Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 49
Here we go, the fiftieth chapter! Though it is not fiftieth overall including the blogs and interludes, it is still a milestone, particularly as this chapter and the two that follow will dramatically shape Alaska and the rest of her journey. I hope you enjoy, and know that there will hopefully be more to come in the future!
Chapter Fifty: Change
"Alaska, WAIT!" Sandy screamed out. Alaska normally would have paused, but her mind was focussed elsewhere, hundreds of thoughts and images flashing before her eyes. I can't stop, Sandy… I nearly lost you, I can't lose them either…
Screams and shouts came from across the floor, but Alaska could not tell who the voices belonged to or where they were coming from. She smashed her fist into the buttons for the lift, briefly remembering lying on the floor but forgetting how she had gotten here, but none of that mattered. As a light flashed to show the elevator was coming, Alaska felt a tug of wind, the bite of bitter cold seeping into the building, heard the sound of thunder, rain and wind blurring in amongst the voices, saw the occasional hot white flash that burnt like the neon glow of the battlefield she had destroyed.
The wind, maybe the wind could have saved them, Alaska thought as the lift dinged. No, that's stupid… they fell, all of them fell, and it's all my fault again…
"Alaska, wait for us!" Someone, possibly Daisy, yelled, but Alaska could not bare to share a lift with someone else; their judging eyes and words would be too much to handle, the tension would be suffocating, the pain even more excruciating than it already was. Alaska ran into the lift and slammed the button to shut the doors before pressing for the ground floor. She glimpsed briefly unfamiliar faces running towards her, the room dark except for the one jagged, gaping hole on the opposite side that was letting everything come in, and had let them go out…
The doors slid shut, the lift lurched down, and Alaska was alone.
She found herself sitting on the cold floor, the strength to stand fading away. Alaska clutched her knees close to her body to try and stop herself from shaking, but her body quivered uncontrollably, and her eyes began to feel wet, the entire world blurring.
How did this… how did any of this happen? Alaska asked herself as darkness settled throughout her body. This was meant to be a simple journey, a chance for freedom and to experience life, to let Paige spread her wings and for me to fly as well… Well, that's another lie right there… I wanted to prove I was better than Chloe, I wanted to prove Paige and I could be champions without using a Starter… and look we're my jealousy has gotten me now…
Alaska thought back to the prophecies that had haunted her throughout this quest, the ones that had tried to shape her and that Alaska had to tried to let in. Latios' words from this morning came back to her as clear as day; 'before you have left this city, you will lose another… you face your greatest challenge yet.' The challenge was Alexis, it had to be… but who am I going to lose? I can't let any of them die… I nearly lost Sandy, I nearly killed Trevor, people all around me keep dying and every city I go to gets blown up… what is the point of all of this? Why do I survive but everyone and everything around me keeps falling?
The lift came to a sudden stop, and Alaska forced herself to her feet again as the doors slid open. She stumbled out into the reception, the water feature being deafened by the raging storm outside. I probably caused that as well, Alaska thought darkly as she moved out, eyeing the sliding doors she had entered through, everything's my fault, isn't it?
"Excuse me, but do you know what is going on?" The receptionist called out. "There are alarms going off throughout the building, there is some glitch occurring with the battle system, and I just heard something fall outside."
No… Alaska had hoped they might be able to save themselves somehow… but if they had fallen… I lost, I lost, I lost… She ran across the reception, her footsteps echoing off the walls but barely sounding over the rain. There was a ping as another lift arrived, and someone shouted out to her a moment later, but Alaska did not look back, she simply ran. She had to find her answers.
The doors slid open at her approach, and the weather came crashing in.
Alaska was forced to stop and reassess her plan. It seemed like a million gallons of rain was falling from the sky, and it seemed to be drawn to her, soaking her within seconds and making her shiver worse than ever. The wind threatened to blow her backwards, the loud roaring and howling deafening and only making Alaska's fears grow.
"Oh god, where are they?" Alaska muttered to herself, and she forced herself to move further out into the storm. She could already feel her shirt clinging to her skin, her damp hair being blown all over the place. It was a terrible feeling that got down beneath your skin, but Alaska could not stop now. There was no way she would abandon them like this, not after everything, she couldn't leave Paige or Butterfree or Bellsprout… or Darwin…
"PAIGE!" Alaska screamed, silencing the voices and thoughts in her head. "PAIGE, WHERE ARE YOU! BELLSPROUT, BUTTERFREE, DARWIN YOU BASTARD, WHERE ARE YOU!" She looked around to see if anyone was coming out, but the storm had made the world dark and grey, drenching all the colour in a blast of freezing water and hiding everything in shadow. The wind was deafening, silencing everything else on the street, and every sane person seemed to be hiding in the local shops, murky yellow light shining up and down the street. Alaska wouldn't be surprised if her words had been tossed asides, and her Pokemon wouldn't be able to hear her anyway.
"PAIGE! BUTTERFREE! SOMEONE ANSWER ME!"
"Alaska!" A voice shouted from behind, and Alaska turned, for a moment thinking it would be Paige, but quickly remembered the fact her Pokemon can't talk. Sandy was running towards her, her dress and hair hanging limp from the rain, Morimoto and Daisy lingering in the doorway. "Oh my god Alaska, you had me so worried! Something is wrong with you, you need to sit down and take a breath!"
"I think something is wrong with you!" Alaska replied, her voice cracking between a laugh and annoyance. Of course something is wrong with me, something has been wrong for weeks! "I am not sitting down, I have to find Paige and Darwin and your Pokemon as well! Help me look!"
"There are easier ways than running around in the freezing rain!" Sandy shouted, looking sad and desperate as she did too much lately. "You can call Pokemon using PokeBalls, remember?" She held her two in her hands, empty and ajar, and Alaska realised she should have known this… it seemed so obvious now that she thought of it. "Remember you said you would trust me and start treating me like a proper friend, back in the Diglett Cave? Well, you need to remember that now! The Pokemon are alright, trust me," Sandy was staring pleadingly at her, trying hard not to scream at Alaska to see sense. Alaska paused, staring back into the eyes of the friend who had been through so much with her already, yet they never got time to actually be friends, too busy trying to stay alive.
"Fine, I'll trust you this time," Alaska said, forcing a smile, and Sandy instantly looked more relaxed. They turned back towards the Game Freak building and the shelter offered, though Alaska kept turning and looking around, trying to find any sign of the Pokemon. Her shoe crunched over shattered glass, and Alaska looked up at the hole above. That is a long fall… Paige and Butterfree have wings, but this weather… and what about Darwin and Bellsprout?
"Are you sure they are going to come?" Alaska asked, looking around for signs of blood but only seeing more glass distributed between puddles.
"Yes Alaska, of course they are!" Sandy said with a strained smile. "Hang on a second… can you hear that?" Alaska froze, excited and scared at the same time. For a moment, she could only hear the rain and wind that surrounded them, and thought Sandy was trying to trick her. But than a soft cry came out through the veil of rain, and Alaska spun around, the thoughts in her head pausing for just a moment as she saw Paige and Butterfree float out from an alleyway behind them, Bellsprout hanging between them with her vines.
"PAIGE!" Alaska screamed, and she ran forwards, stumbling through puddles that flooded her shoes. Paige looked as wet as Alaska felt, but the Bird Pokemon beamed when she saw Alaska, and Butterfree and Bellsprout's faces lit up as well when they saw Sandy. The two broke free to move to their own trainer, letting Alaska leap up and pull Paige down into a hug, their two wet bodies colliding into the ground.
"Oh Paige, I thought I had lost you!" Alaska said, her voice cracking as she rolled on the street, holding Paige tightly and being hugged back with giant, wet wings. "Don't ever scare me like that again, you hear me! I thought I had lost you!"
"Pidge Pidgey Pidgey Ooottoo!" Paige replied, and Alaska smiled back and laughed. She watched as Sandy pulled her Pokemon into a hug as well, and saw Daisy and Morimoto smiling from the sliding doors. Her fears had been for nothing, her dark thoughts simply poison in her mind; everyone was safe, and Alaska thought for one fleeting moment that she had nothing to worry about… I won, I won!
"Prime… Prime Ape Ape!" An angry grunt sounded from the same alleyway, and Alaska felt the joy evaporate as quickly as she had been soaked. The embrace between her and Paige loosened, and the two turned towards the alleyway that had been made as dark as midnight by the sudden storm. Darwin came stumbling out, an angry sneer across his face, the look almost comical on his wet body. Alaska noted though that his hands were bunched up in fists, and there was a malicious glare in his eyes as he looked past his trainer. Alaska looked around and saw Sandy pulling Butterfree and Bellsprout in tighter, backing slowly away with fear on her own face.
Wait a second… Alaska thought as she pushed herself back to her feet, making sure she was in the way of Darwin and Sandy, how did all of this start? I fell over, and when I looked up, there was a Twister, than the explosion…
"Darwin is out of control Alaska, you have to stop him!" Daisy yelled from behind, and Alaska looked back briefly to see she had run forwards, PokeBalls in her hands in case of emergency. "He has been disobeying your orders all day! He nearly killed Alexis' Meganium, and possibly would have killed Butterfree if Paige hadn't gotten in the way, and that ended just as badly!"
"What did he do to her Twister?" Alaska asked, trying to remain calm, but anger was rising up inside her again, and her head felt like it would explode.
"I believe the power of ThunderPunch combined with Twister to strengthen it before making the shock wave, and the spinning force sucked Butterfree and Bellsprout inside," Morimoto explained, joining them with an oversized umbrella that struggled in the wind. "The four were thrown out when the Twister exploded, and clearly shattered the window. It is a miracle they survived, though I believe Pidgeotto and Butterfree's wings would have had something to do with it."
"So… it is all Darwin's fault?" Alaska asked, turning back towards her Pokemon. The Primeape stood there with his angry, ugly glare, ignoring the fact they were talking about him and looking past Alaska towards Sandy. He doesn't care about anything except winning, Alaska thought. He will destroy anything if it allowed him to win… Damian's Charmander, Alexis' Meganium, Sandy's Butterfree, and he was so willing to destroy Surge's Mine Field… though that was my suggestion… am I the problem here? Alaska's head was spinning, hundreds of thoughts overloading her system. It felt like something was crushing her throat and chest, and Alaska wanted to find somewhere to sleep, to forget about all of this…
"Ape Ape Prime!" Darwin snarled, and he began to stomp forwards, his powerful legs crushing the already broken glass beneath them, his eyes focussed entirely on Sandy.
"No Darwin, stop!" Alaska yelled, stepping towards him, but Darwin simply moved asides to avoid her. "Listen to me, I am your trainer! You are not allowed to hurt any of them!" She stepped to the right this time, but still Darwin moved around her. "STOP! LISTEN TO ME FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!" Alaska grabbed onto his arm as he came past, holding it as tightly as she could. Darwin let out a screech like he had just been scalded and turned around, swinging his free fist.
Alaska felt pain rushing through her head, and the next thing she knew she was staring up at the clouds above, rain landing on her eyes, Paige hovering above her looking startled. She groaned, tasting blood in her mouth and feeling something streaking down her face. She tried to move, but it only made her head spin. Sandy appeared above her, shouting behind for help, but Alaska could barely hear her. She could only hear the voices in her head screaming at her: You lost, you lost, you lost. After a few moments, Alaska forced herself to sit up, the simple movement causing something to rise up in her swollen throat, and she spat a mixture of blood and bile onto the footpath, her stomach suddenly hurting as much as her brain was.
"Darwin…," she whispered, the word poison on her lips. Paige fluttered down, squawking, possibly trying to stop her, but Alaska gave her a pat and stared forward. Darwin was frozen to the spot, his fists still bunched up. His stance and mouth showed his anger, but his eyes were wide and fearful, a look Alaska had come to recognize well during this journey. There was a chance the Primeape felt pity, but Alaska was not having any of it... not now, not after everything.
"Get out of my sight," she hissed, slurring the words slightly from the blood in her mouth and nose, but they came out all the same. Darwin remained standing, though his stance weakened. "Didn't you hear me? This is the last order I am ever going to give you! You have nearly killed Pokemon, you've ruined EVERYTHING! Get out of my sight right now, or I will set Paige, Frances and Nadia on you, and you will not enjoy it. Leave… NOW!" Darwin looked stunned, remaining perfectly still, silence falling across the street except for the storm, except for Alaska, who had the voices and thoughts in her head screaming at her in protest. She didn't want to let Darwin go, but there was no way she could keep him. Her entire body was shaking now, her head bleeding and in pain, the rest of her body seeming to shut down, the rain making her freeze, and all Alaska wanted to do was crawl up and sleep, the tears starting to build up. "GO, GO, GO! GET OUT OF MY SIGHT NOW! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST GO!"
Alaska couldn't have said when Darwin finally moved. Time began to pass in a blur as she lay on the abandoned, stormy street, sobbing uncontrollably. Sandy wrapped her arms around her, crying in her own way, but nothing would console Alaska. She had not cried for years, but nothing was holding her back now. Tears, rain and blood streamed down her battered face. Alaska felt weak, she felt helpless, and when she looked up and saw Darwin had gone, she only broke down further.
"It's okay, it's okay, it's going to be alright Alaska, you'll see," Sandy whispered to her in a cracked voice. "Everything is going to be fine!" Alaska wiped the blood from her nose and spat the rest from her mouth, trying to control the tears but failing, and wished one of her Pokemon knew Sunny Day so they could end this relentless weather. But Alaska knew that Sandy was wrong, and she forced her friend's arms away from her, wobbling back to her feet as a bleeding, crying mess.
"Nothing is ever going to be fine," Alaska hissed, shaking uncontrollably as she got back to her feet, the taste of vomit rising in her throat. "I have ruined everything… this journey, my Pokemon, you… myself… I can't turn back now… I'm stuck on this path, aren't I?"
"What? No! Of course not! You can always turn back Alaska, you can fix everything," Sandy said, smiling in her eternal optimism, but Alaska shook her head. "If you can't turn back, than what else can you do?"
"Run," Alaska replied, and she turned away. Her feet were moving before anyone else had realised, her mind being the last one to register it, and Alaska had passed two buildings before anyone called out for her.
"PIDGE!" Paige screamed, and Alaska heard her fly after, but she still didn't stop. She and Paige could simply run and fly away together, leave this journey in the past and find something new to do. They reached the end of the street and Alaska turned right, nearly running into a car and earning a sharp honk of the horn, but she simply kept running. She wanted to throw up, she felt weak, the tears and rain were making everything into a strange wet haze, but still Alaska kept running with Paige by her side.
If I run fast enough, I can leave this all behind, Alaska thought. This war, all these puzzles, the people trying to control me… they can stay and let the world burn around them, and Paige and I can keep on running… there's no turning back… I lost, I lost, I really, truly lost…
The follow up chapter will be coming soon! I am wondering if any of you saw that coming - let me know, I hope I am not too predictable :P I am not sure if I mentioned this already, but thanks to everyone who nominated Alaska in the last Writer's Awards! I really appreciate it :D
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 50
A bit of a delay with this one, but I am sure it will be worth it. A note before reading, I went back and edited the Breakfast at Jericho's chapter to include a line about Eevee in order for a certain aspect I forgot about to make sense in this chapter, but this is only on FF.net so far. I will try and update it here soon
Chapter Fifty One: The Mind That Never Sleeps
The rain continued to pour down, and Alaska continued to run.
Rivers of storm water raged through the drainpipes of Celadon City, rubbish and leaves being swept up and sent racing through these murky streams. The river that cut through the city roared as well as the sudden storm refused to stop, the levels of rain likely to make the usually crystal blue ribbon of beauty flood the surrounding the streets. Trees stood valiantly against the wind, but their leaves were sent scattered like lost soldiers, while aged traffic lights and street poles were being pushed to their limits, rims of rust struggling to hold them up. People were sheltered in their homes and in stores, waiting out the raging weather that was so unusual for the Rainbow City, Celadonians waiting patiently for things to return to normal.
And still, Alaska ran.
Her feet splashed through puddles, letting so much water in that they were starting to weigh her down. Alaska was chilled to the bone, parts of her skin turning unfavourable shades of blue and purple, her clothes stuck to her skin, more water than fabric now. It was uncomfortable to run in drenched jeans, but Alaska ignored the discomfort, the pain in her mouth, nose, head and heart overpowering.
I lost… I never thought I would, but I've lost… I lost, I lost, I fucking, fucking lost!
Alaska wasn't sure if she was crying anymore, but she could still taste blood in her mouth and feel it within her nose. She could injure herself worse so if she kept running in her condition, but Alaska had to put distance between herself and what had just happened. She had to distance herself from everything. The weight of all the destruction that had followed her through Kanto, the guilt of all the harm she had caused to strangers and friends, the pressure being put on her by all these different groups and all their agendas… Alaska needed a chance to breathe, to think, to cope with all of it, but no one was considering giving her the courtesy.
"Pidge Pidge Otto Pidgey!" Paige cried as she drew level with Alaska, who turned down another street, not even paying attention to the skyscrapers that dwarfed her or the cars that were basically swimming through the streets. Come on Paige, give me some time to think! Alaska thought. I just released Darwin… I think… I could always call him back, but do I want to call him back? I should have trained him, I never focussed on my Pokemon enough! Wait, I did, didn't I? I spent two weeks training while Sandy was in hospital, doesn't that count?
"AAAAAAHHHHHH!" Alaska screamed, the only way she could silence the thoughts in her head. Paige looked startled, and Alaska instantly felt more guilt: the Pidgeotto didn't deserve this. She had been with Alaska through everything she had ever been through, and was sticking with her even though the rain had soaked her as well. "Oh Paige, I wish you could carry me in your claws or hold me on your back. Than we would be able to fly away from all of this and start a new life. I could become… oh, I don't know, Montana Magno! You can pretend to be a boy. I shall call you Otto!" Paige laughed, and Alaska managed a smile as well, though she knew that there was no way she could really leave this. I want to keep fighting, even though they will not let me. I want to get those next five badges, I want to battle Red, I want to be a Champion! But if I keep this up, how deeper will I get in Gideon's war? Who else will I lose before it ends?
Alaska could feel tears coming once more, as well as pain throughout her entire body. She was afraid that if she stopped her legs might give way, her head may take it as a sign to stop and she would never get any answers. But as Alaska turned a corner, wishing she could jump in a pit of fire, the only thing that would warm her up after this, she saw a familiar house in the distance.
Must I? Alaska thought, even though her feet had decided to go there anyway. I do need shelter, but I would rather go jump in an ice bath than go there… though, let's be fair, it will be like going into an ice bath stepping through there…
But the storm showed no signs of stopping, and Alaska knew she would be welcome there if Evelyn had not relayed news of her actions yet, so she pounded towards the Athlew Mansion, the giant mound of white glimmering in the rain, its beauty not yet tarnished by the storm, instead glowing against a charcoal backdrop.
The guard at the gates recognized her and let her through, though seemed suspicious of her arriving alone. Alaska was not fussed by that and power walked her way up the tarmac driveway stained an even richer black by the rain. She looked around at the beauty she had only seen through a tinted car window this morning; tall trees with lush green leaves, a wide field of perfectly mown grass, priceless, vintage cars parked together by a red bricked garage, gazebos, fountains, statues, all spread out across this expansive property. The house itself was a three storey white giant, the building looking bigger than all the homes on Alaska's street in Viridian put together. It was big and beautiful, looking even more radiant the closer Alaska and Paige got to it.
Will I ever be able to live like this? Alaska asked herself as she got closer. She had always dreamed of living in a giant house, surrounded by wealth and wonderful Pokemon, being able to live the life she had never been able to experience. I still want that, some day… but how am I going to get there? I will probably not even survive until the end of next week at the rate I'm going. I've nearly been killed more times than I can even count, Sandy came a millimetre from death, Trevor is probably dead or drying somewhere… and I somehow keep on going. I should have been the one that got shot, not Sandy, she never asked for any of this. I was the one that started everything. If only I had just kept my nose out of it at the museum, and then at Mt Moon… this is all my fault… none of this could have ever happened if I hadn't gone on this stupid journey…
"Pidgey!" Paige cried, but Alaska had to ignore her as she took off once again, the tears flowing once more, this time at a more recognizable rate. The guilt came washing over her as if the wind was blowing it back, and Alaska's mind began racing again, screaming a million different thoughts at her at once: you face your greatest challenge yet… you must find balance before you can win… I hope you are prepared for the consequences for your actions today… But Alaska, I think you are just as stupid as you think I am…
The front doors opened a minute after Alaska began banging on them, but she didn't notice when they moved, punching and kicking in mid air, tears and blood and rain washing across her face. The maid gasped in shock before she realised, and Alaska ran in, the sound of wings showing Paige following directly behind her.
"Miss Acevedo, please remain there, we must fetch you a towel immediately!" One of the butlers from breakfast said in a crisp voice. Alaska looked down to see a puddle had already formed around her, and she could feel warmth of the house seeping through her damp, ruined clothing, but a chill still went down her spine, her mind continuing to race.
"Miss, stay still!" The maid shouted as Alaska took off, but she went ignored like everyone else as Alaska raced for the staircase. She didn't even know where she was going, but she had to put some distance between herself and those around her. Paige flew after her as Alaska raced up one staircase and rounded for the next, passing more servants who were stunned at the presence of an unfamiliar, dripping teenage girl running throughout the pristine white house. Alaska took little of the house's design in as she ran, leaving sodden and dirty footprints everywhere, Paige struggling to keep up. They passed the group of Eevee that had been playing in the garden earlier that day, all of them looking as stunned as the servants. Alaska remembered Sandy mentioning something in the limousine about how cute they were, but that only made her think of Sandy again, and the tears kept flowing.
She reached the top level and came to a stop, realised there was no where else to run, only places to hide. Alaska thought of going into a bedroom or the bathroom, but they would be easily able to find her, and what would she do then? Only now did she think of the fact she was inside the house of Jericho and Evelyn Athlew, two people that wanted to stop her from ever fighting again. Idiot, idiot, IDIOT! I lost, I lost, I lost again!
"Pidge Ottoooo!" Paige cried, and Alaska turned, her vision blurred from her tears and the rain, but saw the Bird Pokemon pointing with her right wing towards a set of glass double doors at the end of the hallway, showing the grey world they had just left behind.
"Perfect," Alaska said through a sob, and she rushed forwards. The door zoomed up to her, and Alaska flung it open. The cold instantly raced back to her, but the doors were covered by a large shelter that extended for several metres, protecting them from the storm. Alaska looked around and saw she had entered a rooftop vegetable garden, the produce contained within large wooden boxes dotted around, with a wooden table and chairs seated in the middle and a greenhouse on the far side. The sound of rain hammering against the panes echoed across the empty roof, and Alaska suddenly felt alone, cut off, secluded. It was a chilling feeling, though now that Alaska had stopped moving, all the physical pains were hitting her at once: coldness, aching muscles through the lower half of her body, sickness in her stomach, shooting pain in her nose, the metallic taste of blood on her lips, the constant rattling in her head…
"I am not sure I can take this anymore," Alaska whispered to Paige, disgusted at the whimper in her voice but felt too helpless to shake it. She felt sick and angry about everything that had happened and that she had done and she wanted it all to end.
"Pidge Pidgey Ot Ot Pidge Otto!" Paige said, wrapping her dripping wings around Alaska. Alaska smiled softly at this and rearranged her arms to hug her first Pokemon back, fresh but silent tears falling from her eyes as she slid down against the cold stone walls. I did this all for you, didn't I? She thought to herself. I wanted to prove that you and I could take on the world together, that you didn't need a Starter to be winners. If it wasn't for Indigo Dreams and that dumb blonde tart, would we even be here? We may have made it on a journey eventually, but would we have captured Frances or Nadia, or met Sandy. If I had waited, would my parents be in a better place? Would my father have found a job? Would Edward and Emily have finished school, or would Freddie have started? Everything would have been different if this show had not started… I never would have met Darwin…
"I have to tell them," Alaska whispered aloud, and before Paige even heard her properly, two Great Balls were rolling across the concrete tiles. The blue light was so bright that Alaska had to shut her eyes to avoid blinding herself in the storm-caused darkness, but when she opened them again, Frances and Nadia awaited her, Paige fluttering down to greet them. They stood in the order they had been captured, and Alaska felt teary again as she looked across them all: Paige, so proud and loyal, Frances, who was conquering her fears and letting her strength shine through, and Nadia, already so fierce and strong. They all looked at her, and Alaska watched them, staring between Paige and Frances, knowing Darwin should be there… but there was no turning back from that…
"I let Darwin go," she whispered, trying to control herself for her Pokemon. "He… he hit me today, only a few hours after he tried to kill Alexis' Meganium and shortly after Darwin tried to hurt Sandy's Butterfree." Frances looked shocked, clutching her claws to her mouth, while Nadia tried to look unfazed, but her eyes gave it away. "I-I-I-I didn't w-want to, but… Paige, you saw what happened better than I did… there was no way I could keep him… I can't control him, he doesn't listen to me… I can't control anything these days!" The tears fell again, and Alaska screeched in rage, banging her fists on the ground. She had been reduced to a giant, blubbery mess, and Alaska hated herself for it, but she couldn't even control her own body and let the tears fall. "I should never have put any of you in this situation! I'm sorry… this is all my fault!"
