First, I'd like to apologize for not getting this chapter done by the end of January, as was my intention. A combination of schoolwork and sheer laziness is to blame for this. So, without further ado, here we are, Chapter 24!
Chapter 24: Operation: Eevee Rescue
The rest of that night went with relatively little incident. Not that Red noticed- so astonished by Orange and Violet's unexpected and sudden kiss was he that he barely registered anything else that happened that evening. Orange seemed to be in a similar state of shock, though also in a considerably happier mood.
"Whoa," Red stated as Orange sat down next to him on one of the beds in their room in the Nodacel Pokémon Center the following morning. "Just... Whoa."
"I know, right?" Orange replied, grinning widely. "I mean, I think I kinda always knew that I... But I never dreamed that she... You know?"
Despite him having not finished either of those sentences, Red nodded. He didn't need Orange to finish what he was saying. He of course never even had the slightest notion that Violet and Orange would actually be in love with each other.
At that moment, Violet strolled into the room. "Come on," she said to Orange and Red. "Breakfast time." She looked more cheerful than Red could remember seeing her, and as Orange walked out the door into the hallway, he and Violet exchanged a quick kiss.
At the table, Red looked on in amazement as Orange and Violet pushed their seats closer to each other. They even ordered the same breakfast- whole wheat zero toast with six jelly. It was the first time Red ever saw Orange eat anything other than fried nines.
"Mmm," Orange said as he bit into his toast. "This is good stuff right here. It's no plate of fried nines, but still, this is some good stuff!"
"I know, right?" smiled Violet. "Kept telling you, you should try stuff other than fried nines."
"Well, you were right," declared Orange.
Red stared at this in amazement, barely touching his fried nines. It was as though Violet and Orange had transformed into different people.
"So," said Red, "I'm guessing the fight last night-"
"Water under the bridge," said Violet dismissively.
"Forgiven, forgotten," added Orange.
"Good, good," nodded Red. "I always hate to see you two fight."
"Well, I got a feeling you won't have to worry about that anymore," Orange grinned as he and Violet kissed once more.
"This isn't weirding you out, though, is it, Red?" Violet asked. "I mean, me and Orange-"
"It was, a little, at first," Red admitted. "But I'm getting used to it. Honestly, I'm happy for you two." In honesty, Red was still trying to fully wrap his head around the whole idea, but it wasn't bothering him too much.
Just then, they heard a commotion from the main lobby. Quickly, Red grabbed a bag from a passing Chansey and packed up his unfinished fried nines before following Orange and Violet into the lobby. There, a large, muscular man in a karate outfit was storming around, ranting something about rotten thieves.
"What's going on?" Red asked.
"This man's Pokemon got stolen from him," replied Orange. "He says Team Debug was behind it."
"Of course," groaned Red. "It's always gotta be something to do with one of those insane groups."
"Sir, please, calm down," the nurse was saying to the distraught man.
"Calm down?!" he roared. "Calm down?!?! How do you expect me to calm down?! Those rotten Team Debug crooks made off with my Eevee! Those are extremely rare!"
"An Eevee?" said Violet, sounding mildly intrigued. "He's right, those aren't all that common." Meanwhile, Red opened up his Pokédex as an image of a small, brown, furry creature appeared on the screen.
"Eevee, the Evolution Pokémon," droned the device. "Eevee's genetic code is irregular. It can evolve in different ways depending on the evolution stone used on it."
"We gotta do something about this," Red said at once. "Even if they call the police, how successful have they been in the past with these jerks?"
"He's got an excellent point," Orange said to Violet. "Let's go."
Orange and Violet exited the Pokémon Center as Red approached the man. "Excuse me, sir," said Red. "Where exactly did this happen, anyway? And which way did you see those Team Debug grunts go?"
"It was just outside Nodacel Mansion," replied the man. "They took off in the direction of the Game Corner. It's the bright and flashy building, you can't miss it. Please, get my Eevee back," he added. "It's just a baby, who knows what those crooks will do to it?"
