Sorry for the wait, but things have been pretty busy for me lately. But you didn't come in here to read my excuses, I'm sure, no, you came in here to read...
Chapter 21: The Rematch With Red
The next morning went by with little event. Orange woke the other two up at around 5:00 AM, insisting that they needed to get going if they were to reach Nodacel Gym today. Groggily, Red woke up and looked over as Violet was glaring over at Orange, clearly wanting nothing more at the moment than to smack him upside the head for waking them up at such an unMewly hour.
Once they had eaten their breakfast (with Orange and Violet having their usual argument over whether or not the latter was an evenetarian), the trio headed out.
"OK, which way was it to Mr. Ujif's house?" asked Red.
"This way," Orange said confidently as he turned right and started walking. Red made to follow him, but Violet put her hand on his shoulder to stop him. Red turned to look at Violet questioningly, and in response, she pointed to the sign on the house next to the Pokémon Center (the exact opposite of where Orange was going), which seemed to be made of rusty sheet metal, with the words "Mr. Ujif's house" carved into it. Minutes later, Orange returned, fuming mad. "You know, one of you could have told me I was going the wrong way!" he snapped.
"Yeah, but the way you tend to not listen to anyone, I figured it'd be a waste of breath," chuckled Violet as she led the way up to the dying hedge that seemed to serve as a door. Red hesitated, then gingerly knocked on the suffering shrubbery. Within moments, it swung open, and Mr. Ujif was standing there in the doorway.
"Ah, hello," he said. "Please, please, come in." Violet followed him inside, with Red and Orange following.
The inside of Mr. Ujif's house was at odds with the general feel of Vandeler Town, in that it was brightly lit and almost cheerful. Red noticed a number of Pokémon roaming around the single room- a Psyduck was waddling around, an LM4 swam in a large tank of water over in a corner, and there was also a Venonat wandering around, looking up curiously at the newcomers.
"These were abandoned by their trainers," explained Mr. Ujif. "I take in any abandoned Pokémon I find and help nurse them back to health. I have volunteers who come in and help me with this, but it's rather early, none of them are here just yet. Anyway, once the Pokémon are back to full health, I give them the option to leave if they should choose... some of them do leave, but some of them prefer to stay with me. This Venonat here in particular doesn't want to leave at all. And then, sometimes you get those trainers who didn't abandon their Pokémon, but instead were accidentally separated from them. I get some of those stopping by on rare occasions, and their Pokémon are always so happy to be reunited with them. Ah, yes, but I don't think I got your names?"
"I'm Violet," said Violet. "This is Red, and Mr. Early Bird over here is Orange."
"A pleasure," Mr. Ujif replied courteously. "Now then, I wanted to thank you three for your actions in the Tunnel last night. Come over here." He led them over to a small wooden desk, where he opened a drawer and withdrew three items from within. "These items should be rather helpful to you three on your journey." He handed a gray disc to Violet, a Poké Ball with a yellow and black top to Red, and what appeared to be an odd cross between a Poké Ball and a flute to Orange.
"That is Hidden Machine number two," Mr. Ujif explained. "It will teach Fly to any Pokémon able to learn it. Unlike Technical Machines, Hidden Machines, or HMs, are reusable. A Pokémon with Fly will be able to safely and comfortably transport passengers across the skies, and it is also a useful technique in battles. Red, I gave you an Ultra Ball. It's a rather rare item, an improvement on the regular Poké Ball, even surpassing the Great Ball. It has a much better chance of catching a wild Pokémon. And Orange, that is a Poké Flute. Any sleeping Pokémon that hears it will wake up instantly."
"Thanks," Red grinned as he placed the Ultra Ball in his backpack.
"Er... yes, thanks," Violet said as she looked at her newly acquired HM, though the idea of a Flying-type propelling her through the air did not excite her, to say the least.
