,” the woman whispered scathingly. “Forget everything you know about Bulbasaur, and attack it. NOW!”

    Kadabra still looked torn between what to do, but it chose to obey its hysterical trainer. It closed its eyes, and focussed all its psychic energy into a spot on its forehead, the exact spot marked by a red star. As the power built and built within its brain, Kadabra shot out a pink beam of psychic energy straight at Bulbasaur. Just before the beam was about to strike, Bulbasaur leapt to the side, and at the same time fired a barrage of sharp green leaves out of his bulb. The leaves sliced through the air like bullets at Kadabra, who was too slow to dodge. The leaves hit it right in the forehead, and sent it crashing to the ground.

    “Grr...Kadabra, pull your act together. Use...”

    But before the woman could finish her command, Bulbasaur struck. Two vines shot out of his bulb and smashed right into Kadabra’s insect like abdomen, slamming it into the back door. The door buckled under the force and flew off its hinges, sending Kadabra hurtling outside. The woman, now looking extremely flustered, rushed outside and recalled her Kadabra. Without a backwards glance, she ran off into the distance, cursing at the top of her lungs.

    Sam didn’t bother trying to chase off after her. Instead, he rushed over to the pile of Pokéballs, rummaging through them to find his own. Thankfully, they were very easy to find. Out of the dozens of Pokéballs bundled together, his were the only ones with his name on them. He silently thanked his mother for her important advice earlier that day.

    As soon as he had both his Pokémon back in his possession, Sam rushed into the main room of the Pokémon, and called out to everyone inside. He didn’t explain the details because he had something more important to do, but he made sure everyone knew what had happened. A crowd of at least twenty trainers stampeded towards Sam at the same moment as he ran outside, desperately looking for Bulbasaur, who had run off immediately after the woman and her Kadabra had left.

    Luckily, Sam had arrived outside just in time. As he looked up and down the street behind the Pokémon Centre, he saw Bulbasaur to his west, just about to turn north, and head away from Viridian City. Sam couldn’t let that happen. He had to have that Bulbasaur. From what Sam had seen, it was incredibly strong and intelligent. A Pokémon like that would be invaluable to Sam. And there was also the fact that Bulbasaur could have very well saved his life. Sam had to at least thank him for that.

    “No, wait, Bulbasaur. I want to battle you!” Sam yelled. As he screamed out to Bulbasaur, he also released Charmander from her Pokéball. Once they reached him, Sam didn’t want to be messing about with calling out a Pokémon. Bulbasaur wouldn’t be one to stick around for long.

    Either Bulbasaur was too far away to hear or he had completely ignored Sam, for he continued to run at full pace out of Viridian City. Sam frantically tried to keep up pace with Bulbasaur, but it was no use. Bulbasaur wasn’t slowing down, but Sam had an agonising stitch in his chest, and was slowing down. He silently fumed as Bulbasaur finally ran out of view. But he didn’t give up. It was very possible that Bulbasaur might stop if he thought he was far enough away. Sam might still be able to catch up with him.

    Unfortunately, Sam was so focussed and determined about catching Bulbasaur that he didn’t even watch where he was going. Without even realising it, he ran straight into a young kid. Sam instantly fell to his feet upon impact, as did the kid he had hit. At first Sam was confused about what had happened. At the sight of the kid getting to his feet angrily, Sam realised his mistake. Sam almost had to take a second look when he first saw the young boy. His ghostly white skin, coupled with his startlingly black hair made him look very strange, especially for someone his age.

    “Hey, watch where you’re going!” he yelled.

    “Sorry for that,” Sam apologised. “Did you see a Bulbasaur run by? If so, which way did it go?” Sam now regained his footing, brushing dirt and grass off his clothes as he did so, and also rubbing his already sore back, which had received another hard knock.

    “Yeah, I did,” he replied. “Were you trying to capture it?”

    “Yeah,” Sam said hopefully. If this strange kid knew where Bulbasaur went, he might be able to catch it. “Where did it go?” Sam looked around and saw a path to his north that led to Koueki City, and branching paths to the left and right along the main northern path.

    “It just went straight up,” he said.

    “Well, thanks. I’m Sam by the way, and this is my Charmander. Who are you?”

    As Sam introduced himself, he inadvertently lifted his shirt up slightly. During that split second, Joven saw Sam’s Pokéballs attached to a belt virtually identical to his own.

    “Hey, are you a Pokémon Trainer?” the kid asked without even bothering to answer Sam’s earlier question.

    “Yeah, but I just started out a few hours ago,” Sam replied, a frown slowly starting to form on his face. He wasn’t happy with the fact that Joven seemed to have completely ignored him.

    “Perfect. I can test my skills on a beginner,” he muttered under his breath so that Sam wouldn’t hear him. “Do you want to battle...er...?” Joven asked.

    “The name’s Sam,” Sam briskly snapped at the kid. “Didn’t you listen before? Now, since I’ve told you my name twice, I think you should tell me yours.”

    There was a long pause, when the kid seemed to be thinking hard about something. After a while he finally stated who he was.

    “My name’s Joven, okay?” he snidely remarked. “Now, can we hurry up and get on with the battle. A one on one if you don’t mind.”

    Now that they were about to battle, Sam felt more excited than ever. Battling a wild Pokémon was one thing, but nothing could substitute the experience, skill, and joy of winning a battle against an actual trainer.

    “Sure, let’s start.”

    At that moment, both Sam and Joven were incredibly tense, taking up positions on either side of the bench. With the bright afternoon sun shining down upon the bush lined path covered with brilliant green grass, it was a perfect battlefield. Sam and Joven moved slowly away from each other, allowing plenty of room for their Pokémon to battle. Now there was only brilliant fresh green grass standing between the two boys. They couldn’t have asked for a better place to battle.

    “Fine then,” Joven said. “Come on out, Shellder!”

    Joven’s Shellder appeared in a flash of white light. He stared at Sam with his large pink tongue lolling out of his purple shell, while he span around in circles frantically like a dog chasing its tail.

    “Well I’ve only got one Pokémon that would stand a chance, even though I don’t like the type match-up,” Sam muttered to himself. “Go, Charmander!”

    “This should be a piece of cake. A Charmander against a Shellder,” Joven smugly remarked, placing his hands on his hips in a superior attitude.

    “There’s more to Pokémon then types,” Sam angrily retorted. “It takes skill as well.”

    “Another thing I have an advantage over. I’ve been training for a couple of years more than you and I have the type advantage. That makes this an easy win.”

    “Grrr…What an arrogant kid,” Sam muttered to himself, his hands clenching into fists. He would have liked nothing better than to punch Joven right in the face. Instead, he controlled himself, deciding to teach Joven a lesson on the battlefield.

    “Shellder, use Water Pulse!” Joven suddenly ordered.

    A blue pulse of water came out of Shellder’s shell and headed straight to Charmander. As it sped through the air, droplets of water splashed onto the ground, giving the plants and grass below a lovely taste of water against the harsh sun overhead.

    “Dodge it, Charmander. Then use Scratch. Show that kid who’s got skill,” Sam commanded, his voice rising as he spoke. Joven’s words had cut into Sam deeply, emphasising his own doubts about his skill as a trainer. Right now all he wanted to do was wipe that pompous grin off Joven’s face.

    Charmander quickly jumped into the air and headed towards Shellder, her claws a brilliant white.

    “Use Withdraw, Shellder,” Joven said.

    Shellder’s tongue immediately retracted, and the top of his shell instantly clamped down, blocking out his eyes and the blackness within. Now Shellder was completely immobile and unable to attack, but also surrounded by a shell harder then diamond. Charmander didn’t seem perturbed by Shellder’s actions at all. Instead, her determination to stick up for Sam’s honour increased. As she neared Shellder, she swiped her claws through the air as hard and as fast as they could. They smashed straight into Shellder’s shell, but instead of causing damage, they merely bounced off.

    “Oh no,” Sam exclaimed. He gasped in shock as he realised that Charmander’s attack had done no damage at all. But Sam quickly pushed his surprise and anger aside. There was no time for that in the middle of a battle. The fight was not over, so Sam had to keep focus. “Charmander, use Ember.”

    Charmander gathered heat energy from the healthily ablaze flame on her tail, and bought it up to her mouth. As she opened her mouth, a ball of flame appeared and shot towards Shellder, quickly followed by three more. Unfortunately for Joven and Shellder, Shellder had just opened his shell to launch an attack of his own, so he was vulnerable. The balls of flame hit Shellder before he even knew they were there, and he was flung high into the air, spinning around and around. Far from being concerned, Joven seemed almost happy about what had happened.

    “Use Whirlpool, and spin towards Charmander. Then use Clamp to finish this off,” he confidently ordered. Sam could tell that this was something Joven had planned for. He wasn’t sure what it was, but knowing Joven’s arrogant attitude, he could only assume it was powerful.

    Right before Sam’s eyes, Shellder began to glow a bluish-white colour, and a large whirlpool erupted from the black portion of his shell. The whirlpool span around furiously as it extended into the air, and then wrapped itself around Shellder. Once Shellder was inside the whirlpool it flew towards Charmander. Under instruction from Sam, Charmander leapt to the side to avoid the attack. But just as she jumped out of the way, Shellder broke through the whirlpool, and opened his shell out wide. He clamped down tightly on Charmander’s head, instantly covering it whole with his shell.

    Shellder squeezed Charmander’s head so tight that it was moaning in agony.

    “No, Charmander, try and break free!” Sam yelled. He could hear Charmander’s agonising moans of pain as Shellder clamped down harder and harder on her head. Fear and anxiety overwhelmed Sam as Charmander struggled to break free from Shellder’s grip, to no avail. While Sam fretted about what to do, Joven stood calmly across from him. He crossed his arms nonchalantly as he watched Charmander slowly weakening.

    “Charmander, please try and break free,” Sam pleaded again. He was having a nervous breakdown. Charmander was in such pain, and couldn’t break herself free. Self-doubt and self-pity clouded his judgment. All he could focus on were Charmander’s moans and his own disbelief in himself and his Pokémon.

    While Sam wallowed in self-pity on the sidelines, Charmander continued to try and push Shellder off, but as she grew weaker, she was finding it harder and harder just to stay conscious. She put all her strength and determination into one last attempt. Suddenly, her claws began to turn grey. Charmander could feel the extra power flowing through her claws. She reached up and swiped at Shellder as hard as she could. The extra power of the attack made a difference this time. Charmander’s claws dug deep into Shellder, and as she raked them along his shell, deep gouge marks appeared. At the same time, Charmander could feel the pressure on her head ebbing away. Shellder was still there, but wasn’t clamping down anywhere near as hard as before.

    “H-How is that possible?” Joven muttered uncertainly. “None of Charmander’s attacks should have been able to damage his shell at all. This is going to be tougher then I thought.”

    Joven’s mumblings caught Sam’s attention, so he quickly looked out towards the battlefield. He immediately saw Shellder’s damaged shell and Charmander’s claws now a dark gray colour. He knew instantly what Charmander had done, and he couldn’t believe it.

    “M-Metal Claw?” he stammered. Charmander had been strong enough to learn a new attack to try and win, while Sam had just lost the plot. Even though Charmander’s head was the one being squeezed, she had been the clearer in mind. Sam knew he had to be just like Charmander. No matter what, he couldn’t let himself and Charmander down just because he didn’t think he was a great trainer. He now focussed his attention on the situation at hand, examining the scene intently as Charmander continued to struggle to break free.

    “How can I get Shellder off her?” Sam asked himself. “None of our attacks are strong enough to break through Shellder’s defence. That’s it. His defence,” Sam whispered triumphantly. He now had a perfect plan in which he could free Charmander, and possibly even salvage the match. “Charmander, stop trying to break free! Use Ember within his shell,” Sam yelled.

    “What are you planning?” Joven asked suspiciously as Sam smiled confidently towards Charmander. Sam could see her tail flame flickering as she gathered more fire for another attack. Now that Joven couldn’t stop his plan in time, Sam thought it sufficient to feed Joven’s curiosity.

    “Clamp is a strong and efficient technique. A very clever way in squeezing the life out of an opponent. But it also exposes Shellder’s biggest weakness. Shellder is now completely exposed to Charmander’s fire attacks. His shell is around Charmander’s head, so his interior is completely exposed. Your defence is now completely gone. You’re vulnerable.”

    Joven’s jaw dropped, his smug expression now completely gone, as he realised that Sam was right. In clamping around Charmander’s head, he had left Shellder completely exposed. Before he could tell Shellder, to let go, Charmander had struck. Shellder’s shell began to slowly glow red and heat up, before he was catapulted up into the air by hundreds of tiny balls of flame. Shellder screamed in pain as his interior was bombarded by fireball after fireball while he flew through the air.

    “Shellder, use Withdraw!” Joven yelled. His arrogant expression was now replaced with a face full of worry and embarrassment. No longer was he making snide remarks about Charmander being weak, and his pale white skin seemed to have gone even paler, if that was even possible. Across the battlefield, Sam was now the one grinning at Joven. Even though the battle wasn’t over, it was extremely satisfying to know he had put the kid in his place somewhat. But instead of insulting Joven’s Pokémon, Sam payed close attention to the battle at hand, and at Joven’s latest order in particular.

    “Why did he use Withdraw?” Sam asked himself as he watched Shellder now fall to the ground, his shell completely surrounding his interior. “He could just as easily have dodged the attack in mid air.”

    Even though Sam wanted the battle to end as soon as possible, he didn’t order Charmander to attack. He knew it would be useless to attack Shellder while it was using Withdraw. It would just use up more of Charmander’s energy and strength, which was something she now had in short demand. As Shellder neared the ground, Charmander was bent down on all fours, huffing and puffing heavily, her tail flame about half the size it had been before the battle had started. Shellder had just clamped onto her for too long. She was so tired, her head felt like it was going to split open it hurt so much, and she had used up a lot of energy fighting Shellder off. Just before Shellder hit the ground, she stood back up, preparing herself for the next attack.

    “Shellder, you know what to do,” Joven called out. “Use Aurora Beam!”

    At the last second, Shellder rotated around, and he landed perfectly on two of his spikes. As he landed, he also opened up his shell and shot out a rapid beam of rainbow light from the opening which his eyes and tongue usually occupied.

    “Okay, Charmander, dodge it,” Sam said. Instead of trying to beat off the attack with brute force, Sam was going for a more tactical strategy. If he could dodge the attack, he might be able to land a punishing blow before Shellder could protect himself.

    Charmander bent down and pushed herself against the ground so she could execute a high jump. But just as she pushed off from the ground, she stumbled. She was so exhausted that she couldn’t jump. Instead she slipped onto one knee, barely able to keep herself upright. Shellder’s Aurora Beam slammed into her head on, and flung her into the air. She crashed into the ground at Sam’s feet, unable to move and stay conscious.

    “Hah, victory to me!” Joven yelled triumphantly.

    “No, Charmander,” Sam whispered tearfully. He knelt down on one knee and gathered her spread eagled body into his arms. The second battle he had lost in one day. His first trainer battle had been a failure, as had one of his captures against one of the weakest Pokémon in the world. Charmander moaned pitifully as Sam returned her to her Pokéball for a long rest.

    “Well, that wasn’t as easy as I thought,” Joven said loudly so that Sam had to hear what he had to say. “You put up a good fight, but ultimately couldn’t stand up to my superior strength and skill.” Joven returned Shellder to his Pokéball, and without so much as a goodbye, turned around and began to walk north towards Koueki City for the second time that day. But then Joven heard something that surprised him.

    “I’m hopeless. I’m pathetic. I don’t deserve to have these,” Sam whispered sulkily. “I should’ve listened to my Mum. I’m no trainer.” He picked up his Pokéballs and dumped them on the ground in disgust. Because of his panic and uncertainty, Charmander had payed dearly. His confidence was now at an all time low, and Sam didn’t know if he’d ever be able to battle with his Pokémon again. How could he after he had let them down so much?

    Joven halted and turned around to see Sam sitting motionless on the ground, with two Pokéballs in his hand. Sam’s whispers had just caught Joven’s attention, and he was shocked to see Sam sitting there hopelessly on the ground, almost on the verge of tears. Joven was also surprised to realise that he felt sorry for Sam. In a way, they were similar.

    When his mother had left, he had felt angry, disappointed, confused, and he spent days at a time wallowing in self pity. Even though they were in completely different situations, both Sam and Joven, felt and responded the same. Although Joven wasn’t the nicest or most caring kid around, he still didn’t want Sam to feel and suffer as he had. It had taken months for his life to return to any sort of normality after his Mum had left. Nobody deserved what he had received. However awkward it was going to be and sound, Joven went over to Sam to try and comfort him.

    “Listen, every trainer has ups and downs. Don’t beat yourself up for losing. I’ve been training for two years, while you just started. I’ve had Shellder for a while, but you just got your Charmander today. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t win every battle,” Joven said. He was now sitting a few feet away from Sam, trying to reach out to him and make him understand. It was like their positions were switched; Joven was the older and more mature of the two, while Sam was young and confused.

    “No offence, but you’re just seven or eight years old. I should be able to beat someone who can’t officially be a trainer, and I could have been one three years ago. Besides, why should I take advice from a little kid like you?” Sam snapped derisively. Right now, the last thing he wanted was to be lectured by a brat of a child.

    “If that’s how you feel, then next time I won’t bother!” Joven angrily replied. For once in his life he had tried to help someone, and all he had received was a not so subtle ‘get lost’ from Sam. I only helped you because I felt sorry for you. I was like you once.” While still fuming over Sam’s attitude, Joven stormed off, leaving Sam to think about what had just been said.

    “Wait!” Sam yelled. He gathered up his Pokéballs and his backpack and ran after Joven, who had stopped as soon as Sam yelled. “I’m sorry for snapping at you. I’m just disappointed in myself. It’s just, I’ve been researching and studying Pokémon all my life, and now that I’ve become a trainer, I realise how insignificant all that is. When I started this journey, my knowledge was going to be my foundation. It’s just been a shock how hard and different it really is.”

    “Uh-huh,” Joven replied indifferently. Sam could tell that Joven was still angry at what Sam had said to him. But Sam couldn’t apologise either. It would mean having to see that superior annoying attitude rise to the surface again. Instead he decided to ask Joven something.

    “What did you mean earlier? About being like me once. Were you having trouble with Pokémon as well?”

    “Just mind your own business,” Joven snapped. “I don’t want to talk about it. You’re great for a beginner trainer. You almost beat my Shellder, who I’ve trained for two years, with a Charmander you received today. That’s pretty good.”

    “You really think so?” Sam asked. “After I caught my Pidgey I was on top of the world, but then I failed to catch Rattata. That Bulbasaur got away from me, and I lost to you. I thought my extra years of research would be very helpful, but it seems I overestimated its importance.”

    “Research can be helpful in Pokémon battling, but just remember; there is more to Pokémon then knowledge. Sure, it’s helpful, but the only way to win is to trust your Pokémon and yourself. There is a certain bond between trainers and their Pokémon. I’m not sure you have that yet.”

    “How do I get it then? I really want to be a better trainer?” Sam eagerly asked. However young and annoying Joven was, Sam had to admit that he seemed to know a lot about Pokémon and how to raise them properly.

    “Just trust your Pokémon and yourself. You seem to be great friends with your Pokémon, and you care for them deeply. But when my Shellder clamped onto your Charmander…well you lost control, and you lost your bond with Charmander. You’ve been a trainer for less than a day. You can’t expect to defeat everyone you see. Keep working on it, and I’m sure you’ll become a better trainer. I presume you’re going to be challenging gyms?”

    “Yeah,” Sam replied, even though he hadn’t really listened to the question Joven had asked. Instead, he was contemplating what Joven had said about trusting his Pokémon, staying in control, and being friends with them. It was true that he had been a trainer for less than a day, so he had been full of himself to think he was going to be a success right away. Joven had also said that for a beginning trainer, Sam was pretty good. With his brand new Charmander, Sam had almost defeated a trainer of two years. He also couldn’t forget the fact that he had been successful in catching a Pokémon as well. Now that he thought of it, Sam couldn’t understand why he had been so disappointed. After speaking with Joven, he realised that he had actually accomplished a lot on his first day. The only way to go from here was up; up to the Pokémon League.

    “Well then, I’ll join you. We’re both going on a journey, so it makes sense to go together,” Joven said hurriedly.

    “Wow?” Sam exclaimed. “That was...um...unexpected. Why are you coming with me, anyway? You can’t officially participate in gym battles.”

    “I know. And that bugs me a lot,” Joven replied. “I just want to become stronger with my Pokémon. I was originally going to travel alone, but now I might as well go with you. I think I can help you, and by watching you take on some of the most powerful trainers in the world, I can learn a lot too. My goal is to become the strongest trainer in the world, and I’m not going to let some silly rule prevent me from doing that for another two years.”

    “Really? Well then, I guess I can’t refuse now that you said all that. We can journey together, catch Pokémon, and earn badges. Just like friends sometimes do.”

    “Yeah, friends,” Joven said sarcastically. Sam was most definitely jumping to conclusions with his ‘friend’ remark. Joven didn’t consider Sam a friend. He just felt sorry for him, because he reminded Joven of himself. Joven was only willing to travel with Sam so that Sam didn’t go what he had gone through. When his mother left he had no support, help, or guidance, and he had suffered because of that. Joven knew that everyone needed help and guidance when they were feeling down. Joven hadn’t had that, but he could give it to Sam; at least until Sam was more confident in his abilities and in himself. Personally he didn’t care too much for Sam. Hopefully, Sam would figure that out sooner rather than later.

    “Ready to go, Joven?” Sam asked suddenly. Now that Joven had shown him what to do, Sam couldn’t wait to get back out there. He had to learn from his mistakes, trust his Pokémon, and continue to improve if he was going to become a great Pokémon Trainer. None of that was going to occur if he sat around doing nothing.

    “Sure, why not?” Joven responded indifferently. Sam didn’t notice Joven’s attitude at all. Triumphant thoughts of his journey as a Pokémon Trainer were flooding through his mind at that moment, blocking out everything else in a haze. For the first time since he had captured Pidgey, Sam was actually happy, optimistic, and proud of himself. One way or another, whether it would be easy or hard, Sam knew that he was going to make it. He was going to become the greatest Pokémon Trainer ever.
    Last edited by palkia1; 19th May 2009 at 2:55 AM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  16. #16
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    Apr 2007
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    Here's chapter seven. I hope you all enjoy.



    CHAPTER SEVEN: THE MAP:




    Once Agatha woke up for the second time in an hour, her head still resting against the kitchen table, she decided to go upstairs. She wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up again, to forget the pain of losing her Mum. Her bed was a much more comfortable place to rest then the kitchen table. As she slowly lay down on the sagging bed, Clubby and Gastly stared at her worryingly. Ignoring their concerned looks, Agatha closed her eyes, and within a minute was asleep once more.

    Many hours later, Agatha woke up, her right arm draped off the side of her bed, almost whacking Clubby and Gastly, who were asleep on the floor. With her eyes still half closed, Agatha looked at her alarm clock, which told her it was 9:30 pm. She had slept for about six hours. It wasn’t long enough for her. As soon as she woke up, the horrifying images of her Mum vanishing right before her eyes within Lavender Town flashed in front of her eyes. Never before had she felt so awful, and never before had she been in such a hopeless situation. There was nothing she could do to get her Mum back, if she was alive, because she had absolutely no idea what had happened. It didn’t get much worse than that.

    Agatha dazedly clambered out of bed, and turned on the lights. She caught sight of her reflection in the mirror, her hair scraggly and filled with grass and dirt. Feeling even worse about her horrible appearance, Agatha slowly picked out all the grass and dirt, and tried to smooth her hair out to how it usually was. Even in such a dire emergency, she still felt like she had to look presentable. To make sure that she didn’t wake Clubby and Gastly, who were probably just as confused and scared as she was, Agatha tiptoed out of her room, downstairs, and out the front door.

    Once she closed the front door behind her, Agatha saw that the brilliantly bright cloudless sky was now a black sky full of twinkling stars, like thousands of flaming candles above her. A full moon bathed the streets of Lavender Town in a pale mystical light. A cool breeze flowed through the air, making the warm night slightly more bearable. Agatha walked through the streets in the same clothes she had worn that day, now covered in grass and dirt stains. She didn’t pay any attention to where she was going as she made her way through the streets of Lavender Town. All she was focussing on was what she was going to do now.

    Agatha knew that she couldn’t just go back to living her life as if everything was normal. The police would surely be involved soon. The disappearance of an entire city’s population couldn’t go unnoticed for long. Maybe she should just leave it up to them. But would the police be able to handle it? Agatha had a feeling that mysterious blue domes of light making hundreds of people disappear in an instant weren’t in their job descriptions. She had half a mind to call the cops herself, but she wasn’t sure they’d be able to do anything. This wasn’t a normal incident at all. Nothing about it made any sense. No, police definitely weren’t the way to go. Apart from that though, Agatha had no ideas what to do. All she knew was that she had to do something. What she needed most of all was more information about what had happened. That would surely help her figure out what to do.

    As Agatha was deep in contemplation, she was suddenly bought back to reality by a loud bang in an alley she had just passed. She stared back towards the alley, but didn’t see anything. Was there something there? If so, it was the first sign of life Agatha had seen since the incident. As she made her way slowly towards the alley, Agatha could hardly keep still because she was so frightened. Along the way, she saw a metal pipe propped up against a trash can. She grasped the cool pipe tightly and held it up above her head as a weapon as she turned into the alley. When she turned into the alley, Agatha swung the pipe around blindly, afraid that something was going to leap out and attack her. But when her pipe didn’t hit anything, Agatha slowly opened her eyes. What she saw amazed her.

    Crammed into the narrow alley, and flanked by two tall houses, were dozens of Pokémon. Agatha could barely see their outlines in the slim amount of moonlight shining in the alley. What she could see though were Pokémon of all different shapes and sizes huddled together in the alley. Most of them were small, but there were the occasional Pokémon that were quite large.

    “Wait a minute,” Agatha said to herself. “If there are Pokémon, shouldn’t there be people as well?” This new discovery made things even more confusing. What could make people disappear, yet leave Pokémon behind? Agatha’s head almost hurt from thinking about the complicated situation she was in.

    Before she could dwell on it too much, a Pokémon stepped out of the dark alley and into the open streets before her. She looked down at the tiny creature, which was nervously scuttling back and forth on its thin orange legs. It was tiny, barely a foot tall, and its insectoid body was orange. As it looked up nervously at Agatha with its large beady eyes, dozens of tiny yellow spores were released from two mushrooms growing out of its back. The spores fell harmlessly to the ground, but they fell heavier as the Pokémon grew more and more frightened.

    “Hey there, Paras,” Agatha greeted warmly. “Do you know where the people are?” she asked gently, slowly extending her hand out in friendship. Paras shook its head and began talking hurriedly, but Agatha couldn’t understand what it was saying.

    “Paras Par...Paras,” it said frantically, its tiny pincers clicking together furiously. Paras continued to scuttle back and forth, waving its front legs up in the air.

    “I don’t know what you’re saying,” Agatha angrily muttered. This Paras knew something, but she had no way to understand what it was saying. A possibly crucial piece of information was right in front of her, yet felt as far away as the sun itself. She cursed out loud in frustration as she stood up. Paras shrank back slightly at Agatha’s anger, for which she profusely apologised for. Instead of letting her anger build up even more, Agatha paced up and down the street to calm herself down. It was on her fourth pass that Agatha saw something that gave her an idea. There in front of her, floating and smiling in the air, was Gastly.

    “Gastly!” Agatha exclaimed in shock. “What are you doing? You should be resting up. You must be exhausted, just like me.” She reached out and hugged Gastly, and while she embraced him she told him her idea.

    “Hey, Gastly, do you think that you could speak to that Paras to find out what it knows, and then show me what it said? You know, like this afternoon.”

    Gastly listened intently, and then nodded fiercely to indicate he was willing to help. Agatha thanked Gastly before leading him towards the alley, which Paras backed into as Gastly approached. The Pokémon watched with bated breath at the newcomer, wandering what was going to happen now. For once, Gastly wasn’t trying to scare or pull jokes on the Pokémon. He knew how serious a situation this was, and how important it was to Agatha. Instead, he sat behind Agatha as she knelt down towards Paras.

