Dorian burst through the front door with a rabid ferocity that made Shelton think he had recently adopted the mind of a crazed Mightyena. The speed in which he rushed through the kitchen, throwing fruit, nuts, bread, and bottles of water into their two packs was wonderful and impressive to behold. Sweat poured from his forehead in torrents as he woke Golduck and Nuzleaf, and proceeded to body slam them. His fanatical eyes finally centered on Shelton, lips moving without expelling sound.
“Dorian, for the sake of your health, I really need you to start breathing,” Shelton advised.
“Sorry, sorry!” he gasped, taking deep gulps of air.
“Alright out with it,” she commanded.
“Give me a second,” Dorian said, hunching over to take in another few gulps of air. “Ronnie told me about the dig, and the legend, and about the director!”
“You’re not making any sense. Did Golduck hit you too hard? Is that it? It didn’t look any stronger than usual.”
“This,” Dorian said, pulling out the black stone, "is what I’m talking about.”
Turning his hand over, the gangly youth dropped the shard into her outstretched hand. Gripping it lightly, Shelton turned it over in her palm, admiring how the stone caught the light. She followed the intricate lines, her eyes moving over the broken forms of Human and Pokemon alike. The scene depicted on the stone was odd, almost disturbing. However, even as the thought grew in her mind, it gently slipped away.
“What is it?” she asked.
“It’s called obsidian. Well, that’s what it’s made out of apparently.”
“Once again, what?”
“According to my uncle this stone was handcrafted from a metal ore that’s exceedingly rare nowadays.”
“That’s why you’re so excited?”
“Just sit down,” he said, motioning towards the recliner. She did as she was told, confused by his slightly desperate tone.
Bewilderment turned to interest, which in turn turned into full scale excitement as Dorian explained the events that just transpired. The apparently ancient piece of stone tablet that Dorian had found was no ordinary relic. Not only did it supposedly point to a treasure of infinite worth, but from what he said, the Pewter museum would pay dearly for the piece in his possession. His uncle was immediately convinced of the marker’s authenticity from the dozen or so pictures Dorian had sent from his phone. After the initial shock had worn off, his uncle had told Dorian about Pewter’s original plan for the site, and how his tenacious nephew could potentially profit from it.
Cutting him off mid sentence, Shelton asked, “So if I’m hearing you correctly, they were going to spend one-hundred thousand credits to move all of their excavating equipment here, but if were able to make it there before they leave, we may get some kind of finder’s fee?”
“Exactly. Ronnie thinks we could get up to a quarter of the moving expenses if he’s able to prove this thing is real.”
“So why doesn’t he just tell the director and we just overnight it to him?”
“Two reasons,” Dorian explained. “First, from the pictures, and the way I described the density and weight, he thinks this is the real deal. If for some reason he’s wrong though, it would damage the director’s opinion of him. Which I’m sure would set them back even more money than they’ve lost already by the constant revisions they’ve made to the location and paying for their outside consultants.
“And the second?” she asked.
“It’s a pretty big deal to him that this thing gets to him in one piece. According to him they have almost no idea where the others are scattered and this piece would be a huge help in recovering the other pieces. He trusts us more than a mail carrier to get it there safely.”
“You mean he trusts me,” she said, smiling coyly.
“Yes, he explicitly said that several times,” he admitted.
“Dorian, even if he got us ten percent of the cost, that would pay me back and both our bills for the next two months!”
“That’s why you’re so excited!”
“Any other time, I would call attention to the fact that were both yelling!”
“Same here, but this occasion calls for it!”
“Yes!” she agreed.
They jumped up simultaneously for an awkward air hug, floating back to the floor on a cloud of content exuberance. Golduck, Shuppet, and Nuzleaf were staring at them with puzzlement, obviously understanding most of what had passed between them, but not enough to decipher what it meant. Probably due to how quickly travel plans were flitting back and forth between them. Regardless, the three of them waited for the inevitable explanation to come their way.
“Wait,” Shelton said. “To get to Pewter by the time the team moves out, we have to leave now.”
“To be fair, we needed to leave yesterday, but I know a few shortcuts that will shave some time off the trip.”
“I’ll corral the group, you pack the bags,” Shelton advised.
“Done and done. Meet you outside in ten.” Dorian responded, grinning broadly.
Shelton used her allotted time to assemble their collective Pokemon, including Machop, who was now shrinking behind her every time Shuppet came into view. She gathered them all together, explaining about the trip to Pewter, and assuring them of the enjoyable time they’d have on the way. Shuppet was the hardest to convince, pouting profoundly at the though of leaving her refrigerator behind.
Dorian ran from his room to Shelton’s, gathering clothes and other essentials. When they were both full, he grabbed an extra battery for his phone, slinging it into his secondary bag which was full of enough food and camping supplies for at least seven days. Spying Shelton through the kitchen window, he blitzed through the front door, barely remembering to lock it behind him as he took a flying leap off the front porch to join them.
“Yahhh!” he yelled, promptly landing sideways on his left ankle and tumbling to the ground.
“Nu-uh-uh-zz!” Nuzleaf cackled.
“I have dominion over you,” Dorian reminded the grass type, getting up and brushing the dirt from his jeans. “And I am commanding you to not laugh when I inadvertently embarrass myself from now on!”
“Good boy,” Shelton smiled, patting Nuzleaf on the shoulder as the Pokemon blew its owner a raspberry.