"Awesome!" exclaimed Orange as he accepted the Poké Flute. "I've heard of these! Lemme try-" and he took the flute and tried to play a tune on it. Immediately, Red was subjected to the most horribly, off-key, out of tune screeching it has ever been his displeasure to have slither its way into his ears, and that was counting Orange's snoring. Red and Violet clapped their hands over their ears immediately, while Mr. Ujif didn't seem to react to it.
"Oh my Mew, stop it!!" Violet bellowed, though Orange didn't seem to hear her. As she realized that her shouts were falling on deaf ears, this seemed to annoy her, for she then kicked him in the shin. This got him to stop.
"Ow!" Orange exclaimed, clearly annoyed. "What the hell was that for, Vi?!"
"'What was that for'?" Violet repeated incredulously. "Could you not hear yourself? You're a musical menace! I've heard Screech attacks that were easier on the ears!"
In response, Orange held the Poké Flute back up to his mouth again and resumed playing, this time gleefully taking in Violet's reaction. This lasted several seconds before Violet suddenly reached out and swiped the Poké Flute from Orange's hands. "Hey!" Orange exclaimed. "Give that back!"
"Sure," smirked Violet. "As long as you never play it again. Ever."
"Well, what's the point of that?!" Orange spluttered. "What the hell, Vi?! I'm not that bad!"
"No, you're not- you're worse," retorted Violet. "Now promise me you won't play it or I'll feed it to Chompy."
"Fine!" Orange snapped. "I won't never play it again, happy?"
"Try again," said Violet. "Think you can slip a double negative past me like that?"
Orange grumbled under his breath, and finally, with gritted teeth, hissed, "Fine. I will never play it again. I promise."
"There, now, was that so hard?" said Violet, smugly grinning at Orange's furious expression.
"Of course it was!" Orange roared as he took his Poké Flute back and stuffed it deep into the depths of his bag. "C'mon, let's get moving, we want to get to Nodacel City today, don't we?"
"Ah, is that dreadful noise over?" Mr. Ujif asked suddenly, adjusting an unseen something in his left ear. "I turned my hearing aid off once you started playing, Orange."
Orange scowled as Violet flashed an "I told you so" kind of look to him, and grumbled his goodbyes to Mr. Ujif. Red and Violet also bid him farewell and followed him out of the house.
They walked down the drab and dismal streets of Vandeler Town, and after some time, found themselves on a noticeably brighter and less depressing road, albeit one that appeared to be made of an odd combination of rocky patches of land, tufts of tall grass, square puddles of water, and a bunch of 3s and 8s, with two or three freeze arches strewn around the area. It seemed to lead right out of town.
"Alright," grinned Orange, already in noticeably better spirits. "We should be on Route -8 right now. This'll lead us to Fansfor City, and we should be able to take the bridge over that unless we can reason with the gatekeeper... " Orange snorted in laughter at the idea. "Like that'll happen," he added.
"We gotta try, at least," Violet stated, a faint note of desperation in her voice.
"Oh, yeah, right, you don't like heights, do you, Vi?" smirked Orange.
"We'll try the guardhouse first, though, anyway, right?" asked Red. "I mean, if there's a Gym in Fansfor City, we'll need to get in there at some point anyway."
"Good point," conceded Orange as he turned around to continue going forwards. "I guess- WHOA!" For standing right in front of Orange was a boy who looked to be roughly Red's age, maybe a little older. He was clad in a brown t-shirt and matching pants, and his black hair was spiked up.
"We meet again, Red," smirked the boy.
"Who are you?" demanded Orange.
"Oh, yeah... Terrence, right?" asked Violet. "From the S.S. Nean?"
"Yeah, that's him," nodded Red. "What's up, Terrence?"
"What's up is that I want a rematch," Terrence stated. "Three Pokémon each sound good to you?"
Red shrugged. "Sure thing," he replied.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Orange interrupted. "We don't have time for that sort of thing! Red, have you already forgotten what we're hoping to get done today? Nodacel Gym?"