"Para Para Sect Para!" Frances said, and she scuttled forwards, wrapping her claws around Alaska's left leg and giving it a comforting squeeze. Paige nodded in approval and hopped over, hugging Alaska around the waist. Nadia took the right leg, nuzzling her head against the cold, damp jeans, but Alaska could feel the warmth coming through. She laughed through the blood and tears and pulled the three closer.
"At least I have you three," she whispered, and fell silent, sitting there with her arms around her Pokemon, listening to the rain and wondering what she was going to do next.
"You may have them now, but what about in the future?" A voice hissed through the storm, and Alaska seized up. The voice was all too familiar, having heard it echoing inside the Underground Path on her way to this storm struck city, but Alaska looked around and she could find no sign of this shadowed man that had stalked her for this entire journey.
"Where are you? Show yourself!" Alaska screamed, jumping to her feet and spinning around, her Pokemon spreading out to protect her, but the man did not come forwards. Fear settled inside her, Alaska's thought hissing dark ideas into her head: could she trust this man… could she trust anyone? "Fine… then tell me what happened to Trevor?"
"I am not sure what happened to your policing friend," the man replied in his deep, nearly robotic voice. "I am sure he is still alive. I survived, so should he… though I have developed a knack for surviving much worse than that." Alaska stored this information away, hoping it would help her crack who this person was, but her head was beginning to throb again and she clutched it in agony. "Headache? I am not surprised. I saw the way your Primeape hit you… or is this pain from something else? Guilt, perhaps? Or struggling to make sense of this path you've chosen?"
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" Alaska screamed, clutching her head as it throbbed worse than ever. Was this man doing something to her mind? Alaska tried to think, but all she could hear was the sound Darwin had made when he had jumped for Meganium, combined with gunshots, explosions and a silky smooth voice; the dead will rise before your battle is over. "What do you want with me?" Alaska asked, struggling to control the tears that she didn't want.
"I told you last time we met that I was going to give you a choice very soon, and now I am here to give it to you," the shadowy figure replied. "As you must have worked out by now, the indecision is destroying you, your Pokemon and those around you. It is time you decided on the path to go on Alaska: you either carry on being made a puppet by these rich fools that care less for your safety and more for claiming your glory, or you can continue with your journey and become an excellent trainer before being forced into something that will likely kill you."
"I don't know what I want to do!" Alaska replied, barely able to control her emotions, swinging somewhere between rage and depression, 'death' now screaming at the back of her thoughts. "I want to continue with my journey, I want to train my team, I want to be the best, but… but I have become too caught up in all of this. Can I really throw this all away? What if Gideon gets too powerful, or whoever keeps sending robots after me reveals themselves, and what if –" but Alaska never finished her sentence, as from out of nowhere a hand appeared, and suddenly she was stumbling to the side, clutching her cheek where it had been slapped, pain spreading through her face and setting her nose bleeding again.
"NIDORAN RAN RAN!" Nadia hissed, and fired Poison Stings into the darkness, but suddenly they were alone again. Alaska blinked stars out of her vision and winced at the pain, which was stronger than she had anticipated, and looked angrily for her assailant.
"I do have a knife in my bag!" Alaska hissed. "It may be used for cutting brownies, but it is still a knife, and I will cut you if you do that again!"
"Now you listen to me," the shadowed man said from nowhere, suddenly angry, though likely not from her knife jibe, "we are running out of time. Gideon has Charlotte's spell book now, but he needs a few more items and has to wait for the right moment before he can ensure he has a chance of victory. You have the time you need to continue battling and to continue training, and when you have evolved all your Pokemon or gotten a full time or whatever you need to do to be the best, that should be in time for Gideon to be ready. I don't want you to fight him, I know the cost of going against people like him, but Gideon seems to have chosen you as a target, and he will make sure you are there for his big finale whether you want to or not, so it is better that you ready yourself rather than go against him unprepared." Alaska paused at this, letting his words rush over him, deafening the manic thoughts in her mind. Could she really pull that off… could she train and be ready in time for this battle? She looked down at her team and saw they were all listening as well, only Paige looking up at her with fierceness in her eyes.
"The Kanto Elites, as you so lovingly called them on your blog, they won't like this, they want you to defeat him for them," he continued. "Red has sent his Suicune and Zapdos after you to ensure you are kept safe, but they are also watching you're every movement, so be careful of them and what they may relay back to HQ. But it is more important that you get a grip of yourself. I watched you today since your loss… in fact, since your friend was shot, and you have been a mess. Think clearly; don't fret about all this blue lightning and who the robots belong to or anything. You and Sandy need to be a strong, united team if you have any hope of winning this war, and you need her by your side to keep you sane."
I am in major need of some sanity, Alaska thought, but her mind was beginning to calm down. The prophecies and screaming and fear were passing through her system, and only the shadowed man's words remained, repeating themselves over and over again, drumming themselves deep into her brain, and Alaska was beginning to feel… dare she say… normal.
"Clean yourself up, train your remaining Pokemon, and make sure you defeat Alexis before the week is up to put Evelyn in her place," the man said. "And, whatever you do, do not let yourself be impaired by meeting the Indigo Dreams cast again. You cause too much trouble when you meet them, and I don't trust anyone involved with that show, especially not Amanda or Buzz."
"Buzz?" Alaska asked, instantly confused, but she shot the question down, knowing it would do her no good to dwell on this. She looked around once again, hoping for a sign of the man, but he was still just as invisible as he had been all this time. "Thank you… thank you for all of this," she said to thin air, her words blown away by the wind, a calm sensation spreading throughout her body. "I needed this… I hope I can stick to what you told me… I don't want to die."
"Trust me, death is not as bad as it seems," the man replied, and for the first time, his voice sounded soft… it sounded human. Alaska turned towards it, and she saw a silhouette standing by the table in the centre of this courtyard. She felt his eyes staring back at her as the wind tugged at his long black cloak, and Alaska shivered as his gaze turned away from her, the man looking across at Celadon. "It would be a pity if Kanto fell… she is so beautiful when she is not being destroyed. Good luck, Alaska Acevedo… we will all be watching you." He began to walk towards the edge, and Alaska felt sad to see him go. Suddenly, a question fell into her mind, one of the nagging thoughts that had been there all day, and she rushed out into the rain once more.
"Wait!" She cried, and the man stopped. Alaska ran up to him, stopping a metre away but close enough to see the leather texture of his jacket and the grim hat that adorned his face. "I would never have met Gideon if I had not followed a shadowed figure to the museum. I always thought it had been Gideon I had followed… but he would not have been so obvious, would he?" Silence fell except for the thundering rain, and Alaska froze as the man turned towards her, his face hidden in shadow, but she could see lips through the darkness, and could see his left hand coming towards her.
"Why do you think I am doing all of this?" He whispered back, mournful and painfully, and his hand touched her face. Alaska shut her eyes at the feeling of cold, wet leather brushing her cheek, a shudder spreading throughout her body. Suddenly, there was a white hot flash that burnt through her eyes, and when Alaska opened them, her saviour was gone, disappearing like a flash of lightning…
"Alaska, are you out here? ALASKA!" Alaska had become lost in staring out at Celadon, the shadowed man's words repeating themselves within her mind, but she turned at the cry of her name and the sound of glass breaking. She saw Sandy, the nervous servant girl from this morning and the trio of Eevee all standing in the doorway, all looking curious and fearful. Alaska broke into a smile at the sight of Sandy, and quickly rushed out of the rain towards her friend, throwing her arms around her and pulling her close. "Don't you ever think of running away again!" Sandy cried tearfully. "I was so worried! Daisy and Morimoto are still out there looking for you; I am going to have to call them… but your so wet, you need dry clothes, immediately!" Sandy broke away and Alaska saw her eyes were glistening. Guilt rose up once again, but Alaska managed to control herself, focussing her mind on what the man had said.
"Don't cry," she said, smiling back at Sandy. "I am safe, and for once, I believe I am going to be pretty sane for a while. Go call them; we can talk in a minute." Sandy nodded, struggling to hold back her tears, and Alaska wondered if there were from joy or the stress she had displayed before. The blonde pushed past the girl, and was followed by the three Eevee. Alaska and her team were left alone with the servant girl, a hush falling once more. Her big green eyes kept flicking between Alaska and the ground, and she was nervously walking back towards the glass doors as if she wanted to get away, and Alaska could tell from the rest of her stance, and how she had acted this morning, it was not because of the rain.
"Why are you scared of me?" Alaska asked suddenly as she wiped more blood away from her upper lip, suddenly realising how dizzy she felt. The girl looked up, her eyes widening even further like a Stantler in headlights but Alaska wanted an answer before she could properly move on . "Did I do something wrong when I was your patient or whatever, is that it?" The girl seemed frozen, only annoying Alaska, but there was nothing to be done. "Fine then, be that way! Come on girls, let's get out of this awful –"
"I heard about the things you've done," the girl said suddenly, talking rapidly. "They – the Athlews, and your friends – they were talking about how you had a part to play in the tunnel collapsing, and with that scientist guy, and destroying the generators and…" but at this, the girl fell silent again, and Alaska saw she was shaking in fear. Am I really that intimidating? Alaska thought, feeling sick all over again, and she struggled to dwell feelings of guilt.
"I am sorry that you heard that stuff, but trust me, I am not a bad person," she replied, trying to smile in a kind way. "Ask my Pokemon if you don't believe me! I have just been put into a situation that I can't seem to get out of, but for the time being, I am putting all of that on hold." The girl nodded, still looking frightened, though Alaska hoped her message had gotten through. She signalled for her Pokemon to move again, and the girl stepped aside, holding onto the door handle to let them through.
"What's your name, by the way?" Alaska asked, hoping to make a connection on some level with the girl.
"Oh… it's Amelia," she replied timidly. Alaska smiled at their similar names and went to move on, but a tiny squeak turned her back around. "If I was you," Amelia said, looking down at her shoes, "I would force the scientist into doing things on my rules. Choose the field to fight him on rather than him always choosing it for you, and then maybe things will be less destructive… or more destructive, if you want them to be, but it might mean you will win and no one else will be scared." Alaska was taken aback by the advice, but she nodded and smiled back, letting the words sink in as they set off alarm bells in the back of her head.
"Amelia, Gabriella is calling you, she wants help with preparing for dinner," Sandy said, appearing back with her gaggle of Eevee. Amelia smiled at the two girls before rushing away, and Alaska watched her go, suddenly feeling rather satisfied, a plan forming in her mind. "My god, this weather is just getting worse!" Sandy said, looking through the open door as the wind and rain continued to howl. "I thought this was meant to be a sunny city."
"Don't you worry Sandy, I can bring the sunshine. I know exactly how to make things bright again…" Alaska said, unable to stop the beam crossing her face. Sandy looked confused, but Alaska simply reached across and pulled the door shut, silencing the storm and trapping it outside. Alaska watched the fat drops of rain swirling around in the wind, examining all the chaos being created as some sort of fruit tree struggled to stay upright, and a smile crossed her face. My storm has passed, Alaska thought, and she turned away to face Sandy, and together with all the Pokemon, they walked down the hallway, none of them looking back at the madness Alaska had left outside.
The series will move on a bit from here. I hope to have less of Alaska worrying about everything and having mental breakdowns and go back towards the humour of the earlier chapters and restrain the drama a bit. There will be still be discussions about these things, but they will probably be more spoken between Alaska, Sandy and possible others, along with more discussions about other things that I have meant to write about for ages. So know that Alaska will be back on track from here on out, starting with her bringing back the sunshine ;)
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 51
Sorry for another delay, the length of this chapter clashed with exams, other projects and me finally being able to get White 2. I hope to get more up before the end of the year and end on a cliffhanger, but can't make any promises as Galactic is likely to hold me up along with other duties. But hopefully this battle will be enough to satisfy you all ;)
Chapter Fifty Two: How Alaska Got Her Groove Back
"Ooooh, back again are we? I thought the warrior princess had given up on her dream of bitch slapping her way to victory."
"Shut it Clyde, I'm not in the mood."
"Feisty! I like it!" The security system laughed. "What's this I hear of you having a little breakdown? Did it all get a bit too much for the Avacado Girl?"
"Sandy, when I become Champion, remind me to order the death of that one."
"I'll make a note of it." Alaska nodded, a smile on her face, and she gave Clyde a wink before marching into the gym, knowing that when she walked past him on her way out, she would have the Rainbow Badge in her hands, and everyone would know that she means business.
The gym seemed silent as Alaska and Sandy made their way through the flower boxes and pot plants. The giggling gym attendants fell silent as they looked up from their work, their Pokemon becoming stunned, and Alaska smiled and waved at them all as walked by. They followed after her, whispering to each other but being careful to keep away, as if Alaska was going to attack them. It only amused Alaska, and her smile got wider as she approached the field waiting for her at the back of the gym.
The stands had been repaired, and currently the ones to Alaska's right were occupied: Jericho, Evelyn, today wearing a wrinkled purple dress that made her resemble a prune, Daisy and Morimoto sat in the front row, all with varying expressions on their faces. Daisy looked nervous, Jericho seemed almost amused, Evelyn's face was as sour as ever, and Morimoto seemed uninterested, merely here to watch a battle. Alaska was not sure truly why he had come but she knew better than to worry about it. Jericho's Flareon sat curled up besides the stands, something that seemed almost like a threat to Alaska, but she ignored that as well, thinking only of her battle.
"Hello again Alaska," Alexis called from across the grassy field, standing in the same spot she had a week earlier. "I have waited a week for this rematch, so I trust that it is going to be a very intense and exciting battle. I hope that you have been preparing your Pokemon as much as I prepared mine, and that they are ready for the challenge ahead."
"Trust me, we're ready," Alaska replied, a smirk on her face, and she pulled her first Great Ball out of her pocket. Alexis nodded and pulled her own PokeBall out, and Alaska moved into position, taking several deep breathes to calm, control and ready herself for battle.
Over the past week, Alaska had barely slept. She knew sleeping would only draw back the questions she longed to push away, and restless nights would make her reconsider the path she had chosen. Instead, Alaska worked herself and her Pokemon until they were exhausted for as many hours as possible. Paige, Frances and Nadia were put through their paces, running and flying around the Athlew Mansion, fighting against statues, bags of manure, rubbish, anything Alaska could find, battling each other, battling Sandy and Daisy's Pokemon. Alaska exercised with them and sometimes got involved in their direct training, especially when she spent two whole days using facilities at the Pokemon Center. All throughout the training, Alaska chanted the words Amelia had said to her; Choose the field to fight him on, though in this case, it was a she. Alaska had a chance to change gym battles forever, and she had worked out a strategy to perfectly combat Alexis'.
I know this will work… it has to work… it will, I know it will, Alaska kept telling herself as she taught her Pokemon the moves necessary to win, but making sure they were not being watched by any Athlews or their staff. Her plan hinged on surprise, as she wanted the message behind her moves to sink in when she unveiled them.
And know here she stood, the same spot she had lost in a week early, now with one less Pokemon and a shaken but clearer head. Alaska had only three Pokemon on her, only three chances to defeat Alexis and win. Paige has been with me the longest, Frances has grown the most, Nadia is bound by loyalty for saving her, they won't let me down, Alaska told herself, and knew that only she could sabotage this chance for victory, this last effort needed to prove herself to the world.
"Good luck Alaska, we will be cheering for you," Sandy whispered as she left, Pichu clutched in her arms, Butterfree and Bellsprout out and ready to root her on. Alaska smiled at all of them and watched them walk off, and her eyes settled on the Athlew's: both grandson and matriarch stared back at her with smirks and glares, both of them challenging her to test them, daring her to prove herself. Alaska knew they wanted her to fail, even if she was not entirely sure why, but she was willing to disappoint her reluctant hosts.
"Welcome to the rematch between the Celadon Gym Leader Alexis and the challenger Alaska Acevedo," Annabelle the referee called. The gym attendants and their floral themed Pokemon crowded the other stands, all watching her with eagerness and uncertainty. Alaska despised people like that, who longed for excitement but were afraid when it actually reared its head. Don't worry girls, I am sure you will get the show you are hoping for, Alaska thought bitterly, but focussed back on Annabelle. "Alaska, how many Pokemon shall you be using?"
"Three," Alaska replied, and she saw a glint in Jericho's eyes from the stands, and longed to throw her PokeBall at him instead. Whatever you do, don't think of Darwin, the voice in her head instructed her. Alaska knew that her team lacked his power and skills, even if she could not control them, and it pained her to reflect on this, but Alaska knew she couldn't let it consume her, otherwise emotions she did not want to display in front of these people would come out, emotions she had been struggling with over these past few days as she remembered that terrible moment.
"This will be a three on three match then," Annabelle called. "Trainers, please send out your first Pokemon, and let the match begin!" There was a cheer from the gym attendants, and Alexis smiled at Alaska before throwing her first PokeBall into the air. Alaska watched it spinning, clutching her own in her hand, and listened as Sandy and her Pokemon began to cheer as well, and Daisy and Morimoto applauded the start of the battle.
This is it, my last chance… I can win this, nothing can stop me now, Alaska thought, and she threw her PokeBall towards the grass, ready for her journey to begin again.
"Frances, show them what we're made of!"
"Jumpluff, let's do this all again!" The PokeBalls opened, and Alaska smiled at the sight of Jumpluff floating above them, looking much more innocent than she really was, but confirming what Alaska had hoped for. Meanwhile, Frances formed amongst the tall grass, the top of her mushroom visible but the rest hidden in green.
"Changing your strategy, I see," Alexis said with a nod. "I notice that when most people rebattle me, they tend to go for the same Pokemon order. It is refreshing to see someone shake things up a bit, though you could have prepared your Pokemon better to face the same opponents."
"I am sure you would have liked that," Alaska replied with an icy smile, "especially considering you appear to be the one reusing Pokemon here." Alexis laughed, and Jumpluff giggled as well, and Alaska glowered up at the flying dandelion.
"Alaska, I start all my battles the same way; Jumpluff is capable of setting quite a few things up and letting me test what sort of challenger I am about to face," the gym leader replied. "I may have battled you before, but Jumpluff can still come in handy, as you will know see. Sunny Day, let's go!" Alaska saw Evelyn join her grandson in smirking, and she knew they thought she had walked back into the same battle. But none of them knew what she had prepared.
"We have a few tricks to. Stun Spore, hold it in!" She shouted. Jumpluff threw the flaming ball towards the roof of the gym, where it unfolded and spread out, lighting and heating up the gym within seconds. However, no one else seemed to notice the attack: everyone looked stunned with Alaska's command, and she grinned deviously at them all, glad to see her plan was working.
"Interesting move," Alexis said, though she suddenly seemed uncertain. "Though you should know by know that your little tricks won't secure you the win! Cotton Spore, go!"
"We'll see; Stun Spore, hold it again!" Alaska cried. The gym attendants began to whisper now, all of them looking confused at Alaska's order. Let them mull this over, Alaska thought, watching them all before turning back to Frances. As long as she can hold it all in, I will be on my way to victory.
"Pluff Pluff!" Jumpluff cried, and released the same spores she had used against Paige last week. They moved at incredible speeds thanks to her Chlorophyll boost, but Frances was prepared, and she began to scuttle through the grass, visible only as a swerving orange mass rushing through the green. The Cotton Spores followed after, but only one was able to secure itself to Frances. Nothing to worry about, we don't need speed for the time being, Alaska thought, though she hoped Frances would not be impaired when the time came to attack.
"It seems Parasect is making use of our tall grass," Alexis said, talking to them all in general. "But now she has been slowed, and Jumpluff still has all her speed. Air Slash, go!"
"Just what I was waiting for," Alaska said, grinning broadly. "Stun Spore, fire all of them at Air Slash!" She yelled, and the gym attendants gasped. Everyone in the stands looked confused except for Sandy, who winked at Alaska when she looked across. Alaska smiled wickedly and watched as Jumpluff quickly spun her right arm around, gathering wind around the cotton puff that formed into a spinning, lilac ball.
"JUM!" She yelled, and threw it down towards Frances. Alaska tensed up, hoping Frances would respond in time, fearing that something would go wrong. The Air Slash was moving quickly, and there was still no sign of Frances responding, the grass masking her moves…
"PARAAAA!" Frances cried, and a giant spray of yellow particles was released from the top of her mushroom, just as the Air Slash struck her. The Stun Spores were sent flying as the attack exploded, and a yellow cloud quickly engulfed the entire field. Alaska felt bad for Frances, knowing the Air Slash was super effective against her, but wanted to punch the air in delight as the spores rose up towards Jumpluff. The Cottonweed Pokemon coughed as she breathed them in, and she suddenly fell several metres towards the field, the cotton on her body flashing yellow.
"How… how did you know that?" Alexis asked, looking gobsmacked. "I never used Air Slash in my last battle!"
"I know, but you've used it before, plenty of times," Alaska replied, her eyes glinting mischievously. When she had gone to the Pokemon Center to train, it had been easy enough for Alaska to use her laptop and access the internet away from prying Athlew eyes. She searched online and learnt all about Alexis' strategy of using Jumpluff to set up the battle, and learnt about Jumpluff's unused fourth move from their first battle.
"I would seriously recommend changing things next time Alexis, you've become, dare I say, predictable?" Alaska said, and she flashed a smile as the rest of the Stun Spores fell to the ground. Frances stood in a clearing made by the exploded Air Slash, only a metre below Jumpluff now, looking a bit battered but still standing. Her face that once always frightened and nervous in these situations looked confident for a change, and Alaska laughed as the Parasect winked at her. Alexis, on the other hand, was losing her calm and happy demeanour, looking irritably at Jericho and Evelyn and then back at a pained Jumpluff.
"Very well Alaska, I will give you that move, but it does not mean you have won yet! Air Slash, once more!" Alexis yelled, and Jumpluff spun around, staring down at Frances with a determined look. She began to spun her arm, but it only rotated three times before it froze, and Jumpluff cried out in pain, floating closer to the grass.
"Yes!" Alaska yelled, unable to contain herself. "Metal Claw, grab onto her!" She shouted. Frances nodded and bent down, pushing her many legs into the earth and jumping up. Both claws glowed silver and the Parasect grabbed tightly onto Jumpluff's arms. Jumpluff screamed and tried to break away as she sunk back down to the field with Frances, but her paralyzed body and the tight grip prevented her from freeing herself.
"This is entirely unorthodox!" Evelyn shouted. "Referee, do something!" Annabelle looked stunned at being shouted at by this elderly woman, and began to stutter nervously, looking between Alexis and her fellow gym attendants for help.
"Th-The Pokemon L-League Rules st-state that P-P-Pokemon may hold onto other P-Pokemon in battle," she informed Evelyn. The elderly women fumed at this, and shot daggers at Alaska, who replied with a simple smile.
"Holding onto Jumpluff won't do you any good!" Alexis shouted, looking nearly angry. "Solarbeam, now!"
"Oh no, that's what I wanted," Alaska replied with her sly grin, and she saw Morimoto whisper something into Daisy's ear, smiling as he did so. "Frances, redirect Jumpluff and then use your own Solarbeam!" This made Jericho and several attendants leap up, all of them shouting at once, but Alaska pretended to ignore them as she savoured their frustration. Jumpluff absorbed in energy using the Sunny Day that shimmered above them, but as her top cotton ball glowed a dazzling green, Frances used her control over the paralyzed Pokemon to point her towards the roof. The green beam was fired into the air, and the attendants screamed as glass shattered. Alaska covered her face as shards rained down upon them, and she saw Frances struggling to hold on as Jumpluff began to fight. The beam began to move violently, going down the walls and exploding the panes, before Frances could get control again and point her towards the stands. The attendants screamed and jumped, and the middle of their stands was blown to splinters.
"What sort of battle is this?" Jericho yelled. "Annabelle, do something, stop her!" The blonde referee looked confused once more, but before she could get a sentence out, Frances absorbed her own energy in.
"PARAAAA PARAAAA!" She screamed, and fired the Solarbeam directly into Jumpluff's face. The scream echoed around the gym, and Alaska felt some sort of justice for the same pain experienced by Paige during the first battle. She watched calmly as the green energy engulfed Jumpluff for half a minute before Frances ran out. The Mushroom Pokemon let go of Jumpluff, and the Flying Grass type collapsed onto the field. Her eyes were still open, but it was clear that Jumpluff was close to unconsciousness. Her battered state silenced Alexis' supporters, and Alaska glanced over at her own, and was surprised to see some sort of proud nod from Morimoto.
"Slash," Alaska called out and looked at Alexis; the gym leader had frozen, shaken by the last set of moves, unable to call out an order as she looked down at Jumpluff. Silence hung in the air as Frances scuttled forwards and raised a claw, which glowed a blinding white before it was drawn across Jumpluff. The Cottonweed Pokemon made a soft squeak as the Slash cut across her, and then everything was silent once again.
"Jumpluff is unable to battle," Annabelle said, looking close to tears, which Alaska put down to stress. Jumpluff collapsed into energy and disappeared, all in silence, but inside Alaska was celebrating, a fiesta happening around her heart and mind.
"Wooo…." Sandy called from the stands, sounding excited at first but fading off as everyone glared at her. Alaska gave her a smile before looking down at Frances. The Parasect looked so proud of herself that it filled Alaska with joy, and she beckoned her across.
