Well, after a long delay, I'm finally back. :3 Sorry for the lack of replying to reviews and such. College cracked down so hard, but I'll try and update this when I can... It's just, from now on, it won't be so frequently. These first few chapters are still kind of rough, but it evens out around number six... I promise. Q.Q I've been over-hauling with editing, but there was a lot to work with. Lol. Well, without further ado, let's meet the cast of characters! ;D
Chapter Three: The Mother's Agenda.
As we all stared, startled, at the arrival of the two guests, it was Professor Elm that broke the resulting silence first.
"Oh, right!" he said with a smile, scratching his head as he stared at the two newcomers. "You two must be... Hmm..." He grabbed a list out of his pocket and scanned it before continuing. "Right, Right. Zane Logarbo and Svetlana Yurkin, is that it?"
"That's it, professor." Svetlana said with a grimace as she looked around the lab. "But before we continue, what exactly happened here? I mean, the storm isn't this bad, is it...?"
Prue quickly piped up, taking a few steps over towards the two. "Hey, guys, I'm Prue! Nice to meet you!" She stuck out her hand to shake, but since neither of them went to do the same she eventually withdrew. "Uhm... Anyways, yeah, this wasn't caused by the storm." She pointed behind her to the rest of the mess they had yet to clean up as she gave a watered down explanation of how the lab had become a wreck.
"You mean a Pokemon did this to the lab and you guys didn't stop it?" Zane asked after she had finished, laughing a little under his breath. "I thought you and Piper had gone and beaten lots of gyms. Why didn't you just knock it out?"
This time Piper tried to answer, walking over to me and putting a hand on each of my shoulders. Her grip was firm, as if she were trying to restrain herself. She always seemed rather protective over her battling skills, since they'd always seemed to be the thing she thought she did best. "Actually, it's a long story. Zach did it for us. Isn't that right, Zach?" She flashed me a smile - one that seemed to have agree or die hidden within it.
I let out a nervous laugh and nodded as Zane and Svetlana both eyed me scornfully. "Well, I don't like to brag, but -"
"Of course he did." Zane said curtly, cutting me off. "Anyways, about us getting our Pokemon? I was hoping to leave town bright and early."
I could feel my face beginning to turn red with embarrassment. Of course they didn't want to hear about what I'd done. Why would they?
"Right, right! I'll be right back, I've got to go get the starter Pokemon out here for you all," Elm said cheerily, turning on the spot to go to the back of the lab. "We'll still be expecting two more visitors, right?"
"Right," Paige replied, checking the clock. "Zach, did Ashley or Duncan tell you when they would be coming by?"
"Erm... No, they didn't. I figured they'd be here a bit before ten." I checked the clock nervously. Ten-oh-five. They're only a tiny bit late.
Elm returned from the back of the lab, his arms full of pokeballs both empty and full. "Here we are!" Elm beamed, placing them all on a table while the aides quickly went over and sorted them out into three columns resembling the ones I'd encountered in the back of the lab. "Now then, feel free to choose any Pokemon you'd like. Remember, though, you can only have one!"
Svetlana walked briskly to the table, eyeing all three starter Pokemon choices briefly before grabbing the first pokeball in the Chikorita line. How did I know that'd be the one she went after? I felt a pang of nostalgia flow through me that I quickly suppressed.
"Chikorita's definitely the cutest of the three. I'll take it, Professor." Elm smiled at her as he nodded his head at Zane, who casually made his way to the table while Svetlana glanced at her pokeball, turning it over in her hands.
"How about you, young man?"
Zane scanned the available Pokemon briefly before making his choice. "I'll take this one," he said as he grabbed the first pokeball in the small line of Cyndaquil, his eyes focusing in on the spot where a Pokeball was missing. He looked up at me before turning back to the Professor. "I see Zach chose the same way." I nodded my head, diverting my eyes to the two pokeballs on my belt.
"Perfect!" Elm replied, patting Zane and Svetlana on the back. "I'm sure you'll be very happy with your decision! If you'd like, you can take them out of their pokeballs to get acquainted with - "
The door swung open again, followed by a near-blinding flash, as two wet, rushed teenagers hastily made their way into the lab. "Sorry, Professor!" panted Ashley, her long, light-blonde hair damp and slightly sticking to the front of her face as she stuffed the camera she'd just used to take a picture of us with back into her bag. "We'd gone to Zach's house so that we could all come here together, but... Wait, what happened here?"
"Long Story." Prue sighed, giving them a tired smile. "Don't worry about it."
