Of Love, and Heartburn
WT CH 31
Flip back to 30?
"Nimbasa Terminal! This is our next and final stop. Please collect all belongings and be ready to detrain. Please remain seated until paged by your coach attendant. Thank you for riding the Unova Central Railroad.
"So loverboy, what's the plan for the first night of this weekend date?”
"Well, let's see, it's almost eight here. I thought maybe we'd hit the town tonight. The Midway's beautiful when lit up. Got us a nice hotel near downtown though, if you'd rather see things from there..."
Beldum was still by her side. his presence alone was probably what was keeping Janie going. She fingered the last of her rocks, thankful that her mother had tried to teach her Softball, and the art of the slow curve ball. A boomerang would've worked just as well, Janie had realized, and she wished she'd thought to try to bend a few twigs before it got dark. Her rock bolo was simply becoming too heavy for her sore arm to throw.
As it stood, the Gastly were keeping their distance. Thrown Rocks were a decent deterrent, even a moderate annoyance to a loud of toxic ectoplasm when one had to recollect one's mass. And it seemed to Janie at least, that mixing up multiple Gastly made them take longer to un-mix themselves than did a single one.
It wasn't a huge distance though, and Janie was only one human with a dwindling pile of rocks.
Cautiously, a few of the braver Gastly pushed through the stoning. Janie reached down and grabbed the broad, leafy branch she'd been using as a crutch. She shoved it into the first gastly, and tried to stir it into a few of its gassy buddies like a large vat of soup. This actually proved almost more effective, and as the Gastly reformed they seemed to flutter around as if they were still dizzy. It meant they had to get closer to her though.
Janie peaked down. Her little hatchling had become brave enough to lean around her back. He was't eying the Gastly though, at least, not directly.
He was eying the small campfire Janie had made. It was tiny, more for light than heat, the forest was a rather constant, cool but tolerable temperature.
"That' genius, little guy. They are a bit leery of that fire." Beldum purred mechanically; happy that he'd been able to help, but was less thrilled when Janie lunged partially away from him long enough to grab a flaming stick from the fire. She touched it to her big fan, hoping the large torch would be enough to hold them at bay, and hurled the smaller still lit match into the midst of Gastly.
The stick hit one of the Gastly, causing the poison gas and the air within its body to expand rapidly outwards, taking several more Gastly with it. For the first time that night, the Gastly stopped their tortous, haunting chanting and looked with genuine fear at Janie and with confusion into the midst of their collective body where several of their comrades had been lurking. Probably, they were familiar with fire type Pokemon, but never had they seen fire from a human, and weren't expecting this new attack. The front line pressed backwards into the midst, putting more room between them and Janie's flame.
"You might just have saved us." Janie cooed to the Beldum, restoring his confidence. "See if you can knock some bark off behind us."
"Beldum!" He cheered, excited to be helping, while still mostly behind the creature protecting him. His metal hide was quite effective at the job with minimal injury to himself. As they fell, Janie grabbed them, stuck one end into the fire on her branch, and then lobbed it into the crowd. They were a bit less effective, there wasn't as much flame or were wet, and a few went out as they were thrown, but the deterrent was slowly thinning out the herd of Gastly.
Several brave ghouls pressed through. These were big, Janie wondered why they hadn't evolved, but was thankful that she wasn't trying to deal with Haunter. She swiped two away with her flaming branch, their gaseous bodies streaming to the side on a bit of a breeze. It had been a distraction though, and a third went straight for her head with its fangs bared while the weapon was occupied. Beldum saw it before Janie did, and plowed through the Ghost type. It spent what energy he'd been able to build back up though, and the missile like body crashed to the ground.
It was what the Gastly had wanted, the small psychic type no longer defended. Janie shoved her torch through several of them as they collected over the newly found meal. The force of the mini explosions knocked Janie backwards, and nearly put out the fire on her crutch. A small kindle it was, but one last suicidal Gastly braved it long enough to impale his body on the branch and bite it off before he too exploded.