"That was excellent, I am so happy for you," she said, and gave her battered Pokemon a hug, which Frances responded by wrapping her claws around her. "Take a rest, I may need you later," Alaska added, and brought the Bug type back.
"That was some fine skills Alaska," Alexis called out, forcing a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "Good work. Nevertheless, the rest of the battle may not be so easy."
"We'll see," Alaska responded, and gave her a wink. Alexis scowled as she grabbed her next PokeBall, and threw it quickly onto the field without a word. Vinnie the Tangrowth stood beneath where Jumpluff had formed, looking as much of a hairy beast as he had last time. Alaska remembered Nadia's fight against him, but knew that this was not a battle for her.
"Paige, it's your turn to shine!" She shouted, and threw her PokeBall into the air. Her Pidgeotto formed beneath the glow of Sunny Day, floating above Vinnie and looking radiant in the orange heat. Though not as much heat as there will soon be, Alaska thought, smirking to see Paige glowing with fire.
"Interesting choice," Alexis said. "Using a Flying type would make you immune to the extreme lengths of Vinnie's arms, or so you would think." The gym leader smiled, and Alaska cursed in her head, that being the very reason she had chosen Paige. She kept her face blank though and kept going over her move choices to keep herself focussed. "We'll see how well that pays off," Alexis called. "Now Vinnie, use AncientPower!"
"Quick Attack and fly around the gym!" Alaska called. Paige shot down at blinding speeds, and as Vinnie raised his arms to bring dust up, the Pidgeotto flew directly into the middle of his body with enough force to send the Tangrowth wobbling backwards on his odd red feet.
"TAN!" He yelled, and waved his arms frantically. The dust formed into floating rocks, and with another flick, they were sent towards Paige. She soared up towards the roof, moving as fast as her wings allowed. Alaska thought for a moment that the AncientPower would hit, but Paige turned just before she crashed into the roof, and the AncientPower burst through the Sunny Day and disintegrated into dust.
"Great work Paige!" Alaska called, as Butterfree and Bellsprout did a cheer from the stands. Paige chirped back at her as she continued to fly near the Sunny Day, something Alaska had instructed her to do during training; that way, they would always have the height advantage on their side when it came into countering moves.
"Speedy thing, isn't she…," Alexis said irritably, and Alaska was surprised by how quickly the gym leader was becoming annoyed. Clearly, she had expected another clean sweep through her team, and Alaska took pleasure in knowing how annoying she was being. "If AncientPower won't work, we'll just have to test what a Flying Pokemon can do… Wring Out!" She commanded. Alaska had waited for this move to be given, but knew using her secret strategy too early could blow the shock factor she had planned for the battle.
"Aerial Ace for now, but keep that Tangrowth guessing!" Alaska called out. Paige understood what she meant, and quickly began to zip about the gym. Eyes flickered across trying to see where Paige was going, but the Bird Pokemon was always quick to change her direction, going up, down, left, right, spinning around, doing anything that she could possibly do to throw Vinnie off.
"Don't fall for her tricks, attack!" Alexis cried.
"GROOOO!" Vinnie boomed, and he raised his arms towards the roof. They shot up like a rocket, doubling in length within seconds, and Alaska frowned, knowing that they were going to be a problem no matter what Paige did. Paige saw them coming and quickly dived down, causing the red tips to crash into the roof, cracking more panes, but Vinnie was watching and his arms were quick to change direction.
"Behind you Paige!" Alaska cried. Paige looked back and saw the arms coming, and wrapped her wings around her body, allowing her to fall faster towards Vinnie. It looked as though she was going to crash into the ground, but Alaska felt relived to see the wings erupting into lilac light, and at the last moment Paige swerved and stretched her wings out.
"Pidgeeeey!" She cried as they cut across Vinnie, this time forcing him to roll backwards onto his back, and Alaska and Sandy both cheered as the Pidgeotto flew away from destruction. Alexis was getting more visibly annoyed now, and Jericho and Evelyn were caught up in a whispered conversation. Alaska was proud with herself for causing them so much annoyance already, and looked forward to seeing how they would react next.
"Wring Out, go straight away!" Alexis commanded. Vinnie got back to his feet with surprising speed for such a hefty Pokemon, and his arms, which had fallen limply to the field, were sent soaring once more. Paige had not gotten as far away this time, and she squawked as the tips whacked against her, the arms trying to grab hold of her. She whacked them with her wings, but the arms were closing in, the right one starting to wrap around her.
Now's the time, Alaska thought, and she smiled wickedly to herself. "TWISTER!" She roared, and Alexis' jaw dropped.
"OOOOOTTOOOO!" Paige cried, and she began to spin around rapidly, the arms still trying to grab hold of her. Purple energy began to wrap around Paige, and Vinnie's arms began to rotate around her, caught up in the wind and speed. Alaska beamed as a giant Twister erupted around Paige, and suddenly Vinnie was drawn towards it, unable to pull his arms back as they became caught up in the spinning vortex.
"Tan… Tan Tan… TAN!" The Tangrowth cried, trying to move backwards, but his round feet kicked uselessly in mid air as he was lifted up, and suddenly Vinnie was spinning as well. The gym attendants screamed as he crashed through what remained of the stands, and Sandy was the only one quick enough to move when Vinnie came full circle and smashed into theirs, the others sent jumping and rolling. Alaska and Alexis both ducked to avoid the suddenly airborne Grass type, his shouts being tossed aside by the speed.
"It's time to stop Paige!" Alaska called up, struggling not to laugh. The Twister stopped spinning, and Vinnie was sent flying across the gym as his arms were made free. He crashed into the wall behind the attendants stand, and they fled towards the flower boxes as large green shards fell near them. Vinnie followed after a moment later, landing with a crunch on the collapsed stand. Annabelle turned around, having remained frozen during the Twister, and moved nervously towards Vinnie. However, the Vine Pokemon let out a groan and pushed himself up, looking dazed behind the mass of blue-green vines that made up his body.
"Vinnie is still able to battle," Annabelle announced, and moved quickly away from the Tangrowth as if she would be caught up in Paige's next attack. Alaska looked up at her starter and beamed, and Paige grinned back before hovering down, landing on the grass before her trainer.
"Quick Attack should do the trick," Alaska said, and Paige nodded. The two looked up at Alexis, but the gym leader ignored them, tapping her fingers irritably against her side as she stared at her injured Pokemon, whose arms seemed to have been stretched to an even longer length.
"Pidge Ot," Pidgeotto said with a shrug of her wings, and quickly darted forwards. Vinnie looked around in time to see the white and brown blur coming towards him, but simply took the attack that forced him back onto his back, and this time he made no noise.
"Vinnie is now unable to battle…," Annabelle said, watching Paige as she soared in a victory lap, the Sunny Day beginning to fade above her. Alaska jumped into the air and cheered, happiness filling her body. She had not felt this great for weeks, not with all the destruction, near deaths and explosions she had found herself caught up in. Watching another gym leader fall before her and the people who wanted to end her journey suffer on the sidelines was enough to fill her with joy, and Alaska was pleased her Pokemon were able to experience some victory as well.
"You are doing well Alaska, though I must say I am surprised," Alexis called out as she brought Vinnie back. "You did so poorly last time, I can only wonder what you have done to change this." Suspecting me of cheating? Alaska thought, the idea bringing a laugh to her lips, pleased to see that beneath her smiles and kindness, Alexis had the same pettiness and desire for reputation all the gym leaders possessed.
"A focussed and clear mind leads to happy battling for everyone involved – or, at least to the person that's winning," Alaska said with a flash of a smile. "Your battle taught me a lesson, and I knew that if I was going to face you again, I needed to plan out every move beforehand." Alexis grimaced back at her, and Alaska smiled back as cheerfully as possible. "I just wanted to show just how skilled I truly am, and that nothing was going to hold me back." She looked over at Evelyn and Jericho, who looked irritated about the stand collapsing, and gave them both a wink. Evelyn grunted and adjusted her dress, and Sandy stifled a laugh.
"Very well Alaska, let us see how much you trained," Alexis called. She pulled her last PokeBall from her pocket, and she smiled once more as she threw it towards the field. Alaska knew who was coming, but that didn't make her any less worrisome when Meganium formed where Vinnie had stood before thrown away. It was clear that this was the powerhouse in Alexis' team, the Pokemon she saved for the very end. Alaska still had all three Pokemon on her team, and Paige had survived her battle with Vinnie with barely any damage asides from minor groping. Alaska knew she should not be worried, but the doubt and concern that had lived inside her mind for weeks crept back in moments like this.
"You can win this Alaska!" Sandy shouted. "You have a winning strategy, nothing can change that!" Alaska she smiled to herself, glad to have her friend on her side to keep her sane whenever she needed it.
"Come on Paige, let's get this going!" Alaska shouted up, causing Paige to stop flying about and dive down so she was only a metre above. "Hang in for a few moves before we truly get this battle going!"
"Intriguing," Alexis said, looking a bit puzzled but keeping her smile. "We shall see how things turn out Alaska, the battle is only just beginning, after all. Meganium, Solarbeam!" Alaska looked up and saw Sunny Day had dispersed, taking away the light and heat it had brought and fading away into nothing. She wondered if Alexis had noticed this, and could only wonder what ploy she was up to now.
"Aerial Ace while she's occupied," Alaska shouted, and felt a rush of wind as Paige soared away above her head. Her wings glowed a magnificent shade of purple, and Alaska smiled as she watched them cut across Meganium's neck, right above where the sunlight was being absorbed into her flowers. Alexis looked unfazed though, and Alaska felt nervous, wondering just how powerful this next attack would be.
"Going around from behind and use Quick Attack," she shouted. Paige quickly turned and tucked her wings in, diving down from near the roof at such quick speeds that Alexis moved out of the way in fear.
"Meg!" Meganium cried as she was hit, stumbling forwards, but the Starter Pokemon recovered and turned her neck to face Paige. Her neck of flowers was glowing with a mix of green and amber, and when she opened her mouth, the energy came together in a ball. Paige looked down in fright, and Alaska realised that she was in trouble.
"FLY!" She screamed, and Paige took off just as the Solarbeam was fired. Green energy smashed into two walls at once, sending more shards flying through the air. The beam chased after her, destroying more panes and making Alaska's 'supporters' cover their heads. She thought for a moment that Paige could escaped, but as the Pidgeotto turned to avoid crashing into a bit of wall, the Solarbeam finally caught up with her. Alaska gasped as green engulfed her oldest friend, the beam firing up towards the roof. There was the shattering of glass, but Paige made no noise as she was swallowed by the Solarbeam.
Oh god… please don't let here be hurt, Alaska thought, remembering the shattered window at the Game Freak building. The Solarbeam faded away, and without the energy to hold her up, Paige fell limply to the ground. Alaska cried out and ran forwards, Paige landing right behind Sandy and her team. They parted to let her through, and Alaska collapsed to her knees besides her Pokemon. She did not care for strategies or winning for the moment; she simply knelt beside Paige, the Flying type a rumpled ball of feathers laying weakly on the grass.
"Paige, are you alright? Can you hear me? Are you still conscious?" Alaska asked, carefully stroking her, hoping she was not hurt. Dark thoughts were creeping back again, but before they could consume Alaska's mind, there was a soft groan. Alaska breathed deeply in relief as Paige pushed herself back up, a determined smile plastered on her weary face. "Oh thank god, I was so worried!" Alaska said, and stretched out to hug her, but saw Jericho and Evelyn eyeing her like birds of prey, waiting for her to make a mistake. "After we win, we will hug and celebrate as much as possible, okay" Alaska said as she glared over at the grandmother and grandson. "Do you think you can manage one last move?" She asked with a wink, and Paige laughed.
"Pidge Pidge Otto Pidgey Otto To!" She said, and her eyes suddenly burned a dazzling orange.
"Just the answer I was looking for," Alaska said, and she got back to her feet. Paige pushed herself into the air, and they moved back towards the field, smiling at Sandy, Butterfree and Bellsprout as they went past. Sandy whispered 'good luck' as they went by, and Alaska replied with a simple nod, knowing that once this was over, she could thank her properly for everything.
"I see Pidgeotto survived," Alexis called out once Alaska took her spot once more. "Must be a more valiant Pokemon than the one I battled last week. Did you go and catch a new one, or did you simply pull off some Pokemon miracle?"
"It wasn't me that changed her, it was her own determination to crush you," Alaska replied, and was glad to see Alexis' smirk falter. "But now that you mention it, my team has really changed dramatically over the past few days. You could almost say they are completely different."
"I'll keep that in mind," Alexis replied with a brief, suspicious nod. "Meganium, use Petal Dance!" Alaska's heart pounded against her chest, knowing now was the moment she had been waiting for, the time to strike. She looked to make sure Jericho, Evelyn, Daisy and Morimoto were all watching, and then faced Paige, barely able to breathe, and smiled as her best friend gave her a look to show she was ready.
"HEAT WAVE, ON THE FIELD!" Alaska screamed, and the gym seemed to gasp in shock, but Alaska could not hear it above the beating of her heart, the blood in her ears, the victory cheers in her mind. She watched beaming as Paige's body glowed orange, and she tucked her wings in, drawing in the heat of the gym.
"PIDGEEEEEEEEEEY!" She cried, and spread her wings wide. The air below her turned orange, and Alaska could feel the heat wafting from it. Meganium backed away, but she had never been the target. Amelia's words echoed in Alaska's mind as the attack struck the field, the grass beginning to brown and burn, and within seconds the entire field erupted in flame. Alaska had to step backwards and cover her face as the flames quickly consumed everything, orange and yellow and red dancing before her where green had just been. Meganium cried out as the flames surrounded her, and Alaska felt pity for a Pokemon she had once admired, but this was what she had to do to teach them all a lesson.
"A wise person recently suggested to me that I start fighting my opponents on a field that suits me rather than one they always choose," Alaska called out. "They were talking about a certain mad scientist, but I realised that that was the key to defeating you Alexis: gym leaders always chose the field, going for one that plays to their advantage. Brock uses rocks and sand that shield his Pokemon, Misty battles in a giant swimming pool that gives her Water types immediate advantage, Surge fights in a plain field where no one can hide from his attacks. But why must we be confinded by how the gym leaders wish to play this game? You, Alexis, seem to think the grass is your friend, that it will support and hide your Pokemon, Pokemon that know the field well. So if grass gave way to fire, what to do then?" She could not see Alexis through the heat shimmering from the field, but Alaska could clearly see the stunned silence on Jericho, Evelyn and Daisy's faces, while Morimoto struggled not to look impressed.
"Sorry to keep destroying the gym, but this is about victory, and I strive to win whenever possible," Alaska said. "Paige, your switched out, go join Sandy and watch the world burn." Paige nodded, and quickly descended between Sandy and Bellsprout. Alaska pulled a Great Ball out, pausing before she threw it. The flaming field had been her way of shifting the advantage, but now it was up to one Pokemon to finish it all in ways Paige or Frances would never be able to do. Alaska simply hoped she was ready for this.
"Nadia, end this!" She cried, and threw the PokeBall into the fire. When Alaska had first realised through her research that Paige could learn Heat Wave, she had focussed on teaching her the move in order to burn the field, but knew that she was too big to hide amongst the flames, and Meganium or whoever the field was used against would have enough moves to defeat Paige and ignore the burning. That was when Alaska decided to use Nadia: her swift speed would allow her to run across the field, disguised by flames, and use any attacks that would defeat Alexis' team.
"Ran Ran Ran!" Nadia cried as she formed from the blue energy, a small purple thing that became hidden by the fire. Alaska could see Meganium looked confused, trying to find her opponent, and knew already her plan was starting to work.
"I would end this battle right now if I thought you were breaking any rules," Alexis cried out, "though I believe that you are technically allowed to do something like this, but I must say that it is extremely unorthodox and you're only borderline being allowed to continue."
"Sorry Alexis, I did not mean to do this to you, rather to your friends," Alaska replied, smiling over at Jericho and Evelyn. "I think it is unorthodox to try and force someone to do something they have no desire to do, so I am simply using your gym to showcase my feelings on that, and show what happens when you cross me." She waited for Jericho or Evelyn to say something in response, but they remained silent, only the flickering and cracking of the flame sounding in response.
"Whatever your reason, you have only given me more reason to win," Alexis shouted out. "Solarbeam!"
"Ice Beam, and then run!" Alaska shouted. She had complete trust in the loyalty Nadia held for her and the power she had already possessed, and knew that she could pull off this win.
"NIDOOO!" The Poison Pin Pokemon yelled, and a light blue beam emerged several metres from where Alaska had thrown the PokeBall. Meganium cried out as the beam struck her, but Alaska was disappointed to see she did not freeze as a result.
"Ice and fire, interesting strategy," Alexis called out, sounding as though she was laughing. "Fire now Meganium!"
"Poison Jab!" Alaska yelled, annoyed at her jibe. She looked to see where Nadia was coming from, but the fire was growing, dancing across the field and hiding everything from view. All Alaska could see was the energy forming in Meganium's mouth, and she hoped Nadia could get a hit in and then escape.
"RAN!" Alaska turned at the cry, and smiled as she saw a shadow crash into Meganium's lower jaw. The Johto Starter cried out, stumbling a bit to the left, but she turned her head and unleashed the powerful green beam. The light shone even brighter than the flames, and there was a stifled cry from within. A second later, Nadia burst through the flames to Alaska's left, followed by the Solarbeam that made the flames part and shimmer, but Alaska was pleased to see her Poison type roll the attack off and land smoothly on her little paws, letting the rest of the attack exploded on a flower box.
"Are you alright?" Alaska called out.
"Nido Ran Ran Nido Do Do Ran!" Nadia replied, pawing at the ground, an angry look on her face as she stared towards the flames, itching to get back into it all. Alaska was pleased to see she was doing so well, and turned back towards the field, wondering what to do next.
"Strike her with Ice Beam!" Alaska commanded. "Try and keep as far back as possible for now though!" She knew Solarbeam and Petal Dance were currently in Meganium's arsenal, but Alaska was not sure what the other moves were, having read that Meganium was the only Pokemon Alexis was likely to change the moves for. She wished she could see Alexis' face, wanting to be able to tell what the gym leader was planning, but Alaska would have to settle for simply guessing.
"Alright Meganium, use Earthquake!" Alexis roared, and Alaska felt as though she had just been punched in the stomach.
"Well fuck me then," she hissed, and watched fearfully as Nadia ran back into the fire. Alexis must have prepared Meganium for any Poison or Fire types that came into the gym, and it seemed logical to use this move against Nadia, but Alaska was annoyed. She had no idea how well Nadia would take this attack, or what it would do to the flames, and she wondered for a moment if switching back to Paige was the right thing to do now..
"MEGAAAAA!" Meganium roared, and Alaska watched as she reared onto her hind legs, the claws on her front feet glowing a dim brown amongst the flames, and she came crashing back down. Alaska cried out as the entire gym began to shake, shards of glass coming loose from the roof. The flames shook violently, and Alaska watched as many went out, others quickly curling over and beginning to flicker. There was no sign of Nadia anywhere, and Alaska thought that her lack of sound was a sign of fainting, but her fears were quickly smashed as an ice blue beam fired from her right, and the Earthquake stopped as Meganium was hit in the face.
When the shaking stopped, Alaska quickly regained her balance and looked across the field. More flames had died, leaving either bare earth or scorched black grass in its place. Only a few flames flickered now, allowing Alaska to see Meganium and Alexis fully, but there were now less places for Nadia to hide. The Poison Pin Pokemon was standing strong, but she looked more weary than she had a moment ago, which was understandable being an un-evolved Poison type facing an Earthquake by a fully evolved Pokemon. The good sign was that Nadia was still conscious, and she had the determined rage on her face Alaska had come to respect. She also noticed that Meganium was not doing so well: her body looked like it had been scorched, and the petals hung limply around her neck.
Nadia may have a chance to finish this all, Alaska thought. If we can pull off one more strong move, this match could be in the bag.
"It seems your little trick has come to a halt," Alexis called out. "I don't think Nadia will be able to survive another attack, and the rest of your Pokemon seemed weary last time I checked." The gym leader knew too that the battle was nearing an end, and Alaska tensed up, going over her last move.
"We're made of stronger stuff than you Celadon lot, all three of them will be able to survive," Alaska said, looking across at Paige and getting a reassuring nod.
"We shall see; Solarbeam!" Alexis cried.
"Skull Bash!" Alaska shouted. "But move over here and line up with Meganium!"
"Are you putting your Pokemon directly in place to be attacked now are you?" Alexis asked with a smirk as Nadia moved in front of her, her head glowing white as she stared down Meganium.
"I just want Nadia to hit the exact right spot," Alaska replied, and she smiled as her eyes flickered towards the green panes behind Meganium and Alexis, though no one else noticed. Alexis nodded and fell silent, and Alaska suddenly noticed how tense the gym had gotten. No one was saying a word, no one was whispering or giggling or gasping. Only the dying flames crackling and Nadia pawing at the ground could be heard. Alaska looked around, seeing Annabelle and the gym attendants watch with wide, worried eyes, eyeing Jericho and Evelyn as they struggled to hide their worry and irritation, got a nervous smile from Sandy, a proud nod from Paige, blank faces from Daisy and Morimoto.
This is it, the final move, Alaska told herself, watching the two Pokemon before her. Nadia can end this, I know she can, and I know she will do it for me and for Paige and Frances… and even Darwin, wherever the hell that hairy monkey ended up… She tensed up, clenching her fists, thinking of everything that had happened this last week, these last months, and knew that this win meant so much more than a gym badge… it meant normality.
"NIDOOOOO!" Nadia screamed, her head suddenly glowing a brilliant white, and she stopped pawing at the ground, kicking off with her back legs, and everyone around them drew their breath.
"YOU CAN DO THIS NADIA!" Alaska screamed, and she watched the small purple Pokemon sprint across the scorched field, moving as fast as Alaska had ever seen her go, turning quickly into a horned white blur. Meganium stood her ground, opening her mouth wide, green particles forming there as they travelled from her flower. Alaska could almost not watch, seeing her Pokemon sprint forwards, so close now…
"MEGANI!" Meganium cried, and she reared her head back, the green glow erupting from her mouth. Alaska's heart sank, seeing Nadia was still a few metres away… there was not any time for her to strike….
"RAAAAAAAAN!" Nadia screamed, and she jumped. Alaska, Sandy, Alexis, Annabelle, everyone gasped, and they watched as Nadia propelled through the air, getting near Meganium as she lowered her head to fire. But the attack never hit. The Solarbeam skimmed past Nadia, and a second later the little forgotten Pokemon from the Day Care Center slammed into Meganium's neck. Alaska's heart skipped a beat as the Solarbeam was directed upwards, smashing into the roof and obliterating panes of glass, and she watched as Meganium was lifted off her feet, forcing Alexis to jump out of the way, and was propelled into the back wall by Nadia.
And that was when it all shattered.
Alaska had never felt so much happiness in her life than she did right then watching Meganium smash through the gym. Panes around her exploded, the entire metal framework seeming to lurch, sending more panes falling throughout the whole gym. The Solarbeam struck the rest of the wall with enough force to turn every pane into little emerald shards. And even before Nadia leapt backwards, followed moments later by Meganium slumping unconscious to the earth, Alaska knew that she had won.
"YES!" She screamed, loud enough to shatter the eerie silence that had followed, and she sprinted forwards as Annabelle declared her the winner. Alaska crunched over black grass and broken glass and ran by fire, not caring any more as she thought solely of her win. Nadia turned towards her as she approached, and Alaska spread her arms open, ready to celebrate this victory.
"Ran Ran!" Nadia cried excitedly, and she began to run, but paused after only a few seconds. She looked confused, and Alaska stopped as well, quickly becoming worried. She then gasped as Nadia began to glow white, and watched in awe as the little Pokemon quickly began to double in size. Her tail and the spikes on her back got longer, her ears grew, her legs and body thickened, and Nadia began to adjust her body into a hunched over position. The light faded away as quickly as it had come, and where a Nidoran had been a moment earlier now sat a red eyed, sharp clawed Nidorina pawing at the burnt earth.
"Holy shit, you look awesome!" Alaska cried, and she bent down and heaved her newly evolve Pokemon up. Nadia's new weight nearly broke her back, but Alaska was too overcome with happiness to care. "Thank you for Nadia, what you did today was wonderful! And I think your evolution was just the icing on the cake… Nidorina," she added with a wink, and Nadia laughed heartily.
"Rina Nido Rin!" She replied, and Alaska laughed with joy. They spun around together, and Alaska saw Sandy, Paige, Butterfree and Bellsprout rushing towards her. She wanted to go and join them, but Alaska turned and faced Alexis first. The gym leader looked as though she had just watched her entire family get murdered by a pack of angry Sunkern: Alaska could see shock, anger and disappointment through Alexis' face as the Grass master examined her back wall. Alaska hadn't properly taken it in yet, and she turned around and saw only a dented metal frame, all the glass having fallen and shattered around the unconscious Meganium. Celadon was visibly through the open wall, and passer-by's were staring through in confusion.