They both seemed to take that as enough of an explanation. Duncan grinned at me as he closed the door behind him, both of them walking over to where I was. "Thanks for waiting up for us, jerk," he whispered to me, his brown hair damp and clinging to his forehead as he tried his best to fake anger. I should've expected them to go to my house. How stupid. But... How did they get around my Mom?
"There you two are!" Professor Elm chuckled. "Let me guess, Ashley Morrone and Duncan Tansy?"
"Right," Ashley said, straightening up and wiping her hair out of her bright blue eyes. "Sorry we're late, Professor. We tried our best to get here on time."
"We were starting to wonder if you'd ever show up," Paige teased, walking over to them and steering them towards the table where Professor Elm, Svetlana and Zane all were. "You two are the last ones to pick your Pokemon. Feel free to choose whichever one you want. You're somewhat out of luck if you both want a Cyndaquil, though."
Ashley gave a thoughtful hum as she stared at the three different lines of Pokemon, but I could tell from the look on her face she knew which one she wanted. Well, technically, I'd known for ages. She told me when we were still in Trainer School which one she was going to pick for the start of her journey.
"I'll take this one!" she said with a grin as she quickly picked up a pokeball in the Chikorita line. "It's just too adorable to pass up!" Svetlana scowled, obviously not pleased with the thought of having to share the same sort of Pokemon with anyone else.
"An excellent choice!" Professor Elm said, now turning his attention to Duncan. "And you?"
Duncan didn't pretend to not know what one he wanted like Ashley or the rest of them did. "Totodile's the guy for me," he replied, walking over to the table and picking up the first pokeball in the Totodile line. "Just look at him! He's ferocious!"
Duncan always seemed to love tough, scary-looking Pokemon. Totodile fits him perfectly, I thought to myself with a grin. Same with Ashley and Chikorita.
"Congratulations, then!" Elm said with a warm smile as he stared at all of us. "You each have your own Pokemon! Feel free to let them out of their pokeballs and get to know them." We needed no further coaxing to do as he said.
Within seconds excitement filled the air as red beam after red beam released the Pokemon of our dreams. My Cyndaquil appeared in front of me, letting out a nervous cry and jumping into my arms as Ashley's Chikorita materialized next to it. The tiny grass-type let out a happy little "Chiko!" as it stared up at Ashley, a wide grin on its face as she snapped a picture of it and squealed with joy. Duncan's Totodile began to jump in the air, flailing its arms and legs around excitedly as it jumped towards its brand new trainer and sunk its teeth deep into his arm.
"Gah!" Duncan yelled out in surprise. "W-What's with this thing?!" We all laughed at this except Zane and Svetlana, Duncan prying the creature off of his arm. He stared at the Totodile, obviously confused, while it gazed back at him with a content smile and let out a "Toto, Totodile!"
"Don't worry, mine did that too at first." Paige chuckled. "It's just their way of showing they care."
Duncan stared back at it warily. "Wonderful," he said with a small, nervous laugh as he reached down and petted it, steering clear of its mouth.
I looked over to Zane and Svetlana, who were both hunched down and petting their Pokemon. Svetlana's Chikorita had its nose turned up in the air, looking away from the show Totodile gave us with disdain as it gazed at its new trainer. Zane's Cyndaquil was the opposite, looking at our Pokemon as if sizing us up for competition. What are the odds of them having gotten perfect Pokemon to match their personalities?
Piper walked over to me, resting her hand on my shoulder as she ran her other one over Cyndaquil's short fur. It was shivering rather uncontrollably as it gazed on at the four new Pokemon in the room, making small squeaks and groans as though fearing for its life.
"Are you going to nickname your first Pokemon, then?" she asked curiously, her eyes drifting over to Ashley and Duncan as well.
My mind went blank. I hadn't even thought of nicknames. They seemed customary, but at the same time, so personal. I stared down at the tiny fire-type in my arms and thought for a few seconds.
"Lava," I said matter-of-factly. "Your new name, Cyndaquil, is Lava. Is that alright?"
Cyndaquil tilted its head, still shivering, before snuggling against my chest. I guess that was as good of a yes as any.
Ashley bent down and picked up her Chikorita, toying with the leaf on her head as she hummed thoughtfully. "Jungle. Is that a decent name?"
"Good as any, if you ask me." Duncan rubbed his arm, seemingly still sore from where his Totodile bit him, as he thought. "As for this little guy... He looks like a 'Rain.'"
"Great names, you guys," Piper said with a smile. "What about you two?" she asked, signaling Zane and Svetlana.
"This is Vulcan," Zane said dryly, running his hand over his Cyndaquil. "Apparently that over there," he paused, waving a hand at Svetlana's Chikorita, "is Lilly." A large, self-satisfied smile ran across Svetlana's face.