"****." Janie was near panicking now, only looking at the hurt Beldum helped her. She began hurling parts of her campfire into the invigorated conglomerate of Gastly. Even as they exploded, they knew a desperate ploy when they saw one and were beginning to feel emboldened again.
Janie knew there was a small lake through some bushes near her. She wasn't sure why it mattered or what her next plan was, but something was telling her to go there. She scooped her brave little Beldum up in her arm and on her good leg, crashed through the undergrowth.
"C'mon Tally, there's water right over there." Cassie half whined.
"We just stopped what, an hour ago?
"Yeah, but we gotta stop somewhere." Cassie replied.
"Yeah, and while we're not being pestered by those Gastly is a great time to bed down."
"Not being bothered is why I want to keep moving, guys. As long as they aren't after us they might very well be-"
"Thought I heard something over by that lake we passed."
"Uh huh, sure. I didn't hear anything, just another ploy, right?"
"Well, if you weren't flapping your gums, you might've."
Cassie dashed through the trees for a look. "C'mon, the Gastly have corned something in the water"
Spinarak gulped. "I was afraid you were going to say that."
Beldum took a wild guess that Janie hadn't been expecting the steep embankment. He was shivering and eager to get out of the water, until Janie stood him upright and he could see the cloud of Gastly coalescing over them. They were angry; some of them looked hurt, others only dazed. They weren't chanting or being spooky, they were hissing; spitting acid into the water.
Beldum promptly fell back over, burying his optic lens eye into muddy lake bed
"Look, it's Janie! She's on the other side of the lake!"
"I told ya we should've stopped for water."
"The Gastly have her trapped!"
"Oh well, it was nice knowing her, come on guys, let's get out of here before the Don shows up and spots us."
The others ignored Spinarak's comment.
"I'll try to break them up, but you guys will have to cross without me and go in there stingers blazing. I'll go around the shore and see what help I can be."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Works for me"
"That's a TERRIBLE idea."
"Then you go with Tally. Probably be a liability anyway, webhead, and I'm tired of carrying your attitude."
The spider was once again ignored. Tally parsed her lips to ready a long, eerie howl, but the Gastly were faster than that. A stream of them poured out of the center of the cloud over Janie. Janie reached to hold Beldum under the water and watched as three dozen Gastly splattered against the surface over them; their gaseous bodies not dense enough to push through the surface.
"NOW!" Tally cried out.
Tiny lit them up with a string of Pin Missiles, joined by arcing bolts of electricity from Cassie's cloud. The swarm turned from their underwater target and slamed the two Pokeon like a freight train. No one had ever been witness to the sheer number of Gastly that seemed to appear. Being a swarm Pokemon himself, Tiny figured Double Team was at play, but the endless line of bodies continued to slam through himslef and Cassie. The latter asn't taking much damage like one would normally ssume, but the assault was disorienting enough she might as well be.
"Look out!" Spinarak leapt from Janie's bag and Tally's back. The stream of ghosts was leaving Tiny and going straight for the other two on the far shore. Spinarak fired a Night Shade into the onrush. The Line of phantoms were hit and broke in two, howling and banking off into two symmetrical loops before converging on the little spider.
"Get Away!" Tally Roared. Several gave in to the dark cammand, but the flock as a whole was too much. The Herdier leapt into the fray with her jowls dripping with an anger turned to raw power.
As the last Gastly cleared Tiny, he was too stunned to maintain flight. Cassie was wobbly as well, but her body naturally floats, whereas Tiny must make a semi-conscious effort to flap his wings.
Absent of that, he fell to the cold water. Several Gastly wheeled off from the main group to finish him.
"No!" Cassie cried. she summoned up all her power and dropped a colossal bolt of lightning into the little group. All at once, the crowd exploded and scattered to the far edges of the water, leaving Cassie panting.