"You destroyed my gym…," Alexis said, her voice a hoarse whisper. "You ruined it…"
"Oh cut the dramatics, this ain't a soap opera," Alaska said with a roll of her eyes. "You should see what I did to the Vermilion Gym." She turned to face the gym leader and smiled, putting a free hand out. "Badge and Technical Machine, please." Alexis turned and looked down at Alaska with a look that could rival a Golem for ugliness and ferociousness. It was clear the gym leader did not want to do anything for Alaska, but there was nothing in the rules that prevented Alaska from getting her reward, and Alexis had no choice but to hand the Rainbow Badge and a green tinted machine across.
"Don't do it Alexis!" Evelyn cried from the background, and Alaska turned to see the elderly woman marching forwards, Jericho, Daisy, Morimoto and Flareon following close behind. "I don't know what this little madam thinks she is doing, but whatever it is, it must be illegal! She just broke your gym for gods sakes Alexis, she should be arrested, or being made to pay for it all!"
"Mrs Athlew, there is nothing in the Indigo League Rulebook that states what Alaska did today was illegal in any way," Morimoto explained. "And I do know the rulebook word for word, I have read it enough times for my games."
"This isn't a game, this is real life!" Evelyn squawked, and she eyed Alaska evilly, pointing a sharp, wrinkled finger at her. "You think battling Gideon will be just like all of this, but you are wrong, you foolish little brat! If you keep this journey up, you will be dead within days, and our world will be doomed by your selfish actions!" Alaska smiled coldly back at the matriarch, and placed Nadia down next to Paige. She reached into her bag that hung limply from her back and pulled out a plastic bag. Everyone except Sandy looked confused when Alaska pulled out the tray of brownies, especially when ash flew into the air when Alaska broke a piece off.
"Eve – may I call you Eve, seems much nicer than senile old bitch? –, you may find that I am a lot like this brownie. People seem to expect me to be some weak, mushy little thing that can easily be kicked around, something that can be devoured as easy as pie. However, if someone tries to take a bite out of me, I am going to make it very difficult for them to swallow," Alaska explained, her eyes twinkling as she bounced the brownie in her hand. "Because inside, I don't have a rich, chocolately center – I have been burnt so many times recently that I am about as innocent as a gun toting serial killer. You will all learn pretty soon just how tough I really am," Alaska said, and she threw the piece of brownie. It hit Jericho right between the eyes, and Evelyn cried out as he collapsed to the ground.
"No one is going to control me, I am going to do exactly as I please. I will defeat the rest of these gyms to the best of my abilities, and then I will watch Gideon in a field of my choice and make him burn as well." Alaska said all this with a flash of her teeth, and she snatched her prizes from Alexis' hand. The gym leader looked like she had been slapped, but Alaska did not care. She did not even look at Sandy or Paige as she walked off the field and towards the exit. Alaska simply wondered if her little performance had paid off, and that Evelyn, Jericho, the whole damn lot of them would view her differently from now on. Alaska looked down at the badge in her hands as she walked out with her entourage, and smiled as the light reflected off each individual colour.
Only four steps left, she thought. The victory joy seemed everlasting as Alaska walked through the plant boxes and flower beds, knowing that now her journey was all for her to control, that she had shown them what she was truly made of.
"Someone clearly had some issues to work out," Clyde sneered as the doors slid open for Alaska.
"Go fuck yourself," she said to the computer, and walked out into Celadon City with her head held high, ready to face the world again: I won, I won, I won, and nothing can stop menow.
This ends the Celadon Arc, blog and interlude up next whenever I can do them
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 52
A bit of a long time since I have done one of these!
Blog Ten: Victory thy name is Alaska
Well… that was what I call an interesting week.
I would have updated sooner on the sheer drama that is my life (seriously, I feel like I am on some teen soap opera, except instead of having two barely attractive guys to choose between, robots try to murder me. I tell you, if Gossip Gardevoir and Magnezone: The Terminator ever cross over, I will be ready to watch it, love it and get into overly serious debates with randoms on the internet over every small detail of it.) However, I have been a wee bit busy spending some quality time in Celadon City, and this week started as all of mine do with me nearly dying!
If you heard that another tunnel had collapsed last week, and thought 'I bet that's Alaska's fault', then congratulations, you were right! My lovely shadowed stalker came to drop an advice bomb on me while I was travelling to Celadon sneakily, but in my usual haste, I thought it would be best to ignore and attack him. The Shadow-er Man promptly destroyed the tunnel, causing the other friend I mentioned last blog to disappear. I am not sure about any of this because I fainted (I always seem to faint rather conveniently halfway through things like this. It is like some bad plot device in a novel where the author has no other way for you to get from one place to the other. I am not sure the last time I properly walked into a city…) and slept for a few days, and then woke up inside a rather interesting house.
I hope you have all heard of the Athlews, because I don't know how to really describe them. They are kind of like those people you see with reality shows on TV that they don't deserve: basically, they are some really rich people that own about half of Celadon and kind of rule the social hierarchy a bit, and they think that this gives them power. Another friend who was a friend of the friend that went missing (I shouldn't really be naming names – they are kind of spies, just not the sort you'd spend $15 on at the movies) is friends with these rich people and she thought they were friendly, but they aren't exactly going to be friends of mine any time soon. In summary: nice house, awful people. The matriarch of the family, a wizened old troll named Evelyn, had decided that I was not to get involved in any of Gideon's attacks on Kanto and tried to force me to stay inside her mansion until things were over.
Now, I may not want to be involved with Gideon in the slightest. In fact, I am looking forward to him eventually being publicly humiliated and brought down a peg or two, as Gossip Gardevoir did to Sharona in the Season Three finale, except just with a touch more arrests or bloody justice murder going on. However, I refused to be locked up because of this, protected from him like some little Igglybuff being chased after a Tyranitar. I came on this journey in the first place to prove myself, to set out to win the gym badges and show the world you don't need to be some starter-hogging, reality TV-hoebag to become the Champion. I was not about to let some dried up old woman tell me what to do, so I demanded that I be given a chance to prove myself by defeating Alexis, knowing at the time I could win, and they agreed to let me strut my stuff.
I will make a long, painful story short… I lost.
The loss was my fault. I walked into the battle without any real strategy, simply thinking having a few type advantages would secure it for me, even though that is not always the case. Alexis, the new gym leader and friend of Mr Rich Dick, Jericho Athlew, was rather powerful, with none of her Pokemon fainting. We tend to underestimate Grass types, as they have so many weaknesses, but I was quickly put in my place, and one by one, all of my Pokemon fell. It was the most crushing moment of my life, which may make me sound a bit selfish, considering I left my family barely holding it together and Sandy had only recently recovered from her equally recent gunshot wound, but this was something different. I had done all of this for as part of my journey. Without this mission of mine to prove myself to the world, it all would have been for nothing: the destruction, Sandy's shooting, my own injuries, getting involved in Gideon's scheme. If I didn't have the Indigo Plataeu to work towards, than what point was this all? Being locked away like a damsel in a tower would have made those last weeks worthless, and I would lose the experiences I had gained, letting Chloe and her boy toys move ahead while I was left to watch them on their red carpeted path to pre-planned glory.
I could continue using overly delicious analogies, but need to speed things along, don't I? It has been so long since I last updated that you don't really need to hear every detail! So I kind of shut down, similar to that episode of Magnezone: The Terminator where Magnezone got shut down… my god, that was a terrible comparison, but you get what I mean. Sandy and the other friend dragged me around Celadon like a zombie, and we met some of the people who run Game Freak, that company that makes the Pokemon simulation games. The guy we met, Morimoto, seemed a bit odd, but he allowed me to use his battlefield to get some training done. Again, I did not really think things through, but I wanted to fight, I wanted to know I was still capable before I got controlled. If I had decided not to battle then, things may have turned out differently, but my desperation to prove myself got the better of me, as if the Athlews would let me go free after I defeated a friend I had battle plenty of times in training.
I faced Sandy in a double battle, and things quickly went wrong.
I have mentioned my struggles with controlling and training Darwin in the past. He was an issue, but he had been good mostly through all the training I did prior to coming to Celadon. I had a feeling he was improving, but that was just what I was telling myself so I felt better: I knew that he was uncontrollable, that he was endangering me, my team and those around us. But still, I chose to use him in battle, both at the gym and at Game Freak. He nearly killed Alexis' Meganium in his rage at losing, using a shard of glass as a weapon, and then attempted to destroy Sandy's Butterfree in such a way that Paige created a powerful Twister that shattered a window in her attempt to stop him, sending our Pokemon flying. We found them safely, and I had no idea what to do about Darwin, but I made up my mind quickly when he struck me. One of the first things they taught us at school about dealing with Pokemon was that if a Pokemon ever purposefully struck the trainer, the Pokemon should be released immediately or taken to a Pokemon Center or Professor to deal with. I had always thought this sensible, and these instincts came out as my head felt like it had been cleaved in two, and I knew in a second that Darwin could not remain on my team. He had tried to kill two Pokemon in battle and had attacked his trainer, on top of all his disobeying and previous incidents. I sent him away, all the while wondering if it had been my fault. Should I have focussed more on training him, controlling him, getting him to see what he was doing was wrong? Hitting me might have knocked some sense into him, but I banished him, and never got to see if Darwin had finally learnt his lesson.
I shut down again, and I felt as though the weight of the world was crushing me. I had spent so long been attacked by robots and Gideon that my journey had lost its true purpose, and instead of focussing on battling and gyms, I was constantly trying to answer all these questions that have dogged me all this time. So I had a sort of epiphany while sitting on the garden roof of Athlew Mansion, watching as a storm raged around me: I still have time for all of these things to play out. Gideon has not acted for two weeks even though he has the book he wanted, so that means he needs something else. I have a chance to forget about Gideon, leave the robots in the past, let Indigo Dreams carry on destroying the intelligence of the general public, and I have the opportunity to truly be myself again and set out to achieve the goals I set out to.
As you can tell from my blog title, I have done exactly that. I faced Alexis again, and I brought her gym crashing down around. I set fire to her field and Paige, Frances and Nadia brought her Pokemon down one by one. Nadia delivered the final blow and evolved into a Nidorina as a result. I showed the Athlews what I was capable of, and though I left them behind at the gym with a concussion and a few shocked looks, I am sure I made the impression I set out to make: mess with me, and your going to get burnt *snaps fingers like a character off Gossip Gardevoir* (I doubt I will be allowed back into the Athlew Mansion after this, which is a shame as I was just starting to like being able to roam around their unguarded treasure vaults and rooms filled with priceless artworks…)
But after such a long gap since my last gym win in Vermilion, I have faced so many losses. The destruction of Vermilion, which is only just starting to be properly cleared up and get back on its feet, the Power Plant, the bar, Lavender Town, the second tunnel collapse. It is like I am permanently stuck in some video montage of badly cam-corded building explosions and car crashes. To finally enjoy victory once more, to be able to prove myself, to be able to get a clear head, it is such a magical feeling, and I can only hope this sort of euphoria lingers.
Sandy, Paige, Frances, Nadia and I are currently celebrating by ourselves at the Pokemon Center (some older trainer offered us some wine, but after the way Sandy got at that bar, we declined. I still have no idea why how she got drunk off that drink, but that is a question for another rambling blog.) My journey is not over yet, with Saffron City nearby and an easy route to Fuchsia City open to us, but tonight, I am done with making decisions. I have had to make too many lately, and they never turn out very well. I refused the advice of the shadowed man and that nearly caused Nadia to be crushed, though I am still not sure how she survived either. I set Darwin free, and already I am feeling guilty about it. I led Sandy and our Pokemon down a dangerous path for too long, and it nearly cost us our lives. I have chosen the path I want to go down, and tonight, I will celebrate that I have completed half my steps, and pray to Arceus that I have chosen the right path.
Interlude next, then our new arc will begin! Just to point out, I am not a fan of Gossip Girl, but I saw it being mentioned that it was the finale while I was writing this and got inspired to include some blog themed puns :P
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Blog 10
Interlude Ten: Battered, Broken and Beating
"I do not care if that girl turns out to be the messiah that will lead us to victory! If I ever see that black haired bitch again, I will personally kick her in the face!"
Night had fallen in Celadon City, and darkness had crept into the Celadon Gym. Workers from a construction company part owned by the Athlews had come and cleared away most of the glass from the shattered wall and had tried to cover it up, but the dents in the structure made any sort of flimsy cardboard covering ineffective. They would return in the morning, but for now, Daisy, Alexis, Jericho, Evelyn and Morimoto stood in the middle of the burnt, ash strewn battle field, with charred wood and shattered glass surrounding them, barely any lights still working, and feeling the chill of the suddenly opened up building.
"Look at this place!" Evelyn shrieked, her voice echoing inside the silent gym. She was red in the face, fuming with undisguised anger, and everyone was making sure they were well away from her as the Athlew matriarch marched around the field, crunching ash with her high heels. "This place looks abandoned, or something a poor person might work in! What gives that girl any right to destroy this beautiful building, a beautiful building that I invested a couple of million in to help build, I might add!"
"Evelyn, it is not as though the damage is permanent," Alexis said, putting her words carefully so she would not be attacked next. "All gyms have sufficient funds accumulated from battle losses to repair the facilities post battles. She broke half our glass last week and it only took a few hours to replace everything! We might even get the chance to do some remodelling…"
"THAT IS NOT THE POINT!" Evelyn screeched, and Alexis jumped, having drifted off into dreams of renovations. "The International Police have very specific plans for that girl! I let Alaska into my home, gave her food and shelter, and made a perfectly reasonable offer to protect her from this fight she has gone and bloody well put herself in the middle of. And how does she react? She sets fire to your field, smashes your walls, and throws some sort of concrete disguised as brownies at one of her hosts!"
"I think they are just normal brownies," Daisy mumbled sheepishly, earning her furious glares from both of the Athlews in the room, Jericho with a large red mark on his forehead.
"The point is not money or what sort of projectile she used," Evelyn hissed. "The point is that this Alaska girl is a dangerous individual who cannot be controlled, yet the wizened scientists of our once great nation are sticking to their mantra of making children fight their battles for them. Look what happened with our current champion and Team Rocket, the damage they caused across the region! Jericho nearly died when he fought that Dragonite for them! The International Police know that Alaska is not the fit person to stop Gideon, and they were right in thinking she should be locked up and stopped from causing any more harm. LOOK AT THIS PLACE!" Evelyn cried, and she angrily smashed an already broken shard with the tip of her high heel, gesticulating furiously at the damage that was evident around them. There was a timid cough from behind, and everyone turned as Morimoto stepped forwards. The Game Freak executive had been standing in the shadows where the stands had stood, listening to everything Evelyn had said, and now moved forwards, appearing deep in thought. Morimoto had insisted on coming to the gym match today, having wanted to see Alaska in battle, and it was quite clear to Daisy, who knew the developer well, that he had been looking to analyse the trainer everyone was talking about.
"This Alaska… she is very intriguing, you must admit," he said, walking slowly towards the rest of them. "I heard about her a few weeks ago from an employee that showed me her blog, and she has done some very amazing things in such a short space of time. It is astounding to see someone of her age escape death so many times."
"Have you followed the path of destruction though?" Evelyn snapped. "The Power Plant, Mt Moon, Pewter Museum, everywhere she goes, something gets damaged, largely in quite catastrophic ways!"
"The results of war, they are unavoidable," Morimoto said. "When I came to this world during the Great War, there was so much destruction across your regions that it seemed impossible you would ever recover. But each piece of rubble, every scar on the earth, they were all the results of people fighting for good, for the safety of this place, and after a few years, all of these wounds were covered over. Those things Alaska destroyed, like this gym, they can all be repaired. She is simply a warrior fighting a great foe, and what she has done has been nowhere as damaging as what Gideon did to Chrono Island."
"I am not comparing the two and what they have done!" Evelyn said with acid in every word. "I am merely saying that the girl is not a suitable person to fight him. The International Police have much more qualified, more level headed people that can stop Gideon, rather then some aggressive school girl that is involved in something a lot bigger than herself! Alaska is only going to destroy Kanto is she is allowed to go free, and she will kill herself in the process. And by the time she is dead, there will be no one else to stop Gideon. That is why the International Police want to keep her out of this war: there is too much being placed upon her to succeed, and should Alaska fail, than Gideon will be able to carry out some plan unlike anything we have ever seen, and Oak, Bill, all of them have no Plan B!" Evelyn's last few words echoed, carrying the effect of her statement. Jericho and Alexis exchanged nervous looks, and Daisy suddenly felt guilty, as if she should have done more to stop her. Morimoto paused and looked upwards, staring at the stars they could see through the shattered window, blinking dimly through the light pollution the city produced. Evelyn waited impatiently for him to talk, but Morimoto moved about to another spot and stared up through a different pane, as if this new spot would give him the answers he was searching for.
"Her uncontrollability and explosive personality makes her our greatest asset," the developer said at last, staring dramatically back down at Evelyn, now standing on the opposite side of the scorched field from her, the other three standing like Pokemon between them. "Gideon is a scientist, his life revolves around numbers and statistics. He can work out all of our strategies before we have even thought of them, because he knows how everyone thinks. Gideon could have spent years watching Red's battles for all we know, working out how he battles and how he uses his Pokemon, which makes our own Champion useless if the enemy knows exactly what command he will give in five moves time.
"But with Alaska, she is unpredictable. She makes up her mind three seconds after she gives a command, and changes it again before she gives the next one. Alaska has a gun that Bill gave her that she has barely used, she fights with a tray of rock hard brownies, she banished her Primeape a week ago and regrets doing so. If Gideon and Alaska ever faced each other, Gideon would find himself in unexplored territories: he would expect Alaska to use her trusted Pidgeotto, and instead find himself being strangled by Sandy's Onix while Parasect shatters his toes. We need a mind as rebellious and unrelenting as Alaska's to defeat one as brilliant and well thought out as Gideon's."
"What about her destructive natu –"
"As I said, a necessary part of any war, but in this case, Alaska feels the need to cause this damage to prove her skills and make a point," Morimoto interrupted, making Evelyn flare. "She has been caged away in Viridian all her life like that Pidgeotto of hers, but this journey has been her chance to finally experience freedom. I can tell from her blogs that Alaska refuses to let anyone push her around after the life she has led, and with the people she is up against that are trying to tell her what to do, she must make very big statements in order to make herself heard above them. The more we try and push her, the more Alaska will try and prove herself, and the more damage she will leave behind." He smiled at Evelyn at this, and the elderly women scoffed and turned away, looking appalled.
"That is ridiculous!" Jericho scoffed, stepping forward to replace his grandmother. "She is nearly the same age as me; how can she be mature enough to face Gideon, or strong enough to keep surviving these attacks?"
"Not all thirteen year olds are like you," Alexis said mockingly, but Morimoto held up a hand and nodded at the flame haired boy.
"That is a fair point. Alaska has been through more than you, even before all of this started," he explained. "I believe her family is barely surviving. Her siblings go to Arcethian due to a scholarship, but Alaska has lived solely in Viridian, going to a lower class school where she was constantly bullied and mocked. Her father recently lost his job and has become reclusive, and her house has fallen into disrepair. Alaska is already tough, and I believe from her latest blog post that she is planning to focus solely on her gym journey. This will give her the time to grow and become stronger, and when the time comes to fight Gideon and end this once and for all, she will be ready, and it is time that we accept her role in all of this and leave her to fulfil her duties."
Silence suddenly fell. Evelyn stared furiously at Morimoto, trying desperately to continue the argument, wanting to prove she was right as she always did. However, Morimoto had made too good of a point, and Evelyn could tell that, for once, she had been bested. She looked around at her grandson, at Alexis and Daisy, wondering if any of them had something to add, but they were staring sheepishly at their feet, no words coming to mind as they dwelled over what Morimoto had said.
"I believe Evelyn, it is time we declared Mr Morimoto the winner of the debate," a sixth voice said suddenly, and Alexis and Jericho both cried out. Everyone turned towards the shattered north wall, where they could see the city lights in the background, the empty panes letting in the roar of man made transport and the excitement of people spending the night on the town. They could see no sixth figure, but suddenly someone side stepped out from the darkness, materializing as quickly as if he (as the voice had clearly been male) had teleported. The group was confused, wondering who this mysterious person was that had sidled into their lives, but the figure moved closer towards them, stepping into the feeble light coming from the few working bulbs scattered throughout the gym, and recognition and relief spread across the tense group.
"Trevor!" Daisy cried, and rushed forwards, tears streaming down her face before she had even moved, not caring where she was or who was there. Trevor moved forwards with a slight limp in his left leg, with scars down his face and neck, which was covered with rough stubble. His dark clothes were dirty and still covered with dust, despite the tunnel collapse occurring over a week ago, making him appear a ghost that had emerged from the rubble.
"Hello Daisy," Trevor said as Daisy nearly tackled him, pulling him into a hug. "Be careful, I am still tender from the tunnel collapse."
"Well, I am still annoyed you didn't give me any warning about this mission of yours!" Daisy huffed, cuffing him lightly on the shoulder as she continued to cry. "For twenty four hours, I thought you were… dead… NEVER do that to me again! You should have called me sooner, or given me some sort of warning of what you were going to do!"
"I am sorry, but you know I had to do it," Trevor said, wiping away the tears with one of his fingers. He turned to look at the others standing before them, all looking confused. "My bosses wanted me to do some investigating into Alaska's life. Mostly into her past, but a bit into her future. I had to track someone rather special down, but I did not want Alaska to become suspicious as to where I was. I had made plans to disappear during Celadon, giving Daisy proper warning, but the tunnel collapse was the perfect opportunity for me to disappear." They had all known Trevor had faked his possible death or disappearance, but none of them knew what he had gone to do, or why he had chosen now to return. Trevor limped closer to them, with Daisy clinging to his shoulders, still feeling emotional. He pulled a slim folder out from his jacket, and the spy's face suddenly became grim.
"The International Police wanted to protect Alaska from herself," Trevor explained. "As has been noted, she is unpredictable and dangerous, acting out in such a way to prevent us from controlling her. It has worked this time, as my superiors believe we must now let her go her own way and make her own decisions, though she will be closely monitored at all times by a back up crew. Daisy, they want you to continue your role as a friend to her, especially while she remains in Celadon." Daisy nodded, wiping her tears away.
"What has made them change their minds?" Alexis asked. "They seemed so intent on preventing her from continuing with her journey a week ago. Did the destruction of my gym do it for them?" Trevor shook his head, and he passed the folder across. Evelyn angrily snatched it, glaring at Trevor as if he had turned against her, and opened it up so everyone could see.
"There is only a photo," Jericho said, "and we can barely see it in this light." Trevor whipped a torch out from another pocket and flashed it across the printed out photograph. It was grainy, with an intense flash that showed in the corners of the image. However, the central image was quite visible: it was some sort of etching on a rock face, though it took a few moments for everyone to make out the figure in the centre.
"It looks like someone standing on a Pokemon," Daisy said through her watery eyes, staring intently at the biggest part of the rock drawing. "Possibly a Flying type, based on the curves, maybe a –"
"Pidgeot," Morimoto said gloomily, and there was a collective gasp. Beneath the Pidgeot, there was what appeared to be a giant crack, but they all knew it was one that had been drawn rather than a crack in the wall. Surrounding this crack was a series of figures, and while it was impossible to distinguish them, it was quite clear that this was some sort of battle.
"Did you track her down?" Morimoto asked, working out who Trevor had gone to find, and the spy gave a grim nod.
"Charlotte confirmed my suspicions," he said, staring grimly down at the photo he had taken before looking up at a shocked Evelyn. "Alaska must be there when the final part of this battle takes place, for it was decided two thousand years ago. The only thing we don't know is who exactly she will be fighting, or if she is going to win." A chilled silence filled the gym, and everyone exchanged looks as the sounds of city nightlife crept in through the broken window panes, damage caused by the only person that could save them from the unknown.
High above the clouds, with a cold wind trying to push him aside, Latios floated… watching, waiting, wondering.
The Eon Pokemon stared down at Celadon City, examining the drastic changes that had occurred during his incapacitation, all the while feeling weary. His energy was slowly coming back to him, but after spending years trapped inside a stone, he was nowhere near his full capabilities. Latios had drained a lot of his built-up energy protecting Alaska during the tunnel collapse from more severe injuries, including forcing Nadia to turn back into her energy form and inside her PokeBall. If he did not rest properly, then he would be of no use to Alaska when the time came for him to fight.
Even though she seems to not want me… Latios thought angrily. He had used a lot of his mental strength to speak to Alaska during her comatose state, trying to warn her of what was to come, but it seemed he had been ignored once again. Latios was capable of brief psychic flashes that allowed him to see a short distance into the future, and he knew what was to come for Alaska. It was his job to look out for her, he had been bound to her, but Alaska seemed oblivious to his help.
She must make her own decisions, even if they are wrong, I am simply a guide, Latios thought, shutting his eyes for a moment, seeing flashes of screaming faces, a shaking stadium and two figures flying towards one another. He opened his eyes again and found himself drained again, simply from those few moments spent in the future. Latios looked down and was startled to see he had dropped several metres, startling a group of migrating Swellow that scattered in their shock.
I must help Alaska, but I cannot like this, the Dragon thought, and he stared to the east, where he could make out a distant river turned inky black by night,. Latios knew his sister lay in this direction, further east than Viridian City, meaning he must go back to Johto in order to find her. Latios had meant to go sooner, have searched for her presence after learning who held her, but Alaska's needs had delayed him. However, the journey would be long and tiresome, and with his energy already fading, Latios would need the rest of his strength to track down his other half and getting the healing powers he required.
