Well, I'd already used Unova as a band name, so...
Chapter 31: The Majesty of Kanto
From the windswept plains to the towering, mighty mountains, the region of Kanto is a gorgeous sight to behold.
In the south of Kanto, near Viridian Forest, there is a moderately-sized town called Bulbagarden. Bulbagarden was founded centuries ago, and has flourished throughout its history.
Bulbagarden is home to one of the region's most famed politicians, Archaic Liam, who is acting Mayor of Bulbagarden. He was Mayor for almost two decades before he was replaced for a year by the Pokemon Prince, who was eventually revealed to be a power-mad warlord from another universe. The Pokemon Prince was ultimately defeated by Jabber Carroll Wocki and a host of rebels from within the town itself. Following this, Archaic was reinstated as Mayor.
Bulbagarden is also the place where Kanto's second-most acclaimed Pokemon researcher, Professor Saturn Yoshi, lives. Saturn's reputation was earned by his impressive track record of legendary Pokemon captures, which includes the mythical Pokemon Articuno, Heatran, Mew, and Cresselia.
One year after the war against the Pokemon Prince, Professor Saturn was tasked with taking his partner, Cynthia LeBeau, out into the world, traveling through certain regions to capture more legendary Pokemon to be cataloged by the Bulbagarden Zoo. He requested for him to be able to bring along his nephew, Jabber Wocki, and a few of Jabber's friends. His request was granted.
Now, on the last day of Jabber's senior year at Bulbagarden High School, he and his companions are preparing for their trip...
The band played their horrible music one last time as the crowd dispersed after the graduation ceremony ended.
[Jabber, I'm in - I was in - band, remember?]
Your music was perfect, honey. The others' sucked.
[I resent that!]
Maybe if you played your tuba instead of having your Serperior do it for you, it'd sound better, Tyler.
[Smugleaf is totally boss at the tuba, dude.]
Can I get on with the story?
As I was saying, we had all gotten our diplomas today. Finally, we were bona fide adults, ready to take on the world. And we were starting this summer, with Uncle Saturn's expedition.
Originally, only Alison, Aaron, Dan, and I were supposed to go, but we convinced Uncle Saturn to let Feli and Tyler come as well. Our plane to the Isshu region was departing that afternoon, so we had to get going pretty quick.
I caught sight of Ali, Dan, and Tyler and strode over to them.
"I am never taking this robe off," Dan said to me as I joined with him and the others.
"Dan, you look ridiculous in that robe," Ali said to him, shaking her head.
"Says you," he retorted. "I know for a fact that I look absolutely fantastic in it."
He probably would have continued if his ex-girlfriend Kitty hadn't walked by at that exact moment, at which point Dan's jaw clamped shut. The two exchanged cold looks before continuing on their way.
"You two still aren't speaking to each other?" Ali asked incredulously. "You broke up months ago."
"Things didn't end so well between us," Dan sighed. "I guess we both still need space."
"I'm guessing bringing up how me and Jay's date last night went would be pretty faux pas right now, huh?" Tyler said with a nervous chuckle.
"It'd probably be best not to talk about mushy stuff right now, yes," Dan said with a rare sharpness.
I cleared my throat, hoping to break the tension. "Hey, uh, has anyone seen Aaron?" I asked. "Or Feli, for that matter?"
"Aaron graduated last year," Alison reminded me. "There's no real reason for him to have come here today. He and Feli are probably together right now."
"Hope the boy remembers to use the rubbers Tyler and I gave him," Dan commented.
"Why is that always the first thing your mind jumps to?" I questioned.
"Because it's the most logical assumption, duh," Dan laughed, rolling his eyes.
"I'm pretty sure it isn't," I argued.
"Does it matter?" Ali interjected. As is always the case, she was right.
Shut up, Dan.
"I can get everyone a ride to the airport," Tyler suggested. "Everyone got their suitcases and stuff?"
"I have mine in Mr. Iteru's room," I said. "I'll go get it real quick."
"Dan and mine are in the trunk of his parents' car," Ali said. "Dan, why don't you go get them?"
"Because I am a lady. You have to do as I say."
"Go get the suitcases."
Dan sighed. "Yes, ma'am," he grumbled, trudging off to his parents' car.
After we got our suitcases and reached the airport, we found our gate, where Jabber's uncle and his assistant were waiting for us. Feli was there, too, but for whatever reason, Aaron wasn't.
"Where's Aaron?" I asked Feli as we approached the trio waiting for us.
"I don't know," she admitted. "I called him earlier, but he didn't pick up."
"There's only an hour left until the plane leaves," Saturn pointed out. "He'd better get here fast if he wants to go with us at all."
"I hope he's okay," I said, rubbing my chin nervously.
"I'm sure he is," Feli assured me. "He's late all the time. My boyfriend, bless him, has absolutely no sense of punctuality."
But the hour passed, and Aaron never showed up. Reluctantly, we boarded the plane without him. I looked back at the airport as the plane began to leave the terminal, watching the building grow smaller and smaller as we got farther away from it and up into the air.
The cloud looked beautiful from above - like gigantic, white cotton candy. The clear ble sky wrapped around the horizon and beyond, beckoning us towards some adventure. I tried to resist the urge to do it, but eventually I gave in to sleep, resting my head against the plane window.
By the time the plane arrived at St. Transfinite International Airport in Castelia City, I was deep in sleep.
Jabber woke me up, and I gazed out at the towering city skyline before us.
Our summer of adventure had begun.
I arrived at the gate just as the plane was taking off. I put my hands up to the glass of a window as I watched the aircraft carrying my friends and girlfriend to Isshu lift off into the sky and fade into the distance.
I slumped down and smacked myself. How could I be so stupid? Of all the days to lose track of the time, why today?
Now the others were going off without me.
Suddenly, a fire of determination began to build within me. It wasn't too late. I could still join up with them in Isshu.
I decided that I would travel to Isshu myself and find my team.
I picked up my things and booked the next flight to Isshu.
The journey had begun.
Next Time: The lights! The sights! The sounds! The smells! Castelia City is teeming with action and adventure! The team meets the local Gym Leader, Burgh, and learn that an old enemy is hiding in the city... see what happens in Chapter 32: "Castelia City!"
Until Next Time, See Ya!
CILAN TRITON PROFILE
Age: 21 (Born March 3rd, 1993)
Hometown: Striaton City, Lucci County, Isshu
Occupation(s): Head chef, Triton Gourmet Eatery; Gym Leader (Striaton Gym)
Blood Type: O
Pokemon: Simisage (Floret); Herdier (Scout); Servine (Trip); Amoongus (Toad)
Born on March 3rd, 1999 to his parents Calvin and Cecilia Triton, Cilan quickly established himself as the most intelligent and responsible of the Triton triplets. He showed a fascination with cooking and fine dining at an early age, and by his early teens was all but the Triton family chef.