    “Paras, can you please tell Gastly what you know?” she asked softly. Paras nodded, and then rushed over to Gastly. It spoke in such a frantic pace that Gastly could barely keep up. As Paras spoke, the other Pokémon in the alley leant their heads out slightly to listen. As Paras told more and more of its story, Gastly’s cheeky grin slowly turned into a frown and a fearful expression. After several minutes of Paras talking, it finally stopped and rushed back into the alley to talk with the other Pokémon. Meanwhile, Gastly floated over to Agatha, who was standing a few metres away.

    “What did you find out?” she asked immediately.

    Gastly said its name once, then slowly moved into Agatha’s body, just like earlier that afternoon. Agatha sat down on the ground to brace herself for the immediately drowsy effects that would overwhelm her. She didn’t want to fall down again like before. But that was the only negative thing about the experience. Even though she was slightly afraid of what she might found out, Agatha couldn’t wait for Gastly to show her what Paras knew. The first time he did it, it had been one of the most pleasant experiences in Agatha’s entire life. Whether that was to do with the specific memories or thoughts, she didn’t know, but she hoped it was something that occurred every time Gastly entered her body. She could use with a little joy and happiness now.

    Agatha watched as Gastly’s body disappeared as he entered her body through her chest. She couldn’t feel him move inside her body, but when he reached her brain, she felt sleepy and tired once more, even though she was fully rested. Since she was sitting down when Gastly reached her brain, when Agatha slumped forwards onto the ground, she wasn’t hurt at all. Images began to appear inside her head, at first fuzzy and intangible, but as her eyes closed the images grew clearer and clearer. It was then that she noticed that they weren’t pictures at all; they were movies, or more accurately, memories. Gastly was showing her Paras’ memories.

    There was a big dome of blue light that spread around the entire town, blanketing out the clear sunny sky, and suddenly it disappeared in an electric blue flash. Humans who had been standing all around, were now gone. Only confused and disoriented Pokémon remained, frantically searching for their trainers.

    A man dressed in black looked into the city from a distance, and smiled with glee. He then moved to the west, swinging through the trees, taking breaks in between swings to speak on a walkie-talkie. Trailing behind him was a brown and white monkey swinging after him, grasping branches with its long tail.

    Dozens of Pokémon were scared and gathered in the alley behind Paras. Footsteps could be heard, as a young human girl stepped out in front of them. She kindly reached out towards Paras, trying to comfort him and figure out what was going on.

    Just as Agatha waited for the next memory to come, she was suddenly jolted awake as though she had been electrocuted.

    “Whoa,” she mumbled, rubbing her eyes as she sat back up. “That was strange. Never experienced someone else’s memories before. But I think I got what I needed.” Even though she hadn’t hit her head this time, she had a dull headache, no doubt a symptom of seeing Paras’ memories inside her own head.

    “Okay, Gastly, let’s try and figure this out,” Agatha said hurriedly as she turned around to face Gastly. “I think I know what happened now. Tell me if I’ve interpreted this correctly.”

    “Gastly gas,” Gastly responded to show that he understood.

    “Firstly, we see a man dressed in black in Pokémon Tower. Not strange in itself, but the fact that there’s no one in the usually crowded tower is. Then there’s another man in black just outside the city, smiling just after everyone in the town has vanished. Obviously they’re behind it, but I have no idea how they’re doing it. All I know for sure is that it involves a strange blue light. That guy outside Pokémon Tower saw one last night, and then this morning the place is deserted. Then one surrounds this town and everyone inside vanishes. The men must somehow make the blue light appear, and then that gets rid of all the people. But how? And furthermore, why? What possible motive is there to make every person in a town vanish, but not the Pokémon? It’s insane.”

    Even though Agatha had asked Gastly to converse with her about what she was saying, she was talking more to herself than anyone else. It was something she did often when she was confused. On many occasions, she found that talking to herself made things clearer and easier to understand. Unfortunately, this didn’t help with her current problem. Everything about it was so outlandish that even hours of thinking it through wouldn’t help.

    She stood up and resumed her pacing once more, now trying to think of what to do rather then what it all meant. Should she go after these men by herself? Or should she avoid them at all costs, and trust the police? None of the options were entirely pleasing, but Agatha knew she had to choose one of them. She paced up and down the street for so long that she thought the soles of her shoes should have surely worn out. Finally she made her decision. Action had to be taken.

    “Thanks so much for your help, Paras,” Agatha whispered to the mushroom Pokémon. It smiled back and spoke its name a few times before turning back to the other Pokémon.

    Agatha now turned her attention to Gastly who was hovering beside her. They moved to the opposite side of the street so they were well and truly alone.

    “Gastly, we have to do something about these creeps,” Agatha whispered. “We’ve got to stop them. The police will be involved soon, but by then it will be too late. The men responsible only left here just a few hours ago. We might be able to catch up to them. From then on though, I have no clue. But they know exactly what happened to Mum. What do you think?” Speaking of her Mum almost caused Agatha to cry, but she held back the tears as best she could.

    “Gastly,” Gastly replied, nodding furiously to show his agreement and support. With a piercing gaze from Gastly’s large eyes, the tiny tears trickling down Agatha’s cheeks vanished.

    “Thanks, Gastly,” Agatha whispered. “Let’s do this.”

    For the next hour or so, Agatha rushed around town, gathering supplies and equipment for her journey. Her first stop was back home, where she packed some clothes into her backpack, and took some food out of the fridge. Another location Agatha knew she’d have to visit before leaving was the Pokémart, but she was fresh out of money. She couldn’t help but feel like a common thief as she searched through empty house after empty house for money. Eventually she gathered up enough loose change to buy some items from the Pokémart. Even though she felt like a thief, she didn’t want to steal if she could avoid it.

    As Agatha looked up at the blue roof of the Pokémart, her heart skipped a beat. This would be the last place she would visit before leaving Lavender Town. Once she was done here, she’d be off on her journey to find, and hopefully save, her Mum. The clear glass doors opened wide as she stepped in front of them, showing aisle after aisle packed with invaluable goods for her journey. Agatha went straight to the Pokéball section, with Gastly right beside her as always. She wasn’t planning to catch any Pokémon, but Gastly would be safer in a Pokéball rather than out in the open. Pokémon medicine, and medicine for herself were other necessities Agatha took off the shelves, as well as various other camping equipment. On her way out, she placed the required money on the counter, still leaving her with a sizeable amount of money to purchase items at a later date.

    “It’s time,” Agatha boldly stated to herself as she looked over to the west, where the man with the Mankey had headed. “It’s time to get my Mum back.”

    ***

    “Damn you infernal fools!” The scientists scurried as the boss made her displeasure clearly heard through the speakers in the lab.

    “We need to do more than target cities. If people are outside cities, how are we supposed to send them away? We need to increase the target radius. Or else scan the area for specific people. Whichever is easier, do it quickly!” she roared through the speakers, her voice barely audible through all the crackling and interference her loud voice was causing.

    The scientists in the lab were listening to the boss, and trying their hardest to think of an inspirational idea that could help their situation. They all knew how impatient and demanding she could be. In the last eight hours alone she had tortured and killed three scientists with various Pokémon methods, and it was all because the deadlines hadn’t been met.

    Up in her office, many floors above the lab the boss slammed the “OFF” button for the speakers, and turned towards her youngest operative with distaste.

    “You are the youngest person to ever join this organisation. When I hired you, I thought you were the ideal model for other members, but now I’m starting to second guess myself,” she said sternly, the tone of her voice clearly indicating she was disappointed.

    The girl that had pretended to be the nurse of the Viridian City Pokémon Centre, Agent Green, was standing at the other end of the office, fearful for her life. Her body was trembling uncontrollably from head to foot, and she couldn’t make eye contact with her boss. She wasn’t sure if she should respond, or if it would be safer to say nothing. Eventually she decided that she had to say something to defend herself. How else would she regain the boss’ trust and be sent on more important assignments?

    “But please, sir, it wasn’t my fault. It was that annoying kid of the professor in Pallet Town and…”

    “SILENCE!” the boss roared, banging her fists on the desk in front of her. “I don’t have time for your petty excuses. I am tired of hearing about mere children foiling our missions. I must deal with them but I can’t…not until these hopeless scientists can target specific people. Maybe I should have recruited some smarter people. Wait a minute, that’s it. I’ve got it.” The boss now looked happy as she stared up at the ceiling, as though thanking the heavens for her brilliant idea. “This will solve all of my problems,” she said to herself.

    “I’ve got an idea, sir,” Green said meekly, as though she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to express her opinions.

    “What would that be?” the boss retorted angrily.

    “How about we get revenge on that kid?” she said gleefully. “I’ll follow him, and then I will dispose of him. He only got away from me the first time because of that Bulbasaur of mine surprising us. Kadabra and I are certain to win this time.”

    “I like it…but make sure you don’t fail, otherwise you will face the consequences.”

    “Yes, sir. I won’t fail you this time. That kid won’t know what hit him,” Green said slyly.

    “I presume the real Nurse Joy that you pretended to be is taken care of,” the boss said.

    “Nurse Joy?” Agent Green exclaimed. “Oh, damn, I said I was Jenny. They’re the cops. I always get those two mixed up.”

    “It is no matter. Now I ask you again. Is she dead?”

    “Yes, sir. It should be a while before her body is found. The kid will end up the same way.”

    “Fine, now get out of my sight!” The boss had to organise a team right away for the next phase of her plan. She knew that if it worked no one would be able to stop her. While she had just sent one of her operatives to take care of the child, she couldn’t trust her. If she failed once, she could fail again.

    “Yes sir,” Green replied gratefully. As she slowly exited the room, she was just thankful to be alive. Being a new recruit made her all the more expendable, but the boss had put faith in her; faith that wouldn’t be misplaced.

    ***

    It was early in the morning, and the rising sun was shining down on Sam and Joven, who were both sleeping in their sleeping bags. Bird Pokémon such as Pidgey, and brown birds with red wings called Spearow, were flying and squawking in the sky. The resulting noise stirred Sam out of his comfortable slumber. As he slowly opened his eyes, he was blinded by the shining sun. He shielded his eyes with his arm as they adjusted to the new light level. Thankfully, even though it was bright, it wasn’t as hot as yesterday.

    Sam saw Joven next to him, who was still fast asleep. He nudged Joven a few times to try and wake him up. It was the dawn of a new day and Sam couldn’t wait to get going on his journey. The night before he had thought of some supplies he would have to buy first, so he wanted to get started nice and early so he could still make almost a full day of progress. Thanks to his parents, he had enough money to afford goods for some time. It was hard to restrain himself from buying anything and everything he saw, but he knew he’d have to make the money last as long as possible.

    “Hey, Joven, wake up. It’s time to move,” he said loudly after his nudges failed to wake him up.

    “What? What time is it?” Joven grunted blearily, a faint trace of drool hanging off his lower lip.

    “According to my watch it’s quarter past eight,” Sam replied. “A bit later then I wanted, but still early enough.”

    “Are you kidding?” Joven exclaimed. “It’s too early. No way am I getting up now.”

    “Oh yes you are,” Sam said jokingly, grinning from ear to ear as he yanked on Joven’s sleeping bag. He continually tugged and tugged, not allowing Joven to get comfortable, until Joven finally got up, grumbling curses at Sam under his breath.

    “Where are we going anyway?” Joven asked spitefully as he rolled up his sleeping bag.

    “First I’ve got to go into town to buy some supplies. I need some medicine for my Pokémon so I don’t have to find a Pokémon Centre every time they’re injured, and I need to buy a map. There are heaps of towns and gyms around here. I only need eight to qualify for the Pokémon League. I want to know where to go first. I would have got all these at Viridian City, but I got a bit sidetracked. I know there’s a town just up ahead so we’ll go there,” Sam explained hurriedly. He was bursting with energy and excitement, and desperately wished Joven would hurry up.

    Once Joven was ready, the two rushed off to Koueki City, which was only a short walk away. Just like before, the streets were mostly empty, with most of the people at work at the warehouses. Sam’s first stop, even before the Pokémart, was the Pokémon Centre. He only thought it right to treat his Pokémon before doing anything else. At first, he was a little uneasy about handing his Pokémon over to the nurse after yesterday. But after Joven, who’s Pokémon had already been treated, scoffed at him to hurry up, Sam finally gave the nurse his Charmander and Pidgey. Even though he knew that there was no danger this time around, Sam couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief when his Pokéballs were safely back in his hands.

    Their next stop in Koueki City was the Pokémart. Just before they were about to enter the blue roofed building, Joven halted in his tracks, staring warily inside.

    “Um...I think I’ll just wait outside,” he said shyly to Sam, sitting down on the ground beside the door.

    “Why? Don’t you need anything? Pokémon medicine, Pokémon food, anything?”

    “Now that you mention it, I forgot to buy Pokémon food yesterday,” Joven replied worryingly. “But you can get it for me, can’t you? I’ve got the money to pay for it,” he said as he pulled out a thick wad of cash out of his backpack.

    “Um...Okay, fine, I’ll get the Pokémon food. If you need it though, I don’t see why you don’t just get it yourself.” Sam plucked the cash out of Joven’s hand and headed inside the crowded building.

    Once inside, Sam instantly headed towards the medicinal section, picking up both Pokémon and human medicine for his long journey ahead. On his way back down the narrow aisles to the front counter, he picked up two sets of Pokémon food. There were three different sizes for the containers, ranging from small to large. Sam picked up one large container for himself, and after debating over what size container Joven would want, picked up another large one. Sam thought it better to have too much Pokémon food then too little. When he deposited all his purchases on the counter, Sam greeted the clerk kindly.

    “I’d like to have these items please,” he said, trying hard to avoid staring at the horrible scar on the clerk’s face, even though it seemed to be attracting his eyes like a magnet. Instead of saying anything, the grumpy clerk scanned the items past the machine and then dumped them into a couple of bags. As he did this, he caught sight of Joven outside, and instantly recognised the pale complexion and long black hair.

    “You’re with that little squirt, are you?” the clerk rudely asked. “He came in here yesterday. Bloody weirdo, that kid is. I must have scared him real good yesterday though, for him to not even want to come in here. Hah! Little kid shouldn’t be travelling around then.” As the clerk continued to insult Joven, Sam began to despise him more and more.

    “How much do I owe you?” Sam interjected, just as the clerk began talking about how Joven needed both a haircut and a tan.

    “Two grand,” the clerk snapped. “If I were you, I’d ditch that kid as soon as possible. I wouldn’t want to be seen alive with that kid.”

    “Uh-huh, I’ll do that,” Sam sarcastically replied as he counted out the money. He was surprised to see Joven with so much cash, but he supposed that Joven might have been given it by his parents, just like him. “Also, do you have any maps? I’m challenging gyms, and really need to know where the closest ones are.”

    “Are you blind, kid?” the clerk gruffly asked. “The maps are right above my bloody head,” he continued, pointing his finger upwards. Sam looked up and saw a small bundle of rolled up maps on a rack hanging from the ceiling. He couldn’t believe he had missed them. The clerk roughly yanked a map off the rack and handed it to Sam. “The maps are free of charge. Anything else?” Sam was just about to say no, when he noticed something about the map that bothered him.

    “This map doesn’t tell me if these towns have gyms or not,” Sam complained, trying to roll his large map back up. “It’s only got the name of the towns.”

    “Tough ****,” the clerk reported. “Either take it or leave it.”

    “Fine,” Sam disdainfully muttered under his breath. Once he made sure he hadn’t left anything behind, Sam hurried out of the store, the bags stuffed awkwardly under his arms. As soon as the doors shut behind him, Sam tossed Joven his Pokémon food, and tried to fit the other items in his backpack. It was a tight fit, but eventually everything fit in. The map was the only thing that Sam left out, simply because he didn’t want to have to constantly open his bag every time he wanted to see where they were going.

    “Okay, before we do anything else, let’s figure out where we’re going,” Sam said. He casually sat down next to Joven and flattened the map out in front of them. Joven leaned over, examining the various towns and cities dotted throughout the Kanto region. Sam too was gazing intently down at the map, but he looked thoroughly confused. He was staring at Viridian City, and at the three closest towns surrounding it. Just north of a forest was Pewter City, just south of it was Pallet Town, and to the north-east was Boku Town.

    “So, where do you want to go?” Joven asked. “I presume you want to challenge a gym. It looks like you’ve only got three options.”

    “I do?” Sam questioned. “What are they?”

    “Do you seriously not know where the gyms are?” Joven exclaimed in surprise. “Every Pokémon Trainer should know that. It’s hard to challenge gyms if you don’t know where they are.”

    “Look, can you just shut up and tell me where the closest gyms are,” Sam snapped, his face slowly turning red. “I only know of a couple. One in Pewter City, Cerulean City, and Cinnabar Island. I don’t know what types those gyms use though.”

    “Oh, geez,” Joven muttered under his breath. “Okay, firstly, there are three gyms in our vicinity. There’s one in Viridian City, which you just came from, that uses ground type Pokémon. There’s also one in Pewter City, which is just past Viridian Forest, which uses rock type Pokémon. The next is Boku Town’s grass type Pokémon gym. It’s farther away then Viridian and Pewter City, but I still think it’s the best option.”

    “Yeah, I agree,” Sam said. He continually nodded his head as Joven had spoken as if he knew everything he said. Now that Joven had finished, Sam knew exactly where he was going. “Ground and rock type gyms aren’t suitable for Charmander and Pidgey. Both my Pokémon are weak there, where as in Boku Town, both my Pokémon are strong against it. It’s perfect for my first gym.” Sam reached into his bag, and pulled out a black marker. Hunched over the large map, he began tracing a line along the different roads and paths they’d have to traverse to reach Boku Town. “What do you think?” Sam asked Joven, beaming down at the path he had traced from Koueki City to Boku Town.

    “Pfft, I don’t care,” Joven carelessly replied. “You choose wherever you want to go. Just as long as we go somewhere. I don’t like it here,” he finished uneasily as he glanced inside the Pokémart at the clerk, something he had done often ever since they arrived.

    “Then it’s settled then,” Sam said in a grandiose manner. “Our first destination is Boku Town. We’ll leave after lunch.”

    Sam and Joven left Koueki City as soon as Sam rolled up his map. They stopped just outside the city, and began their lunch under the shade of a large tree. After every bite Sam took of his lunch, he would lean over his map, and stare at the towns and cities on it. He had already marked in Pewter City, Viridian City, and Boku Town’s gyms in his black marker, and was now trying to plan out a path for his whole journey. Every time Sam tried to casually mention where other gyms might be, Joven simply ignored him. It seemed that while he was eating, Joven didn’t want to do anything else. Finally growing tired of trying to get Joven to speak about gyms, Sam mentioned something he was sure would get a reaction.

    “So, Joven, I heard that you made good friends with that clerk at the Koueki City Pokémart,” Sam snidely remarked. He struggled to contain his laughter as he waited for Joven’s remark.

    The biscuit that Joven was just about to bite into dropped out of his hand and hit the grass below. Sam’s remark was so unexpected that Joven almost jumped out of his skin. He quickly tried to regain his composure by taking another biscuit out of a container in his backpack.

    “Is that seriously why you wouldn’t come in to the Pokémart today? Surely you’re not actually scared of him. Sure, he may be a jerk, but I wouldn’t classify him as scary.”

    “Yeah, well, that’s you,” Joven mumbled. “Just drop it, okay?”

    “I just thought you’d appreciate a taste of your medicine. If you want me to drop it, then maybe you shouldn’t be so rude. You may be nice sometimes, but from what I’ve seen, it’s definitely something of a rarity.”

    “Whatever,” Joven retorted.

    Just as Sam began to examine his map once more, he heard a loud rustling in the bushes beside him, followed by a deep grunt. Immediately thinking that it was a Pokémon, Sam unclipped Charmander’s Pokéball from his belt. He placed his sandwich on his map, and slowly stood to his feet. With Joven watching with bated breath, Sam tiptoed towards the bush. When he was within reach, Sam dug his arms inside and pushed against the bush, wincing slightly in pain as a few sharp thorns slightly pierced his arms. Surprisingly, the bushes were empty. Sam buried his head inside the bramble and looked left and right. All he saw was dense undergrowth in every direction. Even though it was empty now, Sam was certain that just seconds before something or someone had been there.

    “Whoot wos it?” Joven called out, his face stuffed with food. Sam pulled himself out from the bush glumly, at first confused about what Joven had said. After thinking about it for a second, Sam realised what it was.

    “I thought it might have been a Pokémon, but I didn’t see anything. It’s probably gone now,” Sam replied miserably. He slowly put Charmander’s Pokéball away, feeling disappointed that a Pokémon could have been so close and he hadn’t captured it. It would have helped his confidence immensely, but he supposed that he’d now have to wait. Instead, Sam picked up his sandwich once more, and bit hard into it, at the same time in deep contemplation about Joven. Apart from his appearance, Joven’s attitude was far different from anyone Sam had ever met. He couldn’t help but wonder what had caused Joven to be the way he was at such a young age.

    As Sam and Joven ate their lunch, little did they know that they were being watched from a distance. Deep within a large collection of trees just off the path, Agent Green was standing as still as a statue, a pair of binoculars clasped tightly in her hand. Her Kadabra was next to her, covered from head to foot in small bunches of grass and sticks. It was Kadabra who Sam had heard, stumbling over as it tried to get as close as possible to Sam and Joven. Once it fell, Agent Green had called it back just in time so that Sam wouldn’t see it.

    “You have no idea what’s coming to you, Sam Oak,” she whispered under her breath, watching the two clueless boys through a gap in the trees. She stared down at an exact replica of the map Sam had just brought, which was lying on the ground before her. The slim slivers of sunlight breaking through the tree canopies illuminated a red X on the map, right on the road to Boku Town. “Nothing can spoil this for me now. My revenge is closing in on that brat. He will pay dearly for humiliating me.”

    She laughed and then darted off into the distance to begin her plan.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  17. #17
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    Apr 2007
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    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.”

    “Whatever.”

    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?”

    “Uh-huh.”

    “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:

    PO......T ........E..
    DE..........I..S

    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.

    “You okay?”

    “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.
    Last edited by palkia1; 15th June 2009 at 5:58 AM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  18. #18
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    Apr 2007
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    (continued)



    “You have one chance, kid,” Agent Green said, piercing Joven with a malicious stare. “This is not your fight. Leave now and you will survive. If you choose to stand and fight, then you will die too.”

    Joven didn’t say or do anything. He sat perfectly still on Rhyhorn’s back, eyeing Kadabra and the rocks above confidently.

    “Fine, you had your chance,” she whispered. “Kadabra, bury them underneath those boulders.”

    Kadabra lifted its arms up as high as they could reach, and then swiftly swung them back down. The boulders, which were still surrounded by a pale blue light, flew down from the roof in the same motion.

    “Rhyhorn, break those boulders apart,” Joven ordered.

    Rhyhorn reared up on his hind legs, roaring as loud as he could, his horn still spinning like a drill. With a speed incredible for something so bulky, Rhyhorn ran under each and every boulder, shattering them to bits with his powerful spinning horn.

    “Alright!” Joven triumphantly yelled when all that remained of the rocks were puny pebbles. “That Horn Drill of yours just keeps on getting stronger and stronger, doesn’t it buddy.”

    “What? But how?” Green stammered. “That boy’s tougher then I thought,” she grumbled.

    “Rhyhorn, use Take Down,” Joven said, pointing directly at Kadabra and Agent Green, both of which had stunned expressions on their faces. Green quickly regained her composure though.

    “Kadabra, use Psybeam!”

    Joven had tightly grasped some of Rhyhorn’s plates of armour in front of him just as Rhyhorn had sped off. As Rhyhorn bore down on Kadabra, Joven was jostled to and fro, but he knew that as long as he held on tightly, he wouldn’t fall. He and Rhyhorn had done this enough times for him to be entirely confident. The only thing that was different was Kadabra. Countless rainbow energy beams rained down upon them, but Rhyhorn expertly dodged them, ploughing his way through every obstacle along the way. Scattered boulders at least five feet in diameter were flung in the air with a flick of his head, and crates were smashed to tiny splinters of wood by his drilling horn. Kadabra stood no chance. When Rhyhorn reached it, he lifted his front feet in the air and kicked Kadabra across the room.

    “Grr...Come here you little brat,” Agent Green snarled. Rhyhorn had stopped once he had kicked Kadabra, and now its trainer was desperately trying to grab onto Joven. Joven realised just at the last second, and told Rhyhorn to use Stomp. Rhyhorn reared up on his hind legs before swinging them down directly at Agent Green. She shrieked in terror before darting out of the way, running straight towards Kadabra, who was awkwardly and dazedly picking itself up from the ground, brushing bits of dirt off its arms.

    Kadabra, use…” she began.

    “Rhyhorn, use Rock Blast!”

    Rhyhorn lifted up four large surrounding rocks and boulders and flung them at Kadabra and Agent Green as easily as if they were tennis balls. Agent Green saw them coming, and instinctively dived out of the way, leaving Kadabra to take the full force of the attack. It had still been trying to stand up properly when the four boulders had slammed into it, sending it hurtling into the opposite. It slid down the wall, its spoon slipping out of its hand. Staring at her fainted Kadabra, Agent Green knew she had been defeated.

    “You two brats don’t know what you’re up against,” she remarked scathingly. “My boss will make sure you perish. She has much stronger Pokémon then I, and much more powerful weapons then Pokémon. You may have beaten me today, but mark my words, I will get my revenge.”

    She quickly returned Kadabra to her Pokéball and rushed off to the control panels. After pressing a few buttons on the panels, a part of the cave wall lifted up, revealing an exit out of the cave. Without a backwards glance at Sam and Joven, Agent Green fled through the large exit, and off into the distance. After a few seconds, all that could be seen was her long purple hair bobbing up and down as she ran, and a few seconds later nothing of her could be seen.

    Breathing a sigh of relief at his close call, Sam slowly got to his feet and walked towards Charmander, who was lying on the ground, struggling to stand up.

    “Are you okay buddy?” he asked. “You were fantastic there.” Sam pulled out another Potion from his bag and sprayed it on Charmander from head to foot, trying to make sure he didn’t miss any of her injuries. After he was positive he hadn’t missed anything, Sam returned Charmander to her Pokéball, allowing her to rest and heal in peace and comfort.

    He then turned his attention to Joven, who was now standing next to Rhyhorn, thanking him for his great effort. Sam knew that he was now indebted to Joven. Because of both him and his Rhyhorn, he and Charmander were still alive. There was no way he could ever fully repay Joven, but he still had to say something to show his appreciation. He walked over to Joven nervously, trying to figure out exactly what to say. Countless words came to mind, but none of them seemed adequate. In the end he just said the first thing that came to mind.

    “Joven, you were absolutely wonderful. I can’t thank you enough for what you just did. You saved my life.”

    “Um...thanks,” Joven meekly replied. “I didn’t realise you were in so much trouble at first though. I just heard your voices, and breaking my way through the cave wall was the best way to get to you. When I saw what was happening and heard what that woman said I knew the trouble you were in.”

    “Either way, thanks,” Sam replied. It sounded so feeble and small, but he just couldn’t express his true gratification of Joven into words. “Because of you and that powerful Rhyhorn of yours, Charmander and I are still alive. That woman is psychotic. She came after me for revenge and it sounds like she still wants it. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her.”

    “Who was she? Why did she want revenge on you?” Joven asked, only now just realising that she and Sam had obviously met before.

    “Well, I didn’t tell you before, but because of her, that Bulbasaur and I met. She was pretending to be a nurse at the Viridian City Pokémon Centre. People were growing concerned that their Pokémon weren’t being returned, so I tried to ask her what was taking so long. Instead I found her and Kadabra shovelling Pokéballs into bags. She was actually stealing everyone’s Pokémon. Bulbasaur came and stopped her by beating her Kadabra. At first I thought it was just a random Pokémon theft attempt, but after seeing her now, I’m worried something more is going on.”

    “Why?”

    “Well, when I left Pallet Town I saw a man snooping around one of the outlying houses. He was wearing the exact same clothes as her. He was dressed entirely in black as well. It could just be a coincidence, but I just have a feeling they’re connected.

    “Well, whatever her intentions, she needs to let things go. She sounded crazy from the other side of the cave wall. I thought you would have been losing, but the way she was shouting it sounded like she was being beaten...which obviously wasn’t the case.”

    Man, he even sounds like a jerk when he’s trying to be nice and when he’s just saved my life, Sam thought to himself. Instead of saying that to Joven, Sam merely shrugged it off.