Good luck Alaska, I shall return as soon as possible, Latios thought as he tucked his legs in, now resembling a white and blue torpedo. I simply hope you do not need me while I am gone, he added as a depressing after thought, and with a sudden white flash, Latios propelled himself through the night sky, onwards to the next part of his journey.
Buzz watched silently from a metal platform, staring down into a deep concrete pit below. The wide, usually empty space could be transformed into whatever he desired with a flick of a switch, with a number of concealed doors opening to allow weapons or robotics to be brought in for display, for recruits to march in, for prisoners to be executed in the most public way. The executive always enjoyed these moments, but tonight a display of trainees skill had been put on for him.
A series of platforms were set up, and two teams were in the middle of combat, one in black and one in blue. The goal was to remove several red tags from each person on the opposing team, the tags representing arteries that could led to death if even slightly penetrated. No one was allowed to touch the ground, and all trainees had to leap from platform to platform, fighting with only their bodies and blunt bits of plastic, trying their best to prove themselves to the men above.
Buzz did not design these exercises, that job belonged to the other person standing on the platform. He was a towering man, with muscles that rivalled many Machamp, shown off through a tight fitting black outfit similar to what the trainees wore that made the muscles appear bulbous. The intimidating looking man was known only as Scar, largely as his face was a collection of various war wounds earned from a secret past of fighting and murdering across the regions. The most prominent scars were the severe burns that covered his entire scalp, having burnt of all his hair, and a permanently raw-looking red wound that went across his left eyelid, over his nose, pass the lips and then curved back around the right ear and back across his head, coming full circle. Scar had never told Buzz how he had gotten that injury or any of the others, and rarely said a word unless answering a question about training or giving out commands, but none of this mattered to Buzz. He had plenty of people that fawned over him for conversation should he so desire it: Scar had one purpose, and Buzz did not wish to deal with the silent, hideous, muscled man unless it was necessary.
"Will you have a team ready within the next few days?" Buzz asked, watching one fight in particular, where a member of the blue team was smashing the head of his opponent against the concrete walls in order to make him drop his weapon.
"These men are ready, I will have the snipers prepared by tomorrow," Scar replied, his voice so deep it sounded as if it came from the depths of his stomach. "You did not have good men to work with, but they shall do now."
"Excellent," Buzz said tensely, ignoring the insult. He smiled as the fight he was watching ended, with the black team member falling from the platform, which Buzz only then realised was about five metres above the ground. The thud echoed inside the room, but the fighters ignored it, continuing their brutal battle to be the best, as they all knew what would happen should they fail.
"I will come again tomorrow, it is late now," Buzz said, and waited for some sort of farewell, but Scar remained silent, staring angrily down at his trainees. Buzz silently stepped away, a bit unnerved by the look on his trainer's face, but knew better than to point it out, and knew it was necessary to have him whether he liked him or not. He would not make the same mistake that Giovanni, Cyrus, Maxie and Archie had made before him. In order to fight a true war, you needed to have trained soldiers, not random kids pulled off the streets looking for a bit of fun.
When Buzz arrived in Celadon City in two days time, he was going to face Alaska with warriors on his team. And finally, victory would be his.
That was the final 8ES for 2012! Thank you to everyone that has enjoyed the series over the year and left feedback via reviews. I hoped to have made it further by this point, so hopefully at this time next year, we will be a LOT closer to the conclusion of Alaska's story and her fight that has been 2,000 years in the making! There are some big changes coming up, so look out for those when the series returns after I finally do my Christmas specials.
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude 10
Dude why want to conquer Kanto when you can conquer Unova and slap Team Plasma's face
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude 10
So it's high time I put in a reply to this.
After having jumped in on a bored whim, I've been enjoying thoroughly enjoying this fic so far. From the humble beginning where basically every character had an alliterative name, to present day when shit is not only figuratively getting real, but given our primary antagonist's deranged mind, may also literally come to live and start attacking people, if for the sheer thrill of it.
So let's start off by commenting on the first thing that comes to mind: the title. It's neat how it has multiple meanings to it, ranging from the eight gym badges, to the various plans to take over the region - ironically in all instances that don't seem to have easy steps at all, in Alaska's case not only given the conquerors but also given the people already in control and various deathtraps in the gyms. Speaking of the latter, they do bring an amusing new element to the gyms (and seriously, fuck those trashcans which are prongs in this fic), and I still stand by being VERY disappointed in you if Blaine is not the Riddler incarnate.
The characters. Let's start off with your spin on the canonical ones. My favorite: Clair. Like, what the hell. I never liked her before, but the way you wrote her made her seem like a badass. Then we have Red and Leaf, the power couple. Neat, neat. Bill is still a scientist with a furryification machine, that somehow doesn't allow you to understand Pokemon too (again, only reason why I bring that up is because I was hoping to hear non-say-their-own-name-thoughts). There's Gideon of course, but we'll cover him in a bit. Others are others, feh. So how about the main meat, the OCs?
The rich trio. Effective rivals of the fic who show up everywhere to troll the protagonist. I find it quite fitting how little of a threat they are in-battle. It's pretty much expected given being built up in those kinds of controlled conditions. Doubly in how every case with the games aside from initial battles, that is the way it goes. Their individual characters are also good; we have the heroine's longtime rival, we have a likeable/decent guy, and we have...the third one. :P Their manager/producer is always amusing in a weird way; I don't know what it is about her, but at times (such as killing the Clefairy zerg rush), she almost seems to make sense.
The rich duo. I really don't see what they and their associates were trying to pull with Alaska. They say they're protecting her? I get that they're the kind of zealots who feel things should be a certain way, people should act in a certain manner, and whatnot. And, ones not to consider that if somebody wanted Alaska dead, they'd just blow up the mansion or something. And then they'd have failed AND have a blown-up mansion. Probably the most annoying characters, ugh. @_@ I don't know about Trevor though; something about him just doesn't click right, and I don't know how to explain it.
Buzz Killington, as I like to call him. We've pretty much only seen him in the interludes, where we learned he is apparently this guy who went through all the trouble of becoming media tycoon of Silph Co. and making a bunch of crappy reality TV shows that get watched anyway since nobody wants to mess with Red and Leaf, all for the sake of getting three people to the Indigo Plateau to exact vengeance upon the champion. Also he enjoys sunsets. He's all right I suppose, but I still like Gideon as the superioriest villain. Probably because of what's involved.
On one hand, we have a divisional head of the most powerful company in the country, who not only has a high level of control already but has an army of henchmen, robotechnicians, and lawyers at his disposal, and is still running into occasional hiccups. Then we have this former Team Rocket associate who has to plot each of his moves carefully, lest he fail in confrontations against the police, the gym leaders, the heads of the country,
ghosts evil spirits, and basically anyone else. A brilliant, mad scientist and a one-man army. Swag factor through the roof.
Sandy. She's a character who grew on me over time. Her outburst sort of came out of nowhere (I don't think I saw any warning signs beforehand, although you told me it was supposed to be out of nowhere), but it finally cemented her in my mind. She went from kind of eh, to a good companion, to briefly going whyyyyyyyy for the vampires thing, to okay, to why is she here, to "Oh! That's why! Great companion!" Alaska's initial thought was that she may have been a bug trainer (well, one that didn't press B all the time), which I never considered there. And she ended up with a Bellsprout, a baby Pichu, and a big-ass Onix; quite an odd team. Yet somehow fitting.
Then finally, we have the main character, Alaska. I always kept on pronouncing/seeing her last name as Avacado, and it amused me to see it being used in the fic occasionally. Besides that, I may as well keep it brief: she's a great protagonist. Clear-cut, without being too predictable. You can pretty much understand from her perspective why she does things the way she does. It was neat to see a different side of her when she suffered her first real battle loss, even when it might've just been a result of the forthcoming consequences of failing to prove herself. Similarly, the soul searching, return, and bodying the shit out of the OC gym leader. She, above all else, is likely the reason why the fic is so interesting to me.
Her Pokemon. It disappoints me slightly that Darwin left before my question of whether it is, in fact, a Darwinist who attacks everything it feels weaker than it due to enforcing survival of the fittest. With this in mind, Nadia has to take up the mantle of her most interesting Pokemon, compared to Frances' self-explanatory timidness and Paige being Paige.
I enjoy the concept of the blogs and interludes in this fic, although I found it weird how the first few had special formatting to make them stand out, which was abruptly dropped. The former gives us interesting retrospectives, and the lattter gives us other assorted insight we wouldn't otherwise get.
Hm, what else? If I had to name one issue I have, it's with the tying into your other stories. Don't get me wrong - it's a cool concept and a sneaky way to get people who enjoy one fic to read the others. But still, it can be confusing to people who aren't in the know about the way you're doing it, or haven't read those fics. It's pretty much a catch-22: you have to choose between handling it correctly in the narrative (which you do), going off-track to explain things, or surgeon-like precision. I guess to do the lattermost is excessively demanding, though.
So yeah. That's about the gist of things right now. Will be looking forward to whatever's up next. No bikes makes getting to Fuchsia an issue, but hey, all the better for them to wreck a rental. On the other hand, it seems a little early to be going to Saffron given that one of our antagonists is residing there, even though he's now headed to where Alaska is (and may not actually be in two days time). I guess in terms of not having Fly, it'd be more logical to go Saffron -> Fuchsia -> south to wherever the hell the 7th gym is nowadays in your universe, but either way, "Scar" hype!
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude 10
Thanks for all of this feedback @System Error, I appreciate all the thoughts! I will try and respond to each one, but if I miss something, it may be because I either accidentally skipped it or I can't say much without giving away spoilers ;)
- The alliteration was mostly a little gimmicky thing to amuse myself when I was trying to think of names. Most of the characters that are un-alliterated are because they are either canon or came from other stories.
- I always found the fact they were trash cans in the games to be quite weird, so making them into electrical towers made a lot more sense than electrified rubbish bins and fitted Surge and the more mature world more. And I must say I am not sure how good I am at riddles, but anything Blaine does say will be connected more to her journey than to punny sort of ones.
- Glad you liked the canon takes. In my verse, Pokemon can learn to speak English or project thoughts in English/language that humans can understand, and there are translators out there/trainers can understand their Pokemon, but their brain swaps wouldn't have allowed the Pokemon to properly speak English, sorry. I would have written something like that in if it would have worked/made sense, but it didn't really in the end.
- Thanks for the thoughts on the reality stars, I do hope to expand them more in the future, and their point is basically to represent the unthreatening people we face in game. The Athlews intentions were explained fully in the interlude, PM/VM me if you want some clarification on it. Trevor... he has been a bit of a tricky one. I sort of had to use him as I did not want to introduce Looker (spoiler :P) just yet, but due to the arcs he was in, he never really got a chance to develop properly. Hopefully I can give him some more page time later!
- Buzz may not seem as much of a threat as Gideon, but his plan does get explained in better detail, and hopefully it will make more sense. And yes, Gideon is pretty amazing even if he is a murdering freak :P
- Sandy was always meant to be a bit out there, and I hope to try and go back a bit to her naivety more as her backstory does get revealed quite soon: the next arc is very much Alaska/Sandy. And thanks for the feedback on Alaska :)
- Darwin's intentions are not quite like that, but we may never know now, or could we in the future? ;)
- I never really intended their to be set formats or unique ones for the chapters, but I can see where you are coming from
- It is tricky putting the universes together. TBH, there is nothing really that requires you to read the other stories, only if you want to see more of some of the smaller characters. I do try to describe the new characters as we meet them, but sometimes it can be a bit tricky, so I can see why you may not be a fan of it. I don't believe there are much more tie-ins aside from the much larger, over arching connections to the previous Kanto saga.
Thanks again, it is nice getting so many interesting thoughts and overviews for the entire story :) I look forward to seeing what you think of the rest of the series!
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Interlude 10
So... it has been a while! I apologise for the super long delay: my Christmas specials ended up consuming most of my time along with dealing with personal stuff, and then when I finally began writing this chapter, it turned out to be the longest yet! But it is time to get back to Kanto and finish the last four steps of Alaska's plot, as well as surviving everything else along the way! This chapter will serve up the main bout of drama for this arc as the rest will largely be a lot of discussions and focus on the Pokemon side of things rather than the extra plots. Hope you enjoy the new chapter and it serves up enough drama to make up from the delay!
Chapter Fifty Three: Take a Gamble
"They don't want you there."
"I have never been one to care about what people think."
"Evelyn is on the war path, she is convinced you've stolen something or damaged something before you left. She is still searching, and if she doesn't find anything conclusive, you can bet she will try and frame you regardless."
"Oh no, a crabby old women with too much time on her wrinkled claws in-between her parties! What a horrid life she must lead, I almost pity her."
"Alaska, these are people you cannot mess –"
"Here!" Sandy said excitedly, and she quickly grabbed the plate from the waiter's hands. Daisy fell silent, not wishing to continue her argument with a stranger looming over them, and Alaska shot her a triumphant, cocky smile.
"Burger and fries?"
"That's a-me," Alaska said, and flashed a pearly grin at the handsome waiter as he laid down her plate. Daisy sort of grunted at him as her salad and mushroom soup was placed down, and the waiter looked perturbed as he backed away.
"Careful Daisy, he might spit in your next iced tea if you keep that steely look up," Alaska said with a cheeky grin and she stuffed several fries into her mouth at once, and earned her another frosty look from Daisy.
"Please Alaska, this place is far too fancy for waiters to spit in your drinks," Sandy scoffed. "I mean, look at this syrup, it looks someone poured gold on my plate! Waiters only spit in your drinks in restaurants where there aren't personal hand washers listening to you pee in the bathroom." Alaska laughed, flecks of food flying from her mouth, and nearby diners stared in shock at this uncivilised behaviour. The 'ABC' restaurant was a popular new eatery in the middle of Celadon City, encompassing a tri-theme to suit its name through triangular furniture, artwork, a three colour scheme of black, white and red and even three sided doors that seemed a little over the top.
"Control yourself Alaska!" Daisy hissed, going red with embarrassment. "I feel like a mother taking her two naughty children out for lunch! I only agreed to shout you a meal as it's your last day here and I thought you'd behave."
"Hit the nail on the head there Daisy!" Alaska replied, swallowing her chips and taking a huge bite from her burger. The food was rich and tasted divine, and Alaska thought it would be best to simply enjoy your meal than cause more worry for Daisy, but there were still some points she had to straighten out. "It is my last day in this godforsaken, over glittered, over priced city, and I intend to make it enjoyable in my own personal way!"
"So you're going to find some other local treasure to destroy?" Daisy said icily, and Sandy gasped overdramatically. Alaska merely smiled and paused for a moment to chew, thinking over her words.
"I just want to give Jericho and his dear, darling, lovely grandmother my parting wishes," she explained after a few moments. "And then, if I get the chance, I am going to make sure they get a piece of my mind over how I have been treated." Daisy groaned and clutched her head in annoyance.
"For the last time Alaska, they thought they would be protecting you from Gideon!"
"If they wanted to protect me, why did they kick me out of their mansion then, or get rid of all the Eevee's that Sandy enjoyed playing with?" Alaska felt bad bringing this point up, and Sandy lowered her cutlery sadly, staring down at her meal as if her meal had just turned into an Eevee.
"You are lucky they didn't throw you in the river!" Daisy hissed. "You destroyed the Celadon Gym and knocked Jericho out –"
"- with a piece of brownie, mind you."
"That is beside the point! Kicking you out was the least of all of the things they could do, and it is a miracle they have not done anything else! Evelyn is on the bloody war path!" Daisy glared angrily at Alaska for a second before taking Sandy's right hand and putting on a more sympathetic face. "I am sure they did not send the Eevee away as a way of hurting you. I happen to know for a fact that they have an important plan for them in all of this, so I hope you know they are doing some good for us all." Sandy smiled at this and brushed her tears away, but she did not read between the lines as Alaska did. There was something very odd about that statement, and Daisy cast Alaska a look as if signalling for her to pick up on it. Alaska went back to her meal and dwelled the words over, as it was not the first time this had happened. Daisy had been oddly cryptic and strange ever since Alaska had won against Alexis four days ago: she kept falling quiet or leaving the room whenever Sandy made reference to Gideon or the robots, and other times she would simply look at Alaska with a mixture of worry and fear.
No, stop thinking about stuff like that, Alaska told herself as she stuffed her burger into her face, sending sauce down her front. We are focussing on gym battles from now on. That's why we are going to Fuchsia City, to keep battling, to win more badges – after all of that is done, than it is Gideon's turn.
"Sandy, I have already taken your advice and let you tell me where to go next for my gym battle," Alaska explained after a few minutes of silence, "but I can handle Jericho and Evelyn. I promise I won't damage anything, I just want to give them some words before moving on, alright?" Daisy looked annoyed and conflicted, but she sighed and nodded, knowing it was the best she would get. "Excellent, let's enjoy this meal and the wonderful atmosphere of ABC, which is still a stupid name by the way. I mean, how uncreative do you have to be to just name something with letters anyway? There are a million options of actual words you could have used, and they settled for letters!"
"Maybe it means something?" Sandy suggested.
"I am sure they'll make it mean something…," Alaska muttered darkly. A waiter suddenly reappeared, which struck them as odd as it was very obvious none of them had finished their meals yet, but then they saw he was holding a fine red velvet bag that went well with his uniform.
"Um… excuse me madams, but is one of you an Alaska Avocado?" He asked, perplexed.
"Acevedo," Alaska said darkly as she raised her hand, and the waiter looked even more nervous as he dropped the bag on the table.
"Someone at the bar left this for you," he explained fearfully. "I did not see his face as it was hidden by a large hat, and he did not leave a name, but he also asked for me to say he wished you were well," the waiter added, but turned to Daisy as he said this. Daisy was stunned, and she glanced around as if hoping to catch a glimpse of this man, but there was no sign of anyone. Alaska quickly opened the bag up, intrigued and cautious to see what was inside.
"They're evolutionary stones!" Sandy gasped, picking up a handful. Alaska had heard of them but had never actually seen one up close: they looked like rare gems that had been pulled out of the earth, glittering in the light from the chandelier above. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black... they were all beautiful to look at, and Alaska grabbed a handful herself, feeling the power and energy radiating inside.
"There is about three of each!" She said in shock, and she joined Daisy in looking around for her benefactor. There were so many possibilities of who this could be, or it could be someone new entirely. Yet no one familiar appeared to be in the restaurant, and nearly everyone was staring back at them so they got a look at all the other patrons, the majority business people or elderly women, one table seating two black haired, scowling men that looked out of place, but no one waving 'hello' and demanding gratitude.
"This is bizarre…," Alaska mumbled as she dropped the stones back in the bag, and Daisy settled back in her seat but remained confused.
"Well, it is rather obvious what this means Alaska," Sandy said cheerfully as she back to her toast, and Alaska raised a curious eyebrow. "Some one really wants you to complete the rest of your steps!"
"Yes, but whom?"
While Alaska hated every moment she had spent in Celadon, she could not deny that there was some beauty to this metropolitan city amongst all the glass and steel buildings and plastic people.
The trio walked their lunch off on their way to the casino alongside the river that cut through the heart of the city. The water looked good enough to swim in, and indeed some small children were jumping off the edge of the banks into the reflective waters below. Daisy explained about how there were a lot of natural chemicals put in to prevent Grimer and Muk from spoiling the view, but the Pokemon were still allowed to leave in the sewers which they had to make smell worse in order to please the Poison types.
So it's not just the Athlews that have poison under the surface, Alaska thought cattily, but did not want to spoil the pleasantness of their walk by speaking it. It was a relaxing walk, with a light breeze and a warm sun a nice change from the rare storm, and Alaska was glad to be doing something that did not involve training for battles or recovering from injuries. She had had enough stress over the last few weeks from Sandy's gunshot wound to her gym loss, and Alaska was looking forward to things getting back to normal.
They all released their Pokemon in order for them to enjoy the day as well. Paige went flying around with Bellsprout clinging fearfully onto her for dear life, while Butterfree flew Pichu around, though a lot softer. Frances and Nadia played some sort of tag game with each other, though the newly evolved Nidorina was not holding her strength back. Daisy let her Dewgong into the river, and it shot up and down the clear channel like a sparkling white torpedo, occasionally leaping out and firing glittering ice for the amusement of the Pokemon and the small children. Alaska and Daisy put their argument behind and bonded over their Pokemon, and everyone felt good as they approached the casino, with even the mysterious evolutionary stones disappearing to the back of their minds. Occasionally, Alaska felt like someone was watching her, and she would glance about, looking for the guilty culprit, but with no one else appeared to be about, she put it down to the wind and her old suspicions creeping under her skin.
The Celadon Casino had only recently been purchased by the Athlew family, and it had been renovated following the years it had spent as a front for the villainous Team Rocket under the name Game Corner. The three storey building was on the river side and had an accompanying fifteen storey hotel to the side, both buildings appearing to be painted a mix of gold and white, like marble rising out from the earth and making it stand out against the steel and glass. There was a giant fountain out front that lit up with LED lights at night, and was constantly on a twenty minute show of dazzling water works. It was very easy to spot, and there was no doubting why it was the most popular hotel and casino in all of Kanto and Johto.
"Why are we meeting the Athlews here?" Sandy asked as they approached the casino, where a crowd was gathering near the fountain. "I am not really in the mood for a session on the slot machines."
"Don't worry, we won't be going inside," Alaska replied with a sly smile as their Pokemon began to gather back around. "I doubt we'd be allowed in anyway after I'm through with them," she added.
"There is a new restaurant and several extensions being opened up today, and as the Athlew family owns the casino, they are all going to attend the ceremony," Daisy explained as her Dewgong leapt back onto the pavement and sprayed them all with water. A number of limousines and fancy cars had already pulled up outside the hotel, and there was a small group of photographers up the staircase capturing every semi famous face that showed up. Alaska, Sandy, Daisy and their Pokemon approached the crowd that had gathered to one side of the fountain, trying to catch a glimpse of glitz and glamour through the dancing water at the spectacle.
"How are we supposed to get over there?" Sandy asked, and she pointed towards the burly looking security guards that lingered around the front entrance and the driveway leading to the front doors. "Security seems pretty tight. Is telling them off again really worth going to so much effort?"
"Of course," Alaska said with a smile, but it was not the only reason why she was doing this. Everyone around her except for Sandy had begun acting strangely since her gym win. There had been Daisy's obviousness, but a few other small things as well. They had tried getting back into Game Freak to see Morimoto, but they had been bared at the entrance for no reason, and the previous day, Alaska had spotted Jericho when they went shopping at the department store, and when he looked across and saw her, his eyes had widened in fear: not fear as in 'oh shit, there's the crazy brownie-throwing pyromaniac', it was something much more frightful than that. Alaska knew that after her victory none of them had left the gym until well into the night, and she had a feeling all these rejections and dodgy looks had something to do with their little meeting. And there was nothing like a bit of confrontation to bring that out.
"What exactly is your plan though?" Daisy asked, squeezing alongside Alaska and Sandy, their Pokemon gathering around. Alaska focussed on the cars pulling up, trying to find the one she had ridden in. The water display kept blocking the view, but Alaska spotted a shock of orange emerging from one limousine, and a smile crept onto her face.
"Ever since I decided which path I was going to go down, I decided to plan my actions out a bit more in advance," Alaska said with a wink at Daisy, and she whistled for Paige to soar down. "You know what to do!"
"Pidge," she said with a smile, and she let Bellsprout get off before turning around. Paige soared up into the sky, wings stretched wide, riding on the breeze flowing through the city. The crowd looked up towards her, impressed and amazed, though Alaska was pleased to note none of the security guards were interested in a random Pokemon. Then, without any warning, Paige dropped down like a falling stone, tucking her wings up against her body and falling down towards the dancing fountain. The crowd followed her descending, some of them muttered worriedly to one another, and Paige struck the water with a simple splash, blending in with the end of the current display rotation.
"What is she going to do now?" Sandy asked.
"I think we've been through enough adventures by now for you to take a wild guess," Alaska said with a wink and a smile. Sandy and Daisy exchanged concerned looks, and the crowd around them began to mumble in confusion.
"What are you doing Alaska?" Daisy asked nervously. Alaska ignored her and pulled Paige's PokeBall out, opening it up so she could talk into it. "Alaska, stop this, you can't do this, you promised! If it is information you want, I can arrange a meeting before we leave, don't do anything ras –"
"Twister," Alaska whispered into the PokeBall, and she began to move forwards. Nadia and Frances quickly followed as she pushed over the orange barrier that had been put up to separate the crowds from the casino. A security guard turned around, stunned by their act of defiance, and he made to move over.
But then Paige attacked.
A giant watery tornado erupted from the middle of the fountain, rising up like some great, purple glowing beast. The guard turned in shock, and even Alaska was impressed by the sheer power of the attack as Paige's Twister sucked up all the water. It appeared as though a hurricane had touched down in the middle of the fountain, and all the security guards and officials were scrambling to deal with the issue, completely ignoring Alaska as she advanced through the casino.