Upon turning 18, he and his brothers registered for the Isshuian Pokemon League Circuit, and quickly rose through the ranks. Cilan entered the 81st Annual Isshu Pokemon League Tournament in 2012, and placed sixteenth out of over two hundred contestants.
Soon after, the Triton parents died in a helicopter crash, and their famous restaurant, the Triton Gourmet Eatery, was inherited by the Triton brothers. Cilan took the position of head chef, while his brothers shared the responsibilities of the sous-chef.
In 2013, all three brothers applied for a joint leadership of the Striaton Pokemon Gym, which was approved by the Isshuian Pokemon League Council. The brothers take turns battling challengers on their time off from the restaurant. Rumors have circulated that Cilan is an operative of the Isshu Intelligence Task Force (IITF), but both Cilan and the ITTF have denied these claims.
Chapter 32: Castelia City
The massive skyscrapers and towers loomed over us as we took our first steps into the metropolis they called Castelia City. The smell of seaspray wafted through the air, coming off of the four great docks of the city. Off in the distance, I could see the majestic cruise ship, the Royal Isshu, in port, awaiting its evening voyage.
All in all, the city was breathtaking to behold. It certainly deserved its reputation of being the "Big Cherrim" of the Isshu region. If you could make it here, people claimed, you could make it anywhere.
Castelia's splendor helped dissipate the sadness I felt at Aaron's missing the plane, but it couldn't get rid of it entirely.
Still, we had our assignments to focus on. Our first order of business in Castelia was to pick up our guide to the Isshu region. He was a professional Pokemon Trainer named Burgh, and he operated Castelia's local Pokemon Gym.
Unlike in Kanto, Johto, Biru, and Fiorreslaalmia, Pokemon battling for sport is not banned in the Isshu, Sinnoh, and Hoenn regions. These regions have their own professional Pokemon battling circuits, called Pokemon Leagues. The Leagues have five tiers. The first and lowest is the Battler Tier. These are the general, run-of-the-mill, rookie Trainers. Trainers who advance far enough in the Leagues qualify for the Ace tier, which contains more experienced, veteran Trainers. The third tier is the Gym Leader tier. To become a Gym Leader, a Trainer has to apply and be accepted for the job. Gym Leaders operate Pokemon Gyms in various towns and cities. Defeating a Gym and its Leader earns a Trainer a Gym Badge. Earn eight Badges, and you're allowed to compete in the Championship Tournament. The winner of this tournament gets to challenge the fourth tier, the Elite Four.
The Elite Four are the best of the best. They're hand-picked by a region's Champion from among the top Trainers in the region's League. They are outclassed only by the Champion, the most powerful Trainer in the region. Anyone who defeats the reigning Champion takes his or her place.
That's basically how the standard Pokemon League circuits work. Some Trainers prefer to just enter tournaments for the chance to win fame, glory, and - of course - money.
Anyway, Burgh, our guide, is Castelia City's Gym Leader. He's also a painter and a Pokemon researcher, whose area of expertise is Bug-type Pokemon.
"Our first job is to investigate reports of a trio of legendary Pokemon that have been spotted around Pinwheel Forest," Saturn explained. "Burgh knows the forest like the back of his hand, so he'll be vital in tracking down and capturing the beasts."
We made our way through the crowded, bustling city streets. The air was filled with the cacophony of pedestrians and honking of car horns. We passed by ice cream stands and art studios; dancers and janitors; scientists and clowns.
Eventually, we reached Burgh's Pokemon Gym. The interior of the Gym building's first floor, which served as the Gym proper, was decorated like a Combee hive, with blacks and yellows serving as the place's color scheme.
Saturn approached a secretary stationed next to the building's front door.
"We're the group from the Bulbagarden Zoo," Saturn informed her. The secretary nodded and checked our information on her computer. After she'd verified that we were who we'd said we were, she bowed and motioned to an elevator. "Just go right up to the top floor," she told us. "Mr. Entemo will see you right away."
"Thank you," said Saturn, and motioned for us to follow him into the elevator. After we'd all packed in, Saturn pressed the button for the 50th floor. With a jerk, the elevator began to rise.
"50th floor," the metallic voice of the elevator's automatic alert system announced. "CEO's office and studio."
"This Burgh guy's a Gym Leader, artist, egghead, and CEO of a company?" Dan said as we exited the elevator. "Dude's got a lot on his plate."
"Co-CEO would be more accurate," Saturn clarified. "Professor Entemo and his wife Elesa share control of the St. Croix fashion house."
"St. Croix is awesome!" I blurted out. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy.
"I, uh, appreciate their scarves," I said with a nervous chuckle.
"Look, a guy can appreciate fashion, okay?"
Thankfully, Saturn got me out of the awkward seat. He knocked on the huge doors of the CEO's office.
"Come on in," a voice from within called.
Saturn opened the door, and we entered the office.
It was a really, really big room. I mean, seriously. The place was huge. It was more massive than any office had any right to be. And it was decorated with ornate ornaments and highly professional-looking paintings.
Sitting in a chair behind an intricately-carved wooden desk that faced a single, giant window overlooking the skyline of Castelia City, was the guy we were looking for.
Burgh dressed well. He wore green boots, red slacks, a green shirt, and a red necktie. The colors really worked well together and Dan stop snickering before I deck you.
Anyway, Burgh rose from his chair, and shook Saturn's hand with a big grin on his face.
"Saturn, my old friend," Burgh said. "Long time, no see. When was the last time we had a get-together? 2004, right?"
"That seems about right, yeah," Saturn agreed.
"A whole decade!" Burgh cried. " Far too long. Well, at least you're here now. How's the family? Feel free to have a seat, by the way. All of you."
He pointed out a set of couches that we sat down on.
"Hey, Saturn, isn't that your nephew?" Burgh asked, pointing at Jabber.
"Jabber? Yes, that's right."
"Man, you just grew about ten feet in the time since I saw you, kiddo," Burgh laughed.
"Wait, what?" Jabber said in confusion. "We've met?"
"Well, you were five at the time," said Burgh, "so I don't blame you for not remembering me. You were quite a bit chubbier at the time, if I recall correctly."
Dan snickered. Jabber slapped him in the back of the head. Dan stopped snickering.
"But enough small talk," Burgh suddenly said, crossing his arms and his legs. "You guys are after the Muskateer trio, right?"
"Muskateer?" Alison repeated.