"It's still morning," Red replied. "We got time for a battle."
"That's what I like to hear!" Terrence exclaimed, grinning widely. "And you're going down this time, Red- you're going down hard!"
"We'll see about that," Red retorted. "Violet, could you please referee this?"
"Sure," Violet replied. "Oh, lighten up," she added as Orange scowled at her. "If it makes you feel any better, I wasn't gonna side with you in this one in any case."
"That doesn't make me feel better at all," snapped Orange.
"Yeah, didn't really think it would," Violet smirked.
Red and Terrence set a good distance between them as Violet stood at the sidelines, glancing between the two trainers as each of them prepared a Poké Ball.
"Three-on-three Pokémon battle between Red and Terrence is about to get underway," she announced. "Begin!"
"Sandslash! Go!" shouted Terrence as he heaved his Poké Ball.
"I choose you, Raticate!" bellowed Red.
In twin flashes of light, Red's Raticate appeared, along with a sand-colored creature with sharp white claws on its hands, and a mass of brown spikes all along its back. Red took out his Pokédex and pointed it at Terrence's Pokémon.
"Sandslash, the Mouse Pokémon, and the evolved form of Sandshrew," droned the device. "Curls into a ball when threatened. It is skilled at slashing with its sharp claws."
"Sandslash! Fury Swipes!" ordered Terrence.
"Raticate! Water Gun!" Red commanded.
As Sandslash brandished its long and viciously curved claws and ran towards Raticate, the Normal-type responded with a forceful jet of water from its mouth.
"Slaaaaash!" exclaimed Sandslash as it held its claws up to its face in an effort to block the super effective attack.
"Come on, Sandslash!" yelled Terrence. "Fight back with Poison Sting!"
"Quick Attack now!" said Red.
Sandslash leapt into the air, curled into a ball, and started rolling in place, causing multiple glowing purple needles to fly off its body. Raticate began dashing around, zigzagging back and forth, and changing directions constantly to evade the shower of spikes. Finally, it sprung up into the air and tackled Sandslash at great speeds, knocking it to the ground.
"Sandslash, Dig!" Terrence commanded.
"Raticate, quick, use Hyper Fang!" Red ordered.
Sandslash started to tear at the ground with its claws, but Raticate got to it in time and sank its prominent front teeth into one of its arms. Though Sandslash managed to shake Raticate off, it still slumped to the ground, unconscious.
"OK, Sandslash is unable to battle, so Raticate wins," declared Violet.
"Damn it!" exclaimed Terrence, holding out the Poké Ball. "Sandslash, return now!" Once Sandslash had been withdrawn, Terrence produced and threw another ball. "Let's go, Graveler!"
In a flash of light, what appeared to be a large, living boulder materialized. It stood on two stumpy feet, and possessed four arms, though two of them were drastically smaller than the other two.
"Water Gun now!" Red shouted.
"Graveler, Tackle it!" commanded Terrence.
"Graveler," growled Graveler as it folded in its arms and rolled forward, forcing its way through the stream of water Raticate was blasting it with.
"Dodge it!" Red shouted.
Immediately, Raticate stopped its Water Gun attack and darted out of the way, successfully evading Graveler's Tackle. Then, on Red's command, Raticate opened its mouth and let loose with another Water Gun. Graveler, however, was able to roll right out of the way of this one.
"Do it! Double-Edge now!" Terrence roared.
"Graveler!!" exclaimed the Rock/Ground-type as it increased the speed of its rolling and slammed into Raticate from the side, sending the Rat Pokémon skidding across the rocks, grass, and numbers. Raticate came to rest at Red's feet, clearly unconscious.
"Raticate can't continue," ruled Violet. "Graveler is the winner!"
"That's what I'm talking about!" grinned Terrence as Red withdrew his unconscious Raticate. "Next victim, Red!"