Red nodded and dashed out of the Pokémon Center. He looked around for Orange and Violet, and then sighed as he saw the two of them kissing again.
"Ahem," said Red. At this, Orange and Violet broke apart and looked at Red, both of them grinning. "Sorry to break that up, guys, but the guy says he saw the Team Debug crooks run towards the Game Corner."
"Oh, I think I know where that is," nodded Orange. "Saw that map of the city back in the Pokémon Center a little while ago. C'mon."
With Orange leading the way, they ran off, and after several minutes of dashing over concrete, rock, grass, threes, sevens, and pine cones, they arrived at a one-story building constructed out of small trees, fives, eights, roofing tiles, and walls of rock. The fives and eights were flashing red, blue, and green, giving the structure a flashy appearance.
"This must be the place," Red remarked as he pushed open the giant pair of sevens that appeared to function as doors. Immediately, a cacophony of various sounds met their ears as they were greeted with the sight of many people sitting at slot machines, inserting coins and pulling handles. On occasion, alarm bells and the sound of a machine expelling large quantities of coins could be heard, accompanied by much cheering.
"Man, this place is huge," Red whispered. "We might have to split up to- are you freaking kidding me?" For as he was speaking, he turned to face Orange and Violet, only to find the two of them kissing yet again.
"Sorry, Red," Orange said sheepishly as he and Violet broke apart. "I- hey, isn't that a Team Debug grunt right there?" Red looked in the direction Orange was pointing, and sure enough, he saw the all-too-familiar white uniform. The man in the uniform was standing right in front of a poster hanging on the wall, and scowling at anyone who got too close.
"Is he... is he guarding a poster?" chuckled Violet.
"Yeah," replied Orange, also chuckling. "Completely inconspicuous. Nothing suspicious about that at all right?" This elicited laughter from Red and Violet, and at the same time, all three of them started walking towards the Debug Grunt.
"Excuse me," Red said as they approached him. "I-"
"I'm guarding this poster!" interrupted the grunt. "Go away, or else!"
"You're guarding... a poster," Red stated. "Seriously?"
"Uh..." the grunt sweatdropped, apparently only just starting to realize the ridiculous and suspicious nature of what he had just said. "Uh... No?"
"Yeah, too late for that," smirked Violet. "Why are you guarding a poster?"
"...it could fall off?" said the grunt. Red, Orange, and Violet all exchanged highly amused looks.
"OK, how about you just step aside for a moment-" began Red.
"Zubat!!" interrupted the grunt, who had produced and thrown a Poké Ball so fast that Violet missed it because she blinked at exactly the wrong moment. "Go!"
The trio hastily stepped back as the ball burst open, unleashing the small blue Poison/Flying-type into the air. The Zubat flapped its leathery wings constantly, staying airborne, and baring its sharp fangs.
"Looks like this joker wants to make a fight of it," stated Orange as he clutched a Poké Ball of his own. "Nidoking, go!" he shouted as he threw the ball.
In front of Orange, the large, imposing, spike-covered Nidoking materialized, roaring loudly as he faced his fellow Poison-type.
"Zubat! Supersonic!" commanded the Debug grunt.
"Nidoking, Water Gun!" Orange ordered.
As Zubat began to unleash a volley of soundwaves from its mouth, Nidoking blasted a stream of water from his own mouth. The water struck Zubat, forcing it to stop its attack. "Baaaaat!" it screeched.
"Take Down now!" the grunt shouted.
"Nidoking! Aurora Beam attack!" yelled Orange.
Flapping its wings furiously, Zubat lunged forward... flying right into the rainbow-colored ray of light now pouring out of Nidoking's mouth. The Bat Pokémon shrieked and screeched in discomfort at the Ice-type move, and then fell to the floor, twitching pathetically.
"Zubat, return!" the grunt shouted, holding out the ball, the button aimed at Zubat. Once Zubat had been sucked back into the sphere, the grunt muttered, "The hideout could be discovered-"
"Hideout?" asked Orange.