    “I don’t know about you, but I want to get out of here,” he said. He cast his gaze across the room to the exit Agent Green had taken, which was still wide open. There was no paved path like before the cave, just a natural landscape. He couldn’t see or hear any Pokémon, but he could distinctly hear the chirruping of cicadas, and the squawking of birds soaring gracefully overhead. Surely that meant Pokémon would be there too.

    “Yeah, this place is creepy. Did she tell you what it is exactly?” Joven asked.

    “Supposedly whoever she works for used this as a base or a hideout of some sort, which is probably why there are so many of these old crates around. She obviously thought it would be a good way to trap me...and kill me,” Sam said, saying the last three words fearfully and quietly. “And now that you’ve helped me, I presume she’ll be after you too.”

    “Me?” Joven exclaimed. He hadn’t thought of it, but now that Sam mentioned it, it did make sense that she would go after him as well now. Just like Sam before him, he had defeated her. She would surely want revenge on him now too, wouldn’t she? It bought some uncomfortable and worrying thoughts to the surface of Joven’s mind.

    What was most baffling was the fact that he had saved Sam’s life at great risk to his own. He had known perfectly well how much danger Sam was in, and yet he had still gone in there to save him. Joven very much doubted he would have done that for anyone else, and yet he hadn’t even thought of doing it for Sam. Initially, he had just planned to use Sam as a pawn, to travel with him so he could gain more knowledge from gym leaders, something he wouldn’t be able to do on his own.

    But now he was struggling to come to terms with the fact that he might actually consider Sam as something more than someone to use. Maybe they were becoming friends after all, just like Sam said. But Joven didn’t want that. In an ideal situation he would be travelling alone, battling gym leaders, and entering the Pokémon League. If Sam hadn’t been a Pokémon Trainer, Joven would have ditched him right then and there outside Koueki City.

    And now because of his reckless and unusual behaviour, he had a psychopathic woman trying to kill him. He supposed that if push came to shove, he would have to ditch Sam anyway. Sam was her primary target, not him. If he split up with Sam, surely she wouldn’t be able to track him down then. But would he be able to ditch Sam? If he had been asked that question just yesterday, he would have answered ‘yes’ without a second thought. But now he wasn’t so sure.

    “You alright?” Sam asked, startling Joven out of his thoughts.

    “What? Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Joven replied bemusedly. “I was just thinking. That’s all.”

    “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m sure that woman won’t come after us again. We’ll be fine. Besides, we’ve beaten her before. Surely we can beat her again.” Joven could tell from the tone of Sam’s voice that he didn’t truly believe what he was saying. Sam was probably just worried that his comment had frightened him, and now he was trying to make up for it.

    “Yeah,” Joven uncertainly replied. He then followed Sam out of the dimly lit cave and into the glorious sunlit path that led to Boku City, still trying to mull over the complicated thoughts and situations running through his mind like wildfire. For the first time in two years, Joven was actually considering making friends with someone.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  19. #19
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    Apr 2007
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    Here is Chapter Nine. To any readers who read this chapter in the last thread of this fic, it has changed quite a bit, and the changes are important later on. Most of the other changes to chapters have been minor, but the changes in this chapter are very important.



    Chapter Nine: Joven Meets his Match:




    “I tell you what, if I ever see a cave again it will be too soon,” Sam said happily, taking a deep breath of the fresh natural air. They were only a few metres away from the cave, but already Sam felt elated. It was like the cave had been jail, and he had just been released after an extremely long sentence.

    “I wouldn’t feel too happy if I were you,” Joven sombrely replied. “That woman will probably come after us again.”

    “Don’t worry about it, Joven,” Sam said much more confidently then he felt. “She’s tried twice and failed. Maybe she’ll give up after losing to me twice.”

    “To you?” Joven exclaimed. “The first time that Bulbasaur saved you, and I just saved you with Rhyhorn. No offence, but you didn’t do anything.” Joven realised all too late how rude what he had said sounded, but he had been speaking out of fear, not spite.

    “Geez, thanks,” Sam retorted, knowing full well that Joven was right. It didn’t make him feel any better about having faced the woman twice, and been virtually defeated both times.

    Sam and Joven walked for almost an hour, though it was a much more pleasant atmosphere then before. The air around them smelled with the mixed scents of many types of flowers, wafting towards them from all directions. The trees, bushes, grass, and vibrant exotic flowers were all a nice change from the deep dark cave that had almost led to their deaths. Also, instead of walking in complete silence, the two were chatting animatedly, and Sam was finally discovering some things about Joven’s earlier life. He was deeply curious about Joven’s Rhyhorn, a subject Joven wasn’t shy of bragging about.

    “Yeah, I caught him at the Safari Zone when I was younger. My Mum took me there, what with her being rich and all. I think I was five when we went. My Dad personally showed me how to properly throw the Safari Ball, and once I overcame my initial fear of Rhyhorn, I actually captured him. He was my first capture on that journey, the second of which was Shellder. On the way back my Dad decided to go fishing over the side of the boat. When he reeled in Shellder, he let me capture him. That was the best time of my life.”

    “That’s awesome,” Sam replied admiringly. “I’ve always wanted to go to the Safari Zone. Seeing all the perfectly recreated habitats, seeing all the exotic and rare Pokémon, and even catching some for myself are all reasons why I’ve wanted to visit. My folks had the money, but my Mum never got enough time off work to travel outside of Pallet.”

    “That’s a bummer,” Joven said smugly, unable to keep the superior note out of his voice.

    “I also wanted to ask something about your Rhyhorn. How did you get it to become so fast. Has it always been like that? It’s just that most Rhyhorn are strong, but they’re not too fast and agile.”

    “That’s something I make sure to do with all my Pokémon,” Joven began eagerly. “I focus on their weaknesses and strengthening them. I focus on building power for Pokémon low on physical strength, and make up agility exercises for slower bulkier Pokémon like Rhyhorn. It took me almost two years to get it to the level it’s at now.”

    Sam had to admit to himself that he was impressed with Joven’s answer. Even though he was very young, he seemed to have a natural knack, skill, and mind of a Pokémon Trainer. It was a great strategy to build on a Pokémon’s weaknesses first before training it across the board. It ended up being a flexible diverse Pokémon that was skilled across all areas, which Sam thought was a huge advantage in any battle. He privately told himself to try out Joven’s training methods himself. He’d try anything to make his Pokémon as good as they could be, even if it meant taking advice from Joven. Glad that he was finally getting some information from Joven, Sam pressed on further.

    “Do you have any other Pokémon?”

    “Yeah, I caught a Weedle yesterday before we met. That’s it,” Joven answered untruthfully, purposely hiding the identity of his fourth Pokémon.

    Even though Joven hadn’t sounded rude or angry, Sam heard a subtle finality in his voice that told him not to ask any more personal questions. That was fine by Sam, who was quite content in thinking about Joven’s training methods, and trying to isolate any weaknesses in Charmander and Pidgey he could work on. Unfortunately he was too biased, and told himself his Pokémon were virtually perfect.

    “Chop chop chop.”

    Sam and Joven instantly stopped, staring around them in all directions, trying to find the origin of the strange voice. It was high pitched, and each word spoken was spaced out evenly. Sam jumped when a Pidgey flew out of a bush in front of them, ruffling its feathers angrily. Despite Pidgey flying off, the bush was still rustling as something else moved inside. The sound of snapping twigs could be heard after each iteration of ‘chop’, ringing out through the otherwise peaceful area like a blaring car horn.

    After a few more seconds of snapping twigs, a figure began to emerge from the bush. The first thing they saw was a grey five fingered hands shooting out of the bushes, the fingers curling around into fists. What followed was an arm more muscular then what could be found on most professional boxers. The figure now stood before them, completely visible. He was so small he didn’t even reach Sam’s waist, and atop his head were three brown ridges. He flexed his arms towards Sam and Joven proudly, further emphasising his impressive musculature. Just like his arms above, his chest and legs were well defined and bulging with muscles. Sam had a feeling that one kick or punch from the Pokémon could shatter boulders and break the toughest walls.

    “Oh, a Machop,” Joven said, now grinning from ear to ear. “I’ve wanted one of these for a while now. They’re supposed to be really strong, aren’t they?”

    “Yeah, my Mum’s been trying to determine their exact strength for a while now. She thinks they can lift at least several average human adults, but she hasn’t confirmed it yet.” As he was speaking Sam pulled out the Pokédex his Mum had given him, and wondered what information she had input about Machop. He pointed it towards Machop, who was still chopping twigs in half with furious jabs of his fists, ignoring Sam and Joven completely.

    “Machop, the Superpower Pokémon. It spends most of its time training in many forms of martial arts to build up its strength, which is currently unknown.”

    “Go, Weedle!” Before the Pokédex even finished Joven released Weedle from her Pokéball. At the sight of Machop, she narrowed her eyes and assumed an attacking posture, trying to prove herself to Joven in their very first battle together.

    “It seems he beat me to it,” Sam said under his breath, standing back to allow Joven more room to battle. Sam also wanted to catch Machop, but now that Joven had sent out Weedle, he was going to stand back.

    “Use Poison Sting,” Joven said excitedly. For one of the few times since they had met, Sam saw Joven smiling and looking happy. He had noticed that Joven always seemed to be at his happiest when he was either battling Pokémon or talking about them. Any other time and he was just a withdrawn socially awkward kid. It was a startling transformation to watch before his very own eyes, to see Joven change from someone so subdued to someone so confident.

    Interested in seeing Joven handle a brand new Pokémon, Sam turned his attention over to Weedle. She was frantically moving towards Machop, crawling as fast as her tiny pink feet could carry her, the sharp stinger on her head gleaming in the sunlight. Machop was still beating his fists back and forth, trying to cause as much damage to the different bushes as he could. His back was turned, so he was unable to see Weedle charging towards him, and he had still shown no sign that he knew Sam and Joven were even there. But just at the right moment, just when Weedle was about to strike, Machop swung his arm around and slammed it into Weedle’s head, knocking her to the ground. His head hadn’t moved at all, he hadn’t even turned to see what he was doing, but he had timed his strike perfectly.

    “Well, I guess he was paying attention after all,” Joven said, feeling slightly flustered about what had just happened. “But that just shows how strong it is. Weedle, use String Shot.”

    Weedle quickly got to her feet and shot out dozens of fine silk threads from her mouth. The threads wrapped around Machop’s arm, and within seconds were stuck fast. Now that he had been interfered with chopping at the bushes, Machop turned around, tugging as hard as he could on the threads, trying to throw Weedle off balance. As he continued to tug, Weedle was jolted forwards slightly, but she pulled back hard, using the stickiness of the threads to help.

    “Great job, Weedle. Now, crawl closer to Machop, but don’t let go. Keep your balance and hold strong,” Joven said.

    Weedle tried to maintain her balance while Machop tugged at the sticky threads. Trying to follow Joven’s orders of staying perfectly still was almost impossible to do. Machop’s strength was so immense that she was slowly being dragged towards him, no matter how hard she tried to stay back. Machop was moving his arm back and forth, left and right, all the while dragging Weedle closer and closer to him. All of Weedle’s strength was used in her effort to just stay upright as Machop’s actions jostled her from side to side.

    “Now, use Poison Sting,” Joven ordered,waiting until Weedle was just out of Machop’s reach before giving his command. She quickly opened her mouth, retracting the silk threads, and then snapped it shut. At the same time as Weedle retracted the threads, Machop had been pulling on them in the opposite direction. The shock of the threads finally slinking away from his arm caused Machop to stumble backwards. That was when Weedle struck. She flew through the air and pierced him in the chest with her sharp stinger, sending him crashing to the ground.

    As Weedle crawled back towards Joven to prepare another strike, Machop swiftly stood back up, his grey body covered with stray blades of grass, assuming a pose he had no doubt learned in his martial arts training. He ran at Weedle, his left arm glowing.

    “Oh no,” Joven said frantically, wringing his hands nervously. “It’s Karate Chop. Weedle, dodge it and then use Poison Sting.”

    Machop lunged at Weedle, but just at the last moment, Weedle scrambled to the side. Machop came again and again, his arm swinging in the air like an axe wielded by a madman. Weedle was quick enough to dodge, but she was being pushed back further and further by Machop, and she had no idea what was behind her.

    “I can’t let this continue,” Joven grumbled. “Weedle, attack now!”

    At the same time Joven ordered her to attack, Weedle managed to duck under Machop’s arm as it swung past. On the way up she leapt at Machop, hoping to catch him off balance. But he was ready for it. He swung his foot around, hitting Weedle on the exact same spot he had hit her before. She was slammed to the ground and slid a few feet, well and truly knocked out.

    “Weedle, return,” Joven said calmly. Even though he had lost a Pokémon already, he wasn’t going to let himself get distracted. If he did that, Joven knew he would’ve already lost. Once Weedle was inside the Pokéball, he clipped it to his belt, and picked another one.

    “Shellder, finish the job!” He twisted the dial on the Pokéball, and in a white light, Shellder emerged, his long tongue lolling out of his mouth.

    “You think you can do it, Joven?” Sam asked concernedly from behind him. He was sitting down next to a small shrub behind Joven with a perfect view of the battlefield.

    “Of course I can,” Joven confidently replied. “I know Shellder can take Machop down.”

    Sam nodded to show his support and turned his attention back to the battle at hand, expectantly waiting for an amazing finish. He had watched the entire battle from the sidelines in awe so far, and his admiration had increased after Weedle was knocked out. He had watched as Joven expertly recalled Weedle and called out Shellder, handling the Pokéballs like an old pro, and keeping himself surprisingly calm. Ever since the battle had started, Sam had been analysing every move Joven made, to see if he could learn something.

    And he had. Without even realising it at first, Sam had seen Joven’s training strategy in full flight. Joven tried to work on the weak points of his Pokémon first, and he had done exactly that with Weedle. Weedle’s weakest point in Sam’s mind was obviously strength, and what had Joven done in the battle? He had ordered Weedle to try and hold her own against Machop, who wasn’t called the Superpower Pokémon for nothing. He had been testing Weedle’s strength and her endurance, and when he had found out all he could, he launched a full on assault. Even afterwards, he had ordered Weedle to continually dodge Machop’s Karate Chop, and he had therefore gathered information on Weedle’s speed and agility as well. Sam was amazed that Joven could think of all that in the heat of battle, process it, and then use it in his later training. It was a unique brand of training, something Sam had never seen or heard of before, and it was spectacular to watch. Now, as he continued to watch the battle, he could see Joven, still remaining composed about losing Weedle, issuing more orders.

    “Shellder, use Aurora Beam,” Joven said loudly. As his excitement grew, so did the volume of his voice, and right now his excitement was at an all time high, as he hopped from foot to foot in anticipation.

    Shellder too seemed excited as he was called into battle. Upon Joven’s order to use Aurora Beam, Shellder launched himself into the air and angled himself down at Machop. A rainbow coloured beam shot out of the pitch black interior of his shell, heading straight towards Machop, the lights spinning around each other in a spectacular display of colour and light. At the last second Machop pressed against the ground with his powerful grey legs, and catapulted himself into the air, easily reaching Shellder’s height. He raised his left arm up and then swiftly swung it down towards Shellder.

    “Use Withdraw! Quick!” Joven yelled urgently.

    Shellder retracted his tongue once more as his shell clamped down, completely encasing him. Machop’s hand slammed into Shellder’s shell, but it did nothing. Not a single sign of a crack appeared on the shell. The only thing that had happened was Machop gaining a very sore hand. As both Shellder and Machop came back down, Joven ordered Shellder to use Tackle. With nowhere to run and no way to break through Shellder’s incredible defence, Machop was vulnerable. Still completely shielded by his shell, Shellder flew through the air, slamming hard into Machop’s chest. He slammed into the ground head first, while Shellder landed perfectly on the ground, using his spikes to support his shell. As he landed his shell opened up once more, and the long tongue slowly slithered out like a snake.

    “Now finish it with Aurora Beam,” Joven said, noticing that Machop was still lying flat on his back, grey stubby tail sticking up in the air.

    Shellder’s tongue disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, and then another rainbow beam of energy shot out, tendrils of energy snaking through the air as they streamed towards Machop, casting beautiful lights from the sun overhead. The beam of energy hit Machop and he was flung back several feet, landing hard on the ground again.

    “You’re mine, Machop,” Joven whispered to himself. He whipped out a Pokéball, twisted the dial, and threw it directly at Machop. When the Pokéball made contact, Machop was sucked inside in a red light, and then the Pokéball fell to the ground, rolling from side to side. Sam was reminded of his first capture, the flashing red dial, and the Pokéball rolling for what seemed like an eternity, knowing full well that at any second the Pokémon could break free. But Joven seemed a lot calmer then Sam did. His face was expressionless as he watched the rolling ball, almost as if he was bored. After a few more seconds of rolling, the ball stopped, and the dial on top returned to its normal colour.

    “Yes, I got Machop!” Joven yelled triumphantly. He ran over to the motionless Pokéball and picked it up delightedly, grinning down at it. He walked slowly back towards Sam, letting every bit of euphoria of his newest capture wash over him.

    “Hey, congratulations,” Sam said. “Machop looks really great.” He held out his hand for Joven to shake it. Sam thought he saw a couple of Joven’s fingers move slightly, as if he was going to shake, but instead he passed Sam by in silence. For a split second, Sam was sure Joven was about to shake hands, but he had held himself back. He didn’t understand why it was so hard for Joven to show simple social courtesies. Normally Sam would have become very angry at Joven, but considering that he had just saved his life, he decided to let it slide. A hand shake was nothing compared to his life.

    “Let’s get going,” Joven said quickly, hastily hoisting his orange backpack over his shoulder. He quickly walked, almost ran, in front of Sam, and hurriedly walked further ahead. For a few seconds Sam just stared bemusedly at Joven’s back, wondering why he wanted to leave all of a sudden. Then, deciding not to pursue it, Sam rushed over to his backpack, grabbed it, and then ran after Joven, yelling at him to slow down.

    Once Sam caught up to Joven, the two continued on, back to their usual silence. They walked for about twenty minutes, eventually reaching a wide open clearing, where they stopped to admire the view. There was a small lake at the opposite end of the clearing, and there were four paths branching off in different directions, the left and right ones leading into dense forests. The path directly north led to a rocky terrain with a sheer cliff face overlooking the area. Sam knew that path was the one that led to Boku Town.

    They were just about to head off when they heard a sharp loud voice from behind them. Curious about what someone was shouting about, Sam and Joven turned around and looked down the path they had just travelled. Making his way towards them was a large man, and he was flailing his left arm around in the air to grab their attention. His right arm was holding something, but Sam and Joven couldn’t tell what it was.

    “Hey, you two!” the man roared. “STOP! You two kids, please stop.”

    As the man approached, his features became clearer to Sam and Joven. He was sweating so much it looked like he had just been rained on, and his cropped brown hair was plastered to his face. Dull blue eyes gazed towards them over a long nose, and his chubby face was covered in acne. A green vest was worn over a dark green coat which barely fit around his large waist. Placed delicately in his right hand was a glass case with a large egg inside.

    Sam grew more and more curious as the man drew closer. He looked familiar somehow, almost as if the two had met before, but Sam couldn’t remember ever meeting the large man. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was definitely something familiar about the man. When he finally reached Sam and Joven, the man stopped and almost collapsed, collapsing down on all fours. He was raking in deep breaths, huffing and puffing furiously to regain his breath. His hand was clutching his chest, where Sam had a feeling the man’s heart was barely able to pump.

    “Excuse me, but who are you?” Sam inquired.

    “Wait...just one...second,” the man replied, barely able to speak. He was clearly unfit, and it showed in how long it took him to recover. It took several minutes for him to finally be able to stand up again. “I’m Roger. But that’s not important. I came for you. What’s your name?” he asked, pointing at Joven.

    “Um, it’s Joven,” he replied bemusedly. “Why?”

    “I saw you battle and catch that Machop. It was quite impressive for a minor. You are most definitely a skilled young boy, and in a couple years, you will be a great trainer, I believe. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see how skilled you are,” Roger explained, tilting his head towards Sam as he finished.

    “Oh, don’t worry. I’m much better than him,” Joven said smugly. He puffed out his chest in pride while Sam glared at him in disgust. “By the way, what’s that?” he asked, pointing to the glass container in Roger’s right hand.

    “It’s a Pokémon egg.” Sam had answered Joven’s question before Roger could even open his mouth. “It hatches into a Pokémon.”

    “That’s right, kid,” Roger replied, sounding surprised that Sam knew what a Pokémon egg was. “I left a couple of my Pokémon at a day care centre because I couldn’t be stuffed raising them myself. When I went to pick them up, my sister, the owner of the day care centre, handed me this stupid egg. These things supposedly need love, care, attention, and time to hatch, but I’m not going to give any of those things. It’s useless. Seeing how well you fought back there against that Machop tells me that you feel the same way as I do about Pokémon.

    “Um, yeah, sure I do,” Joven said untruthfully. Everything Roger had said was the complete opposite of what Joven thought. They had been his only companions, his only friends for two years. He doubted he would be where he was today without them. They were more important to him than any person was.

    Roger smiled at Joven’s response and walked across to the other side of the clearing, tiny droplets of sweat dropping from his face onto the bright green grass below. He placed the egg down at his feet, and then began fumbling at his belt for the right Pokémon to use. Joven could see that Roger had ten slots on his belt filled, already four more than one could use in a Pokémon battle. It made Joven wonder how many Pokémon Roger had in total, and where he stored any of his other Pokémon he couldn’t carry with him. Joven was just about to choose his own Pokémon when he felt a sharp jab against his shoulder. He turned around to see Sam leaning over behind him.

    “What!?” Joven whispered furiously.

    “How could you agree with Roger? You honestly don’t think that way, do you? I was beginning to almost admire your training style.”

    “Don’t worry. I don’t really believe what he said. I just lied so I didn’t anger him. I really want to battle this guy.” Joven was speaking so quietly Sam almost had to lip read to understand what he was saying. Obviously, Joven didn’t want to be overheard.

    “Hey, Joven, you ready?” Roger asked.

    “You kidding? I’ve been ready for ages,” Joven confidently replied.

    “Good to hear. Now, let the battle begin. Go, Zangoose!” Roger yelled, twisting the dial on top of one of his Pokéballs.

    A white light was released from Roger’s Pokéball, and it quickly formed into an intimidating looking Pokémon. It took on the form of a large mongoose standing on its hind legs. Reaching almost the same height of Sam, Zangoose was covered in white jagged fur, with small patches of red here and there. The patches of red fur made it look like it was splattered with blood, and for a sickening moment Sam thought that to be the case. Its long arms ended in two sharp black claws resembling daggers, and as Zangoose crouched down on all fours, its thick white tail swung from side to side. Red predatory eyes, almost thin enough to be slits, glared at Sam and Joven as it slowly walked around in circles, waiting to meet its foe.

    “Wow, I’ve never seen that Pokémon before,” Sam exclaimed excitedly. “Let’s see what the Pokédex has to say.” He pulled out the small blue device and pointed it at Zangoose, but nothing happened. He was shocked to see a small message appear on the screen. It read, “NO DATA AVAILABLE.” He pointed it at Zangoose again, but still nothing happened. The blue sphere at the end of the Pokédex was flashing, but it wasn’t able to gather any data on Zangoose.

    “Rhyhorn, come on out!”

    Sam heard Joven release Rhyhorn from his Pokéball, and saw him pawing the ground aggressively with his front right foot. Just to make sure his Pokédex wasn’t broken, Sam pointed it at Rhyhorn. Sure enough, just like usual, the Pokédex read out the data of Rhyhorn, giving a concise and detailed analysis, but when he pointed it back at Zangoose nothing happened.

    “Zangoose won’t register on that Pokédex,” Roger said offhandedly. “Professor Oak’s prototype didn’t have anywhere near enough memory to hold more than fifty Pokémon, and her second model there only holds just over a hundred. She’d never be able to fit data on Pokémon from the Hoenn region on it.”

    “Wait a minute...what?” Sam asked bemusedly. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Roger, a less then pleasant Pokémon trainer, knew the ins and outs of his Mum’s most prestigious invention. How was that possible? Judging by the way he had spoken about it, Roger knew his mother and the designs of the different versions of the Pokédex. It didn’t make any sense. Why would his mother show someone like Roger her designs for the Pokédex?

    “There are many more Pokémon in the world then the ones that are native to Kanto,” Roger explained upon seeing Sam’s confused expression. “Far more than you and I, or anyone for that matter, can imagine. Zangoose is a Pokémon native to the Hoenn region, and not to Kanto. Since Professor Oak is based in Kanto and she has a Pokédex that has very limited memory, she only has data on Pokémon native to this area. That’s not saying she has data on them all though. Last I heard she only had a hundred, and that was only a couple months ago.”

    “How do you know so much about Professor Oak and the Pokédex?” Sam asked, trying to hide the fact that he was her son.

    “I could ask you a very similar question myself. How do you have the second version of the Pokédex? It hasn’t even been publicly released yet.”

    “Because I’m her son,” Sam blurted out, completely forgetting his plan conceal his identity.

    “Ah, so you’re Samuel,” Roger commented, smiling as he looked Sam up and down, almost as if he was assessing whether or not he was worthy of a great prize. “It’s interesting to see how much you’ve grown since we last met. You’ve turned out different than I thought, and I’m surprised that at thirteen you’re only this far out on your journey. Or have you just returned home for a visit?”

    “No, I’ve just started my journey because of...um...unexpected delays,” Sam responded. There were so many questions he wanted to ask Roger, so much he wanted to know, but he didn’t know where to begin. He supposed the obvious question was how Roger knew so much about him. It was now clear to Sam that he and Roger had met before, which at least solved the mystery of why he had seemed familiar. But what was still a mystery to Sam was who Roger actually was. “How do you...”

    “Listen, this is all very interesting and all, but Rhyhorn and I are very eager to begin this battle,” Joven interjected. “Can we get on with this?”

    “Oh yes, of course, how foolish of me,” Roger replied, looking a bit flustered. As he turned his head to face Joven, his flabby chin wobbled from side to side.

    Knowing full well that he wouldn’t get a straight answer until the battle was over, Sam didn’t even attempt to ask Roger any more questions. Instead, he sat down at the very edge of the clearing, at the border between the grass and the forest. Although he normally just watched battles, Sam took a different approach. He fished around in his yellow backpack until he found what he was looking for; his sketchbook. He lifted the tattered and frayed book out of his bag and placed it carefully on his right knee, knowing full well that it could fall apart if he was too rough with it. Pulling out a pencil from a small container in his bag, Sam began to sketch Zangoose. Since the Pokédex had no record on the mysterious Pokémon, Sam decided he would create his own.

    He watched intently as Zangoose darted around in front of Roger, jumped high in the air, and flexed its muscles. Without even looking down, Sam began moving his pencil rapidly across the paper, drawing the general outline of Zangoose. After the rough sketch, Sam focussed on the more subtle details, such as emphasising the speed at which Zangoose moved, and the killer glint in its eyes.

    Sam didn’t know why he was so focussed on sketching Zangoose instead of just watching from the sidelines like usual. It was something he had never done before, and he didn’t understand it. Maybe it was because Zangoose was a Pokémon not native to Kanto, a Pokémon his Mum knew next to nothing about. Maybe he was keener on research then he thought. He had chosen the path of a Pokémon Trainer, but he had never hated Pokémon research. At this very moment though, sketching and finding out as much as he could about Zangoose seemed more important than any gym battle. As Sam thought long and hard about training and researching while he sketched, he heard Roger give his first command of the battle.

    “Zangoose, use your speed. Dart around and around Rhyhorn. Don’t stop running. When he’s vulnerable, move in for the kill.”

    Zangoose nodded to Roger and then sped off with the speed of a bullet. It shot past Sam, whipping the pages of his sketchbook up into his face. Joven snickered slightly as he watched Sam struggle with his now jumbled sketchpad. But his happiness didn’t last long. While he was distracted, Zangoose leapt out from behind a tree and kicked Rhyhorn in the head with such force that he crashed to the ground.

    “Rhyhorn, no!” Joven yelled. “Get back up. Keep track of Zangoose. Don’t let it out of your sight.” Joven was fuming over his lapse in concentration, a mistake that had given Roger the upper hand already.

    As Zangoose raced around the large clearing, Rhyhorn turned uneasily on the spot. Every time he laid eyes on Zangoose, it sped off, and he had to try and find it again. It was amazingly fast. No matter how hard Rhyhorn tried, he couldn’t keep track of Zangoose long enough. Joven was forced to watch as Rhyhorn was pummelled time and time again by Zangoose’s sharp claws and powerful feet. His Rhyhorn was fast, but he was nothing compared to Roger’s Zangoose.