"Right," Burgh nodded. "Here in Isshu, we like to call Cobalion Virizion, and Terrakion the Muskateer trio as a form of general denotation. The name comes from the old Three Muskateer books. Each of the trio is said to resemble one of the Muskateers in personality."
"We've heard rumors that they've been spotted in Pinwheel Forest," Saturn said. "Do you think that's possible?"
Burgh pursed his lips. "The legends say that Pinwheel Forest is Virizion's domain," he recounted. "I suppose the other two Muskateers could be gathering in the forest as well, but if that's the case, we only have a few days before Cobalion and Terrakion return to their realms."
"Shall we get going, then?" Feli asked.
Burgh shook his head. "Too dangerous to go into Pinwheel Forest at night around this time," he said. "The Scolipede mating season is at its peak tonight. There's too much risk of getting caught in the middle of a mating frenzy and getting hurt. We'll head into the forest first thing in the morning."
"Can you find us a good hotel in the city?" Saturn inquired.
"No need, old buddy," Burgh said. "Second floor's got seven fully-stocked suites. Plenty of space for all of you to rest comfortably for the night. I'll tell Gladys on the first floor to get the keys for you."
"Thank you very much," Saturn said with a bow.
"It's the least I could do for a comrade like you," said Burgh with a grin. "Head back down in the elevator to floor one. Gladys will give you the keys there."
"It's them? You're sure of it?" the blue-haired man asked his mole in the St. Croix corporation.
The woman nodded. "They're staying on the second floor of the headquarters building now. Burgh's guests."
"Excellent," the man purred. "You've done well, Gladys."
"What are your orders, sir?" one of the man's cronies asked.
"I want you to pluck them from their beds in the night," the man sneered, "and bring them here to me."
"Yes sir, Water Pokemon Master sir!" the flunky confirmed with a salute.
The man smiled.
Next Time: An old enemy returns! Can Jabber, Dan, Feli, Alison, and Tyler survive... "The Lair of Water Pokemon Master???"
Until Next Time, See Ya!
BURGH ENTEMO PROFILE
Age: 38 (Born May 1st, 1976)
Hometown: Nacrene City, Kumadori County, Isshu
Occupation(s): Co-CEO, St. Croix Fashions (with his wife, Elesa St. Croix-Entemo); Pokemon researcher; Artist; Gym Leader (Castelia City Gym)
Blood Type: A Positive
Pokemon: Leavenny (Shaun), Crustle (Eugene), Scolipede (Sheldon), Galvantuala (Enel), Scizor (Tashigi), Karrablast (Kakashi)
Burgh Entemo spent his youth exploring the Pinwheel Forest near his home in Nacrene City. He was fascinated by the Bug-type Pokemon that lived in the forest. He was often accompanied by a young Lenora Wanze, who was similarly interested in nature.
On his 18th, birthday, Burgh entered the Isshuian Pokemon League Circuit. He soon gained a reputation as a deceptively-powerful rookie Trainer who made the most of the abilities of the Bug-type (which had often been snidely referred to as the weakest type).
In 1996, at that year's Isshuian Pokemon League Tournament, Burgh faced a fellow notorious rookie named Elesa St. Croix, heir to the St. Croix fortune and fashion house. Elesa beat Burgh in their battle, but they traveled together after the tournament, and eventually entered a relationship. They married in 2000, and became co-CEOs of St. Croix Fashions.
Burgh is a noted artist. His earliest work, Sewaddle on a Summer's Day, was auctioned for 300,000 Pokedollars, and his pieces have been featured in art galleries and museums across the world.
Burgh also works as a Pokemon researcher. His reports and discoveries have earned him the respect of several other researchers, such as Samuel Oak and Saturn Yoshi of Kanto.
In 2003, Burgh was approved for leadership of the Castelia City Gym, which takes up the first floor of the St. Croix Fashions headquarter building. This was Burgh's fourth simultaneous occupation - he claims to work so many jobs to emulate the constant busyness of Combee.
The Bulbagarden! Mailing List: @Keldora Dragon @Insanish Danish @Dento
If you would like to join the Mailing List, let me know.
IFeli hates bugs.
Wow, I don't remember the last time I caught an update of this. Sorry again about not getting the special to you. I can't believe Aaron missed the plane!
~ 3DS Friend Code: 5300-9399-4530~
Heart of Crystal - a Crystal Nuzlocke challenge story
"He had it comin'! He had it comin'! He only had himself to blame! If you'd've been there, if you'd've seen it, I bet you you would have done the same!"
You've got to be kidding me...that old chump?
The fashion line made the fic, by the way. Pure awesomeness.
Made by Blue Dragon!
Chapter 33: The Lair of Water Pokemon Master
When I opened my eyes, I was staring into gloomy blackness. It was so dark, I couldn't see my hand in front of me, no matter how hard I waved it around like an idiot.
I figured out that something was wrong pretty fast. My bed - which, when I went to sleep had been a plush, comfortable king-size mattress made with that sleep foam or memory number stuff - was now a large, stone slab that was not at all plush or comfortable. Worst of all, it was twin-size.
I wasn't tied down, so I figured I couldn't be in a s-
Fine. I wasn't tied down, so I figured I couldn't be in a totally normal, not-at-all special kind of dungeon. I got up off of the slab and groped my way around until I found a door that someone had left ajar. I pushed it open as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, and stepped out into a corridor.
The corridor was lit better than my room had been, but that wasn't saying much. Dim lanterns were hung from the walls, barely illuminating the hall. I snuck carefully down the way, stopping by each of the doors that were randomly scattered about until I found one that was unlocked. I cautiously pulled it open, and found my good buddy Tyler Winchester lying facedown on a stone slab drooling.
[I was not drooling!]
Oh, stop arguing, Tyler, you totally were.
With catlike tread, I walked over to Tyler and gave him a good shove to wake him up.
He jolted awake and would've let out a loud shout if I hadn't clapped my hand over his mouth.
"Shut up, dude!" I hissed at him. "We've been kidnapped, and I don't think I'm supposed to be out and about. I'd hate to see us get flayed alive and our faces used for party masks because you couldn't keep your trap shut."
Tyler wriggled his face out of my palm. "Don't startle me like that, then," he whispered irked...ly, I guess? Is that a word? Well, whatever. It is now.
"How'd you prefer I startle you, then?" I asked him.
"Just shut up," Tyler said, getting up off the slab. "Do you still have Bidoof?" he asked me. I reached into my pocket, and felt a small, round object. "Yeah," I confirmed. "Guess they weren't counting on us waking up so soon. You still got Smuggers and Drago?"