"What secret switch?!" the grunt exclaimed, nearly jumping a foot in the air. Then, he realized his mistake and added, "Uh... I mean... Um... Bye!" With that, he dashed off and ran around a corner. Red ran after him, but as he rounded the corner, he saw that the grunt was nowhere to be seen.
"Alright," said Orange as Red walked back over to the poster. "Let's see what that Team Debug moron was really guarding." He lifted the poster away from the wall, revealing a large red button set into the wall.
"Well, there's your secret switch," commented Red. "What do you guys say? Should we push it?"
Orange shrugged. "Sounds good to me. Vi?"
"I'd like to see what it does," nodded Violet. With that, Orange pressed the button. Immediately, a whooshing noise sounded from just around the corner. The trio walked over to the source of the noise, only now, Red could see a large doorway built into the wall that certainly hadn't been there twenty seconds ago.
"Whoa," Red said, pointing at the large square hole in the wall. "That's definitely new."
"You sure?" asked Orange.
"Positive," nodded Red.
With that, Violet led the way through, and down a flight of stairs. They found themselves in a dimly lit corridor with steel walls.
"I'll say it again; whoa," Red whispered.
The dimly lit corridor was long, with many twists and turns. Violet led the way down the hall, and they eventually came to a larger, more open room, in which another Team Debug grunt was standing. The trio made to hide, but the grunt spotted them.
"Stop! Intruders!" he bellowed as he threw a Poké Ball. "Go get them, Grimer!"
In a flash of light, a large, living pile of purple sludge materialized. "Griiimer," it exclaimed. Violet shuddered at the sight of the Poison-type, and this spurred Orange into action.
"Q, let's go!" Orange exclaimed as he threw a Poké Ball of his own, unleashing the Deep Sea Pokémon into the air.
"Ugh!" the grunt said in disgust. "Grimer, use your Sludge attack!"
"Q, Water Gun!" Orange ordered.
Simultaneously, both Pokémon fired off streams of liquid at each other- Grimer launched a steady stream of smelly black gunk, and Q blasted a stream of water. The attacks collided in midair, each one cancelling the other out.
"Now use your Headbutt attack, Q!" said Orange.
"Grimer, Harden attack!" commanded the Team Debug grunt.
Grimer seemed to freeze in place, but was thrown back nevertheless as Q rammed into it. The Poison-type hit the floor with a loud clanging noise, but quickly regained its more oozy state as it righted itself.
"Let's wrap this up," smirked Orange. "Confusion!"
"Kyuuuuu," sang Q as it unleashed a pale blue ray from one of the top corners of its cube-shaped body, and as the Psychic-type move hit Grimer, the super effective blow proved to be more than the Sludge Pokémon could handle.
"Grimer, return," grumbled the grunt as he held out the Poké Ball. "You know, I could still punch you all out," he snapped at the group. "There's no reason my loss in a Pokémon battle means I gotta back down."
"Well," said Red as he took a Poké Ball off his belt, "there's the fact that there is nothing to protect you from Charizard's Flamethrower. How's that for a reason?"
"That's a damn good reason," the grunt replied as he slowly backed away from the group, though still eyeing them resentfully.
"Now you're getting it," smirked Orange. "Now, why don't you tell us what you know about an Eevee that was brought in here?"
The grunt shook his head. "I don't know anything about nothing like that."
Red held Charizard's Poké Ball higher still. "You sure about that?" he asked.
"Yes, I am!" the grunt insisted. "It's a big hideout. A one-Pokémon heist isn't exactly news that reaches the entire organization right away."
"Fine," sighed Red. "Let's keep going, guys."