    “Wait a minute, I’ve got it,” Joven said suddenly. “It’s most dangerous weapon is its speed. Let’s see if I can’t change that. Rhyhorn, use Scary Face. Continually walk around in a circle using Scary Face.”

    Rhyhorn continued walking around in a circle, but his face quickly changed. The angles of his face became sharper, more pronounced, plunging parts of his face into shadow, giving it a horrifying look. His eyes narrowed and turned red, and he turned his mouth into a hideous snarl. It was a face so scary that even the bravest Pokémon would tremble in fear. If Zangoose’s eyes made even the slightest contact with Rhyhorn’s face, it would be paralysed with fear.

    That was exactly what Joven was waiting for. It would be extremely difficult for Zangoose to dart around constantly and leap out of hiding without once casting even the slightest gaze across Rhyhorn’s face. Sure enough, Zangoose leapt out from behind a nearby tree and dashed towards Rhyhorn. But as Rhyhorn turned around, Zangoose was forced to stare at his face. It immediately skidded to a halt, staring up fearfully at Rhyhorn’s face, trembling from head to toe.

    “Perfect,” Joven sneered. “Now use Stomp.”

    Rhyhorn raised his front right foot into the air and slammed it into Zangoose as hard as he could. Zangoose was sent hurtling backwards, slamming into a tree at the edge of the forest. As it slid down the trunk and onto the grass, a few berries jolted out of the tree and fell down onto its head. The berries seemed to act as an alarm, sparking Zangoose back into action. It jumped to his feet, and charged at Rhyhorn again, closing its eyes to avoid staring into that horrible face. Its hearing was all it truly needed to determine Rhyhorn’s position.

    “Rhyhorn, use Rock Blast!” Joven yelled urgently. The sight of Zangoose charging blindly towards Rhyhorn was a worry to Joven. Despite being hit by Rhyhorn’s Stomp and being slowed by his Scary Face, Zangoose was seemingly as fast and as strong as ever. It had taken damage, but it wasn’t enough to even slightly phase it. But with its eyes closed, Joven was confident he could cause damage with a long range attack.

    But Roger didn’t look at all concerned about it. He merely grinned smugly as Zangoose ran straight towards the rock flying through the air. At the last second, Zangoose ducked right under the rock, avoiding contact by less than a hair. Roger laughed out loud at Joven and Rhyhorn’s stunned expressions.

    “Zangoose and I have been together far too long to succumb to something like that,” he said. “You’re gonna have to do better than that to beat us. And I also must thank you for that move, Joven. You’ve just given me an idea.”

    “Fine then, I will,” Joven angrily replied, ignoring Roger’s last comment. “Rhyhorn, continually use Rock Blast. Let’s see if it can dodge five rocks at once.”

    Rhyhorn reared his head back five times, and each time he let out a ground shaking roar. Five large rocks, the size of the boulders in the cave, appeared in the sky above Rhyhorn. As soon as they appeared, the rocks hurtled down to Zangoose, who was motionless several feet away from Rhyhorn, its eyes still closed.

    “Zangoose, open your eyes and use the rocks as springs. Jump onto them, and then jump at Rhyhorn with Close Combat.” The last time Rhyhorn had used Rock Blast, Roger had thought of the idea to use the rocks to his advantage, something he knew would catch Joven off guard.

    Zangoose stood perfectly still at first, its long ears reaching their full height, the fur covering them spreading apart, allowing it to gather as much sound as it could. It could hear the whizzing of the boulders through the air, it could hear them approaching. It could even hear the deep trembling breaths of Rhyhorn ten feet away. At the last moment, Zangoose’s eyes snapped open, and it leapt on top of the nearest rock. It landed on all fours, and immediately jumped to the next, and then the next, and then the next one after that, each time using the rocks like stepping stones, each jump taking him closer and closer to Rhyhorn.

    After the fifth jump, Zangoose was right above Rhyhorn, baring its teeth menacingly towards him. Before Joven or Rhyhorn could react, Zangoose was atop Rhyhorn’s back, slashing furiously with its sharp claws, and kicking ferociously with its back feet. Despite Rhyhorn’s tough armour, Zangoose’s attacks were quickly weakening him. Just a few seconds after Zangoose landed on his back, he buckled to the ground, collapsing forwards as it mercilessly attacked and attacked.

    “Rhyhorn, try and shake it off,” Joven ordered, his fear of losing the match clearly evident in his voice.

    Rhyhorn struggled to his feet, groaning and roaring in pain after every one of Zangoose’s blows. He shook from side to side and ran around in circles as fast as he could, trying to buck Zangoose off, but it clung on tightly, refusing to let go of its prey.

    “Grr...This isn’t working,” Joven muttered to himself. “He’s not strong enough to knock Zangoose off on his own. Wait a minute, that’s it! I’ll just help Rhyhorn out a bit. Rhyhorn, ram as hard as you can into one of these trees. If that doesn’t jerk Zangoose off, nothing will.”

    Rhyhorn nodded in agreement, and immediately began charging towards the nearest tree. Under the unrelenting onslaught of Zangoose, Rhyhorn continued to run, trying hard to ignore the terrible pain flooding through his body and into his tiny brain. All he was thinking of was one thing. He was repeating it over and over in his mind. Ram the tree, ram the tree, ram the tree! He was so intensely focused on ramming the tree that he would’ve forgotten why he was doing if it wasn’t for the sickening blows he was receiving every second.

    SLAM!

    He slammed into the tree hard, angling his head downwards slightly for maximum impact and force. He hit it so hard that the tree began to tremble, almost tearing the roots up from under the ground. Unfazed by the contact because of his hard skull, Rhyhorn looked up into the sky, expecting to see Zangoose falling down to earth, completely defenceless. But it wasn’t anywhere. Zangoose wasn’t in the sky, and it wasn’t in the clearing either. Where was it?

    Joven was asking himself the same question as he stared around bemusedly, trying to figure out where Zangoose had gone. When Rhyhorn hit the tree, Joven distinctly remembered Zangoose flying into the air, but it hadn’t come back down. How was that possible?

    “Unless...” Joven said to himself, the only possible solution finally dawning on him. He cast his gaze away from the cloudy sky to the tree Rhyhorn had hit, and that was when he saw it. Zangoose was slowly and stealthily slinking down a thick tree branch right above Rhyhorn, getting ready to pounce like a cat on a mouse.

    “Zangoose, use Close Combat!” Roger suddenly yelled.

    “Rhyhorn, dodge. It’s above you!” Joven yelled at the same instant.

    At the same moment Rhyhorn ran away from the tree, Zangoose pounced, landing on the square of Rhyhorn’s back, slashing and clawing at him all over again. It was a nightmare for Joven to watch, to see Rhyhorn being beaten to a pulp, and knowing full well there was no way he could stop it. He was forced to watch as Rhyhorn fell to the ground again, with Zangoose refusing to let up even for an instant.

    “Zangoose, jump off Rhyhorn,” Roger ordered. Zangoose immediately did as it was told, darting back to Roger in a heartbeat. “Now, finish this off quickly,” Roger said.

    Zangoose immediately began running around the clearing on all fours again, just like at the start of the battle. Rhyhorn struggled to his feet once more, trying to launch an attack at Zangoose, but just like before, it was just too fast. Joven was hoping that Zangoose’s speed might have decreased as the battle wore on, as fatigue began to settle in, but if anything, Zangoose was moving faster than before. Every few seconds he would lunge at Rhyhorn, punching him in the face, slashing at his feet, kicking him in the sides.

    Joven was certain that if he had more time he’d be able to think up a strategy against Zangoose, but time was not on his side. The only reason the battle wasn’t over already was because of Rhyhorn’s incredibly hard armour. If it was any other Pokémon, the result would’ve already been decided. He searched deep within his mind, trying to think of something, anything, but he was drawing a blank.

    “Rhyhorn, try to dodge the attacks. Try to tire Zangoose out,” Joven said, knowing full well even as he said it that it was never going to work. Zangoose was a hundred times faster than Rhyhorn, and it was nowhere near being tired. Beating him and Rhyhorn was probably nothing more than a training drill to a Pokémon that fast and strong.

    Sure enough, as Rhyhorn moved as fast as he could, running all around the clearing, Zangoose landed every single blow. Not one attack missed, and it made sure every single one of them hurt. With one last sickening swipe from Zangoose, Rhyhorn collapsed to the ground.

    “Rhy...horn,” it uttered, before fainting.



    ---------------------------------------



    The main change is obviously with Roger (formerly unnamed), and his character is now very important to both character and plot development for the rest of this fic, and the sequel.
    Last edited by palkia1; 28th June 2009 at 4:14 PM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  20. #20
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    Here is Chapter Ten, one of my favourite, if not my favourite chapter so far. I hope you all enjoy. Also, since this is the tenth chapter, I have updated the chapter list with the names of chapters 11-20.



    CHAPTER TEN: THE FIGHT:



    “Scope out the building for a couple of weeks. Blend into the crowds and act natural. Try and determine which person is the head scientist. I need this machine to target individual people, and these pathetic men and women working for me can’t do it. Do you understand?”

    “Yes sir, not a problem. Saffron is a big city. I’m sure we’ll be able to remain unnoticed.” Back in her office, the boss was speaking into her walkie-talkie, and the cruel voice of a young man was on the other line.

    “You better make sure you do. After the two weeks are up, bring the head scientist to me. They only hire the best at Silph Co. With any luck, this scientist will be able to improve this machine. And don’t fail. I haven’t forgotten the incident in Lavender Town yet,” she warned.

    “We won’t fail. Agent Maxwell, out,” the man replied apprehensively, hanging up the walkie-talkie so that all the boss could hear on the other end of the line was static. She pressed a button on her walkie-talkie to deactivate, and then placed it in one of her desk drawers. She then turned her attention to a figure kneeling on the floor in front of her. With her head bent down, almost touching the ground, her long purple hair trailed up her back, ending right at her waist. Agent Green was in a kneeling position, ready to beg to have her life spared.

    “You assured me that the kid would be killed, but instead you give me a pitiful report of being defeated by another kid!” the boss began scathingly, spitting on the floor in front of the woman. “Why are you being beaten by mere children? First Agent Maxwell in Lavender Town, then you in Viridian City and our former base. Why are kids interfering in our affairs? I’ll have to assign someone else to these kids since you’ve now failed twice.”

    “I’m so sorry, sir,” Agent Green replied.

    “Shut up,” the boss retorted. “Lift your head, Agent Green.” The boss watched as Agent Green slowly lifted her head, staring up at her boss’ face, which was as usual, cloaked in shadow. “Normally I would kill you right here and now, but I can’t deny that I have a soft spot for you. When I first accepted you into our ranks as a teenager, I thought you represented the next generation of soldiers for my beautiful organisation. You were going to take over the reins once I retired.”

    “Thank you so much, sir. I swear I will repay the faith you had in me.”

    “YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE!” the boss roared. She stood up from her desk and slowly walked around to Agent Green, who had her head bowed once more. She crouched down so they were facing each other, each able to feel the others warm breath. “You have been a horrible disappointment,” she whispered calmly in Agent Green’s ear. “I will give you a chance to try and repay me, but first you must understand that your performance so far has been unacceptable. Simple words are not enough to show you just how angry I am.”

    “But, sir, please. I beg of you,” Agent Green pleaded, not daring to turn away from the cold hard floor.

    “Security!” the boss yelled. As soon as she spoke, two large men came into the room, standing right at the entrance, awaiting further instructions. “Take this woman to the detention cell. You know what to do from there.”

    “Yes, sir,” both men replied simultaneously. They bent down towards Agent Green, each grasping one of her arms and pulling her effortlessly out of the room.

    “No, please!” Agent Green yelled, trying to wrench herself free of the bulky men’s tight grasp. “I can make it up to you. I can do what you ask. Let me GO!” She continued to struggle, but the men were far too strong. The boss ignored Agent Green’s piteous cries for mercy as she smiled across the room. There was always a certain pleasure in punishing the ones who failed her.

    Once the door had slid shut behind her, she examined a tall stack of papers in front of her. Complex diagrams, equations, graphs, charts, and reports met her on every page. Despite their complexity, she understood what they meant. She turned to the seventy-second page, which showed a schematic of the Rift Opener, which was currently operating downstairs.

    “If only our scientists could have designed this machine properly. Even with that fragment of the Griseous Orb we retrieved from Team Galactic a year ago, they still haven’t been able to power this machine up enough. It will never work until we can target specific people. Even their region wide sweep is fraught with danger. Well, as long as those pathetic fools don’t screw up in Saffron City, my plan will succeed.”

    ***

    Agatha had left Lavender Town that night with a wide assortment of stolen goods in her stolen backpack. She didn’t like the idea of being a thief, but she didn’t have enough supplies herself. She had pillaged the town, gathering everything from food and cash to camping gear and Pokémon medicine. The only things she took from her house were her sketchbooks and a map of the Kanto region which Ashley had bought several years earlier. Agatha knew she would need it, as she had never left Lavender Town in her life, except for playing in Lavender Field.

    It was at least ten o’clock when she left Lavender Town, the western roads plunged in darkness from the cloudy sky overhead. Not even the light of the moon could pierce the cloudy veil, causing Agatha to have to use a torch she had stolen from her neighbour to guide her. The torch light illuminated a small circle of the road in front of her, allowing her to at least see her direct path. She was surrounded on both sides by large plains, and even though she couldn’t see them, Agatha could hear the distinct pitter patter of tiny Pokémon footsteps running along the path. They were trying to figure out who was walking past them in the middle of the night, and disturbing their sleeping with the sweeping torch light.

    As the night grew on, Agatha became more and more tired, her eyelids drooping more and more often, but still she fought the temptation to go to sleep. The people she were after had a half day’s head start on her, and she had to make it up. If she went to sleep now, she would surely lose their trail. But if they were confident enough to sleep, she might just be able to catch up to them. What she would do then she didn’t know.

    After three straight hours of nothing but walking along the road, Agatha finally took a rest. Still unwilling to go to sleep, Agatha resisted the temptation to unfurl her sleeping bag and hop inside. The night was now bitterly cold, the temperature feeling like it had dropped over ten degrees in the last hour alone. Agatha folded her arms tightly around her, curling herself in a ball to try and warm herself up as she leant against a tree, one of many that were spaced haphazardly around the area. She watched as her breath rose before her in a fine mist, curling itself into many indistinct shapes as it slowly disappeared.

    “Brr....they couldn’t have done this on a warm night, could they,” Agatha muttered angrily to herself, shivering from head to foot despite wearing a thick woolly jumper over her shirt. Her teeth chattered uncontrollably, and surrounded by the quiet night, they sounded unbelievably loud.

    That was until she heard a loud crunching sound from right in front of her. When she arrived at the tree she had turned off the torch, so everything around her was black. She couldn’t even see an inch in front of her. She nervously reached out for the torch, numb fingers clumsily grasping it and trying to turn it on. When she finally got it working, she swung it around in front of her like a baseball bat, and was surprised to see a small Pokémon there, munching on a loose branch from the tree.

    The first thing Agatha noticed about the Pokémon was his long teeth. They gnawed on the branch like a beaver’s front teeth, and moved up and down in a blur. Along with his teeth, his purple horned head moved up and down as well, the large purple ears on his head quivering excitedly. Spines covered his back, and dark purple blotches covered the rest of his body.

    “Oh, I know what you are,” Agatha said excitedly. “You’re a...a...Nidoran, aren’t you? But which version are you? I always get them mixed up. I think you’re the male one though...aren’t you?” she finished uncertainly

    “Nido Nidoran,” Nidoran said, nodding his head furiously. He moved away from the branch, which was now covered end to end with minute teeth marks. He sat on his hind legs and lifted his front feet in the air, moving them through the air like jabbing punches.

    “Oh, do you want to battle?” Agatha asked. When Nidoran nodded in reply, she grimaced slightly. “Sorry, buddy, but I don’t do battles,” she apologised. Nidoran’s head slumped forwards glumly, and he mumbled under his breath.

    “Hey, you’re a cute little Pokémon. You shouldn’t just focus on battling,” Agatha said. She was about to reach out and pick Nidoran up when she heard a loud noise. It was laughter, and by the many different tones of voices, there was more than one person. Instantly thinking that she had caught up to the man with the Mankey, Agatha hurriedly stood up, startling Nidoran.

    “Sorry, little buddy, but I’ve got to go,” Agatha said, patting him lightly on the head before rushing off towards the laughter.

    As she made her way through the wide open plain, ignoring her previous vow to stay on the marked path, Agatha heard the laughter grow louder. She could even hear snippets of conversation between a large group of men, none of whom were trying to keep their voices down. As she drew closer, a faint light appeared, flickering in brightness and intensity. It was only when Agatha crouched down behind a nearby tree and peered around the trunk that she realised it was a fire.

    Sitting around the fire on hard backed chairs were eight men, all dressed completely in black. If the fire wasn’t there they would’ve been impossible to see in the pitch black of the night. There was one Pokémon with the men as well, sitting on the shoulder of the bottom left man of the circle. It was the same Mankey she had seen when Gastly had showed her Paras’ memories. Now she had confirmed it. These were the people responsible not just for her Mum’s abduction, but everyone in Lavender Town.

    She pulled out her solitary white Pokéball from her stolen backpack, twisted the red dial, and released Gastly. As soon as he was outside the Pokéball, Gastly glided around Agatha’s head in circles like a dog chasing its tail, chuckling loudly and grinning.

    “Gastly, stop,” Agatha hushed urgently. If it hadn’t been for the men talking so loudly, they surely would’ve heard Gastly. When Gastly stopped and floated down to her, Agatha pointed towards the man with the Mankey. “You see that man over there? Do you recognise him?”

    Gastly ducked out from behind the tree and out into the open to get a better look at the man, knowing full well that he wouldn’t be discovered. He blended in perfectly with his surroundings so that he would only be discovered if they were a metre away and staring straight at him. Nodding at Agatha to show that he recognised the man, he slowly floated back to her, stopping halfway through the tree. Now only his eyes and mouth could be seen.

    “That’s the guy that watched as my Mum disappeared. We’ve got to do something to make him pay!” As Gastly continued to nod in agreement, still mostly hidden, Agatha couldn’t help but feel that she was talking to a tree. Then, without even thinking about what she was doing or the consequences that would ensue, she darted out from behind the tree and began to run towards the men.

    “Gastly! Gastly gas gas GASTLY!” Gastly yelled frantically.

    Agatha stopped, turned around, and ran back towards Gastly, checking behind her shoulder to see if the men had heard anything. They had. The man with the Mankey was just standing up to investigate when Agatha ducked behind the tree for cover.

    “Why did you do that!?” she asked furiously. “Why would you yell like that?”

    “Gas gas Gastly,” Gastly replied hurriedly. He was absolutely frantic. If he had arms, he would have been waving them around in the air like a madman. While Gastly continued to repeat his name over and over again, she realised what she had done. How could she have been so stupid? She had been about to take on ten fully grown men who could kill her in a heartbeat with just Gastly for protection. It was insane.

    “Oh, thank you so much, Gastly,” Agatha said sincerely. “I can’t believe how stupid I was.” She hugged him tightly, feeling the swirling gases wrap around her arms as she drew him closer. She would have hugged him for longer had it not been for the footsteps she could hear coming her way. “Oh, no!” she said suddenly. “Gastly, can you hide us?”

    “Gastly,” Gastly said. He floated into Agatha’s chest again, but instead of going straight up to her brain he stay put, placing himself at her heart. Drawing on all his energy, Gastly became completely invisible, and with every beat of her heart, Agatha too began to turn invisible. It started in her chest, spreading up and down to completely encompass her within seconds, a tingling sensation spreading through her body like wildfire. By the time the man with the Mankey poked his head around the tree and cast a torch light around the area, Agatha was completely invisible.

    She smiled smugly at the man, who was only inches from her. He was so close that as he sighed in frustration, she felt the warm breath wash against her.

    “I was hoping it was one of those pesky kids the boss warned me about. I’d be able to show her just how good an agent I am.”

    “What was it!?” one of the men yelled from the campfire further up the path. The man, with Mankey resting on his shoulders, took another quick glance around the area before turning around and heading back.

    “I don’t know. I didn’t see anything. It was probably just a stupid Pidgey,” he called out.

    Agatha cautiously poked her head around the tree as the man made his way back to his team, even though she knew he couldn’t see her. Her breath caught in her throat when the man momentarily glanced back, but he kept on walking. When he had finally sat back down and began talking again, Agatha whispered to Gastly to exit her body. He immediately complied, floated out through her chest, and stopped right in front of her face.

    “What would I do without you?” she whispered, giving Gastly an encouraging thumbs up. “I can’t believe that everyone in their team knows about me,” she continued. “That guy that tried to hurt you must have told his boss. I know I interfered at Lavender Town, but who are these other kids they were talking about? Is there a resistance of sorts? Or is it just coincidence? Man, everything just gets more and more complicated, doesn’t it?” she finished exasperatedly.

    Agatha tried to hear what the men were talking about, but she couldn’t quite hear them. She only caught the occasional snippet of conversation, and they never made any sense. Without hearing the whole conversation, she’d never know what they were really saying. But how was she supposed to get close enough to hear them without being discovered? Then she suddenly thought of an idea.

    “Gastly, do you think you can listen to those men over there in secret? Then you can come back and show me.”

    Gastly screwed his face up in an expression of utmost concentration, trying to make himself look as wise and intelligent as possible. After a few seconds he nodded, and before Agatha could thank him, sped over towards the men. On his way he did a few tricks in the air to show off to Agatha, who shook her head in disbelief at Gastly’s ability to have fun in any situation.

    For what seemed like hours, but was in fact only ten minutes, Agatha waited for Gastly to return. She lost sight of him just before he reached the men, and even they grew harder to see as their fire slowly dwindled out of life. Just as she was starting to grow worried, Gastly floated through the tree right in front of her, mouth open wide like a hungry shark. She stumbled over in shock and took a few seconds to actually realise what had happened.

    “Gastly, you’ve got to stop doing that,” she muttered angrily, clumsily picking herself up. Gastly’s only response was to smile goofily at her, which caused her to shake her head in annoyance. “Just show me what you heard.”

    Agatha braced herself as Gastly entered her body, and felt the now familiar tingling sensation as he made his way through her body and up to her brain. Once he reached it, Agatha’s eyes slowly closed and she slumped forwards once more. Just like when he had showed her Paras’ memories, several images were floating around in front of Agatha, blurry and out of focus. She tried to focus on each image individually, and slowly they became clearer, and she was able to make them out.

    All three images were of the men at the fire, all of them chatting animatedly. It was then that Agatha realised that they were of course Gastly’s memories, not just pictures. She focussed intently on trying to hear what they were saying, and slowly their conversation became audible. The noise was fuzzy at first, but it gradually became clearer, much like trying to tune in to an old radio.

    “...those little brats,” a particularly round man said. “The boss is really angry at her. Serves her right for joining so early. I always thought the boss made a mistake with her. She obviously didn’t realise that you have to have talent to be a member of...”

    “Enough about her,” the man with the Mankey snapped. “The boss is sure to deal with her. It’s not our concern. We should be getting some rest for tomorrow anyway. That’s when the operation begins. Let’s go over it one last time.”

    “Right, sir,” a few of the men mumbled.

    “Good to hear. First, we scope out Silph Co. in Saffron City for a couple of weeks. During those two weeks we must determine who the head scientist is, as well as his daily routine, schedule, and the security rounds of the building. After that, we kidnap the scientist and take him back to the boss so that she can...convince him to work for us. With the head scientist of Silph working for us, that machine will be at maximum output in no time. Then we can get rid of those three pesky kids, and then everyone in Kanto.” The man with the Mankey made a fist with his left hand, and punched his right hand several times as he spoke. “Is that clear, everyone?” he finished.

    There were murmurs of understanding, and then everyone went to sleep. There were a few minutes more where Agatha watched the men climb into their sleeping bags and fall to sleep before the memory ended. As the memory faded away, Agatha was consumed with anger and hostility. Now that she knew exactly what these men were planning, they seemed even more terrible then before. Suddenly she woke, to see Gastly floating above her, grinning.

    “Those horrible people,” Agatha said in disgust as she sat up. “They’re too dumb to work this machine of theirs properly, so they kidnap someone else to do it for them. Obviously this machine is responsible for the disappearances. How does it work though? Where are the people taken? Where is this base of theirs? Does it mean my Mum and the others are still alive?”

    Agatha had so many unanswered questions that she couldn’t even think straight. She wiped her hand across her forehead in exhaustion, feeling dozens of beads of sweat cling to her skin. The experience with Gastly showing her memories had been extreme, far more so than the other times. The anger and hatred she had felt at the end had been so immense she felt like she was about to explode. She wanted nothing more than to try and figure out more of what was going on, but her mind was clouded, and exhaustion over the day’s events were finally catching up to her.

    “We better get some sleep, Gastly,” she said. “I’m too tired to think straight now, and we can’t go any further with those guys sleeping there.”

    She stood up and picked up her backpack, walking back down the path the way she came. There was no way to be certain the man with the Mankey might not check back near the tree while she was asleep, so she was being extra cautious. Back near the spot where she had encountered Nidoran, Agatha recalled Gastly to his Pokéball, and then rolled out her sleeping bag and hopped inside. She snuggled up inside it as tightly as she could. Within seconds she was much warmer and comfortable, and she quickly fell to sleep.

    Unfortunately, Agatha didn’t enjoy a peaceful slumber. All night she dreamt of nothing but the same recurring nightmare, replaying over and over in her mind like a broken record. She was walking in a straight line, surrounded by black on all sides. Then there were hundreds, thousands, countless bright blue flashes of light, and Agatha felt herself falling down, down, down into a never ending abyss of darkness. After every blue flash, she heard her mother’s agonising screams, feeling her mother’s terror and pain.

    ***

    Agatha woke the next morning to find herself blinded by the bright sun overhead, its rays piercing through the leaves of the tree and straight into her eyes. She squinted them tightly shut as she sat up, and opened them slowly as she adjusted to the bright light of the day. With the men still being the first thing on her mind, Agatha carefully made her way over towards the tree she had been at last night, leaving all her stuff behind her. As she peered around the trunk once more she was shocked to see that the men had already gone. The only sign they had ever been there was the small collection of smouldering bits of wood, the only remains of the blazing campfire.

    “They must be early risers,” Agatha said as she examined her watch. She was shocked to find that it was almost noon. “Or maybe I’m just a late sleeper. Damn!” she swore.

    She rushed back to her belongings, and quickly rolled up her sleeping bag before stuffing it awkwardly in her backpack. As she stuffed the sleeping bag in with one hand, with the other she furiously tugged at her map, trying to wrench it out. Eventually it came free, and she zipped up her backpack before releasing Gastly out of his Pokéball. Judging by his behaviour last night, he thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors. Sure enough, as soon as he was out of the Pokéball, Gastly began flying through the air, doing loops and somersaults, and floating his way through trees bushes, and even the ground.

    With Gastly by her side, whizzing around her like an extremely large fly, Agatha headed back up the path. She passed the remains of the campfire with a look of pure loathing on her face, as though it was the burnt wood that had kidnapped her mother, and not the men. As they continued on, Agatha examined her map, and told Gastly that they would head for Celadon City. Saffron City was too risky, and that left Celadon as the next closest town. She was confident there would be police there that she could ask for help, so it was definitely the logical choice.

    Once she had decided on her course of action, Agatha packed her map away and kept on walking, the nightmares she had last night lingering in her mind. She couldn’t stop thinking about them. The task ahead was so immense that she didn’t know whether she could face it or not. Every time she thought about it, the part of her nightmare where she fell into unending darkness haunted her. Despite all that, it was the only thing she ever thought of. Her mind was concocting plan after plan after plan to try and rescue her Mum, each more wild and unrealistic than the last, desperately trying to find one that could actually work.

    Unfortunately, she never did. For three hours she walked in silence, with Gastly flying up above her, concentrating deeply about what she would do. Then she suddenly heard a faint noise, so faint she couldn’t tell what it was. She picked up her pace, and slowly but surely the sound became clearer, and she was able to identify it. It was the sound of blaring sirens. Assuming the worst, Agatha rushed off towards the sirens. As she rounded the last corner before Celadon City, she saw the source of the sirens. Even though she had thought it was something bad, she had never thought it would be this bad.