"Next? Sure," Red replied as he readied a Poké Ball. "But victim? I don't think so," he added as he launched the ball forward. "Parasect! Go!" he shouted, and in a flash of light, the Mushroom Pokémon materialized, scuttling forward, ready for action.
"Hah!" Terrence laughed. "Too easy! Rock Throw, Graveler! Now!"
"Grav Graveler grav!" rumbled Graveler as four glowing brown stones materialized, one in each of its hands. It then threw the rocks towards Parasect with great force.
"Parasect, Bide!" Red commanded.
"Sect!" hissed Parasect as it folded in its claws and focused hard, a faint white glow taking over its entire body. Even the rocks slamming into its large mushroom didn't break its focus.
"Crap..." muttered Terrence. "Don't attack anymore, not just yet," he added. "Use Harden!"
"Graveler," replied Graveler as its entire body took on a silver metallic shine for a brief second. At that moment, Parasect hissed loudly and fired off a massive white beam of energy from its entire body, which plowed into Graveler, sending it rolling backwards. Terrence jumped out of the way as Graveler rolled right over where he had been standing moments before, and then the Rock/Ground-type crashed into what appeared to be a large tree shoddily constructed out of sheet metal and roof shingles. Violet glanced over at the Graveler, now as unmoving as actual rock, and called out her ruling.
"OK, looks like Graveler's out of the match," she declared. "Parasect wins this round."
"Mew damn it!" Terrence spat as he returned Graveler to its Poké Ball. "OK, that does it! I! Will! Not! Lose!" he exclaimed as he took a third Poké Ball off his belt and enlarged it. "Nidorina, I choose you!!" he bellowed as he threw the ball.
In a flash of light, the pale blue form of Terrence's Nidorina appeared. Parasect and Nidorina glared across the battlefield at each other, ready for action.
"Parasect, use your Leech Life attack!" Red commanded.
"Para para Parasect!" Parasect hissed as it scuttled forward as fast as its small legs would carry it, its tiny fangs glowing green.
"Nidorina! Ice Beam!" roared Terrence.
"Rinaaaaaa!" screeched Nidorina as she opened her mouth wide and formed a light blue orb within. Then, from the orb exploded forth a dazzling beam of light blue, which struck Parasect's mushroom, causing thick patches of ice to form all over, spreading rapidly to cover its entire body. Parasect tried to muscle through the Ice Beam, but the super effective Ice-type move was far too much for the Bug/Grass-type to handle, and Parasect slumped to the ground in defeat.
"Parasect's unable to battle!" Violet declared. "Nidorina wins!"
"You did good, Parasect," sighed Red as he withdrew the Mushroom Pokémon. "Take a good rest." As he stowed Parasect's Poké Ball back on his belt, he took another ball and enlarged it. Pausing only to flash a confident grin across the battlefield, Red turned his hat backwards before throwing the sphere. "I choose you, Charizard!" Red exclaimed as the ball split open, unleashing the majestic Fire/Flying-type. Red's Charizard, upon fully forming from the burst of light, gave a loud roar, landed on the ground, and glanced down at the Nidorina it had fought some time ago.
"Not bad," Terrence remarked, nodding. "So your Charmeleon evolved. Cool. But not enough! Nidorina! Water Gun!"
"Charizard, use your Flamethrower!" Red commanded.
"Ri-naaaaaaaaa!" Nidorina bellowed as she unleashed a blast of water from its mouth. Charizard responded with a roar as a stream of flames exploded forth from its mouth. Unlike the evenly matched attacks from their initial battle, however, Charizard's Flamethrower overpowered the Water Gun completely- so hot were the flames that the Water Gun evaporated on contact, resulting in a lot of steam obscuring Red's view of Nidorina. He therefore didn't see as Terrence dug into his pocket and gently tossed something at Nidorina. He did, however, see the sudden bright light cutting through the steam. As the steam vanished, Red could see that the bright light was coming off of Nidorina as she changed shape and size- Nidorina was evolving.