The group continued on. Along hallways, through rooms, down flights of stairs. All the while, they encountered numerous Team Debug grunts, but the battles were usually almost pitifully short. Red's Raticate made short work of one grunt's Machop, in spite of the type disadvantage; Violet expertly commanded Flutters to victory against another grunt's Venonat and Wigglytuff; Orange's A made excellent use of Transform to take out not only another grunt's Gloom, but also the Shellder which followed it. And after each fight, either Red, Orange, or Violet would demand to know where the Eevee was, and each and every time, the grunt would deny knowing anything, even while under threat of being roasted by a Charizard, blown up by a .4, or poisoned by a Weezing.
"This is getting us nowhere," sighed Red as they rounded a corner, only to come face to face with yet another grunt- this one, however, leapt about a foot in the air.
"You!" he exclaimed before turning around and running off. Almost instantly, the group broke into a run, giving chase.
"Flutters!" Violet shouted, holding up a Poké Ball as she ran. "Stun Spore!"
Immediately, the Butterfree that emerged from the sphere flew at great speeds until it was right above the Team Debug grunt. "Freeh, freeh!" it chattered as it flapped its wings, scattering a yellow powder from them. The grunt collapsed to the floor, struggling to move. With this development, Red, Orange, and Violet caught up to him extremely easily.
"Gah!" the grunt exclaimed as he shakily tried and failed to climb to his feet. "What do you punks want from me?!"
"The Eevee you stole will do just fine," said Orange.
"Heh," chuckled the grunt. "You think I still have that thing? You wasted your time, I already gave it to the boss."
"You're lying," smirked Violet.
"And what makes you say that?" the grunt demanded.
"Maybe the second Poké Ball on your belt," Orange stated. "If that contained anything that was truly yours, you wouldn't have only come at us with a Zubat, but if there's, oh, say, a stolen Eevee, you wouldn't risk it, would you?"
The grunt remained silent for a few moments before muttering a selection of swearwords under his breath.
"I'll take that as a yes," Orange smirked as he swiped the ball off the grunt's belt. The trio then started walking back the way they came, leaving the grunt on the floor.
"Hold on," Red said. "We should make sure that's really the Eevee before we get out of here. I mean, you two... that was awesome back there, but still, we gotta be sure."
"No, you're right," nodded Orange as he enlarged the Poké Ball and tossed it into the air. The flash of light that emerged from within formed itself into the same brown furry quadruped Red had seen on his Pokédex screen earlier, except this one looked a lot more frightened.
"Vee..." squeaked the Eevee timidly, trying to shrink away from the trio.
"It's OK, Eevee," whispered Orange as he knelt down. "We're here to save you, take you back to your owner, OK?"
Eevee's ears perked up somewhat at this, though it still looked nervous. Cautiously, it walked towards Orange, peering curiously up at him. After a moment, Orange gently scooped Eevee into his arms, and the Normal-type raised no objections to this. Then, the group continued walking back the way they came. Along the way, various Team Debug grunts scowled at them, but as they had previously been defeated in battle, they could do nothing to impede the trio's progress. At last, they came to the staircase which would lead them right back up into the Game Corner...
"Stop right there!"
Red groaned as he, Orange, and Violet simultaneously turned around at the sound of two men shouting at them simultaneously. Sure enough, a pair of Team Debug grunts were storming up to them, and they were very familiar with this duo.
"Not you guys again," Orange snapped.
"Yeah, we really don't have time for this nonsense," added Violet.
"Well, too bad," growled Will as he and Lou each produced and threw a Poké Ball. "Tangela! Go!"
"Primeape, I choose you!" Lou called out.
The Poké Balls opened up simultaneously. Will's Tangela materialized, but Lou's Pokémon was one he hadn't had before. It was built like the Mankey they had seen him use before, only with no tail, thicker arms and legs, odd metal rings around the wrists and ankles, and it looked considerably more angry. Orange held out his Pokédex.
"Primeape, the Pig Monkey Pokémon, and the evolved form of Mankey," droned the device. "Primeape is constantly furious. It gives chase to anything which angers it, and will not stop until its target is caught."
Red readied a Poké Ball, but before he could do anything, Orange and Violet had each thrown one of their own Poké Balls simultaneously.
"Go, A!" Orange shouted.