    She was staring straight ahead at Celadon City, or at least what was left of it. Buildings were crumbling to the ground left, right, and centre as numerous fires raced throughout the town, scorching the ground black. The famous Celadon department store had collapsed in on itself, and Agatha could see dozens of bodies sprawled throughout the city, as well as hundreds of screaming men, women and children, all frantically trying to escape. Just outside the city were dozens of firemen and policemen, preparing themselves for a rescue attempt. The firemen were gearing up and preparing all the equipment, while the police were huddled in a group, discussing the operation ahead. Just a few metres in front of them was a wall of scorching hot flames, casting a fiery barrier around the main entrance of the city. No one could get in or out.

    Agatha stared bemusedly into the city, trying to figure out what had happened. She was sure that whoever the men were working for was behind it, but why would they burn an entire city to the ground? It was such unneeded destruction. They hadn’t done it to Lavender Town, so why had Celadon City been so unlucky? Did these people just enjoy killing people so much? Agatha couldn’t see how anyone could enjoy the death and destruction that had engulfed Celadon. She wanted to look away, but she couldn’t. She was forced to watch as countless buildings were engulfed in flames, and she couldn’t block out the terrifying screams of the people trapped inside the burning city.

    “Gastly,” she said. “How could they do this?”

    “Gas Gastly,” Gastly responded, his grin from a couple minutes ago replaced with a sombre frown, his eyes narrowed in anger.

    “Hey, hey, what are you doing here, little girl!”

    One of the firemen, a tall dark man, was coming towards her, urging her to stay put.

    “I just, what happened?” Agatha asked.

    “We don’t know,” the fireman replied. “We only received the call early this morning. It took us a while to get here. Celadon’s police and fire departments have been decimated. We had to come from Boku Town up north. Anyway, you have to get out of here. We’re going in soon. This is nothing a girl your age should be seeing.”

    “But I...” Agatha protested.

    “No!” he forcefully replied. “You have to leave. I am not going to let any more innocent civilians die today. Just get out of here. This fire could easily spread, so you need to get going.”

    “But I need to know what happened.”

    “We don’t know. It seems like they were attacked, but by who or what we don’t know. Now go, GO!” the man yelled, ushering Agatha towards a path leading north. A sign next to it read, “BOKU TOWN: STRAIGHT AHEAD”. She tilted her head over her shoulder, still unable to stop watching the once great city burning to the ground, her legs refusing to move as the fireman pushed her forwards.

    Once she had reached the path, the fireman rushed back, occasionally glancing over his shoulder to make sure she wasn’t coming back. He didn’t need to worry though. Agatha had seen enough death and destruction to last a lifetime. Tears welled up in her eyes and slowly trickled down her face as she thought of the countless lives lost in Celadon City. She couldn’t believe how anyone could be so cruel as to wipe out an entire city. Even though she hadn’t known anyone there, she was mourning their deaths like they were part of her family. She detested violence in all its forms, and this was such unneeded bloodshed. It was unforgiveable. Agatha vowed that if it was the last thing she ever did, she would get revenge on the people responsible.

    “Come on, Gastly,” she said, forcefully wiping the tears off her face. “We better get going.”

    All Agatha cared about now was getting revenge, and she was now resigned to travelling to Boku Town. Celadon City no longer offered anything for her. As she set off, she heard one of the firemen asking them to use any of their water Pokémon to douse the flames. When she saw the road she had to travel, Agatha couldn’t help but sigh in frustration. The road was uneven and craggy, jagged rocks the size of cars jutting out from the ground. A huge cliff towered to her right, cloaking the road in shadow, which was covered with thousands of tiny pebbles. They slid under Agatha’s feet as she walked, forcing her to slip and stumble regularly. She knew she had a long journey ahead before she got what she wanted; vengeance.

    ***

    “I lost,” Joven muttered softly. “That’s the first time I’ve ever lost against someone before. They were just too good.” Joven lifted his head, and saw Rhyhorn still lying unconscious a few metres ahead. “Come and rest, Rhyhorn,” he said quietly, returning Rhyhorn to his Pokéball.

    When Joven clipped Rhyhorn’s Pokéball back onto his belt, he looked over at Roger and Zangoose. Zangoose was doing a sort of victory dance, prancing and jumping around, puffing out its chest with pride.

    “Stop showboating, you stupid Pokémon,” Roger snapped angrily. “Just get in the damn ball!” He unclipped a Pokéball from his belt, tossed it into the air, and caught it before returning Zangoose. He then made his way over to Joven, his Pokémon egg tucked securely under his right arm. When he reached Joven, he was hunched over his Pokéball, whispering so quietly, that even though he was only a foot away, Roger couldn’t understand what he was saying.

    “What do you want?” Joven asked.

    “I wanted to congratulate you,” Roger said. “Really, I did,” he continued after seeing Joven’s shocked expression. “Listen, kid, you’re a promising trainer, but I have one piece of advice for you. Stop caring so much about your Pokémon during the battle. There were so many choices you could’ve made at the end there, but you told Rhyhorn to dodge just so he wouldn’t get hurt. You must’ve known he was too slow for Zangoose. A Pokémon’s always going to take damage, and they’re not going to get any stronger unless they learn to deal with it. Don’t worry about your Pokémon’s wellbeing in the battle. If they’re any good, they’ll take what’s thrown at them. Simply focus on your own moves and strategies, not about how much more damage your Pokémon can take. You’ll be more successful that way. Trust me, I know.”

    Roger held out a hand to Joven, waiting for Joven to extend one of his own. Instead of turning away, or wallowing in self pity like he felt, Joven shook Roger’s hand, and stared him straight in the eyes.

    “Thanks. I’ll take what you said into account,” he said untruthfully. Even though Roger didn’t seem like such a bad guy, Joven didn’t believe in his philosophy about raising Pokémon, and nothing would change his mind about it. Nothing! They meant so much more to him than anybody, even his mother.

    “If you do, I guarantee you’ll be successful,” Roger replied.

    “That’s preposterous!” Sam suddenly yelled. “You can’t honestly believe that crap. Joven, don’t listen to him. Pokémon are our friends, our partners, our companions, and so much more. They’re not just tools for fighting. You can’t even be bothered raising your Pokémon,” he said in disgust, pointing at Roger’s egg. “You put no effort in and you’re mean to them. I can’t believe...I can’t believe there are people like you in this world.”

    “Like mother like son,” Roger replied angrily. “That may be what you think, Sam, but that’s probably why you’re so weak. I guarantee that you couldn’t beat Joven in a battle. He knows what I’m saying is right, and that’s why he has potential. You’re just a waste of space. You don’t deserve to be a Pokémon Trainer.”

    “That may be your opinion,” Sam said indignantly. “But I know that one day I’ll be successful because I care about my Pokémon.”

    “You call that being successful? You don’t know what you’re talking about. Just quit while you’re behind.”

    “Oh, and I suppose you’re an expert on success then, are you?”

    “You may be the son of a prestigious Pokémon professor, and the grandson of a great Pokémon trainer, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m far more successful than you can imagine. I’ve been travelling with Pokémon for more than twenty years, and I have built up quite a convincing reputation to go along with it. Just ask your Mum. She’ll be able to tell you just how good I am. Tell her you met her ‘good boy’.”

    “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Sam exclaimed.

    “She’ll understand.”

    Without another word, Roger stormed off, heading along the eastern path and into the deep forest. Just before entering, he stopped, and fumbled with the straps of his backpack.

    “I should write all this down in my journal. Not the most interesting battle notes ever, but meeting Sam again was very interesting,” he mumbled to himself. He tried to undo his backpack zipper while holding onto his egg, but was having a lot of trouble. “Bah! This stupid egg is always in the way. My sister said it would take time and care, but this is ridiculous.” Roger tossed his egg to the side before reaching into his bag for a small journal and a pen. Once he finally had them in his hands, he zipped up his backpack, and headed back down the path into the forest.

    “Hey, Roger, what about your egg?” Sam called out, noticing that Roger had left his egg where he had thrown it.

    “You want it so bad?” Roger asked. He walked back to the egg and turned his back to Sam and Joven, blocking their sight of the egg. Roger lifted up the top of the case, and carefully took the egg and cushion out. Below the cushion was a small latch which Roger opened up, and inside was a small glass phial full of a strange orange liquid. It was connected on either side to two very fine thin tubes that ran throughout the base of the container. He gently pulled on the phial, and it came out. Then, as quickly as he could, he reassembled the case, putting both the egg and the cushion back inside, all the while wearing a big grin. He stood back up and threw the egg towards Sam and Joven, smirking cruelly as it clattered to the ground.

    “I don’t want it,” he said gruffly. “Take it if you want. I can’t be stuffed lugging it around with me anymore.”

    “Man, I can’t stand that guy,” Sam whispered to himself as Roger disappeared into the forest. “What kind of man throws away a Pokémon Egg because he’s too lazy?”

    “Yoink,” Joven said excitedly. He ran out to the egg and picked it up, gently cradling it in his hands like it was the Holy Grail.

    “You’re gonna hatch it, then?” Sam asked concernedly. He wasn’t sure that an eight year old kid could be responsible enough to take care of a Pokémon Egg properly.

    “Yes, I am,” Joven replied in a dignified manner. “If you wanted the egg you should have grabbed it before me. I’m keeping this.”

    “Fine, I don’t want it anyway,” Sam said truthfully. “I don’t want anything that belonged to Roger. The guy’s a creep. Can you believe all that crap about how Pokémon are tools for fighting, not our friends? And to think that he thought you were like that.” Sam thought it was so outrageous that he couldn’t stop himself from laughing.

    “Um, yeah,” Joven replied meekly. “Um, can we get going?”

    “Why don’t we just relax,” Sam said, ignoring Joven’s obvious attempt to change the subject. “It’s all been rushing around since I started my journey. I just want to relax a bit.”

    “Fine,” Joven grumpily replied. “But I’d like to be at Boku Town by tonight.”

    “Well, it’s not that far. According to the map, I think it should only take a few more hours. Now it’s time for some relaxation.”

    For the next couple hours, Sam and Joven did exactly that. Sam swam laps in the nearby lake, while Joven rested at the side of the lake, only his bare feet below the water. Sam had Charmander and Pidgey out of their Pokéballs. Pidgey soared playfully through the air while Charmander sat far away from the lake, eyeing the water nervously. Joven had all but one of his Pokémon out of their Pokéballs as well. His egg was nestled gently in his lap, and he spent the whole time in deep contemplation about his recent encounter with Roger. He just couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said.

    Roger was so certain that Joven was just like him, but Joven told himself constantly that it wasn’t true. But was it? Something about how certain Roger was really unnerved Joven, and made him reconsider who he truly was. Maybe he was more like Roger then he thought. Before his Mum left, Joven hadn’t really liked Pokémon that much. He wasn’t mean to them or anything, but he didn’t truly care for them. That had all changed though. Over the past two years, he had treated everyone but his Pokémon with contempt. He had treated them as friends, while rejecting everyone else.

    But now, after Roger’s certainty about his true nature, Joven was feeling very uneasy about himself. Was he going to revert back to his old ways, to not care for his Pokémon as he did now? Or was it already happening? Was he already treating his Pokémon wrongly in a way he didn’t realise yet? He wasn’t a bad person, or at least he didn’t think so. He had been nice to Sam. As far as Joven could tell, he hadn’t been mean to Sam at all. Sure, he had lied to Sam about some things, but that wasn’t him trying to be rude. That was just him being himself.

    But maybe that’s the problem,
    Joven thought. Maybe I’m naturally mean, and I don’t realise it. Is that why I seem to push everyone but my Pokémon away, the reason why I have no friends but them, and the reason Sam always seems to be angry with me?

    Even though he had saved Sam’s life earlier today, he still couldn’t help the horrifying thoughts seeping into his mind. If he asked himself whether he had barged through the wall to protect Sam, to solely save Sam’s life, he couldn’t answer. He just didn’t know. Perhaps that was the most disturbing thing of all. He didn’t know who he was now, and he didn’t know how he would turn out in the future. Would he be someone like Roger, or someone like Sam? Overall, the two hours they were supposed to spend relaxing, Joven spent thinking, and all he had to show for it at the end was an annoying headache.

    Sam too, just like Joven, thought constantly about his encounter with Roger as he swum around the lake. Except, he wasn’t thinking about who he was, he was thinking about who Roger was. There was definitely some sort of connection between his Mum and Roger, and he desperately wanted to figure it out. How did he know so much about her, and when had he met Roger? It must have been when he was very young, because he couldn’t remember. The way he had flippantly thrown about the comment of Sam’s grandfather told him that Roger had known him before he died too.

    One comment in particular had Sam thinking. The title of ‘her good boy’ that Roger said his Mum would understand definitely insinuated that they were more than friends. It was something that Sam didn’t want to think about. Just the thought of his Mum being in a relationship with Roger made his skin crawl. He couldn’t understand what she could like about Roger anyway. He seemed like such a jerk, and his Mum definitely wouldn’t agree with his philosophy or treatment of Pokémon. Either way, Sam was definitely going to make a phone call to her when he reached Boku Town to find out.

    “I don’t get it,” Sam said out loud for the fourth time. “How could my mother possibly be involved with that guy?”

    “Will you just shut up about that?” Joven snapped angrily. “I’ve had enough of listening to you complain about your Mum and how she could possibly like Roger. At least you have a Mum to complain about.” Joven gasped in shock upon realising what he had just said, and he quickly put his hand over his mouth, as if afraid that more of his secrets would just leap out.

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Sam asked.

    “Nothing, nothing,” Joven hurriedly replied. “Um, let’s go. Are you relaxed, I’m relaxed, let’s go.”

    “Fine,” Sam coolly replied. He watched Joven with intrigue as he stood up with his egg in his hands. Had Joven just accidentally revealed to Sam the piece of information he had been dying to know? Was the fact that he didn’t have a mother what he had been hiding from Sam, the reason he was so different from other kids his age? Sam was confident it was, and he couldn’t help smiling as he got out of the lake. It seemed Joven had answered his most pressing question without him even having to ask it.

    After Sam had dried himself off and changed his clothes, they were off. They walked side by side, making sure to stick to the path in front of them. Both of them were aware that they were surrounded by forests on either side, and none of them wanted to accidentally get lost. Joven held his egg securely the whole time they travelling, gripping it tightly against his chest. Sam was amazed at how much care he was showing in the egg. He had just never thought of Joven as the maternal type, especially after the comment Joven had just made.

    It took them a couple of hours to finally reach the craggy path leading straight to Boku Town. The sun began to set, casting a reddish pink hue over the sky. Once they reached the end of the forest trees, they were greeted to a pleasant surprise. Standing on a large rock before them was a Bulbasaur, and not just any Bulbasaur. Sam knew without even having to look at the pattern on his leg that this was the Bulbasaur he had seen that morning.

    “If you keep giving me opportunities like this Bulbasaur, I will catch you,” Sam said. “Enough talking, though. Let’s get into this. Go, Char...”

    “Get out of the way!” Bulbasaur’s mine!” Upon seeing Bulbasaur, Joven had placed his belongings aside, and when he had seen Sam going for the Pokéball, he had launched himself at Sam, shoving him to the ground. Already today he had added two Pokémon to his team. He wanted every Pokémon he saw, and he wanted them now! “Go, Weedle.”

    Sam, still dazed and confused on the ground, stared up at Joven as he released Weedle. He still couldn’t believe what had happened. Why would Joven interfere with him catching a Pokémon when Sam hadn’t interfered at all with Machop and Roger’s egg? He didn’t deserve to be treated like that!

    “Weedle, use Poison...” Joven was just about to finish his command when Sam jumped up and rammed him into the ground.

    “You stupid prick! I was going to catch Bulbasaur!” Sam yelled as he jumped on top of Joven.

    He took Joven by the collar of his shirt and knocked him down onto the ground, and then while he was on top, prepared to take a swing. But Joven wasn’t going to give up. He pushed back against Sam, causing him to stumble backwards and fall to the ground. Then Joven jumped on top, trying to punch Sam. The two rolled around on the dirt, taking punches and kicks at each other whenever there was room. They punched, they kicked, they fought, and then they fought some more. For several minutes the pair rolled to and fro, each landing a couple blows, while missing dozens of others, until Sam gained the upper hand.

    He rolled over, and then Joven went over the top. Using his feet, Sam kicked Joven off him, throwing him back several feet. He sprawled backwards, crashing into one of the giant rocks lining the path. Pain shot up through Joven’s spine and into his brain, overwhelming him and sending him crashing to the ground. He crouched down, breathing heavily, clutching at his back with one hand. The pain was so great that he couldn’t stand back up. He could barely even move. But that didn’t stop Sam.

    Adrenaline pumping through his veins, clouding his judgment, Sam ran over to Joven and pushed him up against the rock. With one hand pinning Joven down, Sam bawled his other hand into a fist, and swung towards Joven. But just before he made contact, Joven jerked his foot out and kicked Sam painfully in the shin. Joven was just about to lunge, but a spasm of pain shot throughout his body, and he stumbled to the ground. Seeing Joven weakening on the ground, Sam lunged forwards, and punched him in the face. He punched again and again and again, blood now streaming out of Joven’s nose and mouth, adding to his excruciating back pain.

    “Stop that! Leave that kid alone! Stop fighting!”

    Sam heard someone screaming at him from further down the path. He turned to his right and could see someone running towards him, frantically waving her arms in the air. It was a girl about the same age as him, maybe a couple years older. She was running as fast as she could towards Sam and Joven, and within a few seconds she was standing right beside them, staring at Sam with an appalled expression on her face.

    “What do you think you two were doing? You shouldn’t be fighting like that!” she yelled again.

    Sam didn’t hear a word the girl had to say. As soon as she had stopped running, he hadn’t been able to look away from her face, and even though she was furious at him, it was an amazing sight. Blonde hair was messily strewn across her face, and as she brushed it aside, Sam caught sight of gorgeous pale blue eyes. She had a few pimples on her face, and her eyes were narrowed in anger, but Sam still thought she was the prettiest girl he’d ever seen. He was positive her hair was usually stunning, not matted and messy, and her stare pierced his heart like a bullet. He thought she was breathtaking. Unfortunately for Sam, she wasn’t paying any attention to him. She was bent over Joven, examining his bruised and bloody face.

    “Are you alright?” she asked gently.

    “What do you think!?” Joven retorted, wiping the blood from his face. He coughed a few times and a little more blood trickled out, along with a few tears from his eyes. He tilted his head away from the girl so that she wouldn’t see him crying, and he refused to even look in Sam’s direction. The girl turned on Sam, ready to begin yelling furiously at him, but when she laid eyes on him she couldn’t do it.

    The girl eyed Sam questioningly from head to foot, taking in his skinny frame and long brown hair and sideburns. There were a few cuts and bruises on his face form his fight, and blood was flowing freely from behind his right ear, but she was sure underneath all that was a handsome young face. She thought to herself that he wasn’t the most handsome, well toned boy she had ever seen, but that didn’t matter. There was just something about him that seemed to calm her down, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She smiled giddily at him, but after hearing Joven whimper in pain, she remembered what she had been about to do.

    “What were you two thinking? How could you stoop so low as to solve your problems with a brawl? Especially in front of your Pokémon.”

    She pointed over towards Weedle and Bulbasaur. As soon as Sam looked over, Bulbasaur darted off into the trees. Now that the excitement was over, he had no reason to stay behind. Weedle on the other hand was staying exactly where it was, and it was beginning to shiver. Then it was suddenly surrounded by a blinding white light and began to change shape. Her legs retracted back into her body, which began to straighten up and elongate slightly. Along with her body, her head also began to change, turning into a dome like shape, and sitting directly above the rest of her body. As the white light faded away, Sam, Joven, and the girl saw what looked like a yellow cocoon with black eyes standing before them.

    (continued)

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  21. #21
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    Apr 2007
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    (continued)

    “That’s a Kakuna, isn’t it?” the girl whispered in astonishment.

    “Yeah, it’s Weedle’s evolved form,” Sam said. He stared in amazement at the wonderful transformation Weedle had undergone. Her hard cocoon glinted brightly in the sunlight as she stared at Joven, not moving a muscle. “Another new Pokémon for Joven,” Sam finished scathingly.

    “Wow, congratulations...um...who are you?” the girl inquired. Joven smiled faintly at Kakuna, and returned her to her Pokéball, but didn’t respond to the girl at all. Instead, he examined all his injuries. Numerous cuts and grazes lined his hands and arms, and his right cheek was swollen and a murky yellow colour where Sam had repeatedly punched him. What was worrying him the most though was his back, which felt like it was being stabbed repeatedly with red hot knives.

    Since Joven didn’t say anything, Sam stood up and introduced himself and Joven to the girl, who he found out, was called Agatha. As Sam talked, Joven cast a look of loathing and disgust in his direction. As soon as the introductions were over, Joven made his way slowly over to his backpack and egg, grimacing in pain with every step he took. He holstered his backpack over his shoulder and gathered up his egg before standing up. Both Sam and Agatha could tell it was causing him a great deal of pain, but he still continued on, making his way back towards the rocky path. He had one hand still clutched at his lower back, his knuckles startlingly white, as he walked away, bent over double.

    “Joven, you can’t go,” Agatha said. “You’re too badly hurt.”

    “Just piss off,” Joven retorted. “I don’t want to be anywhere near that jerk,” he finished, tilting his head towards Sam. Without another word he headed up the path and out of sight, occasionally stumbling over on the uneven terrain. His progress was excruciatingly slow because of his back, but he never once looked back to reconsider his decision.

    “Well?” Agatha began, glaring down at Sam. “Aren’t you going to do anything?”

    “Why should I? I don’t care what happens to him,” Sam replied.

    “You can’t leave him like that though. He’s just a little kid.”

    “He can take care of himself. Who knows, maybe he can join the circus. The pale skinned black haired loner kid. He might make a good attraction,” Sam said sarcastically.

    “That wasn’t funny,” Agatha said seriously. “You need to do something. I know you care about him. You just don’t want to admit it.”

    “Okay, okay, I’ll go after Joven,” Sam said begrudgingly. He didn’t really want to, but he knew that if he did, he’d be able to impress Agatha. That was what he truly wanted to do. So he gathered his supplies and walked up the uneven road, weaving his way through the numerous boulders with Agatha a few steps behind, flushing a furious tone of scarlet.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  22. #22
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    Here is Chapter Eleven. I hope you enjoy it.



    Chapter Eleven: Hospital Romance




    Sam and Agatha made their way up the beaten uneven path, occasionally slipping over the rolling pebbles, which seemed to have a mind of they own as they shuffled under their feet. For the whole journey, as the sun gradually set below the horizon, Agatha remained several feet behind him. If it wasn’t for her Sam wouldn’t even be doing this. He’d be going to Boku Town, but it wouldn’t be to apologise to Joven; it would be for his gym battle. But he wanted to impress Agatha, so showing her that he was a nice person and not just some thug was definitely the right thing to do. He didn’t know why he felt this way about her. From the moment he saw her he had fallen under her charm, and he couldn’t break free. He felt as though he’d do anything for her, even if it meant going after Joven.

    If Joven hadn’t gone to Boku Town though, Sam would’ve outright refused to Agatha to follow him. It was only because Boku Town happened to be the location of his first Pokémon Gym that Sam was even considering it, despite how he felt about her. Joven needed to learn his lesson, and apologising and saying that he was wrong wasn’t going to do it. He was a complete prick and he deserved everything he got. It just wasn’t right to interfere when someone was trying to catch a Pokémon. In Sam’s opinion, that was almost as bad as stealing the Pokémon right out of its trainer’s lap. The thought of losing Bulbasaur again deeply angered Sam, but he was confident that he had got his message across to Joven loud and clear. He’d think twice before doing something like that to Sam in the future. Of course, Sam wanted nothing more than to never see Joven again in his life.

    Despite leaving just minutes after Joven, they never saw him in their sights. Joven was moving slower because of his back, but Sam had his own injuries from their fight that hindered his progress as well. He hadn’t realised it until he got up, but Joven’s sharp kick into his shin really caused some damage. He was limping badly and a large bruise covered most of his lower leg. His right leg felt like it was attached to a heavy ball and chain, and the upwards hill and uneven terrain did nothing to make Sam’s journey to Boku Town any easier. And yet Agatha still hadn’t passed him, something which made Sam begin to worry.

    Maybe she hates me, he thought. Maybe she thinks I’m despicable for fighting like that. If that’s the case I’ve got to make it up to her!

    ***

    At the same time as Sam was desperately trying to impress Agatha, Agent Carson Roberts was with his boss, and together they were discussing which city to target next with the Rift Opener.

    “Well, how about Cinnabar Island? It’s an isolated place, so the police force would be spread even thinner if we do it.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Look,” Carson began, drawing her attention to the outspread map in front of her. He leaned over the desk and began pointing at various cities on the map. “So far we’ve only used the Rift Opener here and here. If we choose Cinnabar, which is all the way down here, then the police forces of the other cities will be diverted there to try and find some evidence. That spreads their manpower very thinly across Kanto, making it less likely for them to discover us. Fuschia could also do that, but that’s part of our backup plan. We can’t target that yet, just in case things get really out of hand.”

    “No, I don’t want Cinnabar,” the boss replied. She sounded almost bored by their discussion, as if they were talking about the weather, not the lives of millions of people. “There’s nothing of value there. I need to get rid of threats.”

    “What kind of threats do you have in mind?”

    “I’m thinking of Boku Town, more specifically, their world renowned hospital. If there are somehow survivors of Celadon City, then...”

    “That’s virtually impossible,” Carson interrupted.

    “I know that,” the boss scathingly replied. “But there’s always a chance. If there are any survivors, they would be directed there for treatment. Also, if anyone outside of Lavender witnessed what happened, either Boku Town or Cerulean City would be the most likely places to go to report it. Since the residents of Cerulean City also rely on the Boku Town hospital and emergency resources, they are a prime target. Not to mention that the fire fighters and police currently at Celadon City are also from Boku Town.”

    “If you don’t mind me asking, how is that particularly threatening?”

    “Because, you imbecile!” she yelled, banging her desk with her fists, and sweeping the map onto the floor. “If people survive our attacks, they could possibly have compromising information. If they are treated, they can then go see the police. If they see the police they can report what they know, and we will then be compromised. You don’t remain a secret organisation for decades by being sloppy, Agent Roberts.”

    Most of her agents would have been cringing in fear right now, but Carson merely smiled across the desk at her, showing no signs of anxiety. His calmness always infuriated her and he knew it. “Of course,” Carson replied, a hint of sarcasm evident in his voice. “But then again I don’t know as much about your secret organisation as most, now do I? After all, I’m not exactly a member. I only accepted your offer because of one thing. That one thing wasn’t out of loyalty to you, belief of your cause, or even for the cash. So don’t assume that I know your entire history, because quite frankly, nothing about your organisation interests me in the slightest.”

    The boss scowled across the desk at Carson, wanting nothing more than to throttle him. Insulting her organisation was an insult of the most personal kind. He had insulted all the blood, sweat and tears she had put into building it into the underground organisation it was today, and all the sacrifices she had made to get it done. But right now she needed him, so she couldn’t risk losing her temper. Once his usefulness was gone, once the job was over, she could afford to eliminate him. He’d be expendable then.

    “Agent Roberts, I have not forgotten your unfamiliarity with our protocols and history. But you have done a good job so far, except for the fiasco in Veilstone City. Our entire cover could’ve been blown because of your recklessness.”

    “Uh-huh,” Carson offhandedly replied. “Do you want me to give the order to target Boku Town or not?”

    “I want you to do more than that,” the boss said, using all of her self control to remain calm. Agent Robert’s disrespectful and unfazed attitude was making her anger escalate by the second. “I want you to watch over Boku Town from now until the time when the Rift Opener is charged enough to be used.”

    “That’s could be over a day, maybe even as long as two. You expect me to just sit there and watch that boring town for that long?”

    “Of course I do,” she smugly stated. “That’s what I’m paying you to do. To carry out my orders until the completion of this operation. Maybe by an off chance those kids will show up there. If they do, their trip to the Distortion World will occur sooner than expected.”

    “Yes, sir,” Carson said as he got to his feet. He smoothed out his clothes before heading for the door. “I’ll head to Boku Town right away.”

    “If you do think you’ve spotted the children, even with our operatives’ downright awful descriptions, make sure you keep them in Boku Town until the Rift Opener is ready. I will kill them in the Distortion World, right in front of their families. That will show them what price they pay for interfering in my...”

    “Yeah yeah,” Carson interjected. “No need to ramble. I’ll get right on it.”