"I guess I just prefer the thought of a real name, rather than some sort of unimaginative landmark." Ashley scowled.
"Now then, all of you come over here," Elm began again, motioning us over to where he stood.
We all called back our Pokemon and did as he asked, Ashley jabbing me in the ribs with her elbow as we walked. "You're lucky we didn't tell your mom you snuck out," she whispered. "We could've been the first ones here! Now I'll never hear the end of it from Svetlana about 'copying her Pokemon choices.' You know how she gets about that sort of thing!"
Right as I was about to say something back, Elm began talking.
"Okay, you've each got your Pokemon, but that alone doesn't make you a trainer," Elm started, looking at each of us with authority in his eyes. "To battle, you need to have a trainer's license. To learn, you need to have a Pokedex. To keep in touch, you need to have a Pokegear." He walked over to the table and began to pick up different items. "Luckily, I have each one of these here for you, as well as five pokeballs to help you catch more Pokemon. With these, there's no limit to what you can do!" He began going down the line of us, first giving each of us a red Pokedex and a pokegear and then passing out five pokeballs per trainer. As I awaited my turn to receive my starting gear, I couldn't help but notice all the boys had blue Pokegears while the girls had pink.
"Now then..." He picked up a stack of red plastic cards and gave them a quick glance before continuing. "I'm going to pass out your Trainer Cards. It's vital you keep these with you at all times- without them, you aren't legally allowed to battle. They also act as your ID for battling gyms, entering trainer events, and many other things, as well. Don't lose them!"
He began passing out our trainer cards now, each of us staring at it with an amazed look on our faces. As he gave me mine, I examined every inch of it. It was shiny red, with my full name, my age, date of birth, height, weight, and Trainer ID all printed onto it. In the upper-right was a picture of me that had been taken a week after graduation.
"Well, I guess this isn't the worst picture I've ever taken... Maybe."
"Heheh! Check mine out!" Duncan said with a grin as he held up his license in front of Ashley and myself. "Total stud, right?"
"Oh yeah, definitely," Ashley replied sarcastically, pushing it away.
"Now then, I'd also like to mention one last thing," Professor Elm said jubilantly, all of us taking a break from examining our cards and staring at him. "I've registered myself and my aides in your Pokegears. Feel free to call us any time you need anything at all." We all flipped open our devices, tapping on the phone icon located inside and watching as our contacts list was instantly pulled up. Sure enough, four names were immediately listed: Prof. Elm, Prue, Piper, and Paige. "It may seem like there's no need to call us, but we have our uses. I myself study breeding and Pokemon evolution, to an extent. My aides, however," he paused, waving a hand at the line of women at his side, "are far more diverse. Feel free to keep in contact with us if you have any questions or concerns. Whether it's battling tips from Prue or tips on berry usage from Paige, there's no stupid questions!"
Zane and Svetlana both laughed under their breath. "Paige helps with berries? Yeah, real scientist," I heard Svetlana whisper. Paige seemed to hear them, too, yet paid no attention.
"I guess we're all done here," Elm concluded. "If there are any questions, feel free to stay behind and talk with me. Other than that, congratulations! Have fun on your very own Pokemon journey!"
Zane and Svetlana thanked the Professor before they began to walk briskly towards the doors, Ashley and Duncan both turning to face me as they walked by. "Why didn't your mom want you to start your adventure this time?" Ashley asked impatiently. "We better get out of here before she catches on that you've left. Won't be long now, will it?"
"Yeah, she's probably heading up to my room as we speak," I groaned. "She said I could come and get my Pokemon, just not leave town. I'm sure she's going to check on me any second to see why I haven't left yet."
"Dude, seriously, you should've told us," Duncan muttered. "We were an inch away from knocking on your front door before Ashley noticed the broken branches underneath your window!" Duncan snickered to himself before quickly adding, "Thank Arceus you're an idiot and can't even sneak out properly." I rolled my eyes.
"Shut up. She was all upset this morning - something about the rain, I don't know. Either way, you're right. I'm surprised she hasn't stormed out here already... Maybe we can get to Cherrygrove before she really starts to rampage."
"You snuck away?!" Piper asked, shocked, as her and her sisters walked over to join us. Professor Elm seemed to have busied himself with cleaning up the rest of the lab and paid no attention.
Of course Piper had to hear that part of our conversation. "Er... Well, yeah... Mom wanted me to wait until May to start my adventure! I had to do something!"