“You know, sometimes I don’t know who your more loyal to,” Dorian said. “Don’t forget that I picked you off the ground when you were a Seedot and attached you’re worthless carcass to that tree in the backyard!”
“Nuzz.” the Pokemon said, dipping his head low in an obvious apologetic gesture.
“Ah I’m sorry man, I was just kidding. And I know I promised I wouldn’t bring that back up again,” Dorian relented, “We’re good right?”
“Nu-Nuz,” the Pokemon agreed, reaching out to shake his owners hand. As the Pokemon’s smiling owner reached down to grasp it however, the Pokemon leaped up and over Dorian; and in one motion twisted gracefully through the air, pulling the front of Dorian's shirt over his head and using his momentum to kick out his legs, sending him back to the ground.
“You insolent sapling!” Dorian exclaimed, getting up and dusting himself off for the second time. The faction of Pokemon gathered around laughed in whatever way their species allowed, even timid little Machop giving a quick giggle.
“Anyway,” Shelton said, not hiding her own hearty laugh. “You ready to do this?”
“We're packed and ready, got everything we need,” Dorian said.
“Let’s get going then.”
“Let’s do it!” Dorian announced. “Strap on the nitro!”
“Really?” Shelton asked, “Come on Dorian, we talked about this for like half an hour.”
“Come on, just give it a chance,” he pleaded.
“No. That catch phrase is never going to catch on. Besides that, its barely a catch phrase. Its just random words that have nothing to do with our current situation.”
“Fine,” he said, shouldering his pack.
“We’re clear then?”
“Yes, mother,” he grumbled.
“Now can we go?”
“Yuppers,” he said. “Let’s do it.”
“Are you serious?” she asked, frustration easily visible. “We talked even longer about that. Every single time you say ‘yuppers’, it causes me considerable mental pain.”
“Fine, but eventually you’ll be saying it too.”
“I seriously doubt it. And I don’t wanna hear any back talk from you either. Until we collect the money, I’m still somewhat pissed at you.”
“Okay then,” he replied. “Glad were off to such a good start. I’m really looking forward to going to Kanto with the Gestapo.”
“What did I say about talking back?” she asked.
“Last word freak,” he muttered, walking to catch up with Nuzleaf and Golduck.
“Heard that,” Shelton said, taking up place to his right.
Keeping a brisk pace, they soon passed the small hole where the source of his new luck had been buried. It was funny to Dorian how far his life had shifted today. Starting with the triumph of his successful Growlithe capture, to the domestic abuse administered to him by Shelton, then to the extreme financial gain he was about to attain. Stepping over the hole, a slight lime glint caught his eye. Bending down, he saw what appeared to be a shaving of rock, its surface oily in the intense sunlight. As he turned his head sideways, the small flake glinted again, the green color out of place amidst the red dirt of the road. Just as he was about to scoop it up, Shelton’s voice rang out from down the road, making him realize they had continued on without him. Shrugging the small flake out of his mind, he started back down the road, thoughts of fat stacks of credits making him smile.
The man’s Alakazam was poking him in the shoulder, signaling for him to pay attention to what was happening in front of him. The man had been daydreaming again, as was common after his chats with the voices. They always left him somewhat lethargic and inattentive after he woke from his dreams. Taking a breath, he shook his head, trying to snap himself back to reality.
“You won’t give me your name?” the curious clerk asked.
“What?” the man questioned, his Alakazam giving him a sharp pinch to the side.
“I asked for your name. You said you wanted to checkout?” the clerk asked again.
“Sorry,” the man said, pulling out his Hoenn resident identification card. “Ethan. My name is Ethan.”
“Wonderful,” the clerk said, switching back to a friendlier tone. The clerk ran the card through the scanner, charging the night stay in the hotel to the account registered to it. “Is there anything else we can assist you with Mr. Bernard?
“No, thanks though,” Ethan said, returning the card back to his wallet.
“Thank you for your stay, we hope you’ll think of us next time you’re in Vermillion.”
“Assuredly,” Ethan said, nodding to the clerk and moving towards the exit.
Skirting pass the other patrons walking in and out of the establishment, Ethan and his Alakazam went down the side alley of the hotel and adjoining restaurant, glancing quickly around for any signs of life. His preferred method of travel was not practical, and always drew attention. It was quicker than hiking for miles though, despite the slight physical toll it drew on his psychic Pokemon.
“Were going to Johto, outside Cherrygrove,” he told the mustached Pokemon. “Should only take us a day if we move quick.”
“Zam,” agreed the psychic Pokemon.
“Zam!” the Pokemon exclaimed, rolling its eyes.
“Let’s go then,” Ethan said, sure that Alakazam was holding back more than it was letting on. It didn’t matter though, Ethan had much more pressing matters to deal with, and if the troubling situation on Alakazam’s brain really began to bother him, it would speak up. They kept no secrets from one another. Which was part of the reason why years later, they had remained as close as they were when they were young.
Nodding, Alakazam’s hands began to move in small circles, one facing towards itself, the other towards its master. The motions began to pick up speed, leaving wispy energy trails behind them as they spun. Alakazam grunted, and Ethan felt his feet lift off the ground. Pupils dilating, Alakazam pulled both of them up into the air, using only the power of its mind. The psychic type’s hands began to glow with a hearty purple aura, which it pointed towards the sky, shooting them up high above Vermillion City. The duo smiled at each other, both reveling in the feeling of absolute freedom. Facing west, they streaked towards Johto.