Tyler felt around on his belt and nodded. "At least we have something to fight our way out with if we need to," he said. "Especially since I left my switchblade back in Bulbagarden."
"The one with Jay's picture taped to it?" I snorted. "Please. The bad guys would just double over in laughter
if you pulled that thing out."
"You're a jerk," Tyler said with a scowl.
"I know. Do you reckon the others got 'napped, too?"
"Hard to know," Tyler said with a shrug. "It's definitely possible, but there's no real way to be sure."
Just then, the door swung open. Tyler and I jumped out of fright and grabbed our balls (Poke Balls, Ali. Stop laughing). The figure at the door raised its hands into the air and spoke with a familiar voice:
"Hold on, guys, don't shoot! It's me!"
"Feli?" Tyler said, taking his hand off of Drago's Poke Ball.
Feli walked into the room and rubbed her forehead. "Yeah, it's me," she said. "Where are we?"
"Hell if I know," I said with a shrug. "Was your room absurdly easy to escape, too?"
"No," she replied, shaking her head. "It was locked."
"How'd you get out, then?" Tyler asked.
Feli jerked her thumb toward the doorway. "I had a little help," she answered.
Another guy entered the room. He was tall and lanky, with tan skin and green hair that came up in spikes at the front. He dressed fancily, with a posh suit and bowtie. All in all, he gave the air of a refined, fancy-schmancy butler.
"The name's Triton," the man said. "Cilan Triton."
All right, I'll tell this part.
I was dreaming about Mareep, except they all had the Pokemon Prince's face. I was in the middle of a field with hundreds of the things, and they all started swarming around me, braying and leering at me.
"You think you've beaten us," one of them sneered. "But you have not. We will always exist in your fears. We are your fears!"
"A year of hell," another added. "That's what we put you through. A year of hell and torture and terror and death! And you think that's something you can simply move on from? What folly!"
"Your mind is cracking," a third warned. "As much as you try to repress the trauma, you cannot destroy it. Someday soon, you will no longer be able to push it back, and your fragile little brain will snap. Then, and only then, will you know true fear. What we did to you... that was but a taste of what fright can truly be!"
They all began to laugh wickedly and horribly, and started to advance on me from all directions. I tried to run away, but there was nowhere to run to. Finally, I just curled up in the fetal position, crying as the laughter of the Prince-faced sheep filled my ears and brought me to consciousness.
I cried out and bolted upright. The cold stone slab was damp from my sweat.
I'd been experiencing night terrors for a while now - since before Christmas - but this was the worst one yet. I was afraid that the Mareep were right - that all the trauma I'd experienced during my year as leader of the Bulbagarden resistance against the Pokemon Prince was slowly driving me insane.
I shook my head to try and clear it of those thoughts. This wasn't the time to debate with myself over my level of sanity. I rose from the slab and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. Once they had, I looked around to get a feel for my surroundings. Spying a door, and tried to open it. I found I was out of luck there: the blasted thing was locked.
I kicked it out of frustration. Bad idea. I stubbed my toe and let out a string of curses, most of which I don't think I should repeat here. Was the damn door made out of rocks, too?
All of a sudden, I heard a click, and the door creaked open. I reached for my belt, ready to fight, but the person who walked into the room didn't look like a criminal at all.
"Hold your fire," the man said calmly. "My name is Cilan Triton. Are you a part of Water Pokemon Master's gang?"
"Water Pokemon Master?" I repeated. "No way. That bastard kidnapped one of my friends a few years back. I'd never work with him."
Cilan considered this for a moment, then closed his eyes and nodded. "I believe you," he said. "I'm with the IITF - the Isshu Intelligence Task Force. I've been on WPM's trail ever since the IITF's Kantoan counterpart let us know that he'd escaped and would probably be headed for Isshu."
"Hold on," I said. "You... you're a spy?! But... I've heard of you before! You're a Gym Leader, right?"
"Correct," Cilan confirmed. "In my hometown of Striaton City. I'm also the head chef of the family restaurant. But that's neither here nor there. Fact is, I've been secretly working for the IITF since I was 15 years old."
"A 15-year-old spy?" I laughed. The very idea sounded ridiculous.
"Don't make fun," scolded Cilan. "I'm one of the most talented and effective agents the IITF has."
"So, how did you find this place?" I asked him.
"I received an anonymous tip," Cilan explained. "They said that WPM was hiding out in this Castelia City warehouse. I know where he is in the building, but my first task is to free any and all captives that might be held in the warehouse. You're the only one I've found so far."
Just then, a short, loud yelp emanated from somewhere further down the hall.
"That sounded like Tyler!" I exclaimed.
"A friend of mine. Come on, we have to find him!"
I bolted out of the room, with Cilan following close behind me.
We looked into every room until finally, we found one that contained not just Tyler, but Dan as well.
"Hold on, guys!" I said in alarm, seeing them reach for their Poke Balls. "It's me!"
And, well, Dan told you the rest.
"The name's Triton," Cilan said with a voice as smooth as silk. "Cilan Triton."
"The chef guy?" was all I could think to say.
Cilan sighed. "Head chef of a restaurant, yes," he answered. "And Gym Leader, and special agent for the Isshu Intelligence Task Force. I'm here to apprehend the criminal called Water Pokemon Master."
"WPM's here?" Dan said. "I thought he got carted off in the party van."
"He did," Cilan agreed, "but he escaped and fled to Isshu. I've tracked him here. You were probably kidnapped by him for whatever reason."
"Well, what're we waiting for?" Dan questioned, popping his knuckles. "Let's go bust a creep."
Cilan shook his head. "Absolutely not," he said. "It's too dangerous to let civilians accompany me to a potentially violent altercation with a vicious criminal."
"And what would you call the Pokemon Prince, then?" I asked. "We were in a violent altercation with him. Hell, Feli was in a series of violent altercations with him over the course of a year."
"Don't remind me," Feli said softly.
"And that's not to mention Joe Serebii or Max King," Dan pointed out.
"And besides," I added, "we've faced WPM before. We can handle him."
Cilan allowed himself a small smile. "Well, you certainly have impressive resumes," he admitted. "Well... I suppose I can allow you to tag along. However, if you get injured, I will not help you. You are responsible for your own safety from here on out."
"I can live with that," Dan said. "Where is that prick, anyway?"
"In a room beyond the hallway," Cilan answered. "The first thing I did once I arrived was confirm that my tip was accurate."
"Let's get going, then," I said.
"Just be careful to make sure the hostages stay safe," Cilan instructed.
"Hostages?!" Feli echoed.
"Yes," said Cilan with a nod. "Two people, a boy and a girl, around 18 by the looks of things."