Piper looked as if she was about to open her mouth to voice her disapproval, but Paige interrupted her. "Eh, It's not easy waiting to start your adventure. Trust me, I'd know." She winked towards us. "I didn't get to become a trainer until I was eighteen."
"But Paige, he's just a kid! We can't let him run off if his mother doesn't want him to!"
"Paige is right, Piper. Get on out of here, we'll deal with your mother if she comes over," Prue said with a smile, walking over to the door to let us out. "How were we supposed to know he snuck out? Now that he has his trainer's license, though, he can do whatever he wants. We'll just tell her that when she swings by to see where you went. That should at least give you a head start, right?"
I laughed, stepping out into the rain with my friends and turning back to the four smiling faces staring back at me. Piper's brow furrowed, as if she were trying to think of a reason for us to stay behind and accept some type of punishment. "Thank you guys..." I reached down and felt my two pokeballs, a grin spreading across my face. "For everything."
They all smiled back at me. "No problem, Zach. But you all better get out of here! We're going to be watching the news to hear all about your latest victories, and we better not be disappointed," Paige teased.
"We've got to get back to cleaning up the lab, but we'll see you later," Piper finished, seeming to admit defeat. "Good luck you guys! And yes..." she sighed. "We'll take care of your mother if she comes by. Just hurry up and get out of town. I don't know how long we could keep her if we tried. You heard Zane and Svetlana..." She rolled her eyes. "We're rusty." Piper and her sisters laughed at that.
We all said our good-byes and walked away in the drizzle, waving at the people in the lab. Excitement was coursing through my body. "Alright guys, we'd better head off to Route 29 quickly if we want to make it to Cherrygrove before noon," Ashley said, pulling her unzipped gray jacket around her as a gust of wind blew by. "Plus, we kinda have to hurry. Don't want to start without Zach, now do we?"
"Do I have to answer that?" Duncan asked, grinning. "Anyways, I'm sure she won't care once she finds out. Don't worry about -"
"Zach!" A voice called out behind us. I flinched at the sound, stopping in my tracks. Do I really have to deal with this already? I haven't even gotten out of town yet and she's already after us? I turned around, facing the person responsible for the noise.
Svetlana stared back at me, a sly grin on her face as she walked over to us. Zane was following closely behind her, seemingly angry at still being here.
"Oh, Svetlana! What a pleasure to see you again," Ashley hissed, making no attempt to hide her contempt for the other girl.
Svetlana frowned. "Why, Ashley, I'm surprised. You're wearing clothes that look like they're worth more than five dollars today. I mean, just look at that gaudy necklace of yours - you could easily get seven dollars and a Pidgey at any local market for it."
I stopped, turning to face Ashley. I hadn't even noticed the tiny, bright gold-chain necklace that fit neatly around her neck. A second chain hung from the bottom of it, a tiny blue gem slightly visible at the end. "Well, we aren't all lucky enough to pull off the white trash look on a budget," Ashley said with a raised eyebrow. "Though I have to admit I'm impressed you can."
Svetlana ignored the comment, returning the conversation back to me. "Now that we're Pokemon Trainers, Zach, I figured we might as well have a decent match," she said lovingly. "You know, a nice starting battle between old friends."
Old friends. I could feel my blood start to boil at those words. After all the cruel things she'd done over the years, why would she even bring that up today of all days? The fact I knew she was deliberately using those words just to get a rise from me made me twice as angry.
"Right. That's the only reason you have for wanting to fight him?" Ashley replied coldly, eyeing down the girl in front of her with what felt like bloodlust. "Give me a break."
Svetlana smirked. "Well, Ash, I also figured it would be fun to start out my career with a win, too. " She chuckled. "Besides, we could use the prize money."
Oh, so they think I'm really that easy to beat?
"Well?" she asked. "What do you say?"
"Yikes, Svetlana, that's a tough one. How about no?" I asked angrily. "We've gotta run. We need to be to Cherrygrove soon."
"You just became a trainer and you already know better than to battle. Smart kid." Svetlana grinned.
To my surprise, Zane interjected for the first time in the entire conversation. "Leave him alone, Svetlana. Winning against him isn't much of an accomplishment anyways."
"Oh, I beg to differ," she replied, a mixture of cruelty and delight dancing in her eyes. "I hear taking down the son of a washed-up champion is all the rage these days."
Duncan seemed to have had enough of this. "Do you guys always have to be such jerks?" he growled, clenching a fist. "Someone ought to shut you both up once and for all." His hands went for his own pokeball, hanging neatly from his waist.
"You're absolutely right, Duncan," I muttered, my hand trembling. If this is how it's got to be, then so be it. "And I'll be the one to do it. Alright, Svetlana. I'll... I'll battle you."