"Hey, you can't make your Pokémon evolve in the middle of battle like that!" Orange exclaimed.
"Wrong as usual, Orange," said Violet. "It's usually frowned upon, but it is in fact not against Pokémon League regulations to use evolution stones on one's Pokémon during a battle."
As Violet said this, the glowing ceased, and a dark blue beast stood in Nidorina's place, built similarly to a Nidoking. The new Pokémon opened her mouth and gave a deep roar. Red took out his Pokédex, opened it up, and pointed it at this newest adversary.
"Nidoqueen, the Drill Pokémon, and the evolved form of Nidorina," droned the device. "Its hard scales provide strong protection. It uses its hefty bulk to execute powerful moves."
"Charizard, Flamethrower now!" Red commanded.
"Nidoqueen, Thunderbolt now!" shouted Terrence.
Both Pokémon roared loudly as they launched their respective attacks. A stream of fire was unleashed from Charizard's mouth as Nidoqueen launched a sizzling bolt of lightning from her body. The attacks connected at the same time. Charizard struggled as electricity coursed through its body, but stubbornly continued its fiery onslaught. Nidoqueen roared in pain as the flames ravaged her body, but continued to give off electricity. Once both Pokémon finished, they stood in place, eyeing each other warily, both of them charred and smoking. Then, after a long and tense silence, Nidoqueen slumped to the ground.
"Nidoqueen cannot continue! Red and Charizard are the winners!" Violet declared.
"GAAAAAAH!" roared Terrence as he held out the Poké Ball and withdrew Nidoqueen. "That's twice you've beaten me now, Red, but mark my words, THIS IS NOT OVER!" Without waiting for a response, he wheeled around and stormed off in the opposite direction, only to trip on a rock and stumble to the ground. Though Red stepped forward to offer to help him up, Terrence got to his feet by himself and turned back to face the group. "I may have tripped, but that does not diminish the impact of this exit!" he snapped before storming off once more, this time actually looking where he was walking.
Orange shook his head and made a disapproving noise as Red withdrew Charizard. "What a sore loser!" he said. Red and Violet exchanged exasperated glances at this, but nobody pushed the subject as they continued their walk.
"That was a pretty good battle, though, Red," Violet said.
"Yeah, gotta hand it to you, Red," Orange added. "Charizard's pretty powerful."
"Thanks, guys," Red smiled. "I just hope I do this well against the Nodacel Gym Leader."
"Well, might not be much longer before you find out," Orange stated as they came to a large building which seemed to be constructed out of concrete slabs, roofing shingles, chunks of rock, and pine cones. On either side of the building, a solid, if strange, fence constructed out of wooden planks, sixes, twos, and entire tree limbs, leaves and all. There was no way around the building, except for a staircase that seemed to be made entirely out of aluminum siding. The staircase seemed to lead to a bridge which stretched for a considerable distance. Violet barely suppressed a shudder at the sight, and instead led the way into the building.
Inside the building, there were merely two counters on either side of a single path leading to the opposite end. Behind one of the counters was a slightly overweight security guard. As soon as he noticed the trio, he shook his head. "Sorry, kids," he said. "Road's closed."
"Why?" asked Red.
"Because I'm hungry," he replied simply.
"And you're closing the road to Fansfor City because you're hungry?" demanded Orange.
"Yes, I believe I am," the guard replied, a distinctly smug look on his face. "See, they put me in charge of this gatehouse, and I can do what I like here. So whenever I'm hungry, road's closed."
"So go and get something to eat," suggested Violet.
"Hmmm... nah, don't think so," replied the guard, shaking his head. "If you're looking to get to Nodacel City, just take the bridge."
"I'd rather not," Violet said, her voice shaking ever so slightly at the thought of crossing the bridge. "I'd prefer it if you let us through."
"Ain't happening, missy," insisted the guard. "Now get out of here before I force you to," he added threateningly, brandishing a Poké Ball in his right hand.