"Lovely place, isn't it?" She remarked to Frances and Nadia as they moved through the stampeding crowds. The casino really looked like a marble sculpture from up close, and everything about the place was so immaculate that it was hard to imagine it had once housed a criminal organisation. "Look at those hedges Frances, aren't they lovely?"
"Oh yes, fair point, fair point," Alaska replied, and she continued to walk with complete in utter confidence, holding her head high and acting as though the blue shirt and jeans she had on today passed for high couture. She glanced back and saw Sandy, Daisy and the Pokemon were following as well, trying not to get wet from the upset fountain and the Twister that was nearly as high as the casino itself, the water shooting off at the top like an oversized sprinkler.
"Ooooh looky there, I can see Evelyn wearing a lovely gown," Alaska muttered to Nadia, and pointed across at her grey haired enemy as the Athlew matriarch stared at the water tornado in shock. "Make sure they don't get inside, alright?"
"Nido Nid!" Nadia said with an aggressive smile, and she quickly lumbered forwards. By the time Sandy and Daisy had caught up, the Nidorina had jumped onto a bush on the sides of the stairs and leapt through the columns, advancing towards the sliding glass doors like a small purple security guard. The Twister was beginning to die down as Alaska had only told Paige to do it for a few moments, and she knew that the time to strike had come: Evelyn and Jericho appeared bored and were turning away, leaving it to their employees to deal with the threat, advancing up the carpeted stairs.
"What the hell!" Jericho cried when he saw Nadia blocking his path and he stopped stunned, but Evelyn was sharper and she looked around in shock.
"That's the one from Alexis' gym! It's –," she paused, looking for the culprit, and saw Alaska emerging from the chaos. "HER!" Evelyn did not want to try dealing with a Nidorina and instead clip-clopped down the stairs in her purple high heels, making for their limo, the driver not moving as he watched the fading water tornado.
"Evelyn, stop, I just want to talk!" Alaska shouted.
"Bah! Talk? I doubt it, considering this fountain debacle has your name all over it!" Evelyn squawked, and pointed as the Twister finally stopped and the water crashed back down, sending waves spilling over the edge and soaking the crowd and the guards. The matriarch tried to open her door, but Alaska lunged forwards and slammed it shut, moving herself slyly between the grandmother and the limo. Evelyn looked both surprised and disgusted, and Alaska knew she would not have much more time before the guards attention came back in this direction. She noticed Jericho was sending two Pokemon out: his trusted Flareon and, more frightening, an aggressive looking Dragonite that flexed its muscle as it advanced towards her. Sandy led Frances, Butterfree and Bellsprout forwards as a kind of defence, winking back at Alaska as Nadia raced down to join them. Alaska felt more encouraged by the support, and knew she could make this quick before they were either kicked out or arrested.
"If you want to say something, hurry up and get it over with you horrible little girl!" Evelyn hissed, and Alaska noticed she had an uncomfortable look in her eyes, glancing back towards Daisy as if asking what to do.
"That is what I am here to talk about!" Alaska snapped, pointing at the two of them. "You people are trying so hard not to tell me something that you are making it obvious you have something to hide. I have seen all your looks Daisy and read the signs, I know something is up! You had some long, big ol' meeting before I left your house the other day, and I want to know what went on there!"
"None of your damn business!" Evelyn said with a touch of acid. "I do not have to divulge my meetings to such a petty little girl such as you! I offered you a chance for salvation and you threw it back in my face, so I have nothing more to say!"
"That's a pity, because I have so many choice words to say to you!" Alaska snapped, and she took a deep breathe before beginning her rant, a number of choice insults that she had been brewing over for days coming to her lips.
"Alaska, you may want to hurry up," Sandy called out nervously. "There are some security guards coming towards us, and I don't think we can hold off a Dragonite!" Alaska glanced briefly at the suited guards rushing for them, going for the Pokeballs and other weapons of choice, and she knew there was only a moment left for her to say her words, to vent her feelings of frustration at being kicked out of the mansion so soon after her win, to the strange looks and riddles from Daisy, the nervous tension that Evelyn was harbouring. Alaska had to clear these thoughts before she left so she would have a clear mind and a peaceful journey on her way to Fuchsia.
Then the ground fell out from beneath her.
A deep bang echoed somewhere in the distance. The entire casino grounds fell silent as the driveway shook violently, causing them all to stumble. The Pokemon suddenly became distressed, with Pichu breaking out into tears and the rest stared down in confusion. Alaska was frightened, as she had a feeling the bang had came from beneath them as well, and she stepped towards Daisy, planning to ask if she knew what it was, but she walked forwards into nothing: the tarmac beneath them disappeared, cracking and falling within seconds, all happening too fast for any of them to process it. But as Alaska tilted forwards and fell towards darkness, she realized everyone else was falling as well, and many of them were screaming. The limos were coming down with them, and Alaska pushed away, pulling Evelyn tight out of instinct, trying to avoid the long black machines that could crush them easily, all the time wondering what they were falling towards.
It was a brief fall though, but not painless: after about five seconds of fast, fearful falling, Alaska smacked into the ground on her side, her left shoulder screaming out as the pain jolted throughout her body, and her head cracked painfully against a piece of road. There were louder thuds from nearby, one crunching down only a metre from Alaska's foot, and a thick layer of dust rose into the air.
"What the hell is going on?" Jericho shrieked from a far.
"Is everyone alright?" Sandy called.
"The road collapsed!" A security guard pointed out stupidly. "How has this happened?" Alaska rolled her eyes and got up, blood trickling down the side of her face, her left arm hanging almost uselessly from her side, but she was use to being in pain and having bizarre things happen to her, so she soldiered through and knew she had to find out where they were and what had happened. There was no unnatural light, only sunlight pouring in and illuminating the strip of fallen road, but everything around them was hidden by shadow.
"This… this is the old Team Rocket base!" Evelyn said below her, and Alaska turned and helped the elderly women stand up. "These are the secret floors they built beneath the casino, but these were destroyed in a fire years ago!"
"Everything seems to have been destroyed by something years ago," Alaska mumbled, and she stared around trying to make out charred walls or burnt, fallen beams, but everything was hidden by darkness, only the cracked floor visible and it was now covered with a broken jigsaw puzzle of a road. "Why did you leave a bunch of burnt out floors alone and not tidy them up?"
"It is on the agenda!" Evelyn snapped, brushing dust off her dress. "It took us forever to get this casino as the authorities were clinging on it, and when my husband finally gave them enough funds we had to go for a complete makeover in order to attract more customers in. We were originally going to fill this all in with concrete, but the local council wants to build a sewage tunnel through here, so we are in the process of getting that done and turning the upper floors into extra service tunnels. In fact, the council sent some more men down here yesterday to analyse it all." Alaska froze, a chill going down her spine. She glanced quickly back up at where they had fallen from, seeing members of the crowd and more guards staring curiously down into the hole. Alaska looked at the edges and was startled to see how straight the edges were around the hole, but it all made sense now.
"Evelyn, did these men ever come back up? Were there any of your staff watching what they were doing?" Evelyn was taken aback, bur her lined face quickly sunk, and she began to look around in horror.
"Everyone, we must find the nearest exit, quickly! This was not an accident!" She cried. There was a rush forwards as the drivers, security guards and guests who had been trapped in their cars rushed blindly forwards. Alaska quickly moved over to Sandy, helping her get up, and double checked all their Pokemon were fine. The burnt floor creaked dangerously beneath their feet, but it was the least of the worries at the moment.
"We need to go as well! Are you all fine to r –" she began, but Alaska paused as she heard a series of simultaneous clicking noises. She quickly turned and found everyone else had stopped moving as well, several people raising their hands above their heads. A group of people emerged out of the darkness, moving slowly and stealthily into the light, but it was obvious that none of them were invited to the opening.
A row of muscular figures advanced out of the shadows, their bodies encased in skin tight black body suits. All of their skin was covered, their faces encased in large helmets, hands gloved, thick leather boots on their feet. They looked like something out of a futuristic thriller, but Alaska was more focussed on what was in their hands: machine guns, as black and as big as the men were, held carefully in their arms and pointed towards the fallen crowd. Screams erupted from above as the spectators fled, but Alaska, Sandy and everyone else fell silent. The men stopped moving and simply pointed their weapons, fear spreading throughout the trapped crowd as they waited to see what would happen next
"Oh dear … I finally get to meet the great Alaska Acevedo, only to find that she has finally fallen silent. No witty comebacks, no explosive attempts to free yourself? It seems I have been greatly misinformed about your antics." Alaska turned around, looking for the deep voice that echoed all around in the empty shell of a floor, but the only figures she could see were the gunmen, waiting patiently for their orders. The voice laughed, and Alaska stared at Sandy and Daisy, wondering if any of them knew it, but they all seemed as oblivious and as frightened.
"I actually feel sorry for you going out like this," the voice continued, "trapped underground with people you hate, people that are lying to you, with no chance to pull any of your classic tricks. I would have liked to have seen one in person, watch you attempt to save yourself and everyone around you and then watch you fall as the onslaught of bullets destroy you. It truly is a shame, but it has to be done."
"Why, why do you need to kill me?" Alaska called out, thinking on her feet, trying to stall them. "Why don't you just kidnap me? I am sure if you want me dead, you'd have a lot more fun torturing me first!"
"True true, I would, but I really can't take the risk. You have become too much of a bother, Miss Acevedo, and we really need to eliminate you before you can do any more damage to my cause. But, if it makes you feel any better, seeing your dead body will really make my year. Now, kill all of them," he said, and without warning the gunmen suddenly raised their weapons. One of the guests screamed, and that was when the death began.
Alaska dived to the ground, pulling Sandy down with her, as a storm of bullets erupted overhead. There were more screams, some of them quickly cut off, and the sound of glass shattering as the limousines took most of the brunt. Dust and ash rose like a cloud again, and Alaska looked up to see the men were aiming at the ground, trying to find and hit her. However, Butterfree's eyes were glowing a beautiful pink, as she rearranged large chunks of road with her Psybeam, making a barrier that hid them from the gunmen's sight.
"FLARE!" Jericho's Flareon cried and Alaska turned briefly to see a burst of flames erupting in the distance, engulfing one gunman but the others simply turned and aimed for them. Fortunately, Jericho and Evelyn the Flareon were protected by the fallen road, while Dragonite had flown over to protect her namesake. Daisy moved towards them, pushing Frances, Nadia and Bellsprout forwards as she did so.
"Are you alright?" Alaska cried, and all of them nodded, though they were covered in dust and all, even Nadia, looked frightened. Alaska knew she could not put them through anymore of this and she and Sandy brought theirs back, leaving only Butterfree to protect them.
"Is Paige still outside?" Daisy asked, and Alaska nodded. She feared for her first Pokemon and oldest friend, and glanced to the sky, wondering if Paige knew they were in trouble, if she was planning to save them or had gone to get help. Until that arrived, they were all trapped, and people were falling like dominoes; guests and guards alike were sprawled across the ground, some obviously dead, bullet holes through their heads that no one could have survived. Others were just injured or unconscious and were being left alone by the gunmen now as they turned their attention towards finding Alaska.
Everyone is dying for me, but I cannot hand my life over to this person… not without a fight, Alaska thought. Then my Pokemon, Sandy, Daisy, everyone will face the consequences as well… the only way to ensure they survive is to stop them…
"Should I send Onix out?" Sandy whispered.
"No, the floor is fire damaged, it is a miracle we are still up here but his weight would destroy it," Alaska replied quickly, her mind moving fast to distract herself from fear. "But destroying the floor could work if done properly…" She reached into her bag and began rummaging through. "Here, take this, it will probably deflect a few bullets," Alaska said as she tossed the brownie tin out, and Sandy managed an uneasy smile. The gunfire continued as Alaska searched for the gun that Bill had given her all the way back in Cerulean. She never bothered with it, as it only served to cause distractions or slow opponents down, and there was never any time for that. However, Alaska had a feeling it would come in handy now, and she smiled as she pulled it out, a plan quickly forming in her head…
"PIDGEY!" A voice cried from above, and Alaska looked up to see Paige high in the sky above them, well out of the range of danger. Alaska was relieved, but realised there was little she could do for Paige or vice versa. She was tempted to tell her to go find help through the PokeBall but she noticed the Pidgeotto was flying in circles, pointing downwards with her glowing left wing, as if she was trying to get a message across. Alaska looked back up at the hole where they had fallen and saw how much of the driveway had collapsed, and than it clicked.
"That's it!" Alaska gasped. The idea formed within seconds: it was mad, it could kill them, but so did basically everything else Alaska ever did, so this was worth a shot. "Hey Dragonite!" She yelled, and Jericho's Dragon looked around, seeming both curious and angry at the same time. "Use your strongest attack and aim it at the flare!" Alaska shouted, and she pointed her gun upwards and pulled the trigger. The Dragonite did not have much time to comprehend it all, but instead looked up with blue flames dancing in his eyes, watching the glowing stick as it soared up towards the surface.
"Get ready to run!" Alaska yelled to Sandy, and poised herself…
"DRAGOOOOON!" Dragonite roared, and he unleashed giant blue cannonball of fire from his mouth. It soared up as the flare exploded against the road, and the gunfire stopped as the shooters stared upwards in surprise. The Outrage struck the surface and exploded, blasting them with heat and searing the colour blue into their eyes, tearing more of the road apart and sending stones flying, but the powerful attack achieved exactly what Paige and Alaska had wanted.
"The fountain!" Evelyn cried, and as the blue flames disappeared, everyone watched as a steady flow of water began to pour over the edge, landing on the destroyed limousines and seeping through cracks in the floor.
"AGAIN!" Alaska yelled, and Dragonite obeyed. The next Outrage was a much wetter explosion, more of the fountain being torn apart, and suddenly the entire thing was emptying upon them. "RUN!" Alaska yelled, and she sprinted forwards through the sudden waterfall. The gunfire started up again as she moved, and Alaska dived to the ground, feeling like an action hero as she rolled through the rubble, and fortunately was not hit. She leapt up and stood against a wall still black from smoke and fire and looked up as Sandy, Daisy and Butterfree followed, the force of the water pushing it over the limos and directly onto the floor, some of it seeping through but most beginning to batter the gunmen.
"IGNORE THE WATER, STAND YOUR GROUND!" The mysterious deep voice yelled, but the gunfire was becoming less frequent, and Alaska guessed that the rapid water was enough to put them off. She smiled to herself, and pointed her gun towards the row of limousines, glad to be able to put her first plan into action.
"This is risky, they could still survive this and just be angrier!" Jericho said when he appeared, his Flareon shaking her fur dry alongside.
"The ground is unstable due to the fire," Alaska replied as she eyed the limousine furtherest away, adjusting the device for the shot. "Having a road falling on it must be straining the beams and the floorboards, and the water should help make it all collapse, taking our gunmen friends with us, but if not…" Alaska fired the gun with ecstatic glee: a flare soared towards the limo, and Alaska quickly turned and fired towards the one at the opposite end. The gunfire had basically ceased now, and a cracking sound came from nearby as the water pounded against the unstable floor.
"Alaska, these people are here to kill you, you can't just stay here and wait for that to happen!" Daisy cried. They all jumped as the first limousine exploded, the flare having quickly set it alight and gotten into the fuel. Alaska turned and watched the flames sink through the floor, followed by the next nearest limo and two of the gunmen who had been fleeing the waters, the ground unable to hold itself up anymore.
"I am not leaving, I need to find out who the fuck this person is and protect the rest of you," Alaska replied as there was a second explosion, and she geared up to fire another one through the water.
"He only wants you Alaska! Whoever it is, they are here for you, and these people will be easier to control once you're out of the picture!" Daisy cried. "You and Sandy need to leave, now, and leave him to us!"
"How are we supposed to flee though?" Sandy asked. "Where is the nearest exit?"
"Nitelite will take you," Jericho said, and his Dragonite looked confused for a second but then gave an obedient nod. "He will take you far away from here where you can't be found!"
"But what about the rest of you?" Alaska asked, turning to them, her finger lessening off the trigger. "I can't just take a powerful Pokemon away from you, not when you may need him to fight back against these people!"
"Your plan is already working Alaska, and we can clean up those that are left behind, but you have to go now!" Daisy yelled hysterically. Alaska wanted to protest, knowing that she could not abandon them like this to fight a battle for her. Suddenly, someone kicked her in the shin, and Alaska cried out and turned to find a stubborn faced Evelyn glaring angrily at her.
"You are too special Alaska," she snapped, her voice breaking slightly. "We can survive without you here, but not without you at all! If you die now it will all be worthless!" She pushed Alaska towards the real Nitelite, where Sandy was already standing having brought Butterfree back. "Go Alaska, go so you can fight another day, and good luck you rude little tart!" Alaska was shocked and overwhelmed, a million questions now rushing through her mind, but shots were suddenly being fired again, and the torrent of water was starting to fade as the fountain emptied. She smiled at Daisy and the Athlews, stunned by the sudden interest in her, and turned and fired one last flare through the water. There was no arguing with them anymore, and it appeared that the attack was nearly over, and Alaska could see they had the determination to win this.
"I knew you'd come around to me someday Evelyn," Alaska said, and as Jericho slapped Nitelite on the back and ordered him to Fly, Evelyn Athlew smiled at Alaska for the first time since the breakfast a fortnight ago.
"DRAAAAG!" The Dragonite yelled, and he shot up through the water, soaking them both, as Daisy threw several PokeBalls onto the ground. Alaska's throat slid down into her stomach as they rose, her injured arm being crushed by Dragonite's tight grip, and Sandy screamed in fright, but it was a relief to get above the surface and find Paige, who was hovering in shock above them.
"Get here you wonderful bloody bird!" Alaska said, and snatched her Pidgeotto and pulled her towards her chest as Dragonite steadied himself and shot towards the west. Wind tugged at their clothes and faces, the soaking making their bodies freeze, but Alaska hung tightly onto Paige and reached out and grabbed Sandy's left hand, holding it firmly like a vice.
I need to find out what they meant, Alaska thought as they rocketed across Celadon City, the skyscrapers, river and cafes all disappearing in a general grey blur. I will find out who just tried to kill me and why, and then I will get them back. They should have known I am a focussed person now, and that I'm the completely wrong person to mess with...
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 53
I don't honestly know why I took so long to start reading this. I think it's the only active fic in the Workshop older than my own, which is an impressive feat. Most people lose inspiration. Anyway, Alaska has been my constant companion these past few weeks as I ate Chinese take-out and waited for my integral calculus class to start. I'm not sure what I'll do now that I'm caught up... That's a lie, I know exactly what I'm going to do: REVIEW!
PLOT: From the beginning I could tell that this was going to be original. I loved the concept of a Pokemon reality show, and you made it even better by not having Alaska participate in it. So right off the bat you had my attention. It's a good, simple idea with plenty of room for humorous antics, character development, and action. Then you introduced Gideon and giant robots so that you had a trifecta of intertwined storylines that puled Alaska from here to there to everywhere else. You've clearly thought things through, as there are all sorts of hints and clues and foreshadowing. I'm a big fan of that kind of stuff, and I like to pile it into my own writing so I understand the planning required to pull it off. There's definitely something bigger going on, especially with the introduction of these weird shadowed dudes with machine guns. The fortune telling bit was great, and it gave me quite a few ideas of where this story might be headed.
You manage to shove some really great humor into a story that's surprisingly dark when you think about it. I lost it at the sitting on a Diglett part, as well as the entire cat-fight chapter. Absolutely hilarious.
The only real gripes I have are with the flow of the story and the repetitiveness at parts. First off: flow. Your plot is quite the roller coaster. Stuff is constantly happening and I can't find any scene at all that could even be called filler, even under the loosest of definitions. This is not necessarily a good thing. While it makes for an action packed story, it took fifty chapters before Alaska really sat back and took a look at all the stuff that she's done and that has happened to her. I guess this kind of falls under "Characters" as well, but I'll go over it here. Alaska never slows down! She could have three attempts on her life while walking from the Pokemon Center to the city's gym and her step wouldn't even falter. Some of this could be written off as Alaska's personality, but it happens in your writing as well. Take Sandy getting shot for an example. You have an interlude and blog, but the next real chapter involves explosions and a collapsing tunnel. You briefly mention the weeks Alaska spent training, but the plot itself never slowed down. I'm not going to tell you to stop doing the blogs, because you shouldn't. They're hilarious and a great way of seeing things from a different point of view for a moment. That said, avoid using the blogs to summarize all of the "boring" stuff. Slower bits are where the best character development happens, so I feel like I barely understand Alaska's motivations despite the blogs and description. Like I said, Alaska kicks things down a gear in the Celadon arc, which allowed for some great development and storytelling. For that reason, it was probably my favorite part of the story. Just my opinion.
Secondly: repetitiveness. This is kind of relates to the above, since it wouldn't be so noticeable if your action scenes weren't all right one after the other. Perhaps this could just be discarded as only using vital description, but after the first ten or so chapters I could always tell by the way you described an environment exactly what part of it was going to blow up or be destroyed. This happened Every. Single. Time. Cargo ship? BOOM! Generator? BLAMMO! Fountain? KABLOOIE! And those are just the ones I remember off of the top of my head. Maybe Alaska just has a destructive personality, but why does she always feel she needs to prove herself by obliterating the most notable object in the immediate area? Okay, the cargo ship wasn't her, but you know what I mean. It feels like all of your actions scenes (as epic and exciting as they were) involved the same formula. Things seem normal, suddenly action, something explodes, some character gets injured, and if Gideon is involved, he cackles maniacally and teleports away with his super rad watch (I want one of those btw). It just all feels so predictable. It's up to you how you fix that, or if you even think it's a problem, but I thought I'd point it out.
CHARACTERS: Alaska is one of those people I would dislike if I actually knew, but I love as a character. Her snarky, sarcastic attitude injects some priceless humor into situations both dark and comical in their own right. Most of the other stuff I have to say about her is above, so I'll move on.
I'm feeling wild today, so I'll start with the gym leaders. I like how you made them fairly unique. They aren't all like "Hey! Let's battle! Oh, you won? Here's a badge kthxbai!" I find myself wondering though, are they all assholes? Alexis wasn't too bad, and a lot of that probably comes from Alaska kind of being a bitch, but I hope that she stays on good terms with at least one of them. If they're all like this, I can't imagine what Red sees in Leaf *whip crack*
Sandy is awesome. She is the perfect character to compliment Alaska's snide sarcasm. Her naivety and optimism really provide a new point of view on things and bring out a totally different side of Alaska, which I always say is the purpose of supporting characters. She's remarkably mysterious for being such an upbeat character, but hopefully we'll see where she comes from before long. It's hard to tell what her motivations are right now.
The reality stars are great as well. Chloe serves her purpose by pissing off Alaska whenever they meet, but I find myself wondering why she always wants a rematch after constantly getting her ass handed to her. She's probably just stupid. Damian seems like he's going to serve his purpose in the future. He's actually competent (gasp!) and is a pretty obvious love interest for Alaska. I really like Lachlan too, even though he's had such a small part. He also carried the only character inconsistency that I caught, however:
Damian maybe, but not Lachlan. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who would break up a girl fight. More like sit back and laugh as he watched, enraptured. That's what I would do at least, and I often found myself thinking the same things that Lachlan said or did.
Damian, Lachlan and the bartender tried to force the two warring girls apart,
Moving on to the antagonists... Buzz
Lightyear and Amanda seem like a pair of generic villains. Nothing wrong with that, though. They get the job done and are enjoyable to read, which is what matters in the end. Gideon is AMAZING. I have a soft spot for mad scientists. They're a dying breed in the villain department, and I love how you've handled his character.
I also really liked the weird voice in the shadows. He's really mysterious, but at the same time seems like a genuinely decent guy. I really have no idea as to who he might be (if anyone). From your vague descriptions and slight hints, I can only conclude that he's some dude that died and was brought back to life as a cyborg. Yeah, I've got nothing.
And how could I forget the Pokemon themselves? Each of them are wonderfully unique and memorable. And not just Alaska's Pokemon, but Sandy's too! I'd like to see more characterization of other trainers' Pokemon though. They have a real impact on the story beyond just being sentient weapons. That's something that every Pokemon fanfiction author should aim to do. They were a tad over-humanized for me, but that's just a matter of taste. Excellent job overall.
WRITING: I found a bunch of issues with grammar or punctuation or something when I first read through, but I can't find them anymore, so I guess I'll have to move on :P Maybe you just fixed everything within the last few chapters. If I see them in the future I'll be sure to point them out (if they even existed in the first place, maybe I'm hallucinating... WHAT IS REAL LIFE?!?!).
Your description is fantabulous. You do an excellent job of balancing detail and necessity, though my personal preference would be for a wee bit more of the former. I'm kind of a description whore :P One thing I would suggest you keep an eye out for, however, is repetitive descriptions. Don't use the same word (noun, adjective, or verb) to describe something twice within a small frame, preferably not in the same paragraph. It can be kind of throwing, if you know what I mean. I didn't see it everywhere, just here and there. Something to look for in your proofreading...
The one thing that I loved above all others in this fic, however, was dialogue. This ties into your excellent wit as well. It wasn't just the things that characters said that were funny, it was the way they said them. Each character had a unique voice that made them identifiable. Their vocabulary, chosen contractions, inflection, etc were all very well executed. I think this equally reflects your skill as a writer and the strength of your characters. You've got a lot of pressure to keep this up with every character you introduce, but I'm sure that won't be a problem.