Duncan and Ashley both gasped. "Wait, what?!" Ashley cried out. "Zach, I'm all for knocking the bimbo senseless, but we sort of have to hurry!"
"I don't care!" I seethed. "Just stand back. Come on, Svetlana, let's get this over with."
"Whatever you say," Svetlana giggled. "I didn't think it'd be so easy to get you to battle me!" She grabbed the pokeball from her waist and threw it into the air, a red beam of light releasing her Pokemon from its captivity. "Come on out, Lilly, and prepare for your first victory!" The tiny green Pokemon appeared before me on the street with a look of utter disinterest as I grabbed at my belt for my own Pokemon in return.
So here it is... My very first trainer battle. I threw the pokeball into the air, remembering to press the button first this time. Can't screw that up twice in one day. "Come on out, Lava! Let's show 'em what we've got!" Cyndaquil appeared before me in the light drizzle, perking its nose up in the air and sniffing around.
"Zach, you're making a mistake. Let's just go!" Ashley whined. Duncan grinned, watching the battle that was unfolding with excitement.
"Oh, lay off it, Ashley. Zach'll be fine. He'll show her who's boss."
I could feel myself already getting flustered. For the love of god, don't add any more pressure! "Don't worry about any of it, you guys. Let's just do this. Lava, use tackle!"
Lava stared meekly at the Chikorita in front of it, slightly shaking, but nodded its head and charged forwards at top speed.
"I see you've got a type advantage on my Pokemon," she giggled. "Is that the only reason you decided to battle me? Oh well. Lilly, dodge it!"
Her Chikorita sidestepped Lava's attack effortlessly, yawning a bit as my Cyndaquil skidded to a halt a few feet away. Before I could even comment on how the type advantage is useless since my Pokemon doesn't know any fire-type moves, she was barking out commands to her tiny Pokemon like a seasoned veteran. "Now then, let's have some fun... Try your own tackle, Lilly!"
Chikorita leapt into action, slamming into Lava with a happy squeal. Cyndaquil groaned in pain as it rolled across the ground, shivering uncontrollably as it quickly got back on its feet and targeted the small grass-type Pokemon in hopes of revenge. It was as if it was worried about being made a fool of. "Lilly, dodge it!" Svetlana commanded yet again. The Chikorita went to side-step the tackle but this time Cyndaquil didn't let it, hitting it head-on and making it fly backwards. The small Pokemon got up with a snarl, charging in retaliation. Cyndaquil did the same, a boastful attitude about the way it ran after landing its first hit, but both of us could see the outcome. Chikorita and Cyndaquil hit each other head on, both skidding backwards.
As long as that stupid Chikorita can see us, there's no way one of us will get an advantage. Then again... Maybe I can change that. I racked my brain, trying to remember what I'd learned about Cyndaquil and its moves from trainer school. There was something I could use to change the situation, I just knew it. It wasn't long before the answer came to me. "Lava, use smokescreen!"
Lava nodded, lifting its head up and releasing a thick, black smoke that coated the battlefield. Both Pokemon were no longer visible to each other, but I quickly realized I couldn't see where my Pokemon was, either. Great idea.
"Lava, charge! You can find the Chikorita!" I could hear my Pokemon let out a cry of agreement before it ran full speed... Somewhere.
Alright. Maybe Laval can actually tell where other Pokemon are in its own smokescreen. If that's the case, this match is in the bag. "Cynda!" It yelled triumphantly, bursting through the cloud of smoke and finding itself staring directly at me.
I sighed as it looked around, confused, before waddling back into the smoke to try again.
"Zach, you just have to ruin everything, don't you?" Svetlana huffed. "You can't just let me win. You have to make me wait for my victory with cheap tricks. Lilly, find that stupid Cyndaquil and show it what we're made of!"
Chikorita let out a confident cry, its tiny running feet audible over the rain and Lava's cries. We could hear their sounds in the smoke, yet we couldn't figure out just who was coming out on top in the battle. There were no large sounds of collision, yet the cries and screeches of the Pokemon were brutal.
After a few minutes of heated cries from both Svetlana and myself, the smoke slowly began to dissipate, showing the two beaten and bruised Pokemon it had been hiding. Lava panted, charging the Chikorita yet again as the tiny green Pokemon did the same. They slammed into each other head on, both skidding backwards and ready to collapse.
This isn't getting me anywhere...These two are evenly matched. Maybe there's a different way... I reached for Cyndaquil's pokeball and my fingers slid across the small device concealing my new Sneasel. That's it! How could I have forgotten?