    “Don’t lose your cool like at Veilstone, Agent Roberts, or else you will be eliminated, no matter how useful you are.”

    Carson nodded, completely ignoring the obvious death threat he had just received. Even though he knew she could beat him in a Pokémon battle, and that her Pokémon were deadly to say the least, he knew she would never be able to kill him. Stronger and more powerful people had tried and failed, and he had enough ingenuity and skill to escape from any situation. Not to mention the fact that if he died she would never find out the crucial information he had hidden from her. She thought the kids and the police were her biggest threats. Witnesses from the attacks were the least of her worries. A force much more deadly stood in between her and success. It was a force that he had known about since stealing Team Galactic’s research, a force that he was going to use as insurance.

    If the situation called for it, he would reveal the information to her, to ensure his safety. If she didn’t try to kill him, which he severely doubted, he would just hide the information from her for the whole operation. He would have his money, and he would be long gone before she realised what it was. Carson couldn’t help but smile as he made his way out of her office, and he laughed out loud as he left the base. Even though they were working together, there was almost nothing Carson wanted more than to watch this woman fall flat on her face.

    ***

    Sam and Agatha stood just outside Boku Town, casting their gazes around the town in search of Joven. As they expected, they couldn’t see him amidst the bustling crowds of the city. Even after the sun set, the city was active and alive with both Pokémon and people wandering the town. Agatha was just about to enter when she heard Sam gasp in pain behind her. He was lying on the ground, right leg extended straight out, and he winced in pain as he clutched at it. Sweat poured down his face as his pain escalated, and when Agatha tried to get him to stand up, he crumpled down again.

    “Sam, what’s wrong?” Agatha asked concernedly.

    “I don’t know,” Sam replied, his voice cracked, his mouth dry from the pain. “It wasn’t this bad before.”

    “I didn’t realise you were in this bad a shape. We need to get you to a hospital. I know there’s one here, but I don’t know where.”

    Knowing that Sam couldn’t walk, Agatha carefully stood him up and supported his body with her left arm, which Sam’s right was draped over. She walked around town in search of the hospital, trying as hard as she could to support Sam’s body weight. Sam tried to help, but every time he put any pressure on his right leg, pain shot up it, overwhelming him. After several minutes of fruitless effort, she asked some of the townspeople, who pointed her in the right direction.

    Even though Sam was in dire trouble, Agatha couldn’t help admiring Boku Town as she made her way to the hospital. It was beautiful. There were no roads, instead there was just grass. Trees and bushes were plentiful, and every house, big and small, had wonderfully extravagant gardens. The aromas of the hundreds of varieties of flowers mixed in the air, giving it a most curious scent. Berries and fruits of all shapes and sizes grew from the trees, and almost every one Agatha passed had at least one Pokémon scurrying across the branches. In the pale glow of the moonlight, the grass seemed to glisten and glow as it fluttered in the warm evening breeze. What were most amazing though were the houses themselves. They were all built completely out of wood, not bricks, and yet they were in perfect condition.

    As she rounded the last corner before the hospital, Agatha grew even more astounded. She had been expecting the hospital to stick out like a sore thumb against the brown wooden buildings of town. All hospitals she knew of were sparklingly white and sterile, huge, and crowded. But not this one. Just like the rest of the town, it was made of wood. It stood three stories high, and not a single person was outside it. It was easily the biggest building in town, but Agatha couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by it.

    “Excuse me, is that the hospital?” Agatha asked an old man passing by, shifting her body weight to keep Sam from slipping out of her grip.

    “Sure is,” the old man replied. “It ain’t extravagant, but they do brilliant work. There ain’t another hospital like it in the whole world.”

    Agatha nodded and thanked the man before walking uncertainly up to the building, unsure of what she would see when she walked inside. She pushed open the door with one hand, using all her might to keep Sam upright with the other. Seeing that Agatha was having trouble, Sam hobbled through the door on his own, slowly making his way over to one of the five beds lining the opposite wall. There were twelve beds in total in the room, spaced out among three of the four walls. The other wall had two locked doors and an elevator.

    “Are you alright?” Agatha asked, closing the front door of the hospital behind her and rushing over to Sam’s bed.

    “It’s not that bad,” he said, though his grimace of pain gave away his true condition. “I’m sorry you had to drag me around town like that.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” Agatha replied, clasping Sam’s right hand tightly around her own. Sam stared down at her hand in amazement, then back at her, all the while his face reddening.

    “Um...” he sheepishly began.

    “Sorry, sorry,” Agatha hastily replied, yanking her hand away from Sam’s. “I’ll go get you some help. HELLO! IS ANYONE HERE? WE NEED SOME HELP!”

    Sam clapped his hands over his ears to block out Agatha’s loud shrill voice, but it had done its job. An old woman came bustling down the steps, a white lab coat trailing behind her. She had black curly hair, and even though she looked like a cranky old woman, she seemed to make the atmosphere of the room warmer and friendlier just by being there. There was a nametag pinned to her coat, which read, “GANGO”.

    “What’s the matter? You said you needed help,” Nurse Gango asked in a croaky voice. Her voice made her sound like she was angry, when in fact Agatha knew she was concerned. It was a strange fit for a nurse.

    “Yes, Sam, he got into a fight with another kid. He seemed to be fairly fine for a little while, just cuts and bruises, nothing serious. But when we arrived in town the pain in his leg got a lot worse, and now he can barely stand up,” Agatha explained, occasionally glancing worriedly at Sam’s bed.

    Nurse Gango nodded to show she understood, and then bustled over to one of the doors next to the elevator. She rummaged around in there for a few seconds before coming out, pushing a service cart ahead of her. The cart was full to the brim with various medical equipment. Agatha followed her over to Sam’s bed, and every time she picked up a piece of equipment, Agatha would ask what it was and its function.

    “You need to get out of the way, young lady,” she said briskly. “I can’t possibly perform my job with you constantly hanging over my shoulders. Now sit down over there,” she said, indicating a couple uncomfortable wooden chairs on either side of the front door with a long bony finger. Agatha knew it had been a request, not an order, but she didn’t consider disobeying even for a split second.

    She made her way over to the chairs and sat down, watching Nurse Gango examine Sam’s leg. She used almost every piece of equipment in the cart during her examination, and Agatha couldn’t even begin to fathom the function of most of them. Gango poked and prodded him in every imaginable place, and they seemed to drag on forever. Occasionally, upon reading some data gathered by the equipment, her brow would furrow, further pronouncing her wrinkles. Agatha watched anxiously the whole time, her legs crossed tightly, and her hands clenched so tightly that her knuckles were white. Finally, after over an hour of Nurse Gango bustling around the hospital, she finished.

    “How is he?” Agatha asked as Nurse Gango approached her. “Is he going to be alright?” Back in his bed, Sam leaned up into a sitting position so he could hear what she had to say.

    “He’s going to be fine. All of his injuries but the one in his right leg are superficial and nothing to worry about. The reason why his leg hurts so much is because he’s fractured his tibia. It’s a tibia diaphyseal, A grade, linear stable fracture. That means it’s a minor fracture that should heal fully without any complications,” she added at Agatha’s bemused expression.

    “So that’s good, isn’t it?” Sam asked from his bed. Agatha had seen him breathe a sigh of relief when she said that he would be fine, but he still sounded concerned.

    “It is. The fracture isn’t serious at all. You should be able to walk in two or three days, albeit a bit lame, and in a week you should be back to normal. If it had been more serious, you might never have been able to walk properly again. Judging by what this young lady said before, it sounds like after the initial blow it wasn’t fractured, but the stress you put on it while travelling here caused the tibia to fracture.”

    “Isn’t that great, Sam?” Agatha said, beaming across the room at him. She couldn’t believe how much of a relief it was to hear that Sam wasn’t more seriously injured. Without even knowing it, she had grown very concerned with Sam and his wellbeing. She couldn’t explain her feelings, but when Sam’s condition was uncertain, she had felt sick to her stomach, but upon hearing the good news, relief had washed over her. Her heart felt like it had stopped beating while she watched Nurse Gango examine Sam from head to foot, but now it felt stronger than ever.

    “Is there anything you can do for the pain, though?” Sam asked, wincing and grimacing in pain as he lay back down.

    “Yes, there is,” Nurse Gango replied. She rushed upstairs, and about two minutes later came back down with two bottles in her hand. One was completely clear, showing a murky green liquid inside, while the other one had a label imprinted with a cow’s face, and was full with what looked like milk. Nurse Gango picked up a spoon and poured some of the milk onto it and gave it to Sam, urging him to drink it.

    “This is the world famous Moo Moo Milk,” she said. “It’s far more nutritious than your average milk, and will greatly help your recovery.” Sam graciously took the spoon, and put it in his mouth. The effect was instantaneous. Even as it was travelling down his throat he could already feel his pain alleviating. After a few seconds the pain was just a numb tingling sensation.

    “Now drink this,” Nurse Gango said, handing Sam the much less appetising spoon filled with the murky green liquid.

    “What’s this?” he asked. He pulled a wretched face at the liquid, and wrinkled his nose in disgust as he smelt it. It smelt like a mix between rotten eggs and dirty diapers.

    “It’s something that will help you sleep. The best thing for you right now is sleep.”

    “But I’m not tired. I’ll stay in bed. I promise,” Sam desperately pleaded, putting his hands together as if in prayer.

    “I’m not having any of that nonsense,” she briskly replied. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my thirty-six years of nursing it’s that you can never trust your patients to do as you ask. I have had countless patients disobey my orders when I’m not around. No matter how qualified you are, and how often they come to a hospital for your assistance, they can never follow a simple order of bed rest. Heaven forbid a trained nurse might actually know the best way to treat someone.” She waved her arms in the air wildly as she ranted about past patients, her voice growing louder and louder. She had a stern look on her face, and Sam couldn’t help but feel that she would do something horrible if he didn’t do as he was told.

    “Fine, I’ll take it,” Sam said. She watched him suspiciously, a prominent frown on her face. After he drank the liquid, which tasted far worse than the milk, and which caused him to cough and splutter as he swallowed, he laid his head against the fluffy white pillow. His eyelids slowly drooped, until they finally closed, and less than a minute later he was fast asleep.

    “There, that’s better,” Nurse Gango said approvingly. She leaned over his chest, gazing intently at his chest, rising and falling as he breathed in and out. “It looks like he really is asleep.”

    “Is there any reason he wouldn’t be?” Agatha asked uncertainly.

    “You’d be surprised how many people would fake following my orders,” Nurse Gango said. Every time she spoke, she sounded more and more paranoid, but Agatha was sure it was all justified. She knew that she couldn’t stand being cooped up in a hospital bed for days at a time, and if she could, she would do almost anything for some fresh air. “Well, time to put these away,” Nurse Gango said to herself. She picked up the two bottles and was just about to enter the elevator when she felt something tugging at her arm.

    “Wait, can I ask you something?” Agatha asked.

    “Well, you just did, but I will certainly let you ask something else, young lady,” she replied, smiling at her own joke.

    “Is that cow on the bottle supposed to be a Pokémon?” Agatha asked, pointing to the label on the bottle of Moo Moo Milk. “You said it’s much more nutritious than normal milk, so I was just wondering.”

    “Yes, it is a Pokémon. The only one I own as a matter of fact. It’s called Miltank. I can show it to you if you want.”

    “Really?” Agatha eagerly asked. “That would be great.”

    After she put away the medicine, Nurse Gango led Agatha to the second door on the first floor. She pulled it open, and Agatha was surprised to see that it led outside. A porch had been built around the back and side wall of the hospital, and dull glowing lights hung at regular intervals. Nurse Gango led Agatha across the porch, her high heels clicking off the wooden floorboards of the porch. As they came around the back of the house, Agatha saw another, much smaller building.

    It was a stable. There was only room enough inside for a few animals, and as she walked closer to the stable, she saw that in fact there was only one stall, which was currently occupied. Curled up inside the solitary stall was the Pokémon depicted on the bottle of Moo Moo Milk. It was asleep, and as it snoozed it made deep grumbling snores, sounding not unlike a car engine. Agatha leaned over the railings of the stable at various angles to get a good look at the Pokémon inside. It was pink all over, except for its underbelly which was cream, and the top of its head, which was black. Attached to its large belly were four pink udders, which quivered slightly as Miltank dreamt. Occasionally as it rolled over, one of its stubby legs would kick out, and its long tail which ended in a black ball swung from side to side.

    “So this is Miltank?” Agatha asked Nurse Gango quietly. “I’ve never seen or heard of it before.”

    “It’s not very common in these parts at all, but when I came to work at this hospital, I bought Miltank along. It loves it here. It gets to roam in the grassy plains out back all day, and it even enjoys the milking sessions. Moo Moo Milk is one of our most potent medicines. It boosts and speeds up recovery, and can be used to treat most minor illnesses such as the common cold.”

    Agatha backed away from the Miltank and cast her gaze beyond the stable. Grassy hills and plains seemed to spread on and on for miles and miles. She couldn’t help but imagine how much fun Miltank had grazing in the fields and frolicking in the grass. She had to admit that Boku Town and its hospital were a perfect fit for it. She then slowly made her way into the stable, and examined the machines for milking Miltank. Once she was done, she came back out, and found Nurse Gango sitting down on the porch steps.

    “You don’t mind if I draw Miltank, do you?” Agatha asked.

    “Draw it?”

    “It’s just something I like to do when I see Pokémon, especially when they’re ones I’ve never seen before. I don’t really train and battle Pokémon, I sketch them.”

    “Sounds like you’d make a good Pokémon artist,” Nurse Gango replied. She sounded quite fascinated by what Agatha just said. “I hear that job pays good bucks. Anyway, be my guest.”

    Agatha smiled graciously at Gango before pulling her sketchpad out of her backpack. She hadn’t sketched a new Pokémon in a while now, and it felt good to get back to doing something she loved. Normally, Gastly and Nidoran would’ve been the latest entries in her sketchbook, but so much had happened since she had met Gastly, and it had been too dark when she met Nidoran. But with the porch lights casting a warm glow around the area, she could sketch Miltank perfectly. During the sketch, Agatha moved around and around Miltank, adding in tiny details at the best angles. She was so determined and focussed on her sketch that she only faintly registered Gango re-entering the hospital. Agatha tried to convince herself that she was sketching just for the sake of seeing a brand new Pokémon, but deep down she knew that it wasn’t the case. The only reason she was sketching Miltank was so that she didn’t have to dwell on her feelings towards Sam. They were so intense and overwhelming that she didn’t want to think about them, and she was afraid of what they truly meant.

    Finally, after she was sure there was nothing more to work on, Agatha pulled herself away from Miltank, examining her sketch closely under the porch lights. Just like the real thing, Agatha had drawn Miltank sleeping, which didn’t leave much excitement in the drawing, but it was an accurate rendition nonetheless. Feeling thoroughly satisfied with her night’s work, Agatha went back inside the hospital. She closed the door behind her, but as soon as she turned around and saw Sam, all the feelings she had been trying to block out flooded back. Feeling confused and uncertain, Agatha made her way over to Sam’s bed.

    “Why didn’t you tell me your leg was so bad?” she whispered. “What made you continue moving even though you were in such pain?” Agatha was begging for an answer she knew wouldn’t come. Sam couldn’t hear her and she knew it. She pondered the questions over and over in her mind. Even though his leg hadn’t initially been fractured, Agatha knew it had hurt all the way to Boku Town. She had walked behind him the whole time, she had seen and heard his discomfort and pain, seen his awkward stride up the path, and yet Sam didn’t say anything or stop. Why? He must have had a good reason, but she just couldn’t think what it could be.

    What Sam did had been foolhardy and reckless, but Agatha didn’t see those qualities in him. For some inexplicable reason, she had complete faith in the boy sleeping before her. Even though she first saw him beating Joven to a bloody pulp, she thought of him as a good person. Something about him captivated her, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. That was when it hit her. She knew nothing about Sam. She had all these feelings towards him, she trusted and had faith in him, and all she knew about him was his name. That wasn’t right, was it? That wasn’t how love was meant to be. Weren’t you supposed to know the person before you felt this strongly about them?

    But was it really love she felt? Or was it just some silly schoolyard crush? Something that you thought meant so much, but really meant next to nothing. Agatha’s heard was spinning at all the crazy thoughts in her head. She had feelings for Sam, of that she was certain, yet he clearly didn’t have any for her. He hadn’t shown any indication of that. Or had he? Maybe that was why he had gone on for so long with such a sore leg. Maybe he had been trying to impress her, to show her that he was all tough and macho. If that was the truth, then Sam was foolish. She would never want him to do that for her.

    All her uncertainty was threatening to overwhelm Agatha. There was so much she didn’t know, so much she needed to know, before she could act on her feelings. She’d ask Sam tomorrow morning how he felt. One way or another she would get an answer to the questions burning her up inside. For now though, she needed rest. It had been a long day, and only now as she sat on the comfortable fluffy warm bed beside Sam’s did she realise how tired she really was. She pulled the covers over her, and as soon as her head hit the pillow she fell asleep.

    ***

    When Agatha woke up the next morning, she looked over at Sam, and wasn’t surprised to see that he was already awake. She always slept in late, and she had been so exhausted last night that she had probably slept for a couple hours more than usual.

    “Hey, how are you?” she asked groggily. She rubbed her eyes to adjust to the bright sunlit room, and slowly clambered out of bed.

    “I’m fine,” Sam replied. “The pain’s a lot better today. Nurse Gango has already been doing some stretches with me to check how the leg’s going, and she thinks I’ll be able to walk tomorrow as long as I don’t aggravate the leg today. I’m so glad it’s only a minor injury. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to continue my journey, or battle the gym.” Sam’s expression had changed while he spoke, from gratitude and hope, to one that was glum and sad.

    “Wait a minute. You challenge gyms?” Agatha exclaimed.

    “Yeah. That’s what Pokémon trainers do, isn’t it? I thought you knew that.”

    “No, I didn’t,” Agatha mumbled.

    “Is that a problem?” Sam asked uncertainly. He didn’t understand what was wrong with Agatha. She almost seemed angry at him just because he wanted to challenge gyms.

    Agatha pondered her response for a few moments before deciding what to do. She told Sam everything - well almost. She didn’t mention anything about what happened in Lavender Town or with the men she had seen, and she didn’t say anything about her crush on him. But she told him all about her philosophies and beliefs about how wrong Pokémon battling was, and how she usually despised Pokémon trainers for doing that to their Pokémon. No matter how many times Sam tried to convince her that Pokémon enjoyed it too, she stubbornly refused to listen.

    She didn’t say much as Sam continued to persuade her, instead focussing all her thoughts on what to say next. She had been so confident in what to say the night before, but at the realisation of Sam being a trainer hoping to enter the Pokémon League, she was more uncertain than ever. What frustrated her most though was her stupidity. How could she not have seen that a young boy travelling with Pokémon was almost certainly a beginning Pokémon Trainer?

    After much dodging of the subject by Agatha, met with just as many pushes by Sam, the conversation finally ended. For a few minutes they sat in silence, neither daring to look at the other. Eventually Sam decided that he would tell Agatha a little more about himself. He wanted her to like him. That wasn’t going to happen if she didn’t know anything about him. He told her all about his Mum and the pressure she put him under, and how both his father and grandfather had been Pokémon Trainers before him. Even though Agatha was deeply interested in what Sam had to say, she didn’t show it. Sam knew now that he’d never be able to get into a relationship with Agatha. They had met in the worst of circumstances, and now she hated the very thing he loved most. If she didn’t like him before, she was guaranteed to hate him now.

    “Anyway,” Sam began awkwardly, trying to find a way to change the subject. “I just want to thank you for what you did yesterday. I didn’t think you liked me at all, especially with how we first met, but what you did was great.”

    “It was nothing,” Agatha said, shrugging her shoulders in modesty. “I would have done it for anybody, regardless of the situation. I wasn’t just going to leave you like that.” Agatha was about to turn away, but she knew that now was the perfect time to find out what she wanted to know. She knew that if she didn’t do it now, it would haunt her all day. “Sam, can I ask you something?” she asked, swinging around determinedly, her fists clenched tightly behind her back.

    “Fire away.”

    “Why didn’t you tell me about your leg yesterday? It must have been painful even before it fractured like that, but you didn’t do or say anything. You just kept on walking. Why?”

    At first Sam didn’t respond. He just stared down the bed at his toes, which were poking out from under the covers. Finally he spoke, deciding that if there was any chance to salvage some sort of relationship with Agatha, he’d have to tell the truth.

    “Well, this is kind of embarrassing, actually stupid more than anything,” he began nervously. He stared sheepishly down at his doona, and grabbed it nervously. “I’m not quite sure how to, you know, say it. I guess it was, you know, because...”

    Just as Sam was about to finish, the front door of the hospital flung open, and standing in the threshold of the door was Joven; if you could call it standing. He buckled to his knees, and he almost had to drag himself into the room. His egg was placed precariously in one hand, while he crawled along the floor with his other. He was in so much pain that he was crying, and he could barely speak. Every time he moved, he reached towards the middle of his back, the exact same spot he had hurt yesterday.

    “Please, please, I NEED HELP!” he screamed, his face bright red, his knuckles a contrasting white. Agatha instantly rushed over to him, but he pushed her back. “Not you!” he hissed scathingly.

    The elevator suddenly pinged and Nurse Gango rushed out. Upon seeing Joven, she rushed over to him, unceremoniously shoving Agatha aside.

    “Out of my way, young lady!” she snapped. “I need to get to the patient.”

    She helped Joven up, and then slowly guided him over to a bed two spots away from Sam’s. Nurse Gango gently and cautiously managed to get Joven into a lying position in the bed, being extra careful to not cause any sudden movements. The whole time she had been in the room with Joven, Nurse Gango had noticed him clutching his back in pain. Back injuries could be very serious, so she had to be extremely careful.

    Agatha made her way over to Joven’s bed, feeling heavy with guilt. What with her feelings towards Sam, and her concern to make sure he was alright, she had completely forgotten about Joven. He had looked to have been in worse pain than Sam yesterday, and yet she hadn’t thought about him even once since. Agatha felt horrible, as though she was the one causing Joven’s pain. How could she have forgotten about him? Agatha’s guilt was immense, and now she felt just as concerned for Joven as she had for Sam just last night. Sam obviously didn’t feel the same way though. He had his back turned to Joven, and was diligently pretending to be asleep.

    “Do you know what’s wrong with him?”

    “Unfortunately, dear, I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Not yet, anyway. There’s obviously something wrong with his back, but I’m going to have to take a closer look to find out.” Nurse Gango then promptly made her way behind the bed and pushed it towards the elevator.

    “The high powered scanning equipment is on the second floor, and if I want to see deeply into this kid’s back, I’m going to have to use them,” she explained to Agatha as she waited for the elevator to descend once more. When the elevator finally made it, and the doors opened, Nurse Gango wheeled the bed around and backed into the elevator. She pressed a button inside, and disappeared behind its doors within seconds.

    Agatha listened to the soft hum of the elevator as it reached the second floor, and then heard the ping as the doors opened. Feeling just as dreadful as when Nurse Gango had been examining Sam, Agatha took a seat beside his bed, and buried her head in her hands. For the next couple of hours, she did nothing but wait, praying any second to hear the hum of the elevator as it descended back down. Starting to grow restless, Agatha stood up and walked around the room, opening every drawer and cupboard she came upon. All of them were filled with medicine, bandages, complex medical equipment, or textbooks detailing rare and unusual diseases or injuries.

    As she looked at a box of ointment used to help heal burns, the fire symbol on the box caught her attention. It was only then that Agatha remembered why she had even come to Boku Town in the first place. She looked at her watch, and was startled to see that it was almost dusk. Over a day had passed since she had heard the men discussing their plans to kidnap the head scientist of Silph in Saffron City. Like most people in Kanto, Agatha was well aware of the prestigious and brilliant minds employed there. If these men needed someone to help them operate their deadly machine, then there’d be no better place than Silph in which to find one.

    Now Agatha had less than two weeks to try and stop them. She had wasted a lot of time in Boku Town already, and knew that she had to do something soon. But now that she had met Sam, she didn’t want to leave him. She now had to make a terrible decision. Did she follow her heart and stay with Sam, or did she leave him and try and stop these guys on her own? Her mind was telling her there was only one choice she could make, but her heart was telling her a completely different story. But Agatha didn’t let her feelings cloud her logic and what she knew was the right thing to do. She would have to leave for Saffron City without Sam, for it would be too dangerous to bring him along, and she would have to do it tomorrow at the latest. If she didn’t, the men would get their machine running at full capacity, and they would target her along with the other kids who had tried to stop them.

    “Excuse me, children, but do you know this boy?”

    Agatha jumped a foot in the air as Nurse Gango addressed her. She turned around, flustered, and was surprised to see both Nurse Gango and Joven back in the room. She had been so caught up in her own thoughts that she hadn’t heard the elevator. Joven looked asleep, or sedated in the bed beside Nurse Gango, whose eyes were darting from Sam to Agatha and back again. While her eyes were bright and active, Nurse Gango’s face was grim and sombre, and the way she spoke made her sound like she was speaking at a funeral. Sam still had his back turned to her and Joven, and refused to respond, so Agatha stepped forward.

    “Um, I don’t know him personally, but I think Sam does. All I know is that his name is Joven, and he was the other kid in the fight with Sam. I think they’re friends, but they were fighting pretty fiercely.”

    “Well, I’ll tell you both what I know,” Nurse Gango replied, casting a penetrating gaze into the square of Sam’s back. Clearly she wasn’t fooled by his act of being asleep. “Joven has a herniated disc in his lumbar vertebrae, and it is causing symptoms very similar to those of sciatica.”

    Yet again Agatha hadn’t understood a word Nurse Gango had just said. “What does that mean?” Nurse Gango sighed before explaining it, as though any random person in the street should know what she said meant.

    “The spinal cord consists of three sets of discs. The cervical vertebrae at the top contains seven discs, the thoracic vertebrae in the middle contains twelve discs, and the lumbar vertebrae at the bottom contains five discs. One of the spinal discs in Joven’s lumbar vertebrae, or in laymen’s term, his lower back, has been injured in this fight. Spinal discs have a tough fibrous outer layer and a more jelly like interior. In one of Joven’s discs, this jelly like interior, the nucleus pulposus, has broken through the fibrous layer, the annulus fibrosus, and is pressing against his sciatic nerve. This is causing severe pain in his lower back, buttock region, and in one of his legs as well. This makes it very hard for him to walk, or to even stand.”

    “O-Okay,” Agatha said. It was much more information than she needed, but she believed she understood the problem, at least moderately. “What’s the treatment for this...sciatica?”

    “Well, it varies on causes, but since this is due to a herniated disc, the best treatment is simply bed rest. The pain can be great with a herniated disc, but I will be able to dull that both with Moo Moo Milk and a few other drugs, but his movement will still be limited for a while. Judging by the damage shown in the scans, it will take at least a week to fully heal. He won’t be able to move at his full capacity for another two weeks, but he should be able to walk in a week. There are cases when rehabilitation is much shorter, and some patients have even been up and about and running in a week. Since Joven is young, it will probably speed up the healing a bit, but I won’t know for sure how long it will take to fully heal until I observe his progress over the coming days. I have him sedated currently, but he should be awake in a couple of hours.”

    “Thanks, Nurse Gango,” Agatha said graciously. “You don’t know how much it means to hear that these two will be alright.”

    “It’s my pleasure, darling,” she replied, beaming across at Agatha. “But you!” she said sternly, pointing directly at Sam, whose back was still turned. “You should know better than to settle disputes with fists, especially on someone as young as Joven. Don’t do it again!” Gango then walked back towards the elevator, muttering under her breath about how foolish children were these days, and then went up to the second floor.

    About an hour later she came back down, wheeling with her a tray full of food, stating that every growing child needs to have their dinner. Agatha graciously accepted her share, and even Sam finally sat up when Nurse Gango asked him if he was hungry. After they all finished their dinner, Nurse Gango went back upstairs to wash all the dishes.

    Not long after she left, Joven finally came to. At first he looked down at the bed bemusedly, trying to remember how he got there. He tried to sit up, but immediately felt pain shooting up his back and down his leg, so he lay back down. He turned his head to his right, then his left, looking thoroughly displeased at the fact that he was bedridden and still in pain. When he saw Sam and Agatha to his left, he grew even more unhappy.

    “How are you doing?” Sam asked cheerfully, mockingly waving across the room at Joven. “What’s the matter? Did I hurt you too bad?”