"Go, Skulls!" Violet exclaimed.
Materializing opposite Tangela and Primeape were Skulls, Violet's Weezing, and Orange's A. The Poison-type glared at the Grass-type with both heads, and the Normal/Normal-type floated motionlessly across from the furious Fighting-type.
"Tangela, use your Vine Whip on that abomination!" Will yelled.
"Primeape! Mega Punch!" Lou commanded.
"OK, Skulls, Sludge attack now!" Violet ordered.
"A, let's speed up with TM40!" said Orange.
Tangela sprouted a pair of vines from the tangled mass that was its body, and as they snaked towards A, the Speed Demon Pokémon zoomed forward, delivering a light blow to Tangela which, while not very damaging, seemed to result in a boost to A's speed. Meanwhile, Primeape lunged at Skulls, fist at the ready, only to be shot down by twin streams of sludge from the Weezing's mouths.
"Tangela, Skull Bash now!" called Will.
"Sludge attack again, Skulls!" Violet ordered.
"Primeape, Thrash!" yelled Lou.
"A, use your Razor Wind!" Orange ordered.
Skulls blasted another pair of sludge streams, but Tangela jumped out of the way, then rammed into A just as Primeape approached and started punching and kicking.
"A! No!" Orange exclaimed as the Speed Demon Pokémon collapsed to the floor. Just then, they heard a growling noise. Orange looked around in confusion for a moment before realizing that it was coming from his arms- more specifically, the Eevee he was holding in them. Eevee was snarling at the Team Debug grunts, and was now trying frantically to get out of Orange's arms.
"Eevee, no," Orange said warningly. "We can't take the chance, we gotta get you back to your trainer." Eevee shook its head vehemently, however, and jumped out of Orange's grip, assuming an aggressive pose and growling at Primeape and Tangela. Will and Lou glanced at each other, and burst out laughing.
"Orange, I'm not sure this is a good idea," Violet muttered.
"Neither am I," sighed Orange. "But Eevee seems to be be about as stubborn as I am, and you know what? This might just be crazy enough to work. Vi, don't get Skulls involved unless it's absolutely necessary, OK?" He then took out his Pokédex, and pulled up a list of the Eevee's attacks. "OK, Eevee, you ready to do this?" he called.
"Vee!" replied the Eevee with a nod.
"OK, playtime's over," grinned Lou. "Primeape, Submission attack!"
"Tangela, Skull Bash!" added Will.
"Eevee! Reflect!" ordered Orange.
"Vee Eevee!" squealed Eevee as a translucent dome of energy formed all around it. Primeape and Tangela both bounced off almost comically.
"Wow," Red remarked, surprise evident in his expression. "That wasn't bad at all."
"Now use your Quick Attack, Eevee!" Orange exclaimed.
Will and Lou's spluttered and stammered commands for Slam and Mega Punch respectively went unheeded as Eevee charged at a high speed, ramming into Primeape and Tangela, both of whom were still trying to pick themselves up, and sent them flying backwards.
"Follow up with Swift!" Orange shouted, clearly on a roll.
"Veeeeee hee hee hee!" exclaimed Eevee as a barrage of glowing stars erupted from its open mouth, pelting both Primeape and Tangela. Much as they tried to evade the move, the stars always changed direction to close in on their targets.
"Come on, Primeape!" exclaimed Lou.
"Tangela, get that Eevee!" Will shouted.
"Eevee, use Substitute!" said Orange.
Eevee closed its eyes and focused, and an exact duplicate of it materialized directly in front of it. As Primeape closed in on Eevee, ready to deliver a Mega Punch, the Substitute jumped in the path of the attack at the last second, taking the attack itself.
"Gah!" Lou exclaimed. "Stupid substitute!"
"It can't be in two places at once!" Will replied. "Tangela, Vine Whip!"
"Primeape, Mega Punch again!" ordered Lou, catching on.