"Lava, come back!" I yelled out, holding its pokeball in my hand and recalling it.
"Giving up already?" Svetlana asked, giggling. "You're easier to beat than I thought!"
"I'm not giving up, I'm just switching tactics. Come on ou!" I threw the Sneasel's pokeball into the air, the tiny black Pokemon appearing before me in a burst of red light. Now was time to come up with a nickname as the dark monster sharpened its claws in the cold, rainy air. "Guys... Meet Devil."
"Wait, what?! Zach... Where did you get that?!" Ashley gasped.
"What the heck...? Zach, did your mom give that to you?" Duncan eyed the tiny creature enviously, a mixture of amazement and jealousy seeping into his question.
"Figures the momma's boy would ask for a special present from her! Zach, that's pathetic. Learn to catch your own Pokemon rather than going to her for easy ways out!" Svetlana snarled. "This match is two on one! That's not even fair!" Svetlana held up Chikorita's pokeball, recalling it. "I think I'm done here. Let's go, Zane."
My face turned bright red. "Wait! My mom never gave me this, I caught it! It was the Pokemon messing up the lab and I captured it!"
"Say whatever you want, we all know the truth. When you grow up, why don't you try fighting Svetlana again? Maybe then it'll actually be fair," Zane muttered, walking off towards Route 29 as Svetlana followed suit directly behind him stomping her feet. I stood there, unsure of what to say.
"Don't listen to them, Zach, they're idiots," Ashley growled, watching them make their way to leave New Bark Town. "She just needed an excuse to back out from the battle because she would have lost."
"We believe you, Zach, don't worry. Makes sense, too. So that little Pokemon's what did all that damage in the lab?" Duncan asked, staring at the creature curiously. "That's kind of funny. It looks so cute and harmless..."
The Sneasel had been minding its own business, but all our talking finally captured its attention. It turned around to face us with an evil look in its eyes. "Snea!" It growled sadistically as it sharpened its claws.
"Uh... Zach? Is that supposed to happen?" Ashley whimpered.
"Sneasel!" It hissed, shooting forward and swiping at us. Ashley screamed at the top of her lungs, running away as quickly as she could while Duncan let out a yelp of surprise and fell backwards onto the ground. "Snea!" It screeched yet again, targeting Duncan and running at him with a claw outstretched.
"Wait! Sneasel, stop!" I bent over to grab it before it got to Duncan but it shot a hand up at me, hitting me outside the head and making me fall down to the ground. I groaned in pain as I looked over to see Duncan holding it at arm's length, Ashley still screaming at the top of her lungs and hiding behind a nearby lamppost as I grabbed my belt for Sneasel's pokeball.
"What's WRONG with your Pokemon?!" Duncan cried out, claw after claw digging into his arm.
"Gah, there's nothing wrong with it, it just- Devil, come back!" I yelled out, holding up the red and white sphere as it was enveloped by a beam of light and sucked back inside, hissing with displeasure. We all froze for a second, unsure of what to say before Ashley broke the silence.
"Your Pokemon's possessed!" she cried as she came out from her hiding spot and walked over to us. "It's gonna kill us before we even get to Cherrygrove!"
Duncan faked a groan of pain. "She's right, Zach, I think I'm gonna bleed to death before we're even out of town!"
Ashley shot him a dirty look. "Don't joke around! That thing is scary!"
I froze for a second. Wait... Cherrygrove! "Guys! We've gotta get out of here! We're running late!" I cried, jumping up to my feet and placing Sneasel's pokeball back on my belt.
"Oh, crap. I totally forgot!" Ashley moaned. She quickly took off her small, bright blue backpack and rummaged around in it for a second before pulling out a little white book and flipping it open. "According to A Traveler's Guide to Johto, there's a beautiful view of the ocean at Cherrygrove I was hoping to see. If we make it there before noon, we could probably sit back for a bit and check it out. I swear, if you guys make me miss any points of interest like that from this book after I've never really had the opportunity to travel... Well, needless to say, we'll have some issues," she hissed, walking over towards the New Bark Town exit and waving a hand for us to follow. "Now let's go!"
We all began hurrying towards Route 29 as I let out a slight sigh of relief. "Thanks, guys, for everything. Sorry if us having to rush sort of ruins the fun for you..."
"Oh, shut up," Ashley laughed. "We're alright with it. The thought of being chased by a Pokemon Champion kind of gives you an adrenaline rush, so consider it fair payment." She grinned. "I feel like such a little rebel!"
"I don't see what the big deal about all this is, anyways," Duncan said. "I mean, what's the worst she could do? Ask for you to come back and then you say no? She doesn't scare me. Not one bi -"
"ZACHARY SCOTT OXFORD!" an angry voice trumpeted through the air. We all froze in place.