    “Sam, shut up,” Agatha hissed.

    “I can handle it,” Joven replied defiantly. “What are you in here for?”

    “Just a fractured leg. Should be up and about and challenging the gym tomorrow,” Sam said coolly.

    “You’re lucky I didn’t hurt you more than that.”

    “Stop bickering you two,” Agatha said, knowing full well that they weren’t going to listen. Sure enough...

    “Look who’s talking, Joven. You’re the one that can’t sit up, stand, or walk. According to Nurse Gango you could be in here for over a week.”

    “I don’t see you running any marathons.” Joven didn’t know whether Sam was telling him the truth about his injury, or whether he was just jibing him.

    “Hah! Why don’t you run home to your Mummy? Oh yeah, that’s right, she ditched you. You don’t have one.”

    “Sam, how could you say something like that? That’s a horrible thing to say,” Agatha scolded. She glared furiously at Sam, who met her angry expression with a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders. “Joven, he didn’t mean it. Really, he didn’t,” she said as she turned back around.

    But Joven was already out of his bed, gingerly gathering up all his things and making his way to the door. He didn’t look to be in as much pain as before, but his movement was still awkward to say the least. His right leg was numb, and he had to almost drag it behind him as he hobbled over to the door, and he still couldn’t stand up straight.

    “Joven, no, please don’t go,” Agatha begged imploringly. “Sam really didn’t mean what he said. Besides, you have to rest to get better.”

    “Then I’ll rest outside. Just leave me alone!” he yelled as Agatha made an attempt to walk over to him. Without another word, Joven left the hospital, slamming the front door behind him.

    “Oh, I hope you’re happy with yourself, Sam!” Agatha yelled.

    “Let’s see,” Sam began sarcastically. “Joven’s gone, but we’re both still here. Yeah, I think it all turned out pretty well.”

    For the next couple of minutes, the two argued, Sam refusing to apologise for what he said. Their voices grew steadily louder, eventually grabbing the attention of Nurse Gango, who had just fallen asleep in her bed on the third floor. She sprinted downstairs, putting her frilly pink dressing gown on as she went. When she entered the room and saw Joven’s empty bed, she almost fainted in shock. But she quickly regained her composure.

    “Where’s my patient!? Where’s Joven!?” she yelled. She towered over Sam and Agatha, and despite her diminutive appearance of a frail old woman, she terrified them. Sam was just thankful that she wasn’t brandishing a hard object; otherwise he’d be ducking for cover.

    “He left because of something Sam said. It was so vile I don’t think I can repeat it,” Agatha hurriedly replied.

    “This can not be happening,” Gango muttered under her breath. “Never have I let a patient out of my care when they’ve needed it. Never! I can’t leave him out there all night, but I can’t leave the hospital either. Oh, what is a woman supposed to do?”

    “Excuse me,” Agatha said timidly.

    “What?” Nurse Gango snapped.

    “I’ll go looking for him. It makes sense. Sam can’t do it on his injured leg, and you can’t leave because of your duty to the hospital. Besides, I want to get away from him,” Agatha said, jabbing her finger forcefully in Sam’s direction.

    Nurse Gango nodded in agreement, and Agatha bolted out the door in pursuit of Joven. It was now the dead of night and the moon was hidden behind a cloudy sky, making the search for Joven that much harder. Even as she ran up and down Boku Town searching for Joven, Agatha couldn’t stop thinking about what Sam had said. She hadn’t known that Joven’s mother had left him, but judging by his reaction, it was definitely true. For Sam to use something like that as an insult was incredibly tactless and rude. Yet she still kept on telling herself that he surely didn’t mean it. She still had an inexplicable faith in Sam, despite all the real world evidence completely contradicting what she thought.

    Knowing that she would need at least some form of aid in her search, Agatha released Gastly from his Pokéball. The gas surrounding his body slightly illuminated the imminent vicinity, but it didn’t help that much. She told Gastly to float high into the air and search from above for a young boy. Together, they scoured the town from top to bottom, inspecting every nook and cranny, but they found nothing. As she disappointedly made her way back to the hospital, Agatha grew really concerned. Joven couldn’t even walk probably, and would soon be in excruciating pain when the drugs he had been given wore off. The last thing he needed to be doing was walking around an unfamiliar town all alone in the middle of the night.

    Just as Agatha was making her way up to the front door of the hospital, she noticed a path leading off to the right, and eventually out of Boku Town entirely. She thought to herself that Joven could have very well gone down that path instead. It made sense that he would want to get as far away from Sam as possible, which would mean leaving town altogether. She called Gastly down from the sky so she had more light, and quickly made her way down the path. Just like the rest of Boku Town, there was just grass as far as the eye could see. Eventually she saw a few flower beds on either side, but there was still no sign of Joven.

    At the very end of the path, right at the edge of Boku Town’s border, Agatha saw a large statue. It depicted a creature that looked like a hedgehog. Its back was covered in grass, and there were flowers on each side of its face. At the base of the statue, Agatha could just make out a small amount of writing, so she knelt down closer to read. Even with Gastly’s extra light, a lot of the words were too faded to read.

    Comes...blessings...grow
    toxins...gone...beauty...lush...everywhere

    (continued)
    Last edited by palkia1; 27th July 2009 at 3:13 AM.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  23. #23
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    (continued)

    Agatha had no idea what any of it meant, but studied the statue for a few more minutes. The creature, which she presumed was a Pok&#233;mon of some sort, was so adorable, even as solid grey stone, and Agatha couldn’t help but admire the detail of the statue. Nevertheless, she learned nothing new about the Pok&#233;mon or the writing, so she decided to make her way back to the hospital. Even though she knew it was virtually impossible to find Joven at this time of night, she still couldn’t help but feel disappointed in herself for failing to find him.

    As Agatha retraced her steps back to the hospital, a man hidden inside the bushes outside of Boku Town watched her intently. Agent Carson Roberts held a pair of night vision binoculars in his hand, and followed Agatha until she was out of view.

    “That’s right, little girl. Go back home. We don’t want any residents of Boku Town missing out on all the fun tomorrow now, do we?”

    ***

    “Did you find him?” Sam asked as soon as Agatha walked back into the hospital.

    “No, I didn’t find him anywhere. Not that you care. Thanks to you he could be seriously hurt. We’ve got to go look for him first thing tomorrow.”

    “No way, it’ll have to wait until after my gym battle,” Sam said defiantly. At Agatha’s stunned look he continued. “I’m not going to look for him when I can take part in my first official gym battle. After the gym battle I’ll help you look. I promise.”

    Agatha begrudgingly nodded. She knew that it would be hopeless to search for him on her own. Boku Town was a large place, and Joven could be anywhere inside or outside it. It would be a fruitless attempt without some help, and still nearly impossible even with Sam’s help.

    “Where’s Nurse Gango?” Agatha asked. She had been expecting her to be bombarding her with question after question once she returned, especially without Joven by her side.

    “I think she went back to bed,” Sam replied. “She knows it’s too dark to go looking for him now, but I think she’s going to be using all of the resources at her disposal to find him tomorrow.”

    “That’s good to hear. I’ll take any help we can get.” Agatha watched as Sam slowly nodded in agreement. Every time their eyes met, Sam would suddenly look down at his feet and start fidgeting.

    “Um, Agatha,” he suddenly said. “I’d like to apologise for how I acted before. What I said about Joven’s Mum crossed the line. I know I didn’t insult you personally, but I was a jerk and now I’m apologising. When we find Joven tomorrow, I’ll apologise to him as well.”

    “Wow, what made you realise that?”

    “Just the way you acted. At first I thought you were overreacting, but then I thought about what I said and I realised how mean I was. Enjoy this while you can because I won’t be saying it again. You were right, and I was wrong,” Sam said shyly, speaking so fast that some of his words slurred together.

    “They’re the words I like to hear,” Agatha said cheerfully. “Let’s get some rest though. We’re going to need it if we’re going to search for Joven tomorrow.”

    While Agatha climbed into the bed next to Sam’s, and Sam slept like a baby, Joven shivered in the cold night wind. He was huddled under a tree that was a ten minute walk from Boku Town, a little way off the path Agatha had walked. Hanging from a branch above him was his Kakuna, who he knew would prefer to sleep in the tree then in her Pok&#233;ball.

    Unfortunately, sleep wouldn’t come to him as easily as it did to Kakuna. He couldn’t get into a comfortable position because of his back and leg pain, and despite warmth from his closest companion, he was still freezing. Nestled under his arm was his egg, and he himself was lying up against the Pok&#233;mon his mother had given him. The soft fur of the Pok&#233;mon made the night a bit more bearable, even with the chilling wind. The Pok&#233;mon gazed around into the night, and at Joven’s request, he wrapped his tail and one of his legs over him for warmth. With the extra warmth provided by his Pok&#233;mon, Joven eventually fell asleep, but it was plagued by a recurring nightmare.

    “No, please, Mum, don’t leave. I’ll do anything, just please come back.” Joven mumbled those same words over and over again in his sleep like a broken record.

    Joven’s Pok&#233;mon lifted his head up off the ground, and rubbed it gently against Joven’s. He wrapped one of his front paws around Joven’s upper back for more warmth, and cleaned himself as Joven continued to mumble. The pain of losing someone close to you was all too familiar for Joven’s Pok&#233;mon. He and Joven’s mother had been very close, but he had learned to move on and accept Joven as his master. Joven, however, refused to do just that, and it worried his Pok&#233;mon dearly. Even if he was tired, which he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have fallen asleep. With his master in this condition, he would stay awake all night to ensure his protection and well being. He watched the area all night, eyes barely blinking, but despite being on high alert, he couldn’t help but feel concerned for his master, and about the words he heard constantly until dawn.

    “No, please, Mum, don’t leave. I’ll do anything, just please come back.”

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

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  24. #24
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    Here is Chapter 12. I hope you enjoy it.



    Chapter Twelve: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, but not the Battle:




    It was the day of his first gym challenge, the day in which Sam took his first step towards reaching his dream. He felt invigorated as he woke up that morning, rubbing his eyes gingerly as he adjusted to the sunlight streaming in through the open window above his bed. Sam was so excited at the prospect of winning his first gym badge that he jumped straight out of bed, completely forgetting about his injured leg. That was until he received a sharp jolt of pain and he crumpled to the floor, cradling his leg between his hands while grimacing in pain. As the pain slowly subsided, Sam stumbled back into bed and pulled the covers back up, waiting for Agatha, who was asleep in the next bed over, to wake up.

    “This is it, guys,” Sam whispered as he placed his two Pokéballs on the bed in front of him. He could imagine the faces of Pidgey and Charmander staring up at him from the Pokéballs, looking just as excited as he felt. “This is the day our journey truly begins. This is the day I get my first badge.”

    Although Nurse Gango hadn’t yet declared him fit enough to challenge the Boku Town Gym, he was confident she would. Thanks to the help of the Moo Moo Milk, he had enjoyed two uninterrupted sleeps, and the pain had been barely noticeable yesterday. It still hurt slightly when he put pressure on his leg, but as long as he didn’t do anything too strenuous, it was very manageable. Still, Sam had his doubts. He knew Nurse Gango was very strict and firm with her patients, and she seemed to be paranoid almost to the point of insanity.

    Almost as if on cue, Sam heard the familiar ping of the elevator, and a split second later, Nurse Gango was making her way across the room. This morning she was dressed in a light pink shirt, and over that was her labelled white lab coat. She looked grumpy and annoyed as she bustled around the room, her lab coat flapping behind her like a bird’s wings, and she was constantly muttering incoherently under her breath. After having a drink from the water cooler beside Sam’s bed, and opening up all the windows to let in the cool refreshing morning breeze, she stopped by Sam’s bed.

    “Okay, young man, we better see how you’re going today,” she said, flicking through the pages of a clipboard pinned to the end of Sam’s bed. Once she finished reading, she put it down and ordered Sam out of bed to do some exercises. Sam immediately complied, knowing full well that being on Gango’s good side would probably help his case. It was obvious that she was still angry at him for making Joven leave last night, but Sam wasn’t sure whether she would let that influence her decision or not.

    But Sam had no need to worry. Nurse Gango was just as professional and gentle with Sam as always. She stopped at the first sign of discomfort on Sam’s face, listened to what he had to say about his leg, and wrote down all her observations as she went.

    “Well, I’ve got some good news for you,” she said after the exercises, a small flicker of a smile replacing her frown. “I judge you fit enough to leave the hospital today. But I do have some instructions. Don’t, under any circumstances, do anything other than walking on that leg. It hasn’t healed perfectly, remember that. You can walk on it without causing further damage, but don’t run on it until you feel absolutely no pain walking. You hear me?”

    “Yes,” Sam hastily replied. “Thanks for treating me, by the way. You don’t understand how excited I am to be challenging the gym today.”

    “It wasn’t a problem, young man. It was a pleasure to treat you,” she replied. “Now, to start organising a search team for Joven,” she mumbled, re-entering the elevator and heading upstairs.

    Twenty minutes later, the front door of the hospital suddenly opened, and Sam watched as five men entered the room. They were all wearing white lab coats just like Nurse Gango, and just like hers, they had nametags on them as well. Each of the men held a shiny silver case in their right hands, and they all passed the beds of Sam and Agatha without a glance, entering the elevator in silence.

    “Who are those...guys,” Agatha groggily said, ending in a loud yawn as she slowly opened her eyes. She stared blearily at the elevator, and at the light above that showed that it was in motion, before turning over to face Sam.

    “I think they’re doctors that work here,” he said. “Nurse Gango sounds like she’s organising a search party for Joven. Maybe they’re here to man the hospital while she’s out or to help her search.”

    “Sounds good,” Agatha said, still sounding like she was half asleep. “I’m going back to bed now.”

    “Hey, what happened to the Agatha who stopped at virtually nothing to find Joven yesterday?”

    “She went to bed and she hasn’t woken up yet. It’s too early.”

    “Are you kidding me? It’s almost nine in the morning?”

    “You proved my point. It’s early. Now be quiet.” Agatha then grumpily turned back over, pulling the covers up above her head to block out all the light in the room.

    Although Agatha wanted to go back to sleep for a few more hours, Nurse Gango had other ideas. Just a few minutes after the men had gone up the elevator, they came back down, this time with Gango by their side.

    “Set up your equipment here,” she said in a frank business-like manner. “I’ll clear the room. Also, how many police were you able to spare?”

    “We were able to get five policemen to help. Most of them are still busy regarding the Celadon incident. No one knows what’s going on around here lately, but the police force are run off their feet,” one of the men explained.

    “It will have to do,” she replied as she turned around to face Sam and Agatha. “Come on you two, up you get. You wanted to get out of here so badly, so here’s your chance.”

    She walked over to Agatha’s bed and yanked the covers off her, and didn’t look twice as Agatha shielded her eyes and moaned incoherently in displeasure.

    “What’s going on?” Sam asked, carefully getting out of bed.

    “This is going to be where we head up the search operation for your friend, Joven,” Nurse Gango said. “We need all the room we can get, and you two don’t need to be here anymore.”

    After much yelling from Nurse Gango, Agatha finally relinquished her bed, grumbling under her breath about the insanity of old people. While she and Sam were getting ready, they watched the five doctors set up all their equipment. In each of the silver cases they had brought was a thin sleek laptop, all of which were up and running in no time. The screens showed many different pieces of information, including weather reports for the surrounding areas and police reports. Also inside the cases were walkie-talkies as well as first aid equipment.

    When Agatha and Sam were finally ready to leave, Nurse Gango gave them each a hurried ‘goodbye’, and ‘good luck’, wishing them both the best in their future endeavours. Before they could say anything in return, she was ushering them out of the hospital like an annoyed nightclub bouncer. As soon as they were out in the bright morning sun, she slammed the door shut behind them.

    “A gracious exit, don’t you think?” Sam asked Agatha sarcastically, stifling a laugh at the astonished, thoroughly disgruntled look on her face. “Come on, let’s get going. The sooner I challenge the gym, the sooner we can go search for Joven.”

    “Fine,” Agatha replied after a few seconds of just staring into space. She was smoothing out her hair, which she hadn’t had enough time to properly style. “I still can’t believe how rude she is. She wakes me up at nine o’ clock in the morning, and then practically throws me out of her hospital. Surely she’s not allowed to do that.”

    “Her hospital, her rules,” Sam said casually, before making his way away from the hospital and into the main part of town.

    Sam took the time they spent travelling through Boku Town to take in all the sights it had to offer. The most amazing thing was how the town was completely natural. Everything from schools to houses were made of wood, and there were no roads or streets anywhere. All the buildings were jumbled messily together, but everyone knew exactly where they were going. Grass Pokémon of all different shapes and sizes roamed around Boku Town, often accompanied by young children. Together they would play in the wide open fields, climb the countless trees, and eat some of the fresh berries gathered daily. The residents seemed to live in harmony, as though the serenity and peace of the nature all around was a part of them.

    As Sam’s wonder of the town increased, he turned around to face Agatha, to ask her what she thought of their amazing surroundings. But she was staring intently into a small make-up mirror, examining her reflection from every angle. She added subtle tones and highlights to her skin, and continued to fiddle with her hair until it was just right. Sam had half a mind to tell her that she looked beautiful already, but he couldn’t. They still hadn’t finished their conversation that Joven interrupted yesterday, and both were well aware of it.

    “What?” Agatha asked as she looked up from the mirror, surprised to see Sam staring at her. “Is there a problem?”

    “N-None at all,” Sam hastily replied.

    “Well, I have a small one. I’m going to be leaving later today. I’ve got to go to Saffron City, and I’m on a very strict schedule,” Agatha said as she put away her small make-up mirror. She had decided that now was finally the time to tell Sam that she was leaving. No matter what, she had to leave tonight, and she didn’t want to wait until the last minute to tell him.

    “You’re leaving!?” he exclaimed, stopping dead in his tracks. It took Agatha a couple of seconds to realise he wasn’t moving anymore, and when she did, she walked back towards him, an apologetic look on her face.

    “I have to,” Agatha replied, a slightly urgent tone to her voice. “There’s something I have to do there, and I have a limited time in which to do it.”

    “Fine, then I’ll join you,” Sam said proudly, as if he had just found the cure to cancer. “That way you can still go to Saffron City, and I can come along with you.”

    “That isn’t necessary.” Agatha stared down at her feet, unable to meet Sam’s gaze. She knew she would see his uncertainty, his confusion, and his sadness if she looked into his eyes. That was something she couldn’t face. She had been afraid that Sam would act like this, but she hadn’t found a way to get around it, unless she told him the truth, which she wasn’t prepared to do.

    “I know it isn’t necessary, but I want to do it. You won’t be forcing me to do anything. Besides, I think Joven said Saffron City has a gym, so we could kill two birds with one stone.”

    “But it might be dangerous,” Agatha said imploringly, unwilling to say anything more.

    “Why would it be dangerous?” Sam was beginning to grow confused. There was clearly something Agatha wasn’t telling him, and it sounded very bad.

    “Because I said so,” she said frantically. “I can’t tell you why. It just will be.”

    “Well, that’s all the more reason for me to come along. If it’s dangerous you might need help or protection. I can provide that, I want to provide that. I could never let you just walk into a dangerous situation by yourself.”

    “Well, if you insist,” Agatha finally said, mumbling so quietly that Sam barely heard her. Even as she said it, Agatha cursed herself for her cowardice. Because she couldn’t admit her feelings to Sam she was now going to lead him right into a city where a group of murderous psychotic men were going to be. How could she do that to him?

    “There, it’s settled,” Sam triumphantly stated. “Now, onto the gym.” He pointed straight ahead, towards nothing in particular, and then headed off, almost marching through the crowds. The only thing that stopped him from doing so was his leg, which was beginning to ache a bit now that he was moving about.

    Agatha glumly walked after Sam, her head bowed down, so she couldn’t see exactly where she was going. Along the way she bumped into a few people, and ushered hurried apologies to them for her carelessness, though she never lifted her head. There was only one good thing she could think of to come out of this. She finally knew the truth about Sam. He had to have a crush on her, just like she had one on him. The way he had spoken, how passionate and determined he had been, told Agatha that there was no other explanation. She had thought it might be the case ever since their interrupted conversation yesterday, but Sam hadn’t been able to pluck up the courage to tell her the truth. She couldn’t blame or judge him though. She was just as bad, if not worse.

    “So, when are we going?”

    Agatha perked up at Sam’s question, glad that he had thought of something to say. “I want to leave tonight, maybe earlier if we can. I still want to try and find Joven before we go, and I want to show you something else as well.”

    “What do you want to show me,” Sam asked, a definite note of intrigue and curiosity in his voice. He gazed up at the sky, as if the answer would be written in the clouds, but when he thought of nothing, he asked Agatha again.

    “It’s a statue right at the edge of town,” Agatha began. She told Sam every detail about the statue she could remember, from the faded writing to the incredible detail in the mysterious figure, which she presumed was a Pokémon. The more and more she said, the more fascinated Sam grew. By the time she had finished he couldn’t contain his excitement.

    “I definitely think you’re right about it depicting a Pokémon,” Sam said quickly, a big grin on his face. “My Mum told me about some Pokémon that are so powerful that they’re part of the mythology of some cultures. People considered them to be legends or myths. Maybe what you saw on the statue was a legendary Pokémon of the grass type. This town seems to be all about grass Pokémon and nature, after all. The gym leader uses grass type Pokémon, all the kids in town play with grass Pokémon, and you can’t be anywhere in this town without being surrounded by grass. We’ll look at it after the gym battle.”

    “You mean, after we find Joven,” Agatha corrected. “He’s a higher priority than a statue.”

    “Yeah, that’s what I meant,” Sam muttered disdainfully under his breath. The part of him that still wished he had stayed at home with his Mum and pursued a research career had come to the forefront of his mind. Now it seemed just as important to see the statue as it was to battle the gym. He had to finish the battle quickly, so he could get to the statue as soon as possible.

    “Okay, here we are. The Boku Town Gym,” Sam said ten minutes later, stopping in front of a large building.

    Agatha hadn’t needed Sam’s announcement to tell her she was at the gym. It was clearly obvious, even without the sign on top of the door, made with leaves, which read “BOKU TOWN GYM”. The only part of it that even slightly resembled the rest of the town was the fact that it was made of wood. Surrounding the gym on all sides were large tropical trees, which seemed out of place compared to the other plants in town. The leaves of the trees hung over the top of the gym, which didn’t have a roof, and provided a thick canopy over the whole building. The grass surrounding the building was dark and moist, and the sunlight poking through the leaves of the trees cast glorious shadowy patterns over the walls of the gym. Even the air around the gym seemed strange. It felt like they were standing right outside a sauna, as if when they opened the door they would be blasted with hot air.

    “Shall we go in?” Sam nervously asked.

    “We should if you want to win your badge,” Agatha said, boldly stepping forward and opening the door. She stepped brazenly inside, and when Sam finally followed her, she closed the door behind him. Sam had thought that the interior of the gym surely couldn’t match the extravagant exterior, but he was wrong.

    It was as though they had walked into a rainforest. Barely any sunlight made its way into the room, blocked out by the thick canopy above. The floor was covered in tall grass that snaked its way up to Sam’s knees, and it was covered in sparkling morning dew. Just like outside, tropical trees were spread throughout the whole gym, and unlike other gyms, there was no marked battlefield. The battle would take place in amongst the trees and the other wildlife in the gym. Also growing in the gym were large vibrant flowers, giving off strong pungent odours, and weaving in and out of the room were many tiny bug and grass type Pokémon.

    Apart from the visually stunning environment, the atmosphere of the gym was amazing. The air was humid, hot, and musky, and Sam knew it was why he had felt slightly warmer outside. It was at least ten degrees warmer inside the gym then out, and within a minute, Sam was drenched with sweat, his long hair plastered to his face and his clothes sticking to his skin. Fans were built into the walls of the gym, blowing the scents of the different flowers all around the gym, mingling them together to create a truly unique scent that made the hairs in Sam’s nose stand up and the tastebuds in his mouth tingle. It was an artificial environment unlike anything Sam could’ve possibly imagined, and it was designed specifically for grass Pokémon.

    “Good morning, young man.” A sharp, loud feminine voice came from the opposite side of the gym. The area was covered with trees, and was cloaked in darkness, so Sam couldn’t see who was speaking. “You are here for a gym battle, are you not?”

    “Um, y-yes I am,” Sam stuttered nervously. The gym was so grand and intimidating that he now felt as tiny as an ant. He now knew that this gym battle was going to be unlike anything he had ever experienced before.

    “Good, you will be challenging me. I hope you don’t find the environment of the gym too harsh.”

    Sam could now see a figure emerging from the darkness of the gym, walking into a clear space in the middle, where there was more light. The first thing that struck Sam was how small the gym leader was. She was shorter than him, but looked to be at least thirty. She had long brown plaited hair that ran down her back, which was littered with blades of grass and smeared with dirt. Her bright green eyes were the same colour as the grass she was standing on, and they pierced Sam with a gaze as sharp as her nose. She was wearing a plain yellow shirt and ugly brown pants, also smeared with grass stains. Easily the most unusual piece of clothing she wore was the dark green cape fastened around her neck. It was made of hundreds of leaves, and as it fluttered in the breeze, a few flew off and fell gracefully to the floor. If Sam hadn’t known better, just judging by her appearance, he would’ve thought she had just been rolling around in the grass before he entered.

    “You’re the gym leader?” he asked sceptically.

    “Yes I am,” she replied. “My name is Rose. I am the leader of the Boku Town Gym, and I specialise in the grass type. What is your name?”

    “I’m Sam Oak of Pallet Town. I’ve come to challenge you,” Sam said clearly, trying to force the trepidation and anxiety out of his voice.

    “How many Pokémon and gym badges do you have?” Rose asked.

    “Why is that important?”

    “Because it allows me to determine how many, and what type of Pokémon to use.” At Sam’s bemused expression, Rose continued. “A gym leader uses the amount of Pokémon that the challenger has. Also, how many gym badges you have determines what rank of Pokémon I can use. If you have zero to two gym badges I use rank one. If you have three to five, I use rank two. If you have six or more, I use rank three. Rank one contains my weaker Pokémon, while rank three contains my strongest Pokémon.”

    “Okay,” Sam said. “Well, I only have two Pokémon now, and this is my first gym challenge.”

    “Okay, rank one Pokémon. I have to choose two of them,” Rose muttered to herself.

    She walked casually over to the other side of the gym, letting her leafy cape fan out behind her. There were three red buttons on the wall above her, and above those a small tube. Underneath each button were trays that had six slots the exact same size as a Pokéball. She pressed the far left button, which resulted in six Pokéballs falling neatly out of the tube above and into the tray below. Rose picked out two of the white Pokéballs, and then pressed the button again. There was a loud sucking noise like a vacuum cleaner, and the four remaining Pokéballs shot back up into the tube and out of sight.

    “These are the two Pokémon I choose,” Rose said unnecessarily, showing Sam her two Pokéballs.

    “Okay, shall we get things started?” Sam asked, his confidence slowly building. Rose was a grass type user, and his two Pokémon were flying and fire type. He had a distinct type advantage that made him feel just a bit surer of himself. He knew that there was more to battles then type match-ups, especially against gym leaders, but it couldn’t hurt.

    “Belly, I choose you!” Rose yelled, twisting the dial of her Pokéball. A bright white light surged out of her Pokéball and formed itself into one of the strangest Pokémon Sam had ever seen.

    He was extremely thin, with a body like a stick, and even though he wasn’t moving, he wobbled side to side. His feet were like roots, and instantly planted themselves into the ground, while his leaf hands slashed through the air like a knife. He moved back and forth, the weight from his yellow bell shaped head causing him to constantly shift his weight.

    “It’s a Bellsprout,” Sam said under his breath. “Let’s see what the Pokédex has to say about it.”

    “Bellsprout, the flower Pokémon. This Pokémon can bend its extremely skinny body to avoid the most powerful attacks. Its feet are believed to act like the roots of a plant, but confirmation of this has yet to be determined.”

    “Sounds interesting,” he muttered, pocketing his Pokédex. “Let’s see if his flexible body can handle Pidgey’s speed. Go, Pidgey!”

    Pidgey appeared in a bright white light, and immediately began flying around the gym, spreading his wings out wide to prepare them for battle. He weaved his way in and out of the treetops before settling on Sam’s shoulder. Sam was just about to give his first command when Agatha spoke.

    “Excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt, but is there anywhere I can go to not watch the battle?” she tentatively asked Rose. “I don’t like Pokémon battles.”