Phew, I'm getting kind of burnt out, so I guess I'll wrap this up.
OVERALL: I hope you found this review somewhat helpful. I feel like it was kind of rant-y. Not my best work, but this isn't about me, it's about YOU! I loved the fic from start to finish in every way. You haven't quite made me cry yet, but you have made me laugh my ass off seemingly randomly in public places. In short, you have yourself a new reader!
(Unrelated side note: I noticed in typing this review that Firefox's spell check doesn't recognize the words trifecta, storylines, teleport, or snarky. BullllSHIT!)
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 53
@AetherX: I am glad that this took up all your time, it feels good to know someone is putting the effort into this: it makes it all the more worthwhile :) My other story Galactic has been around longer than this, so there are three major long running fics still hanging about :P
Now, onto your review! I do actually totally agree with the flow and repetitiveness issues, which do sort of tie into one another. It is an issue I have with all of my Pokemon fics, and I am not sure why it really is. I am trying to combat it by splitting the big events up in my series The First Warriors so that there is more time for character development and the story becomes a three part arc ending in the big battle/explosions/confrontations etc... The next arc is also very chatty, very uneventful drama wise. I feel that with all the plotlines, the dramatic events that do occur build upon one another to tie into the broader storyline. I am not saying every dramatic event will turn into a major plot point, but the consequences do build up in a way. But I am trying to cut back on this stuff and make the dramatic events have more purpose and less of the, as you said, formula.
The other points: There are plenty of writing mistakes, trust me :P I never really proofread back in the day, but I am working on that now. I may even rewrite the earlier chapters at some point so they are more appealing for new readers, but I am not sure yet.
Gym leaders: Not all of them will be bitchy, but I just imagined those personality traits for the first three due to the whole always getting defeated by newbies, getting her date interrupted/getting catty over that and I just think Surge would make an excellent douche :P And yes, Alaska does have that effect on people :P
Alaska herself: She is an odd character, your description of her matches her perfectly. Her crazy actions will be more smoothed out from now on, and there should be a lot less intentional destruction. I feel the key to her personality is her family: they are rarely properly discussed, though they will be soon, but they have an important role to play in her life. And then there is the situation she has been put into which plays largely into her personality as she is trying not to become a soldier in a war she doesnt want any part. Alaska is meant to be the kind of opposite of Red/Leaf/Blue from The First Warriors: this is like the anti-Kanto story, if you will :P I can explain it better when I am not so tired, so I will probs PM discuss with you :)
The rest of the stuff was largely positive, so I can really only smile and say thank you very much :) Glad to see some fans invested in the characters and dialogue: I feel my strengths come from over complicated plots, snappy dialogue and good characters, so I am glad that came through for you. We will get more of Sandy, more of Lachlan, more of the rivals Pokemon, and I will look into my description. I hope to make you cry hysterically at some point, and there are some more sad twists that I am considering doing but I am wondering if I am able to bring myself to write them :P
But thank you very much for the feedback! I am taking every bit of it in and I hope you see some improvements, if you do remain a committed reader :D
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 53
Another delay, more excuses... I apologise for the huge gap. Beginning uni has left me drained and lifeless and lacking for the inspiration to actually write, and this chapter required a lot of focus to execute it properly. Very different compared to the previous chapters, but hope you will all enjoy away, especially after waiting so long for it!
Chapter Fifty Four: Leaving the Earth Behind
Alaska appreciated being rescued and flown away from danger, but she still would have preferred not being dropped onto a Snorlax.
Nitelite had flown her and Sandy out of Celadon and over Saffron City at lightning pace. The wind was bitterly cold at this altitude and speed, and Alaska could feel her blood freezing on her face as it dripped from the gash on her forehead. The wind created made her clothes constantly flutter and Sandy's hair got blown into her face, but Alaska could not complain as the Dragonite's thick orange arm was squeezing the breath out of her.
Sandy kept her eyes shut, her face screwed up in a way to show she was trying to disguise her discomfort with the entire procedure. Alaska, on the other hand, tried to view the scenes below, but everything was blurred and they did not stay over one area long enough to take it in. The skyscrapers of Celadon gave way to the surrounding forests and a small collection of houses dotted around Route 7 before the towers and high rise buildings of Saffron suddenly appeared. Alaska knew that there was a gym down there, waiting for her to arrive and claim her next badge, but it was clear that would not be happening today.
Nitelite had then turned right, avoiding going towards Lavender Town, and Alaska figured he was probably trying to take them as far away from Celadon as possible, somewhere that they would not be easily found. More forests appeared below, this time with a few earthen hills and miniature mountain ranges strewn in-between. Alaska could see the ocean spread out in the distance, glowing as the sun reflected off the surface, and knew that must be Vermilion. She would have liked to have seen how the city was recovering and potentially get some R and R at the local beaches, but Nitelite turned away from that, heading for the east of Kanto. Alaska had not ventured this way yet, but she could see more of the sea shimmering in the distance and figured this would not be a bad place to hide out.
During the flight, Alaska became nervous about her left arm. She had to let go of Sandy's hand due to the spreading pain, and she moved Bill's gun across so it was nuzzled between her body and Paige in order to lessen the pressure on the injury. Alaska dreaded the thought of having another prolonged injury, and she merely hoped that the pain would not last long.
"Dragon Nite Nite Drag," Nitelite said as they quickly moved over an expansive grassy field and came closer to the eastern ocean. It was the first time he had spoken for the entire trip and Alaska wondered what he was saying. She glanced at Paige but the Pidgeotto merely shrugged her wings, as clueless as she was. A moment later though, the Dragon Pokemon began to slow down, soaring downwards towards the earth as the world began to reform into its normal position. Alaska noticed the green roof of a gatehouse right beneath them, and she expected Nitelite to drop them there. However, he flew right over that, and Alaska saw a strip of grass leading towards the ocean, with something large covering most of that. Alaska thought it might be a boulder, but it was far too smooth, and they way the sun reflected off made it look like skin. The thing was mostly black but with a creamy white stomach that was the most engorged thing Alaska had ever seen….
It only clicked that this was a Snorlax when Alaska found herself hurtling towards it.
She had been taken aback to see a Snorlax in the wild that when she gasped in astonishment, it covered up the fact that Nitelite's crushing arm had moved off her stomach. But Alaska noticed that the world seemed to be tipping, and her stomach felt like it was lurching up towards her heart. Then Sandy began to scream, and Alaska put the pieces together and looked down as the wide stomach of Snorlax came up towards her.
"Pidge Pidge Pidge!" Paige cried and began to break free of Alaska's hold on her, knocking Bill's gun out of her grasp in the process, and tried to keep her trainer afloat using her claws. Alaska cried out as the talons grasped her arm and she was jerked upwards, but the sudden change was not enough to stop her falling and she crashed down on top of the Snorlax.
It was like landing on a very thick trampoline: the fat jiggled as Alaska thudded into it, absorbing the blow, though her entire body jolted from the impact. Despite her worry, it was a relatively soft landing compared to other places Nitelite could have thrown them. Alaska looked up over the engorged Pokemon's smooth stomach and saw that the Snorlax was fast asleep, and she felt the large body heaving up and down with every breathe.
"And I thought my father was a heavy sleeper," Alaska muttered, and she slid off Snorlax and onto the grass without the Pokemon even noticing. Sandy was lying on her back staring wide eyed at the clouds above, and it looked as though she had landed and then bounced off Snorlax's flab. Alaska resisted a smirk at the comedic image and extended her good arm to help her friend up.
"Thanks for the lift!" She shouted with a touch of bitterness up at Nitelite, but the Dragonite had not stayed to see if they were alright: an orange blur was soaring away into the distance, and would be back to Celadon within quarter of an hour. "That may be a fast Pokemon, but did he really need to throw us onto the sleeping fatty over here?"
"You do need to remember that that was the Dragonite that rampaged and destroyed the Magnet Train only a few years ago," Sandy said, looking unhurt from her fall. "Throwing us was probably his idea of being friendly."
"Oh, I can never keep up with what got blown up and when; it is all too repetitive and confusing!" Alaska tutted. "You'd think our creator or whoever is controlling us up above would write us all a story where maybe something didn't get blown up and we could just sit down and have a cup of tea every so often." Sandy nodded as she picked up her bag, and Alaska looked around, wondering where Bill's gun had gone.
"Otto!" Paige cried, and she fluttered forwards with the device clasped firmly in her claws. She appeared was unhurt, which was a huge relief for Alaska, and she pulled the Bird Pokemon into a hug before taking the gun off her.
"Shall we sit down for a minute and work out where exactly we are while I sort my mess of a bag out?" She asked, and Sandy nodded in agreement. They moved to a bench to the side of the grassy road they found themselves on, and Alaska moaned with relief as she sat down for the first time since lunch. The flow of blood from her head seemed to have stopped, but her arm still ached as she heaved the gun onto her lap and began to search through her bag for its case. Everything had been randomly shoved back in before they had flown off, and Alaska sighed as she was forced to move most things onto the bench between herself and Sandy: spare clothes, her pop up tent, a pillow case, her laptop, the tray of brownies, the knife following separately (making Alaska weary about how badly her landing could have gone), the new bag fill of evolutionary stones, assorted cans of Pokemon food and medical supplies, assorted cans of people food and the luminous pink band-aids that constituted her own medical kit.
"How do you fit everything in there?" Sandy asked, staring curiously at the mess piling up next to her.
"You carry a snake made of boulders the size of a skyscraper around on your waist," Alaska replied. "That is something that needs questioning." She finally found the case and slipped the gun back inside, wondering when she would use it next. It had been a while since she felt forced to pull the weapon out, and Alaska hoped that it would be even longer. She had chosen to focus purely on gyms for the time being, and it was time that she stuck to this: no more destruction, no more fighting in ways that caused everything around her to blow up, just travelling and training and making her way to the next gym.
"So what actually happened back there?" Sandy asked as Alaska began to pack her bag away. "I did not recognise the voice or see who that guy was, but they really seem to hate you for some reason." Alaska sighed and nodded, irritated to find another mystery was being added to the list that constantly filled her thoughts.
"I am not sure why, but I have a feeling that this is the person who has been sending the robots after us," she replied. "From what it said, it sounded as though he had been following my journey. He mentioned something about being 'misinformed of my antics' and how I had become too much of a bother. That clearly wasn't Gideon, as he would not bother hiding in the shadows, it wasn't his voice and he only attacks on his own: this is someone with enough money and resources to set up a meticulous plan such as blowing up the driveway and bringing in an elite hit squad, and knows me well enough to guess I would end up at the casino opening." Alaska was quite unnerved by this last bit; it was bad enough having all the Kanto Elites reading her blog and following her that way, but if enemies she had never met were able to read her so well, had she fallen into such an obvious pattern that people could guess her actions before she even knew what she would do?
"I have always wondered about those robots," Sandy said, staring sadly down at her shoes. "I always got the feeling that the others were holding back information about them: Steven, Daisy, Trevor, I am certain all of them began to mention other occurrences in Kanto but would fall silent when they realised the mistake they were making." Alaska could recall the same instances and she became unsettled to think that the people supposedly helping her were keeping key facts that could impact on her safety. There was the chance they did know who was after her but thought hiding the information would help her, probably imagining that Alaska would go after them for revenge, which she most likely would have done a few weeks ago. What would she do now if she learnt the identity of the latest man hiding in the shadows, when she had a gym journey to focus upon: Alaska could not let herself and Sandy continue to be targeted, but she had made a decision… hadn't she?
"We escaped today, that is all that matters," Alaska said, forcing a smile as she shook away dark thoughts.
"I guess so," Sandy replied with a more natural beam. "I am sure that everyone else would have been able to fight their way out as well." Alaska had not even thought of them and instantly felt guilty, shocked at herself for forgetting about them: Evelyn and Jericho may have hated her, but they had stayed behind to fight off the gunmen so she could escape, and Daisy had been with them since Lavender Town. Alaska looked up to see if there was any sign of Nitelite but the Dragonite had disappeared, heading for Celadon to see if his trainer was still alive, and she hoped all three of them were. Evelyn's last words were beginning to circle around Alaska's head, but she pushed them asides for now, not wanting to get distracted by any theorizing for the time being.
"So where are we exactly?" Alaska asked, glancing around: between the gatehouse and the heaving Snorlax, there was a stretch of inch high grass and the typical rows of trees that seemed to have been copied and pasted from all the other routes of Kanto. There was nothing distinguishable about this area, the sort of place where you may have a picnic or walk through on your way to a city, but when Alaska turned to her left, she was greeted with a far greater sight.
The small grassy lane suddenly disappeared, turning from solid land into sparkling blue ocean without any warning signs. Alaska stared out at the shimmering, never ending stretch of blue that quietly crashed against the edge of the earth, a sudden stretch of blue nearly hidden away from the rest of the world. The only signs of land out there were obscure rock formations shaped by years of rolling waves, but Alaska could not see anything on the horizon, the ocean simply carrying on seemingly forever: this was the very edge of Kanto, the spot where the region ended and opened up to the rest of the world.
"This is the Route 12 Walkway, I think," Sandy said. "I remember seeing something a few months ago about how the concrete walkway had been built to connect the eastern towns, cities and routes of Kanto together. It follows the exact path of an old wooden one that had been destroyed during a fierce storm a few years ago, and it goes from Lavender Town all the way down to east of Fuchsia City."
"So we can add pathways and storms to the list of things that were destroyed and did destroy," Alaska mumbled with an eye roll. "Is there anything in this region that did not get annihilated several years ago?" She glanced over the path of grey that snaked its way above the ocean: the bare, boring concrete was not particularly attractive, especially when taking into account the dazzling ocean that surrounded it and the green of the grass and trees along the coastline, but Alaska would be more reassured walking on something more solid and with a much lower chance of being broken up by a large wave than planks of wood.
"Who cares about the path though when the view is so beautiful," Sandy said, gazing out at the dancing cobalt waters. "Wouldn't you just love to live somewhere with a view like this?"
"I could easily retire here… after I go undefeated as Champion for thirty or forty years, of course," Alaska added, smirking and winking at Paige.
"Champion for forty years! That'll be a record!" Sandy gasped, and then she looked a bit down. "I wonder what I'll be doing in forty years time…"
"You'll be living in my house of course!" Alaska tutted. Sandy turned around, eagerness suddenly in her eyes, and Alaska could not help but smile at her friend's delight.
"Living with you? That would be amazing!" Sandy gasped. "Oooh, where exactly do you picture your house?" Alaska did not usually think about things like this, considering them far too girly and beneath her, but now that Sandy had posed the question, she could not help but begin to ponder.
"Well, I never really wanted a big house as a child, as I always thought that ours was nice and cosy and what a house was meant to be: a few bedrooms, a big backyard, a huge living space and kitchen all connected together, nearly all the houses in Viridian were like that. But then, a few years ago, my brother and sister, they went off to the Arcethian Academy in the Sevii Islands. When I saw all of the brochures and welcome packs they got that showcased everything the school had to offer, I knew that I wanted to have a place like that."
"I have heard of Arcethian; it's the really fancy school, right?"
"So fancy that it makes the Athlew Mansion look like a fricking outhouse," Alaska said, and Sandy snorted with laughter. "It basically looks like Hogwarts except with less magic and wars and more purple carpets."
"And you want purple carpets in your dream house?" Sandy asked, smirking.
"Not a dream house, Sandy m'dear, a dream mansion!" Alaska said with perfect emphasis, making Sandy laugh. "It will be four stories high but the same length as all the gyms we've visited lined up next to each other. The outside walls will be so white that it will blind you to look upon them on a sunny day. The garden will be roughly the same size as Lavender Town with Misty's pool directly in the middle. Inside, we will each have our own floor to serve our separate needs, with a massive indoor training area for our Pokemon and an indoor playground 'cause why the hell not! There will be a floor for guests with enough rooms for everyone we have ever met to stay, and then a ground floor where we will throw spectacular cocktail parties and get every gym leader, every Kanto Elite, everyone whose every pissed me off drunk off their faces and sell their shame to the tabloids! Could you see Evelyn dancing to Sexy and I Know It in her petticoat and stockings with Brock gyrating against her in the background?"
"That is the single most disturbing image you have ever put in my head," Sandy said, and Alaska cackled with laughter. "I do like the sound of your house though. However, I insist upon designing my own floor, I am not letting you go anywhere near it!"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Alaska asked, faking an appalled look.
"No offence Alaska, but you've pretty much worn the same red shirt and blue jeans since I first met you: it doesn't exactly fill me with confidence in your creative capabilities!" Sandy said with a judging look at her outfit, but she laughed when Alaska gasped in faux shock.
"I am extremely creative and decorative, thank you very much!" Alaska tutted, a smile creeping onto her face spoiling the image.
"True, I have seen how you have creatively redecorated quite a few of sites around Kanto," Sandy said with her eyebrows raised. "Though I don't think that the Power Plant or Alexis will be recommending your skills any time soon." Alaska was taken aback by Sandy's joyful humour that she could not help but laugh, surprised but delighted by her friend. However, it quickly became more than that: she began rolling on her spot, unable to control herself, the sound of her laughter echoing in their little bit of Kanto. It had been a long time since she had laughed this joyously, and she simply let all her built up emotions escape. Sandy began to laugh at her, and Alaska was not surprised considering she was snorting like some deranged animal, but soon Sandy was roaring with laughter just as loudly as she was. Paige looked embarrassed to be seen with them and flew away to a nearby tree, which only made Alaska laugh louder and she rolled onto the grass, clutching her sides and ignoring the pain that rattled through her left arm.
The laughter carried on for at least another two minutes, leaving both girls breathless and with pained side. As it began to die down, Alaska wiped the tears of joy away from her eyes and she found herself facing the endless sky above, dotted with wispy white clouds that seemed to be scuttling across the blue surface. When she had been young, Alaska had always looked at the clouds and managed to see endless shapes and creatures dancing across the sky, from stuff as simple as a flock of Mareep to gigantic castles and horrific monsters akin to the ones in the old horror movies she had once watched. Laying on the grass now, Alaska watched the clouds and tried to make something out, but all she could see was wisps of white fluff like smoke, no Pidgeot with its wings spread wide, nothing that resembled her father or mother, not even a pair of Mareep grazing upon a sapphire field, just clouds splayed against a blue backdrop.
"Oh god, I have not laughed like that in AGES!" Sandy said with a slight snort from up on the bench. "I was sure my chest was about to burst open!"
"Yeah…," Alaska mumbled back, only slightly listening to what Sandy had to say as she remained staring fixatedly on the clouds. A sea breeze washed over her, and Alaska began to find her mind slipping away as she thought of the bare, unimaginative clouds miles and miles above her and wondering why this was…
"Snoooooor." A deep, booming noise suddenly sounded, and Alaska shot up in shock, her entire body shaking. She looked around as Pidgey and Pidgeotto fluttered into the air in surprise from the nearby trees, and she turned to see Sandy retreating further up the seat, staring fearfully forwards. It was then that Alaska realised where the noise was coming from, and she scrambled off the ground as the sleeping Snorlax began to wake, letting out more growls as it emerged from its slumber.
"Should we run? What if it's hungry, it might have a taste for flesh!" Sandy whispered. Alaska wanted to say that was stupid, but she could not help but wonder those things herself. Paige appeared overhead, staying airborne in case she had to fight, and all three of them watched as the Snorlax began to sit up: the great beast seemed to struggle with its own frame, slowly rising like an oddly flabby drawbridge, fat rippling from the sudden movement. Arms ending in pointed claws were flexed, claws that looked sharp enough to tear them apart, and the black, shiny skinned Snorlax slowly made its way onto its squat, almost perfectly circle feet and heaved itself off the ground.
"Be prepared to run," Alaska whispered, reaching inside her bag and feeling from the gun case. The Snorlax cast a large black shadow across the ground now that it was upright, and Alaska could not help but be afraid: this Pokemon was about the size of the mansion she dreamed of having, with sharp claws on its hands and feet, and a mouth wide enough to swallow them whole. The Snorlax's eyes were shut so it could not see them, but they could hear it sniffing the air, searching for its next meal.
"Snooooor," Snorlax roared, and Alaska tensed up as it turned towards them, lugging its giant frame around and causing it to jiggle. Paige flapped her wings more frantically, but Alaska could imagine she was as afraid of being eaten as they were. Sandy grabbed onto Alaska's right arm as if it would protect her, and for once, Alaska didn't mind, knowing that if they went down, at least they would go down together…
"Laaaaax," Snorlax boomed, and it began to waddle forwards, making the ground shake and leaves fall from trees. Alaska pulled the case out as a shadow was cast across her face, and she flicked the lid open, ready to fire whatever she had to in order to stop the beast. It got nearer and nearer, the entire seat wobbling, and Alaska slowly pulled her weapon out with a trembling hand as a giant cream belly filled her vision…
Snorlax turned right past them, its stomach missing Alaska's face by about an inch. She dropped the gun back into its slots and turned to watch as Snorlax went off into the trees, knocking about five falling over at once without even noticing. A trio of Fearow flew up in anger, but the Snorlax ignored them and waddled away, searching for the meal that smelt better than two teenage girls and a Pidgeotto.
"Oh my god, I thought we were done for for a moment there!" Sandy said, wiping her brow jokingly and sliding back along the bench. Alaska nodded and smiled briefly, but she turned and watched as the black blob headed away into the distance, crushing more trees as it moved.
So did I, for a second there, Alaska thought to herself. When did it become that I thought every slightly bad thing that happened to me was going to kill me? Have I become some paranoid, jumpy feeble thing? Paige landed on her injured arm, making Alaska wince and pulling her out of her thoughts, and she was forced to smile even as a new kind of fear began to settle upon her: the fear of how much this journey and this endless war against Gideon and the robots had changed her. Where was the care free spirit who had first left Viridian City with her head held high, ready for everything that had come her way? Where was the girl who had left with a determined focus on defeating the eight gyms and caring for little else? What had happened to the little girl that could sum. …
Oh joy, I have become a bitter, joyless shell of my former self… woo hoo… Alaska thought, resisting the urge to cry out in frustration. She sat up and watched as the Snorlax disappeared from view, only marked by the Flying types soaring away as their homes were destroyed. The path ahead was now completely clear, a large, flattened section of grass and slightly sunken earth showing where the Sleeping Pokemon had been. Alaska leapt to her feet, swinging her bag onto her shoulders and staring out towards the ocean as it lapped against the walkway. Look at this view: I should be enjoying my journey, not wasting it away stuck in a constant mood… I need to get out of my head.
"I think it is time we carried on," she said to Sandy, hoping that moving on would clear her head. "Daisy, Evelyn and Jericho held off that attack so that we would have time to get away, and we shouldn't waste it sitting around on a park bench waiting to find something to do." Paige nodded and fluttered onwards, joining the flocks of Pidgey and Pidgeotto fleeing from their destroyed homes.
"That's true, but what way do we go?" Sandy asked, grabbing her satchel bag and swinging it back over her shoulder. The two moved towards the edge of the earth, a clear change between earthen soils and the concrete path snaking its way above the waters. Alaska looked both ways, wondering what awaited her at either end of this pathway that was drenched by the waves lapping over the sides, before staring down as a wave flashed over the edge and onto her shoes. She could see her face reflected in the blue surface: battered, bruise, covered in blood, but mostly, Alaska could see the tiredness in her eyes. "I mean, we haven't really thought about what we are supposed to do here: we're in the middle of nowhere, far away from any friends of ours with no real clue of where we are and what we do next. So… what are we going to do?"
"Good question Sandy… good question."
The point/message of this chapter is meant to be kind of vague as spelling it out would have defeated the reasoning behind it, but if you did not quite get it, it will be explained more throughout this arc. There will (80% most likely) be a big change coming next time, one that will be apparent from the get go, and I look forward to write things a bit... differently ;) (And before anyone wonders, Pichu was inside its PokeBall, it was not shoved in Sandy's bag or anything, therefore getting crushed in the fall - in case anyone worried! :P)
Also, as there seem to be more new users these days, does anyone want to be tagged for the new chapters?
Re: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 54
I need to stop apologising... Hopefully there will not be as long of a wait, but I am becoming increasingly unreliable with these promises, so just ignore me and enjoy the story :)
Chapter Fifty Five: Life's a Beach
As Butterfree crashed into the churning ocean, Sandy could not help but wonder if this would be yet another consecutive loss.
It had been three days since they had escaped from CeladonCity, and this was about the seventh training battle she had taken part in. A wide-eyed Bellsprout watched as her team mate disappeared into the crystal blue waters, having suffered the same experience at least three times now. Sandy had been more worried when this had occurred a few days before, but battling on tiny islands surrounded on all sides by water meant that this was fast become a recurring part of these battles. Their latest battle field had barely enough room for them all to fit, with Alaska and Sandy teetering on the edges of their respective sides of the small, sodden field, small waves constantly battering into them, while Bellsprout and Nadia were only a few metres apart.
"Good job Paige!" Alaska exclaimed, and Sandy turned away from the waters, knowing Butterfree would be alright, and remembering she still had the rest of the battle to deal with. The Pidgeotto soared happily around her trainer's head, smiling and chirping loudly at the success of her powerful Aerial Ace, while Nadia nodded briefly at her battle partner before turning to face Bellsprout, a malicious look in her eyes.