Janie lay half submerged on the shallow part, its all the further her cold, broken body could get her. The voices within her wrestled with "Helping her Pokémon" and "Trying not to break what little wasn't already broken." Beldum was injured, but fortunately not susceptible to cold water like she was.
"They're coming around, Cassie!" Tally barked. "Try blowing them off!"
The cloud Pokémon bit her lip and summoned a breeze. It carried the chill off the water and splashed it into the faces of the Gastly. Although weaker than Night Shade, like Janie's hand weapons, it proved more devastating. Spinarak lined up some shots and began blasting them from the back, finally freeing Tally enough that she could run around the lake to her trainer. Cassie was enjoying the wind patterns; changing it was seeming to come more natural to her. And as she lashed at the Ghosts, she too felt her anger transform into energy, carried by the wind into the battlefield, even carrying a few weaker Gastly on its fringes and smashig them into their comrades.
On the far shore, Tally shed the heavy backpack and grabbed Janie by the scruff of her shirt, dragging her out of the water. Then she leapt and in, and without anything to grab ahold of, nudged Beldum out by his base. None too soon, the Gastly recognized that they were losing. Those that remained coalesced together high above the lake, streaming off into the forest depths. Those not strong enough for that, slunk ito whatever shadow they could.
"You better run!" Spinarak taunted.
"Cassie!" Tally barked. "We need fire over here!"
"In a minute! Gotta get Tiny out!"
The Beedrill groaned on Cassie's back. He was a bit bigger than she, but light enough she could get under him in the water and lift long enough to get to shore. Spinarak skittered around the same way Tally came, who was furiously digging a hole.
"What do you need, Tally?"[/i] The spider asked.
[i]"Twigs. Wood, stuff we can burn safely."
"You got it." He disappeared up a tree, and began shaking loose wood and nuts.
Cassie set down the third wet, shivering body and reached to the heavens to draw on the warmth of the approaching sunlight. Tally finished digging and began shoving the refuse into the small pit. It was more crude than they built with Janie’s guidance, it lacked the border ring of rocks and wasn't deep enough, but it would do for now. Cassie's body lightened and her head became faintlylined with orange spheres. It was all she could muster. So close and still so far from dawn. She focused the heat into a stream, and lit Tally's pile before collapsing herself of exhaustion.*
Spinarak shook loose some more for a stockpile. "What now?" he asked.
"We watch over them." Tally replied. "Protect them, and we pray to Arceus and Mew they recover quickly."
"Huh, that's odd."
Ben emerged from the theatre. "What cha doing?" He asked.
"Checking voicemail." Jovi replied.
"I was only in the restroom two minutes!" He said.
"Its my job. I can't just let go of it. I hate being so far away. I should check it."
"Oh come now." He cooed. "You don't want to do that. You’ll ruin a perfect evening" he said with too much confidence in that fact.
"Yes, yes I do. I have forty messages in three hours. Oh... Oh my god! This is horrible, I have to get back!" Jovi shed her heels, and took off across the center court of Gateon's main district. "I need to get back t the lab!"
"No you don't." Ben sighed. He opened a Pokeball, and Jovi went sprawling. She rolled over, and found a Machamp reaching to pin her. Ben approached, escorted by a second Pokemon, foxlike with a black body and a red mane.
"Monster!" Jovi started screaming for help. Sailors and merchants came running, but the appearance of a Zoroark meant the sudden disappearance of the attacker and the victim. Gateon Port had too much ambient noise; though they could hear the cries for help, the would-be rescuers didn't have a clue where it was coming from, even right in front of them. The Machamp muffled Jovi's screams with one of its huge hands, and she watched with as much horror as the befuddled rescuers rushed right past her; frantically looking for whoever was screaming for help.
"I'm sorry Jovi." Ben said, still as sweetly as can be. "But there can be no witnesses."
Turn the page