Dan and I looked at each other, and we knew instantly who those hostages were.
Jabber and Alison.
"You made a fool out of me!" WPM bellowed into my face, his spit flying everywhere. "What's more, you nearly got me taken in for life! Twice! What do you have against me, huh?"
"Your breath, for starters," I relied. I wasn't kidding, his breath was more foul-scented than a Trubbish convention.
Giving WPM lip was probably a bad idea. He gave me another slap across the face.
"Don't talk to me like your life isn't in danger, kid," he growled. "And not just yours, either. The life of your precious girlfriend is in my power as well!" he pointed at Alison, who was tied to a chair next to mine.
"I do seem to have a problem with ending up in other people's power, don't I?" Alison said. "What is this, third time I've been kidnapped?"
"I wouldn't shoot that mouth off if I were you, girl," WPM said, pulling out a knife. "I'd hate to have to split that cute little face of yours in half."
"You don't scare her," I said confidently. "Or me. I've taken you down before and I'll do it again."
WPM chuckled. "Young man, you are in no position at all to make threats against me."
"I, however," retorted a man's voice behind us, "am."
I twisted my head around to see Feli, Dan, and Tyler alongside a fancy-suited young man with tan skin and green hair.
"Hello, Water Pokemon Master," said the man. "You are under arrest."
"Who are you?" WPM demanded. "How did you free my hostages?"
"Classified information," Cilan said with a smirk. "The name's Cilan, and I'm here to take you in." He pulled out a glock and pointed it at WPM.
"Whoa, cool!" Dan said, staring at the gun. "Turn it sideways! Turn it sideways!"
"Do you ever shut up?" Cilan asked.
"Not really," Dan replied.
Cilan sighed. "Lovely," he said. He turned his attention back to WPM. "You're under arrest for multiple international crimes, including murder, extortion, and sport Pokemon battling in a region where such activity is outlawed. Come quietly, or I will have to use force."
WPM laughed. "You're a funny man!" he exclaimed. "Look even funnier when your brains are all around on the floor!" He whipped out his own gun.
Without a word, Cilan flicked a Poke Ball off of his belt. It hit the floor and released a tall, green-furred monkey with broccoli-shaped growths protruding from its head - a Simisage.
"Tactic four, Floret," Cilan whispered. A long, slick vine emerged from Floret's arm and whipped at WPM's hand, knocking the gun out of it with a loud smack. The gun went skidding on the floor with a clatter.
"Now, let's try this again," Cilan said with a small smile. "Come quietly, or I will be forced to resort to more... draconian methods of capture."
"I'd like to see you try!" WPM roared, lunging at Cilan.
"Dear me," said Cilan in a bored tone. He dodged WPM's tackle and struck him across the face with his gun, before kneeing him in the stomach. Finally, he knocked WPM out with a well-placed gun butt between the eyes.
"I do despise fighting," Cilan said sadly, putting WPM in cuffs. "So uncivilized."
"That was awesome!" Dan cried. "Oh, man, Cilan, I like you."
"Charming," Cilan said with a smile. "Afraid I'm already taken, however."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa," said Dan quickly. "Not like... I mean..."
"For a man who jokes around constantly," Cilan laughed, "you don't seem to have any sense of humor."
Dan thought about this a second, then grinned and punched Cilan in the shoulder playfully. "You're all right, man," he decided.
"Um, not to be a bother or anything," Alison piped up, "but my arms are going to sleep. Can someone untie me?"
"Same here," Jabber agreed.
"Of course," Cilan said. "My apologies. Trip, set the children free." Cilan opened another Poke Ball, and released a Servine that sliced the ropes binding Jabber and Alison to individual chairs in half.
"Thanks," Jabber said. "Who's the moss-head guy?"
"Watch your words, young man," Cilan said indignantly. "'Moss-head' happens to be a horribly offensive slang term for people of my ethnicity, the Marokani."
"Oh," said Jabber embarrassedly. "Sorry."
"And to answer your question," Cilan explained, "I am Cilan Triton, peacekeeping secret agent. I came here to capture the Water Pokemon Master. Now, it's time for me to return you children home. Where are you staying?"
"We're all staying at the St. Croix building," I said. "Jabber's uncle is friends with Burgh Entemo."
"I see," said Cilan. "Come with me. I'll deliver WPM to the IITF Castelia branch and take you there."
"Thank you for everything," Feli smiled.
"Don't mention it," Cilan said modestly. "No, really. Don't mention anything of what happened her to anyone for any reason. My cover has to be maintained."
"Roger that, chief," said Dan with a salute.
Cilan chuckled. "Come on, kids. The night's almost over.
I dropped off the perp at IITF, and then brought the kids back to St. Croix. The secretary's eyes gave her away, which showed that she was an amateur at criminal life. No secretary would be that shocked to see a bunch of people who were staying in her building walking in, perfectly fine.
I had her placed under observation. Next time she so much as pulls the wings of a fly, I'll have her.
Till then, I'll keep doing what I do best: catching crooks, cooking tortellini, and battling Pokemon.
I don't exactly lead the safest life in the world, but I sure as hell live an interesting one.
I got back in my car, an old van from the mid-2000s. I put in my Whistler CD. Great radio show. Shame not many people know about it these days.
I looked back at Castelia City one last time.
I started the car.
I drove home.
LENORA WANZE PROFILE
Age: 45 (born November 15th, 1969)
Hometown: Nacrene City, Kumadori County, Isshu
Occupation(s): Archivist, Nacrene Museum; Gym Leader (Nacrene Gym)
Blood Type: AB
Pokemon: Herdier (Jack); Audino (Ashley); Lickilicky (Tim); Furret (Slim); Bibarel (Sanchez); Watchog (Warren)
Lenora Wanze was born on November 15th, 1969, to Patrick and Molly Wanze. She was an intelligent and scholarly child, and was at the top of her class throughout her education. Despite the age difference between him and her, Lenora became good friends with fellow future Gym Leader Burgh Entemo in her youth.
She set out at age 18 as a registered Trainer in the Isshuian Pokemon League Circuit with her faithful Patrat, Warren. In the 1980 Isshu League Tournament, Lenora placed fourth, with her devastatingly effective use of the move Retaliate earning her the nickname "the Retaliator" in Trainer circles.
In 1994, Lenora married her longtime boyfriend Hawes Sparrow. The ceremony was conducted in Pinwheel Forest.