"Bellsprout Bell Bell Bellsprout!" The Flower Pokemon wailed, stepping nervously backwards on her stick-like legs.
"Come on Bellsprout, you can do this! Sleep Powder, go!" Sandy shouted, trying to sound enthusiastic, but in reality, she was tired, barely able to remain standing, and battling again was the last thing she wanted to do right now.
These past three days, when they had not been sleeping or eating, Alaska and Sandy had simply been walking. They had first made their way north to see LavenderTown as it was near, where they saw the graveyard was being rapidly rebuilt and the town was quickly moving on from that dreadful afternoon. Sandy had been unable to stay there long though, and Alaska had decided they would head south to Fuchsia and see what they found along the way. Sandy was pleased with a chance to have a break from it all: the last month in particular had been a very odd ride, and a little rest and relaxation was exactly what they all needed. The coastal path was the best place for it, as they had towering trees swaying in the ocean breeze to their right, while the sea stretched out to the horizon to their left, shimmering in all shades of blue and giving a tranquil backdrop very different from the hustle and bustle of Celadon, the perfect spot to stop and think things over.
The only problem was that Alaska quickly got bored. There was little to do to entertain yourself on such a long walk, and she regularly wanted to train her Pokemon as a means of keeping them all active after hours on their feet. Sandy was happy to do so as it made her friend happy, but now that it was all they seemed to do, she could not help but become weary of ordering the same moves over and over again, only for her Pokemon to keep getting beaten backwards to the brink of fainting…
"Ice Beam Nadia!" Alaska ordered, pointing dramatically towards Bellsprout.
Give us a chance… Sandy thought wearily as she tried to think of a way to counter this. Alaska knew the perfect ways to defeat Sandy's Pokemon, and it was making the battles not only constant but repetitive, with Sandy and her little team losing each time and only Alaska's Pokemon getting stronger.
Bellsprout ran forwards, her limbs flailing madly, while Nadia stood poised, a confident look in her eyes as the light blue ball of ice formed in her mouth. Paige was circling above the ocean, waiting for Butterfree to come out, and Sandy glanced over at the rippling waters and hoped she was alright before turning back to the battle, just as an idea came into her mind.
"Dive, now!" She shouted, just as Nadia unleashed her attack. Alaska looked surprised as Bellsprout dropped down, the Ice Beam skimming across her slim body and blasting into the earth around them. Using the slightly muddy ground as a sort of slide, Bellsprout came right up towards Nadia and leapt back onto her feet only a few centimetres away.
"Bell!" She cried before shutting her mouth, and then opened it with a force of breath; light purple flecks flew out of her open mouth, and Nadia tried to turn to avoid them, but she was too close to Bellsprout and the Sleep Powder moved swiftly, engulfing her before she could move. The Poison type remained still for a moment, looking at Alaska for what to do now, before simply keeling over as the attack took effect.
"Impressive move!" Alaska said, sounding a bit shocked, and Sandy lit up at the compliment, pleased to see her strategy had worked and taken one opponent down. But she had not won yet: Paige soared down, ready to take over the battle from Nadia, and Bellsprout wobbled backwards in fright. There was no sign of Butterfree, and Sandy turned the sea, trying to catch a sign of her Pokemon… Please, not another one… this can't happen, not now, not this late in my journey! Alaska, have you even noticed what Paige may have done…
"FREEEEE!" A cry suddenly erupted from the waters, and Sandy jumped backwards in fright, but her horror to joy as Butterfree emerged from the ocean, flying up towards the sun so that her wet body received a glistening, golden glow like an angel.
"YES!" Sandy yelled ecstatically, skipping on the spot and clapping her hands in glee. "Let's try and win this one guys! Sleep Powder and Poison Powder both on Paige, let's see what hits!"
"Oooh, crafty thing, aren't you?" Alaska said, faking a shocked expression. "I have taught you to well, young grasshopper!" Sandy laughed, and she felt more relaxed as Butterfree soared towards Paige, forcing her towards the ground and closer to a waiting Bellsprout.
"Use Twister!" Alaska shouted, but it was too late: Butterfree flapped her wings, unleashing the purple particles that had formed on them, and Paige dived to avoid the attack. However, she flew directly towards Bellsprout, and the Grass type sprayed her Sleep Powder right into the Pidgeotto's face.
"Pidgeeey…," Paige uttered in shock as her eyelids flickered shut and her wings went limp, and with a soft thud she fell to earth, landing right alongside Nadia. Silence fell except for the sea breeze and the waves crashing against the path, and it took several moments for Sandy to take in what had just happened. This was the first time ever she had ever come so close to defeating Alaska in any of their battles, both opponents lying before them just waiting to be defeated. Sandy wanted to scream out in joy and dance across their little island in the middle of the ocean, to celebrate this victory that was nearly in the bag…
"Congrats Sandy, looks like you win!" Alaska said, smiling widely and genuinely as she reached for her PokeBall's, but Sandy's happiness was shattered as quickly as it had risen.
"It's over?" She asked, trying not to sound upset. "They are only sleeping, they will wake up soon and then we can continue."
"Yeah, but in the time they are asleep, you'll easily be able to defeat them. A bit of Psybeam, a bit of Acid, the match is done!" Alaska explained. "Besides, we are running low on supplies; we can't let them get knocked out and weak when we are so far from any Pokemon Centre." Sandy knew she had a point, and indeed Alaska had never let any of her Pokemon fall unconscious during their previous battles, but a presumed victory did not feel the same, nor did it have the same results…
"You guys were brilliant!" She said to Butterfree and Bellsprout, shaking away all the dark thoughts and making sure her brightest smile was on. "Take a break and we can continue the training later!" Bellsprout smiled broadly back, but it was clear on Butterfree's face that the Butterfly Pokemon was not convinced. Sandy knew she could not hide her emotions from her oldest Pokemon after everything they had been through together, but she simply gave her another smile and withdrew her before Butterfree could get too worried.
"Shall we carry on then?" Alaska said, tossing Sandy her satchel as she picked up her own bag. The entire battle scenario was completely over, with all four Pokemon withdrawn, only a slightly frozen patch left to show anything had happened. Sandy nodded to her friend, knowing there was nothing she could say or do to change her mind, even though she was desperate to carry on and finish the match properly and give her Pokemon the chance to win they so surely needed. Alaska was to move off and continue onto Fuchsia, seeming to already forget about the battle and thinking only about what to do next.
Alaska's goal, not mine…, Sandy thought as she attached Potions to her PokeBalls. She did not want to stay here and be left alone once more, but the blonde haired girl began to feel grim as they started off once more…
Over the past few days, it had really begun to struck Sandy the enormity of what had happened to her these past few months. While they had stood on the outskirts of LavenderTown, watching the tucked away little cove like two ghosts rising from the ocean, Sandy had nearly been reduced to tears. She had come so close to dying in that town, and surely would have had Charlotte not been there. She had tried to forget about the incident and leave it in the past, but returning to scene only brought everything back for Sandy, and it hit home what she had gotten herself into.
I didn't leave home to nearly be killed, and this isn't the only time, Sandy had thought at the time, and these blossoming worries had lingered as she and Alaska had continued their walk. I was supposed to be experiencing things, travelling to new places, training Butterfree and the new Pokemon I found. Instead, I have had my mind switched with my Pokemon, nearly been killed by in several terrorist attacks and almost lost half my team. This isn't why I began travelling; this isn't why I threw everything else away…Sandy pulled the Potions off her PokeBalls once the medicine was emptied up and put everything away, feeling guilty on behalf of her Pokemon for bringing them into this situation. While she did not regret meeting Alaska in the slightest, sometimes Sandy could not help but wonder about when their luck would run out…
The sun was high in the sky as they carried on down the route. Sandy had to keep fanning her dress against her legs to help cool off, and she savoured every time the wind blew sea spray into her face: it was like having her head under the shower on a very low setting, and it helped to keep her happy and energized, washing her troubling thoughts away.
She did not think the same could be said for Alaska. Despite the epiphany she had had at Celadon, Sandy's friend still seemed down. Alaska would never admit it, hiding behind a proud mask of indifference to what happened around her, but Sandy could tell how much things were affecting her: the black haired girl was mostly quiet except when battling or discussing things over their pitiful meals, and it was obvious she was dwelling about similar things to Sandy.
She really shouldn't keep her cards so close to her chest, Sandy thought as they walked silently down the dull concrete path. I could help her if she actually told me things. Like her arm… Sandy noted Alaska was still holding her left arm close to her chest, as she had since Nitelite had dropped them onto the Snorlax. It had clearly been injured during their escape, but Alaska had not said a single word about it. Sandy could see the way the clothes had bulged around the shoulder, and wondered if it had swollen, and knew that she could have prevented it if Alaska had pointed it out.
She did promise to start trusting me more and telling me things, I need to let her keep that promise, Sandy reminded herself. There was no point demanding anything from Alaska, the blonde had learnt, and it was best to just let things naturally come out. However, that did not make it any easier that there were still secrets in their friendship. Even if I am not being entirely honest, Sandy reminded herself. She paused for a moment and calmed herself down, not wanting to go down the path when she was already having a bad day.
"I could kill for a meal at ABC again!" She said as her stomach grumbled slightly, trying to distract herself. . "It feels like days since I've had a proper meal!"
"It probably has been. Have you not noticed that we rarely seem to eat, and the only times we do something happens that furthers the events of our lives?" Alaska replied.
"Never mind…." Alaska said, and Sandy only now noticed there was a distance growing between them, forcing her to pick up the pace.
"I could just see our mansion fitting in around here!" She said as gazed at the continuous rows of trees nestled across the edge of the earth, trying a different tactic to get Alaska talking. "I wouldn't want to knock any trees down though just for our house, we'd need to find somewhere with natural space."
"In order for my house to be the size I want, we're going to need to relocate quite a few Pokemon," Alaska said with a smirk on her face. "Based on the pictures, ArcethianAcademy is a pretty big building, and I want our place to be the same size!"
"Have you not gone there in person?" Sandy asked. "I would have thought you would have gone across with… umm… what are their names again?" She inquired, trying to remember Alaska's siblings as she knew the information was somewhere in her mind. It was only after thirty seconds of silence that Sandy realised Alaska had not replied, and she turned curiously to her friend; Alaska had slowed down so that the two were now alongside each other, and she was staring away at the churning ocean, watching as the scaly hide of a Gyarados slightly broke through the water's surface.
"Edward and Emily," she said finally, and Sandy could not help but notice a touch of sadness in her voice. "And I didn't want to go with them when they left for school, so no, I have not actually seen it in person." Sandy was taken aback by Alaska's sudden display of emotion, and she struggled with how to react: Alaska would not want to be hugged or physically comforted in any way, and would brush off any sort of apologetic statement. Sandy twitched slightly as she reached out to stroke her shoulder and then pulled it back, beginning to feel uncomfortable
"Why?" She asked simply, shoving her hands into her pockets for something to do. Alaska turned towards her, looking the saddest Sandy had seen her since that dreadful stormy night in Celadon. She looked uneasy as well as down, but Sandy could tell this was something she wanted to get off her chest.
"I just felt sort of betrayed by them, I guess… I have never really thought much about it since then; it seems like such a long time ago, and I have barely seen them since. But I was always a lonely child; Viridian is quite small so there aren't a lot of people my age, and Chloe turned the majority of them against me purely as we didn't get along. For a long time I just had my family, and then two of them go and leave the rest of us behind in our backwater town that people only stay in on their way to someplace else. I was pretty annoyed with them, and I refused to even say goodbye properly. We never really gotten along that well, the way that siblings are, but… I kind of regret it now, especially since all of this started. I have not exchanged a word with them for months, I have no idea what they are up to, so what happens if Gideon or the robots catch up to me before I get the chance?"
Silence fell as Alaska finished, looking as shocked as Sandy felt from her sudden outpour of emotion. The sea breeze suddenly felt cold and uncomfortable, and Sandy looked awkwardly away at the swaying trees, not quite sure how to react, and suddenly thinking about her own issues…
I never said goodbye either, she thought, pondering over that day three months ago, so far in her past that Sandy could not remember the exact day. She could only remember leaving as the sun came up, Butterfree alongside her for protection, sprinting down Route 22 the second she had shut the door. It had been the most intense moment of her life, but it had also been the happiest… she had finally been free…
"Sandy, are you alright?" Alaska said, her voice snapping Sandy out of her little flashback.
"What? Yes, I'm fine, I'm perfectly fine!" She replied quickly, putting a smile on her face, but then remembered what Alaska had just said and changed her expression. "I… I'm sorry about your siblings, that must have been tough having them walk out on you like that. I know the feeling, and …"
"You do?" Alaska asked, but Sandy became tight lipped, instantly regretting letting that fact slip out. Alaska raised an eyebrow, looking confused, but then she smirked and turned away. "Ah, I see how it is! You've got your own dirty little secrets hidden away, haven't you? What is it then? A forbidden love, robbed your next door neighbour, illicit drug ring?" Sandy laughed, managing to feel a bit better, and was pleased to see a smile crossing Alaska's face as well, the discomfort of her emotional reveal fading away.
"I am entitled to my own family secrets, aren't I?" Sandy replied with a laugh, hoping Alaska would not read too much into that.
"I suppose so. Trust me, there are plenty of things I have not told you about mine," she answered with a glint in her eye. The two both laughed, though there was no denying that there was something slightly forced about it: despite everything they had gone through together, it was clear neither of them were truly ready to bare everything to the other person. Sandy wanted to bring their friendship closer, but she needs to come to terms with a few things first before that is to happen, no matter the strain it would put on their relationship.
"You know what I have been wondering," Sandy said, starting to walk once more and was pleased when Alaska carried on as well, leaving this tense minute in the past. "Why haven't we seen Suicune and Zapdos lately? I had a feeling that those two had become your guardian angels or something." Alaska looked out at the ocean, as if the blue and purple beast would emerge from the waves at the call of his name and appear offering them a lift to Fuchsia, which would certainly help ease my feet, Sandy thought painfully.
"I have been wondering that as well. It is a bit unsettling, as I imagine they are still following us, but there has been absolutely no sign of them," Alaska replied, turning back to Sandy looking puzzled. "Maybe they have some magical legendary ability that allows them to be perfectly invisible?" Sandy nodded, and then jumped and screamed as she heard something snap several metres away. They both turned and saw it was simply a tree branch breaking under the weight of a Fearow, which let out a disgruntled cry and took off into the sky.
"That scared me half to death!" Sandy gasped, clutching her chest in fright.
"That is the issue with constantly being followed and attacked, isn't it?" Alaska said with a half smirk that didn't match her eyes. "You never know who or what is stalking you, trying to protect you, secretly a robot or just a random civilian or Pokemon with no idea why some thirteen year olds have such a plethora of scars and bruises." Sandy grimly nodded, only now beginning to realise how these events were beginning to affect her.
"Shall we discus something happier, like, I don't know, the weather? I don't think the weather is trying to kill us," Alaska said, forcing a broad grin.
"It is getting pretty hot, Gideon could have taken control of the sun and has decided to melt us to death," Sandy suggested jokingly, and Alaska began to laugh. Sandy smirked and giggled at her own joke, pleased to see they could move on and get back to a normal discussion. Suddenly, there was a loud bang that made them both jump, and they looked around, knowing that this sound did not belong to any breaking tree branches.
"Alaska, look, there's someone up ahead!" Sandy exclaimed as she saw a slight line of smoke rise in the near distance. "What, no… there are two people over there!" She and Alaska exchanged looks, startled by the sudden appearance of another set of people; they had not seen anyone else since their little side journey had begun, asides from people working in the distance at LavenderTown. It had felt strange on the first day not seeing another soul, but now that there were two up ahead, Sandy could not help but suspect something…
"I think they are battling," Alaska said, her suspicions confirmed a moment later by another soft bang followed by a cloud of smoke. The two picked up their pace, fuelled by intrigue and curiosity, and within a minute they could make out more of the scene: it was another island connected to the mainland by a concrete bridge, though it was much larger than the one they had just been on. A small cottage about half the size of Bill's house in Celadon was settled in the top left corner, its wooden frame rotten with paint faded by the sun and sea. Sandy presumed one of the two battlers lived there, and even from a distance, she got a feeling which of them it may be.
An elderly man was facing an opponent with their back turned to Sandy and Alaska. He had wild grey-white hair with a Dumbledore-esque beard to match, and was wearing a torn and tattered brown jacket and faded shorts that hung limply off his malnourished body. The man looked like the type of hermit that would live on an island and battle strangers for a living, and Sandy felt sorry for the poor old fellow, tucked away on the edge of the earth…
"Come on Goldeen, hit it with a Horn Attack!" The elderly man croaked as Sandy's feet left solid concrete and sunk a centimetre into the sodden earth of the island. She had not noticed until now that the opponent appeared to only be a young boy, dressed entirely in bright clothing and looking diminutive amongst the wide green landscape and never ending sapphire backdrop.
"Sandshrew, you can make this, use Night Slash!" He wailed, high pitched voice reaching hysterical levels, and Sandy looked at Alaska in shock as the voice rung a bell.
"Mitchell?" Her friend gasped, and the ten year old turned around, looking as surprised as they did but far more emotional: he appeared on the verge of tears, and Sandy's sympathy instantly transferred to him.
"Help me!" Mitchell exclaimed, and the old man gave a croaky laugh that reminded Sandy of her grandfather, who use to smoke at least half a dozen cigarettes a day.
"It's a one on one battle, sonny!" He boomed. "Nothing can save you from my Goldeen!" Sandy looked down and recognised the red and white Pokemon: the Goldfish Pokemon, clearly male based on its larger horn, a very common Pokemon found all over the world, swims in large schools like the ones Sandy had witnessed over the past few days.
Must be a fisherman then, she concluded, and looked down at Mitchell's side. A Sandshrew… Mouse Pokemon, Ground type, must have been caught near… Vermilion? Probably after we last saw him. Why would he send a Sandshrew out against a man who lives by the ocean? This was never going to work…
"Goldeen Goldeen-Goldeen-Goldeen," Goldeen said with a slight sing-song tone, and a ball of water formed suddenly in his mouth. Sandshrew stared in horror at the blue, shimmering sphere, knowing it would mean the end of the battle, but ran forwards anyway with miniscule claws growing and glowing black.
"Saaaaan –" he began, leaping towards the Water type, but it appeared Goldeen had been waiting for such a move.
"DEEEEN!" He cried, and the ball burst, pulses being sent out by the force of his cry. Blue rings shot towards Sandshrew, and Mitchell yelled out as they washed over the Mouse Pokemon, sending him crashing back down to earth.
"NOOO!" The ten year old wailed, but Sandy could tell that the battle was over. The drenched Sandshrew lay at an odd angle, limbs hanging loosely, eyes shut with no sign of movement. Mitchell stared at his Pokemon in wide eyed shock, unable to say a word, but his opponent made up for the silence; the elderly man let out a cackle and did a sort of jig while his smiling Goldeen flailed at his feet, either trying to dance as well or simply running out of water.
"I knew this would be a piece of cake!" He cried, clapping his veined, liver spotted hands together. "That makes my twentieth victory in a row, and one of the easiest ones I've had in a loooong time!"
"Do you need to be so rude?" Sandy snapped indignantly, horrified by the way this man was acting. "He is a young trainer; you don't need to abuse him like this, you could ruin his confidence!" The fisherman stopped dancing and turned towards Sandy, gazing out at her through eyes obscured by bushy eyebrows. He gave her a crooked smile, showing off teeth that seemed a mix of yellow and black that made Sandy want to gag, but she tried to keep her composure and not let this man defeat her.
"If the boy does not have the confidence to stand a loss like this, then maybe he should run on home to his momma!" The man croaked, pulling out a chunkier PokeBall that Sandy recognised as the old Apricorn style and withdrew his flopping Goldeen. "I have been battling people on this spot for the past forty years, and if you can't get past me without winning, then you shouldn't be out on the road anyway!"
"Who are you anyway?" Alaska scoffed. "You make it sound like you're some important trainer but I've never heard of you." The old man looked offended for a moment, but he puffed his chest out and pointed dramatically at Alaska.
"I am Barney, the Fisherman of Route 12, and who are you exactly?"
"Alaska Acevedo, the moody bitch who can't be stuffed dealing with senile old coots!"
"That's battling talk missy!" Barney exclaimed, looking shocked by her language. Alaska raised an eyebrow and pulled out four PokeBalls, and Barney's face quickly sunk. "I have had enough battling for today though, I need to get onto my fishing! Once this boy gives me his backpack then you can all be on your way." Mitchell began to sniffle at this, holding Sandshrew in his hands, and Sandy was taken aback to find the once joyful, loud little boy she had originally met reduced to a snivelling mess.
"What's this about his bag?" Alaska asked with a touch of anger, and Barney flashed another wide, rotten tooth grin.
"Back when I got paid to fish on my little spot here, I would only battle for a bit of money on the side or the occasional piece of food that doesn't come from throwing a net in the sea. These days though, there are hundreds of fishermen floating around on their big ol' boats, getting thousands of Goldeen and Magikarp every time they go out to sea! I can't compete with them, I'm too old to go sailing every day, so I ain't got any other money! I don't have any skills except battling and fishing, so now when I am challenged, the stakes are higher: if you want to carry on down this route unbothered, you have to bet everything that you've got on your back that you can beat me!" Sandy and Alaska looked at each other, horrified by this old man's rules.
"You're twisted!" Sandy cried. "Even if you have a tough life out here, that is no excuse for robbing people blind! How do you expect anyone to survive on their own if they lose all of their possessions?" Barney simply cackled to himself and shrugged his bony shoulders before turning towards Mitchell, looming dramatically over the poor boy.
"Come on boy, hand it over!" He croaked, even as Mitchell continued to cry, his clothes becoming smeared with mud.
"Please, this is all I own, you can't take this away from me!" He wailed. Barney grunted and swooped down with surprising speed, lunging for the bag and trying to pull it from his back.
"HEY!" Alaska and Sandy yelled simultaneously, and they ran forwards and began pulling the old man's surprisingly powerful hands off the bag handle. Mitchell was crying loudly now, tugging at Sandy's heartstrings, and he slumped onto his side in the muddy grass, still holding his unconscious Sandshrew. It was an uncomfortable and awkward scene, and Sandy looked to Alaska for advice on what they should do, but she looked as put off as Sandy felt.
"Listen here ladies, no one interferes in my business unless they wish to battle!" Barney barked, looking wild and unhinged as his sun-weathered face twisted in fury amongst his wild grey locks. He pulled another Apricorn Ball from his pocket and held it right up in Sandy's face. "What do you say then, missy? Battle me, and if you defeat me, you can take the little runt and leave unharmed and with all your belongings, including his bag!" Sandy gazed between the Apricorn Ball and Mitchell snivelling on the grass, feeling both sorry for the poor boy, angry at the old man, and a realisation of what this battle could mean…
"And if I lose?" She asked quietly, and Barney let out a dodgy snigger.
"If I win, then I get every one of your bags!" He boomed, just as a chilly sea breeze blew across the island, sending shivers up her spine. Mitchell stopped crying as the deal was put out, looking up with his hair coated in mud, snot and tears covering his face. Alaska stepped forwards with a nervous expression on her face and leaned in close so Barney would not hear.
"You don't have to do this Sandy, there are other ways to deal with this guy," she whispered. "We have more to lose than to gain, and this guy is clearly up to something: he refused to battle me but he wants to challenge you?" Sandy knew this was all true, and refusing the challenge would be the more sensible thing to do, but the events of the last few days had stirred up a mixture of emotions. She thought of Butterfree disappearing beneath the waves, Bellsprout not getting the development she so surely needed, her little Pichu who had not yet had any battle experience, and who could barely stand on his own…
Sandy shut her eyes and thought of the night before she had walked out the door: You can't train Pokemon, haven't you learnt this already! Look what happened last time… last time… last time… She had left to try and enjoy her life, to try and become a great trainer, and all she had done was let herself be dragged around Kanto while getting chased by a group of shadowy figures who wanted her dead by association.
"I accept your terms," Sandy boomed, forcing a smile to try and disguise the tears building up in her eyes. Alaska looked shocked but Sandy refused to let it affect her, reaching into her satchel and pulling out her PokeBalls. "How many Pokemon are you thinking?"
"Oh, why don't we make this one a two-on-two, a real battle rouser, eh?" Barney croaked, fetching another Apricorn Ball from his pocket. Sandy nodded and flashed her brightest smile, hoping that she could wear him down with kindness. She examined her own PokeBalls, thinking of the types of Pokemon she might see and who she should use against them, but the main thing she could think of was what this battle signified.
It was time for Sandy to prove herself, and make this nightmare worthwhile.
I hope you all enjoyed the new perspective. It may seem like a random time to bring in Sandy's perspective in the middle of an arc, but I feel it flows on from Alaska's confusion at the end of the previous chapter and gives our main character a chance to have a break rather than a few more chapters of "I wonder why every wild Pokemon I meet is actually a robot?" Besides, Sandy gets a chance to share more of her tale, even if she is not revealing it all... yet ;)