"Fine," sighed Red. "C'mon, guys, let's not cause any trouble here."
Violet followed Red, though rather reluctantly. Orange made to follow them, but turned back to the guard and hissed, "This isn't over, tubby," before storming out of the small building. Red was already making his way up the spiral staircase, with Violet nervously following him. Orange took up the rear, and before long, the three of them were at one end of a long, narrow bridge, which stretched the entire way across Fansfor City, above the one they had crossed previously, which had stretched from North to South. This bridge seemed to be made completely out of wooden planks, and in place of handrails, there were simply chains made of countless eights linked together. Red started across, with Violet slowly following.
"Um... Red?" Violet said quietly. "Could you... possibly... go a little slower?"
"Sure," nodded Red. He stopped to allow Violet to catch up, then started walking again, albeit at a much slower pace. As with the previous time, this slow pace irritated Orange greatly. Every few seconds, he mimed the action of looking at his nonexistent watch, but as he was behind the others, this would go unnoticed every time. Then, one of the boards broke as Violet stepped on it. Though Violet was in no danger of falling through, she stifled a scream and wrapped her arms around Red almost instinctively. Red blushed at this sudden action, and Orange, noticing the whole thing, scowled.
After a good fifteen minutes, the trio finally made it across the bridge and down the stairs on the opposite end. Once they made it back down onto the ground (here, the ground was more rocks and grass than anything else, though there were several square puddles and at least one freeze arch), Violet sighed in relief.
"Oh, come on," grumbled Orange.
"You know, you could be a little more sensitive about my fear," snapped Violet.
"Oh, this from the person who caught a Caterpie just because I'm afraid of bugs," Orange shot back. Violet opened her mouth to argue, but no sound came out as she realized that Orange had actually brought forth a valid point.
From there, it was but a mere half hour's walk until they reached a mass of concrete/metal/plastic skyscrapers- Nodacel City. It took them even less time to locate the Pokémon Center, as it was conveniently located in very close proximity to the entrance of the city. As they entered and handed their Pokémon to the nurse, Violet turned to Orange.
"Hey, Orange," she muttered. "I... maybe I didn't have to, you know, catch Flutters. I mean, I guess you were right back there... Even if you weren't all that sensitive about my fear of heights, I suppose I was no better..." Violet trailed off there, looking slightly awkward.
"Well... thanks," Orange said, somewhat surprised by what Violet had said. "Heh, it'd still kill you to give me a sincere apology, wouldn't it?"
At that moment, the nurse returned, handing all the Poké Balls back to their respective owners. "All healed," she declared. "Though, Red," she added.
"Yeah?" said Red.
"That Charizard of yours was pretty worn out. Looks like it's been in a tough battle recently," the nurse informed him. "It's perfectly fine now, but just to play it safe, I wouldn't let it battle for another day or so, OK?"
"Fine," shrugged Red. "You're right, it was in a pretty tough battle, though," he added, grinning with pride in his starter.
"This is not good timing, though," Orange shook his head as they exited the Pokémon Center. "Nodacel's Gym Leader uses Grass-types. Charizard would have been your best bet."
"Well, I still got Doduo, Parasect, and Raticate," Red replied. "That's two with the type advantage, and one that's just all-around good. I'm feeling pretty good about this."
"I hear that, I guess," grinned Orange. "Fearow can probably take the Gym Leader's whole team by itself, though Nidoking couldn't hurt, either. And then there's .4, too."
"I think Flutters and Skulls can take this," added Violet. "Chompy, too- oh, look, looks like we're here."
Indeed, they had just arrived in front of a massive building that seemed to be constructed entirely out of various leafy plants, with a number of numbers thrown in as well. Carved into a giant piece of wood across the giant threes that made up the Gym's doors were the words "Nodacel City Pokémon Gym".
"Well, OK, then," Red said, determination on his face. "Let's do this."
End of Chapter 21.