Lenora became the leader of the Nacrene Gym in 1989. She relocated it from one of Nacrene's many abandoned warehouses to a facility within the Nacrene Museum (where she has worked for 28 years as an archivist), in order to increase the museum's then-meager profits (as a fee is required to enter the museum). Though she is ranked low in the Isshuian GL ladder, many Trainers consider her to be among the most skilled Gym Leaders in the League.
THE BULBAGARDEN! MAILING LIST: @Insanish Danish @Dento @Keldora Dragon
Chapter 34: The Musketeers
The warm summer breeze shook the leaves of the tall oak, pine, juniper, and other innumerable species of trees that were scattered about Pinwheel Forest. The forest floor was still covered in leaves from the previous fall, creating a mosaic of greens, yellows, and reds. The sun peeked through the treetops, and shade was everywhere, providing protection from the heat of the summer sun.
Tyler, Feli, Dan and I didn't get back to the St. Croix building until about 2 AM, and didn't get to sleep until about 4. Saturn came to wake us all up at 6.
Yeah, we were all pretty tired.
We hopped out of the van that Burgh's wife Elesa had driven us to the forest in. Burgh waved goodbye to Elesa.
"See you later, honey!" he called out.
"Have fun, sweetie!" Elesa called back. "Don't get eaten by bugs!"
"Aw, she cares about me," said Burgh, pretending to swoon. "Such a dear."
Saturn cleared his throat. "We did have a goal in coming here, Burgh," he reminded the Gym Leader.
"Right, right," Burgh agreed. "Well, I can't comment on the authenticity of the legends, but according to the old stories, there's only one place in the forest that the Musketeers could be in."
"Where would that be?" Cynthia inquired.
Burgh grinned. "Follow me," he directed.
He led us deeper into the forest, past a gurgling stream, and into a hidden glade that was teeming with plant life.
Standing in the middle of the glade was a graceful-looking, green, equine creature with hornlike protrusions emerging from the sides of its head.
"Virizion," Burgh whispered.
"How are we going to capture it?" Alison asked.
"Leave it to me," Saturn said. As quiet as a Rattata, he plucked a Poke Ball from his belt and opened it, releasing Koffman, his Koffing.
"Smog," Saturn ordered as quietly as possible.
Koffman strafed around Virizion, who was feeding on the leaves that lay on the ground. Once the round, purple Pokemon had gotten behind Virizion, it opened its mouth and released a noxious yellow smoke that Virizion reacted to instantly. It choked and coughed, falling on the ground and rolling around to try and get the smell out of its nostrils, braying loudly.
"Now, Spook!" Saturn ordered, releasing his Spiritomb. "Hypnosis!"
Spook glowed a deep purple and cackled madly, the green orbs that floated in its body beginning to move around at a rapid pace as the Spiritomb recited an ancient, mystic chant.
Virizion found itself unable to look away, staring deeper and deeper into Spook's eyes as its own began to sag. Its head slumped to the ground as it fell asleep. A loud snore emanated from its throat.
Saturn returned Spook to its Ball, then rummaged around in his bag and pulled out a Poke Ball with a yellow-and-black cap. He tossed it at Virizion, and the ball opened up. A faint buzz was heard as the ball converted Virizion into energy and absorbed it into its containment chamber.
The ball dropped to the ground and gave a violent shake before clicking shut. Saturn snatched the ball off of the ground and smiled. "Gentlemen," he said, "we've caught ourselves a legendary Pokemon."
"Don't get too pleased with yourself," Burgh pointed out. "There are still two more."
As if on cue, there came a tremendous roar from the forest, and a huge, blocky form burst from the trees. It landed almost entirely on Tyler. One of its feet smashed into his arm, and a terrible crack was heard. Tyler let out such a high-pitched scream that I was surprised he never tried out for alto in choir.
[Up yours, Jabber.]
Shut up, Tyler. Anyway, as I was saying, the figure stepped off Tyler and turned to face Saturn. The Pokemon was short and stocky, and a pair of nasty grey horns sprouted from its head. I'm not an expert on Pokemon behavior, but judging from the snorting and deep, guttural growling that it was producing, I was fairly certain that it was not a happy camper.
“Terrakion!” Burgh said helpfully. Terrakion snorted again and scraped its foot against the ground.
“It's getting ready to charge!” Alison realized.
“Uncle Saturn, look out!” I cried. In hindsight, it was kind of an obvious thing to say.
Saturn grinned. “Not to worry,” he said, which always makes me worried. “Cynthia, if I could have Spook's ball again, please.”
“Of course, sir,” said Cynthia, handing Uncle Saturn one of his Poke Balls.
Saturn tossed the ball. “Come out, Spook!” he shouted. The Spiritomb emerged from the ball in a flurry of darkness, and grinned eerily at its foe.
Terrakion grunted and charged.
“Spook, loer its defenses with Psychic!” Saturn ordered. The green orbs of energy swirling about Spook's body suddenly began glowing a whole lot brighter, and a similar green aura formed around Terrakion. Before the legendary Pokemon could even react, Spook telekinetically lifted it off the ground – only to slam it back down again.
Terrakion let out a furious, anguished roar.
“It's been weakened!” Saturn proclaimed! “Now, finish it off with Hypnosis!”
Spook did the whole evil chanting thing again, like it'd done with Virizion, and before long the big lug was sleeping like a baby. One toss of an Ultra Ball from Saturn, and we'd acquired our second specimen.
“You said there was another?” I asked Burgh.
“That's been confirmed,” said Burgh. “There are rumors of a fourth, but that's all just-”
Suddenly, we heard a rustling in the bushes, and a small, blue, equine head poked out. It whinnied softly, then neighed at something else in the bushes, and put its head back through.
“...Speculation,” Burgh finished in a hushed tone.
Saturn looked into the bushes, but when he emerged he just shook his head. “I'm afraid whatever it was, it's vanished,” he said sadly.
“The other Musketeer would be long gone by now,” Burgh added. “We should get on the road and find someplace to spend the night before it gets dark.”
“I agree,” said Saturn. “Our next destination is the Resort Desert. Supposedly, the ruins there house an ancient and powerful Pokemon.”
“Good old-fashioned archeology,” Dan said morosely. “Sand. Heat. Yay.”
“That's the spirit,” said Burgh with a smile. “Let's get going, gang! Time's a'wasting!”
Next Time: Bulbagarden! Is back! And so is Aaron Ryuu, who's on a quest to get to the Isshu region and find his friends! He can't do it alone, though, and that's where his friend... associate... roommate Guido comes in! See what happens in Chapter 34: “Aaron's Isshu Trek!”
Until Next Time, See Ya!