    “Sure there is,” Rose said. “You see that door there,” she said, pointing to a door on the left wall of the gym. “It leads to a set of stairs that lead up to a viewing booth there,” she continued, pointing her arm up towards a clear glass viewing box high above them. It was propped up in the bottom-left corner, and was the only part of the gym that had a ceiling. “From there, you don’t have to watch the battle at all.”

    “Thanks,” Agatha said. She gave Sam a thumbs up to wish him luck, and then bolted for the door. A few seconds later, Sam saw Agatha waving to him from the viewing box high above. He waved back at her with a smile on his face, and watched giddily as she moved out of sight, probably to sit away from the battle. He was a bit disheartened that Agatha wouldn’t be watching him battle, but those were her beliefs, and he’d respect them.

    “Onto the battle,” he said to Rose. “Pidgey, use Quick Attack.”

    Pidgey tucked his wings in close to his body and sped off towards Belly, shooting across the gym like a bullet. Rose smirked as Pidgey drew closer and closer, and didn’t give Belly any instructions until the very last second.

    “Belly, use Wrap!” she yelled.

    Belly tensed himself, focussing all his strength into his balance. His feet, which were like roots, had been snaking under the ground ever since he had been released from his Pokéball, and now they suddenly sprung up from underground and wrapped themselves around Pidgey. Pidgey was stopped in his tracks as the roots tightened around him, suffocating him, squeezing every last breath out. He tried to break free, but Belly’s grip was far too strong.

    “Pidgey, use Sand Attack to blind him,” Sam called out worriedly, anxiously brushing his hand through his hair. He could see Pidgey weakening right before his very own eyes, and he knew that Belly’s roots would be far too tough to break free from with brute force.

    Pidgey wriggled and squirmed and turned over, trying to get his wings free. Finally they slipped out in between the gaps in the roots, and once they did, he immediately directed them towards the ground and began flapping. From underneath the dark perfectly manicured grass, a stream of sand blasted into Belly’s face, immediately blinding him. Belly relinquished his grip as he was blinded, using his leaf hands to brush away as much as the sand as possible.

    “Quick, Belly, use Vine Whip,” Rose ordered, unaware that Belly’s vision was still impaired. Two green vines shot towards Pidgey, but because he couldn’t see properly, Belly’s aim was off. The vines sped right past Pidgey to the left, leaving him a clear path to attack.

    “Perfect,” Sam muttered confidently under his breath. “Pidgey, use Wing Attack and then follow it up with Gust.”

    Pidgey flew at Belly, who was still wiping furiously at his eyes, and whacked him with his wings. Belly was knocked hard to the ground, trying blindly to fend off Pidgey’s furiously beating wings, flailing his arms and feet in the air while pinned flat on his back. Suddenly Pidgey flew back a few feet, and began flapping his wings, sending gale force winds straight at Belly. He was lifted off the ground and slammed into the far wall, whizzing past Rose with incredible speed. He slid dazedly to the ground while Sam cheered in triumph.

    “It’s time to deal the final blow,” Sam said, punching the air excitedly. “Use Quick Attack!”

    “Belly, use Protect,” Rose said calmly, folding her arms close to her chest as if she was the one on top. Sam was amazed at her calm and dignified manner, even in such dire situations, something he yearned to possess.

    A circular shield of green light surrounded Belly as Pidgey darted at him at an amazing speed. Pidgey hit the shield with incredible force, but bounced straight off before crashing into the ground. Rose chuckled under her breath as Sam exclaimed in shock.

    “B-But...how?” he stammered.

    “Protect allows Belly to completely withstand any attack, while taking no damage whatsoever,” Rose explained. “No attack of Pidgey’s can break through that barrier.”

    “Hmm, good tactic. I should keep an eye out for that,” Sam said impressively. He knew now that the match had been completely turned on its head. He could see Belly, still surrounded by the green shield, wiping the last sand out of his eyes. He now had all his accuracy back, and he could even use Protect to block Pidgey’s attacks. Sam thought that after being hit with Wing Attack, Gust, and Sand Attack that Belly would surely have been defeated, but Rose had raised it well. Its defence was very high. But Sam knew, high defence or not, that any Pokémon was able to be beaten by any other.

    “Pidgey, use Gust!” Sam yelled.

    “Belly, plant yourself firm in the ground.” Belly dug his roots into the ground as far as they would go, giving him as much support, balance, and defence as possible. Meanwhile, Pidgey was back in the air, flapping his wings and directing incredibly strong winds at Belly yet again. As they flew past, whipping all around him, Belly was buffeted back and forth, pushed to and fro, but his roots stayed planted firmly in the ground. By the time the winds had died down, he was in the exact same spot, looking just as if nothing had even happened.

    “That’s impossible!” Sam exclaimed. “With no shield, no Bellsprout can take a Gust like that.”

    “Hardly,” Rose stated. “Defence is the key to any battle. My Pokémon have strong defences, and thus can’t be harmed easily.”

    Sam was astounded at how tough Rose really was. He now knew why she was the Boku Town gym leader, and why people said gym leaders were unlike any other trainers. In a matter of minutes the match had swung into her favour when it looked like Bellsprout was just about to lose. She was incredible, and Sam knew he had to think with his head, and ignore all his impulses and impressions if he was going to come out on top. He thought back to the countless hours he had spent researching the Pidgey living just outside Pallet Town, searching for some tiny shred of information he could use. Then it came to him.

    “Let’s see how she handles this. Pidgey, use the spinning Twister!” Sam yelled. He hoped that Pidgey understood what he meant. They hadn’t discussed this strategy before, but the word ‘spinning’ might just have been enough to make Pidgey understand.

    “Belly, you know what to do.”

    Belly did exactly the same thing he had done before. He dug his roots down into the ground as far as they would go and then cast a spherical shield of light around him. At the same time, Pidgey spun around in the air, flapping his wings up and down, to create a powerful twister. The twister towered above everything else in the gym, just reaching the tops of the trees, before rampaging through the gym towards Belly. Thin branches were wrenched off thick tree trunks, loose hanging leaves were whipped up in the strong winds, and hundreds of blades of grass were ripped up from the ground as the twister wreaked its path of destruction across the gym.

    Despite the force and size of the twister, Belly held firm, staying exactly where he was. The twister hit the shield, but unlike Pidgey’s previous attack, it tore right through, quickly engulfing Belly in torrential winds. He was whipped and thrown around like a ragdoll, and he could feel himself slowly rising, his roots losing their secure footing below the ground. Just when he thought he couldn’t hold on any longer, the twister dissipated, and he quickly repositioned himself.

    Rose watched cautiously as the twister slowly disappeared, but beamed proudly when she saw that Belly was still in the exact same spot, and had taken virtually no damage.

    “Looks like your plan didn’t work, Sam,” Rose said. “Belly still withstood your Twister. What else do you have to throw at us?” But to her surprise, Sam wasn’t shocked or angry or concerned at all. He was grinning from ear to ear, and she could tell he was dying to say something.

    “I knew that Twister wouldn’t be strong enough to take Belly down,” Sam began eagerly. “Breaking through Protect because of its progressive failure rate was an added bonus, but it wasn’t my main intention to hurt Belly.”

    “What do you mean?” Rose asked. Just then she noticed that Pidgey was nowhere to be seen. He had sent the twister from a position just in front of Sam, but now he was gone. She looked around frantically, but couldn’t see Pidgey anywhere. “Hey, where’s your Pidgey?”

    “Funny you should ask that,” Sam said, now positively beaming. “Look up,” he said, pointing towards the canopy high above them. Rose and Belly did just that, and were horrified to see Pidgey diving down towards Belly at breakneck speed. He shot through the canopy with ease, and within seconds was upon Belly. Rose ordered Belly to dodge, but it wasn’t quick enough. Pidgey slammed into Belly with incredible force, before pummelling him with his wings. With one sharp uppercut from his left wing, Pidgey jolted Belly out of the ground and slammed him into a nearby tree.

    “Usually when Pidgey uses Twister, it stands aside and sends the twister at his opponent to cause damage. But that wasn’t what I wanted to do. Pidgey created the twister around himself by spinning around and around as he made it. He hid in the twister so that he could surprise you after the attack. I knew Twister wouldn’t move Belly, and neither would Gust. My only hope was a close range attack, but I knew you’d shoot that down with Wrap. This was my only option. I knew you wouldn’t realise Pidgey was missing until it was too late,” Sam explained triumphantly. He laughed out loud before ordering Pidgey to attack once more. “Now, use a Gust and Quick Attack combo to end this!” he yelled.

    Belly was slowly getting to his feet, but he was too dazed and hurt to react fast enough. He couldn’t dig his roots into the ground, and he couldn’t put up a protective shield. The strong winds from Pidgey’s Gust attack slammed into Belly, slowly pushing him back, and preventing him from launching an attack. Then, while Belly was struggling to remain upright, Pidgey tucked his wings in and shot straight towards him. Belly tried to avoid Pidgey, but the winds were too strong and Pidgey was too fast. He was slammed into the back wall of the gym, and slid unconscious to the ground.

    “Oh no...Belly,” Rose moaned, rushing over to Belly. She gently lifted him into her arms and whispered softly. “You were brilliant.” She then returned Belly to her Pokéball, before glancing down at her second one with a small grin on her face. “He hasn’t seen my second Pokémon yet though.”

    “Yes! We won!” Sam yelled, jumping up and down on the spot. Pidgey flew over to him and rested on his shoulder, looking thoroughly pleased with himself. “Great job, Pidgey. You’re the best,” Sam said, patting Pidgey gently on top of the head.

    Suddenly one of Sam’s Pokéballs began to rustle violently in its slot on his belt. Sam unclipped it from his belt, and it immediately burst open. Out of the white light came Charmander, with a disgruntled look on her face. She glared at Pidgey, who was still smiling, before tugging at Sam’s pants and pointing at herself.

    “Er...I mean one of the best. Equal best with Charmander,” Sam said tentatively. Charmander satisfactorily nodded before rushing off further into the gym, sniffing all the grass and plants as she went.

    “Don’t wander too far, Charmander,” Sam called out.

    “Char Charmander,” she replied, nodding her head to show she understood. She then knelt back down the floor, anxiously walking over towards a large spotted plant.

    “Great job, Sam!”

    Sam looked up to see Agatha leaning out of the viewing box, waving to him. She had heard Sam’s cheers after winning the battle and had opened the window to have a look out. Upon seeing Belly unconscious at Rose’s feet, Agatha knew Sam had won, and decided to give him some words of encouragement.

    “Thanks, Agatha,” Sam graciously replied, waving back up at her. “Pidgey beat her Bellsprout up good. YAHOO!”

    Agatha grimaced at the thought of a Pidgey pummelling a Bellsprout to the point of unconsciousness, but put on a fake smile for Sam. She then went back to the opposite side of the viewing box to do what she had been doing since entering the box, which was flicking through her sketchbook.

    Now that he had celebrated his first victory and Agatha was out of sight once more, Sam turned his attention back to Rose. She was standing back in her original position with her second Pokéball in her hand. Despite the fact that Sam was up one Pokémon she still looked quietly confident. Sam was confident too, he just wasn’t quiet about it.

    “You might as well just give me the badge now,” he said in an arrogant superior tone, puffing out his chest in pride. “I just beat your Bellsprout, and whoever you choose next will go down as well.”

    “Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” Rose calmly replied. “You should learn to handle yourself with some dignity and restraint, Sam. Besides, Turtro can take plenty of hits.”

    “Who’s Turtro?” Sam wondered out loud. He struggled to think of a Pokémon he knew that would be nicknamed Turtro. The closest he could think of was Squirtle, but that didn’t fit with the grass Pokémon theme.

    “You wanna know who Turtro is?” Rose asked mockingly. “I’ll show you. Come on out!” Sam craned his neck forwards to get a better look of what was forming in the white light, and was astounded to see that it was a Pokémon he didn’t recognise.

    He looked exactly as his name suggested; a turtle. Turtro was mostly green and yellow, except for a brown earth shell on his back. He snapped his giant jaw open and closed repeatedly, and his tiny nostrils widened as he took in the different aromas of the gym. There was a small leaf growing from the tip of his head, which wriggled from side to side as he moved.

    “Wait a minute...what’s that?” Sam asked, pulling out his Pokédex. He pointed it at Turtro and waited a few seconds for it to gather data. But the message, “NO DATA AVAILABLE” appeared, just like when he tried to scan Roger’s Zangoose.

    “This Pokémon is called Turtwig. It is from another part of the world so you might not know about it. I didn’t grow up here. I grew up north, where this Pokémon can be found.”

    “Oh, crap!” Sam swore loudly. “I can’t sketch it while I’m battling.” His eyes flitted over to his backpack, which was a few feet away, and was half tempted to pull out his sketchbook. He knew he couldn’t though. All his attention needed to be on the battle, not on trying to sketch the Pokémon. But it was one that his Mum hadn’t put in the Pokédex, and he desperately wanted to keep some sort of record of it.

    “I’ll do it!” Sam looked up yet again to see Agatha poking her head out the window in the viewing box. There was a sketchbook in her right hand, and she was waving it through the air to grab Sam’s attention.

    “Wait a minute, you sketch?” Sam asked bemusedly. “Since when?”

    “Since, oh I don’t know, maybe ten years or so. I’ve always loved to draw, and my love for Pokémon made an obvious combination of the two. This sketchbook’s full of them.” She pointed to the sketchbook in her hand, and even opened it up. Since he was so far away, Sam couldn’t really see anything, but he nodded anyway.

    “It’s not that big of a deal,” Agatha said upon seeing Sam’s shocked expression. “So I can draw pretty well. It’s not the greatest talent ever.”

    “No, no, of course not,” Sam muttered. “Okay, but make sure you sketch it properly.”

    “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,” she said as she pulled up a chair beside the window. Even as she sat down and began sketching, Agatha still couldn’t believe what she was doing. She was actually going to watch two Pokémon fight each other until one fainted just to make Sam happy. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she’d be drawing a Pokémon during a battle, and she silently told herself that it was only because Sam was involved. If it was anyone else, she wouldn’t be doing it. After all, he was willing to put himself in danger in Saffron City for her. The least she could do in return was sketch a Pokémon for him. So that was exactly what she did.

    “Wow,” Sam said to himself in awe as he watched Agatha move her pencil swiftly across the paper. “She’s amazing. I can’t believe she sketches as well. She’s perfect.”

    “Are you done admiring her?” Rose sharply interjected. Her voice pierced through Sam’s daydream, jolting him back to reality.

    “Uh...what...oh yeah, sorry about that,” he replied embarrassedly. He rubbed his hand through his hair nervously and could feel himself going red.

    “Good. The battle can finally begin,” she coldly stated. “I’ll allow you to make the first move.”

    “You’re gonna wish you never had. Pidgey, use Quick Attack,” Sam confidently ordered.

    “Humph...Quick Attack again?” Rose said, smirking across the room at Sam. “That won’t work this time. Turtro, use Withdraw!”

    Turtro ducked down, retracting his legs and head so that his shell was the only part of him visible. Pidgey sped towards Turtro like a bullet, gathering up all the force and speed he could muster. But when he hit Turtro’s shell, he merely bounced off and was jolted backwards. He staggered in mid air as he tried to regain his balance, spreading his wings out once more to keep him up in the air. That was when Rose and Turtro struck.

    “Now, use Tackle,” she said, her green eyes shining like emeralds as she watched her plan unfold. While Pidgey was still recovering, Turtro’s head and legs sprung back out from under his shell, and ran as fast as he could towards Pidgey. He wasn’t fast, but his opponent was dazed and immobile, so he was confident he would make it. Sure enough, Turtro made it, ramming his head straight into Pidgey’s chest. Pidgey sprawled backwards onto the ground, his thin pink legs stuck up in the air like straws.

    “Pidgey, NO!” Sam yelled. He rushed over to Pidgey as fast as he could on his injured leg, where Pidgey whimpered in pain, his cream coloured fur now smudged with green. Sam smoothed out Pidgey’s down while whispering in his ear how proud he was of him in a warm soothing voice. He then returned Pidgey to his Pokéball for a rest before calling out to Charmander, who was still inspecting the large spotted plant, gently tapping at it with her claws.

    “Yes, we did it Turtro, WE DID IT!” Rose ran over to Turtro, hoisted him up into the air, and started dancing around in circles, embracing him tightly. She laughed uncontrollably as she did an extravagant victory dance. It was like she had won the entire Pokémon League, not beaten one Pokémon in a gym battle.

    “And I’m the one that needs to learn dignity and restraint?” Sam questioned. “But she does have something to cheer about. That’s one strong Pokémon,” he muttered. “Can Charmander beat him?”

    As doubt began to creep through Sam’s mind, he suddenly remembered what Joven had told him on the first day of his journey.

    The only way you’re going to win is if you have faith in your Pokémon, and you trust them. There is a certain bond between trainer and Pokémon, and if you have that, nothing can stand in your way.

    It was then that Sam remembered that day. Joven had been so nice to him when he had felt the most vulnerable and depressed in his life. How had he repaid him? He’d taunted Joven about his mother when he was in great pain. Even though so much had happened in between those two moments, the full enormity of how hurtful he had been hit Sam like a truck. He felt horrible, as though his stomach was full of hundreds of slithering crawling bugs. He knew that Agatha had been right all along. After his battle, he’d join the search for Joven. Whatever had happened between them, Sam at least owed him that.

    “Have faith in each other...and we can’t lose.” Sam repeated Joven’s advice in a soft undertone as Charmander readied herself for battle. Now he was ready too.

    “Charmander, use Scratch!”

    “Turtro, use Withdraw!”

    Both trainers yelled out their commands at the same instant, and the Pokémon acted simultaneously as well. Turtro ducked back into his shell as Charmander raced towards him, her sharp claws ready to strike. She swung at Turtro’s shell as hard as she could, but instead of causing damage, she received a sharp pain in her hand, and one of her claws even snapped off entirely. Sam watched in utter horror from behind as he realised that yet again his attack had caused no damage to Turtro’s hard shell.

    “Use Tackle,” Rose said. It was the exact same combination as before, and just like before, it worked perfectly. Before Sam and Charmander could think what to do next, Turtro slammed into Charmander head first, causing her to stumble backwards. She kept her footing, but only just, and she gritted her teeth in determination as she swung back around to face Turtro.

    “That’s it Charmander,” Sam said encouragingly. “Show her that it takes more than that to defeat you. Use Ember!”

    Charmander gathered up excess heat energy from her body, directed it to her mouth, and shot it out in dozens of tiny fireballs.

    “Use Withdraw again,” Rose ordered.

    Charmander’s Ember rained down on Turtro’s tough shell, causing the occasional scorch mark on the damp earthy soil on top, but when Turtro emerged, he was clearly unharmed.

    “Grr, Turtro’s defences is so high that none of our attacks are causing any damage,” Sam grumbled in frustration. “What am I supposed to do?”

    “Haven’t you ever heard of the tortoise and the hare?” Rose asked snidely. “Slow and steady wins the race. My Pokémon aren’t quick, but their defences are sky high. I raise up their defences so that the opponent gets worn out and tired. Then we move in for the kill. Not literally, of course.”

    “There’s got to be a way around it,” Sam said.

    “Only the very best challengers have found a way to surpass my defensive skills. I doubt that you’re in that group.”

    “How dare you! I’ll beat you. You’ll see. Charmander, use Ember again!” Sam yelled in anger, his fists clenched in determination by his side.

    Charmander shot another dozen tiny fireballs out of her mouth. Sam expected Turtro to use Withdraw again, but he was surprised when he heard Rose’s next command.

    “Turtro, we’ll go for a different approach this time. Use Seed Bomb.”

    The grass in front of Turtro seemed to part ways like the Red Sea did for Moses. Out of the ground shot at least twenty seeds, arcing through the air towards Charmander. The attacks met midway, and Charmander’s Ember attack was obliterated. The seeds punched right through the fireballs before raining down upon Charmander. The seeds exploded upon impact, making it seem like it was raining miniature explosives. Charmander tried to knock the seeds out of the sky, but there were just too many, and she crashed to the ground under their combined explosive forces.

    “You don’t honestly think I only train my Pokémon’s defences,” Rose said as she saw Sam’s stunned expression. “I know perfectly well that when the time is right you need to be able to deliver a powerful final blow, and so I train my Pokémon in that aspect too. The only stat I don’t focus on too much is speed, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

    Sam’s mind was racing. He was frantically trying to think of a way to defeat Rose and Turtro. Every idea he had thought of so far was a dud. His palms were sweaty, and every time he tried to issue a command, the words caught in his throat. He was losing control of the situation; just like when he challenged Joven.

    Joven, Sam thought. What did Joven say? Keep calm and collected during a battle. Never lose your cool, and never give up.


    Sam nodded as though Joven had been right there beside him, whispering the words in his ear. He frantically looked all around him, trying to find anything that could help him win the battle. Charmander’s strength alone was insufficient to win. Sam knew that he would have to think of some sort of plan, something out of the ordinary, to win. When his eyes swept over the thick canopy of leaves high above him, he smiled. Together, the leaves of the trees made a virtual ceiling, but Sam knew that if he could punch a hole through them, his plan might just work.

    “Time to use her element against her,” Sam said. “Turtro’s defences may nullify Charmander’s fire attacks, but I have a feeling that canopy can’t cut it.” Sam pointed directly up at the leafy green roof and yelled out to Charmander. “Charmander, use Ember on those leaves above you. Don’t stop until I tell you to. Do you understand?”

    Charmander nodded and started shooting flame after flame at the leaves high above, forming all of her heat energy into one large fireball after another. After five Ember attacks Sam could see a change. Some of the leaves directly above Charmander were starting to crumble and burn, wasting away to nothing but ash. Rays of sunlight poked through the gaps in the leaves and spread into the gym.

    “No! I won’t allow you to do that,” Rose yelled, glaring angrily at Sam. She knew what he was trying to do, and while she thought she’d be able to handle it, she didn’t want to give Sam any chance to win. “Turtro, use Tackle to knock Charmander down.”

    Turtro started charging towards Charmander as fast as he could, which wasn’t very fast at all. From Rose’s point of view, it was agonisingly slow progress, watching Turtro’s stubby legs move across the grass, seemingly moving at half the speed as everything else around them. Turtro may have been as solid as a tank, but like a tank it was a slow mover. It was something Sam had been counting on.

    “Charmander, use Smokescreen on Turtro. Then resume using Ember,” he ordered.

    Charmander halted the fireballs aimed at the ceiling, a sizeable hole now visible, and instead blew a giant haze of black smoke out of her mouth. The dense smoke shrouded Turtro, completely inhibiting his sense of direction. He couldn’t see even a foot in front of him, and now he had no idea where Charmander was.

    “One disadvantage of being slow and steady,” Sam said. “When you need to go on the offensive, you’re just not fast enough.”

    Sam was delighted to see Rose’s normally calm expression turn to that of frustration and anger. Meanwhile, Charmander had now blasted through at least a quarter of the canopy of leaves. Sunlight was now streaming into the gym, lighting up the arena. Some of the exotic plants in the gym began to open up, their petals spreading wide to gather in the sunlight.

    “With that sunlight your fire attacks should be stronger,” Sam said, smiling down at Charmander. “It’s time to finish this. Get ready!”

    “You seem to have forgotten one thing, Sam,” Rose sneered. “Sunlight also has a positive effect on some grass attacks. One of the more noticeable ones being Solarbeam.”

    (continued)

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

  25. #25
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    Apr 2007
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    (continued)

    The black smoke that Charmander blew around Turtro had now almost completely diminished, leaving only a thin grey layer, which Turtro could see through perfectly. Once he laid eyes on Charmander, he tilted the leaf on his head to the brightest patch of sunlight, positioning himself to attack.

    “Turtro is receiving its energy for Solarbeam directly from the Sun as we speak. It has no need to charge up. I said I raised defence primarily. Offence is also important. Sometimes the best defence is a good offence. This is one of those times. Turtro, use Solarbeam!” Rose laughed out loud as the huge white beam of light shot out of Turtro’s giant gaping jaw, bearing down on Charmander like a train. She was confident that Sam had underestimated her, yet it was really she that had underestimated him.

    “I hoped you’d do that. Charmander, dodge it!” Sam yelled. Charmander leapt into the air at the last second, narrowly avoiding the powerful attack. It surged past Charmander and Sam and punched a large hole in the wall of the gym. Sam grinned from ear to ear as every step of his plan slowly fell into place. Now all was left was to deal the final blow, with some extra help from the sun.

    “Now Charmander, use Em…” Sam was just about to finish his command when something amazing happened.

    The flame on Charmander’s tail suddenly doubled in size, burning with an amazing intensity. It was glowing much brighter, and even though Charmander was high above him, Sam could feel the extraordinary heat coming from it. An orange light surrounded Charmander’s body, and then as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone, replaced by sizzling hot flames. The flames spread along Charmander’s body like a slithering snake, enveloping her in seconds. Charmander felt the extra energy, the extra heat, and the extra power coursing through her body. She opened her mouth, and unleashed a devastating trail of flame that surged out of her mouth and headed straight for Turtro.

    “Oh no! Turtro, dodge it,” Rose urgently yelled, her voice cracked in anxiety and shock at seeing such a powerful Flamethrower attack.

    Turtro tried to jump out of the way, but he was too slow. The flames crashed down around him, enveloping him in a red hot cocoon. They pressed in on him, burning him black as charcoal. When the fire finally flickered out, Turtro was lying on the floor unconscious, burned all over.

    “YES!” Sam screamed in joy. “Yes yes yes! Go, Charmander. You’re awesome, buddy.” Sam ran over to Charmander and hugged her with such force that they both toppled over on to the ground, laughing and smiling. He had won; he had kept his cool, had faith in himself and Charmander, and he had won. It was wonderful. Nothing he had ever felt came close to the euphoria of winning this gym battle. He had taken the first of many steps on his journey, and if the next ones were half as good as this one, he was in for one heck of a ride.

    “Wow,” Rose said. She was stunned. She couldn’t believe that her defence had lost to a kid without any gym badges. As she stood there, blankly staring at Turtro, she still couldn’t believe that Sam had won. Even if she was using her Rank One Pok&#233;mon, she expected to win. Even she had to admit that the strategy of using Flamethrower from the powered up Sun was pretty clever. He even planned for the likely chance of her having a grass type move aided by sunlight such as Solarbeam. Rose returned Turtro to his Pok&#233;ball and walked over to Sam, keeping her head held high in a dignified manner.

    “Well done, Sam,” she said, holding out her hand. Sam untangled himself from Charmander and stood up, taking her hand in one of his own.

    “Thanks, Rose,” he replied. “That was a really great battle. You taught me a lot. It was invaluable, not to mention fun.”

    “In recognition of your victory here today, I bestow upon you this badge; the Rose Badge.”

    In Rose’s palm was a small badge that was shaped like a blood red flower, complete with tiny little thorns sticking out of the stem.

    “Thank you so much,” Sam said, lightly picking the Rose Badge up out of Rose’s hand. “Is it a coincidence it’s named after you?”

    “Well, we gym leaders name the badges. I thought it was fitting for it to be named after me, especially with the grass theme. I also have a question to ask. Where do you plan to go now?”

    “I plan to go find an old friend,” Sam answered. He bowed his head in shame as he once again recalled the horrible events of the night at the hospital. His voice grew sombre and sad as he spoke, yet he felt proud of himself for admitting his mistakes. “I wouldn’t have been able to win today without him. I have to find him and apologise. I acted terrible.”

    Rose didn’t quite understand what Sam meant, but she smiled at him anyway. Whatever he meant and whatever he was planning on doing, she knew that it would be worthwhile.

    Sam turned around, holding the Rose Badge in his left hand. Charmander was standing beside him, grinning from ear to ear, admiring the badge she had fought so hard for.

    “Char…Charmander,” she said as she hugged Sam’s leg.

    “I know. You were fantastic. You and Pidgey,” Sam said. A slight frown appeared on Charmander at the mention of Pidgey, but Sam didn’t notice.

    I’m going to find Joven,
    Sam thought to himself. He gave me the advice that allowed me to win. He truly was a friend. I can’t let him suffer anymore. It’s time to make amends.

    Slowly but surely Sam walked towards the front doors of the Boku Town Gym, ready to begin the next leg of his adventure.

    Click here to visit my fan fic, Winds of the Past
    STATUS: Chapter 10, The Fight, is now up.

    Credit to Dragodynamite for the Userbar

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