"RUN!" I screamed. We all shot forward as quickly as we could towards Route 29, but I could hear my mother's feet slamming against the pavement, already zoning in on us and gaining quickly.
"Still think this is fun, Ashley?!" Duncan yelled. "She's gonna kill us!" We all doubled our speed, still too far away from the exit to Route 29. That Route was full of bushes and trees- maybe if we could find a good one to hide in we'd be safe.
"Duncan, weren't you the one that was saying you weren't afraid of her just a second ago?!" Ashley panted, nearly tripping over a rock. My mom's steps were gaining on us.
"Don't you dare run away from me!" she yelled, so close I felt she could grab us at any moment. "That'll only get you in even worse trouble!"
"Please, Mom, let us go!"
"Yeah, Mrs. Oxford, he'll be fine!" Ashley cried out. "We'll take good care of him, I promise -" Ashley screamed at the top of her lungs, tripping over her own feet and falling down onto the wet pavement. A gigantic purple ghost had shot up from the ground ahead of us, a large red tongue rolling out of his mouth as he gazed at us with his bright red eyes. My mother's Gengar... We really were caught now. "It's a monster!" Ashley screamed over and over again, hiding her face behind her hands. "A monster from beyond the grave!"
Duncan and I stopped, knowing we were finished as my mother finally caught up to us. Duncan and I turned to face her while Ashley rolled around on the ground, screaming at the top of her lungs.
"So you snuck out of our house because you couldn't start your adventure today? Do you know how spoiled that is of you? I told you that you could go get your Pokemon today, just not leave yet! That wasn't good enough for you?!" she began to rant. "I raised you better than this! You're coming home right this instant, and you can leave once this - oh, sweetie, Gengar here won't eat you. He's nice, I promise," Mom quickly said to Ashley, who was nearly hysterical now. Ashley calmed down a bit, taking her hands off of her face and looking around as if she was afraid that the Gengar would pop up in front of her yet again.
"Look, I'm sorry, mom, but I had to! It's the first of April, I think I deserve to finally leave." I could feel the determination coursing through my body. "Don't you?"
"He's right, Patti. You know that. It's okay, just let him go." We all were shocked by this. My mother turned around to see Prue, Piper, and Paige all lined up a few feet away. Prue smiled as she continued. "They'll be fine! You raised him well, and he's got a great set of friends who can keep him safe. They're all brave kids." She flinched as the Gengar popped up in front of Ashley for the second time, snickering as the frightened girl let out another scream of terror and began begging for her life.
"He's already chosen his first Pokemon, and he even caught one, too!" Paige continued, trying not to laugh as Ashley continued to scream and began crawling away from the ghost that was now delighted in torturing her like this.
My mother turned to face me, a shocked look in her eyes. "Wait... You caught one already? What did you catch? Let it out!"
I shot a nervous look at Duncan, seeing if he thought it was a good idea. He shrugged, but I could tell he was worried. "Er... Okay then, but be prepared. It's still a bit... Wild." I gulped. Here goes nothing... "Come on out, Devil!" Grabbing its pokeball, I threw it into the air and released Sneasel from its confinement as Duncan and I both quickly took a step backwards. The Sneasel looked around at all of us menacingly, a low growl emerging from its throat.
"Oh, you caught a Sneasel?! It's absolutely adorable!" My mother ran over to it, bending down to give it a hug.
"No! Mom, don't!" I tried to yell as quickly as I could, but it was too late. The Sneasel jumped at her and...
"Awww, look at you, you cute little baby!" she cooed as the Sneasel gave her a hug. "You're just the most adorable thing I've ever seen!"
Duncan and I looked on at this, shocked, as Ashley ran around in circles screaming behind us. "No way," Duncan said, his jaw dropping.
"Someone get this Gengar away from me!" Ashley cried out.
"Wait... Is it friendlier now?" I asked, ignoring Ashley's plea and walking over to the tiny Pokemon. I knelt down, unsure whether or not it was a smart idea to pet it while it embraced my mother. The creature seemed to know what I'd been thinking, for at that moment it looked up at me and hissed, swinging out its claw and hitting me in the face.
Guess it wasn't a good idea after all, eh? I fell back down to the ground with a thud, rolling around in agony as the aides and my mother laughed. Of course it still hates me. Why wouldn't it? I gingerly got back up to my feet and recalled the Pokemon. "Okay... Maybe it's just a little antisocial." I groaned, rubbing my head.