CHILI TRITON PROFILE
Age: 21 (Born March 3rd, 1993)
Hometown: Striaton City, Lucci County, Isshu
Occupation(s): Sous-Chef, Triton Gourmet Eartery; Gym Leader (Striaton Gym)
Pokemon: Herdier (Dudley), Simisear (Malcom), Darumaka (Penny)
The Bulbagarden! Mailing List: @Keldora Dragon @Feliciano @Dento @Insanish Danish @Giustizia
Chapter 35: Aaron's Isshu Trek
By Jabberwocky (after Feliciano)
It's not like it was really my fault that my phone died. It had like three battery bars left when I set it on the nightstand, and then when I woke up – none. Kaput. So my alarm never got me up, I never met the others at the airport, and I missed the last flight to Isshu for six hours.
My plan was to book the next flight out, but when I checked my wallet, all I found was twenty dollars in cash, five paper clips, and what appeared to be a half-eaten piece of broccoli.
“So much for that idea,” I said dejectedly. It looked like Feli and I were going to be separated – again.
“Aaron, bro,” a nasally voice cried out from behind me. “Howzit goin', old pal?”
I turned to face a short, pudgy man in a too-large tweed jacket and an aviator cap. It was Guido, the guy I'd shared a dorm room with during my first year of college.
“I wouldn't call us 'friends,' Guido,” I said. “More like 'associates.' Or 'acquaintances.'”
“Aw, don't be like that,” Guido said with a wide smile. “I couldn't help but notice your little dilemma. Not enough dough to catch a flight to Isshu, right?”
“For some reason, broccoli doesn't count as currency,” I confirmed.
“Hey, no prob,” Guido said. “As it happens, I can get you a flight to Isshu for the low, low price of absolutely nothing!”
I raised my eyebrow. “Really,” I said. “How?”
“There's a small-plane pilot nearby who flies cargo to Mistralon City all the time,” Guido explained. “Dude owes me a favor or two. I can get us up in the air within three hours.”
I gaped. I wasn't sure where in Isshu Mistralon City was, and Guido coming through for me was something that should only happen when hell freezes over, but at that moment, I really didn't care. “Fine,” I said. “Three hours?”
“Just gotta get my stuff and contact the dude,” Guido said. “Meet me at the little airstrip about half a mile west of here.”
“Wait a minute,” I said, “you mean the tiny one with those phony flying lessons?”
“The same,” Guido said. “See you in three hours!”
I had a bad feeling about this.
Three hours later, I found myself squeezed next to Guido in the back of a tiny cargo plane with barely enough room to breathe.
“You kids comfortable back there?” the pilot wheezed.
“Not really,” I choked.
“Great!” the pilot flashed a toothy grin. “Discomfort builds character! Now, buckle up and hold onto your hats, kiddos, 'cause we ain't stopping till we reach Mistralon!”
The plane started taxiing down the runway. I was anxious to get to Isshu, and I guess it showed because Guido put a hand on my back reassuringly.
“Hey, man, don't sweat it,” he said. “We're on our way. You'll be needing a soundproof tent before you know it.”
“Oh for... I am not having sex with her!” I protested.
Guido laughed. “Bro, you been saying that for almost three years now. When're you gonna figure out that no one believes you?”
I rolled my eyes and stared out of the small portion of the window that wasn't obscured by detritus. As much of a bad taste it put in my mouth to admit it, Guido was right. Well, not about the sex. Pretty soon, I'd be in Isshu.
A few hours later, I was still staring out that window. The night had come. Guido was snoring loudly with his head on my shoulder. But I couldn't sleep. The plane was too noisy, and kept sputtering and choking. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I would have said that we were-
“Losing altitude!” the pilot cried, and cursed under his breath. He turned his head towards me and flashed a nervous grin. “Not too big a problem, son. Just a bit of a hiccup. Happens all the time.”
The plane lurched forward. Guido jolted awake.
“Wha?” he said groggily. “What's goin' on? What're we doin'?”
“Evidently,” I said, “hiccuping.”
“What?!” he shouted with alarm, his eyes widening. “We're gonna crash! We're gonna die!”
The plane continued to lose altitude, and Guido continued to scream his head off.
“Can you shut him up for a second?” the pilot grumbled. “I can't fix this with all that noise distracting me.”
I clamped a hand over Guido's mouth. He kept screaming, but it was now, mercifully, muffled.
The pilot pulled back on the controls, and the plane pulled up, grazing the surface of the sea as it did.
I gave a sigh of relief.
“'We're gonna die,' eh?” I said to Guido.
“Oh, shut up,” he said. “I was scared.”
I looked back out of the window.
I'm not sure when I fell asleep, I woke up to find Guido shaking me and pointing out his window.
“Check it out, bro!” he said. “Castelia City!”
He was right. Below us was the sprawling metropolis called Castelia. It was almost breathtakingly beautiful, and bigger than any city I'd ever seen.
“Can we land down there?” I asked the pilot.
He shook his head, and his crusty beard bounced. “'Fraid not, son,” he said sadly. “Castelia's a major airport. Small cargo craft like mine can't get clearance for it. Nah, we got us a ways to go. Mistralon's in the region's west.”
I gulped. “Um, where in the west, exactly?”
He handed me a map, and my heart sank. Mistralon was miles away from Castelia.
“Hey, don't get so down in the dumps!” the pilot said cheerfully. “Gettin' from Mistralon to Castelia ain't that hard. Well, Chargestone Cave can be a bit rough if you're scared of eels or metal pinecones. And the desert's kinda harsh, but at least it has paved roads!”
“Yeah,” I groaned. “Not hard at all.”
“You just get some rest, sonny,” the pilot recommended. “We'll be in Mistralon in two shakes of an Ampharos' tail.”
Two shakes of an Ampharos' tail later, we had landed in Mistralto City, which was experiencing an absolute deluge. I was soaked within minutes of exiting the plane.
“Rainy season's always the worst,” the pilot shouted over the rain. “Best of luck, kids. I'm sure you'll get where you're going safely!”
And with that, he boarded his plane and took off again.
“Hey,” Guido said, rummaging in his pocket. “Why don't you call your girlfriend on my cell? Let her know where you are.” He pulled out an old iPhone and handed it to me.
“You're probably right,” I said. I dialed Feli's number.
It went to voicemail. I sighed and thought of something to say. “Um... hey, Feli,” was what I came up with. “It's Aaron. Guido got me a flight to Mistralton City. We're about to head towards Castelia to meet up with you guys. Just... call me... well, Guido, I guess... back. I... I love you. Bye.”
I hung up and handed the phone back to Guido. He patted my shoulder. “Don't worry, man, we'll see her soon.”
“I hope you brought protection.”
I punched him.
We got through the cave in a couple of hours, only to smack into a trio of travelers.