However, Will was very quickly proven wrong. Though Primeape and Tangela approached from opposite sides, and simultaneously as well, the Substitute started glowing, and split into two. When the glowing faded, it was now two smaller Substitutes, and each one took one of the attacks before both halves vanished in puffs of smoke.
"Eevee, now!" Orange ordered. "Hit Tangela with your Quick Attack!"
Eevee growled as it charged forward, and ran in a circle to approach Tangela from behind, sending the Grass-type flying right into Primeape. Both Pokémon collapsed to the floor, neither one of them moving any more.
"Damn it!" Will and Lou grunted simultaneously as they withdrew their Pokemon. They then produced two more Poké Balls, but Eevee shot off another Swift attack, the stars knocking the Poké Balls out of the grunts' hands before they even got to enlarge them.
"I suggest you get out now," Orange stated. "You don't want another Swift attack, do you? I don't think Eevee is gonna even let you open those Poké Balls.
"Vee Eevee," nodded Eevee in agreement.
Will and Lou exchanged glances, then scooped up their dropped Poké Balls and fled past the trio and down the hall.
"This isn't the last you've seen of us, twerps!" shouted Lou. "We will meet again!"
"Yeah, I'm sorry to say we probably will," sighed Red. "C'mon, guys, let's keep moving," he added as he climbed the stairs.
Once they were out of the Game Corner and back in the Nodacel Pokémon Center, the trio found themselves immediately greeted by the Eevee's trainer, who was nothing short of thrilled to see Orange hand him his brown, furry Normal-type, as well as the Poké Ball for it.
"Oh, thank you! Thank you!!" the man exclaimed. "Eevee, say thank you to the nice people, OK?"
"Vee," squealed Eevee as it gave Orange a long look. The trainer took notice of this, and then looked at Orange.
"Hey-" began the trainer.
"It was nothing," Orange said modestly. "Just glad to have gotten Eevee back to you safe and sound."
"No, not that, it's... I think Eevee's taken a liking to you," the man stated. Sure enough, Eevee nodded vigorously in agreement with this statement.
"Well, I kinda did use it in battle down there," admitted Orange. "I mean, I didn't want to, but Eevee sort of insisted."
"Yeah, that sounds like Eevee, all right," chuckled the man. "But... How would you like to take care of Eevee?"
"Me?" Orange asked in surprise. Eevee reacted to this by jumping out of its trainer's arms and into Orange's arms. "But didn't you just get through worrying about Eevee?"
"Well, yeah, because it was in the hands of criminals," the trainer replied. "But you, you're a capable trainer, and Eevee clearly likes you. I know I'll have nothing to worry about. Come on. I insist."
Orange sighed. "Well, if you say so, then... welcome to the team, Eevee."
"Vee!" Eevee squealed happily as it placed its front paws up on Orange's chest in order to reach up and lick his face. Orange laughed as this was happening, as did Violet, Red, the nurse, Eevee's now former trainer, and anyone else who happened to be looking at the time.
"Alright, so where to now?" asked Red.
"Well, we might as well try the west entrance to Fansfor City," Violet suggested. "Maybe we'll get lucky with this one."
"I'm with Violet," nodded Orange. He and Violet smiled at each other and shared a brief kiss. Red gave a small sigh, and the two broke apart.
"What's up, Red?" asked Violet.
"Nothing, it's nothing," Red sighed. "It's just... I dunno, with you two going out now, I'm afraid I might start seeming like... kinda like a third wheel, you know?"
"Oh, Red," said Orange. "You'll never be just a third wheel, you're our friend- hell, you're the reason me and Vi started traveling together in the first place! And if we weren't traveling together, then we might never have gotten together."
"Orange is right," Violet nodded. "We got you to thank for this, Red. Besides, you're a good friend to have around."
Red smiled. "Thanks, guys," he said. "And I gotta say, I'm liking this, traveling through Tanko with you guys. All right, let's get to Fansfor City!"
With that, the trio set off down the aluminum siding path which led to the west gatehouse which separated them from Fansfor City.
End of Chapter 24.