"That Pokemon is so cute!" My mom gushed, seeming somewhat happier now. "It'll warm up to you eventually, I'm sure."
"Don't count on it," I moaned.
Prue walked over, chuckling a bit, as she addressed my mother. "See, Patti, he'll be fine. Come on, just let him go. He deserves this, don't you think? He's got two strong Pokemon to help him out and wonderful friends." She paused for a second, glancing over at Ashley. "...But I think it'd be best if you called back your Gengar. I think Ashley's almost scarred for life."
My mother looked over at Ashley, who was now screaming and trying desperately to climb up a tree in the distance to get away from the Gengar but had no idea how to do so. She sighed. "I suppose you're right, Prue." She turned to face me, giving me a warm smile. "I guess... Sometimes I just don't like the thought of you leaving. But there's no stopping you, is there? I don't think I'm up for battling all of you over the right to do this... I'll just look like a drama queen." Piper gave her an odd look, as if she'd already blown far past that title. "As long as you remember to call, I guess I'll have to be alright with you going. Though don't think you won't hear about it from me eventually."
My jaw dropped at this. "A-Are you serious?!"
She smiled again. "Yeah, I am. Sorry for, you know... Over-reacting today." She paused. "Well... I guess this is good-bye, sweetie. Just do your best out there, okay? I'm rooting for you, honey!" Another scream from Ashley reminded her of Gengar. She quickly pulled off a pokeball she had on her waist and recalled the ghost, much to Ashley's delight.
"Thanks, mom." I grinned. "We'll make you all proud!"
"Now that's what we like to hear," Piper said happily. Ashley staggered over to us, half-dazed and slightly twitching as she let out a large sigh.
"Are we going now?" she groaned, jumping a bit at the rustling of a tree nearby.
"You guys are going now." My mother grinned. "Good-bye, you three, and good luck!" She walked over to me, giving me a gentle hug as she whispered into my ear. "I love you, sweetie. Just promise me you'll be safe out there."
"I love you too, mom." I gave her a big squeeze. "And yes, I promise." I broke the hug, looking at the aides and my mother before continuing. "Bye, everyone! Thanks again!" I said as the three of us began to walk off towards Route 29, all of us waving at the four figures who stayed behind. Ashley stopped, turning around and taking one final picture of them and the town we were leaving behind before jogging back over to us.
"Do you honestly think he's ready?" Patricia whispered to Prue as the three figures walked farther and farther away. Piper and Paige both patted Patti on the back as they made their way back to the lab.
Prue grinned. "Well, he seemed determined to continue on, so there's really no getting around it." The answer didn't seem to satisfy the boy's mother, so she continued on. "I think that if he isn't ready he'll become ready soon enough. I don't think anything could stop him right about now, not even us. He really is his mother's child."
Patricia smirked. His mother's child... I like that.
"He still doesn't know about everything that happened on Cinnabar, you know..." the mother said softly. "All that took place before and after that battle. What really happened to his father... I couldn't make him hate his hero like that." Prue looked at the woman curiously. "I know he wants to become the champion, but there's true evil out there and my instincts are telling me it's amassing quite a bit of power. Since he's just starting they might target him in hopes of getting to me..." Patti looked at Prue, worry in her eyes.
"I've been trying to keep him from starting his journey for so long so that wouldn't happen, but my baby's finally gone. After seeing him actually sneak out of his room, I knew I couldn't hold him back anymore. What am I supposed to do in a situation like this?"
For once, Prue finally seemed to understand why Patti was doing what she was doing. A large smile crossed her face as she gave the worried mother a hug.
"Don't worry, Patti... I'll keep an eye out on him. Nothing will happen to your son."
The three of us stood in front of Route 29, the trees and bushes surrounding us wet from the gentle rain.
"We're here," Duncan said disbelievingly as Ashley studied our surroundings nervously. "After everything that's happened today, we're finally here."
"I swear... If I see another ghost anytime soon, I'm going to cry," Ashley groaned.
I laughed at the two of them as I looked behind us to New Bark Town, motionless and silent in the rain. I'm finally leaving my home town. The thought of that seemed so foreign to me. I'd never thought the day would actually come, I guess. I finally get to go on my own adventure once and for all, to experience this world the way I'd always dreamed I could. Don't worry, guys, I'll make you all proud. The wind began to gently blow as I gazed at the sign just inside the town boundaries.
'New Bark Town - Winds of a new beginning.'
A new beginning... Yes. Yes it was.
Well, there you have it. Number three. If you read through all that, please make sure to post with a comment / critique / complaint to let me know your thoughts and opinions. I'd love to hear them, and they keep me going! With that out of the way, have a great day!