“Oh, finally,” one of them said. She was a tall girl with auburn hair and an irate expression on her face. A small, green Pokemon – a Pansage – sat on her shoulder. “People. Now we can ask for directions.”
“I keep telling you,” grumbled a bespecticled boy with a Panpour by his side, “I know where we're going, Ino.”
“The last I checked, Hurri,” Ino said with a glare, “Castelia City was not located in the marshes!”
“Yeah, I think you've been reading the map upside-down, dude,” the third traveler – another girl, this one with a Pansear – said.
“Oh, be quiet, Paper,” Hurri said with a scowl.
“It's Piper!” the girl with the Pansear growled.
“Um, sorry,” I said. “But who are you guys?”
“Dancers,” Ino said. “Hoping to make it big in Castelia City. We just got here from Saffron in Kanto.”
“If you're trying to get to Castelia,” I explained, “you're going in the complete wrong direction. It's to the southeast.”
“I told you!” said Piper triumphantly to Hurri.
Ino smiled. “Thanks for the tip,” she said. She glanced at her companions. “You heard the man!” she yelled. “Let's turn around and get going!”
“Hold on!” I interjected. “We're all headed to Castelia, so why don't we go together?”
Ino considered. “I suppose we could let you join us,” she agreed.
“Oh, I'd like that a lot,” said Guido, sidling up to Ino. She grimaced at him and shoved him away.
I was starting to like this girl.
Ino gestured for us to come on. “We'd better get going,” she said, “before it gets dark.”
I nodded, and we set off.
“So,” Ino said after we'd been walking a ways. “Introductions. You two first.”
“I'm-” I started to say, but Guido interrupted me.
“I,” he said like he was some kind of movie star, “am Guido Anderson, sexiest man alive. Here's my card.” He handed Ino a business card. Judging by her expression, I was pretty sure it'd end up kindling for a campfire first chance she got.
“As I was saying,” I continued, shooting a look at Guido, “the name's Aaron Ryuu. I'm trying to rejoin my friends who're traveling around Isshu, looking for rare Pokemon for the zoo back in Bulbagarden.”
“You're from Bulbagarden?” Ino asked, surprised. “That place was all over the news a while back.”
“Don't remind me,” I said darkly. I knew she was talking about the Pokemon Prince.
Ino seemed to understand that I didn't want to talk about it, so she changed the subject. “Uh, I'm Ino Chan,” she said. “Pleased to meet you.”
“I'm Hurri Stats!” the guy with the glasses grinned.
“And I'm Piper Equus!” the other girl finished.
“Together,” Hurri said, “we form the dance group called the Pan Clan!”
“Uh, nice name,” I said politely.
“Thanks!” said Hurri. Thought of it myself.”
Ino stopped. “It's getting dark,” she said. “We should rest here for the night.”
I pulled my sleeping bag out of my suitcase. “Sounds good to me.”
“I'll set up a campfire,” Piper offered.
“And I'll handle the tent,” added Hurri.
“Guido, why don't you go gather firewood?” Ino suggested.
Guido saluted. “Anything for you, m'lady!” He bowed awkwardly and shuffled off.
“Finally,” Ino sighed. “I thought he'd never leave me alone.”
“Sorry about him,” I apologized. “I'd say he's not usually like this, but, well... he is.”
Ino laughed. “I can relate. Hurri acts like that quite often. I can stand him since I've been living with him for as long as I can remember, but with someone like Guido, it's quite grating.”
“You guys are related?” I inquired.
Ino shook her head. “All but,” she corrected. “We were all adopted by the same family. We're as close as can be.”
“I return, your gorgeousness!” Guido called in a sing-song voice. He was waddling towards us, his arms full of logs and sticks.
“Put those in the fire ring Piper set up,” Ino said, jerking her head toward the ring.
“As you wish, my dear,” Guido said.
When he returned, he was holding his phone.
“Hey, Aaron,” he said, “your girlfriend's on.”
Before he was even finished talking, I snatched the phone out of his hand. “Hello?” I said urgently.
“Aaron?” hearing Feli's voice again, even just through a handset, made me smile widely.
“Yeah, it's me,” I said.
“Listen, Aaron, we're not in Castelia anymore,” Feli said.
“You... you aren't?”
“No, we're heading to the Resort Desert right now to check out some ruins. Can you get there within a week?”
I thought. “I... I think so,” I said. “I hope so,” I added, a bit quieter.
“What was that?”
“Nothing,” I lied. “So, Resort Desert. I'll get there as soon as I can.”
“That's great. I love you, Aaron. Get here soon.”
“Love you too. Bye.”
Feli hung up, and I handed back the phone.
“New plan,” I said. “I need to get to the Resort Desert. That's where Feli is.”
“That's on the way to Castelia,” Guido noted. “So, no trouble.”
I smiled. “We should get going as soon as possible each day if we're going to reach the Resort Desert within the week.”
Ino shrugged. “Sounds fine by me,” she said. “But for now, let's just get some rest.”
There was a flash of light, and I turned to see smoke wafting from Pansear's mouth, a fire raging in the ring, and Guido with an ashen face and wide eyes.
“Sorry!” Piper yelped. “I should have told you before lighting the fire!”
I grinned. Maybe this week wouldn't be so bad after all.
One week later
With each step, the sand covered my face a little more. I squinted to see through the small sandstorm that had picked up since we'd entered the Resort Desert.
“I guess this is where we part ways,” Ino said, a hint of sadness in her voice. “The Relic Castle is just ahead – that's where your girlfriend is, right?”
I nodded. “Right.”
Guido shifted. “Hey, Aaron, bro,” he said, “you go on ahead. I think I'm gonna hang out with these guys for a while. I'm really likin' Unova, and... I wanna see some more of it.”
I glanced at Ino. “You got a problem with that?” I asked.
She made a face, and shrugged. “I guess,” she said. “As long as he minds my personal space, he can stay.”
Guido grinned. “Awesome!” he cried. “Aaron, bro! See you soon, fate willing!”
Words cannot describe how little I wanted fate to be willing.
I waved back at him, though, and the rest of my new friends. Then I turned and began walking towards the Relic Castle.
Soon, Feli and I would finally, finally be together again.
Next Time: Aaron's back, but strange dreams plague the Bulbagarden! cast. What do these dreams mean – and what is the strange beast that makes terrible noises deep within the Relic Castle? Find out in Chapter 36: “Ruins and Reunions!”
Until Next Time, See Ya!
The Bulbagarden! Mailing List: @Insanish Danish @Feliciano @Keldora Dragon @Giustiza @Dento
...You used my old username.